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Old 01-24-2011, 08:26 PM   #1
A Son of Martha

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Default This year, let's skip the Super Bowl

This year, let's skip the Super Bowl
A public service message, for the sake of Baltimore's mental health
Dan Rodricks

2:05 PM EST, January 24, 2011

Community mental health being important, I suggest that my fellow Baltimore Ravens fans find something else to do on Sunday, Feb. 6 besides watch the Pittsburgh Steelers in their third Super Bowl in six years.

You could visit the Great Model Train Show, presented by Ellicott City Scale Model Railroad Association, in the Cow Palace at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. There's a computer show in the 4-H building at the same time.

You might attend a performance by the Concertante string ensemble at the Bolton Street Synagogue; the program features a Mozart divertimento and a Brahms sextet.

You could hear a faculty artist, Chris Gekker, play selections on his trumpet, from Baroque to jazz, during an afternoon recital with other faculty members in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland. The title of the program is, "Plays Well With Others."

You could take in the final performance of Tennessee Williams' "A Street Car Named Desire" at the Spotlighters on St. Paul Street. You could run in the Penguin Pace 5K in Columbia or the Super Bowl 5K in Dundalk.

Of course, all these events were scheduled to ensure that everyone gets home in time to watch the Super Bowl, so, if you want to avoid the whole thing for a change and I really think that might be best for your mental health this year you'll just have to keep the TV dark in the evening and find some other diversion. Suggestions to follow, as they occur.

I received lots of reader reaction to Sunday's column about my 56 minutes on the line with a Verizon rep to get my home telephone disconnected while maintaining Internet service at a reasonable price. Touched a nerve with that one! So many unhappy-but-resigned customers heard from, with war stories from dealing with Verizon customer service and general unhappiness with the limited choices in Internet providers.

"When I moved to Howard County from Baltimore City I was so excited about getting FiOS Internet," wrote George Harris. "But when I asked for only the Internet, the monthly fee was higher. I went with the double bundle TV and Internet and soon ended up with a monthly bill over $100, and I was locked into a contract for a year."

Another reader said she broke down crying with frustration when she tried to arrange simple telephone service for her terminally ill mother.

"Bad phone company, bad!" Michael Farnsworth wrote. "I have automatic bill payment to Verizon and they take the money 10 days before the due date!"

More stuff for Baltimore Ravens fans to do on Feb. 6 besides watch the Pittsburgh Steelers in another Super Bowl: Use the occasion to invite over all those friends you've only been seeing on Facebook for the past two years. Get reacquainted. Play some games marathon Monopoly, a few hours of friendly Texas Hold 'em, or Twister.

That's just swell, President Barack Obama making nice with corporate executives, inviting them to the White House and giving some of them key positions in his administration. It would be equally refreshing to see our supposedly progressive president, just once, name a labor leader or an advocate for the poor to a high-profile position.

Something else Ravens fans can do on Feb. 6 besides watch the Steelers in another Super Bowl: Cook an elaborate meal for your friends and relatives. Take on, for instance, the Italian timpano you've been meaning to cook ever since Tony Shalhoub played a chef who prepared one in the film "Big Night" 15 years ago. This is an elaborate dish that takes a lot of prep, but it's great fun to make while your friends sit, watch, sip vino, gab and get goofy.

Thanks to the four prospective employers who, after reading about Kenny Campbell's predicament in a recent column, contacted me with job possibilities for the former Baltimore morning deejay. I heard from Kenny; he's very grateful for the contacts.

A couple of other things you can do on Feb. 6: Attend the 6:30 p.m. performance of "Jersey Boys" at the Hippodrome.

Or put away your Christmas decorations.

Or work on your tax returns.

Or pay your bills. I'm telling you: Any of the last three options will be preferable to watching the Steelers in another Super Bowl.

This has been a public service announcement.

Dan Rodricks' column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. He is the host of Midday on WYPR, 88.1 FM. His e-mail is dan.rodricks@baltsun.com.

Copyright 2011, The Baltimore Sun
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