Tag Archives: baltimore city

Bi-Weekly Political Roundup: Weiner’s COCK Edition

Today is the second Wednesday of the month, and as usual Progressives of all stripes will be gathering on the patio of Joe Squared to swap stories, talk politics, and drink beers at the regular meeting of the Baltimore Chapter of Drinking Liberally.

Meetings start at 7 pm and are open to anyone who wishes to attend. Just look for the table with the red, white, and blue bottle and introduce yourself.

Baltimore's Drinking Liberally meets at Joe Squared tonight. 7 pm.

Of course, the topic of Weiner’s wiener is bound to come up, but we’ve been tired of that pun for at least two weeks. We’re going to insist on calling it Weiner’s COCK if we have to talk about it at all. Come on… that’s how people talk anyway. When’s the last time anybody sent a wiener pic? No one ever has. People send cock pics. Weiner sent a picture of his cock.

As far as where that leaves us now… well, we still think Andrew Breitbart is a sleazy, sensationalist, predatory asshole. He just happened to be right, the same way a broken clock will be twice a day. It’s safe to say that we won’t be seeing much more of Weiner on programs like Maddow and sites like Twitter. He’ll be going about his job much more quietly from now on. As to whether or not he gets to keep his seat, that’s up to the voters to decide, but we’re thinking he does. As we pointed out two weeks ago, sex scandals happen all the time now, and you’ve got to be pretty sleazy these days to seriously raise eyebrows. We don’t think that being a horny 16 year old who just got his first Myspace page will ultimately prove that destructive to the distinguished gentleman from New York.

In non-Weiner’s cock related news, this is also a good day to talk about who will be the next mayor of Baltimore. SRB, Otis Rolley, Jody Landers, and Catherine Pugh are all officially in, and with 98 days left until the election, it’s not out of the question that Kweisi Mfume, Carl Stokes, Andre Bundley or some other dark horse candidate could throw his or her hat in the ring. Like 99% of the city, we haven’t even pretended to pay much attention at this point, but any one of those names is a huge step up from one of the most hated people in Baltimore, Sheila Dixon.

Being mayor of Baltimore is a really hard fucking job and honestly, we’re surprised that even that many people would want to do it. With more than one candidate that we’d actually consider voting for already in the race, we feel like we’ve already won.

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If The City Shuts Down Food Trucks, What’s The Next Big Trend in Lunch?

If traffic has seemed to move faster and parking spaces have become more available in the last 24 hours, it might be because Baltimore City sent some obscure bureaucrat out onto the streets at lunchtime yesterday, a day after this article was published, to shut down the ever-growing fleet of food trucks that has been dieseling all over downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods the last couple of years.

We were able to watch the whole thing unfold on Twitter, as well as following the live updates on the Dining at Large Blog on the Sun’s website. It almost seems as if social media, the food trucks’ greatest advertising asset, could also be their downfall, since the Mayor is on Twitter too, and can see exactly where to levy fines. Of course, twitter is a good way to yell at city officials as well, and there was no shortage of that until the operators of food trucks, the upscale ones anyway, were granted an indefinite reprieve later in the afternoon.

One of Charm City's many mobile nosheries.

The Chop is a bystander in all of this. We typically aren’t around downtown during the lunch hour, and even if we were, we’d favor an actual restaurant like Werner’s or Burke’s. (Oops. Guess we’re SOL, huh?) We see food trucks mostly as a trend and a fad, and we don’t think Baltimore could support many more than it has now anyway. In the meantime we’re kind of dubious about the whole notion of ordering and eating as quickly as possible. If you’re not getting a full hour for lunch, you’re getting screwed. We’d rather stick with table service.

It got us wondering though… if the streets were emptied of food trucks, what will be the next great trend for lunch in Baltimore?

Tugboats and gentrification have historically not mixed in Baltimore. Maybe food is the missing link.

