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Top 10 Things I’ll Miss About Maryland – #8

Author’s Note: After nearly a decade on the east coast, it’s time for Mr. & Mrs. Link to head West. In the last ten years, our lives have changed significantly. We moved in together, got married, bought a house, got promotions at work and earned higher education degrees, hiked, drank, ran, ate and welcomed our son to the world. For a gal from Southern California and a guy from Montana, Maryland took some getting used to – the pollen, bugs, humidity, and distance from home made the change all the more difficult. But as time passed, we began to grudgingly put down roots. We even began to feel at home in our adopted land. What follows is Mr. Link’s favorite (and least favorite) parts about living in Maryland. Other posts here.

Top Ten Things I’ll Miss About Maryland

Number 8 – Maryland

I think this one surprises me the most.

Our relationship with Maryland started off on rocky footing. Mrs. Link lived in a tiny Charles village studio that slanted ever-so-slightly toward the outer wall so it felt very much like a sky cell at the Eyrie. I lived in a basement apartment in the People’s Republic of Takoma Park which was infested by house centipedes and camel crickets. Hell, even the geography was out to get me. See, dense vegetation generally limits your visibility to well under a mile while there are no mountains or anything else on the horizon to provide orientation. So I spent the first few years completely disoriented without any of the visual queues I grew up with. Suffice to say, when we first got here, we were counting the days until we could leave again… we were unwilling hostages.

But then something strange happened. Stockholm Syndrome. At some point, I started to actually like Maryland.

It’s hard to pinpoint when the change happened, but I remember vividly the moment I became aware of it. It was something like that scene in romantic comedies where the girl has a sexy dream about a guy she thinks she hates. For me, it was when Maryland revealed their fancy new Under Armour uniforms inspired by the Maryland Flag. The uniforms were widely panned, but I loved them. For the record, I also like the Oregon uniforms before they got popular. Anyway, I realized I liked the Maryland state flag, and that got me thinking… I had actually grown fond of my adopted state.

When did that happen?

Columbia – Moving to Columbia and out of the insect and crime infested urban centers was probably the single most important ingredient in the fundamental change of heart. Columbia represented the space my Montana soul craved. And I don’t just mean the miles of wooded trails. I mean space. Back yards. Lakes. In Baltimore and D.C. a car owner is a pariah to be punished, attacked, taxed, and ticketed. Columbia has welcoming wide streets… and the let you turn right on red!

Annapolis – Baltimore and D.C. are about 30 miles apart. Completing the triangle, roughly 30 miles from each of these urban hell-holes is Annapolis. Judging Maryland by Baltimore alone is like judging Cindy Crawford solely on her mole. Maryland has a lot of really cool parts. It has farm land, ski areas and honest-to-God rednecks (complete with pickup trucks and hyphenated names!). Annapolis became a regular destination for Link family staycations – weekends away from home that felt like you might as well be a thousand miles away.

Renaissance Festival – One of the reasons I like the Maryland flag is its medieval influence. In fact, the medieval theme has worked its way into my design work. RenFen is great – how can you not love a place that sells meat on a stick?

The Wire – I guess those B’more thugs aren’t that bad. Especially Omar.

Inner Harbor – As much as I hate on Baltimore, there are some charming places. Inner Harbor stands out, especially after the awesome Star-Spangled Sailabration when they brought in a bunch of tall ships to celebrate the bi-centennial of the War of 1812. I also enjoyed football at Patterson Park, the watching fireworks on the Henderson’s Fleet Street rooftop and going to Orioles games at Camden Yard with the Bezaks. Still, one of my favorite parts about the inner harbor is the tribute to a tall ship – the Pride of Baltimore – which sank in 1986. It’s commemorated by a hilarious plaque that says “Pride of Baltimore – Lost at Sea”. Yep.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like Maryland and I’ll miss it. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t breath a sigh of freedom relief every time I drove across the American Legion Memorial Bridge into Virginia. Maryland taxes are too high. It’s politicians are too comfortable and too corrupt. There are too many random beatings of tourists in “The Greatest City in America.” Even so there is a certain Chesapeake charm that I’ve grown fond of.

Top 10 Things I’ll Miss About Maryland – #10

Author’s Note: After nearly a decade on the east coast, it’s time for Mr. & Mrs. Link to move home. In the last ten years, our lives have changed significantly. We moved in together, got married, bought a house, got promotions at work and earned higher education degrees, hiked, drank, ran, ate and welcomed our son to the world. For a gal from Southern California and a guy from Montana, Maryland took some getting used to – the pollen, bugs, humidity, and distance from home made the change all the more difficult. But as time passed, we began to grudgingly put down roots. We even began to feel at home in our adopted land. What follows is Mr. Link’s favorite (and least favorite) parts about living in Maryland. Other posts here.

