Holly Fest, A Christmas Bazaar, Holiday Tea Time and a Free Giveaway at BWI


It’s not even Thanksgiving yet but the holiday spirit abounds! This weekend (and next and the weekend after that) local groups and institutions offer handmade crafts and local treats — from gifts to goodies — to help you get through your holiday to-do list. (There’s even a free giveaway of something you might actually want!)

Friends School Holly Fest:  This popular holiday shopping event features more than 70 regional artisans, crafters and vendors selling unique handcrafted items. Visit the Gourmet-to-Go booth to pick up homemade dishes, from pies and cakes to casseroles and more made by school parents and staff. Take little ones to the popular Elf Booth where they can make handmade ornaments and holiday gifts. Make bids at the silent auction, featuring themed gift baskets by grade, vacation get-aways, and a range of merchandise, services and gift certificate from area shops, salons and restaurants, including Paper Moon Diner and Woodberry Kitchen. Festive greens and wreaths available for order and pick-up. Yummy grilled food (veggies too!) from Milt’s Catering will be on hand to satisfy appetites while shopping. With all to be offered, you’ll love having the freedom to browse without hearing a chorus of “I’m sooo bored!” When: Saturday, November 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Where: Friends School, 5114 N. Charles Street.  Admission: $5. Children under 18, free. Open to the public. 

St. David’s Christmas Bazaar: From old fashioned jellies, jams and pickles to beautiful sterling silver jewelry and country antiques to great toys for children, there is something for everyone at the St. David’s Episcopal Church Christmas Bazaar. Shoppers will delight in the assortment of vendors at the Bazaar including Candy Point Collection Jewelry, Fran Fare handbags, Silverbird Jewelry, Paperly stationery products,  McHiggins headbands and children’s clothing, Macraw & Co. fine gifts for men and Gourmet-to-Go, an array of pre-cooked, frozen meals homemade by friends of St. David’s, among others.  There will also be fresh greens for sale for holiday home decorating. A Toy Shop and Santa’s Wonderland area where children can participate in crafts, games, face painting and visit with Santa Claus will also be available as well as a Food Court for hungry shoppers. When: Saturday, November 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Where: St. David’s Episcopal Church, 4700 Roland Ave. Admission: The event is free and open to the public 

Cylburn Arboretum’s Holiday Tea at the Mansion:  Tour the mansion’s elegant first floor, main hallway, grand staircase and stone porches all decked with wreaths, swags and greenery from the mansion’s grounds and decorated by the District IV Federated Garden Clubs. The traditional tea, by local catering favorite Carey Talucci Catering, will feature tea-time treats such as delicate sandwiches, quiche, petite scones, skewered fruit, tea breads, an assortment of bite-sized desserts, and, of course, seasonal teas. Distinctive garden and nature-themed gifts for children and adults in the holiday boutique and a raffle including a topiary pig (decked in holiday finery!), a handmade wreath fashioned from Cylburn greens, a Pandora bracelet (with 3 beautiful beads) courtesy of Smyth Jewelers,  handmade jewelry, theater tickets, a crystal vase help you take care of your holiday shopping list. Adding to the holiday spirit will be a seasonal serenade by The Gilman School’s Traveling Men, a 12-member a cappella group.  When: Sunday, December 4 from 2:00 to 4:30 p.m. Where:  Cylburn Arboretum, 4915 Greenspring Avenue, Baltimore. Admission: $40 for CAA members, $45 for non members, and $300 for table of 8.  A limited number are available and reservations are required. Please call the Cylburn office by November 29 at 410-367-2217 for more information and to purchase tickets.  

And if you’re traveling out of BWI for Thanksgiving, be on the lookout for…

FREE Product Giveaway: M-Edge staffers will be at BWI during the busiest travel weekend of the year handing out iPad and e-reader covers to any traveler who has a device with them and discount cards to anyone who doesn’t. Products are each valued between $30 and $50 and will be handed out – no strings attached. Why: According to publicist Caitlin Mills, “M-Edge wants to bring a little holiday cheer to traveling and have the gift-giving start early.” Well, thanks! When: Wednesday, November 23 – Wednesday, November 30, all day. Where: BWI Airport.


Setting the Record Straight on Karl Rove Protests at Hopkins


Baltimore made national news earlier this week when Karl Rove’s talk at Johns Hopkins’ Shriver Hall was disrupted by protesters yelling about his role in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. (Rove’s response? “Who gave you the right to occupy America?”)

