Tuesday, December 25, 2012

An Anne Arundel County Yuletide and a Glen Burnie Christmas Tale

This entry was first posted 1:40AM EST December 25, 2012

Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Glen Burnie, Md., on Christmas Eve, 7:56PM, December 24, 2012.

We stopped in briefly but did not stay.

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As I start this entry, it 10:10PM on Christmas Eve here in Millersville, Maryland where I am staying tonight. My mom and Ray are in the other room watching a Christmas concert on WETA 26*. I'm in the back (or rather, the front) room where I will sleep on a mattress on the carpeted floor, with a small fan turned on.

*Amazingly, both WETA and its Maryland half-sibling rival MPT are not in their usual pledge-a-beg-a-thons. (Actually, the concert appears to be on one of the multiple permutations of WETA among the many hundreds of channels on this cable, so who knows.)

A short while ago, it was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir featuring literally hundreds of Perfect and Flawless Android Singers.

In addition to these flawless singing androids was a troupe of dancers in colorful "ethnic" costumes that ranged, in turn, from Mexican to Irish to Russian, and that in some cases made the Perfect 19 Year Old Guys look kinda gay. Alas, I could not find an online picture of them. However, as Mormons they are perfect humans and therefore they cannot be gay.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs in this online image I found (possibly taken in December 2008).


Next up was a concert featuring the choir(s) at Luther College choir(s) in Decorah, Iowa. Above is a cellphone image from a short while ago of the large plasma screen TV in this place showing the Luther College choir. (I keep thinking of that old Onion satirical headline from Our Dumb Century: "Iowa Family Blasted for Lack of Diversity" - Ha ha.) 

Decorah? Now isn't that the plural of Decorum.

As for the day overall -- Christmas Eve 2012 -- I spent it with my mom and stepfather (Ray) here in Millersville, Anne Arundel County ("Anny Runnell Kenny"). That is, I spent it outside of the D.C. Bubble where I otherwise live.

I got to the College Park Metro on a gray, forlorn, chilly day just after 12:15PM and my mom was waiting for me. The drive to Millersville took a while because the roads were clogged with traffic / last minute holiday shoppers, especially in the weird little area called "Maryland City."

As for the upper stretches of College Park, there are so many new large buildings there that it is almost in places unrecognizable from when I was there in the 1990s. I have NOTHING but bad memories of my time in College Park at UMCP where I amassed 3 Masters degrees and an undergraduate one plus a quarter million dollars in forever unpayable student loan debt. 

It began precipitating -- snow with sleet and rain mixed -- though there was no real accumulation, just a very wet ground. This was the "first snow" of the season I saw. 

By the time we got to Millersville, it was wet and raw feeling though the air temp of 37F was well above freezing. There was some wet snow showers but it was all rain by about 4PM and it ended by 7PM. In all, the three regional airport climate stations had the following on the 24th: 0.14" at KDCA; 0.17" at KBWI; and 0.20" at KIAD.

A significant weather event -- complex frontal storm system -- is shaping up for the East Coast for Wednesday into Thursday, but at this point it looks to be a mostly rain event along the I-95 corridor with the main low tracking almost overhead or slightly to the southeast. Rainfall totals of at least 1.25" are forecasted for this area, which if they come to pass will somewhat cut the annual deficit.

NWS/NCEP/HPC 48-hour surface weather forecast valid at 12Z (7AM EST) December 26, 2012. Click on image for larger version. 

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NWS/NCEP/HPC three-day quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF) valid 0Z 25 Dec through 0Z 28 Dec 2012.

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We had lunch and later went to the nearby Shopper's Warehouse. I was going to go into the Goodwill store nearby to see if there were any cheap full-scale winter coats of the sort that keep out wet and keep you warm (I don't really have any of those), but the place was already closed.


Dinner would have been nice except Ray (photographed above around 10PM tonight) had come home and he was in a bad mood and kept making political comments about Obama, Democrats, taxes, and "that loudmouth Brit," and I was getting irritated. It almost led to an argument but did not. I know Ray is not in good health and I'm never going to change his views about anything. The problem is that I'm rather opinionated, too, and not good at keeping quiet. And our worldviews could not be farther apart.

The "loudmouth Brit" part was a reference to Piers Morgan, who is the subject at present of a rightwing "petition" to deport him because he dared question the Second Amendment and had this train wreck of an interview with crazy Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America. (The context of this is all post-Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.)

Actually, it was a rather satisfying interview in terms of the things Morgan said to him such as, "You're an unbelievably stupid man, aren't you?" (In his British accent, it sounded more like, "You're an unbelievably styoopid mahn, ahn't you?")

And when Pratt absurdly said, "I don't know why you want to be the criminal's friend," Morgan replied in that wicked British accent, "What a ridiculous argument. You have absolutely no coherent argument. You don't actually give a damn about the gun murder rate in America."


