Can't teach this county new tricks

February 14, 2008|By TIM ROWLAND

What a tough decision: Do you watch coverage of the Maryland primary election results or coverage of the Westminster dog show?

Both are equally compelling in an uncompelling kind of way.

I might even like to see the primary elections take a page out of the dog show. Put Hillary Clinton on a leash and run her in a big circle in front of the crowd. Look at her teeth. Inspect her confirmation.

We'd get about the same amount of information that way.

In all, it was a Very Bad Day for Hillary and Washington County Board of Education candidate Tom Janus. Nine people run for eight available spots. One person doesn't make the cut, and it's you. That can't be good.

To borrow from Westminster, Tom would be the Jack Russell terrier. Or the watchdog. I was kind of rooting for him, to be honest. I like him. He would have been a headache for the board, and us headaches have to stick together.


And what of my main man Russell Williams? The smart one? The border collie? The guy who has read every education-related document ever produced and has forgotten more about Washington County schools than most people will ever know?

Next to last.

Sheesh. No, can't vote for him, he's smart, volunteers to help the homeless, rides a bike instead of burning irreplaceable fossil fuel and doesn't have a political bone in his body. Nothing about that suggests he'd make a good public servant.

Wayne Ridenour, meanwhile, is the beagle. Best of show. Top dog. New nickname: Snoopy.

I can't argue with that, or with the other two - Donna Brightman and Ed Forrest - who broke into five digits. They're the runners up, the Akita and the Australian Shepherd.

I refuse to assign anyone the burden of being equated with the poodle, the dog of the wild hairdo that looked as if a 1970s interior decorator had been asked to give his interpretation of Bea Arthur.

By the way, mad props to all the people who saw my endorsement of home rule and flocked to the polls to defeat it by a 2-1 margin.

But the joke's on you, pal. I actually oppose home rule and knew you would do the opposite of what I said. Bwa-ha-ha. And my fee for this service will be one meeellion dollars (pinkie finger extended to corner of mouth).

Hey, look at the bright side. If home rule had been running for school board, it would have come in fourth.

So all this stuff you're hearing across the country about change? Doesn't play here, man. Ixnay on the angechay. Same school board, same form of government, same congressman.

Change? Only time you hear the word around here is from the dude on Public Square, saying "Have you got any?"

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett got 37,450. Next highest? Barely more than 4,000. Even if his other four opponents combined had been running as a team, Bartlett would have beaten them almost 4-1. We hate Congress, but it's always the other guy's congressmen who's the problem, never your own. Even the Democrats picked the one person who's held prominent public office before.

At least Westminster, with its tradition of heritage, broke out of a rut in picking Uno the Beagle. Never before had a beagle won, perhaps because they would always run off for three days in the middle of the contest.

So even the dog world was willing to try something that hadn't been tried before.

Not that it matters. For the record, the bouvier des Flandres named Opie and the bulldog named Hannah slept through the whole thing, and as of this morning did not seem to be regretting the decision. The cat, Juliet - probably disgusted by the whole thing - was nowhere to be seen.

In the end, the animals probably have it right. Change or no change, the sun will come up in the morning and life will go on. Woof to that.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or by e-mail at You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on

The Herald-Mail Articles