The Sistersville Ferry
Posted on 07.07.14 by Danny Glover @ 8:21 pm

As a Paden City Wildcat from the glorious 1980s, I’ll be the first to tell you that the next stop south of my hometown along the West Virginia side of the Ohio River isn’t good for much.

Sure, Sistersville bred an entire generation of talented small-school athletes in its sports heyday. It also has a storied industrial history. Sistersville was an oil boom town in the late 18th century, a development that made the Wells Inn famous to this day.

But other than that …

OK, Sistersville has more going for it historically than I’ll ever be able to admit in light of the rivalry that divided our towns during my youth. It’s even making national news these days for one feature that has been there for nearly two centuries — the Sistersville Ferry that carries people, cars and even semi-tractors across the river to Fly, Ohio.

The ferry has fallen on hard times of late, losing passengers and struggling to meet its annual budget, but it’s still running. The Parkersburg News and Sentinel originally published the story in West Virginia, but the Associated Press distributed it nationally last week:

Tyler is the only county in West Virginia on the Ohio River where there is no bridge spanning the river. Besides the ferry, drivers have the option of a 36-mile round trip to cross the Hi Carpenter Bridge linking St. Marys and Newport or a 28-mile trek to cross at New Martinsville, Peters said.

Bill Schleier, who is captain of the ferry along with Herman Hause, said vehicle usage has ranged from 58 to 100 a day.

In years past, “those would be considered pretty poor days,” said Schleier, who’s worked on the ferry four years, two as a deckhand and two as a captain. “One hundred fifty, 200 was not unusual.”

The takeaway for me: It’s time for us to introduce our children to the Sistersville Ferry before it disappears altogether. We usually cross at the St. Mary’s bridge when we’re at my parents’ house and head south to visit friends in Marietta, Ohio. Next time we’ll pay $5 to ride the Ohio’s waves.


Filed under: History and News & Politics and West Virginia
Comments: None

The EPA Outhouse Is In-house
Posted on 06.25.14 by Danny Glover @ 8:23 pm

When elitists want to mock West Virginia, they typically resort to repeating ridiculous hillbilly stereotypes involving a lack of teeth, an affection for in-breeding or the absence of indoor plumbing. That last one is especially laughable in light of the news coming from the presumably prim and proper hallways of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Here’s the straight poop from Government Executive, a publication geared toward top officials in the federal government:

Environmental Protection Agency workers have done some odd things recently. … It appears, however, that a regional office has reached a new low: Management for Region 8 in Denver, Colo., wrote an email earlier this year to all staff in the area pleading with them to stop inappropriate bathroom behavior, including defecating in the hallway.

… Confounded by what to make of this occurrence, EPA management “consulted” with workplace violence “national expert” John Nicoletti, who said that hallway feces is in fact a health and safety risk. He added the behavior was “very dangerous” and the individuals responsible would “probably escalate” their actions.

Yep, you read that right. The agency in charge of keeping America’s air clean can’t even keep the air — or the floors — in one of its own hallways fresh.

This disgusting behavior happens in the big city more often than redneck haters would care to admit. A “serial pooper” wreaked stinky havoc at a Washington, D.C., Metro station a few years ago, for instance.

The scatological news at the EPA also reminds me of the sign I saw inside a bathroom stall at U.N. headquarters back in 1999: “Gentlemen dispose of toilet paper properly. Let’s keep the restroom clean.” VIPs in New York shouldn’t need that pointer, but apparently they do.

Laugh all you want about imaginary outhouse aficionados in West Virginia. At least when our ancestors used them ages ago, they had enough sense to relieve themselves in a privy dedicated to that purpose rather than in public corridors.


Filed under: Culture and Government and Hatin' On Rednecks and News & Politics and West Virginia
Comments: None

A Hillbilly Grammar Lesson, By Jim Comstock
Posted on 06.19.14 by Danny Glover @ 8:34 pm

I have this tendency to become obsessed with unusual characters, both fictional and real. Two that come to mind readily: Bartleby, the scrivener of Herman Melville fame, and John Randolph of Roanoke, an oddball politician from America’s early days whose named resurfaced in the news again just this month.

These days I’m obsessed with Jim Comstock, a “country editor” best known for his “weakly” newspaper, The West Virginia Hillbilly. I remember reading the Hillbilly occasionally as a child, and over the past few years, I’ve dreamed of finding a way to resurrect it online for digital posterity. His legacy deserves more attention than it gets deep in the bowels of a few libraries in the Mountain State.

