Bits of column too short to use . . .
Nominations keep pouring in for Really Repulsive Rhapsodies, that list of hellish music we're preparing for Joe Chilcoat, owner of the Catonsville 7-Eleven with a loitering youth problem. Joe has been piping Pavarotti over an outdoor PA, hoping to shoosh the kids away. But we decided that a world-class tenor was not dreadful enough for the job. So we suggested a Top Ten of particularly horrid songs and asked for more.
"Norman," by Sue Thompson (suggested by Ann M. Turnbull, Towson).
"Take Me Out To The Ballgame," sung a cappella by Larry King (T. Stephens, Baltimore).
"Honey," by Bobby Goldsboro; "Endless Love," by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross; "Julie, Julie, Julie, Do You Love Me?" by Bobby Sherman; "Love Me Tender," the Richard Chamberlain version; "Dreams Of The Everyday Housewife," by Glen Campbell; "Playground In My Mind," by Clint Holmes; "Afternoon Delight" by Starland Vocal Band (all suggested by Robin Andersen, Baltimore).
"Boogy Oogy Oogy," by A Taste of Honey (M. Kent, Woodlawn).
"But enough of this pussyfooting around," wrote Don Brizendine. "So far, we've only discussed conventional weaponry. If [Chilcoat] really wants to clear those kids off his parking lot, he should nuke 'em! And the aural equivalent of nuclear warfare is 'Metal Machine Music,' a double-album set released in 1975 by Lou Reed. . . . It was supposed to be experimental electronic music but, according to 'Christgau's Record Guide,' it was 'a blatant ripoff.' 'The Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records' called it 'four sides of unlistenable noise.' 'The New Rolling Stone Record Guide' described it as 'abrasive electronic noise that is both an artistic and commercial hustle . . . a monumentally nihilistic work.' Me, I just call it ------ . . . If used properly, it could drive the Russians out of Lithuania."
Thanks to the lovely people who sent get-well wishes last week. spinal accessory nerve is doing a whole lot better and the team doc says I could be typing -- rather than dictating -- columns again real soon. I enjoyed hearing from the woman in Canton who said her husband had sustained the same humiliating injury to the neck while sleeping on an upside-down Tupperware bowl. And thanks to Lu Newton for her sentiment: "It takes a big man to own up to the whole truth. Baltimore is proud of you!"
Some well-meaning people want to name the new baseball stadium after Baltimore-born Babe Ruth. But, should that be the choice, we'll spend eternity explaining it to a world that instantly links the Babe with New York. Stadiums should be simple by design, and by name. The name should not leave people scratching their heads.
Still, Ruth's Baltimore roots occurred to me again the other night while reading "Baseball's Greatest Quotations," a new book from the prolific Paul Dickson. In those quotes, Ruth sounds Baltimorean; his words have the kind of fresh, folksy and unpretentious quality one still finds among our Baltimore elders, from Highlandtown to Pigtown to Sandtown.
On his hitting prowess: "If I'd tried for them dinky singles I could've batted around .600."
To Connie Mack, the day before he died: "The termites got me."
On being introduced to Calvin Coolidge: "Hot as hell, ain't it, Prez?"
On crowds: "They're coming out in groves."
On remedies: "Scallions are the greatest cure for a batting slump ever invented."
On history: "As Duke Ellington once said, the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Elkton."
On his malaprop: "About that Wellington guy I wouldn't know. Ellington, yes. As for that Eton business -- well, I married my first wife in Elkton and I always hated the g------ place. It musta stuck."
On fate: "If it wasn't for baseball, I'd be in either the penitentiary or the cemetery. I have the same violent temper my father and older brother had. Both died of injuries from street fights in Baltimore, fights begun by flare-ups of their tempers."
On his making more money than the president: "I know, but I had a better year than Hoover."
On his visit to France: "Paris ain't much of a town."
You can almost hear the Babe say, "Hon."