“Covering” Time Magazine – Rudy Hoglund

 “Rudy” Hoglund sketches Desiree Valentine – there are a thousand Time covers in Rudy’s past.

“Rudy” Hoglund sketches Desiree Valentine – there are a thousand Time covers in Rudy’s past.

Rudolph “Rudy” Hoglund, the former Art Director for Time Magazine, responsible for designing 1,000 covers in his long career with Time, has been camping out some days of late at Lovettsville’s Back Street Brews Coffee and Tea House.

Rudy sits with a sketchpad at hand, and several other pads and implements in a nearby soft satchel, returning to one of his first loves, Rudy says, “just drawing things.”

Desiree Valentine, one of his first subjects said, “I agreed to be one of Rudy’s subjects because he’s a very special person, and he has such an intriguing background.”

Maureen “Mo” Morris said, “his story is just fascinating.” Continue reading

Hate Literature in Lovettsville

A sample of the hate literature

A sample of the hate literature

The Southern Poverty Law Center has made it clear that “The Ku Klux Klan, with its long history of violence, is the most infamous — and oldest — of American hate groups. Although black Americans have typically been the Klan’s primary target, it also has attacked Jews, immigrants, gays and lesbians and, until recently, Catholics.”

The KKK has found its voice in Charlottesville, Virginia and has been emboldened to circulate its hateful literature under dark of night in communities to the North, in Lovettsville and also Brunswick, this past weekend.

If Freedom of Speech is the KKK’s defense for its hate literature, the citizen’s response, in social media and public statements, is to speak up freely and warn friends and neighbors of the menace they know the KKK to be.

One comment was as direct as you could imagine: “So this racist crap storm has now hit my little town that begins with LOVE as well as our neighbors in Brunswick, MD. … If you are not outraged and remain silent, you are part of the problem. Gloves off racist cowards!!! Your hate is not welcomed here.”

Another remark spoke to the context of these hateful literature drops – “It’s as if these groups feel empowered by a national figure or something.”

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that KKK Propaganda flyers were reportedly located on various streets of the New Town Meadows community in the Town of Lovettsville, alongside driveways, near mail-boxes and on sidewalks in the community.

All of the flyers were placed in plastic bags containing birdseed.

The baggies circulated

The baggies circulated

There was another drop in the area of the 39000 Block of Catoctin Ridge Street in Paeonian Springs.

Lovettsville Realtor Kris Consaul argued the community should not treat this literature drop lightly just because the KKK has been “leaving their recruitment flyers in sandwich baggies weighted by birdseed.”

“Each one of those KKK Flyers,” Kris said, “contains the weight of the thousands of black bodies hung by a noose from trees and telephone poles. Each one of those flyers carry the weight of enraged whites screaming, no, snarling at black children going to school. Each one of those flyers carries the weight of burning crosses and terror in the night.”

Kris said, “I’m going to join our neighboring towns and communities in the ‘Love Your Neighbor’ Orange Ribbon Campaign. The first amendment covers my right to respond to cowardice and hate with courage and love. I invite you to join me.”

Councilman Nate Fontaine said, “The material does not reflect the values or thoughts of the people of Lovettsville. We are a close knit, caring community who will always support the people of our town and surrounding areas.”

(Anyone with any information regarding these cases or with possible surveillance video, are asked to contact Detective Joseph Hacay at 703-777-0475.)

A Caring Heart – Stephanie Burget

Stephanie Burget

Stephanie Burget

Stephanie Burget doesn’t just work on Lovettsville’s Octoberfest, and that’s fun for her, but from her youngest years she has cared to ease the way for those ill or at risk to be healthy.

This was most evident in her education at the University of Maryland where she earned her Masters in Public Health, followed by tours of duty and service in the Peace Corps and with USAID.

Of course, in order to attend Cornell undergraduate and the University of Maryland, Stephanie had to teach to underwrite her education and her dream of making a difference. Continue reading

ABOUT THIS POLITICAL BIZ – Charles “Charlie” Smith

Charles E. Smith and Laurie Hailey at Lovettsville’s Bonnie’s Country Kitchen

Charles E. Smith and Laurie Hailey at Lovettsville’s Bonnie’s Country Kitchen

Bonnie’s Country Kitchen is a bustling gathering of friends and neighbors on a Saturday morning, catching up on the week’s gossip, family news, and chowing down on some fresh eggs and bacon, or pancakes, and as much coffee as it takes to get going.

This past Saturday, Bonnie’s was hopping, on this unseasonably warm and comfortable January Day, the tables full, persons leaning into the food on their plates and so they could hear their table mates, sitting back every once in awhile to say hello to a friend or neighbor coming through the front door, heads craning to catch a glimpse who that was.

