Friday, February 24, 2006

Why America doesn't care about the Olympics

1) It was much more dramatic when the US' AMATEUR athletes competed against the world. Our college basketball players were better than the world's pro players. Now, it's almost all pros against pros, and a lot of the drama is gone. The Dream Team was amazing to watch that first year, and then got lousier every Olympics afterwards.

The Miracle on Ice was amazing because those were college kids who beat the Best Team on the Planet. It'd be like Des Moines' Polk High beating the Patriots in football, or Uganda's 14-and-under development team beating Man U in the other football.

Without that potential for drama, it's simply not compelling.

2) 20 years ago, they were the only things on TV. Not the case anymore. The fact that American Idol beat the living hell out of the Olympics says a lot. Either people love Simon Cowell, or hate Dick Buttons.

3) Tape delay - when we were younger, we had the Lake Placid, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Calgary games all in our relative time zones. When the Games are in Australia, Greece, Norway,'s harder to watch. We want instant access to our broadcasts, not tape delays.

4) The Olympics are every 2 years now. There's not that four year hype buildup. I was actually shocked the Olympics were this year. Coulda swore we just had one.

5) Ice skating was always a big television draw in the old days. Now, skating's on regular broadcasts more often, and less unique. Hell, celebrities skate now.

If you have a loose definition for the term "celebrity."

6) Women's Gymnasts - Please, let's call it what the event is - Pint-Sized 12 Year-Old Girls with Pushy Parents. These girls aren't women yet, PERIOD! End of discussion. Put in an age limit before we start getting dancing embryos in frilly skirts.

7) There's no enemy anymore. When we were kids, it was the West vs. the East. NATO vs. the Eastern Bloc. USA vs. USSR. US vs. Them. The Miracle on Ice.

Now, the veil's been lifted, and we've seen the enemy, and they look like us. It's hard to get amped up over a US vs. Latvia match-up. Even in our current war(s), the Afghani and Iraqi people aren't REALLY our enemy, so, in a way, the competitive level for the bigger nations simply isn't there. "Wow, we beat"

8) They're predictable. The Nigerian will win the long-distance running, the Americans and Aussies will win the swimming, the Brits win the equestrian, the skinny dude will win the cycling, the Canadians or Russians will win the hockey, the Germans will win most of the shooting events, and the Europeans will snag the skiing medals, and the American and Canadians will get the snowboarding medals. There, I'm 90% accurate and I saved you hours of TV time. Go read a book to celebrate.

9) Hate to break this to the world, but MOST OF THESE SPORTS SUCK!!!!!!! ESPN 8, The Ocho, wouldn't broadcast half this crap. If the biathalon were on TV every week, it'd be lower rated than "Love Monkey." The only reason people watch the luge, bobsled and ski jumping events is because somebody might wipe out spectacularly. And women's figure skating is only viewed by women and lonely, horny men.

If those girls had to put on proper clothing, the ratings would drop like a fat bungee jumper.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


When I was a baby deejay, my radio station hired a new overnight guy. He was a chubby stupid kid with a lousy voice - about the only guy willing to stay up all night in Ocean City making 8 bucks an hour.

He came on the air after my show, and I tried to loosen him up, because I could tell he was a bundle of nerves. We had MAYBE 100 listeners at overnight, maybe 150, so, he had no need to be nervous, but nervous he was. I was a little peeved he showed up five minutes before his shift, but, hey, I don't pay the checks.

ME: Alright, my time is just about done this evening, but please continue to listen to the X because we have a very talented young man hitting the airwaves tonight. So, Dude (not knowing what his radio name is, I improvised), talk to me. What's your name?

DUDE: Uh.... uh...

ME: Damn, I've stumped him already. How'd those SATs work out for you, negative -200 on the English. What's your name?

HIM: Uh... (he does this for 30 seconds)

ME: are a man truly with a gift of speech. You guys working all night at Togo's Pizza are in for a treat tonight (look at me giving a shout-out to the advertisers!!!), so, everybody, enjoy this night with Mystery Man deejay. This is (some crappy alt-rock song from 1995) on X 106 point 9

ME: (turns off mic) : Dude, you are aware that one of the vital things of being a deejay is the ability to speak into a microphone, right?

