Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist
Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Md Troopers Assoc #20 & Westminster Md Fire Dept Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Thursday, November 30, 2006

20061129 Mazel Tov Glückwunsch to Stephanie Ammar and Maryam

Mazel Tov Glückwunsch and Congratulations to Stephanie, Ammar and Maryam

November 29, 2006

Please join me in celebrating with fellow Maryland Alliance Blogger and writer, Stephanie Dray, over at “Joisting for Justice” on the publication of one of her latest works of fiction, “Somewhere, Sometime on the Nile,” in “Paradox, The Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction.”

This month’s issue of the magazine features “cover art … inspired by (her) story.” No confirmation has been obtained as to whether or not she modeled for the art, however, for right now, pictured above are members of the Maryland Blogger Alliance carrying Ms. Dray in the Royal Egyptian Lectica for the day…

As a matter of fact she is on a roll; another piece she wrote that would be of interest is, “Pelosi Rejects Both Harman and Hastings for Chairmanship
Madam Speaker-Elect Seeks a Third Way.”

And oh, as far as a sandwich choice for Gov.-elect Martin O’Malley, a crab, fish sandwich or especially a veggie sandwich would have been appropriate. I think that they all ought to eat more calming and soothing vegetables down there in Annapolis and wash it down with decaf coffee.

From one writer to another - félicitations. Invest the checks in good health.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

20061128 Parr appointed chief of administrative services

Parr appointed chief of administrative services

November 28th, 2006 by Kevin Dayhoff

Carroll County Government
sent out a press release Tuesday, November 28th, 2006, that announced that “Chief of Staff Steven D. Powell has appointed Cindy Parr as chief of administrative services, effective Thursday, November 30. In her position, Parr will help to facilitate solutions for such pressing issues as water resource management and environmental concerns.”

No information is available as I keyboard as to whether or not she “will have to notes,” as a part of her job. (Sorry – it’s an inside joke. And it is a long-long story; let’s just move along why don’t we…)

This is a smart move on the part of the Carroll County Commissioners. One of the most important resources that the county has going for it is its human resource – and my ear to the ground – or rather, the Fountain Building parking lot - has it that the current board of commissioners have understood that and the employees know it.

Ms. Parr has served for the past number of years as Commissioner Perry Jones’ administrative assistant and with Commissioner Jones leaving office, it looked like, there for awhile, Ms. Parr was headed out of the building also, by early next month. That would have been a loss for Carroll County.

Of course, I am partial to a writer getting a job like what Ms. Parr will be undertaking. The press release reflected that “she reported for The (Carroll) Sun and wrote as a freelancer for the Carroll County Times. She also has worked in television and has researched and written about diverse topics in both the public and private sectors.”

Yes, she is a former Baltimore Sun writer that has earned my trust. See, it can happen…

But it was in late April 1991 that Ms. Parr came across my radar screen when she (this is the full disclosure part…) did an artist profile on me for which she free-lanced to the Carroll County Times. It was published on page C2 on May 3rd, 1991. (Tell her she still owes me lunch.)

She did a great job. She came out to the farm and did a piece on the mixed media assemblages, collages, photography and design work. Cynthia Shaw took a great picture of me with one of my favorite pieces at the time, the “bicycle Piece.” (Where is Cynthia Shaw today – is she still around?)

Of course, the fiscal conservative in me likes the fact that the new position is budget neutral, in that, according to the press release: “Funding for her position will come from a streamlining of the zoning administration office and the elimination of the zoning administrator as a budgeted position. In addition, the cable manager post will be eliminated, with Parr continuing to hold those responsibilities.”

The press release reflects her institutional memory and cross-training.

“Cindy will serve the county well in this position,” said Powell. “She brings a unique combination of experience and skills, and has a strong familiarity of county government issues.”

“In her eight years of service in Carroll County Government, Parr, 48, of Finksburg has worked as marketing manager in the Department of Economic Development (1997-1999), communications manager (1995-1997)… From 1999 to 2002, she was a project coordinator with Business Training and Services in the Continuing Education Department at Carroll Community College.”

In working on environmental and infrastructure challenges, she will need all of her background, experience and training.

The road ahead is daunting, to say the least.

Some of the challenges ahead have been written about by me and some of my colleagues at the on-line columnist collective,
The Tentacle, for which I have written for several years…

For those who are not aware, one of the best writers in the state is an elected official who has a weekly column in
The Tentacle. I’m referring to Maryland State Delegate Richard B. Weldon, JR. Republican, District 3B, Frederick & Washington Counties; whose weekly column ought to be on every political junkies’ reading list – especially during the Maryland General Assembly session…

In his November 27th, 2006 column, “
Lowered Expectations,” he wrote: “…Smart growth advocates also would like to see the new administration use a more activist approach to water allocation, using the power of the state Department of The Environment to restrict new water withdrawals from both surface and groundwater sources. Just ask Middletown and New Market town officials how they feel about that!”

No, I did not coordinate my column this week, “
Blackwater and municipal red ink run deep,” with Delegate Weldon, but I am proud to say that for the most part, my views are consistent with his.

The no-holds barred, scorched-earth, back to the stone-age environmentalists have discovered that one of the most effective no-growth tools in the toolbox is water allocations.

This is going to be a huge problem for several municipalities in Carroll County and for Carroll County in particular. Especially since many of us are looking forward to the Gillis Falls and Union Mills reservoirs becoming a reality. (Oh, by the way, “Gillis” is spelled wrong. I’m from the “Gilliss” family from South Carroll…)

Like many who have “had it” with residential development in the county, the rub with the new reservoirs is that we don’t want them to facilitate future resdential housing growth and development. At this point in time, in consideration of the new water allocation standards being promulgated by the state, we need the reservoirs to supply our existing water needs.

Of course, the second most effective tool is transportation planning. This is why there was much amusement shared earlier in the week, when the Carroll County Times suggested that the Carroll County Delegation adopt the Manchester by-pass as one of its priories.

Of course, most of us accepted the editorial as yet another manifestation of personal animus towards the Carroll County Delegation…

The Manchester by-pass is totally dead in the water. Deader than dead. If we had an entire Delegation of Senator Hilary Clinton clones, it would still be DOA.

Gov.-elect Martin O’Malley doesn’t even support the Hampstead by-pass for pity sake, much less the Manchester by-pass. Read: “
20061007 O’Malley questions Hampstead By-pass.”

The only way the Manchester by-pass is going to be built is if Carroll County builds it. Ay caramba.

Ms. Parr has her work cut out for her. She’ll be fine.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster Maryland USA. E-mail him at: Westminster Eagle Opinion and Winchester Report has moved to

20061128 Gov.-elect O’Malley Transition team from Maryland Moment

Gov.-elect O’Malley Transition team from Maryland Moment

November 28th, 2006

I’m getting a number of requests from folks looking for a list of the members of Gov.-elect Martin O’Malley’ transition team.

It sure is an interesting group of folks. I like
Comptroller-elect Peter Franchot’s team much better. As a matter of fact, I’ve never been much a fan of Mr. Franchot’s, but I gotta tell ya, I’m very impressed with his transition team.

