I Had A Dream

I had a dream last night that I was trying to draw a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. And his face looked sad. When I turned the drawing another way he looked angry.

I turned it back and forth and then decided on the right expression, the right emotion:

Sad.

Mobtown Blues

The Baltimore Riots: Crowds filling the streets, burning and looting local businesses, and confronting the police and the National Guard.

Crowds formed on such streets as Gay St. in East Baltimore; windows were smashed and cars burned. Police moved in. People began to report fires after 6 pm. The mayor and police were unable to respond effectively. Soon after, the governor declared a state of emergency and called in troops from the National Guard. Reports describe a crowd, which moved north on Gay St. up to Harford Rd. and Greenmount Ave. Rioting and looting spread, breaking out on Pennsylvania Ave. and elsewhere across the city.

Only this describes the Baltimore Riots of 1968. Exact same streets, and neglected blocks. Same actions. Same response.

Very little has changed in nearly 50 years.

Except one thing: Social media fueled recent mobtown violence, with a call yesterday to loot Mondawmin Mall, a la the lawlessness featured in the film The Purge.

Progress, anyone?

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Check out these pics and tweets via USA Today.

Spring Break Fever

One hot July day last year I thought about the reluctance of spring.

The underestimated Mid-Atlantic chill that depresses the human spirit along with the temps. The eternal cravings for warm breezes, even as spring teases. Yet the cost of high-season airfare for a family of four (plus rental car and airport parking) is always daunting.

What about driving. To. Florida?

Just get in the car and go, like my parents and grandparents used to do. Point the headlights toward Miami—or, even better, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. They just opened the Diagon Alley expansion in 2014. Blimey!

“Why not?” I thought. (At that time, I didn’t even anticipate lower gas prices, which means fuel costs at least would hardly tap a vault at Gringotts Bank).

So, when the days stay gloomy, you can just get up and get out. You could even drive straight-through to the vaunted gates of Disney or Universal, chanting “Spring Break, Spring Break,” and buy your park tickets at the window. That’s what the locals or college sophomores do. With tons of hotels and attractions nearby—LEGOLAND, the beach, SeaWorld, the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line at Gatorland—there’s always a Plan B.

The Weather Channel vs. Verizon, Brilliant Consumer Work-Around

Note from a savvy Weather Channel fan, who found a way around Verizon FiOS’  anti-consumer snap decision:

“I already switched to Direct TV to get the TWC. Where I live we have no cable, so to get internet I had to remain with Verizon. What I did was change my bundle to the one with the lowest number of channels and then returned all of my boxes. This move saved me $160 in contract termination costs and was cheaper than getting just internet and land-line. Add in the Direct TV and my monthly bill will be less than what I was paying Verizon. Additionally the picture is much better, so is the remote and the installation was a breeze. The remote has a little red button that when pressed takes you immediately to the local forecast so you don’t even have to wait for the 8’s!- or change channels. I did have to pay $100 for installation, but in a few months I will have recouped that loss – and Sam and Jim are back to get me ready in the morning. When I returned my Verizon boxes, I was asked why and, when I told them TWC, the young lady said, “Verizon just doesn’t get it – we’ve had hundreds of complaints.” — M.D.