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Dan Rodricks

Dan Rodricks: Bay crabbing, Uber gabbing and a few other things nobody asked about | COMMENTARY

Nobody asked me, because they know what I’d say: I’d say Maryland and Virginia should declare a one-year moratorium on the harvesting of Chesapeake Bay blue crabs. I made this suggestion several years ago, following reports like the one we received the other day: The annual survey of the bay’s crab population found it to be at its lowest level since scientists began tracking the species more than 30 years ago. The most recent estimate represents the third consecutive year-over-year decline.

We’ve been here before, my crab-cracking friends. In the 1990s, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation characterized the blue crab population as “perilously close to collapse,” and experts at the Chesapeake Bay Program said watermen had “fully exploited” the blue crab fishery. Weather, water quality and predators affect the crab population from year to year. There have been seasons of abundance, but the numbers fluctuate, and recent trends have not been good.

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A few years ago, I listened to scientific explanations and was told that a moratorium — a ban on commercial and recreational crabbing while compensating watermen and others affected by the ban — would not help and might do more harm than good. Still, how do we know for sure? My instinct on this remains: Removing humans from the equation for just one year is bound to help.

Nobody asked me, but, as noted in Friday’s column, 66% of Americans are considered fully vaccinated — meaning, they’ve had two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine — but the U.S. is well behind several other countries in that regard. Even with infections rising again and officials urging the 66% to get third and fourth shots, I can’t see what would make those who’ve refused the first two doses suddenly get in line. They know the dangers and apparently don’t care.

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Nobody asked me, but you would hope that, at some point — perhaps in upcoming elections — Baltimore voters would declare “enough!” with elected officials who are corrupt, ethically challenged, constantly raising suspicions or causing distractions at a time when the city needs the full attention of every civic leader.

Nobody asked me, but it’s pretty weird for members of the Baltimore City Council to find the current level of violence in the city “beyond comprehension.” If the trend continues, 2022 will be the eighth consecutive year of 300-plus homicides. When exactly did this become “beyond comprehension”? And what part do the six council members calling for more action find incomprehensible? The amount of guns and their cavalier use to settle disputes? The police staffing shortage? As a citizen of Baltimore, I’m glad these council members are making noise about it, but nothing about this is “beyond comprehension.”

Nobody asked me, but the Uber driver who gabs on his cellphone throughout the entire ride, filling his passenger’s ears with all manner of gossipy nonsense, gets no tip from me.

The following item is for people who like broccoli raab. Those of you who find this plant bitter and unpalatable can move on to the next paragraph: Nobody asked me, but blanching broccoli raab before sauteing is an unnecessary step. Try my method: Wash the greens and chop the stems into three-inch sections, leaving the leafy part whole. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil with minced garlic, then add the wet stems and greens a handful at a time. Once the greens sizzle, add some water (or broth) and salt (red pepper flakes optional) and quickly cover the pan. Lower the heat. This steamy process softens the stems and cooks the greens without sacrificing any of the good that comes from this nutritious plant. One other thing: Leftover broccoli raab makes a great frittata.

Nobody asked me, but Birdlanders who’ve soured on the Orioles, thinking the franchise will be in some sort of phony rebuild forever, are missing a pretty good developing story. I say this even after watching the Birds lose six in a row to the Tigers and Yankees. On the Orioles, I remain recklessly optimistic. But hey, I like broccoli raab, too.

Nobody asked me, but, instead of “Democrats fail to pass abortion bill,” shouldn’t the headline of May 11 have been: “Senate Republicans and Joe Manchin kill abortion rights that nearly 70% of Americans say in polls they want”?

Nobody asked me, but I agree: the Maryland Stadium Authority should not have so readily agreed to pass up profits from next month’s Paul McCartney concert at Camden Yards, letting the Orioles keep all but amusement taxes. The MSA supposedly agreed to this because it means the Orioles assume all the risk of the concert being a loser. A Paul McCartney concert a loser? Gimme a break. If you ask me — and, again, nobody did — the MSA should have negotiated for more concerts at Camden Yards before agreeing to this deal.

Nobody asked me, but I’ll wager that Rich Strike’s victory in the Kentucky Derby will go down as the biggest aberration in thoroughbred history. It was no loss to have that lucky horse skip the Preakness. After the Belmont, we’ll never hear from him again.

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Somebody asked me — it was a reader named Corry Royer — to suggest that the cellphone lot at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport could use a portable toilet. Those who wait in their cars to pick up passengers, especially when arrivals are delayed, would appreciate having such a facility. There now. My work here is done.


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