Royal order of getting a few names corrected

February 26, 1997|By GREGORY KANE

The 1997 winner of the Royal Order of the Boo-Boo is one Gregory Kane, whom you might also know as a columnist for a large metropolitan daily in Maryland. I should not only get the award, I should also be recognized for virtually redefining boo-booism.

The first bonehead mistake came in last Wednesday's column, when I referred to the woman who owned the Newark Eagles of the Negro leagues as Effa Manning. The name is Effa Manley, her nephew Ford Anderson called to inform us.

Having gotten my week off to a crash-and-burn start, I must have decided to continue the trend. I was, after all, on a roll. So in my column Sunday about students at Mount St. Mary's College doing a study of the Ku Klux Klan, I had the name of the Imperial Wizard of the Thurmont KKK as Kelly Rogers. It's actually Roger Kelly. The Rev. Bill Zamostny referred to as starting "Thurmont United in Love" is Richard Zamostny. I'm sure that, on a subconscious level, I tried to screw up other names, but even my subconscious could take it no longer.

What do you say about a mind that can spell correctly the name of Aleu Akechak Jok, a Dinka from the Sudan, but can screw up two simple English names like Bill and Richard? Not much. I have no excuses for these errors. But an explanation might be a creeping senility that has disproportionately affected my hearing.

Go ahead. Scoff and sneer. Cackle uncontrollably. You know you want to.

My only defense is that for the Klan column I did put in the corrections, but the computer wasn't having it. Something about the column being flowed to the Mac and corrections having to be made on the proof. Did you all get that? Thought not. Neither did I.

So I extend my apologies to Ford Anderson, the Rev. Richard Zamostny and even to Roger Kelly who, whatever his beliefs on race, deserves to have his name spelled correctly in the paper.

I also apologize to the readers, who deserve better. Now back to business as usual.

Last week I received a message from M. Ruth Kalinowski of Jessup. That's M. R-u-t-h K-a-l-i-n-o-w-s-k-i. She was a bit cross // with me.

"I've been calling and leaving messages for you for two weeks," she wrote, the poor woman obviously being unaware she is part of a long and growing callback list. "Perhaps you have so many column ideas in mind that you don't need any suggestions from your readers, but I thought I'd try one last time."

Gee, I thought this was my column. Ruthie has set me straight on this one. Maybe I should give her a whack at being a columnist for a day. At least she might be able to get names right. So take it away, Ruth.

"There [is something] in the news lately that bother[s] me a great deal. I The first and most controversial I concerns the great number of children who die in fires in Baltimore. There have been an unusually high number already this year. I

"My feeling is that we should not feel sorry for these children's relatives, we should not send money in to help them pay for a funeral. Instead, the heads of households should be prosecuted for child neglect leading to death.

"For 15 years I the Fire Department has intermittently gone house-to-house offering people free smoke detectors, offering them free batteries, offering labor to install them, reminding people to check the batteries and replace them yearly, etc. For 15 years!!

"And still children are dying because the adults didn't want to be bothered, or because they removed the batteries probably because [of] too much smoking or poor cooking ability set the detectors off too often, or because they knew the batteries were bad, but the firemen hadn't been back to change them. How dare they ask for our sympathy!! I Prosecution is what they deserve."

What do I feel about this? Who cares? This isn't my column anymore. It's Ruth's. But before I give it up totally, I'll quote an expert on the matter, Battalion Chief Hector Torres of the Baltimore City Fire Department.

"The punishment for not having a [working] smoke detector is that you had the fire," he said, pointing out that it is against the law not to have a smoke detector.

Homeowners are required to have smoke detectors on every level of their homes. People who rent houses or live in apartment houses with three or fewer units are responsible. For apartment complexes with four or more units, landlords are responsible.

"It's hard to impose further penalties," Torres added. "It's one of those laws we hope people follow through on." I hate to disagree with you in your column, Ruth, but I wouldn't add another tragedy to one that is perhaps the greatest of all: losing a child.

But thank you for your letter. And, I noticed, at least you got my name right.

Pub Date: 2/26/97

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