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Archive for April, 2009

InstaWeather Omits FoxWatch

Channel 11 InstaWeather Plus

Channel 11 InstaWeather Plus

When did our local NBC affiliate get so high tech?

At the Channel 11 InstaWeather Plus+ page you can watch live radar, futurecast for rain totals, and subscribe to wind current and infrared satellite feeds.

All on a cool widget-rearrangeable home page.

A box is missing, however, for FoxWatch. Is she sleeping on my bed, drooling and carpetingĀ  pillows with orange hairs? Is she sitting under the air conditioner, dispersing her hairs and dog dandruff across the room? Or protesting a thunderstorm by chewing through our apartment door? Leaving bloody paw prints from the door’s ragged wood scraps across the kitchen floor? Smearing the walls, gnawing a metal window frame, whining ear shattering squeaks?

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My Name Is Ray Ray

thewireDelirious on a 90 degree evening, a few neighbors decided we should develop alter egos to suit our adopted city. In the vein of stripper names, we will devise a rubric to map our given names with assumed Baltimore names. These names are, naturally, derived from characters on The Wire . The rules:

1. If your name is short, you’ll need to change it up for a nonsensically onomatopoeic moniker:

Ada = Aay-Bay (Reference: Roland “Wee-Bay” Brice)

Rose = Ray-Ray (Reference: La La)

2. If your name is longer than 1 syllable you will go by an abridged version. Select one phonic element and repeat it. (Reference: Damien “Day Day” Price)

Adrijana = Ja Ja

(more…)

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Guilford in Charles Village

Guilford Avenue in Charles Village

After weeks of abrasively cold rain, sun stroked Baltimore today. Windows and doors were flung open, sidewalk cafes appeared, boots made way for flip-flops.

We sprung forward, baked outside in the 83 degree sunshine, and got a bit sleepy towards afternoon.

To stave off a nap–it could start sleeting again tomorrow–we walked, a lot. In poorly cushioned knockoff Chucks (“Maple Eaf”, Piazza Vittorio, Roma) we set off east from Charles Village to explore.

The heat grew dull as afternoon leaned in to evening on Greenmount Avenue. Rowhouses painted sunny blue and yellow became low mid-century storefronts stocking discounted shoes and fried chicken. A barber shop-cum social club looked out onto a stone Episcopal church, up from the street past a gated entrance, on a hill. The landscaped entrance spoke of graying congregants motoring in from the north. They wouldn’t stop after service at the Goodwill on the corner or for flapjacks at Pete’s Grill. (more…)

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March for Mutts

My mutt, not quite top dog in a mongrel contest

My mutt, top dog in a mongrel contest

The blind Fox on the block smiled broadly at last Sunday’s March of the Animals, a blockbuster fundraising festival that benefits the Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)

The 14th annual March, a 1.5 mile strut that a motley crew of canines and owners take around the reservoir of Druid Hill Park, raised an eye-popping $353,000 for the nonprofit animal rescue group. (more…)

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It's so Baltimore

It's so Baltimore

Readers hunting for features within The New Yorker are accustomed to paging through glossy ads for earth-friendly ski resorts, humanist hedge funds and environmentalist oil companies. The latest marketing contradiction puts the spotlight on Baltimore, a destination normally unheralded in The New Yorker‘s pages for parties or much else (with a few exceptions). The ad announces “THE BEST NEW CLUB IN TOWN IS…” Where else? “YOUR HOME.”

Did you know, Baltimore, that there is a hot raging party going on at the Ritz Carlton Residences on Key Highway, on a newly paved row of concrete where Federal Hill brick rowhouses meet the fishy Bawlmer harbor? They’re just $600,000 to $5 million, available for immediate occupancy. (more…)

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Civic Duty

logo“With a strong work ethic and a focus on education and skills training, Civic works continues to kindle positive change in the lives of Baltimore’s young adults and in our communities.”

-Former Mayor Martin O’Malley, City of Baltimore

A delegation from the block inaugurated the spanking-new hot weather by digging in the dirt with the Civic Works AmeriCorps volunteers of East Baltimore. A crew of Hopkins students eager to get out of the lab met in the squinting sunny morning on Monument and trekked east in a herd to one of CW’s gardens nearby. Built abutting a drug-running alley–the east side runs cocaine–the garden is about a block long and half a block wide. The city had raised a block of dilapidated rowhouses here, when a local church came to Civic Works and asked them to transform the vacant lot. They created a vegetable garden and oasis of calm shaded by apple trees. (more…)

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Recycling in Baltimore

recyclingbinsA friend commented recently that from my blog it seems that I have “given up” on Baltimore.

Banish the thought — especially today, when the sun showed up for spring. In shirtsleeves and sunglasses, we ate lunch by the harbor, looking at the water shimmer blue. A giant papaya shake stand on Broadway was nearly equivalent to that on Mexico City streets, except you could wire your remittances home inside the shop. After work, we walked down Broadway again for $3 margaritas at Arcos.

I relish much of my adopted city, the Charming Quirky City on the Harbor. But before stepping outside to walk the dog, I grip my mace, open the door a crack and look both ways. With good reason: Last night, there were guys in big jackets standing on 3 corners of the intersection of Cathedral and Park for hours, pacing and keeping watch for something I didn’t want to stick around for.

Tonight I cracked open the door and peered out into the eyes of a man digging through our dumpster that sits by our back door. “I’m not messing anything up!” he said, as startled as I was. This may explain the old underwear, hair nets and cat food cans strewn around our doorstep on many mornings.
(more…)

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