Advertise on the Tentacle


| Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Cindy A. Rose |


As Long as We Remember...

Norman M. Covert

July 2, 2015
More Deep Thoughts
Norman M. Covert

Good morning, travelers. I am persuaded that Ernie Kovaks and Charles Dickens should be the lesson of this day as I plant my foot firmly and put on my best grumpy face.

April 6, 2015
Tomb Empty Despite Sentries; Witnesses Testify Jesus Is Risen
Norman M. Covert

Jerusalem (April 6) – The Roman Praetorian Guard here issued conflicting reports today trying to explain how the virtually impregnable tomb of Jesus of Nazareth is empty. His followers proclaim he is risen, claiming sightings that verify his prediction of returning on the third day.

April 3, 2015
Jesus of Nazareth Dead on Cross; Mother Leads Vigil at Tomb
Norman M. Covert

Jerusalem (April3) – Jesus of Nazareth, who captivated the city’s religious faithful with soaring rhetoric and solemn proclamations, is dead. Confirmation came from the office of Gov. Pontius Pilot.

April 2, 2015
Jesus Claims to be “The Christ;” Caiaphas Ponders Death Penalty
Norman M. Covert

Jerusalem (April 2) –Avant garde Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth is almost certain now to be facing the death penalty after claiming to be “The Christ,” according to legal analysts in this Judean capital city.

April 1, 2015
Jesus arrested by Sanhedrin; Disciple Judas identified as betrayer
Norman M. Covert

Jerusalem (April 1) –Jesus of Nazareth, in a stunning turn of events, was arrested late last night in the Garden of Gethsemane. One of his closest companions identified him to an enforcement unit representing the Sanhedrin, according to witnesses.

April 1, 2015
Jesus arrested by Sanhedrin; Judas identified as betrayer
Norman M. Covert

Jerusalem (April 1) –Jesus of Nazareth, in a stunning turn of events, was arrested late last night in the Garden of Gethsemane. One of his closest companions identified him to an enforcement unit representing the Sanhedrin, according to witnesses.

March 31, 2015
Murder plot rejected by Pontius Pilot
Norman M. Covert

Jerusalem (March 31) – There was more intrigue here today when Gov. Pontius Pilot of Judea rejected the notion of a Jewish plot to kill zealot Jesus of Nazareth. He is the darling of the masses with seats increasingly difficult to obtain.

March 30, 2015
Thousands Rally for Breakaway Rabbi in Jerusalem
Norman M. Covert

Jerusalem (March 30) – Turmoil in the Middle East continued yesterday when huge crowds jammed the entrance to this ancient city. The main highway to the massive security gate was temporarily blocked by the impromptu procession escorting a break-away rabbi and his personal “rock star” entourage into the city.

March 23, 2015
Scorched Earth and Winchester Hall
Norman M. Covert

I’ve been off line for some time because of medical and other issues, which have nothing to do with old age or clear reasoning. I feel like Dr. Seuss’ and his “Green Eggs and Ham.” I have tasted the Winchester Hall cooking and “...I don’t like it, Sam I am.”

January 9, 2013
Doctors, Trustees and Farewells
Norman M. Covert

Being fired from a job these days means you are frog-marched out of the building without as much as a “by your leave.” In addition, someone else packs your coffee mug and other personal belongings; you are suddenly persona non grata.

January 2, 2013
Mourning the News Per Annum
Norman M. Covert

As I cogitate on the New Year this “Eve,” a sober attitude must serve to assess where we as a nation and community are headed. However, as the mid clucks stroke night, I am in a funk over cliff diving and embarrassment over our governmental leaders.

December 26, 2012
It’s the Morning After…
Norman M. Covert

We have all day to play with toys that Santa unloaded under the tree yesterday and plenty of leftovers in the fridge to satisfy our pleasure-induced hunger. At least that’s my situation as I wind down and realize the unfinished chore really doesn’t matter today.

December 19, 2012
Seeking Sugar Plums
Norman M. Covert

The countdown is on ’til Christmas Eve. Santa Claus is scheduled next week to bring toys and all manner of wondrous gifts to good little boys and girls in a "whishing" mission, borne in his reindeer-powered sleigh.

December 12, 2012
Visions of Spice, Naughty & Nice
Norman M. Covert

T’was the week or two before Christmas and Santa Claus probably can’t believe what he is seeing in his naughty and nice list. “They” say Jolly Old St. Nick should pop chunks of coal in Joe Cohen’s stockings this Christmas Eve. The North Pole doesn’t work that way.

December 5, 2012
“BIG E” Retired – Never To Be Forgotten
Norman M. Covert

Realization of age, not necessarily wisdom, creeps up when one least expects. Such awakenings may appear in the daily course of events. For instance, Sunday morning’s news dispatches recorded the U. S. Navy had decommissioned USS Enterprise (CVN 65) in ceremonies at Norfolk (Va.) Naval Operations Base.

November 28, 2012
Saying ‘Daddio’ on Economy
Norman M. Covert

I give in! I have been converted like Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus. Sixty-two million American voters cannot be wrong; therefore I have retired my “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.

November 21, 2012
Seeking Power From On High
Norman M. Covert

Thanksgiving Day is tomorrow, President Abraham Lincoln said so, and we certainly will be giving thanks to the Heavenly Father; the food on our table just a portion of the blessings we have received the past few weeks.

November 14, 2012
Gloom, Despair & Agony
Norman M. Covert

One can only look back on the crazy events of last week and recall the wisdom offered by Kornfield Kounty sages Archie Campbell, Gordie Tapp and Grandpa Jones in the 1970s television show “Hee Haw:”

November 11, 2012
VETERANS DAY: Honoring Sons and Daughters
Norman M. Covert

I was asked to share some thoughts about this Veterans Day and those who have borne the battle in defense of liberty.

October 31, 2012
Is the ride over?
Norman M. Covert

If a man’s greatness is measured in the number of his enemies, then George W. Bush must be the most powerful man ever to inhabit the White House. He must top Franklin D. Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, who freed the slaves and tried, until his tragic assassination, to heal the nation’s wounds inflicted in the Civil War.

