Monday, August 31, 2015

Odd Bits - The Power Flush Edition

I keep seeing these things on Facebook and other places, where (white) people are all, “This (white) guy just got killed and you didn’t see any demonstrations, did you?

You know, it’s a basic bumper-sticker sentiment… it looks valid on the surface, but the logic behind it is completely askew.  The unspoken point is that we white folks are so much more civilized than those savages.

What I always want to comment back is…

Well of course you don’t see any demonstrations because white guys haven’t had over 200 years’ worth of systematic persecution.  White guys don’t get hassled, beaten or killed by police over minor infractions.  Sure, maybe it’s happened every once in a while, but it’s a rarity.

"White guys don’t have to worry about getting killed by police over selling single smokes, or having a tail light out, or not signaling a lane change, or just for not wanting to be somewhere near the police.  Oh, and I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the police had to change their stories once the videos surfaced from each one of those incidents that had people protesting. 

"So yeah, not throwing a protest when something tragic happens?  No extra credit.  We white guys have had it pretty good for a hell of a long time."

Baked Alaskan Debunkery
Just in case one of your right-wing friends or relatives goes on about how Obama’s sending our history down the tubes by renaming Mt. McKinley as Denali, be sure to mention this point.

The State of Alaska renamed the mountain in question back in 1975.  Only the federal government still refers to it as Mt. McKinley, due to the protest of Ohio congressmen (where President McKinley was born).  The bill renaming it to Denali was introduced by the Republican senator from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski, and is supported by Alaska’s governor and other senator.  But yeah, let’s blame Obama, y’know, cuz ’Murca.

Clerks Revisited
I feel bad for those poor gay couples in Kentucky, who still can’t get married because even after three separate court rulings, one court clerk still refuses to provide the licenses.  I had an article on this clerk bookmarked since last July, about how she “prayed and fasted” over her decision to withhold the licenses.

What I want to know is when was the last time someone “prayed over” an issue and then came back with a decision that went against what the person wanted to do all along.  Once they say they’ve prayed over it, you can expect the dogmatic answer 100% of the time.

Just once, I’d like to see someone say, “Well, I prayed and fasted over it, and it became clear that the Lord didn’t want me to swindle people out of their land and then make a fortune flipping it to developers.  So didn’t and now everyone can keep their homes.”

I’ve been reading a fascinating series of blog posts over the last couple weeks, from an unusual source.  Dilbert creator Scott Adams has an interesting take on the Trump candidacy and is going out on a limb to predict that he’ll win the election by a landslide.  It’s not that Adams is fond of Trump’s message… it’s all about the art of persuasion. 

He claims Trump is a “Wizard” at verbal manipulation.  He’s not just evading questions, he’s substitution a negative image with a positive one, and attaching his name to the latter.  And people are eating it up.

While I still think Trump is an ego-inflated clown shoe, I understand Adams’ point.  People who listen passively are easily swayed by this verbal bait and switch.  And sadly, that covers a great swath of the American voting public.

The only way to defeat such a wizard is through active listening, coupled with a degree of common sense.

Like when Trump claims that the 14th amendment is unconstitutional and would overturn it if he becomes president?  Pure BS.  Aside from the assertion that part of the Constitution is unconstitutional, no president can remove an amendment.  It would take three-quarters of the 50 states (38 in total) to ratify a new amendment annulling the one in question.

When was the last time this country successfully ratified an amendment?  Hell, we couldn’t even ratify an amendment guaranteeing equality for 51% of our population.  No matter how hard these xenophobic wingnuts campaign, it’s just not going to happen. 

But he’s out there selling it anyway, isn’t he?  And he knows that he can’t un-amend this amendment.  But he likes that image; doesn’t he?  “That Trump, he’ll get things done.”

It will be up to us to think through all his ridiculous campaign assertions, and everyone else’s, for that matter. 

Sadly, I’m not optimistic.  But, speaking of giant turds, did you hear about the guy in China, in whom doctors found an 11-pound stool.  And I don’t mean this kind:

Dude was constipated for 10 years and complained of abdominal pains before doctors finally removed it.  And here I thought Chinese food was supposed to go right through you.  After it was done, I bet the guy felt loads lighter on his feet.  It was like finally coming up to bat after he’d spent 10 years in the on-deck circle, swinging the heavy bats.

