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Going maskless, a convenience store crab cake, the best median strip in Maryland and a few thoughts nobody asked for | COMMENTARY

High's convenience stores introduced the $8.99 cracbcake sandwich at most of its locations last fall.
High's convenience stores introduced the $8.99 cracbcake sandwich at most of its locations last fall. (Baltimore Sun staff)

Nobody asked me, but, while I’m as ready as the next guy to go maskless, I don’t see how telling vaccinated people they no longer have to wear masks will motivate the unvaccinated to get their shots. Only a third of the nation has been fully vaccinated against a virus that has killed more than 580,000 Americans. Are the anti-vaxxers suddenly going to see the light? Dr. Leana Wen, former Baltimore health commissioner, said she was stunned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcement that those of us fully vaccinated no longer have to wear masks in most indoor settings. “Yes, vaccinated people are well-protected and not a threat to others,” Wen tweeted. “But … won’t unvaccinated people pretend to be vaccinated & stop wearing masks?” I’m with the doc on this, and taking bets that most of the unvaccinated will assume the pandemic is over and never get needled.

Nobody asked me, but we should consider ourselves lucky that Marylanders took the threat of the virus seriously. The state says some 65% of adults have had at least one shot, and that healthy rate of vaccination prompted Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday to lift the state’s indoor mask mandate. While I still doubt this will motivate the anti-vaxxers, I look forward to the pleasure of standing at my neighborhood bar again, having a draft and engaging in unmasked commiserations about the Orioles.

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And speaking of the Orioles …

Nobody asked me, but fans might want an explanation for the club’s decision to quietly end a popular, long-standing policy that allowed us to bring what’s generally termed “outside food” into a home game. Under the banner of pandemic health and safety, the Orioles ended that policy, explaining that doing so would reduce “touchpoints between fans and security lines as fans enter the ballpark.” It goes along with the Orioles’ no-bags policy, eliminating inspections and speeding up entry times. Pardon me for suggesting something that might be construed as logical, but wouldn’t clear plastic bags do the trick? Fans could still bring outside food into the ballpark, and it would be visible to the gatekeepers. In fact, that would be a good practice to keep in place after the Orioles start lifting pandemic restrictions.

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By the way, I found from other news sources and from team websites that 15 of the 30 Major League franchises have been allowing outside food this spring, and two others allow beverages to be brought into their stadiums. In Yankee Stadium, you can bring apples and oranges, but they “must be sliced or sectioned.” I assume that’s so they can’t be thrown at the umps.

Nobody asked me, but while I am eager to get out and see movies in theaters again and recently (and finally) stopped buying stuff from Amazon, I’m keeping my Prime Video subscription just to see “The Underground Railroad,” the 10-hour series adapted from Colson Whitehead’s novel by filmmaker Barry Jenkins. I’ve been warned to watch it in installments because its storyline and images are so powerful that bingeing will be overwhelming.

Nobody asked me, but nothing quite prepares the hiker and part-time bird-watcher for the flash of the indigo bunting right before your eyes. It’s something close to shocking.

Nobody asked her, but a reader of The Sun named Lynn Weisberg says, “Maybe the city could clean up the 28th Street exit going north on Interstate 83. For years it has been collecting trash and broken glass. Makes Baltimore look like a trash dump.” Thank you, Lynn. And while we’re reporting roadway trash, allow me to draw attention to the wooded stretch of southbound Perring Parkway just north of Northern Parkway near Mount Pleasant Golf Course. Last I checked, it was filthy.

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Nobody asked me about this, either, but here goes: You should always keep a box of orzo in the cupboard. Those little grain-shaped pasta bits come in handy — in soups or salads or as a savory side. Say you have leftover rice from a Chinese carryout. Cook up a little orzo, drain it and mix it with the rice in a pan over medium heat, adding a little olive oil or unsalted butter, seasonings, some sauteed garlic and onion. Voilà, you pretty much have pilaf. This concludes the cooking part of today’s column.

Nobody asked me, but few things will brighten the homeowner’s spirits like re-grouted tile in your kitchen or bath. It’s an underappreciated improvement.

Nobody asked me to do it, but I did it anyway. I tried the $8.99 crab cake sandwich at High’s. It smelled good on its way from the oven behind the counter, but that’s about all I can say for it. High’s would do better with $1.99 coddies under glass by the register.

Nobody asked me, but perhaps the best median strip in Maryland — if you’re looking for such a thing — is on a relatively short stretch of Interstate 70 in Washington County, in an area known as Wilson-Conococheague, roughly 34 miles west of Frederick. The median has a grove of excellent trees there. For about a half mile, it gives the impression of the long driveway to a mansion. It is most appreciated from the westbound side. Worth the trip? No. But if you’re going that way, mark it on the GPS. If you don’t have a tree-lined driveway at home, this will give you that tree-lined feeling free of charge.

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