While driving along Ocean City’s St. Louis Avenue last week, a man, one of the Senior Week variety, was riding a moped talking on his cell phone, smoking a cigarette and holding a six-pack of Bud Light in his lap. I have to admit I was impressed at his ability to multi-task, but then got to thinking about Ocean City Councilman Lloyd Martin’s desire for legislation mandating helmets for individuals riding mopeds or scooters. This has been discussed previously, but it usually runs into a dead end because the town would be unable to enforce such a local law citywide without help from the state legislature. The town could mandate helmets on city roads, such as St. Louis and Baltimore avenues, but not on the state-owned Coastal Highway. This is a matter worthy of legislative attention. It has gotten little attention in the past. If you have ever watched any of these young visitors zipping around town on these rented scooters, you understand it’s amazing there have not been any tragedies or at least more accidents resulting in serious injuries. These scooters can now travel at high rates of speed and they can be dangerous, especially when alcohol and a perceived immortality is considered. It would seem to me the safety rules that govern motorcycles should simply be extended to mopeds and scooters. In Maryland, it’s against the law to ride a motorcycle without a helmet.
Chances are the term “staycation” is not part of your vocabulary and that’s a good thing because it’s not a word. However, the expression has been in the news of late. It essentially refers to some folks’ inability to take a vacation away from home this year. It seems a “staycation” refers to not working and spending a week in your house as you would normally but eating out and taking part in tourist-like activities, such as visiting the local zoo, county fair or museum. A recent article in the Poughkeepsie Journal addressed the “staycation” and referenced Ocean City. According to the newspaper’s calculations, it would cost a family of four (children aged 10 and 6) about $2,000 to visit Ocean City for seven days and six nights. The estimate includes lodging, fuel, food and daily tourist activities. The trip estimate was based on three beach days; entrance to Jolly Roger for two children; bike rentals; high-speed boat rides; and entrance to Assateague Island National Seashore. Daily food costs were estimated at $118 per day and lodging per day at $152. The article compared the $2,000 cost to the expense to stay home, in this case in the Hudson Valley area of New York, and enjoy the local attractions at approximately $900. In my view, there may be something to the idea of the “staycation” given rising fuel costs and economic concerns, but it’s unfair and irresponsible to compare staying at the beach with sticking close to home in a historic river region in New York. I am sure it’s beautiful there this time of year, but this is the proverbial “apples to oranges” comparison.
Following up on last week’s solicitation for comments on the town’s new War of the Worlds type ad campaign, the reactions have been largely positive on youtube.com. I heard from a couple readers on the local front who thought the campaign left a little to be desired, especially when considered the money spent. On the youtube site, a huge majority of the feedback was positive. As of yesterday morning, there were 171 comments submitted. Many of the postings dealt with global warming, Al Gore and some other silly drivel. Here’s a sample of some other feedback, some of which is a little odd:
— “That video was fantastic. I miss you Ocean City, Md. Signed, The other end of Hwy 50.”
— “I always believed that we are moving toward the sun.”
— “And if the water really starts boiling, we can throw a ton of Old Bay in there and our crabs will be good to go! Just bring your own beer …”
— “This video was crazy awesome. I like how ‘book now’ shows up in the background while he is saying it. Very creative. I’m for sure coming to good ole’ Ocean City very soon.”
— “I wasn’t very impressed with this commercial. I hope it works though.”
— “I love it. Extremely creative and funny. Does that mayor look and act a bit like William Shatner?”
— “It’s a gimmicky ad to promote tourism. I don’t think they were going for accuracy. The thing made national news, right? It has served its’ purpose.”
— “Great commercial. I like the sarcasm. Great angle, especially in this age of environmental paranoia.”
— “The first time I saw it I knew it was going to turn some heads. Using absurdity to be absurd. Like Rush Limbaugh, very clever.”