Sunday, July 20, 2014

2014 Dover 400 Recap

Don't you hate it when you write a blog post and a month later realize you never posted it???

In June (May?) my parents and I took our annual pilgrimage with 90,000 other NASCAR rednecks to the metropolis of Dover, Delaware to watch the Dover 400, or whatever they call it now.

The trip there was uneventful.  Other than it was pretty warm.  We found our way to our seats up in the Earnhardt section.  The row in front of us was empty for a long time.  I grew excited thinking about a 4 hour race with clear views of the track and some room to stretch my feat in the crammed stands.  Then a whole gaggle of people had to come sit in front of me!  Can you believe I had to watch the race with this 20-something golden brown brunette with a ponytail in a tank top and white short-shorts sitting in front of me?  I can already sense the empathy coming from the readers.


Oh, and this was on the other side of me.  I guess it all balances out, right?  Yeah, it doesn't.



Here is our view of the track.  Note the casino and hotel in the background collecting tax revenue for the state government coffers.  And the cars lined up in pit row.  It was a beautiful day. A nice day for racing.  And people watching.


The fly-over this year was B-25 Mitchell.  I guess Obama still won't let the Air Force fly over events in the United States, but he will allow fly-overs of Baghdad.



The pole position was awarded to this Freightliner soundstage.  It acquired a lap speed of 6 mph.  The lovely Cassidy Pope sang the National Anthem from this stage.


Here are Joey Logano and Kyle Busch.



Here Brad Kesolowski's pit crew is changing tires....and carrying them away.  Each tire weighs about 60 pounds each.


Carlisle Fire Departement's finest are here to take care of business if there is business to take care of.


NASCAR's only female Danica Patrick in the pit.  Legend has it that Danica was complaining that the car wasn't handling properly.  The crew chief sternly responded that the car was meant to be driven faster.  Another time, Danica complained that the car wasn't responding properly, so the crew chief said to try using the pedal on the right.


The first lap of the race, sponsored by Pepsi, UnderArmour, Dunkin Donuts, Toyota, and FedEx.


Fresh out of working the rice paddies of Delaware is this fat white Asian guy.


Who needs hearing protection when you have this cool camouflage hat?


I love this picture.


She seems pretty hot.



This chick had Jimmy Johnson written on her face.  And the hearing protection on backwards.


I think this is Larry the Cable Guy's cousin Larry.


Pop singer Usher was spotted at the race.  And all this time I thought Usher was a good looking black dude.


Jimmy Johnson is actually stopped right here.  There were two red flags, one for repairing the track.  The drivers sat here for about 20 minutes while the track was patched.  Throngs of fans pushed their way to the fence to get pictures of their favorite drivers.


Jimmy Johnson ended up winning the race.....again.  I told my parents, who do not like Jimmy Johnson, that when I went to the bathroom, I was dissappointed with the cleanliness of the facilities.  I walked around looking for an office to report my complaint.  I eventually came to portable office and went inside.  There was a lady behind the desk.  She looked up and asked if she could help me.  I told her that I was displeased with the restroom facilities and wanted to speak with the owner.  "Who owns this track?"  "Why, Jimmy Johnson owns this track."  Blahahahaha!!!!  They didn't think it was as funny.  

Later, my parents were complaining that Jeff Gordon is so bad at restarts.  I mentioned that Jimmy Johnson was really good at restarts. They reluctantly agreed.  I then said that perhaps Jeff Gordon should take some classes at the accredited Jimmy Johnson School of Restarts.  They also didn't think that was funny.

And that, my friends, is the 2014 Dover 400 in a nutshell.





Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Jonas Green Park Fishing Report

I forgot to take pictures of this fishing trip, but we fished at Jonas Green Park in Anne Arundel county this past Sunday.  And we caught......nothing.

Where are the fish?  I walked around and asked other fishermen how they were doing.  Some on the bridge said they caught a few small white perch, but that was it.

Another fisherman said that the fishing has been terrible for at least 2-3 weeks.

I commented on Facebook about the lack of fish and someone commented that the crabbing in the upper bay has been terrible, too.

My kids suspect that we are seeing the effects of global warming.  I think it's from the impending ice age.

What has been your luck fishing this year?

This is a photo from a previous fishing trip to Jonas Green Park.  Still very pretty.

Matapeake State Park Fishing Report

Matapeake is (was?) one of my favorite fishing spots.  It's located on the Eastern Shore facing the Chesapeake Bay, just south of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, or for you purists, the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge.

