Dear Santa: Rich alums, puppy ad on nice list

December 22, 2006|By JEAN MARBELLA

After years of single-handedly tracking who's been naughty and nice, Santa Claus is overwhelmed this time around. You try keeping up with members of Congress, the NFL and that axis of silly, Britney, Paris and Lindsay. No wonder he's seriously behind schedule making his list, let alone checking it twice.

So with three days to go before the big day, the CEO of Christmas did what any exec in his position would do: He outsourced. He found contractors who would work fast and cheap, or at least faster and cheaper than those elves on the North Pole.

In Baltimore, he found a little helper - call her Santa Bella - who knows who's been bad or good in these parts this year. Here's her list:

Hairspray filmmakers. That rumble you hear is Divine turning over in his (her?) grave. It's one thing to film the movie Annapolis in Philadelphia. But to shoot a new version of the ur-Baltimore tale, John Waters' Hairspray, in Toronto - that's just plain naughty, eh?

Kristi Toliver. With six seconds left in the women's NCAA basketball final, the Maryland freshman sinks a three-pointer to send the game into overtime. Then, with her team down 75-74, she nails a free throw to tie and another to go ahead. A couple more points by a teammate ice the cake, and the Terpettes win their first national championship. Really nice!

Brandy Britton, PhD. In January, the alleged HoCoHo and former UMBC prof gave her Ellicott City neighbors lots to talk about - in addition, that is, to how she tended to a garden in a bikini and let her two pot-bellied pigs graze on the lawn. She was arrested on prostitution charges, although her Web site pre-emptively claimed that any money that turns up on the nightstand was merely for "companionship" with this "natural 38D." Naughty, but then again, you can't charge $300 an hour for nice.

Michael Steele's puppy. Actually, the Boston terrier that starred in the Senate candidate's campaign ads belonged to a consultant whose firm made the much-talked-about spot. While all the buzz didn't get Steele elected over Ben Cardin, still, amid all the other ads striking nasty and negative notes, it was nice to have a dog - a totally adorable one - in the fight.

Sigma Chi fraternity at Johns Hopkins. The frat's "Halloween in the Hood" party itself sounds like your basic snooze - no wonder this school always scrapes bottom on those most-fun-campus lists. But the over-reaction of first the Black Student Union, then the Hopkins administration, then the free-speechifiers pretty much turned tastelessness into farce. Naughty, but who, ultimately, cares?

Philanthropists. They may have left Baltimore but keep sending checks - nice, big, fat ones - home: From William Polk Carey's $50 million gift for a new graduate business school at Hopkins to Jada Pinkett Smith's $1 million donation to her alma mater, the Baltimore School for the Arts, who knows how many future magnates and performers - preferably with long memories and generous spirits - they'll help train. Nice.

Diebold. First some of Diebold's voter check-in gizmos froze and rebooted during the primary. Then a former state legislator gets a mysterious package containing company source code. Then we find out Diebold knew there was a glitch in its voting machines, but shipped them to Maryland anyway. Naughty, and probably off warranty at this point.

Carmelo Anthony. Ah, Melo, what are we gonna do with you? The NBA's top scorer made nice in his Baltimore hometown this year, hosting a hoops tournament this summer and reopening a shuttered youth center this month. But then came that game against the Knicks, and you know the rest: a punch, an apology, a 15-game suspension. So for those of you keeping score at home, that's nice, then naughty, but with three more days before Christmas, stay tuned.

William Donald Schaefer. Irascible to the end, the mare turned gubner turned com'troller exits stage left. He can take his "Mother Hubbard" and "little girl" insults with him, but with his departure, the political theater around here now seems a bit dimmer in star wattage, and future plots promise to be more predictable. Thanks for the memories, you naughty little boy.

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