DUDE: (eyes roll back into head) Um...uh...

DUDE is passed out. On falling, he hits the CD cart machine, knocking it four or five songs in advance. His milkshake pours all over a stack of discs. ME has to get back on the air, quick.

ME: (flipping on mic) That sound is brought to you by Dude, who is simply passed out (ME starts cracking up) I mean, striaght up, this guy was standing next to me 20 seconds ago...and ...he he he... he wiped out ON the desk, and the floor. I wish I had a camera, this is brilliant...(ME really cracks up) Hehehehehehahahahahah!!! This station hired a mute deejay....good Lord...(getting serious) is he even alive? Dude is OUT, and his damned milkshake spilled everywhere. He just nailed the new Supergrass disc...covered in McDonald's milkshake...this is great...this guy...Dude! DUDE!! Wake up! (ME pauses) Oh well, I guess I'm doing overnight shift tonight, call me on the request line at..."

DUDE: ungggh

ME : Dude's coming to!

DUDE: uh...

ME : You alright? You just passed out.

DUDE: ungggh.. my...ouch...

ME: (cues a CD) here's (some other crappy 1995 alt-rock song) and I'll see if Dude's ok.

Me: Damn, man. That looked painful.
DUDE: I'm Johnny.
Me: Hey Johnny. First night as a deejay?
DUDE: Yeah.
Me: you need some water, chips? something?
DUDE: Nah, I'm cool.
Me: you ok to go on?
DUDE: I don't know. Little dizzy.
Me: (realizing I'm going to be pulling an all-nighter) How about I hang out with you for a bit `til I know you're OK?
DUDE: Yeah
Me: So, you know how to follow a playlist?
Me: HUH?!?!?!?
DUDE: What's that?
Me: A list of songs that you need to play. Computer over there shoots it out for us.
DUDE: I don't get to play what I want?
Me: No!
DUDE: Damn
Me: You know how to use a board?
Dude: this thing you're using?
Me: Yeah
Dude: No
Dude: Sorry...
Me: It's ok, I'll teach you. Now, first off, what's your radio name?
Dude : Huh?
Me: GAH!!! You need a radio name.
Dude: Well, what should I be?
Me: Well, what's your name?
Dude: Johnny (somethin or another)
Me : (looks at the milkshake debris and the fact he needs protection...) Condom.
Dude: What?
Me: Johnny Condom. That's your name.
Johnny Condom: Cool.

For the next hour or two, I show him how the control board works, how to read a play list, how to front sell, how to back sell, how to read our weather and news machine. By 2am, I figure he's good to run solo. We start off with just him talking, and I'll run the board.

Johnny Condom : (says nothing)
ME: (whispering) speak...
Johnny Condom : Uh, hi. I'm Johnny Condom. (pauses...then comes a complete halt)
ME: talk more...
Johnny Condom: OK... (stops again)
ME: who played that song?
Johnny Condom: That was Nirvana?
ME: Good! What song was it?
Johnny Condom: I don't know
ME: Read the sheet
Johnny Condom: Oh.
ME: Well, what song was it? Tell the nice audience
Johnny Condom: Uh, it was the one Bowie did
ME: Good enough.

The rest of the evening went a lot like that.

Needless to say, when the morning show guys showed up at 5:30, they weren't shocked to see me still there. Both had listened to this audio trainwreck on the way in to work, and the ironic thing was that one of the morning show guys was also the INCREDIBLY cheap station owner...the guy who hired Johnny Condom.

JJ (aka cheap statio owner) : He's not ready for prime-time, is he?
ME: Nope. He's pretty awful.
JJ: I'm not paying you for the past six hours.
ME: Whatever.

Johnny Condom's radio career lasted three weeks. Other highlights included him breaking the stool in the studio - which I sat on the next night and damned near killed myself in the process - and saying "Oh F*ck!" on the air.

God Bless Johnny Condom

Does an empty museum dream of exhibits? - Reviewed by the Five Paragraph Bitter Museum Critic

I'm branching out, people. Why limit myself to reviewing movies when my bitterness is much, much deeper.

