WBAL's Dave Collins spotted something sparkly on Sheila Dixon's ring finger, and soon, someone else's fingers were flying.
"Dave asked dixon outside courthouse if she was wearing an engagement ring," the station's on-site Tweeter wrote. "Also from dave: dixon told jayne [Miller] that he asks 'stupid' questions."
Soon, Dixon spokesman Scott Peterson was fielding calls. Was the divorced mayor of Baltimore settling down with her boyfriend (the current one with the comfy job in Housing, not the ex who bagged millions in tax breaks )?
"I don't know if it's because I'm a guy, or I want the mayor's personal life to be her personal life, but I never noticed" the ring, Peterson said. After checking, he said it's "just a ring she sometimes wears."
Was there a Smyth gift card we don't know about?
Dixon and Ed Anthony, her pal in Housing, really should get married - right there at the courthouse. It would give everybody something to do besides Twittering. For the past five days, as most of the action in the case has taken place in a closed jury room, reporters have been forced to pass the time providing instant updates. They've tweeted about anything - and nothing. A sample of recent tweets from WBAL:
"Just idle chatter taking place in courtroom."
"Weather is as much a topic as dixon down here this morning. Rain appears to be letting up."
"Jayne's hanging out in the courtroom reading ny times."
"From dave: nothing's going on outside. From me: nothing inside either."
"Jayne talking to someone on phone: 'nothing, nothing, zero.' See, I'm not lying."
Better than real?
Moments after City Concilman Jim Kraft greeted Mayor Dixon in the courtroom Tuesday, this appeared on Twitter's FakeSheilaDixon: "How do I tell Councilman Kraft he has some rank breath and what looks to be a radish stuck between his teeth?"
Reporters following the satiric Twitter feed glanced around the room; the tweeter must be in their midst! But he or she was not discovered, The Baltimore Sun's Jean Marbella tells me.
The trial has inspired a second spoof feed devoted to Dixon: fakeddixonjuror. Some Tweets:
"Another day without a cure for cancer either. But do you poke the researchers in the ribs every day and ask, 'Got it yet?' "
"It took two hours of back and forth (and, to be honest, some anger), but we made real progress this morning: half pepperoni, half veggie."
"Have you ever met a new group of people and finally CLICKED? Enjoying lunch with my new BFFs, hoping this never ends!"
Connect the dots
When people in high places stand trial, courtroom protocol can get confused. The clerk who announces "all rise" when "the Honorable Judge Dennis M. Sweeney" enters the courtroom got tripped up one time Wednesday. She said, "The Honorable Sheila - " before catching herself. ... Defense attorney Dale Kelberman is as known for wearing bow ties as his fashionista client is for brandishing high heels. But he's sported conventional cravats throughout the Dixon trial. What gives? "I never wear a bow tie for a jury trial," he said. "Some people think it's odd." ... And, for anyone out there who's had enough of the Dixon trial: John Porcari, the former Maryland transportation secretary who's No. 2 at the U.S. Department of Transportation, was supposed to be on "The Diane Rehm Show" Wednesday to discuss the state of traffic in the United States. But the NPR program had to start without him. He was stuck in traffic.