Excuse me…

I’ve been wrestling with an sloppy and overlong post on the overall theme of paradox and contradiction in Ep 56 and right now, the post is winning.  Partly in the interest of tightening that behemoth up, and partly in the interest of posting something, anything, before the week gets any older, I’ve excised this:

Carcetti’s not the first Baltimore mayor involved in a battle for the port, and despite his claim about where it all began, neither was Tommy D’Alesandro. It was another Baltimore mayor, in another century, that first laid claim to the Patapsco, and by extension, Baltimore. Though in actuality he would not be mayor for some years, Major General Samuel Smith, also a US Senator at the time, commanded the American forces defending the city against the British at the Battle of Baltimore, one of the major seiges in the War of 1812. Also known as the Battle of Fort McHenry, the victory was a surprise — few had believed that the Americans could hold the city against the British. So unlikely was the victory that a young lawyer caught in the middle of events was moved to write a poem, “Defence of Ft. McHenry,” which we know now as The Star Spangled Banner. The Francis Scott Key bridge in the background of Carcetti’s beautiful dream harbor was also, you will recall, central to an earlier ethical skirmish for one Jimmy McNulty. All of which may or may not have anything to do with why, later in this ep, we see McNulty hashing things out with General Smith:



  1. The Key bridge is apparently referred to by locals as “The Car Strangled Spanner”

  2. Virgotex, I’m 36, born and raised in Baltimore, and I have never heard that expression before in my entire life. Other Baltimoreans, please feel free to chime in.

  3. Andrea, thanks for the input.

    My factoid is of the “I read it on the Internet, so it must be true” variety, and I gladly defer to your firsthand experience.

    car strangled spanner – Google Search shows many landmark bridges referred to thusly.

    It WAS referred to in a question on JEOPARDY! Game – February 24, 2004, if that lends veracity : )

    The question said that Washingtonians call it that, however, not Baltimoreans.

  4. A-ha, the google links cleared things up. Apparently, there is also a FSK bridge in Washington, DC, which I didn’t know, and that is the one often referred to as the car strangled spanner. Makes sense now.


  5. Ah….

    My Evelyn Woodhead sped rding crse not always so good for quick reference work…I saw DC and thought well, DC’s next door to Baltimore and ….

    Hey, maybe I could get Templeton’s job at the Sun.

  6. If you were Templeton, you’d give that name to a bridge that doesn’t even exist. And describe how your life was in danger when you drove across it.

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