Yeah, I know this was an indelicate thing to talk about, but you have to understand, my family and I love a good toilet story.  We can really talk some shit.

Like last week, when my brother sent me this text message.  He’s getting his bathroom remodeled and they just placed the key piece of equipment.

We’ve always joked that the perfect toilet should have enough power to dispatch a beer can.  Installing one that can handle an oil can-sized Foster’s is just showing off.

Can’t wait to try it out.  Obviously, I’ll try not to hold out for 10 years.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Odd Bits - The Orange Overload Edition

Last week was pretty nice… temps in the 80s, relatively low humidity… So I had the chance to get out and about a little.

Back to Back
I never plan to do this, but sometimes it just works out this way.  I saw three Orioles games last week… Saturday (8/5) and then both Tuesday and Wednesday.  The Wednesday game against the Mets was my original target because it was a player-designed tee shirt giveaway day.

But then Sitcom Kelly and her sister were going to the Saturday game against Oakland and asked me if I wanted to go too.  (Of course I did!)  And then the Orioles announced that they were doing a second “Social Media Night” of the season on Tuesday, which in addition to a seat for the game, include free food, 2 drinks, a free raffle, a tee shirt, and live Q and A with Orioles closer Zach Britton.  I had wanted to go to the first one they did this season, but I was out of town.

So, I had two opportunities to see games and neither of them was for the game I really wanted to attend.  But given my complete lack of anything else going on in my life, why not just go anyway?  So I committed to the back to back games.

Saturday’s game was (Orioles’ shortstop) JJ Hardy Replica Orange Jersey day, so I knew it was going to be crowded.  As you may recall, a couple years ago I was suckered into lining up early to snag an Adam Jones replica jersey, but it was such a flimsy, silk-screen piece of crap, I gave it away the next day.

Still, with expectations lowered, I wouldn’t have minded getting one of the giveaway jerseys.   The game started at 7:00, but when I passed by on the way to the bar, I could see the main entrance was swamped.

The main gate, two hours before opening.

So right off the bat, I wrote off any chance of getting a jersey, because they were only going to the first 20,000 people.  It was not worth spending 2 hours in line, in the hot sun… not when I could be at The Bullpen, putting away some cheap-ass beer.

We finally made a move to leave the bar around 6:00… I thought maybe there was still a chance to get a jersey, but they were long gone.  We had some comfy seats in the lower bowl, in the left field corner.

Our view.  Orioles won, 4-3.

I was really excited about the Social Media Day thing… You could sit in various places; I opted for the rooftop deck over the green “batter’s eye” wall in center field.  I have a friend at work who has sat there before and she said that was where all the babes hung out.  I’d been up there a number of times, but never during the game.

It ended up being a really nice time.  The food was good, (you know, for hot dogs and hamburgers), and it was fun seeing Zach Britton interacting with the fans.  He’s the “closer,” and when he comes into the game in the 9th, they always play “For Those About to Rock,” because he’s a big AC/DC fan.  In answering a couple of questions about them, (not from me), he indicated that while he liked them too, it was his Dad who was really the big AC/DC fan. Said Dad was always playing AC/DC as he worked on his car in the garage.  While I liked hearing that, it really just made me feel O L D!
Zach Britton, wheeling and dealing with the unwashed public. The guy at the mic stand is the Orioles public address announcer.

After the Q and A, I nabbed a seat at the bar and awaited the start of the game… which included an additional 50-minute rain delay, even though nary a drop of rain fell!  They must have seen something coming on radar, which then dissipated or changed direction.  At least I was in a good spot to ride out a storm…
Once the game got underway, I took my seat in the second of two rows, right behind the bank of center field cameras.

I admit it; I might have been somewhat distracted throughout the game.

