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Reasons behind city-county tiffs as muddled as Mars photos

January 13, 2004|by TIM ROWLAND

Let me get this straight. The Washington County Commissioners have sued the City of Hagerstown twice. They have done everything possible to stymie the city as it has tried to expand its hopelessly antiquated borders. They want to keep for themselves tax money generated by city hotels and city construction.

Yet, the county says it will only help out with downtown renovation if the city demonstrates "better cooperation?"

What does the county want the city to do, make itself easier to subpoena? Three commissioners weighed in on this topic: Greg Snook, Bill Wivell and John Munson.

But of course it was J-Mun coming through with the best material.

He said he had a problem with the county helping out the city financially because "everybody in the county will be paying for it."

Um, John? What do you think city residents have been doing for the past six years or so, helping pay off the county's sewer debt? Everybody in the city is paying for sewers they don't use, so what's the difference?

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Man, you have to be surprised the first photos the Spirit flashed back from Mars didn't show a field of red dust, rocks and J-Mun, Wivell and Snook.

And while we're on Mars, so to speak, I kept hearing about the amazing photos being beamed back to Earth and got all excited. When I finally saw them, they looked amazingly like all the other photos I had ever seen from Mars, which looks amazingly like a patch of red clay in my front yard where I'm having trouble getting grass to grow.

True, scientists said, the photos show dust and rocks, but the dust and rocks are in much "greater definition" than we have been provided in the past.

I see.

Nothing more frustrating to a home photographer than when his picture of a rock comes out all grainy and stuff. Now we can say for certain that there are indeed rocks on the planet Mars, not McDonald's restaurants that we were mistaking for rocks due to poor imagery.

Scienticians also are euphoric because the surface of Mars "looks like mud, but it's not mud."

That's fine, but unless this news can help me flip an omelet without most of it winding up on the kitchen cabinets, I have trouble seeing how I can relate.

Of course, nobody in our locale is paying any attention to the Mars landing, because it had the poor timing of occurring at the exact moment that the Redskins were naming Joe Gibbs as their new head coach.

The great Joe Gibbs, who coached the Redskins to three Super Bowls, is coming back to pull the team out of its decade-long nose dive.

For me, an avid Redskins despiser, this is not good news. I had much more fun watching Redskins owner Daniel Snyder playing haphazardly with his team like a kid playing with Tonka trucks in a sandbox.

And of course, Gibbs, well into his 60s now, is bringing back all his coaches from the glory years. You have probably seen the press conferences, which a friend likened to the casting party for "Cocoon III." Bunch of withering guys with their pants pulled up to chest level.

I do secretly like the "wisdom over youth" paradigm that is taking place in sports these days. Shows those punk Baby Boomers and Gen-Alphabet Soupers a thing or two, when some of the NFL's best coaches spend half their time coaching and half their time lobbying against means-testing for Social Security.

Not to mention Florida Marlins manager Jack McKeon guiding his team to a World Series championship at age 73.

Even the Orioles are getting into the act, bringing back productive fossils like Rafael Palmeiro and B.J. Surhoff. All they need is Ken Singleton and Paul Blair, and they'll have hit for the cycle.

Problem is, they're all hitters. Only note I could find on pitching was this actual quote from The Baltimore Sun:

"... The Orioles could counter with (Rodrigo) Lopez, last year's Opening Day starter. At last check, Lopez was 1-5 with a 4.69 ERA for the Culiacan Tomato Growers in the Mexican Winter League."

Oh dear. For all their new hitters, with that kind of pitching void, the fans this summer at Camden Yards might become known as the Baltimore Tomato Throwers.




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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