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Everything posted by printersdevil78

  1. Thanks, Michael. The Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival sounds like it would be right up my alley!
  2. While millions of people throughout the United States spent Labor Day weekend at the beach (or whatever it is people who don't live near beaches do on Labor Day weekend), I returned to my hometown of Crisfield, Maryland, as I do every year, for the biggest and best celebration of the entire year: the 61st annual National Hard Crab Derby. For those who are unfamiliar (which I presume would be most of you), the National Hard Crab Derby is an annual festival and town-wide homecoming centering on a 400-crab race. Don't worry if that doesn't make much sense yet; the pictures tell the story. So here they are. Step 6: The three winners of each heat are placed into this basket and re-released during the final heat. The crab that wins that heat wins the derby, and its sponsor receives a genuine plastic gold trophy. The losing crabs are enjoyed later that evening alongside heaping helpings of Old Bay and vinegar at the American Legion hall. TPR readers of a certain age (I'm looking at you, Jeff Johnson) may recall the Crab Derby from The Mike Douglas Show, on which it was featured several times in the 1970s. More recently, the derby has been shown on the Travel Channel, Food Network and "The Late Show" with David Letterman. A crew from the Discovery Channel was on hand this year. Other annual events, for which I was not/will not be present, include crab picking and cooking contests, jug boat races, an arm wrestling contest, a 10K race, a youth swim meet, a Sunday morning religious service, a boat docking contest, fireworks and plenty of live music, including a Journey cover band this year. Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the biggest and best celebration Crisfield has to offer. Step 5.1: Each crab is hand-numbered in advance so they know who sponsored the three winners from each race when they reach the bottom of the track. Step 5: The first three crabs to reach the bottom of the track are the winners. Step 4: Following a countdown from Miss, Little Miss or Little Mr. Crustacean, a Crisfield Police officer fires a starting pistol and the starting gates are opened. Step 3: The Crisfield Volunteer Fire Department also sprays down the audience. Because Crab Derby is always held on the hottest weekend of the year. And it's cheaper than putting an awning over the grandstands. Step 2: The Crisfield Volunteer Fire Department sprays down the specially made track (called Crab Cake Track) to make sure the surface is slick enough for this year's racing crustaceans (for those who didn't look up what "crustacean" meant earlier in the TR, now you know). The first race run each year is the annual Governor's Cup. Each state sponsors a crab, and the winning state gets a plaque. TPR readers from Arkansas, rejoice! Your crab won this year! From there, it's on to the real crab races, run in nine heats. Step 1: American Legion members line the crabs up at the starting gate. Some people are REALLY into this. OK, time for the main event. This board represents the 400 people who got up at the crack of dawn and stood in line to pay $4 to sponsor and name a crab to compete in the big crab race. Crabs are provided by the local American Legion, which uses the event as a fundraiser. This ride looks merry. And it goes 'round. Scat. Tee hee hee. What's green and white and less painful all over? What's green and white and painful all over? They had a few kiddie flats. OK, pop quiz: Where have you seen this before? I'll give you a hint: It's at the very top left of this page. At night. They call this a "fun house." I can think of at least two things wrong with that nomenclature. Spin the Apple and Berry-Go-Round... two rides in one! This would be the "bonus credit" mentioned in the headline. Super slide. Bumper cars. Behold: the Scrambler. Just kidding. I know the section you've been waiting for is... the carnival! (I hesitate to call this a "ghetto fair" because it's about 10,000 times classier than the carnival we used to get.) Now for the section you've all been waiting for... the annual Crisfield Lions Club car raffle! Did I mention the festival was all about crabs? The Ocean City, Maryland, Pipe Band lent a Scottish flair to the event. This was the Crisfield Area Chamber of Commerce's entry, featuring the world's largest crab pot (a big wire cage used to catch crabs) and contestants from this year's Little Miss and Mr. Crustacean pageant. World's oldest majorettes. As did Miss and Little Miss Mt. Vernon Volunteer Fire Department, in the department's fire boat. Local drag racing celebrity Sterling Clough made an appearance. Frederick, Maryland, Independent Hose Co. No. 1 and its 1800s horse-drawn hose truck has been a staple of the parade for 51 of its 59 years (the parade didn't begin until 1950, two years after the first National Hard Crab Derby in 1948). And the Shriners. Followed by the Tall Clowns. We've now come to the clown portion of this TR. Leading the way: Biscuit the Clown. Yes, the local beauty queen's title is "Miss Crustacean." Those who know what "crustacean" means will find that hilarious. Those who don't will look it up. The