October 24, 2012
Mourning Another Passing: A Voter’s Lament
Norman M. Covert

Election Day won’t be the same at the William R. Talley Recreation Center in Frederick this year. For the first time in my memory, Flint Hill United Methodist Church will not be serving up its tasty viands on Election Day.


October 17, 2012
If you’re voting, this isn’t Chicago
Norman M. Covert

First order of business is that if you waited until today to register to vote, or change your party affiliation, or tell them you died, it’s too late. That suspense date, as they say in bureaucratic jargon, was yesterday.

October 10, 2012
Riding the Rails for Change
Norman M. Covert

Railroad Days in Brunswick is a natural fit for me, thus last weekend was a must event. The obligatory roundtrip ride to Harpers Ferry aboard the MARC train was gilding on the lily that Brunswick has become.

October 3, 2012
Lock 'N Load, Up in Arms
Norman M. Covert

All of a sudden it would seem we are living in Cochise County, Arizona, hard by the US/Mexico border, not bucolic Frederick at the Mason/Dixon Line.

September 26, 2012
Ballot: More Than You Expected
Norman M. Covert

Surprise! Surprise! Faithful electorate! It is understandable if you thought we were only going to elect a new president November 6th. There is so much more for which you are being asked to cast Yea or Nay ballots.

September 19, 2012
Hope and Change, Last of the Ninth
Norman M. Covert

You don’t have to go far from the bosom of Frederick, with its cocoon of economic stability, to see what really is happening in America. A huge billboard looms above the highway near Washington, PA., proclaiming, “OBAMA NO-JOBS ZONE.” It is a huge plea for help in that mostly coal mining region of America.

August 22, 2012
Where are you, Miss Landers?
Norman M. Covert

If you are a third grader about to start school Monday, you may not have identified her, but you hope Miss Landers is at the chalkboard when you arrive. I don’t know the odds of this happening, but would like to think that your chances are pretty good.

August 15, 2012
Proud to be an American
Norman M. Covert

She stood at the hotel counter, the African-American woman’s eyes on the computer. She turned to my guest, “Indian, huh?”

August 8, 2012
Deep Thoughts
Norman M. Covert

Good morning, travelers. I am persuaded that Ernie Kovaks and Charles Dickens should be the lesson of this day as I plant my foot firmly and put on my best grump face.

August 1, 2012
Yes, Mr. President, It’s War
Norman M. Covert

I’ve had a number of significant emotional experiences in my life. A couple at the hands of my dad, who had to make some course corrections, a time when I realized God is not the invention of a Jerusalem Public Relations firm.

July 4, 2012
The Fight for Freedom, et al
Norman M. Covert

Today is Independence Day, a time for glorious celebration and bombs bursting in air! We mark 236 years of freedom which requires us to protect and defend the remarkable Declaration of Independence that rebuked British tyranny.

June 27, 2012
Soaring with Eagles
Norman M. Covert

I was invited to an ice cream social last week. You may be confused that ice cream and toppings can be the key refreshment for a teen party. No sodas, no booze, no cigarettes, no drugs, no “I hate America” rowdiness. I was surrounded by Boy Scouts and their families.

June 20, 2012
Giving Surveyors The Business
Norman M. Covert

Curiosity always manages to get the best of me. The phone rang last week and I agreed to answer questions in a survey that would only take 10 minutes. It was a curious survey about personalities and issues in Frederick County, local, state and national governments.

June 6, 2012
Embracing a Winner
Norman M. Covert

You may have noticed an item Monday in the Daily Blather if you looked beyond the fog of its Monday petite edition:


(The Frederick Post, June 4, 1962) – "Debbie Thompson sprinted to a new national Junior Olympic Record in the 75-yard dash Saturday and ran anchor on the record-breaking 220-yard relay team as the Frederick Track and Field Club, both boys and girls, won the Junior Olympic meet in Baltimore.”

May 30, 2012
Accounting for Memorial Day
Norman M. Covert

You’ve heard the U. S. Marine Corps mantra that it will leave no comrade behind. It isn’t, however, exclusive to the Corps this traditional Memorial Day. The Army, Navy, Air Force and, yes, the U. S. Coast Guard, continue striving to account for those missing in action. We also want our children home.

May 16, 2012
Mend The Fences First
Norman M. Covert

Past school board president Brad Young and I have disagreed in the past, but I don't believe it affected our collegial relationship. However, he was miffed at what he described as my “poorly written article” about Frederick County Public Schools which appeared here last Wednesday.

May 9, 2012
Education: New Isn’t Better
Norman M. Covert

I returned this week from a wonderful reunion with my high school class of 1961 in Newport News, VA. A common theme was the quality and integrity of teachers and administrators in our school system, which handed us diplomas that had value. We were ready for work or college!

May 2, 2012
Education Dollars & FCC Scholars
Norman M. Covert

Frederick Community College has matured as one of the nation’s top two-year institutions. Its techno-equipped campus was on display last Friday at the new student center, where scholarship benefactors were recognized for making education a reality for more than 800 students.

April 25, 2012
Seems Like Old Times – Well, Almost
Norman M. Covert

I suppose I have fond memories looking back on street riots, demonstrations and other mayhem which have been a part of my career in journalism and public affairs. Looking ahead three weeks to the International G-8 conference scheduled at Camp David, one might decide against going to Thurmont for dinner May 18-20.

April 18, 2012
USPS: Gloom of Night
Norman M. Covert

The U. S. Postal Service (USPS) has fallen on hard times, if you see what the rest of us see. It is getting so it cannot live up to its accepted credo and we are stuck in that “gloom of night....”

April 11, 2012
Finding Home in 1940 Census
Norman M. Covert

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) released the 1940 census last week. It is the first on-line, location-only searchable data base, with the extra added attraction telling me that my dad was on hiatus between U. S. Army hitches in Detroit in 1935.

April 4, 2012
Only the Eight-Ball Knows
Norman M. Covert

Good morning, voters. I am anxious to read what happened yesterday at the Primary Election polls. I was there, but cannot impart any numbers to you. I am, however, assured by history that there were surprises that will make the November 6 election another melee.

