Chessie, come home . . . and Pearl's hot time

DAN RODRICKS

September 04, 1993|By DAN RODRICKS

Pieces of column too short to use . . .

Dog overboard . . . Richard Schubert can't say for sure how Chessie, his yellow Lab, wound up doing the ole dogstroke off Hart-Miller Island last Saturday morning.

Before he anchored for the night and retired to the cabin of his 21-foot boat, Date Bait -- "Hey, I'm a single guy" -- Schubert tethered his dog to the railing. Somehow, Chessie got free from her collar.

Another boater found her about 100 yards offshore, pulled her aboard, then gave her to a third boater who happened by.

Schubert went nuts when he awoke. He cruised the island and, luckily, found the boater who had found Chessie. "You just missed your dog," the guy told Schubert, who thought it strange Chessie had been handed over to strangers instead of, say, marine police.

Anyway, Schubert traveled all over the bay, looking fruitlessly for the boat with his Lab. Thursday, Marty Bass issued an alert on his morning show on WJZ-TV. A zillion people watch Master Bass, so no wonder Schubert got his dog back.

A woman from Pasadena called; her husband was the boater who'd taken Chessie home. Now Schubert, a very happy man, has decided to rename his boat -- get this -- Dog Gone. That should get him more dates, too.

*

Baltimalaprop Of The Month . . . Discussing one of the city's best-known companies on a radio talk show, a man said: "I knew they were having financial difficulties last year. I hope they're soluble now."

*

Great. Just great . . . Alan Fell, the state's commissioner of consumer credit, reports a boom -- in the collections business. We're cracking the sky in bill collectors.

In 1978, when the state first required the licensure of companies that collect debts, there were 58 licensed and bonded collection agencies. As of last week, the state had issued 715 licenses, and Fell says his staff anticipates the total to reach 800 by year's end.

Why the boom? Unpaid medical bills, overdue child support payments, unpaid government education loans, past-due tax bills, not to mention the freezing effect of the prolonged recession -- that's a red sea for hired collectors to fish in. Plus, the so-called National Performance Review, expected to be unveiled in Washington next week, calls for the hiring of private agencies to recover $241 billion in back taxes and other debts owed the federal government. Deadbeats beware.

*

Reader participation project . . . So much of the Maryland countryside has been blighted by suburban cluster development, we need a public survey to determine the ugliest stretch of all.

Congestion, bad landscaping, weird colors in vinyl siding, ironic and stupid development names -- you know ugly when you see it. Mail me your nomination for the residential development that did the most to deface a previously pleasant landscape. We'll review the sites and pick the one that puts the Ugh in Ugly.

*

Enough already! . . . Remember the strange story of Craig Shergold, the British kid with the brain tumor? The one whose dying wish was to break the world record for the most get-well cards received by one person? A friend of mine got yet another Craig chain-letter in the mail last month -- it referred to Craig "Sherwood" and asked for business cards -- and it came from a guy in New York who got it from a doctor in Kansas. The thing is, Craig is doing fine. Doctors removed a cancerous tumor two years ago. The kid has received more than 16 million cards. But, apparently, not enough people got this good news. They're still sending greeting cards and business cards to Craig. If you call the national office of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, you'll get a recording that says the deal is off. Don't keep those cards and letters coming in.

*

Lookin' for trouble, if y'ask me . . . Dale Leiphart, of the Conservation Society of York County, says there's only a 50-50 chance southern Pennsylvania's last regularly held copperhead hunt will be conducted again next year.

The hunt started 33 years ago when folks were concerned about the number of the venomous snakes around a local trout stream. So rewards were offered each August for the most and largest of the copperheads brought in during an eight-hour hunt. Until the state protected the snakes, they were killed. Not anymore. Hunters capture the copperheads, show them off at the Indian Steps Museum in Airville, then release them where they caught them.

No prizes are awarded anymore, Leiphart says. Only nine copperheads were caught this year. "But," he says, "we had one that was 43 inches long."

*

Sept. 19 . . . It's hot sauce time at Mencken's Cultured Pearl Cafe. Teddy Getzel has booked Mambo Combo again, and he's promising another appearance of Our Lady of the Hot Sauces in a noon procession from Viva House, the Mount Street soup kitchen and beneficiary of the hot sauce festival, all the way to The Pearl, near Hollins Market. Judging of the hot stuff starts at 2. This you gotta see.

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