Why I Love the Fictional Earl Ray

There are these people out there, and sometimes you don’t even know who they are, but you’ve got to love them.  I can no longer contain my adoration for my personal candidate for the next individual elected to the chief executive office for the great State of West Virginia…….please give it up for @ActingGov_WV!

Hailing from Chapmanville, West Virginia, this tan, rested and ready top gun on Twitter states his bio as follows:

The (fictional) Governor of WV is the head of the executive branch of WVa’s government and the commander-in-chief of the state’s military forces (fictional).

The profile pic of @ActingGov_WV

I like the real ERT very much so far, but if for some reason he can’t fulfill his duties I rest comfortably knowing that the fictional Earl Ray Tomblin is ready to roll.

I can hear your thoughts, dear reader.  Why would anyone spend their time creating and sustaining a fake account, masquerading as Earl Ray Tomblin, and being completely clear that it’s all fiction?  I can’t say for sure.  But I can hazard a guess or two.  This person knows state government, and not just the structure and processes and rules.  He knows the people.  He knows how the personalities of those people can work for or against functional governance.  And God bless him, he knows that so much of our crazy world at wv.gov is just pure hilarity.

Citizens in every state across the U.S. of A. are losing their collective sense of humor, and that is understandable.  I follow and appreciate @ActingGov_WV because he makes me laugh at things that need to be laughed at, including myself as a voter and a citizen.  He also has a gift for poking at people who take themselves too seriously in a very gentle way that keeps things in perspective without trying to take a body count.  Having worked in the Governor’s Office myself a few years back, I can assure you that this skill is rare and to be treasured.

It is impossible to share all the great tweets because, well, they are all great.  If you are on Twitter and follow West Virginia politics, you really need to find @ActingGov_WV and treat yourself to the full smörgåsbord of fun. Without further ado, here are some of my favorite tweets from a very funny mind:

  • OK. Get this clear. Tent was a Manchin thing. It’s in state code that all Manchin stuff is tacky. #lookitup
  • John Raese sure does love the people of West Virginia, Alice Click. That’s why he lives in Florida. #totallyobvious
  • Sending intern to Natalie’s kickoff to spy. Also to bring back some pizza. Don’t tell Mrs. Earl Ray.
  • Joe apparently wants all state residents to stop what they are doing and listen to his maiden Senate speech tomorrow. #yeahright
  • Marcellus shale will give me a perpetual perfect tan and get me on Jeopardy.
  • May do musical chairs next Board of Public Works meeting. If you don’t grab a chair, you can’t run for governor. #imfast
  • When Senator Jenkins talks about the “Far East” I’m suspicious he means Jefferson County.
  • I think Betty is giving Kabler gift certificates to the Food Court. Will have to step things up. Delivery + a behind the scenes tour.
  • As Senate President, may order heat in Sen. Jenkins turned off over the weekend. Freeze all his hair products.
  • Are we sure there is actually a real Shelley Moore Capito and not just a bot in DC pretending to be SMC?
  • UK Parliament amending the Act of Settlement isn’t going to put the Speaker in line to be King of England, either. #justnothisday
  • Text from Joe. He wants to know why we haven’t made his birthday a state holiday yet.
  • Polishing the ATV for the ride into the chamber.
  • May challenge Natalie to a shovel-off for the next big storm. Won’t tell her I’m bringing the ATV. #planningahead
  • Clearly, one should not trifle with Daily Mail reporters. The editorial staff is a different matter, altogether.
  • Communications staff is in for a rough meeting this morning; expect an explanation of why @CartneyWV gets better press than me.
  • I walked to the candy machine instead of sending an intern. #fitwv
  • Considering submitting legislation to make the Speaker the governor of Mason County. #dontwantitanyway #compromise

And my personal favorite, naturally:

Thanks @ElizGaucher for the #ff! I always insist the staff read your blog. 😉

Though I am bracing for:

@ElizGaucher kissing up, dropping resume hints.  Think she’s too pale to do get the job done. #letherdowneasy

Daddy Found a Butt Munch

All hail the mighty rainbow trout!

The past several posts here featured swans, chickens, lizards and tigers.  This post is an attempt to launch out of the animal world and back into the human, but let’s go out in style, shall we?

As Dave Barry used to say, I am not making this up.

After a couple of hours out of the house this weekend, I returned to the breathless excitement of my young daughter exclaiming, “Momma!  Come see!  Daddy found a butt munch.”

Ahem?  I mean, I’m sure he did.  What?

Rod and reel....where are the fish?She dragged me into the kitchen where her father rolled his eyes in mock horror.  “You’d think fishing is safe….we were just looking at fishing flies.”

My girl proudly opened the latest L.L. Bean fishing catalogue.  “See, momma, there’s the butt munch.”  And lo and behold, there it was.  The Butt Munch Beetle, to be exact.  It comes in metallic blue, metallic copper, or metallic green.  $2.25 each.

