Showing posts with label Hooterville. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hooterville. Show all posts

Friday, October 27, 2023

The Buckeye State

Image by Rupert Kittinger-Sereinig from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny  the Stickies — to advise 'em now, haunt them after I'm deleted.

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC-65: Sexy Seasoned Citizens   



Featuring {Dana}Persistent auditory hallucination and charming literary device 

"The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it." -P.J. O'rourke 

Dear Stickies (and gentlereaders),

It occurred to me that it has been quite a while since I have written much, if anything, about my tired little town, one of many in a tired little valley that doesn't look like a valley.  

{Tired? A valley that doesn't look like one?}

As to tired, Dana, Hooterville is in the heart of the rustbelt, and despite heroic efforts to revive it and the valley in which it's located, it remains rather rusty overall.

As to the valley thing, if you found yourself passing through, particularly if you were a Yinzer (a native of Pittsburgh like me), you'd be unlikely to notice that you were technically in a valley. 

The 'Burgh is in a clearly defined, deep valley that conforms to the definition of a valley that I learned in geography class under the tutelage of Sister Mary McGillicuddy. I wonder if there's a commonly used word for a very shallow valley? 

Just a second, I'll be right back. 

Huh, according to Google/Generative AI (Generative AI is experimental. Info quality may vary.) there are a ton of names for shallow valleys including dingle, bunny, thrutch, etceterutch. My personal favorite is cwm, a Welsh word pronounced kuum. I caught a rabbit in the cwm, so we had a Welsh rabbit for dinner. 

And now that I think about it, isn't there a tiny town in West Virginia called Dingle Bunny?

{There's something really wrong with you, you know that, right?}

Living in the Rustbelt ain't all bad. For example, recently our three-burner stove--which I bought new down at the BestBuy 16 years ago, the one near damall?--which originally had four burners transformed, literally overnight, into a two-burner, both of which were clearly not long for this world. 

Not good, particularly given the current cash flow crunch here at Casa de Chaos. However, in short order, we secured a surprisingly decent one from the next tired town over for $100, and the old one vanished the next day.

{A hundred bucks! Vanished?}
As to the price... it's better not to ask any questions. Pay the money, load up the stove, say thanks, and get out of Dodge. As to vanished, we have a very dedicated and discrete group of voluntary recyclers in the area who are happy to deal with anything made of metal left out on the curb.

We once shoved a very large, very dead air conditioner out of a first-floor window and into the yard, intending to drag it to the curb the next day. In about an hour, a very polite, if somewhat disheveled gentleman knocked on the front door to inquire if we had made funeral arrangements yet for the dead appliance in question. 

He recycled it quickly and efficiently with our blessing and our thanks.

There's an off-year election coming up, (11/7),  in which the good citizens of the Buckeye State will decide if, going forward, weed, with the requisite sin tax and no shortage of silly Rules&Regs, will be recreationally legal, not just medically legal as it is now.


Well, after all, it is a weed, and I'm led to believe it's not difficult to grow, particularly since instructions, advice, and equipment are easily acquired. My favorite caveat? You can legally grow your own, as long as you don't have more than six plants, 12 if there are at least two adults in the household that are 21 or older. 

After all, like tobacco, you're not allowed to use it till you're 21. However, it's still legal to join the military or star in a porno if you're at least 18.  

Also, possessing more than 2.5 ounces is illegal, but that's not silly. That's just Ohio trying to make sure that sin and state and local sales taxes are being collected, and that the shady-looking dude that hangs out in front of the 7-Eleven and his colleagues aren't dodging both sales and income taxes and underselling their legal competitors. 

This might seem odd given that the Republicrats, the party of small government, currently have an iron grip on most of our carefully gerrymandered state, but maintaining a full-time, two-house legislature, 24x7 x365 ain't cheap. Neither is maintaining numerous tired, tiny towns that all have their own government employees, school systems, police departments, zoning boards, etc. 

