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Jun 20, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

So glad you're discovering enjoyments in your new home —

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Yea, I love moving to a new city and exploring, and Baltimore looked more interesting than most when I spent a week there. If you are unfamiliar with Atlas Obscura you should look up their recommendations for weird things to do in Baltimore, or whatever city you visit. That’s how I found the abandoned shopping mall/open air drug market there and the doll head trail in Atlanta, among many others. And You’ve probably heard this suggestion so much that you’ve hardened your heart against it, but you’ve really, truly, absolutely got to see The Wire.

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Frankly I'm afraid to watch The Wire. We live a short walk from the McCulloh Homes.

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As long as you are not a drug dealer, there’s not much to be afraid of as far as personal safety. There is a general ethic regarding not harming the customers or even random white people who the cops are more likely to care about. The Wire is not just about drug dealing, it examines the education system, journalism and politics as well.

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Jun 20, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Yesterday we had a fine day out with old friends. Stories were told. One of my favorites was from the former manager of marine sanctuaries who one day was contacted by somebody who said they'd caught a shark with a tag on it, and was calling to claim the $5 'reward'. Our friend described going to a sketchy part of town (born in Queens in the 30's and having lived all over the world, he knows sketchy and is not intimidated). He knocked on the door of the apartment and there was general non-decipherable noise within. Eventually a woman opened the door a crack (but just wide enough that there were several other people visible inside) and started yelling at him coarsely. He explained why he was there and some guy further inside started screaming out of the gloom. The woman and the man had a yelling contest for awhile before they settled down, and the tag and the fiver changed hands simultaneously.

Our friend then backed out of the building into a general pandemonium on the street as a carfull of cops squealed to a stop right in front of him and 3 cops hustled out. Our friend said he felt in that moment regret that he'd inadvertently started a drug raid and feared for the apartment's inhabitants, but what happened next was he was lifted straight off the ground and slammed against the car. The cops were yelling at him. They told him to empty his pockets while he tried to explain what he was doing, and finally they settled down when he showed them the tag.

Just one data point, but interesting counter-narrative to the "living while black" norm (our friend being the only white guy in that black neighborhood at that moment).

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Right, neglecting to mention that about the cops being dangerous. Yes, they certainly can be.

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They don't need you

And man they expect the same.

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Jun 20, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Isn't it also about not taking notes on a criminal f*cking conspiracy. I'm guessing Trump and his people never watched The Wire

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Jun 20, 2023·edited Jun 20, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Must watch! The Wire is one of the best ever anythings. Can't believe you haven't, Roy. As a proud New Yorker I was ashamed that I had to turn on the English subtitles to understand much of the dialogue in the first season (the one most concentrated on the drug world). Much later, I saw a panel discussion where a member of the cast who played a young gangster (I think it was Jamie Hector) in a later season said that when he was hired for the gig he watched the previous shows and had to turn on the subtitles! Not because the dialogue was "black", but because they were all speaking in "Bawlmer"!

Not to mention the writing and the cast is magnificent, and it would be a chance to see the late Lance Reddick and Michael Kenneth Williams just kill it, along with everyone else.

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Jun 20, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Not to mention that the writing and the cast is magnificent, and you'd get to see the late Lance Reddick and Michael Kenneth Williams just kill it (as does everyone else). I can't imagine you and the missus not appreciating the experience.

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Substack completely erased the whole comment when I edited. Hence the dull repetition. Apologies.

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Jun 20, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I watched it back when you had to go to the video store and rent it disk-by-disk. Damn show cost me a fortune.

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"There are long stretches of Baltimore where that cavalry is nowhere in sight, and left to utter ruin..."

This is a complicated metaphor, fraught even — and dripping from many other pens, I'd be moved to a hearty "fuck off, colonizer." But given your experiences living in NYC & DC, I feel you have full grasp of the painful ironies of the phrase. With the infusions of white capital, the gentrification starts & the Black residents & other POC move away — and before long no one except the richest can afford to in that neighborhood or city.

So "stretches of sketch" (in your nimble phrase that made my morning) seem to me the signs of a healthy city, perhaps counter-intuitively.

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In my experience, stretches of sketch are the opposite of a healthy city. Of course I don’t think this applies to you, and I know it’s not what Roy means but for a lot of people referring to city neighborhoods as “sketchy” is a synonym for black, which often is a sign of a healthy city. But a real sketchy area is not that. It is boarded up row houses, vacant lots and vacant people.

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Which is why I said "counter-intuitvely." I agree that "sketchy" is code for "Black" and why I make the claim that a healthy city is one that accommodate many kinds & allow for other ways to organize life & community. Sometimes living is untidy.

I see those gentrified, clean & pressed, tidy neighborhoods where no one is out after 10pm & rich, white residents live in isolated, inwardly-directly apartment units as the very essence of unhealthy. "Whitened sepulchres" as some guy once said. Can't spell that without "white."

I live near Camden, NJ and see many of its boarded-up row houses & empty lots. But I also see community & spirit & vitality in its residents, the students I teach at Rutgers. The waterfront area is completely colonized by big money now — empty, hollow. But very clean, very orderly, if that's your thing. [by "your" I don't mean you personally, MHW -- but just using the phrase.]

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Jun 20, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

In Atlanta the "Beltway"--marketed as a connecting pedestrian/biking trail for formerly isolated areas like the West End--became in reality a method of displacing its Black residents. Instead "five-over-one" condos are being built that no one currently in those neighborhoods can afford.

