Wednesday Jan. 19 is the anniversary of the birth, in 1809, of Edgar Allan Poe. His birthplace was Boston. The Master of the Macabre lived in Baltimore and died here in 1849. On his birthday, in keeping with my stated resolutions for 2022, I hope to read, “The Raven” at his gravesite in downtown Baltimore. … Continue reading Reading “The Raven” on Poe’s birthday in Baltimore
Sharing some of the comments I receive from readers again, here's an emailed letter that arrived from a fellow named Joshua: "Your Steven Sachs column is very well done but, in my opinion, your quip, 'these days integrity seems as rare as a Trump-defying Republican,' is the very type of divisive and inaccurate statement that … Continue reading Dear Joshua: What I said about Republicans is still essentially true.
Hey, look, when you write a newspaper column, sometimes you get to roll out an idea, claim it was all yours and then name it after yourself. I have no clue if other columnists have done this, but I’ve done it twice and now I’m putting my name to a third, as described in my … Continue reading Rodricks’ Law, Rodricks Plea and now the Rodricks Pledge￼
Here’s a quick story from a Sun reader named Karen Meyers. On a recent winter morning, it perked me up a bit. "I live in a townhouse community in the Keswick neighborhood of Baltimore. I was hunkered down inside during the recent snow and didn't get my trash can out to the parking lot for … Continue reading Snow day, trash day — and a good deed by a city employee
It's winter so I again offer my 20-step plan for staying warm and sufficiently fed, making optimum use of the stove for heating and for creating several meals. My plan involves a few hours of early-morning cooking, which compensates for the inadequacies of your home-heating system, and you'll get a good workout, an exercise in … Continue reading My 20-step plan to cook multiple meals and get the house warmed up at the same time
From the Baltimore Sun archives: My column from Jan. 5, 2001, after Herman Williams, Baltimore's first Black fire chief, announced his retirement. The department on Sunday reported that Chief Williams had passed. Information was incomplete, but I believe he was close to 90 years old. PUTTING OUT fires for a living might have been the … Continue reading Herman Williams fought hardcore, demoralizing racism to become Baltimore’s first Black fire chief
My Sunday Sun column is about my younger brother, Eddie Rodricks. If you want, you can read it by following this link to the Sun’s website. I thought I would post a couple more pictures of my big little brother here. I don’t have more to say right now, except thank-you to the hundreds of … Continue reading We were not finished being brothers
On this anniversary of the Jan. 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, one of the worst days in American history, anyone who calls himself a patriot should vow to never vote for any member of Congress who took part in the effort to subvert the election of Joe Biden as president. For Marylanders, that … Continue reading Maryland Rep. Andy Harris was among the Jan. 6 seditionists and refused to honor Capitol cops. He doesn’t deserve a 7th term.
Since it was published in 2019, I've received some very gratifying letters about my memoirish book on fly fishing, fatherhood and life. The ones I like best have come from women who said they wanted to learn about fly fishing -- what exactly the attraction was -- and from men who said they were "never … Continue reading ‘If I could read, I’d read this book.’
