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Baltimalaprops and other worthy bits and pieces


Pieces of column too short to use . . .

Baltimalaprops of the Month . . . A college professor standing in line at a Giant asked the clerk if he could write a check for more than the total cost of his groceries. When the clerk said he could, the man asked how much cash he could get back. "Oh, we'll do it for up to $50, sir," the clerk said. "It's at your discrepancy."

Who says the native tongue is dead? As a self-appointed member of the Society for the Preservation of Bawlmerese, I am here to report -- with affection and respect, of course -- the following statement, heard just yesterday: "The far spread so fast, by the time I grabbed my pockee-book, the ambolance was here."


Letters! We get letters! . . . I received lots of mail after a recent solicitation for "personal bests" in and around Baltimore. These were supposed to be suggestions for slightly offbeat, rarely publicized things to do, see, smell or eat -- the good stuff you'd only recommend to special visitors.

I can't print all the lists I received, but here's one from a reader named Bryan MacKay, who really caught the spirit of the thing: "Get a bunch of kids together and go down to Patapsco Valley State Park, Avalon area. Hike to the swinging bridge and see how big a sway you can get out of it. . . . On a hot summer's night, work up a good sweat and then get a snowball at your local neighborhood stand. And ask for double flavor."

And remember: The best snowball stands shave their ice by hand and boil their own flavors.


Great. Just great. . . . The 1993 telephone directory for the city public schools has a word misspelled on its cover. The word? Baltmore.


Madame Prosecutor. . . . In the category of "Most Garbled Performance by a Maryland Public Official," this week's award goes to Baltimore County State's Attorney Sandra O'Connor. After the release from prison of Kirk Bloodsworth, exonerated by a DNA test in the 1984 sexual assault and murder of a little girl, O'Connor said: "I believe that he is not guilty. I'm not prepared to say he's innocent." (Hey, Sandy, you either is or you ain't.) When it was noted that Bloodsworth had once been sentenced to death for the murder, O'Connor, a death penalty hawk, maintained her position that appeals in capital cases last too long and should be sped up by five to six years. Right. If we had gassed this guy to begin with, O'Connor would have been spared lots of embarrassment.


No tall tale this. . . . Wilt Chamberlain, then a National Basketball Association-bound college star, attended baseball's All-Star game in 1958, the last time it was played here. Stilt was among All-Americans invited to the game. Those who hadn't seen him earlier surely didn't miss him during the seventh-inning stretch.


Talking Turkey. . . . "I reached a landmark in my life today," Turkey Joe Trabert, known to friends as Turkey, said recently in the Swallow At the Hollow, known to regulars as The Hollow.

"What was that?" I asked.

"I got my first senior citizen discount."

"Joe!" I yell for the bartender. "Get this man a beer!"

"I go into a thrift store," Turkey explains. "It was the [Disabled American Veterans] across from Santoni's on Lombard Street. I go to buy a beer glass -- Hannan Beer, from Germany -- and the clerk asks me if I'm a senior citizen. If I am, I get a discount."

"What did you do?"

"I asked how old you have to be, and he said 55, which made me a senior citizen by two years. So I took the discount. I hand the guy a dollar for the beer glass and he hands me back 13 cents."

"You sold out, Turkey."

"And for 13 cents! For 13 cents I'm a marked man for life."


Don't miss. . . . Cartoonathon, an exhibit of original drawings by nine Maryland cartoonists, starting July 8 at Galerie Francoise et ses Freres, Greenspring Station, Lutherville.


Corrections. . . . I wrote recently that Samos, the terrific Greek-American carryout and restaurant, was on Ponca Street; it's on Oldham. And, in another column, I used the phrase, "Here, here!" when I should have used the phrase, "Hear, hear!" Sorry, sorry.

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