Covert Matters Digest

Covert Matters  Digest    

From Gorgeous George, Charlie Keller to Beyoncé

By Harry M. Covert

Back in the olden days as the hot blood of youth began to bubble and gurgle, I learned at an early age when something seems too good to be true, it usually is.

The old saw remains on the money and in these days young and old alike continue to be fooled. And they like it no matter how preposterous such claims and promises may be.

At our house we were the first family to have a television set. It was a 14-inch black and white Westinghouse brand. There was only one channel and our viewing began about 4:30 in the afternoon. It was exciting to watch Test Pattern for an hour or so. We were glued to the tiny screen and often watched and listened to the midnight hour when The Star Spangled Banner engulfed the sound and jet planes soared in the background.

It wasn’t too long before entrepreneurs discovered the new-fangled device and attempted to sell a spinning fan of all colors which would create color television. We didn’t fall for the sham as the heat from the screen burned the cellophane off the device.

On Thursday nights neighbors found their way to the darkened living room to watch the professional wrestling. The mayhem of the likes of Gorgeous George and Mr. Moto and others enthralled everyone who just knew the eye-gouging and sleeper-holds were real. Not much has changed today. Professional wrestling and car racing draw more spectators than the traditional athletic prowess in the National Football League, Major League Baseball and maybe bass fishing. I forgot to throw-in collegiate football and basketball.

Sportswriters of times past often described amateur athletes as “simon-pures,” the guys who didn’t get paid a cent and if they did were banned for life. Nowadays everybody is paid.

I still believe that politicians of all persuasions and others like them on the public dole should be required to swear to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” in their oaths “to preserve, protect and defend” their local, state and national constitutions so help them God. It won’t happen, of course, but it should.

It was quite noticeable that lots of “God bless yous” and “God bless Americas” were running rampant at the presidential inauguration. I also noticed the numerous references to the president using his middle initial and not his middle name. A minor note and no mention by the reporting class.

I began this jeremiad to talk about the hoaxes we gentle folk are forced to see. The Notre Dame football player who was fooled about a girlfriend he never met, a girlfriend who allegedly died of leukemia and carried on this frightful thing for several years. He may have been a “leader” of the Irish but a mighty immature young man. Shades of Lou Holtz, the Irish coach of days past. As an amateur magic performer, he wouldn’t have fallen for the dodge. Coaches in South Bend today may know all about recruiting and x’s and o’s, but they don’t know squat about the wizards of woe and self-promotion.

Then there’s the saga of Lance Armstrong. He’s now bleeding all over the sports pages and broadcast media obviously seeking forgiveness for lying all these years about performance enhancing drugs in his bicycling adventures. Isn’t it sad when truth wills out. We knew it anyway.

Performance enhancing drugs? I have to be careful here. Advertisements are everywhere for all of the potency pills for love lives. A good thing I’ve been told. What’s wrong with a little help even if you’re a baseball player? Pete Rose ought to be in the Hall of Fame, as should Charlie Keller, the late Middletown native and horseman and New York Yankees star.

Mr. Rose was the consummate player and manager. He sold his soul to bet on his Cincinnati Reds only to win. “Charlie Hustle” admitted his errant ways and was banned for life. Where’s the forgiveness there?

People and voters everywhere have to suffer through hoaxes and shams and usually from people they trust. But, humans want to believe in things that in common sense just aren’t right but are good advertising sales pitches … the Loch Ness monster, talking dogs, “divine” snake handlers, UFOs (unidentified flying objects), space ships that burn circles in the farmlands, growing hair on bald heads and, “my name is (fill-in the blank), I’m from the government and here to help you.”

I’m duty bound as a born and bred American to watch inaugurations. Some musician in the Marine Band blurted out to a news hound that Beyoncé’s singing of the National Anthem was pre-recorded with the President’s Own. Sounded mighty good to me coming from an elegant and talented woman.

Not a hoax either as I watched her on my 42-inch HD color set and online on my 15-inch-plus computer screen. The inauguration at its best and the vice president was smiling and grinning as he ogled the singer. She didn’t fool me either and her performance was enhanced gratefully.

God Bless America and thank you.●

 Serving the Public can be Deadly

 By Harry M. Covert 

Headlines blared “sheriff’s deputies killed a man who had a gun.” The follow up was “deputies fired at least 18 shots.” Definitely eye catchers for readers. Lots of interest in these days of gun control battles.

Without question the occurrence in Mount Airy, Md., is tragic and devastating to the late19-year-old and the family.`

It, too, is concerning to all the men and women in law enforcement. It’s no joke that sworn officers of the law and public safety daily face these heinous situations and take no joy in them.

I don’t know the boy who was shot or his mental condition nor do I know his family. Also, I don’t know the deputies involved. I do know there is no easy answer when an armed citizen aims a pistol, shotgun or any other weapon at deputy sheriffs, local police and State Police.

Split second decisions must be made in these circumstances. Any delay in response can quickly result in the death of the protectors of the peace. Pay attention to daily newspapers, broadcast and online news reports. There is no dearth of attacks on police with guns and knives and sticks and stones.

In addition to journalistic efforts for more than a half-century I have been a longtime member of the National Sheriffs Association. This group concentrates on the highest ideals of law enforcement. Its work is outstanding and serves the law enforcement profession everywhere.

One of the easiest things for the general public to do is criticize deputies and police. It’s always “why didn’t they wait.” “Why did they have to shoot?” “Why are they carrying side arms?”