This was the view when I wasn’t looking at the hard-working members of the broadcast team:
And just for the heck of it, here’s a good look at the area I was in.
One of the things I liked about sitting up there was the built-in table in front of you.  Unfortunately, I had to use it as an elbow support for most of the game.  The seats were basically wide metal bar stools, with no backrest.  It took its toll on my back, and eventually my elbows.  Luckily, the free tee shirt made a good elbow pad.

As for the “babes” my co-worker told me about, she was right, there was a babe sitting right beside me and she was totally my type.  And if I were 20 years younger, I probably would have asked her out.  I would have had better luck with the married camera lady.

Anyway, the O’s lost 5-3, but I had a good time anyway.  I’m looking forward to going to another Social Media Night next year.

The game the following night was more or less uneventful.  I went by myself, did pre-game at The Bullpen, went to the game and sat down in the left field corner.
And of course, I got another Orioles tee shirt.  Because you can never have enough orange tee shirts…  In fact, I did a quick count and I have 10 of them in my current rotation.  That doesn’t count a couple of orange Bowling Green shirts.

And this doesn’t include the one I’m wearing right now.

The Orioles won Wednesday’s game 5-4, on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th.  Sadly, I had already left.  I mean, it was a weeknight and I’d already been out late the night before.  I left after the 7th inning because they were starting to change pitchers a lot, no one was hitting, and it was beginning to look like an extra innings game.  I figured I could watch the end at home.  Oh well…

I briefly considered going to the game on Sunday, but wisely thought better of it.  That was enough baseball for one home stand.  The O’s will be on the road until the end of the month.  I’m sure I’ll be ready to go again by the time they get back to town.  I’ve been to 17 Orioles games this summer… well on my way to a new personal record.  (Last year I went to 18, but that included 2 playoff games.)

In Other News…
I just want to show you this quick thing, because it’s too good to save for next week…

A pro-choice group called Majority Ohio has made their own video, where they used the Center for Medical Progress’s same editing tactics to depict well-known anti-abortion conservative speakers into looking like they’re taking pro-choice positions. 

This video was edited with the same attention to detail and devotion to accuracy as recent videos released by the Center for Medical Progress,’’ said ProgressOhio Executive Director Sandy Theis.”

Yeah, see how they like it, right?

As you might guess, they didn’t.

One of the people who appeared in the video, Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, had this to say: "It's a darn shame that the abortion industry spends time and money creating sophomoric videos mocking people who are trying to protect pregnant women and their children. Clearly the video creators lack any moral character or regard for anything but profits arising from aborting babies and selling their body parts.  This video and the people who created it are pathetic at best."

Yeah, not so funny when it’s YOUR words being twisted around, is it Skipper?  Let’s see if we have this straight… when your opponent uses deceptive editing, it’s a “sophomoric video,” but when your guys do it, (in addition to lying to people to gain their trust and then leading them into a damning conversation), it’s protecting women (from themselves?) and children (who are not sentient and are the size of a grape). 

Got it.  You’re hypocrites.  Glad we cleared this up.

By the way, if you want to see the video for yourselves, you can click here.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Planned Parenthood - The BS Controversy, and More

Shortly after publishing last week’s post about the Planned Parenthood video controversy, I saw a couple of articles that backed up my main premises: 1) that the video producers worked with Republican congressmen long before the first video was released, and 2) that the goal was to erect further barriers to legalized abortions rather than to effect change in tissue disposal.

In this article, they stated that there were several groups of GOP congressmen who screened the videos a month or more before the release of the first one.  The video release was timed to coincide with a vote on providing funds for Susan G. Komen Foundation, which (among other things) gives grants to Planned Parenthood.

Needless to say, many of the bill’s supporters did an immediate about-face and shit-canned the legislation, fearing being labeled as in support of baby part merchants.

The article went on to say how the “Center for Medical Progress” (who employs no medical or scientific staff of any kind) took over 30 months to conduct their “investigations.”

Answer me this: if their goal was to highlight the means of disposal, would it really take 30 months?

Of course not.  They could have made their concerns known to the public at any point.  But they spent over two years cobbling their “evidence” together and editing it into slick, bite-size morsels, meant to play out of the course of an election season. 

