Category Archive 'Urban Versus Rural'
25 Nov 2016

The Two Americas

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The New York Times has some maps (much better in the original):

trumpamerica

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hillaryamerica

16 May 2016

Tourists “Rescue” Bison Calf at Yellowstone, Worried That It’s Cold

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BisonCalf

East Idaho News:

Karen Richardson of Victor, Idaho, was one of several parents chaperoning a group of fifth-graders on a field trip to Yellowstone this week.

Richardson says on Monday, as students were being taught at Lamar Buffalo Ranch, a father and son pulled up at the ranger station with a bison calf in their SUV.

“They were demanding to speak with a ranger,” Richardson tells EastIdahoNews.com. “They were seriously worried that the calf was freezing and dying.”

Rob Heusevelet, a father of a student, told the men to remove the bison from their car and warned they could be in trouble for having the animal.

“They didn’t care,” Heusevelet says. “They sincerely thought they were doing a service and helping that calf by trying to save it from the cold.”

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE 5/16, KRTV: The calf was not accepted back by the herd and wound up being euthanized because it was creating a hazardous situation by continually approaching people and vehicles.

07 Jan 2016

The Elite Holier Than Thous

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Temperance_Movement

R.R. Reno, at First Things, explains why Donald Trump goes up in the polls every time he opens his mouth and says something the establishment elite finds absolutely unacceptable.

When I was a boy, the popular humorist Corey Ford wrote a monthly column for Field & Stream about the questionable activities of a rural New Hampshire sportsman’s club called “The Lower Forty.”

Good old boys Judge Parker, Doc Hall, Cousin Sid, and the undertaker Angus McNab hung out at Uncle Perk’s General Store sipping Old Stumpblower and telling yarns in the intervals between expeditions against deer, trout, and what they referred to up there as “paatridge.” The inveterate adversaries of the members of The Lower Forty were the scheming, miserly, and hypocritical Deacon Godfrey and his reformist allies in the Sisters of Samantha Sewing Circle. I often feel that I have lived to see Deacon Godfreys everywhere in high office and the entire population, male and female, of the urban community of fashion carrying “Sisters of Samantha” membership cards.

The upper twenty percent in America have insulated themselves from the economic and cultural consequences of the last fifty years. Meanwhile, those in the bottom half must live in disintegrating communities and endure the consequences of declining social capital. They sense, intuitively, that our leadership class has a narrow, materialistic view of life and a ruthless, managerial approach to “diversity” that undermines social solidarity, which is why they resonate with patriotic rhetoric that actually envisions all of us together, committed to a common good. Meanwhile, they see that their “betters” have rigged the game, so much so that even the slightest dissent from political correctness brings fierce, disciplining denunciations.

As I’ve written elsewhere (and often) we are living in a remarkable era. Our ruling class has re-invented itself as a technocracy that justifies its power by claiming moral superiority—and which dismisses challengers from below as morally deficient. We haven’t seen this kind of moral attack on working people since the salad years of the Temperance movement, another era when the well-off thought little of entering the public square… to denounce the moral depravity of the working man.

09 Oct 2014

Exiting the Hive

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Morton1

Gerard Van der Leun (very old bio here) recently published a nice essay about moving out of Manhattan to a small town somewhere in the (rural & gun-owning portion of the) Pacific Northwest.

By the time I left the Hive, whatever had once bound me to it had long since frayed away. The upward pace of a “career” seemed more and more like a pointless marathon, a mere job. Long days spent striving to “exceed corporate goals” came to resemble a game of pick-up-sticks played with cows. Efforts to save an enterprise that one didn’t own came down to admitting that the enterprise had no intrinsic worth other than maintaining the vulgar lifestyle of an aging monomaniac who could no longer reason his way through two and two to four. It all combined into a vast cloud of wind-spun detritus that obscured the plain and simple fact that while government employees were working 24 hours a day printing more money, nobody anywhere was printing more time.

And so, at last, “Man, you gotta go.”

Jack Kerouac, Bard of the Road, wrote “Man, you gotta go.” Then he went home, lived with his mother again, and died a drunk. Not my road.

Okay. Fair enough. But go where? Here? Maybe. But where, exactly, is “here?”

Today, for a week or so, “here” turns out to be a small town up on the northwest edge of the nation. In size and composition, architecture and attitude, it is just about the exact polar opposite of the Hive.

