Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Rockin’ Around the Old and New

If I’m going to go to the Mall, I should do it soon, because I generally try to avoid any trip after Thanksgiving. Dealing with crowds of people in our local cathedral of retail has been known to knock all sense of the Christmas Spirit right out of me. I lose all sense of Peace on Earth, Goodwill to  fellow creatures.

As we watch all the usual signs of the holiday season being rolled out locally, I’ve been wondering. Has anyone seen anythng about the Poinsettia Tree? You may recall there was one year that Mall management thought they’d do away with this local tradition. Dennis Lane wrote about it on Tales of Two Cities blog.

I’d like to share the actual blog posts with  you but it looks as though they are no longer accessible. If true, that’s a great loss to anyone looking for his insight on local affairs.

At any rate, what of the famed Poinsettia Tree? Is it going forward as usual? Is Mall management quietly going in a different direction? What difference would 11 years make in how the community feels about this?

For my part, I find the Poinsettia Tree to be lovely but it doesn’t make or break my holiday experience. Of course, I didn’t grow up here. Your opinion may be wildly different. Feel free to share it in the comments on Facebook. 

I don’t mean to start unnecessary rumors. Just because I haven’t seen anything about the Tree doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Please don’t plan any protests without verification. Also, maybe there are more worthwhile things to come out for?

UPDATE: readers Jolene Moseley and Joan Lancos report that the Poinsettia Tree lives on. I find it interesting that there’s no mention of it in the Mall’s social media feed.

We love our old traditions in the VG/T². I’m looking forward to making a new family tradition by going to Celebration in the Woods. You can learn more here. In keeping with the Inner Arbor Trust’s commitment to presenting affordable and family-friendly events, tickets are five dollars and children under two are free. From the Inner Arbor Trust website:

Join the Inner Arbor Trust, Inc. and Downtown Columbia Partnership, Inc. for a new Celebration in Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods! On Saturdays from November 24th to December 22nd from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Chrysalis transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with artist-decorated trees, live performances, a “snow” ball pit, seasonal crafts, and winter treats such as hot chocolate, apple cider, mulled wine, and more! Santa will visit the Chrysalis at 3 p.m. Come join us for the magic of the season!

And then you could finish off your day with a trip through the Symphony of Lights. This feels like a win-win to me. And, who knows? The sight of the Chrysalis in the snow might become a new local holiday tradition.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Bit of a Day

It’s  going to be a bit of a day (see Lin-Manuel Miranda for context)  for the folks at the Elevate Maryland podcast. Tonight at Lupa hosts Candace Dodson Reed and Tom Coale will be doing a live taping with guests Calvin Ball, Rich Gibson, and Marcus Harris. (Newly-elected County Executive, State’s Attorney, and Sherriff, respectively) Billed as a Special Thanksgiving Show with Howard County Historymakers, it’s the closest thing a podcast can do to giving front-page status to the first African Americans elected to these posts in Howard County.

Three things I’m thinking about tonight’s podcast:

1. We are at the very beginning of an entirely new era of leadership in Howard County. Will we learn anything tonight that hints at either the style or substance of how these men will serve?

2. The vile KKK flyers dumped off over the weekend in Old Ellicott City. The language they contained seemed awfully reminiscent of the folks who tuned out en masse to oppose CB-9. Does the KKK See Howard County as fertile ground for organizing? What’s the best way for us as a community to stand against their hatred and racism?

3. On this International Men’s Day I hope Candace and Tom will make time to ask their guests how they balance their careers with fatherhood and/or home responsibilities. A few questions about clothing choices and or recipe recommendations for those busy committee-meeting nights would not be amiss, either.

Will any of the above come up at tonight’s event? Turn up at 7 pm to find out! If you can, visit the event page to let them know you’re coming.

Of course, if you can’t make it, you’ll be able to check out the podcast later. But I think this just might be one you’ll want to be able to say you were there for.

Can’t make it tonight but your heart is full of HoCo goodwill and community spirit? Make a donation to the Community Action Council to help families in need have a Thanksgiving meal this year.

Sunday, November 18, 2018


Being white brings privilege.
Add to that:
White male.
White cisgender male
White straight cisgender male

Bubble upon bubble of  protection encircles this segment of our society. 

Other are not so lucky.

If you are transgender (and especially a trans person of color) it seems that instead of a bubble you carry a target. Already in 2018 there have been at least 22 murders of trans individuals in the US. There are likely more we do not know about.

To mark the Transgender Day of Remembrance, The Rev’d Paige Getty will be leading a vespers service tonight, November 18th, to “honor the memory of those whose lives have been lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.” The service begins at 7:30 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation Of Columbia, which is located in the Owen Brown Interfath Center. The address is: 7246 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD 21045.

You can learn more about TDOR here, and Trans week of Awareness (November 12-19th) here.

Saturday, November 17, 2018


Once upon a time the Baltimore Sun sponsored a celebration of local blogs and social media called the Mobbies. Remember them? Then, for one year they were called The Crabbies. This year they appear to be no more. I’ve been digging around on Twitter for info and, although the Crabbies account is still there, it hasn’t been updated for a year and no one responds to inquiries.

Farewell, Mobbies. You were nice while you lasted. And yet, looking at a picture of the final year’s winners, a Howard County reader noted:

 I find myself wondering if this is reflective of the diversity of internet voices in Baltimore...

She’s got a good point. The photo shows an all-white crowd. Predominantly male.

But this is where things go downhill in a hurry.

