A guy stopped me on an MTA bus in South Baltimore a few years ago and said he recognized and appreciated my homage to Jimmy Cannon, a sports columnist back in the day and a favorite of his dad’s in one of the New York City papers. His father had read Cannon in the Post, and that made sense because the other newspapers Cannon wrote for — the Journal‐American and the short-lived World Journal Tribune — were gone by the time the guy on the bus would have been a sentient being.

I mention this only because my periodic “Nobody asked me, but …” columns come directly from Jimmy Cannon. “Nobody Asked Me, But …” was his thing. From time to time, they appeared as a series of one-liners, and Cannon was known for packing a lot into one sentence about sports and life.

When I first started using this form, I acknowledged that “Nobody asked me, but …” came from Jimmy Cannon. With today’s column, I thought I should mention it here again.

I’ve been writing a column — first for the Baltimore Evening Sun, then the morning paper — since 1979, and, like Cannon and other columnists, have found columns of multiple items useful once in a while. Some days, you just want to make a brief observation about politics or blurt out a goofy opinion about bacon. I might write one line about the Orioles, maybe seven or eight about gun violence. Today’s column contains observations about a disgraceful hole in the ground in downtown Baltimore, Trump’s hoarding of top-secret docs, customer service, a television show and, of course, food.

I had earlier formats for columns of items: Pieces of column too short to use and Things I’d like to know, things I’d like to see, things I’d like to do. I take inspiration from not only the late Jimmy Cannon but the late George Frazier, who wrote scathing zingers in The Boston Globe of the 1970s, and from The Doghouse diner in Baltimore.

The Doghouse stands near the city’s prison gulch, across the Fallsway, its credo: “Our meatloaf is made, not accumulated.” I love that statement. It says, “Our meatloaf is intentional, not an accident of leftovers.” You might say my “Nobody asked me, but …” columns are just the opposite: Not the regular fare, but an accumulation of thoughts and observations, baked about once a month, and offered as a breakfast special.

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8 thoughts on “Just so you know: A word about today’s Sun column

  1. Ok, I’m a fan of these & for that matter all your columns. But before I start gushing, I have a request, not that being a fan gives me any right, but here it is: I would like to have a list of the sins of omission & of commission of the Hogan administration. As an historian you will be able to put _us on track to look up the details, so maybe it only takes a paragraph in the “Nobody asked me, but…” columns.
    And, thanks for making Baltimore your home! BG

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks. I remember Jimmy Cannon in the Journal-American and I’m pleased to see his work acknowledged. Your stuff, though, is better — more scope, more bite, and more of yourself in the columns.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. RE: Trump the Bum’s stolen papers:
    Dan, remember Occums Razor? “Given a series of solutions to a problem, the simplest answer is the best”

    The Bum was going to sell the papers…his biggest Grift…ever!
    Edward Haladay

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great precursor to today’s column.  I love the new York references.  I grew up reading the daily news and it set me on my need to always read the local paper and appreciate the columnists.I have been enjoying your columns for many years now and your “no one asked me, but…” columns are always spot on.  Today’s was exceptional! The Orioles’ references really hit the the note, and how I’ve been feeling this year.  And totally second the motion on BCS series – slow moving and deeply impacting artwork. – it’s the space between the notes! Thanks for all you do!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great column today especially about the hole in ground…they need to clean it up, fill it in and make it a park until it’s ready to be developed. Keep on trucking’ Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I didn’t know you borrowed the form from someone else, but I always love those “Nobody asked me….” columns–always insightful and often funny. I like the idea about looking at Hogan…..and maybe his antipathy towards Baltimore. Come on, Larry…..

    Liked by 1 person

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