March 28, 2012
Almost Like Old Times in the Booth
Norman M. Covert

Early Voting, the 2012 Primary election edition, is “On” at the Frederick County Senior Citizens Center on Frederick’s Taney Avenue. It may have secured its place in local lore, taking on the appearance of a Springtime Frederick County Fair. This is even better than the concept’s successful 2010 launch.

March 21, 2012
“Don’t Get No Bettah…”
Norman M. Covert

It isn’t nice to leave Lewistown’s Jim Olson and his Maryland Veterans for Romney (VFR) standing outside the door. That’s where they will be this afternoon at 3 P.M., not in Frederick, but the Arbutus American Legion home.

March 14, 2012
Our Grief in A War of Words
Norman M. Covert

While President Barack Obama and Afghani President Hamid Karzai maintain their Chess gambit of words, it is clear that no “move” matches up to the Teddy Roosevelt watchword of walking softly and carrying a big stick.

March 7, 2012
Stonewalling or Shoddy Science
Norman M. Covert

Who is at fault in the on-going public relations disaster regarding Fort Detrick’s Area B ground water contamination and migration? Is it lackadaisical scientific investigation, a sensationalist media selling newspapers, or an intractable U. S. Army?

February 29, 2012
Presidents’ Day Addition and Subtraction
Norman M. Covert

Anyone who has the courage to ask questions of second graders must be ready for answers which may or may not be in the teacher’s syllabus. That lesson was learned at Parrs Ridge Elementary School, Mt. Airy, two weeks ago.

February 22, 2012
On The Altar of Change
Norman M. Covert

My “Right Wing Extremist” neighbors admit to some naiveté, being mere knaves or babes in the wood for doubting the efficacy of social engineering in Maryland State House deliberations. Is this the time to recall “an effete corps of impudent snobs,” words of wisdom from the disgraced former Vice President Spiro Agnew?

February 8, 2012
Mardi Gras: A Hot Date
Norman M. Covert

“It cannot be,” a learned student of pagan and religious rites said with fervor. “Mardi Gras cannot be celebrated after Fat Tuesday and ‘Trash’ Wednesday!”

February 1, 2012
Up The Creek to ‘Occupy FMH’
Norman M. Covert

It has come down to this: “Occupy FMH!” We can see the street riff-raff headed for Frederick Memorial Hospital.

January 25, 2012
Losing His Mojo – If He Ever Had It
Norman M. Covert

The locker room echoed with praise for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and it was almost with disdain that my friend and former colleague spat out the name of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. How quickly the room emptied and the showers came on.

January 18, 2012
All Mixed Up
Norman M. Covert

I am tho’ confuthed! I find myself burned up that the gaggle of Republican presidential candidates never misses an opportunity at self-immolation. I’m slipping over the edge now with the dual dilemma of new Sixth Congressional District boundaries and sibling rivalry among our GOP inhabitants.

January 4, 2012
New Year, Nurses, Nancy & Nick
Norman M. Covert

Looking back on 2011 is a notion that Leroy (Satchel) Paige said we should avoid because chances are “the Devil may be gaining on you!” The late, great professional baseball pitcher knew from which he spoke. I am forging into 2012 with optimism.

December 28, 2011
Lest We Forget
Norman M. Covert

Christmas and New Year wishes to our faithful readers. No doubt you agree that special greetings are due our soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and Coast Guardsmen serving far away from their families. Christmas for these uniformed patriots is still “Duty, Honor, Country,” in the words of the late General of the Army Douglas MacArthur.

October 26, 2011
Experiments & Great Pumpkins –The Horror
Norman M. Covert

This Halloween story is a cross between Linus waiting for The Great Pumpkin and Seymour, the flesh eating monster plant from the movie, “Little Shop of Horrors.” The subject of this tale has captured the curiosity of the neighborhood and boasts monster pumpkins from the Seymouresque tendrils threatening the Japanese maple.

October 19, 2011
Babies, Bassinets and Basements
Norman M. Covert

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) collective wisdom may result in saving a lot of infants’ lives, and that’s a good thing…

October 12, 2011
Tukhus Ge-Kickin’
Norman M. Covert

Walter T. Mills – raconteur, unimpeachable source, information central for politics and notions, and skilled barber/hair stylist. You must love the man. He tells it like it is; there is no retreat in him. Don’t be fooled by those who think he’s Floyd the Barber in his West Patrick Street digs.

October 5, 2011
When Good Intentions Fail
Norman M. Covert

Mayor Randy McClement must now be the darling of the League of American Bicyclists in Baltimore. He huddled with local bike enthusiasts on a regular basis this year to talk about biker friendly lanes in the city. He coughed up money from his contingency fund to make good things happen and created a monster on West Seventh Street.

September 28, 2011
Lower Tidmarsh & Beyond
Norman M. Covert

Interesting that the Obama Administration has decided not to quarrel with the 11th Circuit Court, which struck down Obamacare, deciding it is unconstitutional to require citizens to purchase health insurance. We knew that all along.

July 20, 2011
A Bridge Too Far?
Norman M. Covert

Lots of folks applaud the hit-the-ground-running actions of our new Board of County Commissioners. To some, however, it is evident their “mandate” is wearing thin with the apparent rush to privatize county services. They need to slow down; they have four years to right the ship of state.

June 29, 2011
Firing Up Independence Day
Norman M. Covert

Frederick will offer several possibilities this weekend for you and your family to join in celebrating our 235th Independence Day. A favorite is the 17th Annual Celebration hosted Monday by Col. James Olson (USA–ret.) and his family at their ranch on Angleberger Road near Lewistown.

June 22, 2011
White Coats Still Providing Service
Norman M. Covert

Nearly 2,300 Seventh-day Adventist soldiers, who volunteered to serve as medical research subjects for the U. S. Army at Fort Detrick and Walter Reed Hospital some 57 years ago, show no adverse health effects, according to a recently completed health survey.

June 15, 2011
Box Seats & Hesitation Pitches
Norman M. Covert


I confess it has been a long hiatus from watching Frederick Keys baseball at Grove Stadium. All it takes, though, is the grandson’s cajoling to spring for box seat tickets – and a Keyote tee-shirt – near the visitor’s bullpen and third base.

