Saturday, February 16, 2008

"Field Trip" Next Saturday, February 23

Hi everyone. You are welcome to join us on our "field trip" to the Grove Cafe next Saturday morning at 8 am. We are meeting Dr. Mike there once a month to save him the bike ride. See you there!

Harold celebrated his birthday yesterday. We had a delectable dinner at La Travola in Little Italy with friends, Doug and Marcia. He got a special gift, a new Hewlett-Packard computer with a 22" flat screen. When he sets it up, I will be tempted to view the blog on the big screen. Happy Birthday!

Bill White drove his prize 1994 Jaguar up to Sam's this morning. Bill is the consummate collector and appreciates many of the finer things in life. See this fabulous car below.

I noticed that I was seated at a table at Sam's that had a McCain bumper sticker. There are so many opportunities in our society to debate politics and so few chances to enjoy a hearty laugh with good friends. .....I have decided to keep the blog apolitical and not publish any political cartoons or opinions. It's good to be the blog administrator!
Both Don and Bill T. were sporting striped shirts today and discussed how it is rare to find men's shirts with vertical stripes that might make one look taller and thinner. Can add stripes now to the discussion of manly kilts, underwear, outerwear, swimwear, ironing jeans and overwear. The women were discussing HD television and Blue Ray technology, and I realized the women discuss clothing much less often than the men at Sam's.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Be My Valentine

Jeff and Scott - BFF

Happy belated Valentines Day

The Rosette Nebula (aka NGC 2237) is a cosmic cloud about 50 light years in diameter. Its long stem is composed of hydrogen gas. Its petals are "stellar nurseries" whose lovely, contours are sculpted by winds and radiation emitted by a central cluster of hot young stars.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Another Blog Map

Oooh, this is Big Brother-like. Found out that I can view the blog map as a satellite photo and keep zooming in until the specific building is highlighted on the map. (See the red balloon above?) The buildings house Internet services like Verizon, Comcast, and AOL in geographic areas, not the location of everyone's home computer. Still amazing technology, isn't it? Just think, if I can find out who is looking at the blog for how many minutes and how often for free, what do you think websites know about us when they pay for a professional tracking service? They know which pages of a website are our favorites and whether we return for more visits. They know what time we visited and how long we visited. They know whether we prefer porn or recipes. A bit creepy....

Happy Valentine's Day!

Well, Harold took me out for Valentine's dinner and we had a very nice time. We ran into that other romantic big spender, Doug. He had 30 minutes to wine and dine Carol before he was off to referee some basketball games. I will leave the name of the restaurant up to your imaginations....... How did you spend your Valentine's Day? On second thought, if it involved diamonds or Tio Pepe's, maybe it's best if you don't share.

You may recall that a while back we discovered that some of the older generation have cell phones but don't turn them on, they are for "emergency " use ony. Jeff stopped by and reported that his mother rarely turns her phone on. However, she turns it on to call Jeff's cell phone. For whatever reason, she won't use her landline phone to call his cell. This discussion prompted Pat R. (who kept her cell phone off) to research a bit about cell phone use. Her newfound knowledge follows:

5 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW YOUR CELL PHONE COULD DO: There are a few things that can be done in times of grave emergencies. Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or an emergency tool for survival. Check out the things that you can do with it:
  • FIRST The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile, network and there is an emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you. Interestingly, this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out. Sue's Note: "Type 112 in your phone's address book now so you can remember it in a panic. Mine's under "Help"."
  • SECOND Have you locked your keys in the car? Does your car have remote keyless entry? This may come in handy someday. Good reason to own a cell phone: If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other "remote" for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk). Editor's Note: "It works fine! We tried it out and it unlocked our car over a cell phone!" Sue's Note: "This won't work if I have locked my purse and cell phone in the car with the keys. I imagine."
  • THIRD Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370# Your cell will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell next time. Sue's Note: Store this code in your cell's address book under "Battery".
  • FOURTH How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone? To check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following digits on your phone: * # 0 6 #, a 15 digit code appears on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe. When your phone gets stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones. Sue's Note: "This tip is of no help to me if I file the code in the mythical "safe place". That is where my family's Valentine cards are currently hiding."
  • FIFTH Free Directory Service for Cells . Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411 information calls when they don't have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial: (800) FREE 411, or (800) 373-3411 without incurring any charge at all. Sue's Note: Program this into your cell phone now under "Info".

So Pat, is your cell phone on right now, or are you saving the batteries???? Thanks for the info.

More interesting news about the generations. Some of the same folks who didn't turn their cell phones had never heard the expression, "Does a bear sh** in the woods?" They had also never heard the philosophical question, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?" Thank goodness we were all aware of this debate: "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

Spoke with a young salesman at the computer store. He told me his dad has been selling old floppy disks and floppy disk drives on e-Bay for good money. See, the key is to collect something expendable that most of of throw out. This explains why floppies may be worth more than Beanie Babies some day. Any thought on which things we are currently disposing of that may become valuable? I'm thinking I'll hold on to all those old cell phones and batteries!

Happy Valentine's Day, and good night.

