Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hot dogs banned!

The year is 2050.

It’s been years since they were outlawed, but some of us still had to get our fix. You could still find them if you knew where to go, usually across the railroad tracks to the shady side of town.

Junk food, as addictive as heroin, the government decided years back. Junk Food penalties are now the same as a Schedule II narcotic. But I wasn’t addicted to any ordinary junk food; I was addicted to the king of junk food, the hot dog.
So I needed my fix and headed down to the corner of Vegan Street and Tofu Alley. I got out of my car and knocked on the back door. Joe answered, smiling as always. “Mustard and onion, right?”

I nodded. Joe handed me two dogs and his big freebie to regular customers, an Alka Seltzer packet. The dogs cost $10 bucks. They say Joe’s supplier is the Salami syndicate out of Jersey. They’re a tough group and punish narks by forcing raw sausage down their throats until they pass out or get trichinosis, whichever comes first.
Anyway, I took my dogs to the corner of the city park where I can eat in my car in peace. It was hot outside, I put the window down. In the middle of the second dog a tall thin girl in beads, a psychedelic T-shirt and jeans walked by, she looked at me and sniffed. She was walking a wiener dog, a vegetarian wiener dog I am sure.

“You know”, she said. “Those things will kill you.”

“No, they’re tofu dogs, I said, lying. She looked at me.

“Mister, they don’t smell like tofu dogs.” She walked away in disgust, with her wiener dog tagging along.

A couple days later, about midnight, I heard a knock on the door.

“Junk Food Police, Hot Dog Division, we have a warrant, open up.” That girl must have written down or memorized my car tag.

I opened the door. They saw the buns I’d left on the table. The three cops pushed me aside and headed to the refrigerator.

The lead cop barked at me: “Are you going to open that refrigerator door for us, or are we going to have to break the thing open?”

I opened it; they looked around and noticed something under the salad bag. It was the extra uncooked dogs I get every so often from Joe.

“You’re under arrest, mister”, the head cop said. Before I knew it, the cuffs were on and he was reading my Miranda rights.

A few weeks later I was in court with my Public Defender. The judge was thin, lean and mean.

“You’re a first offender, so I’ll go easy on you,” he said. “One year in the state penitentiary with mandatory counseling as part of the recalcitrant carnivores program.”

“You know what that means?”

“No, judge,” I said.

“You only eat vegetarian food while in the pen,” the judge said.

Well, I’ve been out for a couple weeks now and doing pretty well. Prison kind of took away my taste for meat, although all prison food is bad, I mean, you couldn’t tell the beets from the broccoli half the time.

But then I found myself walking down Vegan Street and remembered Joe’s, I couldn’t help it.

I knocked on the back door.

“You’re back. I knew it, they always come back,” he said.

I was ashamed. He smiled.
“You still take mustard and onions?"

Learn About the Amish

Have you ever wondered about the Amish? If you travel much in rural Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and other states, you may see them driving a horse and buggy. I can recommend an excellent blog:

Erik Wesner is the author of the blog.

Check it out, almost any question you have about the Amish will be answered.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Gold Standard of Fitness Programs: A Review

If you really want to lose weight, be healthy and sculpt your muscles, there is no more bluntly honest, well-researched program than Tom Venuto's "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle".

Don't fall for the fake programs anymore, go with the real thing. You can do this, you can lose weight and feel great. No, I have been paid nothing for this review.

Venuto is a bodybuilder, but his program isn't aimed at bodybuilders. The program is aimed at anyone who wants to be healthy and toned. He rips all the fake and hack fitness programs out there and gives you the lowdown on real research and how to achieve real, lasting results.

The program, which can be downloaded from the Web, may seem expensive, but you get a massive book and a bunch of freebies like "10 Foods You Should Never Eat" and "Foods that Burn Fat, Foods that Turn to Fat".

In the book are an overview of nutritional information, diet guidelines, exercise programs and recommendations on the best options for your program. Venuto also debunks much of the junk science and fad diets out there so that you can head into his program knowing you're doing the right thing.

The book is packed with psychological motivation, ways to keep yourself motivated and motivate others. The program isn't easy, you do have to want to lose weight and keep it off. By changing the way you live as Venuto recommends, you will make progress.

If you purchase the program, you also get full access to Venuto's blog, community and later email notification of free and discounted offers.

