During this magical time of year, I get all mushy with love and gratitude for those who give meaning to my otherwise pitiful life. Who by grace of their existence imbue my own with truth, beauty and a bottomless supply of column fodder.
Blessed are the newsmakers, in other words, for they shall be mocked without mercy.
I am not so heartless, though, as to let the year end without thanking them for their every front page-landing foible. But what bauble, what mere 64G Wi-Fi+3G iPad 2 can return such favors?
And, more important, is it too late to qualify for free expedited shipping? Just in case, I offer these virtual presents:
Leslie Johnson, the former Prince George's County Council member who stuffed almost $80,000 in her undies in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid a federal, ahem, bust. She recently was sentenced to a year in prison for evidence tampering, but then, there's no expiration date on this particular stocking stuffer: a Victoria's Secret gift card.
For the Baltimore Grand Prix: a new management team. And preferably one that can navigate the organizational chicanes of hosting the Labor Day weekend event better than the current crew, which somehow managed to snatch fiscal defeat from the jaws of a sporting victory.
Frank Conaway and Adam Meister: a Hollywood agent. Because, c'mon: The heat-packing Papa Bear and his jogging, blogging nemesis are a sitcom waiting to happen.
Kegasus: a nice pasture, far from Pimlico.
Occupy Baltimore: a moveable feast. Because maybe getting evicted from McKeldin Square was an early Christmas present in disguise, and will prompt the group to find a way to continue its efforts fighting income disparity beyond a ramshackle tent city.
Gov. Martin O'Malley. For our frequent-flying, Sunday-talk-showing gov, a staycation in Annapolis.
Barry Landau. What do you give someone who has been charged with pilfering presidential letters and other historic documents from museums and libraries up and down the East Coast, before the sharp-eyed staff at the Maryland Historical Society called the cops? I don't know, but maybe an indictment signed by Rod Rosenstein will be valuable someday.
City rec centers: a stay of execution. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has had the neighborhood centers in her budget-cutting sights for a while, but her plan to privatize some of them has run into snags. Mayor, take a do-over.
Paul Schurick. I almost hate to pile on the guy who, for character witnesses at his trial, was reduced to a former governor who has done jail time himself (Marvin Mandel) and a deposed party chair (Michael Steele). But for the guy who authorized the robocall urging voters to relax, and not bother going to the polls, we gift-wrap an opportunity for him to stay as far from them as possible in the future.
Baltimore voters. They may not be the 99 percent, more like the 80 percent — the voters who sat out this year's city elections, even without being told to by robocall. What to give these civic slackers, these self-suppressing voters? They've already got it: the officials chosen by the 20 percent.
The Baltimore Ravens. Finally, an easy one: Three more wins, home field advantage and Indy, baby!
Ulysses Currie. After using something of an I'm-a-dummy defense, the state senator beat bribery charges that he took a quarter-million dollars from Shopper's Warehouse to push its interests in Annapolis. This may not be a job for Santa so much as the Wizard of Oz, who might be able to come up with a brain.
Audience members at the GOP presidential candidate debate. For the ones who booed a gay soldier in Iraq and cheered the notion of letting uninsured persons just die, we turn again to the Wiz — for a heart.
Dan Duquette. A healthy Brian Roberts, a righty starter, a big-batting left-fielder, a less exciting closer … Hey, we're handing out gifts here, not miracles.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun