Delegates' need for speed likely fueled bill's approval


AT A TIME when the top speed limit is 65 and harried highway motorists regularly weave in and out of traffic at 80 or 85, expressing their scorn for slower drivers by flashing headlights and tailgating, Maryland delegates think it's a swell idea to penalize those who observe the speed limit and reward the road-enraged.

Just what we need: a fine and a point on the driver's license for any driver who doesn't get out of the left lane to let speeders through. Such a bill passed last week in the House of Delegates, 90 to 49. Great.

I suspect this legislation is born of politicians' self-interest, and sense of self-importance. These muldoons are sick of having to contain themselves to 75 in the left lane during the drive to Annapolis on I-97, and now they want the state police to back them up. Can you see state cops giving tickets for someone doing 65?

Membership's privileges

Lynn Buhl hasn't exactly had a warm greeting in Maryland. She's the choice of the governor to be secretary of the Department of the Environment, but the Ehrlich administration has been taking a lot of heat from the most prominent environmental groups, who are fighting Buhl's confirmation. They don't think she's sufficiently sensitive to environmental issues.

To make that case, Buhl and Ehrlich's staff have been pointing out that she is a member of the Sierra Club.

But it's not like she's on the Sierra Club's executive steering committee.

It's more like she got something in the mail from the group a few years ago.

As The Sun noted last week, a spokesman for the Sierra Club in Washington said the group's records indicate Buhl received a gift membership in 1998 and never paid the $35 to renew it.

On this basis she claims to be a member of the Sierra Club?

On this basis, I'm a member of the National Rifle Association.

The NRA, the National Wildlife Federation, Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Rails to Trails, the Nature Conservancy, and the Maryknoll Fathers -- I have been offered "free membership" by all those groups. They send me mailing labels, stickers for my car windshield and free greeting cards. I keep all the stuff. My daughter covers the door of her room with the stickers, and I use the mailing labels and the greeting cards -- with no particular guilt about not sending a donation.

Until now, it hadn't occurred to me to use unsolicited junk-mail "membership" to pad my resume.

I'm going to have to take another look at this. Honorary membership in the Franklin Mint might serve me in the future.

Cher still 'believes'

She may not perform Irish rock songs, but, like Baltimore's musician-in-chief, pop star Cher "believes."

The super diva, who performed Thursday at the 1st Mariner Arena, spent the previous evening at Amazing Glaze, the artsy pottery shop on Smith Avenue in Mount Washington. She rented the place and arrived with her farewell-tour entourage of about 35 singers and musicians about 6 p.m. They stayed until 1 a.m., as each worked on his or her piece of ceramic art.

Cher, wearing a sweat suit and a ski hat, used stenciled letters to decorate a teacup with words like "love," "dream," "peace" and, of course, this being Baltimore, "believe." Before it became a municipal motto, "Believe" was the name of a song for which Cher won a Grammy. It hit the top of the charts in more than 20 countries, making Cher, then 52, the oldest woman to accomplish that feat.

Lisa Lyons, the owner of Amazing Glaze, said the singer was completely absorbed as she painted and in good spirit.

Details of Moco's bar

I have received many letters with witty and even impassioned entries in the "Why I Deserve Moco Yardley's Bar Essay Contest." The winner of the contest gets the club basement bar from the house where once lived Moco Yardley, famed cartoonist of The Sun for half a century.

Some readers and prospective essayists have wondered about the dimensions of the bar, which must be removed by the winner from Moco's old house in North Baltimore.

"Knotty pine and wood construction bar with a black top," says Ingmar Burger, Baltimore bon vivant, present occupant of the house and creator of the essay contest. "The bar is curved and sits well in the corner of the room. The running length is 7 1/2 feet because of the curve, but it measures 5 1/2 feet off a wall. There's room for two or three stools."

Entrants must write a short essay, 250 words or fewer, on why he or she would be the best person to take charge of this souvenir of great libation. Send yours to: Closing Night at Moco's, c/o This Just In, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

The winner will be selected by a panel of experts, and announced after Moco's 100th birthday March 11. The winning essay will be published in this space.

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