July 20, 2006
Advantage Appalachia

Well, I can report on at least two advantages to being in a small town in Appalachia.

In San Francisco, it took me four months to get a copy of Kevin Phillips’s American Theocracy from the library. They had nine copies, and when my name finally bubbled to the top, there were 150 holds behind me. Here, I went to the library yesterday. They had one copy, and it was on the shelf.

The local newspaper, which recently ran with the death of a local dog as the front-page story, has above the fold today two pictures and a story about a 96-year-old man who “modestly admits, he only bowls for the fun.” I’m not sure what the alternative was. Below the fold is a report on a stolen video camera, which contained a tape of a wedding. The couple, still on a cruise in the Bahamas, are as yet unaware of the disaster. The report presents the hope that a reader might happen across some information that would lead law enforcement to the evil-doer, or if all else fails, perhaps “the power of conscience might prompt the return of the tape.”

Just for context, the Washington Post today is spending time on the war in the Middle East, Bush’s speech to the NAACP, and his veto of the stem-cell bill.

The lead editorial in the local paper concerns the disaster in Lebanon and Gaza. It makes at least three claims of fact that appear to me to be incorrect, so I wrote a letter to the editor and emailed it around noon. By 2PM the paper had called me to verify that I was the author, said the letter was a bit too long, and suggested a cut to bring it down to size, to which I agreed. I expect they’ll publish it tomorrow or the next day.


Posted by Chuck Dupree at July 20, 2006 03:58 PM
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Today my hometown weekly reported the arrest of a local man on drunk & disorderly charges. You'd think they wouldn't bother a man walking home from his favorite bar, wouldn't you? Thing is, he walked into a telephone pole and knocked himself out, and then vehemently resisted first aid after the ambulance arrived and the EMT revived him.

I admit that this news didn't have a banner headline on the front page, though.

I wonder if he voted for GW because he'd be more fun to have a beer with. But maybe he's only been drinking since the country's gotten in such bad shape.

Posted by: Joyful Alternative on July 20, 2006 10:29 PM

I am about to retire to a small town, and life there is very different. The police beat featured on page two of the local paper covers every arrest and complaint made. The typical listings are for DUI arrests, bar fights and the occasional shoplifter. The complaints include such items as "woman complained that two teens were tossing tied shoes at phone wires" or "man complained that his daughter talked back to him", and the local fey lady complained that four men carried a toilet into a park and then urinated in it.

I opened a bank account there, didn't go back for two months, and when I did the branch manager got up from his desk and greeted me by name. Being rather asocial, I will not fit in well but then that won't bother me either. I hope I can remember to keep my mouth shut about politics, but correcting error always seems more important at the time.

Posted by: m on July 21, 2006 7:32 AM

Boy, you all sure live in the big city. We have a newspaper but it's just published once a month. We (finally) have one store, no gas stations,one church, one cafe, one five star restaurant,one stables, and two gift shops which are closed most of the winter.

Posted by: tom on July 21, 2006 9:17 AM

To what state are you retiring, m? You just may be moving around the corner from one of us, if it's Kentucky, Pennsylvania, or tom's state. In that case, it may not be too late to change your plans.

Posted by: Joyful Alternative on July 21, 2006 10:21 AM

"To what state are you retiring, m?"

I am fed up with urban and suburban life, so the next step is exurban. I probably would have liked 600 acres in Wyoming or Montana, but that would be a bit much for my wife. So we will try Caton NY, near Corning. I can't see the neighbors, and only hear them or rare occasions. A couple of miles from the Pa border. population about 2150. The bank and the paper are in Corning. I heard there is a Amish general store within the limits of Caton, but I haven't been there. Pretty country, not too much snow (34" a year), land is relatively cheap (1-2 thousand/acre), not too far from Cornell and Ithaca College (both have great music programs and cheap concerts), and Corning Inc brings in a lot of "foreigners" to meet my limited social needs.

Posted by: m on July 21, 2006 12:50 PM

come on --- don't leave us hangin'

where is the follow-up story

Posted by: theDdoubleSstandard on July 21, 2006 7:18 PM

First fact for the follow-up story: they printed my letter the next day.

Then family showed up for a birthday celebration and you know what they're like. My grandmother's 101st was no different, though longer-lived: we basically partied all week, and now beginning our recovery.

Posted by: Chuck Dupree (Belisarius) on July 23, 2006 12:20 PM
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