Burton on the Bay

 Vol. 9, No. 52
December 27, 2001 - January 2, 2002
Current Issue
2001: The Year in Review
Letters to the Editor
Bay Reflections
Burton on the Bay
Chesapeake Outdoors
Not Just for Kids
Eight Days a Week
What's Playing Where
Music Notes
Sky Watch
Bay Classifieds
Behind Bay Weekly
Advertising Info
Distribution spots
Contact us
Bill Burton’s Year in Review

Bill Burton is no mugwump. From politicians to watermen to waterfowl to foul play, he calls ‘em as he sees ‘em. Here’s a review of who he called villain in 2001 — and who hero.

The Ravens
Baltimore and Maryland were not only shamelessly aggressive in Art Modell’s heist of the Cleveland Browns but anted up hundreds of millions of bucks needed for so many other things hereabouts, including Chesapeake Bay restoration projects, to build them a purple stadium.

— No. 5, Feb. 1

Fast Food
Parents who would blanch at offering their kids a puff from a cigarette, day after day treat them (and themselves) to fast foods loaded with fat and salt.

— No. 7, Feb. 15

Had television been around on April 19, 1775, today we might all be watching BBC’s higher grade of telly programming, seeing we could have lost the Revolution because the minutemen and their families of Lexington, being glued to their screens, wouldn’t have heard the silversmith ride by with his warning the British are coming.

— No. 17, April 26

History repeats itself. When shad numbers declined to precipitous levels 20 years ago, netters stalled moratorium efforts with talk of many fish unaccounted for here ‘n’ there. They did the same when a striped bass shutdown was originally suggested a year later. Now we all know the closing of the two fisheries worked. Rock have more than recovered, and shad are finally getting there.

Methinks the crab situation is as bad or worse. Continued resistance by watermen to any crabbing curtailments puts the entire fishery at great risk.

— No. 20, May 17.

Maryland’s Fuel Monopoly Law
See how government works. A is tinkering with B for what it tells us is for the best interest of X. So those with big thirsty fuel tanks can no longer go on bargain hunts when the gauge on the instrument panel reads close to E, as in empty. Now we see who the scoundrels are.

— No. 37, Sept. 13

Establishment Arrogance
Bill Lambrecht, co-founder of Bay Weekly, has taken a complicated subject and broken it down to what we can understand. His is a story of arrogance versus ignorance: the arrogance of those who say ‘plant it’ to farmers and ‘eat it’ to us; ignorance on our part because we don’t know much about genetic engineering.

Do we realize that when scientists play games with genes they change seeds, which changes crops, which in turn changes what we eat. If we are what we eat, doesn’t this change us? There’s no way of knowing at this point.

— No. 39, Sept. 27.

Grandstanding Politicians
Had the guv — instead of picking a fight with his predecessor William Donald Schaefer, now our independent state comptroller and no patsy to the Glendening regime — just turned the water back on so at least the birds could drink and bathe, he might not be in hot water. Nor would his deputy chief of staff, one Jennifer Crawford, who is obviously his heart throb of the moment.

— No. 37:, Sept. 13

Grandstanding Politicians Continued
It’s a small world indeed. The Muslims of Afghanistan have had their Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, and we have our Doug Duncan and his tribe of county councilmen. It’s decreed the Muslims can’t smoke or watch television even within their homes, and now the rulers hereabouts would deny us the opportunity to smoke. Of course they’d allow us to stay glued to the imbecilic tube …

— No. 48, Nov. 29

His Beloved Cat Frieda
Frieda, words come slowly on this computer as out of habit I glance down to see the white ball of fur or hear the contented purr. Frieda Lawrence Burton, you are missed — and the house is the solemnest.

— No. 2, Jan. 11

Maple Syruping
Once again this year, it’s probably too late now to drill with a half-inch bit three-inch deep holes into the adult two red and one silver maples for sap this year. Though the winter has been cold, their sap is already flowing. Life is renewed. And there are so many other things to do to prepare the lawn, feeders and houses for the birds that will soon arrive.

— No. 8, Feb. 22

Like a cat, rhubarb is self-maintaining once it takes hold and starts growing. In rural New England, the “pie plant” is frequently not far from the kitchen door.

— No. 18, May 3

Wild and Backyard Life
Changes come with spring, yet some things remain the same. As usual of late, I continue to feed all the feathered visitors and will throughout the summer. The bill for the feed will, I figure, come close to $200 between now and winter, but it’s money well spent. A yard full of birds is priceless.

— No. 19, May 10

The College of Hard Knocks
For what it’s worth, this old man has some advice for graduates. Enjoy, but keep on learning whether you go on to another school or join the work force.

— No. 23, June 7.

People Who Do Their Jobs
The Kitzmillers of Noah’s Ark
The predicament of Velvet and Ted Kitzmiller is of ultimate concern among those with a passion for wildlife, especially injured, sick and orphaned wildlife. The citizenry is aroused, but as yet it’s unclear what can be done. When your household numbers 150 displaced wild creatures, where are you going to go when your lease expires?

— No. 25, June 21.

Maryland Waterman’s Association’s Larry Simns
I have watched the Rock Hall fisherman grow into his job and witnessed his mastery in gaining concessions for the watermen he represents. I observed his transformation from a brash and aggressive young firebrand to a statesman in fisheries circles.

The way I see it, Simns learned that anyone can holler and scream, anyone can dissent and demand, anyone can create turmoil and threaten. To be effective over the long haul, one must have the facts, know how to utilize and present them effectively within the system. Larry Simns has done just that.

— No. 30, July 26

Cold Drinks
Can you, as a fellow creature of comfort and taste, name one drink that rouses temptation when consumed at room temperature?

What good is a tepid beverage in summer when mind and body demand chilly refreshment? Conversely, of what value is a lukewarm drink when one is shivering with the cold?

— No. 26, June 28.

His New Cat
2E has settled in, becoming a member of the family. Like a goddess, she reigns in this household.

— No. 41, Oct. 11

Autumn Leaves
I like leaves whether on the limb or on the lawn. I like to hear the rustle of leaves, to walk through them and listen. In a round-about way, leaves give me another great pleasure as November winds into early December: the sight of a gray squirrel making its winter home within a glob of sticks and dried leaves high in a tree.

— No. 46, Nov. 15

Grandmother Burton’s Ginger Cookies
Keep all the neckties. sweaters, power drills and such. Like Cookie Monster, me want cookie. As long as I can remember, I’ve munched on Grandmother Burton’s smiley-face cookies at Christmas.

— No. 50, Dec. 13

Copyright 2001
Bay Weekly