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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pictures of the day....

These monuments are in Glen Lyn, VA. They are not the dedicated to the Gods of Fire, Wind, Rain, and Sun. Instead, they are reminders of a railroad track that once crossed the New River. Gone, but not forgotten.

Looking downstream from these columns, you can see Route 460 as it crosses the New River near the Glen Lyn power plant.

This is a photo near the New River looking toward Route 460.
The night was cloudy and windy. This combination, along with a half-full moon made this picture.

While taking pictures today at Glen Lyn, I had a little accident. A combination of loose rock, fallen leaves, and a steep creek bank left me a little reminder that blogging is a contact sport...Ouch.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


"Might as well jump. Jump. Go ahead and jump." Van Halen

Little One is a jumper. First it was little stuff like running through the house jumping into the air and then keep on running. Next, it was standing in my recliner and jumping into the floor. Then it was jumping from the coffee table to the love seat, couch, or floor.

Now she has stepped it up a notch. She stands on the stairs and jumps into the dog' s pillow bed. The dogs are gone of course. But she loves it.

We went to Wal Mart in Christiansburg tonight for one of our many trips to Wal Mart each week. But first we stopped at the Cold Stone Creamery because The Wife wanted to and she had a coupon! Two things caught my eye. One, even though it was 38 degrees, there were still kids in shorts running around. And two, there were also some kids in flip-flop, aka shower shoes. At what temperature do kids wear long britches and real shoes?

Friday, November 10, 2006

I love science

The headlines read "Smoggy skies 'created life on Earth'.

But take a look at all the weasel words located in the text.

...could have provided the chemical building blocks ...
...likely had a layer of atmospheric haze...
...may have served as the principal reservoir...
...hazy conditions could have been present for many millions or even a billion years on Earth...
...Earth could have produced more than100 million tons of aerosols each year...
...the haze could have served as the primary ingredients for primitive life...
...haze layer over Earth could have shielded living organisms from harmful UV rays...
...haze may have contributed to the geological record on Earth... mass of organics derived photochemically could have been comparable...

And the winner is "We found that you can make a lot of organic material virtually out of thin air."

How about that making stuff from thin air. Ain't science wonderful!

Little fact, but plenty of guesses. Try my theory...a flying monkey for Mars could have ate a cashew that may have been present on the planet. Then this monkey may have come to earth in a Yellow Submarine. Then it could have crapped out the seed an maybe started life on earth. Then the monkey might have died.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Gloom, dispair, and agony on me
Deep dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all
Gloom, dispair, and agony on me...........Hee Haw

I'm a great believer in luck, and I find that the harder I work, the more I have of it.
Thomas Jefferson

Diligence is the mother of good luck. Bemjamin Franklin

Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do ya? Dirty Harry

Are some people lucky? Are some unlucky? Can you do things to have good luck like carry a rabbits foot, four-leave clover, or lucky stuffed animal? Are some clothes lucky? Are luck and being superstitious related?

I do not believe in luck. I believe in coincidence. Statistically, something may be a long shot, but not impossible. To paraphrase Ben and Tom, you create your own good luck.

This brings me to a show I sometimes watch...Deal or No Deal. You start with 26 cases containing 1 cent to 1 million dollars. A contestant selects one case that he hopes contains 1 million dollars. He then opens the remaining cases. Based on the amounts uncovered, a BANKER makes a money offer to the contestants for his case. Deal, and get $$$, No Deal, and keep opening cases. More big amounts left unopened means a bigger offer.

Everytime I watch this show, I find myself pulling for the Banker. I want to see the contestant get the shaft. I find most of the contestants unlikeable. Their greed will almost always show through. Either in body language, such as wringing their hands, or in their speech, "I need that million dollars!"

In pushing their luck, a lot of times a big offer is made, but they just cannot take the money because there happens to be a bigger amount available. Just got to get that big money. Then, they uncover the big amount, their offer plumments, and I just laugh. This is the Aesops fable of the dog with a bone, standing on the bridge, looking into the water, seeing himself, thinking its another dog with a bone, wants the second bone too, barks, and looses his bone. Greed does that to you. People cannot be happy with $250,000 if there is a chance that they may get $1,000,000.

I remember one show where the contestant was a female church pastor. Boy did this make me think. Was she coventing something (money) that was not hers? Was this gambling? If it was coventing or gambling would it be OK since she would presumeably tithe 10%? If she prayed for the million dollars and did not get it would it indicate she was ineffective as a pastor? If she did not get the million dollars would it be because she had bad intentions or bad motives? I did not have answers, but I had lots of questions.

I do not recall the outcome, I will see it on reruns I'm sure, if I am LUCKY.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Hodge Podge Pics

Sunday was a nice day. Honey bees were working the flowers that had not died yet. And the sky was blue.

A full moon on Monday night led to some interesting pictures.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It is Halloween.

Lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my! Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz.

Panhandling 101.

For Halloween, the Wife and I took Little One to the New River Valley mall in Christiansburg to do her "Trick or Treating". Little One was again a good witch, just like Glinda the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz. Here she was taught to go from door to door and request candy. Not much different than Panhandling. Other parents and grand parents were there to teach children this useful skill.

The mall was very crowded. We saw all sorts of interesting characters. Lions and tigers and bears, of course. Plus, Raggedy Anne, Elvis, other witches, the Incredible Hulk, angels, football players, cheerleaders, and hookers. I could not tell if thehighs school aged girls were real hookers, but they sure dressed like they were...short skirts and little bitty tops. These hookers were gathering candy, just like the little kids. This could have only been a Halloween costume. The Wife assured me it was. We were both surprised at this sight.

The scariest costume I saw was a life-like, small sized, correctly made up, clown. I am scared of clowns. Ever since I saw IT by Stephen King, I have been scared of clowns. Keep those clowns away from me. My worst nightmare is to be stuck with a clown on the top of a large ferris wheel.....arrrggggg!

I did go by Victoria's Secret to see if they just might be giving away something interesting for the Wife. I was disappointed. Only cheap suckers. I did notice the car in the middle of the mall. I learned to be observant by wathcing CSI. Seems like Victoria's Secret has a drive through window for its most preferred customers, for those who need to get their lingerie in a hurry. Victoria's Secret is on the cutting edge of customer service.