As a fan of the Great British Baking Show, now in Season 8 on Netflix, I’ve got to say this: Challenges make great television, but too great among amateurs and the result is something I’d rather not see. Specifically, I’m speaking of the Bread Week episode and its final assignment for each of the contestants: … Continue reading British Baking Show: A bread too far
Remember when Trump, in his unfounded ravings about election problems, kept insisting that mail-in voting would cause delays in the counting? He said we would not know the outcome of the Nov. 3 presidential election for weeks, months or even years. "You know what? You're not going to know this — possibly, if you really … Continue reading Voting is the cure: ‘I felt good immediately’
You, who voted for Trump — some of you will insist he’s behaving badly now because of the drugs they gave him at Walter Reed for his coronavirus infection. You will say he’s under a lot of pressure and that the Democrats and liberals in the media never gave him a chance to succeed. You’ll … Continue reading Dearest Trump supporters: You moved to the fence. It’s time to jump and end the crazy
One of my elders, Bush Hog James, writes this epistle from his retirement home in Arizona, after having watched a segment on FOX News: Laden with self-disgust, I search about in the predawn gloom for a suitable tool with which to flay myself. I had been attempting, in my befuddled way, to find my niche here in … Continue reading The wretchedness of those selfish old people who fear the COVID
I don’t know that Vince Bagli, who died Tuesday night at the age of 93, ever read a book by the late psychotherapist Robert Moore, but he certainly embraced one of Moore’s profound instructions: That men have a responsibility to admire and encourage younger men. “How many of you have admired a younger man in … Continue reading Vince Bagli and the gift of encouragement
You run out of things to say about this guy. Every time we think we've hit bottom, Trump pulls out a shovel and digs deeper into the darkness. Now it's some cheap theater trick -- removing his mask after a weekend in the hospital for coronavirus -- and, pretending he's fully recovered and feeling 20 … Continue reading A danger to himself and others
Had it not been for the coronavirus pandemic, Exxon Mobil Corp. might have by now increased, rather than decreased, annual carbon-dioxide emissions, eventually by as much as the output of the entire nation of Greece. That’s according to Bloomberg, based on a review of internal Exxon documents. The company had plans to spend billions more … Continue reading Vote for Biden, avoid Exxon, save the Planet
The Rose Garden ceremony in which Trump officially nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a justice of the Supreme Court appears to have been a coronavirus super-spreader event. Trump did not wear a mask and few of his guests did. They also mingled like old times and sat shoulder to shoulder. … Continue reading Unmasked in the Rose Garden: A judge’s questionable judgment
Millions of Americans who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 thought they were getting a successful businessman to run the country, despite ample evidence that Trump had in reality been a failure at several huge undertakings, his Atlantic City casinos most notably. His run as the host of “The Apprentice” on NBC was where the … Continue reading Consequences of the con: Trump was a bad businessman, even worse president.
It always takes a little explaining to my son and daughter: Back in the day, before cable television and long before the Internet, the dividing line between the National League and the American League was very clear. In the 1960s and even into the early 1970s, televised baseball was limited to regional markets; you watched … Continue reading Bob Gibson and the appearance of the duende in the 1967 World Series
During Tuesday night's debate, Trump proved once and for all -- if you needed further proof -- that he's little more than an obnoxious entertainer, and 'entertainer' in the vein of some annoying freak in tights on WWE's SmackDown Live. He's in the realm of the professional wrestler, but without any of the physical skills … Continue reading An obnoxious ‘entertainer’ and little else
One of many reasons to end the Trump presidency: To eliminate all the noise he makes and causes others to make about him. Millions of us are sick of the daily Trump show, sick of the hyper-tweeting, the blather, the idiotic statements and fraudulent assertions. It’s practically constant. And while we’re used to American presidents … Continue reading Unplugging From the Trump Noise Machine: The river restoreth my soul
We are accustomed to Trump's blather, lies, exaggerations and jabberwocky. After a while it bounces off. Double that in an election season. But this week we got something special, something different. Pay strict attention to the most horrifying words to pass through his puckered lips: "We'll want to have --- get rid of the ballots and you'll … Continue reading “There won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation.”
