'Tis the season . . . for a shake-up in the cabinet of Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens (D), who began her second term by juggling a number of positions in the county government.
Maryland Jockey Club executive and Owens campaign spokesman Bob DiPietro is now the executive's chief of staff, displacing Fred Schram, who will become a central services officer. Denis Canavan is shifting from director of county planning and zoning to the new position of director of planning and research, where he will report to his replacement, Joe Rutter, who comes to Anne Arundel from Howard County.
Snow Play, St. John's Style
But the real news in Annapolis for the past week has been the snow -- first the virgin drifts that covered everything, then the icy gray mounds of slush at roadside.
Dozens huddled inside the warm confines of the City Dock Cafe, where a cigarette-smoking snowman helpfully pointed the way inside. Many of those seeking shelter were from nearby St. John's College, where the usual studies of the Great Books took some strange twists, thanks to the snow.
Freshmen Rachel Gillis and Katy Courtright were early risers, waking at 7 a.m. with hopes of getting in a workout at the gym. But they wound up attempting to diagram the Pythagorean theorem in the snow -- an activity thwarted, they complained, by fellow freshman Paul Patrone, who kept rolling through it.
"We need a snowman Socrates," Courtright said.
Junior Laura Mangum's French class wound up reenacting the storming of the Bastille. At the urging of her professor, she and her classmates gathered at a second-floor window of McDowell Hall to belt out the French national anthem and were promptly pelted with a hail of snowballs from the students below.
Those of a less philosophical bent in the city were making plans for Midnight Madness, an annual shopping festival in which the city's downtown stores stay open until midnight.
The only ones left out of the fun were the midshipmen of the U.S. Naval Academy, also stuck at school. They scurried, seriously, from building to building.
"The likelihood of their playing right now is nil," explained Debbie Bishop, a spokeswoman for the academy. "They're studying for finals."
Army Got Their Goat After All
The victory was final, but apparently the moratorium on barnyard hijinks was not.
A decade ago, both Army and Navy had agreed by treaty to lay off on the pranks involving their mascots.
During Saturday's game, in which the midshipmen resoundingly thrashed Army, 58-12, the Jumbotron played films of skits ridiculing Army, including one in which the Army mule got whacked, "Sopranos"-style, and then was taken out of the trunk of a car and dumped in the Severn.
But Army got Navy's goat -- literally. In violation of the agreement, some cadets sneaked down from West Point last month and snatched the Navy mascot, Bill XXXI, in a daring commando raid.
Much like Vice President Dick Cheney, Bill the Goat spends most of his time at an undisclosed location, occasionally appearing at football games to inspire the midshipmen. But it's common knowledge that Bill spends his days grazing at Horizon Dairy Farm in Gambrills.
One goat-napper, wearing a black hood and his gray cadet uniform, posed triumphantly for a picture with Bill, which appeared on the front page of the Capital newspaper the day of the game.
"I'll decline to discuss that," said an unamused Cmdr. Bill Spann, the academy spokesman.
Bill was eventually returned, unscathed.