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Dan Rodricks

Dan Rodricks: A to-do list for 2023, and a couple of predictions to boot | COMMENTARY

Things we'd like to see in the coming year: Ravens place kicker Justin Tucker pursuing a comic acting career in the offseason.

For some reason — perhaps for motivational purposes or just because it’s a newspaper tradition — I’ve again compiled a list of things I’d like to do and things I’d like to see in the new year. I’ve also made a couple of random predictions. I offer all this with one request: Please don’t hold me to any of it.

Things I’d like to see:

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Ravens kicker Justin Tucker starring in a sitcom in the offseason, where he plays a peewee football coach, or something like that. The guy has real showbiz pizazz.

Encores of these movies: “My Favorite Year” (1982, Peter O’Toole, Mark Linn-Baker), “The Train” (1964, Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield) and “Doubt” (2008, Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Viola Davis).

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The former Hamilton Bank (Fraternity Federal Savings and Loan before that) at 764 Washington Boulevard in Pigtown turned into a restaurant. It’s a cool, early 20th Century building with 40 parking spaces out back. Good location, on Pigtown Main Street. Nobody asked me, but it looks prime.

Completion of the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network, a 35-mile loop through city neighborhoods. Maryland’s senators, Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, secured more federal funds for the project. It would be great to see all the connections finally made.

Someone in authority in Baltimore doing something about the constant trash and graffiti along Charles Street, in the first three blocks above North Avenue.

Someone in authority chewing out the developer who tore down the Mechanic Theater seven years ago and left nothing in its place but a big hole in the ground. Prediction for 2023: Nothing happens and, a year from now, there’s still a big hole in the ground.

In light of the lies of New York Rep.-elect George Santos, newspaper editors and local TV producers ordering that every candidate for public office be thoroughly vetted before an election. Journalists should never assume anything, but before Donald Trump came along, we generally assumed that most candidates did not lie about almost everything — their education, employment or military experience and other facts easily checked. Lying at the Santos level is extraordinary; his whole identity appears to be a fraud. His lies make clear that vetting candidates’ resumes is something we should have been doing all along.

One thing I’d like to know, in light of Santos’ vow to take his seat in Congress despite all his lies: Whatever happened to shame?

Prediction for 2023: Advertising on Google Maps. The other day, while I was driving to a house in Parkville, I noticed that the little person inside my GPS navigation system said to “make a right at Wendy’s.” I had never heard this before, but figured it was a new sponsored feature, a way for Google to profit off our increasing dependence on its travel directions. I have a feeling there’s more of this to come. It won’t be enough to say, “Make a right at Wendy’s.” Next thing you know, we’ll hear something like, “At Joppa Road, make a right, and, after you do, stop for Wendy’s new Italian Mozzarella Chicken sandwich.”

Things I’d like to do:

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My culinary goal for the year: Bake a perfect timpano, the pasta/meat/cheese concoction, shaped like an upside down kettle drum, made famous in the film, “Big Night,” and featured in Stanley Tucci’s cookbook. It’s a big challenge — I know of only one restaurant chef in Baltimore who ever tried to make it — but, if it fails and falls apart, it’s still good eatin’.

I hope to commission a local farmer or gifted gardener to grow broccoli rabe, my favorite green vegetable. I’ve tried to grow it in my backyard and failed. The Andy Boy brand from California, stocked by supermarkets, is fine but expensive. I wish Marion “Mugs” Mugavero was still with us. Years ago, he served a plate of sautéed rabe at his lunch counter in Little Italy. He said he had picked the rabe himself in a field in White Marsh, where, he claimed, it grew voluntarily every year. But, of course, Mugs wouldn’t tell me where that field was and, besides, it’s probably a parking lot by now.

Mark the calendar for the annual memorial illumination at Antietam National Battlefield. It happens as darkness falls on the first Saturday in December: 23,000 candles on the farm fields where, in 1862, nearly that number of Americans were killed, wounded or otherwise lost in the war to end slavery and preserve the union.

Read three books that have been stacked on my desk for a year: “Madness in the Family,’ short stories by William Saroyan; “Memoirs of an Infantry Officer,” by Siegfried Sassoon; and “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma,” by Bessel van der Kolk.

Suggestion: If your resolutions for 2023 include more reading and more walking, you might be interested in the Rambling Readers group at the central branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. You read a book, then discuss it during pauses in walks on the third Thursday of each month. Can you review novels and walk at the same time? Only one way to find out.

Lastly, two things I wanted to do but failed to do in 2022: Hike up Backbone Mountain to the highest point in Maryland and slide down the snow-covered slope at the Baltimore County Board of Education (Greenwood) on a shower curtain.

For the record

A previous version of this article misspelled Siegfried Sassoon's name. The Sun regrets the error.


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