June 8, 2011
Scouting Legacy and Airport Farewells
Norman M. Covert

Boy Scouts of America (BSA) hasn’t strayed too far from its founding in the United States 100 years ago. Marketing strategies and media technologies have improved, but BOYS LIFE still arrives in my mail box each month. I’m clinging to my youth, the “groaner” jokes on the back page and those values I hold dear.

June 1, 2011
One Day in America
Norman M. Covert

A touch of Americana was on display Sunday as the Woodsboro Memorial Day Parade kicked off. Residents have enjoyed this event for many years.

May 11, 2011
Wonderment at Tuscarora High
Norman M. Covert

Yes, I was not at the Frederick Fairgrounds Saturday. If it was running you wanted to see, Tuscarora High School was the place to see more than 800 young athletes. Word about the Frederick Striders’ 2011 Track and Field Invitational must have been in the classified section, as if it mattered.

May 4, 2011
Schools Health & Safety – An Empty Tool Kit
Norman M. Covert

It is difficult to imagine that Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) facilities Services Division Director Ray Barnes can’t wring enough budget fluff from the $506 million operating budget to make simple repairs at schools like North Frederick and Emmitsburg Elementary or Frederick High School where health and safety is a genuine issue.

April 29, 2011
Mr. Young Begs to Differ
Norman M. Covert

Brad W. Young says selection of Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendant-designate Dr. Theresa R. Alban is fulfillment of the campaign promises of Board of Education newbies, who were certain the education budget had met its match in their election.

April 20, 2011
Getting What We Ask For
Norman M. Covert

Frederick County voters got what they asked for in a school board in November and a new Frederick County School Public Schools (FCPS) superintendant last week. The budget is no better off and North Frederick Elementary School still leaks.

April 13, 2011
Libya: In Your Face
Norman M. Covert

Apparently the “Buck…” touted by President Barack Obama, stops in Libya, not in the Oval Office. Col. Moammar Gadhafi continues to be in Mr. Obama’s face, surviving both rebels and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Joint Task Force. Reports of his impending demise are apparently exaggerated.

March 30, 2011
From Angst to Ohs
Norman M. Covert

If you have surviving Guinness and Harp, hoist a “Black and Tan” for Abner Doubleday, founder of major league baseball. Ah, “baseball!” The word exudes renewed optimism and a line of demarcation from what many consider to have been yet another winter of discontent.

March 23, 2011
Chicken Hawk Morpheus
Norman M. Covert

Move over, friend Barry. Somehow I’ve morphed to your aggregation; you would call it an awakening. It strikes me that getting involved in Libya’s internal struggles is probably a less-than-wise projection of United States power abroad. I may seek counseling for this new personal political stance.

March 16, 2011
Mr. Boh No Mo
Norman M. Covert

“Mr. Boh” gave Maryland a pretty good beer and the moniker, “The Land of Pleasant Living.” In the good old days Baltimore had the Colts as perennial contendahs; the blue collar Orioles on 33rd street; Bethlehem Steel; the B&O and seafood dives that gave the inner harbor character.

March 10, 2011
That Rumbling is Just Gas!
Norman M. Covert

It isn’t love and certainly this “rumbly in my tumbly” can probably be attributed to gas. Not that kind, Bubba, it’s the stuff Jed Clampett found while shooting at some food. The voice-over called it “bubbling crude … black gold.”

March 2, 2011
Annapolis – Business as Unusual
Norman M. Covert

People are bitter, rumor has it. They are clinging to their guns and/or religion or “antipathy to people who aren’t like them…” to paraphrase candidate Barack Hussein Obama.

February 16, 2011
Learning to Apologize
Norman M. Covert

Having the right of way doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply the brakes to avoid a collision. Such is the case of this writer’s commentaries here at regarding Fort Detrick’s Area B groundwater remediation controversy. Editorial license requires caution in discussing personalities, hence the need for brakes and arresting gear.

February 11, 2011
Missing the Prom
Norman M. Covert

One can’t help but cogitate on when and where justice might be served for the Frederick Yellow Cab driver who was robbed by a shotgun-toting juvenile. His age notwithstanding, Ideres Terral Barker is a full grown man at 16, fully capable of making bad decisions. This time he won’t be headed to the school prom.

February 2, 2011
Agent Orange Myth
Norman M. Covert

FACT: The chemical weed killing compound tested at Fort Detrick would have been undetectable in the soil after 80 days,” according to a study published in the Botanical Gazette. Further, the article notes that the compound 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) was determined to be relatively non-toxic to man!

January 26, 2011
Roy, Trigger and Me
Norman M. Covert

Sheriff Chuck Jenkins won’t be issuing concealed gun carry permits to Frederick County applicants this year – probably never will, as a result of the decision to drop the proposal from Frederick County’s 2011 legislative package. It wasn’t going to gain traction in Annapolis anyway, considering the statewide implications.

January 19, 2011
She’s No Spiro
Norman M. Covert

Former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin sets off a fire storm wherever she goes, whatever she says and whatever happens external to her. She is a politician both men and women take pleasure in seeing, whether it is her beauty or the way she identifies with us.

January 13, 2011
Aiming The Finger
Norman M. Covert

The raging gun control clique is crawling out from under the rocks! Their grief, their chagrin, their outrage at the tragic assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D., AZ) Saturday is so obviously political that it makes one’s stomach turn.

January 5, 2011
The End and A Beginning
Norman M. Covert

How could one not enjoy the traditions of Christmas in Frederick? Music and arts festivities highlight the joyous period, but it ends tomorrow night, Jan. 6, 2011, at historic Steiner House on West Patrick Street, where the Frederick Women’s Civics Club celebrates Twelfth Night (Old Christmas or Epiphany if you will) and crowns its three kings of Mardi Gras.

December 29, 2010
Through the Looking Glass…Both Ways
Norman M. Covert

“On the whole,” W. C. Fields is said to have written for his epitaph, “I’d rather be in Philadelphia.” He disliked that city, where snow Sunday thwarted the NFL Eagles. I agree. Precious little attracts me to Philly, but one might make the case that the long deceased comedic actor’s words could extrapolate an accurate face on the year 2010.