Where Central Park in the Hive is a large, long oblong of struggling overused green in the center of an immense slab of asphalt, steel and concrete, the central park of this town is about 25 yards on a side. It’s a pleasant patch of cool grass studded with picnic tables and ringed with oaks that drape it in a shawl of shade. At the east end is a brick and cedar bandstand where banjos, guitars and fiddles sing out on odd afternoons and evenings. You’ll hear some country and some rock, but mostly you’ll hear the strains of bluegrass brought down out of the old Alleghenies and carried far west to these higher, more distant and demanding mountains.

On the west side of the park is a five-foot by three-foot marble faced granite slab in the shape of two tablets donated and erected there by the local chapter of the Eagles. Carved into the marble face in polished script are the Ten Commandments, King James version.

It would seem that whatever local chapter of the ACLU exists in these parts has chosen to ignore this blatant eruption of the Christian tradition in the secular town park. One might suppose the ACLU has done this simply because it hasn’t gotten around to it. It would, however, be much more likely that the organization is aware that in this town an ACLU suit to remove the Ten Commandments would be answered not with a five year legal argument, but with 30 rounds of semi-automatic rifle fire into the offices and automobiles of those seeking its removal. Since, for all its posturing, the ACLU has devolved into a refuge for moral and physical cowards with law degrees, it’s not difficult to see why this stone, largely unread and unnoticed, has been given a pass.

This is a heavily armed part of the nation and, as a result, it is a very civil and polite part as well.

Read the whole thing.

18 Sep 2009

Before the Deluge

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Arnold Kling sees the culture wars spinning further and further out of control and experiences despair.

I think the long-term significance of what is going on, both at the progressive end and at the Tea Party end of the political spectrum, is an open rupture. In the 1960’s, a Hubert Humphrey or Robert Kennedy could connect with uneducated white voters. The idea of blowing them off was unthinkable, if only because they were such a large majority of the voting population at the time.

Now, the elitism of President Obama and his supporters has reached in-your-face levels. They have utter contempt for the Tea Party-ers, and the Tea-Party-ers know it.

I wouldn’t want the Tea Party-ers at the faculty picnic, either. But my sense of class solidarity with Obama and other educated progressives does not make me want to see them exercise power. If anything, being a member of the educated elite and knowing knowing them as well as I do makes me share the Tea Party-ers’ fears.

I come back to my view that this is white, small-town America making its last stand. However, I think, also, that the progressive elite is making a last stand. My guess is that doubts are mounting among many independent voters about whether they want such a highly-charged politics. I am sticking with my bet that the Democrats will hold onto their House and Senate majorities as well as the Presidency through the elections of 2016, but relative to six months ago I feel that I am depending more on Republican incompetence than overall political trends to win that bet.

One could argue that this country is on the verge of a crisis of legitimacy. The progressive elite is starting to dismiss rural white America as illegitimate, and vice-versa. I see the chances of both sides losing as much greater than the chance of either force winning.

20 Jul 2009

“God, Guts, Guns… and American Pickups!”

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Everybody today is watching this amusing skirmish in the culture wars.

Butler, Missouri car dealer Mark Muller turns the tables on oh-so-superior CNN interviewer Carol Costello foiling an attempted slam interview. Costello was intending to put Muller on the spot by confronting him in a live interview over a sales promotion at his dealership awarding a AK47 semi-automatic rifle with the purchase of a new pick-up truck.

But Muller quickly proves to be a lot more likable than the smarmy and condescending Costello. He answers frankly, as she continually targets him with hostile questions invariably presented as what “some people might say.” And the rube car dealer proves entirely capable of embarrassing the slick professional reporter by demonstrating repeatedly her weakness on details (like his name).

5:51 video

From Suzanna Logan.

14 Jul 2009

Sanitizing Agriculture

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Fueled by litigation and media-fed paranoia, the dissociation between homo urbanicus and Nature has broken through to a fresh new level of insanity, as demonstrated by this SF Chronicle story. Retail buyers are now increasingly demanding that growers make a desert in order to grow sanitized greens.

Dick Peixoto planted hedges of fennel and flowering cilantro around his organic vegetable fields in the Pajaro Valley near Watsonville to harbor beneficial insects, an alternative to pesticides.

He has since ripped out such plants in the name of food safety, because his big customers demand sterile buffers around his crops. No vegetation. No water. No wildlife of any kind.

“I was driving by a field where a squirrel fed off the end of the field, and so 30 feet in we had to destroy the crop,” he said. “On one field where a deer walked through, didn’t eat anything, just walked through and you could see the tracks, we had to take out 30 feet on each side of the tracks and annihilate the crop.”

