For the upscale class of depressed patients

November 23, 2008|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Sheppard Pratt seems to have found its target market: readers of The New Yorker.

The Towson psychiatric hospital ran not one but two ads in the Nov. 3 issue. There's yet another in the Nov. 24 edition.

Perhaps anyone who understands those one-panel cartoons should have his head examined. But is there something else that makes New Yorker readers likely consumers of psychiatric services?

No one in the hospital's public affairs office responded to my calls, so no insight there.

Jim Bready, the retired Evening Sun editorial writer who spotted the ads, thinks Sheppard Pratt might be fishing for newly despondent Wall Street types or the age-old reckless rich.

"What do these people represent?" he asked. "If it's not the recession, what is it? Overindulgence?"

The text of the ads suggests that the hospital isn't looking to help those completely wiped out by the stock market. More like the monocled and top-hatted Eustace Tilleys of the world.

"The retreat at Sheppard Pratt," it begins. "Treating all psychiatric conditions. Intermediate length of stay. Elegantly appointed environment. The retreat does not accept insurance. First class setting. World class care."

In other words, get help without mixing with the riff-raff.

Now that's peace of mind.

Would you like a latte with that?

Would you like fries with your hipster vibe?

McDonald's in Pikesville has undergone an extreme makeover, complete with limestone counter tops, sleek seating and flat-screen TVs.

Designer Steve Appel, who last year created maestra Marin Alsop's ultra-cool dressing room backstage at the BSO, found an unlikely client in Ronald McDonald. Franchise owners Bob and Barbara Houck sought out Appel, co-owner of Whitehead and Appel Interior Design and its affiliated store, Nouveau Contemporary Goods.

The Houcks were tearing down their 41-year-old restaurant - all shiny tile, Formica counters and plastic booth seating - and seeking a new look for what they were building in its place.

"From their perspective, they wanted this to be the newest and the hippest McDonald's in the country," Appel said.

Appel and designer Bill Goudelok worked with McDonald's corporate design firm throughout the five-month project, but they had "quite a bit of leeway," Appel said. The result, celebrated last week with a ribbon-cutting and noted in Elizabeth Large's food blog on baltimoresun.com, looks more like a cool coffee shop than the Golden Arches.

"A lot of limestone. Beautiful wallpaper. The whole theme is sort of a tangerine and almost like a sherbet green," Appel said. "We picked out a nice copper trim for the tables." Not to mention original paintings, pendant lights, woven window blinds and a "cozy seating area with very modern chairs and a TV above with CNN on it. And a really hip, 21st-century light fixture above it."

County Council Chairman Kevin Kamenetz pronounced it "very chic."

"I couldn't believe it," he said. "The decor was totally arch-less, as in Golden Arches. And it had warm earth tones and a modern decor, including square-cushioned chairs, kind of like a box covered in leather as a chair that I probably threw out of my college apartment 30 years ago and is now back in style. The only thing missing was a valet."

Throughout the project, Appel said he asked himself: "How can we make this a McDonald's that someone after a movie would feel comfortable going in and having a hazelnut latte and a hamburger and not be embarrassed?"

Do they really serve hazelnut lattes?

"Yes. You should see this place."

Santa's not a goy?

I'll confess I never thought Semites on Bikes was such an oxymoron. But Semites and Santa?

The Jewish motorcycle gang just announced plans for the SOB Santa Launch. On Dec. 20, they'll ride from Dundalk to 34th Street in Hampden, where kids can have their pictures taken with guys and bikes decked out for a holiday they don't celebrate.

Who's idea was that, anyway?

Kevin Goodman, who calls himself the group's "token goy."

"When I called [SOB founder] Ken Shapiro to ask about joining, I told him that I wasn't Jewish, but my last name is Goodman, he said you can pass as a jew," Goodman explained in an e-mail.

Before the ride, the bikers will gather at a member's house in Dundalk, Goodman noted.

"He's gonna serve us matzo ball soup."

What Michael Phelps smells like

Michael Phelps makes People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" issue, which this year includes - I'm not kidding here - a scratch-and-sniff feature.

So says Gawker.com, which also takes the Olympian to task for the scratchable scent he says makes him feel sexiest: L'Homme YSL.

"What It's Probably Supposed To Say: That he's suave and classy," Gawker writes.

"What It Really Says: While People apparently denies this is product placement, we kinda doubt it isn't. So this means that lil' Neptune has become a total corporate shill since winning 1.5 million gold medals at the Chinalympics. I mean, we've known this for some time, and who can blame the kid for cashing in on his new-found fame.

"But you'd think that a young man as passionate about swimming as he seems to be would chose, like, 'the smell of chlorine' or something. But he probably doesn't find that sexy anymore. No, that's work. The money is sexy. Giant swimming pools full of cologne-smelling money."

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