Does anyone have a list of the folks on Gov.-elect Ehrlich’s transition team from four years ago? I – and many others, would love to see it for a compare and contrast.

Please note that I got Gov.-elect O’Malley’s list from
Maryland Moment which consistently does a good job with such things. You may wanna bookmark it for the future: Maryland Moment or:

Also, the
Examiner has a good search engine (in the very top left hand corner of the web site.) If you search on Len “Lazarick” you will be pleasantly surprised as to how well he is keeping up with the transition issues and such.

John Wagner ran a post on Maryland Moment on November 17th, 2006 titled, “The transition gets going.”

His post read:

Maryland Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley (D) yesterday introduced a 42-member transition steering committee to help him prepare to take office in January. Here is a list of those serving, with biographical snippets that were provided by O'Malley's staff:

* Shannon Avery, Chair, Legislation and Political Action Committee of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & TransgenderCommunity Center of Baltimore & Central Maryland. She is also an Assistant Attorney General.

* George Beall, Partner, Hogan & Hartson LLP

* Richard O. Berndt, Managing Partner, Gallagher Evelius & Jones LLP

* Dwayne Brown, Partner, Harbor Law Group, Inc.

* John Coale, Lawyer

* Veronica Cool, Vice President, Wachovia Bank, Board of Directors of the Baltimore Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

* Michael Cryor, President, The Cryor Group

* Patricia Cushwa, United States Parole Commission

* Dr. Kamala Edwards, Montgomery Community College

* Pat Foerster, Former President, Maryland State Teachers Association.

* T. Eloise Foster, Former Secretary of the Maryland State Department of Budget and Management

* Donald C. Fry, President, Greater Baltimore Committee; Former State Senator

* Quincy Gamble, 1199 SEUI

* Gary Gensler, Treasurer of the Baltimore Museum of Art

* Joseph Haskins, Jr., Chairman, President and CEO, Harbor Bank

* Frank Heintz, Former PSC Chairman

* Bel Leong-Hong, Asian American Action Fund

* Harry Hughes, Former Governor of Maryland

* Jon Laria, Partner, Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll

* Bruce Lee, Vice President, General Counsel, TissueGene, Inc.

* H. Jeffrey Leonard, Ph.D., President and Co-Founder, Global Environment Fund

* Terry Lierman, Chair, Maryland Democratic Party

* Tim Maloney, Attorney, Former Member of the Maryland House of Delegates

* Fred Mason, President of the Maryland Sate and District of Columbia AFL-CIO

* Diane Bell McKoy, Chief Executive Officer for the Associated Black Charities in Baltimore.

* Kweisi Mfume, Former President/CEO of the NAACP. Former five-term Maryland Congressman.

* Glen Middleton, President, AFSCME, Maryland Council 67

* Doug Nelson, President, Annie E. Casey Foundation

* Rev. Dr. Frank M. Reid III, Senior Pastor Bethel AME Church, Baltimore

* Manervia Riddick, Chair, Strategic SolutionsCenter

* Wayne Rogers, President, President, Synergics Inc.

* Stephen H. Sachs, Former Maryland Attorney General

* Dr. Steven S. Sharfstein, President and CEO, Sheppard Pratt Health System

* James L. Shea, Chair, Venable

* Michael P. Smith, Attorney, Bodie Nagle Attorneys At Law

*Lucie Snodgrass, Deputy Campaign Manager for O'Malley/Brown

* Richard Stewart, President and CEO, Montgomery Mechanical Services, Inc.

* Gustavo Torres, Executive Director, CASA de Maryland, Inc.

* Peggy Watson, Former Finance Director, Baltimore City Government

* Rev. Jonathan Weaver, Senior Pastor, Greater Mt. Nebo AME Church

* Gregory K. Wells, Partner, Shadoan, Michael, & Wells LLP

* Karen White, National Political Director, Emily's List


20061128 Carroll Co Profile Demographic Data available

2006 Carroll County Profile Demographic Data available

2006 County Profile Data Available

November 28th, 2006

For more information, contact: Scott E. Graf, Comprehensive Planner, 410-386-2145

November 28, 2006 – The Carroll County Department of Planning has released the
2006 County Profile.

The Profile offers a detailed synopsis of the population, housing, income, and employment in Carroll County.

Reporters are encouraged to utilize any of the information, making sure to cite the appropriate sources.

Additional copies of this report are currently available at the Carroll County Department of Planning or online at

If you should have any questions or comments, please contact the Bureau of Comprehensive Planning at 410-386-2145.

Bureau of Comprehensive Planning - Carroll County Profile

The Fall 2006 report has been prepared for the Board of County Commissioners, the Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission, and the general public to present a profile of the population, housing, and economic characteristics of Carroll County.

Table of Contents
Introduction to Carroll County
Maps and Tables
Town Demographics


20061128 Comptroller-elect Peter Franchot’s transition team

Comptroller-elect Peter Franchot’s transition team

November 28th, 2006

Now this is a diverse, bi-partisan and

very bright transition team. In spite of my past impressions of Mr. Peter Franchot, this team impresses me.

Some of the brighter bulbs are: retiring Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan; former Gov. Harry Hughes; former GOP senator Howard Denis; and “former Baltimore County Sen. F. Vernon Boozer, once the Senate’s GOP leader, and state Sen.-elect George Edwards, current leader of the GOP in the House of Delegates.”

But perhaps one of the brightest is former Marine and Vietnam Veteran John Bambacus. Senator/Mayor Bambacus served as a Special Assistant to U.S. Senator Charles McC. Mathias, Jr., from 1979-82 and is a former GOP Senator (District 1, Frostburg, 1983-91) and mayor of Frostburg.

Gov.-elect O’Malley would have been smart to have put some folks like Senator Bambacus, or McDaniel Professor Dr. Herb Smith or UMBC Professor Dr. Tom Schaller on his transition team.

All three are arguably some of the top political science and history minds in Maryland today. (Yes, there are others, like former Secretary of State John Willis, Harford County Executive David Craig... let’s not belabor the point…) Folks who can look at the challenges of governance with a broader view than the many special interest advocates on his team. (See my November
Tentacle column, "Now Comes The Hard Part.")

For someone who campaigned on not being beholden to special interests, Gov.-elect O’Malley’s transition team was quite a surprise for many of us. Hey, he didn’t ask me my opinion. I wish he had.

Len Lazarick, writing for The Examiner, wrote a piece on Comptroller-elect Franchot’s transition team on Nov 22, 2006:

BALTIMORE - Not that there’s any competition between Comptroller-elect Peter Franchot and Gov.-elect Martin O’Malley, but Franchot’s transition team is bigger than O’Malley’s, and is co-chaired by an ex-governor and the mayor’s former primary opponent.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

20061128 Christmas Tree Lighting at Carroll County Office Building later today

Christmas Tree Lighting at Carroll County Office Building later today

November 28th, 2006

The picture to the right, is the tree, where it was living when Jim Slater and I picked it out on November 2nd, 2006. For more on that, for previous posts about the Christmas Tree – please see
here and here.

