Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Stabbing Westward – "Save Yourself" (1998)

I can not save you
I can't even save myself

The first day of spring, it snowed in Washington, DC.  

My grandson Jack enjoying the snow
One member of the DC City Council blamed the snow on . . . rich Jews?  (Why isn’t the whole world insisting that this bozo resign his Council seat toot sweet?)

I’m not sure why it snowed on March 21, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the fault of the Rothschilds.

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By contrast, the day before the first day of spring – in other words, the final day of winter – was lovely in the DC area.

I took advantage of the 61-degree temperature to load up my bike on my new bike rack and my new car and head to the C&O Canal towpath for a ride.

The C&O Canal, which is 184-plus miles long, was built between 1828 and 1850.  No freight-carrying boat has used the canal since 1924.  In 1971, a law was passed that established the C&O Canal National Historical Park, and today the towpath is a popular place to hike and bike.

I’m slowly but surely accomplishing my goal of riding the entire length of the canal on my bike.  It’s taking quite a while because I’m doing it by myself.  

That doubles my distance because I have to ride roundtrips.  Say I park at mile 50 and ride to mile 60 – then I have to ride back to mile 50 because that’s where my car is.  That means I have to ride 20 miles for each 10 miles of the canal that I cover.

And while a good part of the canal is no more than an hour’s drive from my home, the western parts of the C&O are more than two hours away.

That’s OK.  I’m retired – I’ve got nothing but time!

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On Monday, I started at mile 22 of the C&O – in other words, 22 miles upstream from the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC, where the canal ends.  (It feels like you’re a lot farther than 22 miles from downtown Washington, but you’re not.)

Less than a mile upstream is Aqueduct No. 1, which carried the canal over Seneca Creek.  That aqueduct was constructed between 1829 and 1832, using red sandstone from a nearby quarry.

Here's a photo of a canal boat using the aqueduct in 1882:

Seneca Creek aqueduct in 1882
The Seneca Creek aqueduct is the only one of the eleven on the C&O that also serves as a lift lock – Lock 24, also known as Riley’s Lock (after one of the lockkeepers who manned that lock).

Here’s the house that Mr. Riley lived in:

Unfortunately, the Seneca Creek aqueduct suffered heavy damage in a 1971 flood.  The National Park Service shored up the aqueduct with steel beams, but never restored the entire structure:

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A company that offers outdoor-adventure summer camps for kids parks its busses near Riley’s Lock in the off-season:

My oldest grandson, Jack – he’s 20 months old – is obsessed with trucks and busses, so I took some pictures of the camp busses and showed them to him the next day.  He stared at them like I used to stare at Playboy centerfolds.  

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My turnaround point was Lock 25, which was just short of nine miles from where I started my ride.

The lockkeeper's house at Lock 25
The lockhouse at Lock 25 is available for overnight stays.  It looks pretty nice, but there’s no heat, no electricity and no indoor plumbing.  (There’s a nearby port-a-potty, however.)  The cost?  Only $110 a night.  

Lock 25 is a stone’s throw away from what used to be the town of Edwards Ferry.  This canal had opened to this point in 1830, and a community with warehouses, stores, and a blacksmith quickly sprang up to service the canal traffic.  But the Civil War brought all that to an end.

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There’s not a lot to see between Seneca Creek and Edwards Ferry.  The Potomac River is wide and relatively placid along this stretch of the canal:

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I got back to my car about 5:30, which gave me plenty of time to drive to nearby Poolesville, MD, and enjoy happy hour at Cugini’s, a popular local pizza, subs, and wings joint that always has an impressive selection of local craft beers on tap:

I chose the “Wait . . . Pull What Out?” imperial stout from RAR Brewing, which is located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  (The beer’s name is a quote from the movie Old School.  You could have fooled me . . .)

At 12.5% ABV, one 10-ounce pour was plenty:

I sipped it as I watched the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team play its second-round NCAA tournament game.

I love watching the UConn women, who have been utterly dominant for years.  (One sportswriter described them as “a basketball death machine of epic proportions.”)  

No women’s college team has ever scored more than 55 points in a quarter, 94 points in a half, or 140 points in a game.  UConn broke those records not against some winless punching bag, but against a conference champion that won 24 games in the regular season.

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Christopher Hall and Walter Flakus formed Stabbing Westward in 1986, when they were students at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois.  Hall once told an interviewer what the band’s name signified:

Since we went to Western Illinois University, Stabbing Westward had a certain “kill everybody in the school’ vibe to it!  The school's way out in farm country and the country is really close-minded.  I was walking around like Robert Smith with real big hair, big baggy black clothes, black fingernail polish and eye makeup.  They just didn't get it. We hated the town.

“Save Yourself,” which was Stabbing Westward’s most successful single. was released in 1998 on the band’s third album, Darkest Days.  

Here’s “Save Yourself”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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