The O's early season tease, overpriced popcorn, fine-print pricing and other annoyances

Some columnist kvecthing about Mike Miller, gambling, Orioles' start, olive pits and that Barry Glazer guy

April 25, 2012|Dan Rodricks

I'll tell you what annoys me: the buy-one-get-one-free deal on strawberries at the supermarket. First of all, you must have the store's bonus card to get the deal. Plus, they really don't want you to know the price of the first item, so they print it so small on a card so far across the produce bin that you need a drone with advanced optics to fly over and read it.

Since we're on the subject, I'll tell you what else annoys me:

•Seven dollars for a medium-size bag of popcorn at the movies in Hunt Valley. The profit on that must be $6.89.

•Barry Glazer commercials: They make me regret supporting the rights of lawyers to advertise on TV when that noble advance in free expression was hotly debated years ago. This is what we get: "Don't urinate on my leg and tell me it's raining."

•People who, upon being asked a question, begin their answer with the words, "Well, as everyone knows ..."

•Pinterest, the "pinboard-style" social photo-sharing website. I'm sure it's great. I'm happy to hear it's the next big thing in social media, but, please, go ahead without me. I need to save time to finish Dickens' "Bleak House" this year.

•The valet parking guys in Little Italy, who turn Stiles Street into Rockingham Dragway almost every night.

•People — mainly politicians and some journalists — who use the term "gaming" when they mean gambling. "Gaming" is an industry term to soften the sound of what casino companies bring into the state: a de facto regressive tax on the poor. And if you don't buy that, just wait until you see who patronizes the new slots parlor in Baltimore.

•Also annoying: Maryland Senate President Mike Miller's claim that expansion of gambling had nothing to do with the collapse of the state budget plan in the final hours of the General Assembly session on April 9. He says this is "patently untrue," yet it appears the legislature might now have two special sessions — one to resolve the budget impasse, one to deal with the issue of casino-style gambling at National Harbor and at the state's already-authorized slots parlors. Mr. Miller must think we're all as stupid as he is cynical.

•People — mainly high school students and guys who go fishing there and get drunk — leaving trash all over the big rocks upstream of the railroad bridge on the Gunpowder River nears the Jones Road public access in southeastern Baltimore County. Every spring, same thing: Bud Ice bottles, broken glass, fast-food wrappers and foam cups, even baby diapers. It's disgraceful enough to make you support closing the place to the public.

•Speed cameras. All due respect to all those annoying people who self-righteously claim they never break the traffic laws, and who think these cameras are just swell, but you can't convince me that this project is all about public safety and law enforcement. This is as much about "revenue enhancement" for cash-strapped local governments as anything else; just check out the one in operation on North Charles Street near Notre Dame of Maryland University.

•That's another thing that annoys me: the still-new name of that school, Notre Dame of Maryland University. Who came up with this? What's wrong with Notre Dame University of Maryland, or the University of Notre Dame Maryland? And when are they going to start a football team?

•Restaurants that toss whole olives with pits into salads. That's like planting a land mine. It's a good way for an unsuspecting customer, pecking and chewing through the soft leafy stuff, to crack a tooth. Then again, that's why we have lawyers like Barry Glazer.

•People who still refuse to bring reusable shopping bags into supermarkets and walk out with gobs of plastic, week after week. Get with the program; having your own supply of shopping bags is not that hard.

•The way the Orioles suck us back in. You know what I'm talking about — these always promising, intriguing starts to the baseball season. The Orioles do just enough tinkering with the lineup and the pitching staff to look great on Opening Day and for a few weeks after that (they might even win games against opponents in the American League East) and then, by the time school lets out in June, what happens? You know what happens. So KYEL (keep your expectations low), and you won't get hurt.

Dan Rodricks' column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Follow him on Twitter (DanRodricks) and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/dan.rodricks.

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