The National Building Museum is a wonderful piece of old brick architecture in the middle of concrete-and-marble Washington, D.C. Soaring ceilings, high marble columns in the grand hall, great sight's truly something to see.

However, there's next to nothing in the museum as far as displays and exhibits. Some fascinating pictures of the changing of Washington from a quiet government town to a major city, a couple of displays of the Jewish influence in DC...and that's about it. I don't get it - more than half the space is wide-open. I mean, nada. Nuthin'. Zippy. There is thousands of square feet of available display space. They closed a display so they could put another one in the same place...while an identically-sized space across the hall is wide-open.

This place is emptier than the Young Republicans' booth at Wellesley College. I've gotten more substance in a Jessica Simpson music video (on mute, of course), and, after touring the Museum, feel a new-found sympathy for Nick Lachey.

Needless to say, the NBM, while pretty, is now the weakest Smithsonian I've seen.

2 out of 7 Whammies! - and that's because the Museum looks cool and has a killer gift shop. Five Whammies! were deducted because they have five empty exhibit halls and can be thoroughly scanned in five minutes.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Chaney's Got a Gun - courtesy of Aerosmith

Cheney's Got a Gun
Cheney's Got a Gun
He's proving he's really dumb
He's shootin' at everyone

What did his buddy do?
To get shot in the head by you?
They said when Cheney was a' shootin'
He would be shootin' at some game
But his man, he had it comin' now that Cheneys got a gun
His lawyer ain't ever gonna be the same.

Chaney's got a gun
Chaney's got a gun
His hunting day just begun
Now everybody is on the run
Tell me now it's untrue.
What did his lawyer do?
He got shot by Dick Chene
The man has got to be insane
They say the buckshot that he took to the midsection and the face
put that 78 year old man in the pain

Run away, run away from the Cheney yeah, yeah yeah yeah
Run away run away from the Cheney yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Run away, run away, run, run away

Cheney's got a gun
Cheney's got a gun
His hunting day'd just begun
Now everybody is on the run
What did that lawyer do?
To make Cheney fire through?
He had to go quail hunting and put a bullet in his brain
He said 'cause I ain't no quail' but Cheney was a'shootin'
His face ain't never gonna be the same.

Run away, run away from the Cheney yeah, yeah
yeah yeah yeah
Run away run away from the Cheney yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Run away, run away, run, run away

Cheney's got a gun
Cheney's got a gun
Cheney's got a gun
Everybody is on the run

Cheney's Got a Gun

Proposed Slogans for the Dick Chaney Annual Quail Shoot...

"Giving Shotguns to Nearsighted Senile Politicians Since 1994!"

"For a Different Kind of Facial"

"Where Hot Lead Meets the Chest"

"Quail Shooting Optional"

"Confusing Grown Men for 5 Pound Birds since 2006!"

"I'm Dick Cheney and I'll Shoot Who I Want, Bucko"

"Ability to Aim Not Neccessary!"

Twisted Tune en route...

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Longest Yard - Reviewed by the Five Paragraph Bitter Film Critic

This movie made me look at my home theater, in all of its Dolby 5.1 splendor, and think it was absolutely all bought in vain. For by watching the remake of The Longest Yard at my place, it would be like the Louvre displaying children's fridge art, or the Met doing a retrospective on "Can You Draw Skippy?" It's an understatement to call this the worst movie I've seen since "Day After Tomorrow." This movie isn't even close. The movie has more problems than the self-help section of Border's.

Allow me to explain - Adam Sandler plays Paul Crewe, the role made famous by Burt Reynolds in the original. Crewe is supposed to be the quinessential sexy bad boy that all the ladies love, which was easy for Reynolds to pull off. Sandler, however, has the sex appeal of week-old McDonald's food. He has next-to-no athletic ability - hell, I look more like a NFL quarterback than he does - and really seems to be sleepwalking through this movie. He turns Crewe into a slack drunkard with zero charisma and a bad attitude to boot, and while he's funny when carted off to prison, that's about it. The only reason Crewe Part Deux becomes likable is because the people who run the prison are even worse.

