Redefining the season's songs

Dan Rodricks

December 23, 1991|By Dan Rodricks

Pieces of column too short to use . . .

On holiday music . . . The Leon Redbone/Dr. John version of "Frosty The Snowman" is the hoot of the season. . . . Maureen McGovern's interpretation of "O Holy Night," heard on Garrison Keillor's radio show over the weekend, must be the greatest version of that song ever. . . . Keep your aging choir-boy Andy Williams, your schmaltzy Johnny Mathis, your sultry Linda Ronstadt; you just cain't beat a good country-western version of "I'll Be Home For Christmas." No, sir.

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Why not? . . . I haven't heard a good argument against the proposal to make Maryland the first state to require community service as a condition for high school graduation. All I hear is the familiar grouse of bureaucrats who say the plan would be too hard to implement, or that it would open school systems to liability suits. This is a good idea. Why shouldn't high school students spend a few days serving the community? Why not tap into the wonderful idealism of youth? Kids have a spirit of involvement that the adult world too often ignores; we exclude teens from the mainstream when we should be recruiting them into it. Recycling centers need extra hands; food pantries need help; elementary school children need tutoring; there are streams to clean, trees to plant. Hey, kids might like community service so much they'll want to devote themselves to it for years to come. The State Board of Education should be applauded. It's been a long time since the youth of America heard such a call.

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Things we'd like to know . . . Why manufacturers can't reinforce the holes on shower curtains so they don't rip apart in a week. . . . What a world Roy Rogers lived in, where everybody packed guns and rode horses except for Pat Brady, who drove a Jeep. . . . The name of the person in charge of handling the show-and-tell charts during the governor's live broadcast to the state last week. (Just wanted to congratulate him, or her; you did a terrific ++ job.)

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Bumper sticker sightings . . . Last night on the Jones Falls Expressway: "DON'T BLAME ME, I VOTED FOR DU BURNS." . . . Yesterday on I-795: "I Love Lithuanians." . . . On the Beltway: "Excuse me, but do you know Jesus?" . . . On Eastern Avenue: "This Car Stops At All Goodwill Stores."

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Exploding eggs!! . . . A Baltimore physician, Dr. Morton C. Orman, highlighted and sent us the following advisory from a recent New England Journal of Medicine: "The use of microwave ovens for cooking is now universal. However, cooking certain foods can be hazardous. We report two cases of ocular injury caused by cooking eggs in a microwave oven." In separate incidents -- reported by doctors at a British eye hospital -- two women cracked eggs in a dish, microwaved them at full power for one minute, removed them and pierced the yolks with a fork. The eggs exploded in their faces, causing burns to their eyelids and corneal damage to their eyes. "Treatment of the injury with topical antibiotic ointment and double padding resulted in complete healing and the return of visual acuity to 20/20 in six days," the doctors said. Meanwhile, doctors in Ohio reported that a 19-year-old man suffered second-degree burns to his face after six eggs exploded on him. The man had heated the eggs in their shells in a microwave at full power for five minutes, though the owner's manual had warned specifically against it. "To prevent these potentially serious ocular injuries," the British doctors wrote, "we recommend that the yolk be pierced before an egg is cooked in a microwave oven." In other words, break 'em before you bake 'em. (Heard any weird microwave stories? Drop us a line.)

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Vision of a Baltimore Christmas past . . . This happened a few years ago, during boom time in Ronald Reagan's America, the age of Get-Mine, of Wall Street sharks and leveraged buyouts, of yuppie affluence and conspicuous consumption, of growing ranks of homeless people. Seems like only yesterday, eh? Late afternoon on Christmas Eve, a homeless man, bundled in three coats and two stocking hats, cupped his hands to warm them around an electric bulb on a towering Christmas tree in front of a big downtown office building. Dusk and the cold settled on the man, cars and trucks and buses rushed by him. We've never forgotten the sight.

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