'Cut off! What an outrage!'

Dan Rodricks

July 29, 1991|By Dan Rodricks

Pieces of column too short to use . . .

A woman called Friday evening with an outrage. She'd just been to lunch at Haussner's, and, boy, was she upset. "I went to lunch with a friend and spent $70," she said. "I had four brandy Alexanders, and afterwards we went in the bar and the bartender refused to serve me." Cut off! What an outrage! She was so insulted she called me with the exclusive story. She must have hoped I'd join her in blasting good ole Haussner's for this affront. But I think I'll restrain myself. I think, milady, thou dost protest too much. (And I bet she had gall and onions for lunch, too!)

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Check out page 31 of Kurt Schmoke's slick new campaign booklet, in which the mayor's first-term accomplishments are listed. And listed. And listed. (I really like the one that reads: "Attendance at the city's municipal golf course reached record highs over the last two years.") About that picture: Baltimore's button-down mayor gets down; he's actually shown dancing with a senior citizen in one of the city markets. I don't know when this occurred, or what brought it on. But Kurt Schmoke's jacket is actually unbuttoned and he actually appears to be rolling his hips. It's astounding.

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Had the New England-style fried clams at the Harris Crab House at Kent Narrows last week. They were good but not as good -- not as golden, not as light and crisp -- as Paul Devine's at the Crab Pot in Lexington Market. They were, however, as fresh as can be. The soft-shell clams arrive daily at Harris' dock and at United Shellfish next door. United's veteran shucker, "Captain" Arthur Jones, has been packing clams for the New England market since the 1960s. The other day, he showed us how it's done, and doing it right requires cutting off the clam's long snout. It is also among Captain Arthur's responsibilities to dispose of the snouts. "I take 'em to the farmer's hogs," Captain Arthur tell us, pronouncing the word "hoags." He added: "The hogs love 'em." Clam snouts on hog farms -- what a concept.

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Things we'd like to know: What that unruly fan said to Jose Canseco Saturday night that provoked the Oakland A's hunk into daring the guy into the on-deck circle. Jose, who loves to check out the crowd while waiting to bat, obviously heard something he didn't like. Before you could say "Madonna," he was pointing to the on-deck circle, instructing the provocateur to join him for a manly confrontation. Before that could happen, the fan got the boot from the stadium. It was, however fleeting, the most exciting moment of the night. (Orioles lost, 9-1.) That Jose -- not since Reggie Jackson have we seen anyone as hated, as widely booed and harassed, and as appreciated for his big strike-outs. What can I say? He's just a very special someone.

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Our quote of the week comes from the Lacrosse Hall of Famer An Annapolis woman named Grace went to the supermarket a couple of weeks ago and, somewhere in the produce section, she first caught the eye of Mr. Lonely. "Obviously, he was flirting," said Grace. "He was very nice. I enjoyed his attention, but he kept blurting out all the facts of his life." In the dairy section, he said: "Gee, I don't have a shopping list. I'm not used to shopping for myself." In the pasta section, he said: "I don't eat very well." Over by the cereals, Mr. Lonely examined the contents of Grace's shopping cart and said: "You must be a good cook. Do you just cook for yourself?" In the frozen food section, he said: "Good thing for frozen dinners or I'd never eat." In the pet food section, he said: "Sometimes I think my dog eats better than me." Grace felt so bad she almost invited Mr. Lonely home for dinner. But she didn't think her husband would understand.

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It's time for Operation Desert Share! As the United States prepared for war with Iraq, the Defense Department stockpiled mass quantities of food. But, with the war being so short and sweet, the government ended up with $300 million in excess food. Now the General Services Administration will distribute it to the nation's needy through various food banks and soup kitchens. So, you see, George Bush, fat-cat defense contractors, vulgar-rich Kuwaitis and wealthy oil merchants weren't the only ones to benefit from the Persian Gulf war; America's poor did, too. Maybe we should wage war in Third World countries more often.

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