Nobody asked me, but the Baltimore Museum of Art should hire a millionaire hunter to identify a new generation of donors. The museum’s proposed fundraising sale of Warhol’s “Last Supper” and other works has been called off, so the BMA still needs money for its mission. As I suggested to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra last year, there’s more money in Maryland than the view from Baltimore allows. The state consistently ranks near the top in resident millionaires, defined by Kiplinger, the financial publisher, as households with “investable assets of $1 million or more, excluding the value of real estate, employer-sponsored retirement plans and business partnerships.” There are 221,189 such households in the state, according to Kiplinger’s latest survey. That’s 43,000 more millionaires than just a few years ago. That’s new money, baby! In his memorable “Glengarry Glen Ross” monologue, Alec Baldwin put it like this: “The money’s out there. You pick it up, it’s yours. You don’t, I have no sympathy for you.”
Here’s another thing: The word “deaccession” has no place in common usage. It’s a shady word, if you ask me (and I realize nobody did). Museum people use it instead of “sell our works of art,” apparently because “selling” is considered crass. The BMA used the word to describe its controversial and ultimately scrapped sale. If museum people want to use that word to describe removing works from their collections — or, good God, selling them for big money — they should keep it to themselves. For the rest of us, “deaccession” is hereby deactivated.
Speaking of money, it sounds like the Mosby household could use a visit from Suze Orman.
Or maybe Suze Orman and Dr. Phil.
And speaking of Dr. Phil, I had a weak moment the other day and watched his weekday show for the first time. Dr. Phil interrogated a massage therapist accused of being a sleazeball, and it was like … ewww. May the pandemic end soon so we can go back to work and avoid the tempting den of daytime television.
Speaking of the pandemic, public acceptance of a coronavirus vaccine remains a profound worry. We could get to next year and find a vaccine ready for distribution but millions of Americans unwilling to be vaccinated — some because they don’t trust our best scientists, others because they fear the vaccine was developed in haste. President Donald Trump’s politicalization of the pandemic — the way he dismissed the threat of the virus, ridiculed the public health response as overreaction and played to ignorant skeptics — might be the most damaging aspect of his presidency.
Nobody asked me, but, while it’s great to see a robust turnout of voters at the polls, no American should have to stand in line for two or three hours to exercise this precious right. There should be more mail-in voting and more early-voting locations.
Nobody asked me, but the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on the Nov. 3 election and deadlines for accepting mailed-in bailouts in Pennsylvania and North Carolina left an odor in the air. While both rulings were considered victories for Democrats, dissents by conservative justices left open the possibility of the court deciding the final deadline for mailed ballots after the election has come and gone. Excuse my cynical view, but with the conservatives packed tightly into the court now, that sounds like a setup.
Speaking of the election, what’s the rush to get results? In the past, it was simple: People voted before a deadline — in person or with mailed absentee ballots — and then officials counted the votes, including those postmarked on Election Day, and showed us the totals. Someone won, someone lost. This year is different for two reasons — we’re in the midst of a pandemic and the Postal Service is still recovering from sabotage. You’d think every American would support liberal deadlines for getting ballots in and counted.
Nobody asked me, but if you’re going to eat grapes, and want something that tastes amazing — and not meh, like the prematurely-harvested red and white bunches for sale in most supermarkets — look for a variety called gum drops, a brand of the Grapery in California. They’re not just sweet, they have real flavor, something like a classic Concord but better. And, according to Bon Appétit magazine, no GMOs.
Nobody asked me, but there’s absolutely no reason to feel guilty about using personalized return-address labels that come from charities you have no intention of supporting.
Speaking of guilty, a guy named McArnold Charlemagne entered that plea in U.S. District Court in Baltimore the other day, admitting that he defrauded more than 65 elderly victims out of some $1.5 million. The scheme was an old one: Call grandma up, tell her that her grandson’s in trouble with the law and needs money for bail and a lawyer, then arrange to get cash delivered to a vacant house. Federal prosecutors say Charlemagne did this in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Florida, and he frequently picked up the cash in Baltimore. Then the FBI caught up with him. Now he’s looking at a maximum of 20 years in prison. In its news release reporting Charlemagne’s guilty plea, the U.S. Attorney’s office notes that actual sentences for federal crimes “are typically less than the maximum penalties.” Nobody asked me, but guys who prey on the elderly deserve atypical sentences.
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Speaking of Charlemagne … sorry, I got nothing on Charlemagne. Besides, I’m out of space.