My periodic but passing interest in “Mr. West Virginia” became a fascination a few weeks ago. That enthusiasm has manifested itself in a fairly successful quest to compile a personal collection of Comstock’s writing.

I now own three signed copies of his books — “The Best of Hillbilly” compilation of his newspaper musings, his autobiography “7 Decades,” and “Pa and Ma and Mister Kennedy.” And just today my wife snagged a small collection of the Hillbilly for me, thanks to an ad I placed in a circular back home. I’m still on the lookout for a good deal on the 50-book set of the “West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia” that Comstock authored.

All of that is context for the real point of this post, which is a nugget I just found in “Pa and Ma and Mister Kennedy.” It’s a hillbilly grammar lesson from the Pa in the book:

“Son, if somebody knocks on that door and you say’s who’s there and the person knocking said ‘It is I,’ just shoot through the door because chances are it is either a social worker, a magazine writer, or a man from Harvard, and they are paid for. No court in West Virginia would convict you.”

Comstock’s books are full of zingers like that, and you’ll probably read more of them here in the future.

In fact, I’ll be writing much more about him down the road. I’m obsessed enough that I recently interviewed Comstock’s son Jay by telephone, and next week I’ll be talking to one of the journalists who worked for Jim Comstock decades ago. If I can’t resurrect the Hillbilly, which actually might annoy Comstock in the after life because in his eyes I’m a “chickened-out West Virginian,” the least I can do is tell Comstock’s story on a blog that he helped inspire.


Filed under: Grammar and History and Just For Laughs and Media and People and Redneck Humor and West Virginia
Comments: None

A Rant From Inside The Box
Posted on 06.11.14 by Danny Glover @ 7:49 pm

Every evening on Fox News’ “The Five,” the co-hosts close the show with quick rants and raves about the “One More Thing” on their minds. I say a hearty “Amen!” to Greg Gutfeld’s tirade tonight because he mocked the phrase “outside the box.”

I hate that phrase so much that I once wrote a local newspaper column called “Inside the Box.” This is the essay that started my own weekly rants:

Where The Weather Is ‘Fine As Frog’s Hair’
Originally published in the Prince William Journal, Jan. 28, 1998

By K. Daniel Glover

If we are to believe the managers of the world (you know, the boneheads who have made a rich man of “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams), there are two ways of thinking: “inside the box” and “outside the box.”

I do my thinking inside the box. I know that only because a former supervisor once told me during a review that if I wanted to move up the ladder within the company, I had to start thinking outside the box.

What does it all mean? I wish I knew. I think it has something to do with eating McPizza, drinking New Coke and dating the office intern, but I’m not quite sure. I left that company to take a job inside the box.

What I do know is this: If I think inside the box, the powers that be in the Prince William County school system definitely think outside the box. How do I know? Because they closed down the schools a couple of weeks ago on what The Washington Post later called “a pretty standard cold, wet day” and because I thought they were absolutely crazy for doing so.

But maybe I’m just nostalgic. I remember the stories my Grandpa Tumblebug told — of walking two miles to school each day, uphill both ways and through three feet of snow in sub-freezing temperatures — and I long for those days.

OK, Grandpa Tumblebug didn’t actually make that trek each ay, and he didn’t even tell me those stories. His real name isn’t Tumblebug, either. But that’s what I called him and he does tell some good stories — and he did live in an era when men stood tall in the face of bad weather.

People in those days — like the dedicated postmen who delivered their mail — saw rain, sleet, snow and hail not as an excuse to miss a day of school or work but as an obstacle to overcome.
(more…)


Filed under: Business and Culture and Education and Family and Food and Government and History and Media and People and Weather and West Virginia
Comments: None

Lifestyles Of The Rich And Redneck
Posted on 06.09.14 by Danny Glover @ 8:37 am

About 15 miles north of downtown Atlanta, just inside the Interstate 285 loop that encircles the metropolitan area, there’s a mansion that screams enlightened redneck.

The enlightened features include:

  • European gated estate totaling 7,000 square feet on nearly two acres;
  • Two-story foyer with a marble floor and elegant staircase;
  • Living room with a cathedral ceiling and limestone kitchen counter;
  • Master bedroom (one of seven) with a fireplace and a spa bathroom;
  • Rooms galore for dining, recreation and more;
  • And a fireplace, heated in-ground pool, spa and gazebo outside.

Now for the redneck rooms of the estate, located in a separate “two-story entertainment building.” These two pictures from the Coldwell Banker listing are worth any 2,000 words I could muster to describe the rooms:

For a cool $1.499 million, this home in Sandy Springs can be yours. But the collection of stuffed animals doesn’t appear to be part of the package.


