Whaddaya know? Pool halls - or billiard parlors are now "respectable," and couples actually do go on dates in them. But I got news for youse: Joey Amalfitano, chief cultural correspondent of This Just In, has been doing that for years. Just last week, he took Maxine to Champion Billiards in Perring Plaza.
"Me and Maxine had had a little disagreement that day; we were pretty mad at each other," Joey says. "So we played pool. I've always found it to be a great form of conflict resolution.
"You should see this Champion place full of shiny mahogany and brass. We racked 'em and me and Maxine split four games of eight ball. The tables were 8-feet long and the games a bit pricey $7.50 for just under an hour. Good felt, fair cues. Maxine remarked we could have played pool for two days for that price up where she comes from.
"Anyway, we retired to the restaurant and Maxine made my heart sing; the very tasty quesadilla and mushroom soup she ordered was half price. My Cheddar cheeseburger was a little dry but not bad. The French fries, however, were delightfully crisp with perfect seasoning. While we ate, we played trivia computer games at our table. They also have a microbrewery there, just got the license for it. When it was all over, Maxine and I walked out of the place hand in hand, blue chalk on our faded jeans."
Swish's legacy to baseball
The day I visited Swish Nicholson at his farmhouse in Chesterstown, two fresh pieces of fan mail arrived 40 years after Nicholson's playing career with the Cubs and Phillies had ended. One letter was from a longtime female fan, another from a boy looking to have a Swish Nicholson baseball card signed. The old man seemed delighted, though a little surprised that people still made a fuss about him.
Swish died in Chestertown last Friday. But let me footnote his obits. One day in July 1944, Swish accomplished something you have to regard as amazing (even though it happened in one of baseball's "lost years" during World War II). Swish hit four consecutive home runs in a doubleheader aganist the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds. When, in the second game, Swish came to bat for the Clubs with the bases loaded, he drew an intentional walk.
Forbes' bad business deal
Steve Forbes what an obnoxious waste of good money. He spent $30 million, and for what? For his face on magazine covers? Has there ever been a better case for confiscation of wealth by the people? Forbes and his downsizing, bonus-grabbing corporate pals are just asking for revolution. Workers of the world unite!
Exhibits have similarities
Maybe my eyes are playing tricks on me, but I feel compelled to note the coincidental appearance of Dale Chihuly's wonderful art glass at the BMA and the new jellyfish exhibit at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Both have hit Baltimore at the same time colorful glass that looks like fantastic sea creatures and sea creatures that look like colorful globs of molten glass. They sort of mirror each other in their weird, organic beauty. Don't you think? Hello? You still with me?
Overheard around town
This columnist and his loyal readers have been eavesdropping all over the Patapsco Drainage Basin during the long winter, and here's some of what we've heard.
From the owner of a brown automobile: "My car has so much road salt, it looks like a pretzel on wheels."
On talk radio, a Pat Buchanan supporter listed all the ways women can avoid unwanted pregnancies: "You have your pill, you have your tubal litigation." Right. Don't abort, go to court!
From a guy in the printing business: "I feel combunctious." (That's a combination of combustible and rambunctious, and I like it.)
From a woman in Hamilton: "Somethin' goin' on around here, Dan. You can't fling a dead cat without hittin' a for-sale sign."
From a dental hygienist: "I can't wait for my new lawn to come in this spring. You've heard of Kentucky Blue Grass? I've got Maryland Crab Grass."
Sometimes it's just completely wacky out there. Bob Hiles heard his barber describe someone as being "deader than a doorknob." (He nailed that literary allusion, didn't he?) This same hair clipper said of the Clintons: You know who wears the pants behind that brainstorm.
Bowling ball is in wrong lane
We've all seen the stray sneaker, sock, suitcase, mattress, tattered shirt and dead dog on the side of the road. But what's with the purple 10-pin bowling ball nestled against the barrier along the southbound JFX near the Pepsi sign? It's the ultimate gutter ball in search of a lane to call home.
Guilty conscience takes over
The Westminster Rescue Mission Store received a $20 donation with an anonymous letter seeking forgiveness for minor theft. A customer had purchased a used serving dish at the shop, then, during a second visit, noticed (and coveted) its matching lid. The customer, who didn't have any money at the time, slipped the lid into a pocket and left the store. The money and the contrite letter showed up about a week later.
"We would have probably given her the lid, if she had only asked," said Belle Holt, the shop manager. "We have so many items like that here, but I really would like to thank her for her honesty."
Pub Date: 3/15/96