Aging boxers plan to keep on dukin'

Dan Rodricks

July 06, 1992|By Dan Rodricks

Pieces of column too short to use:

Those aging boxers and Block bouncers whose plans for a night of geriatric fights were knocked for a loop by the Maryland Athletic Commission still plan on puttin' up their dukes. Dat's what I'm hearin', anyway. The June 5 "boxing benefit" for the so-called United Society of the Handicapped was called off after its organizers were told fights between men over 36 could not be sanctioned by the state. Plus, John DiRossi (also known as Charles Tipton), who has a long criminal record and who served as director of the little-known charity that would have benefited from the fights, pulled out. Still, a quiet gathering is scheduled for Tiffany's East in Baltimore tomorrow night. Dat's what I'm hearin', anyway.

I'm also hearin' about a certain high-ranking Schaefer administration official who reportedly commandeered his downtown office for a big view of the Inner Harbor on the Fourth of July. It seems that, on previous Fourths, employees of this particular Schaefer appointee were allowed to visit the office at night to check out the city fireworks. But not this year. The muckety-muck used the office for his own party and told underlings to scamper. There's supposed to be a memo on this. I'm still waitin' for all the fax.

While officials at the National Aquarium -- I should say the National Anachronism -- continue to keep dolphins in captivity to keep the tourists coming to keep their $35 million Marine Mammal Pavilion from washing out, we're seeing progress elsewhere. South Carolina, faced with the threat of a Sea World-style theme park near Myrtle Beach, became the first state to ban the public display of marine mammals. State Rep. Alex Harvin, who sponsored the bill, says his fellow legislators considered his humane, future-thinking measure a joke until "people went up to them in the grocery store and said they didn't think it was a joke." In a way, South Carolina had it easy. The practice of displaying dolphins was never established there, as it sadly is in Maryland.

By the way, before I take another beating from the zealous marine biologists and aquarium volunteers who defend keeping dolphins in tanks, I'll pass along some information from Michael Blumfield of The Orlando Sentinel. Two years ago, Blumfield reports, his newspaper conducted a survey and found that, on average, dolphins that have died in captivity since record-keeping began in 1973 were less than 10 years old. Though scientists do not know the average life span for wild dolphins, some studies have shown that they can live to be 20 and sometimes as old as 45.

Would someone -- Miss Manners, Heloise, someone -- please advise Ben Civiletti that it's a bit unseemly for him to be whining about the inaccuracy of a report that his law firm pulled in only $72 million last year? American Lawyer's recent ranking of the nation's 100 most profitable law firms placed Venable, Baetjer & Howard at the bottom. Folks, Venable's 127 partners brought in an average of only $155,000 in profits last year. Revenues were but $72 million. Not true, says Big Ben! Those figures were too low! Venable's managing partner pleaded in The Sun that the firm had "its best year it ever had in terms of revenue and profit. . . . And we expect 1992 to be a little better than 1991." Chill, Ben. Unemployment reached an eight-year high in June, the gap between rich and poor is wider than ever, and lawyers who score big ought to lie low. This kind of talk is particularly unbecoming of the U.S. attorney general under Jimmy "Habitat For Humanity" Carter, who, last I checked, spends more time sweating his brow for the poor than sweating profit margins for big clients.

I'll never forget the first time I met Alfred "Big Al" DiCarlo of Big Pit Beef, one of the great roadside attractions on Pulaski Highway (right across from the Rosedale Loudmouths Club). I stopped by for a sandwich, announced that I wanted to meet Big Al and was told to wait in the parking lot (immediately adjoining Murphy's Country Palace). After about 20 minutes, a car pulled into the lot and a small, wiry bird of a man -- I would say he was 5-foot-5 -- got out and said, "I'm Big Al!" Of course, I had expected someone of John Goodman proportions. Big Al was more like an Italian Morey Amsterdam. He was a great guy, and he and his boys served up some terrific eats. (I loved the "burnt ends.") They even expanded the pit beef business, taking over Sammy's at Eastern Avenue and Mace (right across from Jiffy Lube). Big Al passed away June 13. He's survived by his wife, Mary, and six sons, including Michael, Tom and Jimmy, who worked the pits with their dad. R.I.P. Big Al.

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