are were a guitar-less punk band
from Baltimore. They made incredible music
(slyt). [more inside]
An experiment done in the 1990s exposed children to various levels of lead.
The lawsuit filed in 2001 by the parents of over 100 participants accuses the Kennedy Krieger Institute that the scientists knowingly used the kids as test subjects in toxic dust control study. [more inside]
The Wire's Felicia ("Snoop") Pearson has been arrested
as part of large scale drug raids according to the Baltimore Sun
Life imitates art, but in this case art had closely imitated life, as Pearson was not a trained actress, but grew up in tough Baltimore neighbourhoods and has a conviction for second degree murder for an act at the age of 14. However in recent years she had been involved in anti-violence campaigns and other work with young people.
“You know what Miami gets in their crime show? They get detectives that look like models, and they drive around in sports cars. And you know what New York gets, they get these incredibly tough prosecutors, competent cops that solve the most crazy, complicated cases. —What Baltimore gets is this reinforced notion that it's a city full of hopelessness, despair and dysfunction. There was very little effort—beyond self-serving—to highlight the great and wonderful things happening here, and to indict the whole population, the criminal justice system, the school system.” —Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III,
on the effect of The Wire
on Baltimore’s reputation. [more inside]
Denise Whiting, the owner of Cafe Hon and originator of "Hon Fest"
has stirred up controversy in Charm City by trademarking "Hon". People
are really, really, up in arms
, including the editorial writers of the Baltimore Sun
and another business down the street.
Denise Whiting responds.
More of her defense here.
War veteran barred from college campus for frank words on killing.
After publishing essay on addiction to war, Charles Whittington must obtain psychological evaluation before returning to classes
Baltimore area schools are using this Johns Hopkins program
In an effort to combat rampant absenteeism
and improve graduation rates, several Baltimore area middle schools are adopting the Stocks in the Future
program developed by Johns Hopkins University program. Students are paid up to $80 a year based on their attendance and grades, which they are then allowed to invest in the stock market. Upon graduation, students keep their own portfolios (surprisingly, not all of them do)
. The program allows students to develop some financial literacy and has improved attendance rates.
Anyone who loved David Simon's ‘The Wire’ will be interested to read Lorrie Moore’s recent piece in the New York Review of Books
overviewing the series (and its sixty great episodes, originally broadcast between June 2002 and March 2008).
Nathan Avon "Bodie" Barksdale
is a real life Baltimore gangster upon whom the character from "The Wire" was based. Now, Nathan Barksdale has a chance to tell his side of the story in this upcoming documentary
. [more inside]
Legend has it that Phidippedes ran 26 miles to Athens from Marathon to announce the success of the Athenian army's surprise suicide attack against the far larger Persian army, starting a grand tradition: Dying during marathons. [more inside]
You’re going to hire people to guard your sh*t, but you’re not going to give them health care. Vice
has a long spoiler- and profanity-laden interview with The Wire
creator David Simon, running the gamut from backstage Wire
details to the media's obsession with "the Dickensian aspect" to his next series (set in New Orleans) to Joe Lieberman to this fight he almost got in at a concert one time. Via /Film
Crime: A Tale of Two Cities. When "The Wire" gained popularity in Great Britain, we were contacted by a London-based journalist who proposed a job swap. Mark Hughes, a crime reporter with The Independent, a national newspaper in the United Kingdom, wanted to come to Baltimore to see if the city’s police officers, drug dealers, prosecutors and politicians bore any resemblance to those on show. We agreed to complete the exchange by sending our police reporter, Justin Fenton, to London to compare crime trends. [more inside]
is a Baltimore phenomenon that allows citizens to get cheap "illegal" rides across town. A hack indicates they want a ride by motioning their pointer finger towards the ground as they walk along the street. Inevitably a driver will stop, the two parties will negotiate a price and a ride will be given. It is both a dangerous
part of the blighted Baltimore economy.
John Pontolillo, a student at Johns Hopkins University, had just had laptops and a game console stolen from his house. Hours later, he heard a noise from the garage. Before he went to investigate, he grabbed
... [more inside]
Donald H. Kirkey, Jr., The Baltimore Sun theater critic interviews H. L. Mencken, part 1 of 8
. [more inside]
The Wire - David Simon's original pitch and series bible.
"At the end of thirteen episodes, the viewer - who has been lured all this way by a well-constructed police show - is not the simple gratification of hearing handcuffs click. Instead the conclusion is something Euripides or O'Neill might recognize: an America at every level at war with itself." [Previously.
