Monthly Archives: February 2013

Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast


We all know Valentine’s Day. Flowers, Candy, Cards, Gifts of Love and Dinners out.

But do you know the history of the holiday?

I thought I would share the history of why we celebrate Valentine’s Day!

The Legend of St. Valentine

The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those…

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Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone

… go be romantic, bring back chivalry !

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day


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We Are The Good People

I had another article for you today. Yet again, I came across something on Thursday that changed my article for the week.

I want you to meet Ashley Anne. Ashley Anne turned 22 on February 6, she started her own jewelry company with a friend to help a boy battling cancer, graduated from a fashion design company, and was in an internship with a jewelry and fashion company in New York . Ashley Anne will not be turning 23; she jumped off the upper deck of the George Washington Bridge, into the Hudson River on her 22nd birthday.

I was looking at the handmade calendar my daughter made for me for Christmas while I was thinking about Ashley Anne. That calendar my daughter made for me will survive long after this year. It will have an honored place in my “gummy box”, along with so many other things she has made for me. That gummy box is the outward symbol of the total and unconditional love of a child. Ashley Anne never got to have a gummy box, she never had a chance to bask in the total and unconditional love of a her own child.

Ashley Anne left a long note and even listed five people she did not want at the funeral. She apologized to three people and said the rest where “just in it for the gossip.” The newspapers all appear to blame bullying for her suicide. The police are investigating, they want to make sure that the bullying was not in her imagination. You see, she was taking Adderall which is to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or narcolepsy and also Klonopin which is used to treat seizures in epilepsy and for treatment of panic disorder.

Unfortunately, this is happening more and more often in our society, last year was a record year for suicides on the George Washington Bridge. If suicide received the attention of mass killings, we would have done something a long time ago.

We care. We do care. “Someone should do something!” The someone we mean are the authorities. More laws from government, more rules from schools.

At a restaurant two couples sit at a table. All four staring intently at their I-phones. When the waitress comes they do not even need to look up at her to place their order. They use the restaurant’s app on their smart phone to place their order.

Humans are mammals, a part of the animal kingdom. In every species, either the male or the female is aggressive, it is part of their DNA, it is part of what helps the species survive. One aggressive, one nurturing. Yin and yang, balance, natural. In our society we are attempting to drive that aggressiveness out of our young boys. When I grew up little boys were encouraged to play out this aggressiveness. We played cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers, and war. As we grew older, we were taught how to channel, use, and control this aggressiveness for the good of our families. Now we suspend boys from school for doing what is a natural part of who they are. There are bullies in our society, there always have been, even before recorded history. Stopping little boys from being little boys will not stop bullying, and it will  certainly have no effect on little girls who bully.


Of course now there will be a “national debate” on bullying again (see the articles below). We will set out to show people “we mean business, this bullying must stop”. It is easier for “someone” else to deal with bullies, than for us to deal with people. We demand action and another authority does another legislative thing, and we feel good. We join another protest, sign another petition, or verbally assault someone on facebook who disagrees with our solution to the problem and this shows we care. We did something, we care. We demanded someone else do something, someone who has not fixed any national problem yet. No we did not do something, and calling 911 is not “doing something” either. That is not doing something, and we are fibbing to ourselves if we think it is doing something.

Humans are a social creature. We need that interaction with other humans (and our pets), it helps to keep us healthy both mentally and physically. However, people have been replaced by a little rectangular contraption in our hands, a contraption we never take our eyes off. How many people saw Ashley Anne in the last hour of her life? How many people saw the pain in Ashley Anne’s face during that last hour of her life? How many people saw Ashley Anne in the last hour of her life, saw the pain, and did nothing?

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. Martin Luther King jr. once said in a speech, “Evil does not win when bad people do bad things, evil wins when good people do nothing.” One of the things I will carry with me always was something a good man did when my daughter Alexandra died. Bernie, a man I did not know and had never met, asked me, “what can I do for you?” Usually, we say, “If I can do anything for you, let me know.” Bernie did not ask “IF”, he knew we needed help and he had decided he was going to do something. Evil did not win that day because of Bernie.