Most news outlets from the Huffington Post to the Washington Post to the Baltimore Sun reported that the protesters were not students, but rather Occupy Baltimore reps. That’s partly true, but these reports neglect to mention that there were actually two separate but coordinated protests challenging Rove that day. The people chanting inside Shriver were indeed from Occupy Baltimore, but there was an independently organized group made up of Hopkins students — the Johns Hopkins Human Rights Working Group, to be exact — who were staging a protest outside the hall.

Most media outlets have conflated the two groups, and Johns Hopkins spokesman Dennis O’Shea denied that the protesters were Hopkins students. Well, that guy with the bullhorn in the picture? A Hopkins grad student. Don’t believe everything you read.

Check out the video of the incident on our homepage.

Savvy Hopkins Student Helps Catch Serial Burglar


Johns Hopkins security officers offer weekly walks through the Charles Village area in order to help keep students connected to the community, and aware of potential threats in their own neighborhoods. Usually, it’s a pretty tame event. This week, though, it was anything but, thanks to a savvy student who “triggered a police manhunt and was responsible for the arrest of a wanted criminal,” according to the Johns Hopkins Gazette.

Christina Warner, a Johns Hopkins senior majoring in the Writing Seminars (woot!) noticed someone skulking around on the roof near Guilford Avenue and 30th Street. The director of Homewood Campus Safety and Security, Ed Skrodzki, had just mentioned that there had been quite a few second- and third-floor break-ins over the past few months. Putting her writerly deductive powers to use, Warner pointed the suspicious figure out. Shortly thereafter Baltimore Police intervened, and the burglar — who turned out to be wanted from a late-September break-in — was caught.

Must be nice for Warner to know that if a lucrative writing career doesn’t pan out, she’ll always have a future in law enforcement.

Eight Over 80


This is the final installment in our four-part series on eight 80-year-olds living in Baltimore who inspire and impress us with their hard work, vigor and commitment to living a life of purpose. Find links to all eight profiles at the end of the post below. Photos by Anne Sachs.

In the case of eight Baltimoreans, age 80 seems to be the new 64. These eight men and women remain active in work and in Baltimore.  Although official retirees, they could hardly be considered “retired.”  

While Americans are often labeled workaholics, these eight fall into another category. They are still following their passions, passions born sometimes in childhood, others at mid-career. All have received numerous awards for their achievements, some honorary doctorates. While they say they have slowed down physically, all push themselves with regular exercise. All are fully engaged mentally.

Most, in the course of their lives, have had to overcome discrimination because of race, creed or gender. One of these giants said of his peers, “We were fortunate. The world changed so much in our lifetime.”

Three are over 90 and were alive during World War I. All lived through the Great Depression, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the civil rights movement. These eight have experienced the proliferation of the automobile, air travel and computers. They are connected to a world and to times that most of us alive today have not known. Our Baltimore is different because of their work in the past and their work today.


Sister Mary Alice Chineworth, O.S.P.

D.O.B.: July 16, 1917, Rock Island, Illinois

Education: St. Joseph School ‘35, Mount Mary College [STET.], B.A. ‘52, Catholic University of America, M.A. ‘62; Ph.D. ‘72

Career, Present and Past:
Sister Mary Alice Chineworth has just returned from her 76th high school reunion in Illinois and has recently celebrated her 75th anniversary with the Oblate Sisters of Providence, which she joined at 19. At 94, she does what she has always done: correct papers. These, however, are not homework assignments, term papers, fundraising or administrative documents but articles for the national newsletter of her order. Established in Baltimore in 1829, the order was the first founded by women of African descent. Its motherhouse is Mount Providence, where Sister Alice lives and works in a community of more than 50 sisters. 

Sister Alice has worked in many capacities: elementary and secondary teacher, principal and administrator in Baltimore, Charleston, Alexandria, Washington, D.C., and St. Paul, as well as president of Mount Providence Junior College in Baltimore and superior general of the order, whose mission is education and service to the poor and neglected.

Today her daily routine is precise. She sets her alarm for 4 a.m. to begin 30 minutes of exercise before she washes, dresses and gets her room in “ship shape.”  The daughter of an African-American father and Caucasian, German mother, Sister Alice and her siblings were not allowed to leave their rooms without having their belongings in perfect order. After breakfast she works at the switchboard from 7 to 9 and attends mass. At 9 she goes to her office to do correspondence and editing. At the daily 1 p.m. dinner she, ever the extrovert, lingers to talk until 2 or 2:30. She returns to work until 5, when she goes to chapel for private prayer before the evening Divine Office. Then it’s back upstairs to watch the local and national news before her bedtime of 8 p.m.

