Good quotes, dumb crooks and politics

DAN RODRICKS

October 27, 1992|By DAN RODRICKS

Pieces of column too short to use . . .

Quote of the day comes from Andrew Lang's introduction to "The Vision of Don Roderick" by Sir Walter Scott: "Not much is to be said about 'The Vision of Don Roderick. . .*.' " That vision thing -- it confounds the best of us.

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Baltimalaprop-Of-The-Month: "When we get done knocking down that wall, you'll be able to look across the room, with no obscurities in your way."

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From the Thought-I've-Seen-Everything Dept. comes a fellow with a grin and a story. Outside the cloakroom of a prestigious private club, this fellow tells me how he had been trying to talk a wealthy pal into buying a Corvette. His pal's wife objected to the purchase. But temptation was intense; the pal had to have the car. "So he asked me to get the car on my credit card," the fellow outside the cloakroom says. And he holds out as proof a credit card receipt for $42,900. Somebody say we're having a recession?

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Neo-Trekkie-Election-Year bumper sticker, seen in Towson: "Forget Bush And Clinton; Elect Picard and Riker." Legend on back of windbreaker, seen on South Broadway: "Ronnie Dove Fan Club."

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So maybe I was wrong. Maybe the Orioles mean well when they support Mary Pat Clarke's silly City Council bill to crack down on scalpers and scalpees. Maybe, for the sake of fairness to "da little guy," they want to keep tickets out of the hands of greedy brokers who charge outrageous sums. "We are concerned . . . that as many tickets as possible are available to average fans at a reasonable price," said Thomas A. Daffron, the Orioles senior VTC vice president. Orioles spokesman Rick Vaughn said the same thing when he called last week to complain about a couple of lines in Thursday's column.

Maybe it was unfair of me to suggest the real reason the team supports the anti-scalping measure is because scalping hurts ticket sales. The way I see it, the Orioles organization does not want anyone reselling tickets because it hurts the sale of remaining tickets at the box office.

Vaughn says that's crazy. "We sell out," he says.

That's true. Here's the point I wanted to make:

Down the road, should there come a time when the Orioles aren't playing so well and all the yippy-do over Oriole Park wears off, the team might not sell out every game. And, under those conditions, if somebody scalps a pair of sweet box seats, then that's two seats somewhere else in the park the Orioles do not sell. In other words, it's competition. Dig?

Even if you don't, the point is ancillary to the main argument against Clarke's silly bill: Scalping is as American as an overpriced hot dog at the ballpark. And if the Orioles are so concerned about "da little guy," why have they "restructured" their ticket prices in a way that will add $3 million in revenues in 1993?

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This just in! A new addition to the Guilty-But-Mostly-Stupid file:

A hoodlum in Brisbane, Australia, escaped from the local jail, ran a radar trap in a stolen car and crashed into another vehicle after a police chase. He scampered into a house shared by two 22-year-old nurses, Leanne Bowman and Caitlin Conroy. The guy told the women he was desperate to escape. Conroy offered to put him in the trunk of her car and drive him to freedom. "Good idea," the guy said, just before crawling into the trunk and pulling the lid shut. Conroy immediately drove to one of several police cars searching for the man. "We flashed our lights to the police and they came running down and we just ran from the car," Bowman said. Police found the dope in the trunk.

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Gore Vidal, writing at his cynical best in the latest GQ, on the Democratic presidential nominee: "Clinton has a chance to take a deep breath and start building and repairing the country. If this is done rapidly and intensely -- the way Roosevelt did in the Thirties, with fair success; and in the Second War, with great success -- then we shall start generating that famous cash base. . . . In any event, the only alternative to such a program is social chaos. Clinton's greatest asset is a perfect lack of principle. With a bit of luck, he will be capable, out of simple starry-eyed opportunism, to postpone our collapse." Have a nice day, folks.

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