Al's Rantings

A view of the world from a hillbilly perspective.

Location: Virginia

I was born and went to school in the heart of the Appalachian mountains, in southern West Virginia. After graduating from college, I got married, and began working in Bristol, TN. I have have various jobs from Tennessee to up state New York and a few points between. Now I work in West Virginia. Some day, I want to live in Alaska.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Ultimate in Political Correctness

Virginia Tech has initiated a new program called SafeWatch. Its purpose is one that:

promotes individual and collective responsibility among students, faculty, staff, and guests, and encourages them to incorporate the Virginia Tech Principles of Community into their interpersonal and intergroup relationships. Patterned after the “neighborhood watch” program, SafeWatch will promote understanding of university policies and community expectations related to harassment, discrimination, or similar behaviors, and provide a way to report instances when policies and expectations are not followed.
Central to SafeWatch is a form to fill out if you have been wronged or even seen a wrong. Most amazing are the selections for "Gender". There happen to be 4, count them 4, choices. They are: male, female, transgendered, and questioning.

This has to be the ultimate in political correctness.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Farewell Barney...

Farewell Barney Fife, aka Don Knotts, you really brightened tv land.

As Barney he was the heart of the show. His screw ups were always fixed by Andy. Some of the best shows were the ones where Barney and Ernest T. Bass would go at it. When Don Knotts left the show, it went down hill. No need to watch, because there was no magic.

Knotts was also great as "The Incredible Mr. Limpett" and was great in "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken". However, I was disappointed in his role on "Three's Company".

A fellow West Virginian that we all can be proud of. Thanks for the memories, Barney.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

What Was I Thinking?

What was I thinking on Saturday when Wifey asked if I would like to go with her and take Little One to Chucky Cheese in Roanoke? It was only a trip to see Chucky's and then to Sam's for a few items. My response was "I need to wash my truck." To which see replied "Go ahead, we will wait on you." Check mate. I was caught. So after washing my truck, we gathered up Little One and headed to Roanoke.

The planned trip to Chucky's and Sam's ended up being one that included stops a 2 different Wal Marts, the Valleyview Mall, Chucky's, Sam's, and a gas station. Wifey does this a lot. During the trip she thinks of other places to stop. When will I ever learn?

Stopping at two different Wal Marts only reinforces my belief that those yellow lines in the road at the entrance to Wal Mart do one of two things. Either these lines make cars invisible or they convince people that they are indestructible. At both Wal Mart stops, my job was to circle the parking lot while Wifey went in. I am always amazed that people no longer look both ways for traffic and will walk to and from their cars without ever looking to see if a car is coming! It must be the magic of the yellow lines. Luckily, Little One was being good, so I kept my cool and did not lay on the horn at any of these "indestructible" people.

Chucky's was crowded. The line to get in was outside the door. This was a bad omen. We waited about 15 minutes just to get in and seated. So far so good. Pizza came and we ate. Still good. Tried to spend 35 tokens on Little One. Still good. After a total of 2 hours in the place, it was time to leave. Then things got bad. Little One did not want to leave. After negotiations broke down, she was carried out kicking and screaming. It is hard to negotiate with a 2.5 year old. Little One calmed down about 15 minutes later. In fact, at the mall, she and I watched 2 little girls get their ears pierced at Claires. I normally do not hang out at Claires, but Wifey happened to be in the store.

On the way home, Little One went to sleep. So Wifey and I had a quite trip.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Moonbat Spotting

Virginia Tech had a visitor this week and to hear the Roanoke Times put it, Angela Davis is a
world-known political and social activist, author, scholar and professor

But Jerry at From On High sets the record straight with extra information.

Angela is actually an avowed marxist and the "third-party" she represented in both the 1980 and 1984 presidential elections was the Communist Party USA.

The fact that she was on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted List" in the 1970's after it was discovered that a firearm she owned had been used to murder a California judge and three other innocent people and the fact that she had fled didn't seem to rise to the level of biographical information either.
She made some insane comments while at VT. Among them were:

“I cannot understand why we are not all out in the streets protesting this wave of right-wing imperialism, racism, exploitation and oppression,”

Her memory (King) was forced into a space where it cohabited with Bush’s erosion of civil rights,”

Racism is at the heart of the death penalty

Davis argued that racism is still alive today, evidenced by the recent events in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and the prison system in America.

Instead of educating the poor or building homes for the homeless, said Davis, the system throws them in prison.

This was amazing that she makes these accusations without any evidence and people take it as the truth. She is no better than the race huslters, Jackson and Sharpton. Davis seeks to keep the fire smoldering. In the last quote, she seems to indicate that the poor are thrown into prison because they are poor. Crazy stuff.

