Living dangerously in Baltimore, texting while skating

Texting While Skating: I've seen it three times now — most recently Friday afternoon — while waiting for the bus at St. Paul and 23rd in Baltimore: A young guy, fashionably urban, sporting a baseball cap, smartphone in hand, earbuds in ears, texting while skateboarding, living dangerously.

Each of the skaters seemed not to have a care in the world as they sailed down St. Paul, which has a decent grade in that stretch. While I assume their eyes must have darted between the phone and traffic, when the skaters passed me, their eyes seemed fixed on texting.


Each time, I was tempted to bark, "Hey, don't do that!" But they probably wouldn't have heard me; they were gone in seconds. And it's not like they had a tag number so I could report them to authorities.

Polling the Delegation: Because it's been suggested to me that they were not fully behind the Red Line — and therefore, to some degree, a party to its demise — I asked members of the 46th Legislative District, which covers southern and southeastern Baltimore, for their positions on the $3 billion light rail project that Gov. Larry Hogan killed last month.


The 14-mile Red Line was designed to run from the west side of Baltimore County, through West Baltimore, then under downtown and Fells Point in a tunnel before emerging in Canton and ending at Johns Hopkins Bayview. That route would have taken commuters right through the 46th District. Here's what members of the delegation, all Democrats, said:

•Del. Luke Clippinger: "I did not ask the governor or his administration to kill the Red Line. I have signed the most recent letter urging the governor to reconsider his decision. Entirely eliminating the Red Line was irresponsible and unnecessary."

•Del. Pete Hammen: "Baltimore and surrounding metropolitan region needs an efficient, better connected and comprehensive public transportation system. We must invest in a 21st Century mass transit system solution, one that is fiscally feasible and effective. We did not ask the administration to kill the Red Line but that they consider viable alternatives."

•Del. Brooke Lierman was unavailable for comment, but is already on record in support of the Red Line.

•The district's senator, Bill Ferguson, said, "I did not oppose the Red Line. I was concerned that the tunnel would undermine the project and the ability to have future investments. But I never wanted the project to die, never once. Any time I ever spoke about concerns with the tunnel, I very intentionally said, if the tunnel is the only option and only way, then we should go forward. I was always worried about the all-or-nothing proposition."

If some Baltimore legislators had problems with aspects of the Red Line — and who didn't? — it's understandable. But quibbles or concerns do not amount to outright rejection of the project and its $900 million in federal funding. That decision belongs to Hogan.

Go Set a Best-seller: In Costco, I watched many hands snap up copies of the "new" Harper Lee novel, "Go Set A Watchman," just across from the stacks of 48-count boxes of Nature Valley granola bars. Meanwhile, Pikesville branch librarian Paula Gallagher says the Baltimore County Public Library bought 688 copies of the book in five formats — regular print, large print, audio, eAudio, and eBook. As of Friday, all were checked out, with another 790 patrons on wait lists.

I Think I Made Kimchi: Ever since being introduced to this fermented, spicy side dish by a Korean-American nightclub owner known as Mr. Song — actually, he was known as "the mysterious Mr. Song" — I wanted to try and make it myself. But I always heard you had to put kimchi in earthen pots, bury the pots in the backyard and wait four months before you could eat it.


Turns out, it can be much simpler and faster than that. I found a recipe involving three pounds of napa cabbage, cucumbers, radishes, scallions, fish sauce, ginger, garlic and some chili sauce. Preparation was easy. I have had four jars of the stuff fermenting in the basement for two weeks. In another week, I will serve some to human research subjects. I'll get back to you.

Kinda Like Asian Sauerkraut: His many experiments with food have led Henry Hong, food maven and manager of the Thames Street Oyster House, to conclude that kimchi makes an excellent topping on a hot dog. Hong suggests grilling the kimchi before putting it on an all-beef frank. "Aw, man," he says, "it is so good."

Greek Seoul Food: Fusion is not a new trend in cuisine by any means, but Greek-Korean? That surprised and intrigued me. The menu at Rocket to Venus in Hampden has an $11 entree called "Grilled Korean Gyros." They come two to a plate: A grilled pita, the classic wrap of a gyro, with either marinated tofu or beef in the bulgogi style, topped with house kimchi, bean sprouts, jalapenos and sweet chili aioli. Served with a side of Korean potato salad. The good news: No feta.

Dan Rodricks' column runs Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. He also hosts "Midday" on WYPR-FM.