Tag Archives: Baltimore

Secondary Character Saturday: Russell “Stringer” Bell

The Wire was just named  the #1 greatest TV series of all time by Entertainment Weekly Magazine. I thought long and hard about which secondary character from The Wire  to feature today. It came down to diligent, honest cop Kima Greggs or complex, cool blooded Stringer Bell.

What the Baltimore-based series does is portray the uglier realities of urban America with a precision and honesty that has never been attempted before. The result is a phenomenal cast of characters that gives individual voices and humanity to people many of us might otherwise ignore or, worse, write off as being all the same. And of all the characters giving the lie to that assumption, Stringer Bell took that lie and tied it up in knots. [The Lessons of Stringer Bell, by Keith A. Owens]

 Idris Elba as Stringer Bell [Image Courtesy: verysmartbrothas.com]

The amazing Idris Elba as Stringer Bell [Image Courtesy: verysmartbrothas.com]

WHO: Stringer Bell

FROM: The Wire

CREATED BY: David Simon

PUBLISHED: The series premiered on HBO in 2002 and ran until 2008.

PROS: Stringer is a genius. he’s business oriented, thoughtful (but not in a caring, friendly way), charming, handsome.

Bell was hardly your average drug-dealing thug. [Spoiler alert] It’s symptomatic of The Wire’s dismal prognostications for African-American men from Baltimore’s mean streets that Bell had the most considered exit strategy of any of them, and died within a whisker of making his escape. [The Guardian.com]

CONS: Well …he was a drug king pin and a sociopath. But if you put the killing, pimping, drug dealing and other crimes aside… he was a fascinating character. Just stay out of his way, because String could be stone cold and heartless.

MOST SHINING MOMENT: Stringer was at his best when he used his superior intelligence to try and improve his organization. Like when he tried to run the drug meetings with his crew under Robert’s Rules.


You see these east-side [expletive deleted] over here? I want’chu to extend to these [expletive deleted]’s all the hospitality west Baltimore is famous for.

That’s good. That’s like a 40-degree day. Ain’t nobody got nothing to say about a 40-degree day. Fifty. Bring a smile to your face. Sixty, shit, [derogatory racial slur] is damn near barbecuing on that [expletive deleted]. Go down to 20, [derogatory racial slur] get their [expletive deleted] on. Get their blood complaining. But forty? Nobody give a [expletive deleted] about 40. Nobody remember 40, and y’all [derogatory racial slur] is giving me way too many 40-degree days! What the [expletive deleted]?

WHY I CHOSE STRINGER: I don’t love that Stringer is a killer is a criminal, but I’ve got to say the guy had style.

The role only had a few lines in the first season, but his character became infinitely more interesting than Barksdale. Bell had aspirations to leave the dealing behind and become a legitimate property developer. “He had the intelligence to take classes in economics, I’ll give him that,” Elba says of Stringer. [The Guardian.com ]

String, as he was known on the streets, was a drug kingpin. He was also a drug kingpin who took business courses at night school in order to run a more efficient empire. He was a drug dealer who read great literature and philosophy, who translated his earnings into massive real estate holdings and other ventures. Stringer Bell was a genius who should have run a Fortune 500 company, but instead was trapped inside the twisted mind of a cold-hearted killer (who himself was killed at the conclusion of Season 3) and a drug dealer who would have made Machiavelli proud. [The Lessons of Stringer Bell, by Keith A. Owens]

Stringer Bell


Mary Katherine Goddard 6.16.13 Thought of the Day

“He carries every point, who blends the useful with the agreeable, amusing the reader while he instructs him.”
the English translation of the Goddard family motto.

[Image courtesy: The Baltimore Sun]

[Image courtesy: The Baltimore Sun]

Mary Katherine Goddard was born on this day n Groton, Connecticut, USA, in 1738. Today is the 275th anniversary of her birth.

She was elder of two children born to Sarah Updike Goddard and Dr. Giles Goddard. Mary Katherine and her brother William learned to read and write at their New London, Connecticut home. Their mother also taught them “Latin, French, and the literary classics.” [WHMN.org] Shakespeare, Pope and Swift  were favorite reading assignments.

