Baltimore Fishbowl Top Stories of 2013

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We don’t always know what will do well on the Baltimore Fishbowl. Sure, real estate and Ravens and Orioles news are sure winners, but other than that, it’s a surprise. Sometimes the stories we spend the most time and money on get little traffic. Other times, a quick, funny story  gets all the eyeballs. It’s unpredictable.

Below, see our top stories this year, a mix of creative non-fiction, real estate coverage, local transportation news, humor, bad behavior and more. Some surprises are in the mix and some favorites, too. See if your favorites made the list, below, and thanks for reading the Baltimore Fishbowl.


About a Girl – In this Bohemian Rhapsody column published last spring, writer Marion Winik introduces Jane, her daughter and constant companion. Marion embraces the togetherness, explaining:  “If you enjoy egregious doting, if you thrive on being needed, if you are comfortable with the burden of being right all the time, motherhood is a dream job.”

DC Baltimore Rivalry

“DC is So Much Better Than Baltimore” – Oh Really? After Thrillist boasted about the superiority of our neighbor to the south, writer Rachel Monroe  took umbrage and created a list of her own, extolling Baltimore’s virtues, and putting DC in its place with nuggets like this one: “I know that not every DC resident is a sport coat-wearing, briefcase-carrying, politics-obsessed snooze, but I would estimate that 87 percent of them are. Having one industry (government) dominate a city can result in dull dinner parties and an insular world view. Plus, as John Waters has pointed out, all the cutest boys live in Baltimore!”

1981 john waters

John Waters Gives a Tour of  Hip 1981 Baltimore  – This video clip, produced by San Francisco company Videowest to promote the 1981 movie Polyester, shows an very young Waters giving a tour of Baltimore 30 years ago, telling viewers he wants to be “a negative role model for a whole new generation.” A classic.

“There are glimpses of Edith Massey‘s store in Fells Point, Arabbers trotting down the street, and a very young John Waters looking too cool for school.” writes Rachel Monroe.

ray rice house

Ray Rice’s Starter Home Goes on the Market  – Combining our readers’ love of real estate with their passion for all things Ravens, Hot House columnist Cynthia McIntyre’s post about football super star Ray Rice’s  former house, “a surprisingly modest, (but classy, definitely classy) townhouse in Grey Rock,” going on the market became an instant hit.

The house sold last August for $299,990, about $20,000 under its $319,000 asking price.


I Seriously Can’t Believe the New Foods That Camden Yards is Selling A post about the Guy Fieri-esque offerings at Camden Yards by Robert O’Brien described some “culinary monster(s)” on the menu: “What sounds the wildest to me, is the Walk Off, which places an Old Bay Roma sausage in a pretzel roll and tops it with crab dip. Crab dip waffle fries will also be available, as will a chocolate stout cupcake.” A far cry from peanuts and Cracker Jack…

“Charlie.” Photo by Tyler Merbler.

Baltimore is About to Get Rid of The Wrong Ugly Man-Shaped Statue A beloved Charles Village metal statue, Charlie, became the subject of Internet attention when the Baltimore police department announced it would take down the sculpture because it caused a “hazard to both pedestrians and motorists.”   Writer Rachel Monroe mused, “At the very least, if the city insists on taking down Charlie, it should take down the man-woman outside Penn Station, too — it’s only fair.”

Photo by Sheena Callage.
Photo by Sheena Callage.

I’m Walking Here: 12 Ideas to Improve Public Transportation in Baltimore Originally posted on Facebook by Eric Hatch, director of programming for the Maryland Film Festival and a public transit user for over 20 years, this keen analysis of the failings of local transit is more not whining:  It offers clear ideas for improvement. It also elicited a rich dialogue among our commenters.  SRB, are you listening?


The MTA Bus Line So Unreliable that One Rider Put up Missing Posters  Eric Hatch is not alone.  In this interview by Robert O’Brien with riders of the non-existent 27 bus line, which “runs every 20 minutes from roughly 4:30 a.m. to 2:45 a.m. between the Reisterstown Plaza subway station and Port Covington, with stops in Hampden, Remington, Station North, downtown, and a few other locations. Or is at least supposed to,” riders shared their frustrating experiences.

“The 27 wouldn’t come for like an hour, and then three in a row would come!” one rider said. “Plus, they would do route alterations and not tell you, so you’d end up somewhere totally crazy with no way to get home.”

Staff of the Maryland Transit Authority commented on the post, including one from “tmah” that read, “Inside sources reveal this article was included in the mta daily press clippings email sent out to anyone with an mta email address.”

Phillips Seafood House Eastern Shore

Most Expensive House in Maryland: The Phillips Seafood House – The Eastern shore “Gatsby-esque dream house” of the owners of the Phillips Seafood dynasty, Steve and Maxine Phillips, was the most expensive listing in Maryland, and writer Cynthia McIntyre describes why:

“Extensively renovated, 26,000 sq. ft. home, with 7 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, 11 fireplaces, indoor spa with pool, gourmet kitchen, catering kitchen, and wine cellar. Also on property, an Asian tea house, a 60-foot outdoor infinity pool, 9-car garage, roof garden, staff quarters, tennis courts and guest house. Six boat slips on private dock with boat lift. $32 million.”

The house was taken off the market a few months ago, but it’s still fun to peer inside the mansion and grounds.


Johns Hopkins Deals With An Identity Crisis Rachel Monroe’s explanation of Hopkins’ complex task to hone its branding was a fascinating glimpse into public image making, graphic design and aesthetics at an institution of unparalleled importance to Baltimore.

Photo courtesy Gawker
Photo courtesy Gawker

Worst Marylander of the Week Award: The Deranged Sorority Girl The email in which University of Maryland student admonishes her Delta Gamma sorority sisters for being “Literally so f*** awkward and so f*** boring” brought the enfant terrible Internet fame. Writer Rachel Monroe crowned the girl the “worst Marylander” and the fracas resulted in her resignation from Delta Gamma, and a dating column on She’s currently pitching a novel to publishers.

It also inspired a hilarious reading of the email by Michael Shannon on funnyordie, below. (Obviously, NSFW.)

Thanks for reading the Baltimore Fishbowl!

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