In the verdant farmland surrounding Monterey Bay, a national marine sanctuary and one of the world’s biological jewels, scorched-earth strategies are being imposed on hundreds of thousands of acres in the quest for an antiseptic field of greens. And the scheme is about to go national.

A must read.

All kinds of formerly common wildlife vanished in the aftermath of WWII, when the Department of Agriculture popularized tidier, edge-to-edge farming practices which eliminated the hedgerows, borders, and waste spaces where birds and small animals could find shelter and reproduce. One conspicuous result was Goodbye, wild ringneck pheasant! from my native state of Pennsylvania, just for instance.

One can just picture the mind-boggling toll of losses produced by the countless thousands of acres of sterile bird-weed-and-animal-free arugula growing to fill the produce bins of Whole Foods.

Hat tip to Bird Dog.

02 Feb 2009

Fashionistas Discover America

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Woolrich Maine Guide Jacket

I always marvel when I read a fashion article like this one in Newsweek.

Fok-Yan Leung doesn’t look out of place at the local field-and-stream emporium. His Maine Guide Jacket is nearly indistinguishable from the coats his fellow Moscow, Idaho, residents have on, and its maker, Woolrich, has been a wilderness staple since 1830. But despite the duds, Leung is actually a Harvard-trained researcher at a nearby university—not a grizzled Gem State native on the hunt for a new Winchester. And his jacket isn’t your average Woolrich. It was produced by an Italian company. It was designed by Japan’s Daiki Suzuki. And, as part of the luxe Woolrich Woolen Mills spinoff collection, it sells for $500—four times the price of a comparable Woolrich garment. “If the guys here found out, they’d be like, ‘He’s flipped his lid’,” says Leung, who also manages Styleforum.net. “I’ve never fired a gun in my life.”

Introducing haute Americana, one of the most powerful—and paradoxical—forces in men’s sportswear. Until recently, men like Leung would’ve skipped the Woolrich for a skinny Dior suit. But in recent years a number of tastemakers, many foreign, have dedicated themselves to reviving iconic American clothing for a hip new audience. Some have collaborated with classic U.S. brands on revitalized products (see: Suzuki and Woolrich). Some have stocked hunting garb in their big-city boutiques. And some have actually begun to reproduce emblematic gear—Wayfarers, Penfield vests—to exacting standards of authenticity. The result—on ample display in places like Brooklyn, N.Y., and Portland, Ore., where certain streets now resemble catwalks crowded with bookish lumberjacks—is a subset of prosperous peacocks paying a premium for garments originally meant for mining or fishing, then wearing them to tapas bars and contemporary art installations.

Affected? Absolutely. Still, how we dress says a lot about who we want to be, and that ache for authenticity—or, at least, the aura of authenticity—is revealing. For the foreigners who instigated the fad, sturdy American gear has long evoked a distant, idealized culture. … With the recent decline in our security, industry and standing, that nostalgia for a prelapsarian America (and the durable domestic goods that defined it) seems to have settled over the stylish set here at home. “Ironically, it’s largely because of overseas interest that Americans can now wear real American stuff,” says Michael Williams, a fashion publicist who covers Americana on his blog, A Continuous Lean.

Like articles of military uniform adapted as fashion statements, outdoor and equestrian garb have become another occasion for sartorial Walter Mitty-ism on the part of an urban community willing to pay premium prices for artificially distressed blue jeans.

My parents and grandparents, who actually had a life, would be appalled at both the routine enjoyment of a budgetary surplus available for this sort of overpriced grasp at self definition and the need for purchasing an identity different from one’s own. Who knows? If we live long enough, we may come to see “Coal Miner Chic” adopted by residents of the coastal enclaves of sophistication, complete with knock-off carbide lanterns and specially imported coal dirt.

01 Dec 2008

Small Towns

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Paul Gregory Alms explains how, both for good and ill, small town life is different. Most Americans today flee it, and then inevitably miss it.

One cannot help but to be connected to those around you in a small town. Many of them are related to you by blood. They are kin. Folks can rattle off relations and branches of the family tree. As an outsider, this can be quite intimidating. But there is a virtue in living in the midst of such family ties that is hard to describe. It involves living in such a way that you, as a person, are not an individual. You are not a solitary center of decision-making. Rather, you exist in a web of tangled claims. You are a point at which many lives intersect. You are at the same time a son or daughter, a granddaughter, a great-granddaughter.

