Baltimore has plethora of reasons to give thanks

November 28, 1996|By MICHAEL OLESKER

This column takes pause, somewhere between the first of the TV football games and the last of the turkey and sauerkraut and Bromo Seltzer, to present its annual listing of things for which Baltimoreans should give thanks.

To wit:

Be thankful for Gov. Parris N. Glendening's proposal of a 10 percent income tax reduction. His is a sophisticated economic strategy borrowed directly from Ellen R. Sauerbrey -- which, in turn, was a sophisticated economic strategy she borrowed directly from the tooth fairy.

Be thankful for Baltimore's return to the National Football League. Sure, the Ravens are only 3-9, but so what? The boys didn't want to spoil us with too much success too soon.

Be thankful BWI Airport is expecting a record 190,000 passengers over the holiday weekend. Traffic will be fine, as long as some idiot from Connecticut doesn't park his rental car in the wrong place.

Be thankful Baltimore's public schools are getting an anticipated $254 million from the state over the next five years. Now, if they can just make the money reach into those tiny, forgotten corners of the academic universe, called the classroom.

Be thankful we had 14 summers of Jon Miller's voice coming over the radio, even though he's now heading for a new team and new league. Actually, Miller's always been in a league all by himself.

Be thankful they're removing signs from Baltimore transit buses advertising slot machine gambling in Delaware. Who wants to be reminded of the millions of dollars disappearing out of Maryland each day for another state? (And what better place to remind us than on a bus pulling away?)

Be thankful, if you're Kurt L. Schmoke, that Money magazine didn't name Baltimore one of its Ten Most Dangerous Cities in America until this week. If they'd done it before the last campaign for mayor, it might have opened up a very dangerous line of political debate around here.

Be thankful for the first three quarters of Ravens' games. Couldn't they just stop them there, and play undertime games instead of overtime?

Be thankful, if you're in the U.S. Navy, for all the attention focused on the Army's troubles in Aberdeen. The Navy hasn't had such a break from bad publicity since the first time somebody mentioned the word Tailhook.

Be thankful the traditional Thanksgiving dinner isn't seafood fished from Baltimore's inner harbor. Health officials say such fish are the real foul stuff.

Be thankful if they replace the late state Sen. John A. Cade with someone who has his kind of integrity. Agree with him or not, you always knew Cade strode through the statehouse like a politician from another world -- the real world.

Be thankful it's the Chicago White Sox who are paying Albert Belle $55 million, and not the Orioles. In Chicago, they'll be charging $27 a hot dog just to pay Belle's limousine service.

Be thankful for the Loco Hombre restaurant on Cold Spring Lane, which has the zestiest Mexican food this side of the great Pancho's Burritos at Lexington Market.

Be thankful for the Baltimore City Life Museum, which is bringing back wonderful pop elements of the city's past that you imagined had vanished forever.

Be thankful if American League umpires give Roberto Alomar a fair strike zone this coming summer.

Be thankful there are kind souls feeding the hungry in this nation of bounty. But be distressed by the new Maryland Food Committee report that emergency food providers had to serve 108,658 individuals and families in Central Maryland last month, 25 percent more than they did one year ago.

Be thankful they've simultaneously opened Bibelot and Barnes & Noble bookstores across the street from one another in Bel Air. Never mind that business about Baltimore being the city that reads. In Harford County, it feels like the dawning of a bright new age of literacy on one little stretch of road.

Be thankful if the University of Maryland doesn't ask you to be its next football coach. The athletic director fires Mark Duffner, and then says, in public, "I should have done this a year ago"? Hey, give the poor guy a little dignity as you push him off the roof.

Be thankful for the Senator Theater. Even when it's not showing the magnificent "The English Patient," the Senator is our ever-present reminder of when movies really were larger than life.

Be thankful if you didn't buy into that insulting pro football notion known as PSLs. In Baltimore's case, it stands for Plenty o' Season Losses.

Pub Date: 11/28/96

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