The brash and the beautiful stir an aria about boffo souvlaki


January 26, 1994|By DAN RODRICKS

Through the slow-melting ice and the muddy gauze of winter, the eye discerns this sign of spring: At the corner of Washington and Chesapeake avenues, Towson, parked illegally at high noon Monday -- a black Chrysler convertible. With its top down!

Current events quiz

Quotes in the news. Who said, "I've had a couple of little fatty pieces removed"?

A. Murry of Murry's Steaks.

B. Kathleen Sullivan.

C. Rep. Helen Delich Bentley.

Great wasteland

What will the state Senate do without Gerald W. Winegrad? The retiring Anne Arundel County lawmaker has long been the environmental watchdog of the Senate, but, while he worried about pollution and the destruction of natural resources statewide, he didn't miss much beneath his nose, either. He's been looking at the trash cans around the General Assembly and he told his colleagues last week that he does not like what he sees. Too many cans, bottles and paper that could be recycled. The General Assembly, he reminded his fellow senators, has a good record, having recycled 150 tons of solid waste last year. And he urged them not to let up. To that, state Sen. Julian L. Lapides of Baltimore rose to ask: "Have we figured a way to capture the hot air around here? If we did that, there wouldn't be an energy crisis." To which Senate Minority Leader John A. Cade replied: "You ought to know."

Ice Brat & Co.

I've already decided who should play whom in the inevitable made-for-TV movie about the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan affair, inevitably titled, "Ice Brat: The Tonya Harding Story." I see John Candy as the bodyguard, Kevin Bacon as the husband, Joey Buttafuoco as the hit man, Drew Barrymore as Tonya and Elizabeth Perkins as Nancy. Of course, my casting is too costly for a television movie, so one of the networks will probably make some substitutions: Chris The Fat Guy From "Saturday Night Live" as the bodyguard, Anonymous Hairy Thug as the hit man, John Bobbit as the husband and Kelly The Daughter from "Married . . . With Children" as Tonya. I'd like to see Mike Ditka and Dick Van Patten as the cops who bust the case wide open, but who am I to make such demands?

Joe twice

The answer to the question, "Why the heck did Baltimore City Councilman Joe DiBlasi have two 'Happy Holidays' billboards on Frederick Road between Catonsville and Ellicott City?" is simple: Name recognition. He's thinking of running for state senator in the newly drawn 47th legislative District, which now extends like a meandering river from DiBlasi's base in South Baltimore through southwest Baltimore County clear out to Route 40. Got it?

Bravo, Puccini

Demand was so intense for tickets, the Baltimore Opera Company has decided to add a fifth performance of Puccini's "La Boheme" in the spring. The additional date is April 30, a Saturday. Michael Harrison, the opera's major domo, says 88 percent of the tickets for the four scheduled performances have already been sold and, at that rate, sellouts were a given. "Boheme" might be the world's most popular opera. It's in most opera-starter kits. So, if you always wanted to see what this Italian singing was all about, if you want to see what made Cher cry in "Moonstruck," if you want to see singers groping around in the dark for the right key (sorry, that's an inside-opera joke), if you've been looking for an excuse to dress up like one of the Marx brothers and run wild through an opera house, and if you can come up with the cash, here's a chance to get in the Lyric for the big show.

Shirlee's plight

Among all the letters -- and, trust me, there were many -- that came my way after the columns about Diane Griffin's search for a job was this one, from ZIP code 21215, a woman named Shirlee:

"I can very well sympathize with Diane. I am divorced, after 35 years of marriage, 67 years old and on my own. I was employed for almost seven years as a cashier/hostess/assistant manager for a Chinese restaurant, positions I loved. However, they went Chapter 11. I have been unemployed since August. I am honest and efficient. I am not ready to go out to pasture. However, after many rejections, you lose your self-esteem. Recently, I applied for a cashier position and the gentleman, in a very nice way, let me know that I was too old. "You are very well qualified, but I think it is too much for you," he said. He hasn't learned that, for the best results, always deal with a well-established person. And, to all the people who have rejected me, I can only say, if you want young chicks, fine, but I won't have PMS and baby-sitting problems. Thanks for hearing me out. If you should place this in your column, please don't use my real name."

Greektown tour de force

Once in this space, I recommended the chicken souvlaki at Samos, an eat-in/carryout on Oldham Street in Greektown. This place has friendly atmosphere, pleasant waitresses, warm pita bread and a big hunk of a guy named Nick. Nick makes terrific food, and I'm fond of his souvlaki. But the fried calamari! I ordered a plate, and it came from the kitchen sizzling -- a pile of light brown rings and curly squid legs, not greasy, not rubbery, just right. "You like?" Nick asked. I like.

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