December 22, 2010
Joy to the World
Norman M. Covert

The excitement of Christmas has the grandson agog, full of hope that Santa Claus’ imminent visit Friday night will yield a bounty for everyone, especially him. He also wants lights, lots of them, to herald the big “Eve.” Age and infirmity haven’t dimmed my anticipation of Christmas, but stringing lights has always been an adventure.

December 17, 2010
Morning-After Pill
Norman M. Covert

The era of “Hope ‘n Change” in Frederick County began with re-elected Clerk of the Court Sandra Dalton swearing in the all-Republican Board of County Commissioners and new members to the Board of Education. It is a time of political euphoria for “our side,” but with it the optimism that the elixir of victory doesn’t turn into a morning hangover.

November 25, 2010
Education Redux
Norman M. Covert

Education isn’t what it used to be – and it never was, modifying the words of homespun philosopher/humorist Will Rogers. There is an outside chance of improvement. We are throwing enough money at it, considering Frederick County Public Schools’ more than $500 million operating budget.

November 19, 2010
School Daze
Norman M. Covert

This is National Education Week, intended to highlight quality education of our children. In that spirit, Granddad read – to a class of first graders – volumes intended to enlighten, encourage and embolden their thirst for knowledge, starting with “If I Ran the Circus,” (© 1956) by Dr. Seuss (nee Theodore Seuss Geisel).

November 11, 2010
Warriors, Monuments and the Park
Norman M. Covert

These lines, chipped into a sentry stone in Gibraltar, are by an unknown author:

God and the soldier All men adore

In time of trouble And no more;

For when war is over And all things righted,

God is neglected – The old soldier slighted

November 9, 2010
Great Day at the Polls
Norman M. Covert

The Democrat Party’s overall whipping in the Gubernatorial Election here and everywhere wasn’t the most traumatic event last Tuesday – Frederick County ran out of “I VOTED” stickers.

November 2, 2010
The Iceman Cometh
Norman M. Covert

In the grand scheme of things this writer is pretty small potatoes, but if you measure a man in part by his enemy, one might evaluate me on a grander scale.

October 22, 2010
BW Agents, Olives & Lost Colleagues
Norman M. Covert

Forgive this writer for ignoring the election catfights in order to pay homage to friends and colleagues who have crossed the “bar,” – paraphrasing Alfred Lord Tennyson – their missions complete.

September 24, 2010
Election Kibitzing
Norman M. Covert

Today is gorgeous and all is well. We have no looming environmental disaster; our president broke bread with the Episcopals Sunday; and our “femailman” brought an invite to a fund raiser in Hagerstown for Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert Ehrlich.

September 20, 2010
‘Frederickana’ Election Fallout
Norman M. Covert

We witnessed the phenomenon of “Frederickana” while serving as a judge in the gubernatorial primary election at William R. Talley Recreation center last Tuesday. Top of the too-good-to-be-true list is the lady nonagenarian who walked the more than half-mile distance without escort from her home near Culler Lake, appearing as hale as any adult in the room.

September 2, 2010
High Tech & Greenies
Norman M. Covert

All this hoo-doo about green this and green that has become ridiculous to the point that it recalls the myth that massive investment in computer technology will significantly reduce the use of paper and ‘save the trees.”

August 19, 2010
Gawd, Here They Come Again
Norman M. Covert

Long-time Frederick residents are weary of the cast of usual suspects whose allegations of Fort Detrick atrocities have been hailed in the media and dashed by competent authority.

May 31, 2010
Noting Memorial Day
Norman M. Covert

Historically the only credit many fighting men received in the early chronicles of America’s military defense of liberty was being “noted in dispatches from the front.” With that in mind, I was reminded last week that the cast of characters changes ever so slightly from one ceremonial rite to the next in Frederick.

April 29, 2010
Belated Thawts
Norman M. Covert

Spring has been a long time coming. The primary symptom of my Cabin Fever from the long winter’s night has been media overload. Getting into the sunlight replenished my deficiency of Vitamin D, but clarity in local and national events is like the weather – partly cloudy.

March 12, 2010
Ivins Minus the Technicolor
Norman M. Covert

Many scientific and lay persons express dismay at the Department of Justice’s Amerithrax report. It begs belief of its conclusions despite a host of miscalculations, far-fetched circumstantial evidence and omission of some mitigating facts. This creative assessment of evidentiary material lacks Hollywood’s blandishments, but not the creativity.

March 4, 2010
Derailing Justice Again
Norman M. Covert

It is probable that the G-Men of the U. S. Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation are content, sleeping well tonight. One might observe that Mrs. Diane Ivins and her family have been denied such slumber. Dr. Bruce Ivins is surely in the care of his Father in Heaven.

February 18, 2010
Life in the Fast Lane
Norman M. Covert

My bicycle has become an historical artifact. Underneath this white stuff is Frederick City’s bicycle path that provides a highway to a younger and healthier time. The north extension is a road to nowhere, stopping short of Schifferstadt Architectural Museum.

February 12, 2010
Hot Flashes & More
Norman M. Covert

Pitchers and catchers report in a few days to baseball complexes from Florida to Arizona – it cannot come soon enough. The annual February migration of professional baseball teams, including our Orioles and Nationals, predicts the coming of spring more reliably than Punxsutawney Phil. Frederick County isn’t Florida, as attested by the snow cone threatening visitors on the front stoop.

February 4, 2010
Scientific ‘Desertation’
Norman M. Covert

Science has suffered an undeserved black eye from university professors claiming to be scientists. The sun is shining the light of truth on heralded evidence accepted by many climatologists concluding that the earth is warming. The data has been exposed as not founded on hard and fast rules of scientific discovery.

January 26, 2010
It’s a Joke, Son
Norman M. Covert

The pollster asked for an assessment of President Barack Hussein Obama’s first year in office. My best response was a guffaw and reference to one of America’s great Post World War II legislators, fiery Southern Senator Beauregard Claghorn, who opined, “It’s a joke, son!”

