They all look alike from the air, anyway

BETWEEN THE LINES

June 13, 2005

Poor Baltimore. Airline passengers across southern Africa are seeing what might be the city's prettiest landmark - and thinking it's in Washington.

The June in-flight magazine for South African Airways has a cover story on Washington to publicize service to Dulles International Airport. Illustrating it are photos of the Capitol, the Iwo Jima statue at the Marine Corps War Memorial (in Northern Virginia) and ... Baltimore's own Mount Vernon Square.

Any reader would conclude the square is in the nation's capital. The picture is not identified as Baltimore; there isn't any mention of the city in the entire article. The caption merely says "Lafayette statue," ignoring the much larger Washington Monument in the center of the square.

"So this is Baltimore? So sorry. This is terrible," said Lizeka Mda, editor of the magazine Sawubona. Mda said the pictures came from a photo agency - without captions. Editors could make out only the word "Lafayette" on the statue of the Marquis de Lafayette, the French general and Revolutionary War figure. Hence their caption.

"It's a good thing," Mda said, searching for a silver lining, "we didn't say it was in Washington."

- Scott Calvert

Keep practicing, guys

Howard County Council members loved the briefing they got last week from county schools officials on a range of issues - especially the county's stellar performance on standardized state tests - but a description of an effort to stop bullying brought a bit of unexpected mirth.

Councilman Ken Ulman, a West Columbia Democrat, said he was delighted during a recent visit to Hollifield Station Elementary in Ellicott City to find children practicing complimenting each other.

"They were learning to be nice to each other," he said approvingly.

"Maybe we need to do that," commented Ellicott City Republican Christopher J. Merdon, referring to the partisan banter and sniping that sometimes breaks out between the two politicians.

Ulman laughed, looked at Merdon, who sat next to him, and remarked what a nice tie the Republican was wearing.

"Yours too," Merdon said, eyeing Ulman's tieless shirt, open at the neck.

- Larry Carson

Enough said

The Carroll County commissioners turned the 61st anniversary of D-Day into an event honoring several area veterans of the Army's 29th Division. After posing for group pictures and making a proclamation, Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge asked the veterans for a few words describing "your time there." The men, who all wore caps adorned with service medals, kept their comments terse.

Stewart Zendgraft, 86, boiled his down to one word: "rough." Junior Fisher, 79, who made a career out of the military, serving 40 years in the Army and the Navy, said, "I don't have time for speeches."

Former Sgt. John Corkran, 86, was the most loquacious of the group.

"I am not prepared for a speech," Corkran said. "But, then I really wasn't prepared for D-Day. I just went, no questions asked, like everybody else."

- Mary Gail Hare

Talking trash

Hey, Baltimore residents, your leaders want to know something critical to the city's cleanliness: Why don't you use trash cans?

To find out, the city's spending board last week approved a $3,100 Abell Foundation grant for a consultant who aims to get the dirt on the perplexing question.

The city has distributed 100,000 trash cans free to residents over the past few years in hopes of stopping them from putting their bags at the curb or in the alley, which attracts rats. Most of those cans are not being used for their intended purposes, city officials said.

The consultant was scheduled to spend four days in focus groups of 10 to 20 people "to identify the barriers to consistent trash can usage" by city residents.

Participants will be people who have been cited for violating rules on how to dispose of garbage.

After a brief discussion on the matter Wednesday, City Council President Sheila Dixon volunteered one of her own, Councilman Robert W. Curran.

"Bobby said he's available," Dixon joked.

- Doug Donovan

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