Sergeant, take that man's name!

2b

October 21, 2005|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Life imitates art, art imitates life, and Donald Rheubottom has more than a thousand bucks to prove it. A sheriff's deputy at the Baltimore City Circuit Court, he was hired to work security on a day off this week for Touchstone Pictures, which is shooting a movie at the courthouse. A woman on the set of the film - tentatively titled Music High - mistook him for an actor playing a sheriff's deputy and started primping without warning.

"While I'm walking down the hall to the set in the courtroom, a young lady attempts to adjust my attire. I stop her and say, `Whoa, wait a minute. I have real bullets.' Then I gestured over at the actors who had uniforms on and I said, `Those are the fake deputies over there.'"

That got him a laugh - and an invitation to make more than $200 as an extra. Rheubottom, already earning $300 for the security detail, cleared it with his supervisor and accepted.

"They put the makeup on my forehead, and the next thing you know I was standing there on camera," he said. His only instruction: Do what a deputy sheriff usually does in a courtroom.

So Rheubottom stood behind the defendant (played by Channing Tatum) as he was sentenced. The punishment was the only-in-a-Hollywood-musical variety - community service at a school for the arts.

But Rheubottom carried on, business as usual.

"I look over to the judge and said, `Your honor, is the defendant dismissed?'

"Everybody got quiet in the courtroom and at that point I realized these are scripted roles and I wasn't supposed to say nothing."

Don't worry, there's a Hollywood ending.

"The director said, `That was real good. Could you do that again?'" Rheubottom said. "Now that I said a line in the movie, I got paid an additional $700."

The comptroller blows a kiss to the press

William Donald Schaefer is only going to make so much nice.

Maryland's famously curmudgeonly comptroller put aside his differences with a fellow former Baltimore mayor yesterday, standing side by side with Kurt Schmoke as they endorsed Doug Duncan for governor.

Schaefer seemed determined to keep it positive in their appearance at a West Baltimore church, as did Schmoke. The latter made only a vague reference to Duncan's rival for the Democratic nomination, saying criticism of the city's progress - or lack thereof - was for another day.

Schaefer's only shot at Martin O'Malley was an indirect swipe at the mayor he often harshly criticizes as overly ambitious. He praised Duncan for wanting to be governor "not for something else" - meaning not, as he thinks O'Malley sees it, as a stepping stone to the White House.

But Schaefer can only hold his tongue so long.

After mumbling something about how he'd be quoted in The Sun, he looked down from the podium at one of the paper's photographers and stuck out his tongue.

He wouldn't do a thing like that. He wouldn't fib; he -- oh, skip it

It's one of those classic political black ops. Maybe not quite the Watergate break-in. Or even the Internet postings of NCPAC and MD4BUSH.

But swiping campaign signs has a long, undistinguished place in American democracy.

It surfaced this week in Annapolis, where Mayor Ellen Moyer issued a statement after Gilbert Renaut, a lawyer with the U.S. Department of Energy who is running as an independent, alleged that one of her volunteers had stolen his signs.

"At no time have I ever suggested that anyone deface or remove an opponent's campaign sign, or any other material," she wrote. "I will not tolerate that practice."

She went on to vouch for the "longtime family friend and campaign volunteer" whom Renaut accused. The alleged sign-swiper was "flabbergasted" by the allegation, not to mention sick in bed when the signs were stolen, she wrote.

The next day, Moyer was eating a little crow - but only a little. The vouched-for perp had confessed, she said in a follow-up message.

But she also suggested he'd been driven to the deed because so many of Moyer's signs had been stolen.

"There is really no excuse," she wrote, "for stooping to the same behavior."

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