January 29, 2009
Reconstruction and the Old Plantation
Norman M. Covert

What a week we experienced (drool, tingle, shudder). On reflection I realize that after 128 years, the Second Period of Reconstruction is upon us. A sea of organizers, charlatans, tax cheats, and political insiders from Chicago, New York, and Arkansas, have taken charge of the nation’s government.

January 21, 2009
Casting Off the New Year
Norman M. Covert

Age and infirmity played a minor role in my kicking off the can’t-miss, spectacular “Age of Obama,” by going to sleep a few seconds before the Waterford® Crystal Sphere dropped at Times Square on New Year’s Eve. The arms of Orpheus obscured the weariness of 2008 with its cast of buffoons in government, entertainment, sports and New-Look Journalism.

September 3, 2008
Plucking the Golden Goose
Norman M. Covert

It was the remote’s fault that John L. (Lennie) Thompson, Jr., popped up on my television screen. Mr. Thompson was trashing the reputation of a man testifying before the Frederick Board of County Commissioners about the New Market Regional Plan. Mr. T didn’t have the aggies to look him in the eye, a clear indication our commissioner is a Bum!


August 27, 2008
White Powder and 007
Norman M. Covert

Frederick is the epicenter of those who would terrorize the nation with envelopes and little white powder, if one believes the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Count me among the naysayers, who number more than a roomful.


August 19, 2008
Passing on Pollsters
Norman M. Covert

My son assures me that I should feel no guilt in hanging up on telemarketers. It is not alright, he says, to listen to pre-recorded messages about my car’s warranty, or Part D Medicare insurance and such. In that state of mind, I should have “passed” on a recent political phone call that probably verged on the sophomoric.


January 16, 2008
Joining The Great Society
Norman M. Covert
Whether one likes it or not, this is the moment when the reality of socialism strikes my generation in the face. We cannot avoid it. All manner of protestations about the rightness of conservative values cannot compete with the reality of Big Government – and truly this is not George Bush’s fault.

January 10, 2008
Teenagers and Judges
Norman M. Covert
The “Help Wanted” Sign is on display at the Elections Board of Frederick County, which has put out a general plea to hire 17-year-olds as election judges for the February 12th Primary Election and the November 4 Presidential Election. Adults are welcome, too, but the teens would certainly be a plus, according to election officials.

December 21, 2007
Santa’s in the Seein’
Norman M. Covert
Pardon my impertinence, but a long time ago my blue eyes assured me in the darkness of an early Christmas morning that Santa Claus had come and gone. No question. No debate.

December 4, 2007
Raquel, Where are you?
Norman M. Covert
Nostalgia has a way of striking down the old folks when they least expect it. I saw an interview with Edward Powell, chief executive officer of the United Service Organization (USO), and was taken aback by his excuses why no big-name stars would entertain the troops in Iraq or Afghanistan this Christmas.

October 17, 2007
Perhaps, er, Definitely Maybe!
Norman M. Covert
Are we impressed? Commissioner David Gray (R) last week forged ahead of his Frederick Board of County Commissioners cohorts on the issue of illegal immigrant services. He proposed - and got his wish - that instead of recommending legislation that might address the problem, they would pass a resolution calling for a resolution.

October 10, 2007
The New Left Bank
Norman M. Covert
We are witnessing the ascension of the new café society of Frederick, albeit, "Little Bohemia." The movement senses it can coexist here despite radical political concepts arising from among its ranks.

September 28, 2007
Thoreau & Winchester Hall
Norman M. Covert
One of the perquisites of being hors de combat for many months is preoccupation with what ails you. Henry David Thoreau would have penned his musings in solitude - not an option here. Somehow the recovery room's Zenith found the Frederick County Board of Commissioners on COMCAST.

September 27, 2006
A Muse of Pogo & Fools
Norman M. Covert
I cannot help but recall the famous words by the American 'Possum philosopher Pogo, who opined one day in the swamp drawn by Cartoonist Walt Kelly: "We have met the enemy and they is us!"

September 21, 2006
Going Boldly Where Others Floundered
Norman M. Covert
Our sophisticated neighbors to the south couldn't get it right during the primary election last week. We country bumpkins hitched up our "over-hauls" and got the new Diebold voting technology to work properly, thank you.

September 7, 2006
Urban Plight
Norman M. Covert
I was confounded one beautiful day in February when the desire to be a "tree hugger" washed over me! I love trees, but other than climbing some and falling from a few, I never really fancied a tree hug. I consider myself an old fashioned conservationist, right out of the Boy Scout Handbook.

February 13, 2006
Git'er Done Davy, 'er Jeff
Norman M. Covert
What will be the legacy of Mayor William Jefferson Holtzinger? Will he have the lasting quality of Frederick's indomitable chief executive, the late Mayor Lloyd Culler, or will he be lumped with those who trekked from the former Opera House City Hall on North Market Street to new quarters in the Old Courthouse?

February 9, 2006
WAL*MART & Union Busting
Norman M. Covert
Who would believe that in just over a decade we could foresee the demise of America’s dominant ruling party – the American labor union? The malady afflicting labor has been building; and its fall to irrelevance is about to be written. It wields increasingly less influence in politics and is a negative for the economy.

February 2, 2006
Holy Name and Society
Norman M. Covert
"I'm shocked, shocked," said the chief police inspector, when he walked into Rick's Place in Casablanca, "to see that gambling is taking place in here . round up the usual suspects!"

January 31, 2006
Rezoning Where?
Norman M. Covert
Forgive my apparent ignorance, but the accompanying computer aided design map of a neighborhood in the City of Frederick had me a bit befuddled at first. It took some effort to orient the map. The city planning department sent the drawing January 23 to certain property owners, who may adjoin two properties seeking to be rezoned.

January 27, 2006
Stem Cells and Visionaries
Norman M. Covert
Why was I not surprised to read that esteemed South Korean biomedical research scientist Dr. Hwang Woo-Suk admitted that he had faked the data he reported in Science regarding his alleged cloning of 11 human embryonic stem cells? What a disappointment, but not that unexpected.

January 9, 2006
Goodbye, Hello
Norman M. Covert
Another year is gone. The storied baseball pitcher Satchel Paige has oft been quoted, “Don’t look back, the Devil may be gainin’ on ya’.” But the historian in me cautions that those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it, as a wise man once said.