I'm stunned that Texas prisons have Guard football leagues, and I'm stunned that the warden (played by Babe's owner, James Cromwell)would hire former college and NFL players to be in this league. And, oh, they're naughty prison guards, too! They beat the prisoners! They're racists! They take steroids! The warden will use anybody for his political future! But, such stereotypes aren't meant to be realistic, only to push the paper-thin plot past holes the size of Tony Siragusa.

The only delightful thing in this movie is to see the massive amount of cameos and stunt-castings. Former NFL players Bill Romanowski, Michael Irvin, Brian Bosworth, and Terry Crews all get plenty of screentime, and former NFL lineman and pro wrestler Goldberg actually gives a strong performance. I guess all that acting in wrestling paid off. Also, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Nelly, Dan Patrick, Red McCombs, Jay Glazer, Peter King, Chris Berman and anybody else without a shred of dignity was in it.

Please, do not see this movie unless you hate yourself or are Mrs. Adam Sandler.

2 out of 17 Whammies! The only saving graces were Goldberg's surprising ability to act and all the cameos. I subtracted 15 Whammies for each time I said aloud "I can't believe I'm watching this shit." Once again, Chris Rock can't find a decent movie to save his scrawny ass.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Garfield of Mass Destruction

The global protests over the political cartoons in Europe which have angered many Muslims have become deadly again, with four people dying in Afghanistan today. Combine this with the torching of the Danish embassy in Iran, riots in Lebanon, and protests amongst the Islamic communities in Europe, and this thing has gone from the ridiculous to the sublime.

Let's put it this way - four people in Afghanistan have died over a cartoon. Now, in reality, they got out of hand and disobeyed police orders. But I have never seen anybody in America take to the streets over a particularly racy "Family Circus" where Jeffy and "Not Me" catch the neighbor's wife in an amourous pose with Daddy. Nobody in England has taken to arms and attacked Parliament because "Get Fuzzy" was a tad too naughty one day, and the ink blurred the view of the Page 3 girls.

The outrage over these cartoons does prove one vital thing - the West is losing the war for the Hearts, Minds and Wallets of the Islamic World.

When it appeared that NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries would fight each other in a never-ending game of weapons collections, along came the calvary in the form of Levis, McDonalds and video games. The Soviets weren't souless monsters - they just needed a good shopping mall. The Western culture won the war the B2 Bomber couldn't.

When it appeared Japan and the US would fight it out for global economic dominance, it wasn't a well-played interest rate deduction by the Fed or brilliant moves by Wall Street that swung the balance in the US' favor. It was the pervasiveness of the American culture to allow its icons to burn so brightly in the Japanese mindset that their investors didn't mind paying well-above-market value for high-profile properties. When the real estate market collapsed a couple of years later, the Japanese firms were left paying incredible loans for devalued properties.

What's happening in Islam is that this religion has managed to fight tooth-and-nail to keep from being even slightly assimilated by the Western culture. Ideas like freedom of the press and relative indifference towards religion have not taken hold like it has in the West. When shows like Family Guy can draw God in bed with a woman, or Drawn Together can show God in a "glory hole" - two strong images that were meant to offend Christian conservatives - gather nary a peep of complaint, that indicates most Westerners don't get too bothered about cartoon images. However, dare show a drawn image of the Prophet, and it's time to riot!

What's more offensive? A cartoon of a blasphemous image, in which the Family Guy, Drawn Together, and political cartoons in question all are , or the fact that people have died in these subsequent protests?

Do these protests prove the very predujices many Westerners feel towards Muslims, or is this yet another demonstration that Henry Kissinger's assertion that there will never be peace in the Middle East is true?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Why I love my hometown

I wish I could film this...from the Baltimore Sun...

Police are looking for a jogger who kicked a toy poodle so hard that it landed on the other side of an Edgewater street, leaving it paralyzed.

The 9-year-old, 4 1/2 -pound poodle named Jacquelyn was at a veterinary hospital in Annapolis yesterday, paralyzed from the neck down. It is unclear whether the paralysis is from structural damage or traumatic shock.

Witnesses told Anne Arundel County police that the jogger kicked the dog three times after it ran up to him barking and nipping at his heels just before 9 a.m.

