Monthly Archives: May 2014

Taking stock of Comstock

Rep. Barbara Comstock has set her sights on the US Congress (photo by J. Flannery)

Rep. Barbara Comstock has set her sights on the US Congress (photo by J. Flannery)

Virginia Delegate Barbara Comstock was a lobbyist for Carnival Cruise Corporation in 2005, and, while at the lobbying firm, Blank Rome, helped Carnival Cruise get a $236 million dollar payout from the U.S. Congress for ferrying evacuees during Hurricane Katrina.

The rub is that Carnival Cruise got a too large payout because Carnival only filled their boats half full while doubling their usual charges — more than twice what Carnival then charged for a regular cruise.

A chorus of chest-beating bi-partisan outrage followed

Delegate Comstock now wants the voters in the 10th Congressional District to promote her to the U.S. Congress.  How to trust Ms. Comstock when it comes to resisting the hoggish corporate handouts that she successfully lobbied congress to give away? Continue reading

The Board grasps the darkness not

parking_lot_lightsWe in Western Loudoun came here to these rolling open spaces because, among other things, we enjoy the dark night sky with its starlight, the heavenly map of constellations, that faint ribbon of smoky light called the Milky Way, and the flashing meteor trails disintegrated by our atmosphere.  We are closer to the nature that existed before humans cluttered this earth with disrespect for the gift of life found in nature.

We feel pangs at the ever-approaching ever-encroaching polluting clusters of artificial light that obscure the night sky.

Nor is this loss of the night merely an aesthetic preference for fainter light.  These blazing lights compromise wild life including birds, salamanders and frogs.  Endangered species of bird – the Cerulean Warbler and Henslow’s Sparrow, according to the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy – crash into these light towers. Continue reading


Mom with son

Mom with son

I remember being washed in a bassinet by my Mom, her friends looking on, and then not understanding why she thought it was such a big deal that I was born weighing 8 pounds 10 ounces and colicky.

It was a tough neighborhood, 143rd and Willis Avenue in the South Bronx, where my Dad was the building superintendent in the “picturesque” tenement we called home. There was a candy store next door, a firehouse with brass poles and friendly Dalmatians, the “el” train station, and, across the street, the Gramercy Boy’s Club.

My Mom’s favorite book was Black Beauty; it was the first book I read.

When I had a fight with “Johnny Upstairs,” my Dad got down on his knees and taught me how to punch “Johnny” back, at 5 years of age, and I found out soon my mother was a fighter.

We went to a bakery.  Mom said, “Sit here Johnny,” pointing to a straight back chair.  I may have been 10.  A woman entered the bakery yanked at my right arm, and said, “Give me that chair!”  My Mom, standing by the slanted glass bakery counter, took the woman’s right elbow, in hand, pulled her, quite quickly, and threw her, aiming at the slanting glass counter, saying, “You keep your hands off my son.”  Mom’s final coup de grace was swinging her heavily laden hand bag with her right arm from behind her back, with such force, the woman splashed up against the glass, and slid to the bakery floor.  The other patrons cleared a path.  My Mom looked at me, extended her hand, and said, “Come on Johnny.” Continue reading

Rabbit hole

It’s a house-husbandly thing to do to aid and abet your wife when she’s a Master Gardener having a plant swap.

But I didn’t expect to fall down a technological rabbit hole in the bargain.

Things went wrong when I juggled a plate of pot luck salad greens on top of a smaller faux crystal dish of paper clips next to a brimming chilled stem glass of sangria.

A forkful of greens found the plate’s tipping point, into the chilled glass, bathing my Toshiba keyboard, and for one shining moment, it enjoyed the most glorious cherry red glow.

After a furious damping of the keyboard, thank you Bounty, certain the mother board was on life support, I tapped a key, the letter, “I,” as a diagnostic, and the mute sound dialogue opened, and no text appeared on the screen.

The alpha numeric characters transmogrified into function keys and the chance for e-life recovery was dismal.  Shortly, the machine straight-lined.  The power light flickered out.  It was over. Continue reading

Benefit concert for People of Faith for Equality in Virginia

Genuine religious freedom is on the move in Virginia. This concert benefits some of that work.


Support People of Faith for Equality in VA!
Friday May 9th, 2014
Doors Open, Tapas, Bar – 6:30pm
Concert Begins – 7:30pm

This is the third annual Gay Men’s Chorus of DC concert in Sterling, VA. This is a night to celebrate the inherent worth and dignity of all people with music for the sake of joy!

Order your tickets now. [Note: the POFEV website is temporarily down; you can also contact them via facebook.]

Tickets purchased on the night of the event may be standing room only.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC, is one of the Washington area’s most acclaimed musical groups. GMCW won WAMMIES for Best Choral Recording in 2013 and 2014 from the Washington Area Music Association. Their Potomac Fever/Rock Creek Singer CD recording TOGETHER AGAIN won this year. ALEXANDER’S HOUSE CD won in 2013. You can hear and see some of their amazing performances on the GMCW website.

Please join us for this joyous and inspiring evening of music to hear one of the D.C. area’s most acclaimed singing groups!

Child care will be available at the event. Donations are welcome!

We hope to see you May 9th in Sterling!

Brought to you by: Beth Chaverim Reform Congregation, Loudoun Out Loud, St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, St. James United Church of Christ, Sha’re Shalom Synagogue, Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun, Unity of Loudoun, and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sterling.