American Joe finds political money lining up nicely


Today we consider American Joe Miedusiewski (Met-A-Chef's-Ski): Nice guy, Pat Sajak hair, popular state senator from Southeast Baltimore, Friend Of Bill. But governor? I don't get it yet. What's his campaign motto going to be? "Vote for me. Clinton shot pool in my bar"?

All this talk about American Joe running for governor started back in September, at the senator's annual crab feast at the Steelworkers Hall. There was a rumor circulating that AmJo might run for governor next year. It was quickly dismissed by most who heard it -- until Don Donaldo, the Lord High Governor, stood to endorse him. Very weird. But AmJo politely said he'd consider the idea.

Apparently, he's been giving it serious thought. He's the host at a $1,000-per-person fund-raiser at Haussner's Nov. 30 and tickets are moving.

"We're already into six figures with it," Joe says. "But I hesitate to say yes [to running] just yet. Things are lining up very well, but the time line on this is very delicate." The senator says he plans to make an announcement before the Haussner's affair.

What happens to the money should he decide not to run? "I'll return it," he says.

Friends say American Joe has been lining up his duckies. Among the larger duckies encouraging him to run are Peter Angelos, the new Orioles owner, bakery magnate John Paterakis, and the senator's hair-brother, "Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak. (Sajak owns a riverfront home in Anne Arundel County, and his wife, Lesly, is the daughter of American Joe's former Annapolis secretary.)

Stranger things have happened -- remember Harry Hughes? -- and, the way the field has been shaping up for the governor's race -- yyyaaawwwnnn -- who's to say American Joe isn't the man? He has a catchy name, he has the hair, maybe Vanna will campaign for him. How is Mickey Steinberg going to compete with that?

'3 strikes, I'm out!'

Steve Aronson, a New York actor who likes to play this town, keeps an eye on Baltimore. With movies being made around here -- three this fall -- an actor never knows when some luv-ya-baby production company will call with a job.

So Steve gets a call to audition for "Major League II," parts of which are being filmed in Baltimore. Steve comes down from New York, reads for two roles, gets one -- that of a theater owner. He goes home to wait for a call.

The production company calls: "Steve, your scene has been written out of the script."

Oh well, Steve says, that happens. That's the life of an actor.

Soon the production company calls back: "Steve, we have a possible role for you. It's the part of the team accountant. The actor we cast as the accountant might not be available."

Great, says Steve, there's hope.

The production company calls back: "Steve, the part of the accountant won't be available, after all."

Next day, Central Casting Inc. calls from Baltimore: "Steve, we have a part for you in an industrial film."

Fine. A job's a job.

"But during the course of the conversation," Steve groans, "they tell me they had a part for me as a stand-in for the umpire in 'Major League II,' but they didn't call because they thought I had been cast as the accountant! Three strikes on the same picture! I'm out!"

Tacky with a vengeance

Dear Dan,

You want tacky? I can give you tacky. My office (at Decker Library, Maryland Institute, College of Art) is small but full of stuff. Over the door hangs a plastic parrot wearing a sombrero. On the south wall hang five prints of dogs playing poker (the rest of the set is at home).

On the west wall is a stuffed pink flamingo. Between the windows are a candle bracket in the shape of a narcissus, a plastic glow-in-the-dark bat, and a stuffed effigy of Charles, Prince of Wales. On the window sills are a cologne flask shaped like a sports car, a fake beetle, and a handbell disguised as a nun. On the file cabinet are a tobacco jar shaped like a bulldog and a candlestick shaped like a Prussian officer.

The communal work area outside my office boasts the following: an inflatable copy of Munch's "Scream;" three lobsters, a dragon, a rat, and a giant mosquito (all inflatable); a plastic alligator; a plastic tomato worm; a stuffed giant pickle; a dog with a clock in its stomach; a big inflatable dinosaur; a plastic statue of a conquistador.

Only the people in our office are not tacky.

Hell! We have to defend ourselves against the Bozarts.

John Stoneham

If you own a stunning example of tackiana -- tacky lawn ornaments, obscene furniture, exotic lamps, ugly ties, eccentric eating utensils, any wonderfully cheap and weird thing at all -- please send a description or photograph to This Just In, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, Md. 21278-0001. Or, if you have an item for the column, give us a ring on 332-6166.

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