This stained glass memorial to those who fought for the Union in the Civil War is in Lansdowne Christian Church - Hull Memorial in Baltimore County. Charles Hull, a Civil War veteran and Baltimore real estate investor, gave the building for the church, and each year on the Sunday before Memorial Day the church honors … Continue reading “Those who fought for the Union” essay/oratory contest
This is US: Death by gun more likely than death by motor vehicle
My Sunday column in the Sun is about that horrific fatal accident on the Beltway on Wednesday at 12:40 pm. In gathering thoughts about it, I read up on the probabilities of death in the U.S., as reported by the National Safety Council. It turned up some interesting things — for one, that we are … Continue reading This is US: Death by gun more likely than death by motor vehicle
Someone hiked through mud and over large piles of flood debris to get to a spot on the river to plant a modest memorial to someone they cared about. It was impossible to miss against the gray-brown tableau of the recently concluded winter. Someone inserted the metal stems of fake sunflowers into one of thousands … Continue reading Riverside memorial
Pardon my pessimism
As I sat down to write today’s column, I heard the most amazing thing: Boccherini’s Cello Concerto No. 3 in G Major, the adagio, performed by Frederic Lodeon. So beautiful and tragic, it fit perfectly with how I felt — sweet air and sunshine in this strange winter/premature spring and horrible news from across the … Continue reading Pardon my pessimism
The worst thing Republicans have done to their own constituents
In their latest collaboration for The Washington Post, Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman suggest political consequences ahead for Republican candidates, such as DeSantis in Florida, who have refused to allow millions of low-income Americans to obtain health insurance through Obamacare. It’s a compelling political point they make, given the popularity of Obamacare and what just … Continue reading The worst thing Republicans have done to their own constituents
Why a Baltimore City Councilman refuses interview with the FOX affiliate here
My column in the Sunday Sun tries to offer context for the decline in student test scores in the wake of the most deadly part of the pandemic, and particularly the distressing lack of math proficiency among Baltimore students. I do this because of what's been airing on the FOX affiliate here and because some … Continue reading Why a Baltimore City Councilman refuses interview with the FOX affiliate here
Just a quick note about this photograph, texted to me from Alan Klotz in Garrett County. They are Evening Grosbeaks. I have not seen them in years, and Alan's photo takes me back to winters in a small Massachusetts town. These amazing birds, colorful as canaries, would show up in our backyard to feed on … Continue reading Winter canaries
The unsolved murder of the five-dollar doc
Russo February 27th was a sad anniversary in Baltimore — the night in 1981 when “the five-dollar doc” of Harford Road, Dr. Sebastian Russo, was shot to death in his office. I covered the story way back when, attended and wrote about Dr. Russo’s funeral at St. Dominic’s. The story gave me a real sense … Continue reading The unsolved murder of the five-dollar doc
The only shame is the shame we bring on ourselves
The woman featured in my Sunday column, Tammy Finci, said something that stopped me: She hoped people would not think less of her because her father, the late David Gibbs, turned out to be a criminal -- in fact, a serial holdup man and convicted murderer who was one of Maryland's longest-serving inmates. (He's the … Continue reading The only shame is the shame we bring on ourselves
Looks like the ‘wild’ Youghiogheny River will stay that way
The Garrett County Commissioners on Thursday dealt another blow to a proposed trail along Maryland’s last official “wild river,” asking the state to use the $4.7 million slated for a Youghiogheny River passage to trail systems elsewhere in the western county.The commissioners – Paul C. Edwards, Ryan S. Savage and S. Larry Tichnell – made … Continue reading Looks like the ‘wild’ Youghiogheny River will stay that way
Coming up: Lunchtime Music at Westminster Hall, Baltimore
Westminster Hall Presents: (Re)Emerge with Balance Campaign at Lunch Under the Pipes Thursday, March 2nd, Balance Campaign | Shifting Landscapes featuring violist Kimia Hesabi Amnieh Westminster Hall is proud to welcome back our free lunchtime recital series Lunch Under the Pipes! Join us the first Thursday of each month: March 2nd, April 6th and May 4th for live … Continue reading Coming up: Lunchtime Music at Westminster Hall, Baltimore
Never rooted for a plaintiff in a media defamation case — until Dominion v. Fox “News”
The great fraud that is Fox “News” — a cable propaganda machine posing as a news channel supposedly practicing professional journalism — has been exposed in a legal filing by Dominion Voting Systems in its defamation suit against the Murdoch media machine. Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Rupert Murdoch — they all thought claims … Continue reading Never rooted for a plaintiff in a media defamation case — until Dominion v. Fox “News”
Cassilly withdraws from consideration for an ethics post. That’s good, and here’s why.
