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As Long as We Remember...

February 16, 2006

It’s Really Opera! – Part 2

Kevin E. Dayhoff

Mark Twain wrote: "The only difference between fiction and nonfiction is that fiction should be completely believable." Is there evidence that Mr. Twain ever visited the Maryland General Assembly?

One would be remiss if one of the best analogies about the Maryland General Assembly were not called to your attention. Doug Tallman, writing for The Gazette last December 15, suggested that it is a boxing match. Much too funny, although it could be suggested that a better analogy would be professional wrestling.

And in this corner, we have Bruno Sammartino. Across the squared circle we have Gorilla Monsoon, or The Iron Sheik. How about Nikolai Volkoff? Hat tip to Dan Roderick's January 26, column ("Once-evil wrestler has quiet life in Glen Arm") for reminding me of the names of wrestlers 'from the day.'

Anyway, Mr. Tallman wrote: "Are you ready to rumble? In this corner, wearing blue trunks, are the Democrats. Strong in number but out of power, they're lusting to regain the top spot of Maryland government. Across the ring are the Republicans, in the red trunks. Outnumbered, the agile GOP scored a split decision in 2002, snatching the Governor's Mansion in the title bout but unable to take the Senate or the House of Delegates."

Whether the vehicle for the plot at hand is boxing or wrestling; it's a tag team cage match all performed as opera.

I caught you smiling. I'm right, aren't I?

To be sure, covering the General Assembly is a writer's paradise. Even the journalists are singing.

In Mr. Roderick's column, he called to our attention that former wrestler; Mr. Volkoff, whose real name is Josip Nikolai Peruzovic. And he is pondering running for "for the House of Delegates from the 7th Legislative District, covering parts of Baltimore and Harford counties. Though a Republican, he might run as a Democrat. He says he's not sure. He joined the GOP, he says, because he viewed that party as 'more on the side that wanted to destroy communism.'"

This is perfect. One cannot write fiction this good. Mr. Peruzovic will fit right in. Mr. Roderick's said: "Volkoff is lovable, gentle, charming and modest. He doesn't snarl anymore."

Even more perfect because as you get to know most the legislators, they are really quite likeable folks, most of them anyway. Some do snarl.

Mentioned in yesterday’s column is the fact that Charles I granted a charter for the feudal rights to the area we now know as Maryland, on June 20, 1632, to the 2nd Lord Baltimore. Actually, the charter was first awarded to his father, George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore.

However, George Calvert passed away on April 13, 1632, and the charter was subsequently awarded to the 2nd Lord Baltimore, Cecil Calvert. The Calvert family then named Maryland after the wife of King Charles I, Queen Henrietta Marie. Anne Arundel, for whom the county is named, married Cecil Calvert in 1629.

But unsubstantiated is whether or not the office of the Speaker of the House of Delegates can trace its origins to the first feudal Baltimore baron?

Although in the past several weeks, there has been muttering heard under the breath of several delegates that perhaps the feudal form of government is alive and well in the Maryland General Assembly.

I hope that by now you have had a chance to read “The List,” in The Gazette on January 27, 2006, as mentioned here yesterday.

But long before "The List;" in my previous life as an elected official, I once sent an advocacy letter for a great homeownership program, "Live Near Your Work."

Only I misspelled it to read "Liver Near Your Work." Debra Romanoski, who works in the office of Sen. Larry Haines (R., Carroll-Baltimore), called it to my attention and thought it was hilarious.

The humor was too much to pass up, and my colleague, Stan Ruchlewicz, Westminster's administrator for economic development, and I got together and developed a poster identifying the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee as a new deli and gave all the members a specialty.

Coming soon!!! LIVER NEAR YOUR WORK. The Ultimate Deli and Meat Market in Downtown Westminster. Rockin' (Debbie) Romanoski, Proprietor. Hours of Operation: Until the Cows Come Home or All the Pork is Passed Out. Featuring Such Fine Quality Products as: "Ruben's sandwiches, Curries' curry.

You get the idea. By popular demand, the poster from 2002 is making a nostalgic “curtain call” below. For some of the folks who have been around the General Assembly for a while, it will bring back some good memories...and a smile. Enjoy.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. E-mail him at:

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