1 MARC Train

This Saturday, Dec. 7, the MTA at long last answers the prayers of Baltimore and D.C. residents, adding weekend service to the MARC schedule. The new era, which launches with a 7:35 a.m. out of Penn Station, should be a boon to businesses, arts groups, and tourists, but we're mostly in it for the half-smokes from Ben's Chili Bowl. Make the last train out of Union Station later than 10:35 p.m. and maybe we'll even be able to use it for shows at the 9:30 Club.

2 The Arts

It was a great week for Baltimore's artistic community, as the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance set up a new series of $10,000 grants for area artists and The Contemporary, under new director Deanna Haggag, finally relaunched with a new website. Maybe the cops will notice how bustling things are and lay off the DIY venues that nurture the scene.

3 $RB

Il Mayore took time off from globetrotting (see her trip to Panama with Biden) to sit in on NBC's Meet the Press to talk about the failures of the Obamacare rollout and Democratic hopes for its future. She sounded sharp and represented the city well on the national stage, but BCPR worries she's taking a cue from her mentor, Martin O'Candidate, and letting the city take a backseat to her professional ambitions.

4 The Baltimore Sun

BCPR was glad to see The Sun covering homelessness this week. But we do wish they'd at least try to take a slightly different angle than CP did this month ("Gimme Shelter," Feature, Nov. 13) instead of following both the story and even the photo gallery step by step. With ever-shrinking room for investigative journalism in local media, there are more than enough stories and angles for the both of us. Go find your own.

5 Local Stores

First, mega-stores open up on Thanksgiving, and then dozens of people are killed or injured on Black Friday. When it's finally time for independent retailers, on so-called "small-business Saturday," a big swath of Hampden, one of the city's biggest retail areas, is shut down due to an ammonia leak. Just in case you're wondering, that's why we didn't buy you any presents this year.