Possibility of reprise for 'Don Donaldo'

This Just In...

July 13, 1998|By DAN RODRICKS

All right, already. I'll fess up: My enthusiasm for the return of William Donald Schaefer to public office (as state comptroller) is fueled partly by the possibility of reviving the "Don Donaldo" opera cycle, begun in the pages of The Evening Sun of happy memory in 1986 and continued, in 1993 and 1994, in The Sun.

The series included "The Merchant of Menace," which told of the Lord High Governor's battles with the Maryland Parliament, his legendary tantrums, and the efforts of his longtime companion, Brunnhilde Mae, to redecorate the Governor's Palace. Other operas - "Don Donaldo, On The Edge," "Il disperato (The Desperate One)," "Il Padrone Irato, (The Irritated Boss)," "L'Infuriato, (The Infuriated One)" - chronicled, among other things, Don Donaldo's rages after his re-election victory in 1990 and his failed attempt to annex the District of Columbia.

Alas, when Schaefer's second term as governor expired, I put the operatic form to rest and, frankly, considered retirement altogether. "When he goes, I go," I told some associates. And yet I have remained in this garden, toiling happily, but always with an eye over the gate and down the road, hoping some day that he would return, in dancing tights and slippers, to brighten the days our lives. Oh, happy day. I Just as long as he doesn't have my tax returns audited, right?

Over the weekend, someone asked me why Schaefer is running for comptroller, hoping to assume office in January, while refusing Gov. Parris N. Glendening's immediate appointment to the post. To me, the reason is obvious: He needs time to get some new costumes and funny hats.

Around the diamond

Joe Carter should go easy on himself. He's taking a lot of the blame for the Orioles' stinko first half, saying his numbers at the plate should have been higher. "A lot of the downfall for this team points to me," Carter told The Sun's Bill Free the other day. Carter is a class act - even when he's wrong. I After that game-winning home run Friday night off Boston's Pedro Martinez, I became convinced of something I'd suspected since he came back from cancer surgery last summer: Eric Davis has the duende with him. You could look it up. I Speaking of duende, I've made a bet that Ken Griffey Jr. will get to Mount Maris before Mark McGwire does. McGwire has muscle, but Griffey has that certain something you can't measure, can't really define, and I think he has a ton of it. I think he's the chosen one.

Support for a-rabs

Several TJI readers e-mailed support for the a-rabs of %J Baltimore, agreeing with this columnist that the Schmoke administration should get off the vendors' backs and do more to promote their presence in the city. Says one, who goes by DDruck: "We won't know what we have until they're all gone, and the Rouse Co. installs fruit stands with fiberglass ponies at Harborplace."

The wrong kind of luck

Some guys have all the luck. A friend says the last thing he heard on the radio of his 1990 Chevy Cavalier station wagon before the alternator died the other night was his favorite lottery number. It hit! But, of course, he'd forgotten to play it.

Live-action movie

El Cranko, one of TJI's curmudgeonly acquaintances, is all thumbs-up about Barry Levinson making another film in Baltimore. ("Liberty Heights" is expected to begin production this fall.) El Cranko's Fave Lev Flick - that's Variety talk for "favorite Levinson film" - is "Avalon," followed closely by "Diner," and not just because of what he saw on screen. "Did I ever tell you," Cranko says, "about the chilly day I spent on Charles Street watching Mickey Rourke get punched in the stomach over and over and over and over again in the stairwell below Andre's Empire Salon? Now that's entertainment!" I Speaking of "Diner," we hear that at least one of the local Blockbusters no longer carries it. Imagine that: Levinson's first semi-autobiographical film, produced here in his hometown, gone in a purge to make more room for more copies of new releases. So there's no "Diner," but a zillion copies of "As Good As It Gets." Great.

Demonstrating knowledge

In our nation's capital, the Lincoln Memorial has an exhibit room on a lower floor with a loop of video clips of all the demonstrations - for civil rights, against the Vietnam War - that have been held there over the years. One day recently, an impatient parent was heard to grumble to his teen-age kids: "You know this already. You saw it on 'Forrest Gump'!"

Left out in the cold

Bonnie Mulligan, a TJI reader in suburban Washington, reacted as we did - with moderate sneers - at Money magazine's selection of the District of Columbia as the best place to live in the northeastern United States. "Come on," she says. "How can a city where you cannot get a snowball rate so high? [There's] no Haussner's, and you can't get Berger's cookies. I rest my case."

This Just In appears each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dan Rodricks can be contacted at 410-332-6166, via the Internet at TJIDAol.com, or by post at The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

Pub Date: 7/13/98

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