Straight from the holler.


  by "Buck"

October 2, 2003

BEING WHO YOU ARE - I am a proud hillbilly.  Those of you who read this rambling every week should realize that.  I cannot help who I am or where I come from.   So I wasn't raised in a cosmopolitan environment-fuck it.   I have no desire to be a fake or phony as many of those "more beautiful" folks I see on television.     Somehow, Hollywood is trying to explain to me why it's okay to cry, why I shouldn't smoke, why I should embrace one man craving the carnal knowledge of another.  Sorry, I'm not buying it.  I've all but sworn off television because there's nothing to watch.   Instead of attempting to keep me entertained, the industry believes I should also receive a healthy dose of political correctness education in the process.    I hate that.  Make me laugh damn it!  Don't try and insult me by telling me by being who I am I somehow ought to be ashamed.   I may be a hillbilly, but I'm an educated one-and I can smell a load of horseshit from a mile away.. and in Hollywood's case, 2,000 miles away.

HILLBILLY GET TOGETHER - I spent the weekend in Lewis County, West Virginia at Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park.  Yes, we actually honor the memory of a general for a foreign army that was a traitor to the United States-what of it?   Anyway, the state puts on an annual get together known as National Hunting and Fishing Days.  This is a redneck's Neiman Marcus.   Thousands show up, most of them wearing camouflage, and sit in on seminars about various ways to skin a deer, calling animals, or catch fish.  It's great fun and a pleasant environment.  Nobody looks down on you.  Everybody is who they are.  Those that think they are better than everybody stay away, so we don't have to put up with them.   I had to snap this picture for you. It was priceless and pretty much said it all about the guest list.

GORILLA ON THE LOOSE - Good Lord, I read somewhere that a 300 pound gorilla escaped from the zoo in Boston last weekend and went on a rampage.  It apparently hurt an 18-year-old and the two-year old she was babysitting.    That reminded me of a time in college during a football game at LSU.   Their mascot is a tiger and they actually have a live tiger in a cage at the games.    That stadium in Baton Rouge is nuts anyway.  People go crazy there.   During the game some drunken Rhodes Scholar thought it would be eventful to let the tiger out of the cage.   It mauled a couple of folks in the crowd before it was subdued.  I don't remember if they killed it or tranquilized the poor bastard.   I do remember the crowd that was already hysterical became even crazier-which made the tiger madder and madder. Scary.

DOG TAX - I get sick and tired of being taxed for everything.  I realize we have to pay taxes to get things done; I'm not opposed to that.  However, I'm concerned about the service I'm receiving for my money.    The other day I got charged for a dog tax-three dollars for a slip of paper and a piece of metal that allows me to own a dog.  What a crock of shit.    We pay taxes for everything-our income, groceries, personal property, gasoline.  I maintain I'm double taxed on some stuff.  Why must I pay sales taxes on groceries-and if I happen to drop a six pack of Pepsi in the buggy I have to pay the state another portion in a pop tax.   Don't even get me started on the tobacco tax.    For all of this I have to put up with bullshit from the state legislature in which they spend two months running around to the cocktail parties of lobbyists to sell their vote to the highest bidder.  Meanwhile, the road is crumbling, I'm waiting in line for an idiot at the DMV who can use two hands to stick one finger up her ass, and the state continues to complain they don't have enough.   Son of a bitch!

LAZY CHEATERS - Our state has a workers comp system that is rigged as a life insurance policy for the living.   There's a shitbag that lives on my street who hasn't worked a day in the three years I've lived here.    This asshole claims to have hurt his back on the job.  He's getting 100-percent disability, meaning largely that the state pays his salary since he's unable to work.   That's all well and good if he had say. lost a leg!   This shitbag cannot work on the job, but he managed to personally install a swimming pool in his back yard.  He says the doctor suggested he needed a pool for his therapy.  He's also managed to mow his yard twice a week, every week since I've been there.  His yard looks like a well manicured combination of a golf course and botanical garden.    I don't understand why I have to work 14 hours a day six days a week and still don't make the same money that this asshole makes doing absolutely no service to humanity!   It just aggravates me.

ROAD REPAIR UPDATE - A week ago things appeared to be full speed ahead.   A guy cut grooves in the old concrete of the street to remove and replace.   Well the cutting is about as far as we've gotten.  I'll keep you posted.

