Tag Archives: Chop Rants!

The Showiness of The Long Distance Runner

Okay, so we’re going to rant a little today. Just at tiny bit. We have to, because the topic we wish to address is such that the only way you can approach it is to rant anonymously on the internet. There’s no laws on the books about it- no signs posted, no accepted protocol. So we’re just going to come out with it here.

Yesterday was National Runnning Day and with the weather turning warm people all over are starting to think semi-seriously about getting in shape for the first time since their New Year’s resolutions. The sunshine is drawing people out to pool parties, the beaches, and to all sorts of Summertime activities where a decent tan and a trim waistline are de rigueur. It’s for this reason that the number of joggers out on the streets multiplies exponentially this time of year.

As Tom Cortenay will tell you, running is best done alone- not in the middle of a crowded city.

We’re not here to rant about running. Running is great. We endorse it. More people should do it. Hell, we should probably give it a shot one of these days. We’re not getting any younger, after all. Ninety nine per cent of all joggers are perfectly wonderful people enjoying a wholesome and healthy hobby. The other one percent are assholes.

There are tons of great places to go jogging in Baltimore City. Whether it’s up the Jones Falls Trail, at one of our lakes, on a track at a high school or college, around one of the several large city parks, or just along a pleasant avenue like Keswick or Guilford or just about any street in Bolton Hill. Wherever you live, you can find a great spot in your neighborhood, or jog a different spot in the city every day of the week. Yet somehow, this still needs to be said:

Stop jogging on crowded commercial sidewalks.

This is a city of neighborhoods; of little main streets and town squares. It’s in these places where shops and restaurants open their doors, where people are coming in and out, strolling up and down, walking their dogs, stopping to chat, enjoying outdoor cafes, people watching, soaking up the atmosphere and all of the other things that make city life city life. These blocks are crowded. The last thing anyone needs is some sweaty jogger, oblivious in ipod headphones, weaving through the sidewalk, bumping into people and causing chaos. It’s annoying, and it ought to stop.

Honestly, it’s baffling to us. Why would anyone make a habit of running through crowded commercial strips where the sidewalk density can reach 50-100 people per block, when just one block over there’s a broad residential street with few if any people, less vehicular traffic, and fewer urban obstacles like newspaper boxes and bicycle racks? Why would you jog along Cross Street when you could run Riverside Avenue? Why do you need to run past the commercial blocks in Charles Village when you could just circle the JHU campus?

There’s only one explanation that occurs to us; that the few people who do make a habit of jogging in commercial districts aren’t really very serious runners anyway. They’re showoffs. ***OOOoohh. Look at me jogging! Do you see my natural tan? Do you see the carefully selected vintage tee shirt that I cut the sleeves off of? Did you notice that my ipod’s special running mix has Bon Iver AND Lil Wayne??? I”m sooo gonna post my time and mileage on Facebook as soon as I get home!*** Again and again, these are they type of people we notice running through commercial districts- not the kind who care about running, but the kind who care about advertising the fact that they run. Fuck them.


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The East Coast, Simplified

People from Boston are great…

    …until you get them talking.

People from New York are interesting…

    …until you get them talking about food.

People from New Jersey aren’t as bad as all that…

    …until they start talking about New Jersey.

Those corn-crackers in Delaware are nothing but a bunch of trifling toll collectors.

People from Philly are really awesome…

    …as long as no one mentions pro sports.

People from Baltimore are the best people on the face of the earth…

    …until you mention you’re from DC.

People from DC are delightful…

    …until you get them talking about their careers.

And people from Virginia are wonderful…

    …until it’s time to talk about the South.

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I Know It’s Wrong, But I’m Doing It Anyway.

Remember the first time you read The Catcher in the Rye, Baltimore? Remember when you put the book down and said to yourself “Holy shit! He’s right. They are all a bunch of goddamn phonies? Remember how you were about 14, and you finally learned to begin to spot the differences between what people say and what they do? Remember how you swore you were going to stay true-to-self and ride a merry-go-round with your kid sister and rub out some of the ‘fuck yous’ written on school walls?

Well, it hasn’t quite worked out that way, has it? Adulthood is a bitch, isn’t it? It really sucks to realize that you’re not alone in the world. And more than that, it sucks to realize that it’s not just you against the world. It sucks to finally understand that preventing little kids from falling off some mythical cliff doesn’t pay money.

"If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she's late? Nobody."

The Chop has, on occasion, been accused of know-it-all-ism. (We know, shocking! right? We couldn’t believe it either.) This is a criticism we’ve never taken to heart though, because we know it’s not quite accurate. We’ll freely admit that there’s plenty we don’t know. There’s stuff we don’t even pretend to know. If we don’t know, we’ll admit it outright, and if we’re wrong on something, we’ll admit that too. It feels good to do, believe it or not.

But one thing of which we’ve never been accused is being phony. And it’s because we know and often use one handy little phrase:

    “I know it’s wrong, but I’m doing it anyway.”

Stop for a second. Think about that one. Let it sink in for a while. Consider, when’s the last time you said that? When’s the last time you heard anyone say that? Ever? Be honest, if you have heard someone say “I know it’s wrong, but I’m doing it anyway.” didn’t you feel a little bit of admiration? Isn’t there something slightly subversive in that? Something individualistic and true-to-self? We think there is.

