Thanks for malls, calls, less crime, more revenue

November 27, 1997|By MICHAEL OLESKER

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

To wit:

Be thankful for the other 600 kids at Northern High School.

Be thankful that crime in the city of Baltimore keeps dropping and dropping. At its current rate of decline, it should reach 1950s levels by the end of the century - the 22nd century.

Be thankful the great state of Maryland will soon have three pro football stadiums, even though there isn't one decent pro football team to play in any of them.

Be thankful for the brilliant economists who work for the state who are now projecting a $300 million government surplus. These are the same brilliant folks who were projecting a $100 million shortfall just a year ago. Isn't it wonderful when your math is only off by $400 million and they still put you on a payroll?

Be thankful for the new Bill Murray movie, called "The Man Who Knew Too Little." Sounds like the collective life story of those figuring out the state's economic projections.

Be thankful if you can figure out the comings and goings in local pro sports, where the first-place finisher Davey Johnson gets his marching orders but the also-also-also-ran Ted Marchibroda gets assurance he'll be back for another dismal year of Ravens football. For this, we waited 12 years and then sold our souls?

Be thankful for all the money being raised by the candidates for governor of Maryland. The election's still a year away, but candidates in both parties are grabbing with both hands. Whoever wins, it means we'll have given ourselves the best politicians money can buy.

Be thankful for those University Hospital commercials. Yes, Johns Hopkins Hospital is a magnificent institution. But, yes, there are other wonderful hospitals in town, and other great doctors and nurses. The commercials are like the old Avis rental car ads: We're only No. 2; we try harder.

Be thankful, if you're Parris Glendening, that Rep. Ben Cardin decided not to run for governor next year. When it comes to having the heart for battle, Cardin has the political fashion of his well-known cousin Pierre.

Be thankful for the midday Marc Steiner program on WJHU (88.1 FM). It reminds us that radio talk shows can be informative, civilized - and entertaining - despite so much other local evidence to the contrary.

Be thankful for Northern High Principal Alice Morgan Brown's warning cry last week when she suspended those 1,200 students. But the cry was supposed to be heard by the kids' parents, and nobody's sure if they were listening.

Be thankful for the continuing debate over Baltimore's new convention hotel. Now, can someone out there explain why this conversation didn't occur before all those millions were spent expanding the Convention Center?

Be thankful for Paul Baker's brand-new book, "Moments in Time." The former basketball coach at Towson Catholic and the University of Baltimore weaves firsthand memories of such sports legends as Muggsy Bogues, Charlie Eckman, Calvin and Grant Hill, Al Kaline, Buddy Jeanette, Vince Dundee and lots more.

Be thankful for the music of WEAA (88.9 FM) radio. In the world of homogenized broadcasting, here's a station marching to the beat of its own drummer, and that beat gives us some of the best jazz being aired in America.

Be thankful the Indianapolis Colts have lost 10 of their 11 games this fall, even though Bob Irsay isn't around to suffer through it.

Be thankful there's a new cure for insomnia. Just head straight for Baltimore City Hall. Over there, an entire administration has no trouble at all sleeping through each bright new day and each dismal new problem.

Be thankful for all the wonderful news from Bell Atlantic this year: a 10-cent hike on pay telephones. Another area code to consider. Three more digits to punch. Their usual prompt and heartfelt information service. What's next, a Dixie cup and a thread? That's the phone company for you: They've got us by the calls.

Be thankful some area shopping malls waited until after Halloween to put up their Christmas decorations.

Be thankful a Baltimore County man was arrested in the theft of 16 tickets to Baltimore Ravens games. Art Modell is pleased to find there's somebody around here who still thinks they're worth the risk.

Pub Date: 11/27/97

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