Having friends in low places, I could have weed delivered to my front door, with no delivery charge, by making a phone call. I haven't been a regular user in decades but I'm voting yes so that those who do choose to indulge can do so knowing the source of the product and know that nothing dangerous/crazy has been added to tweak its potency. 

There's another issue to vote on this year, a proposed constitutional amendment no less, that guarantees abortion rights to the women of Ohio. This, as you might imagine, has generated endless Sturm und Drang... all of it unnecessary. 

Long story short:

Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supremes but Ohio already has a law in place restricting abortion (21 weeks and 6 days), a law the majority of its citizens support.

The masters of morality in control of the Ohio Legislature pass a law that limits abortions to the first six weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest, that is promptly, and currently, blocked by an injunction. 

A ballot initiative, a broadly worded amendment (thus guaranteeing endless litigation if it passes) to amend the Ohio Constitution to include abortion rights is added to the ballot. 

Money is pouring in from outside Ohio by people and organizations on both sides of the issue to fund information/disinformation campaigns. 

Our 76-year-old, five-foot-tall governor (whose son is an Ohio Supreme Court justice) and his wife have released their own ad. They both look right into the camera and lie their bums off, stating that if the amendment passes partial-birth abortion will be legal in Ohio. 

They neglect to mention that there's a federal law in place that bans that barbaric procedure nationwide.   

{Ain't it cool that the German phrase Sturm und Drang sounds like what it means in English? Is Mike Dewine really five feet tall?}

Nah, I lied. Go Buckeyes!

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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Friday, February 4, 2022

Hopin' For Some Global Warming

A Mr. Cranky's neighborhood episode. 
15% more words this week at no extra charge!

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.   

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating meltdown.  

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlereader  

"Sharks are as tough as those football fans who take their shirts off during games in Chicago in January, only more intelligent." -Dave Barry 

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

Unhappily, Neo-Hooterville was hammered by a horrendous heavy snowfall followed by single-digit temperatures not long ago. The majority of the resulting iceberg-covered sidewalks are still untouched by human hands or feet and I'm hopin' for some global warming because for some reason, this, or something very much like it, happens every year. 

As this is being written we're eagerly anticipating the arrival of a few days of temperatures in the balmy low-forties that the weatherpersons are predicting. Fingers crossed.

But as everyone knows, malevolent butterflies on the other side of the world regularly get together in the parking lots of their favorite bars after closing time and flap their wings so as to screw up the predictions of American meteorologists.

Personally, I think the Pooteen or Xi Dada is behind this phenomenon, maybe both of 'em.   

Nowadays, as you might imagine, passable driveways are important, sidewalks not so much. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled back in 1993 that homeowners have no legal obligation to shovel their sidewalks and no shortage of Hootervillians take them at their word.


A gaggle of aggravated citizens that managed to get out of their driveways showed up at a city council meeting to demand that the "city" should clear their sidewalks for them. I wasn't there but I'll betcha a bottle-a-pop the fact that Hooterville has been shrinking for years and can't afford to properly maintain the sidewalks currently hidden under the frozen tundra was not discussed. 


I know for a fact that no one suggested merging with other surrounding "cities" and townships that have the same/similar problem(s) and should've joined forces a looong time ago.

{If you weren't there how do you know they didn't?} 

It's the local equivalent of saying Voldemort out loud, Dana, it just isn't done. 

On the other hand...

The good news is that the Hooterville School System, which has been on fiscal watch or in fiscal emergency (with the exception of 2016 - 2019) every year since 2003, was officially released from its current fiscal emergency on 1/27. 

Go Dragons!   

Unfortunately, at nearby Youngstown State University, which despite quite reasonable tuition rates (comparatively speaking at least), enrollment is so far down this year (I can't imagine why) some academic programs and staff have both been cut. Fortunately, the budget for the athletics program was increased by $885,000.

Go Penguins! 