NEW TELEVISION SHOWS - I really watch very little television.   My shows are CSI and JAG.  I guess I can't stand anything that has more than three letter acronyms.  At any rate, the CSI opener for the season was pretty good, but it was to be continued.   If you plan to watch this week, a small update.   A serial killer is soliciting couples to have a foursome in hotel rooms.  They are then forcing the man to cut his wife's throat, and then they kill him in the car.  One guy was found in an ice machine.    I've read that this show is very unrealistic.  Cops I know tell me there's no way you take a sample, go to the lab, and come back with instant DNA results.  Whatever, it entertains me-and that's all I'm looking for.    JAG's season opener was a huge disappointment.  I was figuring the story line would have all kinds of plots tied to Iraq.  In the past they've written in current stuff to the actual news.   "Bud" lost a leg when he stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan.   However, the story line now is almost 80's-esque.  A bunch of them are actually working for the CIA in Bolivia or some fucked up place trying to intercept a bunch of stinger missiles from a drug lord.   Very weak.    I was also unaware that the guy who used to play "Brumbie" the Australian exchange lawyer died during the off season.  My wife gave enough of a shit to look it up.   Heroine, cocaine, and alcohol-big surprise there.   They had a tribute to him at the end of the show.

HILLBILLY GOES TO CITY - A few years ago I went on a trip to Washington DC.   My mom and sister were with me and my sister wanted to go to the Hard Rock Café.  We were standing on the mall looking at a map.  There were a dozen guys there offering directions to various sites in the city.  I didn't ask for the help, the guy just said, "What are you trying to find?"  We told him and he said you go to "Tenfhne"   I looked at him bewildered and trying to figure out what the fuck he was saying.  After about three more explanations, I understood what he was trying to say through broken e-bonics.  He was telling us the Hard Rock is located at the corner of 10th Street and E Street.   Here's where we found the difference in Washington and West Virginia.   West Virginians would have said at this point.  "Ya'll be careful."   Washingtonians pull a crumpled Hardee's cup out of their back pocket and say "Yo man, a little something for the effort?"   I gave him a quarter. 

HILLBILLY GOES TO CITY 2 - The first time I ever flew on a plane, I wasn't scared of the flight.  I was terrified of making it through the airport and getting on the plane.    I had some coaching since I was going to the airport alone.   Some guy told me about this great service about a mile from the airport where you can park for a week.   They'll keep an eye on your rusty pickup truck and even give you a ride to the gate.  Cool.   I pulled in, got the ride-the guy even carried my luggage-very cool.  I got to the gate and he told me, "This guy will take care of you."   A man took my bags, put a bunch of tags on them, and put them on that conveyer belt and they disappeared into a black hole-a little disconcerting for me, but whatever.     Then the guy sticks out his hand and says, "I'm James and I've been your porter."    To which I replied, "Good to meet you James, I'm 'Buck' headed to Arkansas.  Ya'll be careful."  I shook his hand and went on inside.    I'm amazed my luggage didn't wind up in Paraguay.  I thought it was his job to handle the bags.  I didn't know I was supposed to tip him.   Plus, how much should you tip?   Beggars are glad to get whatever they can-like our Washington tour guide-but what's considered adequate for the guy at the airport?    Anytime I fly now, I tell them leave my shit alone-I'll carry those garbage bags myself.     Hillbilly developing street smarts.

TIPPING IN GENERAL - For a brief stint in my life I was a Dominos Pizza driver.  I used to drive when the deal was still 30-minutes or $3.00 off.   I can recall how cool it was when people would give tips-especially big ones.   Therefore I try to always tip now that I've been educated a little more in the fineries of life.  I always tip the pizza guy because I've been there.   I can see tipping a waitress; he or she is slaving if they are good.   They keep the ice tea filled and the order right-I can't ask for much more.    I still maintain a ten-percent policy.  I'm told that's a little low-but most of the time I'm eating in West Virginia and most of the time, I'm lucky to have enough money to eat out at all.    I try to tip as much as I can, but I'm the first to admit I'm not the greatest tipper-but it's not because I don't care. It's because I'm close to poor.     I once stayed at the Congress Hotel in Chicago.   This place had a doorman who, for a fee would open the door for you and hail a cab.   Where I'm from, you always open the door for ladies and offer to carry their bags if they have a heavy load.   This shitbag expected money for this.   What the hell?   I owe you ten bucks for holding the door?  Bullshit, I opened my own door and walked to the corner to yell for my own cab.   He's getting a paycheck from the Congress to dress in that ridiculous get up and open doors. It's your job-do it and don't expect more in return.  That one really pissed me off.