News Release

Board of County Commissioners
Julia W. Gouge,
PresidentDean L. Minnich,
Vice PresidentPerry L. Jones, Jr., Secretary
Carroll County Government
225 North Center StreetWestminster, Maryland 21157

For more information, contact: Vivian D. Laxton, Public Information Administrator, 410-386-2973

For Immediate Release

Tree-lighting ceremony slated for Nov. 28

November 20, 2006 –People of all ages from across Carroll County will join together on Tuesday, November 28, for the third annual County Tree-Lighting Ceremony.

At 5:30 that night, the Winters Mill High School Ensemble will kick off the festivities will several musical selections under the direction of Caren Bezanson.

They will be followed by traditional music played by a quartet of eighth-grade flautists from Sykesville Middle School. County Commissioner Dean L. Minnich then will illuminate the 24-foot blue spruce.

Then, while a trio of seventh-graders from Sykesville Middle plays a few pieces on their flutes, Santa Claus will meet with children in the crowd. Wrapping up the evening will be the Adult Choral Ensemble of the Carroll County School for Performing Arts, under the direction of Ronald K. Douglass, Sr. Light refreshments will be served afterward.

Residents of the Westminster Ridge Retirement Community are providing hot chocolate for the ceremony, and Theresa Bethune of Westminster is donating holiday cookies. This year’s tree, courtesy of Mr. Jack Cover of Hampstead, was selected from among more than 930 that were offered by county residents.

Santa appears thanks to a special arrangement with New Windsor Mayor Sam Pierce. The ceremony will be held in front of the County Office Building, at 225 North Center Street in Westminster. The tree is displayed within the fountain. All are welcome to attend.


20061128 Rashomon, My Dinner with Andre and Picking out the perfect tree

Rashomon, My Dinner with Andre and Picking out the perfect tree

Picking out the perfect tree

Chasing windmills with Jim and Kevin – and Laura McCandlish

November 6th, 2006 – November 28th, 2006

Posted by Kevin Dayhoff

Baltimore Sun reporter Laura McCandlish
does a wonderful capturing the essence of yet another “Jim and Kevin adventures in the quixotic.”

James E. Slater, Jr., AICP, QEP, the Carroll County Government Environmental Compliance Officer, and I got together Thursday, November 2nd, 2006, for the third year in a row, in our annual quest for the perfect Christmas tree for the front of the Carroll County office building on North Center Street in Westminster.

Ms. McCandlish rode along with us to witness yet another continuing sequence of Louis Malle’s “My Dinner with Andre;” the 1981 movie, written by and starring Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn – only with Jim and Kevin.

Meeting Ms McCandlish and spending several hours in the county van with her and Jim was delightful. Jim and I are both passionate about reading and writing and it was fun to have an english major along for the ride.

And yes, it is true, that to a certain extent true, Jim and I agree on very little politically. We even have some “pathway conflict” on approaches to environmentalism. We both love to read – and read, and read - - and we love to talk and talk and talk, about what we have read; especially the esoteric nuances of environmentalism and science – especially the natural sciences.

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006 was right before the general election in which, for the most part, Jim and I probably cancelled out many of each other’s votes and politics was one of the subjects de jour.

Ms. McCandlish had written several articles in which it was my feeling, the Baltimore Sun was attempting to fuel divisiveness in the county. (I know, you are, like, soooo surprised…) A divisiveness that may very well have been present in the county with a few local attention-getters - so desperate to be relevant, and insiders; but a divisiveness, that for the most part, in my view, does not exist in Carroll County.

For an outsider to read the articles, my concern was that they misrepresented Carroll County – or at least fed into stereotypes which only exist with the simplistically oriented.

To make matters worse, Ms. McCandlish writes quite well. I have enjoyed her work. She is persuasive and compelling and I wish that she confined some of that persuasive and compelling to “columns” and not news articles.

Memo to the local newspapers; Andrew Sullivan said it best in a post on August 17th, 2005, “This red-blue thing isn't real: it's a grid put down on the landscape by lazy pundits in order to foster a conflict that isn't there so the people who profit from conflict can work their way with us.”

For the most part, in my view, Carroll Countians certainly have their pathway conflicts and political disagreements; however, we are usually pre-occupied with family, sports and community - - not partisan political disagreements.

There are many of us in Carroll County who don’t play the red-blue game. And, as the election season wore down, most of us had - had it with a few vocal folks, for whom every disagreement in the county is some huge Kabuki Morals conspiracy laden death match.

It is more like Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 classic movie version of Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s “Rashomon.” Everyone has a version of the truth. In Carroll County the analogy gets even better as the original movie was done in Japanese with Chinese subtitles and dubbed in English. Sounds like many of the conversations in Carroll County.

(The “Rashomon Affect,” if you will recall, is the dynamic in which the subjective analysis and resulting perception of an occasion by observers, is filtered, which causes many different but equally factual accounts of the event(s) in question.)

When we were all riding together, “Rashomon” came to mind several times, but Jim and I spared Ms. McCandlish of that esoteria. If you will recall, it rained, symbolically throughout the movie and the book. Just as it had been “raining” symbolically and literally in Carroll County in the weeks – months, just before the election.

Yet the day when Jim and I got together to pick out the perfect Christmas Tree for Carroll County citizens – it was a beautiful day…

Again, for emphasis, there are many conservatives and liberals in the county who are the best of friends and do not let their political disagreements get in the way of friendship, family, art, literature, community and kids.

At first when I discovered that Ms. McCandlish was going to go along with us for the ride, I felt concerned for her mental sanity as I am sure that she had not a clue as to what she was getting into.

To make matters worse, Jim, who I consider one of my best friends, and I had not had a chance to talk with one another for months and months.

So lots of conversations had been bottled-up, just waiting for some time together. To make matters worse, I was dead tired and bleary eyed from spending too much time with the laptop and peering into the abyss of a computer screen. I needed several cups of coffee and some Fox News while doing my vegetable routine on the living room couch. I was not in a mood for subtle diplomacy with a Baltimore Sun reporter as scrivener-voyeur.

Unfortunately, I have developed a huge distrust for Baltimore Sun writers, for which I do not have for most newspaper writers in general, unless they earn it.

Too many really really bad experiences…

Jim and I had done this routine several years ago with another Baltimore Sun reporter “who didn’t get it,” and the resulting article was less than desired. As soon as a number of our colleagues were told that a Baltimore Sun reporter was tagging along, they bailed. Who needs gotcha-journalism, when you’re having fun, and getting some time together and looking for a Christmas Tree.

Some reporters do not understand the “human aspect” of the folks who volunteer their free time for public service.

Although at first Ms. McCandlish had a bit of that “deer in headlights” look – justifiably so. But whoa, Ms. McCandlish was a real trooper and fit right in. She is welcome to be company anytime Jim and I decide to get together and chase a windmill or two around.

Jim and I talked a little politics until we both became worried that Ms. McCandlish was beginning to ponder whether she had a greater statistical probability of surviving the Jim and Kevin show as opposed to surviving the leap from a county van at 40 miles per hour.

Ms. McCandlish writes quite well and it was a pleasure to have a writer accompany us.

The county community Christmas Tree is a big deal, as hopefully it is one piece of iconography which will bring folks together as the holiday season approaches.