I share this letter from a Baltimore Sun reader named Ken because I have rarely, if ever, received one like it. And it's especially meaningful these days, with the nation profoundly polarized. After you read this, please see my other daily post, about the need to confront people who accepted the Big Lies, because Ken's … Continue reading A rare sentiment from a reader
My fellow Americans: Ignoring friends and family who ignore reality will just make things worse for the country. Avoiding people who avoid the truth will hasten the end of democracy. We have to speak up. I say that because I don't think many of us do. I used to think it was OK, and even healthy, … Continue reading Good people, speak up, or democracy dies
Sometimes, as when the fishing's slow or when the whole world seems cloudy and ominous, I like to stand peaceably by a river, throw the dead branch of a tree in the current and watch it go. I did this when I was a kid -- so that my friends downstream would have something to … Continue reading River ritual to start the year
I try not to indulge much of the personal in my Sun column, which turns 43 on January 8. Mostly, over these many years, I've written off the news -- issues and policies, crime and punishment, the environment, government, social trends and the big problems facing Baltimore and the country. I guess that covers it. … Continue reading My other mother
A reader in California, Gary Cawood, says he needs more information about one of the cooking tips published recently in my Sun column. “I put one of the recommendations from your article, ‘32 things I learned about everyday cooking,’ that the Sacramento Bee published to the test by using a double boiler to scramble eggs … Continue reading Heavenly: Scrambled eggs in a vintage double boiler
The question was raised during the Trump administration: Is satire dead? The answer by now is resounding, it seems to me, so any attempts to use humor or exxageration to expose people's stupidity or vices in these dark times -- post-Trumpian, but maybe not; a second (or is it third?) surge of the pandemic; Coal … Continue reading Don’t Look Up: A Netflix Movie Tries to Satire Something Beyond Satire
That’s my best friend ... That’s my dog ... He gon always hold me down ... That's my dog. This Just In: Baltimore-based rapper DDm (Dapper Dan Midas) has recorded a new song (lyrics below) and video celebrating life with dogs. More specifically, "That's My Dog" is meant to highlight dog ownership among Black, indigenous and … Continue reading DDm raps: That’s my best friend. That’s my dog.
Any reporter who’s filed what editors call a “positive story” knows the feeling — you leave the subjects of those stories behind, to live out their lives, and you hope things turn out OK. You move along quickly and your attention turns to the next story. As the years go by, maybe you wonder about the … Continue reading Christmas wishes: Sometimes they come true
There’s really no practical reason for baccala anymore. They have this thing called “refrigeration” now and you can freeze fish for months. The original concept — drying out flanks of Atlantic cod and salting them to preserve them — goes back centuries and remains a thing only because there’s a market for the resulting Old … Continue reading Baccala, bacalhau, bacaloa — it’s all cod to me
A reader asked me for the recipe for Chicken Cacciatore that she had heard on Midday on WYPR when I was the show's host (2008-2016). I could not recall the recipe or who offered it. But, no surprise, Donna Crivello of Cosima (and formerly Donna's) had one, and, also no surprise, it comes from her … Continue reading Recipe: Classic chicken cacciatore
I took this photo of the fence line where a Baltimore police officer’s car crashed early Thursday, on Pennington Avenue in Curtis Bay. The officer, Keona Holley, was shot in an apparent ambush. You can read about her at this link to The Baltimore Sun’s coverage. Here’s my Friday column on the shooting, my second … Continue reading By law, how Baltimore can end the gun violence
I no longer assume the following: That the vast majorty of Americans (meaning, 75% to 80% of us) understand the fundamentals of democracy and the Constitution, that the vast majority of Americans can clearly discern fact from fiction, that the vast majority of Americans understand that peace is better than violence. That last one — … Continue reading Yes, America has a gun problem. It has a violence problem to go with it.
I have written on the topic of parole for lifers a lot, but I think I've reached the end of my efforts on this issue. I'm not giving up. I just think my job's done here. The Maryland General Assembly has finally taken an action that will remove politics from the parole system, and that's … Continue reading Last words on justice and parole for lifers
My column in today’s Baltimore Sun is all about cooking — some lessons I’ve picked up from cooking every day and from watching some good chefs, professional and at-home, do their thing over stoves and countertops. It’s a data dump of 32 pointers and suggestions, offered for readers as the holiday cooking season gets underway. … Continue reading Never fry bacon while naked and other kitchen lessons
Sharpsburg, Md -- On Saturday, one thousand volunteers placed 23,000 candles on the Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland. It was the annual illumination of grounds where nearly that number of Americans were killed, wounded or reported missing in the violent struggle to end slavery and preserve the union. The battle of Antietam took place on Sept. … Continue reading Essay and photos: Sunset and candles at Antietam
As mentioned in my weekend column in The Baltimore Sun: The newest addition to the B&O Railroad Museum is a large model train layout of Baltimore landmarks — Oriole Park (on the day of a Baltimore-Seattle playoff game in 1997), the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower, the World Trade Center, the Lord Baltimore Hotel, the Hippodrome … Continue reading Model city: Baltimore in HO scale at the B&O Museum