My latest column in The Sun went online before the Harford County Council met on Tuesday evening to consider, among other things, the nomination of Joe Cassilly, the elder brother of the new county executive, to a seat on the county’s Board of Ethics. It would be a fine nomination, if you don’t mind the … Continue reading Cassilly withdraws from consideration for an ethics post. That’s good, and here’s why.
Dates set for two plays by Dan Rodricks
Dates have been set for performances of two plays by Baltimore Sun columnist Dan Rodricks — a second run of “Baltimore, You Have No Idea” in December 2023 and a new play, “Baltimore Docket,” for February 2024. Both plays will be staged in the theater of the Baltimore Museum of Art. “Baltimore, You Have No … Continue reading Dates set for two plays by Dan Rodricks
Two men named Ryan relate their experiences with dangerous drivers and poor police response
Johnson My weekend column is about a young man named Ryan Johnson, formerly of Baltimore and pre-med studies at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and the hit-and-run car crash that, for the time being, has left his dreams for a career in neurosurgery on hold. When he originally contacted me, it was to tell of the accident and … Continue reading Two men named Ryan relate their experiences with dangerous drivers and poor police response
The draft ended 50 years ago. We need a new Selective Public Service.
From The Washington Post: On Jan. 27, 1973, with U.S. involvement in Vietnam over, Defense Secretary Melvin Laird declared the end of the military draft, after 25 uninterrupted years of conscription. “I wish to inform you,” Laird said, “that the Armed Forces henceforth will depend exclusively on volunteer soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.” The decision … Continue reading The draft ended 50 years ago. We need a new Selective Public Service.
Electric Ferries: Not the name of a rock band. A solution to Chesapeake Bay Bridge traffic.
Look at a map of the huge Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay and there are numerous places where you could make a crossing by boat in a reasonable amount of time. But since the 1950s, when the first Bay Bridge was completed — the second span opened in 1973 — we’ve been sending all … Continue reading Electric Ferries: Not the name of a rock band. A solution to Chesapeake Bay Bridge traffic.
Overcoming a childhood stutter helped Ben Jealous write his new book about getting past racism
In answering questions about his new book for my Sunday Sun column, Ben Jealous mentioned, as he has on occasion, that he was a stutterer. I remember him talking about this during his unsuccessful run for Maryland governor in 2018, after the incumbent, Republican Larry Hogan, released a negative campaign commercial mocking Jealous for speaking … Continue reading Overcoming a childhood stutter helped Ben Jealous write his new book about getting past racism
Watching people fight: From Brockton to Baltimore
My two most recent columns for The Baltimore Sun are about boxing, and while reporting them — interviewing amateur welterweight Courtney Feldheim and her trainer, Warren Boardley — it occurred to me that I don’t follow the “sweet science” as much as I once did. I am not a sportswriter, but over 44 years of … Continue reading Watching people fight: From Brockton to Baltimore
Ed Goldstein, RIP
Ed Goldstein, founding member and director of the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble and Baltimore’s annual Tuba Christmas, was a wonderful man and a great talent, a tubist and humorist. I was fortunate to be in his congenial company many times, usually on my radio shows and television show. He died the other day at age 68. … Continue reading Ed Goldstein, RIP
In the wee hours, the wee party elects a wee Speaker
In the wee hours of Saturday, the wee Republicans finally voted in a way that the wee-est of them all, Kevin McCarthy, could become Speaker of the House. Having made extraordinary concessions to the crazies and government saboteurs on the extreme right, McCarthy got what he wanted on the 15th ballot after midnight. But McCarthy … Continue reading In the wee hours, the wee party elects a wee Speaker
Andy Harris and Half a House of Half-Adults
Maryland's Andy Harris and other Republican members of the House Freedom Caucus are engrossed in an adolescent game in Washington, sabotaging Kevin McCarthy's quest to succeed Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House just for the hell of it. Watching Republicans in a silly schoolyard brawl would be amusing if not so bad for the … Continue reading Andy Harris and Half a House of Half-Adults
The two Baltimores
Here are the two Baltimores on display in the current editions of The Sun, as maddeningly stark as ever: Our reporters Cassidy Jensen, Darcy Costello and Alex Mann write about the despondency in the city’s deadliest neighborhood as Baltimore marks its eighth consecutive year of 300 or more homicides. Meanwhile, my colleague Jacques Kelly reports … Continue reading The two Baltimores
A good year of birding in Baltimore parks
The photograph atop this post -- a Common tern in flight with food near Fort McHenry -- is one of many from the camera of Nico Sarbanes, the subject of my last column of 2022. I thought reporting on Nico's year of birding in five Baltimore parks -- he recorded more than 200 species -- … Continue reading A good year of birding in Baltimore parks
There’s a lot you could do
There’s a lot you could do. You could buy some blank stationery, or just get some good paper, and block out quiet time to sit at a table and write letters to 10 people you care about. Hand-written notes of encouragement, thanks or praise reach people in a profound way, and more than ever in … Continue reading There’s a lot you could do
George Santos: Whatever happened to shame?
