I no longer assume we know what we are celebrating on the Fourth of July, or that we're celebrating at all. So I ask the question of myself and others. In 2022, the United States is still great for many of us — life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and all that — but its … Continue reading What are we celebrating this Fourth of July?
A few years ago, I suggested that electric ferries across the Chesapeake Bay could relieve some of the traffic congestion on our bay bridges, avoiding the multibillion-dollar proposal of Gov. Larry “Road Warrior” Hogan to build a third span. Of course, while many readers thought my suggestion was worth exploring – even exciting – Maryland’s … Continue reading Europe moves ahead on electric ferries while we burn expensive gas to get across the Bay
Photo above: A statue of Roger B. Taney, the U.S. Supreme Court Justice who wrote the Dred Scott decision, was removed from the Maryland State House on Aug. 18, 2017. Another Taney statue was removed from a Baltimore public park about the same time. Until Friday, when the Supremes’ decision to overturn Roe v. Wade … Continue reading Among the worst decisions in Supreme Court history.
In the NYT photo above, Wandrea "Shaye" Moss, a former Georgia election worker, is comforted by her mother Ruby Freeman during the fourth hearing held by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. "Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you?" Moss … Continue reading ‘Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you?’
My Sun column for this Friday should have a tagline: “To be continued.” That would have committed me in print to something I already have in mind — to follow the Resurrection Sandtown Project in the coming months and years to see if the people behind it, starting with Rev. Rodney Hudson, can get the … Continue reading Resurrection Sandtown: To Be Continued
I reached back to my New England roots and read some Robert Frost to Wally Vait in his final days. I read “Birches,” probably my favorite Frost poem, and one I thought the naturalist in Wally — and that was really all of him — would appreciate.It starts:When I see birches bend to left and … Continue reading The guide: Wally Vait and the all of it
Allow me to respond to an email I received about my Sunday Sun column on Trump and his supporters. Though the column was pointedly not about President Biden, readers who support Trump naturally tried to make it about the current president. From Michael Ernest, who calls himself “a Trump supporting democrat,” came this: “Joe Biden … Continue reading Responding to a letter from a ‘Trump supporting democrat’
I might have completely lost my mind when I wrote this Sunday’s column on talking to Trump supporters about why they need, finally, to dump him. It probably strikes most of my readers as a futile exercise and an experience they wish to avoid. I write from the blue state of Maryland, where Joe Biden … Continue reading Trump supporters won’t hear it from Fox, so they need to hear it from the rest of us
It has been more than 20 years since the state, at the behest of landowners, stopped stocking Father’s Day Creek with hatchery trout. As I reported in my book, the creek’s wild trout have thrived ever since.The brook trout are likely natives and the brown trout are stream-bred. The brown trout have become bigger, healthier … Continue reading Return to Father’s Day Creek
The last of Thursday’s heavy rain had the river running higher than usual, but not so high that it could not be fished. I had about two hours before the dam gates opened for the white-water kayakers and the river before me became unfishable. I thought a streamer with weight would do the trick. In … Continue reading One fish, a good fish, enough fish.
My column in The Sun today is about a widely respected federal judge, Andre Davis, now retired, and his involvement in getting active judges to reduce the life sentences of men Davis sent to prison during the nation's long war on drugs. But the column also deals with an aspect of federal sentencing law I … Continue reading Bet you never heard of this legal term
“My wife and I have tears in our eyes over the latest mass shooting in America. Every parent in America should be crying for the lost babies and crying out for change. When is enough, enough? How high is the ceiling of depravity and callousness and apathy in our country? How much longer are decent … Continue reading America is hardly recognizable
For the 152d commencement, graduate ceremony, McDaniel College, May 21, 2022 President Jasken, members of the Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, honored guests and graduates, parents and significant others, friends, Professor Smith and any dogs that might be in the audience. . . . I thank McDaniel College for this honor, and I congratulate … Continue reading Commencement address 2022: Make a duty of decency
A poem by Gale Rasin on the anniversary of the lynching of James Taylor, a 23-year-old Black man who was hanged from a maple tree by a white mob in Chestertown, Maryland on May 17, 1892. -o- “Whatever may be said about the provocation, the stigma will rest upon our county for many years.” -- … Continue reading TREES OF THE EASTERN SHORE
Illustrated by Zach Schoettler Story by Dan Rodricks Once upon a time, long ago, the North Branch of the Potomac River was full of life. It was a beautiful river. It flowed through mountain forests, over and past big boulders, and under cliffs. Trout and bass lived in it. And turtles and frogs. Deer drank … Continue reading A story for kids: How Dr. Bob saved a river
