Stephen Babcock

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Stephen Babcock is the editor of Technical.ly Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.

Fort McHenry holds fire after cannon blast accident

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With the Star Spangled Spectacular in the books, the Fort McHenry cannons are back to their usual role as silent enforcers. Turns out, the blasts may not return to the harbor for quite a while. As a result of a celebratory shot that backfired and injured a re-enactor, the National Park Service took the cannons offline, the Associated Press reports.

Orioles playoff tickets available Monday for general public

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photo by Amy Langrehr
photo by Amy Langrehr

After eliminating the Yankees today, the Baltimore Orioles get one last crack at Derek Jeter and his pinstriped partners Thursday night. But even it rains on the shortstop’s going away party, the team knows that crisp October skies await as a result of last week’s playoff clinch. The season reset that comes with the postseason also means a new scrum for coveted Orioles playoff tickets. On Wednesday, the Orioles laid out the complete menu of options for the team’s upcoming home games in the American League Division Series. Bandwagon jumpers, beware: season ticket holders have a major advantage in the hunt for admission to a game.

Amid body camera debate, video shows Baltimore police beating man during arrest

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Still from video, via CBS Baltimore
Still from video, via CBS Baltimore

For the second time in a week, Baltimore police are confronting a video that showed an officer using violent force during an arrest. The latest incident comes as city officials push for all officers to wear body cameras.

The latest incident happened early Tuesday outside a Greenmount Avenue nightclub. According to the Baltimore Sun, a group of five officers used batons and Tasers while arresting a man, Jamar Kennedy, outside Melba’s Place.

West Baltimore Gas Station Pumps New Ethanol-Based Fuel, E85

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E85 has arrived in Baltimore. (via U.S. Department of Energy)
E85 has arrived in Baltimore. (via U.S. Department of Energy)

There are laws against humans drinking and driving, but for cars it’s another story. According to CBS Baltimore, one Baltimore gas station is selling a new alcohol-laced fuel. Instead of getting your car drunk, however, the fuel provides an alternative to gasoline that will be a little easier on the air.

According to the report, A-1 Auto Repair at 3041 Frederick Ave. in West Baltimore is the first gas station in the city to sell the new fuel E85. The fuel’s composition is 85 percent ethanol, which is an alcohol distilled from corn through a process that’s similar to making moonshine. The other 15 percent of the product is made up of that old sober, oil-based gasoline.

Natty Boh Sells to Russian Company

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Mr. Boh looks East.
Mr. Boh looks East.


As Baltimore’s craft beer scene continues to grow, it seems the city’s old one-eyed brewing standby is only getting further away. First, National Bohemian was sold to Pabst. As a result of another blockbuster beer biz deal inked last week, Natty Boh will be controlled by ze Russians.

According to the Baltimore Business Journal, Pabst will be sold to Russia-based Oasis Beverages, sending Natty Boh’s headquarters a long flight away from its Southeast Baltimore home.

Baltimore’s Burlesque Scene, Exposed and Transposed

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Kiki Allure, via Buzzfeed/Seanscheidt.com
Kiki Allure, via Buzzfeed/Seanscheidt.com

Burlesque may conjure visions of New Orleans’ Storyville and the Moulin Rouge, but Baltimore lays claim to a piece of burlesque history in its own right. Thanks to a group of young live performance lovers who are willing to put on their own shows and aren’t afraid to strut it, Baltimore still has plenty of burly today.

Horseshoe Casino, Reviewed: Bets and Bars, Without the Free Drinks

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As that little skirmish on the first weekend indicated, a fighting stance belies the glitz of the Horseshoe Casino’s coming-out party.

The highway-side billboards for the Maryland Live! Casino in Arundel Mills advertise “Over $10 billion in payouts and counting,” a reminder that the two-year-old gaming complex was there first, and could be easily accessed on the way home.

At a time when Atlantic City casinos are folding and Horseshoe corporate parent Caeser’s has fewer chips to bet, the appeal of a competitor outside the gates is more necessary evil than welcome opportunity for brand synergy.

As such, the Horseshoe’s farriers have taken great pains to make sure wipe from the memory banks and any thought of the neighbor to the south. In fact, from the moment visitors walk safely under cover from the massive parking garage into the casino itself, a neverending stream of bright lights and loud noises wipe away all thoughts of the outside world. The bar doesn’t even close, so there’s no reason to leave.

That first moment entering the casino doesn’t seem designed to appeal to the old school riverboat gambler. Rather it reminds one of  the flashy websites with dozens of casino games. The flash of fluorescent lights seems to be seeking the same disorienting burst of energy that makes children light up when they walk into Chuck-E-Cheese, or wherever the kids go to get silly with their parents’ money these days. At the Horseshoe entrance, however, there is a security guard checking IDs, and the lights shimmering above strive for a bit more elegance.

 

Elegant lights shine from above.
Striving for elegance at the Horseshoe Casino

The entrance spits patrons forth into a maze of slot machines and tables that form the main event for most casino-goers. After taking a couple of laps around the first floor, it became immediately clear that all of the shining, buzzing machines were the main attraction. The gambling takes up most of the center, with the exception of the 24-hour bar.

Baltimore Book Festival Pages Inner Harbor

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baltbookfest

Now that the Star-Spangled Spectacular has folded up, the Inner Harbor will have to buckle down and get its nose back in the books. The annual Baltimore Book Festival offers a new way to thumb through the city’s best-known destination from Sept. 26-28, boasting new programming for kids, more than 200 author appearances and…free samples!

Mencken Day At Enoch Pratt Free Library

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H.L. Mencken (via Mencken House)
H.L. Mencken (via Mencken House)

Calling all curmudgeons: The Enoch Pratt Free Library is set to honor H.L. Mencken at Saturday’s Mencken Day festivities with guest speakers, exhibits and other things that aren’t the Star-Spangled Spectacular. One special guest will consider the Sage of Baltimore’s place in civil rights history, while another will dress up like him and entertain cocktail-swilling fans at his house.

Born on West Lexington St. on Sept. 12, 1880, the early 20th century writer and critic spared few subjects from his acerbic barbs, and wrote with a style that influenced plenty of other writers you may have heard of in the process. Having already dedicated a room to honor him, the main branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library (400 Cathedral St.) rolls out a full day of events every year on the weekend closest to his birthday.

In fitting fashion for an event about a famous writer, the main event is the Mencken Memorial Lecture, which considers the finer points of Mencken’s biography and legacy. Climbing into the rhetorical ring this year is University of Maryland law professor Larry S. Gibson, who will consider whether Mencken was a “racist or civil rights champion.” The talk begins at 2 p.m.

Baltimore Police Dept. Tweets Gun Grab

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A rifle seized by the Baltimore Police Dept. in July (via BPD Twitter account).
A rifle seized by the Baltimore Police Dept. in July (via BPD Twitter account).

Like many Marylanders, the Baltimore Police Department made sure they found some time to show off their guns this summer.

Over the last few months, BPD units seized numerous illegal guns from the streets. One of them was pink. Sometimes, drugs and money were also involved. To give the public a better idea of what they’re collecting, BPD posts pictures of these guns to the department’s Twitter account with the hashtags #ASaferBaltimore and #NoMoreViolence. The posts go up year-round, but we’ve particularly been admiring the summer collection. Here’s a few highlights :

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