Seen along Hopkins Place, between Lombard and Pratt, behind shrubbery, within the shadow of the federal courthouse: Two men, presumably homeless. One on a bench. One beneath the bench. They're watching TV. The set is plugged into an outlet on a steel lamppost. My sources witnessed this late Tuesday afternoon. However, they failed to note what the men were watching at the time. We're guessing "Roseanne."
A suitable solution
Here's how to defuse the controversy over the statue of the nude surfer in Ocean City: Have the O.C. Downtown Association cut a deal with Speedo to advertise swimming briefs on the bronze, a different bottom every day. Too commercial? (Yeah, like Ocean City isn't already The Billboard-By-The-Sea.) Then, have the artist adjust the surfboard to the down-in-front position. Easy.
Happy song, sad 2nd verse
In February, I told you about Corry Speight -- the middle-aged man from Randallstown who had been looking for a job so long and with so little success he almost considered himself a "discouraged worker." The Department of Labor actually tries to track this category of American; the estimate two years ago was 350,000. Speight was pessimistic about finding work, but he hadn't lost all hope. Early last month, about six weeks after his story appeared in this space, Corry Speight landed a job. And it was a job he liked: selling steel and aluminum products manufactured by a Baltimore company. (For 22 years, Speight had worked as a bookkeeper and office manager for an ironworks in the District of Columbia, so he felt at home in the new job.) Problem is, the man who hired him resigned Monday, and Speight was laid off the same day. "The sales manager quit, and they let me go because, they said, there was no one there to train me in the job," Speight says. He had the job for one month. "I really liked it, too," Speight says. "Now I'm back to ground zero."
GOP vs. trees
I'm glad we now know where the Republican candidates for governor all stand on environmental protection -- about where their hero, Ronald Reagan, stood, somewhere in the Jurassic period. Too many laws, too many fines against businesses that violate laws, too many permits, too much trouble, and blah blah blah. Bill Shepard, Ellen Sauerbrey and Helen Bentley all think we've gone overboard trying to protect the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, wildlife, wetlands, trees, air and open space. Bentley doesn't even like the law requiring builders to plant trees to replace the ones they destroy when they clear land for development. Shepard thinks compliance on environmental protection should be "voluntary." What planet have these people been living on?
Words from nerds
During lunch the other day at the Rotunda, two young women heard a pickup line that can only be described as "of another world." They were eating pizza at a table at Casa Mia's when a 20-something guy approached. "How would you like to see UFOs?" he asked. "There's a group of about 15 of us who go out and look for UFOs, if you girls would like to join us." (Whoa. Talk about trying to "boldly go where no man has gone before.") After the guy left, the friends looked at each other in amazement, thinking his come-on weird and nerdy. There must be some strange pickup lines still ringing in a lot of ears. What was the worst you ever heard? Drop us a line.
Tribute to teen artist
Lost in all the fuss about the Baltimore Museum of Art's purchase of more Warhols was the display of works by Baltimore County public school students. More than 300 pieces went up at the BMA last weekend, and included were two entries from Arbutus Middle School, one of them an unfinished piece. The drawing, which accompanies this column, was by Ryan McDonnell, a 13-year-old gifted-and-talented art student of Kathy Gardner and the son of Jim and Pat McDonnell. Ryan was killed March 25 when he was struck by two vehicles while riding his bicycle. That's why the drawing of Cal Ripken Jr. is unfinished. His school entered Ryan's piece in the BMA exhibit as a tribute to him, said his principal, Linda Wilson. "Ryan was very interested in sports and art," she said, "and we were very proud of him and his work." His mother said: "His hero was Cal. . . . He was an honor student. He was a very good boy."