27 June 2009

By A.F. James MacArthur Ph.A.L.

In Baltimore, Walk At Your Own Risk

Some people never blend in. Pictured left, the author doing his best not to stand out.

My love hate relationship with this place is growing deeper. Something as simple as stepping out to get some exercise could end up being a walk on the wild side.

If you live in one of the more exclusive Baltimore enclaves, things may be a bit different. This brings up another one of my big gripes; the tale of two Baltimores. One for the privileged, the monied, the ruling class, the other for the rest of us unfortunate unlucky souls. But that’s another story all to itself, so I’ll spare you for now.

An avid physical fitness buff, I enjoy frequent walking and running. I’ve done this all around the world. Whenever I travel, even in a layover, one of the first things I try to do is explore my surroundings on two feet. Walking if I’m particularly unenergetic, or not wearing the right clothes, and running when I really feel like covering some ground and I’m properly attired.

Leaving my house, if I walk to the right, or I walk to the left, I immediately pass where people have been killed. Not a comfortable feeling, trust me, you can never get it out of your head. Trotting down the busted up sidewalks, dodging piles of litter, keeping an eye out for the teaming population of aggressive rats, I’m careful not to trip or stub my toe. Falling on a pile of broken glass, or worse, a hypodermic needle could leave a mark. Baltimore has some of the highest property taxes in Maryland, looking at our sidewalks and or streets, you wonder; where does all the money go?

Out the neighborhood and on the main road, my encyclopedic memory flashes a mental popup whenever I pass places where others have loss their lives. Like a combat zone, violence is all around. Anyone choosing to ignore this is simply living in denial. From robberies gone bad, to standing around waiting to catch a bus, it’s easy to lose your life in Baltimore. Even just going out for a walk.

Crossing a street in Baltimore requires a special skill set not highly developed in most humans. Despite having a walk signal, you still have to be wary of turning cars or (gasp) red light runners! Drivers here think nothing of clipping a walker. Some cars have gotten so close, it felt as if my legs were getting some new form of hair removal called the auto(mobile) rub off!

Is it any wonder that many pedestrians just dart out in the middle of the streets? It’s probably an act of open rebellion. Forget a cross walk, on coming traffic, let’s play chicken. The adversarial relationship between those on foot and people behind the wheels of automobiles is so bad, the police deployed special patrols just to monitor cross walks downtown. Talk about walking through the valley of the shadow of death, I do it everyday!

25 June 2009

Can Shaq Be Beaten By An Unknown White Boy

A couple days ago I got a tweet from Shaq, that's Shaquille Oneal to those of you who don't know. He said he was looking for this guy and wanted to challenge him to a game of horse. Check out this amazing video of basketball trick shots. When I first saw this, there was only a couple hundred views. Now it's viral and it's still going. Now this guy is actively trying to contact Shaq? Could a new video featuring Shaq be in the near future?

19 June 2009

Bodymore Chronicles, City As Dangerous As Ever

By A.F. James MacArthur Ph.A.L.

@BaltimorePolice DOUBLE SHOOTING: Reported @ Northern Pkwy / York Rd. 2 adults shot during possible carjacking. Police investigating 15 minutes ago from txt

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Seriously Baltimore, are we still buying the notion that crime is down? Hate to beat a dead horse, but really? They must think we are, cuz Sheila D and Freddy B are still out saying it ain’t so bad.

I’m seriously thinking about setting up a squatters camp on the inner harbor. This is my last resort to feel safe in this city. God knows I don’t feel that way now. Considering this morning on my way down Greenmount Ave. the first shooting happened.

Now tonight, moments after I step in the house having just come off York road from a walk, boom, this happens. ANOTHER ONE!

18 June 2009

Those Damn Apes! -- Gorilla Menaces With A Knife

cgy-gorilla-knife A zoo gorilla holds a knife accidentally left behind by a maintenance worker.

At one point the knife wielding gorilla pounded his fists against his chest when another wanted to see the knife.  In the end, thankfully no one was hurt. Read full story