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Neil R via Flickr (Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0)

All around the sports landscape, signs of a return are sprouting up like spring greenery.

The NHL and NBA have announced their plans to resume their interrupted schedules next month, though there is talk of unrest among some basketball players about playing during times of social unrest.

Meanwhile, the NFL and college football are resolute in their determination to start their seasons on time this fall. And NASCAR and professional golf have made their returns with limited numbers of spectators watching racing.

NPR/Associated Press

In his documentary titled The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, filmmaker Ken Burns described why parks and wildlife preservers – lands owned by the public – are really an American invention.

“They are more than a collection of rocks and trees and inspirational scenes from nature,” narrator Peter Coyote says in the film.

“They embody something less tangible, yet equally enduring.  An idea, born in the United States, nearly a century after its creation, as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence, and just as radical. What could be more democratic than owning together the most magnificent places on your continent? Think about Europe. In Europe, the most magnificent places, the palaces, the parks, are owned by aristocrats, by the monarchs, by the wealthy.”

Not so in the U.S., where parks have always embodied American ideals, such as freedom of assembly by the rich as well as the poor, the powerful as well as the homeless.

This is especially true for the national park immediately north of the White House: Lafayette Square Park.  These seven acres, shaded by trees surrounding a statue of President Andrew Jackson, for decades have served as an open space for the First Amendment for anyone who wants to raise a voice in protest.

Civic Center

Jun 11, 2020

Gil remembers the conflicts that laid the foundation for the Civic Center.

Gil remembers the end of the line at Mt. Royal Station.  

Morning Economic Report Week of May 18th 2020

Morning Economic Report Week of June 1st 2020

CalStar owner/winemaker Rick Davis keeps sending us superb wines sourced from great Central Coast vineyards.

Root Vegetables Of Spring

Jun 10, 2020
Open Grid Scheduler via Flickr (Public Domain)

When you talk about root vegetables, you might be thinking about autumn and early winter. But springtime has its own crop of veggies that come to us from under the soil, and no kitchen should be without them. Chef Jerry Pellegrino has  a lot of ideas on what to do with these familiar treats.


Foremost in his mind are carrots, turnips and radishes.  As the salad season starts up in earnest, Jerry points out that all three of these can be used creatively in salads... raw! What you want to do is either use a very sharp knife to cut them super thin, or get out your trusty mandolin, which will give you a uniform thinness.


Farrar Strauss Giroux (l); Nan A. Talese (r)

On this edition of The Weekly Reader, we review two new memoirs from authors whose lives read like adventure novels: Miss Aluminum by Susanna Moore and All the Way to the Tigers by Mary Morris.

BrechtBug via Flickr (Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Smilin’ Roger Goodell had the chance to do the right thing, to say what everyone already knew, to finally come clean after four years of obfuscation.

And the NFL commissioner almost pulled it off Friday, with a seemingly eloquent, presumably earnest 90 second address, delivered from his basement and in a blue sweater to boot. 

Staring at the prospect of open revolt from a large bloc of his personnel, as the nation came to grips with its unsavory racial history, Goodell had to cop to what must have been a lot of uncomfortable truths.


Italian whites are emerging as high quality, affordable choices for easy-going springtime drinking.


Autism Is No Match For Jake

Jun 3, 2020
Zach Chilsolm via Flicker (CC BY 2.0)

Kelly Anastaci, a special educator at Kennedy Krieger’s Montgomery County School, tells Dr. Jacqueline Stone about a student who refuses to be limited by his diagnosis with autism spectrum disorder and how he is helping others understand those with autism better. 

Annie Mole via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

One thing about the quarantine. I've heard that a lot of us are indulging our sweet tooth more than usual. Personally, I can tell you I do get a bit peckish around about 4 in the afternoon, which happens to be is what the English call tea time.


Here in the States we certainly can brew up a pot of coffee and grab a cookie or brownie and "do tea", sorta-kinda. But doing something that resembles a real English Afternoon Tea thing isn't hard at all, if you can master two or three simple recipes. And by the way, you'll probably want the kids to help.


On this edition of The Weekly Reader, our book critic Marion Winik reviews three books, a novel and two poetry collections, that explore the complexity of black identity in America: Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half, Morgan Parker's Magical Negro, and Jericho Brown's The Tradition.  

The recent legal actions by the attorneys general of Maryland and Virginia against the Trump Administration’s EPA over the Chesapeake Bay cleanup are evidence that the landmark 2010 Bay restoration agreement has failed.

Under President Obama, the Bay cleanup effort was actually making progress. The overall health of the Chesapeake improved from a rating of 47 out of 100 in 2010 to a 54 out of 100 in 2016, according to annual report cards issued by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

But under President Trump, the Bay’s health rapidly deteriorated, falling from a 54 in 2017 to a 44 last year. Now, some of that decline was because of increased rainfall, driven in part by climate change. More rain flushes more farm fertilizer and other pollutants into the Bay.

