CHANCES ARE that husbands shopping with their...


CHANCES ARE that husbands shopping with their wives at Classic Decor vintage furniture on Liberty Road will make sure to tell their spouses that they've never been in the store before -- not ever. And they'd best be telling the truth.

George Kondylas opened his store of eclectic furniture last fall. Prior to that, the building was the site of the notorious Body Talk strip-tease/pool hall that outraged nearby residents of Rockdale because it attracted undesirables.

Mr. Kondylas has no connection to Body Talk; he just leases the building. But the pool hall controversy of 1990-1991 can't help but make for ice-breaking conversation at the new store. Mr. Kondylas, for instance, crafted his exterior signs from parts of the plastic stage on which Body Talk's employees once, er, performed. Those red velvet drapes for sale in the corner, however, came from a relative of Mr. Kondylas, not from the former stage.

Business has been picking up lately, because the surrounding residential area is growing, the store is on a high-traffic corner and there's nothing else like it in the corridor, the entrepreneur believes.

"I wasn't sure what the response would be in this area," he said. "It's kind of like virgin territory." Um, bad choice of words perhaps.

* * * A NEWS ITEM out of Washington says that octopi actually learn from each other.

Scientists apparently were losing sleep over the possibility that these creatures couldn't. Then the researchers realized the squishy cephalopods were only anti-social.

To find out, they decided to teach an octopus to attack the correct colored ball by rewarding it with food. If it picked the wrong one -- ouch! A 12-volt shock.

Next, researchers put an unschooled octopod in a nearby tank to watch a trained one attack balls. Curiosity seemed to draw the newcomer out to watch the antics, they reported in the journal Science. "In particular, we noted that the observers followed the action patterns of the demonstrators with movements of the head and eyes."

The result: 44 octopi that watched "teachers" attack balls picked the right color 129 times out of 150 when the color was red, 49 times out of 70 when it was white. So all of you worrying if one octopus learns by watching another should relax. It can be done.

* * * OUTSIDE THE Loch Raven High School auditorium where the Baltimore County Council considered the county budget the other night was a hand-printed sign pointing the way to a meeting of "Educator's of the Future."

Pretty please, honorable councilmen, before it's too late: Is there any way you can shift some funds into hiring more English teachers?

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