Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Poem by David T. Manning


That fresh white linen hankie
your wife pressed & folded
with such love fits nice
in your clean shirt pocket.

Then you hachoo!!
You blow & fold it neat.
You blow & fold, blow & fold,
blow & fold again -- then

you wad the damn thing up
into something useful, so
it's ready for that
water-cannon sneeze, for those

green giant ropes of snot
that rattle out of your skull
like log-chains over a F-150 tailgate.
Yes sir! That's a good big whitish

rag now you can roll a man-size
cold up in and stuff it
in the ass pocket of your Levis
until it's too wet to sit on.

from Detained by the Authorities (Pudding House Publications 2007)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

WV Governor Sues the EPA -- It Must Be Election Time

"West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) on Wednesday announced the state is suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its crackdown on mountaintop-removal practices by the coal mining industry.

"Manchin, at a morning news conference at the state capitol, said the lawsuit had been in the works long before the death of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) — a staunch defender of the state's mining industry — in June, according to The Associated Press. Manchin spoke of Byrd’s legacy and pulled out a copy of the U.S. Constitution, as Byrd often did on the Senate floor, and quoted the 10th Amendment, which deals with states' powers, the AP reported."

"Manchin’s announcement comes as he finds himself in a dead heat with Republican John Raese for Byrd’s seat. Manchin’s troubles for that seat — despite his high approval rating as governor — have been used to illustrate the problem some Democrats are having in being linked to President Obama and national Democratic leaders. Raese has steadily improved in the head-to-head race, and edged ahead in a recent Rasmussen poll."

It must be election time. Is it just me, or does anybody else see the connection between West Virginia Governor Manchin's announcement to sue the EPA with his race against Raese for Sen. Byrd's seat in Congress? What was he thinking? -- "Here's a sure way to get those fence-sitting voters and fat cats to vote for me instead of voting Republican, attack the very organization that's looking out for the interests of the little man, the EPA." It's a shame that politicians use their power to promote themselves at the expense of everyone else. And so many folks (Republicans) are making the EPA out to be some organization that throws its weight around, sticking its nose where it doesn't belong. What about Big Coal? Hasn't he been doing that for over 70 years to the residents of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Virginia? How have they fared as a result?

"EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a statement when they were released that the “people of Appalachia shouldn't have to choose between a clean, 
healthy environment in which to raise their families and the jobs they need to support them.”

It must be election time. The lines are being drawn -- and polarized. Republicans are swarming like buzzards around Obama and the Democrats, ready to swoop in for the kill. And it's not going to be a pretty sight. There won't be any winners in this election, I'm afraid. We're all going to lose.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said in his essay "Nature" that someone may own the land, but no one will ever own the landscape. It belongs to everyone who gazes upon it. That's not really true anymore, as coal companies are removing the landscape, the very horizon that Emerson said we needed. "The health of the eye demands a horizon," he said. So what's going to happen to us when that landscape is gone, and is replaced by valley fill, flat land not good for anything but scrub grass. We've got cheap energy, but we are living along a Martian landscape.

from "W.Va. Gov. Manchin sues EPA over mountaintop removal" By Darren Goode, in The Hill

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dueling Frequencies

I took my family to Beech Mountain this weekend for Autumn at Oz, the one time of the year they re-open the 1970s theme park Land of Oz (see my previous blog entry on this). They had a great time, of course. My daughter dressed as Glinda the Good Witch and my son the Tin Man.

The weather was great. It was a clear, blue-sky day with not a cloud in site. We were about to leave when I decided to take a scenic drive around the north side of Beech Mountain (my wife would claim I took a wrong turn). I was listening to my usual radio station, WNCW 88.7, which always has a great program called "Going Across the Mountain" on Saturday afternoons, the best and longest bluegrass program you can find on the radio. I wasn't paying close attention to the music, though, as I was driving around looking for the way down, er... I mean looking around. The DJ came on the radio and announced "You are listening to 88.7 WMMT in Whitesburg, Kentucky...." I had one of those "What the?!" moments like I had heard it wrong, but I hadn't.

Here I was on top of Beech Mountain, North Carolina, listening to a radio station broadcasting from Whitesburg, Kentucky, where my good friend Wiley Quixote (Jim Webb) DJs. I was just there this past July on the radio myself (see previous post). By the time I stopped saying, "Cool!" over and over the frequency started switching between WNCW and WMMT to the point that my daughter started laughing. It was Alison Krauss and Union Station vs. Gary Stewart singing "She's Acting Single, and I'm Drinking Doubles."

I was told by my friend Jim Web that at one time many folks could listen to WMMT in NC, but when WNCW started broadcasting in 1989 their frequency overpowered all of the listening range for WMMT in NC. I guess at this altitude, and being on the north side of the mountain, there are still pockets that are shadowed and still within range.

"Hey, Honey! It's 'Dueling Frequencies!'" I laughed. My wife wasn't as impressed. It would've been really funny if Eric Weissburg had started picking against Arlo Guthrie or something like that.

She wryly responded, "Let's just hope Jeb and Zeke don't jump out of the woods and see your 'purty' teeth."

"Jenny, we're on Beech Mountain. We're more likely to see Mr. Moneybags step out of his million-dollar chalet walking his Pomeranian on a Gucci dog leash. I'm more likely to be labelled 'deranged hillbilly' in this neighborhood!"