THB, Banditos, Wayward and more confirmed for Cosmic Cocktail!

Flat tire on JFX is a picnic after phone call to the pizza man


What does life in the Communications Age mean? It means getting lunch when and where you want it -- even if where you want it is on the Jones Falls Expressway.

Meet Sue Surell and Ellen Saval, partners in business, entrepreneurs. They have a franchise for FUTUREKIDS in Lutherville; they train children to use computers. Sue and Ellen also have kids of their own -- three each to be exact -- in either preschool or elementary school.

Last Wednesday, they went to the computer show at the Convention Center and, after checking out the latest in software, headed up the expressway in Ellen's car. Both women wanted to be home when their kids returned from school.

But somewhere south of Cold Spring Lane, Ellen's car went bumpety-bump. Flat tire. So she pulled over and used the car phone to call for road service.

"We were told it would be an hour to an hour-and-a-half before the truck could get to us," Sue says. "So, after getting on the phone to rearrange baby-sitting and whatnot, we started to get panicky . . . and hungry."

RTC Next call was to a pizza shop in Mount Washington to order lunch -- two cheese-steak subs and two Diet Cokes.

"The guy taking the order asked, 'Where are you?'" says Sue. "So I told him: 'We're the only disabled vehicle on the Jones Falls Expressway near Cold Spring.' "

Within a few minutes, the delivery car pulled up behind them, and Sue and Ellen had their lunch. "We scrounged around to make sure we gave him a nice tip," Sue says. Soon the service truck arrived -- "It had handcuffs hanging from the rear-view mirror" -- and the guy inside changed Ellen's tire. The women got home just before their kids.

What a country!

Romantic East Baltimore

Amazing party concepts, Part I: "Hawaii in Baltimore, New Year's Eve. Join us at the Best Western Baltimore East Hotel [O'Donnell Street, I-95 Travel Plaza] for a romantic evening as we tell the story of Hawaii."

Package includes dinner, "exotic Hawaiian show" and "deluxe overnight accommodations."

Quotable Solomon

Neil Solomon, who lost his license to practice medicine after admitting to having had sex with at least eight patients over 20 years, was in federal court last week for a bankruptcy hearing. Outside a courtroom, he uttered these quotables:

"I'll be glad when this is behind me because I'll be able to do some things in a different way, and things that will keep me at peace of mind and help others. . . . I've been thinking about the problem of crime in our streets. I'm now able to go out with people. . . . I've got a real feeling now for the fear in the streets. People are afraid to go out. . . . I think I would have made a good governor. I care about people. [But] I'm realistic."

Parting shot: "I've asked the Spirit for forgiveness, and I feel much more at peace with myself. We all have the potential for tremendous good, and I don't know in what form that will come out, but it will come."

A Christmas list

Harold Adams, chairman of RTKL Associates, stopped by the architectural firm's London office on his way to Saudi Arabia. During dinner with four architects and their wives, conversation turned to things commonplace in Baltimore but unavailable to young American families in London.

The list included: Advil, Cheerios (U.S. variety; U.K. variety has too much sugar), large Ziploc bags, wire twists for plastic trash bags, Oreos, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, corn meal, Chlorox II powder, Triscuits and Aunt Jemima pancake mix. Adams discreetly took notes and, on his return to Baltimore, arranged to have these items shipped to London as a Christmas surprise.

God bless us, every one!

Getting quick action

Merchants in downtown Concord, N.H., beefed in the local paper, the Concord Monitor, about military recruiters hogging parking spaces on Main Street. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines had offices there and, according to reporter Craig Timberg, that left four, and sometimes six, cars with government tags parked in the shopping district.

Timberg's story on this subject appeared Nov. 23. Guess who just happened to be in Concord that day? Lt. Gen. John P. Otjen, commander of the U.S. 1st Army, headquartered at Fort Meade. He was in New Hampshire, visiting commanders of the state National Guard.

Otjen read about the parking problem and next day, ba-da-bing!, no more military parking on Main Street.

Recruiters now leave their cars on a government parking lot and march five minutes to work.

Thanks from Diane

Diane Griffin, profiled in this column last Friday, wants to send out thanks to all who called and offered her a job over the last few days. She had eight job interviews Monday and yesterday -- and took a lot of buses to make those interviews, too -- and she's pretty sure about getting work, maybe even before the week is out. "Just thank everyone for me," she says.

"People have been so nice. People called, some of them just to talk, others to offer me a little money. One man is bringing us a Christmas tree. I'm really just amazed."

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