This is a political hit-piece, nothing more, nothing less.

To further illustrate the intellectual disconnect with this topic, Ted Cruz rolled out a new commercial to leech off this custom-made political “crisis.”  The spot features the line, “So how did America become a country that harvests organs from unborn children? And who has the courage to stop it?”

The problem is that the opening images depicted images of polio victims.  You remember polio, right?  That was one of the many diseases whose cure was found via testing on fetal tissue.

Just ask Ben Carson.  He personally used fetal tissue during his medical training and research. 

Congress specifically legalized the use of fetal tissue for research purposes 22 years ago.  So where has all the outrage been?  Where are all the bills put forth to reverse the law?

Or could it be they only care about such things in order to pacify the anti-choice wing of their base, during an election season?

In fact, Mike Huckabee is fine with an 11-year old, who was raped by her step-father, being prevented from having an abortion.

To me, that is a perversion of morality and such a complete lack of empathy, I wouldn’t let him near an 11-year old pet, let alone a daughter.  Mike Huckabee (and Cruz and Rubio) is what happens when dogma becomes more important than the pain, suffering and psychological harm of a schoolgirl.

I’m sorry, I have to put the rights of a living, breathing, thinking, feeling, hurting human being ahead of a grape-sized non-sentient collection of cells and plasma.  And I’m supposed to be the Godless heathen…

Planned Parenthood is getting a raw deal here, and millions of women who can’t get affordable health care anywhere else are going to suffer for it.  All of that, because one small group of people think their sense of morality is more important than someone else’s right to control what happens to their own bodies.

Again, here is a link where you can donate directly to Planned Parenthood.

Trump This
The other controversy of the week, (well, last week, to be fair), was when Donald Trump took umbrage to Megyn Kelly’s questions to him and went after her on Twitter following the GOP debate.

Now I don’t really have a dog in this fight because I think they’re both full of shit.  He’s a political clown and she’s a shill for Fox “News.”  But I have an idea about the root of The Donald’s discontent, which I haven’t seen explored anywhere else.

He’s upset with her sharp questions because he’s used to getting his ass kissed 24/7.  He’s not used to being called to explain himself or accused of doing something wrong.  She called out the Emperor for having no clothes and he, having razor thin skin, promptly whined to his sycophants on social media about it.

What Trump doesn’t seem to understand is that this campaign is not his stupid reality TV show, and journalists have a duty to ask hard questions to those who seek the presidency. 

Now, I’m not saying she’s a “journalist…”  I think she was instructed by her bosses at Fox, to take some shots at Trump.  I think they thought he was someone they couldn’t control and it would make their lives easier if he were knocked down a few pegs.  But she absolutely had the right to ask him hard questions.

Besides, that’s what Fox is known for, isn’t it?  Asking hard questions to foes and tickling the balls of their friends?  Since when do you ever see a Republican get asked hard questions on Fox “News?”  They save the fastballs for the scant few liberals they invite on the show and tee up the softballs for their political spawn.

At the moment, Trump is the leading GOP contender.  He’s better get used to some verbal chin music from now on, or else his whining is going to grow awfully old with the voters.

Then again, his hissy fit might have worked.  I later read that he and Fox “News” boss Roger Ailes, worked it all out.  Shortly afterward, he was on Hannity for a good half hours’ worth of ball-tickling.

This is going to be one long-ass election season.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Planned Parenthood

Geez, you do a couple of posts about the stuff you’ve been doing, and the rest of the world goes right down the shitter while you’re busy.

There is a new Public Enemy #1 out there now, and its name is Planned Parenthood.  Now if you’ve been with me a while, you know that PP is an organization that’s near and dear to my heart.  I’m on their mailing list and I make periodic donations.  So when all this video stuff broke, it was pretty alarming.

At least it was until I did, like, seven or eight second’s worth of research and saw that this “sting” video was nothing but a political assassination piece produced by ardent anti-choice activists with the explicit intention of ending Planned Parenthood (and by proxy, abortions), by any means necessary.

