Letters, calls and the roar of the crowd:
Cheryl D. Menna, Towson: We own both a waffle iron and a pressure cooker. The waffle iron was a gift for my husband, and the pressure cooker was his before we were married.
If you do not believe me, come join us for breakfast any Sunday. My husband makes the best cinnamon waffles. But please, don't bring William Donald Schaefer.
COMMENT: Is that any way to speak of the politically disabled?
Gil Osenburg, Parkville: Though I didn't read a word about it in the papers, the bill you wrote about in March that would let the consumers know the alcohol content of beers passed the General Assembly this session.
It was sponsored by Sen. F. Vernon Boozer and it requires wholesalers to keep a list of the alcohol content of the beer they sell. It goes into effect July 1.
COMMENT: And after that date, customers in bars and liquor stores should ask the owners to post a list of the alcohol content of each beer they sell.
Because of a bizarre post-Prohibition ruling that has not yet been repealed, beer bottlers are forbidden to print alcohol content on beer bottles or cans (though it must be printed on wine and hard liquor bottles.)
Considering drunken driving is determined by blood alcohol levels measured in the hundredths of 1 percent, it might help drinkers to know if they are drinking a beer with a 2.41 percent alcohol content or with a 15.5 percent alcohol content.
Or, better yet, there is nothing wrong with going into a bar and ordering a nice, cold glass of milk. (Just be sure to duck after you do.)
Brian C. Rogers, T. Rowe Price Associates, Baltimore: I read Jane B.'s letter recounting how her husband is stretched to personally fund expenses for his city special education class.
I'm a board member of The Fund for Educational Excellence, a private non-profit foundation. One of our programs is a grant fund which makes small grants to Baltimore City teachers to help with problems similar to those experienced by Jane B.'s husband, i.e. insufficient funding for classroom activities.
Each year we fund several hundred school projects. If you can, please pass this along to Jane B. or ask her husband to call or write for further information to:
Ms. Drue K. Whitney
Fund for Educational Excellence
605 N. Eutaw St.
Baltimore, Md. 21201
The fund may be able to help.
P.S. If Mimi DiPietro really speaks that way, please ask him to call Drue Whitney for a remedial grammar grant.
COMMENT: I used to be an education reporter and was amazed to find that teachers had to set up a black market in order to make the school system work:
At one school, they would get 100 boxes of crayons but no paper. And so they would trade some crayons to another school that had 1,000 reams of paper but no mimeo fluid. And that school would take the crayons and trade for mimeo fluid from a school that had mimeo fluid but no chalk, etc., etc.
At the same time, citizens would take a look at their property tax bills and be staggered by how much of their taxes went for schools.
It's a terrible situation and, to a certain extent, the school system manages to limp along as well as it does only because of the personal sacrifice of people like Jane B.'s husband, who must deprive his own children to buy school supplies for his students. (Read the next letter.)
As to Mimi DiPietro, he does indeed speak that way, but a remedial grammar course would take too long. How about a transplant?
Jane B., Baltimore County: Thank you for printing my comments last week. If the esteemed John Schaefer [City Council, D-1st] should contact you regarding his nixed raise, tell him I'll be happy to pay for his fresh fruit if he'll pay my medicine bills. My son uses a machine to breathe. He is fine. Count your blessings. Please say hello to Bad Roger.
COMMENT: Bad Roger is setting up a Fresh Air Fund to send all the City Council members to camp. This will replace the raise they did not get.
The camp will get them out of their bad environment (City Hall) and into the countryside.
Each council person will be air-dropped into a wilderness area armed with only a map, a compass, a knife and the phone numbers of six lobbyists. Mary Pat Clarke will be air-dropped with her limousine, but no chauffeur.
All of them will have to survive by their wits alone.
In other words, some won't make it.
James E. Bryan, Baltimore: OK, so here's the bet. I bet my friends that the next century doesn't start until 2001. They say it starts in 2000. I've got $25 riding on this and we all agreed we will accept whatever answer you print in your column.
So do I win or what?
COMMENT: You win. Figure it out: If the first year starts with 1 and you count up to the year 100, you come up with only 100 years, not 101.
So the new century would always start with 1801, 1901, 2001. Get it?
On the other hand, if your friends get a sawbuck to me real fast, I might change my mind.