There was a lot of animal hunting camouflage, an array of woods’ designer clothes,  some winter beards to ward off the frigid air, ordinarily the rule this time of the year, and some hungry and tired families from warming themselves against the colder air hours earlier when they were out in the fields hunting.  There was not a lot of talk about what they snared.

“I cleaned off the camouflage I put on my face earlier,” Charles “Charlie” Smith said, matter of factly, “as he took another gulp of Bonnie’s finest java.

“See ya Billy,” half rising to great a friend, Charlie explained, “I was supposed to go turkey hunting with my grandson, Jackson Rippeon, he’s 17, but he was behind in his school assignments, so we’re going quail hunting together on Sunday instead.”

“Get any turkey?,” Charlie was asked.  “Not today,” said Charlie.

Charlie himself was born in Brunswick, went to Brunswick public schools, Frederick Community College, and the University of Baltimore, graduating with a BS in 1973.

“My Dad, his name was Joseph, was told by his stepfather that the men in ‘this family’ don’t graduate from High School,” Charlie said, “but my Dad wanted both his children to graduate college.  My older Sister, Jo Anne, she was an A student.  I was more athletic.  I was good at baseball and soccer.  But we both did graduate.  That was one of the things he wanted for his children.”

“See ya buddy,” Charlie said to another passerby, like a seasoned politician, which he is, or Charlie might say, he was.

“In politics, you have two masters,” Charlie said, “there’s the elected position, and perhaps you shouldn’t be paid much to serve, and there’s your job or business, and the balance is not an easy one to hold.” Continue reading

Instability and disorder in America

American_instabilityOur nation lacks stability and order.

Our government, controlled by Republicans, was shut down last Friday – because our Chief Executive, Donald Trump, wanted to shut down the government – and the Republican leadership couldn’t get more than 46 Republican Senators to keep the government open on the terms that Mr. Trump demanded; worse, Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell knew that would be the result, shutting down the government, when he forced the vote, and so the vote was a congressional exercise in tragic futility.

Mr. Donald Trump is unprecedented as the nation’s Chief Executive in his openly stated bias against non-white nations and persons of color; and that appears to be the sticking point for Mr. Trump – his general opposition to non-white immigration.  The rub is that Mr. Trump has to approve and sign whatever bill both houses pass.

Mr. Trump showed us his true self about immigrants just days ago when he erupted in an infamously bigoted tirade against immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa, echoing his earlier sympathetic remarks for white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Hours into the shutdown, while partisans were negotiating to open the government over the weekend, Trump hurled another of his rhetorical grenades, in a “political campaign ad,” unimaginably charging that “Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.”  Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan would not say Dems were “complicit” in murder, thought the charge was not productive, but didn’t denounce it. Continue reading

Another way of thinking

Einstein_blackboardThe nation is suffering in soul and spirit from the colliding dark forces of hate, elitism, lawless and treasonous conduct, and the growing sentiment that we need no discipline, no standards, no law or regulations, to keep us safe; the mantra is – “it will work itself out somehow.”

At the eye of this storm, ravaging America is an unmoored man who makes a fair imitation of Emperor Nero in his chaotic latter days when his gifts as a younger man left him.

Mr. Donald Trump defies the promise of our nation to greet the future with open arms, to treat all as equals, to fulfill our promise of liberty and freedom, and to join the family of man spread across this wide earth.

We’ve seen more than once how Mr. Trump withdraws from us all, wraps his arms tightly around himself, purses his lips, lifts his chin in defiance, and pronounces, in his unique syntax  some offensive comment, about policy or personality, that some fear is becoming a “malignant normalcy.” Continue reading

Southern character – John S. Mosby

“The Gray Ghost”

“The Gray Ghost”

Most of us are familiar with “the Gray Ghost,” John Singleton Mosby, a Confederate Army Cavalry Battalion commander in the Civil War, a guerilla fighter leading irregulars in Northwest Virginia, and throughout Loudoun County, known for raids on the Union forces and getting away afterwards, thus the appellation, “ghost.”

I’ve always found Mosby fascinating, but more for what he did after the Civil War, transformed, serving as a lawyer and public servant, and mending a nation divided.  We might learn from his character by mimicking today how Mosby acted then.

When the Civil War began, Mosby spoke out against secession, but joined the Confederate army as a private; it was his civic duty, he said, to fight for his “country.”  Mosby found a way to reconcile these difficult choices.

