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Posts Tagged ‘O’Malley’

Baltimore, the City that Reads

Here on the changeable banks of Baltimore harbor we tire quickly of alternative monikers.

In 1812, we lived in Mobtown. More recently, we’ve been dubbed Crabtown, Queen of the Patapsco, and Nickel Town (Nikel Bag Town?). A 1975 ad writer coined for us the marvelously subjective nickname “Charm City.”

Speaking subjectively, now-governor Martin O’Malley declared us the “The Greatest City in America” when he became mayor.

In 2002, we declared we would thenceforth “BELIEVE” in Baltimore. Like, if you squint your eyes, you can believe those guys on the corner are slinging lemonade.

Many park benches are emblazoned with another motto of yesterday, “The City That Reads.” More like “The City that Breeds,” some snicker, for the out-of-wedlock pregnancy rate (hence our ubiqitous billboards for DNA Testing, reading “WHO’S THE DADDY?”). Others suggest the the motto could be “The City That Bleeds.”

But I digress! This weekend, we will read in Baltimore! The annual Baltimore Book Festival is nigh upon us and more than 200 authors will talk about reading Friday through Sunday evening.

Highlights?

  1. Guys barbecuing, free McCormick, and $1 beers (this attraction may not relate much to reading)
  2. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Standing Up to the Madness
  3. The Radical Book Tent… Guys, I gotta say I love Barnes n’ Noble
  4. Maria, from Sesame Street… Really, is this woman still on TV?
  5. Literary Walking Tour of Mt. Vernon… Featuring not only predictable Poe, but tales of Tupac Shakur, who at one point was not feeling the California Love

Truthfully, a couple of us Mt. Vernon locals will spend half the book festival weekend in the city that doesn’t stop Blackberry-ing to read (apart from Page Six) but after that we will put on our literary hats with the best of them.

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Charm City Celebrity Status

Grunting away on the elliptical at Baltimore’s Downtown Athletic Center, I realized the spandex-clad guy next to me, preoccupied issuing mumbled curses at the TVs after Ravens’ fumbles, was Governor Martin O’Malley.

Honorable Governor of Maryland, Martin O'Malley

Honorable Gov. Martin O'Malley

This is my second O’Malley sighting at the flagship Merritt Athletic Club, where he apparently worked out daily as city mayor. Now based in Annapolis, his weekend workouts seem timed when he figures normal people have better things to do than hang out in a grimy gym (the first time I saw him it was Superbowl Sunday).

As I pedeled away, I imagined what I would tell our toiling public servent (he was on that machine for a while). I would implore him to help blaze a carbon-free energy future for Maryland, build bike lanes, and start a blind dog trust. Luckily for him, before I summoned the courage to interrupt his blithe Sunday afternoon workout, he skipped out to his hybrid Tahoe SUV–he sits in the back behind seriously dark tinted windows.

Which made me wonder… Why do famous people drive 6000-pound SUVs boosted on 20-inch wheels? This characterizes successful drug dealers, actors, sports stars; the jacked-SUV is also common around Capitol Hill. Is it an attempt to match their supersized egos? Or do they like other citizens fear red light runners–a numerous species in Baltimore–will ram them flat?

Either way, it might be interesting to inaugurate a Gawker Stalker-type tracking map for Charm City celebs, Tahoe or no. Top 5 on my map:

1. Governor O’Malley (where does his band practice?)

2. Duff Goldman (does he eat at Cake Love?)

3. Kima Greggs (aka Sonja Sohn, does she still do grocery shopping in Mt. Washington, as reported by an anonymous source)

4. Sheila Dixon — What’s her latest pricey shoe purchase?

5. Michael Phelps: Once he settles in Fell’s, ladies will be inquiring where this very eligible Baltimore bachelor spends his time (/money)

6. Foxy Brown, “dog on the town.” Track the lamp posts she bumps into as this blind doppelganger for a rapid, spaced out fox trawls the town.

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Maryland's energy-cool quotient may soon rival Denmark's

Maryland's energy-cool quotient may soon rival Denmark's

Rejecting President Bush’s call to greenlight offshore oil drilling, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley endorsed wind farms 12 miles off the coast of Delaware and Maryland, the Baltimore Sun reports today. Ocean City and Rehobeth beachgoers would barely see the 40 foot-high turbines–especially during our smoggy summers, noted John Hughes, Delaware’s secretary of natural resources and environmental control. 150 turbines would generate enough electricity to power 600,000 homes–that’s nearly all of Baltimore City–with zero emissions and minimal impact on marine life, according to Malcolm Woolf, director of the Maryland Energy Administration.

Yay for Maryland! Baltimore City is also getting more hybrid buses which means (in addition to less carbon output and particular emissions) our streets will be quieter.

Soon we may be as energy-cool as Denmark’s Samso island. As Elizabeth Kolbert reported in the New Yorker the other week, turbines on and offshore here generate so much energy the residents  sell it to the mainland. It’s worth noting their offshore turbines are giant–195 feet tall with spinning blades 120 feet long.

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Hey, check out my dad on tv. He’s at the state legislative hearings on energy conservation. He says, “selling more electricity means we’re going to burn more coal and have more pollution.” Yeah conservation!!

Click here to view the clip (at top right of the page).

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