Today marks the 200th birthday of Edgar Alan Poe
, and as happens every year the mysterious Poe Toaster
marked the date by placing three red roses and a half-filled bottle of cognac at his Baltimore grave. The identity of the toaster isn't the only question surrounding Poe - his presence in Baltimore and the circumstances of his death remain a mystery
. Some speculate that he may have had rabies
, others that he may have been a victim of cooping
. And while Baltimore embarks on a year long celebration of Poe
some argue that his body shouldn't be there at all
Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon has been indicted with 12 counts of felony theft, perjury, fraud and misconduct in office
, becoming the city's first sitting mayor to be criminally indicted. Included in the charges against her is the accusation that she accepted illegal gifts during her time as mayor and City Council president, including travel, fur coats and gift cards intended for the poor that she allegedly used instead for a holiday shopping spree
. One city housing official has already been convicted of stealing those donations
. Her legal defense claims that there has been no conflict of interest
, as the list of companies said to have done business with the city fails to meet technical requirements laid out in city ethics laws. The Baltimore Sun's editorial staff weighs in
with the accusations.
"'I am not a defendant,' Mitchell declared. 'I do not have attorneys.' The court 'lacks territorial jurisdiction over me,' he argued, to the amazement of his lawyers. To support these contentions, he cited decades-old acts of Congress involving the abandonment of the gold standard and the creation of the Federal Reserve ... Judge Davis ordered the three defendants to be removed from the court, and turned to Gardner, who had, until then, remained quiet. But Gardner, too, intoned the same strange speech. 'I am Shawn Earl Gardner, live man, flesh and blood,' he proclaimed." Too Weird for the Wire: How black Baltimore drug dealers are using white supremacist legal theories to confound the Feds. [via]
Maps: Finding our place in the world
is an exhibit at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, and it runs until this Sunday June 8. That page contains images of a few of the maps. One of the many great things included is an animated map of the US Civil War in 4 minutes
(one week per second, timeline noted at bottom, casualty counter rolling in bottom right corner - info about this animation
) The exhibition book
was previously linked
here; that site includes higher-resolution versions of some more of the maps. I was floored by all the stuff they have; in terms of the rarity of the stuff in it, and the geek-delight factor, I think it's probably the best gallery show I've ever seen. [more inside]
"To suppose that the spirit
of our people
will not rise to the occasion
is to suppose that our people
are not genuine Americans. We shall make the fire of 1904
not of decline but of progress
One Last Long, Boozy Irish Wake for David Simon’s Accidental Masterpiece. New York
the finale of The Wire
"an almost absurdly exhaustive festival of closure," has shot-by-shot commentary
on the final montage, and lists ten questions left unanswered
[spoilers a go-go] [more inside]
The yearly Best of Baltimore
awards released by Baltimore City Paper
have been providing a guide to Charm City for over a decade. You can find the best independent bookstores
, and plumbers
. Or perhaps your tastes run more exotic--do you need the best constant reminder that Peter Angelos is the anti-Christ
? The best place to get run over by bicyclists while hiking
? Or the best place to make fun of stressed-out PreMeds
? And there are always surprising picks; for example, check out the 2006 winner for best cheap entertainment.
So when you're planning your next Baltimore visit browse the archives and find somewhere to enjoy yourself.
Google mashup: Last year's homicides
in Baltimore. Depressed yet? Try looking at it in Black
. [more inside]
The Wire is dissent; it argues that our systems are no longer viable for the greater good of the most, that America is no longer operating as a utilitarian and democratic experiment.
An already-quite-good discussion about The Wire
, originating in Mark Bowden's Atlantic
article ('The Angriest Man in Television'
) and continuing through Mark Bowden's post on the show's nihilistic bleakness
gets even more interesting on Matt Yglesias's blog,
where the creator of the show stops by to give his opinion
on what it's all supposed to mean.
Prior to his critically acclaimed program The Wire, creator Edward Burns wrote the HBO miniseries The Corner
, which also focused on the drug trade in Baltimore. Charles S. Dutton
, an African-American Baltimore native and former convict probably best known to most as TV's "Roc," was chosen to direct the miniseries. Who Gets To Tell a Black Story?
, part of a Pulitzer-prize winning NYT series
on race in America, examines Dutton's take on how to make a TV program which portrays a mostly African-American cast of characters, the struggles and differing perspectives of Dutton and Burns, and how race is portrayed in Hollywood. [more inside]
"A detective does his job in the only possible way. He follows the requirements of the law to the letter -- or close enough so as not to jeopardize his case. Just as carefully, he ignores that law's spirit and intent. He becomes a salesman, a huckster as thieving and silver-tongued as any man who ever moved used cars or aluminum siding -- more so, in fact, when you consider that he's selling long prison terms to customers who have no genuine need for the product.
" [more inside]
Shedding light on one of Baltimore's most famous modern-day mysteries, 92-year-old Sam Porpora is claiming to be the man
who first visited Edgar Alan Poe's grave
every year on his birthday.
, in real life, Omar
3 young Baltimore figurative painters
(a saner, calmer Darger)
(bleak figures in a bleak world)
[via New American Paintings]
Public gatherings restricted? Check. Shutdown of independent businesses? Check. Lockdown on traffic and transportation in the area? You bet. Lawmakers in Baltimore trying to curb the city's homicide rate (already 108 this year) have come up with some "desperate measures"
of questionable constitutional legality, including heightening police presence in order to lockdown streets in "emergency areas." It has been called, "partial martial law" by some, and one has to wonder if the city of Baltimore may not do better to take a page from The Wire's Hamsterdam
for a solution to their inextricably linked drug and homicide issues.