Crisfield High School Marching Band was out in full force. I hesitate to publicly admit how long it's been since I was a member.... This was one of several boats participating in the annual Crab Derby skiff races. Unfortunately, I didn't make it down to the docks in time to see them, but it's always a great contest. All boats that enter are reproductions of a locally designed 1922 crabbing skiff used by many watermen on the Chesapeake Bay into the early 1950s. The local fire department led the parade. This year's grand marshal was I.T. Todd, owner of MeTompkin Bay Oyster Co. and the town's last surviving link to its seafood packing dynasty of the first half of the 20th century. Here's the back half of the float in action during the parade. Note the confetti. These used to be the knights. So you're probably wondering why the fort looks like a castle. Well, when production originally started, the idea was to have the pirate ship attacking a castle with knights. Then someone realized that pirates and the Renaissance... yeah, two entirely different time periods. But by then the castle was built, so they just pretended it was a fort. They named the ship after the prison's warden. The wheelhouse and bubble machine. Though why exactly they needed a bubble machine on a pirate ship is beyond me. Arrrr! A pair of eyes (each pair slightly different) peered out from the gun ports. And the homemade cannons actually fired confetti! Though I'm not 100 percent sure teaching inmates how to make cannons of any kind is actually a good thing.... Even the worms on the ends of the fishing hooks had their own personalities. The detail they put into each float is amazing. Then again, it's not like they have much else to do.... The mouth of the dragon masthead opened, closed and blew smoke. This year's inmate float theme was a pirate ship attacking a fort. It went down the parade route with "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life for Me" blaring from the speakers. Those who have read some of my past "Random, Random, Random" TRs may remember that the largest employer in my home county is the local state prison and that several years ago my father (who works there) founded what is believed to be the only inmate rehabilitation program in the United States centering on parade float design and construction (a display of their past works was exhibited at the National Parade Float Hall of Fame earlier this year). I got up early Saturday morning to document the on-site assembly of their entry in this year's Crab Derby Main Street Parade. This being a Crab Derby (the town itself is known as the "Seafood Capital of the World"), crabs were pretty much everywhere. That's better! Or... maybe not. Why so serious? For those who went with us on the Behemoth/Flyer trip, no, this isn't metric skee-ball. Hey Tyler, does this look familiar? I found the Big Mike game! Anyone who leans is fed to the orange snake dragon. Giant cross-eyed frog... not so much. I contemplated actually plunking down $3 to try to win this game. Seriously, can you imagine what a faux tiger-skin rug in my apartment would do for my lovelife? I took pictures of the rides all lit up last year, so this year I moved on to the games. (Don't worry; ride photos are further down.) The "big show" of the evening was Crisfield Idol... which is exactly what it sounds like: bad small-town karaoke on a big small-town scale. The bacon-cheddar-ranch curly fries were awesome! There was about an inch of pure grease left in the bottom of the plate when they were all gone. My arteries may no longer work, but it was totally worth it! This is what the Maryland crab melt pita looks like. Er, what half of one looks like. And while we're being totally honest, this is what the second half of my sister's looks like, as I forgot to take a picture of mine before I ate it. First stop: food! Here are your 2008 National Hard Crab Derby admission rates as of Friday night.
  3. Wow, an official front-page TPR trip update from a trip I wasn't on? I haven't seen that in like a month! Can't wait for the China trip to really ramp up. The TRs from last year's Japan trip were what made me want to do a TPR trip in the first place. EDIT: I'm sad now that I realize it's been nearly a month since I've been on a TPR trip.
  4. That could be a thread all by itself--the first time Natalie made each of us feel old. Like when I told her I got the first season of "CHiPs" on DVD for Christmas and she had no idea what it was. Then after I spent a good five minutes explaining the concept and how cool it was, she was all like, "Oh, so that show came on like a decade before I was born?" I'm going to go see if my Ensure is properly chilled yet.
  5. King Cake is awesome! Back when I worked in newspapers, I had one shipped to our office during Mardi Gras as a morale booster. Didn't get the baby, though; that honor went to our 80-something-year-old office manager. And now she's dead (but not because she choked on the baby or anything like that). I also had a piece at Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World during my trip to New Orleans earlier this summer. Again I didn't get the baby, but later that night I washed it down with a few Hurricanes at Pat O'Brien's, so I wasn't too worried about it (or anything else after those Hurricanes).