Tugboats. Part of the appeal in the food truck movement has always been the same appeal offered by the likes of Bourdain and his ilk, namely co-opting the culture of the working class and repackaging it for the leisure class. Take for example the lowly hot dog. Traditionally, a hot dog truck would be limited to places like construction sites, quarries and Bethlehem Steel, and workers would settle for hot dogs because their jobsite site was inaccessible, and they were likely too dirty to sit down in a real restaurant even if they could get to one. The hot dog was ground up pig guts, two for a buck, not something that was “finished with onion and tomato jam” or listed at “market price.”

Tugboats have long been renowned for their excellent food, and they’ve all got galleys already built right in. This was the next logical step in foodie fads anyway, wasn’t it? We can see it now, some enterprising chef steaming back and forth between the Inner Harbor, Fell’s Point, and the new Under Armour compound at Locust Point, with customers sitting out on the stern eating $12 bowls of pea soup and posting pictures to Facebook.

A bunch of trendy New Yorkers line up to buy junkfood from a wall.

Return of the Automat. Most people in today’s workforce are far too young to remember the automat, But it ticks all the boxes on the potential food trend checklist: Arcane and obsolete? check. Made for the Poor, re-sold to the Rich? check. Plain food with the potential for dressing up needlessly? check. A novelty which is more about the experience than the menu? check. Nostalgia for something you never lived through? check. Potential to overcharge? That’s a check, my friend.

There’s even a template to follow. It seems New York City has a shiny new upscale automat on the formerly gritty Saint Mark’s Place, complete with ‘opulent brownies’ and ‘Tijuana Taco Krokets.’ Their over-designed website even features a full page of schmoopy media gushing. Since Baltimore pretty much stole the whole foodie-food truck idea from NYC anyway, we might as well pony up $200k and jump on the automat franchising opportunity before the trend peaks.

Lexington Market is "ripe" for gentrification.

Lexington Market. Lexington Market has long been ripe for gentrification by the downtown lunch crowd, yet in 220 years of operation, it’s managed to retain its character. ‘Authenticity’ is at a premium these days though, and it could be the only thing that’s saving Lexington Market from an influx of suburban office workers is the fact that Polock Johnny’s isn’t nearly as adept at rebranding, merchandising and franchising as say, Ben’s Chili Bowl has been.

Of course, it’s kind of tough to repackage the working class experience with all those pesky working class folks hanging around and ruining it for the rest of us. If Lexington Market is ever going to become Baltimore’s hot new food destination, we’re going to have to cut off bus and subway access, and add some valets to the garages. After all, that’s not the safest neighborhood for parking your Prius. Why do you think you don’t see more food trucks there?

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Bi-Weekly Political Roundup: SRB Edition

Well, Baltimore, it’s been a long two weeks in America. A lot has happened since the last meeting of Drinking Liberally’s Baltimore Chapter, and heaven knows it’s made us thirsty, so we’ll be taking ourselves down to Midtown Yacht Club for pints and politics tonight.

Drinking Liberally Baltimore meets tonight at Miidtown Yacht Club. 7 pm.

Heavy Seas on draft is just about the best thing there is for washing that “shellac” taste out of your mouth, but in our estimation, these elections really weren’t all that bad. We’re not at all pleased with the prospect of a Speaker Boehner and so many ineffectual GOP chairmen mucking things up in committees, but all this talk of “tidal waves” and the president “not getting it” are a lot of nonsense if you ask us. Half of those house seats the Democrats lost were in GOP districts that were kind of a coup to hold in the first place. The other half will be back in blue soon enough.

But that’s neither here nor there. We had a great time on election night drinking free beer and hobnobbing with elected officials. And we’re counting on a good time tonight as well, since one of those officials, Mayor Rawlings-Blake, is going to be hanging out and drinking beer at DL.

Yes. You read that right. Tonight’s special guest is the Mayor. She’s going to stop by for an informal visit to gladhand and talk politics. If you want to meet her, or catch her ear about the Vacants to Values Program, Wal-Mart, bulk trash pickup or anything else, this is your chance. Drinking Liberally meetings are, as always, free and open to the public.

