Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ooh that smell...

The smell of skunk lingered in the air and my car this morning.

Thankfully, that was the extent of the leftover stink from last night's nearly-tragic attack. While the dog was outside in the yard a series of screams came through our too-thin windows. Naturally, we suspected an unsuspecting creature had wandered into the husky's domain, but instead of finding a happy dog with an unhappy furry thing in his mouth, we opened the door to find him just as intrigued with whatever was happening on the other side of the yard as we were.

And then we smelled it.

We rushed the dog into the house, worried that he had been hit. For several seconds we thought a few drops of spray might have hit is coat, but we soon realized the smell wafting through the house was from us opening the door in the first place.

But the question we asked ourselves repeatedly last night was: "What would we do if the dog had been directly in the line of fire?" With an open floor plan and no basement, garage or even mud room, a skunked dog would surely make our lives miserable.

We decided if he did or ever does get hit, he'd have to stay be outside until he can be properly and thoroughly bathed. But that's clearly not the best solution (not because he couldn't handle it – he is a husky, after all – but because he'd be back in the skunk danger zone). So, I'll ask you, what do you do with a skunked dog?

Aside from that bit of fun, there's not too much to report today, which is just fine with me because I'm leaving tomorrow for a snowboarding weekend in Pennsylvania. So, you won't have me to kick around this weekend (instead, I'll get kicked all at once Monday night when I get home and check my e-mail).

What's up? The Tower. Ha! Actually, it's not quite up and it's not quite down. It's awaiting additional members for the Board of Appeals. You see, the board's vote on whether those challenging the Plaza was split 2-2, an outcome that means the same thing to both sides: "We won!" But, really, nobody won, except maybe the two new board members who get to jump right into the fray on February 12 when the hearing resumes. More here.

BRAC's a big deal and it took up a big chunk of County Executive Ken Ulman's time Monday.

"It's a huge priority of mine to make sure we're focused on infrastructure as BRAC materializes," Ulman said. "Transportation is at the top of the list, and then housing and quality of life."

Ulman traveled to Fort Meade on Monday for a three-hour meeting with Col. Kenneth O. McCreedy, the post's commander, so they could get better acquainted and swap plans to prepare for the post's growth.

"To a large extent, it was a get-to-know-you session about where we are and where Fort Meade is in the process surrounding BRAC," Ulman said.

Ulman has been busy lobbying officials to support the Green Line expansion as well as road improvements. He has met with two Maryland congressmen, Elijah E. Cummings (D) and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D), as well as Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari.

When asked about O'Malley, whose support would be key to a Metrorail extension, Ulman said: "I didn't get a strong sense of his direct position, but he indicated an understanding and desire to see mass transit options put forward."

Before we can even consider Metro for Columbia and the rest of Howard County, it needs to make its way to Fort Meade and (presumably) BWI first. This is not to say, however, that we wait to fix our own local transit issues. It seems to me that good local transit leads to good regional transit, rather than the other way around.

Finally, the county has a new website: OK, it's not really a new site, just a new URL, but there are big plans for our little slice of cyber space:
Howard County's new Web address is the first step to creating a more customer-friendly online resource, officials said.

"We want to make ourselves more the Grand Central Station for information and resources in the county," said Ira Levy, the county's new director of the Department of Technology and Communication Services."
That's great, but in an effort to simplify the site's address, they made it necessary to type additional letters. The old site was Twelve characters without the "www." The new address is almost 20 characters. How is that easier?

That's it for now. Think snow!


Alison said...

In Matt's personal experience, Nature's Miracle Skunk-Off is awesome. Completely got rid of the skunk smell after only one bath. I suggest keeping a bottle on hand just in case. Its fairly inexpensive, and available at Petsmart. Make sure you get the Skunk-Off, as they have several different formulas. You will also need to wash &/or throw away any fabric that the dog touches. Hope Husky never has to need it.

Have fun snowboarding this weekend!

FreeMarket said...

The new Ho Co government web address seems easier to remember than the old one, even though it has more characters. However, wouldn’t most people access the site via a bookmark or simply googling it?

Anonymous said...

Why, too, emulate Grand Central Station, an out-of-state, out-of-date landmark? If we want NewYorkification, extending the website address to something unnecessarily long sure seems like one step in that direction.

Or was it an attempt to emulate Montgomery ( and Harford ( Counties, sacrificing what the web is supposed to be about - convenience, for prestigious length.

Or was it a mission to get the 'ho' out of the name, but still allowing the state to be abbreviated because 'md' has a more positive connotation?

Instead, how about opting to keep ourselves more like Ellicott City's original terminus of the B&O? At least it was considered a quick link to Howard County? would get typists there 45% quicker and is as easy, if not easier, to remember. Citizens' time wasted otherwise.

Anne Arundel - (12)
Baltimore County - (11)
Carroll County - (8)

David W. Keelan said...

I agree with FM on the URL. Anyway, when I was a teenager my Dad's dog got hold of a porcupine not once but twice. I don't know if I would have preferred him to be skunked but watching that poor dog slink back to the house with a mouth full of porcupine daggers and in so much pain I just might have preferred the skunk.

numbers.girl said...

I have to wonder if the change was not for ease of typing, but for visual recognition.

Sure, the new URL is more characters, however, one glance tells you what it is, especially important for those outside of the county or state.

The components of this recognition factor are:
1. full text of the county name plus state abbreviation, best identifies what the site is;
2. the "gov" suffix is universally accepted as a government website, as opposed to a tourism website or other privately-hosted site;
3. Google results and other links still show the URL. I can vouch, personally, that I reference URL in Google search results to see what type of site I am linking to. Which stresses the importance of items 1 & 2.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so what about fitting the much longer onto signage around the county in a sufficiently large size text to be legible from a distance?

With a site name that long, the text size could only be about half as large as text for to fit on the same size sign. Shouldn't fine print be reserved for fun things like contracts?

Driving into the county, people will be trying to read welcome signs, mumbling "Welcome to howa-, something something something, could you read what that sign said?"

Brevity is the soul of wit.

Anonymous said...

oh, this is just terrible. what was ken ulman thinking? with so much more to worry about he now has the blogsphere sweating the number of letter in a url. Maybe we should just print the ip address ( seriously. have your day in the sun on this one but who really cares?

Anonymous said...

A. Who was pointing any fingers at anyone? It was the new web address being critiqued, not a particular person.

B. Well, if the county saw fit to change the web page address, sure it's worth discussing if a better one was chosen since someone didn't think the previous one was good enough.

C. Printing those numbers instead is worse than either name.

D. Who cares? Maybe people trying to find the county website, or remember the county website, or read a sign from a distance that says it.

Public feedback isn't a bad thing.