Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Dum De Dum Dum

Last Saturday night, a man from Virginia, wearing body armor and some sort of ersatz police uniform (and a real gun and body armor) was charged with  five offenses by Maryland State Police. What happened was, a real state trooper caught him impersonating a police officer.

This man pulled a car over on I-695 - the Baltimore Beltway, on the outer loop near Greenspring Avenue. Fortunately for the motorist who had been pulled over by a non-police, the real trooper saw this fakey police car  - a black and white 2012 Chevy Impala with blue and white flashing lights - and correctly deduced something was wrong.

The man arrested is Timothy Ervin Trivett, 54, of Yorktown, Virginia, and he is facing charges on these five offenses:

  • Impersonating a police officer
  • Loaded handgun in vehicle
  • Loaded handgun on person
  • Handgun on person
  • Handgun in vehicle

Fake cop, real mugshot
For reasons that he might as well discuss in his upcoming trial, Trivett had been trying to stop a gray Honda Accord on the Beltway. That driver was allowed to leave the scene by the real trooper, and probably went home with a "You're not gonna BELIEVE this one!" story...

Trivett posted a $10,000 bond and was released from the Baltimore County Detention Center. He'll be driving back up from historic Yorktown for his trial on Aug. 21 in the fashionable Baltimore County District Court.

I have these questions:

  • How many times has he done this?
  • Does he issue fake traffic tickets? Or worse, has he committed crimes against citizens he has pulled over?
  • When he approached the car, was the plan to say, "Fake Police. License and registration, please"?
  • Why? What is lacking in this man's world that drove him to acquiring this car and uniform and gun and police regalia and pulling over random vehicles on the interstate? Did he want to be important or in charge or have power over people?
  • Wouldn't it be great to send him to fake prison with fake prison guards for a real long time?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Hand me that bull

Quick! Get your Chinese menu and see if this is The Year Of The Bull.

And if so, was 2014 also the YOTB?

I'll tell you why I ask.  It was June 13, 2014 that a steer got away from an abattoir in West Baltimore, leaped the barbed-wire fence that was supposed to keep him confined, and went for a joywalk of some two miles before Baltimore Police, in fear of damage to lives and property, ended his life in a slightly different manner than the butchers had intended.

Customers of nearby steakhouses and burger joints complained for days that their beef "tasted of lead."

AND THEN on June 13, 2019 - five years since the great Midtown Belvedere Rodeo - two steers decided to make their run for it.

Here's what I have to say about my beloved Baltimore, before I tell you how this roundup wound up.  Other cities have lower crime rates, certainly fewer murders. San Diego is just one American city where the weather is indisputably superior to our hot 'n' hazy summers and frozen-stiff winters.

Other cities have tourist attractions that dwarf ours. Other towns have better baseball teams, yea, all of them do, except Kansas City.  Only Baltimore has had a succession of mayors and public officials led away in handcuffs, and I defy any town anywhere to top the misadventures of Catherine Pugh, the mayor who wrote a series of children's books and became a millionaire overnight.

So there is a lot about Baltimore that is up for approval, and good people are at work on solutions. 

But say what you will, there is not another city anywhere where the bulls come to town and learn to leap barbed-wire fences! We could have the Beef Steeplechase right here any time. Saddle up old Ferdinand, slip into the jockey getup, and leap!
Image result for running bull

Our cattle can jump high fences. Don't come at us.

So last week, Bullroast and Beefsteak got as far as a lawn with a fence at the  Penn Square apartment building, right across from the stockyard.  City police trained in the cowboy ways loaded them into a truck and took them back.

“This should never have happened,” said Medina Gaither, who just moved to the neighborhood this past December and might now have known she was now in Dodge City East.. “You’re jeopardizing a community of people. Why couldn’t you detain this animal? They need to shut that slaughterhouse down … or relocate it and be more secure. They need to move this out of the city and further in the county.”

Hey! They don't to be here, either.  This is pit-beef stand country!Image result for pit beef stand

Monday, June 17, 2019

It's news to me

Last Tuesday evening, a crew was working on the infrastructure on York Rd in Baltimore County. Something went wrong and they broke a 24" water main, causing a hole about the size of Delaware to form in the road, a flood to ensue, and a natural gas line to rupture.

Since York Rd is the main road in the central portion of the County (it runs from Baltimore City, where all of a sudden right where my old dentist's office used to be it changes its name to Greenmount Avenue to York, Pennsylvania, which was the first capital of the United States way back when - you could look it up!) so you can imagine this caused quite a disruption in traffic. It was the lead story on the morning newscasts on radio and tv.