When Mary Katherine was 19 her father passed away. The family stayed in Connecticut for a few years while William was apprenticed to a local printer, but in 1762 they moved to Providence, Rhode Island, and  Sarah Goddard lent William the money to start his own printing business. All three members of the family pitched in to help establish the business.

William was ostensibly in charge, (but) he traveled a great deal, and it was Sarah Updike Goddard who was the true publisher of the Providence Gazette and Country Journal.  Mary Katherine took a great interest in the business and forewent many of the usual activities for young ladies to work as a typesetter, printer, and journalist.  The mother/daughter team made their print shop a hub of activity at a time when newspapers exerted great political influence.  They added a bookbindery, and in addition to the Gazette, printed almanacs, pamphlets, and occasionally books.[WHMN.org]

In 1765 William left Rhode Island for the more metropolitan Philadelphia.  Mary Katherine took over the printing operation in Providence.

…Left with a burden upon her shoulders, Mary Katherine acquired the skills she needed to print a successful publication. “It was probably during the years of [William’s] absence… that his sister… learned the practical side of typography and journalism… ” Lawrence C. Wroth wrote.[University of Rhode Island web site URI.edu]

Three years later William asked the two women to sell the Providence business (They sold the Gazette,  press and building for $550) and move to Pennsylvania to help him with the Philadelphia Chronicle.

Upon their arrival they ran the newspaper and press and William headed to Baltimore, Maryland  on a new venture.  Mary Katherine followed him again in 1774 when she took over her brother’s weekly publications the Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser as he continued to travel.

With her mother dead and her brother prioritizing his political inclinations, Mary Katherine Goddard finally assumed the title of publisher of the Maryland Journal and the Baltimore Advertiser.  She put “Published by M.K. Goddard” on the masthead on May 10, 1775 — and it remained there even when William returned from his New Hampshire-to-Georgia travels in 1776.  [WHMN.org]

She also became a postmaster in 1775 — the first woman in the colonies to do so. As postmaster she was at the  “center of the information exchange.”  [Ibid] and was privy to the news before her competitors. The Journal broke important news stories  (like the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord).

[Image courtesy the Library of Congress]

[Image courtesy the Library of Congress]

Mary Katherine kept the tone of the Journal professional. Other newspapers — and William — editorialized and included op eds that advanced political agendas. “Mary Katherine Goddard used a more objective, impersonal, and professional tone.” [Ibid]

She was a shrewd business woman who accepted alternate forms of payment when the taxes or the War made cash subscription payments difficult.

These included beef, pork, animal food, butter, hog’s lard, tallow, beeswax, flour, wheat, rye, Indian corn, beans and other goods she could sell in her shop. [University of Rhode Island web site URI.edu]

She ran a stationary and printing press where fine printing was produced. She also had a local paper mill.

Mary Katherine biggest scoop as a newspaper woman came in January of 1777 when her press printed the first official copy of the Declaration of  Independence to include the names of the signers.

Goddard's published copy of the Declaration of Independence with all the signers identified. [Image courtesy McHenry Country Turning Point.org]

Goddard’s published copy of the Declaration of Independence with all the signers identified. [Image courtesy McHenry Country Turning Point.org]

She successfully ran both the publication and the related printing and paper companies AND served as postmaster through out the long Revolutionary War. But things changed in 1784. She had a falling out with William and he forced her off the paper’s staff. Then in 1789 Mary Katherine was forced to give up her postmaster position. As a woman — it was as argued — she could not handle the traveling the job would demand. Her appeals — backed by a petition of endorsement signed by over 200 Baltimore businessmen — went to President Washington and Congress but got nowhere. She resigned her self to running her bookstore.

Mary Katherine Goddard died att he age of 78 on April 12, 1816. “A copy of the Declaration of Independence printed by her is at the Maryland Hall of Records.”[WHMN.org]

Summer fun with Baltimore Shakespeare Factory

The BSF's Summer with Shakespeare: Performance Workshops take place  July 29 - Aug 16.