Janice Tippett, the poodle's owner, told The Capital newspaper, "This guy is so bad. She did not deserve that. Neither me or her ever hurt anybody."

Tippett said she had opened the garage door to her townhouse just as the man jogged by and Jacquelyn ran out, barking.

Tippett said the man shoved Jacquelyn with his foot as the dog came up on his heels. Then he turned and kicked the animal and "stopped and did it again."

Ah, yes, I can see it now...soft camera focus on a small town on the water, right at golden light, small haze coming from the water, Bruce Springsteen's "My Hometown" fades up...

I'm almost 33, live in Northern Virginia and have a sensible career with a sensible Defense contractor. My mother just moved from Edgewater last month, so I have little-to-no-reason to return, but stories like this show me that no matter how much the town has changed, it'll never change.

Nearly 400 years ago, as the English settled in Maryland, they set up a trading post and settlement on the shores of the South River, and named it Seaport. It was quickly changed to London Town, and the small settlement grew quickly. The only surviving structure, the London Town Publik House, was a place of commerce, a place of lodging, dining, drinking and a home of ill repute, if a sailor played his cards right. As England poured more resources into the region, they built roads for land-based commerce. Tobacco was so easily grown in the area, and England was making wads of cash from the area. But, the settlement of Annapolis was only five miles north, and while smaller than London Town, and with a shallower harbor, was slightly closer to Baltimore and Philadelphia. Through a political debate both in the colony and in Parliament, the new road was built to Annapolis, not London Town, and a new harbor was dredged in the colony's new capital. London Town fell out of favor as a trading post, and the small bustling community disintegrated.

London Town became buried by the wilderness as Annapolis grew into a real city. It essentially remained barren for years, except with the Publik House serving as a warehouse, a whorehouse, an orphan's asylum and a hulking remnant of what once was. There are other Lost English Towns of the Chesapeake, and, if some Spanish texts are to be believed, a couple of former Spanish outposts buried between the Potomac and the Chesapeake. None of them had a structure like the Publik House, which, for some reason, withstood decades of abuse, neglect, misuse and Maryland's notoriously fickle weather in one piece.

In the late 1800s, with London Town long forgotten and a burgeoning middle class developing in Baltimore and DC, a trip to the beach became a wonderful vacation idea. Places near London Town began to attract weekend and holiday visitors, like nearby Beverly Beach and Shoreham Beach. Large grandstands and concert halls were built along the shores of the Chesapeake and the South River, both on the Annapolis side to the north and the south of Beverly and Shoreham. Anne Arundel County's large waterfront areas, from the Patapsco to the North, the Severn and South Rivers in the middle, and the West River in the South (hey, I didn't name the damned bodies of water, and how the hell you get a West River south of the South River is beyond me) became the getaway places of choice.

Anne Arundel County was a playground for the urban citizens of the nearby cities. Media outlets like the Washington Star and the Washington Post began buying real estate on the peninsula between the South and the West Rivers, enticing would-be subscribers a couple of lots of property in exchange for subscriptions to their papers. The idea worked, and in 1920s, lots of weekend and summer beach cottages were erected. What was once London Town became Woodland Beach. The area between Beverly Beach and Shoreham Beach eventually became known as Mayo and Selby, and the whole thing was called Edgewater by the various governments and the Post Office.

When the Depression hit, many folks couldn't afford their cottages, and so they remained abandoned. Poor folks looking for shelter found it in these cottages, and there was always some work to be found shucking oysters, catching crabs, or working on boats. The communities founded by the newspapers didn't die, but they certainly didn't thrive.

So, Edgewater became pretty blue collar, pretty seedy. Definitely polluted. After the War, industries in both cities dumped their waste materials either in or near the South River. What, were the poor people gonna complain? Hell, would they even notice?

As the seafood industry quietly died, the town's demographics swtiched from nautical to construction workers, auto mechanics, and rednecks. I was born there in 1973, during the height of it's trashiness. Shows like Archie Bunker, Roseanne, Married With Children - those could have easily been set in Edgewater. Just there would have been less racial diversity. I was in kindergarten with a black kid. The black kid. Not just for kindergarten, or even the elementary school. For the whole town.