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Jun 20, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

*sigh* I cringe inside whenever Dad praises my new neighborhood, because I know it's not so much that it's a comfortable apartment in a quiet tree-lined side street but that it's away from Those People. I'm sure if he ever had to drive through Baltimore he'd do it with his doors locked and windows tightly rolled up the entire time. As I said before, it's amusing to hear him tell me I need to get out of my liberal bubble when he's been stewing in conservative propaganda for decades and gladly assumes downtown is a hellscape of crime merely because Those People are there.

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In this case I would hope for the cavalry to rescue the Indians, as it were -- that is, for the authorities to fulfill their obligation to the longtime residents. Little sign of that, though this is encouraging: https://www.avenuenews.com/news/local/gov-moore-announces-red-line-relaunch/article_4b63ed63-9b81-5580-bb59-a76112c0a3c5.html

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It's end of season madness here at the world's largest online Nursery. We always have a significant amount of unsold merchandise that we either have to throw away or , ideally, donate to a worthy cause. Every year we send five or six semi truck loads

out to various organizations.

Community Gardens are amazing places and it is privilege to be able to help.

The best programs are the

ones that augment the gardening process with the food prep and storage classes. The people that run those programs are so upbeat and you know that they are really making a difference in people's lives.

I love to see rando buckets full of flowers in interesting places.

Reach out when you're ready to start landscaping- One of my degrees is in landscape design and I hardly get to use it.

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I will mention to the missus who is forever threatening to garden

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A small fine herbes garden outside the kitchen door takes your cooking to the next level.

We had fine herbes omelets with goat cheese for breakfast Sunday. Amazing.

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Jun 20, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Is an herbes garden code for marijuana growing?

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Is it a coincidence Roy moves to Maryland scant weeks before recreational Marijuana use becomes legal?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_in_Maryland#:~:text=A%20majority%20of%20voters%20approved,effect%20on%20July%201%2C%202023.

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Jun 21, 2023·edited Jun 21, 2023Author

Is that so? I'll be durned.

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Fine herbes is chervil, tarragon, chives, and parsley. Great in an omelette, though you probably have to grow your own chervil, or all of it if you don’t want to get reamed at the market

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Jun 20, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Marijuana is coarse herbes.

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Jun 20, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

The missus and I and few other miscreants have been flowering the dirt strip in the sidewalk in front of DC's "best example of art deco architecture" for a couple years now. With a hose bib key we steal a little water from the building and redirect to the strip via a 5-gal can on wheels. We've also taken to watering the city's baby trees in the strip since the city is happy to plant but not happy to maintain. Anyway, we get lots of plants from gardeners volunteering at the Cathedral and other community gardens (we also volunteer at two of the Post estates that are within a mile of here), plus a few of the landed gentry who live in the building also have estates elsewhere that overflow with plants, and who invite us out to the country to purge on occasion.

Our biggest nemeses are dogs and the people who defer to them, and the folks parking on the street who unload cars on their way to the zoo. We have no defense for the former but we've designed in walkable strips thru the garden for the latter, and that seems to be working.

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Nice!

My boss and I have been working with the local Historical Society. They have a hundred acres with a two story brick house and outbuildings from the 1800s.

We've been going big with half miles swaths of tulips and daffodils for the spring, seemingly endless perennial borders, a huge assortment of peonies. Last year we gave them 50 Hibiscus syriacus(Rose of Sharon/ Althea) that were 4 years old on a 5 ft standard. The variety is exclusive to us. These things are flower machines- can't wait to see them in bloom!

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Glad you are settling in and having the enriching experience of new horizons, vibes and culture :)

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Well, I better -- that's what there is! Why, this place doesn't even have citibikes.

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Horrors!

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I have lived in nearby Columbia for 35 years and I do love Baltimore. I have spent a of of time there for work and pleasure. It has changed in those years, and mostly not for the better, but the people there do not give up. I recommend Dan Rodricks in The Sun. I enjoy showing visitors things that are unique to Baltimore (Babe Ruth house, B&O museum, Shot tower, Visionary Are Museum, painted screens).

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Jun 20, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

The spousette and I were there for a conference—hers—at the tail end of the Before Time: we arrived on the same day that the first case of covid19 was reported in the city. We stayed at the conference venue, a hotel overlooking Camden Yards, and since my own days were free, I spent it ambling around town, my first time there in thirty-five years. On one afternoon I went looking for Poe’s grave in a nearby churchyard and absent-mindedly overshot it by a few blocks. I finally reversed my course at a vast derelict building adorned with a four year-old sign announcing its availability for sale by the General Services Administration: it was the former “Metro West” offices of Social Security, constructed, occupied and abandoned all in the course of forty years.

My former employer maintains offices in Baltimore, but the brutes at the front desk refused to let me into one of the buildings (the near-twin of our century-old San Francisco digs), and the sister facility across the street has been turned into condominiums.

Find time to visit the National Aquarium, and also look into the “American Visionary Art Museum,” among the damnedest collections of outsider art I’ve ever seen.

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Jun 20, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Glad you're exploring Baltimore. Your charming teenager in black and white and a fez put me in mind of Marcel Marceau and a U. Utah Phillips drollery, "Don't remember the face, but the fez is familiar."

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hA!

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This just in: "...just some cool spots between long stretches of sketch." That's in, it's it, it's happening, now, wow! Life could be described like that, if you were a jazz musician getting by, or Jack on the road again.

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