And here's password for today: Go, Kimmie!

February 23, 2006|By DAN RODRICKS

I feel like one of those old-fashioned cowboys who goes in the drugstore to buy Calgon bath oil beads, self-conscious and all. It's not easy for a guy to admit he watches Olympic figure skating with his wife and daughter. If I care about an ice sport - and I do - it's either hockey or fishing. And besides, I have bad memories from a long-ago romance with an ice brat who had an ice queen mother who thought I was too low of station for her daughter, and the whole thing was icky, like something out of a Jane Austen novel, if you know what I mean. But, all that aside, all I really wanna say today is: Go, Kimmie!

Olympic loves

My new Olympic love is snowboard cross; my daughter's is Apollo Ono. ... You know the skinny guy on NBC - what's his name? - the one who does the corny, cliche-infested commentary while trying to out-twit Bob Costas? Well, whatever. He really piled it on the other night after Lindsey Jacobellis blew the gold in snowboard cross. It was three minutes of salt on a paper cut. Poor Lindsey, poor little hot-doggin' girl, like she needed that. As Capt. Lou Albano would have said: "Give me a break, you pencil-necked geek." ... Now I know why Mrs. Gretzky - "Betzky," as the New York Daily News called her recently - was so upset when the Canadians lost to the Czechs at Nagano. ... All I really wanna say is: Go, Kimmie!

FOR THE RECORD - A column by Dan Rodricks in yesterday's Maryland section misspelled the name of Olympic short-track skater Apolo Ohno.
The Sun regrets the error

Where's Charles?

We still haven't located Charles, the homeless man found on CSX tracks in Harford County after the big snow of Feb. 12. A lot of people are concerned about this and expressed sincere interest in Charles through e-mail and phone calls. Readers from all over have called or written about Charles and the lack of a permanent winter shelter for the homeless in Harford County.

As reported in this column Monday, Charles was treated for hypothermia and released from Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air on Valentine's Day.

The man who found him in the snow, Jim Fielder, wants to know if he's all right, and a Sun reader, Margaret Malta Caplan, wants to give him a coat.

Two other readers reported seeing Charles along U.S 40 between Rosedale and Edgewood in recent months, and suggested he might have returned to those areas. Two readers provided information that they said might lead to Charles' relatives. (Charles, who takes medication for schizophrenia, told paramedics that he did not have family in the area.)

"I am very interested to find out what has happened to Charles," wrote Linda Field, president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Howard County. "He could very well have been your brother or mine. Three cheers for Jim Fielder. He is a true hero."

"I have been so concerned about Charles," wrote Sun reader Jackie Breau. "I'm sorry to hear that his story did not have a happy ending and he's probably out in the cold somewhere. I was hoping someone would find him a place to stay when he was released from the hospital. How kind Jim Fielder was to him. I'm so glad a train didn't arrive before Jim."

Lyle E. Sheldon, president and CEO of Upper Chesapeake Health, wrote to explain his hospital's policy on the release of homeless, mentally ill patients after treatment: "Our case managers meet with patients in the Emergency Department to begin assessment and a plan of care for when they leave the hospital. If a patient is admitted to the hospital, that plan continues with the case manager, social worker, nursing staff and physician. Based on input from the patient's caregivers and following physician orders, the social worker develops a final discharge plan. This plan is reviewed with the patient, and may involve transfer to another health care facility, discharge to home, or transportation to the Department of Social Services for placement in a shelter if the patient has no permanent address.

"In my role as an advocate for the homeless, I have served in the soup kitchen and rotating shelters of Harford County. In helping to support and open a faith-based shelter, I witnessed firsthand the need for a permanent shelter in our community."

Unfortunately, the community still doesn't have one.

Made-for-TV brouhaha

Can someone tell me why we should care about this made-for-TV uproar over the control of operations at the port of Baltimore? Please tell me if it involves something other than election-year political grandstanding and exploitative, post-9/11 Arabanoia. (Because all I really wanna say today is: Go, Kimmie!)

The mayor of Baltimore, who wants to be president of the United States when he grows up, was pretty much breathless about the whole thing the other day, decrying "this outrageous decision to turn over the operations of our port to a foreign government."

Even the governor of Maryland, who plans to be governor of Maryland again, got in on the act with one of those why-wasn't-I-informed plaints. And one of our local TV stations reported that an Arab nation had bought the port! Y'all been trippin' on that Morgan Freeman-Ben Affleck movie, The Sum of All Fears. Y'all been watchin' 24 too much. Tempest in a cargo container, if you ask me. Next story, please. ... Go, Kimmie!

And another thing

But wait! One thing: Why doesn't an American company do this job at the port? I mean, all you have to do is tell longshoremen when and where to load and unload cargo - like Lee J. Cobb in On the Waterfront. How hard can that be? I tell you: This country is going down faster than a geezer lawyer on a Texas quail hunt. We don't make stuff anymore. We can't even load and unload stuff anymore. But cappucino - oh, yeah, we can make a mean cup of cappucino.

But, all I really wanna say is: Go, Kimmie!

dan.rodricks@baltsun.com

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