Two days a week she goes out with another sister on errands.  “I drove until I was 88,” says the sister who has had a computer since the early 1980’s and a cell phone since they first came out, who served on the National Advisory Council of the National Council of Catholic Bishops, who has met three U.S. Presidents and recently received 75 American Beauty roses from a former student, Camille Cosby, whose husband Bill sometimes writes her into jokes.

Key to Longevity of Engagement: “I’ve never lost interest in life. I love people…. If they didn’t have community  [in the largest sense of the word], they’d have to invent it for me.” Many she has known most of their lives, like her best friend from St. Joseph School that had 600 students and only six African-Americans, four of whom were Chineworths.

Current Challenge: As an editor: “English is so difficult for some, that agreement between subject and predicate!” Personally: “To keep moving; it’s so easy just to sit.” 


Sidney Silber 

D.O.B: January 12, 1918, Baltimore, Maryland

Education: Baltimore Polytechnic Institute ’35
M.I.T. ’39  (Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honorary Society)

Service: Non-military, high-priority defense work as experimental flight test engineer for Boeing Aircraft Company, Seattle, Washington, 1939-1946

Career, Present and Past:
Sidney Silber, at 93, is still fully engaged in his art and horticulture, two of three passionate, long-running avocations. (Racing sailboats in Annapolis is the third, from which he now takes leave.) All have paralleled his three careers as engineer, bakery president and commercial real estate developer.

Silber pursues drawing and painting with devotion — he drew well as a child and honed the skill in mechanical drawing courses at Poly, M.I.T., and at Boeing where he did flight analysis. There he flew on 50 test flights, including those of the B-17 and the first pressurized military airplane, the B-29, which was designed to carry the atom bomb. 

After the death of his father and brother, Silber returned to Baltimore in 1946. Using engineering and increasing real estate acumen, he expanded the now-legendary family business, Silber Bakeries, to 25 shops. After leaving the business in 1962, he founded Commercial and Industrial Realty Corporation and for 27 years developed residential, commercial and industrial properties.

The proceeds from the sales of those properties created the Jean and Sidney Silber Foundation. Today cultural and educational institutions, as well as Baltimore non-profits focused on education and poverty, occupy much of his interest, philanthropy and time.

So does horticulture. “We had no garden on Monroe Street,” he says of the home where he and seven siblings grew up above the bakery.  In 1959 he and his wife Jean combined energy, intellect, artistic and engineering talent to begin a six-acre masterpiece in Lutherville. Fifty-two years later it is considered one the finest gardens in Maryland and the U.S.

While he officially retired in 1990, Silber never stopped working. In khaki pants and oxford cloth shirt, he is found early in the morning and late in the afternoon, with a folding pruning saw and clippers, tending his “living work of art” that draws visitors on private tours from all over the country to see the garden and hear its botanically expert owners lecture.

Among many sculptures in the garden are several of his own, all bronze. (His sculpture is also in the collections of M.I.T. and Goucher College.) Besides collecting art, his current passion is portrait painting. Many line the walls of his studio off the garden.

Key to longevity of engagement: “Shall I say, a young wife?” he laughs. “Jeannie keeps me going…. I think you should always be a student,” says the man, just back from a painting class, who studied law at Boeing, real estate and finance in the bakery business and art, horticulture and history for as long as he can remember. “Physical activity is important too.”

Current challenge: In the art: “Drawing it well, mixing the colors right… I draw. I paint. My eyesight is good, but I still can’t see what I’m supposed to see.” In the garden: “What to do with the garden in the future.” In philanthropy:  “How to make the decisions every year.”

Read more about other inspiring seniors:

Marion Bascom and Sue Baker

Clinton Bamberger and Beatrice Levi

Martin Millspaugh and Iris Rosenblatt



Breakup Badge: Rejection’s an Accomplishment?


Dear Sara,

The same pattern keeps repeating. I meet someone online, we spend weeks or months talking. We talk on the phone, we email, we Skype — he tells me how awesome I am, how I’m just what he’s looking for. We go on one date, maybe two, and I never hear from him again. I’m starting to take this personally. How can I know what I’m doing wrong when these guys won’t tell me why they suddenly lose all interest?