What is Philadelphia's trajectory in 2007?
Seven cities are compared: Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit and Pittsburgh.
Murders in Baltimore City/Washington D.C., displayed on Google's map of the area: 2005
Fuck You Baltimore!
(NSFW) If you're a jackass in Baltimore who wants to buy a car, then Big Bill Hell is the guy who's gonna screw you.
"Holler, holler, holler, till my throat get sore.
If it wasn't for the pretty girls, I wouldn't have to holler no more
I say, Watermelon
! [Also see the other pic links to the left.]
red to the rind
, lady." - Earl Dorsey, Arabber
Descriptions and pictures of Baltimore's disappearing horse and cart arable goods vendors.
Baltimore House is the New Dylan?
Probably not, but Baltimore Club
is an interesting sub-genre of dance music, anyway-- taking influences from Hip-Hop, House, Go-Go, Miami Bass, Detroit Ghettotech, Rave and TV theme songs(!) and merging them into a sound that's unique to Charm City's underground dance clubs. You can sample (and buy) some of the classics here.
(warning, horrible web design, IE only) or listen to a whole mix CD here here.
Our desire for the freakshow is on the wane,
or at least it seems that way
based on some recent closings
. Is it the difference in admission costs? If the EH's relative value calculator
is to be believed, that 1841 dime museum
should only cost about $2.10 to get into in 2003, not five bucks.
Even for free on MetaFilter only about twenty people care to discuss freaks.
Perhaps we've just gotten used to seeing this kind of thing on sponsored television
and don't want to travel to see it. It's certainly not because our tastes have gotten
so much more evolved
. Perhaps our threshold for how whack something has to be before
has been raised somehow...
Baltimore Officials Puzzled By Stolen Light Poles.
Thieves, apparently sometimes disguising themselves as utility workers, have stolen 130+ aluminum light poles in Baltimore. How is it that no one has seen the thieves making off with a 30' pole?
On the other hand, maybe this will help the city find its new slogan
(I like "Baltimore: Leading the Fight Against Light Pollution").
From Baltimore to the Bush.
Until 2003, the Baraka School in Kenya was home to 20-40 underachieving teenagers from inner-city Baltimore. As Time Magazine reported in 2000
, the experiment was not without complications, ranging from curriculum deficiencies to disciplinary issues. PBS also did a short piece
on Baraka the same year.
By 2002, though, things were shaping up
. The Baltimore City Public School System found that students at Baraka improved markedly
in their academics. One alumnus
is an up-and-coming hip-hop star.
Baraka was closed indefinitely in 2003 due to terrorism-related security threats. But a new documentary, The Boys of Baraka
, recaptures the essence of the place, its successes and its failures alike.
highly skilled staff of cashier-working counterfeit detectors, "a little nervous in the post-9/11 world", has the Baltimore police department put customer Mike Bolesta in handcuffs and leg irons after he uses uncommon but legal US currency to pay his bill.
"Meanwhile, everybody's looking at me. I've lived here 18 years. I'm hoping my kids don't walk in and see this. And I'm saying, 'I can't believe you're doing this. I'm paying with legal American money.'" Bolesta was then taken to the county police lockup in Cockeysville, where he sat handcuffed to a pole and in leg irons while the Secret Service was called in.
a methodical, obsessive and beautiful (the photos, anyway) addition to the modern ruins
genre - the essays on the Lutheran Hospital
and the Bay Shore Shuttle
are especially interesting.
Half-Life meets Matisse
in a virtual reconstruction of the apartment of Etta and Claribel Cone
. During the first three decades of the twentieth century, the sisters amassed one of America's foremost collections of modern art. Today, many of the pieces can be viewed in the Cone Collection
at the Baltimore Museum of Art. As part of the 50th
anniversary celebration of the museum's acquisition of the collection, the Imaging Research Center
at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County designed a digital walkthrough
of their apartment so that visitors could see the art in its original context.
At least this guy’s not giving up. "I can't quite figure out what's going on at 1704. From the landlord on down, they seem to have a pact with the devil. Other than the roof over there, every other aspect of that building is wrong. Everything. 1704 is a malignancy killing this whole block."
Amazing documentation of someone not afraid to take a stand in Baltimore. (more inside)
End of Summer got you down? Live in the Baltimore-DC area? The Bengies Drive-In
(as seen in Cecil B. DeMented
) is still open for another month or so. For a list of Drive-Ins in your area see (of course) Drive-Ins.com
Those Crazy birds
The birdwatchers of Ireland were atwitter Tuesday after spotting a Baltimore oriole in a seaside village named Baltimore.
It worked in the Super Bowl... it can work as our military strategy!
The main quote in this article is, "I think our allies need to look at the Baltimore Ravens. They'll realize good defense wins. A good defense is one which adjusts to the times. A good defense is modern. A good defense is clear."
So let's build lots of missles!