Dancing partners for Precious


December 30, 2007|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Finally, we discover how Precious the Skateboarding Dog II keeps busy when it's not parade season. The canine political activist dresses up like an elf and shimmies to a jazzy "Jingle Bells" with Martin O'Malley, Anthony Brown and her owner, human political activist Don Crockett.

Yes, the governor and lieutenant gov of Maryland appear in fur-trimmed elf outfits, candy-cane striped stockings and shoes with turned-up toes, swinging their hips with the parade fixture and her mustachioed human companion. See for yourself at www.elfyourself.com/?id=1814606578.

O'Malley and Brown weren't willing participants in the video, which Crockett created by pasting head shots atop dancing elves on an OfficeMax holiday Web application. It's called "Elf Yourself," not "Elf Somebody Else," and at least one of the Somebody Elses takes himself rather seriously. But Crockett was certain the governor wouldn't mind.

"Me and the dog busted our butt for him in the election," said Crockett, a Baltimore Countian who has worked electoral magic for years by pulling precious skateboarding dogs along parade routes. "He could never be mad."

I sent the video to O'Malley's office just to be sure. Said spokeswoman Christine Hansen: "We basically have no comment, but we hope that Mr. Crockett had a very merry Christmas."

Cut your wheels, cut your wheels

The news doesn't take a day off, even on Christmas Day. So there were The Sun's Gadi Dechter and a bunch of TV cameras, with Fire Department spokesman Kevin Cartwright at the scene of a Southwest Baltimore blaze.

Just as Chief C was wrapping up, a WJZ van sped up - late to the only news story of the day - and proceeded to execute a parallel parking maneuver. Actually, the driver proceeded to plow into a WMAR SUV, ripping off part of the bumper.

A group of teenage boys who had been milling about burst into laughter as the driver got out to inspect the damage she'd wrought.

"Just walk away!" one of the boys yelled. "They got your story, you got their car. That's the way it goes." (Or words to that effect.)

Moments later, the 'JZ driver was seen exchanging information with the 'MAR cameraman/driver.

"It was all very amicable," WMAR news director David Silverstein said later. "Sometimes it's very difficult to park some of these very large news vehicles."

Another nominee for Volvo heroism

Most businesses want repeat customers. Unless your business is sewing up people who've been stabbed and shot.

That's why Shock Trauma surgeon Carnell Cooper established a program intended to stop the violence by researching its causes and developing intervention methods. The effort has put Dr. Cooper in the running for Volvo's America's Greatest Hometown Hero award.

He's one of 40 finalists nationwide. (I recently wrote about another one of them, Linda Clement, vice president for student affairs at the University of Maryland, College Park. She's been recognized for making the campus greener, through recycling and other environmental programs. And duh! Did I think about checking the list to see if any other Marylanders were in the running?)

You can vote for either one through Jan. 7 at www.volvoforlifeawards.com.

Connect the dots

With the statewide smoking ban looming, Maryland bar owners might follow the lead of a German restaurateur. A new law in Lower Saxony bans smoking in restaurants, so Michael Windisch cut three portholes in the wall of his restaurant so patrons can stick their heads and hands outside for a puff. ... Another deadline bearing down, this one on state lawmakers, who can't raise money during the legislative session that begins in January. Among those trying to fill the coffers beforehand: Del. Tom Hucker, former director of Progressive Maryland. He'll have some political star power on his side. Governor O'Malley and House Speaker Mike Busch will appear at a Hucker fundraiser Jan. 6 at McGinty's Public House in Silver Spring. Tickets range from $125 to $1,000. ... Baltimore's Himmelrich Public Relations sent out a holiday greeting that could only come from a PR firm: "Wishing you lots of coverage during the holidays and in the coming year." ... Robert Banks, the 1st District congressional candidate who usually thinks pink, mailed a Christmas card with a black-and-white photo. It showed his three young daughters, decked out in Banks for Congress T-shirts. ... This is my first column since that Chicago gazillionaire took control of The Sun, and my first chance to send a message to the new boss, so here goes: You can't spell "Vozzella" without "Zell." Please keep that in mind, Sam, if you start thinking about slashing staff.

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