Maryland is for Horses

Maryland_Horse

The Maryland state slogan should be “Maryland is for Horses;” it makes much more sense than “Virginia is for Lovers.” It’s not just the history, the legacy, and the facilities, but our fellow citizens’ support. Although I’ve been involved with horses since my first riding lessons at Kettering Stables in the 1960’s and grew up watching horses run at Bowie Race Track, I did not understand the far reaching impact horses had on communities, businesses, individuals, and industries until recently. I’m not an economist, but I can use my own personal example to illustrate how one person’s horse habit can affect the local economy. [Read more…]

Farewell Shanghai

Shanghai 3 Please join me for the final installment of Vic Socotra’s thoughts on one of our Congressional trips to Asia, and a farewell to China.

We wandered down the street and over a couple of blocks. We found the entrance to the subway and went down. It was gleaming and shiny and not at all what I expected. We went down and got to the platform.

The little guy on the subway could have been sixty or he could have been eighty. He could have walked with Mao on the big swing around Chiang Kai Check’s Nationalists, and on to eventual victory in 1948.

He wore a little Mao hat and his gaze was implacable. He was staring at Val’s chest, or he was staring past her chest at me in my trench coat because he was exactly that tall. It was hard to tell. But it was a penetrating gaze, neither friendly nor particularly hostile. It was an intense and unwavering look, like that of a hawk on his prey. I leaned over to Val. [Read more…]

Long Marchers…Part Two

Please join me for Part Two of my friend and author  Vic Socotra‘s series of stories about one of our Congressional trips. We have now journeyed to Shanghai.

01 February 2001Shanghai skyline

Long Marchers

by Vic Socotra

I believe in traveling light, but there was no way for it on this trip- we would be in temperate, arctic and tropical climates. The bags went out full, and got fuller with each stop. The bags even began to multiply. It could have been worse. The last time I was in Hanoi, the famous Central Jail (“Hanoi Hilton”) was being torn down, and visitors were presented with bricks as unique souvenirs. Being the junior member on that trip, I wound up carrying a bag containing a major portion of an interior wall. But that is another story.

Downstairs at the Regal International East Asia there was a lavish breakfast buffet of both Chinese and Western delicacies. Rich coffee, eggs, fried cabbage, sausage, bacon, cucumbers, steamed dumplings, hare stew. Some items sampled, most not. After their travail, the infantry is only minutes late coming down, but they miss the breakfast. We have our bags in the van and waiting for them out front. [Read more…]

Boondoggle

What were you doing thirteen years ago today? Thanks to Vic Socotra, I can answer that in detail. Vic penned a series of stories about a Congressional trip to Asia when I was the Congressional liaison officer in charge of the trip, and he, a “strap-hanger.” Vic’s words bring back great memories for me and hopefully will be of interest to you. So please, join me for a three-part series and enjoy this prolific writer’s wit and storytelling skills.

07 January 2001

Congressional Delegation Dorn, Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 9, 2001

Congressional Delegation Dorn, Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 9, 2001

Boondoggle

by Vic Socotra

The term “Boondoggle” is derived from the Middle English “boon,” or pleasant flavor, and “doggle,” or pack of slavering wolves.

I am leaving on a boondoggle tomorrow. This is a boondoggle of the Congressional variety, arguably one of the spectacular of the breed. The term is normally used disparagingly by co-workers.

“Oh,” they will say. “You are off on a boondoggle.” The clear connotation is that you are shirking work, frittering away the taxpayers’ money, and generally tip-toeing the line of propriety. I’ll grant you there is some basis to that thesis.

I will not deny that you get free headsets on the jet. [Read more…]

Believing In Reading

Senator Reilly, Read Across America

Senator Ed Reilly donating Believing In Horses for each elementary school in his district in honor of Read Across America Day

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Dr. Seuss (I Can Read with My Eyes Shut)

Today marked the 14th anniversary of Read Across America Day, and this year, I got to be part of the celebration!

Maryland State Senator Edward R. Reilly (R-District 33, Anne Arundel County), selected my novel, Believing In Horses, as his book donation for each of the 24 elementary schools in his district.  Senator Reilly invited me to the State House in Annapolis to deliver the books with him during the Maryland State Education Association’s celebration of Read Across America.

The National Education Association’s (NEA’s) Read Across America Day, which falls on or around Dr. Seuss’s birthday annually, is the nation’s largest reading event.  Senator Reilly and I will each be visiting schools to read and discuss Believing In Horses in a continuing celebration of Read Across America throughout the year. [Read more…]

Local Politics

I live in Maryland, where the State legislature formed in 1632 – yes, before the United States became a country.  In the early days, many of the statesmen were farmers, and thus it made sense for the legislature to meet during the months least hospitable to working the land, January through early April.  This same schedule exists today, and many Marylanders are not aware that their elected State representatives conduct all their legislative business in a 90-day session, the vast majority of them holding other full-time jobs during the entire year.

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010, members of The Maryland Horse Council received a legislative tour of the State Capitol in Annapolis.   State Senator Edward R. Reilly, (R), District 33, Anne Arundel County, introduced himself as “Big Ed,” while shaking each of our hands and asking a little about us.  He brought us into his office, and spent over an hour explaining how a bill becomes a law in “The Free State.”  Using a horse bill passed this year, he stepped us through the process, injecting humor where appropriate, and allowed our youngest visitor, Grace (11), to sit in the Senator’s seat and act as Senator for the exercise.   Senator Reilly spoke about the power of each person’s voice, encouraged all to get to know their elected representatives and communicate with them, and then took us on a one-hour tour of the Capital.  [Read more…]