Filed under: An Enlightened Redneck ... and Culture and Hunting & Guns and Rednecks and Wildlife
Comments: None

The NRA vs. The Muppies
Posted on 04.28.14 by Danny Glover @ 8:07 pm

Jim Geraghty of National Review Online came away from this year’s National Rifle Association convention with fresh insight into one of America’s great cultural battles.

This battle pits the bearded, meat-and-potatoes men of the NRA against the “muppies” (formerly metrosexuals) who hate everything “those guys” of real America represent. Or as I preach it on this blog, it’s the rednecks versus the elitists.

In Geraghty’s eyes, the hatred of the NRA and its members boils down to this:

A gun is indeed a symbol. It’s a symbol of who [Those Guys] are, how they see themselves and what they stand for. They aren’t willing to rely solely on someone else for their own protection. They’re independent; they can pursue animals of the wild and return with food. Looking back in history, you see serfs, servants, and slaves are rarely armed because of the possibility of rebellion and uprising; owning a gun is a statement that “I will never be subjugated.” … Obviously, this doesn’t fit well in a progressive worldview that aims, whether they realize it or not, to restore an aristocracy.

The muppies will not rest until they crush the redneck. We rednecks “may laugh at Metrosexual America,” Geraghty said, “but you rarely if ever see them argue that America must be purged of its metrosexuals.” By contrast, the muppies demand that everyone conform to their elitist vision.

And that’s why the NRA will continue to be a force for enlightened redneck culture.


Filed under: Culture and Hunting & Guns and News & Politics and Rednecks
Comments: None

Why We Home-School, Lesson #49
Posted on 04.15.14 by Danny Glover @ 8:09 pm

We want a better return on our investment in terms of educational quality than today’s public schools can even hope to offer.

Public education is so bad these days that no matter how much money the government throws at the problem, nothing changes for the better and it often gets worse.

The bonus ROI for homeschoolers: hours of extra quality time with our children because of how much less time it takes to educate them and when we choose to do it.

(Read previous “Why We Home-School” lessons.)


Filed under: Government and Home Schooling and Why We Home-School
Comments: None

The Worm For The Win
Posted on 04.14.14 by Danny Glover @ 10:52 pm

As a tee-totaling redneck, I’ve always been annoyed that beer brands make some of the most clever TV ads. But you gotta give props where props are due, and Keystone Light has a winner in my book with its fishing ad that glorifies the lowly worm:

I’ve always been partial to the worm as bait. During my high school years, I earned some hefty pocket change catching dozens of nightcrawlers a night in my hometown and selling them for 50 cents to 65 cents per dozen. My biggest problem as a businessman was not using the inventory myself in the Ohio River and its tributary streams on the West Virginia side of the river.

Some of my fishing mentors and companions razzed me over my choice of bait. Even the hillbilly hollers have their share of anglers who look down their noses if you use live bait, and especially nightcrawlers, instead of tying a fly, a spinner or some other lure on the end of your line. Dough balls, corn and even stink bait for catfish ranked higher in their minds than dirty worms.

“A River Runs Through It” memorialized this brand of redneck elitism in a scene where the bumbling bait fisherman showed up late and drunk, with a coffee can full of worms. The uppity fly fishermen, the movie’s main characters, found him hours later, naked and sunburned because he fell asleep in the grass with the hussy he brought with him.

But no matter how much mocking I endured, I never wavered from the worms. I also usually caught far more fish than my friends who were loyal to their lures, as did the fishermen who came knocking on my parents’ door for bait — sometimes to the tune of 20 dozen or more at once.

The pinnacle of my fishing youth came on the day when the man who taught me the most about the sport asked if I’d share my worms with him. He had been fishing all day with his favorite lure, white Curly Tail Grubs from Mister Twister.

For every bass he tricked with those lures, I hooked two to three with my nightcrawlers. They were biting within seconds after my bait hit the water. His “luck” improved dramatically when he swapped the plastic for the natural.

My mentor was a teetotaler, too, but if a non-alcoholic version of Keystone Light had existed back then, he just might have bought me a brew to toast the worm for the win.