This year’s tree is beautiful and I couldn’t wait until Mike Whitson and his merry Bureau of Facilities folks men installed it and got the lights up.

Please enjoy Ms. McCandlish’s article while the hyperlink works. After the hyperlink goes dead, I’ll paste the rest of her article in this post. For now, please click on,
“Picking out the perfect tree - Officials search high and low in county for holiday spruce that's a cut above the rest.”

Note: I began this piece on November 6th, 2006 and just today, November 28th, 2006, re-visited it. The link has gone dead –
and I have pasted her entire piece here. It is a keeper. Thanks Ms. McCandlish.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster Maryland USA. E-mail him at: Westminster Eagle Opinion and Winchester Report has moved to

20061127 Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose story by K Volkmann

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose –
story by K Volkmann in the Baltimore Examiner

November 28th, 2006

Kelsey Volkmann, who writes for the Baltimore Examiner has a fun story in the November 27th, 2006 edition of the paper, “
Extra syllable a common addition in Westminster,” about the common mispronunciation of the City of Westminster.

I have come to really like Ms. Volkmann’s brand of “community reporting” and it is little vignettes like this that make reading the Baltimore Examiner fun. What a welcome addition to the journalist pool in Carroll County.

After I talked with her on the phone, as usually happens, what I wished that I had also called to her attention is the piece written by Gertrude Stein, in 1913, “Sacred Emily.”

In that poem, Ms. Stein wrote, "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose."

Heckfire, whatever ya call it, Westminster is Westminster is Westminster, no matter how ya pronounce it. It sure is a great place to call home.

A few excerpts from
Ms. Volkmann’s article:

Local: Extra syllable a common addition in Westminster

Kelsey Volkmann, The Examiner, Read more by Kelsey Volkmann, Nov 27, 2006 3:00 AM

Westminster - Natives blame newcomers, but even longtime residents of Carroll County don’t notice they add an extra syllable to the county seat’s name, calling it “West-min-IS-ter.”


But how did this linguistic phenomenon start?

Language is constantly changing, said Jasna Meyer, an expert in language and discourse at McDaniel College in Westminster.

Kevin Dayhoff, a former Westminster mayor and well-known blogger, blamed newbies to the county.

“You don’t hear us crusty old locals saying it,” he said.


Read the rest here. What fun.


20061128 Picking Out the perfect tree by Laura McCandlish

Picking out the perfect tree by Laura McCandlish

November 5th, 2006 – November 28th, 2006

Later on this evening at 5:30 PM, Tuesday, November 28th, 2006, is the third annual County Tree-Lighting Ceremony in front of the
Carroll County Office Building at 225 North Center Street.

Laura McCandlish, writing for the Baltimore Sun had a nice piece published on November 5th, 2006 on Mr. Jim Slater and me picking out the tree on Thursday, November 2nd, 2006.

Unfortunately, the link has gone dead, so I’ll paste her entire article in the blog.

Please find more stories by
Ms. McCandlish in the Carroll County section of the Baltimore Sun, click here.,0,6007720.story?coll=bal-local-carroll

From the Baltimore Sun

Picking out the perfect tree

Officials search high and low in county for holiday spruce that's a cut above the rest

By Laura McCandlish, Sun Reporter, November 5, 2006

Picking out the perfect tree

The first tree, in Sykesville, is too green from lack of sunlight and on the large side. And the third tree, in Westminster, is too squat and might be diseased. But the second tree, in Hampstead, is just right.

With lush, balanced branches tinted a true blue-green, the blue spruce lives up to its name.

"That is pretty darn close to being a perfect tree," says Jim Slater, Carroll County's environmental compliance officer.

The winning tree will be chopped down within two weeks, trucked to the County Office Building in Westminster and propped up outside on a stand in the water fountain to prepare for the holiday tree-lighting ceremony Nov. 28.
It's fast becoming an annual tradition.

The commissioners revived the tradition in 2004 after more than a 30-year hiatus. For unknown reasons, the tree lighting at the county office building had been discontinued in the early 1970s.

About 930 possible trees from 24 county properties were offered as candidates for the county tree this year, according to Vivian Laxton, the county's spokeswoman.

Normally, a van full of tree hunters treks out to choose the tree. But this year, it's Slater and former Westminster Mayor Kevin E. Dayhoff alone in the front seats of the cavernous county van. What they lack in numbers, they make up with enthusiasm.

Though on opposite ends of the political spectrum, Slater and Dayhoff are friends who share a passion for all things arboreal.

"We are the two grandparents of environmentalism in Carroll County," Dayhoff says as the van sets out for South Carroll.

Though it's early November, it's an unlikely day to search for a Christmas tree. The balmy weather, hovering around 70 degrees, and a vivid blue sky scream spring.

Westminster also took advantage of the mild conditions by starting to hang the city's holiday decorations last week.

Slater drives the van by dried cornstalks and rolling green pastures bathed in sunlight, framed by trees painted in fall colors - green turning to gold, crimson, rust and burnt amber.

The county's Environmental Advisory Council is in charge of selecting the tree. Member Brian Rhoten, who is an arborist, couldn't make it. He was busy judging a tree climbing contest.

During the drive, Dayhoff gleefully identifies passing trees.

"That's a beech over there," he says.

And later: "Oh, the holly trees are just outrageous!"

He and Slater extol the merits of various species of Christmas trees.

"The concolor [white] fir is the best Christmas tree ever," Dayhoff says.
Slater agrees.

"I believe it was originally bred in North Carolina, at the Biltmore Estate," Slater says. "I had one last year."

Why the concolor fir? They're aromatic, soft and supple to the touch, yet strong enough to withstand the weight of lights and ornaments.

"When you're decorating a blue spruce, you come back bloody," Slater says of the trees' sharp needles.

That's not a big issue for the county's outdoor tree. In fact, all three of this year's finalists are blue spruces.

"Another one that's gotten real popular is the Frazier fir," Slater says.

The first tree being considered, which partially obstructs the view of Joan Candy's home on Country Fair Lane, stands about 35 feet tall.

"It still has lights on it," Slater says, inspecting and snapping photographs of the spruce.

"Yeah, I used to decorate it when it was little, but I gave up," Candy says.
She planted the tree. How long ago?

"Long enough that it's grown that big," Candy says. Her husband, Albert Selby, a former Carroll Orphans' Court judge, died last year.

"It just seems appropriate to have the tree end up at the County Office Building," Candy says. "Maybe I could hang a little ornament on it with his name."

No one is home at the North Woods Trail home in Hampstead. But Slater and Dayhoff are instantly sold on the tree.

Heading to the third and last stop in Westminster, the sun melts toward the tree line. It's 4:30 but the sun is already starting to set.

There are two spruces in the yard at the home on The Strand. Neither will do. Nor will the more rampantly growing Norway spruce in the backyard.

The Hampstead tree ended up beating out the others. But Dayhoff said he appreciates all the offers.

"We like the idea of folks donating a tree grown too large or otherwise scheduled to be cut down," he says.

For the holiday tree-lighting on Nov. 28, the Winters Mill High School chorus, a flute quartet from Sykesville Middle School and an adult ensemble will all perform.

