Between The Lines


November 03, 2003

Dressed for derision

A. Robert Kaufman, the Socialist gadfly and perennial candidate for local office, said last week that he was dressing up for Halloween as the nation's two-party political system.

"I'm wearing Pinocchio's nose to symbolize the Republican Party, and I'm wearing a yellow stripe down my back to symbolize the so-called opposition party, the Democrats," Kaufman said.

-- Tom Pelton

A gnawing discontent

Parking is a headache for lots of folks who live in the city, but Mount Vernon's Patricia Lombardo has a particularly nettlesome car problem. It seems that while her new Dodge Stratus has been parked behind her Read Street home, rats have been gnawing at the electrical wiring.

Twice she has taken the car, with only 2,000 miles on it, to a mechanic for repairs and has been told that rodents had chewed through wires. Lombardo, who has lived in the same house for 32 years, said that she has called the city repeatedly about the parade of rats outside. She said workers have merely left her notes complimenting the cleanliness of the area where she parks -- a private paved lot -- but have concluded that there's nothing they can do. Lombardo is stumped about why the pests are picking on her car and about what to do.

"They call this `historical Mount Vernon,'" fumed Lombardo. "But I call it `hysterical Mount Vermin.'"

-- Bill Ordine

Know thy market, Part 1

The signs are everywhere -- little pieces of corrugated plastic on nearly every telephone in town, promising a house of clean carpets for $90 or the chance to earn thousands of dollars a week, part-time, from home. One can't help but wonder: Do these signs work? Does anybody really sell their house to someone who advertises on a telephone pole?

Well, somebody has found a niche in this market. Seen on a telephone pole on Liberty Road:

"Signs this size, 20 for $99."

-- Andrew A. Green

Know thy market, Part 2

When Maryland Transportation Authority Police Officer Jeffrey Stewart pulled over a Mercury Mountaineer on Interstate 95 that was missing its front license plate Oct. 24, he was not expecting to uncover further evidence that alleged counterfeiters closely monitor popular trends.

In a search of the man's car, his Riverdale home and a storage locker, police recovered 3,199 counterfeit CDs and 2,744 counterfeit DVDs, including one of a movie that had been released on the big screen that same day.

In the three searches, police seized only two counterfeit movies on VHS.

Police reported recovering no counterfeit 8-track cassettes.

-- Del Quentin Wilber

Abandonment issues

Voters often complain that politicians pay attention to them during election years, but abandon them in their hours of need. Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. wants victims of Tropical Storm Isabel to know that's not his style.

In this month's "Executive Update" on the county's Web site, Smith writes: "We realize this will be a long process, but we will not abandon our residents until they have recovered from complete devastation." After that, apparently, they're on their own.

-- Andrew A. Green

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