  6. Um, NO! See, this is the kind of thing you needed to tell us BEFORE we went. That would have been a trip highlight for me!
  7. ^Love Mayor McCheese with the Batmobile in the background! Guess this means you made it home safely from the Maryland/Delaware/New Jersey leg of your trip. Can't wait until the Midwest TR series is over so we can get to the good stuff!
  8. For your information, I rode it 22 times during ERT! But who's counting?
  9. Actually, there was. It was just in a very primitive form and only used by academics. Well, yes, I know the Internet has existed in some way since the late '60s... but my point was, we couldn't order clothing from our computers. We actually had to put a stamp on an envelope and mail the orders to the catalog stores. And believe it or not, we also had a rotary telephone in our home. By cracky!
  10. At the paper I used to work for, the classifieds were outsourced and never, ever ran correctly. My favorite was the time they listed an ad for a portable hunting toilet under "Reducing Equipment."
  11. I was just thinking the same thing! Jason *hearts* Ravine Flyer II
  12. Woman, last time you sent me baked goods, they were full of raw cream cheese that sat in a hot mail truck for three days and almost killed me!* Or maybe that was pre-emptive... because you KNEW I would come back to profit from your eventual pain! (*OK, so they didn't really almost kill me. But they probably would have had I eaten them all in one sitting as I originally planned.) But since you asked nicely (or at least I'm pretending you did): Candy Sushi Ingredients: 1 box Rice Krispie treats 1 box Fruit Roll-Ups 1 package gummy worms (Twizzlers also work) Wrap one Rice Krispie treat in Saran Wrap and roll as flat as possible with a rolling pin (the Saran Wrap keeps the treat from sticking to the rolling pin). Place two gummy worms (or Twizzlers) at one of the small ends and roll the Rice Krispie treat around them. Unwrap one Fruit Roll-Up (the plastic film comes off easier if you refrigerate it first) and roll it around the outside of the Rice Krispie treat. Cut into five or six pieces with a serrated knife. Repeat until desired amount of sushi is created. If stacked, separate the sushi with waxed paper to keep candies from sticking together. Your dime will be in the mail as soon as someone orders the first $20 print.
  13. 9 and a half cents and maybe the recipe for the cookies. That's my final offer!
  14. ^Actually, TPR was there a different day than I was. I went all by my lonesome.
  15. Though SFA is my "home" Six Flags, I never had a reason to go until I attended the Behemoth/Flyer trip and "learned to stop worrying and love wooden coasters." I made the two-hour drive up after work last Thursday, not the least of which to score a season pass to make my weekend trip to SFGAd a little cheaper (season passes are $50 at SFA, $99 at SFGAd). This place, to me, was downright scary; I didn't feel entirely safe walking alone (though maybe that was just my overactive imagination). A lot of rides were closed, and with the exception of those attending that evening's Flo Rida concert, the park was nearly deserted. That said, I did more or less get two hours of ERT on Wild One and Roar, which were the two coasters I specifically went to ride. I had mixed experiences with the staff. The woman at the parking gate informed me, without looking up, "$15 if you wanna park" and seemed very put out when I handed her my money instead of driving my car off Six Flags property and going someplace to die. But the ride ops on Roar were great, joking with the crowd and high-fiving riders on the way out of the station even while spending at least two of my five rides trying, in English and pantomime, to explain to a non-English-speaking woman why she couldn't dive over the railing to look for her son's missing hat. Is this a nice park, ride-wise? Yeah. Is it a Six Flags park? In name and Warner Bros. licensing only. Unfortunately, I suspect Dave's "Condoland" prediction is pretty prescient. Once the housing crisis levels off, so will SFA.
  16. I'll give you at least as good a rate as deviantART. For every $20 I make, I'll forward you 9 cents. Deal?
  17. In capturing the "Breakfast Time!" square for Elissa Photo Bingo, I (unknowingly at the time) took a picture of this very occurrence--seriously, the Cheerios (or whatever they were) are in mid-flight! For those who are interested, I'll be selling prints of this rare, never-before-seen image on my new website, Flying Froot Loops dot com. For an extra $5, I'll even get the hotel worker who had to sweep up the aborted Cheerios (or whatever they were) to sign your individually numbered copy. All proceeds benefit my Future TPR Trip fund, so order today! Operators are standing by! Great pictures as always, Natalie. I remain impressed by your ability to make the clouds do your camera's bidding.