The BSF’s Summer with Shakespeare: Performance Workshops take place July 29 – Aug 16.

If you:

  • live near Baltimore, Maryland,
  • are kid about to start 3rd to 12th grade,
  • and you like Shakespeare

… boy do I have a deal for you!

The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory is offering three, one week long workshops that will allow kids to experience what it might be like to travel back in time to the 1600s and be a part of the fun and excitement of Shakespeare’s acting company–The King’s Men. The BSF’s  “Summer with Shakespeare:Performance Workshops” will help students develop acting skills, make friends, build confidence, and develop an appreciation and understanding of Shakespeare’s work.

The campers will:

  • Work one-on-one with professional actors and educators
  • Learn and practice the same acting techniques Baltimore Shakespeare Factory uses in its productions
  • Study Shakespeare’s poetic language in ways that make it easy to understand, and learn how to use to enrich performance
  • Bring some of Shakespeare’s most famous characters to life!

“Shakespeare is a wonderful platform to get the kids active and engaged in group activity that stretches their imaginations as well as their ability to interpret complex language.  And it is a ton of fun!” says Wendy Meetze, Director of Education for the BSF.

This is the second year for the camp in Baltimore City (the camp is held in the Meadow at Evergreen House on Charles). The group, which began in Carroll County, hosted a similar camp starting in 2006 and have taught over 500 students. That Carroll County camp is still going strong on the campus of Century High School.

Students come in all shapes, sizes and from various backgrounds and skill levels. “Kids who are interested in theatre are especially attracted to the workshops” says Meetze, but “we truly believe there is no “typical” Shakespearean student or audience member. Shakespeare wrote for EVERYONE in his time, from peasants to princes.”

The camp will offer a small group setting with lots of one on one coaching. As a non-musical theatre performance camp the focus is squarely on the script, something that sets this camp apart from other performing arts camps in the area. “While the outcome is a production, the curriculum is a healthy mix of various skills needed to make that production a reality,” said Meetze. The campers perform their production prior to the professional company’s Friday performance. “We find the kids learn so much more by comparing and contrasting their version to a full production. There have certainly been occasions where our professional actors have discovered something new during the student’s performance!”

For more information on the camp, including a link to register  CLICK HERE.

Summer clipping

The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory  is dedicated to bringing the works of William Shakespeare to life for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. In Shakespeare’s time (1564-1616), the theater was accessible to everyone, and The Factory prides itself on continuing that tradition by presenting professional quality work at affordable prices.

This year, the group, which is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, will present Hamlet and Mid Summer Night’s Dream this summer in the Meadow at Evergreen House on Charles Street and at other locals around town.  Click HERE for Hamlet’s schedule. Click HERE for Mid Summer’s Schedule.

Factory productions bring Shakespeare’s works to life in a way that is accessible to modern audiences without compromising the cornerstone of their artistic and literary merit—Shakespeare’s original language. The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory is built on a love of language, and productions are designed to not only help audiences understand Shakespeare’s words, but to love them, too.

This year the BSF launched it’s “4 free, 4 ever!” campaign which hopes to raise $750,000 by April , 2016–the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death> This will allow the group to present its shows at no cost to the public the following season.

Play on 4 free

Frederick Douglas 2.14.13 Thought of the Day

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

A sketch of Douglass, from the 1845 edition of...

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born on this day in Talbot County, Maryland, USA in 1818. Today is the 195th anniversary of his birth.

