Past the screaming Scouts the rampaging rodent ran


It has all the elements of a great urban legend: a wayward rodent and terrorized Girl Scouts crossing paths in the august surroundings of the Lowe House Office Building. Add to that the implicit rat/politician jokes. Surely too good to be true.

But the tale of the Annapolis House rat actually checks out.

So says General Services spokesman Dave Humphrey, who recounts yesterday's 9:30 a.m. incident so well that I'm just gonna let him tell it:

"The subject rat was on the second floor of the House of Delegates building. There was a Girl Scout visit in progress. The rat actually ran across the feet of some of the Girl Scouts. The Girl Scouts scream. The rat attempts to make an escape. It runs under a security officer's desk. She evacuates by jumping on a chair. The rat then tries to flee. It falls down a stairwell to the first floor, makes its way to an area where there were some construction workers. Workers take matters into their own hands, using a blunt instrument. The rat was DOA."

Now for a few Ratgate rumors that Humphrey has been trying to stamp out:

The rat was NOT clubbed to death in front of the Girl Scouts. The group "did not witness the rat's demise," he says.

The rat did NOT carry away a cake.

And a TV reporter did NOT dive into a trash bin to retrieve the corpse. (At least the reporter in question denied it to Humphrey.)

Still unknown: Did William Donald Schaefer set the rat loose in the building just to get reporters out of his hair?

'Hairspray,' Vegas and - wait for it - good taste

The Baltimore beehive has always been big. Now it's eighth-wonder-of-the-world big - atop the Luxor pyramid in Vegas, where the musical Hairspray is playing.

"Some suggested we put the ubiquitous blue wig on the sphinx," Luxor President Felix Rappaport tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "But we decided that was not in good taste."

Taste? C'mon! You're doing Vegas-meets-Baltimore inside a faux pyramid. No place for taste, hon.

Step inside and say that, I dare you

Not sure what stuck more in Ed Norris' craw: Having a college professor question his "moral authority" to be a talking head? Or having the professor, UMBC's Donald Norris, pointedly note that he is not related to the police chief-turned-convict-turned-radio-host?

But if the criticism stung, it has also given Ed Norris lotsa material. It has been Norris vs. Norris on WHFS since I quoted the professor Wednesday.

Ed has been challenging Don to explain himself the show, giving out the professor's office phone number on the air and urging listeners to call him. Ed even sent his on-air sidekick to the professor's office - twice - to try to get an interview.

So far, the prof isn't talking. Not to the station, anyway. To me, Don said, "My remarks stand on their own."

On the air, Ed calls Don a "coward" and threatens to keep it up: "We're going to be on you."

Skip the election; what about the library?

On Monday, Rockville Mayor Larry Giammo said he was backing Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley for governor over hometown boy Doug Duncan. On Tuesday, Duncan urged Giammo to Think Again.

About the campaign endorsement?

No, Duncan called on Giammo to reconsider his stance on a one of those apple-pie-and-motherhood political issues: free parking at the new Rockville library.

"The mayor is giving free parking to customers of the new Town Center grocery store, so it is my hope that he can extend a similar courtesy to the patrons of our public library," Duncan said in a press release.

So there!

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