Herman Melville wrote a poem, warning – “Of Mosby best beware” for “mounted and armed he sits as a king” and “each alley [is] unto Mosby known” as his battalion “kill[s] and vanish[es] … through grass they glide” and “[t]o Mosby-land the dirges cling.”

Union General Ulysses S. Grant described Mosby as “slender, not tall, wiry and [he] looks as if he could endure any amount of physical exercise.  He is able, and thoroughly honest and truthful.”

Mosby said after the war that “whoever has seen the horrors of a battlefield feels that it is far sweeter to live …”  Mosby was not the first soldier to understand that working for peace and comity is much to be preferred but to make this adjustment so quickly after a civil war is quite remarkable.

Mosby knew that “we went to war on account of the thing we quarreled with the North about.” He said, “I’ve never heard any other cause than slavery.”

After the war, he practiced law and lived in Warrenton, Virginia.  Many have appeared in the same courthouse where Mosby argued causes.  Mosby was, however, harassed after the war, some tried to kill him, but what was surprising was that General Grant granted Mosby an exemption from arrest and guaranteed his safe conduct and Mosby wrote that otherwise he “should have been outlawed and driven into exile.” Continue reading

The year of the big lie

A two-faced Chief Executive?

A two-faced Chief Executive?

A two-faced person is one who is deceitful, insincere, double-dealing, Janus-faced, hypocritical, backstabbing, false, fickle, untrustworthy, duplicitous, deceiving, dissembling, dishonest and a liar.  This unflattering portrait fits our Chief Executive, Donald Trump, like a glove.

Our first President, George Washington, was thought so truthful, honest and upright that it was believed that from the time he was 6 years old that he couldn’t tell a lie.

No such truth-telling myth will ever apply to Mr. Trump; almost every day, he tells a whopper.

President Washington composed a code of civility not to reproach another for “infirmities of nature,” not to show “yourself glad at the misfortune of another,” not to “let your conversation be of malice or envy,” and not to utter “base and frivolous things” including “things hard to be believed.”  Mr. Trump fails this measure of civility in every respect. Continue reading

The working man and woman

Elaine’s Restaurant

Elaine’s Restaurant

Many working men and women are at risk.

We’ve seen it all before, uncertain jobs, reduced compensation, saving less, underwater real estate ownership, renting not owning, little or no medical care, pensions insufficient or non-existent, wanting for food, desperate short term loans, little insurance for the young, a government safety net torn to shreds, and what little we have to leave behind for our family when we die.

Our ship of state is taking us into the roiling waters of insecurity, financial and human, into a field of economic violence, and, ironically enough, it’s the hardworking man or woman who shows up every day, no matter what, to work a job, who will suffer.

In New York, there was a special place on the Upper East Side called Elaine’s – after Elaine Kaufman.  If Elaine liked you, you got a good table.  Writers, artists, film-makers and stars came there.  Not like Studio 54.  No.  They came to eat, to talk, to see and, yes, be seen.  No dancing.  No drugs either.  Woody Allen would always sit in the back, and sometimes he’d play a tune on the piano.

It was a cramped and cozy getaway that didn’t awake until most everyone else had gone to sleep.  Elaine would seat the “special” guests up toward the front opposite the bar on the other wall.  The glitterati would sit up against the wall, one removed from the passerbyes heading for a table in the rear.

One night I came in and Elaine talked a bit, spun me around and sat me at a table up front, facing toward the back.  When I adjusted my seat, and turned to my right, I said, “Hello,” before I could see who it was.  It was the Pulitzer prize-winning playwright, Arthur Miller.  There was a revival in “town” of his award-winning play, “Death of a Salesman.”

“Salesman” is a truly sad story about a working man turned 60.  No longer appreciated.  Men and women cried when they saw Miller’s play.  They couldn’t get up from their seats, the play had such an effect.  Continue reading

Greetings

xmas - 1I know many who celebrate a range of spiritual and humanistic beliefs and unbelief; thus any seasonal greeting that rests upon a faulty recollection or calculated guess as to who believes what runs the risk of a quite inapt faux pas as we approach the winter solstice.

When in doubt it is therefore best to greet a passerby with the words, “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.”

Some insist fervently on saying “Merry Christmas” without apology or seeming kindness to everyone, to Jews, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists.

Not to be too harsh, but that unconscious practice strikes me as not-very-Christian as it’s not very loving of one’s neighbor.

When younger and more innocent of religion, I was much taken with Pope John the XXIII who breathed the spirit of ecumenism into the Church, to create tolerance and cooperation among all Christians, a movement later described in Latin, as “ut unum sint,” so that all Christians might be as one.

But our times teach us we need more than just to bring Christians together as one.

We forget how many other ways there are to worship. Continue reading