Editor’s notebook: Fishing for the truth – CapitalGazette.com
NOTHING FISHY — In a more innocent time — 1889 — Jerome K. Jerome, in “Three Men in a Boat,” observed, “Some people are under the impression that all that is required to make a good fisherman is the ability to tell lies easily and without blushing; but this is a mistake. Mere bald fabrication is useless; the veriest tyro can manage that. It is in the circumstantial detail, the embellishing touches of probability, the general air of scrupulous — almost of pedantic — veracity, that the experienced angler is seen.”
Of course, all the embellishing touches in the world wouldn’t impress a lie detector. That might be why Philip G. Heasley of Naples, Florida, won’t be getting his more than $2.8 million in prize money for catching a 76.5-pound marlin in a fishing tournament last summer at Ocean City.
To be fair, Heasley says the two lie detector tests he flunked were rife with ambiguous and poorly targeted questions. Nonetheless, a federal district judge in Baltimore ruled this week that Heasley had violated the contest rules by not passing those mandatory exams.
Our guess is that Jerome, if we could have him back to ask, wouldn’t think that cross-examining anglers while they’re strapped to a machine does much for the tone of the pastime. But his main question might be why we do this for fishing tournaments but not politicians.
BEACON — The 142-year-old Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse is the last structure of its type on its original site in the Chesapeake Bay, unquestionably the most famous lighthouse in Maryland and one of the best known in the nation.
As we reported this week, the National Historic Landmark near the South River is owned by the City of Annapolis, managed by the Annapolis Maritime Museum and the U.S. Lighthouse Society and kept in good shape by a group of devoted volunteers who had to work extra hard to repair damage from vandalism last spring.
Their work has paid off in the preservation of a gem that keeps alive part of the bay’s storied past, and we thank those volunteers for all they do.
BEFORE WASHINGTON — What do Peyton Randolph, Henry Middleton, John Hancock, Henry Laurens, John Jay, Samuel Huntington, Thomas McKean, John Hanson, Elias Boudinot, Thomas Mifflin, Richard Henry Lee, Nathaniel Gorham, Arthur St. Clair and Cyrus Griffin have in common?
They were all presidents of the United States before George Washington — meaning they were presidents of the Continental Congress or, starting with Huntington, presidents who served under our pre-constitutional charter of government, the Articles of Confederation.
The 14 are the subject of an enlightening free exhibit at the Westin on Westgate Circle, recently moved from a less accessible spot at the Maryland Inn. If you have a chance, you might stop by to remind yourself that, great as the Constitutional Convention was, it did not conjure up American self-government fully formed from the void.