Overcoming cruelty with kindness: a plea from the past


May 18, 1994|By DAN RODRICKS

From Clarence Darrow's famous defense in the Leopold and Loeb murder case: "I am pleading for a time when hatred and cruelty will not control the hearts of men, when we can learn by reason and judgment and understanding that all life is worth saving. . . . Do I need to argue to Your Honor that cruelty only breeds cruelty? That hatred only causes hatred? How often do people have to be told this? Look back at the world. There is not a philosopher, not a religious leader, not a creed that has not taught it. . . . I am pleading that we overcome cruelty with kindness, and hatred with love. I am pleading for life . . . and that highest attribute of man -- the infinite mercy that considers all."

Scholarship fund

Two weeks ago in this space, I told you about Ryan McDonnell, the Arbutus Middle School student who was killed March 25 when he was struck by two vehicles while riding his bicycle. Ryan's unfinished drawing of his hero, Cal Ripken Jr., appeared in an exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Friends of the McDonnell family have set up a scholarship fund to enable Ryan's fraternal twin, Sean, to attend Mount St. Joe's next year. (Both McDonnell boys were accepted to the school for the fall.) Stephen Hughes, of the scholarship committee, says the fund will be a permanent one. Leeds Federal Savings and Loan is serving as the depository and waiving all fees associated with keeping the account.

Laughs for a cause

Coming up: a couple of comedy nights featuring terrific Baltimore-based comics to benefit local causes. This Sunday night, witty Bob Somerby stands up at Slapstix in a no-booze fund-raiser for the Community Counseling and Resource Center in Cockeysville. Tickets are $10 and proceeds support CCRC's efforts in drug and alcohol abuse treatment and services. Cal 628-6120. And Jeff Marder, nationally known as "the guy who does the two-microphone bit," will perform Thursday, May 26 at the Comedy Factory to benefit the House of Ruth. Emcee will be attorney and comic-wannabe Stephen L. Miles. Tickets are $25, and all proceeds go to the House of Ruth. Call 244-5233 or 685-8444.

Orlinsky returns

Look who's writing a column again: Wally Orlinsky, former City Council president, the state's chief tree planter and a trenchant wit. After his fall from grace -- it seems ages ago -- Wally wrote a column in the City Paper that was eagerly awaited by political junkies each week.

Now his political commentary will appear regularly in the Harbor Crescent, a new weekly serving waterfront neighborhoods from Locust Point to Canton. His first offering, a pungent perspective on the death of Richard Nixon, appeared last week.

Oops again?

During the National Football League's drawn-out expansion drama, national writers and football prognosticators all agreed on two things: St. Louis was "a lock" to get a team and Jacksonville, Fla. was an also-ran before the running began. Charlotte, N.C.? Some said yes, some said no.


Now some of the same writers have begun laying odds on the move of the Rams from Los Angeles, and -- gulp -- Baltimore is the early favorite. "Baltimore is the front-runner," says the Los Angeles Times. Orange County Register columnist Steve Bisheff puts the odds this way: Baltimore (2-1), St. Louis (5-2), Anaheim (50-1), Memphis, San Antonio, et al (500-1).

"The new stadium and accompanying eye-popping revenue plan already have Rams' vice president John Shaw salivating. Only the ominous shadow of one Jack Kent Cooke hovers nearby, threatening to blow up this multimillion-dollar game plan," Bisheff wrote recently. Gee, thanks, I guess.

An inflated surprise

Saturday morning, about 10 o'clock, Pocomoke City. Tom Weimer is "doing a little welding" in the yard behind his house on Walnut Street, about 120 miles from Baltimore, when this cluster of balloons floats down, drifts across the grass and bounces up next to him. Tom scratches his head. Must be 50 standard-size helium balloons, gold and cream and black, and all tied together.

Where'd they come from? Don't know. Strange. Winds are east, about 7 miles per hour. Could the balloons have blown down the shore from one of those Preakness Festival events in Baltimore? "I don't know," Tom says. "The colors [of the balloons] are kind of faded. They look like they've been floating around a while." Anyway. Balloons are down at the Weimers'. If you're looking for them, contact Tom or Linda.

Calling all Hons

Denise Whiting, owner of the Cafe Hon on 36th Street, Hampden, says registration is now open for the first "Baltimore's Best Hon Contest" on Saturday, June 4. She wants this to be an annual event.

"This is a fun way to honor and appreciate Baltimore's working women," Denise says. "I'm talking about women who wear uniforms to work, or really any working woman, including moms." Judges will be looking for best hairdo, best baked goods and best uniform. Denise is offering glamorous prizes to the winners. . . . Also from the Hon front: Hon Man says he's doing what he promised two state troopers -- he's no longer attaching "hon" to the welcome sign on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

"But I gotta tell ya," he confesses, "I'm having terrible withdrawal pains."

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