Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Brewer Accused of Watering Down Beer

I saw this headline on CNN and before I even clicked on the link, I thought to myself, "Wouldn't be hysterical if it was Budweiser?"

Alas, it is Budweiser.  Do you remember the Miller Lite commercial, "It's raining beer!"?  I think it's ironic that Miller Lite ran this commercial, because I think they're just as guilty of selling what appears to be watered-down beer.  One of my friends loves big brewery lite beer and I cannot help but say, "It's raining beer!" every time he orders one.

So I have to ask, how do can you tell if Budweiser, Miller, or Coors is selling watered down beer?  Can you really tell?

This is at least the second time this year that an alcohol producer has been in the news for watering down their product.  Recently whiskey maker Makers Mark had a plan to dilute the alcohol content of its whiskey in order to meet global demands.  This was promptly and rightly met with world-wide outrage.  We shall now buy wax coated bottles that have watered-down content!

Monday, February 25, 2013 Still Has No Editor

I will continue to fix the errors on so you can make sense of what they are trying to say.

In an article today about Baltimore City School CEO Andres Alonso's attempt to close underutilized schools to save money or reallocate money to other schools that need it, Steve Fermier wrote the following:

Northwestern Highon Park Heights Avenue is one of more than two dozen school buildings being targeted for closing or merger under plans that include more than $1 billion in infrastructure improvements sought by school CEO Andres Alonso.

I had to read the first sentence about 4 times before I realized that he is missing a space between High and on.  Before you get on my case about my grammar or editing errors, remember that I don't get paid for this.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hawaii Day 2, Part 1

All of the travel books that we read said that if you want to go to Pearl Harbor to see the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, then go on the first morning that you are there.  Odds are that you'll be awake at 4 a.m. (and we were) and to get there early because it would get crowded (and it was).  My wife originally said we weren't going to Pearl Harbor.  I insisted that I was going, whether they were going or not was the question.  Eventually she changed her mind and I think they actually enjoyed the visit.

When the sun finally rose, I saw this giant sea turtle swimming around the coral reef looking for food.  He was probably about 4-5 feet long.  

I then spotted this shark, which my son identified as a white tipped reef shark.  As much as he reads about fish, I would take his word for it.

On our way to Pearl City we passed this gas station.  So, for the record, gas does not cost $9 per gallon.  It was $4.19 as of February 10th (I think).

We arrived at Pearl Harbor a little after 7 a.m.  The parking lot was already full of old men with dark blue hats displaying the names of this ships on which they served.

A boat takes you on a short ride across the harbor to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, which straddles the still sunken battleship.  There is a somber feeling as you approach the memorial where 1,177 men were killed when "the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces by the Empire of Japan."

Aboard the memorial, you look down upon the rusting sunken tomb, oozing with the thick acrid smell of burning oil.  This is the #3 rear gun turret. 

This view is facing stern.  You can cleanly see the oil slick on the surface.  Keep in mind that this ship sank nearly 72 years ago.

I found this marble wall interesting. Behind it is a wall listing the names of all of the sailors that died on December 7th, 1941.  The smaller wall is the list of the names of sailors that survived the attack that have since passed.

This is the #2 turret mount.  It is now full of coral and tropical fish.

Here is more of the oil slick coming from the stern of the ship.

As sad as this site is, I found this quite beautiful.  The sunken ship is now home to all kinds of new life.

After we left Pearl Harbor, we went to Anna Miller's for lunch.  It's kind of like Hawai'i's Denny's, except with really good food.  I got pineapple / orange juice.  It was AMAZING.  I think someone went next door to the pineapple tree and squeezed the juice fresh.  I ordered a fried rice omelet  which was really good, too, but way too big.

We passed this field of farmers next to a shopping center.  When they noticed that we were taking their picture, several of them waved to us.  

I think I've exceeded some limit to blog posts, because it won't let me post anymore pictures, so I'll leave it at this.  Next post - our trip to the North Shore.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy President's Day!

In honor of President's Day, I decided to show Presidential places that I've visited.  I also want to thank the Presidents for giving me an extra day off before I go back to work.  Getting over this jetlag has not been easy.