Few politicians can match Lindsey Graham at his craft. The Republican senator from South Carolina is a master of hypocrisy, and the Trump era has been a breakout time for his robust talents, with his finest work on display. In 2015, he famously called Donald Trump “a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot,” then became his golfing … Continue reading Lindsey Graham’s hissy fit hypocrisy
We are long past the point where things “go without saying.” So much of what we took for granted — that, for instance, medical science would predominate and prevail in a pandemic — has been attacked or left for dead that I no longer assume that a majority of Americans agree on basic values and … Continue reading What we take from the amazing life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Attention must be paid: The presidential historian, Lincoln scholar and prolific author Richard Striner, longtime professor at Washington College, served as a senior writer and advisor to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission. In fact, Striner and Louis Galambos, professor emeritus of Johns Hopkins University, were among scholars who recommended Eisenhower quotes for inscription in the stone … Continue reading Richard Striner, Maryland historian, on the Eisenhower Memorial and the ‘Trump nightmare’
What a colossal waste of time these Trump years have been. Look at California. Look at Oregon and Washington. Look at the weather maps. Listen to what the climate scientists tell us. Go back and review their warnings, their predictions. What a colossal waste of time the Trump years have been. His first year in … Continue reading Climate clock: What a colossal waste of time the Trump presidency has been
Here's what I wrote for The Baltimore Sun on the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks. My own children were 11 and 8 at the time of 9/11, so I was thinking about them, their schoolmates, teammates and friends, a whole generation stuck with the memory of what happened on that day in 2001. I … Continue reading From the archive: A letter to the children of 9/11
Given what the Woodward book confirms, with Trump’s own recorded words, Americans might want to note -- because you don't have enough to be outraged about yet, right? -- its connection to the nation’s lack of a diagnostic testing plan as an early check on the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Other reporting, and Trump’s … Continue reading Direct connection: Trump’s admitted dereliction and Kushner’s scrapping of a national testing plan
Marylanders: Did you do what I did last month and request an absentee ballot from the Maryland Board of Elections? Are you worried that you haven't seen it yet, or confused because you received by mail a "Maryland Application for a Mail-in Ballot"? Let me help you out. (Of course, all these explanations and reminders … Continue reading Don’t panic. Just look up your ballot status for the November election
It is impossible to imagine any American saying what Trump is reported — reported, and now verified — to have said about soldiers killed in France in World War I, or while attending the grave of General Kelly’s son, or saying what he did about John McCain in 2016, questioning why we considered the late … Continue reading After Trump, we need a new Selective Public Service effort.
A reminder that, while Labor Day was never identified with a particular food item -- in the way Thanksgiving demands roasted turkey, St. Patrick's Day requires corned beef and cabbage, or the Fourth of July comes ringed in hot dogs -- the peppers-and-eggs sandwich has been the official sandwich of the first Monday in September … Continue reading The peppers-and-eggs sandwich is the official meal of Labor Day in the U.S.
