Pope John Paul II still gets around.
A bronze statue of the late globe-trotting pontiff had to be shipped from artist Joseph Sheppard's studio in Italy before it could be unveiled yesterday in a new prayer garden by Baltimore's Basilica.
And that was just the beginning.
The 7-foot piece, put in a crate and on a ship in Livorno about eight weeks ago, was supposed to go to a storage facility in or around Baltimore until installation time.
But some spectacularly crossed wires led the shippers to take it instead to a North Baltimore condo. After failing to get the thing through the front door, they tried to deliver it to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Through the same shipping broker, but on a different ship, Sheppard had sent another crate to the University of Maryland, College Park. But the pope wasn't supposed to go there. And UM's hospital wasn't supposed to be in the mix.
As for the condo, Sheppard has a home there. But he was back in Pietrasanta, Italy, trying to sort out conflicting stories about his statue. The piece's whereabouts were unknown for two weeks.
"I don't know how it got so mixed up," he said. "It's funny now."
At least no one at the condo or hospital accepted delivery and made off with the thing, which weighs several tons.
"It was sent C.O.D.," Sheppard said. "You get a crate that size and it's C.O.D., I don't think you pay for it."
Keep your pants on
A young public defender in Upper Marlboro showed up in court the other day wearing jeans. Nice, stylish designer jeans. But jeans nonetheless. She apologized to Prince George's County Circuit Judge Vincent J. Femia for her attire.
"That's all right," Femia told her. "You don't have to take them off for me."
And you thought Baltimore County District Judge Bruce S. Lamdin had cornered the market on startling courtroom asides.
Femia later told The Baltimore Sun's Michael Dresser, who'd been in the courtroom, that the comment "wasn't meant to be salacious." But the judge conceded that it could be seen as "borderline." Femia said he'd only meant to convey that the lawyer, who declined to give her name to Dresser, didn't need to take off her jeans and put on a dress.
"God forbid I should tell anybody how to dress," said Femia, who noted, for the benefit of any lawyers with a court date before him, that ties are optional.
They're getting bubbly
Suffering from Wire withdrawal, some fans of the late HBO series are getting their fix with NBC's Heroes.
Jamie Hector, who played Marlo Stanfield on The Wire, showed up as a new villain. Now Andre Royo, who was The Wire's Bubbles, has popped up, too.
Among the Wire-deprived masses grateful for the mini cast reunion: WBAL newswoman Kate Amara, who lapsed into upper case in an e-mail: "and then on Monday, BUBBLES WAS ON THE SHOW TOO!
"My boyfriend and I were so psyched to see him, and to know that these two awesome actors are continuing to work after our favorite show signed off the air," she wrote. "(Bubbles played a guy who can create vortexes, and accidentally kills people when they fall into the vortex forever - and then he's sad that his wife and kids won't see him, so he commits suicide by creating a vortex and then disappearing into it.)"
Now that's a big void to fill.
He didn't do it
David Tufaro, a former executive with Summit Properties, really, really wants you to know that he had nothing to do with developments the company pushed over local opposition in Georgia, Virginia and Florida.
In a recent column, I noted that Tufaro was one of several developers fighting plans to put a senior citizen complex on Roland Park open space, and that Summit had waged lengthy development battles in those states. I also quoted Tufaro saying he was not involved in those projects.
"[Y]ou made it sound like I was denying my involvement," he e-mailed me afterward. Which, of course, he was doing. But not, he says, in that guilty denial kinda way.
"I had no connection to any projects developed outside of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware or Pennsylvania," he said.
That still leaves Virginia, where Summit fought residents over plans to build 160 apartments in Loudoun County. But Tufaro said he was not involved. Take that as a denial, but in a good way.
Connect the dots
Kendel Ehrlich plays "celebrity stylist" at a haircut-a-thon Sunday at Salon Laurie in Mount Washington, benefiting Johns Hopkins breast cancer research. The former first lady won't actually cut anyone's hair. Only the salon's "expert team" will get the scissors. But Ehrlich and Sarah Fleischer of 98 Rock will help the pros style hair after it's been cut. If Ehrlich could do anything with my mop, I'd say her husband deserves a second term. ... The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder blogs that Michael Steele's name is being floated as Republican National Committee chairman. Steele spokeswoman Belinda Cook did not return an e-mail seeking comment.
The Pope John Paul II Prayer Garden near the Basilica is dedicated, PG 11