The exact day and year of his birth is unknown, but he decided on February 14th, 1818.  He never met his father, a white man,  and almost never saw his mother.  He lived with his grandparents in their cabin west of the Tuckahoe Creek. In his first autobiography he wrote:

“I do not recollect ever seeing my mother by the light of day. … She would lie down with me, and get me to sleep, but long before I waked she was gone.” [Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave. Written by himself. (1851)

At seven he was sent to Wye House plantation near Easton, in Talbot County, Maryland. Soon he was sent to Hugh Auld a Baltimore carpenter. Auld’s wife, Sophia,  taught him to read until the master (her husband)  stopped her. Hugh Auld thought teaching slaves lead to rebellious slaves. Frederick practiced reading and writing in secret. When he was in Baltimore he heard about Abolition for the first time, and in 1831 he  read an article “on John Quincy Adams’s antislavery petitions in Congress” [Frederick Douglass Timeline]

At 13 he was sent to the shipping town of St. Michael’s, Maryland to work for Thomas Auld. When Auld discovered that Frederick was teaching other slaves to read he rented him out to a brutal slavebreaker, Edward Covey.”The treatment he received was indeed brutal. Whipped daily and barely fed, Douglass was “broken in body, soul, and spirit.” “ [PBS.org]

In 1838 he was back in Baltimore hired out to work as a caulker in a shipyard. He made his escape to freedom by…

Travelling by train, then steamboat, then train, he arrived in New York City the following day. Several weeks later he had settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts, living with his newlywed bride (whom he met in Baltimore and married in New York) under his new name, Frederick Douglass. [Ibid]

Douglass became active in the Abolitionist movement. He became a “licensed preacher for the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.” [Frederick Douglass Timeline] In 1841 he spoke at an antislavery meeting in New Bedford about his life in Maryland. The Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society hired him as a speaker.

English: Portrait of Frederick Douglass as a y...

English: Portrait of Frederick Douglass as a younger man (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some people didn’t believe that a former slave could speak so eloquently and assumed Douglass was a fraud. In response to that criticism he wrote Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In 1845 he toured England and Ireland to raise money to buy his freedom. (Auld  manumitted him for $711.66.) Douglass used the remaining money from the Great Britain tour to buy a printing press and began to publish the North Star, a weekly Abolitionist paper. The paper later became the Frederick Douglass’ Paper and is joined in 1859 by the Douglass’ Monthy.

In 1855 he published his second autobiography, My Bondage and My Freedom. During the American Civil War Douglass was a recruiter for the all African-American 54th Massachusetts Infantry.

After the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution (which outlaws slavery) Douglass continued to fight for civil rights and woman’s rights. A fringe political party, The Equal Rights Party nominated Douglass as its vice-presidential Nominee in 1872.

The title page of the 1845 edition of Narrativ...

The title page of the 1845 edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1881 he published his final autobiography, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.

He was appointed to the post of US Marshal of the District of Columbia and the Recorder of Deed of the District of Columbia before becoming Minister Resident and Consul General to the Republic of Haiti in 1889.

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frederick Douglass died on February 20th, 1895 of heart failure.

The gravestone of Frederick Douglass located a...

RIP Earl Weaver

RIP Earl Weaver. The Earl of Baltimore passed away yesterday while on an Oriole themed cruise.

“On my tombstone just write, ‘The sorest loser that ever lived,’ ” he once said. [The Baltimore Sun]

Here’s the ritaLOVEStoWRITE bioBLOG that I posted on his 82nd Birthday on Aug 14, 2012.


“I became an optimist when I discovered that I wasn’t going to win any more games by being anything else.”

Earl Weaver

Earl Sidney Weaver was born on this day in St. Louis, Missouri in 1930. He is 82 years old.

Weaver managed the Baltimore Orioles from 1968-1982 and again from 1985-1986.  He became a Hall of Famer a decade later.

He played second base for 13 years in the minor leagues, then he managed for another dozen years in the minors before making it to the Show as a first-base coach for the Orioles in 1968. He took over as Manager in July of that season.

He wore #4 on his Oriole’s jersey and had a .583 winning record while managing the club. The team won 6 American League East titles, had 5 100+ win seasons, won 4 A.L. pennants, and won the 1970 World Series under his leadership.

Weaver didn’t want to bunt or sacrifice to advance a runner, according Hall of Fame player Frank Robinson, “He didn’t even have a hit and run sign…” Earl was all about the three run home run.

He pioneered the use of radar guns to track fast balls in 1975’s Spring Training season (according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.)

