Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Duct Tape And Moon Pies

These are the only things that I would need to fix our broken political system if I were in the big man’s shoes. We could skip all off the hoopla about fancy dinners, shiny cars and three-piece suits. All our congress men and women need to do is invite their political counterparts on a little field trip.
Whatcha do is, go down to the local general store and buy yourself some fresh bait, a case of RC cola and a box of Moon Pies. Take your party to your best fishing hole, and spend the afternoon out under a good shade tree with your lines in the water. There isn’t anything that can’t be resolved over a bottle of RC and a good Moon Pie.  You get the opportunity to get out into the open air of the country. You get to see the wildlife up close, and forget about the stuffiness of your offices.
The duct tape? Oh, that. Well, you see… you’d use the duct tape in only the most dire of situations. Let’s say that you’re in a planned session of Congress, and someone across the aisle won’t stop heckling you. We have a saying up here in the mountains: ‘Silence is golden, but duct tape is silver.’ Need I say more?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Roadkill Can Teach You About Life

  We've all seen it. You're driving down a highway or back road, and there it is -- splattered all over the pavement. I'm not going to get into the gory details, or draw any chalk outlines, but I think that you get what I'm saying here. Road kill. Have you ever stopped to wonder what lessons, if any, could be taken from that lost beast along the road? What's that? You never thought in your wildest dreams (or nightmares) that a squirrel frisbee could teach you some valuable information about life? Well, sit right back, and soak in the knowledge, friends!

1. You've gotta have guts.

  This applies to both the figurative and literal meanings. If you want to be successful in life, or live with few regrets, you've gotta have the courage to pursue the goals and dreams that you so desire. If you've thought of starting your own small business, entering your painting in the art show, writing the next great American novel, or even running for public office then you've gotta muster up the guts to get out there and make it happen.

2. You've gotta be able to stare Death square in the eye.

  If you're going to get out there and pursue your dreams, then you've gotta be able to accept defeat on the highest level. There will likely be more times that you have to pick yourself back up out of the dirt and dust yourself off then you'll win. However, the most successful folks in the world are the ones that are able to take one on the chin, and get right back up and continue to fight for what they want.

3. You've gotta be patient.

  Sure, you could sprint right out into your endeavor -- guns a-blazin' -- but, then you're likely to get squashed flat. Take your time. Study your surroundings. How are people that are successful in your endeavor doing it? How did they get there? How are similarly aspiring folks getting by? Can you learn from their successes or mistakes? Be patient, and do your homework. You'll be able to dodge the darting pitfalls of your chosen goals if you do.

  Didn't think that it was possible for me to give you inspiration utilizing some two-dimensional wildlife? Oh, have ye little faith. I hope that this seriously helps you on your way to getting whatever it is that you want out of this life. It's a one-way ticket after all.
  What are your goals or dreams? How are you getting along with them? Share your success stories and lessons learned below!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hillbillies In Star Wars

  With the recent announcement by George Lucas and Disney to start the production of the final series of trilogy films in Star Wars, it seems like a good time to reflect on how the hillbilly culture has already influenced the historic franchise, and speculate about how it may influence it in the series to come. What's that? You have trouble believing that there were any hillbillies in the first six Star Wars films at all? Well, then sit right back, and let's examine the evidence at hand. Then we'll see about this 'no hillbillies in Star Wars' theory of yours.
  You can scan the hours of film on the first six Star Wars films, and true -- you will not find a long bearded toothless person in coveralls. Take a closer look at the characters. Do their traits and situations resemble those of some hillbillies? Undeniably, I say -- yes. Let's start with the main hero in the original series of films, Luke Skywalker. His momma died giving birth to him. His daddy done ran away, and joined the bad guys. He gets raised on a farm by his next of kin. Not to mention that he thought that he had a crush on his would-be sister. Ahh... not convinced yet, eh? Let us move on to his mentor apparent, Obi Wan.
  Obi Wan Kenobi lived in a hole in a mountain by himself. Everyone thought that he was senile and crazy. He was sporting a rather classy beard. He had wild stories of former wars and adventures that no one seemed to believe... Classic hillbilly.
  The next example for consideration in this discussion, Chewbacca. Come on! The wookie hasn't gotten a haircut or a shave -- ever. He almost always walks around with a rifle. He talks in a language that only a few people can even understand. He rips people's arms out of their sockets when he loses. Someone please hand this wookie a banjo!
  My final exhibit for your consideration in this exercise is the guru of the first trilogy himself -- Yoda. He was old and lived in the forest in solitude. He only had two teeth in his entire head. He was very powerful and wise. Oh, and he had a palate for worm soup. Not a hillbilly? Pishaw!
  There you have it! Several prime examples of how the hillbilly culture has already influenced the Star Wars franchise. One can only speculate as to how our culture will continue to shape and mould the future film series, and the rest of the American cultural fabric in the years to come.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hillbillies: 5 Truths To The Mountain Folk

