Iwent to sleep under an O'Malley moon and woke up caressed by the beams of an O'Malley sunrise. Breathing deeply the oxygen supplied by the O'Malley administration, I had my O'Malley Oaty Oats cereal while listening to O'Malley's March.
O'Malley highways whisked me
to work, past woods, streams and
marshland all acquired by wise
and all-seeing O'Malley minions.
Arriving at my desk, I pored
over reams of the latest O'Malley
missives outlining the latest
"My, oh, my," I blurted out to
colleagues, "when does Martin
They just shook their heads in OMazement.
Of the approximately 320 news releases
issued last year by the Department of
Natural Resources (that's minus police
blotter), 145, or 45 percent, put his excellency
in the middle of the action. The trend
continues this year, the one in which he
hopes to secure another four-year term.
He announces. He initiates. He launches.
He congratulates. He applauds. He endorses.
No effort is too small for mention in an
O'Malley news release, even marinas that
stop pumping feces into the water get their
props as long as the governor gets his.
Why, in the middle of the budget crisis
last year, O'Malley took time from his busy
day to remind anglers that "there are still
plenty of good opportunities for Marylanders
to get out on the water, either on
their own or through a charter boat, and
enjoy the rest of the summer."
When two hikers wandered off and were
later found, O'Malley commended "everyone
involved for their brave effort."
Even when O'Malley did not appear to be
in the room, rest assured, he was there.
From the graduation of Natural Resources
Police recruits at Anne Arundel
Community College ("The Maryland
Natural Resources Police are
crucial to ensuring the safety of
our citizens as well as our treasured
land and aquatic resources
are safe," said the invisible O'Malley)
to the ceremonial tossing out
of the first fish for the state's
annual contest ("Our annual fishing
challenge offers Maryland
families and visitors the chance to
win prizes while enjoying our
exceptional waterways and recreational
said Mr. Omnipresent), news releases
would have you believe that
our governor presided.
Now, this isn't to say his predecessor
didn't use the Office of
Smoke and Mirrors to gin up pretty-picture
backdrops for news conferences during his
failed re-election bid. As a matter of fact, it
used to be a running joke with that office
which mountain or waterfront scene would
be used by Bob Ehrlich to blah-blah-blah.
But this is something else: 261 weekdays
averaging one O'Malleygram every other
day. Not even Stephen King could keep up.
And the funny thing is, the news releases
read just fine without him in them.
When I teased a high-ranking DNR
official about the volume of material and
the number of MOM mentions, I was told,
"All agencies do it."
Of the 79 news releases issued last year by
the Maryland Department of the Environment,
26 (33 percent) worked the governor
into the action. The Department of Agriculture
issued 239 news releases and notices,
with dear old MOM in 63 (26 percent) of
There are, however, limits to what the
governor will take credit for. He does not do:
■ Dead animals. He doesn't announce
hunting regulations, contest winners or
more hunting opportunities. He doesn't
warn us to be safe during hunting season.
No quote in the "Muskrat trapping season
extended" press release. Must be saving
himself for the next nutria release.
■ Creepy invaders of our animal kingdom,
planet world or underwater areas. No
emerald ash borers, rock snot or myco for
■ Natural Resources Police arrests. The
former prosecutor was silent after a sting
operation busted eight men at Gambrill
State Park and charged them with lewd
sexual conduct. MOM was mum on oyster
poachers, too. (But he bounced back into
the limelight to speak up for our leafy
friends as part of the "Trees for Schools
■ Speaking of trees ... memorial tree plantings
for deceased presidential cats. Really,
no MOM comment in a news release that
went out to note that the Clinton's cat,
Socks, would be getting a tree planted in St.
Mary's County. Geez, if you can't comment
on a dead Democratic cat, what animal will
you move your lips for?
■ Which brings us to ... certain kinds of
fish. His excellency saw fit to comment on
the setting of state records for shark and
cobia -- robust, manly, Hemingway-esque
beasts. But pity Don Perantoni, the angler
who caught the 9-inch warmouth. His
accomplishment was lauded by Fisheries
Service biologist Keith Lockwood. Also ...
■ Photo contests, art displays and vision
plans. Secretary of Natural Resources John
Griffin carries the water on those.
■ Park closings for furlough days ... but
MOM was happy to be part of the written
festivities when parks were open Labor Day
So in closing, let me leave you with this
Irish blessing: May the road rise to meet
you. May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And on Nov. 2, remember who made it all
ON THE OUTDOORS