We all do wrong, all the time. None of us are saints. Even the most generous among us is going to be a little selfish. Even the kindest is going to be a little cruel. Even the softest of us will be a bit callous from time to time. Whether you’re cheating on your diet or your husband, you know you’re doing wrong, and all the excuses, justifications, and self-bargaining we do only makes the thing worse.

We might even argue that lies, justifications, promises to make it up later and excuses are even worse than the thing itself. This is where guilt comes from. This is where hurting other people starts. If you’re sorry later, say so. If not, don’t. Either way, if called to answer for something the admission of wrongdoing will cut the conversation short, and will save a lot of rhetorical gymnastics on both sides. Does your boss want to hear all about why you were late, how you’ve always been early in the past, how there were factors beyond your control, and how it will never happen again? No. She just wants to hear that you know it’s wrong to be late. Say that, and that’s the end of it. More than that… it’s actually quite liberating to say. It gets easier every time.

This is just one example of the way-too-many we’ve been encountering in our own life lately. In this holiday season of guilt, indulgence, greed, envy, and all those other sins, we encourage you all to go out and do wrong openly- because heaven knows you’re going to do it anyway.


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Event Promoters Litter Baltimore Streets… Literally

Oh Monday. It’s been a long and busy weekend in Baltimore. Everyone’s tired. Most people are sunburned. Some of us are still hungover. With everything that’s gone on over the last 60 hours or so since everyone quit the workweek, it makes sense that no one feels like doing anything and there’s fuck all going on. We don’t feel like doing anything either, so we’re giving today’s post over to a public service announcement.

This is a very poor promotional strategy.

We’ve been noticing a trend of late that promoters for various parties/events or establishments have been leaving postcards scattered along the sidewalks in certain areas with high pedestrian traffic. These brightly colored and gaudy pieces of litter are like a trail of paper breadcrumbs, illustrating exactly the path on which some lazy flier-man walked. ‘Here’s where he crossed Calvert. Here’s Where he went down Baltimore Street. Here’s where he ran out of fliers and called it a day.’ To the area promoters who are guilty of this we say:


It’s bad enough that we have to deal with an endless barrage of sub shop menus, fliers under windshield wipers and a new copy of that Sun Plus piece of crap every other day. Sidewalks strewn with several hundred promo cards for some strip club or the latest ‘grown and sexy’ party are absolutely the last thing this city needs.

If the city council is still looking for new ways to gin up revenue through taxes, fees and fines, we’d like to make a humble suggestion…



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The Chop Sorts Out Your Love Life.

Here we are again on a Sunday, Baltimore. Nowhere to go (unless you want to go to this), fuck-all to do, and a hangover to cure. We figure Sunday is a good time to wax philosohphical, at least until there’s Sunday O’s games or softball to play.

What we’re on about today is something that has unfortunately been pertinent lately, to wit: There’s only one right way to cancel a date.

On second thought, be an adult and pick up the phone.

Let’s get this on the record, Baltimore. It’s a question of basic etiquette, and applies across the board to men and women, boys and girls. Things happen, plans change, stuff comes up and we all need to take a rain check once in a while, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Do it right, and it speaks well of you. Do it wrong, and you can expect the phone not to ring again. Here’s the right way to cancel a date…

This is how the Chop does it:

>>> 24 hours notice is required. Anything less than 24 hours could even be considered a stand-up. If someone’s agreed to go out with you, its safe to assume that they’re looking forward to it. Dropping plans on such short notice is not only disappointing, but adds the sudden problem of having little to do that night. Even if alternate plans are easy to come by, it really sucks to have to call up your friends and say “count me in, I just got stood up.” It’s also entirely possible that you are not the only person he/she could have asked out that night. Think about that.

>>> A phone call is the preferred communication method. There’s no getting around this one. Its just good manners. On the one hand, its still the only way to be sure that your date actually knows you’re canceling. An email, text, etc may not be read immediately, and even if a date was arranged by email, a phone call is still the only good form to cancel. On the other hand, it’s true that sometimes text/email is a lot easier and less awkward, but you know what? some things in life are hard and uncomfortable. Dating is often one of them. Grown-ups pick up the phone.

>>> You actually need to have a reason. It’s perfectly understandable that some things will rate higher on a priority list than dinner and a movie. Your dad having a heart attack or your boss making you work a Saturday night or the basement of your house suddenly flooding are all perfectly legitimate reasons to cancel a date; however, “I’m real tired from work” or “My sinuses kinda hurt” aren’t. If your excuse is lame, its a pretty good indication that you don’t actually want to go out in the first place.

>>> It’s down to you to suggest alternate plans. If you can’t get to the movies on Friday, suggest the same movie Sunday instead. Can’t do happy hour Thursday? Lunch on Saturday is appropriate. If you’re punching a hole in someone else’s calendar, it’s only right that you should then work around their calendar to re-schedule, not the other way around.

>>> Bonus points: Offer to pay. Without re-opening the age-old argument about who should pay for a date in the 21st century, it is a nice gesture to offer to get the tab next time out. It shows that you’re serious about wanting to go out again, and actually regret missing a date.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Following those simple steps will keep your dance card full and your phone ringing. Neglecting any of them is tantamount to saying “I’m a big flake who can’t be counted on for anything, and probably isn’t worth your time and trouble.” Which are you, Baltimore?


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