"My Name is Earl" *SHOULD* have been set in Edgewater. Every one of my neighbors had the glorious Earl Hickey 'stache - including half the women. Tattoos may be hip to the point of becoming cliche' now, but in the straightlaced Cosby Show '80s, tattoos were almost Satanic. Not in good ole' Edgewater, though - Harley drivin' men were more inked out than an NBA point guard and even the chicks had "Budweiser" tats. On their boobs. And exposed them often in public.

And maybe I've watched too much "Earl" - a redneck, white trash criminal decides to right himself through karma - but the thought of karma is simply too delicious for me to pass on. This is a long post - basically an essay - but bear with me, and don't punt the dogma yet.

My family owned a small grocery store in Edgewater. Coming from the hills of Western Pennsylvania, they were just grateful to live in a town that didn't get 20 feet of snow a year. Sure, there were occasional biker gang shoot outs down the street, guys walking in the store with pythons around their necks, and folks smelling like they bathed in Pabst Blue Ribbon. All part of the joys of getting out of Pennsylvania, I guess.

I figured out pretty quickly that I had little in common with Edgewater, when I found I had pretty much zippy skills in auto repair, firefighting or motor skills. I tried to hod rod my Big Wheel with disasterous results. Remember how those things had the plastic lever, like a parking brake, that could allow you to skid out? Well, on a dare from some much bigger and older kids in the neighborhood, I took a box of those 4th of July snapping fireworks, sparklers, a book of matches, and was going to be like my hero, Evel Kinevel, and skid out in a blaze of glory. I pedalled as hard as I could to a tall hill, lit my sparklers and hauled ass down the hill. The sparklers ignited my shirt. The idea was that the SPARKLERS would be on fire, not ME! I freaked out, trying to thow the shirt off me...all while under the power of gravity. I lost control of my Big Wheel while throwing the shirt off, and tumbled down the hill like that Agony of Defeat ski jumper in the old Wide World of Sports intro, except I was ablaze. The snappers fell out of my pockets, sounding like small arms fire as I rolled down the hill. Once I got done tumbling, which felt like 300 feet of agony, I looked at my ruined Big Wheel, my scorched shirt, felt a series of cuts up and down my arms, legs, and head, and the group of 10 or so older kids laughing like they had just seen a nutshot compilation on America's Funniest Home Videos, and I did what any self-respecting six-year old would do - I bawled. Luckily, Grandma was the first to find me, and planted the seed in mom's head that MAYBE I should go to private school in Annapolis. Perhaps Edgewater's public schools weren't for me.

Looking back, it was more like a 20 foot fall, and not steep of a hill. But when you're six, that was a mountain, and the people who lived on top weren't unemployed, but Zeus and Apollo know, had I known about Greek mythology then.

Edgewater began to change around 1990, when the South River Colony development was planned. It was a developer's wet dream - great highway and waterway access, and a bunch of dumb poor rednecks sitting in dilapidated shacks. It was no contest. The developers and their slick lawyers managed to avoid most on Anne Arundel County's growth requirements by signing a contract with Edgewater's form of local council, the London Town Property Owners Association. In exchange for tapping into Edgewater's already shoddy sewer and storm drain system, South River Colony would create a sign saying "Welcome to Londontown!"

To give this perspective, this is akin to the Red Sox trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees, but NOT getting enough money to put on "No No Nanette," quite the popular musical. Or, how about when the Cowboys totally suckered the Vikings into trading them the 1990s for Herschel Walker. The Cowboys won three Super Bowls in the wake of that trade and the Vikings...well, they'll always have Lake Minnetonka.

O.K. - a non-sports analogy - trading sewer and storm drain rights for a sign is like going to a car dealership with a 1967 Ford Mustang, garage-kept, 1800 miles on the odometer, pristine condition, and trading it straight up for Scion because you want to try out XM radio.

Or, let's put it in dollar amounts - a MINIMUM of 2.6 million dollars in infrastructure, labor and engineering for a $10,000 sign. And some mums to plant around it.

The LTPOA got played like a wholesome, virginal doe-eyed sweet girl hanging out with the football team's star quarterback in some not-quite-rated-x-bastardization of a John Hughes' movie. There's no Jake Ryan for you, Molly Ringwald, only a massive hangover and 20 years of regrets. Edgewater had a chance for a Flush at the Turn, but lost it at the River.