Originally published April, 2021. Updated today as we approach the 185th anniversary of The Baltimore Sun. Photo above is poster from 1987 anniversary celebration. The ultimate problem for American newspapers -- besides the level of profits demanded by corporate ownership -- is that not enough people feel a need to read a newspaper. Even digital … Continue reading We still need you to read the newspaper
It's a little bitter (some say, "spicy") and it costs more than all other greens, but broccoli rabe is full of vitamins and minerals. I consider it a super food and serve it with dinner almost every week. It's more interesting to the palate than broccoli, too. Blanching broccoli rabe before sauteing is an unnecessary … Continue reading Dan Can Cook tip #33: Learning to love broccoli rabe
This is an expanded version of my Baltimore Sun column of May 11, 2022. Russia’s unconscionable war on Ukraine could likely ignite a food catastrophe in parts of the world already dealing with shortages due to drought and the long-term effects of the pandemic. Staff from Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services (CRS) are seeing first-hand the … Continue reading A long Russian war on Ukraine will lead to more world hunger
The lilacs have bloomed.Lovers dance and poets swoon.Odes to spring and all that.But we muffle our groans,We defer to the sun.We surrender to the day,The lilacs have bloomed,And who are we to say?Would we have it any other way?"God love us and save us,"My mother, Rose, used to say.The lilacs have bloomed,And here we are, … Continue reading Lilacs bloom, and here we are
“It is difficult to say what forced him to change from the profession of rescuer to the profession of war criminal.” — Dmytro Repliaanchuk, Ukrainian journalist, on a Russian firefighter suspected of committing atrocities in Bucha Evil is hard to understand, and for most of us impossible to understand. The average man or woman lives … Continue reading The banality of Putin’s evil
We saw two eagles fighting in flight,Fighting in flight over a fish.There were thousands of fish in the river below,Thousands of shad and herring up from the sea.But these two eagles fought over one — a shad, we think.A fight over a shad when there was plenty of shad.So we stood and watched eagles in … Continue reading Eagles fighting over fish
Wednesday’s Sun column was based on my Easter Sunday trip to Deer Creek in Harford County, a long river that starts in Pennsylvania and meanders through north-central Maryland before meeting the Susquehanna and the Chesapeake Bay. It so happens that that the creek inspired a choral work that will be performed in a concert this … Continue reading Deer Creek inspires a new choral work
Longtime Baltimore Sun readers will recall Peter A. Jay's op-ed columns that ran for some 24 years, from the 1970s into the 1990s, because they were a delight -- even if you didn't agree with his conservative take on things. Jay's was certainly some of the most elegant and clever prose to run in the … Continue reading Peter Jay’s elegant writing and insights now in a book
If you don’t mind the personal indulgence, I’d like to reflect on something wonderful that happened to me, many of my high school classmates and the people of my Massachusetts hometown 50 years ago this month. It was a high school production of the great musical, “Fiddler On The Roof,” something that by now has … Continue reading ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and an April of discovery
Jocelyn Saiki, age 2 I wrote a column for The Sunday Sun about Jocelyn Saiki’s quest to find the man who saved her life in 1972, when she was just a toddler. A man she never knew. A man who would be 70 years old now, if still alive. Saiki wants to thank him for … Continue reading Reaching out and back, across time
Baltimore Sun columnist Dan Rodricks tells stories from the hard streets and sweet spots of Baltimore, with six supporting players and a guy on a piano. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll sigh. “Baltimore, You Have No Idea,” directed by Will Schwarz with music by Mat Lane, will hit the stage at the BMA Meyerhoff Auditorium, … Continue reading Baltimore, You Have No Idea: New play slated for December
St. Michael's Ukrainian Catholic Church, Baltimore My column in The Sun today results from a dive into some old documents, including stories in the newspaper archives, about people who came from what we once called "The Ukraine" when it was part of imperial Russia and, later, the Soviet Union. The more I speak with Ukrainian-Americans … Continue reading The Ukrainians of Baltimore
Can you list six facts you learned — or came to appreciate in a more profound way — in the last month? Give it a try. It’s a pretty good exercise for the mind and probably a good way to retain things you've picked up from reading or watching the news. I list six such … Continue reading Brain Gain: Can you list six things you learned in the last month?
“Please don’t wish,” I heard a woman say. That was her retort to some wishful thinking about life, her answer to hearing someone express hope that things could be different. I look at Putin today and his barbaric attacks on Ukraine, and I wish we could just wish him away. When you feel powerless to … Continue reading Competent leadership can stop Putin. That’s not something you wish for. It’s something you vote for.