In the end, the Roanoke Times does describe her for what she is: on the FBI's top ten list, charged with conspiracy, kidnapping, and homocide, and spent 16 months in prison.

But the University of California saw fit to give her a job as "tenured professor in the History of Consciousness Department". Whatever that is.

I believe VT wasted their money when they asked her to speak.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Has This Ever Happened to You?

You set down for a night of relaxation in front of the tv with a cold drink and a supply of snacks (Lays Potato Chip would be my snack of choice). You have cable, so you click through the channels looking for something good. But no luck. You give it another chance by going back down the channels. Afterall, there were commericals on some channels and of course, you did not wait to see what was on. Still nothing. Your last chance is the pay channels. Up and back down but nothing interests you.

This seems to happen to me a lot. I have cable, so that means about 70 commerical channels PLUS about 20 pay channels. It sucks when you cannot find something to watch in those 90+ channels. Are tv programs horrible? Or am I too hard to please?

Reality tv offers no help. I hate those shows. The Bachelor, Survivor, Great Race, etc. Nothing. The latest craze, Dancing with the Stars and Skating with the Stars are poor excuses for good tv. The old stand bys, sitcoms, all seem to talk about sex or gays.

My relief come in the oldies. The Andy Griffith Show is my favorite and has been for a long time. The early ones, black and white, are the best. Now Jim Nabors may have been playing a gay grease monkey, but it never appeared on the show. It seems that color episodes marked the end on Andy. What about Leave It To Beaver? Another excellent show. I tell Wifey that she should use June Cleaver as an example. June did all the cooking and cleaning dressed ready to go out on the town. Always in heels, a dress, and pearls. Wifey just smiles and rolls her eyes.

For now its long live Nick At Night!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

How to Get the VEA on your side...

How will Gov. Kaine expect to get the Virginia Education Association on his side during the budget debate? Well, he can say the following about the House version.

Shortsighted too, he said, is the House's taking of general tax dollars, which support programs ranging from higher education and economic development to clean-water and anti-pollution initiatives, to raise cash for transportation.
Take money away for education! How dare those House people. I am sure the VEA will have something to say about this! Slow economic development and pollute the one wants that, except those mean ole House members. According to Gov. Kaine, the House plan will ruin the education and the environment.

How about keeping the not raise taxes!

Living Wage at UVA

Some students demonstrated at UVA seeking a living wage for university workers. The calculated living wage is $10.72 per hour. Currently the minimum wage for new hired staff is $8.88 per hour. Fewer than 100 UVA employees make less than $9.30 per hour. Protester complained that

"the gap between the highest and lowest paid in the entire university community is wider than it has ever been".

Of course the gap grows. If Person A makes $50,000 per year and Person B makes $20,000 per year, the gap is $30,000. Assume each gets a 5% raise. Person A makes $52,500 and Person B makes $21,000. The gap grows to $31,500.

UVA counters that they pay higher than the law mandates.

Student had to conduct the protest because workers were afraid they would lose their job if they spoke up.

Finally, the protesters said "It's our obligation to assert that a living wage is a human right."

Seems to me that the workers need to fight their own fight instead of expecting students to do it for them. And where is it written that this so called living wage is human right.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Why am I NOT watching the Olympics? Because it is full of winter activities with very few winter sports in between. Before going on, let me define sport and activity.

Sports are:

1. Not subjective. You score and you get a point, goal, touchdown, run, OR you get the fastest time, finish first, longest distance, etc

2. I have the ability to change your performance by playing defense. My defense plays against your offense and vice versa. My defensive goal is to stop your offense

3. People can cheer at anytime during the contest

Activities are:

1. Judged. If a judge is involved in the final outcome, its probably an activity (See note 1)
2. No defense allowed
3. Cheering and loud noises are not acceptable during important time in the contest

Note 1: there are some grey areas where the contest is between two opponents, face-to-face, but judging is still involved. Examples, boxing and bull riding.

By my rules, bull riding is a sport and ice dancing is an activity. Heck, I saw that 4 couples fell during their ice dance routines. Unless that was part of their plan, they should have gotten a ZERO. Instead, they were given deductions. In bull riding, you stay on for 8 seconds or you get an automatic ZERO. You will not hear "Well, Joe was on Satan's Toy for 5.6 seconds before he was thrown off. Let's deduct 15 poins from his score." Nope…Joe gets a goos egg!

So the winter Olympics is full of people partaking in winter activities. They may be the finest athletes in the world (regardless of what Bryant Gumbel thinks). But it an activies competition.

