Searching for tackiana

Dan Rodricks

July 15, 1991|By Dan Rodricks

Pieces of column too short to use . . .

Tackiana: Readers took exception to my characterization of a plastic-soda-bottle-Chinese-lantern-bird-nest as the highest form of tackiana. ("Tackiana" refers to all materials that are distinctively tacky, cheap, outlandishly unbecoming, extremely ridiculous.) Some felt the item, discovered at a flea market in Pennsylvania, constituted folk art. Someone said, "You haven't seen tackiana till you've seen my lawn ornament collection." Well, fine. We'll make it a contest. If you've got a piece of tackiana that tops mine for bad taste, drop a line, send a photo. Whatever.

*

Suggestion: Instead of busting The Block and destroying it completely -- as is the wish of some pols and developers in this tTC town -- why not move it? To the Fish Market! Let's make it an adult entertainment mall! That way, the city can open Baltimore Street for further development, keep conventioneers interested in return trips to Baltimore, and transform the Fish Market from White Elephant (or should the metaphor be "albatross"?). Packing The Block into the Fish Market gets it out of plain sight, too, which will silence the long-outraged holy rollers. I say get it to referendum!

*

Discovery of the Month: Pat's Meat Market, at the corner of Cornwall and Bank, in the East Baltimore neighborhood known as "A-Ta-Kay." (For the uninitiated, the name derives from the alphabetical run of the local streets, from Anglesea to Kane. If they were inclined, the residents always could post a welcome sign that says: "Everything's A'Kay in A-Ta-Kay.") The Dollengers, Pat and Earl, run the store. Nice people. Nice little store, with the wooden shelves, wooden floors and ceiling fans that recall the old IGAs. Earl, who once worked in Haussner's kitchen, keeps the ingredients of his meat case looking terrific. He carries fresh fish and an assortment of appealing deli. A sign touts his stuffed tomatoes (usually with chicken, shrimp or tuna salad). If you visit Pat's, you might imagine that you've stepped ,, into another nostalgic Barry Levinson film. It's a genuine corner grocery, where the owners know just about all their customers by name. The day I was there, a woman came in, bought a ham, a cabbage and a sack of potatoes. She lived right next door. Had I stayed, I probably would have smelled supper cooking.

*

Gripe: With Loew's at the Rotunda, and probably a lot of other theaters. Will they kindly stop with the video and audio junk food before the featured film? I don't mind the coming attractions. But all that ridiculous movie trivia and all those stupid movie factoids, along with all that annoying commercial noise for a local rock station, makes a person want to get up and ask for his $6.25 back!

*

Only in Baltimore: From time to time, you will find in this space a listing of items considered to be distinctly Baltimorean. That is, the sort of phenomenon occurring exclusively in the immediate community -- or so we would like to believe. This is a wonderful way of touting our uniqueness in a world swarming with fast-food franchises, national chain stores and Universal Everything. Readers and colleagues have made numerous contributions to the list. Here are a few: The plastic dog head on the Dawn's Office Supply truck; confectionary sugar on deep-fried pepper rings (Gunning's Crab House); the highly stylized letters that adorn the facade of Memorial Stadium; Highlandtown crossing guards who refuse to wear uniform hats so as to preserve their elaborate coiffures; the sign on West Pratt Street that says, "Steamed Females, $12 A Dozen, No Tricks." I doubt you will find that particular sequence of letters and numerals anywhere else in the world.

*

In the mail: Comes a letter from Williamstown, Mass. A musician-friend, on sabbatical and cooling his fingers in the Berkshires, wrote: "I have nothing better to do here but drink in the college pub and relax my aching brain. While working here last March, I deluded myself into thinking this would be the ideal spot to settle down. This year, I regard that as pure bosh. Nothing moves forward, nor backward, resulting in a static space. That's other-worldly to me. In short, this place gives me the willies. I'm getting out fast." As Daniel Boone once said: "When you can hear their dulcimers, it's time to move on."

*

Suggested summer videos: "Baby, It's You," "Lady From Shanghai," "Dark Eyes" and "The Man From Snowy River."

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.