SCOURGE OF CITY LIVING - When I was growing up in rural Virginia, our nearest neighbor was literally a mile away-the next one was about a mile and a half.  Houses were sparse.  I could literally stand in my yard and not see another house-and you could see for almost a mile in about three directions.      Now I've grown up and moved to town and live in a subdivision with 33-houses within walking distance.    Amazingly I know less about the neighbors that live within 100 feet of me than I did of the dozen neighbors that lived in a five-mile radius when I was a kid.    I don't know if it's the rural nature that everybody knows everybody and is always there to help out.  Don't get me wrong, we have some of that-like my neighbor will feed the dog while I'm gone.  When I was growing up though-if somebody was going to be gone somebody would be willing to bail your hay if there was threatening weather.  You could ask a neighbor to reroof your house because you had a hernia operation-shit like that.   My neighbor today couldn't find the roof of my house.   I feel like a little Americana has been lost.  We've closed the radius of the neighbors, but we seem to have widened the gap among neighbors.  

SCOURGE OF CITY LIVING 2 - Another drawback to living in a subdivision is that you become easy prey for the door-to-door attacks.   We RARELY had door to door salesmen when I was a kid. It's the law of economics.  It's not worth it to drive to the "End of State Maintenance" as the sign on the road at my house read, to try and make a sale.  However, 33-shots in a 200-yard stretch are a lucrative opportunity.  As such, the door bell rings constantly with assholes selling everything from children's books to vacuum cleaners.   One Chinese guy came to the door offering to clean the carpets. He had a bucket of popcorn with him as a "gift."  He was offering to clean an 8 x 8 foot section-yeah, clean one fourth of the room-and either pay to have the rest cleaned or it looks like shit.  No thank you, we'll keep it filthy if it's all the same to you.   Others show up in unmarked vans claiming to be the local wholesaler of  vacuum cleaner bags. They'd like to get into our home to demonstrate.  I bet they would.  My guess is they're casing the joint.     Then of course there are constant annoyances by the local school kids hocking all kinds of worthless shit.    The following are items I've been blackmailed into purchasing for one fundraiser or another.

Wrapping Paper
Popcorn (Popped and unpopped)
Cookie Dough
Garden seeds (I don't have a garden anymore)
Pecan logs
Candy bars (Here I have no complaints)
Magazine subscriptions (Sorry, no offers for "Big 'Uns")
Costume jewelry
Christmas ornaments
Cups with your favorite college team
Easter candy assortments
Coupon Books (the hell?)
Submarine sandwiches
The Grit (It's a newspaper)
Grits (It's for breakfast)
Girl Scout Cookies (nectar of the gods)
Pizza kits (a kit?  WTF?)
Krispy Kreme doughnuts (again, nectar of the gods if they are fresh)

NICE PLACES I'VE STAYED - I do some traveling with my job and occasionally I get a swanky joint to bunk up for the night.   Actually, I'm not real picky.  Warm and dry is about all I demand.  The rest is gravy.   However, there have been some excesses to the point that I didn't understand what I was doing there.

     Hyatt Regency, Nashville - This place is the only hotel I've ever stayed in that had towels big enough for me to use.  They were seven feet long and four feet wide.   I still have three of them from my days in college.

     Opryland Hotel, Nashville - This place actually has a forest INSIDE.  They didn't appreciate me using my indoor balcony as a deer stand.   Plus they have a guy that walks all over this five acre hotel with a stamp of a guitar neck in one hand and a whisk brook in the other.  His job is to constantly smooth the sand in the ashtrays and stamp the logo into the smooth sand.  Tell me that's not a monotonous job-he probably got on because he was laid off from his job of printing "Do Not Overfill" on engine dipsticks.

     Peabody Hotel,  Memphis - I actually sat in the lobby of this place eating cheesecake and drinking coffee while some guy in a weird costume herded ducks.  Strange.

