Dial an inmate, and Kent County guard pages him


December 10, 1992|By DAN RODRICKS

Pieces of column too short to use . . .

Got a letter from a griping inmate at the Kent County Detention Center. In it, he provided a phone number. "Feel free to call the above telephone number if [you] would like to discuss this matter further," the letter said.

bTC Call? On the phone? The guy has a phone? So I called the number. The phone in the inmate's "pod" rang and a guard summoned the griping inmate to the line. Great. I wonder if the guards take messages for these guys, scribbling names and numbers on those pink "While You Were Out" slips.

What a world. Next thing you know, inmates will have voice mail.


Number One Reason David Letterman Should Make Switch From NBC To CBS: Dan Rather has even less of a sense of humor than Bryant Gumbel.


Prediction: If Letterman gets the 11:30 p.m. slot on CBS, he'll blow Jay Leno out of the water. Sorry, Jay baby -- funny fellow, nice guy, great suits, amazing chin -- but your "Tonight Show" is lame. (With, of course, the exception of Branford Marsalis and the band.)

Meanwhile, millions of red-eyed men and women, responsible adults with young children, are chomping caffeine tablets to stay up for "Late Night" with Letterman. Slide Big Dave in at 11:30 and he'll be a killer.

Warning: My prediction does not hold for Baltimore. This quirky town is a lot kinder to Leno than it is to Letterman. It likes Leno and Arsenio equally, and the viewers' top choice here at 11:30 is "Nightline." In fact, the only late-night show Letterman consistently beat in this town was a half-hour "infomercial" on Channel 45. Go figure.


Owners of Maryland taverns, restaurants and package goods stores are among the many objecting to Keno, the state's latest gambling scheme.

They say a 5 percent return isn't enough to justify staffing a terminal for the fast-paced, bingo-like game, and they don't want to serve as bookmakers for the state, don't want to be pushers of this new Crack of Lottery Games.

Well, one can't help but wonder if some of these bar owners don't object to Keno because they want to protect their video poker profits. Just a thought.


A friend writes:

"On the 5:50 p.m. MARC train from Washington Dec. 1, commuters engrossed in their paper work or snoozing were startled to hear the voice of a child, perhaps 5 or 6 years of age, announce the approaching stop at BWI Airport. 'The next stop is Baltimore-Washington International Airport!' the child proclaimed cheerily as the riders chuckled. Over the train's intercom, the voice of an adult -- presumably the child's parent -- could be heard prompting the youngster: 'Say, "Please watch your step while leaving the train." ' The child blithely ignored the instructions. 'The next stop is BWI Airport!' he said firmly. . . . Within minutes, as Halethorpe approached, the MARC riders heard a remarkably accurate imitation of Ronald Reagan's warm, whispery voice announce: 'Well, good evening. Nancy and I welcome you aboard and want you to know that the next stop is Halethorpe. That's spelled, 'H-a-t-h . . . uh, H-a-e-o-r . . . Um, uh, I guess we'll have to pass off to Dan Quayle for that.' The riders roared and a smattering of applause was heard. Then, moments before the train pulled into the Halethorpe platform, the conductor (and presumed impressionist) said, 'Did you like that? Tomorrow we'll have Nixon.' Unfortunately, Mr. Nixon didn't elect to announce any stops the next night, but the train ran on time nonetheless."


The cash-poor city can't provide the services that governments in the wealthier counties can. Or so goes the popular perception.

But get a gander at the very vital service of leaf removal. Budget restraints forced Baltimore County to sell trucks used for bulk trash collection and leaf collection, the sanitation department has 30 fewer workers, and private haulers are picking up leaves this year.

Not so in Baltimore. We might be losing ground in a lot of socioeconomic categories, but we're tops in leaf-suckin'. The city can brag it has 24 vacuum trucks for the disposal of autumn droppings in its leafier neighborhoods.

Baltimore: The City That Sucks Leaves.

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