Second Helping, the service that rescues hundreds of thousands of pounds of food from Baltimore-area restaurants and caterers and delivers it to the poor, has a new refrigerated truck but no money for a driver, insurance, fuel or maintenance. Since 1986, the city provided all that. This year, the city pulled back from its commitment, offering the new truck, which was great, but nothing more. Paul Rolandelli, Second Helping manager, says he'll need $25,000 for a driver, $6,000 for insurance and $3,000 for diesel fuel each year. That's not a lot of cash when you consider the benefits: Second Helping collects food for 33 agencies that serve 1.6 million meals for the poor each year. Maybe the mayor could host a fund-raiser.
Schmoke's a card
About the changes at WJHU-FM, I say this: Not enough local programming and not enough Simeone! . . . I brought home three sets of those Kurt Schmoke trading cards, and Nick did the ole "I-like-X-Men-better" put-down. (What can I say? He's only 5 and prefers superguys to politicians.) But the cards are a smart campaign device, collectors' items and good for laughs. There were howls when I showed the ones that claimed: "Cleanest big city on the East Coast" and "Thousands of new jobs from new projects." . . . I'm betting cash money Michael Jackson dumps Lisa Marie and runs off with the Pocahontas cartoon babe. . . . I like how Jon Pareles of the New York Times described Jackson: "A musician whose self-pity now equals his talent." And self-pity sells.
Richardson, by a head
Big laughs at the recent farewell for Bill Richardson, who resigned as Hopkins president. Friends and university staff conspired to produce a slide show featuring hysterical images of the button-down Bill most of his colleagues had never before seen -- painting his house, mowing his lawn, working under his car, operating a chain saw, cooling his heels in a swimming pool. And all of it while dressed in a navy blue suit! "People have commented that Bill Richardson always looks very formal, that for him, dressing down is a navy blue sports jacket, slacks and a tie," said Gene Sunshine, Hopkins senior vice president for administration, who narrated the show. "I arranged to have the Hopkins espionage unit infiltrate Bill's neighborhood to take some secret candid shots of Bill at home on the weekend." Actually, Peter Burger, a member of the Hopkins medical school faculty, donned the dark suit and played for the camera in various home improvement postures. A photo of Richardson's head was transplanted onto Burger's body in the lab. Clever stuff. (Dennis O'Shea, of the JHU information office, and Paula Burger, vice provost and wife of the suit, were in on this.)
Best list riles one of rest
Ramsey Flynn, editor of Baltimore magazine, says he wasn't trying to put one over on Marty Bass. Booked for "Rise and Shine" on WJZ-TV to talk up the magazine's annual best-and-worst edition, Flynn was dropped as a guest when Bass learned another morning show (Channel 2's with Rudy Miller and Jamie Costello) had been picked Baltimore's best this year. (And, ooooo-ee, did that make Marty mad. "We might have the highest-rated show," Bass said, "but he [Flynn] told me, 'Ours is the elitist view.' Do you believe that?") How did Bass learn of the Channel 2 selection? The magazine informed him, Flynn says. He notes that the magazine employee who first suggested Bass consider Flynn as a guest had no idea which morning show would be named best. (Hey now. I've given both sides, the F-Side and the B-Side. See ya!)
Letter etched in pain
Irv Feller's wife, Ann, died of breast cancer 18 months ago. The other day he sat down in his house in Randallstown to write a letter about her death. As hard as it was to read -- even the tTC handwriting seems affected by the deep, lingering pain -- I offer it here for Irv's sake, for all of us who have experienced loss, for all of us who haven't stopped to smell the honeysuckles this year.
"One must have a strong constitution to watch the slow deterioration of an intelligent and thoughtful person whom you've loved for 47 years, every day in every way," Irv writes. "No complaints from my wife, who worked up to the last three months of her life. She went to work at a boutique in Owings Mills every day, sometimes after chemo or radiation. She kept up the spirits of her coworkers, most of whom never realized her pain and discomfort. She joked, shared lunch and goodies with them, never asking for pity. When she went for chemo for five days in a row, it was heartbreaking to see a roomful of patients waiting their turn at what they thought was their cure. They looked scared, they watched ridiculous TV morning shows. My wife asked for a pot of water so she could go around the waiting room and nurture the flowers and plants.
"You cannot even imagine the pain I live with day in, day out. My wife grew flowers and plants so I visit her gravesite and bring pretty flowers. She was a great inspiration and I miss her terribly. I have inscribed the following on her gravestone: 'To a tender and loving mother and wife. She found particles of good in everyone.'
"I hope you understand the reason for this letter [if it makes any sense to you]. Many, many families are going through this terrible ordeal. Others more fortunate may never have to face this problem. To them, I say be thankful, be better partners, be more thoughtful and kind."