[Editor’s Note: Take Two is an occasional series about remakes, reboots, relaunches, ripoffs, and do-overs in every cinematic genre.]
In the month since the last Take Two column, a civic rift has formed in my semi-hometown of Baltimore that, to my mind, says everything that needs to be said about the city’s current identity. It was discovered that Denise Whiting, owner of the iconic Café Hon in Hampden, has in fact held the copyright to the even more iconic word “hon” since 1992. Click the link to get a whiff of the pre-Christmas protest that Hampden residents organized on 36th St. (better known as the “Avenue”), the neighborhood’s main drag over which the Café’s two-story foam flamingo looms like a kitsch Godzilla.
It so happens that my last apartment was near enough to Café Hon that our kitchen window looked down on its rear parking lot. The living room window, however, faced the intersection of Roland Avenue and 36th, where a Royal Farms sidewalk offered local drunks and addicts a stage for nightly freak-outs and blow-ups. This was a relative step up for my wife and me; we moved to Roland in December 2008 after a shooting took place at the bar across the street from our first place, also in Hampden. Only a few months before that, a parked white pickup truck erupted and burned to ash outside our bedroom in the middle of a Saturday night. In early 2009, a row house by the post office spontaneously combusted, singeing its two immediate neighbors and sending all five of the resident family’s children to the emergency room. The blaze was rumored to have started when the owner lit a cigarette near his stockpile of compressed air tanks. Apparently he was trying to build a cooling system on the cheap.