In addition to Christmas music, Hanukkah songs were sung in past years. Theresa Bethune of Westminster has volunteered to bake cookies for the event. The Westminster Ridge retirement community plans to donate hot cocoa.

More cookie bakers are also needed, Laxton said.

To volunteer, contact the Office of Public Information, 410-386-2804.

Copyright © 2006,
The Baltimore Sun

20061128 CC Commissioners scheduled to be sworn in Dec 4

The 58th Carroll County Board of Commissioners are scheduled

to be sworn-in 3 PM on December 4, 2006

News Release

Board of County Commissioners Julia W. Gouge, President

Dean L. Minnich, Vice President

Perry L. Jones, Jr., Secretary

Carroll County Government

225 North Center Street

Westminster, Maryland 21157


For more information, contact: Vivian D. Laxton,
Public Information Administrator, 410-386-2973

For Immediate Release

Swearing in of 58th Board of Commissioners scheduled

November 28, 2006 – The 58th Board of County Commissioners will be sworn in by Clerk of the Court Donald Sealing at 3 p.m. on Monday, December 4. Incumbent Commissioners Julia W. Gouge and Dean L. Minnich will be joined by newly elected member Michael D. Zimmer.

The ceremony will take place in the Carroll County Circuit Court Annex, in Courtroom 4. The event is open to the public.

# # #

20061125 Westminster Municipal Band in Wster Xmas Parade

Westminster Municipal Band in the Westminster Xmas Parade

November 25th, 2006

The Westminster Municipal Band, a Carroll County tradition since 1893, plays in the annual Westminster Christmas Parade last Saturday, November 25th, 2006.

For other posts on the Westminster Municipal Band click here.

For more information on the Westminster Municipal Band, click here for their web site.

20061127 Be the best you can be.

Be the best you can be.

Overcoming obstacles

Pictured above: George Dennehy, right, plays first-chair cello at Oak Knoll Middle School in Hanover County, Va.. George, born with bilateral upper-limb deficiency, has no limbs beyond his shoulder blades and has learned to do almost everything with his feet. (Lindy Keast Rodman, Associated Press)

Although I have a reputation for reading (too) many newspapers, I’ll tell ya a secret – I really scan the articles and just look at the pictures. Often the articles have too many big words for me.

In all seriousness, I am a newspaper photograph junkie and I had noticed Lindy Keast Rodman’s work in the
Richmond Times-Dispatch some time ago.

I found this picture in “
The Day in Pictures” section of the Baltimore Sun web site. I recognized the name of the photographer and went to the Richmond Times-Dispatch web site to try and find the picture on the web site…

I did not find the picture, but I found the
article for which the picture may very well have accompanied. The article, “With feet and toes, young cellist makes beautiful music,” By HOLLY PRESTIDGE, Richmond Times-Dispatch; is worth a quick read. You can find it here.

It begins:

HANOVER, Va. - George Dennehy sits first chair in the cello section of the string orchestra at Oak Knoll Middle School in Hanover County.

As he leans back slightly on a stool, the toes on George's right foot move over the cello's strings as the toes on his left foot control the bow.

George's feet are his hands; his toes are his fingers. He was born with bilateral upper-limb deficiency, so he has no limbs beyond his shoulder blades.

He has learned to do almost everything with his feet _ typing on the computer, eating, setting the table, opening doors, playing the cello.

Read the rest here. (I do not know if the Richmond Times-Dispatch uses permalinks – so if you are accessing this post and the link is dead, e-mail me at kevindayhoff(at) and I’ll load the rest of the article…)

Thank you Richmond Times-Dispatch, Holly Prestidge and Lindy Keast Rodman, for a great and uplifting story.

This great picture of Mr. Dennehy provides a bit of a springboard to mention the importance of Special Education programs in our school systems and the subject of mainstreaming.

When at all possible, I believe passionately about mainstreaming, i.e., integrating children with disabilities or special needs into the classrooms as much as possible. The rewards for all the children and society in general far outweigh the expense.

Give a child a chance and they will engage, adapt and overcome every time; provided they are given the proper opportunity to excel; given proper support and allowed to develop compensatory approaches to many of the day-to-day activities we tend to accept as routine.

And this is win-win for everyone.


20061127 An incredible story about an amazing swimmer

An incredible story about an amazing swimmer
November 27th, 2006

For a related post, please see, "2oo61127 Be the best you can be,"

Top photo: Paralympian Jessica Long holds multiple swimming world records. "I like being chased," she says. (Sun photo by Doug Kapustin) Nov 17, 2006 For the Related story, please see: Catch me if you can in the Baltimore Sun.

Bottom photo: Paralympian Jessica Long, 14, of Middle River, holds multiple swimming world records. "I like being chased," she says. (Sun photo by Doug Kapustin) Nov 27, 2006

“Catch me if you can,” From the Baltimore Sun By Paul McMullen, Sun reporter, November 27, 2006
At 14, Jessica Long of Middle River is winning gold and setting records with the U.S. Paralympic swim team

Jessica Long's proficiency in the pool is apparent after a few strokes. Bobbing up and down on the breaststroke, she's indistinguishable from the practice partners in her lane, but something seems missing from her otherwise impeccable freestyle form.

The less splash swimmers make with their hands, the faster they go, but Long's kick leaves a curiously scant trail.

The 14-year-old from Middle River has mastered the pull and push of water well enough to set multiple world records, but her athleticism is fully comprehended only on the pool deck. A double amputee below the knees, Long walks on prosthetic legs.

On Thursday morning, Long left her parents and siblings for Thanksgiving in Chicago, joining the other members of the U.S. Paralympic swim team.

20061127 The US Census Bureau breaks society down into five core generational segmentations

The US Census Bureau breaks society down into five core generational segmentations

Hat Tip: Mrs. Owl

I’ve always been fascinated with some of the communication dysfunction that occurs between men and women, different races and cultures and between generations.

Mrs. Owl was kind enough to e-mail this brief overview as to communication between generations. I enjoy speaking to young adults in the Carroll County Public Schools… and with that and in my role as an uncle, I have always liked to think that I do a fairly good job at reaching the youngest generation; however, I never-the-less worry that I need much improvement.

Anyway, I hope that you agree that the following is an informative introduction to the subject of intergenerational communication…

Listening – Generational!
By Dr. Jeffrey Magee, PDM, CSP, CMC

Executive Summary: Listening to individuals from the generational footprint they bring to the conversation can drastically change the outcome – connect with them at their level and attain success, insist upon communicating from your level solely and your guaranteed failure!

With the diverse environments you live and work today, there is something more important than just gender and race when it comes to really communicating and listening to others for success. Consider the five diverse generational segmentations (COACHING for IMPACT ©2003 by Dr. Jay Kent-Ferraro and Dr. Jeffrey Magee, in the work place today, and some of the similarities and more importantly the enormous difference between how each one operates and processes.

Effective leaders merely make observations, not judgments of right versus wrong or good versus bad, in reflecting upon the differing age segmentations in an organization and thus ways to better connect with each.

