Bank of America at 32nd & St. Paul

I wanted to go on a real bike ride today, but it was windy and rainy, and I just didn’t have it in me for that kind of ride. But I did manage to take the bike up and down the hill to the Bank of America at 32nd and St. Paul to finally close out my account now that my credit union account is all up and running and I finally have my direct deposit business sorted out. Continue reading

Jay Brodie of the Baltimore Development Corporation Speaking at a Meeting at 36 S. Charles

I spent my day doing one of my favorite things: talking to students about capitalism. It’s a profit motive, and there’s only so much you can squeeze in terms of raw materials and the means of production, so how do you get the most out of labor for the least amount of money? It’s just the logic of the system, and it’s stark and important to see. (When I point out that they pay the college for credit hours so they can work for free at an internship, well, um, yeah.) The afternoon class didn’t do the reading, so that was a wash, and at that point I was ready to head home, slap some bike shoes on with this dress and these tights, and get on the bike to pedal out some frustration and anxiety. Continue reading

Preparing the Bank Dragon at McKeldin Square

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Today is Divestment Day with the Occupy Wall Street movement, so I hauled my tired self out of my warm bed and hopped on the bike to head down to McKeldin Square for a march and rally. Big banks in Baltimore have engaged in predatory lending in our communities, devastating individuals, families, and neighborhoods. They accumulate our wealth by their theft. They make money off the money we put in there by lending it at high rates (higher to some than others–part of that predatory business) to others of us, charge us to take our cash back to spend it, and charge both sides every time we use our cards at businesses, whose owners pay a percent back to those banks for a specious service. It has all become so normal, it’s like we’ve forgotten that those are our resources, not theirs, and today was a day to take our money back and to let others know they should take their money back too. I snapped this picture of the dragon bank that marched through the streets, with its money-hungry eyes and open mouth that cannot be satiated. Awesome. We walked along, declaring ourselves the 99%, whose streets, our streets, this is what democracy looks like, we don’t want your pity/we want money for our city, etc. And it just felt good to be out there, and when that one Bank of America branch was closed “due to circumstances outside of our control?” Well, that was just awesome. There weren’t that many of us, but it feels like something’s changing when the bank closes to avoid confrontation. We circled back to the square and started to part ways. An older woman passed me, looked straight into my eyes, and said, “that felt good, didn’t it?” It doesn’t always, but today it did, it really, really did. And I’ve got to say, yelling in the streets gets easier the more you do it. Highly recommended. There were more events and teach-ins and actions, but I sat myself on my bike and rolled back up the hill to rest for a bit. There’s another one on Monday. See you there.

News Van at Guilford & I83

After a long day at work, I drove home, choked down a snack, and then hopped on the bike to head down to McKeldin Square to meet up with folks at Occupy Baltimore. Man, there was a lot going on there tonight, and it was complicated, and after a couple of hours it was time to head home and do some thinking. A police helicopter flew overhead as I left, and an unmarked cop car flew up Calvert. Continue reading

Edgar Allan Poe House at Amity & Lexington

It was another beautiful sunny fall day in Baltimore, and it felt so, so good to head out on the bike to enjoy the weather and brunch and then a ride with no destination. I decided to check out the Edgar Allan Poe house, because word on the street is it may not be around long. Some historical sites don’t seem to be affected at all by pesky details like the economic crash. I mean, check out the majesty of Fort McHenry–that place is ridonkulous. I know, I know, maybe it has more national meaning than Poe’s house, but if we had any sense of equity, the Poe House would be open more than a few days a week from 12:00-3:00. Continue reading

Historical Sign Marking Where Frederick Douglass Lived as a Slave in Fells Point at Durham & Aliceanna

I spent my lazy Saturday at home, reading a little of this and a little of that and then watching a documentary about the life and times of Bayard Rustin as I ate my lunch. What a remarkable man, and he said, “We are all one. And if we don’t know it, we will learn it the hard way.” Think about that. Seriously, seriously deep, and not in some facile way where we should all just get along, or we don’t have differences because we’re all just human, but that we are in this thing together, and if we don’t figure that out, and if we just abandon huge swathes of ourselves, we are in serious trouble; we’ve got plenty of evidence that Rustin’s right, all over the place. Continue reading

Cyclists Learning About Banks at the Wells Fargo at St. Paul & Fayette

Today’s ride took me up to campus in the afternoon for another faculty senate meeting, and I could feel the difference regular riding is making in my stamina, and it is really exciting. I’m not scared by hills anymore, even that one that gets you up to Haverhill Road. The ride makes sense in its chunks–down the hill to Mt. Vernon and up through Bolton Hill, Lafayette through West Baltimore, South on Monroe–serious traffic today–Frederick and up the hill to Caton Avenue, Caton and Wilkens, and then finally the weird cul-de-sacs of Arbutus–et voila! I only took one wrong turn and knocked 3 minutes off my time, but what really surprised me was that I wasn’t exhausted when I got to campus, and that felt amazing. Continue reading