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If drinking with the mayor isn’t worth a Mobbies vote, then we just don’t know what is. There are only a couple of days left in the contest, so click over there right now, and vote for the Chop in the Music/Nightlife, Misfits, and Personal categories.

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Free Stuff! Available on a Streetcorner Near You in Baltimore

A friend once told us of a conversation he was having with an acquaintance of his who was from Glasgow. The two of them were walking down the street chit-chatting when they passed a set of fireplace tools; a poker, tongs, etc.

“What in the fuck is that?” asked the Scot.

“It’s a fireplace set.” said our friend.

“Well, I can see that, but what the fuck is it doing in the street?!”
Sensing a disconnect, our friend explained “Whoever owned it is done with it, but it’s still perfectly good, so they put it out here for someone to take.”

“That’s fucking amazing!” said the Scotchman. “In Glasgow you’d never see that in a million years. People keep their things forever, and if you put something like that out on the street the hooligans would snatch it up and beat someone to death with it.”

Failing a visit from the rag and bone man, putting your junk in the street is the next best thing.

This story has always stuck with us, and it reminds us of one of the things we like best about living in Baltimore: people put free stuff on the corner all the time. You never know when you may turn a corner on any given street and find an old video game console, a floor lamp, a small appliance or anything else that may prove useful.

Of course, there’s been something of an increase in this sort of thing since the indefinite hiatus of bulk trash collections. In certain Baltimore neighborhoods the night before bulk trash collection was a veritable community swap meet. As a downtown renter, the Chop was never too proud to walk around the neighborhood seeking treasure among the trash, and we even came up with a few quality items that served us well. We really, really wish that city hall could find the funds to reinstate bulk trash night. not just for this reason, but because it was a valuable service for city residents.

Then there’s the seedy underbelly of Baltimore thrift: the eviction pile. It is a degrading and humiliating experience to have a landlord turn you out of your own home, but what’s worse is having to solve the logistical problems of moving everything you own at a moment’s notice (and being flat broke at that moment). Most people evicted in Baltimore city are savvy enough to have someone standing by at all times in front of their house to watch over their possessions. But in any case, after a truck is secured and packed, most people will leave behind a pile of goods of at least some size. you’ve got to travel light, and anything you leave behind is the landlord’s problem, and fuck him.

The Chop has been on both sides of this phenomenon. We’ve never suffered eviction, but when we moved from the city back to the far suburbs, we knew we were going to have to travel light. With the TV packed and moved, the only entertainment on that last day in our apartment was to watch people root through and carry off our stuff. (Yes, there was a tranny hooker. And yes, we watched out the window as she rooted through the nightstand and put the leftover condoms in her purse. That happened. Stay classy, Baltimore.)

But we say all this now because we’ve finally acquired enough junk that our basement needs a thorough cleaning. Some of it may go to Goodwill. If we’re feeling industrious, some of it may find it’s way to the Baltimore Free Store. Some of the furniture may get consigned, and some items might be reserved for the Remington Dump.

Undoubtedly though, a few items are just going to be cast out on the street. Perhaps with a little sign that says ‘Free.’

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House Rules: Baltimore Bar Trivia Nights Part 3

When we decided to write about the Baltimore area’s bar trivia nights in part one and part two of this series, we had no idea just how many trivia nights there were to choose from locally.

The Chop is nothing if not your humble public servant, and in furtherance of that service we are proud to present you with a comprehensive (as far as we know,as of Memorial Day 2010) list of games so that you may choose either by night of the week, or by the bar or restaurant that is closest to your home.

When we said bar trivia was taking over, we meant it. Now you can see why.

