Pieces of column too short to use: Richard Hunter, the mild-mannered Baltimore school superintendent, has a bodyguard? To guard him from what? Food fights in the Mervo cafeteria? Big kids picking on him on the Ashburton Elementary playground? There doesn't seem to be any clear reason Dr. Bland has a bodyguard following him around while the city schools can probably use every security guard they can get. There haven't been any specific threats by kooks and, let's face it, even Dr. Bland's fans don't exactly mob him for autographs.
So why have a bodyguard? Call it wild speculation on my part, but maybe Doc's worried Kurt Schmoke -- you know, the mayor of Baltimore -- is going to fire him one day. (Why he'd be worried about that, I dunno.) Being very stubborn about keeping his $125,000-a-year-for-doing-nearly-nothing job, maybe Doc Hunter worries that Schmoke will try to eject him by force. So he keeps the bodyguard around. Get it? . . . . And did you see where the Doc released a 30-page report on his achievements? Actually, Doc's public relations staff wrote the report. (Maybe that's what the mayor is reading to that ethnically balanced group of school kids on his 1990 Christmas card!)
Upset reader alert!
This one "takes great exception" to last Wednesday's column. It questioned the choice of Ollie North as guest speaker for one of Baltimore's venerable boys' clubs, the Lancers. The Amazing Colonel Shred appeared before the Lancers on Friday, "30 November 1990 (not a couple of weeks ago as you stated in your article.)" That from Harriet A. Kerr of Baltimore. Harriet said Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Robert I.H. Hammerman, founder of the Lancers, "is to be commended" for inviting North to address tomorrow's leaders.
"While Lt. Col. North is a controversial figure," Harriet wrote, "he continues to deserve respect for one who has been able to endure the last four years with a positive attitude." (In other words, he faced adversity in the face of adversity.)
"I might add in closing," Harriet said, "that we are a Marine Corps family and have been for 23 years. While we do not know Lt. Col. North personally, we are ever mindful of his 20 years of commitment to The Few and The Proud. For that he commands our respect." At ease, already!
Dan's Friendly Traveler's Advisory:
If you are scheduled to take the 8 a.m. Greyhound from downtown Baltimore to Allentown, Pa., but oversleep, don't worry. You can still make the bus. First, you must have a car. Second, you must leave Baltimore no later than 7:45 a.m. Driving to York, Pa. via I-83 at no more than 55 mph, you can arrive in time to freshen up and meet the Allentown-bound bus. The bus departs York at 9:10 a.m. Take it from a guy who's been there.
More Great-Just-Great . . .
From Joel W. Hutton:
"For reasons no one can explain, people who reduce their cholesterol levels become more likely to die from accidents, suicide, murder or other violent circumstances. The idea that everyone should reduce cholesterol because it doesn't do any harm 'can't be said with much confidence,' said Dr. Matthew Muldoon, University of Pittsburgh researcher. The discovery is so difficult to understand that experts caution people against going back to wolfing down slabs of roast beef and buckets of ice cream. Stick to low-cholesterol foods, they urge, until they sort out what's happening.
"Great. Just great."
It's early Sunday morning. I'm groggy. I shuffle into the bathroom. I grope around for my toothbrush. Then I grope around for the toothpaste. I squeeze the soft-plastic tube, globbing paste onto the brush. Then I start brushing. Suddenly, I sense something. Something strange. Something -- an odor perhaps -- reminds me vaguely of the aroma of a changing table in a nursery. I stop brushing. I examine my brush. I'm not brushing with toothpaste! I've just put baby ointment in my mouth! It's Desitin! In the little white tube!!
Great. Just great.
Check it out:
The new pretzel stand in Cross Street Market. The view of Baltimore from the roof of Church Hospital. The bread at Atlantic Food Market on Harford Road. The Christmas display in the front window of Retro vintage shop in Fells Point. The warm-up act for tonight's premiere of "On The Block" at the Senator. The Buffalo wings at P.J.'s Pub. The new computerized instructions for making a collect local call from a C&P pay phone.