Signs waved at the cameras from the delegates...


July 18, 1992

MOST OF THE signs waved at the cameras from the delegates' sections of Madison Square Garden were professionally made. But many, as television watchers noticed, were individual and creative and unrelated to the business at hand.

But important.

For example, before the networks came on Thursday night, Maryland delegates prepared for CNN, C-SPAN and local television coverage Kurt Schmoke's speech. They brandished "The City That Reads" signs. Also "Join Us Ross." But the one that surely addressed an issue more dear to Marylanders' hearts was this hand-scrawled message on a piece of cardboard held aloft and waved by Susan Wood of Aberdeen, for the reaction shots to Schmoke's speech:

"Sign Cal Ripken".

* * *

SPEAKING of signs, there were many in the office building adjacent to the garden where most newspapers and magazines had temporary newsrooms.

These were necessary for staff and messengers. On the elevator landing was a sign with "The Baltimore Sun" and a crude drawn arrow pointing left along the corridor leading to the temporary newsroom. Other organizations ditto.

Inevitably wags produced an "Aviation Week & Space Technology" sign with an arrow pointing straight up, and an adjacent "United Mine Workers of America Journal" sign with its arrow pointing straight down.

* * *

WHO SAYS kids today aren't interested in politics? At the Rodgers Forge Tot Lot the other day, a group of pre-teens were discussing, in their pre-teen way, the relative merits of the presidential candidates. Picture "The McLaughlin Group" on Kool-Aid.

During the conversation, one boy said he liked Dan Quayle. This brought a rain of hoots on his head.

"Quayle-lover!" one kid brayed.

"He spells 'potato' with an 'e'!" another kid said.

One boy, presumably a non-lover of the vice-president, had this contribution to the exchange: "What's the opposite of Albert Einstein? Dan Quayle!"

Laughs all around, except from the young Quayle fan. He walked over to the Jungle Jim and eventually was followed by his mates.

Then the conversation turned to a safer topic: the relative merits of the Super Soaker water gun.

* * *

RUMMAGING through some old files, a colleague found a couple of political buttons amid the wrinkled newspaper clippings.

One was given to him several years ago. It shows that not much changes in politics.

The button says: "A fool and his money are soon elected!"

At least Ross Perot is no fool.

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