FIRST THERE was Tony Hiss in The New Yorker, describing Baltimore as a city about to undergo its third "flowering." Then the "Baltimore and Beyond" report warned that the city is about to go the way of Newark and Detroit -- Ninevah and Tyre.
Now as the nation's Presbyterians study up for their General Assembly meeting here this week, the Presbyterian Survey introduces them to "Baltimore's winning personality."
"Rarely is a city able to stand on the merits of its own culture, economy, community and geography," the magazine reports.
"But then there's Baltimore. . . unusually appreciated by both its residents and its neighbors."
It finds "a city pulling together," tight neighborhoods, people who live here their whole lives, people who buy houses to live in, not for speculation. Finally, one enthusiast describes our fair city as "San Francisco East."
Puh-leez! Doesn't age rate any deference? We'd say San Francisco is Baltimore West.
* * *
CHANCELLOR Helmut Kohl was in Washington the other day, breaking bread with a few old Germany hands, when suddenly high statecraft became very personal. The issue was Germany's urgency in bailing out the Soviet Union, versus the more reluctant stance of the United States.
Mr. Kohl noted that the next week President Bush would be going to several American cities with relative happy histories, while he would be going to Weimar.
Consider what that would mean, he advised his American listeners. Weimar, the city of Goethe and Schiller. Weimar, the capital of the ill-fated post World War I republic obliterated in the Hitler nightmare. Weimar, one of the tattered, worn-down products of now-defunct Communist East Germany.
During his trip, the chancellor said, he would pay tribute to Weimar's glorious cultural heritage and then undertake a painful visit to the site of the Buchenwald concentration camp just outside the city. On the way, he noted, he would have to pass a large Soviet barracks still occupied by heavily armed Soviet troops.
The chancellor's point was well taken. Germany wants Soviet troops bailed out of its territory. The sooner the better. Even more, it would like to put the Hitler-Stalin period behind it. President Bush is fortunate, he suggested. He does not have to go to American cities that find themselves in such circumstances.
* * *
WE NEVER knew just how bad Gov. William Donald Schaefer's problems were with the Eastern Shore until we spotted the following sign outside an Ocean City liquor store:
"Help us get rid of Schaefer," the sign said, "$7.50 a case."