Hmm. These offensive tweets appear to be from a writer of one of the winners of the Crabbies. They reference MSB, Maryland Sports Blog.

This man decided to target and harass a woman on Twitter who dared to question the outcome of a local blog popularity contest whose winners are determined by clicks.  I won’t presume to know his motive. I will say without reservation that his behavior is unacceptable. I reported these tweets. Strangely enough, nothing happened.

Since Mr.Hradsky is so quick to mention his professional association with the Maryland Sports Blog I feel comfortable sharing this page from their website.

These are their sponsors. I wonder what they would think of a representative of MSB carrying on like this on social media? Do we think that Sonoma’s would be happy to have him associated with their brand?

I sincerely hope not.

Friday, November 16, 2018


I did. Laugh out loud, that is, when I saw this announcement from the Rotary Club of Columbia/Patuxent:

Support group?

I have thought of the Friends and Foundation of Howard County Library in many different ways but I must admit I have never thought of it as a “support group.”

Who should use support groups? (From Mental Health America)

Support groups are offered as a space where individuals can come together to share their stories, experiences, and lives in a way that helps reduce isolation and loneliness. Oftentimes, we think we are struggling alone, but support groups help us see that there are others who may dealing with similar situations and who in turn can help us get better. 
My imagination ran wild with the thought of an assortment of bibliophiles meeting together in a circle of folding chairs, each revealing a confessional truth in turn.
“I have twenty-seven overdue books.”
“I’m forty-five and I still love picture books.”
“I sneak in and clean the study tables with wet wipes.”
“I love the smell of new books.”
“I’m very competitive with my number on the waiting list for best sellers.”
Lest someone suggest that I am making fun of the Rotary, I most certainly am not. I am keenly aware that I have an odd sense of humor and an overactive imagination. This is probably why I am such a big fan of Mickey Gomez, who, along with Phillip Dodge, will be giving a presentation at The Rotary this morning about the Friends and Foundation organization. Mickey brings imagination, humor, and enthusiasm to anything she puts her hand to on the local scene.
I touched base with Mickey last night to ask for her informal description of the Friends and Foundation of the Howard County Library. (Truth in advertising - - I didn’t tell her about the “support group” moniker.) She began like this:
I'd say it's a group of people who value our library system, and who recognize that their contributions go towards strengthening the library's ability to offer new and innovative opportunities.
Her next sentence captured my imagination.
It's a group I love, filled with people who celebrate my very favorite library system.
Well, that’s definitely a support group I can see myself being a part of. And that is how I came to click on over to the website, renew my membership in the Friends organization, and make a donation in honor of Mickey Gomez.
Maybe LOL should stand for Love Our Library, too.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Top Story

Yesterday was Union Day. The journalists of the Capital Gazette, the Carroll County Times and the Baltimore Sun Media Group have united to form a union. Want to learn more? Visit the Chesapeake News Guild website. And here’s their promotional video

Taken from their mission statement:

We are tired of bearing a workload that requires a newsroom four times the size. We are tired of not receiving reasonable cost of living raises, despite the fact we bear the additional responsibilities of our former co-workers. We are tired of having staffs too small to cover all the stories our readers care about.

It seems as though we were just talking about this, doesn’t it?

BaltSun reporter Pamela Wood tweeted this morning:

Speaking to a political club in Columbia (the Columbia Democratic Club) tonight, I heard concerns from members that they want a strong @HoCoTimes/Columbia Flier. I urged them to show support for @ChesapeakeGuild in order to support the dedicated journalists who cover their community.

If you want to support stronger local journalism and fair working conditions for local journalists, here’s what you can do:


I subscribe to the Baltimore Sun purely to have access to local coverage. I also subscribe to the Capital Gazette to support the paper. Considering a subscription? These are the publications represented by the Chesapeake News Guild:

The Capital Gazette, Caroll County Times, plus all the local publications under the Baltimore Sun Media Group, such as The Aegis Of Harford County, Howard County Times, Towson Times, and Soundoff of Ft. Meade.

Another way you can support local journalism while you are out and about in the world and on social media is to kindly explain why those articles people want to read are behind that troublesome paywall. Remind them that nobody works for free and that journalists have to eat. For more ways to support, go here.

Something to ponder, from Capital Gazette’s Joshua McKerrow:

The BSMG papers are paid DRASTICALLY lower wages than union-protected Sun journalists. And they use our work to fill their paper...They get my 18 years of photojournalism experience at a third of what they pay Sun photogs.

On Tuesday evening the live recording of local podcast Elevate Maryland concluded in its usual fashion, with this question:

What do we all need to do to Elevate Maryland?

Guest Alec MacGillis: I would say top of the list would be to do everything we possibly can to support Maryland media. It matters so much to have people covering stuff. To do everything you can, subscribing, donating...

Subscribe. Spread the word in support of the Chesapeake News Guild. Let your friends, neighbors, and coworkers know you are proud to pay for local journalism. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


Arizona’s Martha McSally charmed the Internet with her video concession to Krysten Sinema. It was gracious and it had a Golden Retriever. What’s not to like?

Compare that to this Facebook post by HoCo Republican Lisa Kim.

Even a strategically placed Golden Retriever couldn’t save this post. It’s a hot mess of insults, accusations, and conservative conspiracy-theory gobbledegook. Holy Mackerel, am I glad that she did not win a Council Seat.

Enough said.

Tomorrow the latest issue of the Howard County Times comes out. Can’t wait to see how they treat last week’s election results. I sure hope it’s worth the wait.