Snow captivity can inspire a blizzard of activity

DAN RODRICKS

March 13, 1993|By DAN RODRICKS

Pieces of column too short to use:

Some common-sensical (and nonsensical) things to do this weekend: Phone in a snow cancellation (everyone else will); stay inside and get to know the family; listen to "My Word" and "My Music" over WETA-FM (90.9) Sunday at noon, and "Whad'ya Know?" on WJHU-FM (88.1) Sunday evening; introduce yourself to neighbors; put away Christmas decorations; put up Christmas decorations; make a quilt out of old pot holders; create a recipe with beans and rice and name it after a relative; read the entire wrapper on the Angostura bitters sauce bottle; do something with duct tape; flea-dip the dog; soak the rich; make a suet-feeder for birds out of a tube sock; dream up a new motto for the state of Maryland and mail it to me; bake loaves of bread shaped like Tip O'Neill; look for change under the sofa cushions; make wiggle worms out of Jell-O; bait some hooks for fishing season (why wait till the last minute?); work on your Mr. Magoo imitation and, most important of all, avoid static cling.

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Bureaucratese made simple . . . Guess what Hecht's calls the request form its clerks use to look up customer accounts? An "Account Look-Up Request Form." It's form 800-401. You can look it up.

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Column used as leverage . . . Lloyd M. St. Ours, a consultant in Bel Air, had mixed feelings about the recent Saturday column on Honest James Harley, who found and returned a wallet to U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Young. While Mr. St. Ours liked the story, it reminded him of an experience that ended on a less inspirational note. A few years ago, while on vacation in the Bahamas, Mr. St. Ours found a wallet belonging to the owner of an Aliquippa, Pa., construction company. The wallet contained a "considerable number of $100 bills" and credit cards. Against the advice of a friend, Mr. St. Ours returned the wallet, and so pleased was the vacationing contractor that he offered to invite Mr. St. Ours back to the Bahamian resort, all expenses paid, to participate in an annual charity golf tournament. Mr. St. Ours never heard from the guy again.

So, after reading the Honest James column of Feb. 27, Mr. St. Ours clipped it and mailed it off to Aliquippa. "To this day," he wrote the contractor in a cover letter, "my friend says, 'See, I told you so, you should have kept the money. He'll only blow it in the casino anyway.'(You were quite active at the craps table that night, as I recall!) . . . It would have been nice to play in the golf tournament, as you promised; just a little thank-you note would have been even better. But, most importantly, I sleep very well at night.How about you?"

=1 Stay tuned to see where this guilt-trip ends.

This just in! . . . After this week's earthquake and aftershock, some residents are having fun renaming those already peculiar-sounding streets in Columbia. Some samples: Literally Rolling Road, Quaking Pebble Run, Tectonics Terrace, Vibrating Vista, Good Vibrations Vista, North American Plate Overlook, Epicenter Way, Fault Line Leap, Temblor Terrace, Tsunami Delight.*

Baltimalaprop of the month . . . The mother of a newborn baby obviously felt, in the Biblical sense, very close to her child. She said she and baby had been attached by "umbiblical cord."

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They don't get it . . . Those writing to me to defend John Arnick and Roscoe Bartlett all start from the same disadvantage: They don't see what the issue was in either case. To a reader named William Gehring, the rejection of Arnick as a District Court judge was a "lynching of an innocent

man based on less-than-circumstantial evidence." (And never mind that Judith Wolfer's testimony on Arnick's angry statements on women in general and battered women in particular was corroborated and unrefuted.)

As for Congressman Roscoe's now-regretted comment that many high school scholarship winners did not have "normal names," but names of Asian and Middle Eastern ancestry, most of his defenders appear to be scratching their heads.

"Huh?" writes Dick Seymour. "This is your reason for crucifying him in your column? . . . In [Bartlett's] statement as you reported it, I don't see any ridiculing of non-Anglo-Saxon names. I see nothing stupid or offensive or sinister. Apparently, all the man did was wonder why so many winners were Chus and Wangs and so few Smiths and Browns." (Why so many weren't white, in other words?)

Adds one Mary Cole: "Why don't you make a big to-do when God [Jesse] Jackson bashes? No can't do that. Just pick on what whitey says. Give me a break. We are sick and tired of all the fuss over nothing." (Speak for yourself, Mary.)

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