Here we are at the end of another year, so we look back at things that were: the offbeat, sometimes mind-twisting,
head-scratching sort of stuff that comes across a columnist's desk and makes life in the Greater Patapsco Drainage Basin unique or, at least, mildly amusing.
Discoveries, Part I
Mike Jaworski's new pizza box. I bet we'll be hearing more about it in 1994.
Jaworski, an entrepreneur and inventor, left his job as a computer analyst to market the Space-Saver Box. He figured that, if you take the standard cardboard pizza box, perforate it here and there, rip off the lid, then fold the bottom along the perforations, you can have a convenient, environmentally friendly way of storing leftover pizza.
The Space-Saver reduces a cumbersome 16-inch pizza box to half its size for easy storage. And it's microwavable!
I've seen Jaworski's marketing video and it's stunning.
This could be the Local Boy Makes Good Story of 1994.
After being ordered by police to leave her home after a potentially dangerous chemical gas leak, a resident of Curtis Bay told a TV reporter: "We were evaporated from the area." . . . In the understatement of the year, Robert W. Hearn, then Baltimore housing commissioner, said the city's high-rise public housing projects had an "image problem."
A mysterious fellow named Sam shouted for money during church services in Bolton Hill, Hampden and Dundalk. He was an ecumenical panhandler, entering Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches.
Sam apparently received contributions at each church, though some people were suspicious of his explanation of need.
"I guess it's not against the law to remind Christians to give
alms," said a member of a Bolton Hill parish. "Anyway, we haven't seen him since."
Good deeds, Part I
Vern Morgan and a bunch of contractors and suppliers pitched in to help a Perry Hall family with two boys with muscular dystrophy.
The boys needed wheelchair access to their house and a bedroom on the first floor.
Vern and pals enclosed a 24-by-16-foot rear porch, framed it, installed windows and an exterior door, covered the floor with carpeting, and painted the walls.
Good deeds, Part II
James Harley, a 73-year-old air-conditioning and heating mechanic, found and returned the lost wallet of U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Young.
"I do believe that most people are good," Young said. "It's nice to be reassured."
Added Harley: "This is how my mother raised me, and I never got far away from my raisin'."
Discoveries, Part II
If you buy enough rolls of bathroom tissue in bulk at the Price Club -- or any of those warehouse stores -- you have enough to hold you through any snowstorm Ma Nature can deliver and insulate the basement at the same time.
Walter McCormick ate 52 eggs at one sitting at the Lakewood "All The Eggs You Can Eat For A-Buck-Fifty-Plus-Tax" Grill in East Baltimore, doubling the previous record.
Quotables, Part II
One day in the midst of a lunchtime crowd at Baltimore and Light streets, an odd fellow shouted: "The Bank of Baltimore been in business 175 years! Don't ya think 100 woulda been enough? Gettin' a little greedy, don't ya think?"
Michael Patterson, teen-age son of veteran sportscaster Ted, came back from a near-fatal brain hemorrhage in January to play baseball for Towson High and throw out the first ball of an Oriole game in May.
Quotables, Part III
After Kirk Bloodsworth was exonerated by a DNA test in a 1984 sexual assault and murder, Baltimore County State's Attorney Sandra O'Connor said: "I believe that he is not guilty. I'm not prepared to say he's innocent." Huh?
Dum Dee Dum Dum
Two fellows broke into a church in Easton and stole the church safe. As they were hoisting it to a getaway vehicle, the safe fell on the hand of one of the burglars, severing the tip of a finger. The burglars fled, leaving the finger tip -- and a fingerprint -- behind.
Records, Part II
Listed among economic indicators was this: Maryland's commissioner of consumer credit reported a boom in the debt-collection business. The number of state-licensed collections agencies was 784 as of yesterday, a state record.
Dum Dee Dum Dum, II
A convicted drug dealer, wanted for violating his parole, left his pet boa constrictor behind when he hastily vacated his apartment in Baltimore County. He missed the boa so much he went to the animal shelter in Baldwin to reclaim it. So did the cops. The drug dealer is now in a shelter, too.
% Happy New Year, Hons!