There's the William McKinley statue at the McKinley Presidential Library in Canton, Ohio, nearly across the highway from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Everyone's favorite presidential house, Monticello.  That would be Thomas Jefferson's house.

The first President of the United States of America, George Washington, resided here in Mount Vernon, Virginia, just outside of his namesake, Washington, D.C.

I haven't been to Illinois, where Abraham Lincoln was a statesman, or to Kentucky where he was born, but I have been to the Lincoln Memorial.  I've also been to Ford Theater and the house across the street where he died, but the Memorial is much more interesting.

Right up the road in Lancaster, Pennsylvania is the house where James Buchanan lived.

On my trip to Indiana, I visited the house where Benjamin Harrison lived, which was on a busy street in a not so nice area of Indianapolis, Indiana.

I tried to find where President Obama lived in O'ahu, but I could find nothing.  It's like he actually never lived there at all.  Hmmmm......

What Presidential places have you visited?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hawaii - Day 1 Part II

As much as I've gloated about the room in which the Sheraton provided, the more impressive part was the view.  And I think this was intentional.  You want to put a premier hotel in a premier location, right?  And the best room would be the one with the best view, right?  Can I thank the Sheraton more?

This is the eastward view from the main balcony toward Diamond Head volcano.  Waikiki is the beach.  The view was exhilerating.  

One of my stupid(?) interests is seeing the progression of an area.  Once we returned home, I was Googling pictures of Waikiki looking for pictures from the 1950's, 1960's, and 1970's.  I even watched early episodes of Hawaii Five-O to see early views of Waikiki.  There is one scene in the opening credits of Waikiki beach showing the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (below) and the Sheraton Waikiki has not yet been built.  Once the diamond of Waikiki Beach, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, though still exquisite, now stands in the shadows of the towering hotels that surround it.

This view is from the balcony of the master bedroom looking inland.  It seemed like it was always cloudy and\or raining inland.  The houses climbed the hills with only the steep cliffs laying barren.  Tall high rises clung to the shores of the island, not matter where you where.

In one of those twin towers on the left, several scenes from a Magnum P.I. episode were recorded (the one with the Sicilian mob boss and came to reclaim a necklace that was swiped when Magnum rescued a girl being held against her wishes.  The low-rise black building is actually a parking garage.

Downtown Waikiki at night.  Have I mentioned that it is exhilarating?

A rainbow always points to paradise, right?

After we finished being in awe of the view, we went to dinner at one of the malls on the famous Beachwalk.  My oldest and I shared a Japanese meal, my son wanted Subway, and my youngest wanted Sbarro's.  My wife just wanted to go to sleep.  It was 9pm Hawaii time, but it was 2am Baltimore time.  Surprisingly, we were all up between 4 and 5am the next morning, which all the tour books said would be the case.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hawaii - Day 1, Part I

So where have I been during my latest hiatus?  We went to Hawaii for my daughter's Make-A-Wish vacation!

I'll admit that I was jittery during the days leading up to the trip.  What were we going to forget?  What was I going to miss at work?  What new taxes was Martin O'Malley going to try to push through the General Assembly?  I honestly had a difficult time sleeping and concentrating on anything.

Our flight was leaving at 6am and Make-A-Wish provided a limo from Bayview Limousine that picked us up at 4am, which meant that we had to wake up at 3am.  On top of that, we went to Disney on Ice the night before, which meant that we were up later than normal.  No problem, right?

Our check-in at the airport was as painless as it could be with 3 kids.  With some overpriced donuts from Dunkin Donuts, we settled in for our hour wait for our commuter flight to JFK airport in New York City.  The flight attendant was late.  And before you generate that sexist stereotype in your head, the flight attendant was a fat guy.  And for you airplane fans, we rode on a Delta CRJ200 jet operated by Canadair, built by Bombardier.

Here is the obligatory picture of the wing that every air traveler must take.