Often you have ancestors, three or four or five generations, who are still living, sitting next to you at church. You are also a father, mother, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew, cousin, and on and on the web goes. In a small town you are confronted with those connections repeatedly, even daily. One sees one’s uncle at the gas station. One buys groceries from a cousin, gets the car fixed by a brother-in-law, goes into business with a brother, lives on land that once belonged to grandparents or great-grandparents.

This web also involves non-relatives, members of the community, people known to you. Being known in a small town does not mean you know a name or some casual facts about them. It means you know their family, you know where they grew up, where they went to school, stories about them. One’s last name becomes a personality trait. One can say, “Oh, he is a Bolick” and explain some behavior or attitude with no need for further words. One is situated in the web of the community. Knowing someone means you share a common history, a common place, a common way of being raised. You have a shared experience of schools and churches and institutions and events.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers and Steve Bodio.

17 Nov 2008

First, Vermont; Then, Siler City

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Mark Stinson, in the Chatham (North Carolina) Journal Weekly, laments the invasion, and take-over, of Siler City by intolerant representatives of the contemporary community of fashion.

We have a certain number of people that are transplanted here because they wanted some space. We have others that have money that wanted space too; that like the city life but want to live in the country. These people use their wealth to force the rest of us to do what they want. …

Bobby Smith of S&W Speed Shop in Siler City has occupied the same corner lot for almost 40 years. He has been a constant tax paying citizen and local fixture around this area. …

This brings me to the invasion of the jug making pot heads that want to turn Siler City into a smaller version of Chapel Hill. You see the arts incubator has grabbed a chunk of mid down town Siler City and proceeded to start transforming the town into a Chapel Hill / Carrboro clone. Bobby never in 40 years had one complaint about a vehicle sitting in his parking spots beside his shop or parts of vehicles stored in his lot behind his shop until the artsy bunch cleaned up town (as they put it) and located a pottery next to him. They have constantly whined and complained to the town forcing Bobby to move just about everything off his property to accommodate their desires to make downtown visually pleasing to them.

Recently they sent a police officer because Bobby had his truck. which he is repairing sitting in his parking spot “turned the wrong way” and they didn’t like the looks of that truck so they wanted it gone. …

Kenny Clark is feeling the effects of their constant complaints as well and Clapp Brothers will be next on the hit list if something isn’t done to balance things out again. They have already complained about things such as shipping crates temporarily stored in Clapps lot.

I personally love arts n crafts. I enjoy learning new ways to be creative but not at anyone else’s expense. If I want to see pottery I go to Jug Town where it is done the right way. I may be wrong, but in my opinion anyone can learn to make a pot. Not everyone can fix a bull dozer, build engines or repair a truck that helps members of our community make an honest living. …

does it make sense to bully the small established businesses out just because you want to make pots? The Arts incubator could never draw the kind of money some of these business have and never will. People involved with the Arts Incubator may have millions but that money isn’t being spread around the community. I was all excited about the arts incubator coming to Siler City until I saw how it grew to push people aside and trample those that are established in the community just to add “culture” to Chatham. …

I went through town to see a naked blue lady on top of a building, a half a naked man and a naked anatomically correct statue of a man on a street corner and honestly was upset. I don’t want my children to see such things in what is supposed to be a public place. I find it offensive. Is it better to be offended by art or annoyed with an eyesore of machine parts that are supposed to be outside a garage anyway?

20 Apr 2008

Guns Owner Are Happy

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Not bitter, Arthur Brooks explains, in the Wall Street Journal.

In words that he has come to regret, Barack Obama opined as to why he was having a hard time winning over many blue-collar voters: “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or antitrade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

It was a throwaway line to a private audience at a San Francisco fund-raiser. And it was made public on a liberal Internet blog, not by right-wing commentators. But Mr. Obama’s opponents seized on the quote. It was evidence, they claimed, that he is “elitist,” caricaturing middle Americans as gun-toting, immigrant-despising, religious rednecks – who are also deeply unhappy people. And as a contrite Mr. Obama admitted, “I am the first to admit that some of the words I chose, I chose badly.”

The comment may or may not be an indication of Mr. Obama’s real views about those ordinary Americans who’ve not enjoyed the full fruits of economic growth over the past decades. Yet his casual portrayal no doubt had heads nodding vigorously in assent among his supporters, and probably among many others.

That anybody would find this portrayal realistic illustrates how little some Americans know about their neighbors. And nothing reveals the truth better than the data on guns.

