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Feeling the burn of R&B; groove

The Baltimore Sun

This happened the other night, about 5:50 p.m. I'm waiting on the light at Northern Parkway and North Charles Street, all windows of the DadVan open. Next to me, there's a guy in a uniform shirt of some kind - like maybe Jiffy Lube - with the windows of his sedan open, and he's groovin' on some old-school R&B.;

I like this. It hits me just right, and I start groovin' on the music, too.

The guy in the car catches me groovin' on his tunes, and he says, "You like that?"

And I say, "Yeah, I like that. What is that?"

And he says, "Best of Maze."

I don't know from Maze, but I like what I hear. I like the beat and the tune, and none of the lyrics makes me want to roll up the windows.

Next thing I know, the guy stops the music, ejects the CD, opens his car door and slides the disc through my passenger window.

"Here, keep it," he says. "I can burn another."

I ask his name.

"Jesse," he says.

I say, "Thanks, Jess," and the light changes, and it's time for me to make a left.

I don't know if I'll ever see Jesse again. If I do, I'll slide him one of my Springsteen Paris bootleg burns.

This concludes the felonious-act-of-kindness part of today's column.

Drivel, he said

Reader Louis J. O'Donnell Jr. writes: "Saddest continual drivel column in Sunpapers' last half century. Sad that you liberals are born with a guilty conscience. Sad that liberalism is a mental disorder."

Dear Louis - or may I call you Lou, or Luigi, or just Weege?

First of all, I'm glad to see you're using a pen. It's much easier to read than the crayon or chocolate pudding.

Second, I want you to know that I appreciated your postcard, addressed to me at the Baltimore Sump Co., and that we share your concern for the mental health of liberals. So we're establishing a fund for research into liberalism as a mental disorder. I am accepting cash-only contributions. If you are genuine in your concern, please consider a donation. I would love to meet you. Just call ahead for my visiting hours.

This concludes the reader-response section of today's column.

Morel quandary

It's prime season for morel hunting. Louis J. O'Donnell's favorite columnist has never had much luck finding them around Baltimore, and I am looking for pointers on some reliable spots within the Patapsco Drainage Basin to hunt these delicious mushrooms. (If you can find them in a market, they retail for more than $20 a pound, making them a ridiculous purchase). Schroomers! I know you're out there! Share your knowledge at 410-332-6166, and your secret is good with me.

This concludes the self-serving part of today's column.

The heck ya mean?

Louis J. O'Donnell's favorite columnist saw a movie with Penelope Cruz and Matthew McConaughey, both pretty people, and William H. Macy (Allegany High School grad, Cumberland, Md.), one of my favorite actors. But it was one of the stupidest movies ever. The plot line was MIA. It's called Sahara. Please, don't go there.

This concludes the film-review part of today's column.

Save the bees!

A bee flew into my house and landed on a Comcast bill. This happened Monday, the same day that colleague Frank Roylance's story about the scarcity of bees appeared on the front page of The Sun. So, I guess you can figure what Louis J. O'Donnell's favorite columnist did. I picked up the envelope and carefully carried the little feller outside and gently placed him on a dandelion blossom. I felt much better and, far as I could tell, so did the bee.

That was the schmaltzy-gooey-bee-hugger part of the column.

Easy to maki

Louis J. O'Donnell's favorite columnist enjoys going to Asia Food, on York Road in good ol' Govans, looking at exotic stuff, and sometimes buying stuff.

Lately, I've been buying sushi stuff because - you ready for this? - the son of the former Rose Popolo has been making sushi at home.

Check that.

I've been making maki sushi. That's what a California roll is - maki sushi. What I make involves nothing raw.

I invested in 12 pounds of the sushi rice (cheap) and rice vinegar seasoned for sushi. "That's the secret," the young man at Asia Food said.

I bought a makisu, the bamboo mat used to roll the maki sushi. I bought a couple of cans of sweet-roasted eel, some crabmeat, some avocado, some cucumbers, some carrots.

I picked a time when I had time to experiment. I followed instructions I found online and another recipe from The Sun archives.

I steamed the rice, seasoned it with the vinegar and let it cool. Then I wet my fingers and stuck my hand in the rice (felt pretty good) and spread it on the nori, which are those 8-inch sheets of dried seaweed.

I carefully rolled the thing and, remarkably, it held together.

As instructed, I wet a long, sharp knife and sliced the roll into about six pieces, and you know what?

Look liked California roll.

Smelled and tasted like California roll. (The rice was a little chewy, but I'll fix that next time.)

The family seemed to approve. Amazing. It took me years of practice to get a meatball right, and here I pretty much nailed maki sushi on the first try.

This concludes not only the pleased-with-myself part of the column but the column itself.

Ciao and sayonara.

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