Seventy-five years ago, September 2, 1945, the Empire of Japan signed articles of unconditional surrender in a solemn ceremony on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay thus bringing the Second World War to its formal end. Stephen H. Sachs, who grew up in Baltimore and served as U.S. Attorney here and as … Continue reading On V-J Day, a hero’s wisdom remembered
Here is some reader mail on Sunday's column in The Baltimore Sun about the rare American elm I discovered in my neighborhood. Always like to see an Elm get it's due. There are some stupendous Elms on the North East side of town. There is one on Harford Road at Kentucky Avenue that has some … Continue reading Letters: About the rare American elm trees, and where to find some that survive
Unless you live in a Baltimore neighborhood — and, more specifically, a Baltimore rowhouse neighborhood — you might not be able to relate to this problem: Wires. Not wires that are needed for electric power or communications, but wires now dormant and left hanging in tangled messes by the companies that installed them. I wrote … Continue reading Over-Wired: Calling on Baltimoreans who want to do something about this problem
At last week's Republican National Convention, speakers mentioned Obamacare exactly once. This from the same party that consistently opposed government-backed health insurance for millions of lower-income Americans, whose members in Congress refused to support it and whose House members voted to repeal it dozens of times. The GOP's favorite policy for ridicule and court challenges … Continue reading Democrats must talk it up because Republicans don’t anymore, and for good reason
I had an exchange of text messages with a friend from Maryland who went back home to Canada for a visit with family. He, his wife and their two children were in quarantine in Manitoba for two weeks. After that, they visited a province that, according to the global coronavirus tracker at Johns Hopkins University, … Continue reading Only Trump could have gotten us here
I don’t think it’s accurate to say, as The Washington Post does today in an editorial, that the Republican Party “stands for nothing.” The GOP officially offers no platform -- no policies or ideas -- at its 2020 convention and, instead, fully endorses Trump. Critics say that makes the Republican Party nothing more than a … Continue reading Who needs a Republican platform? We know what it is.
The neglect by Senate Republicans of Americans out of work because of the pandemic is about to compound the misery already out here. Supplemental unemployment benefits expired at the end of July. Even if the additional funding Trump authorized were to materialize, it won’t reach anyone until the end of September. Eviction protections expired and … Continue reading Are Republicans just going to let Americans go hungry?
Let us not forget, swamped as we are with outrages from four years of Donald Trump as president, the cruelty this nation inflicted on migrant families seeking asylum here. We separated at least 3,000 children from their parents, and Stephen Miller, this dark and racist young man who advises Trump on immigration policy and who … Continue reading America’s Shame: Stephen Miller and Official Cruelty
There's a bounty of plum tomatoes in the Covid Victory Garden so I deal with them in two ways -- fresh for a quick meal, and slow for a savory sauce you can freeze or can for a taste of summer later in the year. First way: Fresh tomato and basil on pasta al dente … Continue reading Dan Can Cook: Two ways to celebrate Italian plum tomatoes
It is a federal crime to obstruct mail delivery in the United States. I cite 18 U.S. Code § 1701. Here’s what it says: “Whoever knowingly and willfully obstructs or retards the passage of the mail, or any carrier or conveyance carrying the mail, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six … Continue reading A federal crime unfolding in plain sight
For late arrivals to this blog and my social media accounts: I have great respect and admiration for the longtime Washington Post sportswriter Tom Boswell. In July, as the COVID MLB Season was about to begin, he coined a phrase: The Awful Baltimore Orioles. The Awful Orioles has a certain poetic lift, wouldn't you say? … Continue reading Rooting for the Awful Orioles of 2020
The FBI has established a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the men who killed Bryan McKemy in August 2018 as he worked on the renovation of a house on Woodlea Avenue in northeast Baltimore. Bryan was 27 years old, an innocent bystander. Police believe that the two gunmen who killed Bryan … Continue reading $25,000 if you know who killed Bryan McKemy; FBI develops leads in senseless 2018 murder
A note about a journalist I admired, Pete Hamill, who died this week in New York after a long, rich life as a reporter and editor. Years ago, the late Nick Yengich, Baltimore Evening Sun reporter and rewrite man, handed me a book of columns and essays by the New York journalist Pete Hamill. Published … Continue reading Two Minutes to Midnight: Hamill and the first draft of history
In refreshing my memory for a recent column about the New Deal and the establishment of the Social Security system in 1935, I was struck by the facts about the previous presidential election, in 1932. That was the year Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat and governor of New York, won his first of four terms in … Continue reading Quick history: The 1932 landslide election and the establishment of Social Security
As my old friend Bush Hog says: "Every time I think we’ve reached the end of the line, Trump lays more track." And this time he’s gone off the cliff for good and free floating in some mystical neverland. He retweeted and defended a nutty video of “America’s Frontline Doctors,” who claim against all medical … Continue reading My fellow Americans: It’s time to be done with Trump. He’s gone off the cliff for good.