     Congress Hotel, Chicago - Supposedly this place was once Al Capone's headquarters.  I've seen pictures of it from those days and it looks exactly the same. I understand the historical value of once being the haven of broads and bathtub gin, but for God's sake, it's 2003, renovate the place.   Is it fair to pay $180 a night for a room that you have to yank a chain to turn on the light-then yank another to flush the shitter?

     The High Q, Orlando - I mention this only because it's a pretty familiar sight in downtown Orlando.  I don't recall it having anything out of the ordinary other than a phone in the shitter.

     The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, WV - I've never actually spent a night here, I had lunch there once during a work related detail.    I only mention this because it was recently noted that they dropped from five-star to four-star because they did NOT have a phone in the shitter.

     The Sheraton, Knoxville, TN - I don't remember much about this place except that I was drunk off my ass and they had a very clean toilet before I puked my guts out in it.

     Holiday Inn Rosemont, Chicago - I spent about five hours here.  U.S. Air put me up in the place after a long day in the airport and enduring three cancelled flights.  I got there at 1:00 in the morning.  U.S. Air gave us a $12 dollar meal voucher.  The room service meal cost $16.  I left the place at five-o'clock the next morning to catch the early flight.

     Sheraton Superdome, New Orleans - This place had a mall in the basement.  I was there for a fishing tournament and it was during my anniversary.  I felt guilty and bought my wife something at Macy's.  It's the only time I've ever seen a Macy's.    Everybody looked at me like I was, in the words of Mr. Kay, wearing a vest of turds.

     Airport Hilton, Atlanta - Okay, maybe it's not fancy to you. but it was the lap of luxury for me.  It's the only hotel I've ever stayed in Georgia, with the exception of the Ramada Inn in Athens.  They had a great bar called the "Frog Pond."

That just about does it for me.  All the other times I've crashed in unfriendly confines I've been under the 8 or the 6.   They are good enough for me and $30 is a reasonable rate for spending the night.

WORST PLACES I'VE STAYED- This list could be considerably longer than the nice places where I've stayed.   I'll highlight the absolute worst.

     The Mountain Lodge, Gatlinburg, TN - This was on my honeymoon.   The pool had algae growing in it.  The room had worn down antique furniture, a bed spread with several tears that had been patched back together.   There were mirrors and stage lighting over the bed.   This made my new wife uneasy.  I'm pretty sure any sexual activity in this place winds up on cable.  The last straw was a note under the glass top on the night stand that read. "Please remove bed covers before applying body oils."   We were out of there.

     The Haven Inn, Moundsville, WV - This place was a hell hole even by my standards.  The shower didn't drain and the nasty water overflowed into the floor.  The bed was sitting on cinder blocks and was a lumpy as they come.  This was definitely a "no-tell motel."  I didn't care since I was there for a fishing tournament and it was all I could find.  The scary thing was the desk clerk called it their BEST suite.    I slept on top of the covers, fully clothed.

     The Fox Den, Attala, Alabama - As the name implies, you had to wade through the hookers to get to the room.   It was sort of nostalgic though, it did have the vibrating bed for a quarter and a coin operated porno movie television set.   It's the only place I've ever stayed that included those amenities.

    Days Inn, St. Albans, WV - We stayed here one night while house hunting.  I didn't know the area well enough to know this was "The Badlands."   Jeff K and Chris from Boone can tell you about all of the strip bars and hookers that highlight this two mile stretch of U.S. Route 60.  Plus the place was small and cramped.  The shitter was in a closet and had a sliding door.  There was literally about a foot of space between the bed and the wall on three sides-the door would barely clear the bed.    

FOOTBALL - Since this is posted on Thursday, tonight the Mountaineers travel to Miami.   It's an ESPN game so it will be a national embarrassment.  I'm going to watch at least the first quarter-just on the outside chance they might hang in there. I'd hate to miss the biggest win in Mountaineer history.    You're guess is as good as mine as to who Marshall plays.    Hey big win over Number Six, Kansas State---lose to Troy State.. Go figure.  The Vols hang tough yet again with a win over South Carolina in OT.  They travel to Auburn Saturday---then have Georgia.  I think I'm going to the Georgia game. I'll keep you posted.


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