Nobody asked me, but 'stun' judge needs to really retire

Of Judge Nalley, Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles and Shakespeare

Nobody asked me, but… A judge who orders an electric shock to silence a criminal defendant who refuses to shut up during a court proceeding has relinquished his eligibility for retirement duty on the bench.

This is alleged to have happened when Charles County Circuit Judge Robert C. Nalley, who hit mandatory retirement a year ago, told a deputy sheriff to zap a chatterbox defendant with the "stun cuff" he was wearing at the time.

(A few years ago, the same judge admitted to a Southern Maryland newspaper that he had deflated a tire of a car parked near the courthouse in La Plata. The car was owned by a woman who cleaned the courthouse at night.)

If an investigation confirms the recent zapping incident, the state should insist that the 70-year-old Nalley really retire. If he needs work, I suggest a store security job at Wal-Mart.

•••

Having just spent the holiday weekend among Red Sox fans, I can attest to their quiet, self-conscious misery, but also to their limited generosity; they just can't seem to bring themselves to say, "Go Orioles." That their team got to the World Series three times in 10 years — and won each time — does not seem to have filled them with the mature perspective and magnanimity that says, "Good for Baltimore, it's your turn." And it's especially distressing when it comes from people who for several seasons followed their team to Camden Yards and turned Eutaw Street into Yawkey Way South. So let them be baseball-miserable, and for a long time.

Meanwhile, in New York, we've heard from Roger Angell, whose farewell to the Yankees' Derek Jeter has been published in The New Yorker, an all-star combination of subject, writer and magazine. Fans of the Yankees, New York and pretentiously elaborate prose will be pleased. But I stopped reading at: "It's been a blah baseball year almost everywhere, and . . . watching Derek finish might be the best thing around." I realize Angell and the New Yorker are practically under contract to swoon over Jeet and all things New York, but I have no interest in people who also find it necessary to put down the provinces. It's uncivilized.

Get used to it, friends: The developing national media narrative appears to be that it's a down year in Major League Baseball, particularly in the American League East, and that's the only explanation for the Orioles' success. It will probably always be thus. Ignore the blockheads and enjoy the show.

•••

One last note about the National Geographic Channel's program on Baltimore, "heroin capital of America." In describing how grim things are in Charm City, the narrator says: "Baltimore, a tough town facing hard times. The steel mills are long gone. The docks are a shadow of what they used to be." True about the steel mills. But the docks? What baloney. Last year, the port of Baltimore handled more automobiles, cargo containers and wood pulp than ever before. It remains the nation's leading port for imports and exports of automobiles. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested to prepare port channels and terminals for massive cargo shipments that could come here through the widened Panama Canal. The state and CSX still need to find a place for a new rail facility — the plan for one in Southwest Baltimore was abandoned last week amid community opposition in Morrell Park — but National Geographic's statement about the docks is wrong and indicative of the dishonest, sensational nature of the entire program about Baltimore.

•••

Congratulations to Oakland, in Garrett County, just named "America's Best Town for Fall Colors" by Travel & Leisure; the magazine cited Oakland's annual Autumn Glory Festival and its proximity to Swallow Falls State Park. About 50 minutes north of Oakland, across the line in Pennsylvania, is another treasure — Ohiopyle State Park and the Great Allegheny Passage, an old rail bed converted into a trail for hiking and biking. The GAP is a large part of a system of trails, including the C&O Towpath along the Potomac River in Maryland, that connects Washington, D.C., with Pittsburgh. You can pick the trail up in Cumberland, in Western Maryland, or in Ohiopyle. It runs for several miles along the Youghiogheny River.

•••

Good old Werner's on Redwood Street doesn't open until 8 a.m. for breakfast, and I assume that's because of the level of morning business. (The place is busier at lunch, a friend from the downtown financial district tells me.) But breakfast and coffee were no-nonsense good; the luncheonette looks almost exactly as it did when I last visited, and pretty much as it looked when it first opened 60-plus years ago. I'm late in saying it, but I'm glad Werner's reopened in 2012. It's a Baltimore treasure. Meanwhile, up at the corner of Redwood and Calvert Street, the Chesapeake Shakespeare Co. prepares for its grand opening Sept. 20 in the old Mercantile Trust & Deposit building, a grand reuse of a building that deserved a fortunate fate. "Beauty doth varnish age, as if new-born…"

drodricks@baltsun.com

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