With Sine Die rapidly approaching for this year’s Maryland Legislative session and with Governor Larry Hogan getting mixed reviews (He’s either great or he sucks, depending on the reviewer – almost nothing in-between), it’s times like these in which I find there is seldom anything to write about.
Fortunately, this is not one of those times.
This column should dispel any myths that I never have anything good to say, as this piece is filled with nothing other than sweetness, light and some good sounds.
Saturday a week ago, at the behest of Elizabeth and Bruce Myers (the one-two punch behind Maryland Legislative Watch) a group of us got together at Scoozzi’s, an eastern Baltimore County bar, that has karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights, karaoke as spun by the master, himself, Mr. Kevin Ray.
Anyway, while walking into Scoozzi’s I almost literally bumped into State Senator Johnny Ray Salling (R-6) and we chatted for a few moments. Nothing serious, mind you, but more along the lines of “good to see you again,” and “how have you been?”
Senator Salling informed me that he was coming from an event that had just ended, and was part of a separate party of other folks who were coming from the same event. Between the Myers Group and Salling’s Group, it suddenly seemed as if Scoozzi’s was the center of the Right (as in both ideologically and correct) political universe for singing karaoke and what have you.
So, I enter the establishment (for maybe the 5th or 6th time in my life) and have never seen it busier or more crowded. There was not a seat on the bar side to be found…which is good for me, because I sit on my ass way too much these days. And, upon finding my party, I found Bruce and Elizabeth Myers seated with (Just mentioning some of the folks here – either public figures or whom I figure won’t mind being mentioned in something I write); the inimitable J. Doug Gill (former WBAL talk show host) Bryan Baucom (a hard charging liberty/conservative activist) and his lovely wife, Ron Tankersly of the excellent song-parody fame and apparent master of The Jesus and Mary Chain and of course Elizabeth and Bruce Myers.
(Three Hunks a Hunk of Burning Love walk into a bar: Bruce Myers, J. Doug Gill and Yours Truly)
Among Johnny Salling’s crowd were Delegate Bob Long (R-6) and his daughters, and Phil Tran, photographer to the GOP stars.
MDGOP National Committeewoman, Nicolee Ambrose also made a showing and she and my eldest daughter tore up the old Journey classic, “Don’t Stop Believin’.” But, the main story I want to tell you here is this:
Amidst the 20 or so people in attendance between the Myers’ group and the Salling group, the GOP and liberty minded folks in Baltimore metro have a plethora of damned good singers in their midst.
To begin with, what Elizabeth Myers did by exploding out “War Pigs” would likely serve to embarrass Ozzie Osbourne. And, the manner in which my eldest, Jen Steffen, torched “Living on a Prayer” could send Bon Jovi scurrying for cover. And, then there’s the Opera and Peabody trained Nicolee Ambrose, who destroyed some country song I’d never before heard. Also belting it out was Ron Tankersly, who blew up – in a good way – Pink Floyd and Bruce Myers, who proved himself to be pretty damned good, as well.
Johnny Ray Salling, the State Senator, took to the karaoke mic three times that I heard – and that guy can really sing, too. As in he can REALLY sing. Salling did “Stuck in the Middle With You,” by Stealer’s Wheel, Van Halen’s “Jump” – which literally had a few in the crowd jumping – and a darling duet of “I Got You Babe.” Good lord.
Don’t anyone try to tell me that the Democrats are the “party” Party. Not in this crowd, not in Maryland, anyway.
Well, that’s it…like I told you at the outset, this piece was all about sweetness, light and good sounds. And, man, were the sounds ever good.
As for me, I used to sing a bit publicly, as well. Now, however, most of my singing is done when I’m in the shower. You’d thank me for no longer doing it in public, believe me.