First, Princeton University Press issued the book, Cop in the Hood: My Year Policing Baltimore's Eastern District. Then it issued the news release recalling the book.
"Turns out I wasn't a cop at all, and I made it all up," joked Peter Moskos, the author and an assistant professor of law and police science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Moskos really was a city officer from Dec. 6, 1999, to April 1, 2002, Baltimore police spokesman Sterling Clifford confirmed. (Clifford wasn't otherwise vouching for the book, which he hadn't read. "It's not like the CIA where even if you're gone, if you write something about it, they have to approve it," Clifford said. "We're stuck with what they write.")
The real reason the book has been pulled off shelves, according to Moskos and Princeton: more than 90 grammar and spelling mistakes. After the book was issued two weeks ago, Moskos' mother and friends spotted what copy editors at the esteemed publisher apparently overlooked.
"A lot of errors for a 200-page book," said Moskos, who quipped that he should not have gone with a "fly-by-night organization" like Princeton. "The director of the press called it 'unprecedented.'"
Said Princeton publicist Lisa Fortunato: "For us, this is very unusual."
Don't those Ivy League-types have Spellcheck?
"You know what? We asked the same question," Fortunato said. "I don't know the full story."
The book is expected to be back on shelves in four to five weeks. Not a huge delay, but one that's upsetting to Moskos, since he has already begun promoting the book.
"It's just frustrating because I was on the radio today, and you can't buy it this instant on Amazon," he said.
At least he has a sense of humor about some of the errors.
"Somewhere in the book, 'Baltimore' is spelled wrong," Moskos said. "Maybe I spelled it with a 'd' like it's said."
A yacht at the dock, a secret passenger
Steve Forbes' yacht, The Highlander, was in Baltimore's Inner Harbor a couple days this week.
Was the one-time presidential candidate trying to sell Mayor Sheila Dixon on the flat tax, perhaps over some Beluga caviar?
(The 151-foot yacht dishes up nearly 16 pounds of the stuff every year, according to Forbeshighlander.com. That's about $45,000 worth of fish eggs, based on prices posted on gourmetfoods.com, though the magazine heir probably saves by buying in bulk.)
Forbes spokeswoman Diane Reeves said Forbes was not aboard when the yacht dropped anchor in Charm City. She wasn't saying who was on it, only that it was "on its way back up to New York." From? Not saying.
My guess on the mysterious passenger: Bono.
The U2 lead singer is a partner in a buyout company that owns a minority interest in Forbes magazine and Web site. And the ship was anchored by the Science Center, where U2 3D recently played the IMAX theater.
Allegany County's Borscht Belt
Passing through Cumberland recently, Bruce Bereano thought for a moment that he'd made a wrong turn and landed in his hometown, the Bronx.
Rocky Gap Lodge was teeming with Orthodox Jews.
"I felt like I was home," the Annapolis lobbyist said. "It was my people."
A large group from New York comes to the lodge every year for Passover, bringing plates, dishes and flatware from home and ordering kosher food in advance, Bereano said.
No one at the lodge returned calls seeking more information. But as The Sun's Liz Kay reported last year, some Jews have started spending the weeklong holiday at hotels and on cruises to avoid some of the drudgery associated with the holiday, including cleansing their houses of all leavened grains.
Bereano found the whole thing moving.
"Up in a rural part of the state where you do not really have much of a Jewish population at all, if any, you have people walking around, men wearing yarmulkes. It's like a little Borscht Belt. It is really two profoundly different kinds of worlds coming together in this magnificent spot."
We'd never have guessed it ourselves
The Maryland Transit Administration isn't saying you should never walk in front of a train. It just wants you to consider the odds first.
"Before you cross in front of a train," read a news release issued by the administration yesterday, "carefully weigh the situation, since a pedestrian ALWAYS loses a collision with a train."
The release was prompted by reports that passengers on the Brunswick Line crawled through or under a freight train that was blocking access to the platform at Point of Rocks.