January 4, 2006
Soon Gone, But Not Soon Forgotten
Norman M. Covert
"Thank God and Greyhound she's gone!" rang out the lyrics of that classic country and western ballad. Among some on Market Street, that was the hit of the month in September when Our Jennifer was denied a second term in City Hall.

December 23, 2005
No Holiday at the Outpost
Norman M. Covert
When I shoved my aging Army Class A uniform in the closet to hide yet more gifts, it reminded me that thousands of American servicemen and women will not be home tomorrow night - Christmas Eve - and the start of Hanukah the next evening. They are continents away in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Europe and other outposts of freedom.

December 20, 2005
Iraq – Just Like Before?
Norman M. Covert
Okay, I'll say "Uncle" on this! But, just like in 1974, I won't surrender. Like any G.I. short timer, I'll pack my duffel, remove the magazine from my M-16, hold on to my steel pot with one hand, hitch up into the "Huey" and "had" out of here. Somewhere out there is a cold PBR awaiting me and a permanent assignment – "The World."

December 13, 2005
Coldly Disappointing
Norman M. Covert
You'd think you could trust the local daily news rag. I am forced to admit that I actually try to read the publication and endure its enigmatic style and daily Global Warming updates.

October 24, 2005
A Little Larceny in the Heart
Norman M. Covert
It takes a bit of larceny in your heart, one observer remarked, to be a success in such things as raising money and selling things. No doubt you've been the object of someone well versed in the sales pitch.

October 18, 2005
Bottle Feeding NIMBYs
Norman M. Covert
Not too long ago we heard from a group of loudmouths that incinerators were the bane of our idyllic lifestyle in Frederick County and we must continue to bury the mountains of trash we generate each day. Such drivel is just as much garbage as we put in the landfill.

October 14, 2005
Keep A'nockin, You Might Get In
Norman M. Covert
Tom Slater, Esq., came to my door the other evening, and we talked briefly about progress in his campaign for alderman of the City of Frederick. He said he had knocked on lots of doors since beginning his quest, and his effort that day was blessed with a warm reception and a pleasant evening. He had more people to see before November 1.

October 10, 2005
Wuzes and Wannabees
Norman M. Covert
Our former U.S. Rep. Beverly Butcher Byron (D., 6th) and former state Del. James E. (Doc) McClellan (D., 3rd) are living examples that politics can be fun and, if not profitable, a pretty big-time thrill. Who wouldn't desire to have been in their shoes, playing a role in history, enjoying frequent schmooze opportunities and having the thrill of overwhelming victory at the polls.

October 6, 2005
Surviving with Baseball
Norman M. Covert
How does one find solace from the main stream media’s daily barrage of rhetoric from the looney fringes of the Left? Television, you say? All 99 or so channels where even the commercials attempt to revive the anarchy of another time; and network sitcoms now celebrate the whispered taboos of a more genteel era.

September 27, 2005
Memories and Peacemaking
Norman M. Covert
Mrs. Helen G. Alexander is among the interesting and ubiquitous men and women who have questioned the efficacy of Fort Detrick and its biomedical research and development mission over the years. She and her political allies refuse to be convinced of the rightness and necessity of this arm of the National Defense.

September 23, 2005
Dress Up and Let’s Pretend
Norman M. Covert
We are in the midst of what might be called a “human comedy,” were it not of such a grave nature. It was at Safeway in Frederick. How proud my like-minded compatriots would be witnessing my emotional “Crossing of the Rubicon” at that moment. No anger arose, just a smirk at the naiveté of a young man and the realization that this was “Just Pretend.”

September 20, 2005
Genial Joe In Three Acts
Norman M. Covert
One cannot help but consider that Alderman Joseph W. Baldi was snookered last year by some opportunistic folks when he was convinced to challenge Mayor Jennifer Dougherty for her mayoral seat. However, the root of his primary election loss may be a fateful tactical decision on residency requirements.

September 23, 2004
Lifting Mr. Cady’s Burden
Norman M. Covert
I was thinking recently about Frederick County Commissioner Michael Cady. I sensed a distinct parallel to the unfairness of the bogus George W. Bush memoranda. I considered that CBS News and Dan Rather displayed little integrity in unashamedly trashing the President of the United States with information wholly based on fiction.

September 15, 2004
The Wonders of Cut and Paste
Norman M. Covert
The leftist opposition to President George W. Bush has now become a joke of unparalleled proportions - they can't even make a good forgery!

September 8, 2004
Deep Anger and Disgust
Norman M. Covert
I salute the Frederick County Vietnam Veterans memorial each time I drive by Memorial Grounds Park at West Second and Bentz Streets. My salute and the haunting obelisk represent the bond that we veterans have and the honor in which we hold our comrades, who served, died, are missing in action, or are being held as prisoners of war.

February 6, 2004
On Life and Lives
Norman M. Covert
It is no funny joke that when you get old, the possibility of lots of friends attending your funeral is greatly diminished, primarily because when you do get old, chances are lots of your friends haven’t made it to your age. That is a drawback to old age, I guess.

January 30, 2004
Malpractice Makes Perfect
Norman M. Covert
As I was climbing back up to the keyboard in search of a suitable discussion topic for The Tentacle, the subject of “Tort Reform” was right there in front of me: it’s those big and little puncture marks on my arms, hands and legs which have almost healed. They are the remnants of modern medical care, which gives me the hope of living a bit longer.

August 11, 2003
Back in The Saddle Again
Norman M. Covert
We used to sing a song in Scouts about a cat that just wouldn't go away: "The Cat came back, the very next day; the cat came back, we thought he was a goner, but the cat came back, he just wouldn't go away, away, away!"

January 17, 2003
Mulling The American Chicken
Norman M. Covert
It's starting to get under my skin, these well meaning folks and their children parading in Memorial Grounds Park. It is a desecration of this memorial ground despite what these self-proclaimed mothers call their demonstration for peace.

November 22, 2002
Saluting a Comrade, Again
Norman M. Covert
Forgive my taking advantage of you, but it seems proper that we offer a reprise of an article written for the Fourth of July in which we said, "in addition to a tribute to the Nation, it seems a personal imperative to tell you the story of a neighbor of yours, a man whose love of country defies the wounds he suffered on its behalf."

