Tag: inspiration

Morning Traffic on a Strange Planet



Does this ever happen to you?

You are sitting at a red light in morning traffic, half-listening to the news on the radio, half-trying to decide how to juggle the elements of an ordinary day: the meetings, the appointments, the overscheduled children, the dirty house, the dreaded phone calls: the insurance company, the plumber, the cable provider. Which to do first, which second, which can be put off, which to axe entirely — oh wait, you need some cash, and there’s an ATM in the next block, should you stop now or get cash at the grocery store later —

and click, something shifts.

Let’s Give Some Attention to a Different Obstacle-Overcoming Hopkins Doc



Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson has been front-page news for months now. All the press attention to Carson makes it easy to forget that there are plenty of other amazing, brilliant physicians at Hopkins, including some that have overcome difficult odds to become leaders in their fields (and not presidential candidates). 

Ready for Your Morning Cry? Watch Johns Hopkins Pediatric Oncology Dance to One Direction


I’ve long thought that working in pediatric oncology (that is,  cancer treatment for kids) would be one of the saddest things in the world. But apparently not at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where doctors, nurses, patients, and staff wear clown noses, strum guitars, dance like maniacs, and race tiny race cars — at least according to the video above.

Towson Brings TED Talks to Baltimore


In case you’re not already familiar, TED talks are the source of brain-bursting ideas, viral videos, inspirational speeches from today’s top thinkers, whether they be neuroscientists or architects or writers or ex-presidents. Think of it like a Malcolm Gladwell essay performed live:  TED speakers give a brief, technology-aided lecture about the most inspiring or revolutionary aspect of their work, the crowd laughs/cries/gasps and everyone goes home enlightened.

Maybe you’ve watched one of the many TED videos posted online and considered attending the conference in person — until you found out that tickets cost $6,000. Eep. Lucky for the non-millionaires among us, though, TED also sponsors what they call TEDx events, which are independently organized events worldwide that are inspired by the same spirit of deep discussion and open-sourced wisdom. And now Towson University is bringing that TEDx spirit to its campus with the first-ever TEDxTowsonU conference, “aimed at inspiring lifelong personal and social responsibility and encouraging individuals to be an agent of change for a better world.”

Ray Lewis’s Post-Game Speech


Wonder what was said in the locker room after the Ravens devastating loss to the New England Patriots? Ray Lewis’s post-game speech to the team started making the rounds on the internet late last week. According to the Wall Street Journal, the video was produced by the Ravens for its weekly television show “1 Winning Drive.”

Check out the video on our video landing on the homepage. 

Eight Over 80


Eight Over 80 is a four-part series. Check in Tuesday and Thursday this week and next for profiles of vital seniors who daily pursue activism, art, science and more with huge vigor. Meanwhile, they make Baltimore a far more inspiring place to live. – The Eds. 

Photographs 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.


Marion Curtis Bascom 

D.O.B.: March 14, 1925, Pensacola, Florida

Education: Washington High School,’42, Florida Memorial College ’46,
Howard University, B.D. ’48

Career, Present and Past:
The legendary civil rights leader Reverend Marion Bascom continues, in an interpersonal way, his lifelong work for peace, equality and human rights. “I am counsel to a lot of people, a personal counselor, dealing with problems of people living together and with each other…I’m broadly humanitarian. I have no problems with lifestyles. One of my professors said often, ‘Only God knows what comes in one’s birthday basket.’ I’ve taken that for all of these years. I’m very much on the path with John Spong, retired bishop of the Episcopal Church. I’m not a typical Christian. I don’t make demands on how, when and under what circumstances people believe, God included. That’s one I’m free of.”

For 46 years as pastor of the historic Douglas Memorial Community Church, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Bascom, now 86, says, “I was concerned more with causes than huge places.” Under his leadership Douglas established the first church credit union in Maryland (Douglas Memorial Federal Credit Union), turned a block of decaying Victorian houses into Douglas Village with 48 affordable apartment units and founded Camp Farthest Out, a Carroll County camp for inner city children — all revolutionary efforts at the time. Also revolutionary was the fact that Bascom in the 1960’s was appointed the first African-American on the Board of Fire Commissioners of Baltimore City.

