Baltimoreans know their city holds plenty of romantic appeal to balance out its grit, but now we have relative proof, thanks to a new list from dining reservation service OpenTable.
Alan Furst presents his latest tour de force of historical espionage.
Friday, June 13, 2014– 7:00 pm
Alan Furst describes the premise of Midnight in Europe as: “Paris. 1938. Gangsters versus fascists.”
As the shadow of war darkens Europe, democratic forces on the continent struggle against fascism and communism, while in Spain the war has already begun. Cristian Ferrar, a brilliant and handsome Spanish emigre, is a lawyer in the Paris office of a prestigious international law firm. Ferrar is approached by the embassy of the Spanish Republic to help a clandestine agency trying desperately to supply weapons to the Republic’s beleaguered army – putting his life at risk in the battle against fascism. From shady Paris nightclubs to white-shoe New York law firms, from brothels in Istanbul to the dockyards of Poland, Ferrar and his allies battle the secret agents of Hitler and Franco.
Alan Furst is widely recognized as the master of the historical spy novel. He is the author of a dozen works of espionage fiction, most recently Mission to Paris, which have been translated into 18 languages. Born in New York, he lived for many years in Paris and now lives on Long Island.
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Writer/television producer Jeff Dugan’s been on some great dates, but he learned more from the bad ones.
Everyone has few good horror stories of dates that went awry. As I look back on mine, I have to admit the problems seemed to stem from some oafish action or oversight on my part. Here are my top 10 worst dates, in chronological order. Please, learn from them.
University of Baltimore MFA student Lisa M. Van Wormer recounts poetically the contents of her rucksack when she served one long year in the Gulf region–the list of items will surprise you.
One knotted ball of light brown hair ties
One of the many challenges of being a woman in the Army was that your hair always had to be regulation: either cut into a bob that did not touch your collar or pulled back into a tight bun. Even in a sandstorm, even under a Velcro-strapped Kevlar helmet, perfection was required. Many of my fellow female soldiers had tools to make this magic occur: hair-colored bobby pins, hair bands with no metal on them that would blend in with a natural hair color (as stated in Army Regulation 670-1), gel and smoothers, even a sock cuff to pull off the “perfect bun” look. I knotted my thick, wavy red hair tightly each morning and always had my cargo pockets full of hair ties as close to my color as I could find, but inevitably by midday wisps would become unruly and slip out of ranks.
Just one more day to submit your love story for the chance to win dinner for two at Pazo and a bottle of Roederer Estate “Special Cuvée” Brut NV from Bin 604 in our “How I Met My Honey” contest! Read the moving story, below, about a courageous cancer survivor finding true love when she least expected it.
Love at the Cat’s Eye Pub
I had a better chance of being struck by lightning or being attacked by terrorists than I did of meeting a guy in 2010. I was a divorced, middle-aged woman who was bald and missing a body part that made my sweaters look decidedly uneven. Thank you, mastectomy and chemo.
I was also puffy. My oncologist even admonished me about the weight gain. But it was a side effect of my job, not the drugs. I have to eat a lot as the food editor for Baltimore magazine.
But, amazingly, I did connect with someone that year in a most unlikely place—a Fells Point dive bar. My friends convinced me that listening to the afternoon blues bands on Saturdays at the Cat’s Eye Pub would lift my spirits. It was worth a try.
It did help distract me until that summer when I went through another surgery for reconstruction. Trust me. We’re not talking body beautiful. We’re talking just feeling whole again.
Soon, I was back at the Cat’s Eye. This time, looking like a deranged poodle as my hair grew out in a weird corkscrew style. People were polite about it. I tried to ignore my new look.
That was when I met the bass player for the band Nothin’ But Trouble. He was from Delaware. I used to live in Delaware.
We soon became Greg from Magnolia and Suzanne, formerly from Old New Castle. It was a greeting we shared with a smile during the band’s once-a-month gigs. But we were ships passing in the night. He had someone in his life. I was still trying to recover.