Monday

Belisimo’s- 2900 Baltimore Blvd, Finksburg. 8:00 pm.
Catches- 9727 Pulaski Hwy, White Marsh. 7:00 pm.
Charles Village Pub- 19 W. Pennslyvania Ave, Towson. 8:00 pm.
Charred Rib- 12 W. Ridgely Rd, Timonium. 7:00 pm.
Dark Horse Saloon- 117 S. Main St, Bel Air. 8:00 pm.
DJ’s Sports Bar and Grill- 8894 Fort Smallwood Rd, Pasadena. 6:30 pm.
Field House- 2400 Boston St, Canton. 7:00 pm.
Greene Turtle- 718-722 South Broadway, Fell’s Point. 8:00 pm.
Greene Turtle- 19961 Century Blvd, Germantown. 7:00 pm.
Growlers- 227 E Diamond Ave, Gaithersburg. 7:00 pm.
James Joyce- 616 President St, Baltimore. 7:00 pm.
Manhattan Grill- 5009 Honeygo Center Dr, Perry Hall. 7:00 pm.
Padonia Station- 63 E. Padonia Rd, Timonium. 8:00 pm.
Phoenix Emporium- 8049 Main St, Ellicott City. 7:30 pm.
Pub Dog- 8865 Stanford Blvd, #101 Columbia. 7:45 pm.
Side Pockets- 904 Fairlawn Ave, Laurel. 7:00 pm.
Sunset Beach Club- 11445 Pulaski Hwy, White Marsh. 8:00 pm.

Tuesday

Bill Bateman’s- 8100 Waltham Woods Rd, Parkville. 8:30 pm.
Bill Bateman’s- 566 Ritchie Hwy, Severna Park. 8:00 pm.
Della Rose’s- 1501 S Clinton St, Canton. 8:00 pm.
Diamondback Tavern- 3733 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott City. 7:30 pm.
Frank and Nic’s- 511 W. Pratt St, Baltimore. 8:00 pm.
Frazier’s- 919 W. 36th St, Hampden. 8:30 pm.
Glory Days Grill- 7939 Ritchie Hwy, Glen Burnie. 8:30.
Glory Days Grill- 1220 E. Joppa Rd, Towson. 8:00 pm.
Greene Turtle- 1604 Ridgeside Ct, Mt. Airy. 7:30 pm.
Greene Turtle- 408 York Rd, Towson. 7:30 pm.
Hazelwood Inn- 4937 Hazelwood Ave, Overlea. 7:30 pm.
Hellas- 8498 Veterans Hwy, Millersville. 7:00 pm.
Hightopp’s Backstage Grill- 2306 York Road, Timonium. 8:00 pm.
Jilly’s- 1012 Reisterstown Rd, Pikesville. 7:30 pm.
Jimmy’s- 6526 Holabird Ave, Dundalk. 8:00 pm.
Looney’s- 312 S. Main St, Bel Air. 7:00 pm.
Looney’s- 8180 Maple Lawn Blvd, Maple Lawn 7:00 pm.
MaGerk’s- 120 S. Bond Street, Bel Air. 8:00 pm.
Skipjack’s- 7703 Bel Air Rd, Overlea. 8:00 pm.
Wharf Rat- 801 S Ann St, Fell’s Point. 8:30 pm.

Wednesday

Alexander’s Tavern- 710 S. Broadway, Fell’s Point. 8:30 pm.
Austin Grill- 2400 Boston St, Canton. 8:00 pm.
Bare Bones Grill- 9150 Baltimore Natl. Pike, Ellicott City. 8:00 pm.
The Barn- 9527 Harford Rd, Carney. 7:00 pm.
Bill Bateman’s- 805 Aquahart Rd, Glen Burnie. 7:30 pm.
Buffalo Wings and Beer- 1438 Liberty Rd, Sykesville. 7:30 pm.
Camden Pub- 647 West Pratt St, Baltimore. 7:00 pm.
Coconut Charlie’s- 9129 Fort Smallwood Rd, Pasadena. 8:00 pm.
Greene Turtle- 14150 Baltimore Ave, Laurel. 8:00 pm.
Hull Street Blues- 1222 Hull St, Locust Point. 8:00 pm.
Jilly’s- 10030 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City. 7 pm.
Luckie’s Tavern- 10 Market Place, Baltimore. 8:00 pm.
Mad River Bar and Grill- 1110 South Charles St, Federal Hill. 8:00 pm.
No Idea- 1649 S. Hanover St, Federal Hill. 9:00 pm.
The Parkside- 4709 Harford Rd, Lauraville. 9:30 pm.
Piv’s Pub- 9811 York Rd, Cockeysville. 8:30 pm.
Portside Tavern- 2821 O’donnell St, Canton. 8:00 pm.
Sullivan’s- 9624 Fort Meade Rd, Laurel. 7:00 pm.
Taps- 1439 S. Charles St, Federal Hill. 8:00 pm.
Time Out Sports Bar- Cranberry Mall, Westminster. 8:30 pm.
Waterfront Hotel- 1710 Thames St, Fell’s Point. 8:00 pm.
West End Grill- 2049 West St, Annapolis. 8:00 pm.