From the garden-surrounded Reservoir Hill home, where he has lived almost half a century, Bascom continues to shepherd people of all races and orientation. He still works with the organization he once lead, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, an interfaith group of all races. A proponent of social activism, this group helped found the Maryland Food Committee and spawned today’s powerful BUILD (Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development).  

“Occasionally, I get involved still in things that are civic,” says Bascom. At 82, for example, he joined friends author Taylor Branch, Reverend Andrew Foster Connors and thousands of others at the 2007 Christian Peace Witness in Washington. On a windy, bone-chilling day he was one of 200 arrested. “I got the worst cold,” he remembers. He hasn’t marched lately but continues, as always, focused on people.

Key to Longevity of Engagement:  In his living room Bascom pauses by signs that say: “Colored Served in Rear,” “Colored Only,” “Colored Waiting Room.”  With characteristic dignity he reflects: “The key is that all of my life I have known that there is something of the ‘thatness’ of God in me very similar to the ‘thatness’ of all of His other creatures.”

Current Challenge:  Personally: “I am caregiver to my wife; she is my caregiver.” His ongoing challenge: “To improve the surrounding community of which I’m a part.”


Susan Pardee Baker

D.O.B.:  May 31, 1930, Atlanta, Georgia

Education: Catonsville High School, ’47; Cornell University ’51; Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, M.P.H. ’68, Phi Beta Kappa

Career, Present and Past: 
On the porch of the Broadmead apartment Dr. Susan P. Baker shares with her husband of 60 years, Dr. Timothy Baker, a visitor might guess from the perennial gardens and birds flocking to feeders that she might be a retired botanist. No, she is a Hopkins professor with an affiliation in three departments, an internationally recognized epidemiologist and leader in human injury prevention. She leaves this Eden with her husband, professor of international health and former assistant dean, four days a week to go to their offices at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The two work until five, then pick up dinner at the Broadmead Center. “After dinner I sit at the computer and do more work,” she says. While her husband works five days a week, she takes off a day to garden, catch up on correspondence and take advantage of many fine friendships. 

A zoology major at Cornell, Baker became an epidemiologist at age 38, after marrying and having three children. She fell into the public health specialty she pioneered, the epidemiology of injury. “It felt like an accident looking for a place to happen,” jokes this soft-spoken, now renowned professor of Health Policy and Management and former advisor to the World Health Organization.

After her husband suggested she look at the relationship between accidents and chronic disease, Baker began a 20-year study of the relationship between alcohol and automobile crashes. “Although 50,000 people died every year, no one at Hopkins was doing any kind of injury prevention.” 

Later, her groundbreaking research in occupational, aeronautical and motor vehicle safety prompted not only the requirement for car safety seats for children and helmets for motorcyclists but also the Center for Disease Control in 1987 to fund three centers for injury prevention and control.  Baker was the founder and first director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy. There are now a dozen such centers in the U.S.

Last year she became the only injury control researcher ever to receive the prestigious Frank A. Calderone Prize from Columbia University. What she considers her greatest achievements, however, are scores of students she’s taught, “four academic generations who look at ways we can change things.”

A book she recently finished editing, on injury research methods with 35 experts from all over the world, will soon be published.  For her next project she will examine “something that’s falling through the cracks. That’s been the hallmark of my research.”

Key to Longevity of Engagement:  “A job that’s fun, interesting and exciting. Ditto: a husband who is the same…. I’ve had a lot of opportunities and encouragement, first from my husband.… As a colleague once said, ‘I’m on a very small raft. There’s no one on it. Welcome aboard.’”

Current Challenge: “Always the challenge is people who have a vested interest and who are not interested in changing but in keeping things the same.  I am an advocate of putting good data to good use.”

Next up on Thursday, 11/10: Clinton Bamberger and Beatty Levi.