Ravens fan gives up on MTA


Having given up on the Mass Transit Administration, hard core football fan Anna Lybrook will get to tomorrow night's Ravens game the old, reliable way -- she'll take a bus from a bar with a bunch of guys. When the Colts were in town, Lybrook used to hop the big wheels at Port City Pub in East Baltimore. That was the best way to get to Memorial Stadium in time for kickoff.

Why isn't Lybrook going MTA anymore? Two weeks ago, for the Ravens exhibition opener, she and her husband, Donald, decided to leave their car at an Arbutus park-and-ride lot and take the bus to 33rd Street. They never made it. Too many people, not enough buses. At one point, Lybrook says, an MTA rep nearly started a riot by directing people waiting at the end of a line -- instead of the front -- onto a bus. Four buses arrived at Arbutus at 7: 10 p.m. Kickoff on 33rd Street was 7: 35. The Lybrooks went home.

Anna's not taking any chances this time. She's taking a bus from a bar with a bunch of guys!

Whiplash and Winfrey

New definition of whiplash -- what network camera operators suffer as they search for black faces among delegates at the Republican convention ... Also, I understand from the TV anchormen that we have a new word in the American lexicon: "Oprahesque," which is how the newsheads described Elizabeth Dole's performance the other night. Write it down, everybody.

Red-and-white legacy

Mr. Bubby, who lives there and should know, says one man was responsible for all those extraordinary red-and-white tire planters in the flower-adorned 2100 block of West Fayette Street. (This you gotta see, folks!) Though no one can seem to remember their creator's name, his legacy is strong. Almost every rowhouse, including Mr. Bubby's, has one of those red-and-white planters -- each of them made from an old tire sliced into long strips, and the long strips twisted in such a way to give the impression of a large flower basket. They are very different from the standard Baltimore tire planter made with a simple cut along its sidewall and turned inside out, with its rim serving as pedestal. The planters on Mr. Bubby's block meet a much higher artistic standard. Check them out with a drive through the 2100 block of West Fayette, for 35 years designated a "Clean Block" by the Afro-American.

Spam bake-off

Maryland State Fair alert: They're having a Spam competition this year. Marylanders with Spam recipes -- that covers just about everyone, right? -- had to submit their favorites to Dolores Wehrman of the fair's Home Arts Department by Wednesday. The winner here will be entered in the national competition along with 79 other fair winners for the grand prize -- a $2,500 shopping spree at Mall of America in Minneapolis, plus two round-trip air flights and two nights deluxe accommodations for two. Where do I sign up to be a judge?

What's with the bikes?

Like so many circus clowns, young urban males from Hampden to Hollins Market are wheeling midget bikes in and out of traffic, up and off sidewalk curbs, all over town -- and giving motorists and pedestrians panic attacks. We've seen guys in their early 20s riding bikes designed for boys under 10. Their knees practically rub their chins. So what's up with that? For some reason, I can't bring myself to believe these guys simply borrowed the low-riders from their little brothers. I must be jaded.

Fax phones 911

Barking dogs and a knock at the door summoned Joanne and Claf Hall from sleep. It was 3 o'clock in the morning, and a Baltimore County police officer stood outside the Hall's Stoneleigh house. He said he had responded to a 911 call and gave the number from which it had been received.

Neither of the Halls immediately recognized the number; it wasn't theirs. But as Claf Hall's brain ascended from the drowsy depths, he realized something -- the number was that of his fax machine. "We ran to our at-home office and confirmed that the fax machine and computer had been and still were turned off," Joanne Hall reports. "The police dispatcher insisted that our fax machine had dialed 911. We inspected the relay box on the outside of our house with the police officer, but found that it had not been tampered with. So the cop left, muttering something about the 'wonders of technology.'

Strange and troubling, especially as such an occurrence, however incidental, might further stress an emergency telephone system that groans under the weight of thousands of calls a year. Bell Atlantic agreed with that. The phone company, however, couldn't explain what happened at the Halls'.

(But allow me: The fax machine's dialing of 911 is classic attention-seeking behavior attributable to feelings of abandonment and depression. The Halls need to be more sensitive to the fax machine's needs and to reinforce the good things it does.)

And it wiggles

Look, I can't go into details right now. I'm still too excited about what happened at the party. But, I promise: When things settle and I track down the mysterious woman from the buffet table, I'll get the recipe and pass it along. What am I talking about? Would you believe a 12-layer rainbow Jell-O mold? Watch this space.

Contact Dan Rodricks at 332-6166 or write to The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., baltimore, Md. 21278.

Pub Date: 8/16/96

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