Lost places

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My soul is in the streets

of Buenos Aires.

Not the greedy streets

jostling with crowds and traffic,

but the neighborhood streets

where nothing is happening,

almost invisible by force of habit,

rendered eternal in the dim light of sunset,

and the ones even farther out,

empty of comforting trees,

where austere little houses scarcely venture,

overwhelmed by deathless distances,

losing themselves in the deep expanse

of sky and plains.

--Jorge Luis Borges

"The Streets"

Some places are empty not because what was there is gone, but because nothing was ever there. Other places present legendary ruins that never fail to move us. Still others have been replaced by cities of the same name but changed to such extent that what gave them character is gone, never to be retrieved except in memory and imagination. And then there are the places that never took shape outside some developer's failed plans and ambition.

Such a place is the Villages of San Luis, a grand dream of suburban living outside of Little Rock -- just off I-40 at Exit 42 where it meets Arkansas 365. Only the flamenco names of the already crumbling streets and curbs now speak of the dream that was as they wind past the few little houses left adrift as hope retreated into bankruptcy. The streets have grandiose names, but the modest houses here are anything but.

You can almost hear the guitars and stamping feet in the background as you read the names of the roads that never lived up to them: the boulevards Salinas de Hidalgo and San Luis. Olé! But all is quiet here. There are not even any ghosts, for this place has no past. And an uncertain future. By now the dream has gone through Chapter 7 bankruptcy and, like Detroit, is in Chapter 9.

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Editorial Poll


Andy Green, the opinion editor, has taken the "know a little bit about everything" approach in his time at The Sun. He was the city/state editor before coming to the editorial board, and prior to that he covered the State House and Baltimore County government.

Tricia Bishop, the deputy editorial page editor, was a reporter in the business and metro sections covering biotechnology, education and city and federal courts prior to joining the board.

Peter Jensen, former State House reporter and features writer, takes the lead on state government, transportation issues and the environment; he is the board's resident funny man and capital schmooze.

Glenn McNatt, who returned to editorial writing after serving as the newspaper's art critic, keeps an eye on the arts, culture, politics and the law for the editorial board.

Three-year degree [Poll]

A Johns Hopkins University analysis, published by the Progressive Policy Institute, recommends that U.S. schools consider shifting toward a three-year higher education degree to cut college costs instead of the current four-year model. Would you welcome such a change?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure