Language barriersDRIVING around Linthicum near...

Scene and Heard in Anne Arundel County

November 22, 1998|By Cheryl Tan Few and far between

Language barriers

DRIVING around Linthicum near Baltimore-Washington International Airport on Wednesday, Neil Shpritz, executive director of the BWI Business Partnership, was talking about the improvements he'd like to see to the area's signage.

"Better colors, more organized," Shpritz checked off, before noticing a woman in the car next to him picking a fight with a man in the car ahead of her.

Shpritz sat silently as the pair yelled and screamed at each other until the light turned green.

Then he tacked on an addition: "And no more foul language in the area."

DOWNS Park in Pasadena was the place to be for the meteor storm that largely wasn't.

The gates were open, with free admission, Tuesday night -- offering a spectacular vantage point overlooking an expanse of the Chesapeake Bay. There was the light pollution of Baltimore visible far to the north, and the Bay Bridge a distant miniature to the south.

In between, the 40 or so visitors enjoyed the lapping surf, dark sky, and a two-hour window between clouds for meteor-watching. Alas, most of the lights moving in the sky belonged to airplanes.

In a half-hour of intent sky-watching, I saw two wonderful meteors and occasional tiny flashes in the upper reaches of the atmosphere where minuscule bits of space dust were incinerating.

Ronald T. Jones, an amateur astronomer and former seasonal park ranger who works for the Department of Juvenile Justice in Anne Arundel, said seven was the "unofficial count" of meteors sighted between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.

"We wanted a thousand a minute," said Jones, who lives in Harwood.

For some, the meteors proved less exciting than the view through Jones' telescope of Saturn, Jupiter and Jupiter's moons -- some visitors seeing those solar system neighbors for the first time. "We got a lot of 'ahs' and 'oohs,' even though we didn't see all the meteors we wanted to," Jones said.

The occasional breeze added sting to slowly falling temperature. Some sought refuge and a feel of neighborliness in the little meeting room where Friends of Downs Park volunteers put out hot water to make cocoa.

One volunteer, Roland Roberts from Pasadena's Boulevard Park community, brought a camera.

"Trying for a picture of the meteors?" he was asked.

"Nope. I just brought it in case there was a deer," he replied.

With that, conversation shifted from astronomical disappointment to the latest news on highway venison.

David Michael Ettlin

Admiring the admiral

ON TUESDAY, Earl White celebrated two milestones.

He turned 80. And he became one of just a handful of black watermen to be named an "Admiral of the Chesapeake."

As the ceremony took place on the City Dock in Annapolis, locals jogged past yelling to the lifetime waterman, "Happy Birthday, Mr. White" and "Looking good, Earl."

Everyone knew the compact, kind-hearted man who, even in retirement, works the bay -- these days from a touring skipjack. A man from the Chesapeake Bay Alliance, which owns the skipjack White does tours from, told the story of how Earl White came to be the man from whom hundreds of schoolchildren and grown-ups have learned about the dying profession of oystering on the Chesapeake.

"When we bought the boat," he said, "Earl was basically living on it. We asked the guy we were buying the boat from, "What are we supposed to do with the old guy down below?'"

"And he just shrugged and said, 'Hey, that's your problem. He comes with the boat.' So we got the man with the boat, and the rest is history."

Kirsten Scharnberg

Wrong Monica and Linda

WHILE Kenneth W. Starr presents evidence of a presidential sex scandal to the House Judiciary Committee in Washington, Monica and Linda get their cars fixed at the Precision Tune on Ritchie Highway in Severna Park, if you are to believe the sign out front.

Monica Smith and Linda Bauer, that is, chuckled franchise owner Bob Maurer. They're regular customers, he said.

Joel McCord

Fighting in embassy

STUDENTS of a Pasadena martial arts school went from punching in a dojo to shaking hands with diplomats last week when they were honored at the Philippine Embassy in Washington.

Ambassador Raul Rabe and the Philippine American Bar Association played host to Kick Connection students who brought home trophies in June from the 5th World Eskrima Kali-Arnis Federation Championship held in the Philippines.

Kick Connection founder Carlos Patalinghug Jr. and his students have won honors at each of the biannual competitions. The school specializes in arnis, a Filipino form of stick fighting. Students from the school have demonstrated their skills at embassy events such as parades, fund-raisers, Filipino Independence Day celebrations, but they've never been part of such ritzy circles.

"It was just great to be there," Patalinghug said. "The parents were just in awe. It was a very high honor for our school and the students."

Patalinghug joined his students who were dressed in jogging suits emblazoned with a large American flag -- the same suits they wore in the international competition -- in a three-minute coordinated stick fight "just to show the ambassador some moves," he said.

TaNoah Morgan

Pub Date: 11/22/98

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