You can't beat the scene in a leafy Baltimore neighborhood the night before bulk trash pickup. "Everyone is cruising and having a good time, strolling around and checking out everyone else's junk," says Frieda Hermann, Hamilton correspondent for This Just In. Wednesday night, just about every house in Hamilton had set out big stuff for pickup by the Bureau of Solid Waste the next day. "I saw stoves. I saw typewriters, washing machines and vacuum cleaners," Frieda says. "I saw two college students walking down the street carrying an ugly wing chair they took a fancy to. I was driving my station wagon, cruising Walther Boulevard, and I still had on my suit and heels, when I spotted this really interesting-looking kitchen cabinet. I thought I'd take a look. So I pulled over. And this guy in a pickup truck pulls up and he says he's interested in the file cabinet right next to the kitchen cabinet. It was a nice evening and everyone was in a good mood, so he helps me put the kitchen cabinet in my station wagon and I took it home. It has lots of potential."
Watch this face
So, did you notice today's logo with the column? It's a pastel rendering based on the mug shot that usually runs in this space. Jack Meckler did it. He's a reader in Randallstown, a retired publicist who entertains groups of senior citizens with his artwork. Jack usually draws comic book characters, which must be why he found this mug appealing. If anyone would like to try a
rendering in the cubistic style, I'm all eyes.
Was he most popular, too?
An old classmate came across the 1948 college yearbook entry for Fred Kolodner, the convicted thief and disbarred attorney who now is alleged to be practicing law without a license. The University of Baltimore annual, "The Reporter," gave a particularly generous forecast for Kolodner, now 70 and easily one of the most notorious figures in the modern history of the Maryland bar: "Baltimore lawyers will respect this new brother for his knowledge of law." For his chutzpah, too.
Help for battered women
Looking for a socially redeeming value in the O. J. Simpson case? Not easy to find, is it? Right after the murders of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson, advocates for battered women expressed the hope that such a high-profile criminal case would heighten awareness of domestic violence and maybe force courts to deal more sternly with spousal abusers. "We can turn this into a Tonya Harding, tortured media event, or we can use it as a wake-up call," said Jann Jackson, associate director of the House of Ruth, which provides shelter for abused women, legal counseling and counseling for abusers. Turn your disgust with the tabloidization of the Simpson tragedy into something worthwhile. The House of Ruth needs volunteers for a four-day phone-a-thon in the first week of April. Call Jennifer Stump at 554-8450 to volunteer.
My first St. Patrick's Day in Baltimore was in 1976. I was sent to cover various celebrations. New to town, my ear still had not grown accustomed to the native accent. A paramour was something a man used to cut the lawn. Druid Hill Park was Droodle Park. Eagle Street was Iggle Street, and probably still is. The one that got me on March 17 was Emerald Isle. It came out of some son of St. Patrick's mouth as "Emrill Owl," and that's how I wrote it, thinking it was Gaelic. If not for a vigilant Sun editor, it would have gone into print that way. (Speaking of Bawlmerese, here's another malaprop, accented with the patois of the Patapsco, which we call a Baltimalaprop: "My husband's wrists hurt. He's suffering from Harbor Tunnel syndrome.")
Petula Clark, who won a Grammy 30 years ago for "Downtown," is going to sing "Downtown" in downtown Baltimore on behalf of the Downtown Partnership, which promotes downtown businesses and cultural attractions to people reluctant to go downtown. So, at noon April 4, while she's in town to perform "On The Town" -- I mean, "Blood Brothers" -- at the Lyric, Clark will sing her famous song at Harborplace and invite sing-along. This isn't just a concept, baby, it's a happening! And it kicks off a four-day "downtown show" DTC featuring about 100 things to do downtown in lieu of the baseball season.
Tumbling back up
There's great potential for something really cool at the Lyric next week. In the last 10 seconds of "Samson et Dalila," the 37-foot columns of the great temple come tumbling down. The brilliant Roberto Oswald and Anibal Lapiz designed the sets and, given their previous work with the Baltimore Opera, Samson's destruction of the Philistine temple ought to be spectacular. The six massive columns are to fall with the final curtain. But even cooler: We hear Oswald and Lapiz might have the temple standing again, moments later, for the curtain call.
Mike Gary, a Catonsville guy who likes to bike with his wife and son, says the police had a good ole time writing tickets on illegally parked cars in Loch Raven Reservoir last weekend. Gary says maybe 2,000 people were rollerblading, jogging and walking along a stretch of Loch Raven Drive off-limits to motor vehicles parts of Saturday and Sunday. But, Gary says, the parking was inadequate. "For God's sake," he says, "give us a parking lot with meters instead of parking tickets!"