Wisdom from the Barber of ManchesterI have...


Wisdom from the Barber of Manchester

I have a brother named Gino who is the "Barber of Manchester." As most barbers, he hears lots of opinions, but he clearly has his own, too.

Sometimes, after a little prodding from me, I am the recipient of his opinions and whether about sports, politics or local personalities, it isn't long before he labels something or someone "phony."

No matter how difficult or complicated the subject, I have always been impressed with his ability to bring everything to a logical conclusion with the finality of the label "phony."

The effect has so impressed me that I had to find out more about the word and I checked Webster's. It claims that the word has no known origin and among other definitions, denotes something or someone "having no genuine existence," or "making a false show."

After all these years of trying to understand and define things and why they happen the way they do, I was amazed at how simply this adjective quickly illuminates the truth about people and problems.

For instance, apply the meaning of the word to the following: Pat Robertson. The O. J. Simpson trial. The war on drugs.

Apply the meaning of the word to the political arena, such as the senator from Kansas running for president who lashed out at Time-Warner for producing violent shows and entertainment.

He then recommended the violent movie, "True Lies," which stars a prominent Republican supporter, as good family viewing.

Or, consider another politician running for president, the senator from Texas who accuses others of evading the draft during the Vietnam War, yet defends the fact that he had five student deferments by saying he taught economics to ROTC students.

Again, apply the meaning of the word to the political party that claimed in 1994 that there was no "health care crisis" and in 1995 predicts the total collapse of Medicare if costs ar e not cut by $180 billion.

The same party claims dire consequences if the federal budget is not balanced in seven years and insists that the best way to do this is to cut programs for the poor, the young and the disabled; reduce health care for citizens over 65; stop trying to improve the quality of our streams, rivers and bays; cut matching funds that create and support ballet, music and art groups, and at the same time give tax breaks, among other things, to people earning $200,000 per year.

One final thought. Apply the meaning of the word to the political party which has persistently declared its patriotism and loyalty to the "founding fathers" by staunchly and defiantly supporting the Constitution and its conservative strengths.

Yet, in one year, it advocates amendments to balance the budget, set term limits, allow prayer in schools and to make abortions illegal.

Of course, there is one more amendment.

Apply the meaning of the word "phony" to an amendment to ban the burning of the American flag.

Vince DePalmer


Don't Kowtow to Development

I write this as a concerned citizen of southern Carroll County. The proposed extension of Monroe Avenue to Route 32 is a mistake, especially in light of the massive overdevelopment at the intersection of Routes 26 and 32.

We hear from the Carroll County Planning Department that we must adhere to an outdated master plan.

However, the advice of the master plan went unheeded when Wal-Mart wanted to develop at this intersection.

The plan warns, "Unless very selective land uses are located in the vicinity of this intersection and are of the low traffic-generating type, this intersection can easily become a very serious problem and have adverse spin-off of this disadvantage could be the forcing of traffic movements over collector road systems which have been planned to accommodate only local traffic and not to serve as alternate routes for by-passing traffic congestion."

The community should not be expected to pay for unheeded advice.

Don't allow quiet, safe, local streets such as Monroe Avenue to become overburdened collectors to facilitate commercial overdevelopment.

Please don't allow the planning department to hang the outdated master plan over our heads or hide behind it.

They know very well the connection of Routes 26 and 32 will adversely affect our communities.

Our children will be less safe, property values will fall and the overall quality of life will deteriorate.

Please don't be like Montgomery and Howard counties.

Do what is right for your neighbors, constituents and ultimately Carroll County.

John McCormick


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