Saturday, November 12, 2005

YEEEEEEEEE-HAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!

That's right. It's time for the second ever installment of News Roundup.

But first, this post had me thinking about suburbia for the past few days. Alas, my pondering mind rendered nothing of worthy of posting, but my activities today, which were not atypical for an average Saturday, say much about why I and others like me have found the good life in the 'burbs.

Here are the relevant details of today (thus far):

Morning: Wake up.

Mid-morning: Eat breakfast. Read papers. Browse internet. Finish reading book that I fell asleep with last night.

Noonish: Go hiking with my dog.

Mid-afternoon: Return from hike (roughly 8 miles, the majority of which was spent trekking over earthen trails beneath increasingly leaf-less trees along ridges and floodplains overlooking both local branches of the Patuxent--even spent some time letting the pooch dip in the chilly waters of the rivers' confluence).

Later than mid-afternoon: Deposit check in ATM. Grab a slice of pizza. Purchase some items from drug store. Pick up shirts from the dry cleaners.

Now: blog.

Total miles driven: 0.

As you can see, life in suburbia--under the tyranny of the automobile--is absolute misery.

Anyway, onto the news, which is still regrettably slow. Come on, Sun. Bring us something juicy tomorrow, even if you have to make it up.

Interesting news on the anti-smoking bill. It might not pass, but I don't think the politicians who favor the bill (Robey, Ulman, and Guzzone) are terribly upset. After all, they will benefit just by supporting this legislation, which, judging from the mostly supportive letters to the editor in local papers, I think is popular. Ulman sums up the situation by saying if the bill dies "it's something for people to talk about and think about as they decide who to support in the next election."

Something all politicians can agree on: A committee studying the salaries of HoCo's politicians voted to support pay increases for both the council and executive. While the 44 percent council pay raises sound substantial--and certainly the headline and reporting lean towards sensationalism--$49,000 a year does not seem excessive, and the 44 percent increase doesn't sound as significant when considering the salaries haven't gone up in several years. Indeed, in 1998 council members were making $31,100 a year. If they make $49,000 next year, the total pay increase amounts to less than 6 percent per year (you'll have to trust me on the math). Also, when you consider that HoCo council members earn less than most surrounding jurisdictions--and would continue to after the pay increase--it's really not such a big deal, is it? Here's a good quote from the story: "'Do I think it's necessary to play catch-up? I think it is. They've been behind for years,' panel member Steven Sass of Columbia said at Wednesday's meeting."

Another reason
to not want to be buried in a pet cemetery. Since we're on the subject of The Ramones, I'd like to give a shout out to my dad, who took me and my sister, both in our teens, to see The Ramones in concert. Before this he took my younger brother and I to see Metallica's Snake Pit tour. A few years later, he stood with my brother inches from a mosh pit, inspired by the Ozzy Osbourne-less Black Sabbath of the mid-1990s. I'm pretty sure that amidst the flying hair of various headbangers (is it still okay to use that word?) and the distorted cacophony of guitars at these concerts my Dad must have asked what he did wrong. Nevertheless, he endured. And eventually, we grew up.

I'm going to be honest here. I haven't read this, but it looks interesting. I gather that it's about the difficulty of making a living on a farm in Howard County. I'll get around to it.

All in one link: Anti-anti-smoking bill to be introduced (kinda); burning trucks (and I don't mean Paris); unapproved fringe benefits; and tennis anyone/no one? That was easy.

Election talk: Republicans waving at cars with signs. Democrats at odds over governor's race. One thing: Can we call an end to the stand-on-side-of-road-and-wave-at-commuters-on-their-way-to-work style of campaigning? I don't care about politics at 7:30 in the morning, and I certainly don't want to see smiley-faced candidates pretending to be nice while probably cursing the cold/wind/exhaust fumes under their breath. Has anyone looked into whether this is effective? My guess is that it has no impact whatsoever on the outcome of the election. Also, isn't this kind of a metaphor--however strained--for the state of politics in general? That is, superficial. I understand campaigning door-to-door and talking to voters. Doing so can help a politician understand what people really care about. But what good does this serve? Okay, I'm rambling. I'll stop now.

Still the most entertaining section of the Flier: The letters page, filled to overflowing this week.

And finally, happy birthday to West Friendship Elementary. Howard's oldest school turns 80.

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