We need to stop doing nothing. What do we need to do? Put away the electronics and reach out to someone. The next time you see someone at the mall, gas station, grocery store or where ever; and that person has those eyes of pain, stop them. Introduce yourself and ask what you can do for them. Give them your cell number to call when they need someone, and ask them for their phone number so you can call them and see how they are doing. Bernire did that for me. You will be surprised what just one phone call every occasionally can do for someone. You will never stop all bullies, but you can reach out to someone and let them know they are not alone, they are important, and they are special. You can let that person know the bullies are wrong about them. Don’t do that for me, do that for Alexandra, do that for Bernie, do it for Ashley Anne.

Ashley Anne Riggitano

Ashley Anne Riggitano

We can do this.


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The Ravens … Business as Usual

from the "Help us get Courtney to the Super Bowl" facebook page.Courtney Lenz with team mates.

from the “Help us get Courtney to the Super Bowl” facebook page.
Courtney Lenz with team mates.

I do not have scientific data to back me up on this, but I believe that bad influences can imprint themselves sometimes. We all know or have heard of a house that just “seems” evil when you look at it, then find out about a horrible crime that took place in the house. Apparently, I am not the only one who believes this. There are houses that cannot be sold after a horrendous crime and are torn down by local authorities.  But I also believe this influence can go even further, and it appears the influence of Art Modell is alive and well, even after his death, in the organization of the Ravens football team in Baltimore.

Loyalty is not an attribute that many people would use to describe Art Modell, and now the same can be said of the Ravens.

Bernie Kosaar spent the best years of his NFL quarterback career with the Cleveland Brown, when Art Modell owned the Browns. Kosar was a good quarterback with an excellent ability to read what a defense was going to do (the Miami Dolophin’s Dan Mureno used this to his advantage later when Kosar joined the Dolphins). Kosar’s problem in Cleveland was a bad offensive line, which kept him running from defensive lines almost every down.

Rather than build a better offensive line, the Browns cut Kosar before the end of the season. Not letting a player finish a season is considered a “slap in the face.” An insult that many in the NFL did not think Bernie had deserved. The Cleveland Browns fans agreed in their usual loud way. The Dallas Cowboys immediately picked up Kosar and went on to win the super bowl that year. Bernie Kosar not only got a super bowl ring, Modell did not have one yet, but he was the quarterback for the last couple of plays of the game.

One of the Cowboy’s players noted afterwards, there were more “Bernie Kosar” signs in the stands than for either of the two teams playing in the Super Bowl. Yup, that’s Browns fans, loyal and very vocal.

Fuchs and Kasperek Inc., used with permission from Al Fuchs.

Fuchs and Kasperek Inc., used with permission from Al Fuchs.

Next, in 1996, the city of Cleveland approached Art Modell to renegotiate with the team to keep the Browns in Cleveland. Art Modell told the city he did not want to begin negotiations during the season and would talk with them after the season. Then, with two games left in the season, good ol’ Art announced he was moving the team to Baltimore. Cleveland never saw it coming. The next time Modell went to Cleveland (he didn’t even show up for the Browns last two games) was many years later, but Browns fans do not forget.

You see Art Modell did not just lie to the city of Cleveland and to the Browns fans. He lied to the NFL too. The excuse he gave the NFL (when he asked their permission to move the team) was that the city would not give him a new stadium. Art’s mistake was that he told the NFL this the day before voters in Cleveland voted on a new football stadium. Seemed like good logic at the time. Announce the move before the vote. With no football team, no reason

for voters to vote tax dollars to build a new football stadium, and the taxpayers of Cleveland would prove his point. I may be a Dolphins fan (thank you for your sympathy) but even I knew Modell made a mistake. The day after the announcement, the Cleveland taxpayers, football fans and non-football fans alike, voted by an overwhelming majority (more than 70%) to build a new football stadium in a city that now had no football team. The city sued Modell and won. Modell moved the team, but it would be a new franchise named the Ravens. The name, records, and history of the Cleveland Browns football would stay in Cleveland.

from the "Help us get Courtney to the Super Bowl" facebook page.Courtney Lenz with team mates.

from the “Help us get Courtney to the Super Bowl” facebook page.
Courtney Lenz with team mates.