Some examples of sports are: football, baseball, basketball, hockey, NASCAR, roller derby, wrestling, tennis, badmitton, ping pong, bob sledding, ski jumping,

Some examples of activities are: golf, bowling, darts, ice dancing, figure skating, diving, gymnastics, fishing, snowboard 1/2 pipe, dog shows, Dancing With The Stars, American Idol,

Feel free to ad you favorites to the list.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Banner Day for Virginia...

This is a banner day for Virginia, because there are 2 posts on the Drudge Report concerning Virginia. Neither is good.

First, Virginians look like terrible drives as the headline reads "Virginia Drivers Cause Over 100 Accidents in Less Than 1 Inch of Snow". It happened on I-64 between Williamsburg and Virginia Beach. Look bad for our abiltity to handle any snow.

Second, "TV Station Reveals Second Meteorologist Battling Herion Addiction". This second person is Jamie Singleton. He is from WSLS same as Marc Lamarre. Another negative story about the Commonwealth.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Radford Athletics

Radford University wants to improve their: a) acedemics b) athletics. Answer: athletics.

With all the stories about short-changed education funding, Radford University wants to pour "millions of dollars into the athletic department in the form of scholarships, staff and new facilities to improve results on the field and exposure and revenue off of it." Isn't that nice. All the talk about faculity salaries being too low and they want to spend big $$$ on athletics (see link)..

Why? Because the then president Covington wanted to move from the Big South Conference to the Atlantic Sun. More prestige, I guess.

My opinion, if you have $$$ to burn, spend it on acedemic scholarships, pay the teachers a little bit more, and catch up on maintenance.

First National Bank of Walmart

Wouldn't it be nice if Walmart was able to get into the banking business? Sure, some Walmarts have branch banks in them, but I am talking about Walmart being a bank. Able to offer checking accounts, savings accounts, home mortgages, etc.

They have applied. But been turned down. Now there is a bill in Virginia to make it against the law for Walmart to get into banking (see link).

The people pushing this legislation are Virginia Bankers Association.

Wal-Mart says its industrial loan company would be engaged in limited financial services, such as processing its customers’ debit card, credit card and electronic check transactions. Wal-Mart Bank would n ot engage in banking at its stores, the retailer says.
The Virginia Bankers said "I don't know many people who believe that". (Did he just say that Walmart was telling a lie about their intentions? Sounds like it to me.)

What is wrong with Walmart offering banking services? The last paragraph of the article tells why, "a Wal-Mart-owned bank would exert unfair competition in the financial-services arena and threaten the existence of local banks."

Banks are afraid of the competition! Unfair competition not illegal competition. The banks may have to fight for business. That would be good for consumers. More choices, better rates, better service, etc.

Afterall, I get upset when I see the huge construction projects that are going to be banks. Huge brick buildings, on prime real estate. It makes be believe that my money is being spent on buildings.

Let Walmart offer banking services so banks will have to compete for once in their life!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Do Dogs Have Feelings?

Do dogs have feelings? This was the subject of a discussion at my house the other night. My opponent took the "Yes they do" side. I, on the other hand, said "Nope, no way, dogs are dogs." And it went something like this.

Opponent: Dogs have feelings. They get happy to see me when I come home. Just look at that face, see how sad he looks. Dogs have feelings because the dog whisperer told me so. Who do dogs wag their tale? They wag it when they are happy. He licks my face. He loves me!

Me: Oh, ye who speaks out of ignorance. You confuse feelings with emotions. Dogs have feelings. They feel hot and cold and feel it when they get hit by a truck (I actually ran over my own dog once and he still lives today...and it good health). Dogs feel it when they get hungry and when they need to do #2.

However, dogs have no emotions, such as love, anger, hate, jealously, etc. Instead, they have instincts and learned responses. Instincts like biting someone if they kick me, self protection, food guarding, and finding something to eat when hungry. Learned, or trained, responses such as sitting, shaking hands, playing dead, and speaking. Recall Pavlov's dog.

Although we believe we see happiness and sadness in the face of our pets. It really is just normal doggy behavior.

Dogs do have feelings, but dogs have no emotions.

P.S. I won this debate!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Foreign TVs

Buy a foreign TV and this is what you get to remind you that you have adjusted the volume. Yes you get "Volumen". I guess its the thought that counts.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Are there tolls in your future?

There could be tolls in your future if you drive I-95 or I-85 between Virginia and North Carolina.

Looks like Virginia/North Carolina do not want to be outdone by those hillbillies in West Virginia who recently raise tolls on I-77 from $1.25 to $2.00.

Sen. Frank W. Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, said he envisioned a toll of $5 a car, with a higher fee for trucks. The fees could generate $100 million a year
I can only imagine the traffic that will back up at these toll booths. The reason for the tolls are said to be two fold.

