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At 7:03 p.m. on a recent night, conductor Lynn Staininger asked the pianist to sound the correct pitch. She counted to three and the Frederick County classroom filled with song.

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There are signs that we are living in a world of emotionally charged, high anxiety. We are a glob of an emotionally entangled mess. We see this in the hyped-up presentation of news editorials. We see it in the “outrage” of people who have no idea of any facts, only the emotional content of a…

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Tito Vazquez Jr. likes to say that perfect political candidates are like perfect churches: They do not exist. Sometimes, he said, you just have to find one that meets most of your needs and make peace with the gaps. So in November, he will cast a ballot to reelect President Donald Trump.

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I watched it. I watched the whole thing. I watched the worst example of public discourse (I know it cannot be called that) I have ever witnessed. There have been more colorful name-calling examples, mostly by newspaper editors or party spokespersons. One of the more famous was penned about J…

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Christian history is fascinating in every century but the transition in the fourth century from persecuted to being the official religion of the empire is difficult to top.

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I really hate to break this to all our young voters, but the current election cycle is not the most important one in our history. We are in no greater existential national crisis today than we were in the years immediately after the Declaration of Independence was signed. Or around 1812. Or …

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The Board of Directors of First United Bancorp, Inc. and First United Bank and Trust Company recently approved the appointment of two new board members.

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Cole & Durham Insurance, A Lawton Insurance Agency, retains its Best Practices status, once again becoming a part of an elite group of independent insurance agencies around the United States.

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There is a constant fight for who gets to tell stories of the past. It is a matter of perspective. I was taught the “received story” of the United States as a child. The telling of that story has changed some since then, but it is still basically the same story.

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If you stand outside the concentric rings of the University of Virginia’s new Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, there is a curious acoustic phenomenon: The conversations of people inside the gray, granite walls are clearly audible, even from a distance.

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Do you remember the kid or the co-worker who never pulled their weight in group projects? They were quite happy to coast along and let everyone else do the heavy lifting and take an equal share of credit. But then, if something went wrong, because they had not done any work, they could quite…

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I do not write to pick sides, although sometimes it may be obvious which side I am on. Some people do write to pick sides. That is not my intention. I write to think on paper, and in doing so anyone that reads is carried along with my personal attempts to make sense of the world I am in. Agr…

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Q: I’ve been isolating since March, limiting trips to the grocery store and delivery, cooking almost every day, and I’ve just lost any interest in it. It’s so much work to make food happen — think of what to eat, buy ingredients, re-plan from scratch when three key ingredients are inevitably…

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America is sick. Still sick. The fever spikes, abates, returns. The shortness of breath lingers. America is waiting in virtual bread lines, listening to bad jazz, on hold with the unemployment office. America is strewn with the glass shards of Starbucks windows, busted by protesters, and bul…

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There will always be “glass half full” and “glass half empty” people. Both will always be right. Personally, the thing that keeps me more on the half full side are all the half empty people that spoke and wrote in the past. It is those who accurately described catastrophic events or put thei…

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“There is no lack in these days of captious listeners and questioners; but to find a character desirous of information, and seeking the truth as a remedy for ignorance, is very difficult. Just as in the hunter’s snare, or in the soldier’s ambush, the trick is generally ingeniously concealed,…

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Because the United States has such deep and important roots in Christianity, it is always going to be difficult to separate the two. One can make an argument that the United States is the most Christian nation on earth. (A possible exception is the Vatican). One can also make an argument tha…

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The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a major impact on Washington’s cultural institutions even as the region begins to reopen. The responses differ by institution: The Kennedy Center has canceled most performances through the end of 2020. The Smithsonian is taking things slowly, using …

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Since selling his first short story in 2012, Madisonville-based author Matthew Alan Hughes has worked exclusively in the horror fiction genre, but his latest novel promises to take both he and readers in a totally new direction as he branches out into the world of non-fiction.

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It would be foolish to compare today with the devastation wrought by the plague of the 14th century. What today we call the “black death.” Most of the destruction happened within a few years, but it recurred for at least another five decades after that. It took England 150 years to regain it…

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Eighty-seven years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln delivered perhaps the most famous speech in American History. In its text is the ironic line, “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.” This is, of course the Gettysburg Address, …

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With my schedule disrupted like most of us, I decided to take the plunge and do something I have been putting off for years. You got it. I finally picked up War and Peace. It is my nighttime reading just before I go to bed, so it may yet take me a while to get through it. Yep. Just for fun. …

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A bubbling stream, a few animals around, a partly cloudy sky, about 70 degrees and a wisp of a breeze- hopefully right after a rain. The birds are singing and there are absolutely no bugs anywhere. It is quiet. That poster says Psalm 23. (We forget about “the valley of the shadow of death”, …

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There are a number of broadleaf evergreens that provide structure and screening in the shady garden — hollies, camellias and boxwood all spring to mind. But there are very few evergreen conifers that fit the bill. Most crave sunlight.

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NOTE: Thanks to readers Bob and Darlene Bassett for suggesting this Video On Demand movie to review. If you would like to suggest an On Demand movie for me to review, please visit www.bobatthemovies.com and leave a comment under the first blog post.

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On the one hand, everyone needs to do their part and take care of themselves. On the other hand, everyone needs to look after their neighbor and take care of each other. Both of these statements are perfectly true, but if one is taken on its own without the other life would become unbalanced…

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Jonathan Karl is one of President Trump’s least favorite reporters, or so it would seem from recent White House briefings. In the past few weeks Trump has told Karl not to be a “cutie pie” or a “wise guy,” and called him “a third-rate reporter” who would “never make it” because Karl was aski…

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We know you’ve been there. We all have: staring at the contents of the refrigerator, freezer and pantry, and thinking, “What the heck do I make with all this?” Whether your larder is bare or flush, unless you’re an expert meal planner, you have surely had moments when you’ve been positively …