WHEN YOU SEE a guy reach for...


WHEN YOU SEE a guy reach for stars in the sky, you can bet that he's doing it for some doll . . .

This Baltimore guy we know happened to spot a New York newspaper's rave review of the "Guys and Dolls" revival on Broadway. The guy, a huge fan of the Frank Loesser musical, thought he'd take his favorite doll to a matinee of the show. They'd hop on a train, see the performance, maybe grab a quick bite and catch the train back to Baltimore that evening.

First the guy phoned the Martin Beck Theater in New York for tickets. When he heard that each ticket would cost $55 plus a $7 telecharge fee, he gulped hard and said he'd take two. Cost so far: $124.

Next he called Amtrak. A round-trip ticket on the Metroliner would run about $155 apiece. The guy asked for the price of a regular-train round-tripper; $85 each, he was told.

He quickly added up in his head: $124 for the show tickets plus $170 for the train tickets, for a total of $294.

The guy added another $20 to $30 for cab rides from New York's Penn Station to the theater and back again to the station, plus $40 to $50 for a fast dinner in Manhattan. And he almost forgot he'd have to pay about $10 to park his car near Baltimore's Penn Station for the day.

So, for a day trip to see a matinee of "Guys and Dolls," the guy was looking at a total cost of $384.

He decided to forget the whole thing. The guy rented the video of the film version (so what if Sinatra should have had the Brando role?), he ordered in a pizza, and he and his doll had a great time.

Total cost: $12.

* * * AN UNSCIENTIFIC poll at the recent Towsontown Festival revealed a dramatic shift in America's eating tastes. "American as hot dogs and apple pie" is no more. Long live the new American fair fare: Italian sausages and funnel cakes.

Finding a plain, old hot dog at the festival proved extraordinarily difficult. But Italian sausage stands were everywhere. So were funnel cake vendors. And lemonade dispensers. And pit beef.

So let's lift a glass of cool lemonade and toast our "Made in the U.S.A." feast. The combination of Old World sausages and Amish sugar-topped desserts may offend the tradition-minded, but it certainly proved pleasing to the palate.

* * OKLAHOMA may be O.K. but last year it earned one dubious distinction.

Of all the 50 states, Oklahoma's budget officials made the most inaccurate revenue projections. Their estimate was 73.9 percent repeat, 73.9 percent -- too high.

To add insult to injury, budget analysts in neighboring Kansas hithe bull's-eye with their estimate.

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