According to the 2006 General Social Survey, which has tracked gun ownership since 1973, 34% of American homes have guns in them. This statistic is sure to surprise many people in cities like San Francisco – as it did me when I first encountered it. (Growing up in Seattle, I knew nobody who owned a gun.)

Who are all these gun owners? Are they the uneducated poor, left behind? It turns out they have the same level of formal education as nongun owners, on average. Furthermore, they earn 32% more per year than nonowners. Americans with guns are neither a small nor downtrodden group.

Nor are they “bitter.” In 2006, 36% of gun owners said they were “very happy,” while 9% were “not too happy.” Meanwhile, only 30% of people without guns were very happy, and 16% were not too happy.

In 1996, gun owners spent about 15% less of their time than nonowners feeling “outraged at something somebody had done.” It’s easy enough in certain precincts to caricature armed Americans as an angry and miserable fringe group. But it just isn’t true. The data say that the people in the approximately 40 million American households with guns are generally happier than those people in households that don’t have guns.

The gun-owning happiness gap exists on both sides of the political aisle. Gun-owning Republicans are more likely than nonowning Republicans to be very happy (46% to 37%). Democrats with guns are slightly likelier than Democrats without guns to be very happy as well (32% to 29%). Similarly, holding income constant, one still finds that gun owners are happiest.

Why are gun owners so happy? One plausible reason is a sense of self-reliance, in terms of self-defense or even in terms of the ability to hunt their own dinner.

Many studies over the years have shown that a belief in one’s control over the environment dramatically adds to happiness. Example: a famous study of elderly nursing home patients in the 1970s. It showed dramatic improvements in life satisfaction from elements of control as seemingly insignificant as being able to care for one’s plants.

A bit of evidence that self-reliance is at work among gun owners comes from the General Social Survey. It asked whether one agrees with the statement, “Those in need have to take care of themselves.” In 2004, gun owners were 10 percentage points more likely than nonowners to agree (60% to 50%).

That response is not evidence that gun owners only care about themselves, however. In 2002, they were more likely to give money to charity than people without guns (83% to 75%). This charity gap doesn’t reflect their somewhat higher incomes. Gun owners were also more likely to give in other ways, such as donating blood. Are gun owners unsentimental? In 2004, they were more likely than those without guns to strongly agree that they would “endure all things” for the one they loved (45% to 37%).

30 Jan 2008

Email Humor of the Day

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LETTER FROM A FARM KID …

Dear Ma and Pa,

I am well. Hope you are.

Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old man Minch by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all of the places are filled.

I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly 6 A.M. but I am getting so I like to sleep late.

Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot, and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing.

Men got to shave but it is not so bad,there’s warm water.

Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant, pie and other regular food, But tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the city boys that live on coffee.Their food plus yours holds you till noon when you get fed again.

It’s no wonder these city boys can’t walk much. We go on “route marches,” which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it’s not my place to tell him different. A “route march” is about as far as to our mailbox at home.

Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks.

This will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting.I don’t know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head and don’t move, and it ain’t shooting at you like the Higgett boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don’t even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.

Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break real easy. It ain’t like fighting with that ole bull at home.

I’m about the best they got in this except for that Tug Jordan from over in Silver Lake.

I only beat him once.

He joined up the same time as me, but I’m only 5’6″ and 130 pounds and he’s 6’8″ and near 300 pounds dry.

Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in.

Your loving daughter,
Carol

10 Nov 2007

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

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The New York Times chronicles the frightening encounters of today’s typical urban wussies with THE COUNTRY.

When Evan Gotlib and his fiancée, Lindsey Pollack, bought a three-bedroom cottage surrounded by pine trees in rural Sharon, Conn., they couldn’t wait to flee their cramped Manhattan studio on weekends to spend their days dozing in a hammock and barbecuing on their brand new 42,000 B.T.U., 60-burger-capacity Weber grill.

But being city people, they did what anyone looking to “get away from it all” would do first, before they even spent the night: they paid $3,000 for a home-security system complete with motion detectors, a one-touch intercom that connects to fire and police dispatchers and an emergency hand-held remote-control device they could leave on the bedside table at night. “I know it sounds ridiculous now that I talk about it, but I just feel safer sleeping with the remote control,” Mr. Gotlib, a 32-year-old corporate sales director for Time Inc. Media Group, confessed, “because those deer are aggressive.”