Here’s the thing about online dating: The actual dating isn’t supposed to happen online. It can, if both parties are really good at writing or some other form of remote communication, but ultimately there is NO reason why you ought to be waiting several weeks or months to meet
someone in person, unless he lives in a different state or continent. Meet him or her in a public place as soon as you feel safe enough to do so, yet curious enough to make it worth your time. Why? Because an ounce of experiential data is worth a terabyte of pictures, video, and email. If you’re already attached to someone you haven’t met, chances are you’ve waited too long, and both of you are setting yourselves up for some sort of delayed disappointment. (Unless, of course, you share the mutual chemistry you hope for.)

There is more to meeting in person than simply verifying that a person looks like their pictures. So much, that we’ve only scratched the surface of the science behind it. Consider it nature’s overly complicated way of making sure genes are distributed widely. We have a population of seven billion now. I personally love being picky: The way a person holds themselves, the way they smell even when they are clean, etc. If you’ve ever rejected someone yourself, and I hope you have, you’ve got to give humanity the right to reject you as well, carte blanche. Physical attraction is important to all of us in different ways. We’re all affected by it, but we all translate it or describe it differently, in part because we all want different things at different times, and even the most self-aware person is still only half sure of what they want. In a sense, all dating is blind dating. We play chess with each other. We hide our faults — sometimes we’re hiding our best features. We reveal our strengths, strengths which we adore about ourselves, yet can easily turn others off. If you think about it, there is a certain romantic justice to the whole process. There are no algorithms yet powerful enough to make Person A love Person B.

Here’s hoping that you arm yourself in the future against false expectations by meeting more people, more often, but for now remember that rejection is something both males and females experience.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we culturally supported widespread constructive criticism between friends and lovers a little more than we do now? Absolutely. Miscommunication often kills perfectly good romances and friendships. Even when people give you a reason, it’s often not the real one. A lot of people with simple rude habits might improve if we told them about it. But for now, when it happens, let yourself be disappointed for one day, tell yourself it could be any little thing, try to shake it off, and focus on the next person the next day. That said, it can be extra harsh when mysterious rejection happens to anyone in succession. Remember: Anyone who doesn’t want to invest in the whole person isn’t worth the time to mourn too deeply. As Marilyn
Monroe said, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”

Think of the painful experience as a specific Scout badge on the sash of dating. And think of it that way consciously as a method of recovering: Anything worth having is worth enduring pain to achieve, right? Rejection is a kind of an accomplishment. This accomplishment makes you more sensitive to the plight of your friends who have been through similar experiences, hopefully makes you treat others more respectfully than you have been treated, and finally, makes you value what you have when you do eventually find it. (It also emboldens you to humanely reject another, when the gesture is called for.)

And don’t demonize the person who rejected you, because that’s just a hollow way of coping that won’t make you feel any better anyway. Give the person your whole-hearted forgiveness. Give the rejector the right to look for the person worth their time, and accept that for now, that’s not you. Rejection is only bitter if we curl ourselves tightly around it. If you let it go instead, your life will be more beautiful overall, and you will be happier, with or without a significant other.

Got dating questions? Email saralynn@baltimorefishbowl.com.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek Names U of MD Biz School in Top 20 in the World


The executive MBA program at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business is ranked #17 in the world byBloomberg BusinessWeek. The BusinessWeek rankings are based on surveys completed by recent alumni and EMBA program directors across the world. The Smith School received the following grades: Entrepreneurship A; Finance A; International Business C; Marketing A+; Strategy A+; and Sustainability A.To see the full rankings, click here.

“We are honored to be recognized in this influential ranking,” saidGreg Hanifee, assistant dean of executive programs at the Smith School. “The Smith School boasts the highest ranked program in the Baltimore-Washington region and the ranking is a true testament to the design of our program and the strength of the school’s faculty in delivering real-world leadership development, and their ability to translate research into practical application in the classroom.”

Read more at Citybizlist

Will Raising the Bottle Tax (Again) Save Baltimore Schools?


Seventy percent of Baltimore schools are in poor condition, and fixing them up is a $2.8 billion project. The city doesn’t have $2.8 billion. So what’s to be done?

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced a plan this week to increase the city’s bottle tax from two to five cents; that would provide a projected $155 million in bonds. Add in funds from the yet-to-materialize slots casino, and the city is still far from the amount necessary… but, hey, it’s better than nothing.

It’s not likely to happen without a fight. When the mayor proposed an initial two-cent tax last year, grocery store owners and beverage lobbyists put up a fierce fight because they didn’t want business to b pushed into the county. More than doubling that initial tax is sure to raise hackles even more.