The condition of the campus sidewalks after our recent blizzard made the local news. One freshperson was quoted as saying, “The roads and the sidewalks were disgusting...and it was definitely a slipping hazard for some of the people that have disabilities on campus.”

I know what you're thinking, gentlereaders, why didn't they pass out snow shovels to the students with athletic scholarships and tell them to have at it? I'll betcha a box-a-donuts it's against union rules.

{Feelin' folksy this week, Homer? I know for a fact you came up on the mean streets of Pittsburghand Sister Mary Mcgillicuddy taught you not to drop letters when pronouncing words.}  
Dang straight. I call it muh Dan Rather, pre-packaged folksy quips strategery. He's got FU-level wealth and he's still workin' at 90 in spite of the Killian controversy. I need a new columnist's chair, and I don't know how much longer my ol' space heater is gonna' hold up.   

{Do you smell smoke?}

Which brings us to Duuude, Dude's little brother and one of the Stickies that reside here at Casa dé Chaos.   

Duuude, who only a few months ago was a tiny kid with a big heart (that he wore on his sleeve), is now a broad-shouldered young man with a topknot and a big heart (that he wears on his sleeve) who once tried out for the middle school football team but was defeated by a combination of 90° weather and a mild case of asthma. 

Now in high school, while lifting weights in an afterschool program he was recruited to play football next season for Hooterville High by the coach. 

A lot of kids young men who have been on the team since ninth grade are graduating this year and there's a dearth of volunteers clamoring to replace them. Nowadays, all sorts of parents would prefer that schools switch to playing flag football, even in Hooterville. 

So the coach is doing what a high school coach has gotta do, find replacements wherever he/she/they can. Duuude is training hard four days a week after school and loving it. He's also discovered what his mom uses Epsom salts for. 

The morning after we got six feet of snow, and before the dramatic temperature drop the next night, Duuuude and a buddy were out shoveling sidewalks and getting all the work they could handle. I thought it was only for the money but I later found it was homework assigned by the coach. 

It seems he also acts as a life coach who has taken it upon himself to instruct his charges in the sort of old-fashioned values and virtues, like community service, that I thought would get him censored by the teachers union or the school district.

"He's an older guy, like you, Poppa." 

It would seem that our tiny high school could teach our local mid-sized college some big lessons. 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

P.S.1 As I put the finishing touches on this missive a new winter weather advisory is in effect. As my cursor hovers over the publish button there's an additional three feet of snow on Hooterville's sidewalks.

P.S.2 Apropos of nothing above, recently some world-class economists released a meta-study, a study of studies, that concludes that lockdowns didn't do much to stop the spread of Wuflu, but did cause a great deal of collateral damage. 

This story has received almost no coverage by our (alleged) news media. 

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Friday, June 18, 2021

Hooterville, Ohio

 A Mr. Cranky's neighborhood episode featuring Congressperson Timmy 

I don't know who owns the rights to this image but if they should send me a cease and desist order I'll happily take it down after trying to use the letter to go viral by claiming I'm a victim of ageism, elder abuse, and intersectional abuses to be named later.

This is: A weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — A Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. Viewing with a tablet or a monitor is highly recommended for maximum enjoyment.  

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlereader  

"And that's Uncle Joe, he's movin' kind of slow at the junction..."
- Fron the song Petticoat Junction written by Paul Henning (creator of Petticoat Junction/Hooterville) and Curt Massey (musician/songwriter).  

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

Hooterville, Ohio, a "city" in Northeast Ohio, sits in the middle of a cluster of "cities" and townships that includes two (former) actual rustbelt cities that have lost so much population our congressman congressperson Timmy, may soon be out of his second real job.

He worked for his predecessor, the (almost) famous Congressman Jimbo, for a few years till Jimbo got locked up and Tim's current job became available. Jimbo ran against him from prison, twice, but lost both times. 

If you lived here the fact that Jimbo lost, at least the first time, is the surprising part. The fact that he ran, twice, didn't surprise anyone. 

