It’s always a treat to take out-of-town visitors to a minor league baseball game and explain the Toastman. He’s Rod Blackstone, a superfan and, oh yeah… the mayor’s spokesman. When opposing players strike out, Rod yells “You. Are. Toast.” And he hurls a piece of toast into the crowd.
Archive for the ‘West Virginia’ Category
As much as West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin made headlines this past week, it shouldn’t have been surprising that he also made the opening skit of “Saturday Night Live.”
Well — it wasn’t Joe himself, but rather actor Jason Sudeikis who portrayed the 65-year-old politician. While Manchin was busy brokering a Senate deal that would expand background checks for gun sales, the writers at “SNL” were watching with a critical eye.
Here’s the 3-minute clip of Manchin and Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey:
Among the highlights of the “SNL” version of the compromise bill (transcribed by website Mediaite):
No individual can purchase a handgun from a private dealer without being asked, ‘Are you a good person?’ along with the follow-up question “Seriously, are you?”
Absolutely no limit on the amount of ammunition you can carry in magazines.
Limit the number of guns you can shoot at once to two.
Anyone caught shooting three or more guns at the same time will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, the penalty for which is we give you a fourth gun.
Bans AK-47s from all coin-operated vending machines.
The Papa John’s promotion, buy two medium pizzas, get a free gun has been completely outlawed
“SNL” also made reference to Manchin’s “Dead Aim” television ad, in which he famously shot a copy of a cap-and-trade bill with a rifle.
It was back to work for Manchin and Toomey in real life early Sunday, however.
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) April 14, 2013
(Hat tip to sportswriter and pop culture buff Derek Redd for hooking me up with a link this morning!)
In a column in the Saturday Gazette-Mail, I wrote about participating in the West Virginia Reads 150 project in honor of West Virginia’s sesquicentennial. At the end of the column, I asked for some book suggestions.
Luckily for me, several people were kind enough to weigh in with some reading ideas.
My uncle Mike Kiger showed up at a family event last weekend with a big pile of reading for me, including “All Quiet on the Western Front,” a classic that I’ve never read. His pile also featured two more World War I books — “The Greatest Day In History” and “To the Last Man.” Plus he offered up “May flower” by Nathaniel Philbrick. And “The Thread that Runs so True,” a personal account of teaching in Kentucky by Jesse Stuart. Thanks Uncle Mike!
My cousin Rebecca (Mike’s daughter) left a comment under the online version of my column: “We enjoy Marc Harshman‘s children’s books. He is WV’s Poet Laureate, and he happens to live in Wheeling.” Hey, children’s books count just as much as books aimed at adults!
Another online comment came from Elizabeth Fraser. She wrote, “For WV I recommend ‘Old Land, Dark Land, Strange Land : Stories by John F. Suter.’ He was a Charleston native and nationally award winning mystery writer. He has a rabid following in the UK. The Strand Bookstore has a good summary. The library owns copies.”
Jim Hatfield sent me an email and said, “I’m enjoying your column. Hey, have you read Craig Johnson’s ‘Walt Longmire‘ series? The first volume is titled “‘The Cold Dish.’ Now there’s a little raciness and language involved here and there, but his writing is absolutely top notch. I hope you haven’t read the series yet, because it’s such a treat. Besides, it will count as NINE books!”
Mary Browning also sent me an email: “I am sure that you will receive a lot of recommendations about some books by West Virginia authors. I have 3 that you may consider reading. ‘The Dirty Secret‘ by Brent Wolfingbarger, former WV Prosecutor. ‘Dead Ringers – Why Miners March,’ compiled and edited by Wess Harris, Gay, WV. ‘Coal River Rising‘ by Bill Currey, co-founder of the Coal River Group.”
Liz Gay of Edray, Pocahontas County, had a few suggestions. One was John Billheimer, a West Virginia native living in Calif. His books include ‘Highway Robbery’ and ‘Dismal Mountain:’ “His mysteries tend to be commentaries on big/small government, mountaintop removal etc… Wry humor… fun to read … a quick enjoyable read.”
She also suggested “In Country” by Bobbie Ann Mason, a Kentucky writer who visits Appalachian themes.
As Liz concluded, “So many books, so little time…”
It’s been fun to get the suggestions from people. Got any more? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
Rapper Vanilla Ice, who is better known these days for his home-renovation reality show than for his early-90s hit song “Ice Ice Baby,” received a warm welcome to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia earlier this week, after tweeting about the Mountain State and one of its popular attractions, Snowshoe Resort.
— Vanilla Ice (@vanillaice) March 3, 2013
Ice, who now lives in Palm Beach, seems to really love skiing.
Ninja – Skiing, fresh powder, had to take a break from the sun and run to the snow for some fun. pic.twitter.com/5pD8x0UXA4
— Vanilla Ice (@vanillaice) March 2, 2013
But he also gives a shout-out to some other activities and destinations in West Virginia:
— Vanilla Ice (@vanillaice) March 3, 2013
Rep. Shelley Capito said Vanilla Ice was on plane yesterday, flying in to Snowshoe, WV. When she was first told, said, "Who's Vanilla Ice?"
— Taylor Kuykendall (@taykuy) March 8, 2013
It was unclear if the 45-year-old Ice was coming back for another weekend in the mountains or if Capito was referencing an earlier flight.
Either way, his public shout-out to the state saw nearly 500 retweets from plenty of people who seemed thrilled to welcome West Virginia’s newest celebrity endorser.