Thursday

Baltimore Taphouse- 600 S. Potomac St, Canton. 8:00 pm.
Bill Bateman’s- 102 Chartley Dr, Reisterstown. 8:30 pm.
Bill Bateman’s- 7800 York Rd, Towson. 8:30 pm.
DuClaw- 16 Bel Air South Pkwy, Bel Air 8:00 pm.
Ellie’s Place– 8421 Veterans’ Hwy, Millersville. 7:45 pm.
Glory Days Grill- 7939 Ritchie Hwy, Glen Burnie. 8:00 pm.
Griffin’s Grill- 969 Ritchie Hwy, Arnold. 8:00 pm.
Jasper’s- 1651 MD Route 3 North, Crofton. 8:00 pm.
Jilly’s- 10030 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City. 7:00 pm.
Loafer’s Bar and Grill- 6518 Baltimore Nat’l Pike, Catonsville. 7:00 pm.
Manhattan Grill- 5009 Honeygo Center Dr, Perry Hall. 7:00 pm.
Max’s Taphouse- 737 S. Broadway, Fell’s Point. 9:00 pm.
Mother’s- 1113 S. Charles St, Federal Hill. 7:00 pm.
Ropewalk- 1209 S. Charles St, Federal Hill. 8:00 pm.
Tavern 101 (Fairfield Inn)- 101 President St, Baltimore. 8:00 pm.

Friday

Applebee’s- 2450 Broad Ave, Timonium. 9:00 pm.
JJ Muldoon’s- 16143 Shady Grove Rd, Gaithersburg. 7:30 pm.
Old Havela Inn- (???) Main St, Taneytown. 6:30 pm.
Pike’s Diner- 921 Reisterstown Rd, Pikesville. 8:00 pm.

Saturday

Jilly’s- 10030 Baltimore Nat’l Pike, Ellicott City. 8:00 pm.
Jilly’s- 1012 Reisterstown Rd, Pikesville. 9:00 pm.
Three 9’s- 7705 Washington Blvd, Jessup. 8:15 pm.

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Bi-Weekly Political Roundup: Tax Day Edition

If you’ve been watching this space regularly, then you probably know by now that the Chop is a good Democrat, and a frequent participant in the Baltimore Chapter of Drinking Liberally. You should also know that DL is free, fun, friendly and open to anyone who wants to come out. Tonight we’re meeting again at Joe Squared, home of tasty pizza and pitcher beer.

Baltimore Drinking Liberally meets at Joe Squared tonight. 7 pm

If you know all this and are still on the fence about coming out, well, you really should. Frankly the Chop is tired of bumping into women we used to date. Such is the curse of being stunningly handsome with an easy wit in Smalltimore. (Ha!) The more new people around to chat with, the better for everyone involved.

This is also the part where we get to blog about politics, and there’s a lot out there in the political ether right now. The big story is of course the impending retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens. Conventional wisdom says there will be a months-long knock down drag out fight, but we sort of doubt it. At least, we don’t see it coming to a Filibuster or anything like that. We’re not looking to swap out a Scalia for a Ralph Nader here, and Obama is as savvy as anyone who’s ever set foot inside the beltway. He’s not going to get Borked, no matter what. After the Sotomayor pick, the media can finally shut the fuck up about racial makeup, which is nice for a change. Whoever is nominated now might be of any race or gender and it won’t matter much since no one really cares, which is a nice thought. The big idea now is that he might pick someone with an ‘alternative resume’ meaning not a federal judge, but to our mind that’s kind of silly. You hire judges to judge because they’re good at judging. They’re also pre-confirmed by the senate if they’re sitting on the federal bench.