The trip to JFK was as short as one of John F. Kennedy's rendezvous from the 1960's.  I think it was 35 minutes total.  We landed and knew that we had 1 hour until our next flight.  If you've never been to JFK airport, let me tell you that it's one of the worst airports EVER.  There is not a single terminal.  There are like 7 terminals (like 7 airports in one) connected by light rail trains with inadequate signage for an out-of-towner to know how to get from one terminal to the other.  And since the tracks are under repair, a clear and logical thinker like myself would assume that the outside track would go counter-clockwise, the inner track going clockwise.  Fortunately for the flight from JFK to Honolulu, we were able to go in the correct direction.  Not so much for our return ride home.

When we got to the Hawaiian Air check-in desk, we were informed that the plane was already boarding and we weren't going to make it.  WHAT?????  They then got a guy from TSA to VIP us to the front of the line, quick-scan us, then we high-tailed it to the last gate, which was where the plane was.  I think we were the last family to board the plane.  What I've since learned (I don't travel too much) is that the Arrival time is when the plane touches down and the Departure time is when the plane actually takes off.  Then you add in taxi time, embarking\debarking, standing in line, etc...  So what we thought was an hour between flights was actually -10 minutes.  At least I can say that I didn't book the flights.

We boarded the luxurious Airbus A330.  If I would have had more time, I would have taken a picture of it. Finally we took off and circled above NYC then took a direct route to Hawaii.  Unfortunately we were sitting in the center aisles, so I wasn't able to peer out the window and take pictures.  Now, what's really cool about Hawaiian Air planes, which may be the case with most planes now, but as I've mentioned I don't fly too often, is that there are screens behind each seat that can be used for television shows, movies, games, or flight tracking. And get this - most planes don't have propellers anymore!!! So images of the flight pattern and travel statistics show on the screen like a PowerPoint slide show.  I noticed that the flight was taking us through Upstate New York into Canada, through Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, then California, then over the Pacific Ocean.  I proudly pointed out to my 13 year old daughter when looking at the flight path on a globe, it would be a straight line, but on a flat screen such as this, it appears as a curved line.  She then retorted that it also shows the Coriolis effect.  Uh.......okay we may be at the point where my daughter is smarter than me.

I also found it really cool to see the rolling statistics of our flight.  38,000 feet.  478 mph.  and -72.4° outside.  That's cold, isn't it?

Eleven hours and 45 minutes later (and only 2pm Honolulu time) we were in Honolulu facing the lea greeters.  They guided us to baggage claim and to the the car rental.  We picked up a brand new Toyota Sienna van and finally headed to the Sheraton Waikiki.

We finally arrived at the hotel and they sent us to the 31st floor.  Could it be the Presidential Suite?  Holy carp, biggest room in the hotel, and the same hotel that did auditions for American Idol the year prior.  How do I know that?  Because a sign at the hotel told us that.  Otherwise I would not have known.

These are the doors with the room number that matched our keys.  Holy SHEET of paper!!!

This bathroom is bigger (and nicer) than my bathroom.  And there were 2 of them.

So....this is the dining room.  Remember that commercial?  What was the product being advertised?  I couldn't find it on Google.

This is the master bedroom.  The bed was SOOOOO comfortable.

This is the foyer of the room.

This is the living room.

I realize that I didn't take a picture from the inside looking out the 2 large sliding glass doors.  Nor did I take a picture of the second bedroom, with 2 awesomely comfortable beds, with it's own balcony.

Anyway, that was the first part of our first day in Hawaii.  More to come.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl Parade

I got a chance to "work" downtown today.  I had a few work errands that I needed to do at some point, and since the Ravens parade was today, I figured, what the heck.  Knock out 10 birds with one 49er.

The parade was supposed to start at like 10 or 10:30.  I went outside at 10am.  And stood there.  For 2 hours.  In the cold.

Funny thing is - there was a coworker next to me with his daughter and her friend and they were probably high school aged.  They got to talking about their high school teacher Mrs. Blah Blah.  I comment, "My 11th grade English teacher was also named Mrs. Blah Blah." I then asked if she was probably in her early 60's with reddish grey hair, tall, thin, first name Blah?"  Yep.  Same woman.  Another coworker who also attended Blah Blah High School, though a few years later than me, joined me.  I then said, "Hey, these girls have Mrs. Blah Blah as their 11th grade English teacher."  Small world.