William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge


The park is the former terminus for the ferry that crossed the Chesapeake Bay from Sandy State Park.  After the bridge opened, the area was converted to a park, boat launch, beach, Coast Guard port, and fishing pier.

As I've mentioned previously, my son and I are on a quest to fish in every county in Maryland.  Thus far, we'd fished in Carroll, Howard, Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Cecil, Talbot, Worcester, Baltimore City, and Anne Arundel counties.  That's 10 down, 14 to go.  Fishing at Matapeake added Queen Anne's County to our list, so 11 down.

When we arrived we noticed that NO ONE was on the fishing pier.  That's a bit suspicious.  And it should have been our first clue.  But I paid my $10 to park and off we went.  We went to the far end of the pier, as we should, and cast our rods.  We used surf rods with bottom rigs using razor clams.  And then we sat.

And sat.

And sat.

The highlight of our fishing trip ended up being watching the passing of the Carnival Pride as it sailed under the Bay Bridge.

Carnival Pride cruise ship


Nothing.  Not a bite.  We fished for four hours before we gave in.  Where are the fish?

I think this is Spanish for "Clean up your shit."



As always, at least I got some nice pictures.

Crabbing boat Corruption




Cambridge Fishing Report

We've been passing the Bill Burton fishing pier in Cambridge, also known as the former Route 50 bridge, for years.  Every time I pass it I think to myself, "I would love to fish there!"

The bridge crosses over the Choptank River, which feeds the Chesapeake Bay.  The town of Cambridge Maryland in Dorchester County is on the southern side of the river, with Talbot County on the north side. The new Route 50 bridge is 1.7 miles across and is higher to avoid the requirement of having a drawbridge.  The old bridge had a drawbridge, but that section was cut out, so the bridge is no longer connected to either side.  But it's still really long!

U.S. Route 50 Senator Malkus Jr. Memorial Bridge in Cambridge, Maryland

Last weekend I took my son, my nephew, and my neighbor's son, on an epic fishing trip to Ocean City, but with plans to stop along the way.

My son and I have a challenge to fish in every county in the state of Maryland this year.  With this Eastern Shore trip we could knock out Dorchester, Talbot, Somerset, Worcester, and Wicomico Counties.  Well, that didn't quite turn out the way I planned.  By the time we were on our way, everyone was so excited to get to Ocean City and fish that the counties in between were skipped.

We did, however, stop in Talbot County to fish off of the old Route 50 bridge.  Without any further ado, we fished for 2 hours and did not get a bite.  I spoke to about 5 different fishermen who had been there for a while.  One caught a spot fish, another a white perch.  Everyone else was leaving empty-handed.  It was certainly not a bonanza fishing experience for anyone.  Where are all of the fish?

The best thing was the view.  We got there at 7am and the weather was beautiful.  At least we can now say that I fished off of that bridge.

Bill Burton Fishing Pier on Choptank River in Cambridge, Maryland.

Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge, Maryland on the Choptank River.



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Carroll County Commissioner Primary Election Results

The 2014 primary election was held this week and the Carroll County Commission will look a little different next year.

In District 1, it appears as if our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did not want Robin Bartlett Frazier to win reelection.  The now lame-duck commissioner made headlines by praying to Jesus before every meeting, which to me makes it sound like she hates Jews and other non-Christians.  Robin Jesus Frazier was defeated by Steve Wantz.



District 2 saw Richard Weaver win the primary in a race to replace Haven Shoemaker, who sought a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates.

In District 3 voters learned that incumbent Commissioner and Board President David Roush lost to challenger Dennis Frazier.  District 3 encompasses the Westminster area.

District 4 saw Richard Rothschild get re-elected.  Many moderates considered Rothschild to be in cahoots with Robin Lord and Savior Bartlett Frazier in pushing extreme conservative issues, such as reducing the size of the government, with no regard to the impact on services provided by the county.  County parks?  Screw them!  Sewer and water distribution - not important! No taxes?  Ahem, Amen!

In District 5 incumbent Doug Howard easily won over the suspected Frazier and Rothschild-funded right-wing challenger Cathey Allison, who billed herself as a true conservative, which many take to mean one that prays to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ before meetings and wants to eliminate the government entirely.

Are you satisfied with the results of the County Commissioner primary elections?



