Trading Places

January 06, 2009|By KEVIN COWHERD | KEVIN COWHERD,kevin.cowherd@baltisun.com

When it comes to towering cultural icons, the difference between Baltimore's lineup and Nashville's is like the difference between the varsity and JV.

NASHVILLE

Dolly Parton Overly chesty country artist whose warbling "mountain soprano" irritates again on her latest CD, Backwoods Barbie.

Elvis Presley Bloated, pelvis-thrusting King of Rock 'n' Roll toppled by addiction to barbiturates and Sara Lee products.

Jack Daniel Possibly unstable founder of Jack Daniel's whiskey distillery who died of massive toe infection after kicking a safe in anger when it wouldn't open.

Al Gore Jr. Bland environmental activist and failed presidential candidate who put half of Oslo to sleep with Nobel acceptance speech.

Davy Crockett Doomed Alamo fighter and frontiersman whose life inspired an unfortunate 1950s TV series starring wooden Fess Parker.

BALTIMORE

H.L. Mencken Heroic journalist whose coverage of 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial exposed evolution phobia of Tennessee hillbillies.

Edgar Allan Poe Legendary "Master of the Macabre" whose brilliant poem The Raven inspired a plucky NFL team and its faithful fans.

Cal Ripken Jr. Gritty Hall of Fame "Iron Man" and popular TV endorser of every single product and service known to man.

Francis Scott Key Courageous lawyer who penned the words to the national anthem - sober! - while aboard British warship during raging Battle of Baltimore.

Frank Zappa Whacked-out - but in a good way - musical genius who once wrote a song called "The Illinois Enema Bandit" about a convicted sex criminal.

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