Has Del. Melvin Stukes ever had any bones broken, like the woman who was brutally beaten on the No. 27 bus? He didn't let on. But the former Baltimore city councilman let it be known that he'd had his heart broken. Which is why he could relate to Sarah Kreager's attackers.
"Please tell me what you would do if someone SPAT on you," Stukes wrote in an e-mail. "In a heat[ed] exchange of words. If you don't think words can hurt you then I am sure you have never been in love. Words and [names] do Hurt."
Stukes was replying to a woman who'd e-mailed to complain about his statement in a TV interview that Kreager had "kind of asked for it." (For the record: There has been conflicting testimony about whether any spitting or slurs preceded the attack.)
Asked about his message, Stukes said he'd probably exchanged "one e-mail too much with this woman. I really don't want to go one step further with this." But he said he "obviously" does not condone violence.
Stukes was more expansive on the bit about love.
"If you've been in love before, you've always said something to hurt the person. That's all I meant by that," he said. "Fortunately, I have had much more good times involving the beautiful thing of love than bad."
Eggs, with a side of conspiracy theory
Perhaps gossip hounds finally have had their fill of the Paris Hiltons of the world. Now they're trailing Tony Caligiuri, breathlessly reporting where Rep. Wayne Gilchrest's chief of staff has - get this - eaten breakfast.
It is the most important meal of the day, but still!
Caligiuri's breakfast was big news on politickermd.com last week because he had it at a gathering of "Republicans for Kratovil." That's Frank Kratovil, the Democrat and Queen Anne's County state's attorney running for Congress against state Sen. Andy Harris, who beat Caligiuri's boss in the bitter GOP primary.
Politickermd wondered: Did Caligiuri's presence suggest that Gilchrest would cross party lines and endorse Kratovil?
Harris campaign manager Chris Meekins weighed in on the site: "I'd call it bi-polar support, not bi-partisan." (Reached Friday, Meekins said he stood by his comment, calling Caligiuri and some co-workers "disgruntled staff members trying to keep their jobs.")
What did Caligiuri make of all the interest in what he claimed was a "completely canoodle-free" meal?
"I thought it was the funniest thing I've ever seen," Caligiuri said. "I have to say the only thing more pathetic than being interested in where and with whom I've had breakfast would be the fact that a campaign would criticize somebody for even listening to a political speech by someone of a different political party. That probably crystallizes what's wrong with American politics right now."
If you're interested, when I reached Caligiuri, he'd just had lunch. Salad. With his wife. No word on any canoodling.
Get off the lawn; it's for dinner
Clarence Ridgley, a supervisor at a plastic bottle factory, was looking for blueberry bushes for his Liberty Heights yard.
Fritz Haeg, a Los Angeles architect-artist with an exhibit at New York's Whitney Museum, was looking to expand his war on front lawns.
Only the Internet could bring these two together, with this result: Ridgley's conventional front yard is about to become an artistic "installation." Under Haeg's international Edible Estates project, the grass will be ripped up next month and replaced with trees and plants that bear fruit, veggies and herbs.
Googling "edible" as he searched for those blueberry bushes, Ridgley stumbled upon news that Haeg was seeking a Baltimore yard to transform. (Haeg has already created Edible Estates in Salina, Kan.; Lakewood, Calif.; Maplewood, N.J.; and London. He has one in the works in Austin.) Already an avid backyard gardener, Ridgley submitted his address. Haeg chose it over dozens of others after a recent city tour.
He designs the gardens to be provocative and controversial, to make a statement against the "monoculture of lawns," as I wrote last month when the project was announced. Is Ridgley worried about how his new front yard will go over with neighbors? Not in the least.
"It helps to be the president of the community association," he said.
Ridgley does hope to tweak the guy across the street. For years, they've competed over "who has the greenest grass. I'm really going to blow him out of the water this year."