Who was that big shot at the MVA?


We're on the hunt today for some kind of big shot who apparently thinks he's so terribly important he can't afford to wait in line at the Motor Vehicle Administration. We want to find him and to ask what's up -- what's so urgent he can't suffer an hour on the floor with the rest of us. And while we're at it, maybe we can get an explanation from the MVA, which was so deferential to this guy (for no immediately obvious reason) it just about made us sick.

This happened last Monday afternoon at the MVA in Glen Burnie. It happened in the final line for driver's licenses.

The final line comes after all the other lines -- for the vision test, the driving test, written exam. The final line is all the way at the back of the MVA. It takes about an hour to get to the head of this line.

So, about 1 p.m., a man in a suit appeared. He was about 6 feet tall, with thinning blond hair. He appeared to be in his 30s. He saw the line, then spoke to an attendant. He was then taken from station to station and received his license in -- are you ready for this? -- about 10 minutes.

When they put the new license in his hand, he actually had the temerity to sigh with relief in front of everyone. He then walked out with a woman in a bright, flowery pantsuit. "There you go, Mr. Driver License Man," the woman was heard to say. They got into a white Dodge Shadow and drove off.

Who was this VIP who couldn't afford to wait with the commoners? All we know (and what really heightens our curiosity) is that the car had Maryland government tags -- SG 01232 to be exact. Certainly there must be a good explanation for this, right? A state official wouldn't pull strings to get special treatment at the MVA simply as a matter of personal convenience, would he? Please, if you know about this, edify us. Call This Just In at 332-6166. We're all ears, and so very understanding.


Barry Levinson's next film, "Sleepers," sounds like "Diner" meets "Wise Guys." It's based on the Lorenzo Carcaterra best seller that came out last year and caused a stir. It's supposed to be a true story, but many critics (on the Internet, in particular) have questioned its authenticity.

"Sleepers" is about four boys from the Hell's Kitchen section of Manhattan. They get in trouble and are sent to a reformatory in upstate New York. There, they are beaten and raped by guards. Many years later, two of the boys, now mobsters, chance upon one of their reformatory tormentors in a Manhattan bar. And they kill the guy. Meanwhile, one of the other boys has become a prosecutor and -- guess what? -- he gets assigned to the case. Sound implausible? (Sound like a movie Barry Levinson should have left for the Coen brothers?) Though the book was listed as nonfiction, Carcaterra changed all the names and dates and added fictitious details to protect identities of those involved. That's what got the true-crime writers buzzing last year. The movie is due in the fall, and the identity of the cast is no secret: Robert DeNiro, Brad Pitt, Dustin Hoffman and Minnie Driver.

Political pique

That rift between the mayor of Baltimore and the governor of Maryland is not as fresh as it seems. It goes back almost a year, I hear, with emissaries of the mayor beating the bushes in the political and business communities for someone to challenge Parris Glendening in the 1998 Democratic primary. ... And did you see that photograph of the mayor and the goob on Sylvia Badger's party page in yesterday's Sunday Sun? That was all Sylvia's doing. She coaxed those two into the shot during the Maryland Association of Counties crab feast in Ocean City. They probably won't be seen in the same viewfinder again -- unless someone uses a wide-angle lens.

A discerning Ditka

Where you find NBC announcer Bob Trumpy's nasty shots at Art Modell and the Ravens (Inside Sports, September), you also find Mike Ditka's take: "This team could be in big trouble. The Ravens are going to go backward in a hurry. As long as it's [Vinny] Testaverde's team, there is no other direction for them to go." I always liked Ditka -- cool, rational, measured and the embodiment of civility in a world rushing to the edge of madness.

Windy City's spirit

The Democrats are in Chicago, which prompts me to recall and to quote one of my favorite has-been political writers, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson: "This vicious, stinking zoo, this mean-grinning, mace-smelling boneyard of a city: an elegant rockpile of a monument to everything cruel and stupid and corrupt in the human spirit." Yeah, but it's so convenient. ("Location, location, location.") This marks the 11th time the Democrats have convened there. The Republicans have chosen it more than a

dozen times.

Delaware dismissed

The other night on the light rail, I decided to pass the time by writing all the states from memory on my note pad. I recalled 49. Couldn't think of the 50th -- until I got home and looked up a listing. Unbelievable. The one I forgot was Delaware, our puny, toll-sucking neighbor to the east and my choice (and probably Joe De Francis') as the most annoying state in the country (This Just In, April 12).

Pub Date: 8/26/96

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