It’s also tax day tomorrow, which means it’s more or less the one year anniversary of the teabaggers. It’s kind of hard to believe that those sharts have only been around for a year, since it feels like about for-fucking-ever. In the past year it seems like they’ve been omnipresent, making headlines almost every day. It seems like they’ve completely overtaken the Republican party and are marching armed in the streets and about to stage a coup.

But that’s just how it seems. In reality these people huff and puff like spoiled children. They’re still not taken seriously by anyone in America, and they’re still the same bunch of unstable, racist, ignorant, uninformed sharts they ever were. We can only hope that they continue to speak for the GOP entirely, since it’s the best thing that ever happened to the Democrats.

The Baltimore City budget just dropped, and it ain’t good news. We’ve got to give a lot of credit to the mayor though. No one can squeeze blood from turnips, and she’s done a pretty good job of trying to spread the pain around. We’re BIG supporters of any plan to tax suburbanites who work in or benefit from the City. We like to pay taxes, because it means there are plenty of cops on Greenmount Ave, so we don’t have to march up and down the street with an open carry permit “taking our country back.” We’ll let the police handle that, thanks.

Last but not least, let’s just say this for the record… slavery caused the civil war. The south lost the civil war. The civil war is over, and in the year 2010 anyone who wants to go around waving confederate flags and promoting ‘southern heritage’ is a fucking racist. No amount of winking and nudging and addenda to proclamations will ever change that.

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Drinking Liberally meets the second and fourth Wednesday of every month at 7 pm. Joe Squared is located at 133 w. North Ave. All the above opinions are that of the Baltimore Chop Blog, and not of Drinking Liberally, it’s Baltimore Chapter, Chapter members or Joe Squared.

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This Post Brought to You by the Letter D.

If you want to find the Chop on the town tonight, then get thee down to Falvey Hall in MICA’s Brown center at 6:30 for the launch party of Lettering and Type, the new book on typographic design by Baltimore’s own Bruce Willen and Nolen Strals. the event kicks off with a reception (Free Booze) at six thirty, which will be followed by a presentation called Fan Letter, in which 26 artists and designers give presentations on their favorite typographic character.

news_lttr_type

Lettering and Type by Bruce Willen and Nolen Strals

Some of you out there in town may already know Bruce and Nolen not as book authors but in their other incarnations both as Post Typography and as two thirds of Baltimore powerhouse Double Dagger, which has received much, and much deserved acclaim in its own right. But whether you’re familiar with these two or not, you may be asking yourself “Why should I make a point of going to the art school for some boring-ass lecture on typewriters? I saw ten minutes of Helvetica once and that shit put me straight to sleep.”

Well, aside from the free booze, here’s why you need to be there: this is a historic event, both for the world of design and for the city of Baltimore. The book making its debut here is absolutely going to become the new standard text in this field. Years from now your kids are going to be made to buy this as a textbook when they get into college. And many, many years hence when Nolen and Bruce are a-moulderin’ in their graves, the New York Times is going to publish their obits, with this as one of their signal accomplishments.

(Incidentally, if you want to know what typeface is carved into headstones, you can probably find it in the book.)

Its long been a dilemma that all this city is known for is Hons and Murder and John Waters. Well, these guys are to their field what John Waters is to film, and something else they have in common with Uncle John is that Nolen and Bruce both realize what a good thing they’ve got going in Baltimore. They deserve the admiration of all of us, because here are two people not chasing some flight of fancy to NYC or LA, but making their dreams a reality right here in Baltimore. This book will help to put Balto on the map, not only as a place where fonts are designed, but as a place where passionate people can follow their ambitions and make their dreams a reality.

See you there.

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