Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Maryland What????

So why name a blogsite after Maryland marine life?

I grew up in Cecil County, Maryland and currently live in the Washington suburbs of Prince George’s County. I actually love my home state. In elementary school I was taught that Maryland had at least three nicknames: (1) Old Line State; (2) Free State and (3) America in Miniature. The latter moniker is quite appropriate and descriptive, because Maryland has it all.

The primarily agricultural Delmarva Peninsula has plains and farmlands dotted by small towns, as well as pristine ocean beaches (though I must admit, I much prefer Delaware’s State seashore to Ocean City, MD). Maryland also boasts of the lovely Chesapeake Bay, fed by a multitude of rivers and tributaries, with quaint and picturesque towns along its shores. A trip west brings you through rolling foothills approaching the Alleghenies and Appalachians, providing breathtaking views. And Maryland does not lack for major urban centers, with all their advantages and disadvantages. Even with all of Baltimore’s defects, it is indeed a charming port city rich in culture and history. (Baltimore is also "sister city" to one of my favorite places, Genoa, Italy, though the pair admittedly don't have much more in common than both being major ports.) And Annapolis' cobblestone streets, city dock and old historical buildings make our capital city second to none.

I chose the title “Maryland Crustacean”, not only in honor of one of the marine species that our state is known for, but also as an attempt at self deprecation; i.e., to pre-emptively cede some ground to readers who might find my ideas rather primitive, perhaps worthy of a crusty arthropod that makes its abode along the bottom of the Chesapeake.

The image of a crab also calls to mind one of my favorite expressions in Spanish, one that occurs often in small talk. When someone asks an innocuous question such as “¿QuĂ© haces?” [What are you doing or what are you up to?], a witty response would be “Contemplando la inmortalidad del cangrejo,” which literally means: “I’m contemplating the immortality of the crab.” Depending on the context and the mood of the speaker, that could signify anything from “absolutely nothing” or “none of your business” to “I’m musing” or “I am deep in thought.”

It is my hope that this blogsite will contain a number of worthwhile musings on a variety of topics. At the same time, I would rather not just talk to myself. I would be thrilled to engage in conversation with readers of these posts. Please feel free to post comments, ask questions, or even challenge some of my assertions.

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