Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Big Difference Than The Last Post

Having lived in Maryland since 1978 has given me a taste for the bivalve Cassaostrea virginica. We headed across my favorite bridge to the oyster festival at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. 

We had oysters in just about every form one can eat them. My favorite is on the half shell. The oyster fritter was also stellar but I am kind of old school. There were a lot of vendors selling all kinds of stuff. The vendor selling the Fordham Oyster Stout was also a favorite of mine.

The museum has a wonderful collection of wooden boats. You can go for a ride in many of them on the Miles River.

Unfortunately the Delaware was not running during the festival. I love tug boats. The smaller and cruder they are, the more I get excited over them.

About 30 years ago I bought a Sea King outboard motor thinking I would start collecting these beautiful little motors. 

Unfortunately many others had the same idea and before I could purchase a second one, others, with deeper pockets than me, got the same idea. 

The museum has an excellent collection. I will just enjoy their collect and stick to my toy campers and VW busses.

Do boat builders still put such detail to their work today? I can only hope.

The museum has some interesting building also. This is a very early Chesapeake Bay light house. It needs a coat of paint I think. With the throngs of people that attended the festival, I think they can afford the paint now.

I had wanted to see the screw pile lighthouse but it was packed with people and I thought it just might be exceeding it's capacity.

Saint Michaels in general is a beautiful town to walk around if you are a tourist. 

The true highlight of the day however was on this boat. The Herman M Krentz was the last skipjack built on the Chesapeake. She was launched in 1955 and is one of 12 skipjacks that dredge for oysters everyday through out the Winter months. 

The skipjacks dredge under sail all but one day a week when they are allowed to use a push boat. Their goal; 30,000 oysters, longer than 3" everyday. Most waterman just break even during oyster season and without school trips and joy rides like the one I took, they would be forced to abandon their boats to some backwater creek like thousands of others were.

The power these boats have under sail is tremendous. A skipjack is kind of the D10 of the working sail boat world. You can feel the power of wind put to sail. 

Captain Ed Farley has been making his living this way for 48 years. His hour long talk was worth every penny we paid for the ride. I put my name on his list for crew hoping to get a two week gig as the greenhorn. I would love to add oyster dredger to my resume even if it would just be a short stint. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Who Cares?

I have lived in Baltimore since 1984. I happen to love this city. There are some thing however about Baltimore that suck. If you are poor, Baltimore can suck really badly. 

This is Walker. I met Walker while I was taking a walk. I had my truck in for a front end alignment. The alignment grew into two tie rod ends and I needed to both kill some time and walk off some frustration. Walker stopped to tell me all about the neighborhood I was taking photos of. I was actually in a state of disbelief as to what it was I was seeing.

This is the area of Baltimore called Oldtown. Maybe because it is the Oldtown no one in the rest of town cares about it's state.

Right there, not even ten blocks away, guys in suits are making 6 figures. Some are making more.

No one in Oldtown is making 6 figures. Not even the drug kingpins are since no one actually lives in Oldtown any longer. 

I am sure there are a few drug addicts living in the area. It is rife with abandoned buildings, perfect for those abandoned by society or themselves.

Every store front is tightly shuttered. I can only hope the buildings are owned by someone hoping the city will remember where Oldtown is. 

What happened here is called urban revitalization by some. It started in the late 1970's when Johns Hopkins, 5 blocks to the East, began buying up buildings to expand their campus. Those buildings they could obtain were quickly torn down. 

There were some hold outs. 

Instead of trying harder, Johns Hopkins headed East where the neighborhood was all houses instead of businesses. It is far easier to get the poor people to move than to buy out all the commercial businesses.

Now it is all left in shambles. A once thriving commercial district in a total state of abandonment. 

Large blocks of vacant land. Streets that go no where. Stagnation.

Walker told me this was the grocery his mother sent him to. The nearest grocery store is now more than 20 blocks away. It is Whole Foods in Harbor East. You think many in this area are buying their groceries at Whole Foods? The guys in the suits down town are. The people around here rely on the small corner stores, their mostly Korean, owners hidden behind bullet proof glass.

"Not even the street lights work in Oldtown much less any of these broke ass niggers" is what Walker told me as we walked up the block. I had to actually stop and write that down. 

If these photos were in color you would be amazed at the stained glass in what was once a department store. There is not much color in Oldtown.

This is a real slice of the Baltimore very few ever see. Keep driving. Look the other way.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


We went to NYC this weekend due to some super discounted GroupOn bus tickets. I let my camera do a lot of wandering.  I don't have much else to say about it…