Nobody asked me but . . .

On Owings Mills, Paterno, Grand Prix, the Hon mea culpa, Currie case and mortuary-turned-casa

November 12, 2011|Dan Rodricks

Nobody asked me, but ... do we really need to redevelop Owings Mills Mall into a retail "town center"? How about we just decide that the whole thing was a big mistake, knock it down, tear up all that pavement and turn the area into a park, with exotic things like trees and grass and deer and stuff?

How about doing a facelift along Reisterstown Road instead, supporting the small businesses that are already there and encouraging new ones? Anyone for a charrette on this?

People who opposed the Baltimore Grand Prix keep sending me I-told-you-so cards. (And I didn't even know Hallmark had that category.) But what did they tell me so? That the race might be a financial flop? That the BGP would be poorly managed and in need of reorganization to get all its bills paid? No. The people who complained about the BGP never wanted it to happen to begin with; they bellyached about the various inconveniences it created and opposed spending public funds on repairing downtown streets in advance of the races. They never wanted to give the race a chance, and now they're just gloating over its shortcomings.

I hope the BGP gets its act together and comes back strong next Labor Day. If you missed it this year, I suggest redirecting your family summer recreational budget — say, the money you'd spend on a couple of Orioles games — and buying good views of the races next year.

Nobody asked me, but ... that apology by Denise Whiting for the Hon trademark, with the reality TV chef Gordon Ramsay at her side, was classic Baltimore weird. One wants to believe DW was sincere. But it appeared that the sharp-tongued Mr. Ramsay had just given Ms. Whiting a verbal spanking, a dose of tough love to knock the mea culpa out of her. In return for giving Mr. Ramsay's producers the desired drama, Ms. Whiting's Cafe Hon will soon receive national exposure on Fox, which is bound to bring the restaurant more tourist traffic, making up for the loss of local business. Oh, I know. I've become such a cynic! I'm so sorry, hon.

Nobody asked me, but ... the Penn State scandal is more like the priest-pedophile scandal of the Catholic Church than anything we've seen before in college football — predation of children by men engaged in a relatively sequestered world (the priesthood, big-time college football); official knowledge of alleged crimes (monsignors and bishops, coaches and college administrators); cover-up and tolerance, allowing the acts to continue. Joe Paterno, who is Catholic, must have missed the story.

I note that the Penn State story broke just as Cardinal Bernard Law, who presided over the archdiocese of Boston as child-molesting priests were reassigned to parishes instead of prosecuted in courts, turned 80 years old and had a lavish birthday celebration at a four-star hotel in Rome. In 2004, Cardinal Law was given a Vatican post despite being implicated in the sexual abuse cover-up. Last week, The Boston Herald reported from Rome: "The resplendent [birthday] reception sent shock waves an ocean away in Boston, where the mere mention of his name still sparks seething anger in clergy abuse victims whose attackers he protected during his years as archbishop." Had Joe Paterno worn red shoes instead of cleats, he might still have a job.

Nobody asked me but ... I think it would be in the public interest to get an itemized bill for the failed federal investigation and six-week trial of state Sen. Ulysses Currie and those two executives from Shoppers Food Warehouse. I'm guessing it's a large and unnecessary bill. If Mr. Currie's unethical actions did not rise to criminal bribery, then it would have been more cost effective for the feds to just tattle-tale on Sen. Currie — issue a scathing grand jury report — and force the Maryland legislature to bounce him. That would have been mission accomplished on the cheap.

Walking around Little Italy the other night, I noticed something: The block-wide building that used to be Della Noce's Funeral Home now appears to be a house — a big house, at least a duplex, with ample underground parking in the old hearse garage. I thought about knocking on the door to say "Ciao," but decided the Addams family was probably in the middle of supper.

Dan Rodricks' column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. He is the host of Midday on WYPR 88.1 FM. His email is dan.rodricks@baltsun.com.

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