'Misfortunes'? Unfortunate word choice

This Just In...

September 20, 1996|By DAN RODRICKS

Would someone please tell Helen Delich Bentley, longtime Republican and former congresswoman, that the tenets of her party include an insistence on self-reliance, strong morals and personal responsibility? She must need remedial studies in GOP principles, given her reference to the late Spiro T. Agnew's wrongdoings as "the misfortunes that came his way."

"Misfortunes"?

Small fortunes in kickbacks is more like it.

"Came his way?"

Mrs. Bentley, who served in the Nixon administration, makes it sound as though the former vice president was merely standing there with his palms out when a strong wind came up and left cash in his hands. Of course, it was later proved that Agnew benefited -- as Baltimore County executive, then as Maryland governor, then as Nixon vice president -- from a corrupt system that he helped engineer. If not for a federal grand jury in 1973, the evil winds that "came his way" never might have stopped.

Perhaps Mrs. Bentley was simply trying to use gentle language about Agnew upon hearing of his death. After all, we've all been advised never to speak ill of the dead. But, at the same time, we can do without those infuriating, overly rehabilitative quotes. "Misfortunes that came his way"? I thought Republicans insist on individual responsibility for our actions. (Or maybe that only applies to welfare recipients.)

Seen on the street

Sightings Lorraine Lodge, loyal TJI reader from Mount Washington, reports the following on my voice mail: "Dan, I just saw a guy who looked just like Elvis, in a white muscle shirt, standing along the old Falls Road near the streetcar museum. There was a 10-speed bike parked next to him, and he was singing into a pink Hi-Liter." Yes, that was, indeed, one of our favorite Thespians -- the fine stage actor Edward Hermann -- at Louie's Bookstore Cafe the other day. He's in town for "Homicide," episode No. 7, and I'm told he's cast as an FBI agent (presumably the old-school Fordham type) ...He looked just like Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, the father of gonzo journalism: Yesterday morning during rush hour, he was standing on York Road near the city line in a crumpled straw plantation hat, denim vest with biker colors, narrow 50-something face behind aviator glasses, looking kinda lost and weird. He kept sucking for the last drop of liquid from a Styrofoam coffee cup. However, he was not holding an automatic weapon, which makes me think it wasn't Doc Gonzo, after all.

Hoiles catches a ride

Lou Richie, a driver for Acme Paper & Supply in Savage, spotted Chris Hoiles at Oriole Park Tuesday morning. The O's catcher had a cellular phone to his ear and was pacing back and forth on the parking lot. Why was Hoiles still in town when the O's had a date with the Yankees in the Bronx? "I called a cab, but he hasn't arrived yet," Hoiles told Richie. "I have to catch the 9: 38 train to New York." Richie looked at his watch -- 9: 20 a.m. He told Hoiles to hop into the cab of his 27-footer, then zipped up Charles Street to Penn Station. Hoiles made the train with minutes to spare. He autographed the truck's manifest in return for the favor.

Sold on self-regulation

The governor signed a major bill limiting handgun purchases in Maryland to one per person per month. Smart law. Makes sense. But, with all the hollering these days about government regulation, you'd think stores that sell guns -- Wal Mart, for instance -- would have adopted such a progressive measure themselves. Retailers, after all, get to set the conditions of all sales. Consider the self-regulatory sign on the door at Toy Works in Westminister: "To be fair to our customers, we are limiting sales of Holiday Barbie to one per parent per day." Somewhere Newt is smiling.

A sharp teacher

He must get his material from Bazooka Joe wrappers During a third-grade music class at St. Pius X School, archdiocesan teacher of the year Charles Weiprecht was bothered by a visiting bee. "That bee better get out of here and not come back," he told the class. "Or, he'll be a Bee-flat."

Harmonious Democrats

Tonight, Young Democrats of Howard County -- yes, they do exist -- will glide into the "Choose or Lose" spirit of the MTV campaign to register voters. "Musical Democracy" kicks off at 7: 30 p.m. at Kahler Hall in Harper's Choice, Columbia, with five local bands: William James Said, Jay Jay, Pinfold, Emerald Tiers and Venus Fly. Kirk McEwen hosts. Voter registration forms available. Tickets are $6. Republicans welcome.

Miracle at MVA madhouse

Guy I know went to the Motor Vehicle Administration the other day to take care of some business involving a recently purchased, previously owned automobile. "You're not gonna believe this," he tells me. "I go in at 9: 31 -- taxes, title, registration, tags -- and I'm out at 9: 50! That's 19 minutes. I said to the lady at the counter: 'Isn't this supposed to be a madhouse?' She says, 'Come back later, at lunchtime.'" Guy must have had God on his side. "Even the little rusted bolts holding the license plates on my car came off easily when I replaced the plates in the MVA lot. I was on the road at 9: 55." Amazin' pace.

Keep them guessing

A truck tooling up Interstate 95 from Washington the other day had the following words, in large bold letters, written on its side: "When They Can't Deliver The Same Day, We Will." Great advertising. Except, duh, that's all it said -- no name, no phone number. No new business, either.

Pub Date: 9/20/96

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