The United States Census Bureau breaks society down into five core generational segmentations (birth through death) and if we are to simply use these same five segmentations in the work place, we could segment individuals (yes we are making generalizations here, and there can always be an exception!) into categories with unique traits or characteristics, which could serve as guide posts of how to frame your communication exchange to solicit greater listening and awareness.

Consider the five generational segmentations and the ABCs (Attitudes, Behaviors, and Characteristics) of each for better connections:

1. Centurion (those over 55 years of age; exit point employees) – more structured, formal, conservative, dedicated, and loyal, identity is rooted in what one does, change resistant …

2. BabyBoomers (those from 38 to 55 years of age) – more status driven, materialistic driven, opinionated and ego driven, live to work …

3. Generation X (28 to 38 years of age) – entitlement expected, more outgoing and impatient, question authority and norms more, self indulgent, live for the now …

4. Generation Y (22 to 28 years of age) – More social and relationship driven, work to live, not as class conscious, highly educated, more liberal, change accepting …

5. Generation MTV (17-21 years of age; entry point employees) – looking for association causes to be dedicated to, more structured and accepting of others and situations, concerned for the future and consideration of their peers, live for the now with a reflection on the future, very tech savvy …

When listening to others, listen from the vantage point of the generational segmentation as a footprint from where they come from and you will have a greater awareness of why one says what one says and how to connect with them more effectively.


20061127 You Tube and Google Video

You Tube and Google Video

November 27, 2006

I have enjoyed loading videos on to my YouTube account. I have been happy enough with YouTube; however, I decided to explore a bit and try Google Video for a compare and contrast of the services.

Then - right after I loaded a video, I came across this post, “Jihad Video at Google,” on Little Green Footballs and it has given me some pause.

I have not viewed the video to which, LGF is calling to our attention; however, I did read through the comments.

I guess I would love for Google to explain itself. Anyone else have any thoughts?


20061127 Commentary on Media bias by Hugh Hewitt

Commentary on Media bias by Hugh Hewitt

November 27th, 2006

Hugh Hewitt has a post published on Sunday, November 26, 2006: “The Killer Myths of the Appeasement Media,” that is a thoughtful and thought-provoking read for those of us who do media criticism.

The post begins, intriguingly enough, with:

“It is useless to debate the leftwing bias in the MSM, which is like debating the temperature at any given place on any given day. Opinions may differ as to what it feels like, but there is a factual answer. No matter what your opinions are about the MSM, the fact is that the Beltway-Manhattan MSM tilts way, way left.”

Read the rest here.


Monday, November 27, 2006

20061127 Ode to shallow narcissism

I’ve never had any interest in a Jaguar – nor Kate Winslet, for that matter, but I could be persuaded to change my mind about the later.

As much as I can rant about shallow Hollywood types, I guess we all have our human fragilities and limitations.

As one of my favorite Pastors once said, how can we rail against sin unless we understand it and the inevitable
savage pilgrimage that results? For which I have always resorted to reading D. H. Lawrence – (in spite of Kate Millet’s reproach) who, to the best of my knowledge, never used the term headlights. It is one opportunity for censorship for which one can be sure he regrets.

Anyway, one of my old cars on the farm sure is
just happy to see the picture of Ms. Winslet – err. I mean the Jaguar.

And with that, I’ll quit while I’m behind. To continue will invite a visit to the monastery of Monte Cassino.

If you are thoroughly confused, click on: “
It's inspired some other things, too.”

20061127 The Carroll Co. Commissioners’ Agenda

The Carroll Co. Commissioners’ Agenda for the Wk of Nov. 27, 2006

Board of County Commissioners

Julia W. Gouge, President
Dean L. Minnich, Vice President
Perry L. Jones, Jr., Secretary
Carroll County Government
225 North Center Street
Westminster, Maryland 21157
410-386-2043; 1-888-302-8978
fax 410-386-2485; TT 410-848-9747

The Carroll County Commissioners’ Agenda for the Week of November 27, 2006 ~ Revision 4

Please Note: This weekly agenda is subject to change. Please call 410-386-2043 to confirm a meeting you plan to attend. All meetings will be in Room 300A, (Unless otherwise noted) Carroll County Office Building.

Indicates Outside Activities

Monday – November 27, 2006

9:15 a.m. Administrative Session ~ Closed
Chief of Staff, Mr. Steve Powell

6:00 p.m. Planning Commission
County Office Building ~ Room 003
Commissioner Gouge

Tuesday – November 28, 2006

9:30 a.m. Board of County Commissioners Open Community Discussion
County Office Building ~ Room 300 A
Commissioners Gouge, Minnich & Jones

10:00 a.m. Open Session

Bid Approval ~ Inmate Telephones
Carroll County Detention Center ~ Sheriff Kenneth Tregoning
Bureau of Purchasing ~ Mr. Rich Shelton

Bid Approval ~ Farm Museum Electrical Upgrade
Farm Museum ~ Mrs. Dottie Freeman
Bureau of Purchasing ~ Mr. Rich Shelton

Bid Approval ~ Piggyback Wicomico County Contract for Airport Security
Office of Performance Audit and Special Projects ~ Mr. Joe Varrone
Bureau of Purchasing ~ Mr. Rich Shelton
Tuesday – November 28, 2006 ~ Continued

Bid Approval ~ Bridge Architect Services for County Office Building and
Parking Garage
Department of General Services ~ Mr. Ralph Green
Bureau of Purchasing ~ Mr. Rich Shelton

Preliminary approval of loan request from Reese & Community Volunteer Fire Company and execution of resolution
Office of Comptroller ~ Mr. Rob Burk

Pending Amendments to Chapter 81-Animals
Discussion, deliberation & possible adoption
Department of the County Attorney ~ Ms. Kimberly Millender
Carroll County Humane Society ~ Ms. Nicky Ratliff

Proposed Amendments to Chapter 44 County Pension Plan
Request Approval for Public Hearing
Department of the County Attorney ~ Ms. Kimberly Millender
Department of Human Resources ~ Mrs. Carole V. Hammen & Mr. Bill Bates

Bid Approval ~ US Communities Contract/Arbor Associates, Inc.
Department of Recreation & Parks ~ Mr. Jeff Degitz
Bureau of Purchasing ~ Mr. Rich Shelton

Approval of Chesapeake Trust Grant
Department of Management & Budget ~ Mr. Ted Zaleski

Administrative Session ~ Chief of Staff, Mr. Steve Powell

1:00 p.m. Open Session

Exercise Option Contracts ~ County Held Agricultural Land Preservation Easements ~ Green Property
Department of Planning ~ Mr. Steve Horn

Amendments to Zoning Maps 46 & 52 to reflect recent annexations
Department of Planning ~ Mr. Steve Horn

Pending Amendments to Chapter 103 regarding transfer of lot yield across zoning lines & clustering ~ discussion, deliberation & possible adoption
Department of the County Attorney ~ Ms. Kimberly Millender
Department of Planning ~ Mr. Steve Horn

Proposed Amendment to Chapter 103 to allow residential uses as an accessory use within planned business centers
Request Approval for Public Hearing
Department of the County Attorney ~ Ms. Kimberly Millender
Department of Planning ~ Mr. Steve Horn
Tuesday – November 28, 2006 ~ Continued

