Democratic Convention Notebook:
SO HOW ABOUT "STARDUST"?
Maryland definitely needs a new song.
Texas Gov. Ann Richards speaks to the convention and the band plays, "The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You."
Former San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein speaks and the band plays "California, Here I Come."
New York Mayor David Dinkins speaks and it's, "New York, New York."
But when Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke and Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski speak, the band plays . . . what?
"How come they are playing 'Oh, Christmas Tree'?" a reporter from a West Coast newspaper asked me when Schmoke was introduced.
I should have said: "That's not 'Oh, Christmas Tree.' That's 'Maryland, My Maryland,' a pro-slavery song that dates from the Civil War era and that Maryland still uses for reasons not clear to anyone."
Instead I said: "Schmoke really has this thing for Christmas trees."
"You cannot love employment," Paul Tsongas told the delegates, "and hate employers."
AND YOU CAN IMAGINE WHAT 'ORDINARY ACCESS' WAS LIKE:
At the Democratic Convention four years ago, the press corps following after Jesse Jackson on the Sunday before the convention numbered over 100.
This time, it numbered two: me and Basil Talbott Jr., a political writer from the Chicago Sun-Times. First we staked out Jackson's hotel lobby and then the "Meet the Press" skybox to grab a few quotations from Jackson
While we waited, we exchanged the most delightful -- and true -- story from Jackson's last campaign:
Four years ago, a reporter from a major metropolitan daily (no, it wasn't Talbott or me) went to Jackson's hotel suite to work out an exclusive deal.
"I want to be at your side for every minute of the convention," he said. "I want to be a fly on the wall."
"You mean you want 'Special Access,' " Jackson said.
"Yeah," the reporter said. "I want Special Access."
Jackson mulled it over for a while and worked out a few conditions and finally shook the reporter's hand. "Be downstairs at 7 tomorrow morning," Jackson said. "Just tell my press aide that I have given you Special Access."
The reporter was delighted. And the next morning he showed up in the crowded lobby of Jackson's hotel. And about 7:30, the elevator doors opened and Jackson's press aide walked out carrying a clipboard.
"OK!" he shouted. "Everybody with Special Access -- into the bus!"
IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE; HE COULD HAVE CURTSIED:
Just as Americans often get flustered when they first meet members of the British royalty, Americans also can get flustered when they meet members of American royalty.
And when outside the NBC skybox in Madison Square Garden, Mario Cuomo was introduced to Meredith Brokaw, wife of NBC Anchorman Tom Brokaw, Cuomo did the first thing that came to mind: He bowed.
SINCE WHEN DID SPELING BECOME SO IMPORTANT?
Best button: A picture of Dan Quayle with a slash through it and the words: "Just Say Noe."
Worst price: It cost $6 to launder a shirt at my hotel.
And I was faced with the philosophical dilemma: "Is it really worth $6 to wash a $5 shirt?"
Worst line: When Jesse Jackson said, "Mary was a single mother." So what was Joseph? Chopped liver?
Oddest coincidence: Kurt Schmoke was strangely absent from the convention hall on Wednesday, the day William Donald Schaefer appeared.
And Schaefer just had to get back to Maryland on Thursday, the day Schmoke spoke.
IS IT SAFE TO TURN ON THE TV YET?
Has Bill Clinton finished his speech yet?