Highlights and lowlights, dim bulbs and bright stars -- the wattage kept changing during 1991.
Sometimes, it just made you want to pull the shades down and sit the year out in darkness. In case that's what you did, here's a rather twisted view of what you might have missed.
GO AWAY, ALREADY!
The men's movement
& Pregnant TV characters
COME BACK, WE MISS YOU ALREADY
Delta Burke. Without her, "Designing Women" is lighter by pounds, but by laughs as well.
"Mimi" DiPietro. Those Monday nights in the City Council room won't be the same now that voters have "throwed" this 25-year Highlandtown representative out.
Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel. But just think of the bedtime stories the angels are getting!
Magic Johnson. There have been multiple paroxysms of revisionist thinking since Magic announced that he is HIV-positive, but, hey, he's not the one who proclaimed himself a "hero" after the announcement. It's not his fault that some people feel more kindly toward him than others confronting AIDS, so, in the immortal words of Ann Landers, kwitcherbitchin.Taylor Branch. The historian won a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" -- and then, when asked if he indeed was a genius, had the modesty to say no. Plus, he lent his tuxedo to fellow Baltimore author Stephen Dixon after Mr. Dixon was nominated for a National Book Award and needed
something to wear for the ceremony.
"Northern Exposure." Gently weird, slightly mystical and altogether entrancing, this CBS series proves that comedy doesn't have to mean sitcom and drama doesn't have to mean
The released hostages. Need we say more?
Furloughing Baltimore schools because of budget cuts.
Furloughing the Baltimore Museum of Art because of budget cuts.
Closing Pratt Library branches because of budget cuts.
Comptroller Jackie McLean's taxpayer-funded $19,889 car.
Turning Memorial Stadium into a "Field of Dreams" of past and present Orioles after the last game. Thank yewwwwwww.
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's 75th an- niversary. A year's worth of grace notes began with a re-creation of the Feb. 11, 1916, concert that started it all and crescendoed with performances in June of the Cecil B. DeMille-sized "Symphony of a Thousand," Mahler's Eighth, which filled the stage with 500 performers and the seats with 2,250 listeners per show.
YOUR 15 MINUTES ARE UP
Arthur "Scud Stud" Kent
DATES FROM HELL
William Kennedy Smith
Pat on "Saturday Night Live"
COUPLES FROM HELL
Alan Simpson and Nina Totenberg
Chuck Robb and Tai Collins
Donald Trump and Marla Maples
Donald Trump and Carla Bruni
Donald Trump and Miss America Carolyn Suzanne Sapp
Nuu Faaola and Miss America Carolyn Suzanne Sapp
LANDLORD FROM HELL
William Zantzinger of Charles County, who pleaded guilty in November to collecting more than $64,000 in rent on slum properties that he hadn't owned for five years -- when they were seized by the government for non-payment of taxes.
Bea Gaddy. So she lost her election bid to the City Council. It's hard to imagine she could do more good on the council than she already does on the streets, feeding the hungry and blanketing the cold.
Boogie Weinglass. So he lives in Aspen, Colo., now. This guy is Bawlmer through and through. Give him a sports team, already. His heart and his money are in the right place.
"Roc." This new Fox TV series makes us feel a little more kindly toward those orange jumpsuited guys in their green trucks who rattle and holler down our alley at dawn. Played by local convict turned Tony award-winning actor Charles Dutton and based on his pal, real-life trashman John Wood, Roc is a sweet lunk of a working guy with a dream entirely understandable to us row house dwellers: a semidetached home.
Anne Tyler. With her 12th novel, "Saint Maybe," Baltimore's novel laureate continues her lyrical ramblings through our city -- this time the Govans neighborhood -- and its mismatched, oddly endearing people.
Barry Levinson. "Bugsy" not only is one swell movie -- the Los Angeles Film Critics Association gave it best picture and best director of the year -- but Mr. Levinson's latest movie also set the wheels in motion for the Warren Beatty-Annette Bening parenthood project.
Naming the new stadium Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Adding Rick Sutcliffe to pitching staff.
Finally giving Cal Ripken Jr., a Gold Glove. (Not to mention American League Most Valuable Player, Associated Press Player the Year, Sporting News Player of the Year, Sports Illustrated "Living Legend" . . .)
THE SENSELESS DEATH OF TREES
"American Psycho," by Bret Easton Ellis. Often reading like a script for a snuff film, this graphically violent and sexual explicit novel was dropped by its first publisher, but ultimately published by another despite widespread protests by feminists nationwide.
Nancy Reagan," by Kitty Kelley. With the judicious use of "quote marks" and frequently unsubstantiated statements, this acid-inked biographer took on aconveniently unpopular subject and ripped her way to the best-seller lists with tales of Nancy's "lunches" with Frank Sinatra and Ronnie's visit to "another woman" while his wife was a-birthing daughter Patti.
Scarlett: the Sequel to Margaret Mithcell's Gone with the Wind,"
by Alexandra Ripley. Why mess with perfection?
"Letters to my critics," by Gov. William Donald Schaefer. Hewrote one critical constituent to tell him he was a "frustrated little boy" and another to remark on the "ugliness" of her face, then he promised to write no more. He started telephoning or showing up in person instead.
American bombs that went through "front doors" of Iraqi buildings.
PLAIN OLD BOMBS
"Nick and Nora"
JUST WHAT'S GOING ON IN SCHOOLS TODAY?
In Texas, Wanda Holloway was convicted of trying to hire a hit man to kill the mother of her daughter's rival for a spot on the high school cheerleading squad. In the end, her daughter, Shanna, still didn't make the team, but rival Amber did.And in New Hampshire, high school instructor Pamela Smart was convicted of conspiring to murder after she seduced a 15-year-old student and manipulated him into killing her husband. Then she broke up with the boy.
All adult children
People who use terms like "differently abled" and "physically challenged" 6People who are outraged about the Swedish Bikini Team
People who decried the Tomahawk Chop
Tom Clancy, novelist, movie producer, football team owner, morning-after-the-war quarterback.
Madonna, blonde, brunette, boytoy, girltoy, singer, actress, business conglomerate.
Martha Stewart, cook, gardener, lifestyle maven, eponymous magazine publisher, Kmart spokeswoman.
CHARGE OF THE SHOPPERS BRIGADE
Towson Town Center
The popularity of "Beverly Hills, 90210"
Jerry Brown's presidential campaign
The return of Harry, the newspaper
The Sad Clown of Life in "Why Ask Why?" ad
Wednesday in "The Addams Family"
Pee-wee Herman asking audience of MTV Awards show, "Heard any good jokes lately?"
Dan Quayle and more than two dozen newspapers, with Doonesbury's take on the squelched claims of a federal prisoner, Brett Kimberlin, that he once sold marijuana in the early 1970s to the then-law student and future vice president.
Lesbians and people who expect actual humor in jokes, with Bob Kerrey's quip about Jerry Brown in a lesbian bar. Of course, the funniest things about the joke are a) Bill Clinton rushing to say he didn't laugh when Mr. Kerry told it to him, and b) Mr. Quayle's press secretary David Beckwith rushing to add his own lesbian joke into the fray.
MISSING IN ACTION
Kevin Costner's British accent in "Robin Hood"
Demi Moore's modesty on the cover of Vanity Fair
The answer to: Who really killed JFK?