November 19, 2002
All the News That Fits We Print
Norman M. Covert
George Randall and the staff at the Frederick News-Post deserve lots of credit for producing a visually pleasing new product for Frederick’s Sunday morning news stands. The layout and design break the mold of the staid old News and Post. We’ve needed a local Sunday edition especially since Hagerstown’s Herald-Mail Co. gave it up as a lost cause.

November 6, 2002
Voting At The Liberty Pole
Norman M. Covert
Thank goodness for Election Day. If you ever doubt that Frederick is a small town, go down to the Old Armory on Bentz and West Second Street on any given election/primary day. It is Americana at its most visible. Voting is not a chore, it’s a pleasure.

September 17, 2002
On the Road Again in America
Norman M. Covert
Being on the road in America’s heartland tells me that Frederick isn’t alone in the challenges it faces. I found other towns with mayors who also are full of themselves, fields of corn parched by the continuing drought, and roads sadly in need of repair and realignment.

August 29, 2002
Those of Us With Access to Anthrax
Norman M. Covert
It has become a no-brainer to think that Dr. Stephen Hatfill is the mad anthrax mailer. His public affairs offensive is a winner and the government is on the run. It has been caught doing what it always does in a crisis - it throws a lot of money at a problem and then tries to find a public relations event to show it is "on the job."

August 27, 2002
ACLU & The Media, A Cozy Relationship
Norman M. Covert
Score another one for the media, they have a love affair with the American Civil Liberties Union and its ilk. The anti-American media bias, which truly exists, is apparent, especially on Maryland Public Television's "public affairs" show last Thursday. I stumbled on it and watched MPT fawn over the ACLU in a shameful lack of journalistic integrity.

August 12, 2002
A Lesson In The Realities of Public Affairs
Norman M. Covert
It doesn't surprise anyone, most of all this writer, that Mizmayor has a strong opinion of the power she believes the voters gave her last fall. She is mistaken, however, in her obvious belief that she heads the food chain in city government. Her chain of command, to use a military term, does not include members of the Board of Aldermen.

August 5, 2002
They Finally Got It, It's a Cemetery!
Norman M. Covert
Two presentations were worthy of note after Thursday night's meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen. The first was the calm presentation by Alderman David Lenhart on rules for the proposed invocation that will now start each of the board meetings. He struck a positive chord with the electorate and a 3-2 vote for passage.

August 1, 2002
Small Towns, Fairs and Locomotives
Norman M. Covert
Newcomers to Frederick County can judge the quality of life here by attending one of the many volunteer fire and rescue company fairs. They occur throughout the summer and you can bet on being able to buy a first-class crab cake sandwich, a funnel cake, and even enjoy the long lines at the porta-pots.

July 24, 2002
A Look at First Amendment Rights and Wrongs
Norman M. Covert
A little research can be dangerous, but it seemed prudent to look at the writings of such founding fathers as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison as we further debate the issues of whether the Ten Commandments Stone in Memorial Grounds Park soils the First Amendment.

July 18, 2002
We Are The Maddening Crowd
Norman M. Covert
Mayor Jennifer Dougherty's infernal noise ordinance must be targeted, despite her denials, at the sin-city enclave on Jefferson Street. Its passage didn't do anything to bring about a cease and desist order on noise in my block.

July 9, 2002
Intimidation and Official Records
Norman M. Covert
You read it here first. We urged in an earlier commentary that the city and county not blink in the face of the overrated American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which said it would "be watching" events in Frederick regarding the placement of the Ten Commandments stone in Memorial Grounds Park.

July 4, 2002
Independence and Bombs Bursting In Air
Norman M. Covert
Each year the Fourth of July conjures up memories, but this year, in addition to a tribute to the Nation, it seems a personal imperative to tell you the story of a neighbor of yours, a man whose love of country defies the wounds he suffered on its behalf. But I must first take you back 226 years to Philadelphia and the Continental Congress then convening.

June 26, 2002
Talk of the Town
Norman M. Covert
GRIDLOCK. A neighbor said it's easier and less expensive to buy products "on line" rather than take a chance on the afternoon traffic at Evergreen Point and the Route 85 mess. The summer heat challenges even the most dependable auto cooling system. If you never tried buying on line, it's easy and safe if you use a known company with appropriate security.

June 20, 2002
Make the ACLU Blink
Norman M. Covert
Somewhere in my library is the reference in an old book that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was started as a Marxist organization in the aftermath of World War I. It survived the Red Scare of the 20s and 30s, managed to infiltrate lots of media folk, colleges and universities and today we have them as a double-edged sword in Freedom of Speech litigation.

June 18, 2002
Governor Glendening Lays An Egg
Norman M. Covert
The Maryland Court of Appeals broke a lot of hearts June 11th, declaring the Democrat-drawn Legislative Redistricting Plan unconstitutional. Lots of good people, who were enthused about the September Democratic primary, are looking at their literature, signs, giveaways, and lost dollars wondering what happened! "Hecht Yes" became "Hell, I Don't Know."

June 7, 2002
Seeking A Cure For "The Bug"
Norman M. Covert
There is no vaccine for "The Bug" that infects unwary citizens, convincing them they can run for public office and win. Losing is a temporary cure; winning only makes it worse. "The Bug," however, does impart hard lessons in life and counseling is the only viable alternative.

Yellow Cab
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

Advertisers here do not necessarily agree or disagree with the opinions expressed by the individual columnist appearing on The Tentacle.

Each Article contained on this website is COPYRIGHTED by The Octopussm LLC. All rights reserved. No Part of this website and/or its contents may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means - graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or information storage and retrieval systems, without the expressed written permission of The Tentaclesm, and the individual authors. Pages may be printed for personal use, but may not be reproduced in any publication - electronic or printed - without the express written permission of The Tentaclesm; and the individual authors.

Site Developed & Hosted by The JaBITCo Group, Inc. For questions on site navigation or links please contact Webmaster.

The JaBITCo Group, Inc. is not responsible for any written articles or letters on this site.