For many urban sophisticates who trade the big city’s drunken crowds, blaring sirens and claustrophobic living spaces for bucolic second homes on weekends, the very solitude of mountains and forests that drew them in the first place can turn into a nerve-jangling — and sometimes costly — source of anxiety. As much as they adore their country houses, these harried homebodies quail at the thought of stepping out into the pitch-black night or meeting some wild animal or armed local in the woods.

Often their attempts at assuaging those fears are met with disbelief and ridicule from their more well-adjusted family members and friends.

“New York thinking applied to nature equals paranoia,” said Augusten Burroughs, the author of the memoir “Running with Scissors,” from his country house on the outskirts of Amherst, Mass., which he and his partner, Dennis Pilsits, built three years ago. Since then, Mr. Burroughs, 42, has poured several book advances into what he calls his “prison in the trees” in an effort to defend his rustic outpost “from nature in all its malicious glory.” This includes installing an $8,000 lightning protection system and spending $2,000 on various military-grade “tactical illumination devices” — flashlights — and even a pair of night-vision goggles, thanks to some terrifying encounters with nocturnal neighbors.

Late one recent night, Mr. Burroughs had gone out to check the mailbox when he saw two green, glittering eyes, triangular ears “and the general impression of height” in the shadows. When the creature began to walk toward him, Mr. Burroughs ran into the garage, fearing for his life. “Our skinny, gym-polished urban bodies are no match for anything that scratches its back on a tree,” he said. “Whatever it was, it was both curious and unafraid — two traits one does not admire in wildlife when one is alone in the dark.”..

That hyper-vigilance is a normal reaction to the fear induced by the darkness and silence of the country, said Dr. Julie Holland, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine, who owns a weekend home in Pawling, N.Y. “In the city, the street lights are on at 3 in the morning, and you have this sense that if you call the police or the front desk of your luxury high-rise someone will help you,” she said. “There is something inherently unnatural and vulnerable about humans being in social isolation, because out there no one can hear you scream.”

It took Dr. Holland and her husband, Jeremy Wolff, a photographer, a while to get over that anxiety. Even so, encounters with armed hunters are always unsettling, even for a seasoned second-home owner. After disturbing a camouflaged fellow in a tree during a family hike last autumn, Mr. Wolf wrote a letter to the hunting club that leases the land beside his, asking members to “please make sure your bullets don’t cross my property lines.”

And then there was the time he came across a shooting range on his neighbor’s land. So does Mr. Wolff, 48, think there is a difference between himself and the people who live in the country full time?

“I feel I’m more of an intellectual artist and they’re kind of machine people,” he said. “Everyone has their own backhoe up there, and their kids have A.T.V.’s and motorboats. And they all have guns, which scares me.”

Read the whole thing, and laugh.

Hat tip to Steve Bodio.

15 Oct 2007

To Walk With Kings, Nor Lose the Common Touch

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Apparently, if you’re a member of the party of America’s urban elites and you need to visit (shudder!) a fly-over Red State and rub elbows with the Common People, you take care to be immunized for infectious diseases.

My Way News:

It got the GOP’s engines revving – a Democratic official suggesting staffers get immunized for several diseases before heading south from Washington and into the Red State wilds of NASCAR country to conduct research at a pair of races.

The reaction on both sides illustrates just how valuable candidates for elected office consider the votes of NASCAR fans who pack grandstands by the thousands every weekend and the donations of business leaders who spend millions to sponsor the sport.

It started last month, when an official with the House Committee on Homeland Security suggested that staff aides get immunizations before visiting health facilities at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway and North Carolina’s Lowe’s Motor Speedway, where the Bank of America 500 was run Saturday.

In an e-mail, a staffer who works for committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., noted an “unusual need for whomever attending to be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B,” as well as “the more normal things – tetanus, diphtheria, and of course, seasonal influenza.”

The note didn’t explain why the committee saw such concern. It didn’t mention NASCAR or the races at the tracks at all. But the implication was enough to draw a snarky complaint from Republican Rep. Robin Hayes, whose district includes Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

“I have never heard of immunizations for domestic travel, and … I feel compelled to ask why the heck the committee feels that immunizations are needed to travel to my hometown,” wrote Hayes.

Thompson responded to Hayes that such immunizations are “are recommended for public safety professionals working in areas such as hospitals, holding areas and similar locations.” But the staffers were only scheduled to visit a few health care facilities – not work at them.

“What do they know about NASCAR that we don’t?” said Dr. David Weber, a professor of medicine and public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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