1. renovate the two interstate highways
2. revenge!..."They pick our pockets in Maryland, they pick our pockets in Delaware, they pick our pockets in New Jersey," he said of the tolls imposed on highways north of Virginia.

Nothing like a little revenge as an excuse to put up a toll gate. Besides,

Because 30 percent of the motorists on Virginia highways come from out-of-state, tolls would allow non-Virginians to help improve Virginia's troubled highway system, Wagner said.
When you need an excuse, any excuse will do!

Giant Snow Storm...

The east coast has just witnessed the biggest snow storm their recorded history. That means since 1869 in New York. It snowed 26.9 inches worth in Central Park. I have not heard it mentioned yet, but I predict this will be blamed upon global warming. Yep, record cold and snow because of global warming. You know the scenerio...warming caused the ocean currents to change, causing stronger storms, yada, yada, yada. Bottom line, its weather and its unpredictable!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Gentlemen, Start....

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines! Yeehii!, it time for NASCAR racing again! The first race of the year is the Budweiser Shootout in Daytona. 21 drivers going 200 mph and only inches of seperation. It all kicks off Saturday night on TNT.

NASCAR is my favorite sport to watch. It has is all...speed, wrecks, stategy, endurance, and sometimes revenge and fights. I pull for the #24, Dupont, Chevy, Monte Carlo that is driven by Jeff Gordon. And no I am not gay. And Jeff Gordon is not gay either, contrary to some rumors.

I look forward to an exciting year. And it all starts tomorrow night at Daytona. The next races are the Gatorade Duel on Thursday. And finally the NASCAR Super Bowl, the Daytona 500 on Sunday, 2/19.

Buckle up...its going to be a bumpy ride. But it will be fun!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Evangelicals and Global Warming

I was not too surprised that the Roanoke paper came down on the side of the evangelicals in their crusade against global warming (link).

The first sentence seemed to be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. The Roanoke Times is in business to make corporate profits. The sell their paper and advertising space to make corporate profits. Plus, they use the trees that some tree-huggers want to save. Heck, they may even be causing the destruction of the rain forest for the trees to make their paper. They are part of the problem too.

People have to ask the question, "What if global warming is part of God's plan, His Will for the earth?" What then?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Exploding condoms...

A former stripper club waitress sent condoms with a combination of drain cleaner and gasoline to a TV station, strip club, and other places because she was tired of being mistreated by men and couldn't take it any more.

Luckily none exploded.

Mnnn Good, Mmmm Good...

That's what Campbells Soups are, Mmmm, Good. Except for the mouse in the bean with bacon soup.

Yep, an 89 year old woman spooned the mouse into her mouth...yuck.

Phyllis Ingram said she believes the mouse allegedly found by her mother, Pearl Parkey, was in the can and could not have gotten into the pot of soup any other way.
Time for a big bowl of tomato soup!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Lack of Class at the King Funeral

Today at the funeral for Coretta King "Rev. Joseph Lowery, co-founder of Southern Christian Leadership Conference, ripped into President Bush during his short speech".

He talked about the lack of weapons of mass destruction. Clearing a dink at the president who was sitting behind him.

Then Jimmy Carter got into the act by talking about wiretapping and bemoaning his opinion that hurricane Katrina showed that all are not equal in America.

What is it with liberals? They cannot control themselves. Where ever there is a crowd, they must take pot shots at the president and his administration.

This is truly the actions of a desperate bunch!

Razor War

The Gillette Fusion is the latest volley in the razor war. With 5 blades and a lube strip on the front and 1 blade and a lube strip on the back, it is the new Ferrari of razors. Plus, add an optional micro-chip, battery operated model with a low battery indicator, and auto shut down feature and this hand-held razor is more complicated than my first car (1977 Ford Mustang II, Mach I in bright auqa glow paint).

But why is it needed? How many blades are enough? Going from a single blade to a twin blade was OK. But now its up to 5 (6 if you count the blade on the back). For my money, the greatest razor invention was the swivel that is useful.

As the number of blades continues to increase, and the electronics become more complicated, a new animal will evolve - its called the electric razor, and we have it now!

I dare say that few men shave using a single stroke to cover an area. I sometimes use 3 strokes down and 1 stroke up to get that clean feeling. Having more blades does not change my routine.

And doesn't this single blade on the back (aka precision trimmer) represent a "throw back" razor? Afterall, if 1 blade is insufficient to shave the face, how can a single blade to the job on those pesky sideburns?

Too many razor choices for me. I thing I will go back to a straight razor and forget the whole thing.