George Santos, the New York Republican who was elected in November to Congress, has confirmed some of the key findings of a New York Times investigation that he lied about almost everything -- his education, his employment history, the sources of his income, his ethnic background -- but tried to downplay the misrepresentations and vowed to take … Continue reading George Santos: Whatever happened to shame?
Christmas wish: A room full of memories
My Christmas column in The Sun is a list of holiday wishes for anyone who reads it -- all friends, known and unknown. A college professor once told me that wishing was silly, even at Christmas, that you can’t wish away a difficult or bad situation or wish for the impossible. Of course, any rational … Continue reading Christmas wish: A room full of memories
The humpback Croustille Croissant
Let me just say that, when it comes to the croissant, I have by now logged the requisite number of sampling hours to be a full-fledged expert. I have tasted croissants from numerous bakeries in the U.S. — those produced by Bonjour and Patisserie Poupon right here in Baltimore are excellent — as well as … Continue reading The humpback Croustille Croissant
Holiday gift: Framed photos of ancestors
It occurs to me that, when a young person -- son or daughter, niece or nephew -- moves into a new house or apartment, they might not take with them one of those old photographs of long-gone ancestors your parents passed along or left behind. This might not seem like an extraordinary idea. No doubt, … Continue reading Holiday gift: Framed photos of ancestors
Baltimore, we had no idea. Thank you.
On behalf of the cast and crew of “Baltimore, You Have No Idea,” I would like to offer a hearty thank-you to everyone who has said nice things about the play. The response has been kind of amazing, really, beyond anything I imagined. We had no idea the play would please so many of you. … Continue reading Baltimore, we had no idea. Thank you.
Epilogue: Story of the stolen purse five years later
If I had the time, I could report and write countless stories in follow-up to the more than 6,400 columns I’ve produced for the Sunpapers of Baltimore, morning and evening, since January 1979. I could compose a series of epilogues, telling you how things turned out for that boy who was arrested at age 8 … Continue reading Epilogue: Story of the stolen purse five years later
Spraying poison: Back in the day, it was OK
My column in today's Baltimore Sun is a reminder of life before the Great Awareness — before Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” before the first Earth Day and the dawn of the modern environmental movement, before Americans questioned the motives of corporations, before we fully understood the damage that chemical compounds could do in the quest … Continue reading Spraying poison: Back in the day, it was OK
My Favorite Year: 40 years on, still my favorite movie
In 1954, the number of TV stations in the United States more than doubled, advertising revenue surpassed radio revenue for the first time, and Swanson introduced the TV dinner. NBC telecast the Tournament of Roses Parade for the first time in color. ABC broadcast the Army-McCarthy hearings live. And on CBS, the crusading Edward R. … Continue reading My Favorite Year: 40 years on, still my favorite movie
‘They still think we’re all a bunch of superstitious peasants’
My weekend column is about the Catholic Church, the Maryland Attorney General’s report about clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and the latest meeting of the U.S. bishops. The first letter I received from a reader missed my point about the priesthood being the same – that essentially no fundamental change has occurred … Continue reading ‘They still think we’re all a bunch of superstitious peasants’
Worth a listen: The fourth of Beethoven’s 5th
One of the delights in life is to be surprised by something that has become familiar or even old hat, or to discover something grand you missed the first few times around. Somewhere along the way, I am sure I heard the fourth and final movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. I am sure it was … Continue reading Worth a listen: The fourth of Beethoven’s 5th
Extra thanks: From an Orioles outfielder
In my Sun column today, 11 people, including the Orioles manager Brandon Hyde, give their reasons for thanksgiving. Here are a couple more Thanksgiving reflections I picked up just after deadline: Anthony Santander, Orioles outfielder and slugger: “I'm thankful for the excellent season we had as a team. I think that it's a really good … Continue reading Extra thanks: From an Orioles outfielder
How to make Portuguese stuffing for Thanksgiving
I am just going to wing this because I don’t have the recipe, but I know how to make it. It’s a great stuffing, a traditional New England recipe adopted by a Portuguese immigrant named Justina Gomes Rodrigues (the little lady in the photo, my paternal grandmother) and made to her Madeiran tastes. Ingredients:One pound … Continue reading How to make Portuguese stuffing for Thanksgiving
