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Mayoral race a snore, so far


Pieces of column too short to use:

So far, we've been treated to one dud of a mayoral campaign. The Democratic primary is seven weeks away and -- who knows? something exciting could happen. But don't hold your breath. The Du Burns campaign is disorganized and the Schmoke campaign is on track to do everything to avoid an engagement of candidates. Schmoke plans to "do a Schaefer" and skip a debate with Burns, the way William Donald avoided Steve Sachs before the 1986 gubernatorial primary. So, sit back and enjoy the "Get On Board With Schmoke" jingles -- toot! toot! -- that's about as entertaining as it gets.

* Too bad Phil Dypsky isn't around to liven up the mayor's race. The former Canton saloon keeper got into the hunt by filing the $150 entry fee. He's in the Democratic primary against Schmoke, Burns, Bill Swisher and four other contenders. Phil spends most of his time at the Ebb Tide Motel in Ocean City, which restricts his campaigning in Baltimore. But he's still spry, still full of vinegar, and still wearing ugly ties. Why is he running for mayor? "I wanna get back into real estate." But more than that, Phil is running, he said, "So I can get a lot of things off my chest." For instance? "For instance, plea bargaining. I think they oughta do away with that. And every time these guys want to do something they have a budget problem. Bush got the money [for the Persian Gulf war] by going into more debt. Let's go into debt for the people." What else does Phil Dypsky stand for? "Let me think about it. I'll send you something."

* Sign in front of a Baltimore County liquor store: "Help Get Rid of Schaefer. $9 A Case."

* This recession is color-blind. It's hitting white-collar jobs as well blue-collar jobs. And that's making people in an array of professions nervous. I hear lawyers at one of the largest downtown firms are bracing for "a major announcement" concerning layoffs. Watch this space.

* Received a letter from Steve Maloney, a Naval Academy grad in Portsmouth, N.H., regarding a recent column on how Hank Butta, president of the C&P; Telephone Co., sometimes personally deals with customers' bill problems. Butta said that the majority of people who made appeals for temporary relief from their phone bills lived up to promises to pay up. "What impressed me most about Baltimore was what a wonderful group of people live there," Maloney wrote. "After living all over the United States and traveling around the world, I discovered that there are very few places that I put in a category of 'a nice place to raise a family.' I am pleased to inform you that Baltimore is one of these places. So it was no surprise to me when you wrote that Mr. Butta said, 'We've had good luck with people. Most are honest.' You were just confirming what I have known for a long time: The people of Baltimore are all class."

And that from the state that gave us John Sununu!

* The Baltimore Colts Band -- was there ever such an embodiment loyalty? These folks are incredible, still marching seven years after the Colts left town. Now the band is off to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, this weekend. The band will march in the parade, and in the pregame and halftime show. Great. I hope the fat cats who run the National Football League look down from their towers for a minute, catch a glimpse of this ensemble, choke on their guilt and swallow their swizzle sticks. I hope Bullet Bob Irsay is there, and I hope he's thoroughly humiliated by the sight of this band-without-a-team marching proudly down the field. What a wonderful way for Baltimore to send a message.

* From our What Gives? Department comes a letter from a guy named Larry: "Yo, Dan. Have you seen how awful the new Lotto tickets look? What gives? What was wrong with the old tickets? They fit nicely in your wallet or pocket without folding them. They were also aesthetically pleasing, with those neat little Maryland scenes painted on them. I can't be the only person who is questioning the integrity of Lotto. Let me know if you use this."

Hey, Larry, I used it!

Write to any of our various departments -- What Gives, Great-Just-Great, Duende Sightings, Guilty But Mostly Stupid and/or Tackiana I Have Known -- at 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. If we use your entry, we'll let you know.

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