Proposed Amendment to Chapter 223 to create "business parks" as a principal permitted use subject to restrictions in IR zone
Request approval for Public Hearing
Department of the County Attorney ~ Ms. Kimberly Millender
Department of Economic Development ~ Mr. Larry Twele
Department of Planning ~ Mr. Steve Horn

Proposed Amendment to Chapter 223 to address vegetation and other obstructions that block site distance for roads and driveways
Request Approval for Public Hearing
Department of the County Attorney ~ Ms. Kimberly Millender

5:30 p.m. Tree Lighting Ceremony
County Office Building
Commissioners Gouge & Minnich

Wednesday – November 29, 2006

8:00 a.m. NACo (National Association of Counties)
Dublin, Ohio
Commissioner Gouge

8:00 a.m. MACo (Maryland Association of Counties) Board of Directors
Calvert House ~ Annapolis, Maryland
Commissioner Jones

Thursday – November 30, 2006

8:00 a.m. NACo (National Association of Counties)
Dublin, Ohio
Commissioner Gouge

8:00 a.m. MACo (Maryland Association of Counties) Board of Directors
Calvert House ~ Annapolis, Maryland
Commissioner Jones

8:00 a.m. Economic Development Commission
County Office Building ~ Room 105
Commissioner Minnich

Friday – December 1, 2006

8:00 a.m. NACo (National Association of Counties)
Dublin, Ohio
Commissioner Gouge

8:00 a.m. MACo (Maryland Association of Counties) Board of Directors
Calvert House ~ Annapolis, Maryland
Commissioner Jones

8:00 a.m. Fuel Oil Dealers Association Breakfast
Baugher’s Restaurant
Commissioner Minnich

Saturday –December 2, 2006

8:00 a.m. NACo (National Association of Counties)
Dublin, Ohio
Commissioner Gouge

Sunday – December 3, 2006

8:00 a.m. NACo (National Association of Counties)
Dublin, Ohio
Commissioner Gouge

8:05 a.m. “The Commissioners’ Report” - WTTR
Commissioner Minnich

11/27/06 ~ dln

ACCESSIBILITY NOTICE: The Americans with Disabilities Act applies to the Carroll County Government and its programs, services, activities, and facilities. If you have questions, suggestions, or complaints, please contact Ms. Jolene Sullivan, the Carroll County Government Americans With Disabilities Act Coordinator, at 410-386-3600/1-888-302-8978 or TTY No. 410-848-9747. The mailing address is 225 North Center Street, Westminster, Maryland 21157.

CARROLL COUNTY, a great place to live, a great place to work, a great place to play

20061126 Pelosi, Pea Soup, Solyent Green, Setting Hair on Fire

Pelosi, Pea Soup, Solyent Green, Setting Hair on Fire, and the meaning of life in an Age of Global Warming.

Pelosi's message to voters? Ethics, shmethics

November 26th, 2006

It is one of those series of “way too weird” moments that only can happen in the Internet age – or to an attention deficit hyperactive blogger with a serious internet surfing habit; however, grazing the net several days ago I came across an interesting column by Martin Schram. I said to myself; “Self, this would be a great “Other Voices” piece in the Carroll County Times, to give the paper a bit of balance.”

Several days later, whoa - there it was, in the Carroll County Times, Saturday, November 25th, 2006 edition of “Other Voices.”

It was then that I remembered that “
Seph’s Mom” wants her to write:

“How about a nice controversial article like the reigning Dem Nancy Pelossi…”

Ms. Dray then interjects: “She's not even a reigning reindeer until January.”

“… who wanted to clean upthe culture of corruption- and plans to appoint afederal judge who was impeached and removed forbribery and corruption!!!”

Ms. Dray writes: “Congress can't appoint judges--that's the President's job. You must be talking about Representative Alcee Hastings, who used to be a judge but was impeached for corruption. His impeachment apparently convinced the morons in his district to elect him to Congress instead….”

Please see the rest of the post:
“Can't We Get Through Christmas Before The Wurlitzer Starts Up?” It is a very bright conversation about Speaker-elect Pelosi, Senator John Kerry, Representative Alcee Hastings and more. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

To be sure, I can’t agree enough that it would be nice to get a break before the next Congress convenes - - and especially before the Maryland General Assembly Opera gets cranking up next January.

I’m glad that I am not the only one who gets advice as to what to put on the blog and what not too. Between the blogs and the columns I write, I get lots of advice…

I so wanted to help Ms. Dray out and write a scathing retort about “Nancy Pelosi’s Reign of Error,” (sub-titled: “The Pending Pelosian Malthusian Prerogative.”) And I just could not bring myself to do it. The Speaker of the House-elect makes my milk curdle and my blood boil. (See post script below.)

In an unguarded moment, combine Representative Pelosi in the same paragraph with Senator John Kerry and I go into spastic convulsions, for which
Father Lankester Merrin is needed immediately. My head spins and I spew split pea soup.

(Speaking of pea soup is there any truth to the rumor that former Vice-president Al Gore’s sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth” is “Global Warming and Solyent Green - the Halliburton solution?” That Speaker-elect Pelosi wants to make the rich into Solyent Green to actually feed the middle class – after she nationalizes their banks accounts. Remember, “Solyent Green is people” and one of the reasons for the need for Solyent Green was global warming…)

Imagine Al Gore as Charlton Heston …!? …
As he searches for "What is the secret of Solyent Green...

So, anyway, Ms. Dray – and her Mom, gets a pass from me. I’ll let Mr. Schram have the honors.

Mr. Schram writes for the Scripps Howard News Service: “Veteran newsman Martin Schram focuses on the intersection of the news media, policy and politics.” His columns appear on Tuesdays.

His column last Tuesday, November 21st, 2006 was titled,
Pelosi's message to voters? Ethics, shmethics ” – [0.7742 SCHRAM-11-21-06 2006/11/21 13:16:02 Editorials and Opinion 776 words By MARTIN SCHRAM]

Last Saturday, it appeared in the Carroll County Times as: “
Dems have ethics shortfalls too,” By Martin Schram, Other Voices, Saturday, November 25, 2006

The slug on the Scripps Howard web site reads:

“Some hail as unprecedented the manner in which California Democrat Nancy Pelosi has chosen to begin her surefire reign as the first woman ever to be speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. But they have forgotten Ralph Perk. They have forgott...”

Picking up exactly where the slug stops, a bit more of the column goes like this:

“…en the 1970s day when Cleveland's erstwhile mayor sought to enliven an otherwise humdrum dedication of a new construction project by cutting the ribbon not with a boring scissors but with a blowtorch - and set his own hair on fire…”

OMG, with a column that begins like this, it quickly becomes “must read” material.
Go here to read the rest. You will not regret the time…

I gotta go. All this keyboarding has made me hungry for some Purée Mongole - extra rich and creamy. Soon to be a specialty of the Dems’ cafeteria in the



Oh I wish that “Joisting for Justice” was not a Maryland Blogger Alliance member. I so wanted to write a scathing retort about “Nancy Pelosi’s Reign of Error.” And I just could not bring myself to do it. The Speaker of the House-elect makes my milk curdle and my blood boil.