He was famous for his heated arguments with umpires that often ended with the manager kicking Memorial Stadium’s infield dirt at the official. Weaver was tossed from 91 regular season games.

Locals also remember the “Tomato Wars” he had with groundskeeper Pat Santarone. Santarone had a patch of plants in the left field foul area, Weaver grew his maters at home. The two argued (good naturedly) for 17 years over who had the best tomatoes in Baltimore.

After he left the O’s he worked as broadcaster for ABC television providing color commentary during the 1983-84 baseball seasons. He also did Manager’s Corner with Tom Marr while he was with the O’s (some times to very colorful effect.)

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.  A bronze statue of the manager was erected at Camden Yards (the “new” home of the Orioles) in June of this year.  At seven feet the statue towers over the real life Weaver, who is only 5’7″.  Weaver quipped “I guess there will be a lot of kids looking up at me…saying, ‘who is this?'”

Martha Carey Thomas 1.2.13 Thought of the Day

John Singer Sargent's Miss Carey Thomas [Image courtesy Jssgallery.org]

John Singer Sargent’s Miss Carey Thomas [Image courtesy Jssgallery.org]

“One thing I am determined on is that by the time I die my brain shall weigh as much as a man’s if study and learning can make it so.”
Martha Carey Thomas

Martha Carey Thomas was born on this day in Baltimore, Maryland, USA  in 1857. Today is the 155th anniversary of her birth.

M. Carey Thomas as a child [Image courtesy National Portrait Gallery]

M. Carey Thomas as a child [Image courtesy National Portrait Gallery]

She was the eldest of ten children in a prominent Quaker family. She got her feminist streak from her mother and maternal aunt, Hannah Whitall Smith. She studied at the Society of Friends school in Baltimore, then at Howland Institute, a Quaker boarding school near Ithaca, New York. When her education at this  “dame’s school” ended in the 1860’s she yearned for the chance for further education open to her brothers.

So, in 1872, Thomas persuaded her father to allow her to attend a newly opened school for girls in New York.  While studying there her father asked her to investigate Cornell University for him.  He later decided that it had been a mistake, because as soon as she saw it, she was determined to attend. [Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame]

She received her bachelor’s from Cornell in 1877. She did graduate work at both Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and at the University of Leipzig, but withdrew from both — Hopkins did not permit her to attend classes and Leipzig did not grant degrees to women. In the end she earned her PhD. in linguistics from the University of Zürich. She graduated summa cum laude.  She stayed in Europe for a while, living in Paris, before returning to the US.

M. Carey Thomas. [Image courtesy Explore PA History.com]

M. Carey Thomas. [Image courtesy Explore PA History.com]

While studying in Europe she heard about a “proposed women’s college at Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and applied for presidency. [Ibid] Although she didn’t get the presidency of the college — that went to a man — in 1884 she became the Dean of Bryn Mawr and the chair of the English department.  She was instrumental in forming the college’s curriculum.

She desired to build it into an institution that would encourage women to follow careers without having to face the difficulties with which she had struggled. Convinced that women deserved exactly the same education as men and needed even higher standards than men to succeed, she molded a curriculum that offered more advanced work than that given in many men’s colleges and upheld the highest academic standards. [Bookrags.com]

She also continued to work in Baltimore to  help form a “school where girls could obtain an education which would prepare them to attend a good college.” [Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame] In 1885 that school, The Bryn Mawr School for Girls in Baltimore, opened its doors.

She was also instrumental getting Johns Hopkins Medical School to change their admission policy on Women.

With the help of four of her friends, a total of $500,000 was raised to aid the Medical School in its financial struggle.  The funds raised were used as a leverage to get the University to accept women.  Thus, thanks largely to the efforts of these five women, women were to be admitted on precisely the same basis as men. [Ibid]

She was active in the suffragette movement and in 1908 became the first president of the National College Women’s Equal Suffrage League. She became the first woman trustee at Cornell.  And she helped organized the Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers.


[Image courtesy: Geni.com]

In 1894 Thomas became president of Bryn Mawr College. It was a post she held until she retired at age 65 in 1922.

