Some products best left on the shelf

DAN RODRICKS

July 22, 1993|By DAN RODRICKS

Pieces of column too short to use . . .

Clip this item, keep it with your coupons . . . Tell kids that something is not good for them and they demand more. But argue that something is not good for the environment and you might get some respect. You can argue, for instance, that Kool Aid KoolBursts are nutritionally empty, but that argument won't get you as far as this one: KoolBursts have been condemned as an overpriced, over-packaged product that adds unnecessarily to the trash stream and is, therefore, prime for boycott by earth-sensitive kids.

KoolBursts was among 12 products to receive a Wastemaker Award this week from the Maryland Public Interest Research Group and Clean Water Action. "Eleven times as expensive as regular Kool Aid," the citation said, "this Wastemaker is comprised of six plastic bottles in a cardboard case wrapped in plastic shrink wrap."

Other products cited as Wastemakers: Cheese Whiz Zap-A-Pak, Capri-Sun Punch Pouch Packs, Kudos Pan Squares, Quaker Oat Cups, Whiskas Ultramilk, Wesson vegetable oil (in PVC bottle), TTC 3-M's New Stroke Snap-off Paint Brushes, Dunkaroos, Lunch n' Munch and Sheba Cat Food. I was glad to see Sheba make the list, if only because its TV commercial -- in which cat food is presented as pate de feline gras -- is so obnoxious.

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Guilty, But Mostly Not Ready for Double Jeopardy . . . Before accepting the guilty plea of a man charged in the robbery-murder at the Cockeysville Sizzler, a conscientious Baltimore County Circuit Court judge, Barbara Kerr Howe, asked the defendant if he understood the rights he was relinquishing -- in particular, the right to a jury trial. All 12 jurors would have to agree on a verdict, Judge Howe pointed out. Then she asked the defendant if he knew the term "unanimous."

"Yeah, sure," he said. "It means two out of three."

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We didn't make this up . . . The governor of Maryland, William Donald Schaefer (to opera fans, Don Donaldo), returned Tuesday night from his four-day trade mission to Mexico. During the trip, the governor met a lot of Mexican big shots, including the minister of the social secretariat, Juan Donaldo Colosio. Don Donaldo meets Juan Donaldo! What a concept!

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Italian lawn bowling without the lawn . . . As founder of the Society for the Promotion And Proliferation of Bocce In Baltimore Inc. (SPAPOBIBI), I'm the only one to blame for the fact that the society has been dormant for three years. It's time to revive the group and the game, and the opportunity approacheth: A bocce tournament in Little Italy promoted by the restaurants there. Watch this space.

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Call him Mr. Fun . . . Alan Alper, passionate baseball fan, tells of a certain security guard at late June-early July Baysox games at Memorial Stadium. During one game, Alper and two friends decided to move from the cheap seats to the box seats behind the first-base dugout. "It was the bottom or top of the 8th," Alper says, "and there were maybe 3,000 people there. When we moved down to get closer to the field, [the security guard] made us move." At other Baysox games, including one in which Max Patkin, "The Clown Prince of Baseball," appeared, Alper saw the same guard take balls away from fans, including an 11-year-old boy, who had retrieved them from an area below the stands, between the backstop and the dugouts. We have three words of advice for this guard: Get a life!

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Del. Leslie Hutchinson . . . This Democrat from Essex is having problems -- paying her bills, keeping her car insured, keeping her driver's license valid -- that could rub voters the wrong way before the next state primary. And yet, it's her legislative record that should count. For example, there was Hutchinson's defense of John Arnick last winter -- a lonely job but someone had to do it. "That chick" was how Hutchinson referred to the lobbyist who had accused Arnick of making sexist and profane comments about battered women. (Hutchinson later apologized for the remark.) And speaking of Arnick, she said: "He didn't go to the Gilman School. He didn't go to Princeton. He grew up in Dundalk and he doesn't put on airs." And always kept up the payments on his Jaguar.

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