What really provides the extra kick-in-the-crotch is that the vast majority of the older areas - Woodland, Shoreham and Beverly Beaches - are all on well water, with that water fed from a corrupted, tainted aquifer. There are SO MANY chemicals living in the standard drinking water of this area it's like a who's who of carcinigens. Cadmium? Check. Mercury? Check. That exact same stuff that Evin Brockovich fought against? Check. However, SRC - well, my goodness, isn't this great? You get to have nice, pristine public water piped all the way down from Annapolis. 99.999% pure water. Your water doesn't turn purple or brown, or set off a Geiger counter.

So, this poodle's tale of "whoa" happened in that high-end development, South River Colony. This poodle gets kicked like a keg of Schlitz at a frat party, and makes the Baltimore Sun. The poodle's owner describes how hard it is to provide physical therapy to its little legs and back. I'm sure it was traumatic for her to see her dog go airborne like that beret-catching mutt in European Vacation doing a base jump off the Eiffel Tower.

However, when I was 13, and decided that I wanted to be a professional cyclist, I was riding my bike on a training run through Edgewater pre-South River Colony, when it was just construction workers, mechanics and KKK members, I had an unchained, unfenced Rottweiler mix chase me almost a mile and a 1/2, according to my bike computer, along Shore Drive, down several other streets, weaving through neighborhoods like a furry heatseaker missle. I had one of those long tire pumps that fastened underneath the bike's top tube, and I reached down and swung it at the dog. He was getting dangerously closer to getting my bike, or even me. In one of my manic flails, I actually connected to the side of his head. Bad idea - that only pissed him off more. I was on the roads, and he was cutting through yards. Not fair. Damn dog was tracking me like those bullets Gene Simmons' fired at Tom Selleck in "Runaway," you know, back when Kirstie Alley was still hot? Anyway, as I tried to make a 120 degree turn back on to Shore Drive at about 22 mph, I hit some gravel and wiped out, spinning me away from the bike. The dog caught up to the wreckage and started *eating* my bike. He attacked my rear wheel like a fat kid attacks a fantasy role playing game. He ripped the tire from the rim, and bit through the spokes of the still-spinning wheel. Me, being the brave sub-100 pounder that I was, didn't confront the dog and instead ran like a French infantry unit up a hill and into some older guy's yard. He heard the commotion, and was poking his head out the door to see a bloodied skinny kid wearing cycling shorts - not exactly common in a blue collar town in 1986 - a damaged helmet and a Rottie mutt eating a racing bike outside his front yard. He goes "What in the hell happened to you, kid?"

Breathing heavily, and probably in a bit of shock, I said "I was riding my bike home from a training run when this dog ran out of the woods on Shore Drive over by Mayo Road and started chasing me and wouldn't stop eventhough I was riding as fast as I could and I went around Laurel Road and tried to double back on Shore to lose him when I wiped out and now he's eating my bike and call the cops..." when the guy broke me off and said "You should have pedalled faster, kid." He went back inside and slammed the door.

After a few minutes, the dog got sick of ruining my bike, satisfied he'd made his kill,and ran off back towards the woods. I looked at the wreckage of my bike - luckily, it was a fairly cheap bike, a step above a department store special, but I knew I'd get yelled at by my folks. I also knew they'd never believe that I couldn't outpace a dog, but Cujo-FloJo back there was a different breed. I picked up the pieces of my destroyed rear wheel, some still covered in dog saliva, and walked the remaining mile or so back home.

I eventually told my mom what happened that day, about how I was chased by a crazy mutt, and her words of solace? "You should have gone faster."

So, Ms. Tippett, I'm sorry your dog got treated like an extra point, but it's about time some dogs in Edgewater got some karmic retribution.

And that South River Colony got some, too. Maybe fighting for your slightly less fortunate neighbors - now less redneck than they used to be, and more young professionals with families, looking for somemthing resembling affordable housing as you sit in your golf course McMansions, to get the public water they DESERVE more than your carpet-bagging selves....that'd be a start.

- me