But city schools are undeniably in bad shape, and the undecided City Council members are sure to feel pressure from the mayor to support her cause. As it stands now, six of the fifteen councilmembers support the plan; the others are either undecided or in opposition. Our bet is that we can all look forward to a protracted battle over the issue.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Baltimore Dialect


Everyone makes fond fun of the Baltimore accent (excuse me, Bawlmer accent), but if you’ve ever been curious about how it came about — or the difference between any American English dialect, for that matter, you will probably enjoy this intense and detailed website — consider it an accent-opedia, perhaps, complete with clips of exemplary accents (thanks, Barbara Mikulski, for ours.)

What I learned:  Baltimore’s accent is part of the Atlantic Midland subset of the larger Midland category. North of Philly, “on” rhymes with “Don”; down here, it rhymes with “Dawn.” (Personally, I can’t tell the difference — but maybe that’s because I grew up in Richmond, a “Lowland South” region.) Furthermore:  “hoarse” = “horse”; “mourning” = “morning”; “four” = “for.” And, in a strange bit of accent fact, unlike people from DC or Richmond or Pittsburgh, Baltimoreans pronounce “bad” as though it doesn’t rhyme with “had,” the same way that New Yorkers do.

If you’re an accent nerd, you can spend all morning with this map, created by an enthusiastic accent hobbyist with too much time on his hands. Ever wondered why people native to Assateague speak so distinctly? Well, the Chesapeake Islands are an “anomalous peripheral area that resisted the Southern shift.” Ah yes, of course. And (who knew!?) the San Francisco Bay turns out to be our accent neighbors (“except that ‘bad’ rhymes with ‘had'” over there — wait, it doesn’t here?). Learn more about “The Unique Position of Nebraska,” “Where do they speak without an accent?”, and “The Pin-Pen Merger, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Texas Cattle Drives.”

Miracle of the Loaves and the Side Dishes at MD Food Bank (How to Help without Leaving the House)


With Thanksgiving a week away, amid contemplating how to cram sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole and cheesy scalloped potatoes in the same tiny oven at the same time, we found ourselves remembering that many Marylanders have far more serious problems concerning food, like not enough of it. That got us thinking about the amazing Maryland Food Bank, which procures food and distributes meals to 600 small and large partners, like emergency shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries — including the CARES Food Pantry in Govans and the Helping Up Mission in Baltimore.

The Food Bank feeds thousands upon thousands of people, not just on Turkey Day, but every single day of the year!

“More than 460,000 Maryland residents are ‘hungry,’ in our service area, which is the entire state except Prince Georges and Montgomery County,” explains Amanda Knittle, interim communications manager at the MD Food Bank. “Unique to Maryland: 45 percent deemed hungry are not eligible for federal food assistance programs; their incomes are considered too high.”

While your first generous thought might be to bag up canned goods for the organization, that’s actually not the most efficient approach. The Food Bank receives regular donations in bulk, from the M&T Bank Stadium and Oriole Park, Oakcrest and Charlestown retirement communities — the latter donate 400 pounds of food weekly. Capital Grille shares 100 pounds of food twice a week. The organization also receives good grub from McCormick and Schmick’s.

“Our drivers go out and pick up these donated items,” Knittle explains. “To make it worth the investment of drivers and gas, it’s more efficient to have a larger donation.”

Ongoing support is essential! You can enhance the Food Banks phenomenal efforts this Thanksgiving season and beyond by merely going online to give.

“Our business is to procure food — we have people who are food sourcers. They find the best food at the best prices. Somebody’s dollar can go much further through us,” Knittle says.

So, check out the virtual food drive.

Give money. Every dollar means serious nourishment.

Are you a Ravens’ fan? For every $10 worth of food that you donate through the Ravens Online Food Drive, you’ll be entered to win two tickets to a Ravens vs. Colts home game in December.  $10 = one entry, $20 = two entries, $100 = 10 entries! Deadline for entry is November 20.

You can even help on Thanksgiving weekend, when Mr. Rain’s Funhouse the restaurant at the AVAM will collect funds to benefit the MD Food Bank.

Heartwarming end note: More than 9600 Thanksgiving “End Hunger” holiday boxes have already been assembled, through the MD Food Bank, containing kale, green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing, mac and cheese, and pumpkin pie fixings. Each feeds 10. They will be distributed with a turkey, too. (Orioles’ wives sponsored a fundraiser this summer. Other donors include: C&S, Shoprite, Giant, WYPR/Eddie’s.)

Go online and help the Maryland Food Bank multiply modest money into miraculously nourishing meals. You’ll have a happier holiday for it!