Top Ten Things I’ll Miss About Maryland

Number 10 – History

We live 34.4 miles from the capital of the most powerful nation the world has ever seen. We live 123 miles from the city where that nation debated and declared its independence. We live 21.5 miles from Fort McHenry, where a poem that would eventually become our National Anthem was written during the War of 1812. We live 61.3 miles from a decisive Civil War battlefield that gave President Abraham Lincoln the excuse he needed to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, lending a moral justification to the endeavor to preserve the Union of the United States.

From colonization, through the revolutionary war, and on up to modern events, history happened in my back yard. Every time I pick up a book about a Founding Father, the places they lived and worked aren’t just names on the page. They are real places that I have actually seen.

I was in high school the first time I visited Washington, D.C. – a Close Up trip with my favorite teacher Mr. Matt Stergios. The scope and gravity of the place made a powerful impression that never went away, even after living here for ten years.

I used to staff Senator Conrad Burns when he met with school groups, and as a history buff himself, one of the things he was fond of telling students was that 50 percent of the battles fought in the Civil War were waged within 50 miles of Washington, D.C. Indeed, Mrs. Link and I spent a great deal of time hiking in Shenandoah National Park. To get there, we had to drive though Bull Run. And the mountains themselves played a pivotal role in the defense of Virginia from Union Invasions as Stonewall Jackson utilized his intimate knowledge of the terrain to stay a step ahead of his enemy.

While it’s true that U.S. history is but a sliver compared with the breadth of human history, which is a sliver in geologic time, there can be no denying that the history of the New World has had a profound impact on the world we live in today. And so many of the most important events happened within a day’s drive of where I have lived for the last ten years. Living among this history – even participating in the creation of some of it – is both humbling and demystifying. Spending five minutes in Independence Hall reminds you that the men who signed the Declaration of Independence were not giants; they were men who sat in chairs that I could sit in. This makes their accomplishments all the more impressive; it is no special thing for a giant to move a mountain.

Over the years, Mrs. Link and I ventured on many an historic pilgrimage to see the things we’d learned about as schoolchildren. Few of them failed to impress even as my first trip to Washington, D.C. left a permanent impression. There’s no doubt that California and Montana have their own history, but it is fresh and local. The events in around Maryland changed the world.


In November, 2009 Mrs. Link, her dad and I visited the battlefield at Gettysburg. By coincidence, we were there the weekend of a large reenactment.


One of our regular “staycation” visits to Annapolis – the one-time Capital of the United States and the home of the Naval Academy.


Antietam Battlefield, just a few miles from where we regularly tubed in the Potomac River.


The view from Jefferson’s rock in Harper’s Ferry where the Shenandoah River flows into the Potomac River. Not only is Harpers Ferry the site of significant Civil War history (including the largest surrender of American forces in history), but this view inspired Thomas Jefferson to write: “This scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic.”

2012 Yearbook

The 2012 Yearbook is finally done, and wow… what a year! You can see all the albums from the year here.

The events and excitement of the year required a record 126 pages. This blows away the previous record of 108 by a substantial margin. Will this be the longest Yearbook yet? Only time will tell.

You can browse the pages below.

The 2011 Yearbook

The 2011 Yearbook is done. What a year!  You can see all the albums from the year here.

This years edition clocks in at 108 pages – the longest yet. I hope you enjoy it, as I know Tiff and I will for years to come!

You can browse the pages below.

Remy: Raise The Debt Ceiling Rap

Don’t forget this one too.

July 27th, 2011  in Entertainment, Fun, Video No Comments »

Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two

April 28th, 2011  in Entertainment, Video No Comments »

The Capitalist’s Apology

First, there’s the famously watered down Hollywood apology for greed and money, delivered by Gordon Gekko (Micheal Douglas) in the movie Wall Street.

