Do the clothes make the meter reader? BGE sports new duds for a new image


The new meter reader uniforms are here! Tomorrow afternoon, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. shows off its duds au courant, with changes to reflect BGE's new logo and "new image." (Didn't know they had one.) This is OK by me, with two stipulations -- no Michael Jackson-style epaulets, and no gray caps when the team goes on the road. (By the way, BGE will donate its old meter reader uniforms to Christopher Place, the shelter for homeless men in Baltimore. Logos have been removed from the donated duds.)

Recipe for bad driving

Observed yesterday morning on the Jones Falls Expressway: Woman driving a red BMW while reading a culinary magazine, weaving through traffic and endangering other commuters. We got your number, Beemer Girl, and we're calling the cops. (That'll make her souffle drop!)

2 movies too good to miss

In the mood for film noir? I recommend dropping 45 dimes on the double feature this week at the Orpheum Cinema, Fells Point. You get "Murder, My Sweet," starring Dick Powell as detective Philip Marlowe; and the original "Kiss Of Death," the 1947 gangster drama that features Richard Widmark as Tommy Udo, the giggling, sneering psychopath who shoves a wheelchair-bound old lady down the stairs. It was the first time someone had to tell me: "Relax, it's only a movie."

You'd be crabby, too

The crowded Ocean City beach scene is no picnic for humans. But how'd you like to be an embryonic horseshoe crab? Check out these fun factoids: A female horseshoe crab deposits 80,000 90,000 eggs in the sand during spawning season. However, birds eat the tiny eggs by the gazillions. Beach-strolling humans do a lot of damage, too. And loggerhead turtles love young horseshoe crabs for lunch. Maybe two babes live to adulthood. Commenting on these facts of life, Harley J. Speir, a state fisheries biologist, said: "It's a pretty rough world if you are a dot and you are [born] naked on a beach." Just think about that next time you complain about sand in your shorts.

Change isn't music to his ears

Friday in this newspaper, Bill Spencer, morning host at WJHU-FM, showed a stiff upper lip in his comments about the programming changes that resulted in the loss of his job. Yesterday, Spencer had more to say -- especially about how he got the word from management. "I'm condensing this a little but basically, after seven years at the station, this is what I was told: 'We're making some changes. Your job has been eliminated. We'd like your keys back, and would 10 minutes be enough time to clear out your stuff?' " Spencer says he was "escorted out of the building, as if I were Aldrich Ames." Now he's looking for a job. And trying not to be bitter. I wish him luck in both endeavors.

Seeking mayor's nod

I hear there's a tug of war going on for the mayor's endorsement in the city comptroller's race. Yanking the rope are supporters of both Jack Lapides and Joan Pratt. Lapides already has racked up a bunch of nice endorsements: Kweisi Mfume, Ben Cardin, Parren Mitchell, Clarence Blount, Pete Rawlings and John Pica among them. . . . Got a flier in the door for a lawn service the other day. It announced: "Moe The Lawn." No mention of Curly or Larry. . . . Watch out for those overnight clerks in convenience stores; they can get a little punchy and weird in the wee small hours. After midnight Thursday, a woman in Annapolis stopped and bought some lemonade. "Must be the heat," the clerk said, ogling the bottle. "When else could we sell something with stuff floating around in it?" . . . If you love Packards, get to Marriott's Hunt Valley Inn this week. There's a convention of 'em.

Car trouble

Here's a kick in the pants: Dave Kennedy had to buy his own car at auction last week, and this will end up costing him nearly $200 more than he paid in the first place. Why? It's a long story, but I'll try to condense. Pull up a chair.

See, Kennedy's daughter, Jennifer, rented an apartment in the 3600 block of Falls Road. On the lot behind the property, Kennedy parked a 1978 Chevy Malibu. He left it there for his daughter, who never used it and commuted to work by other means. The tags on the car expired in December. In April, a city inspector came by, noticed trash and the car behind the building and cited the absentee landlord for violations of the housing code. A week later, a violation notice went to the landlord's husband's place of business in Ellicott City by certified mail. Shortly thereafter, the trash was removed. But the Malibu remained. And no one -- not the city, not the landlord, not the landlord's husband -- warned Dave Kennedy or his daughter that the car would be towed.

One morning in early May, Kennedy's daughter was leaving the apartment for work when she noticed the Malibu on the bed of a tow truck. By the time Dave Kennedy learned of this, the Malibu had been hauled to the abandoned vehicle yard on Pulaski Highway. Why hadn't the landlord told him or his daughter of the violation notice? "She claims she was never notified," Kennedy says.

To avoid a total loss, Kennedy went to the auto auction last Wednesday and successfully bid $125 for his car. Problem is, he owes the city $338 more for towing and storage. Can you beat that? "And I only paid $300 for the car two years ago," Kennedy says. I say send the bill to the landlord.

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