Caught in the act, Hon Man tells troopers he won't do it again


May 11, 1994|By DAN RODRICKS

For the first time in the two years he has been adding "Hon" to the welcome sign on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, Hon Man has been confronted by the law, and we're not talking Miss Utility. Monday, two Maryland state troopers stopped Hon Man as he was about to attach one of his homemade placards to the welcome sign and asked him to no longer make his famous roadside improvement. He agreed.

"They were very nice about it," Hon Man said yesterday. "First, a female trooper approached me and motioned me to stop. 'You know that's defacing property,' she said, and I said, 'Yeah, I know.' "

He's known all along. Inspired by the original fun-loving elf who spray-painted "Hon" on the sign, Hon Man made placards, laminated them and stapled them to the wooden greeting. But someone -- the usual suspects were highway crews -- ripped them down as frequently as Hon Man put them up. This winter, a movement developed to make "Hon" part of a permanent greeting to Baltimore. However, that idea was trampled by the politicalcorrectness polizei who insisted that "Hon," rather than being a provincial term of affection, was a term of denigration, especially to women and to blacks. (In an act of playful payback, someone last week wrote "Bro" on a white paper bag and attached it to the welcome sign, in the spot often occupied by "Hon.") And, of course, there were the usual ponderous bores who thought the whole "Hon thing" frivolous. (Hey, excuse us for livin'.)

All the time he was working the stapler on the parkway median strip, and gaining attention, Hon Man never had a confrontation with the police. Then, on Monday, he was told to cut it out.

"The male officer . . . asked me if he could keep the 'Hon' sign," Hon Man said. "So I handed it to him. Both troopers were smiling and laughing. But I gave them my word I wouldn't hang the signs again. And so if you know anyone who would do it in my place -- it takes a screwball like me -- tell them they can have my remaining signs. But it's BYOS -- Bring Your Own Stapler."

Treat for a pitcher

Former Oriole Mike Flanagan got a treat over the weekend: a glimpse at Ken Burns' much-anticipated documentary, "Baseball." Flanagan was among a group of baseball veterans invited to Manchester, N.H., for a benefit screening of segments from the 18 1/2 -hour documentary and a question-answer session with Burns. (Flanagan grew up in Manchester; Burns lives in Walpole, on the Vermont border.) "What we saw was wonderful, in the style of 'The Civil War,' " said Flanagan, referring to Burns' earlier documentary, the highest-rated series ever on the Public Broadcasting System. "['Baseball'] covers 100 years. We saw excerpts about the Black Sox scandal, the Negro Leagues and labor-management. . . . As a speaker, Burns is a wonderfully eloquent storyteller, and he spoke about the connection between baseball and our social life and all the changes the country has been through." The program, with John Chancellor as narrator, airs for two weeks in September.

Boog making waves

Folks, I don't think you want to miss this. Start making plans now. Go over to the refrigerator and mark the date on your calendar -- Saturday, June 18. If you have a video recorder, charge the batteries. If you own a camera, make sure it has film. If you don't have a camera, borrow one or buy one of those "fun saver" recyclables. Just be ready. Boog Powell is going to slide into a pool of Jell-O.

Got that? Boog. Jell-O. Lime Jell-O. It's an awesome concept.

The All-Time Big-Boned Oriole will slide into approximately 2,000 gallons of green gelatin. The stuff will be prepared a couple of days in advance by 30 Girl Scouts. It will be poured into 85 large trash cans, then allowed to set in a refrigerated beer truck. Then, on the 18th, the gelatin will be poured into a 12-foot swimming pool erected on an empty lot between O'Donnell and Boston streets in Canton. About 1 p.m., Boog slides into slime. There hasn't been a photo opportunity like this since the big Block raid.

Why is Boog doing this? Why did he pose for a poster photo in tuxedo and bathing suit, rubber duckie under his arm? Because the big lovable galoot is lending his name and his body to help raise funds for the Maryland chapter of the Leukemia Society of America. Each time someone slides into slime, the Leukemia Society gets at least a $75 donation. (That's the minimum cost of a pledge.) Hopefully, Boog won't slide solo into Jell-O. If you want to frolic in 2,000 gallons of goo call the Leukemia Society at 825-2500.

Congestion of the head

Is there a Maryland road more congested than Route 30, through Hampstead and Manchester in Carroll County? Is this evidence of economic growth or just DSP (Dumb Suburban Planning)? Along the pike on a recent Sunday afternoon, things appeared pretty much nuts. The area needs triple-bypass surgery. Also, there's the stunning juxtaposition of a new supermarket, Festival Foods, directly opposite a shopping center with not one, but two empty stores -- a Super Thrift and an Ames. Good thinking, folks.

Mother's druthers

Here's what a native Baltimorean living in West Orange, N.J., asked her daughter, now living in Maryland, to bring her for Mother's Day: marshmallow-filled doughnuts (from Woodlea Bakery) and two crab cakes (from Gunning's).

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