Light-colored paint might have made a green statement

This Just In. . .

February 05, 1996|By DAN RODRICKS

The way Joe Muner and Charlie Erickson tell it, one of the largest producers of paint on the planet had a chance to do the "green" thing and blew it. Sherwin Williams had between 30,000 and 50,000 gallons of old, unsold latex paint sitting in a warehouse in Baltimore. Muner and Erickson, officials of a paint recycling company in Massachusetts, say they were set to take it away and sell it to interests in Eastern Europe. But, but, but ...

But Sherwin Williams backed out, and Muner and Erickson suspect all that paint might have ended up in a landfill somewhere.

Not that there's anything illegal about that. "But it's not the environmentally friendly way to get rid of paint that didn't sell, especially when you have another option," says Erickson, vice president of sales for the Green Paint Co. in Whitinsville, Mass. "The shocking thing is, we were going to charge less per pound than it was going to cost [Sherwin Williams] to have it taken to a landfill."

Green Paint is a 3-year-old company that specializes in collecting unused, unwanted paints, stains and thinners and recycling them into marketable products. It has had contracts with the federal government, companies in Eastern Europe and American companies that collect surplus paint and other coatings in bulk.

The Sherwin Williams deal would have been a good one for everyone, says Muner. The paint had been sitting in Baltimore for years; it didn't need any reprocessing or repackaging. "It was mostly a light color that, for some reason, was not sold," says Erickson. "It was good for interiors and would have been easy to get rid of."

But the deal fell through, with no reason given.

"We had the sale lined up on the other end," says Muner. "When it fell through, we jeopardized a very good contact [in Eastern Europe]."

I tried to reach a Sherwin Williams official with whom Muner had been in contact, but two calls last week were not returned. So, we still don't know for sure what happened to all that paint. I'd hate to think it ended up in a landfill when it could have been used in homes in the former Soviet bloc. They could use some brightening up over there.

Ousting joust

Jousting is still the official sport of Maryland -- history, schmistory; it's a mystery to me -- but it has been under attack in recent years. There's a lacrosse crowd that thinks that sport deserves the official title. Duckpin bowlers tried to oust joust a few years ago and failed, unfortunately. This year in the General Assembly, a Senate bill seeks to designate the ducks, arguably Maryland's most popular pastime, the state's official "indoor" sport.

Sounds like a compromise, and I guess we'll have to settle for that. But I can think of at least 10 good reasons why duckpin bowling should replace jousting as the state's official sport, indoor or outdoor.

1. No jousters named Toots.

2. Jousters have lots of painful poking accidents.

3. Duckpin bowler diet: pizza and beer. Jouster diet: roast boar and mead.

4. Jousting evokes images of David Niven. Bowling evokes Ed Norton.

5. Historical significance: Duckpin balls were used by patriots to defend Fort McHenry.

6. Horses are not allowed in Dundalk.

7. Personalized lances are too expensive for average Marylander.

8. Hard to keep jousting leagues together when opponents die.

9. Another reason to wear fashionable two-tone shoes.

10. Duckpin bowlers wear lovely pastel blouses. Jousters weachain-mail shorts.

Swing shift

Anyone who thinks midtown Baltimore is dead at midweek ought to check out the 12th floor grand ballroom at the Belvedere Hotel on a Wednesday night. Every week, Helmut Licht is in his glory, instructing a floor full of men and women in cha-cha, foxtrot, swing and waltz. "We started with just 14 students on Jan. 17, and now look," Licht says, gesturing to the 40 or so dancers swirling about him. For $12, you get a 6 o'clock buffet, Licht's congenial instruction and dancing 'til 11. It's what the room was built for.

Double takes

Go ahead. I dare ya. Try walking into the Yum Yum Dessert Cafe on Read Street, right after the proprietor bakes up a waffle, and try not to order one. ...This Just In: The Carroll County plumbing inspector's name is Shorty Long.... Sign on rowhouse, 2700 block of Dillon St., Canton: "Taxes Prepared Codfish Cakes." I understand it's a mother-son team; he does the taxes, she does the fish.

Tag end

So here's my pal, sitting in his car at the light on the Kelly Avenue bridge in Mount Washington. He's waiting to turn left and north on Falls Road. Finally, the light changes, but as pal starts to move, a black Ford Explorer runs the red light on Falls and zips by. "So I fall in behind the scofflaw," pal snarls, "and I see that he has Fraternal Order of Police tags! No wonder

average drivers dis' traffic laws."

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