A trip to the country

Yesterday I took a drive out to Bel Air, Maryland, for a wedding at the Liriodendron Mansion. The Liriodendron was at one time the summer home of Dr. Howard Kelly and his wife, who needed to escape the Baltimore heat in those pre-air conditioned days. Dr. Kelly founded the hospital at this little college down the road called Johns Hopkins.

Bel Air is one of those once quaint Route 1 towns now overrun by shopping malls and chain restaurants. But the Liriodendron does not disappoint. Unlike other homes turned museums, the Liriodendron (it’s unclear whether I should include the article before the name) really does feel like a home. Great food and a well-tuned piano help.

It’s worth a trip to the country.

You’ve got to try harder than this


At least our friends at the New York Times seem to recognize this as the publicity stunt it was. Funny that fifteen years ago they trumpeted one of their own in such an “experiment”: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_14?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=nickel%20and%20dimed&sprefix=nickel+and+dim%2Caps%2C235.

Two things: one, try harder if you’re the experiment subject in this scenario. Two, don’t try this if you’re a Republican. They won’t like it. Trust me.

Instant Classic

Even when fielding less-than-great teams, the Yankees and Red Sox somehow still manage to produce amazing games when playing on national TV. Ever wonder why they play on ESPN so often? Me neither.

Silent treatment

Day five of no voice. This sucks. As someone who relies on his voice and furthermore loves the sound of it (so I’ve been told), this is doubly bad. The best analogy I’ve heard so far is “like seeing Fred Astaire in a wheelchair.”


Of which I speak

An unpleasant side effect to a nasty cold I had this weekend, I was barely able to speak yesterday and the day before (welcome relief to some I’m sure). Luckily I live in 2014 and rarely need to actually speak to anyone at all. Ha!

Going west again

I spent the day today in Clear Brook, Virginia, a little town west of here tantalizingly close to the West Virginia border. Today was my wife’s company’s family picnic day, and for the first time we got to bring our son (the most adorable baby on Earth). Food, fun, games: the usual suspects. Today was a damn good day. And the best part about having a “Saturday” on a Friday? There’s another Saturday tomorrow.

Harpers Ferry excursion



Today I got to take a group of young historians to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, one of those places on the short list of “famous” American small towns. Harpers Ferry really has a lot going for it: history, nature, politics, adventure. Hard to believe the same little town has two rivers, two canals, three states (sort of), several rail lines, the Appalachian Trail, and, oh yeah, site of one of the most deadly civilian uprisings in American history.

If you’ve never been to Harpers Ferry I recommend it, even if you care nothing about history and politics. The AT and the nearby C&O Canal Towpath give a close-up view of both nature and an old-timey downtown, again, touching each other as is not often witnessed.

The point pictured above is known as Jefferson’s Rock, from which one can see the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. When visiting in 1783 (20 years before Meriwether Lewis gathered provisions here, met up with Clark, and started his trek west, and nearly 80 years before John Brown’s raid), Jefferson called the scene “worth a voyage across the Atlantic.”

Most people make a habit of disparaging all people and things West Virginia. I think West Virginia might be our most underrated state. Hillbillies and moonshine? Remember, during the Civil War, they were the enlightened ones.

To the moon


Ask anyone east of Greenland and today is the anniversary of man’s first moonwalk. Or is it a man’s first moonwalk? I never get those straight.

One wonders why, 45 years after the first moon landing and 42 years after the last moon landing we, for some reason, stopped going. Too expensive? Think of all the crap we spend money on today. I say divert all money going to exploring those distant stars and put some astronauts back on the moon. If nothing else it would give people something to tweet about.