Reach out and check if greeting card works


September 28, 1998|By Dan Rodricks

SEEN LAST WEEK in the greeting card shop, Marley Station Mall: A woman on a cellular phone, opening card after card, reading the punch lines to someone, trying to make a decision on which to buy. Get outta here! ... What we could do without: The snotty sales clerk who sneers, "That was never $14," when a customer questions the hair-raisingly high price of a hair product ... And we could do without this, too: The fellow who, in trying to get a preoccupied stranger's attention from a distance of 30 feet on a rainy day near busy York Road, yells, "Whaddaya? Hard of hearing?" Get outta here! ... And then there's Mr. Nice Guy: Members of the Landaw family of Pikesville would like to extend a hug to the letter carrier who lent them his Postal Service raincoat as they dashed home in a downpour from Rosh Hashana services last week. A mitzvah! ... Seen the other day (by TJI reader Michael Taylor) on Pulaski Highway near North Point Road: A 40-something panhandler with a sign that said, "I'm not really homeless. I'm just standing here with this sign. Help me!" Says Taylor: "People were giving him money, too." Get outta here!

Deli changes hands

For those of us deeply immersed in the world of the Italian delicatessen, this is important news: Mastellone's is being sold to DiPasquale's. Settlement is scheduled for 2 o'clock today, and the torch shall be passed. The fabulous Harford Road deli will keep its name for a transition during which Andrea Mastellone, the capo di tutti di deli, will train DiPasquale's young and eager staff in the making of the fresh mozzarella that was the crowning glory of his store. Eventually, Mastellone's will become the fourth DiPasquale's. "Andrea Mastellone's reputation for wine and knowledge of food is unrivaled," says Will Bauer from behind the counter of DiPasquale's Italian Marketplace in Highlandtown. "He'll stay with us a few months to teach us his style of doing things. We won't change the name of the store while Mr. Andrea works with us out of respect for him." And his wife, Zia Margaret Rose, of course. Nice people. Made a lot of Baltimoreans happy for a lot of years. Grazie, grazie.

Hollywood in Baltimore

You heard it here first, darling: Actor Michael Douglas, who turned 54 Friday, is said to be the star of Barry Levinson's Baltimore film, "Liberty Heights." (Levinson's people had been talking to Dustin Hoffman's people about the part, but apparently that didn't work out.) The Richard Gere-Julia Roberts film, "Runaway Bride," is happening here this fall, too. And this just in: Look for Jodie Foster to bring a new film to Baltimore this winter. The head spins! The mind flips. Watch this space. Shake your booty. Film at 11. Let's do lunch. More later.

Don't cry for them

The results of a phone-in survey of 24,000 Argentine viewers conducted on the popular "Hora Clave" show last week found that 83 percent "forgave" President Clinton for having sex with Monica Lewinsky. I'm glad the Argentines feel it's their place to forgive the U.S. president. I now forgive them for the Falklands War.

Electoral accomplishment

State comptroller candidate Larry M. Epstein's seven-vote victory in the Republican primary was impressive, maybe the closest in Maryland history. But consider another close election -- albeit smaller than the one in which Epstein was engaged -- that left a historic mark. In 1970, Parren J. Mitchell became Maryland's first black congressman after defeating Sam Friedel, a machine-backed, nine-term incumbent, by a mere 38 votes at a time when blacks made up only 40 percent of the voters in the 7th District. That was impressive.

You just know

For several months, I've been asking natives of the Patapsco Drainage Basin to finish this sentence: "You know you're from Baltimore if" ... I don't usually mix my newspaper work with my weekly television undertakings, but this stuff is proving too amusing to keep from TJI readers. And you readers might want to contribute to this effort to define that which makes us who we are. (Man, that sounds grandiose, doesn't it?) Here's some of what we have so far:

You know you're from Baltimore if ... Leon Stevens: "You still call the Arena the Civic Center. ... Every time an opposing player doubles down the third base line, you say to yourself, 'Brooks would've had it.' ... Your favorite childhood soft drink was Almond Smash."

Tyrone Thorpe: "Your favorite morning radio show was Randy Dennis and Jean Ross. ... You remember 'People are Talking' with Oprah Winfrey and Richard Sher. ... You actually saw an act at the Royal Theater."

Tom Mudd: "You hear about the Clinton-Lewinsky thing and can't help think of former Baltimore County State's Attorney Sam Green, from whose playbook Bob Packwood probably stole pages. ... You remember that, as Johnny Unitas ran his last series of downs as a Colt, an plane over head trailed the banner: 'Unitas We Stand.' ... You remember cheering when Mike Curtis broke Joe Namath's shoulder."

Jerry Snyder: "You still call Rite Aid 'Read's. ... You think Hendler's Ice Cream was the best ever made."

James Clark: "You have old painted tires and rims for flower pots."

From Steve Rouse & Co.: "You enjoy a sandwich with crustacean legs hanging out the sides. ... The only part of the National Anthem you know by heart is, 'O!' ... You have at least one Light Rail horror story. ... You have used the brewery on 695 as a landmark. ... You never had to ask the correct spelling of Highlandtown."

Jane and Bill Hoyt: "You remember going to Murray's or Knox's at Loch Raven and Taylor for ice cream or to the Varsity Drive-In on Edmondson Avenue."

Contact Dan Rodricks at The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or e-mail him at

Pub Date: 9/28/98

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