That's how the governor learned to boldly go

2B

October 12, 2007|By LAURA VOZZELLA

A little scrap of political biography hidden in the Government House closet until now: Martin O'Malley is a Trekkie. Or at least he has Trekkie tendencies.

Describing a lousy week of wrangling between House Speaker Mike Busch and Senate President Mike Miller, the governor pulled out an obscure Star Trek reference during a speech this week to the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

"Do we have any Star Trek fans in the house?" he asked. "Do you remember that episode with the two guys, and one of them -- the right side of his face was black and the left side of his face was white, remember that one? And he was always battling and chasing through a burning planet and the last reaches of hell another guy who had -- the opposite side of his face was black and the other side of his face was white. And to look at them, you think, `You guys have so much in common. Why are you chasing each other through hell and back when you have so much to agree on?' I felt like I was trapped in that episode."

FOR THE RECORD - An item in yesterday's 2B column reported incorrectly that tonight's Garrison Keillor show at the Hippodrome will be his first Maryland appearance. It will be a first for his show, A Prairie Home Companion. But Keillor has previously performed in the state.
The Sun regrets the error.

O'Malley left more Trek tracks in August, during an appearance at Hammond High School with Howard County Superintendent Sydney Cousin. Cousin rattled off something in a dead language, then asked assembled students, teachers and dignitaries if anyone knew what he'd just said. O'Malley had the answer: the Pledge of Allegiance in Latin.

Credit his Catholic eduction? No, O'Malley confessed, he'd just seen the Latin pledge on Star Trek.

O'Malley suddenly seems to be outing himself, but really, the signs have always been there.

Take the geekily futuristic trappings of CitiStat, which during his mayoralty turned a City Hall conference room into the bridge of the Starship Enterprise: captain and crew seated in a semicircle, eyes trained on a giant blinking screen tracking -- take your pick -- incoming aliens or skyrocketing police overtime.

O'Malley's workout shirts are about as snug as the uniforms worn by Capt. James T. Kirk and crew, though their tops had sleeves. Even the Under Armour logo echoes the Starfleet's chevron insignia.

When he's not playing captain, O'Malley, like William Shatner, likes to play musician. Shatner sometimes talks when he sings, while O'Malley sometimes sings when he talks. (Democratic National Convention, Boston, 2004: "America the beautiful, whose alabaster cities gleam UN-dimmed by human tears!")

And the BlackBerry? Tricorder, of course.

So, will O'Malley admit it? Is he a Trekkie?

"I'm not," he said, "but my older sister [Bridget] was, and she controlled the television when Star Trek was on."

Some might have preferred Captain Picard

How did the Star Trek reference go over with The Mikes?

Miller: "I'm not a Trekkie. I was reading history books while the governor was glued to the television. By his comments, the governor is going where no governor has gone before. I hope this is not his final frontier as governor."

Busch: No comment.

O'Malley's allusion did have its fans, the sort who freakishly knew off the tops of their heads that O'Malley meant the Original Series, Episode 70: "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," made in 1969, when O'Malley was 6.

"I guess about three or four Trekkies in the room were like, `Whoo! Whoo!,'" said Michael Sola, who works in -- what else? -- information technology for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

"You've got to be hard-core to know that episode. That's the original series," Sola said. "I'm a Republican, and I voted for him the first time and I would vote for him again -- even more so now."

Don't empower anyone under 50

Harry Banahan, who's been watching Baltimore politics for most of his 90 years, called offering his two cents about the proposed Inner Harbor statue of William Donald Schaefer. He says it should be up to the citizens -- the senior citizens.

The whippersnappers running things these days aren't old enough to appreciate all that the former mayor, governor and comptroller did for the city, he contends.

"Twenty-year-olds don't know what happened," he said. "I've seen rats running up and down on Light Street. You don't see that down [at] Harborplace anymore, and this man changed that."

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