Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Baltimore, my Baltimore...

Six of the eight "Breaking News" stories flashing along the top of this morning's Baltimore Sun webpage were negative, bad or actually awful ("State police arrest Howard man on child porn charges").

A little digging, however, managed to produce some good news from the depths of the Sun's news sections. I was first directed to the site by the Boston Globe, which noted the movie "The Social Network," based on the creation of Facebook, is being filmed at Johns Hopkins next Monday and Tuesday. Based on the birth of the brainchild of Harvard student Matt Zuckerberg, the film uses JHU as a stand-in for those hallowed ivy walls and will employ local movie crews. This also explains why I was stuck in Harvard Square last week while big trucks moved lots of movie equipment around...

Once navigated onto the newspaper's homepage, I saw the word "Flamingogate" and had to investigate further. Having attended the Hon Fest three years ago, I had an inkling of what this story was about. Cafe Hon owner Denise Whiting declared victory over the Baltimore City Council when the cost of the permit for her enormous flamingo statue outside her restaurant was halved. Originally estimated at $800 a year, the city dropped it to $400 and agreed to put up signs on the highway promoting the neighborhood of Hampden where Cafe Hon is located.

Finally, another symbol of the city of Baltimore received a boost with the announcement AirTran Airlines, which has a hub at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), has painted one of its planes with a Baltimore Ravens motif. Feted by the Ravens cheerleaders, the band and either Edgar, Allan or Poe (the story was not specific), Ravens 1 is the second of three NFL-themed jets rolled out by the discount carrier. Already flying the somewhat-friendly skies is Falcons 1 (after AirTran's hometown team), and an Indianapolis Colts-themed plane will complete the set. A lot of companies do sports marketing that makes absolutely no sense for either side in the deal, but this is actually very smart. AirTran is strengthening an already good relationship with the NFL, and since the plane will fly to all 60 carrier destinations all over the US, the visibility of the Baltimore Ravens should rise nationally.

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