BEAUTIFUL. Love that Turtle. But what I want to know is: When does Gary get his picture hung at Applebee's? ... And what about the chancellor's mansion, Hidden Waters? I think that should be Gary's new digs. Do I hear a second?
(OK, OK. It tops it by a lot. But just this once.)
A champion's flair
It's been a long time since I've detected duende, but I think I've seen it hanging about Juan Dixon's neck. He has something more than extravagant athletic talent. He has style, grace under pressure, star quality all rolled into one and pushed to the outer limits. I see charisma, passion, panache, flair. The duende is with him.
The late jazz critic George Frazier spent a good deal of his life trying to define this mysterious spirit that seemed to envelop certain men and women in sports and in the performing arts. Not all great talents had it. Duende, Frazier once wrote, "was what Ted Williams had even when striking out, but Stan Musial lacked when hitting a home run." I think, had Frazier watched the Maryland men's basketball team these past two seasons and through the Final Four, he would have been tempted to note the duende with Juan Dixon. In fact, I think we would have toasted to it.
Bookstore strikes out
Father Tim Schenck, from Old St. Paul's, gives the Barnes & Noble of Towson a bag of rotten grapes for its prominent display of "New York Sports," loaded with books about the Yankees, one on the Mets and the 2000 Subway Series, just in time for Opening Day here in Birdburg. Yeah, way to tap into the local market.
Music to our ears
Gotta give it up for Sarah Fleischer. Twenty-five years in rock radio and she's still - what can I say? - hot. Still doin' that 'Lectric Lunch thang. Still one of the sexiest voices in Baltimore radio. The station gave her a big surprise party last week, with a mayoral proclamation, visits from dignitaries and telephone calls from colleagues who were there back in the day. On Friday, she gets a trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a live broadcast. (Man, all I got for my silver anniversary was a desk lamp.) Fleischer is the last of the original jocks at 98 Rock, having signed on when the station did, in 1977. (What we're talking about is a woman who resisted joining the Army - as her dad wanted her to - for the opportunity to play "Stairway to Heaven" about 3 million times.) When too much of radio has become homogenized and delocalized - if that's not a word, it should be - Fleischer still gives the Baltimore airwaves a rich, hometown voice. You keep goin', girl.
I consider myself a Big Idea Man. I get ideas for things all the time - ideas for books, for stage plays, for puppet shows, for parties, for new twists on old Italian dishes, for cheap games my kids can play in the back yard. But somehow I missed the idea of "exotic basketball," with scantily clad women playing hoops and performing sex acts - with each other and spectators - inside a Teamsters hall. Yeah, that one flew right under my radar.
And, as I completely missed the concept, it also never occurred to me to hire a dozen or so off-duty Baltimore cops to provide "security" for this kind of thing, running the risk that they will be caught and bring disgrace upon themselves and their department.
I guess I'm just not thinking outside the box enough.
I think this goes in the "Returning to normal" file: After a six-month closure, in the wake of Sept. 11's terrorist attacks, the large fishing access below Conowingo Dam opened again Monday, just in time for the spring herring and shad runs. According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the boat ramps and fisherman's walkway will remain closed, and fishing will be limited to the rocky shoreline.
You can tell it's spring in Baltimore by the thick crowds of daffodils in bloom in Patterson Park, by the sunny mornings and the longer days, by the smell of Boog's Barbecue at Camden Yards - and by the amazing number of college girls at the Inner Harbor, dressed as if for a Hooters audition.
Search for ugliest tie
This is another reminder for the First Maybe Annual Baltimore Sun Ugly Tie Contest, to be held on Flower Mart Day, May 15. I hear that the Upper School lads at St. Paul's raid their fathers' closets and do this once a year, before Christmas break. I'd like to encourage the top contenders in that competition to enter the Sun contest. Please note: Entries should not be mailed or left on my stoop. (I've received a couple that way, including one with a matching vest.) Contestants must appear with their ugly ties fully deployed. Details to follow.