Johnny on the spot in Hampden


Forget the beehive 'do and cats-eye glasses. The new symbol for Hampden could be the Port-O-Potty, the kind at the center of a neighborhood dust-up. On one side: Jack Gilden, the ad man who created the beehive logo for the local Main Street group years ago but thinks the hon thing has grown a little old, inauthentic and insulting to residents. ("She's become like a low-rent Marlin Perkins, escorting outsiders in to gape at the people who live here.") On the other: Denise Whiting, the Cafe Hon owner, HonFest promoter and "she" from the previous sentence, who says the shtick isn't just a shtick. ("I have hard-core Baltimore roots. My grandmother mended every dress she ever had. She cut the hem off and added a pocket so she could put her teeth in it.")

The beef: Gilden says Whiting plunked a Port-O-Potty on his parking lot during the most recent HonFest. He sent her a $500 bill for the unauthorized "rental." Whiting says that the potty wasn't on his property. She says she's not paying.

Who's right? No, telling, hon. But you'd think these two could settle their differences the Bawlmer way, over a couple of Natty Bos.

Flak to the right, flak to the left

Gov. Robert Ehrlich has taken some flak from the right for firing a transit official who said gays live lives of "sexual deviancy." One Republican critic writes: "What is the matter with you? ... Gays sure do express their way of life and openly flaunt their deviant behavior. So, what do you have against people who are 'straight' expressing their point of view?"

Who is Robert Smith's fiery defender?

Maureen Smith of Glen Burnie, his mom.

Also arriving in Governor Ehrlich's mailbox last week: an interview request from Baltimore's Leonard Kerpelman, the public access TV buff who's better known as the lawyer who won the landmark 1963 Supreme Court case outlawing organized prayer in public schools. No telling yet if Ehrlich will grant an audience, but The Guv can't accuse Kerpelman of sugarcoating his request.

"I understand that you persist in seeking public office in the next general election," Kerpelman begins, adding that he is a "longtime liberal/environmentalist" who has been "pretty disgusted with your past four-year administration."

"Nevertheless," Kerpelman writes, "we are available to you, on your format terms."

A name missing from the list

The Maryland Catholic Conference is urging parishioners to e-mail their state senators and delegates - to thank those who voted against the stem cell bill and to chastise those who voted for it. The one guy not targeted is also the one guy who's on TV taking credit for the legislation in campaign ads: Governor Ehrlich.

Says Nancy Paltell, associate director at the conference: "We haven't really gotten that far yet."

Oh, the wacky-wiki hullabaloo

George W. Bush can count on special protection. But Martin O'Malley has to fend for himself on Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia that "anyone can edit" has started restricting who can alter articles on topics that tend to attract vandals, The New York Times reported recently. The O'Malley entry doesn't fall into that category, even though some Wikipedians claim that dirty tricksters have had their way with it.

"The neutrality of this article is disputed," says the warning box stripped across the top of the article. "Apparently, the people who turned Robert Ehrlich's article into something resembling his campaign flyer have done the opposite to this article," one Wikipedian complains on the site. "Somebody spent literally hours making this entire page into an attack ad against O'Malley," another writes.

There aren't any obvious lies or pranks, like when somebody changed West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd's page to say he was 180 years old. The complaints are mostly about piling on. For instance, the article doesn't just state that Baltimore's murder rate remains among the nation's highest, despite O'Malley's promise to cut it sharply. It also makes note of one horrific crime (three children nearly decapitated in Northwest Baltimore in 2004), theorizes that they were killed because their illegal-immigrant parents didn't pay the people who smuggled them in, and says O'Malley has been soft on illegals.

Kind of a leap?

The O'Malley campaign declined to comment. So did Ehrlich campaign spokeswoman Shareese DeLeaver, though she did say that the race for governor wouldn't be waged by Wikipedia.

Headline writer's second thoughts

Headline in an early edition of Friday's Washington Post: "With Cox, Ehrlich Woos Women Voters." Headline in later editions: "With Choice of Gubernatorial Partner, Ehrlich Woos Female Voters."

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