Archive for category: Blog

Commencement Address, Georgetown University

19 May
May 19, 2012

The greatest commencement address ever is now more than three decades old. And it’s safe to say it will never be surpassed or even equaled. It belongs to the ages.

In 1979, its author summed up the condition of modern man by noting that, quote, more than at any other time in history, humanity is at the crossroads: one path leads to despair and utter hopelessness; the other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly. Unquote.

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Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite

10 May
May 10, 2012

My alma mater, the Baltimore Sun—though something of a fraile grey lady in this internet age—is nonetheless celebrating her 175th birthday this year. Sun alumni and other Baltimoreans were invited to contribute essays to a special edition to be published this weekend.

My offering is an homage of sorts to one of the metro desk veterans who raised me from a pup.,0,5336130.story

Thanks, Dave.  And no, I will never forget the First Rule of Rewrite:  “Shoot It Down.”  Or as you once sagely argued: “There are always salmonella outbreaks.  I don’t see why we have to write about this one.”

Jazz Fest 2012, Final Day

08 May
May 8, 2012

Barbituates or amphetamines?   These unidentified gentlemen seem ready to argue the point.

Mariano Rivera

04 May
May 4, 2012

The video of Yankee closer Mariano Rivera being carted off the field after tearing his ACL and, perhaps, ending his magnificent career, stays fixed in the mind, perhaps because of the open, earnest smile that Rivera flashes to his teammates as he rides the cart back to the training room. The look on his face is so benign, so genuine that in a single image, it seems to summon everything about the man.

Okay, I’m an Oriole fan.  And before I moved to Baltimore, I grew up in D.C. with the Washington Senators.  The Yankees — damn them — are my lifelong bete noir.  And I have seen Mariano Rivera go lights out on the home team in so many one- and two-run games that I should rightly be unable to summon anything more than a basic, casual amount of empathy at the idea that at forty-two years of age, with Cooperstown dusting a spot for him, he might not to be able to do it anymore.

Except that warm, sheepish smile — as if he’s embarrassed this happened while shagging outfield flies, as if he’s a little apologetic for somehow becoming the  center of attention — is pure Rivera.  The guy is to be loved.  Even from Baltimore.

Notes from Jazz Fest in New Orleans, 2012

03 May
May 3, 2012

Told myself I wasn’t going to battle the crowds to see Springsteen close out the first weekend.  No disrespect to Springsteen, but I usually hover around the smaller stages at the fest, hoping to see music in a more intimate setting. But it happened by degrees.  First, my son lured us closer to the Acura stage with lurid talk of strawberry shortcake from the vendors nearby. Then, following that shameful little spectacle, we noticed that Al Green wasn’t on the Congo Square stage for another forty minutes.

“Let’s check Springsteen out for half an hour, and then catch Al Green.”

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