In this case, gifts help start a career, not end one

Baltimore Sun

Turns out gift cards aren't the most unimaginative gift out there. Just ask Pat Turner's wife.

"About six years ago, my husband bought me a camera, a little digital camera, something you can stick in your purse," Jeanine Turner says on a YouTube video. "And I loved it and I took pictures of everything, but mostly my drunk girlfriends. ... The next year for Christmas, he bought me another camera. And the next year he bought me another camera, and another one, and another one - I mean - and just every year I got a better camera."

Pat Turner, the Silo Point developer, seemed to put more thought into those Target and Best Buy gift cards he slipped into Sheila Dixon's office. At least he went to two stores for Dixon.

But Jeanine doesn't feel slighted, judging by the video, which was created to promote a photography show and, full disclosure here, was unearthed by the Daily Record.

That's because Pat Turner eventually made an unusual purchase: a silo.

"It's a grain silo and I started taking pictures of it ... and I became an industrial photographer," she says.

I'll bet that's how Margaret Bourke-White got her start.

I don't smoke, never have, and think the restaurant-and-bar smoking ban was the greatest thing accomplished by Maryland lawmakers in my lifetime. But I have a hard time swallowing House Bill 438, which would ban smoking in a car with a child.

What's next? Taking children away from smokers who light up at home?

Even the bill's sponsor acknowledges it's a slippery slope.

"Look, there's that inner libertarian in all of us that says, 'How far are we going to go with this?' " said Del. Benjamin Barnes, a Democrat representing Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties. "Even I had that knee-jerk reaction."

But Barnes said he came around on the idea, proposed by a group from the University of Maryland School of Law. He has sponsored similar bills, without success, the past two sessions, but he thinks he has a better shot this year.

"We have all these laws on the books - I've supported all of them - to protect adults from secondhand smoke," he said. "Isn't this the natural extension?"

And what about the next extension, banning smoking in homes with children? Barnes said the car is different because it is a more confined space.

"You talk about the nanny state," grumbled Bruce Bereano, the Annapolis lobbyist who testified against the bill at a hearing this month. "I hate proselytizing. Maybe it's part of my Jewish upbringing."

Speaking of smoking, the ex-smoker who led the charge for the smoking ban in Baltimore has fallen off the wagon.

City Councilman Bobby Curran, who quit cold turkey 11 years ago, suddenly picked up the habit again four months ago. The stress of the Dixon drama got to Curran, an ally of the ousted mayor.

Since Dixon's ouster, Curran has been trying to quit again, this time gradually. He's already down from 1¿ packs a day to eight cigarettes a day.

"I can do it," he said. "I've done it before."

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