We have a winner!
The Seventh Annual Roger Simon Greater Eastern Seaboard Poetry Contest, in which you were asked to submit your plan to save Maryland, has concluded.
That's the good news. The bad news is I'm going to have to print the winning entries.
Just kidding. It's not really bad news. Actually, some of them were pretty creative.
More of them would have been creative except for that thing which has been stalking the land for quite a while now: anger.
The majority of solutions for saving the state had to do with the exiling, stomping or disemboweling of any and all elected officials. William Donald Schaefer was the most mentioned bad guy, with Kurt Schmoke coming in second.
None of these solutions won because violence is not creative. Violence is commonplace. Besides, if I wanted to see violence, I'd just follow Thor and Moe around all day.
In any case, our First Place winner is Scott Katz of Baltimore. Scott has 12 minutes to contact me in order to pick up his prize or else I am giving it to the third caller. Scott wins with this nifty limerick:
Since domestic assistance abates
And the White House won't help out the states
I hasten to mention
To receive intervention
We should change our name to Kuwait.
Elinor Conn of Baltimore gets Second Place by appealing to my sense of guilt with this ditty:
Children in Grade Number One
Need more than to have days of fun
Need the best of the teachers
With instructional features
And salaries as high as The Sun!
In Third Place is Hana B. Himelstein of Baltimore with:
From a bread line to a charity mission
Recession has clouded our vision.
So why should it be
That the Free State's still free?
We ought to start charging admission!
K. M. Davis of Maryland City heads the Honorable Mentions with a clever play on words in her haiku:
Pay for what you want, or else
And Emily Johnston of Westminster, who admits she stole the idea from "The Mouse That Roared," is also an Honorable Mention with:
Maryland should secede.
Declare war on the U.S.
And make sure we lose.
Now come the angry people. This, by John Dohner of Columbia, was typical:
Help Maryland out! I'll relate
An idea that I think is great.
All you women and men
Must cast ballots and then
Drive Schaefer and Schmoke from this state.
Page Young of Baltimore steps beyond the bounds of good taste (and if you can't do that in this column, where can you?) with:
First impeach Mitchell
Then imprison Mike Miller
Murder Don Schaefer.
Our Suck-Up Winner this year was Ronald D. Eber of Timonium. The Suck-Up Winner is that person who gets his name into this column by massaging my ego to a really embarrassing extent.
In this case, Ronald massaged my entire profession:
"Before I comment on your poetry contest," he began, "I'd like to submit a note in favor of print media when it comes to things like the Thomas hearings. Sure, live TV has its points, but for my money, more and better analyses came from the Sunpapers and news magazines."
Hey, you think I'm not going to make a guy like that an Honorable Mention? Heck, if he had bought an ad, I might have given him First Place. In any case, I liked his thoughtful haiku:
Answer is simple.
Chase all the moneyspenders
Out of their temple.
I couldn't tell if Maria McNeal of Baltimore was sucking up or not, so I am including her just in case:
We need new image
No more wimp state: try new flag
Fly "Jolly Roger"
Dorothy B. Jones of Towson continues the Honorable Mentions with a haiku that is deeply into morality, ethics and metaphysics -- three things that have always baffled me:
Tax all unhealthy
Things people do for pleasure
Be saved, But be sad.
Dorothy Turner of Oxford gets an Honorable Mention with:
Just one simple thing to do
Start over again!
I know that sounds pretty extreme, but wait until you see the solution offered by Karen Stott of Baltimore:
Save our precious state
Return to halcyon days
Bring back Harry Hughes.
/# Now that's what I call extreme.