FOR THE 24th consecutive time in the history of this newspaper column, we go for the gluttony. It is our destiny. On this Thanksgiving Day, in the brief moments between the first of the turkey giblets and the last of the televised football games, we pause to consider all those things for which we give our deepest, most heartfelt community thanks.
If you believe that part about "heartfelt," we've got a deed to the Hanover Street Bridge we'd like you to consider. Still, in our annual spirit of good nature and sarcasm, here are this year's nominees of Things for Which to be Thankful:
Be thankful for Kurt L. Schmoke, who gave it his best shot for 12 difficult years. It's just that we thought he'd bring the best and the brightest into city government, and instead he gave us Daniel P. Henson.
Be thankful for Joseph J. Curran Jr., the attorney general who wants a farewell to arms in Maryland. Curran's reward for wanting a ban on all handgun sales? He's ridiculed by a bunch of legislators who must find it awfully cozy hanging out in the back pocket of the National Rifle Association.
Be thankful for Tamir Goodman, the famous high school basketball hotshot, who believes in a higher power than Gary Williams, the famous college basketball double-talker.
Be thankful you'll be able to call City Hall soon and utter the comforting phrase, "Can I speak to MOM (Martin O'Malley)?"
Be thankful William Donald Schaefer is recovering from painful surgery on his knees. Without him, colorful debate on the state's Board of Public Works would be on its last legs.
Be thankful the Baltimore Ravens talk such a good game about "community involvement." Excuse us? How does a "community involved" pro football franchise, bulging with millions in public money gained in a stadium built for them with millions in public funds, charge $10,000 to two scuffling, under-funded public high schools, City and Poly, so they could play their annual game at PSINet Stadium?
Be thankful for the name PSINet Stadium. It's so rare that a community can have 100 percent unanimity about anything. Unfortunately, it's unanimous revulsion and mockery of both the name and the sellout that created the name.
Be thankful for Linda Tripp, who manages the impossible: She's so insufferable in her gall -- breaking all laws of common decency and then soliciting money to defend herself as a "patriot" -- that she almost makes all those other Clinton-Lewinsky players look sympathetic.
Be thankful for Newt Gingrich. It's nice to know, even in hindsight, that he was just as hypocritical as we imagined he was when he simultaneously decried Bill Clinton's affair while carrying on one of his own.
Be thankful Maryland's candidates for governor are raising such big money. Three years before the next election, the three leading Democratic contenders have raised more than $2 million. Whoever wins, it'll give us the best governor money can buy.
Be thankful they're recovering from the earthquake in Turkey. Poor George W. Bush, checking his extensive foreign policy knowledge, thought it meant trouble with Thanksgiving dinner.
Be thankful if the city shows some heart when it comes time to buy out small businesses in the redevelopment of downtown's west side. Don't forget, the guy who once spoke out for those business people's rights was a councilman named O'Malley.
Be thankful for the Baltimore County Council, which should hold its meetings in a home for the irrelevant. Also, the Baltimore City Council. If its members ever get an idea in their collective heads, it will die of loneliness.
Be thankful the Maryland racing industry has discovered Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. If she gets herself elected governor, be additionally thankful if she discovers the hypocrisy of the current governor's position on slot machines at the tracks.
Be thankful for the coming winter season and its inevitable snowfalls. This will give television stations the opportunity to send shocked reporters into the streets as though such a thing has never happened before.
Be thankful you didn't win the Maryland State Lottery the day after entering the Witness Protection Program.
Be thankful zero tolerance is coming. Soon, someone will tell us where we're going to put all those brand new defendants with our courts backed up and our prisons overcrowded.
Be thankful Peter Angelos is about to collect big tobacco-settlement money. Maybe there's enough there to keep the Orioles' bullpen from going up in smoke.