These “filmmakers” posed as other people, lied to their interview subjects, guided the conversation until they got some sound bites they could project in the most unflattering light, and then constructed their own narrative through selective editing.  (Like editing out the 10-11 times the interviewee specified that they were not “selling baby parts.”)

So I figured, people will understand that this is a hack job and all will be well.

I don’t know why I figured that.  I should have known better; that people are only too eager to think the worst possible things about those whose actions they condemn.

These videos are political propaganda; nothing more and nothing less.  And with this brand of mass communication, statements being true, false, or out of context don’t matter.  That they’re being said, and megaphoned out into the public arena is what matters.

It’s like that scene in “Jaws,” where the Mayor explains the difference between yelling “barracuda” (“People go “huh?”) and “shark,” (“You have a panic on your hands on the 4th of July.”)

In this case, if they scream “Hey, they’re doing abortions!” people go, “Yeah, we know, how terrible.”  But if they scream, “Hey, they’re chopping up babies and selling them for parts!” people go, “Holy shit, we gotta put these bastards out of business.”

Most Americans don’t go to the trouble of finding out if the claims are true if it plays to their viewpoint.  And the anti-choice politicians are only too eager to run with it.  In fact, there are two congressmen who were quoted as saying they’d seen the first video two weeks before it was released.

I think I know the reason for that.  It’s my opinion that it was political operatives who set the whole thing in motion.  Maybe a congressman, maybe a close aide.  But I think someone buttonholed these “filmmakers” and said, “Just get us something we can use.  Get us something so hideous and so grotesque, that Americans will rise up and demand the end to Planned Parenthood.”

And look what happened.  There were calls in the House to defund Planned Parenthood before the credits rolled.

I’ve mentioned this before, in a larger discussion of the abortion issue, that the key to reducing the number of abortion is birth control on demand and sex education, both of which are available at Planned Parenthood.  So it’s a quandary that anti-choice people so often fight to limit those preventive measures.  They should be doubling the funding for PP, not reducing it. 

And after the baby is born?  Forget it.  Conservatives don’t want to know about any of that.

So, they don’t want abortions, they don’t want birth control or sex education, and they don’t want the government to provide any help for troubled mothers and families. 

They couldn’t un-legislate Roe vs Wade, so they’ve taken the circuitous route to eliminating Planned Parenthood.  They fight every year to eliminate funding.  They legislate requirements that doctors provide medically unsound and downright false information to patients.  They fight to eliminate the chemical used in abortion pills.  They use zoning laws and building spec requirements to shut down clinics. They require doctors who perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges, where this requirement is found nowhere else.  In fact, giving birth is statistically more dangerous than an abortion, yet you can give birth at home with no doctor if you want.  Do you think a urologist performing a vasectomy has to have admitting privileges?

When they’re successful at closing down a clinic and women have to drive five hours or more to get to the next closest one, they don’t see it as an undue burden. 

Then there are the required waiting periods, which can necessitate either a hotel stay or a second round of 5-hour drives, and they don’t see that as a burden either.  It’s just some slut, after all.

And they do this because your action offends THEIR moral sensibility.  They do not give a flying fuck about yours.

Last week, Mike Huckabee was quoted as saying, “I think the next president ought to invoke the fifth and 14th amendments to the Constitution. Now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother's womb is a person at the moment of conception.”

Mike, we don’t “clearly know” any such thing.  The moment of life is an ongoing moral dilemma and a very personal one.  I happen to think when the two cells intersect, it’s a science project, not a person… not until much later.  Who are you do decide this issue for everyone else?  In fact, until you grow a uterus, you don’t even get a vote.  Now go back to playing bass with Ted Nugent.

But this is the key point.  No one enjoys abortions.  No one sets out in life with a goal to go have some abortions.  Planned Parenthood isn’t recruiting people to stop by for an abortion, nor are they strong-arming women who come in for a pap smear into getting an abortion instead.

The only way to reduce abortion (which is a noble goal) is to reduce the need, not the means to get one.  That’s through education and birth control. 

When they do get their way and prevent a woman from accessing abortion services, they need to have something in their hand beside condemnation to offer her.