Sold out: Baltimore, You Have No Idea
Thanks to one and all who purchased tickets for the Dec. 2 and 3 performances of my "one-man play with a cast of seven (or eight)" at the Meyerhoff Auditorium of the Baltimore Museum of Art. Reminder: Seating is general admission. The email confirmation of your purchase serves as your ticket. Ushers will have your … Continue reading Sold out: Baltimore, You Have No Idea
Getting in toon for Maryland’s next governor
Neil Grauer, author, journalist and cartoonist, is well known for his Johns Hopkins Blue Jay. He’s drawn it thousands of times over more than a half-century, since his time as an undergrad at Homewood. (Photographer Jim Burger took the photo atop this post and wrote a profile of Neil for the City Paper in 2014.) … Continue reading Getting in toon for Maryland’s next governor
Updated: Oregon Ridge, no bikes in the master plan
After Saturday's public hearing, Ken Rosenstiel wrote this report: The meeting went well and it started with Elisabeth Lardner of Lardner/Klein Landscape Architects announcing that they decided three weeks ago that there would not be any bikes in the park and that got the biggest round of applause. The rest was fairly boilerplate; new Nature … Continue reading Updated: Oregon Ridge, no bikes in the master plan
On Americans who support election deniers, doubters and other dopey politicians on the right
If you caught Jordan Klepper’s most recent report on election deniers on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” you’d think half the country had lost its mind, or, at the very least, had never had a class in American government, had never developed the ability to think critically, had never grown up. Klepper travels among … Continue reading On Americans who support election deniers, doubters and other dopey politicians on the right
Do level-headed Americans still outnumber those who’ve lost their minds? We shall soon see.
The 2022 election isn’t really about ideology. It's not about whether the nation should spend trillions on fixing infrastructure or addressing climate change. It’s not about forgiving student loan debt or closing our southern border with Mexico or even abortion rights. The latter is clearly on the minds of many voters. But something much bigger … Continue reading Do level-headed Americans still outnumber those who’ve lost their minds? We shall soon see.
Local journalism fills in the blanks
Whenever I get into this subject, I'm sure it always sounds self-serving — the importance of local journalism and the American public’s support of it. But let’s give credit where it’s due. As I worked on my Friday Sun column, I had a question: How did majestic old St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in East … Continue reading Local journalism fills in the blanks
Goodbye to all that
I believe my fascination with World War I has come to an end. I watched the new adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s “All Quiet On The Western Front” on Netflix and realized, during a hand-to-hand combat scene when un soldat français takes a shovel to the face, that I can no longer stomach visions of the “war … Continue reading Goodbye to all that
Andy Harris supporters: Why this guy?
I would like one person who lives in Maryland’s 1st District to tell me one thing Rep. Andy Harris has done that was beneficial to that person or that district in the 12 years Harris has been in Congress. (We already know about the Salisbury post office renaming, that doesn’t count.) Go ahead. Let’s hear … Continue reading Andy Harris supporters: Why this guy?
Ben Civiletti, Merrick Garland and the push for independence at DOJ, then and now
Ben Civiletti, who died on Sunday at his home near Baltimore, served as U.S. Attorney General when the abuses of Watergate were still fresh and the Department of Justice badly needed reforms. It is worth noting that one of the men at Civiletti’s right hand during that period of recovery from Watergate was the present … Continue reading Ben Civiletti, Merrick Garland and the push for independence at DOJ, then and now
Trump subpoenaed and diminished, but the damage done
With yesterday’s vote by the January 6 House committee to subpoena his testimony, Donald Trump gains yet another opportunity to remain on the national stage. Once upon a time, former presidents disappeared into the golden sunset of horse rides and fishing trips, planning their libraries and playing with grandchildren. Trump remains a criminal suspect, a … Continue reading Trump subpoenaed and diminished, but the damage done
Mystery photo: People give me stuff like this
Over five decades as a columnist, I have accumulated a lot of stuff because people have given me a lot of stuff. A man in Friendsville, western Maryland, gave me a wooden coat rack for giving him a ride on a winter day. When I returned from covering the 40th anniversary memorials for the D-Day … Continue reading Mystery photo: People give me stuff like this
11/11/18: The horrible, absurd end of the War To End All Wars
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