Fluffy, if you can hear me, speak to me please

THE BALTIMORE SUN

I need your help: Somewhere out there in the Greater Patapsco Drainage Basin, there's supposedly a person who conducts seances for the owners of dead cats. I'm told the seances are conducted every month in northwest Baltimore County, maybe somewhere along Liberty Road. The tip sounds good -- as good as the one on albino slugs in Arbutus -- so I've had various TJI correspondents, including Cereal Mom and Joey Amalfitano, working on it. Sadly, they've come up with nothing but hairballs. And so, my faithful companions, if you know anything about this, please call the TJI hot line (410-332-6166). The possibility of such a story -- actually writing the words "seance for dead cats" -- excites me as much as the possibility of dinner with Ariana the Human Arrow. Of course, that didn't happen, either. But a guy can dream, can't he?

Speaking of tongues

The 7-year-old boy who lives in my house has two current loves -- Lenny Webster, the plucky Orioles backup catcher, and Attman's, the first-string deli on Lombard Street. He loves the knish, he loves matzo ball soup, he loves the kosher corned beef, he appreciates the kugel. It's tongue that he doesn't understand. "How did somebody know this would be good to eat, dad?" he asks. I tell him some very hungry person must have tried it years ago and decided it tastes just like chicken. How's that? How did I do? ... The tongue bit reminds me of my favorite monologue from my favorite movie, "My Favorite Year," starring, among others, Joe Bologna. He plays a high-strung, superstitious star of a 1950s TV comedy show. He gets maniacally nervous before each telecast: "They're not serving tongue at lunch today, are they, Leo? The last time they served tongue, the opening monologue died. No tongue on show day, get it? No tongue! Tongue? Death!" So I hope they're not serving it in the Orioles clubhouse tonight. ... TJI reader Nathan Schlein and his buddies want to know where in Baltimore one finds good New York-style kaiser rolls. I say Attman's is a good place to start, but it's probably not the only place. If you've a better lead, give us a call (410-332-6166). ... TJI reader Michael Taylor overheard a woman describing her daughter's recent wedding. "It was very nice," she boasted. "The champagne was the best -- Dom Perrier." Although a tad watered down.

Bright idea at courthouse

Justice is supposed to be blind, but this is ridiculous. Visitors to the top floor of the new courthouse in Annapolis -- behind the old courthouse on Church Circle -- have been reaching for the sunglasses when they step off the elevator. On sunny days, it looks like a "Men In Black" party up there. See, the landing and corridor have a glass roof; it's very pretty -- except for the dead bird that landed on it the other day -- but extremely bright. The walls are white, the floor is pale. The total effect is stunning. God-fearing witnesses have come out of the elevators, squinted and promised to tell the whole truth. Some lawyers say it's so white-bright you'd think you'd just "stepped into heaven." (Now there's a stretch.) Employees say they're going to open a Ray Ban concession. There's talk about hanging ferns and an espresso bar.

Pfiesteria: the book

The hottest book in Annapolis -- if not Oprah's book club -- is "And the Waters Turned to Blood," in which author Rodney Barker traces researcher JoAnn Burkholder's discovery of Pfiesteria piscicida, the toxic microorganism that has killed fish and made some humans sick in North Carolina and Maryland. The book has popped up in the governor's office and in the state Department of Natural Resources. Crown Books on Main Street ordered 40 copies last week. As of Monday, all but one had been sold; 20 more were being ordered.

Fancy car, chancy driving

Message to a certain lovely woman: If you're going to drive a Jaguar with vanity tags that advertise your popular Baltimore business, maybe you should drive more carefully and keep the seat belt fastened on your kid.

Get thee to outer space

I'm making a list of candidates for the next mission to Mir. Let's start with Kitty Kelley and Fran Drescher, and go from there. ... I could be wrong, but that leopard-spot coat Keith Richards is wearing on the Rolling Stones' new tour has Killer Trash (1929 Eastern Ave.) written all over it. ... I'd wear my Baltimore Bicentennial necktie, but I think I should save it for a more special occasion. ... Sykesville merchants have posted blue-and-white signs in their storefronts that offer: "Free ride in a police car, if you shoplift from this store, compliments of your police department." I love small-town hospitality.

Who's helping whom?

We picked up this flier last week (my emphasis added): "Too busy to write that research paper? Maybe I can help! I can save you time and give you peace of mind by writing your next term or research paper. I'm an experienced writer and college graduate. I know what professors want. I've written A-plus papers for many, many students who's been through what you're going through now. ... This guy must have jumped off the train at Conjunction Junction.

Rosy memories of Red

A memory of Red Skelton, from a Baltimore kid named Jeff Griffin: "His TV show was the first I was ever allowed to stay up and see. ... I saw him in concert at the Baltimore [Civic Center], and in terms of energy and output, his 2 1/2 -hour show beats anything I had seen before or since. I remember seeing him on 'The Tonight Show' back in the Johnny Carson days. At some point during the discussion, his longevity came up. He cracked, 'I just want to live long enough to see who gets Brooke Shields!' Mission accomplished, Red."

Pub Date: 10/01/97

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