Courtesy of the Baltimore Metropolitan...


January 03, 1998

FOOD FOR THOUGHT, courtesy of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, a transportation planning body for Baltimore City and Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard, Harford and Carroll counties:

The Baltimore region adds 30 households a day. Baltimore County gains 11 of those, while the city loses almost five a day.

Since the end of the 1991-92 recession, the region has been adding about 59 new jobs every workday. Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties gain 20 to 30 of those jobs a day. The city loses 21 jobs a day.

The average household in the region spends $84 a week on groceries, and, in addition, almost half that much each week at restaurants and other eating and drinking establishments.

The region adds the equivalent of a new school full of children every 18 days, based on a gain of 83,000 students in public and private schools over the past six years.

CAL RIPKEN is a bad role model for kids? One might get that impression from a magazine for the youth set called Sports Illustrated for Kids. An article in its January issue about what's hot for the new year lists Mr. Ripken's consecutive-games streak among "what's not." When Mr. Ripken is hurt and continues to play, it hurts his team, the writer claims. Take a seat, Cal, the magazine implores.

This from an offshoot publication of Sports Illustrated, which named the Baltimore Orioles "ironman" as its Sportsman of the Year in 1995. It then hailed the consecutive-games streak for helping to revive baseball after a nasty player-management dispute. Its praises were echoed by President Clinton and others, who called the accomplishment a work-ethic model for the nation.

Sports Illustrated, the adult version, has a weekly feature entitled, "We know the Apocalypse is upon us when."

After seeing its "Kids" piece, we have one to add: We know the Apocalypse is upon us when Cal Ripken is being held up in the sports world as an anti-hero.

BRITAIN IS building the world's greatest indoor arena in London, east of the Isle of Dogs, to celebrate the millenium.

Soccer field, dog races, exhibition space? Nobody knows what is planned for inside. The government of Prime Minister Tony Blair says it will reveal all in good time, trust it. Sure.

Since Rome has trouble saving Roman ruins, a giant theme park will recreate ancient Rome in an Umbrian boondock, 45 miles away. Roma Vetus (Ancient Rome) will have ersatz Circus Maximum, Baths of Caracalla, the lot. This will totally eclipse the fake New York skyline that defines a hotel in Las Vegas.

Malaysia went broke after putting up the world's tallest office building, the twin Petronas Towers, that will soon be dwarfed by two office buildings going up, up, up in China.

Malaysia has shelved (an ambiguous term that may mean temporary or permanent) plans for the world's longest building (Linear City) and other grandiosities, owing to the temporary financial embarrassment.

It's time to say to the world's developers, architects and rulers: Enough. Quit trying to build the biggest, the mostest or the farthest out. Build the best. Nobody has tried that in a long time.

Pub Date: 1/03/98

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