Between The Lines

December 13, 2004

Local color: green

Stop Snitching, the not-so-underground-anymore DVD shot on the streets of Baltimore, hasn't hit Blockbuster or Hollywood Video yet, but a little bit of media attention has apparently done a lot for its value.

The video was put up for sale last week on eBay, the popular Internet auction site. The accompanying text said: "See what the talk is about ... the controversial DVD starring the Denver Nugget's Carmelo Anthony! This DVD has been featured on ABC News, Fox Sports Net and made the front page of The Baltimore Sun. The Skinny Suge Records Stop Snitching DVD is hosted by Baltimore local celebrity Skinny Suge and exposes snitches in Baltimore and takes an in depth look at the widespread problem of snitching in the hoods of B-more. Snitches get Stitches. Holla!"

Before the media attention the DVD was reportedly being sold for $10 in select city shops.

After fetching 17 bids on eBay, it sold early Thursday for $102.50 - plus $5 shipping.

Apparently inspired by the selling price, three more appeared on the auction site by Friday.

- Ryan Davis

Long history, long vowel

From the day it was commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1936, the Coast Guard cutter Roger B. Taney has been ready, rarin' - and almost always mispronounced.

The ship, decommissioned and serving as a floating museum in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, is named for a late Treasury secretary and chief justice of the United States. Taney was born in 1777 in Calvert County.

There is no dispute among historians that the justice pronounced his last name Taw-nee, as do his living descendents, said Heidi Campbell-Shoaf, curator of the Historical Society of Frederick County, home of the Roger Brooke Taney and Francis Scott Key Museum.

"That's just the way it had always been pronounced by the family," she said.

The pronunciation, which defies standard rules, probably derives from regional custom, rooted in Colonial English, as does the preference for Cul-vert among natives of Calvert County, said state archivist Edward Pappenfuse.

In Carroll County's Taneytown - named for a relative of the jurist - residents also prefer the soft A, as in Tawneetown, said Mayor W. Robert Flickinger.

Not so the crew and officers of the vessel, some of whom gathered last week for the commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which the ship survived. Crewmembers universally call it the Tay-nee, said Garret E. Conklin, who served as a radioman aboard the ship in 1969 and 1970 and maintains a Web site for former crewmembers and helps plan reunions.

"Even the World War II guys call her that," Conklin said.

- Jon Morgan

We all make mistakes

The newly elected Baltimore City Council's first meeting had barely begun Thursday when one of the members of the all-Democratic council was taking a shot at the Republican governor.

Councilwoman Rochelle "Rikki" Spector pointed out a mistake in the official state proclamation of the council's existence, which was signed by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. The document states that the council's term is four years after Dec. 9, 2004. In fact, the term is only three years because of a measure approved by voters on Nov. 2 to return local elections to odd-numbered years.

"Our term is three years," Spector said. "I don't know if he's paying much attention on what happened Nov. 2, but we'll bring it to his attention."

- Doug Donovan

Next time, alphabetize

At the outgoing City Council's meeting three days earlier, Baltimore officials unanimously backed a resolution in praise of Barbara E. Jackson, who is retiring as director of the city's Board of Elections.

Council President Sheila Dixon and others delivered touching tributes to Jackson. Dixon said the director's humbleness has been the perfect trait for a job that puts her into constant contact with elected officials with big egos.

When it came Councilman Kenneth N. Harris Sr.'s turn to speak, he prefaced his kind words for Jackson with a complaint that his name was listed last on the Jackson resolution.

Dixon scoffed: "Didn't I just speak about egos?"

- Doug Donovan

Out of the mouths of fans

Circuit Court Clerk Frank M. Conaway Sr., who ran unsuccessfully for mayor, was a little wistful last week as he swore in the man who crushed him at the polls, Mayor Martin O'Malley.

Conaway might have been heartened to know he had at least one big fan in the crowd at Tuesday's inauguration.

Alfons McQuaige, an 11-year-old from West Baltimore, was as impressed with the court clerk as with O'Malley.

Asked what he thought of the swearing-in, Alfons said: "It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I got to see my own mayor and got to see the one-and-only Frank Conaway."

- Laura Vozzella

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