Post-Primary Musings

Submitted by Pat Richardson

After being bombarded with the longest primary campaign in history, I turned off the TV to retrieve my sanity. I remembered that our American Humorist, Will Rodgers, had a lot to say about politics and the happenings of his day. I retrieved some of his quotes to share with the bloggers. Not much has changed. He was born in 1879 and died in 1935. I hope you enjoy.
  • "There is no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you."
  • "The country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer."
  • "The more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that is out always looks the best."
  • "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts."
  • "Communism is like prohibition, it's a good idea, but it won't work.
  • "Ancient Rome declined because it has a Senate, now what is going to happen to us with both?"
  • "Be thankful we are not getting all the government we are paying for."
  • "Diplomacy is the art of saying 'nice doggie' until you can find a rock."
  • "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat."
  • "Our Constitution protects aliens, drunks & U.S. Senators."
  • "On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government for four years, no matter what it does."
  • "Take diplomacy out of war and the thing would fall flat in a week."
    "There ought to be one day--just one day--when there is open season on senators."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ice, Ice Baby

Schools closed today due to the ice storm. Hope everyone stays safe and sound.


Warning: Gentler readers may be offended.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Operation Welcome Home

(Submitted by Glenn)

Just a quick reminder on our upcoming events and a new event we just added. Each event has a different team captain so please correspond with them directly. When joining us, please consider bringing prepackaged snacks (outlined below), but DO NOT bring bottled water or drinks at this time. Wal-Mart made a very generous donation of bottled water (thanks to the hard work of Tom Colgan, one of our volunteers). We need everything else but water at this time. Thank you. We hope to see you at one of these events!

REMINDER...we have an event this Friday, February 15th at 5:00pm. Bill and Debby Poteet will be the team captains for the Friday event. Please let them know if you will be attending by e-mailing them at or calling them on their cell at 410-428-9097. They will let you know about any last-minute scheduling changes (should there be any). Please RSVP directly with Bill and Debby, provide them with your cell phone number, and do not reply to this e-mail.

NEW EVENT...we have a new event for this Saturday, February 16th at 9:30am. John Flynn will be the team captain for the Saturday event. Please let him know if you will be attending by replying to this e-mail ( or calling him on his cell at 410-271-4428. He will let you know about any last-minute changes (should there be any). When confirming your attendance, please provide your cell phone number (or land line phone number).

LAST EVENT OF FEBRUARY...then our last event (scheduled for this month) will be on Wednesday, February 20th at 2:15pm. Ken and Lisa Funk will be the team captains for the event on the 20th. Please let them know if you will be attending by e-mailing them at or calling them on their cell at 410-382-8472. They will let you know about any last-minute scheduling changes (should there be any). Please RSVP directly with Ken and Lisa, provide them with your cell number, and do not reply to this e-mail.

Katelyn in Chicago now understands why "bagel holes" have never caught on as a tasty treat.


Slim and Sexy Valentine's Day Workout

Primary Election Day

Well, it is a cold, slainy-slicy day (a combination of raining/ sleeting/ snowing,/icy) weather. Saw Gene and Lois at the polls during the afternoon, but it wasn't very crowded when we voted. The polls are still open as I write this. Harold is stuck in Annapolis (the bridge and Route 50 were closed due to icy conditions), so he missed voting for the first time ever. Jean has retired from being an election judge this year, and I am glad that she is home safe. The polls will remain open until 9:30 tonight due to the weather. Be safe, everyone.

The Blog Map Grows

Hi, as you can see, we have more pins in the map! Sam's has added readers in Ireland, Germany, Texas, Nevada, Arizona and new locations in Maryland including Columbia, Potomac and Annapolis.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Has Dimitri Driven Here?

(Submitted by former local Tom, now living in Las Vegas)

This tunnel in Russia is the longest in-city tunnel of Europe. There is a river running over it, and water leaks at various points. When the temperature reaches minus-38 degrees like it did this particular winter, the road freezes, and the result is what you see in the attached video. This video was taken during A SINGLE DAY with the tunnel camera. Congratulations to the dual-bus driver .... this is better than turn 4 at Daytona. Remember-- this is only ONE day of video. All I can say is, it makes our Baltimore tunnels seem tame. And, thank goodness -- this tunnel is only one way.

Today We Mourn

Today We Mourn (Submitted by John Sherin)

Obituary of the late Mr. Common Sense: Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
Knowing when to come in out of the rain; Why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn't always fair; and Maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6 -year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Calpol, sun lotion or a band-aid to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 3 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Sunday Scenes

Gladys recalled buying delicious Dad's Cookies from their shop on Winter's Lane during the 1950's. The company still exists in St. Louis and you can read about the company's history at
Now you can bake Dad's favorite oatmeal cookies for yourself. See the recipe below or visit If you bake them, bring them to Sam's to share with everyone.
Dad's Oatmeal Cookies
"A delightful childhood memory of buying cookies after school for a penny a piece is what I envision when someone says Dad's Cookies. They were baked on Winters Lane in Catonsville, Md. during my childhood days and then on Pratt St. in Baltimore before being bought by a New York company."

SERVINGS & SCALING Original recipe yield: 5 dozen US METRIC
1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups quick cooking oats

Cream first three ingredients until fluffy, add eggs and vanilla.
Mix all dry ingredients into butter mixture.
Stir in oats.
Let dough stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheets.
Flatten cookies slightly and bake for 10 minutes.
Do not overbake. Take cookies from the oven when still puffy and edges are just beginning to brown.
Let cookies cool a minute or two on cookie sheets before removing. Cool completely on racks.
They are fragile and difficult to remove from the cookie sheets when they are still warm, so work gently.