Filed under: Advertising and Business and Family and Fishing and Rednecks and Sports and Video and West Virginia
Comments: None

5 Great Reasons NOT To Watch ‘Noah’
Posted on 03.29.14 by Danny Glover @ 12:04 pm

I’ll admit that I was excited about seeing the “Noah” epic that opened in theaters yesterday when I first saw this trailer:

But now that it’s out and I’ve read about both the movie and its atheist maker, I’ve decided not to waste my money. Here are five reasons why you should think twice about wasting yours, too:

  • Noah is portrayed as a psycho who butchers unicorns and tries to kill his kin.
  • The snakeskin shed by Satan as a serpent has magical powers.
  • Adam and Eve were space aliens who became human after they ate the wrong fruit.
  • A magic seed snagged from the Garden of Eden grows a forest of wood for the ark.
  • And rock monsters, the form taken by fallen angels, roam the Earth and build the ark.

The film’s director admits that Noah is “the least biblical biblical film ever made” and a disclaimer for the movie adds that “artistic license has been taken.” But that’s typical Hollywood. I would not have expected any less from an entertainment community that glorifies evil and maligns goodness, and I would have paid a few bucks to see a movie based even loosely on a Bible story.

Defenders of director Darren Aronofsky’s interpretation of the Great Flood also fairly point out that he had to take artistic license to make a two-hour movie from a few verses in the Bible. As a writer, I appreciate the enormity of the challenge of writing a script that wouldn’t alienate the people most likely to watch the movie — Christians who have heard the story of Noah from the Book of Genesis since childhood.

But this movie sounds like a real dud that not only makes a mockery of God’s word but also is plain laughable from a worldly view. “It’s tiresome, exhausting, bizarre and self-serious,” a secular writer at The Awl concluded in a piece headlined “Why Won’t Anybody Say That ‘Noah’ Is Terrible?

The best reason to blow your entertainment budget elsewhere is because, as one reviewer put it, “Noah” is the “stupidest movie in years.”


Filed under: Culture and Entertainment and News & Politics and Religion and Video
Comments: None

A Speeding Bullet Can’t Even Pierce Obamacare
Posted on 03.26.14 by Danny Glover @ 10:04 pm

Joe Manchin may regret shooting a piece of legislation with a high-powered rifle in his 2011 West Virginia Senate campaign, but his “Dead Aim” ad has spawned another enlightened redneck imitator this year.

In his race for an Alabama House seat, Will Brooke takes a few shots, literally, at President Obama’s healthcare law — and makes a statement in defense of gun rights at the same time:

The moral of this video story: Not even a speeding bullet fired from the barrel of a high-powered rifle or pistol can penetrate the mountain of bureaucratic language that now governs American health care.


Filed under: Government and Health and Hunting & Guns and News & Politics and People and Video and West Virginia
Comments: None

Gun-loving Rednecks In Obama’s White House
Posted on 03.11.14 by Danny Glover @ 12:24 am

Something happened in the White House that you don’t see every day: President Obama hosted gun-loving rednecks in a celebration of college athletics. Or to be more specific, he hosted the West Virginia University rifle team, which has won a record 15 championships.

“This is a great honor,” Mountaineer rifle coach Jon Hammond told WAJR.com. “We’re honored to be the first WVU team to attend the White House. This promises to be a great moment for the student-athletes, and I’m glad they have the chance to enjoy this experience. Hopefully, this day will be something they’ll look back on fondly when they’re older.”

But I’m sure WVU’s shooting stars weren’t clinging to their guns while they were there. They also weren’t the only guests, as Obama invited championship teams from multiple sports. Watch video of the event:


Filed under: Government and Hunting & Guns and News & Politics and Rednecks and Video and West Virginia
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The Realities Of Russian Life
Posted on 03.01.14 by Danny Glover @ 1:36 pm

Russia has been in the news a lot these days thanks to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and now the turmoil in the Ukraine. The coverage has triggered memories of my trip to Russia a decade ago.

I went there for about three weeks in May/June 2004 to visit the preacher our congregation supported in Nizhny Novgorod and to meet the brethren there. We also spent a few days site-seeing in Moscow. It was one of the most enlightening experiences of life.

I initially laughed like every other spoiled American at the gripes from journalists as they arrived in Russia last month to cover the Olympics. But an article about the #SochiProblems later reminded me that, sadly, they were reporting realities that Russians face every day.

Here are two telling excerpts from the blog PolicyMic:

  • “Most Russians don’t drink water from the sink due to fear of illness, and the ones who can’t afford bottled water just boil it and hope they don’t get sick. Only around half of Russians had access to drinking water that met reasonable health standards in 2002.”
  • “Russian corporations ended up denying their 70,000 workers wages, sanitary accommodations and, in many cases, basic human rights” while building Olympic facilities.