YouTube clip of the Piers Morgan interview of Larry Pratt from last Tuesday (December 18th, 2012).

Morgan ended as follows:

"I know why sales of these weapons have been soaring in these last few days ... It's down to idiots like you" and -- after Pratt "thanked" him for a "high-level argument" -- "You wouldn't understand the meaning of the phrase 'high-level argument.' You are a dangerous man espousing dangerous nonsense."

Imagine David Gregory -- or for that matter, Howie "Mistah" Kurtz -- ever saying anything like that.

Anyway, I'm beginning to really like Piers Morgan. (Oh, and the "Pratt / prat" irony involving this British interviewer is not lost on me.)

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Anyway, after dinner around 730PM, mom and I took an evening drive to look at the Christmas light decorations in "old" Glen Burnie. While the rain had stopped, it was a drizzly with a low overcast and the air was still thickly wet and raw feeling with the air temp. and dew point around 36F.

Festive Christmas lights adorn the entire facade and fill the yard of a home on Central Avenue in Glen Burnie, Md., 8:11PM, December 24, 2012 (as seen with my mediocre cellphone camera).

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Nearby to Millersville is the Census Designated Place in Anne Arundel County of Glen Burnie. Formed by the 21061 and 21060 postal zip codes, Glen Burnie is where I spent 11 years of my life from 1982 to circa 1993 (ages 12 to 23) and even into the summers of 1994 and 1995. It is hard to believe I spent so much time there.

On our drive, we stopped briefly at Holy Trinity Catholic Church and then drove around "Old Glen Burnie" where there are the nice houses on residential streets lined with big trees.

A sort of psychedelic looking internally illuminated Frosty the Snowman in a yard (possibly on 2nd or B Street SW) in Glen Burnie, Md., 8:08PM, December 24, 2012.

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The lighted Christmas decorations were not as numerous or garishly impressive as in previous years but there were still some that were notable. 

As an aside, the houses in particular are in the "Southwest quadrant" of Glen Burnie -- which just like the District of Columbia, uses a NW-SW-NE-SE quadrant division. But rather than being directly beneath the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building, this "zero point" or "origin" of the street grid system is centered at Baltimore-Annapolis (B&A) Blvd and Central Avenue (west side) and Post 40 Road (east side).

Also, while the residential side streets use their own "local" numbering system for the houses, the addresses along the main roads including B&A Blvd and Ritchie Hwy are numbered out of Baltimore (they are in the 7300 - 7400 block in this area).

Here is a Google aerial map image of Glen Burnie, Md., with the quadrants and the zero point or origin marked.

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Finally, we went to that Glen Burnie institution: the Honey Bee diner for a cup of coffee for me, a cup of tea for my mom, and some dessert.

The Honey Bee never closes and true to form even on Christmas Eve, the place was bustling.

I also realize that Glen Burnie actually has people who just seem like ordinary and decent people. Living in the D.C. Bubble, and in the vicinity of the hateful gayborhood with the Matthew Henry and Dave Perruzza types, I forget that.

The Honey Bee, Glen Burnie, Md., 8:54PM, December 24, 2012.

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I actually recall when the Honey Bee used to be on the other side of Ritchie Highway back in the early 1980s -- and walking there the day after the February 1983 blizzard. I was 13 years old.

I am from New Jersey and that's the place to which I relate and consider my home, but I had a long history in Glen Burnie, Maryland -- even graduating from GBHS high school back in 1988.

My 25th reunion is coming up next year (2013). I honestly don't know if I am going to go or not. I have no friends from that time from GBHS. It is true that I had two friends through the early 2000s that I liked -- Mike Vice and Luther Petry -- with both of whom I have lost touch. (My sense is that Mike never forgave me for failing to show up as a guest at his wedding. Trouble was, I could not get there on a Saturday from D.C.)

We used to volunteer in the summertime for two weekends at the Big Glen Burnie Carnival in the main kitchen stand. That annual event is run by the Glen Burnie Improvement Association (G.B.I.A.).

As I wrote here about a year ago, Luther is the one whom I once overheard say to someone humorously in the style of the old Calgon laundry detergent ads, but in a context, alas, that I shall never know:

"ANCIENT G.B.I.A. SECRET, EH??"

The December 2012 daily event schedule at the Annapolis (Maryland) Moose family center lodge taped up to the refrigerator.

Alas, I shall be missing the weekly karaoke and meatloaf dinner for $8 to be held on Wednesday, Dec. 26th.

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OK, that's all for now. I feel kinda fat tonight. I can't get to the gym until Wednesday.

Tomorrow, we are supposed to go to the Chart House in Annapolis, and Gary is joining us and I'll ride back into D.C. tomorrow night with him. At least that's the plan.

Again, Merry Christmas to all.

--Regulus

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