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
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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: 1 Comment

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
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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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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
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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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Beyond The West Virginia Stereotypes
Posted on 01.15.14 by Danny Glover @ 9:41 pm

You’ll never read this description of West Virginia (or any like it) in the media because it’s way more fun to mock stereotypical, imaginary rednecks than it is to report the boring reality of enlightened rednecks:

My father and mother both have good jobs. My sister and I both attend college. I’ve never thought about fornicating with a family member. I’ve never chewed tobacco or made moonshine. I have all my teeth. I’m friends with a black kid. I’ve never seen Crystal Meth. Welfare checks don’t feed me. I wear the brands other states wear, listen to the Billboard Top 100, and I even have internet access. Take a step back and look at us, America- West Virginia isn’t just one big mud hole…it’s where I call home.

There’s more at the Gateway Connector blog in a post titled “The Real West Virginia,” including a short list of celebrities from the Mountain State such as premier college football coaches Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban.


Filed under: Hatin' On Rednecks and Media and News & Politics and People and Sports and West Virginia
Comments: None

How To Cover Tragedy In West Virginia
Posted on 01.14.14 by Danny Glover @ 10:34 pm

If you’re an elite journalist, there are apparently only two ways to cover tragedy in West Virginia — ignore it or mock the people who are impacted by it. Both happened over the past few days as more than 100,000 residents of the Mountain State lost easy access to clean water, a resource that too many Americans take for granted.

The tragedy, officially declared a disaster by the Federal Emergency Management Agency last week, occurred after a chemical plant near Charleston leaked a substance known as MCHM (short for 4-methylcyclohexane methanol) into the Elk River. As a result of the spill, people in nine surrounding counties were told not to drink, cook, bathe or wash clothes with water piped into their homes from that source.

Had this tragedy happened where I live now, in a Virginia suburb outside the nation’s capital, or in another major media center like New York, it would have been the top story in every major news outlet for days. But because it happened in my home state, nothing but a land of “Buckwild” hillbillies and rubes to many journalists in the big cities, it’s an afterthought.

Ironically, it took one big city journalist to make that point before anyone paid attention. Jason Linkins of The Huffington Post mocked the Sunday news shows for ignoring the West Virginia chemical spill.

But look, it was really important that Sunday pundits cover this whole “Will Chris Christie Survive This Scandal To Run For President In 2016?” story. Time is of the essence on that one: They’ve only got two years left in which to have Really Deep Thoughts about it.

Plus CBS’ “Face The Nation” just had to commemorate the Hudson River landing of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 — the five-year anniversary of that is in three days!

And Martha Raddatz had some important breaking news that definitely supersedes coverage of the Elk River spill: “Take a look at the newest star at the Smithsonian National Zoo. We got a sneak peek at Bao Bao getting ready for her big public debut this week. But you might catch her during a nap. The four-and-a-half month old panda sleeps 20 hours a day.”

… And so on. I guess if you want coverage of a chemical spill, it better happen inside the bubble.

More irony ensued when Detroit journalist Zlati Meyer decided the chemical spill was a good time to take a page from Jay Leno’s “Big Joke Book of Bigotry”. “#WestVirginia has its tainted water problem under ctrl. Now, it can work on incest,” she tweeted.

Yes, you heard that right. A journalist in Detroit, which these days is far more backward than West Virginia ever has been, albeit in a different way, got on her high horse to look down her nose at all those imaginary kissin’ cousins in the boondocks.

Meyer quickly deleted her tweet, no doubt because she caught so much justifiable heat for it. But it will live online forever as a testament to journalistic bias and ignorance.


Filed under: Hatin' On Rednecks and Media and News & Politics and People and West Virginia
Comments: 1 Comment

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