However, another cause was ideological: the Trump Administration is purposely weak on environmental enforcement – especially with regard to the Bay’s biggest polluter, Pennsylvania. And Trump’s EPA has been energetically working – even during the coronavirus shutdown – to eliminate pollution control regulations.  

Moffitt: For Black Mothers

Jun 2, 2020
Photo provided by Moffitt

This 90 seconds is dedicated to the Black mothers who heard George Floyd call out, in agony, for his “mama” and knew there was nothing she (nor we) could do for him.


Mama. Mommy. Mom. That moniker we grow fatigued hearing called out incessantly, but that we long to receive when our children are in despair. Whether it be a skinned knee, a failed venture, or even police brutality, that name represents comfort, guidance, and a place of refuge for many.


So this is for those Black mothers who only receive media attention when publicly mourning the loss of their child, yet are never seen for their undying commitment, love, and care for them.

This is the call of a meadowlark. (Sound of meadowlark plays). This is an upland sandpiper. And this excitable fellow is a burrowing owl. (Hooting sound of owl)

What they have in common is that they are among more than 5,000 species of birds whose survival is threatened because of the expansion of industrial-style, modern agriculture around the world. Populations of meadowlarks, for example, have fallen by 71 percent since 1966.  And it’s not just birds.  Farming and development have reduced the population of all wild animals – mammals, birds, fish, and amphibians -- by more than half since 1970.

This is according to a new book, titled “In Search of Meadowlarks: Birds, Farms, and Food in Harmony with the Land," written by John Marzluff, a professor of environmental science at the University of Washington.

Marzluff explains how stripping away forests and meadows to replace them with monoculture fields of crops like corn and soybeans unintentionally brings an end to meadowlarks and other wildlife.  

Brook Ward via Flickr (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

In the wake of the horrifying death of George Floyd, social media timelines have been flooded this past week with amazing words and images.

Some of the pictures and videos of unleashed anger and protests in the streets of the nation’s cities have been heartbreaking while the words have been, in many cases, eye-opening , especially from sports figures. 


Morning Economic Report Week of May 18th 2020

WKC Signoff 2020-05-29

May 28, 2020

The story of the very first radio station to broadcast in Baltimore is lost in the dustbin of Baltimore history - never to realize the full recognition it deserved.  That's because the father of the young builder of the station threw the station out - his son's most promising and historic creation!  

Knopf (l); Ballantine (r)

On this edition of The Weekly Reader, two new novels about the perils of trying to fit in: Marion Winik reviews Rufi Thorpe's The Knockout Queen, and Frances Cha's If I had Your Face.

Mike McCune via Flickr (used under CC BY 2.0 license)

I think a lot of us are not dealing with food supply and menu planning quite the same way we did a few short months ago. We're making fewer trips to the grocery store and spending lots of time surfing the web for new recipe ideas. We're also casting a speculative eye at pots and bowls and containers of leftovers. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you, when it comes to re-purposing food our refrigerators are actually little gold mines.

Bargain French Whites For The Spring

May 27, 2020

  Some of the best white wines in the world come from France, and some of them are even quite reasonably priced.  

Chilli Head via Flickr (Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

In most respects, our attitudes about women’s athletics have evolved with the times. As more and more girls and women run, jump and throw with the boys and men, we’ve come to better respect their contributions and accomplishments.

There are, to be sure, occasional missteps. Recently, ESPN reporter Adam Schefter tweeted out his joy at the upcoming NFL draft, lauding it as the first sporting event since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schefter, whose young daughter is a budding reporter, conveniently forgot that the WNBA had held its draft a week before. 


Count Fleet crossing finishing line to win Preakness Cup, May 1943. Baltimore, Maryland.Credit Arthur S. Siegel / Flickr/Creative CommonsEdit | Remove

In the late 19th century, horse racing enthusiasts worked to bring world class horses and high stakes races to Baltimore.

Simon and Schuster (l); Doubleday (r)

On this edition of The Weekly Reader, we review two new books about two very different wars. Marion Winik on Paul Yoon's Run Me to Earth and Ariel Lawhon's Code Name Helene.


May 22, 2020

Once rare and unknown, the French variety Viognier has become a world wide favorite. Some Viogniers can be quite costly, but Hugh has found some bargains.

The Pulled Pork Variations

May 20, 2020
jeffreyw via Flickr (Creative Commons BY 2.0 creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

While we've been in hunker down mode, I've been spending a lot of time with our slow cooker. There is something very appropriate about sitting around the house while the kitchen throws off mouth-watering aromas hour after hour. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you, one of the most tempting things you can prepare is good old pulled pork. But of course you don't have to use a slow-cooker.

Morning Economic Report Week of May 18th 2020