These posts will have proper titles now

So that I can use numbered sections and it won’t look as if the title and ellipsis are leading into all of them. Numbered sections seem to be all the rage these days, with Sven Lindqvist taking it to an extreme that might be a little too cute for its own good, but which I found intriguing. (Read about it here.) Plus they eliminate the need for transitions. Plus they fit the way my mind works.

Is that sort of like admitting my mind isn’t working very well these days at all?

The problem with needing proper titles is having to dream them up, though. The safe thing is just to list a couple of the things that the post is about. Safe, but boring. The dangerous thing is to try for something evocative, witty. There is a decided risk of grand overstatement, of suggesting that it all means something, like an NPR radio essay. (“I learned everything I need to know about world affairs by watching my three-year-old finger painting…”) Maybe I’ll just use the day of the week.

Work is a challenge these days. I just hope it is giving me character or hair on my chest or something.

Last night, I left work slightly early so that my brother, father and I could make a six p.m. dinner reservation at Pazo, a “mediterranean” tapas restaurant on Aliceanna, down in the former dead zone between the harbor and Fell’s Point. According to the restaurant’s web site, the building is a former warehouse and machine shop dating to the 1880s, with exposed brick and massive steel joists visible below the ceiling. A mezzanine, where we sat, overlooks the main floor, and the place has a massive feeling of open space. We shared a sea bass and each ordered a couple of tapas plates, and everyone seemed well pleased, once I stopped complaining about my day, that is.

After dinner, we walked down Caroline Street to the Living Classrooms Foundation’s new Frederick Douglass/Isaac Myers Maritime Park, which I’d never seen close up, as they were only just starting work on it the last time I was employed by LCF. (Although I was working there at just the right point in time to get to pick up syringes and toxic waste and massive pieces of drift wood that floated into the construction site due to Hurricane Isabelle.) You probably know a little about Frederick Douglass, but Isaac Myers is more obscure. He was a free black in Baltimore during the 1800s who was trained as a ship caulker, a very important skilled trade in the days of commercial wooden ships. After encountering prejudice in the caulking trades, he and some other caulkers and investors (black and white, although LCF’s web site prefers to mention only the blacks) started their own shipyard (after emancipation, for what it’s worth). I don’t know if the little brick complex was directly associated with him or not. It’s a nice set-up, although it’s strange that they won’t let you out on their little pier. But the more strollable, non-Inner Harbor waterfront the city has, the better, in my opinion.

And a note: while it’s inspiring to look back and feel good about how far we’ve come since the days when someone like Isaac Myers could be chased out of his first job by white caulkers, last night there was a broken-down-looking black homeless man huddled on the promenade by the building bearing Myers’s name. Considering that the years immediately following the Civil War saw amazing advances for African-Americans (advances that were quickly undone a few decades later as the country entered the Jim Crow era) someone from Myers’s day might be surprised by how little we’ve really managed to fix regarding race relations since his time. Our schools are still de facto segregated, and whether or not you get an actual education still depends on accidents of birth. Back in Myers’s day, there was a rule against educating blacks, free or not, but it’s hard to argue that today’s poor, black Baltimore residents get much of an education in the city schools. Or rather, they get an education, but it’s not in reading, writing and arithmetic, it’s in how a society like ours can talk a grand game of equal opportunity with its back firmly turned on little children condemned to ignorance and squalor.

The Office. What can I say? Not much. A. reads this, and I don’t want to give anything away. I think she’ll enjoy last night’s episode, though. Although the brilliance of the writers came through in that last little 30-second clip of Ryan. As my brother put it, if Karen had gotten the job, the show would have to be over, or it would turn into a happily-ever-after fairy tale. Now, as satisfying and heart-warming as certain developments were, it’s clear that there is still plenty of fodder for the emotional horror we all tune in for.