R ay Lewis paid a visit to Baltimore police headquarters recently, but it's not what you're thinking.
The Ravens linebacker, who beat a double-murder rap a few years back but pleaded guilty to obstructing justice, wants to be on the right side of the law.
He showed up at HQ a few weeks ago - during the season - and asked what he could do to help the city fight gang violence.
"Ray Lewis was in here ... asking, 'What can I do to help?' Police Commish Fred Bealefeld told The Baltimore Sun's Justin Fenton. "Ray Lewis is going to help Baltimore because he has an incredible message to put out."
Fenton has tried to reach Lewis for comment, but the team has not made him available. Something about a big game coming up.
Lewis is a free agent after this season, so he could end up signing with another team and taking his crime-fighting services elsewhere. But for now, the department is trying to come up with a way to put his offer to good use.
"We challenge ourselves to say, How can we get real big results out of that?" Bealefeld said. "How can Ray Lewis help the city in a very big way?"
Sheila, the musical
If, as Charlie Chaplin had it, tragedy's a close-up and comedy's a long shot, what will we have tomorrow at the War Memorial, when Barack Obama's handlers try to keep indicted Mayor Sheila Dixon out of the shot entirely?
Novelist Dan Fesperman, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, has written the opening number, set to the tune of "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?"
"How do you solve a problem like our Sheila
Where do you stand her up and sit her down
What's the greeting we should give to Sheila
A shrug at the stage, a hug at the stage, a frown
Think of the mink that recently befell her
Your distant pose she ought to understand
But how do your keep her away
So the pundits won't all say
'Is she giving him a gift card worth a grand'
Oh, how do you solve a problem like our Sheila
How can we push her off to the grandstand"
What about the mayoral bet?
Mayor Dixon claims that her indictment won't keep her from doing the work of the city. But has it gotten in the way of the all-important mayor-to-mayor sports bet?
With the Ravens about to play the Steelers for the AFC title, Dixon and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl should be announcing one of those ceremonial wagers. You know, Dixon promises Ravenstahl a bushel of crabs if the Steelers win, Ravenstahl pledges a bushel of whatever it is they eat in Pittsburgh if the Ravens do. Yuks all around.
Ravenstahl, who announced this week that he's changing his name to Steelerstahl for the big game, just won a bet with San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, who has to pose for pictures in Steelers garb, The New York Times reported.
"But Ravenstahl will not make a similar bet with his counterpart in Baltimore," according to The Times article, which went on right after that to describe Dixon's indictment.
Is the leader of Steel City really going to let a little Charm City indictment get in the way of a good bet?
"That didn't have anything to do with it really," Ravenstahl spokeswoman Joanna Doven e-mailed me. "The Mayor just decided that this [name change] was something that would rally the Steelers Nation."
Blog essay just the ticket
A former Baltimore schoolteacher who works with schools chief Andr?s Alonso beat out more than 250,000 other Americans to win tickets to Obama's inauguration.
Bill Ferguson is one of just 10 people to win the inaugural committee's "Ticket to History" essay contest.
Must have been some essay. Too bad he didn't save a copy.
"In full blog fashion, I just wrote it in the text box and sent it through the online form," said Ferguson, a graduate intern for Alonso who, from 2005 to 2007, was a Teach for America social studies teacher at West Baltimore's Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy.
He knows this much: He wrote something about his passion for education.
Connect the dots
Mayor Dixon's woes won her a spot in Jay Leno's monologue the other night. "The mayor of Baltimore, a woman named Sheila Dixon, has now been charged with 12 counts of felony theft, perjury, fraud, and misconduct in office," he said. "The good news: she's now eligible to become either the mayor of Detroit or governor of Illinois." ... "Another friend of Obama causes another Maalox moment," writes Baltimore blogger Michelle Malkin, linking to my column about Dixon's plan to show up at the War Memorial when the president-elect does. Malkin also linked to video of The Police's "Don't Stand So Close to Me." ... Not all of the notices have been unflattering for Maryland pols. Martin O'Malley recently got a shout-out on Meet the Press from Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty, who said the governor was part of a new, post-racial breed of politician, just like somebody moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. next week. ... What's left of the Grateful Dead and DJ Cassidy will entertain Marylanders at the Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball. The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced the talent line-up for regional balls yesterday.