Welcome back to BillyRocksPhilly! This post is not really about music (but I threw some in any way), so forgive me. Rather, it’s a glimpse into my thoughts. Please follow the sign below to enter this house of horrors.
I’ve been spending some time on the Eastern Shore – both Maryland and Delaware. Driving around here is interesting. If you go east to the ocean, you hit the barrier islands and find an interesting array of beach towns, from the swanky to the smarmy. There is a lot of activity regardless of which one you hit. I was primarily in Ocean City, Maryland.
I have to tell you that Ocean City is one crazy boardwalk town. It bills itself as a family resort, but has a casino, restaurants named Big Pecker’s, the Bearded Clam, the Bad Ass Café and the Brass Balls, and there are tons of places selling liquor, beer and wine, which makes me think of the Rev. Horton Heat’s oddball song of the same name.
If you’re sitting in some uptight community, you owe it to yourself to come to OC to let your hair down. Or at least come look around and soak it in. I’m not sure that there is anything like the mid-Atlantic boardwalk towns anywhere else in the world. I’ve never seen anything like them in Europe, the Caribbean or elsewhere in the US. Seedy and thriving boardwalks that are full of junk food, rides and amusements. They are noisy, garishly lit, chock a block with souvenir stores selling the most awful t-shirts and other items that you can imagine, and packed full of some of the most fascinating people you have ever laid eyes on. And all ocean front! I loved it as a kid, tolerated it as a parent, and now gawk at it slack-jawed as a grandparent. If you think US culture is trashy and getting worse, well, here is Exhibit A. And if you find this an interesting use of land otherwise at a huge premium, you won’t be alone.
If you head inland a few miles, you’re in agricultural country, with lots of soybean and corn being grown, and a number of chicken farming operations. It’s always curious to me how production of food usually involves very strong and offensive odors. I passed some farms that reeked of fertilizer and manure. And chicken farms have a strong ammonia and manure smell. There you are, driving along a pastoral country road, and BAM, this unseen smell smacks you right in the nose. Hungry yet? Mmmm, no. It reminds me of the Maine Avenue seafood market in DC – my god, it had great seafood, but if you hit it on a warm summer’s day, the smell knocked you down. It’s funny that they are now building expensive condos there – I get it from a location standpoint, but is it possible to ever rid that area of the smell of rotting fish?
Anyway, as I was driving around, I came to the conclusion that country people call it like it is. I was driving on Route 54 outside of Selbyville, and came across this street sign:
Dirt Lane. Here’s the street:
Yup, it’s a dirt lane alright. Sometimes, it’s best just to name something dead on, you know, just use the name to describe it, like the Rocky Mountains. But given that that is not always the case, people don’t always take place names seriously. Hey, if something is named Shark Bay, it’s probably not a good idea to swim there, right? So would you buy a piece of property at this finely-named establishment:
Termite Acres! Praise the Lord and board the horse. I wonder if Terminix will even come to your home if you buy there? You’re sort of asking for it, right? At least be smart enough to forego the hardwood floors. I couldn’t find a termite song, but did remember the Who’s weird song, “Boris the Spider.” Here it is in all its glory:
Boys, put those drugs down!
If you take nothing else from this post, here is the one thing to remember: follow the speed limit in Delaware. I drove for about 30 years without ever getting a speeding ticket. Then my parents moved to Delaware, and tickets have been raining down on me like ticker-tape on VE day. I don’t know why the cops here are such sticklers, but damn! Here’s a great song by the Bottle Rockets to commemorate my recent experiences driving in Delaware – “Radar Gun”.
Back to the boardwalk. I took this picture inside of Trimpers amusement park for all those that hate clowns, me included.
Why the big painted on smile? There’s a reason Stephen King used clowns as purveyors of evil in his classic horror story “It.” Clowns freak me out. How about a clown song? Here we go, one we all know:
I’m tired and ready to split. Thanks for tolerating my warped mind yet again, and for indulging me while I observed the Eastern Shore summer in full swing. It’s almost the 4th of July (can you believe it?), and I’ll be back with some patriotic stuff to warm your heart. In the meantime, you take it easy and sip something cold and refreshing. BRP forever! Love you, rockers.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.