Carey Thomas died in Philadelphia on Dec 2, 1935.

Thought of the Day 10.24.12 Kweisi Mfume

“And it really gets down to an issue of class. The poor and the poorest of the poor tend to be the ones that are being missed by the census,”
–Kweisi Mfume

Mfume delivering a speech at NOAA during Black...

Mfume delivering a speech at NOAA during Black History Month, 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frizzel Gerald Gray was born on this day in Tuner Station, Dundalk just outside of Baltimore, Maryland in 1948. He is 64 years old.

He is the oldest of four siblings. His father left the family when Gray was a 11 and his mother, Mary Elizabeth Gray, raised the children as best she could as a single mother. She died of cancer when he was 16.

“After she died of cancer, things spun out of control.” Mfume quit high school during his second year and went to work to help support his sisters. At times he worked as many as three different jobs in a single week.” [Kweisi Mfume Biography. Encyclopedia of the World Biography

He began to hang out on the corner drinking with friends to blow off steam. He admits to hanging with the wrong crowd. He could feel his life spiraling out of control as he was arrested on suspicion of theft “Because” he said in a U.S. News and World Report interview ” I happened to be black and happened to be young.” And soon found himself the teenaged parent of five children.

But on a July night in the late 60s all that changed. He felt something come over him and he stepped away from the corner and toward the future. He spent “the rest of the night in prayer, then proceeded to earn his high-school diploma and pursue a college degree.” [IBID] He changed his name to Kweisi Mfume, a phrase that means “conquering son of kings” in Ghana.

He began to work in radio, first as a volunteer than as an announcer. When his college, Morgan State University  opened its own radio station Mfume became the program director.
Flag of Baltimore, Maryland. Image created by ...

Flag of Baltimore, Maryland. Image created by uploader based on images found at crwflags.com and nava.org, as well as other images found on the web. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He parlayed his popularity on the Radio and in Baltimore’s African-American community into politics in 1978 when he ran for Baltimore City Council. There he became a vocal critic of Mayor William Donald Schaefer whom he accused  of ignoring poor neighborhoods. Eventually Mfume learned the three-pronged art of negotiation, compromise and coalition building.

DSC_0120 (Photo credit: owillis)

In 1986 he ran for U.S. House of Representatives and won a seat in Congress. He worked on the House Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs and later on farming and zoning issues. He maintained a strong tie to Baltimore City and the residents that lived in the inner city.
By his fourth term, Mfume had enough influence to become chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, a group in Congress that supports the interests of African-Americans. Soon after his election as chairman, Mfume and the Caucus presented a list of demands to President Bill Clinton (1946–), most of them having to do with federal aid to cities and the poor. [IBID]
In 1996 Mfume left Congress and became the president of the NAACP (the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He successfully managed the organization’s financial issues and illuminated the NAACP’s $4.5 million debt. He worked to address “affordable health care, conservation, voting reform, and hate crimes.” [IBID.] He helped raise over $90 million and created the NAACP’s National Corporate Diversity Project during his tenure at the organization. His term at the NAACP ended on January 1, 2005.
Kwesi Mfume, Fmr Prez of NAACP

Kwesi Mfume, Fmr Prez of NAACP (Photo credit: Youth Radio)

Mfume made an unsuccessful bid for a U.S. Senate seat. Although he remains active as a political supporter and organizer he has not run for public office since. Currently he serves on a number of boards of public and private institutions such as the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the Platform Committee of the Democratic National Convention and the National Advisory Council of Boy Scouts of America. He actively lectures at…
Colleges, Universities, Corporations, and Bar Associations across the country on corporate diversity, compliance, inclusion, disparities in health care, tolerance and the new challenges of gender and race. [kweisimfume.com]

Delovely x 1500

I’m feeling the LOVE.

Not quite sure how to say this with out sounding like I’m tooting my own horn, but I sincerely want to THANK every one who has been stopping by ritaLOVEStoWRITE this past month and a half, all 1,500 of you! I hit that benchmark today, and I’m pretty much in shock. I wasn’t really sure if any one would be reading.

