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Young refugees play soccer in safety thanks to Baltimore tournament

Award-winning blogger Mike Hitchen reports on a Baltimore-based soccer tournament, sponsored by the International Rescue Committee, that is allowing kids who have escaped conflict-ravaged countries to play soccer free from danger. Hitchen reports that plans are underway to create a permanent refugee soccer league -- a Peace League -- in Baltimore.

An excerpt from the blog post reads:

A soccer tournament is underway on a field next to a busy street in Baltimore, an hour or so outside of Washington, DC. Four teams of teenage boys are competing for ribbons and a gold cup. They could be from anywhere, but these teens are all refugees from conflict zones - Iraqis, Burmese, Bhutanese, and Meskhetian Turks.

Marwan Saleh plays defense for the Iraqi team, the "Tigers." The 17-year-old left his homeland nine months ago. "There, there's war. We don't have a chance to play soccer," he explains. "It's my chance to play soccer. We cannot live there. We don't have jobs. We cannot study; we cannot do anything. There's war, there's shooting, there are guns, gangs, the army, fighting between people. Here's better for us - safe. We can study. We can do anything here. Here is the future."

Read the entire post here:

Blogger chronicles Baltimore's villanous past

Blogger Clio Bluestocking of that "Great Zoo on the Potomac" (dare we assume this is Washington?) walks the streets of Baltimore for five weeks and notices "landmarks of some very bad guys who have graced the streets of this interesting city."

An excerpt from the blog post reads reads:

Speaking of individuals willing to go to great lengths to protect systems, here we have a non-fictional bad guy memorialized in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood. That is Chief Justice Roger Taney: Maryland-born, first Catholic Supreme Court Justice, and author of the Dred Scott v. Sanford decision. Sure, he was a slaveholder who freed his slaves; but really, you have a hard time making his case as a good guy. After all, he was the man who identified the central question of the case as this: "can a negro whose ancestors were imported into this country and sold as slaves become a member of the political community formed and brought into existence by the Constitution of the United States, and as such become entitled to all the rights, and privileges, and immunities, guarantied by that instrument to the citizen, one of which rights is the privilege of suing in a court of the United States in the cases specified in the Constitution?" and decided not only that Dred Scott and his family should be kept in slavery because "Dred Scott was not a citizen of Missouri within the meaning of the Constitution of the United States, and not entitled as such to sue in its courts, and consequently that the Circuit Court had no jurisdiction of the case, and that the judgment on the plea in abatement is erroneous," but also that all African Americans were not and should not be considered citizens of the U.S. So, I consider him a bad guy.

Read the entire post here.

Blog explores free, fun things to do in Baltimore

{budget}fab* blog's "socialite" section lists a number of ways Baltimoreans can have a blast without breaking their budgets. The post provides links to the various activities for quick how-to information.


There's more to Baltimore than Ravens and Orioles games. Here's a list of free things to do in the city…

•    Visit the Baltimore Museum of Art.
•    Tour the Galleries at the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower.
•    Walk around the Cylburn Arboretum.  The arboretum is currently closed due to construction, but check their website for details on the re-opening.
•    Stroll along Baltimore Inner Harbor promenade.
•    Take in a free movie at Federal Hill or Fells Point.
•    Catch a free performance at the Harborplace Amphitheater.
•    Picnic at Patapsco Valley State Park
•    Pick up a good book at The Book Thing. You can donate books and pick up a few new ones for free.

See the entire blog post here.

Guide points Baltimoreans, visitors to city's finest fare

Thekitchn.com, a Web site devoted to the joys of cooking at home, has published a Food-Lover's Guide to Baltimore to help cooks and foodies find the best markets, artisans, and shops in town. In addition to flagging culinary hot spots, the guide lists foods every gourmand should try, including snoballs, Smith Island Cake, Berger Cookies, and Smearcase.

Excerpts from the guide:

Food Halls

•    Lexington Market -- The world's largest, continually-running market makes for stellar people watching, as well as good shopping. Come on Saturdays for the live music, or anytime for Faidley's Seafood and Mary Mervis sandwiches.
•    Cross Street Market -- Look for Utz chips in paper (not plastic) bags — that means they were baked that same day.

Specialty Shops of Note

•    Trinacria -- Beloved Italian grocery shop with cut-rate wine, homemade olive oil and droolworthy sandwiches
•    DiPasquale's -- Another popular Italian deli/market
•    OK Natural -- Health food store with bulk grains, vegan staples, prepared foods
•    H-Mart -- It's a bit of a drive to this Asian supermarket, but we always come home with tons of surprising things.

Independent Food Artisans

•    Puffs & Pastries -- Amazing new bakery, emphasizes use of local ingredients
•    Sweet Sin Bakery - Gluten-free desserts
•    Bonaparte Bread
•    Bluebird Coffee -- Sustainable, organic, artisanal coffee

Find the entire guide here.

Burn it, fold it, bend it, rip it -- the Pratt Library contest deconstructs the library book

Examiner.com contributor Meghan Goodrich observes there are boundless opportunities to mistreat books during the Altered Books Competition at Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Free Library.

An excerpt from Goodrich's piece reads:

The eligible victims for revamping are "any book, old or new that has been recycled by creative means into a work of art."  Artistic alteration allows the books to be "rebound, painted, cut, burned, folded, added to, collaged in, rubber stamped, drilled or otherwise adorned." Entries can be simple or complex, remain in their usual dimensions or defy gravity, remain achromatic or burst into colors never attempted on the printed page. Prizes will be awarded to the top three altered books.

While this Examiner primarily focuses on the content of books, she has taken a few book arts classes and has seen books that will boggle the mind. While it's sometimes hard to put an exacto knife to a favorite classic, the results often bring out a new and handsome element to the "victim."

Read the entire post here.

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