Cheesecake on the tart side


December 15, 2006|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Here's a stocking stuffer guaranteed to crush a city's self esteem: The 2007 Girls of Baltimore calendar is filled with pictures of the gal next door, provided you live next door to The Block.

This $12 gem - peddled online and to Ravens tailgaters but, alas, not at local bookstores - includes a shot of a tough-looking slugger in an abbreviated Little League shirt and an even rougher-looking blonde with furry boots and dark roots.

A Goth-y Miss October holds a rose amid historic and modern tombstones. Members of the Kemper family are no doubt honored to have their loved one's headstone showcased.

Greg Blick, the 27-year-old, first-time calendar producer, said he'd made arrangements to have that shot taken at Edgar Allan Poe's grave. He even had a half-drunk bottle of cognac on hand, to pump up the literary cred. But the folks who were supposed to open the gates never showed. His model and photographer pulled over at a cemetery somewhere between Pasadena and Middle River.

Why does a model wear red suspenders?

The calendar's Miss May perches provocatively atop Grasonville Volunteer Fire Department's Truck 2. Why go all the way to the Eastern Shore for something so Baltimore?

It seems Blick had some trouble finding a local firehouse open to cheesecake.

"A lot of people had a lot of leery thinking about it," he said. "They didn't want half-naked women standing around because they thought we were doing it with bad taste. It's not even as risque as a Victoria's Secret catalog, and those are things that are sent to everybody's mailbox."

But they were well received in Grasonville.

"We probably did a 2 1/2 -hour photo shoot, and they were pretty attentive," Blick said. "You have 10 guys very attentive when you have a beautiful girl on a fire truck with little clothing."

Compared to others in the calendar, that model is modestly dressed, in black hot pants, a tank top and knee-high boots. They saved the raunchier shot for the Web site, There, she wears just firefighters' pants and strategically placed red suspenders.

Anybody mind if fire department stuff was used to help a semi-nude model strut hers?

"It's actually not a county truck," said Queen Anne's County Commissioner Gene Ransom of Grasonville. "We do have county EMS, and that wouldn't be kosher. That would be problematic."

Though it receives some money from the county, the fire department is a private entity that "can do whatever they want with their equipment," Ransom said.

That's why nearby Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department has felt free, for the past several years, to put out a suggestive calendar of its own as a fundraiser. (The Gents of Kent Island brings in $25,000 to $30,000 a year, Chief Tracy Schulz tells me.)

Theirs is all beefcake, featuring muscley firefighters and wrinkly civic leaders. William Donald Schaefer took it all off - or most of it, anyway - for the 2005 version. An apron and a pile of steamed crabs protected the comptroller's modesty.

The witty Eisenhower brother

After I wrote about Johns Hopkins' oft-omitted s, I received several e-mails describing a moment of delicious revenge for Baltimore's two most famous and misidentified institutions. Was it too good to be true?

The story involves Milton Eisenhower, Ike's brother, who was president of the university from 1956 to 1967, and from 1971 to 1972. University spokesman Dennis O'Shea checked with Ross Jones, who was Eisenhower's assistant. And Jones confirmed it.

"His recollection is that a Johns Hopkins ophthalmologist had asked him [Eisenhower] to speak at a convention of ophthalmologists in Pittsburgh," O'Shea wrote me. "The chair of the event introduced him as president of `John' Hopkins. Eisenhower responded that he was pleased he was to be in `Pittburgh.'"

Ross told O'Shea: "I remember him telling me about it first thing after he got back. He was tickled with himself for picking up on it so quickly with that response. And then it became a legend! He would love the fact that it still has legs."

You can eat, if you're on my side

Bob Ehrlich gave a farewell luncheon-interview the other day, but only invited reporters from papers that had endorsed him in last month's election. The outgoing Gov didn't just shut out reporters from The Sun, whose editorial page backed Martin O'Malley. He also excluded scribes from the Associated Press and the Frederick News-Post, news organizations that don't, as a matter of policy, endorse candidates.

"We begged and begged to get in," said the AP's Kristen Wyatt. "I called and asked and they said, `It's just a thank-you for folks who endorsed him.' I said, `Is it on the record? I said, `Can I just sit in the back and won't eat?'"

Said News-Post politics reporter Cliff Cumber: "The governor, to his credit, has made a point of coming to Frederick. He says he likes it here. We've certainly had a lot of opportunities to talk to him. Would have loved to have gone, though."

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