In Act 4 of Shakespeare’s “Henry V,” the young king cries out, “I was not angry since I came to France until this instant.” The instant is his discovery, immediately following the battle at Agincourt, of the French army’s massacre behind the lines of the English camp boys. “Kill the poys and the luggage!” says … Continue reading Putin’s war crime is the war itself.
The Raoul Middleman Studio Museum will open for its inaugural exhibition, Raoul Middleman: Life in the Studio, on Sunday, April 3 from 11 am until 4 pm. It will be a memorial tribute on what would have been the prolific artist’s 87th birthday. Middleman died last fall at his home in Baltimore.After a decade establishing … Continue reading The Raoul Middleman studio becomes a museum
In coming elections, Americans will have a choice, as always, when it comes to the kind of government we want: An open, liberal, representative democracy or some version of the old monarchy the Founders rejected, and that would be, in the modern world, an autocratic form of government, if not a dictatorship. It would be … Continue reading Don’t like Putin? Don’t support Trump and Republicans.
Here, for all to read, is a link to The Baltimore Sun's deeply researched editorial on the newspaper's history of racism, going back to its founding nearly two centuries ago. (Here is a link to a note from our publisher and editor-in-chief, Trif Alatzas.) I hope you take time to read it all, either online … Continue reading Apology and Response: The Sun’s editorial on its racist legacy, and a thoughtful reaction to it
In my Wednesday column in The Baltimore Sun, I follow up with more detail about the case of Mrs. Bratcher, the 87-year-old woman who was the victim of a check theft that has cost her $175,000, almost all the money she had for her quarters and expenses at an assisted living center in Carroll County, … Continue reading A special place in Hell
My neighbor Bernie keeps leaving cookbooks on my front step. He’s either been hitting the thrift stores again or he’s dumping his collection on me. I think we’re up to six Bernie books in the last month. He knows I like to cook, and I appreciate that he wants to provide me with ideas for … Continue reading Better a perfect meatball than bad pad thai
Henry Wong, the longtime impresario at An die Musik on Charles Street, in the heart of downtown Baltimore, has kept musicians performing and music lovers entertained throughout the pandemic with his series, An die Musik Live. Sunday night, there was another live-stream, featuring the Phil Ravita Jazz Group. Impressed with his commitment to arranging these sessions, … Continue reading Playing through the pandemic: 428 live stream concerts and counting from An die Musik, Baltimore
Whenever I relate a story about my hometown in Massachusetts, it’s important to remember that these are renderings from the first third of my life, and while they might sometimes seem idealized, I try to sketch with the candid perspective that comes with time. I have not lived in East Bridgewater since the age of … Continue reading Small town, great man: Bob McCarthy of East Bridgewater
“60 MINUTES” LISTINGS FOR SUNDAY, FEB. 6 DEATH IN TRAINING – Lesley Stahl investigates accidents during training involving military armored vehicles. 60 MINUTES found that in recent years, more servicemembers were killed in training accidents than in combat, and a large percentage of those accidents involved military vehicles: from Humvees to light armored vehicles to AAVs. … Continue reading Maryland couple who lost Marine son in ‘preventable training fiasco’ on 60 Minutes tonight
If you want to support the families of the three Baltimore firefighters who died on duty on Jan. 24 -- Paul Butrim, Kenny Lacayo and Kelsey Sadler -- you can make a donation to the Baltimore City Fire Foundation. It was established for that purpose. In my weekend column in The Baltimore Sun, I propose … Continue reading Proposed: A lasting tribute to Baltimore firefighters
A Maryland official estimates that more than 30,000 people recently gained private coverage through the Obamacare market in Maryland’s 1st District — health insurance that their representative in Congress, Andy Harris, a six-term Republican, opposed for years. I report this trend to note how clueless Harris has been about some of the people he represents … Continue reading The triumph of Obamacare despite Andy Harris and other do-nothing Republicans.
This is what the French call “crêpe complète,” a comforting and delicious crepe filled with egg, ham and cheese. I learned how to make this from a video a cousin-in-law shot while visiting family in Brittany, the mecca of crepes in France. de Buyer pan To make this, it helps to have a large crepe … Continue reading Winter morning breakfast: How to make crêpe complète.
My weekend Sun column is a throwback to something I tried before with some success — an open letter to the unnamed individuals engaged in criminality in my adopted hometown of Baltimore. In 2005, it was a “Dear Drug Dealers” letter, asking people selling narcotics to put down the guns they used to protect commerce. … Continue reading An open letter to Baltimore guys with guns
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.