  There are a ton of great jokes and one-liners out there that ridicule and put down the hillbilly, but I wonder if these same people that put us down have any working knowledge of who we are, or where we come from. I'll take a brief moment to debunk some of the myth that surrounds our culture, and another moment to enlighten readers to who the hillbillies really are:
  1. Hillbillies do, in fact, have real teeth - that are their own.  Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of mountain folk have teeth. This holds true across the entire spectrum of the hillbilly populace - from West Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama to the far reaches of other hillbillies around the globe. Now, it is true that there is a small sliver of our conglomerate that may have never been introduced to a toothbrush, however, the overwhelming amount of hillbillies do take care of themselves every day.
  2. Hillbillies and Rednecks aren't synonymous. There's a huge misconception that has been perpetuated for decades that these two terms are one and the same. The truth is, the term redneck holds a very negative connotation. It has its origins in the Maetwan Incident in the 1920s. A group of miners in southern West Virginia wanted a fair wage that they could use in public stores, better health care and safer working conditions. A huge number of these miners descended on the state capitol of Charleston - rifles in hand - demanding a fare handshake. Of course, the mining company owners weren't happy. They gave the striking miners 24 hours to return to their jobs. When the miners didn't, a posse of pro-company miners and workers marched to Charleston, WV to bring them all back by force. They wore a red bandanna around their necks to distinguish themselves. A massive battled ensued, and hundreds lost their lives.
  Hillbillies, on the other hand, are just a simple rugged mountain folk that tend to keep themselves removed from the public. So, the next time you go callin' someone a redneck -- be very careful.
  3. Not all hillbillies live in a single wide. Ok, so there is a slice of our members that do live in trailer parks. I can't argue that point. However, if you traveled the highways and byways of not only this great nation, but others around the world, you would come to find that a larger portion of hillbillies live in really nice homes on rather large tracts of land.
  4. Not all hillbillies are uneducated buffoons. Again, for some reason, the t.v. crews love to interview the strangest examples of our population when it comes to massive weather-related destruction, or the huge accident on the interstate. By and large, though, most hillbillies are highly educated. Most of us have a college degree, and more still have at least an Associate's degree in one field or another.
  5. Hillbillies aren't lazy. In fact, the exact opposite is true. We are a hard-working folk - raised in an unforgiving environment that instills work ethic in us, or we would struggle to survive. Hillbillies work for a living. We take pride in who we are, and where we are from. Most hillbillies can trace their roots back to Scotch-Irish, German, Swiss, or Slavic heritages here in America. We love our families, our land, our music and our food. We welcome friends, and forgive our enemies.
  So, the next time that you go into mountain country, take the time to stop into a restaurant or store off the beaten path, and interact with the local culture. You just might be surprised at who and what you discover.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Who Else Wants To See The Mountains On Fire?

