The wrong party animal

Forget Kegasus. City transportation workers are the perfect boozing and betting mascot for the Preakness infield

March 30, 2011|By Laura Vozzella, The Baltimore Sun

Leave it to an out-of-town ad agency to invent a mythological creature when Baltimore has authentic, homegrown party animals better suited to promote boozing and betting in the Preakness infield.

Instead of dreaming up Kegasus, Washington-based Elevation Ltd. could have found a spokesman among the 13 city Transportation Department workers caught last week allegedly drinking and shooting dice during work hours.

Added bonus: The workers, from the department's special-events unit, set up stages, booths and equipment for city festivals. So even before they get down to guzzling and gambling, they could help get the infield set up.

Other glaring out-of-towner errors surface in the back story created for the half-man, half-horse Kegasus on infieldfest.com.

"Kegasus is the son of Preaknesius — God of Thoroughbred Racing — and Shelly McDougal, a waitress from Ellicot [sic] City, a suburb just outside Baltimore."

Misspelling aside, one look at Shelly tells you she's from Hampden, not Ellicott City. With cat-eye glasses and a poufed-up (if not quite beehived) 'do, she's clearly a hon.

That purported hon lineage presents an opportunity not just to save a grand old horse-racing event from its grotesque infield ad campaign, but to rehabilitate another beleaguered city institution.

Denise Whiting should sue for copyright infringement.

The Cafe Hon owner could win back all the good will she lost by copyrighting "hon" if she stopped Kegasus in his tracks.

One more problem, which has nothing to do with ignorance of Baltimore, just plain ignorance. On Twitter, Kegasus' bio identifies him as "part man, part centaur."

Think about it. That makes him part man, part horse-man. So he's two-thirds human and one-third horse? At least that leaves the back end of the horse in the mix.

He regrets the tweet

The Rev. Jamal-Harrison Bryant, the flashy Empowerment Temple pastor who was embroiled not long ago in a messy divorce and paternity case, found himself in the middle of another sort of controversy last week on Twitter, where he has nearly 41,000 followers.

"Supposed to do Nate Doggs funeral tomorrow, I'm confused am I supposed to wear blue or red?!" he tweeted.

He seemed to be saying that he didn't know if Nate Doggs, a singer who did the hooks on rap songs, was a Blood or a Crip.

The joke didn't go over well.

"Why are you worrying about what colors you're supposed to wear??" someone tweeted in reply. "Wouldn't that be condoning gangs ????"

"Blue or red? What does that have 2 do w anything? Nate loved God & had traveled around LA with his own choir – not funny!"

"His family is grieving right now Pastor. I don't think that post was very appropriate."

There were plenty of "LOLs" mixed in with the criticism.

I tried to reach Bryant, but his assistant and I played phone tag all week and never connected. It's clear the pastor regretted the tweet. He took it down and posted this: "To all of you who were unnerved & offended by the funeral tweet I do earnestly apologize it wasn't my intent."

The musical Ulman

Kevin Liles, the Baltimore-born former president of Def Jam Recordings, was spotted dining at Pazo last week with — wait for it — Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.

That sort of surprised me, so I asked Ulman about it.

"I guess I should be flattered that anybody at all would be interested in me being at a restaurant having dinner," he said. "This is a milestone for me."

I thought perhaps the term-limited politician was plotting his next act, in the music world. Alas, Ulman said, they were just having a friendly get-together. (The county exec and the recording exec met a while back through mutual friends.)

Ulman said his only music-industry gig is promoting Columbia's Merriweather Post Pavilion, where, he noted, Katy Perry performs in June.

"My 5-year-old can sing all the words to Katy Perry songs, and it's very scary and inappropriate."

But he'll probably let 5-year-old Lily and 9-year-old Maddie see the show anyway.

"Anything we can do to promote Merriweather."

Take that, bureaucracy

Del. Jill Carter has made good on her overdue water bill, shelling out $1,027.16 to get right with the city and get her Hunting Ridge home off the tax sale auction block.

And if you missed it on The Baltimore Sun's Maryland Politics blog, Carter offered an interesting explanation on Facebook for why she hadn't paid her bill in nearly two years.

"So, I'm fallible?" she wrote. "It's not like i have millions of dollars and just ... refuse to pay my debts. Truth is, I abhor being bogged down by bureacracy. So, to that extent, I sometimes bring things, like this, on myself because I feel I don't have time, or want to be botheed with letter writing, phone calls, etc, to handle personal matters."

A woman who has run for mayor doesn't like being bogged down by "bureacracy"?

laura.vozzella@baltsun.com

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