An unappetizing trend: supermarket snacking

Trend report! Shopper snacking on rise in supermarkets. Says who? Says me and at least one other guy. I've been noticing this for months but refrained from declaring it a trend until at least one other observer concurred. (That's really all a trend spotter needs, you know.) Concurrence came yesterday from a keen-eyed Baltimorean who sees this as another signpost on the road to moral ruin. "And," says he, "people who already have gone a long distance toward being public slobs don't seem to care if they're spotted anymore."

He's right. Sunday afternoon in Super Fresh, I saw an otherwise attractive woman in the produce section shamelessly nibbling a bag of lettuce. (Actually, I don't think she ate the bag.) A few weeks ago, I saw Mega-Girth -- a tall and corpulent man in a dirty blue windbreaker -- push his hand into a box of oyster crackers, stuff them into his mouth, then chew with his mouth open. A friend reports seeing a Generation Xer help himself to a pile of sliced dark olives from a Giant salad bar, munch on them as he and his buddies shopped, then chuck the empty (and probably recyclable) plastic container in a wastebasket. Oh, the humanity!


And an appetizing trend

Speaking of shopping and humanity, be on the look out -- believe me, you won't miss 'em -- for Jo Jo & Kenny from MIX-106.5 FM at the Giant on Perring Parkway and Joppa Road. These two funny guys are boosting MIX's annual "stuff-a-bus" campaign, looking to fill an MTA blue-and-white with bags of nonperishables for the Maryland Food Bank. So, stop eating your groceries and give them to the needy!


A way with words

"Kudos to the Public Relations Office of Dundalk Community College for bringing home the gold!" That's the opening line of a Nov. 8 press release prepared and mailed by -- you guessed it! -- the Public Relations Office of Dundalk Community College.

Then there's this: A memorandum from the Public Information Office of the Howard County Public School System. It explains -- for those who just don't get it -- what exactly weather announcements mean. I'll give you a sample (and I'm not making this up!): "'All Howard County Public Schools Closed,' which means students do not attend class. 'All Howard County Public Schools To Open One Hour Late,' which means students report one hour later than normal." Any questions?

A 'hon' of a tot

You can never start 'em too young. Here's news about wee people from Gail Boren, Lutherville: "I knew my 3 1/2 -year-old daughter, Taylor, was a true Baltimorean last week when she approached me wanting to play her new pretend game, called 'Hon and Hon.' When I asked her how to play, she replied, 'You pretend you're one Hon and I'll be the other Hon.' We proceeded to play, instructing one another to do various domestic chores, all the while calling each other, 'Hon.' "

Danger: channels crossing

At Dulaney High in Baltimore County, administrators and custodians who use walkie-talkies to communicate during the school day often pick up voices from Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens & Mausoleum. Sounds otherworldly, but don't get excited. There's a simple explanation: Walkie-talkie channel crossing. Because of it, workers at the cemetery can hear school officials and vice versa, according to the Dulaney High newspaper, The Griffin. Must be a blast during fire drills and funerals.

Step right up


Talk about bad timing. In stormy Ocean City Saturday night, a couple returned to their high-rise with a carload of groceries just as the lights went out and the elevator stopped running. And their condo was on the 21st floor! The woman gave her honey a kiss and wished him good luck. He took a deep breath and quietly began his climb, festooned with groceries, to the 21st floor. "We have to get the cold stuff put away, and he's in better shape than I," said the wife who, with that, took a seat in a lobby lounge chair.

Dog has his day

It's finally happening. Nipper, the much-larger-than-life RCA dog once a Russell Street landmark, is coming home to Baltimore for tomorrow morning's Thanksgiving parade through downtown. In fact, the big fiberglass pooch is the grand marshal. After nearly 20 years away from the city, Nipper's a sight for sore eyes. Parade starts at 11.

Anchorman Gibbens dies

Vince Gibbens, who spent 3 1/2 years as anchorman at WBAL-TV, died of an apparent heart attack Wednesday in Milwaukee, where he anchored the news for WITI-TV. Gibbens )) was 46. He worked at News 11 in the mid-1980s, alongside Rod Daniels, Rudy Miller, Norm Lewis and Vince Bagli. Gibbens, tall and handsome but extremely quiet, even shy, came to Baltimore from Milwaukee, returning there in 1989. He is survived by his wife and five children.

Dan Rodricks' column appears each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Observations may be sent to This Just In, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. The telephone number is 332-6166.