I especially wish to thank those of you who FOLLOW the blog to catch my Thought of the Day and other posts, and those of you who have left comments.

A special nod goes to Lynn Reynolds who got me started. Lynn gave me all kinds of advice, ideas and encouragement.

Writing every day has been a great creative outlet and mental exercise. I’ve learned a lot about the people I’ve featured on Thought of the Day …and I’ve learned a lot about myself along the way.

So thanks everybody. Keep reading. Keep “Liking.”  And please consider “Following” along.




PS Please note that I’m pretty vicious when it comes to SPAM. If I it looks remotely like SPAM I’ll delete it. So If you want to write a comment — and I LOVE  getting comments — please mention something specific about the post you are commenting on. (If  I’ve deleted a valid comment accidentally because I thought it was SPAM, I apologize… SPAM happens. Try again, wont you?)

Sailabration Celebration

The Battle of Baltimore and the Bombardment of Fort McHenry was a turning point in the War of 1812. As the country celebrates the bicentennial of the war Baltimore threw a Sailabration with tall ships, naval vessels, an air show by the Blue Angels, and festivities galore.

The ships began to arrive on Wednesday June 13th. Past met present as 1812 living history reenactors gave tours of important sites in the Battle of Baltimore (like the battles of North Point and Hampstead Hill)  while the 2012 Navy parachutist team, the “Leap Frogs,” put on shows at Clifton Park and Patterson Park.

Thursday was Flag Day, and as any good Baltimorean knows, the US Flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the bombardment was not made by Betsy Ross,  but was sewn by local widow Mary Pickersgill. When Francis Scott Key penned the Star Spangled Banner it was Pickersgill’s flag he saw waving at dawn’s early light.  During a special Flag Day ceremony at the Flag House three strands from the original Star-Spangled Banner were sewn into the National 9/11 flag.  Later that day the 33rd Annual Pause for the Pledge took place at Fort McHenry.

Looking at some of the smaller ships at the the marina near Rash Field. The Baltimore Aquarium is the background.

Free tours began on the ships at the Inner Harbor, Fells Point and Locust Point. And there was a concert and the Sailabration Festival Villages at Rash Field and Broadway Pier opened their stalls.

Friday boasted another beautiful day for touring the ships and enjoying the festivities.

Martin State Airport allowed visitors to get up close and personal with their military aircraft on Saturday and Sunday. Adventurous souls could even take a ride in the Navy Flight Simulator!

Four of the Blue Angels perform one of many jaw dropping maneuvers.

In the waters in front of Fort McHenry the Navy demonstrated its latest Special Warfare Combat Craft on Saturday & Sunday, while overhead the Blue Angels performed superhuman aviation tricks.  The Saturday night capped off with a concert and Fireworks at Fort McHenry.

Rigging of the B.E. Cuauhtemoc, a Mexican tall ship.

Today, Sunday, will bring much of the same beautiful weather, ship tours, (crowds) and Blue Angels. Tonight you can catch  a Star-Spangled Symphony  at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The musical event includes the premiere of Philip Glass’ “Overture for 2012”.

Brazil’s NVe Cisne Branco was docked at the Inner Harbor

On Monday representatives from the US, Great Britain and Canada will commemorate the anniversary of the Declaration of War on Great Britain with “From Enemies to Allies” at Fort McHenry at 10:30. Ship tours continue.

The USS Constellation, a Sloop-of-War ship launched in 1854.

The Sailabration ends on Tuesday as the ships leave the Baltimore area.

Warships, like the Canadian Iroquois docked at Fells Point, debark from 7:00 to 11:00 am on June 19th.

The tall ships debark from 11:00 to 1:00 on Tuesday. (photo courtesy of notesoftheladyupstairs)

Although The Battle of Baltimore and the Bombardment of Fort McHenry didn’t take place until September of 1814, Baltimore has gotten a wonderful start to celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1912 with this Sailabration.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?


All content is original. Photos by ritaLOVEStoWRITE and her daughter notesoftheladyupstairs.

All rights reserved.

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