The article prompted me to revisit my Mission To Russia blog, where I made observations like these about life in Russia:
(more…)


Filed under: Blogging and Culture and Human Interest and News & Politics and Photography and Travel
Comments: 1 Comment

There’s Gold In Them There Cans!
Posted on 03.01.14 by Danny Glover @ 12:19 pm

Imagine taking the dog for a walk one day and coming home a millionaire. Sounds crazy, right? But it’s reality for one Northern California couple.

The world only knows them as John and Mary. They understandably want to remain anonymous after finding a stash of gold coins that had been buried on their property in eight cans for decades. The 1,411 coins are worth $28,000 face value, $2 million if melted for the gold and an estimated $10 million in collectible value.

The Los Angeles Times reported these details about the “Saddle Ridge Hoard,” the largest ever found in U.S. history:

All dated between 1847 and 1894, 13 of the coins are the finest of their kind. One “miraculous coin,” an 1866 $20 piece made in San Francisco and missing “In God We Trust,” could bring $1 million on its own, Hall said.

When the motto was added to the coin in 1866, some were still minted without the phrase, he said. Had the couple attempted to clean the delicate surface of the piece, they could have reduced the value to $7,000 or $8,000 in under a minute, said David McCarthy, senior numismatist for Kagin’s, who evaluated the hoard.

The last big find was uncovered in 1985 in Jackson, Tenn. It had a face value of $4,500 and was eventually sold for around $1 million.

When I heard the story on the news one morning this week, I told our daughter to go get our son and tell him to take the dog for a walk. You never know what you might find!

The story also got me excited about using my metal detector again. My wife bought it for me for Christmas in 2012 and gave me some accessory equipment this past Christmas. I’ve only used it once on my father’s property in West Virginia, and the only coin I found was a wheat penny from the 1940s. (I also found an old, rusted pocket knife and other metallic odds and ends.)

But we’ve only just begun. We have more than 30 acres to search. National Geographic’s coverage of the Saddle Ridge Hoard says there are few hoards of gold coins in the United States.

Here’s a quote from Douglas Mudd, the director and curator of the American Numismatic Association’s Money Museum: “You get a lot of hoards in Europe — coins buried for hundreds or thousands of years, but they’re less common in the U.S. Our history isn’t that long, and for most of the time we’ve had banks, so people have tended to put their money there. … Sixty, 70, 200 coins — yes. Fourteen-hundred? That’s exceptional.”

But that’s OK. I’d be happy to find a few random silver coins and maybe an Indian arrowhead or two. It’s all about the hunt to us diggers. And as National Geographic says, “People who sweep metal detectors over fields as a hobby, and backyard dog walkers casually kicking up a bit of dirt, can always hope for a lucky strike.”


Filed under: Coin Collecting and History and Human Interest and News & Politics and Technology and West Virginia
Comments: None

Wild, Miserable West Virginia?
Posted on 02.21.14 by Danny Glover @ 11:49 pm

Ask any West Virginian what he or she thinks of the Mountain State and you’re likely to hear how wild and wonderful it is. The phrase “wild and wonderful” — or sometimes just “wonderful” — has defined the state for decades.

But when city slickers dig a little deeper with probing questions about life, work, physical and emotional health, behaviors, and basic access, West Virginians appear to be a pretty miserable lot.

The evidence is in Gallup-Healthway’s annual “State of American Well-Being” index. The latest report for 2013 was just released, and my home state is dead last — for the fifth year in a row. The only time West Virginia didn’t rank No. 50 was in 2008, the first year of the index, and we were 49th that year.

Cue the negative media coverage of those rednecks in the hills:
(more…)


Filed under: Business and Culture and Health and News & Politics and Rednecks and West Virginia
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An Inspiring Adoption Song
Posted on 02.04.14 by Danny Glover @ 9:38 pm

Somewhere within my heart is a song about adoption looking for a voice. I have a title for it that comes from the last paragraph of our adoption story and even drafted some lyrics several years ago.

But I’ve never been able to finish the song. I guess I’m a writer but not a songwriter.

John Waller, on the other hand, is a songwriter. And he tells an inspiring adoption story in “Orphan,” a song about a little girl’s quest for her “forever home.”

The song is even more powerful when you realize that little girl at the beginning and end of the video is Waller’s adopted daughter, and the people who play the parents are his sister and brother-in-law.

I hope someday I can find the words to pen our adoption story in lyrics, but for now, I’ll just listen to John Waller’s and appreciate all of the parents and children who found each other through adoption. “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27).


Filed under: Adoption and Family and Music and Video
Comments: None

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