As one ship founders, the Hon Bunch sails merrily onward

Jon Polito, who plays one of the Baltimore detectives in "Homicide: Life on the Street," says he actually is pleased NBC dumped him. "The show went from art to mediocrity. I'm relieved that they've freed me legally," Polito, who plays Detective Crocetti, told his hometown paper, The Philadelphia Inquirer. "I didn't want to go back to another six months of indecision and hurt."

The only member of the original cast who wasn't asked back for another season, Polito sounds like he has a bad case of sour grapes -- except that he's being paid a full salary and might even return for guest appearances on "Homicide" this fall.


Polito's problem with the show is artistic. He didn't like recent scripts and, he says, future scripts focus on the detectives' personal lives.

"That's soap opera," Polito told The Inkie. "Real homicide detectives don't socialize; the job alone is so damn exhausting. It's unrealistic. I didn't want the home life of my character involved in the script. The script I agreed to do was about working people in homicide, not home lives and love lives. . . . ['Homicide'] has become a parody of itself. The brilliance of the show under [Barry] Levinson was lost this season. It's like watching the sinking of the Titantic. The problem is that the iceberg is the guys who built the ship -- the producers. You can never trust producers. They would have said to van Gogh, 'Nice painting. A little lighter on the colors and we can sell it.'"


Hon again

Many things are happening on the Hon Front. Designers at SilverShoe Graphics have come up with a proposal for a new "Welcome to Baltimore" sign (accompanying this column) to replace the one presently greeting northbound commuters on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. The new design adds the all-important H-word. And Denise Whiting, owner of Cafe Hon in Hampden, has joined our crusade. "'Welcome to Baltimore, Hon' is reflective of our sense of humor and strong civic spirit," Denise says. A new and permanent Hon-greeting would spell relief for Hon Man, that mysterious civic sprite who has been stapling "Hon" to the wooden welcome sign on the parkway's median strip for the last two years. (Some chowderhead keeps ripping his laminated placards down.) Denise Whiting has printed petitions calling for "yous' guys who keep terrin' down" the "Hon" placard to desist. Of course, an even better solution would be a new sign that incorporates "Hon" into its design. Petitions are available at Cafe Hon, 1009 W. 36th St., and Denise has agreed to collect them. Once we figure out which government muckety-muck should get the petitions, we'll present them. We'll also offer design (donated by local artists) and construction (donated by some little ole local signmaker). We're going to make an offer they can't be refuse.

Hugs after an ordeal

Last week's hostage situation at the Edmondale Apartments was one of the dreariest passages in the many chapters of the many volumes of violent crime in Baltimore.

After a fight with his girlfriend, a man with a semiautomatic handgun held a 6-year-old boy and his 2-year-old sister for four hours and, at one point, he dangled the girl out the window by her feet, then shot her. Later, in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, the guy appeared at a window, one hand wrapped around the little girl, the other holding the gun inside her mouth.

That's when a police marksman from the city's Quick Response Team shot and wounded the man, ending the madness.

For the record -- I mean, before we move on to the next horrific crime -- you should know that the firing of that shot was not the QRT's last act in this case. The little girl survived her wounds. She ended up at University Medical Center's pediatric intensive care unit -- with a teddy bear in her arms, a gift from the QRT. That's one small touch of humanity in a inhumane world.

Leave a bug tip, Joey


Joey Amalfitano, my personal food taster and car starter, made a nice discovery at the Sweet Air Cafe in Jacksonville.

"The chef tussled up a meal that sang," Joey says. "Fresh tuna in a beautiful bath of clams, scallops, shrimp, peas and sun-dried tomatoes. Superb! With it came salad, fresh green beans and baked spud. Cost between $12 and $14. The waitress thought the clams were oysters, but that's OK. The service was quick and the chow was great. And speaking of great chow, the New Korea House on York Road, across from the county library in Towson, has brought new zing to kimchee and the other vegetables, all served in little bowls in the traditional Korean style. The Bul Go Gi, cooked on a tabletop grill, is enough to commit to 250 crunches the next day in the gym. Waitresses can't do enough."