SO DID YOU catch poet Mark Strand's whine about how the Johns Hopkins University just didn't cough up enough money to keep him in Baltimore and how, had that happened, he would have been glad to stay here, even though the social life and the restaurants are much better in Chicago?
Here's a fellow who writes poetry and teaches - one semester a year - at Hopkins. He was making $82,000 for this. Nice work, if you can get it. And he got it, starting in 1994.
But come April, when Strand starts his new "job" at the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought, he'll make $146,000. In addition, his kid will get full college tuition and
Strand will have a travel budget that could take him around the world several times.
Sweet. He got his ticket punched. Good for him. Ciao, baby.
But what does Strand say when Sun reporter Mike Bowler calls him for comment? Does he say, "Well, as much as I've enjoyed my life in Baltimore and at Hopkins, Chicago beckons with a financial offer one in the insular world of academic poetry cannot refuse. So, alas, I must depart."
No. Nothing so gracious, or poetic.
"Hopkins should check their coffers," he said, "to see what kind of money they have and buy me back. I can be bought."
Sheer poetry from the former U.S. poet laureate.
Strand also scored Hopkins for not trying to match the Chicago offer: "Apparently they didn't want me around." (Sob.)
"Hopkins was a disaster socially," he added. "I was always searching for that sense of collegiality I felt elsewhere." (Guess he didn't make too many friends.)
He also pointed out that Hopkins is "dominated by medical priorities." (Wake up and smell the coffeehouse, dude!)
He also said, "Chicago has better restaurants and night life."
Look, when someone makes you a deal you can't refuse, everyone understands. When you gotta go, you gotta go. So go!
Just do it. Don't moan about your employer not caring enough to make counteroffers. Don't sulk in public when you've been making $82,000 a year. Don't kick dirt on the town, its night life and restaurants. Grow up.
Brady Anderson decided to stay in Baltimore and play for the Orioles, when he could have gone into the free market and scored a bigger contract elsewhere. It was his choice, and a lot of us love the guy for it (if we didn't already).
Rafael Palmeiro, on the other hand, has said, "I'm not doing a Brady," making it clear that he, like Strand, doesn't feel any particular loyalty to Baltimore. After this season, Palmeiro will be playing the field for full market value, which could be something like $10 million a year. If the Orioles don't make the highest bid, he's gone.
Raffy won't have to explain himself. And Orioles fans will appreciate his time here - not to mention his Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. commercials - as long as he doesn't complain about our restaurants and the social life and other blah-blah-blah on his way out of town.
This town is full of people who actually work for a living. They understand when you get a good offer, you go for it, say toodles, then book as fast as you can.
So, let's get this poet in motion. Ciao, professor!
I'm sitting here looking at one of Necco's conversation candy hearts and it says, "Page Me." ... As Cereal Mom waited for a trim at the Hair Cuttery, she thumbed through a book-o-'do's for men and noticed a dashing photograph of a certain hunky Detective Kellerman of NBC's "Homicide." This was hard evidence of Reed Diamond's earlier life as an actor-in-waiting-for-a-major-role. "It was kinda funny," CM says, "to see a prime-time TV star trapped for all time in such a tome!" ... I don't know about you, but I'm going to videotape the two-man luge.
A shallow silence
Maybe the governor of Maryland has been reluctant to say what he really thinks about Larry Young because he feels - oh, how shall we put this? - compromised. Perhaps he's too self-conscious about some of his own actions to spout off about the expelled senator's unethical conduct. Or maybe, as wiser pundits put it, he doesn't want to burn any bridges in West Baltimore in this election year. Staying silent, in this case, is politically savvy. Why cause a lot of fuss by condemning Larry Young and letting everyone know where you stand on ethics in public office? In l'affaire Young, the governor puts a twist on an old adage: Still waters run shallow.
Thinner than thin
Will Bauer, who works behind the counter at DiPasquale's Italian Marketplace in Highlandtown, says I'm the first customer to complain about the Parma ham being sliced too thin. He says most of his customers insist on a very, very thin slice to the Parma, a high-end cold cut imported from Italy. Some customers, Bauer says, have colorful ways of admonishing him as he adjusts his electric slicer. For instance:
"I want the Parma so thin I can read the paper through it."
"I want it so thin that it only has one side."
And then there's this instruction, obviously from a frequent traveler through the vast universe of gourmet Italian meats:
"I want to see an explosion when you cut the Parma 'cause I want it so thin that you'll be splitting prosciutto atoms."
Man, is that extreme - a place, I'm sure, no deli man has ever gone before.
Pub Date: 2/13/98