Sunday, June 28, 2009

Baltimore's Inner Harbor

A little background information from Wikipedia: The Inner Harbor was chiefly a light freight commercial port and passenger port until the 1950s, when economic shifts ended both the freight and passenger use of the Inner Harbor, such as the Old Bay Line's steamers. Rotting warehouses and piers were eventually torn down and replaced by open, grass-covered parkland that was used for recreational purposes and occasional large events, such as city fairs and the significant 1976 bicentennial visit of tall ships. This initial renewal of the harbor area and its continued transformation into a major cultural and economic area of the city was spearheaded by Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer (1971-1987). Harborplace, the waterfront festival marketplace, officially opened on July 1, 1980. Since being reincarnated as a cultural hub, the Inner Harbor has become the home to many tourist attractions. The two anchor attractions, in addition to Harborplace, are the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the Maryland Science Center.

Although a well-designed and highly successful urban redevelopment project, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor primary purpose is to separate consumers from their money – a festival marketplace of consumption. The businesses located there are all familiar national names: ESPN Zone, Hard Rock CafĂ©, Barnes & Noble, Sheraton, Marriott. Any local color the area once had, no matter how gaudy or unpleasant, has been completely squeezed out of the picture.

I framed the above photo so that you can't see the Festival Marketplace of Consumption to the immeidate right.

The 32-story Baltimore World Trade Center (shown above), the world's tallest equilateral 5-sided building, provides a panoramic view from its observation deck, "The Top of the World".

Or so I'm told.

"Interested in going up there?" I asked JoAnna.

As she has a fear of heights, particularly ascending tall building, she didn't answer my question.

JoAnna and Eddie visited the National Aquarium during spring break in March 2004. Andy and I, on the other hand, traveled to Minneapolis to see Wisconsin and Marquette play in the NCAA Sweet 16 at the Metrodome.

In spite of its aggressively commercial nature, Inner Harbor is still a fun place to spend some time, especially when the weather cooperates, as it did during our two hours of walking and 45 minutes of sipping sangria and eating tapas – and watching the passing parade of people from the second-floor dining balcony of La Tasca. We would have been content to sit there for awhile longer and drink another pitcher of sangria, but that would have meant delaying our trip to Havre de Grace, and a visit with JoAnna's brother and his family, until the next morning.

Baltimore is home to the Domino Sugar Corporation. For years, Domino® Sugar has been one of your favorite sugars, its website trumpets. Is this true?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mom and Dad Leave the Boys at Home

Cornrow clouds. In the air over Michigan -- on our way from Madison to Detroit (to Baltimore).

Almost 60 years old and I still love the window seat on a plane.

I spent the first 15 minutes of the flight staring out the window at the Wisconsin landscape below. The eastern suburbs of Madison gave way to a patchwork quilt of farmland, the squares occasionally bordered by trees or divided by an undulating stream. As we approached the Milwaukee area, a different pattern quickly emerged. Curvilinear streets and cul-de-sacs created designs that turned in on themselves like a maze. As we flew over Milwaukee, though, the world took on a more ordered look – one big grid sliced by a series of diagonals radiating from the downtown business district. Once the blue of Lake Michigan took over, I leisurely paged through a travel guide that covers the Chesapeake Bay area.

My all-time favorite airport feature, the tunnel connecting Concourse A with B/C at Detroit Metro.
Here's a 6-minute youtube video.

Our first stop once we left BWI in Chevrolet Aveo rental: Fort McHenry.

A view of the Patapsco River o'er the ramparts.

The weather was very changeable during our first hour in Baltimore.

On the horizon line to the right, you can just make out the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

While I took pictures, JoAnna participated in the rolling of the Great Garrison Flag -- 30 feet wide and 42 feet long.

Concentrating on her work.

Friday, June 19, 2009

What Would Ginny Say?

About this back-page ad in a weekly alternative newspaper available for free distribution at public libraries?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Where Mama Raccoons Give Birth

Well, at least one raccoon mama likes this towering silver maple tree in our back yard.

Last year we saw an adult raccoon poking its head out of this hole. But no babies.

I wonder how deep this crevice is. How many more cubs are waiting to make a descent?

This li'l cutie did a great job climbing down the tree's trunk. (One of three baby raccoons I spotted in the back yard this evening while watering the plants.)


How Does a Mother Raccoon Care for Her Cubs?
A female raccoon can give birth to up to eight babies at once, usually in the spring. Before the babies are born, the expectant mother looks for a den high off the ground where she will give birth. An elevated den helps protect the cubs from many kinds of enemies.

OK, so where are the other 5?

Newborn cubs are both blind and deaf. They weigh about 2 1/2 ounces (71 grams) and are about 6 1/2 inches (16.5 centimeters) long. Their tails make up about one-third of their length.

The small and helpless cubs depend on their mother for food and protection. A mother raccoon cares for her cubs by nursing them with her milk. Her milk helps the cubs grow stronger. A mother raccoon also cares for her young just by lying with them. As the cubs snuggle up to her, her body gives off heat that helps keep them warm.

In Raccoon World, these cubs must be beyond the small and helpless stage as there's no sign of Mama.

Raccoon butt with snow on the mountain.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

At the Duck Pond, Madison Wisconsin

Home of the Madison Mallards, who play in the Northwoods League. The teams are comprised of college players.

Somebody looks tired. Or perhaps this mascot is just visualizing his high-wire approach from beyond right field to home plate to deliver the game ball.

In spite of the overcast and breezy condition, the game attracted a crowd of 5,815.

The first 1200 fans received a free Madison Mallards t-shirt, modeled here by my wife.

The DWD group included Rose in her Apple Annie phase.

The Mallards held a 1-0 lead after 1 inning, but the Waterloo Bucks scored 2 runs in the top of the 2nd and never looked back. Final score, 6-3.

The tables we occupied are located in the Duck Blind, a segregated area bordering right field, where the price of a ticket includes all you can eat and drink. About 20 beers are available on tap. (The food selection is narrower.)

Surpringly, not a single or double or triple or homerun ball came our way, in spite of the preponderance of left-handed batters. We were located a short 295 feet from home plate.

Great facility for minor-league baseball, although not a place that will please purists of the sport. The game features nonstop entertainment and announcer chatter between innings. And they even play music between pitches! (You heard me right.)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Babe in Arms

That's me, Retiring Guy, almost 60 years ago. All of a week or so old in early November 1949. Dad took this great photo in the parsonage of Messiah Lutheran Church, Auburn, Washington.

"Talkin' 'Bout the Car Wash"

Groove along.

My favorite part: the tri-color wax.

No Entry. No Exit?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kenny Rankin 1940-2009

35 years later, I can't recall how I stumbled upon this gorgeous album. (Still have it on a cassette somewhere, I think.)

Remember the days when you used to lift the arm on your stereo to replay a favorite cut -- over and over and over again. That would be "Birembau" in this case. (Speaking here to those of you of a certain age, of course.)

[Kenny Rankin on Silver Morning.]

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Middleton High School Class of 2009

Edmund Richard Nelson

The cap and gown is bought and paid for -- perfect attire for those Harry Potter events.

Looking to (or squinting at) the future..

Dad's high school graduation took place the day after Robert F. Kennedy's assassination.

Mom's high school graduation took place during the first year of Reagan's Presidency.

Once Eddie leaves for Stevens Point in late August, it will be just Mom and Dad, rookie empty-nesters.

Auntie Cindy and the Graduate.

Cindy, Eddie, and Sam look to the future.