My Sun column today is about someone many from the newspaper knew -- and someone I wish the rest of you could have known: Ernie Imhoff, longtime reporter and editor for the Sunpapers of Baltimore, an assistant managing editor of the bygone Evening Sun and its last managing editor. Ernie, who died the other day, … Continue reading E stands for Encouragement, Enthusiasm and Ernie
This Saturday, December 4, from 1pm-3pm ET the #breathewithme Revolution and the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project present the World Premiere of Hidden in Full View, a short film that documents the lynching of 23-year old Matthew Williams in Salisbury, Maryland 90 years ago. The release is part of a national campaign that includes the upcoming publication of a book about the Williams … Continue reading Online premiere: ‘Hidden In Full View,’ the Matthew Williams lynching in Maryland
The guilty verdicts in the murder trial of the three men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia bring to mind something I’ve thought about a lot: How we in the news media missed the story so many times over so many years. I’m in my 48th year in the newspaper world. I go … Continue reading After Arbery verdicts: All the injustices we missed or ignored
Haudenosaunee refers to the Six Nations of Native Americans commonly known as the Iroquois — that is, Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, Tuscarora and Seneca. The Haudenosaunee (pronounced hoe-dee-no-SHOW-nee) are known for a tradition of giving daily thanks. “Haudenosaunee people give thanks everyday, not just once a year,” says the National Museum of the American Indian. … Continue reading Giving daily thanks: A Native American tradition
After sitting in the sun and listening to him for close to two hours, I asked Kenny Braitman to spend a few minutes elaborating on something he said during our conversation at his permaculture farm in Western Maryland — that having been in the Marine Corps was one of the best things that happened to … Continue reading Thanksgiving column: Kenny Braitman and a life of gratefulness
In the wake of the Rittenhouse trial and verdict, here's a hypothetical to ponder from Arnold "Skip" Isaacs, former Baltimore Sun correspondent and editor: Isaacs Imagine that last January 6 a concerned citizen -- let's call him LyleKittenhouse -- became worried that the Capitol police were beingoverwhelmed by the mob, that he picked up a … Continue reading What if Rittenhouse had taken on the Jan. 6 mob?
This terrible week in Baltimore got worse Thursday night with a 13-year-old girl shot to death in West Baltimore. My column in Friday’s Sun was written and filed before this happened so this girl's death is not listed among the others I cite from a week of violence that took the lives of a 69-year-old … Continue reading This I must do, this you should know
I always have more to share after I write a column, and today is no different. There are more things you should know about David Gordon and about the whole question of what we — this state, this country — do about teenagers who kill. Clearly, there needs to be punishment for the taking of … Continue reading On time, crime and punishment: More on the David Gordon case and juvenile justice
Today is Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day, originally meant to commemorate the end of World War I and the sacrifice of Americans who died in that absurd war’s last 18 months. But here’s the thing about 11/11/18: There was a period of time on the final day when, instead of quietly receding into history, The … Continue reading 11/11/18: The horrible, absurd end of the ‘War To End All Wars’￼
My Wednesday column in The Sun is about a depressing series of break-ins of establishments in the 1700 block of North Charles Street, in Baltimore’s Station North, but it could have been about graffiti. Graffiti and grime in the blocks north and south of North Avenue, along Charles Street and Maryland Avenue, are particularly disturbing. … Continue reading An epidemic of grafitti in Baltimore
In the recent New Jersey election, a Republican truck driver (in photo above) with no political experience beat the incumbent Democratic state Senate president while the Democratic governor narrowly won re-election. And now The New York Times declares that the “Republican Party seems to be marching back to relevance.” Only the Times could come up … Continue reading The Do-Nothing Party and Know-Nothing Politicians
I wrote this column about Raoul Middleman in December 2013. The artist died Friday night. His obituary appears in today's Baltimore Sun. The photo above shows Raoul with one of his portraits of the Great Dantini. The photograph is by Algerina Perna This update on the life of Raoul Middleman was not meant to be … Continue reading From the archive: Raoul Middleman, the artist at work in Baltimore, his city forever
Dear Michael Bloomberg: Now that you’ve given another $43 million to Johns Hopkins University, on top of the amazing $3.55 billion you already gave your alma mater, maybe you can do something directly for Baltimore. I’ve suggested it before in my column. Here’s another try: Give $1 billion over 10 years to the nonprofit Baltimore … Continue reading Dear Mike Bloomberg: A request and an invitation
My latest column in The Sun is another about Living Classrooms, and I'll tell you why: Until recently, I considered myself to be among the many Baltimoreans who think of Living Classrooms as “field trips on boats for kids on the Chesapeake.” But it’s turned into a lot more than that over the last 36 years. I … Continue reading Catching up with Living Classrooms, a Baltimore do-good that’s grown far beyond ‘field trips for kids’
Norway has one of the lowest recidivism rates in the world at 20%. The U.S. has one of the highest: 76.6% of prisoners are rearrested within five years. -- Harvard Poltical Review It seems to me there are three purposes to prisons: They are clearly essential for public safety, to keep criminals away from the … Continue reading What’s the purpose of our prisons?
