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September 8, 2016

Calm before the Storm?

Harry M. Covert

Thank goodness. We survived the predicted heavy rain and wind that didn’t arrive. There was no need for the states of emergencies, but preparation was vital. A happy and joyful Labor Day it was. It was the calm before a storm which could still erupt.


Looking ahead a few days the memories of 9/11 will be on our minds, as well as they should. Events of 15 years ago remain vivid. How the nation has changed forever.


But back to the weekend which was pretty nice. There's no reason to criticize the weather wizards here. They were doing their professional duties. The results forced state governors to alert all jurisdictions, especially beach lovers, to take precautions.


I didn't go to the beach. I read a couple of good books, enjoyed a fantastic mid-afternoon family meal at Brother Norman’s, and then watched baseball.


In this day and age, it's rather fun to be entertained with page turners.


First, it was a several short stores from Mencken's The Days Trilogy expanded. As always I enjoyed learning a couple of new words in "Innocence in a Wicked World." A Baltimorean was hanged for murder committed upon his wife, slicing her "weasand." Her what? I'll explain later.


Then there was The Cobra, Frederick Forsythe's novel of destroying the international drug business at the command of POTUS. Rather bloody and ruthless.


Know that the Frederick Sheriff's Office is battling the county's growing heroin use. Thankfully. A tough, ongoing job for certain. Apparently the county executive knows drug use is bad, too, but doesn't realize local Forces of Law Enforcement (as described by Forsythe) need cash for efforts. She gives dollars away as if she runs an ATM. Maybe her “weasand” is up for squeezing.


The late author Norman Corwin's grand read, Trivializing America, The Triumph of Mediocrity, caught my attention, particularly in these local and state days of supposed fun and games. Mr. Corwin, like me, loved[s] newspapers. He quoted Irving Babbitt grumbling in the Twenties: "Newspaper editors are men who separate the wheat from the chaff and then print the chaff." Chaff stories are really good, I say unapologetically.


Sounds funny and maybe blasphemous. But, were it not for people doing and saying crazy things in all forums, editors' jobs would be duller than watching alleged political debates. Good news, or happy news, may be nice to talk about on inside pages, but it's the front page where robbing and shooting and killing is exciting to subscribers.


Not all novels are strictly fiction, as is life on the streets. Novelists get their ideas from everyday events.


Another exciting book, for which I'm pleased to endorse, is Almost Mortal by Christopher Leibig. He is a novelist who happens to be a criminal lawyer. (He has not represented me.) This page-turner concerns a young public defender trying to prevent another murder by a serial killer. A priest is involved.


This book is in stores and one of the top 2016 thrillers at Barnes and Noble and eBooks.


Mr. Leibig was an Alexandria public defender for six years. He has a busy law practice. He has defended 13 murder cases, including five capital cases. Only one went to trial.


Each of these writings is worth considering these days. There is nothing new in crime, and the stories are prevalent as we know it, see it and read it.


As politics at all levels is exploding in the public conscience, one thing is certain: candidates and their supporters would love to attack opponents in their weasand – the throat or gullet.


Remember 9/11.


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