The weather’s getting hot and humid; mosquitoes are biting; ticks are attacking every time I mow; and the back of my neck is sunburned. All of this means it’s again time for my semi-annual list of pet peeves:
1. Texting while driving. I see it all of the time, and these people are putting my family and me at risk. Just stop it! No one can look down and drive safely at the same time.
2. National Do Not Call Registry. Its website says, “Registrations on the National Do Not Call Registry DO NOT EXPIRE. If you have previously registered your number, there is no need to register again.” Not true. We registered in 2009, yet get countless bogus calls about chronic pain cures or the expiration of our Microsoft license.
3. Pop-up videos on websites. I appreciate the fact that I am getting the news “for free” on certain websites, but those pop-up videos drive me batty and trying to delete them is like playing Whack-a-Mole.
4. Beach chairs. At 74, I can easily sit down in them. To get up and away, I need a fighter jet’s ejection seat.
5. My old comb, sitting in a drawer. It mocks me whenever I look in the mirror.
6. Claiming socialists are Nazis. Just because Hitler called his party the National Socialist German Workers’ Party doesn’t mean they were socialists. When he began, he was trying to lure members from the German left, but one of the first things he did after taking power was to imprison and kill communists and socialists. Nazis were far-right fascists. You can look it up.
7. Major League Baseball. It successfully lobbied Congress to have language inserted into an omnibus budget bill to exempt minor league players from the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Now teams can pay players below minimum wage. Shame on you, MLB.
8. The guns vs. child safety debate. With every school shooting (there were 15 this past term); we’re forced to make a choice between the safety of our children vs. the broad rights of gun worshipers. You’d think the way forward would be obvious by now, but NRA dollars in the pockets of legislators still tilt the scales. A "good guy with a gun" looks just like a "bad guy with a gun."
9. Critics of Westminster’s ban on single-use plastic bags. The bags are an environmental scourge, littering our highways and byways and dangling from neighborhood trees. Real conservatives believe in conservation.
10. Critics of the state’s ban on foam plates, cups, and food containers. The containers are made from the harmful chemical polystyrene which can leech into the food on your plate and the beverage in your cup. Special bonus: These materials can last for more than 500 years in the landfill and harm the Chesapeake Bay. Real conservatives believe in conservation.
11. Spousal and partner abusers. All of the male thugs whose exploits are regularly spread across page 3 of this newspaper should be sentenced to sharing a cell with a guy named Papa Bear.
12. The New England Patriots. There’s got to be an explanation. Pact with the devil? Cheating so clever we don’t discover it anymore? Biased refs? Or OK, I’ll grudgingly say it. Unrivaled Hall of Fame talent for the ages.
13. “The Fraziers of Taneytown.” This long-running local soap opera, a tribute to the “I don’t need no stinkin’ permission” philosophy, has tanked in the ratings and over-stayed its welcome.
14. Anti-vaxxers. We had eliminated measles in 2000. This year alone over 1,000 cases have been reported in 28 states — the highest since 1994. Stubborn and misinformed parents are putting the nation at-risk.
15. Animal cruelty. I find what happened to the more than 50 dogs on Black Rock Road in Hampstead unfathomable. People who abuse helpless animals must have a dead spot in their souls.
16. Parroting right wing media. There is no parallel between Venezuela’s repressive dictatorship, mismanagement, and hyperinflation and some of the pie-in-the-sky platforms of Democratic presidential candidates. Don‘t fall for scare tactics.
17. “Buy 2, Get 2 Free.” Increasingly, I’ve see this applied to 1.5 quart containers of ice cream. For two people without a free-standing freezer, buying four containers is simply nuts. Just drop the price on one.
18. Delay of Harriet Tubman $20 bill. The new currency was supposed to roll out in 2020 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. President Trump’s Treasury Department says the redesign will take until 2028. This is a laughable excuse for not replacing slave-owning Andrew Jackson with a black woman. Women and blacks shouldn’t forget this insult during the 2020 election.