Timmy has announced that he's running for the Senate next year to replace Republicrat Rob Portman, a professional pol of 32 years who has been a (mostly) reliably conservative and blessedly boring senator for 11 years.   

Congressperson Timmy is a Depublican but markets himself as an old school Depublican, a Democrat, as there are many Democrats still living in the Hooterville metropolitan area. He talks, a lot, about how the current version of the party should become the party of the working class again.

This area is top-heavy with working-class people. Timmy's never earned his bread by workin' the line, operating a machine, stockin' shelves, etc, but he was a high school football star which gives ya street cred in these parts. 

He was recruited to play ball at Youngstown State but blew out a knee and wound up at Bowling Green State, majoring in political science. He went to work for Jimbo and picked up a law degree from Franklin Pierce Law Center but didn't see any point in taking the bar exam. 

Next, he became an Ohio State Senator but only served for two years before Jimbo's unfortunate incarceration and has been Congressman Timmy ever since.   

He's since published a book about practicing mindfulness and another about healthy eating. The one about mindfulness (2012) brought him a bit of national attention. He republished it in 2018 with a different title. 

The first line of the same forward in both books is, "This book is a remarkable and unusual gift to the world." It's written by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a former professor who nowadays sells MP3s and CDs of guided meditations.   

Congressperson Timmy's been trying to call attention to himself on the national stage for years by doing stuff like pretending to run for Speaker of the House (Nattering Nancy crushed him). He ran for president for about a minute in 2020 before returning his attention to getting re-elected to Congress. 

He turns up occasionally on national lamestream media shows when some interviewer wants to present the perspective of the working person. Local, somewhat miffed talk show hosts can't get him to answer the phone anymore but perhaps now that he's running for the Senate there will be a reconciliation.   

It's suddenly summer here in Hooterville. I never get tired of the joke, what are the four seasons of Ohio? Answer: almost winter, winter, still winter, construction.   

{You may not be tired of it but...}

My oldest granddaughter, whom I used to call Abbagirl but now address as Asparagoose, just limped through an awful senior year of high school. Before I forget, if you're keeping track, her sister is no longer Bug, she's Josceleena or Josceleenie.

My oldest grandson is still, Dude. The youngest is still Duuude. 

Asparagoose went to band camp for three years and enjoyed the good while stoically dealing with the bad and the ugly, all the while looking forward to the summer before senior year. Seniors at band camp see themselves as minor royalty and behave accordingly. 

Band camp 2020 was canceled, a victim of the Wuflu Plague.

Well, at least there was senior year to look forward to. Seniors in Hooterville High see themselves as minor royalty.

[Insert sound of a stylus skidding across a vinyl record here.] 

Classes wearing masks, canceled classes, virtual classes, masked classes.

Shortened football season and canceled band concerts.

No money from Burger King till the lockdown began to lift a bit.

This, that, and even that closed till further notice.

That's now gone, and the Hooverville region's herd of empty storefronts has expanded again.    


There's a fledgling electric truck company trying to get off the ground in what used to be a General Motors plant, GMs gonna build car batteries here, and we've got new natural gas-fueled power plants.  

No fields covered with glittering, Chinese-made solar panels so far but local boosters, including Congressperson Timmy, are promoting a Voltage Valley meme since the Steel Valley meme has been deleted. 

Asparagoose got her first tattoo when she turned 18. Small, but emotionally significant. She was accepted at YSU but has decided to keep her powder dry till she can decide on a major that will pay off in spite of the absurdly expensive, politically correct classes. 

I remember when I was 18...

{And  we're  outa  here.}

Short Addendum this week since we're already running long: 
Who decides who's too important to get busted, for lying under oath, to the United States Congress? 

{Who are you claiming...} 

Here's a hint, Dana... Dr. Anthony Steven Fauci, the highest-paid employee ($400,000+/year) of the Citizens of the Republic. 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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