If you really want to look and feel great, the Burn the Fat program is an excellent choice. The changes don't happen overnight, but they last more than overnight too.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lincoln County Election issues

Something may be rotten in Lincoln County. Unfortunately, there's a history of vote fraud in southern West Virginia and it hasn't been cleaned up yet.

There's no place for old fashioned "politics" in a state trying to move forward. With any luck, issues like this will lead to a quick investigation.

The way things were always done just doesn't cut it anymore. It's bad politics and bad for West Virginia.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

West Virginia Primary Election results

Some good news, Jim Surkamp lost the Democratic nomination for Jefferson County Commission. U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan has lost the Democratic nomination to Mike Oliverio.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Militia members may go free

Judge orders release of militia members.

This is really interesting. I have not seen a single report on this in the national media. I am no friend to militias, but there is a difference between free speech and actions, no matter how reprehensible.

The Grateful Dead-Touch of Gray-Shoreline Amphitheatre

Play Chess online

I love chess although I am not very good at the game.

Most of my chess is played online. Yes, people do cheat by using computers and after a while, you can usually tell when someone is doing it. Still, so many of us have little time for over the board play at tournaments.

I recommend the following sites.

Chessworld has a yearly fee for the full features, but well worth it-there is much less computer cheating here than at other sites.

You can get most features at Gameknot for free. I do think there may be a bit more cheating at this site, still, you can get a lot of good games.

Good for Hillary

Hillary Clinton, our Secretary of State, said all the right things at the U.N. in response to the wild speech of Iran's leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But we must make sure to follow it up with actions, because the Hitlers of the world are very good at calling bluffs. Their very arrogance serves them well in dealing with weak leadership in democratic republics.

We can't afford to forget it, especially since Iran would have no qualms about making nukes available to terrorists.

The Oil Spill

The oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico isn't only an environmental disaster, but a human one. Workers who were on the platform have died, countless animals and sea creatures have also perished or will perish.

The livelihoods of so many folks who work in the area and in the Gulf is threatened.

The question: With all the technology we have available, could we not have prevented this? If the answer is no, we need to stop offshore drilling until we can answer "yes".

I believe we do have the technology, and the costs to protect people and the environment will still allow oil companies to make a profit.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Arson update

If this is the right guy, maybe he did make a mistake.

I have found in my experience as a lawyer and writer, that arrogance usually is behind bringing down the bad guys, kinda like Goldman Sachs.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Arson at the Courthouse

Apparently, an arsonist is loose in Martinsburg. Eventually, people like this make a mistake, let's hope he or she has already made one, so the police can catch them before someone gets hurt badly.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Surkamp indicted by grand jury

Thank goodness someone is finally calling Jim Surkamp on his outrageuos behavior over the years.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Martinsburg Mall makes Wall Street Journal

"Back to School for Failing Mall" was the headline for a short article in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal. The story explained how Mountain State University purchased the mall from the receivership holding the mall, Jones Lang LaSalle.

Does Martinsburg get any good press? The last big national article was in the New York Times about Martinsburg High School and the Times certainly made it sound like Martinsburg High was failing. Those of us who live here know better, but it's still irksome.

The attitude of the big media is that if it's in West Virginia, it's failing.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Baseball is back, and the Washington Nationals are at .500.
What more can I ask for?

Well, it would be nice if Ryan Zimmerman's hammy heals up quickly and if Jesus Flores could make it back and be injury free. But for now, things are looking up for my favorite team. Great pitching by Livan Hernandez today to beat the Mets 5-2.

If you want in-depth Nats blogging, go here and here.

Go Nats!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hack Writing

Hack writing is a journalist's survival mechanism. And there's nothing wrong with being a hack writer, sort of . ...

Many famous writers have done the hack writing gig, they take the salary and write editorials they don't believe. Example: Michael Foot, later the leader of the British Labour Party, did this early in his career. He wrote for Lord Beaverbrook's conservative papers for many years.

I wrote hack editorials for The Journal of Martinsburg for many years. Give me a topic, a point of view and I could dash out a decent editorial quickly. I much preferred my columns, where until the last year or so I could write as I pleased. The last publisher I worked with though, didn't believe in standing up for his writers and I had to constantly self-censor for the last year or two I was employed by what I hesitate to now call a newspaper.

But back to hack work ... other hack work includes writing pieces quickly just to earn a few bucks and make sure there's cereal, milk, potato chips and tuna around to munch on.

Like a lawyer, a good writer is a chameleon, taking on the job whether he likes his client, or topic, or not. In fact, it's usually weak writers who get all high and mighty about the subject of hack writing.