One evening, much later, fate intervened. We ended up sitting next to each other at the bar before the band played. The reporter in me kicked in: “So what’s your story?” I asked.
And he told me. He wasn’t just a musician. He was a special-ed teacher, a dad, a son, a brother, and a really fascinating guy. And he was unattached.
Got questions about life? Love? Parenting? Work? Write to Whit’s End, a new advice column by local husband, father, teacher, coach, former executive and former Marine Corps officer Al Whitaker. Each week Al will address readers’ questions about anything ranging from school issues, coaching problems, relationship quandaries and more! His experience is vast, and he holds a degree in psychology, too. To submit a question, email [email protected].
As a 27 year-old female with a successful, professional career, I generally feel confident in both social and business environments. However, as I now finding myself somewhere between the two, and I’m not sure how to handle the situation.
Recently, I detected a more-than-just-work interest from one of my male colleagues. He is my age and has been at the firm for less than a year versus my three, so I guess he is still relatively new. The reason I mention his time on the job is that so few of my peers, who could give me their read, know much about him outside of work. Whenever we collaborate on a project, he smiles and just sends out positive vibes, all of which gives me that feel-good, tingling sensation. (Maybe I’m blushing, but I’m not sure.)
Since I have no way of knowing what his feelings are toward me, my dilemma is asking him to get together and risking poisoning the well at work or doing nothing and wondering what might have been, perhaps to the point of damaging my focus at work.
Sometimes (but not regularly), a group of younger employees (around our age) will go out after work to happy hour, which could present an opportunity to get to know him better. On one hand, I think that if he were interested, he would have already have gone, but on the other hand, maybe he doesn’t want to seem pushy. So, I guess what I’m wondering is whether I should just let it happen, or as a confident, successful person, take control of my destiny.
First, before we go any further, let me address the issue of controlling one’s destiny. Sportscasters use the phrase ad nauseam without really understanding what it means. For the record, one’s destiny is what will happen no matter what; so, by definition, you cannot control it. We know from Greek mythology, especially, that individuals who try (think of Odysseus, of The Odyssey fame and Oedipus, of Oedipal complex fame) just make the gods mad and make the situation worse.
However, because you are a confident, successful professional, you want to take control and make the situation better. Realize that you can’t take control when other people are involved, but you can improve your odds.
When I say your odds, what I mean is the chance that you will get to know someone whose company you enjoy—wherever that takes you. “Only connect!” as E.M. Forster’s character Margaret Schlegel passionately exclaims in Howards End, an exhortation by the author to make personal relationships paramount. So, try to genuinely get to know him as a friend, first, by asking him to join the group after work; second, by not agonizing over all the pros and cons of a romantic involvement with him; and, finally, by leaving that destiny business to the professionals who can actually do something about it.
Feeling sorry for yourself now that summer’s almost over? University of Baltimore Professor Marion Winik’s retelling of her less-than-perfect break will have you feeling like maybe your holiday wasn’t so bad after all.
Often the best thing I can say about my attempts to live a decent, productive and meaningful life is thank God no one is watching. But then I think about how, insofar as I have any mission here on earth, it is to lift the spirits of others. And unless you are Bradley Manning or living in Syria, it might give you a little boost to hear how lame my summer was and be glad that whatever other burdens you are laboring under at least you are not Marion Winik.
1. The Breakup(s)
Despite my published proclamations of happy singlehood, the tree of life, via its avatar Facebook, shook me down a boyfriend back in the spring. From a small town in Pennsylvania, with thick-lashed brown eyes and arm muscles of granite, he was a 27-year veteran of unloading rail cars at a paper mill. He painted pictures and wrote song lyrics on the side.
He told me he was bipolar the first day of nonstop texting, so it wasn’t a total shock when he also told me that he was in love with me a couple days later. In fact, I went right along. I like intense. Before long, he was wearing my leather ID bracelet and I his varsity jacket from high school. I became quite attached to his favorite breakfast spot, his giant motorcycle, and his affectionate parrot, to whom he now probably regrets teaching my name.