Between The Lines

BETWEEN THE LINES

August 23, 2004

Memo to self ...

Perhaps Maryland U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio has discovered the root of his recent problems. Last Monday during an appearance on Maryland Public Television's Direct Connection, he fielded questions from host Jeff Salkin about an e-mail hinting at prosecution quotas for his staff that resulted in a formal rebuke from Deputy U.S. Attorney General James B. Comey.

Salkin asked DiBiagio about another memo that received wide circulation - one in which he criticized the local FBI office for focusing more on terrorism than on other investigations - and asked if the tension between the two offices had been resolved.

Leading into his response, DiBiagio smiled slightly and said, "I've got to stop writing these stupid memos."

- Steve Sullivan

A term he understands

A man charged with second-degree murder appeared before Baltimore Circuit Judge Evelyn Omega Cannon last week complaining about his lawyer, and saying he wanted to fire her.

As the judge listened patiently, trying to understand the nature of his complaint, the defendant became increasingly agitated and began to mumble his words.

Cannon tried to calm him down. When that didn't work, the judge instructed him to do so in a manner that it didn't require a law degree to understand:

"I need you to take a chill pill."

- Allison Klein

Been there, done that

A lot of kids would have had stars in their eyes if they'd just shaken hands with a big-city mayor in an ornate room in City Hall, with television crews filming all the while.

Not Westley Polston.

The 11-year-old, who will begin the sixth grade at Mount Royal Elementary-Middle School in the fall, was one of more than 30 athletes honored last week for their achievements at the recent Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa.

Westley took a track and field gold medal in the 400 meters, winning the race in 57:90 seconds.

He said getting congratulations from Mayor Martin O'Malley was "fun," but the veteran Junior Olympian couldn't help sounding a little blase about the whole thing.

"I [was] here last year and the year before," he said. "It's nothing new."

- Laura Vozzella

Only interested in the set

As NBC sports anchors and others in the media wrung their hands last week over swimmer Michael Phelps' failure to match Mark Spitz's 1972 record of winning seven gold medals in a single Olympics, there were, unbelievably, Baltimore residents who remained unconcerned.

Count 6-year-old Wesley Eisenberg of Anneslie among them.

The lad lives just a few blocks from Phelps of Rodgers Forge, swims in the same pool at Mount Washington's Meadowbrook Aquatic and Fitness Center where Phelps trains, and next summer will join the North Baltimore Aquatic Club's Tomatoes, the swim team for kids ages 5 to 18, where Phelps got his racing start.

Eisenberg's father, a triathlete, has even had the dubious distinction of being lapped by Phelps at the pool.

Yet despite knowing plenty about the 19-year-old pool shark, Wesley seemed entirely indifferent to the color of the Olympian's medal haul - at least in the conventional sense.

Told last week that Phelps already had won a gold and two bronze medals, the wide-eyed boy remarked, "Wow! When's he going to get a silver one?"

- Jennifer McMenamin

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