And until anti-choice crusaders accept these facts, every claim they make regarding concern for women’s health, and children’s health, and the beauty of “choosing life,” rings as hollow as their souls. 

Planned Parenthood provides valuable health services to women who need them.  3% of the time, that’s abortion.  The other 97% covers a myriad of health care needs.  They are hanging on by a thread, because of a bit of videotaped sleight of hand, created by people dedicated to shutting them down by any means necessary.

They need help, to continue providing health services to women with nowhere else to turn.

I’m writing them a check tonight.  You should too.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Guys Weekend - Baltimore Edition

A couple of years back, I met my buddy the CFO and his son, Jake, in Pittsburgh for a weekend of baseball games when his beloved Tigers were in town for a series against the Pirates.

Cut to this weekend, when the Boys were Back in Town, only this time, right here in Baltimore.  The Tigers had a 4-game series against the Orioles and we had tickets for the first two games on Thursday and Friday nights, and for a Sunday game up in Philadelphia.

It’s been about 6 years since the CFO was here last, so I had some fun things on the “schedule” to keep us all occupied in and around the baseball games. 

Director’s DVD Commentary: Yes, I actually roughed out a schedule on a spreadsheet, but NO, it did not include times we needed to be places (other than things with concrete starting times).  It was just a way to arrange all our options.  And we ended up scrambling it all up anyway.

First of all, since we had three days’ worth of activity taking place downtown, we decided to get a hotel room near the Inner Harbor for Thursday and Friday nights.  We figured there would be less time spent shuttling back and forth on the subway if we just stayed there.  Plus, I wouldn’t have to cook.

We decided to hit the National Aquarium first and take in the underwater spectacle. It didn’t disappoint.

"Hop on, dude!"

Forget the cat and dog... we got Grumpy Frog!

The long sought-after, "Marty Feldman Tetra."

"You talkin' to me?"

These guys were always in a hurry.

"OK, who dropped the Trojan Party Pack into the tank?"

"And now, Jacques Cousteau presents the elusive Saltwater Sea Loogie."
"...And who's been pouring vodka into the dolphin tank?"

All that aquatic excitement worked up a powerful thirst, so after checking into the hotel and gearing up, we made our way down to The Bullpen for some reasonably priced liquid refreshment, or in other words..

We didn’t stay too long, though, because we wanted plenty of time to wander around the ballpark and cause trouble.

Because Jake plays the same position, he wanted a chance to watch the Orioles 3rd base phenom Manny Machado, so we got tickets 11 rows behind him.

"Why is that kid staring at me? Do I owe him money?"

It was an exciting game; the Tigers jumped out to a big lead, but the Orioles fought back, although the rally fell just short and they lost 9-8.

On Friday, we got tickets for a guided tour of Camden Yards.  Over an hour and a half, we were given the history of the area, a rundown of all the architectural decisions that went into creating Camden Yards, toured the luxury boxes, the scoreboard control room, the press box, and ended up being led down onto the field, around the grounds crew who were watering the infield, and into the Orioles dugout. 

This was the coolest thing I’ve done in years.  Unfortunately, I had to press my luck.

The whole time, our guide told us, “Stay off the grass, you have to stay off the grass.”

From the clay cinder track, I walked up short of the grass, thinking, “OK, I’m not on the grass.”  But I had to touch it.  My goal for the entire tour was to touch Major League grass.  As I bent over and lowered my hand, I heard the tour guide say sharply, “Don’t touch it…”

But the signal from my brain had already been received and was past the point of no return.  I lightly brushed the grass with the back of my hand, and then leaped back as if I’d been touched a stove.  Dude wouldn’t even look at me for the rest of the tour.

The CFO piped up, “It doesn’t touch the field, or else it gets the hose again.”

(Yes, I know it’s not the right cadence for a legit Silence of the Lambs quote, but I have to give the CFO credit.  Because he’ll demand it in Comments either way.)

 “I’m sorry I bent your grass, Mister.”

Later, I emailed Sitcom Kelly this picture,

and wrote, “Guess where I just was.”

She replied, “Fun!! Did you carve my phone number in the bench?  Did you get out to the bullpen? (not the bar). Put my number out there too.”