So why was I surprised to see the news later on that day showing people being interviewed by reporters, and saying that they had no idea about York Rd being closed to traffic?

I've heard this from a lot of people, people saying they don't watch the news or listen to news on the radio or read the newspaper.  After I finish shuddering, I always ask why they feel that not knowing what's happening in the world is a good thing.

And I'm not talking about news that causes opinions to break out. Knowing that your route to work or home will be radically different, or that a thunderstorm is coming, or a blizzard, or a severe heat wave, or that certain foods have been recalled...these are not "fake news" stories or reasons to be dubious. There's no spin on traffic information.

It scares me to see these stories in which people are interviewed and asked simple questions about simple facts of history or current events. We laugh when high school graduates are perplexed about when World War II took place ("18 hundred something?") or when people are unaware of how society works (the local government will haul away your trash and recyclables, but will not mow the grass in your back yard) but it's really not all that funny.

I googled the reasons why people might be inclined to skip knowing the news. One of the reasons seems to be that the news is an "infinite source of negativity" that "keeps me up at night worrying" and besides, "I try to stay positive."  

My stance is, and I hate to drag out everyone's favorite tautology, but the news is what the news is. A war is not good news, neither are floods and murders, but history is just yesterday's news. There are good and bad parts of every day. Knowing about both is worth the time!

I'd be interested to hear what anyone thinks about the trend of not wanting to be up on the news! 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Sunday Rerun: I guess that's why they call it the blues

I have one thing to say about this trend of young people today dying their hair blue:

I don't care.

I see kids all the time, going around with multicolored melons, sometimes variegated like a parrot, sometimes all one color. There are as many shades of blue as there are teenagers.  With colors like Air Force blue, Azure, Baby blue, Blue-gray,  Carolina blue, Cerulean, Indigo, Iris, Navy blue, Periwinkle, Royal blue, Sapphire Sky blue and all the way on down to Viridian, there are plenty of choices for the modern person who wants their hair to be some color other than what genetics put there.

When I was a barefoot boy with cheek of tan, my hair was so blonde, it almost looked white. So I didn't have to resort to the custom of dark-haired guys of my day: they would empty the contents of a bottle of hydrogen peroxide on the front of their hair to have their bangs all blond. Why they didn't just tint ALL their hair was never quite clear to me, although it did save a lot of guys from walking around looking like Guy Fieri, which would not have been a good thing even then.

But a little peroxide for guys and some frosting for girls and the occasional all-the-way to Clairol Light Golden Blonde or Pure Diamond for some girls, and that was the extent of hair chemistry in my day, and meanwhile I saw my own hair turn from that blonde to a ratty brown, and now nature has seen fit to continue using my head as a kaleidoscope, and it's gray.  Not that Mike Pence White, and not the George Clooney cool kind of gray. And not that salt-and-pepper look from the Grecian Formula ads, the ones that promise aging hipsters a chance to come back to work after vacation leaving coworkers stunned...STUNNED!...that anyone would think they wouldn't know the secret.

One of the immutable laws of nature is that no man can ever tell when a woman has dyed her hair, and no man can dye his hair at all without everyone from five-hour-old babies to soundly sleeping nonagenarians spotting it at fifty paces.  I mean, really.  Guys who dye their hair might as well wear a tiara with diamonds spelling out "DYE JOB", because it's that obvious.

But here's the point I was hoping to make.  A woman I know has a daughter in high school, a young lady of considerable accomplishment, with good grades, plenty of participation in the right activities, just one of those good kids that you know is headed for academic and personal success.  You know the kind of person I mean.  Not the sort that I, a total stranger to the honor roll review committee, was, but anyway...

Someone - some "adult" stranger - chose to cluck-cluck and shake her head and mumble some pejorative words when this sterling young woman took a notion to dye her hair blue before the start of the school year.

She did not get a swastika tattoo across her forehead. She did not get a pistol and rob a 7-11, or commit massive cheating on college boards, or steal a car and get all shahfahzed and run over a passel of orphans waiting for a ride to a fresh-air camp.  

She dyed her hair, which will grow out and flourish.

I hope we can say the same for the crabby, grumpy woman with enough time to criticize the free spirit of a fine young lady.


Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Saturday Picture Show, June 15, 2019

People with hi-class cameras seem to know how to get the very best pictures! Here's a photo of trees as magnified by a drop of water on the end of a branch.
Would anyone care to guess how many weary travelers, how many families on the way to Wally World, and how many unsanctified congresses and illicit liaisons took place over the years within these walls?
Every club has a special patriotic hat for the 4th of July. This is the Orioles version for 2019; the "B" logo is based on the one on the 1964 uniform hat, worn for that one season alone.

