In search of tuba last seen on Argonne Drive


Somewhere in the city they call Baltimore is a small tuba, and we have to find it. If you see a small tuba -- "baritone" is the actual name of the instrument -- being carried by someone who looks suspiciously un-small-tuba-person-like, please take some mental notes and give me a call. We're trying to get a 12-year-old boy's baritone back, and it's not going to be easy.

I'm in a jam, see. I told his momma I'd take the case (though actually the thief took the case, with the baritone inside).

Boy's name is Devin Partlow. Sixth-grader in an accelerated math-science program, Robert Poole Middle School, Hampden, North Baltimore. Devin plays baritone in the school band. Band recently performed a concert at a parent-teacher spaghetti supper. "They sounded good," says Devin's mother, Billie Partlow. "They played 'Ode To Somethin',' and we had a good turnout, good spaghetti. It was smelling good in there."

Devin lives in Northwood, see, several miles from the school. Takes the bus each day. Takes the baritone home each weekend.

After school a couple of Fridays ago, he leaves the baritone on the bench at Argonne Drive and North Hill Road. He does this so he can walk a little friend home. When Devin returns minutes later to the bus stop, the $1,900 gold-finish Conn baritone (Serial No. 400906), property of the Baltimore City Public Schools, is gone.

And it hasn't been seen since.

Hasn't even turned up in a pawn shop.

Hey, thief! Do the right thing for once in your life. Come out from that crack you slithered into -- and I hope you didn't scratch the baritone when you slithered into that crack -- and give it up (or at least pawn it off). That thing is of no use to you. And Devin needs to practice.

Have some decency. Have some humanity. Be a person.

PR stunt is for the birds

Boos to the public relations Wunderkind who came up with this idea to promote an electronics company's new tracking device -- a live homing pigeon in a box. I know of at least two that arrived in newsrooms last Thursday, and the staff at WMAR-TV learned that 100 of them had been sent by the company to promote a gadget that can help track the location of a stolen car.

One pigeon arrived at The Sun, via deliveryman, in a white cardboard box that resembled a portable cat carrier. There were only a few small holes in the box, and they appeared to have been punched out with a pencil. Our first indication of something fowl was a scratching sound and a message on the side, asking the recipient to set the pigeon free and to call a phone number to learn about the company's product.

We signed for it and took it outside. As we opened the box, the bewildered pigeon -- a beautiful specimen with a turquoise head and breast -- blinked its eyes and suddenly flew off. After circling tTC the area a few times, the bird flew east. The electronics company told WMAR-TV that the birds were "extremely safe" in the boxes and that the stunt was pulled off with the "help and approval" of a local pigeon club.

Doesn't matter. It was a crude move. (I'd name the company involved, but why give them the pleasure?)

Barry with an A; Eagle salute

I got a bum steer last week on the front name of a certain Southern District police lieutenant. It's Barry -- not Berry -- Baker. ... This oughta be good: The Ad Club will toast the Coppin State Eagles and coach Fang Mitchell during a luncheon on Tuesday, April 29 at the Boumi Temple on North Charles. Call 529-4840, if you want to attend. ... Network television is coming after the Sal Spinnato story. Details to follow. ... Anybody else out there think new Orioles play-by-play man Jim Hunter sounds like Tony Kubek?

Stopped by a sausage

Kibosh, according to the dictionary in the powder room, is a word of unknown origin but specific meaning: A restraining force or element, as in, "The governor put the ole kibosh on slot machines." The other day, we heard of a guy aboard one of the Inner Harbor water taxis who attempted to use this word in explaining how some plan of his had been abruptly halted. "Yeah," he said, "they put the ole kielbasa on it." (I hope it was Ostrowski's.)

Sound effects strike out

Add TJI reader Mary Beth Walker to the chorus of boo birds on the overuse of big music and sound effects at Aural Park at Camden Yards. "I yearn for a return of the 'quiet' at the ballpark and the nervous anticipation that builds when the count is full, the bases are loaded, one out remains and the fate of the game hangs in the balance and that gorgeous hush falls over the stadium as 48,000 silently make a myriad of promises to their personal gods," she writes. "I am sick to death of hearing the first few counts of 'We Will Rock You' or 'Eye Of The Tiger' before every Oriole batter. I can't believe that this doesn't make the players absolutely nuts. . . . And while they're at it, bag the 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' during the stretch. This is not our tradition, never has been, never will be. Didn't they get the message when we all booed through it on Opening Day?"

Participatory democracy

Remember this next time you skip voting in an election:

As Carroll County inches toward changing its government from commissioners-form to charter, about 5,000 people have signed petitions to persuade officials to appoint a charter-writing board. Among the last signers was an 81-year-old Hampstead man, so frail he had to kneel at the table to sign. "He could hardly remember his birthday, but he wanted to make sure he helped make the change here," said Neil Ridgely, volunteer at a Westminster signature collection site.

Pub Date: 4/07/97

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