  Autumn is by far and away the best season of the year. This is because you get to experience all of the truly wonderful things about the outdoors. These are just some of the great things that you can find in West Virginia in the fall.
  The biggest tourist draw that you will notice here in the fall is the foliage. Our mountains and hillsides come alive with a vibrant rainbow of colors beginning this weekend. You can take a drive down any highway, byway, or country road and you're sure to find a scene that would have made even Norman Rockwell envious. From the firey red leaves of the maples to the brilliant yellows of the poplars, you will want to bring your camera when you visit the Mountain State.
  Another great reason to swing on in for a spell is our state's homegrown harvest. West Virginia has a plethora of fresh fruits and veggies planted and raised right here. You will find succulent apples -- figi, granny smith and the honey crisp. You can get your hands on fresh greens, turnips, melons, squash, peaches and plums. There are several farmers’ markets that bring their harvests right to you at very affordable prices.
  Our best asset of all -- and your best reason to get out here -- is our hospitality. We have a huge number of wonderful B&Bs, plush hotels and scenic campgrounds for all of you outdoor enthusiasts. The folks here are warm and welcoming. We'll help you find your way around. We can point you in the direction of a great home-cooked meal. You may arrive here a stranger, but by the time you leave West Virginia you will be more than a welcome friend. You'll be family!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Leave No Doubt


Ok... Coach Stew changed my mind. I knew there was a reason that I kept this speech around. This one's for you, Coach... Go skin some Wildcat hide!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

5 Truths To Being A Mountaineer Football Fan

  I've been following WVU football since I was five. I was there when John Denver commemorated the then new Mountaineer Field. I went to every home game with my family from then until I moved away in 1999. I watched the team triumph over Doug Flutie when the Eagles were flying high. I saw Dan Marino and the Panthers demolish my beloved Mountaineers at home when they rolled into town. I grew up during the era of the greatest tandem in sports radio... Jack Flemming and Woody O'Hara. Over the years there are several things that have held true through to this very day.

  1. WVU Football will never win a National Championship. My dad has been following the team since the mid-60s, and my grandpa since the late 1930s. They both only saw the very same two undefeated seasons that I did -- 1988 and 1993. Both times we had a great offense and defense, and both times we failed to achieve immortality. For the past 19 years since, we have done the same thing year in and year out. WVU football builds up the hopes a dreams of millions of insane (I'll explain this later) fans only to dash them to bits by embarrassing themselves before a nationally televised audience.  This year is no different. Especially with no defense... How could we really fool ourselves that this year was 'the year'? You can change coaches, change staff, change conferences and hell even change uniforms... but it won't change the fact that the same thing will happen over and over and over again.
  2. WVU Football fans are clinically insane. The same can be said about several teams and their fans. We go in every season doing the same things and expecting a different result. As humans, we are doomed to repeat history. WVU's football history lessons tell us that we have never won a national title... ever. The likelihood that this will happen is somewhere between a skinny cowboy and a woman of the convent.
  3. Great offense alone won't win championships. This one should be crystal clear after the recent loss to Texas Tech. Great football teams are powerhouses on all three sides of the ball. Our offense can't prop up the 2012 squad any longer. There's no 'offense' in the word 'team'.
  4. Pat Miller is the worst defensive back in the history of the program. This holds to be true. I've seen some bad ones in my day, but this kid takes the prize. I'm only going to go back through the 2011 season to somewhat spare his feelings, but I'm sure the trend is there if you want to look. The reason WVU lost its games in 2011 and thus far in 2012 are all because the opposing defenses discovered the same thing... get anyone on your team with opposable thumbs one-on-one with Miller, and there's an 88 percent chance you'll get a touchdown. The same will hold true through the rest of this season. WVU will likely seek vengeance out on K-State, and win. They will then climb back from 14th to 11th in the polls only to fall to 18th when OU trounces them in November, and down to 23rd when Iowa State hands them their bonnets in Ames.
  5. The road ahead isn't any brighter. Having said all of this, one can expect a cyclic pattern to ensue for the next 15 years. This was our shot at glory year. Next year we will go 4-8 because we'll be weak on all three sides of the game. In 2014 we'll improve with experience to 7-5, and get back into a 'who cares' bowl. By 2015 and 2016 WVU will again compete for Big XII prominence with 10-2 or 11-1 records. The only way WVU will ever stand a chance at competing for a national title will be if they either go undefeated which is highly unlikely, or if the playoff system expands to an 8-team quarterfinal series. Even by then (circa 2016) we would get into the playoffs only to get pummeled by the number one team in the country.
  So, there's the cold hard truth. If you're young and growing up a Mountaineer like most of us, then toughen your skin and harden your heart. This is the way it'll be. If you're thinking about jumping on any kind of bandwagon -- I'd stay off. The wagon's only running on one good wheel these days, and that one's about to snap clean off.