Sunday, June 08, 2014

Memorial Day Parade Salute

This is one of those 'better late than never posts'.  My daughter got the opportunity to walk in the Westminster Memorial Day parade this year.  My other kids were out and about with better things to do, so I sat by myself in front of the Edward Jones office on Main Street, while my wife walked with my daughter.  Unfortunately, I forgot my real camera, so I had to take pictures with my iPhone.  I was fortunate to be downwind of every smoker in Westminster.

For the novice parade watcher, you need to understand that a true Memorial Day parade is when politicians ride in cars and wave their name in your face and tell you to vote for them.  Oh, and then we salute the soldiers.  But best of all, there are fire trucks.

The parade was led by Westminster's finest, a 2005 Ford Interceptor.



I think most people in Carroll County know Haven Shoemaker.  He's currently one of the commissions for the County Council.  He's running for state delegate in a crowded District 5 against Carmen Amedori, incumbent Donald Elliott, incumbent Susan Krebs, incumbent Justin Ready, 21 year old Joshua Stonko, and Kevin Utz.  There are some Democrats running, but Martin O'Malley condensed all of the Republicans into as few districts as possible, so the odds of a Democrat winning are about as good as me winning a belly dancing competition.  This is God's country.  And God likes Republicans.  Or so Robin Frazier tells us.

Note that Commissioner Shoemaker is looking away from me.


Nothing says you love your country more than painting the American flag on your car.


If I had my Nikon, I would have been able to get more details, but I cannot zoom in too much to read the details of this antique fire truck.  Anyone know what it is?


I think this fire truck is even cooler.  There are nothing but ladders on this long truck.


Did I mention the military?  These fine soldiers represent the 29th company of the Maryland National Guard.


Here is delegate Justin Ready.  Note that he is looking away from me.  I've met him and he's a really nice guy.


Here is current state delegate Susan Krebs.  Note that she is also looking away from me.  Krebs is our current state delegate, but with O'Malley's new map, she'll be mashed up in District 5.  Eric Bouchat with the rumored tumultuous past is the leading candidate to pretend to represent this end of South Carroll.


I think this was the only modern fire truck in the parade.  This is Pleasant Valley's 1991 Spartan Saulsbury.


And last, but not least, is Commissioner Robin Frazier.  Note that she actually looked at me.  She then told me to pray to Jesus.

Mezcal Mexican Restaurant & Bar

Mezcal Mexican Restaurant & Bar
9958 Reisterstown Road
Owings Mills, MD 21117
(410) 205-7150

I noticed this restaurant in the former China Best site in the St. Thomas Plaza in Owings Mills.  I decided to try it out as the exterior looked inviting.

The interior was just as inviting and I find it amazing that this is in fact the same place as China Best, which seemed as if it hadn't been updated since Carter administration.  The side wall is stone, the ceiling is dark, and I remember a lot of reds.  My friend and I were quickly seated next to the lengthy bar.  And what's a restaurant without an array of flat screen televisions piping in the latest mid-day sports news about nothing.


Our server gave us a basket of tortilla chips and salsa, very similar in taste and style to Don Pablo's.  Mezcal offers a lunch menu with items under $9 or so.  I got a platter where you get 3 main items and one side.  I got a hard taco with beef, an enchilada with spinach, and a soft taco with chicken.  My side dish was an avocado salad, which was basically avocado over lettuce with a wedge of tomato.

The food was quite good.  I slammed down the spinach tamale.  I then ate the chicken soft taco, which was good, but the chicken pieces were quite a mouthful.  I then ventured to the hard taco.  By the time I got to it, the hard taco shell was mushy.  It was still tasty, but a bit flaccid.

The service was attentive.  My iced tea was refreshed without asking and they gave us an extra basket of tortillas and salsa.

Overall, I thought the place was good.  It is very similar to Don Pablo's, but on a much smaller scale.  It felt less commercial than the DP.

My only complaint was when we were leaving the manager-type guy asked how everything was.  I told him that the hard taco was laying on the avocado salad and by the time I ate it it was soggy.  It was a deer in the headlights moment.  Not a "thank you for telling us", just an awkward stare in silence.  And then we left.  I wasn't expecting a free meal or anything, just an acknowledgement.  Regardless, we'll definitely go there again.  You should check it out.


