by Laura Vozzella (The Baltimore Sun, 9/28/2007)
Jacob Corbin-Beal bought a Hampden rowhouse that happened to have a billboard on one side, and he wasn't sure what to do with the thing. The seller had led him to believe it wasn't quite kosher under city regs, unless he rented it back to the guy, who owns a repair shop and was offering a measly 40 bucks a month.
Then Corbin-Beal had an idea. An epiphany, really, inspired by the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
He bought yards and yards of sump pump hose, a couple of saucer sleds and some spray paint, then created what looks like a giant plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Two Wiffle ball eyes poke out from the pile. Below, in black and white, it says, “Believe Your Noodly Master, Hon.”
The obvious message: Keep creationism out of public schools.
OK, maybe the meaning isn't so obvious. Unless you're familiar with The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a spoof religion whipped up in 2005 to protest plans to teach intelligent design in Kansas schools. (The founder threatened legal action if schools did not teach another theory — that a “Spaghedeity” created the universe — alongside evolution and intelligent design.)
Corbin-Beal read about the church — its Web site (www.venganza.org) shows Michelangelo's Adam extending his finger toward the monster's “noodly appendage” — and became a believer. He created the billboard, on Falls Road just north of The Avenue, and braced for a backlash. It never came.
No wonder we're still wrestling with mysteries of the universe; Hampden alone defies explanation. For whatever reason, it's a place where you can post a wacky billboard and make barely a ripple. The baltimore Messenger did a piece on it recently. City Paper ran a photo once. A Unitarian minister asked Corbin-Beal, 35, to speak to her congregation. That's about it.
“I was really a little bit worried that I'd get a lot of negative reaction,” Corbin-Beal said. “I received practically none. That's kind of half the beauty of it.”