Gekko: Well, I appreciate the opportunity you’re giving me, Mr. Cromwell, as the single largest shareholder in Teldar Paper, to speak.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we’re not here to indulge in fantasy, but in political and economic reality. America, America has become a second-rate power. Its trade deficit and its fiscal deficit are at nightmare proportions. Now, in the days of the free market, when our country was a top industrial power, there was accountability to the stockholder. The Carnegies, the Mellons, the men that built this great industrial empire, made sure of it because it was their money at stake. Today, management has no stake in the company!
All together, these men sitting up here [Teldar management] own less than 3 percent of the company. And where does Mr. Cromwell put his million-dollar salary? Not in Teldar stock; he owns less than 1 percent.

You own the company. That’s right — you, the stockholder.

And you are all being royally screwed over by these, these bureaucrats, with their steak lunches, their hunting and fishing trips, their corporate jets and golden parachutes.

Cromwell: This is an outrage! You’re out of line, Gekko!

Gekko: Teldar Paper, Mr. Cromwell, Teldar Paper has 33 different vice presidents, each earning over 200 thousand dollars a year. Now, I have spent the last two months analyzing what all these guys do, and I still can’t figure it out. One thing I do know is that our paper company lost 110 million dollars last year, and I’ll bet that half of that was spent in all the paperwork going back and forth between all these vice presidents.

The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be survival of the unfittest. Well, in my book you either do it right or you get eliminated.

In the last seven deals that I’ve been involved with, there were 2.5 million stockholders who have made a pretax profit of 12 billion dollars. Thank you.

I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them!

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed — for lack of a better word — is good.

Greed is right.

Greed works.

Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

Greed, in all of its forms — greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge — has marked the upward surge of mankind.
And greed — you mark my words — will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.

Thank you very much.

And then there’s the epic Money speech delivered by Ayn Rand’s Fancisco d’Aconia in Atlas Shrugged.  What Gordon Gekko would have said, if he hadn’t been delivering lines written by Hollywood liberals:

Rearden heard Bertram Scudder, outside the group, say to a girl who made some sound of indignation, “Don’t let him disturb you. You know, money is the root of all evil – and he’s the typical product of money.”

Rearden did not think that Francisco could have heard it, but he saw Francisco turning to them with a gravely courteous smile.

“So you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Aconia. “Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

Read more… …

March 14th, 2011  in Entertainment 1 Comment »

The 2010 Yearbook

The 2010 Yearbook is done.  Another 60 or so hours of work in the layouts over the course of the year (again, this year, I tried to do them as we went).  This is a monumental undertaking, but the final product has always been worth it.

This years edition clocks in at 98 pages – largely because once Tiffany left her PhD program we both started doing things on our own.  Since 80 pages is the limit allowed by PhotoWorks, we had to look for a place that would allow us more pages.  And we found Viovio.

You can browse the pages below.

The Yearbook Accounts of the year in words is below:

Read more… …

Annapolis Staycation (Part 3)

As I said, vacation is often a state of mind.  Despite our proximity to home, the leisurely pace, eating out and general discovery of the area really made it feel like a destination vacation; we might as well have been a thousand miles away.

Annapolis was great, too.  Down on the pier, there was always something going on.  There was a yacht of very drunk party-people.  There were kids eating ice cream.  And there were dogs.  Tiffany liked the dogs:

One of the best parts about being so close to home is that we were also very close to our friends.  On July 4, our friends Mark and Lindsay always host a rooftop barbecue in Baltimore to watch (and shoot some) fireworks.  Since we were so close, we could still go!

Carousel Frozen Treats in Warrenton

Warrenton is a way-point on a trip to Shenandoah, and more importantly a drive back.  After our regular Old Rag adventures, we’re always looking for some good eats.

Rae’s in Sperryville used to be the famous Appetite Repair Shop.  Under new management, the menu is eclectic and the service is friendly, but the food is rather boring.  It’s good if you’re really hungry – say after a challenging hike or a camping trip.  But it’s not great.  I don’t crave it while I’m on the trail.  We settle.

Frost Diner in Warrenton is about half an hour away from Sperryville.  I love diners and Frost is pretty normal diner fare.  Again, it’s good if you’re hungry, but not amazing.  And a few years back, a group of us were sorely disappointed when half of the menu was out of stock – including ice cream.

On our recent trip to Shenandoah, I think we stumbled upon a winner.  A must-stop on a return trip from Shenandoah.

I knew Carousel Frozen Treats was a good when I saw it was packed with people – mostly locals.  The menu was daunting – mostly deserts, but also hot dogs and some fries that looked amazing.  Both Tiffany and I ordered variations of fudge deserts.  They were huge.  And they were delicious.  I even became a fan on Facebook

April 13th, 2010  in Entertainment, Fun, Travel No Comments »