Thursday, June 05, 2014

New to Randallstown - 7 Mart

I don't know about you,  but this seems like a blatant rip-off of 7-11.  This "store" opened in the little shop across the street from Ward's Chapel United Methodist Church.  Since we've lived in Eldersburg, this spot has been a wood furniture store, a fly-by-night mattress store, and an office for the Maryland Department of Transportation while they were building the road rage lanes at the intersection of Liberty Road and Ward's Chapel Road.  I understand from some of the older folks in town that this used to be a grocery store.

According to the Maryland Property Database, this structure was completed in 1947.  Oh, to go back in time.





Closed in Eldersburg: Glazed to Perfection

I noticed this last week.  The Glazed to Perfection store in Monroe Station has closed this location.  However I hear they have merged with Sykesville Potter and Art Center.


Remember when Glazed to Perfection moved from Peddler Square across the street to Monroe Station?


Do you remember when it was Curves?  I don't remember what it was prior to that.  This was before I started documenting every change in Eldersburg.




Closed in Eldersburg: All About U Hair Studio

I'm not 100% sure as I cannot find any news of such.  I guess I could call their number and find out for sure.  I do know that their location in Carroll Station is empty and the sign is down.  I just noticed this yesterday.

Here is what greeted me this morning.  Obviously it has been down for a little while.


Here is the hair studio when it first opened.  The All About U hair studio succeeded the Silverblade hair studio, which previously was known as Genesis when it was in Carrolltown Mall.  I think that's the transformation.


I wonder how long it will take to fill this unit.  The former Athletic House next to the liquor store has been vacant for years.  There are getting to be a lot of empty places in Eldersburg.  Perhaps the economy is not really recovered.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

CCPS Reduces Opportunities for Student Athletes

With good intentions, Carroll County Public Schools have declared that students may now participate in two sports in a single season.  They sent this email to parents recently:



Carroll County Public Schools will be moving forward with the opportunity for Dual Participation for their student-athletes beginning in the fall of 2014. It is essential for all stakeholders to be informed of the following protocols, procedures and information:

Student-athletes wishing to participate in two extra-curricular sports activities in the same season will need to obtain a request form from their athletic director.

Head coaches of both sports must agree to the student-athlete's dual participation. 

The student-athlete must designate both a primary sport and a secondary sport before the beginning of the first allowed practice as determined by the MPSSAA.

A primary sport will take precedence over a secondary sport when there is a conflict of schedule or other matter that could lead to a conflict - 2 exceptions:

If the secondary sport has a contest and the primary sport has practice, the contest will take precedence.

In the event of a contest conflict, if the primary sport is at the sub-varsity level and the secondary sport is at the varsity level, the varsity contest will take precedence over sub-varsity contests

The secondary sport must be at the varsity level.

The student-athlete must practice in both sports. The amount of practice time must meet the agreed upon requirements of the head coaches of those sports involved.

Practice time restrictions will be adhered to during heat acclimatization days per MPSSAA guidelines

The student-athlete and parents/legal guardians must sign an application of dual-sport participation before the first practice session the athlete attends.

Prior to the first scheduled contest for either sport, the student-athlete, parents/legal guardians, head coaches of both sports, athletic director and principal must sign the contract of dual-sport participation.

The high school athletic director and high school principal will serve in the capacity of advisors and final judgments on matters concerning dual-sport participation.

The athletic fee for a dual-sport participant shall be $140.


Often decisions are made that have unintended consequences.  With some students filling spots on multiple sports teams, other less talented student athletes will be cut and not given the opportunity to participate in sports.  Many students, like myself, lacked athletic prowess, either by size, in my case, or in talent, but still want to participate in extra-curricular activities.  I now get the feeling that the school system wants those less talented students to go pound sand.  There's always the photography club at Liberty High School that NEVER met during the entire year, right?

What are your thoughts on this decision?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Identify This Fish

My son caught this fish at Piney Run Park last week and we're not quite sure what it is.  He initially thought it was a lake chub sucker, but the fin coloring doesn't match any fish picture we've seen.  This fish has pink coloring, whereas most have a continuous coloring or are translucent.

Note the pink tips on the dorsal, anal, pelvic, and caudal fins and the pinkish underbelly and mouth, along with the faint darker spots and darkish colors above the lateral line.

Sorry the picture is blurry.  I took several pictures with my iPhone, but the camera app insisted that I wanted a picture of the background and not the fish.

Thoughts?  If it is a lake chub sucker, any idea what variety it is?

For you nature lovers, we returned this fish to his home and he swam away.


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