Man puts U.S. flag up in lights
Stan Ekovich of Reisterstown was looking for a way to support the American troops overseas. Then a light bulb went on over his head.
Make that a thousand light bulbs.
On Jan. 18, two days after the Persian Gulf war started, Ekovich erected a large wooden frame on the front of his house. He then arranged a thousand red, white and blue Christmas lights within the frame in the design of the U.S. flag.
"This is just my way of trying to reach out to the guys overseas and letting them know we're standing behind them 100 percent," Ekovich says of his electric flag. "I feel that what they're doing is right and justified."
The 49-year-old says he has never been in the military, although he recently phoned a local army recruiter to volunteer for the war effort.
"But they told me they couldn't take me because of my age," he says.
In his view, the battle with Iraq is not merely over oil. The issue, Ekovich states, is "humanity. It's people. We can't let nations walk all over other countries. I'm a God-fearing person, and I don't think God would approve of what Iraq is trying to do."
More people are discovering and revisiting the writings of 16th century French soothsayer Michel Nostradamus, who some say predicted a war between an unlikely alliance of nations and a Middle East "anti-Christ" in the last decade of the 20th century.
Nostradamus, say some who interpret his writings, predicted the rise and fall of other "anti-Christs" Napoleon and Hitler, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the end of the world in the 38th century.
Area bookstores and libraries have noticed rising interest in the prognosticator since the gulf war began. Nostradamus supposedly predicted that the allied nations would prevail over the Middle East tyrant but that the struggle would last 27 years and destroy New York City.
"He predicted so far into the future that every time something happens that is remotely similar to one of his predictions, people say, 'Well, he said it would happen,' " said Jo Ann Crue, manager of the Waldenbooks store at Security Square Mall, who has been unable to keep books on Nostradamus in stock lately.
The Enoch Pratt Free Library also has had a run on literature about Nostradamus.
"Since the outbreak of the war, we have had a tremendous surge of interest in Nostradamus," said Neil Jordahl, head of the library's humanities department. "We always have lots of interest in him, but this has been a tremendous increase. In fact, there's no way we can keep up with it."
MESSAGES BY COMPUTER
Army Sgt. Larry Grim of Arnold has helped set up a network of computer bulletin boards to send messages to the troops in Saudi Arabia.
Grim and a number of bulletin board operators across the country have set up relay stations for people to write their computer messages to the troops. Marylanders can call his computer and enter the message, have the message sent to California and then on to Riyadh.
The electronic message gets to Riyadh within 24 hours, Grim said. A printed copy is put in the soldier's mail box within a week.
Grim does not charge for the service. He says the cost of transmitting the messages, of which he receives two to three a day, is about 2 cents for three pages.
To send an electronic message to a soldier, call the following bulletin boards:
* Grimace, BBS, Arnold, 301-544-4629.
* Fire Station, BBS, Baltimore, 301-866-8613.
* Quantum, BBS, Manchester, 301-239-8379.
Only bulletin board operators have access to letters, which are checked to make sure they contain no profanity or other offensive material, Grim said.
T If you know an interesting story of how the war is affecting people on the home front, please call 332-6457.
PERSIAN GULF SHOWDOWN
Thomas W. Waldron, Patrick Ercolano, Norris P. West and Monica Norton contributed to this report.