In this old picture of a gas station in Virginia, you see a guy wearing bib overalls. They are great for doing chores and general work around; not having a belt and worrying about droopy draws is such a pleasure. Maybe I should get another pair. Hello Amazon?
Even nature supports Pride Month.
The people who took this picture promises that it's not fake. The water splashing off the elephant's head took the shape elephant's head.
As kids, my sister and I always got some sort of food gift. She got nice sweet chocolates to match her personality, and I got these. They really were all they were cracked up to be!
Australia just took a big jump ahead in the worldwide car decorating contest!

Friday, June 14, 2019


On the rare occasion that Peggy and I forgo sleeping in the car and actually take a hotel room, I always make sure to be nice to the maid. For one thing, it's the better thing to do, and when you take time to talk to them, you will hear harrowing stories of the nastiness they get from our fellow humans.

On the more practical level, it will help you be sure to get plenty of coffee for the room and extra towels or shampoo, but that's a distant second to just being nice to people doing a largely thankless job.

People tend to mistreat service personnel, but it's even scarier when you're in a hotel room with some perv from Pennsyltucky who has seen too many pornos set in skeevy motels and he thinks this is his big chance, or when you open the door for room service and happen upon a crime in progress, or a medical emergency, or any of a hundred reasons to wish you were anywhere else right then.

New Jersey, my second favorite state, has become the first state to require that hotels with over a hundred rooms issue emergency buttons to employees. That's great!

“It means a whole lot,” said Iris Sanchez, 40, a housekeeper at Caesars Atlantic City, as Governor Phil Murphy signed the new law this week.  “I know I’m going to be able to go home at the end of the day.”

According to The Press of Atlantic City,  Murphy says hotel staff will now have  “greater security” that will let them be able to “immediately call for help, should they need it on the job.”

And this is good for all of us, not just the staffers. Assemblyman John Armato, D-Atlantic, says housekeepers are often the first people to discover an emergency situation, like a fire or a medical emergency situation.

“It’s not just for their safety, it’s for the safety of the whole hotel itself,” he said.

This law came to fruition because of the work of Unite Here Local 54, the casino workers union representing nearly 2,000 hotel housekeepers in Atlantic City alone.

And they take these things seriously in The Garden State: Hotels that do not get these buttons as required will pay a fine of $5,000 the first time and $10,000 for subsequent violations.

Nationally, large chains such as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG and Wyndham are promising employees to get alarms for staffers who deal one on one with guests.

Good news! Now if people will just behave, at home and away.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Blame it on the moon

In the early days of our marriage, Peggy and I really had to get to know each other.  Our engagement was so brief that we still had to go on voyages of discovery to find out how we liked our burgers cooked (rare for me, medium for her), whether she liked hominy made from scratch ("What is hominy?") and how cold was cold, how hot was hot.

We settled most of those matters. Peggy still won't touch hominy, or grits, for that matter. After lengthy negotiations, we finally figured out what thermostat settings (summer and winter) are good compromises, and most of the time, I can fix a satisfactory burger.

But there was one question I asked Peggy about that got me a look of utter stupefaction and an adamant "How could you even ASK that?"

It's the kind of thing that can be enjoyed in mixed company among consenting adults, or in homogeneity. It doesn't matter. It's pleasurable, no one gets hurt, and it gives fresh air to a body part that is all too often covered in denim.

We're talking about mooning here, and it was quite the popular sport in my youth.  Get a passenger with a sense of humor and pull up next to a car being driven by a Fred Rutherford type, have him drop trou, and hang a moon right on out the window.
1880's western style

Not that I ever was involved in such degradation, you understand, having devoted my teen years to quiet contemplation in dim salons and libraries and the "glass aisle" at the A&P (condiments, jams, jellies...) In junior high, we were fortunate enough to have a guy in our class whose brother was in high school, and from him we learned, like young seminarians from a bishop, that in wintertime when it was too cold to open the window, mooning was referred to as "pressed ham."

I heard about what was going on and I still find it hilarious, which explains why I still hold the record at the Regal Theatre in Bel Air as the only person ever to request a Senior Matinee Ticket for a "Jackass" movie.

I think that today's teens are too busy playing those video games and listening to Seven Seconds Of Summer or Z Money or whoever to ride in cars with their patooties on display, and that represents a dropoff in our culture from which we may never recover.