As the nation barrels toward Nov. 2, folks in Anne Arundel may be surprised to learn that one of their own is in the presidential race -- well, barely, but he is in the race. Michael Peroutka, a lawyer and Millersville resident, is the standard-bearer of the Constitution Party.
A poll released this week put Peroutka at around 0.2 percent. An admittedly unscientific poll on the streets of Annapolis this week confirmed that, for Peroutka, the road to the White House may be very long indeed.
"I have no idea who he is," said Bob Larson, a retired businessman. "And why would he waste his money running against the big guys? He must have a point of view he feels very strongly about."
He certainly does. Peroutka recently told an audience at a conservative Christian legal seminar that his campaign is divinely inspired and that his party seeks to remake the United States as a nation where church and state are no longer separate. "This is a spiritual battle," he said. "It's fought out in culture, it's fought out in politics, it's fought out in the economy."
That won't win him the support of Medda Moss, who had never heard of Peroutka but said she wouldn't be giving him her vote. "Are you aware that the current president doesn't have any separation between church and state?" said the corporate executive, after dining at a West Street Italian restaurant with her sculptor husband, Joe Moss. "Everybody knows it."
Long odds don't trouble Peroutka. He recently noted that other significant concepts -- that the earth is round, that man would set foot on the moon -- were initially dismissed as absurd. "With that bit of background, let me share with you an absurd idea: We can restore the American Constitution," Peroutka said. "Is that absurd? Well, if it is, then there's hope for it."
And, on the streets this week, a distant ray of hope came from undecided voter Mike Shive. "If I knew who he was, I might vote for him," Shive said.
Peroutka, who has campaigned in Utah and California, may need Shive, and he may not want to neglect Maryland. Al Gore lost his home state in 2000, and look where it got him.
A Guide to Sea Glass
Richard LaMotte and his wife, Nancy, have known about the significance of Chesapeake Bay sea glass for decades. Now other people will have the opportunity.
Richard, a Chestertown author and marketing director for the LaMotte Co. (an Eastern Shore manufacturing firm), along with Annapolis photographer Celia Pearson, recently published "Pure Sea Glass" -- a 226-page guide to finding, dating and collecting the weathered glass.
Finding the jewel-like shards that for decades washed up along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay has become increasingly rare, LaMotte said. He hopes his book will encourage people to keep looking.
The book includes a detailed history of glass bottles, tableware and ceramics; explanations of how bottles become sea glass; and tips on the best beaches in the country to find the glass. (The last two pages include a log for readers-turned-sea glass-hunters to note the colors, dates and locations of their finds).
LaMotte needed two years to find enough historical and scientific data about sea glass to write the book. He and Nancy, a sea glass jeweler, combed North Carolina's Outer Banks and kayaked the Chesapeake to find glass. Pearson, owner of Pearson Photography, spent six months photographing the LaMottes' findings.
Richard was inspired to write the book, released in June, after watching Nancy make and sell the jewelry.
Nancy started collecting sea glass more than a decade ago. In 2001, she established Chesapeake Seaglass, a jewelry design firm she runs from the garage of the LaMottes' Chestertown home.
Richard became curious about the glass, which looks more like textured gemstones than glass; its origins; and the effects that the environment had on its original structure. He also wondered about the glass's historical significance.
"What's great about the Chesapeake Bay is that there's so much history," LaMotte said during the signing, as he held a piece of glass from the 1750s. "By collecting sea glass, you learn about the geology and people of the bay. We wanted to create something that would give people real information about the things they collect and real stories to tell their children and their grandchildren."
The book is available in Annapolis at the Aurora Gallery, the Historic Annapolis Foundation Museum Store and Maria's Picture Place.