Worse than a lump of coal in the stocking

Sheila Dixon made her debut the other night as a Stoop Storyteller. Make that Poop Storyteller.

The mayor took the stage at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall on Monday night to share a holiday memory as part of the popular storytelling series.


When she was a little girl growing up in West Baltimore, Dixon said, she and her older brother and sister always climbed into bed together on Christmas Eve to await Santa. Then along came another little Dixon.

The baby of the family was about 9 months old when his first Christmas rolled around. He was still in a crib, so it was decided that the future mayor, then about 5, would sleep in there with him.


"In the middle of the night, I started to feel something, something warm and mushy," Dixon said. "I woke up, I put on the light. This is Christmas Eve. We're in new pajamas looking forward to Santa Claus. Well, I woke up, and I had poop all over me. My brother had pooped all over the crib and all over me."

Not the usual Meyerhoff fare, but there were laughs all around, The Baltimore Sun's Annie Linskey reports.

Anybody out there who thinks poop stories aren't exactly mayoral might recall how Thomas D'Alesandro III famously described the job. After leaving office, "Young Tommy" said being mayor was like being served plate after plate of poop. (Except he used another word for it.)

Oh gee, Mom and Dad

Dr. Joshua Sharfstein surely expected his life to be scrutinized as he emerged as a leading candidate to head the Food and Drug Administration. But all the way down to conception?

The Wall Street Journal's health blog has an article on Baltimore's health commissioner that links to a piece his parents, both doctors, wrote a couple of years ago for Academic Psychiatry. Title: "The Two-Physician Family: A Balancing Act of Work and Love."

And Steven and Margaret Sharfstein, who met and married in medical school, write about l-o-v-e at one point as an action verb. As in the act of conceiving the potential FDA chief.

"A key choice was the timing of our first child," they write. "During our internship and despite being on call every other night and every other weekend and sometimes being out of sync with each other, 'we' managed to get pregnant."


Sharfstein declined to comment. He wouldn't say if it was the Obama transition team or his parents who were keeping him mum.

A moment of fame, a little swag

Dennis Bolen, a laid-off homebuilder featured in The Baltimore Sun last month, is still looking for work. But he has gotten one lucky break: an appearance on The Tyra Banks Show.

After spotting reporter Scott Calvert's article about Bolen, a producer with the show invited Bolen and his wife, Ann Marie, to appear. The show airs at 11 a.m. tomorrow on WUTB-24.

The topic of the show is "middle-class Americans suffering through the economic crisis," said Bolen, who'd been an assistant builder for Beazer Homes.

Might sound like a downer, but the trip up to New York for the taping was fun for the couple and their two children, Cadence, 2, and Ryan, 5.


"It was a neat little mini-vacation," he said. "For the kids, first time being in New York, first time on a train. It was real exciting for everybody."

Bolen said he wasn't fazed about appearing before the studio audience. Before kids came along, he played trumpet before tens of thousands as a member of the Colts and Ravens bands. But then Tyra Banks came out and sat beside them on the couch. "That's when it hit me." He was on TV !

Bolen overcame his jitters, got through the show, and then got to the really good part: the swag bag.

"God, I can't even remember everything," he said. "My wife got a Calvin Klein handbag. A couple real nice watches. Other goodies."

Including a gizmo that turns your iPod into an alarm clock, which would have been even better if the Bolens had an iPod. "Maybe Santa might bring an iPod," he said.

Something even cooler could be on the way. When I reached Bolen yesterday, he was driving to a job interview.


Connect the dots

Molly Shattuck fans, tonight's the night. The former Ravens cheerleader and wife of Constellation Energy CEO Mayo Shattuck appears on the Fox reality show Secret Millionaire at 8 p.m. on Channel 45. She spends a week waiting tables and ringing up groceries in a Pennsylvania coal-mining town, passing herself off as a regular gal needing a fresh start. She eventually comes clean and gives away at least $100,000 of her own money to someone there. "I'm especially excited because one of the people I helped will be here watching the episode together with my family and friends," Shattuck said. ... Bob and Kendel Ehrlich got tripped up in that old plural/possessive trap on their Christmas card, which offers holiday greetings from "The Ehrlich's." I thought the Ehrlichs - see, just add an s to make a singular plural - still had communications gurus on the payroll. ... Maryland capital police are scooting around the State House complex in Annapolis on something called a "T3 patrol unit." The $9,300 vehicle looks like a three-wheeled Segway. Purchased with a Maryland Energy Administration grant, it gets more than 500 miles to the gallon and costs about 10 cents a day to operate. Now if we could only get Gov. Martin O'Malley to trade in his SUV for one.