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Needed: a sophisticated boyfriend-placement service


I SEE WHERE Carmen Russo, the CEO of Baltimore schools, is a finalist for that chancellor's job in Florida, and it would be a shame for the city to lose her - right in the middle of her contract here. (Didn't "contract" and "commitment" used to be synonymous?) In yesterday's edition of this newspaper, we had Pete Rawlings, the state delegate, blaming Baltimore's lack of sophistication for the potential loss of Russo, bemoaning the fact that a job could not be found here for her Florida boyfriend. We pay Russo $192,000 a year. She's in charge of 93,000 students and goes to Florida every third weekend. Now she might book after two years on a four-year contract. And we're "unsophisticated" for not finding the boyfriend a job? Way to go, Pete.

Old tricks

So Schaeferesque is William Donald Schaefer. He put out a press advisory six days after the primary to make sure we all knew that he garnered 68 percent of the Democratic vote for state comptroller - not the mere 64 percent reported earlier. Beautiful. With Don Donaldo, there will never be a last hurrah, only a last harrumph.

New career?

Friends said I should have auditioned to be the next Ann Landers. Her death left a void in the ranks of nationally syndicated advice columnists. My friends thought I should have asked you, the readers of TJI, to write letters with questions about your boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, husbands, cats and kids. Then, they said, I should have published my answers - kind of like a pilot for a new TV show.

But I didn't do it.

I'm not much for giving advice about life, love and all that human interrelationship stuff. I couldn't tell you what to do when, say, you discover that a beloved aunt has been making frequent trips to Giant so she can stick her finger in the orange Jell-O at the salad bar. I mean, what do you do? Call 911? Have a sit-down with Aunt Suzie? Do you really want your beloved Aunt Suzie to know you saw her sticking her fingers in salad-bar Jell-O?

It would take me a year to figure out what to do about Aunt Suzie and her Jell-O fetish, and then I'd probably just videotape her doing it and show it at family parties.

I'm much more comfortable giving simple hints, in the Heloise style, such as: "Never fry bacon while naked."

But what I would really like now and then is an Ask Dan column, where you could just ask me anything, as readers often do, in e-mail and in the supermarket. Here are a few examples e-mailed to me recently:

Dear Dan,

What is the significance of the white T-shirt among our youth? I began noticing the phenomenon this past spring - the majority of the city residents that I pass while driving from my house on Eastwood Drive, down Edison Highway to Madison then to Wolfe are wearing white T-shirts. Students standing on street corners, kids on bikes, even adults - everywhere white T-shirts. There are huge ads in storefronts - white T-shirts, three packages, $5. What does it all mean?

T.R., Northeast Baltimore

Dear T.R.

I suspect that's a cultural statement about the power of simplicity, and the need to revert to a quieter, less materialistic lifestyle. It could also be a tribute of some kind. The inexpensive, white T-shirt was the favored casual attire of a whole generation of blue-collar workers who obviously are being honored by the wearing of the plain white T. Either that, or there was some serious sidewalk sale of factory seconds in East Baltimore recently, or a run on T-shirts at an odd-lot store. If you also see the T-shirt guys wearing tube socks - then they definitely hit a bonanza at an odd-lot.

Dear Dan,

I was eating in the Double T Diner in Catonsville when Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and her entourage stopped to dine. As she walked around the diner greeting people, I noticed her sport socks didn't match. One had the familiar Nike swoosh while the other had all the appearances of coming from Kmart. I was so amazed that a candidate for governor couldn't dress herself that I immediately called my daughter from my cell phone to see if she thought it was appropriate to just walk up and say, 'Excuse me, but you may want to change your socks, and I'll volunteer to go to Sports Authority to buy a matching set.' I was, of course, talked out of it. But I still wonder if maybe KKT would like to hire an advisor to look her over every day before going out in public. What do you think?


Lisa Teal

Dear Lisa:

I think, if I were you, I'd refrain from using a cell phone in the Double T Diner.

Dear Dan,

Didn't you write a column earlier this summer or in the spring on [short-time Oriole] Dave Criscione? I couldn't find it in your archives.

T.J., Baltimore

Dear T.J.,

I sure did. As Casey Stengel used to say, "You could look it up."

Got a question for Dan Rodricks? Phone it in at 410- 332-6166, or send it in by e-mail to, or by post to The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278

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