I'm going to guess that some of you, during the pandemic, have had more time than usual to look around and appreciate your immediate environment -- from the living room to the backyard to neighborhood streets. It's possible you've taken walks on roads and avenues you previously only traversed by motor vehicle. I'm wondering if, … Continue reading Time to pick a favorite tree
Not sure how I missed this World War II thriller from 1964, directed by John Frankeimer and starring Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield. The Train tells the story of French railroad workers and their hard-edged manager Paul Labiche (Lancaster) who, as members of the Resistance, try to stop a train packed with valuable French paintings … Continue reading Recommended film: “The Train”
Did I learn about this in Earth Science class? Or was it something I heard from one of the many people I know who know many things -- like where to look for arrowheads or which mushrooms are edible, or why the sun looks red at times, or which feathers to use in tying a … Continue reading The science of an earthly delight
Let me take four or five of your precious minutes to acknowledge some people trying to make the best of these challenging times — the pandemic, the emotional tsunami over the death of George Floyd by police up in Minneapolis and the ongoing catastrophe of the Trump administration. First, about the face masks: A niece … Continue reading Bakeries, Bells and Better Than This
After you read this, please click here and watch and listen to this 2-minute, 30-second video of a moment from the North Branch of the Potomac River during the morning of June 7, 2020. When you’re out fishing in a tranquil, seemingly secluded place, the dominant sounds are the river riffles in front of you … Continue reading The old sound of the modern world
Former Baltimore Sun reporter and editor Arnold "Skip" Isaacs, right, did some digging this week and came across the text of the televised speech of President Lyndon B. Johnson after the riots in Detroit, Newark, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Cambridge, Md. and other cities in the long, hot summer of 1967. Johnson's opening words on July 27 … Continue reading Here’s what LBJ said after the riots of 1967. The same could be said today.
I am awed by the Baltimore protests — powerful and, for the most part, peaceful. You can get all of the Sun’s coverage here, and see some great images by our staff photographers. I was struck by a sign carried by one of the thousands of marching protesters. It said, “A Future Without Cops Is … Continue reading May the march continue right through the November election
It's as hard to imagine Baltimore without The Sun as a day without daylight. The newspaper’s motto, after all, is “Light For All,” an elegant and egalitarian expression of the desire to keep Baltimoreans and Marylanders as informed as good citizenship requires. Arunah Abell, the top-hatted founder of The Sun in 1837 (at center in … Continue reading Toward a brighter Sun
The subject of Aaron Yealdall’s song and music video, “Wide Awake,” is what the Navy calls “unidentified aerial phenomena,” or what we’ve always called UFOs. My reaction to Aaron’s song is much like my reaction to UFOs — I neither accept nor understand it all, but I believe there’s something deep there and I’m intrigued. … Continue reading Wide Awake: Great song, and now an unearthly video to go with it
Five Baltimore pastors who once led the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance released a statement Tuesday bemoaning the IMA's diminished role in civic life and its process for endorsing a mayoral candidate in the June 2 primary election. I refer to this in my May 20 Sun column, but not at the length it deserves. So I … Continue reading Past presidents of Baltimore ministers alliance protest its leadership, endorsement process
I didn't think about it at the time I interviewed her, but Downing Kay lived long enough to have survived the pandemic of 1918-1920 and to have seen the arrival of another. I didn't put that together until news arrived Friday night of Mrs. Kay's death at 112, and it would not have occurred to … Continue reading Unforgettable: Downing Kay passes on at 112
Jack Kramer, my college roommate and co-editor of the University of Bridgeport student newspaper way back when, has died at the age of 65, and I didn’t get to say goodbye, and that’s what you get for not staying in better touch. Except . . . I had been in touch as recently as April. … Continue reading Jack Kramer’s Gift: A farewell letter that champions local news