Even though Art Modell may be dead, it seems he has left his impression on the Ravens football team. This time the injured party is one of the Ravens cheerleaders, Courtney Lenz.

The team says that they would have liked to have taken all 60 cheerleaders, but the NFL limits them to 32 at the Super Bowl. The team used a selection criteria of seniority, performance, and personal conduct. The team went on to say that all the cheerleaders with more than three years of experience are going to the Super Bowl.

Courtney Lenz, the most experienced cheerleader on the squad, is the only cheerleader with more than three years experience not going. Courtney, a five-year veteran, announced earlier in the year she was retiring after the last game this year.

Courtney was also disciplined twice this year. This of course would be a hit on her “performance and personal conduct” portion of the selection criteria. What was she disciplined for?

Drug related issues? No.

Driving while under the influence? No.

Domestic violence? No.

Carrying a gun onto a plane? No.

Did she kill a member of the organization while driving drunk or on drugs? No.

Was she arrested for assault and battery? No.

Gambling? No.

A public scandal involving prostitution? No.

Courtney did not do any of these things. Though all of these actions have become so common, every year, among NFL players that they are barely noticed in the press. No, Courtney was benched for two games because she gained 1.6 pounds. That is one-point-six-pounds.

Even old football players who just do not have it anymore are given a couple snaps in the last game before their retirement. Not Courtney.

It has been reported that Courtney’s announced retirement did not go over very well with the team. But, whatever the reasons … Art Modell would be proud of his Ravens.

The fans started a facebook site and a petition to try to get Courtney re-instated. ( facebook and the petition ). As of 11:30 am New York time on Saturday, the petition has 29,288 signatures (mine is number 22,482), the facebook site had 7,572 likes.

I am not as big a fan of cheerleaders as I was 25 years ago. But, I am not politically correct when it comes to the attributes I find attractive in women either (for the record: natural physical attractiveness, intelligence, and weighs less than I do).

Cheerleaders have the reputation of being cute and dumb. An undeserved reputation I might add. The professional cheerleaders I have know were attractive, smart, and well educated; all having college degrees some even a master’s or doctor’s degree. Courtney has a bachelor’s degree and is leaving the Ravens for a job as a sales and marketing coordinator.

This isn’t just about a cute kid (hey, as old as I am most of your could be my kids). It is about honoring someone who has given loyal service to the team. Something Art Modell’s teams find to be a foreign concept.

So, from Bernie Kosar to Courtney Lenz, the “no-last-game-slap-in-the-face” is alive and well in Baltimore, thanks to our good friend … Art Modell.

Bernie Kosar

Bernie Kosar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

from the "Help us get Courtney to the Super Bowl" facebook page.Courtney Lenz

from the “Help us get Courtney to the Super Bowl” facebook page.
Courtney Lenz

“GO 49ERS !!!”

*** Credits ***

I would like to thank Al Fuchs of, Fuchs and Kasperek Inc., for permission to use their photograph for this article. If you would like to see a better image of their photograph used in this article, or any of their other fantastic photographs, go to

You may also purchase a copy of any of their photographs.

(I am in no way associated with Fuchs and Kasperek Inc. )


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Please read.


The most precious possession that ever comes to a man in this world is a woman’s heart.~ Josiah G. Holland

Tomorrow, Feb 1st, is the beginning of “American Heart Month” and it also the beginning of “Go Red for Women” month, where women and heart disease are highlighted.

I support both campaigns and will, to turn this blog RED for the next month in honor of all women that have or will have a heart “issue”. 

Men, DON’T let those ladies in your life go without treatment or being checked if there’s even a remote chance of a heart problem. Ladies, don’t be like men and IGNORE the signs …… get to the doctor immediately.

Here are a few eye-opening facts –

  • Only 13 percent of women view heart disease as a health threat, even though it’s women’s No. 1 killer 
  • Cardiovascular disease (CVD) kills 480,000 women a year, about…

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