Finally the parade started.  It was pretty cool.  I missed everything in 2001.

Here come the Baltimore City motorcycle police down Pratt Street.  That SUV behind them contains Mayor SRB, that's Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for you out-of-towners.  She was on the other side of the car, so I didn't get a picture of her.

The first people in the parade not seeking to take advantage of the situation were owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome.  Keep up the good draft picks, Ozzie!

 Ravens Coach John Harbaugh.  He looks intense.

Here is Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees.  Being that he's a Defensive Coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, we can only assume that he'll be a head coach of his own team in a year or two, though the performance of the defense in the Super Bowl wouldn't land him an assistant coach position at Fallston High School at this point.

Some of the lesser players and their girlfriends were on this float, though kicker Justin Tucker is there.  And sadly, he's closer in age to my daughter than to me.  Assuming the little red head is his girlfriend, she's cute.

Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco.  He was filming me at one point, but of course that picture is blurry.  I think I heard him say, "all you bitches will be paying my $20 million contract next year."

Center Matt Burke and someone else whom I cannot figure out.  I don't know my players like others.  Take away their number and helmet, put them in jeans, and I have no idea who they are.  And what's that on Burke's head?  A camera?  Or one of those things you put on the front of your car to get deer off of the road?

The grand attention seeker himself, the politician to never miss an opportunity to shine his mug in our direction, the Governor of Maryland, Martin O'Malley.  Believe it or not, this is the first picture I ever took of the Guv.  I actually got a bunch of them.  Can't wait to doctor those pictures as he leads up to a run for President.  The rumor is that he was pissed that he couldn't ride with Ray Lewis.  I did hear quite a few boos.  And he's up there all like, "Look at me!  I helped win the Super Bowl.  I'm awesome."  And I think I heard him say, "all you bitches are paying more in taxes next year to fund my pet projects and to replenish the Transportation Fund that I depleted to balance the budget."

Ray Rice and his thugs.  Or teammates.  Not sure which.  He's definitely the attention seeker of the team.

Terrell Suggs, better known as T-Sizzle.  Filming me.  He was one of the few that wasn't filming the event with his iPhone.  He's obviously old.

Haloti Ngata.  To NFL announcers, that's NAHHH-tah.  He's a big dude.  The Humvee was leaning to that side.  And he's filming with his iPhone.  So he's young.

Crazy free safety Ed Reed.  He's videotaping the parade with a camera strapped to his head.  And I heard he got those beads from flashing his boobs down in the French Quarter last week.

Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith with Boldin holding the Vince Lombardi trophy.  Boldin is holding the trophy just like Ed Reed would hold a ball that he intercepted.  Note the guy filming the parade with his iPad.  He must be REALLY young.

Super Star of the show, Ray Lewis.  We are happy to report that he was able to get the paint off of his face.  We are sad to report that he did not ascend into heaven from the 50 yard line at the end of the game.  But no weapons.  God wanted the Ravens to win this game because God is good.  That's who he is.

And here comes the insanity down Pratt Street, pulling down the police barricades as they went.

As far as you can see there are people.  It was like this in both directions.

After the parade these 300,000 people (fire marshall estimates) headed toward M&T Bank Stadium, which had already been closed because it was at capacity.  They estimate that 80,000 - 100,000 people were in the stadium when they closed it.  Yes, I get that we're not New York City, where several million people show up.  We're not as big as NYC, so we shouldn't expect as many people.

Later, as the crowds dispersed, from my office window, I saw a kid, probably late teens early 20's, get a beat-down by high school-aged thugs roaming the streets.  About a dozen other kids were filming it.  Fortunately a couple of adults jumped in and protected him and the thugs moved on.  That's more typical Baltimore than you realize.

Sadly, a good friend of mine spent several hours trying to get to the stadium before giving up and heading back home.  The good thing is that we'll be better prepared next year when the Ravens repeat.

Who links to my website?
Add to Technorati Favorites Add to Technorati Favorites Add to Technorati Favorites