1 Michael Phelps Media takes a while to pick a story line, but in the end, flipper's achievements outweigh his lack of tattoos, charisma. Next up, a head shop at the Towson Town Mall? We kid! Congratulations, Michael!
2 UMBC Long, steady climb from commuter safety school to best up-and-coming college in America three years running (U.S. News and World Report) and beyond continues as dynamic prez Freeman Hrabowski is named chairman of President Obama's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African-Americans. BCPR is so proud, it overlooks what the "C" stands for.
3 Gambling As O'Malley and state legislature head into special session to legalize a new casino in P.G. County-along with table games, internet gambling, and possibly gladiator fights at M&T Bank Stadium (you know, for the schools)-opponents launch ad campaign. Only this time its not about poverty or saving the horse-racing industry, but about eating into established gambling revenues. BCPR says feed them to the lions-horses included.
4 Virgin Mobile FreeFest Just in time for Labor Day, the "summer" music festival picks a date (Oct. 6) but now makes fans guess the lineup. Sounds like it's got the same planners as the Grand Prix, which finally started to prep a month before race time. BCPR is betting on a reunion of the Cars as a headliner.
5 Forbes Getting picked as the 14th coolest city in America, as Baltimore was, is nice-unless you finish just behind Fort Worth, Texas, and miles behind that cultural mecca, Houston, which finished No. 1 on the mag's list-in which case, it's maybe the dumbest thing ever, or maybe the second dumbest, behind the flat tax.