The above photo of Heather Mizeur and Andy Harris was taken when Mizeur recorded her "Soul Force Politics" podcast with Harris in December 2017. Marylanders of the First congressional district got what they voted for — an extreme right-wing, sedition-supporting Republican who has accomplished little during his six terms in Washington. Andy Harris has a … Continue reading Harris quacks while Mizeur raises a million
Ordinarily, I don’t engage or indulge topics such as this: The prospects of another civil war in the United States. Such things seem too far-fetched, speculative, even ridiculous to bother with, unworthy of 900 words. But the prospect of civil war — an actual split in the country and violent confrontations between red and blue … Continue reading Civil war sounds crazy, but so did a Trump presidency
Updated post, with this New York Times story: As Manchin blocks climate plan, his state can't hold back floods Having read my Oct. 3 column in The Sunday Sun, my friend Tom recalled a trip to the Louisiana Gulf Coast a few years ago to do some birding with his wife, Gaile. As they travelled … Continue reading Joe Manchin’s legacy: Wealth from fossil fuels and putting the nation at risk of more Trumpism
I've written about this problem in the past. Glad to see this new law on the books. Here's the press release from the state: The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) remind Marylanders that a new state law that prohibits intentional balloon releases takes effect October 1, 2021. … Continue reading Great news: Intentional Balloon Releases Banned in Maryland
Beauséant So this is what happens: I'm driving through Mount Washington after visiting my old and beloved Evening Sun editor, Ernie Imhoff, at Springwell retirement community. I see this amazing carved sun face in the remainder of an old tree and, inspired by memories of Ernie assigning stories in the newsroom, I snooped around. I … Continue reading A carved sun face, a for-sale sign and the ‘General’s House’
Please note and mark the moment: Justin Tucker’s 66-yard field goal to win today’s NFL game in Detroit for the Baltimore Ravens belongs among the Greatest Feats in Sports History. It’s up there with Bob Beaman’s amazing Olympic-record long jump in Mexico City (1968), Don Larsen’s perfect game in a World Series (1956) and Usain … Continue reading 9/26/2021: Justin Tucker’s foot records his greatest feat
Question for the house: What takes more, being the best player on the worst baseball team or the best player on the best team? I’m looking at the Marvelous Mullins of the Baltimore Orioles as one of the greatest seasons by an individual Oriole comes to a close. Cedric has hit 30 home runs while … Continue reading The Marvelous Mullins kept his eye on the ball
In doing some research on the Progressive Era — in part, the subject of my Wednesday column in The Baltimore Sun — I tripped into a fascinating corner of Maryland history and the record of a long-gone governor from Conowingo named Austin Crothers. He was a man of contradictions in an age of ambiguity, a … Continue reading History lesson: The contradictions of Maryland and its Governor in the Progressive Era
The pandemic cancelled Little Italy’s Madonnari Arts Festival again. The next one is scheduled for September 2022. Still, art is happening in the old neighborhood. During the hiatus, the organizers of the festival invited Mexican street artist Carlos Alberto Garcia-Hernandez to create a permanent 3D mural on the wall of the Hospital Support Services building … Continue reading A wow-inducing new mural for Little Italy