Don’t miss the Carroll County home show this weekend!

Officials could use a refresher course or 2


BEFORE HE left for Australia yesterday, I hope our just-back-from-Ireland mayor told George Winfield and the guys in DPW what to do next time 10.3 million gallons of raw sewage spills into Colgate Creek. Stick-figure drawings would probably help.

Was that the biggest "Duh" story of the year, or what?

I guess no one wanted to spoil Winfield's weekend with a bad-news phone call, huh?

Then there was the statement of Kurt Kocher, spokesman for the Department of Public Works: "It's unpleasant, it's unhealthy, but it will take care of itself relatively quickly. This is not a body of water where people are fishing or boating." Yeah, but the Chesapeake Bay is, and last I checked Colgate Creek flowed into it. Somebody get this lad a map.

On another matter, I see where State Police are flying around in helicopters spotting marijuana plants again. (They confiscated two dozen reefer stalks in Cecil County!) Wouldn't money and manpower going for these made-for-TV chopper missions be better spent on a few extra bed-days at in-patient drug clinics?

I see where a group of Catholic priests has told the archdiocese that there's "no basis" for the Virgin Mary apparitions claimed by Gianna Talone-Sullivan in Emmitsburg. Seems to me they keep raising the bar for these things. Next thing you know, they'll want videotape.

I like the idea of licensing lobbyists in Maryland. To get the license, a lobbyist would have to pass an exam and several physical tests at a State Ethics Commission lab: schmoozing, backslapping, back-stabbing, palm-greasing, bill-gutting, bell-ringing, rainmaking, cigar selection, general sucking-up and cocktails.

Will there be a III?

That was one very expensive and freaky "mishap" early Saturday morning near Bay Bridge Marina on Kent Island. Just before 2 a.m., the pilot of a 1992 Fountain, a 38-foot power boat that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace, slammed his vessel into a channel marker with such force that it ripped a 17-foot-long gash from near the bow through the forward section, nearly slicing the craft in half. The boat was actually impaled on the marker, a fixed steel piling, until it was removed to dry dock.

Department of Natural Resources police identified the man at the helm as David Ventresca, 37, and his passenger as Brandon Ginesi, 26, both of Annapolis. Injuries were limited to Ginesi's broken arm and some lacerations. The Coast Guard credited an unidentified boater with rescuing the two men.

DNR police cited Ventresca, who claimed to have been blinded by the lights of a sailboat just before the crash, for negligence, traveling at an unsafe speed and failure to maintain a proper lookout. The accident is under investigation.

It has been the talk of boaters in the upper bay this week, and no one has missed noting the boat's name: Temporary Insanity II.

Don't scramble the recipe

Pay attention now, because I'm only going to repeat this twice, and this is already the second time:

For spaghetti carbonara, beat the eggs and set them aside until it's time to add them to the hot, drained pasta. In Wednesday's TJI, where I said to "scramble" them, I meant "beat." Cabeesh? "Scramble," as finicky readers pointed out, suggests cooking the eggs. Don't do that. In spaghetti carbonara, the beaten eggs cook when they hit the hot pasta.

And another thing: You can finish the dish by mixing all the ingredients in a large skillet, on medium-high heat. Some carbonaristas like this because it adds a little sizzle and even crispiness to the spaghetti. It's a great method - if you have a large enough skillet. If you don't, then it's fine to toss the spaghetti carbonara in a large bowl. Just make sure all ingredients, except the eggs, are hot.

Father Joe Bonadio, of St. Francis of Assisi Church on Harford Road - the mayor's parish - has invited me over to the rectory for spaghetti carbonara. He says he makes it better than anyone in Baltimore. I think I'll test that claim, then render an opinion.(Yeah, right. Like I'm going to tell a priest he's wrong.)

Awesome Antietam

This is Antietam weekend. Sunday marks the anniversary of the bloodiest day of the Civil War - Sept. 17, 1862. If you've never been to Antietam National Battlefield, in Sharpsburg, consider a ride out there, and an hour or two of contemplating the awesome as you stand among the swords of browning cornstalks and meadows of grass quivering in light late-summer breezes.

There's an intimacy to the battleground - narrow lanes, historic sites separated only by barely discernible ridges, knolls and farm fields - that makes the slaughter, even at the distance of 138 years, seem breathtakingly real. The armies fought in close contact, through acres of corn, in woods, across the famous farm road that turned into Bloody Lane. Soldiers of the Confederacy from as far south as Louisiana met men of the Union from as far north as Vermont and died in hailstorms of musket and cannon fire within feet of one another.

What is awesome to contemplate is the courage it took for soldiers of the Union vanguards to march for the sake of country into sweeping rebel gunfire near Dunker Church, at the Sunken Road, at Burnside Bridge. More than 12,000 of them died. Confederate losses were placed at 10,700. Only in that it repelled Lee's first attempt to advance the war to the north can Antietam be considered a Union victory. The war lasted 2 1/2 more years. What nightmares occurred within a few morning hours in the lovely countryside outside Sharpsburg.

Recommended reading: "Landscape Turned Red, The Battle of Antietam," by Stephen W. Sears; Houghton Mifflin, 1983.

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