Sure, what’s one more athlete to go missing and end up clawing at a dirt wall at the bottom of a pit in Sitcom Kelly’s basement?

Because we still had a bunch more time to kill after the tour, we checked out the Maryland Science Center.  The place was really cool, but there was something about it that just gave me an uneasy feeling.  I'm not sure why...

This time, we sat in one of my regular spots, the left field club seats.  We had a lot more elbow room up there, which was good.  The CFO had to banish his son, for wearing an Orioles shirt instead of Tigers.  (It was a laundry situation.)

We saw another exciting game, with the Tigers again jumping out to a big lead… 6-0 in the 4th inning, before the Orioles came back to win 8-6.  The whole series ended up in a 2-2 split, so neither of us won bragging rights.  So I just fell back on the O’s sweeping the Tigers in the playoffs last season.

Saturday was an open day, as far as specific events go, so we decided to fill it (and us) with lunch at noted Meat-a-torium, Fogo de Chao.

I even skipped the free breakfast at the hotel, just so I’d be good and ready for the Meat-O-Rama.  But then what do we find?  The place doesn’t serve lunch on Saturdays.  I couldn’t believe that.  The busiest day of the week at the Inner Harbor and they don’t do lunch?  Sorry… that does not compute.

Instead, I gave the guys a tour of my new office building and then we ate at a local (upscale) deli.  Sure, it was good, but it just wasn’t the same as unlimited meat on a skewer.

After lunch, Jake wanted to ride a water taxi, so we jumped on one that said they were going across the Harbor to the Rusty Scupper.  I assumed this was one of the free ones, the “circulators” that run every 15 minutes, but it turned out to be a paid route with several stops.  He said the Circulator boat didn’t run on weekends.  Gah!  Wasn’t shit working out on this day, I tell you.

I told the guy to just take us back to where we started from, but it was too late.  He didn’t charge us, but we wouldn’t have a ride back. Instead, we walked all the way around the Harbor to get back to our parking garage, in the searing sun.

On the bright side, though, we went by a guy and his son doing a stunt act at the base of the Inner Harbor, so we stopped and watched for a bit.  As a finale, the guy had his 7-year old son stand on top of a half-beachball, on top of a keyboard stand, and escape from a straightjacket.

(Yes, they really have straightjackets for kids, and no, he wouldn’t tell us where we could get one.)

The kid was amazing though… I mean, YOU try balancing on a ball without the use of your arms…

We killed the rest of the night eating pizza, drinking beer and watching the next Orioles/Tigers game on TV.

On Sunday, we drove up to see the Phillies/Braves game at the new(ish) Citizens Bank Ballpark.  I have to say, I was impressed.  It was really a beautiful place, with wide aisles, good food, and lots of little standing room nooks to have a bite and watch the game.

Our original seats were in the sun, and the ushers had no problems telling people to move to shaded spots… as opposed to Baltimore, where the ushers will shoot you dead for switching seats… or touching their grass.

The Philadelphia Naval Shipyards were about a mile from the ballpark, and as luck would further have it, the CFO’s old ship, the USS John F. Kennedy, was docked there.  So we ran over there after the game so he could reacquaint with the old girl.

She was being dismantled, so she’d seen better days.

Just because we missed out on Fogo on Saturday doesn’t mean we gave up on our hopes to have a meat feast… we just postponed.  The guys were going to leave Monday morning, but instead we decided they could leave later, after meeting me at Fogo for lunch.

Brandishing our last forkfuls.

Trust me, (because as I write this, I’ve got the meat sweats and am sitting in a puddle of grease,) we got our money’s worth.  Just about everything they carved off for us was delectable.  You should have seen me doing the Fred Sanford Shuffle back to the office afterwards.  Don’t think I’ll be needing dinner tonight, thank you very much.

Anyway, that was the weekend… a packed one at that.  I think I did more stuff over the last 4 days than I’ve done in the last 4 years.  But it was fun being the host, and I hope my guests enjoyed their stay at Chez Bluz. 

Well, there and at Chez Marriott…