Lineup for local TV channels is really very simple isn't it?

Look, Baltimore, this is really very simple: The station that carries "Monday Night Football" will now be the station that has Norm Lewis, while the station that has Dan Rather will have Marty Bass, but several hours apart. The station that carries Bryant Gumbel will be the station that carries Rod Daniels, unless it becomes the station that carries "The X-Files." The station that has Denise Koch will be the station that has Connie Chung, unless Dan Rather finally goes off the deep end and does something awful to Connie. The station that has Diane Sawyer will have Mary Beth Marsden, while the station that has Jane Pauley and Stone "Robo Anchor" Phillips will be the same station that has Jayne Miller and Frank Graff. However, it's still possible the station that carries Al Bundy will also be the station that carries Jayne Miller and Frank Graff. In other words, Homer Simpson could be on the same station as Gerry Sandusky. You'll find "Murder, She Wrote" on the same station that carries Richard Sher. David Letterman will come on after Al Sanders, Ted Koppel will come on after Stan Stovall, and Jay Leno will follow Carol Costello, unless he follows "Cheers" reruns on another station. "All My Children" will be on the station Scott Garceau and Keith Mills work for, which is a good way to remember it. "Vicki!" has been canceled and won't be on any station. And by the time all this is finished, the Orioles will be on every station. It's really very simple.

One for all


With so many changes -- "Oh, the humanity!" -- in affiliations of Baltimore TV stations, Channels 2, 11 and 13 will probably spend Big Paper promoting their respective offerings to viewers after all the network switching is complete. Too bad they can't all get together and form one great, big Baltimore Mega- Station that offers everybody every thing on a zillion subchannels. (Yeah, right. Like I know what I'm talking about.) I've made this suggestion before. A lot of money would be saved by combining each of the stations' promotional themes into one: "Channels 2, 11 and 13: "Friends You Can Turn On Your Side To."

Going ape on first date


Only in Baltimore, hon:

Seen on McComas Street, South Baltimore, under Interstate 95, noonish, Thursday: A man sitting in the front seat of a parked black sedan, next to him a chimpanzee in a party dress. We figured it was the first date.

Reminder on a grocery store, Greenmount Avenue, near Biddle: "No loitering. No stealing."

Sign taped in the window of a corner shop, Linwood and Eastern avenues: "I'm Just A Little Man on the Corner Hoagies."

Roughing it in O.C.

What my pal Alan Benner says about camping on summer vacation: "No thanks. My idea of roughing it is renting an Ocean City condo without HBO."

What Baltimore actor Richard Kirstel, who plays Polonius in the Shakespeare on Wheels production of "Hamlet," said when asked if it was difficult to learn his lines: "The language sits not easily upon the tongue."

What a local wag said about the lazy, hazy days: "Ah, summer in Baltimore, when the fashion fancies of suburban gals turn to thoughts of white shoes and coffee-colored hose, and men roll down their tube socks."


What H. L. Mencken wrote: "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican."

What Bush Hog James, liberal curmudgeon and sportsman, said the other day: "Parris Glendening picks Kathleen Kennedy Townsend to be his running mate? He promises more executions if he's elected governor? If that's what a New Democrat is, then I'm voting for [Mary] Boergers in the primary, then Helen [Delich Bentley] in the general."

What a man from New Mexico, visiting Maryland and fly-fishing in the Gunpowder Falls, said when told the river was only a 40-minute drive from downtown Baltimore: "Well, I fish the San Juan [River]. That's only 3 1/2 hours from my house."

Replanting the Flower Mart

The city's 78th annual Flower Mart this past May was far from the best. The weather was lousy -- 55 degrees and rain -- and that hurt petunia and crab cake sales. In its long and mostly happy history, the Flower Mart has never been canceled because of rain. The event marks the beginning of spring in Baltimore and, with the exception of a few years during World War I and the civil unrest of the late 1960s, the mart has been an annual tradition since 1911. Part of the tradition is its location -- Mount Vernon. You shop for perennials with cobblestones underfoot and George Washington overhead. That's the way it has been done in this town for most of the century as thousands of people -- some years, as many as 40,000 -- turned out for marigolds and lemon-peppermint sticks.

Now, a city government that ruined Baltimore's ethnic festivals and kicked the City Fair until it was numb wants to tinker with yet another tradition. After this year's washout, officials suggested that the Women's Civic League move the Flower Mart to another location. And, because the league counts on the city to provide logistical and support services, it felt compelled to go along. So look for the 79th Flower Mart in War Memorial Plaza. (Hey, I suppose it could be worse; they could have stashed it where they stashed the City Fair -- under the Jones Falls Expressway.)