Banks, benefits, museums bid for bucks

This Just In . . .

February 21, 1997|By DAN RODRICKS

Make that four financial institutions claiming to treat a customer like "a neighbor, not a number." Ronald Robinson, treasurer of Wyman Park Federal Savings and Loan, tells me his bank has been using the slogan, "Be Treated Like a Neighbor, Not a Number," in advertising since 1991. First Mariner, Columbia Bank and Fraternity Federal all use some version of the phrase. (See Wednesday's TJI.) The plot thickens. ... At Monday night's benefit for the Babe Ruth Museum's future home at Camden Station (783-0033 for reservations), look for an eye-popping auction item - a baseball signed by both Roberto Alomar and umpire John Hirschbeck. (Alomar signed the ball first; a local collector got Hirschbeck to autograph it after Le Spit in September.) ... Sounds like the folks at the City Life Museums have put a gun to Nipper's head and said, "Give us money or the dog dies." ... Friends of Baltimore native Alan Terl, former assistant attorney general in Maryland, can see him on QVC tomorrow afternoon. Terl, who now practices law in Florida, is scheduled to make a TV appearance to hawk his self-published how-to book, "Prizes, Prizes, Prizes," all about winning sweepstakes and contests.

Deng's Md. connection

Harry Hughes became governor of Maryland the same year Deng Xiaoping became leader of China. Two years later, in 1980, Hughes took an official trip to Beijing and met Deng. He remembers the Communist tough guy smoking cigarettes, spitting out tobacco and comparing notes on life as a political leader: "Mr. Hughes, do you ever have problems with editorial writers?"

Hughes nodded and said, "Yes, sometimes I do."

Deng, [See Rodricks, 4b] cloaked in cigarette smoke, grinned and said, "I don't ever have problems with editorial writers."

Elks on the loose

Trend watch: Ten women have been accepted as members of the Severna Park Elks Lodge in the past several months, the most recent being one Norma Young. She was not only initiated Tuesday night (after being voted down twice last year), but was voted an officer of the lodge. At its national meeting in Chicago in September 1995, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks changed the wording of its constitution to remove "male" from the list of qualifications for membership. The change meant that women could apply for membership at the organization's 2,230 lodges around the country. Thus, the trend in Severna Park and, apparently, elsewhere. I'm told that even the stubborn guys in the Annapolis lodge, who moved out of the capital city in a snit over this issue, have loosened up the boys-only rule.

Laptop chase case report

Remember the case of Cindy Belcher, the nurse who chased a guy who stole the laptop computer and cellular phone out of her van near Hopkins Hospital?

Police have arrested a suspect in the case. Housing Authority police assigned to the Street Crimes Task Force, part of the empowerment zone initiative, grabbed Rodney McNeil, 31, of East Baltimore this week near Hopkins. Charged with malicious destruction and theft, he was being held yesterday on $3,500 bail. Was Cindy Belcher's laptop and cellular phone recovered? Yeah - by Cindy, back on the day of the crime (TJI, Jan. 29). Speaking of which ...

A note of bias

This columnist was accused of sexism Monday when, in describing how salesman Ryan Kirby got his stolen car back, I refrained from questioning the wisdom of what he did, as I had in the Cindy Belcher case. Doesn't a man who takes action against a criminal suspect face as much danger of a gun being drawn as a woman? He does. I agree. I didn't deal with the safety issue in print, though it had occurred to me while I was interviewing Ryan Kirby. (He and a male business associate held the car thief at a stop light on Pulaski Highway until police arrived.) I think the complaint of gender bias is valid in this case. Thanks to readers, male and female, who pointed it out.

Cheap thrills for deals

Who doesn't like cheap thrills?

The other day, I take the kids to Value Village in Govans. My 6-year-old son finds an Oakland A's batting helmet for 75 cents. I find a braided rug, blue and purple, about 5 by 3. I say to the woman behind the counter, "How much for this braided rug?"

She yells to Marvin, the guy behind her, "Marvin, how much for this braided rug?"

Marvin says, "Three dollars."

The woman turns to me and says, "Three dollars." Sold!

Then we go to the Goodwill on Broadway. My son finds a box of action figures, all of them missing limbs. He has a ball trying to locate and refit legs and arms. My 4-year-old daughter looks at dresses but can't make up her mind which one to buy.

So we go to Shocket's in Fells Point. We look at a lot of stuff, then buy something cheap. My wife gets - brace yourself - a Taiwanese scented key chain for a dollar. My son and I buy a Shocket's signature item: Tube socks. My daughter can't make up her mind what to buy, so she starts whimpering. I tell her we'll find something she likes at The Other Shocket's, in Highlandtown.

The Other Shocket's has a councilmanic district office in the front display window. His 1st District constituents sometimes meet Nick D'Adamo there. When we arrive, just before noon Saturday, the councilman is not in. But his father is. He sells my wife exactly what she wants - rug remnants. My daughter gets writing pads - four for a dollar. She and her brother buy cheap rings out of a vending machine. We pick up rawhide chew bones for the dog at half the pet-store price.

We finish the discount odyssey with some Vitamin G (as in Greek) at Samos Restaurant, on Oldham Street. Nick, the hunk behind the counter, makes up a family serving of chicken tTC souvlaki in warm pita bread. The kids get creamy rice pudding for dessert. Lunch costs under $20. Everyone goes home happy.

Pub Date: 2/21/97

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