Jim Mustard, one of TV's hard-working reporters

This Just In...

January 03, 1996|By DAN RODRICKS

Jim Mustard, who died yesterday, was one of the hardest-working TV reporters in the biz.

When he worked the weekends for Channel 11, back in the Action News days, he produced at least two full stories (known in the trade as "packages") daily along with three, four, sometimes five other shorter reports for the evening news.

Some Saturdays, it seemed he single-handedly covered the territory, from Abingdon to Arbutus. The 6 o'clock news should have been called "The Mustard Report." . . . All that aside, Jim was a courageous man, with an incredible will to live. (See his obituary, Page 5B. Page 7B in zones.) Rest in peace, Mr. Mustard.

Another Joey report

A holiday leftover from Joey Amalfitano:

"What do 'O Little Town of Bethlehem' and Mongolian beef have in common? Absolutely nothing! But for Maxine and I, it was our Christmas. Like most, we had elaborate plans for the holiday. Maxine was going to prepare rib roast with Yorkshire pudding after presents were exchanged and the grown children gone their separate ways.

"But all that got changed the Saturday before Christmas at a party. Maxine got bit on the hand by my friend's dog, Omar. Her hand stiffened -- so much she could not cook on Christmas day. And you know me when it comes to cooking; I burn cole slaw. So we went to plan B, China Taste on Belair Road in Perry Hall. We felt like the family in the movie "A Christmas Story," in which the neighbor's dogs eat the turkey, forcing mom, dad and the two sons to go to a Chinese restaurant for Peking duck. Well, we had a delightful meal -- Mongolian beef with steamed rice -- while listening to carols over the speaker system. Later, it was an evening of candles and warm thoughts. And no MSG."

Some real 'personal' service

Every now and then, we stumble upon a small business that reminds us of the days when the customer was king and service mattered most. A friend discovered just such a business in a cutting edge industry -- personal computers -- behind a little storefront on Harford Road.

It's called RMR Consulting & Computers, "The Personal Computer People." The computer mega-stores could take a lesson from co-owners Mitchell D. Ross and Robert G. McColley II.

Between Christmas and New Year's, Ross and McColley installed a new modem and expanded the memory in my friend's PC. When the modem failed to connect to databases and on-line services, our frustrated, would-be Net surfer called RMR. This was about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. My friend expected to be told to return the computer the next day.

Instead, McColley asked, "Where do you live?" A half-hour later, he and his partner arrived at our friend's home. And there they stayed -- for three hours, patiently laboring over the keyboard and the bowels of the PC. The modem -- a Christmas gift from a relative who had purchased it at a computer show -- was faulty.

Still, Ross and McColley managed to rig it to connect temporarily with databases and the Internet. And they charged nothing for the house call, by the way. They also recommended a better modem and promised to install it free. No caveats, no catch, no games, no condescending jive to make you feel about 2 bytes tall. Our friend's been pinching himself ever since.

An R-rated children's film?

So it's Christmas break. School's out. Mom and Dad are feeling all warm and fuzzy about the holidays and children and family time. So, they put mittens on their little boy -- maybe he's 8 years old -- and they all hop in the car to take in a movie.

And there they are, hand-in-hand at the Sony Theaters Timonium 3. How sweet. Except that they're headed for the 8:30 p.m. showing of "Heat," the three-hour, R-rated cops-and-killers blood bath starring Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. When the lights come up at 11:30, Mom and Dad are discussing the movie's merits. Their kid looks as though he's been run over by a truck.

So what do you think Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver were thinking? That "Heat" would provide their son with a lesson in how to face up to bullies? That it would spark interest in a career in law enforcement? Or bank robbery?

Yo, Ward. Yo, June: Next time treat your boy to a kid's movie (I suggest "Balto" or "Toy Story"). Or just stay home and read him a book.

A video to avoid

If you're looking for a movie video, here's one to avoid: "Nobody's Fool," starring Paul Newman. Filmed in Stink-a-rama.

A gift from a motorist

Another holiday leftover . . . Seen at Conway and Light, around noon the day before the day before Christmas: A man stopped his car, ran over to a homeless man walking his regular beat, handed him a wrapped Christmas present, then slid back into his car and drove off.

Dan Rodricks' column appears each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Observations and comments about almost anything may be sent to This Just In, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. The telephone number is 332-6166.

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