None of Frederick County’s finest nor does any sheriff’s deputy want to draw a weapon. When forced to do so, there is no choice. These situations are not quick-draw episodes as seen in western movies. There is no shooting a pistol or rifle out of the hands of the bad guy or gal. There is no shooting the alleged miscreant in the leg to cool down the situation. It’s serious business.

When  faced with that awesome moment the deputy aims for the critical mass – straight at the heart – to bring the event to an immediate close, safely protecting any and all who may be around the situation.

It wasn’t too long ago in Fairfax County, Va., when two veteran detectives were gunned down by a disgruntled teenager who didn’t even know the officers. The shooter, dressed in all black, just caught them off guard during a shift change. Both detectives were fine family members, churchgoers and respected by their peers. The boy’s parents were afraid of him and hid his weapons in the ceiling of their home.

There was another time when a disgruntled husband was ordered to leave his ex-wife and children alone. On a spring afternoon, across the street from his church, he grabbed a child and mother at gunpoint. He dragged them to the front porch of their home. Horrified and panicky neighbors called police. Police responded and pleaded with the guy to end the threats. They asked him courteously to put down the pistol but he adamantly refused and aimed the six-shot revolver at police a few feet on the sidewalk. When the officers saw and heard him cock the pistol, they had no choice but to shoot and kill him.

In the Mount Airy incident, the veteran deputies were within eight-feet of the teenager who, according to news accounts, refused to drop his shotgun after repeated requests.

After all of the investigations by local and state investigators, the event will undoubtedly end up in court and a lawsuit. The fact of the matter is simply respect authority — a must in every case.

I recall the story of the police officer who stops a woman driving too fast. He is polite, says thank you for the driver’s license and registration. He writes a ticket and asks her to sign the document only to acknowledge she’ll go to court. The offender becomes belligerent, won’t sign the ticket and has to be arrested. She’s given the ticket anyway and later tells the judge she didn’t want to admit guilt. Stupid is as stupid does.

Here’s a lesson to be learned: don’t point a gun, loaded or unloaded, or any weapon at a policeman or anyone for that matter. ●

 Bootstraps and the Three R’s

By Harry M. Covert

It can be rather tough for us columnists and commentators and know-it-alls, carrying the weight of affairs on our shoulders.  Somehow we manage. It’s troubling to this space-filler that humor and laughter seem to have been lost through our daily travails and worries about which charitable group we’re going to contribute. Instead of solving matters the idea has become to throw money at the difficulties. Everybody feels good and we keep on doing the self-gratification.


Now let me say here and now, I’m a sincere believer in helping others. I’m glad to see all of the photos in the Frederick prints about all of the people running, cooking, fixing and repairing, building houses, sweeping off sidewalks for neighbors, delivering meals-on-wheels and scholarships of all sort. These are all good things and important to our communities. Plaudits to one and all.

Everyone has a special project and should. Sure makes for good neighbors. If a lot of people just give a little a lot can be done, a fellow once told me in my early years and I’ve worked with that in efforts around the world, most recently in Haiti.

Without question charitable organizations make a fantastic difference in the lives of people around the world with food, medical supplies, clothes and education. They also make a big difference in our local projects. It’s always a bother to me when politicians get involved and like to prance around saying government shouldn’t be involved in financially helping its less fortunate citizens. It’s a galling thing to hear such stupid comments that people should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Or, go out and get a job. Hogwash of the first order.

Stories abound that folks get into drug sales because of the pay much higher than the minimum wage. I know of one guy who served a long prison sentence for traffic offenses. A hard worker, not a thief, he landed a menial job with a grocery chain. After two weeks, the store manager lauded him for his good work ethic. A few days later, he was fired because he had a record. No bootstraps here.

It’s a galling thing that local-state-national agencies designated to provide meals for shut-ins more often than not don’t deliver the food on weekends or holidays or don’t open libraries for the public on the same public holidays. In a land where food is in overwhelming abundance, where money flows to the envy of those from around the world and where government always has the money to do whatever and whenever it wants. There is no rhyme no reason for anyone to go hungry, to be homeless or not to have clothes in our community.

One of the reasons the Congress and the President had a knockdown over the “fiscal cliff” is the people – the voters — did not want to give up or cut such things as Social Security and Medicare. That’s government spending. We hear of the special congressional projects – a million-dollar bridge to nowhere, moving government agencies to various areas and the list can go on. Why shouldn’t millionaires pay more taxes?


After the horrible Haiti earthquake a billion-dollars was raised by governments to rebuild the island nation. The billion dollars are still in the bank and charities are doing the work. It’s a mess there.

It’s unimaginable that the Congress dragged its heels for the devastated cities in New Jersey and New York. I’m not so sure the delay in federal funding isn’t criminal and somehow the elected could be called derelict in their duties. After the Republican governor of New Jersey and the GOP/Democratic congressmen vehemently criticized their colleagues for lack of action, federal help was provided. This was not New Orleans of a few years past.

Compared to those holding elected positions it’s not fair that used car salesmen, talking heads in the broadcasting arena, newspaper columnists and card sharks be given such low public ratings. I’ve almost forgotten to include the weather wizards – forecasters. I usually just look out the window to determine if the sun’s shining or we’re having liquid sunshine.

Frugality and living within budgets are important to every citizen. If people are hungry in our city and county and country, feed them. If people are sick, send them to a doctor or hospital. If people need clothes, dress them. And, probably one of the most important, educate everyone in the three Rs – not like the cowboys’ ridin’, ropin’ and raising a ruckus – but reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.●