B. Boyd


Mama Duck Leads Day-Old Ducklings from Medstar Harbor Hospital to Patapsco River



It’s so flapping sweet. They were born last Saturday, 10 fuzzy baby mallards, in the quiet refuge of the MedStar Harbor Hospital fountain enclosure. Hospital staff had been totally supportive and invested in the mother duck’s preceding nesting process, especially Mr. Bob Decker, the man in charge of facilities for the hospital, who’s now nicknamed Bob Ducker, incidentally… Following Decker’s compassionate lead, MedStar staff secured the courtyard location from trespass and provided food and water to honor the baby birdlings’ arrival.

Said arrival would bring big new maintenance challenges because ducklings can’t yet fly away home!

Edward Hopper’s Women: Poet Kendra Kopelke Paints Their Words



Poet Kendra Kopelke, who directs the M.F.A. program in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts at the University of Baltimore, encourages her graduate students to play and work — or “plork” — her coined word for the unique process of setting ambitious work goals but allowing oneself to experiment boldly, to learn to think freely (much like game-creating children) about writing and the visual design process involved in cover-to-cover book-building. In a logical extension of the plork model, Kopelke’s own work is often ekphrastic in nature, an intuitive and meditative written response to visual art she early on admires and/or resists, then begins to talk to.

The Baltimore 500: A Shelter Race to Place Cats in Great Homes

Buster, a young tuxedo male, was adopted yesterday at BARCS!
Buster, a six-month-old tuxedo male, was adopted yesterday at BARCS!

Spring and summer are affectionately known as “kitten season” in the shelter world, but the cute nametag belies the seriousness of the pet population problem here at home in Baltimore as well as around the nation and across the globe.

That’s why the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, aka BARCS, Baltimore Humane Society, and the Maryland SPCA banded together back in 2009 to hold the first annual Baltimore 500: A Race to Save Lives. Each shelter — all three are members of the Baltimore Animal Welfare Alliance or BAWA – vowed to waive adoption fees for the month of June, with a group goal to save 500 unwanted felines by finding them good homes.

Why Nick Hornby Loves Jessica Anya Blau’s “Wonder Bread Summer”

photo by David Grossbach
photo by David Grossbach

Every week, novelist Jessica Anya Blau meets for a working coffee with writer friends at the Evergreen Café on Cold Spring Lane. They crowd around a table and, after a mini gabfest, get down to the very personal business of writing what they’re each writing, sometimes for several hours. Blau doesn’t consider the bustling, plate-clinking café or the occasional bursts of chatter from her friends a distraction — she believes writers should learn to write through anything anywhere at anytime and recommends the act of public writing to beginning writers she teaches.

In Our Baltimore Pizza Paradise, Who Needs Domino’s Cheesy “Theater”?



Baltimore is a pizza lovers’ paradise, as our “best of” March Madness contest illustrated this spring. You’ll remember that Birroteca in Hampden won the most praise – after more than 20,000 contest votes were cast. Other crusty local legends – who topped the tasty competition – were Joe Squared in Station North, Johnny Rad’s on Eastern Ave., Tooloulou of East Baltimore, Iggie’s in Mount Vernon, and Matthew’s in Highlandtown. I personally pine for the pie at Two Boots next door to MICA and the slim, steaming slices at BOP (Brick Oven Pizza) in Fells Point.

Which brings me to my pizza-relevant point. With the new Domino’s walk-in shop opening in Hamilton this week, a stone’s throw from my Belair-Edison hood, I’m wondering how many of us true pie enthusiasts will bother to bite. Please weigh in below. Is Domino’s a processed-food guilty/nostalgic pleasure you still indulge in, when time is super short?

The Singing Professor: Songwriting 101 at UB

courtesy of UB University Relations
courtesy of UB University Relations/photo by JJ Chrystal

If University of Baltimore Professor Roger Friskey’s brisk attitude and winning grin remind you of Robert Preston in the film classic The Music Man, in which, of course, Preston’s charming band leader character only pretends to teach teens to play their expensive instruments, cease the comparisons at cosmetic ones. Yes, Friskey’s teaching a brand-new songwriting class as part of the summer schedule at UB; true, Friskey encourages anyone and everyone to register, even those without a hint of musical training or ability. But the guitar-strumming, Renaissance businessman, who typically lectures on persuasive and public relations writing for the university, isn’t promising to turn his students into pop stars or producers overnight. He’s just saying all are welcome to join the lively workshop discussion of songwriting technique and the seminar chat about the fast-changing face of the music industry. And all are encouraged to compose at their level.

Hitler’s Clairvoyant: Arthur Magida at the Ivy, May 24th



As World War I left Berlin devastated, a depressed and bewildered citizenry turned to the occult for comfort — private seances and one-on-one psychic readings provided a sense that the tragically dead weren’t completely out of reach, and a much needed escape from reality. In the early 1930s, Erik Jan Hanussen, a famous Jewish-German mind reader, gained eerie and unlikely entree into Hitler’s inner circle. Eager to please the fuhrer, Hanussen transformed his life and changed his occult publication into a Nazi propaganda rag. Ultimately, Hanussen’s psychic knowing wasn’t enough to save his life… Want to learn more? You can hear the rare nonfiction author Arthur Magida, a writer in residence at UB, discuss his book on Hanussen, The Nazi Seance (Pallgrave Macmillan), at the Ivy Friday evening at 7.

Reality “Bites” for Baltimore Postal Carriers



Baltimore is definitely not the prime place to be a United States Postal Service worker! In fact, it’s the eighth worst city in the country, if we’re talking dog-bite likelihood… New figures show that we rank number eight nationally for the most mail carriers attacked annually. No wonder the USPS is a partner in National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which is sponsored every third week of May by the American Veterinary Medical Association and others. From May 19-25, AVMA is offering tips and resources for remedying the situation. Learn some smart and quick suggestions after the jump.

Need Three Good Reasons to See “The Raisin Cycle” at Centerstage?



Kwame Kwei-Armah’s ambitious new play, Beneatha’s Place, premiered Wednesday night at Centerstage to a packed house awash in anticipation – the show will run through June 16 as part of “The Raisin Cycle,” which rotates performances with Bruce Norris’s 2011 Pulitzer-winning Clybourne Park. Each pays creative homage to Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 theater classic, A Raisin in the Sun.

Save Money on Summer AC, Baltimore

image courtesy of allproudamericans.com
image courtesy of allproudamericans.com

The other day I received my BGE Connections e-newsletter and readied my index finger to delete it, but then my eyes fell on a quick list of energy-saving (and money-saving) tips for summer cooling, so I saved the information for a sec. As straightforward as they sound, I think the bullet points are worth reminding ourselves as we ready our index fingers to push AC units “on” and slide central air dials ever downward in coming weeks. Take a quick, cool refresher course in summer power efficiency! (After the jump, three more smart suggestions!)

  • Close blinds during the day to keep the sun from heating up your home.
  • Schedule a cooling system tune up to keep your central air conditioner running efficiently.
  • Adjust your thermostat up to 78°F. Every degree makes a difference in your cooling costs.