  18. Those are some great photos! I've always wanted to visit Coney Island. Guess my time's running out for Astroland.
  19. Is that the smoke monster from "Lost" making its way toward the coaster? I wish I had stuck around to see that! By the way, you're all wrong. The correct word for soda/pop is "tonic." I call it "soda," though. Only because I like to sound intelligent like famous people.
  20. OK, this is the kind of thing that really ticks me off. I spent a fair number of years as an education reporter, and I shudder to think how much money has been wasted, at least in the school district in grew up in, on pointless fads and trends that served to do nothing but dumb down/confuse the basic educational process ("Hey, someone out in California figured out a new-age way to teach math... without numbers! We could use some of that forward thinking here... and it'll only cost us $8,000 per student!"). And don't even get me started on No Child Left Behind. It's like someone somewhere one day decided, "Let's find the most uneducated child in each school and spend millions of dollars in every district dumbing things down to his/her level--and if we set the testing standards high enough and vow to cancel all funding to schools who don't meet these standards after we've forced them to dumb everything down, eventually the federal government will be off the hook for ever having to spend another dime on education ever again!" In this article specifically, I completely understand the rising fuel and food costs. Profit margins for school bus contractors have been declining for years; a four-day school week makes more operational sense from a fiscal standpoint (though it may prove to be a new burden on parents), and I'm amazed that there are still places in America where school lunch still costs $1.45 (it was $1.10 when I graduated in 1996). But as far as field trips go, the last tax-funded field trip I ever took was in the sixth grade (1990), after which they were universally dropped from the curriculum due to budget cuts (or maybe the local school board was just prescient enough to foretell that this would be an even bigger problem 18 years down the road). That's not to say we never traveled through the school--we just either had to pay our own way or work at a school-sanctioned fundraiser to pay for it. And then there's this gem: "Parents have been cutting back all summer. For back-to-school clothes, Heidi McLean shopped at outlets and the Marshalls discount chain for her son and daughter, high school students in Eureka, Calif." ^Well isn't that special? When I was growing up, I would have KILLED for a Marshalls. Or even a Wal-Mart. Most of our clothes came mail-order from the Sears and JCPenney catalogs. The closest mall was more than an hour away (right next to the closest "fancy" grocery store--the kind that carried both Little Debbie AND Hostess products), and there wasn't any such thing as the Internet. However, this part's my favorite: "But this year, I'm forcing the kids to reuse their backpacks," McLean said. "They each cost $50. They like the special cool ones, and they're still holding up." ^And she can use the money she saved to buy more crack, which is what anyone (at least anyone I know) would have to be smoking to buy their kids a new $50 backpack each year "just because." I used the same backpack all through high school... and college... and 16 years after my parents bought it for me--for $20--I still use it as carry-on luggage during short trips. If one of the straps broke, my mom sewed it. If it got dirty, my mom washed it (Dad didn't do much in the way of backpack maintenance, apparently). Of course, I guess it probably wasn't "special cool"... but I was valedictorian of my high school class and went on to graduate from college summa cum laude, so I guess it did the job. Maybe I'm just old and crotchety, but I grew up in an extremely impoverished area. I was one of the luckier ones, but you'd better believe I saw what a lot of my classmates went through--and what a lot of people there today still go through--just to survive day-to-day, much less get a proper education. When school's not in session, meaning the federal free and reduced lunch program is on hiatus, a lot of these kids are fortunate to get a single meal per day. Taking that into consideration, it really burns me up to read that people's ideas of "cutting back" are shopping at Marshalls (the horror!) and forcing their kids to use the same backpack for more than nine months at a time.
  21. ^^Embry-Riddle is a great school. I had a friend who went there on the four-year plan. He considers it the best six years of his life!
  22. Wait, wait, wait... Ocean City is this Friday, not Saturday? I'm off this Friday! Hooray! Mike, if you can tell me what time you'll be in Ocean City (as long as it's before 2:30 p.m., as I have to leave for a wedding rehearsal at that point), I'll gladly join you! I haven't been this excited since the last day of the Behemoth/Flyer trip!
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