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Politicians rated dead last


Pieces of column too short to use . . .

Maryland high school student leaders have little respect for political leaders. In a recent study conducted by the Center for Family, Work and Education at Loyola College, almost half of the 135 student government presidents surveyed placed politicians at the bottom of a most-respected list. The pols finished 24th on a list of 24 occupations. Professional athletes, surprisingly, finished 23rd. The Top 10 in Respect: Doctor, teacher, minister (rabbi or priest), lawyer (LAWYER!!), business owner, engineer, scientist, writer, farmer and military officer. Police officers finished 22nd, below hairstylists. What does it all mean?


Did you catch Pat O'Brien's Sunday late-night Olympics interview with Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith? Not since Rick Dees of "Into The Night" have I seen a TV Guy as oozy and pseudo-hip as the Pat Man, with the big-shouldered Hugo Boss jackets and his flip, empty-headed comments. He could be topped for vapidness only by Johnson, whose comments went something like this: "This is great, it's like, it's really something. This is pure sport, you know? These are pure athletes." And then Melanie chirped something about the opening ceremonies being "very emotional." And Pat sat that there, rubbing shoulders with the celebs, mumbling questions. Gag me with a neo-deco tie. . . . When Charles Kuralt sat next to Pat Man, it was the mountain meeting the molehill.


Could we do without the CBS Olympic reports that sound like tabloid TV? There was at least one such report on Sunday. The network profiled a cross-country skier who is separated from her child, estranged from her husband and involved in a romance with her coach. I wish the network would spare us the "Hard Copy/Current Affair" Olympic Moments. I half-expected to see Geraldo slither out from behind a pine tree.


There was a burglary at a tavern in Laurens, N.Y., the weekend before last. Police found a trail of footprints through the establishment's restroom window. They matched footprints already on the tavern's ceiling. The ceiling! It seems a regular customer, known for doing handstands on the bar, often left footprints on the ceiling. And he's the guy State Police arrested. "He's the only one who walks on the ceiling, so they had him," an investigator said.


Bumper sticker seen in northwest Baltimore: "A tisket a tasket/A condom or a casket."


Alex Haley's dig down to the deep roots of his family tree inspired people of all races and ethnic backgrounds to delve into the mysteries of their own lives, and I am one of thousands, maybe even a few million by now, who have gone on such a search, though decidedly not on the dimension of Haley's. Just three weeks before the Pulitzer Prize-winning author died, I received a postcard from Madeira Island, birthplace of my father, born Jose Rodrigues in 1914. The postcard came from a young Portuguese journalist I established contact with a couple of years ago. "I send you a postcard of the beautiful land of your parents," wrote Joao Moises Rodrigues Cro. "I have news to you. I discovered an old man and a woman that they remember the history, and they guarantee me they are your cousins and family. So, if you are interested, say something!" I say, "Hallelujah." More on this later.


Things I'd like to know: The status of the investigation by Baltimore County police into the Jan. 28 beating of Officer Darryl Chesney on Harris Mill Road. . . . Why William Donald Schaefer doesn't line up his duckies -- that is, key legislative supporters -- when he wants something (Maybe all his duckies are lame.) . . . How I got on Pat Buchanan's mailing list.


Corrections: Monday's column on the group home for mentally ill outpatients that Sheppard Pratt plans for Rodgers Forge contained two errors. First, it was the community association, and not Sheppard Pratt, that insisted on having last week's public meeting to discuss the plan. Secondly, I incorrectly reported that two other "alternative living units" already in Rodgers Forge are operated by Sheppard Pratt. In fact, they are operated by other agencies. Sheppard Pratt has supervised ALUs for as many as 30 of its outpatients in apartments in Cockeysville since 1984.

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