Yet, in the end, your writing is better if you believe what you write. Orwell wrote in the essay "Why I Write", that his writing didn't really reach its potential until he wrote for a cause, and wrote what he believed. In Orwell's case, that cause was democratic socialism. Whatever a writer's cause, I think Orwell, as usual, was correct. If you really plan to make a mark as a writer, you must move beyond the hack work and take chances.

You have to believe, and you have to write as you please.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tragedy in the Mine

How is it that despite the Mine Safety and Health Administration, all sorts of regulations, and after the Sago mine disaster, it could happen again?

Massey Energy has blood on its hands, the Big Branch Mine had a history of safety violations, as reported here. The attitude is the same as ever, miners are expendable. You know what should be done? Shut the mine down, permanently, shut Massey down. No matter how much Massey donates to local communities, it can never erase the blood shed by 25 miners.

Yet, it's not just Massey, but the politicians who support coal who are to blame. They fight for an industry because they say they value jobs. Apparently, these politicos don't value lives as much as jobs. Again and again, problems in the mines are ignored until it is too late.

Why? Because to really make the mines safe it would cost too much money for the coal companies and might cause job cuts. The politicians want to have it both ways, protect the industry, protect the miners.

And we shouldn't forget the friends of Massey and Don Blankenship, like John Yoder, who is running for a place on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. Yoder accepted money from Blankenship during his last state senate campaign.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Wow, I haven't had a day this bad in a long time. Sorry, I can't come up with a new post today. I'll have one up tomorrow.

When I finally got out the door today, not feeling too well, I went to the post office. The line was long, very long. Another reason to quit selling on eBay.

One thing I've learned during my recent hard times is that you really find out who your true friends are... you also learn who your enemies are.

I owe my sanity (maybe they don't want the responsibility for that questionable thing) to Gina, Misty, Pamela, Craig and Robin, the Judge, Maria and a few others.

No need to mention former friends.

Finally writing again and happy about it, I still put the law first, but I'll always write.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to all my Christian friends.

I hate to link to The Journal, my former employer, but this is one of my best religion pieces

Unfortunately, they own the rights to the piece and I am not about to discuss buying the rights back.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Byrd and Rockefeller bring bacon to Romney

Sens. Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller doing what they do best, bringing home federal money to West Virginia. The Romney Fire Dept. has obtained a $100,000 grant

I've got no problem with this, the system is what it is-the two men do well for their constituents.

The two senators are even better at something else, being liberals in a fundamentally conservative state, protecting coal and other industries, being pro-gun and walking a host of other political tightropes this complex state offers to aspiring politicians.

I'd much rather they bring home the bacon than spend time expanding the scope of government.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bob Huggins and the WVU Mountaineers

Bob Huggins is some kind of mad genius. After getting some love from the national media, he's got some people trashing him again, like ESPN's Rick Reilly

The fact is, it's not Bob Huggins, but the universities he's worked for that are to blame for poor graduation rates. And Huggins is an easy target, if we're judging coaches by graduation rates, many fail the test.

Huggins loves his home state and his kids. He asks a lot and gives a lot.

How he can take a bunch of kids who weren't recruited nationally and defeat the team all too many named the national champions before the tournament was over, proves he's a coaching genius.

Bob Huggins deserves a little love, even if he only gets it here in the Mountain State.

Let's Go Mountaineers!

Remembering George Orwell

This blog is my attempt to live up to the writing and ethical standards of George Orwell, one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Orwell wrote the truth without fear, even when it offended his political allies.

One of the best ways to get to know Orwell's writing is to read some of his essays. A Collection of Essays is an excellent starting point. His early essays like "Shooting an Elephant" and "A Hanging" will hook you and prepare you for more complex essays such as "Politics and the English Language", an essay both Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann would do well to take to heart.

Both those guys are soooooo... predictable and boring. Beck and Olbermann also don't think too clearly. Don't be a follower, read George Orwell and think for yourself.

Of course, for fiction, you must read Animal Farm and 1984.
Orwell put his life on the line for his beliefs, fighting and being shot in the neck during the Spanish Civil War. He wrote a book about the experience called Homage to Catalonia.

There's much more I could say about Orwell, but it's best if you discover him for yourself by reading his books. A good biography is Orwell: The Authorized Biography and a good recent book is Why Orwell Matters.
Speak the truth to power, and have fun doing it!