Remember last Thursday night? Snow was in the forecast. People all over the metropolitan area went into a panic again. We dashed to stores and supermarkets for provisions. Milk and bread disappeared quickly off shelves. At one supermarket, TC Giant near Towson, there was -- for one brief, ugly little moment -- 1 gallon of a certain brand of milk remaining. And two women, both of them in their early 70s, reached for it at exactly the same brief, ugly little moment. The dairy department manager witnessed the struggle. Both women actually pulled at the gallon of milk. They glared at each other. They exchanged words.
"Who won?" I asked the manager.
"The bigger one," he said.
That Darwin. He really knew what he was talking about.
Give him a break
"Welcome to Baltimore, Hon" ought to be the official greeting to visitors coming into town north along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. And I'm not the only one who feels that way. My mail, oral and written, indicates overwhelming approval of the idea. Readers think it's time to give the secretive Hon Man a break from having to staple that three-letter term of endearment to the wooden welcome sign. They think we should incorporate "Hon" into the sign at the city limits.
The same sentiment was reflected in the more than 50 phone calls made to This Just In within minutes after Dick Ireland and Sloane Brown mentioned the issue yesterday morning on WLIF-FM, Lite 102. Thanks to the Lifers for encouraging listeners to call.
" 'Hon' typifies who we are," said a caller from Roland Park. "It shows we have a sense of humor and strong civic spirit," said another. "I'm from Texas and I like to tell friends, when they come to Baltimore, be prepared to hear 'Hi, Hon,' just the way we said, 'Howdy, y'all," down there," added yet another caller.
One woman said she was calling from an office in Columbia; she and her six co-workers all favored the idea. I've received offers for design and construction of the sign. Now we need to figure out how to present this idea to the pooh-bahs in charge of signage. Thanks for all your support. Watch this space.
Just as I suspected, everybody has a favorite Instant Clickoff, a TV personality or program that makes you reach like mad for the remote control device for the purpose of changing the channel or muting the sound as quickly as possible.
P. Marie Anderson of Columbia appreciates the therapeutic power of the Instant Clickoff. She writes: "It feels good to zap these idiots out of my face, as though just for a moment, instead of being the kind and decent woman that I am, I can be She-Ra, All-Powerful Empress of the Universe: 'You there. You do not please me. Zap!' Perfectly harmless and satisfying, except sometimes I wish my Zapees knew how quickly they were eliminated."
Now they will. Here is Ms. Anderson's list of Instant Clickoffs (and time, in seconds, it takes her to zap): Geraldo (1.1), "all sitcoms between 8 and 9 p.m." (0.08), evangelists (1.2) and psychic infomercials (3.4).
I'll tell you my Instant Clickoff of the week: Pat O'Brien, that lounge lizard CBS keeps putting on the air because they think, like, you know, he's like hip, he's like cool, he's happening. But Chatty Patty was unbearable in Albertville. And now he's haunting Lillehammer, set up to host the late-night Winter Olympics show, with "rock 'n' roll highlights," and annoyingly chummy interviews. Pat O'Brien doesn't host; he oozes. We're talking 30-weight oil here. I see him, I hear him. I'm outta there! Click! (Unfortunately, Chatty Patty's show doesn't air till after David Letterman, so I can't stay awake to click him off; this year, I content myself to click him off during promos.)
With the persistent snow and ice on side streets in and around Baltimore, people are "throning the asphalt" again.
Throning the asphalt is the provincial custom, observed in most rowhouse neighborhoods, of staking a parking space in the street in front of one's home using a piece of furniture or other object large enough to discourage neighbors or visitors from taking a space you have painstakingly cleaned of snow and ice.
It's a tension-diffusing gesture that spares neighborhoods potentially ugly situations that develop when men and women fight over parking spaces.
This week, we've noticed all kinds of articles used for throning the asphalt. It's happening all over Catonsville. On St. Agnes Lane, we saw a bamboo-and-cane rocking chair in front of one house and a Christmas tree and three snow shovels laid end to end in front of another. From certain streets in Towson and Northwood, we're receiving reports of Weber grills, stolen grocery carts and soft chairs.
A Glen Burnie drama
After Tim Marshallsay, pizza man, made a delivery in a Glen Burnie development last Friday evening, his Honda Civic became entrenched in snow.
People watched from windows as he tried to free himself. Two men with shovels watched and pointed. After 45 minutes, the man to whom Tim had made the delivery came out of his house and said: "Are you stuck?"
Just the gloves, please
Will the women who took my red winter gloves from Long John's Pub on Friday, Feb. 4 kindly return them? Just drop them off. Put them in the mail. No games. Just the gloves.