The governor got mad and everything stopped but the laughter


The governor of Maryland has many powers but not -- that we know of -- the power to pull the plug on talk radio. Yesterday,

while WCBM hosts Sean Casey and Frank Luber were giving William Donald Schaefer a hard time on the air, their broadcast went kaput for 12 minutes, leading to conspiracy theories. Casey and Luber had just replayed a portion of a taped interview with an angry Schaefer, who had called the station to blast Casey for "finding fault with the state." The morning guys had suggested that, with a better business climate, the state might be able to go after Disney to bring its "American theme park" to Maryland -- and maybe call it "Willie World." During this gubernatorial tweaking, at precisely 8:26 a.m., the show went off the air. It was a power failure -- not the governor snipping wires. Not that we know of.

Psychic's report

Interesting thing about the use of psychics in criminal matters -- we want to dismiss them as quacks, yet we want to hear everything they have to say. It's curiosity (or, more likely, desperation) winning over reason. Who, after all, can resist hearing them out, especially in cases that remain unsolved for long periods of time? Police have used psychics to help locate victims and evidence in homicide cases. Relatives of missing persons have hired them to locate their loved ones (See Griffin, Jamie; Baltimore County, 1982). And now a psychic's report has been rendered in the case of Susan Hurley Harrison, the Baltimore County woman who disappeared Aug. 5. A friend of the missing woman hired a psychic who had worked in earlier criminal investigations. She sat for two consultations this month. The first "encounter" took place Sept. 10 at the Ruxton cottage where Harrison had been living -- the psychic sat in what was described as "Susan's knitting chair" -- and the second took place three days later at the psychic's home in Maryland. During the second session, the psychic held Harrison's reading glasses, her wool coat and a gold bracelet. Both times, the psychic described Harrison's state of dress on the evening she disappeared and mentioned Maryland landmarks associated with her possible whereabouts. Some of the information has been passed along to Harrison's family, to county police and to a private investigator. Yesterday, both William Hurley, Harrison's brother in Massachusetts, and Molly Hurley Moran, her sister in Georgia, said they had been made aware of the psychic's report. It had given them little cause for optimism. The family has offered a $6,000 reward for information leading to "the arrest and conviction of any individuals responsible for her disappearance."

Catching up

Observed in Towson courtroom: Defendant in drunk-driving case wearing a Budweiser T-shirt and a Jack Daniels belt buckle . . . Watch for the Hon Man at Fells Point Fun Festival . . . Still no word from that mysterious woman who handed a dozen roses to my pal in the parking lot of the Pizza Hut in Columbia.

Well, he can manage Ettlin

If nothing else, Rick Dempsey's appearance here for an interview with Da Boss about that opening on the Orioles staff lightened hearts in this awful autumn without baseball. (One thing about Ken Burns' pompous, overwrought film: Its large dose of nostalgia moved me from feigned ambivalence to genuine anger about the strike and the World Series.) Some of our best memories of the Orioles involve Dempsey, and he was always one of the good guys off the field, too. Sun reporter David Ettlin bumped into the Demper (sort of) this past summer, and you'll never guess where, so we'll tell you: In Edmonton, Canada. Ettlin was driving and radio-surfing on an Alberta plains highway, searching for America, when he picked up play-by-play of a game between the Edmonton Trappers (Miami's Triple-A Pacific Coast League team) and the Albuquerque Dukes (a Dodgers affiliate). He heard an aside from a commentator on Rick Dempsey, the Dukes' manager. Ettlin camped for the night at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, where the U.S. dollar's power over Canada's made special summer rates all the cheaper, and where, as a bonus, Dempsey and the Dukes were staying. Ettlin dropped Demper a note. "I told him the Birds' biggest mistake was in dumping him in favor of Jeff Tackett," Ettlin reports. Late that night, an envelope came sliding under the door of Ettlin's room. It contained four passes to a nearby "golf ranch," and a note that said, "6:59 a.m. start time, under Dempsey." Sounds like managerial material. But, alas, I think the Demper would make a better third base coach.

Searing words, indeed

A Jesuit priest's poetic reaction to the commissioning of a massive sterling silver chain of office (cost undisclosed) for the new president of Loyola College:

"Jesus left the crown to walk the street. From cradle to cross, he fled to the hills when they cried to make him king. . . . Twelve centuries on, Umbrian Francis traded rings and robes for sandals. Ignatius dressed his fellows in no special way, the better to mix with common folk. Ghandi wore no gold. . . . In these heady days of Loyola joy -- option for the poor lost in the silver glare. Party on! Yes! Raise the spirit, cheer the soul. But royal robes and silver chains corrode the spirit, sear the soul."

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