Not that I will not disagree with a fellow MBA member. But I wanted to project some frustration and make it really snarky.

But alas, just as when I cover the Maryland General Assembly Opera; in spite of the fact that I so enjoy media criticism, what goes on with my colleagues in the downstairs press room, stays in the press room and I try to give the colleagues, with whom I work, a wide berth and some comfort to not have some snitch looking over their shoulders and swiping at their coverage.

Besides the opera that is what we know as that august legislative body, the worst in the nation, gives me plenty to write about - - and the folks in the press room in the Annapolis Statehouse are really neat and extraordinarily talented.

So, anyway, Ms. Dray – and her Mom, gets a pass. I’ll let Mr. Schram have the honors.

20061126 Analyze The Democrat Promise

Analyze The Democrat Promise

November 26th, 2006

Hat Tip: Grammy

UPDATE: (Nov. 27th, 2006) Be sure to take note of the Pilliage Idiot's post - "Now they tell us!"

Another e-mail of wisdom passed on to me from “The Grammy.” It may cause one to stop and ponder the future under the next Congress – with a Democratic leadership.

The Democrats promised "A New Direction For America - Vote Democratic"

The stock market is at a new all-time high and America's 401K's are back.
A new direction from there means, what?

Unemployment is at 25 year lows.
A new direction from there means, what?

Oil prices are plummeting.
A new direction from there means, what?

Taxes are at 20 year lows.
A new direction from there means, what?

Federal tax revenues are at all-time highs.
A new direction from there means, what?

The Federal deficit is down almost 50%, just as predicted over last year.
A new direction from there means, what?

Home valuations are up 200% over the past 3.5 years.
A new direction from there means, what?

Inflation is in check, hovering at 20 year lows.
A new direction from there means, what?

Not a single terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11/01.
A new direction from there means, what?

Osama bin Laden is living under a rock in a dark cave, having not surfaced in years, if he's alive at all, while 95% of Al Queda's top dogs are either dead or in custody, cooperating with US Intel.
A new direction from there means, what?

Several major terrorist attacks already thwarted by US and British Intel, including the recent planned attack involving 10 Jumbo Jets being exploded in mid-air over major US cities in order to celebrate the anniversary of the 9/11/01 attacks.
A new direction from there means, what?

Just as President Bush foretold us on a number of occasions, Iraq was to be made "ground zero" for the war on terrorism -- and just as President Bush said they would, terrorist cells from all over the region are arriving from the shadows of their hiding places and flooding into Iraq in order to get their faces blown off by US Marines rather than boarding planes and heading to the United States to wage war on us here.
A new direction from there means, what?

Now let me see, do I have this right? I can expect:

The economy to go South
Taxes to go Up
Employment to go Down
Terrorism to come In
Tax breaks to go Out
Health Care to go the same way gas prices have gone

But what the heck !

I can gain comfort by knowing that Nancy P, Hillary C, John K, Edward K, Howard D, Harry R and Obama have worked hard to create a comprehensive National Security Plan, Health Care Plan, Immigration Reform Plan, Gay Rights Plan, Same Sex Marriage Plan, Abortion On Demand Plan, Tolerance of Everyone and Everything Plan, How to Return all Troops to the U.S. in The Next Six Months Plan, A Get Tough Plan, adapted from the French Plan by the same name and a How Everyone Can Become as Wealthy as We Are Plan. I forgot the No More Katrina Storm Plan.

Now I know why I feel good after the elections.

I am going to be able to sleep soooooo much better at nights knowing these dedicated politicians are thinking of me and my welfare.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

20061127 Westminster Common Council Agenda

Westminster Mayor and Common Council Meeting of November 27, 2006
1. CALL TO ORDER – 7:00 P.M.
Confirmation of Appointment of Roland L. Unger as City Treasurer
Amended Development Plan for Wakefield Valley
October 2006 Departmental Operating Reports
5. BIDS:
Replacement Water and Sewer Facilities on Gorsuch Road
Recoating of Digester Covers
a. None as of November 22, 2006
a. Appointment of Board of Examiners – Carroll County Commerce Center
b. Confirmatory Deed – John Street
c. Zoning Text Amendment Request

20061127 Westminster Common Council Agenda

Westminster Mayor and Common Council Meeting of November 27, 2006


1. CALL TO ORDER – 7:00 P.M.

Confirmation of Appointment of Roland L. Unger as City Treasurer



Amended Development Plan for Wakefield Valley


October 2006 Departmental Operating Reports

5. BIDS:

Replacement Water and Sewer Facilities on Gorsuch Road

Recoating of Digester Covers




a. None as of November 22, 2006


a. Appointment of Board of Examiners – Carroll County Commerce Center

b. Confirmatory Deed – John Street

c. Zoning Text Amendment Request








20061124 Casino Royale

Casino Royale

November 25th, 2006

UPDATE (Nov. 27, 2006): Joealbero over at Salisbury News has a good short post on Casino Royale, that is short, to the point and spot-on.

I hope that you are sitting down as I tell ya that I actually took a bit of a break over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Yes, of course, even a geek like me will take time out for the family dinners and the “
My Dinner with Andre” conversations over coffee after dinner; however, I took some “real” time off and went to see the latest James Bond movie.

I’m not a real fan of the James Bond series or genre; however, I have been known to have sat through several. And no, I can’t name one. Whatever.

In the interest of transparency, I actually went to be a good “uncle.” After all, the family puts up with my constant pre-occupation with art and writing. And I still “owe them” for all the family stuff I missed for 6 years as an elected official. And I love being “the Uncle.” Gotta be one of the neatest titles there can be. So I want to do it well.

Actually, I am a movie fanatic, but in recent years, I have found little to entice me into the movie theatres. Alotta skin, violence and simplistic formulaic plots with over-paid, over-egoed shallow Hollywood types… Ah, no thanks. I think I’ll watch the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on government cable access, instead.

Well, guess what? I very much enjoyed the movie. No, to be sure there was no deep hidden intellectual, existential or “art-movie” value to the movie.

It was just entertaining as heck and I liked spending time with the family…

Review? Nah, I don’t wanna make the movie into a work project.

Actually, the only real criticism of the movie, really had nothing to do with the movie itself. The movie theatre in which I saw the movie had the soundtrack turned up way high and my ears rang for quite some time afterwards.

For me that isn’t a good thing as I already have hearing lose from tractors and chainsaws on the farm and with the business for many – too many years…

Is this the way the movie theatres do it nowadays, blast the soundtrack at ya? It was pretty disconcerting. Next time I’ll bring my skeet-shooting ear plugs.

If ya have some friends and family and ya like movies and don’t wanna be bogged-down in some deep conversation about Hegel’s Dialectic Progression as to applied to the movie, go see
“Casino Royale.”

Oh, as far as a review, try
Reel Fanatic’s post first and go from there… And oh, the comments are intelligent also, so be sure to go the comment section on Reel Fanatic’s post.

For a few good pics from the movie, go here.

See the Sony Pictures’ trailer for the movie here.

For a few previous posts on movies – go here.

I’m back to work…