Here are some other words and phrases we acquired recently, thanks to L. L.:

  • Psycho Prince
  • Squirrel Nymph
  • Quasimodo
  • New Trick Soft Hackle
  • Mouserat
  • Hornberg
  • Surf Candy
  • Crazy Charlie
  • Rag Head Crab

And while these, my friends, hold a fair amount of barely suppressed laughter from the parents in the house, by far and away the child’s all-time favorites are……..wait for it…………

The Bean Wooly Bugger

The Egg Sucking Crystal Leech and the Hot Bead Bugger.  Wooly Bugger comes in a distant third, and let me tell you, it’s no surprise a Hot Bead Bugger will cost you a pretty penny.  It’s $2.25 where the Wooly Bugger is but $1.85.

Not particularly noted by the child, but worthy of honorable mention to those of you who appreciate such strange pockets of humor, I leave you with my nominees for underdog flies of 2011:  The Shenandoah Chugger; The Humpy; The Conehead Madonna; The Zonker; and The Mushmouth.   Sometimes truth is just funnier than anything you can imagine….and I am not making that up.

Image credits (in order of appearance): Mountain Anglers, J. Gaucher, L.L. Bean

Call and Answer

On an icy night this week I pulled into my driveway, exhausted, with an angry toddler in the backseat.  My child was what my brother-in-law calls “strippin’ mad” — that state of fury where very young children just start tearing off their clothes, throwing things, and running.

As I sat in the front seat trying to compose my own tumultuous mind, what to my wondering eyes should appear but the shape of my husband hurrying down the sidewalk to help.  I almost wept with relief.

He quickly opened the back seat and said, “Don’t worry, I’ve got her.”  “OK,” I said, “But be careful, she doesn’t have any shoes on.  You can’t put her down.”  He gave me a curious look and said, “I see.  It’s fine.  Come in the house.”

I gathered my last-minute shopping bags, purse, diaper bag, and what was left of my sanity and struggled out of the car and up the snowy walk behind my family.

It was then that I saw the footprints.

Merry Christmas to all, and may each of you find and offer selfless love, this season and throughout the year.

Friday Night Light-Emitting Diods

After becoming aware that Santa Claus is supposed to show up at our house next month with an erupting volcano, I started to get nervous. 

The dinosaurs arrived last week, and the idea that they would have actual flowing lava to juice them up even more than they already were was unnerving.  They started making a lot of demands the previous weekend, and I found a package of raw hamburger meat dragged out of the refrigerator and strewn about the floor two days ago.  T Rex was all like, “Don’t look at me,” and I was like, “I am SO looking at you.  Who else?” 

He tried to pin it on the velociraptors but they ran out of the room.

Then like a gift from some kind of Jurassic Jehovah, the Discovery Kids Animated Volcano Lamp (complete with lava beads and colored LEDs, thank you)  appeared before my eyes last night at Rite Aid – and not a moment too soon.  At only $9.99 it’s contained, it’s quiet, and the lizards are all about it.

I love it when a plan comes together.

The BEST Places, please!

So in my post-election weariness (please….please…no more………), I decided to look for something else on CNN.  Imagine my joy at finding mass graves, child abduction, and aircraft disasters.  It almost makes one long for politics.

But yet!  Here was something decent, The 10 Worst Places to Flirt.  Not bad, not bad.  But too easy I think.  What about the BEST places?   I think those of us married types with young children need to focus on the best places, as the world of “keepin’ it fresh for ya” as my husband says can try to close in on us like shrink-wrap daily.  For example, on my list right now one of the worst places would be in the bathroom with the Elmo potty seat.  I’m just sayin’.

Here’s what I have — and the floor is open, do tell, the people are starving for some good news!

  1. While cooking – sauces are a nice touch.
  2. While doing yard work — I have heretofore mentioned my admiration for his carrying of heavy equipment.
  3. While passing in a tight hallway.
  4. When calling to check on what anyone needs….from the store or otherwise.
  5. When walking in the snow.
  6. When running in the rain.
  7. In front of your kid (literally and figuratively over his or her head).
  8. During a nearly unbearable social event when you need to remember you’re going home together.
  9. In church.
  10. Right after you pull up the covers.

I have a friend who talks about the idea of  “catch a buzz and connect” when she needs time with her husband.  You can catch that buzz with a bottle of wine, or you can just catch it by shutting out the rest of the world and being together.  Sometimes we just burn old cardboard boxes in a homemade fire pit and listen to the crickets in the vast forest behind our house.

However you get it done, enjoy.  Love is good and life is short.

I’m Taking Sexy Back

A friend of mine confessed yesterday that she “got in some hot water” for calling LinkedIn “the Rotary club of social media.”  I immediately laughed at the image because it was so spot on, but I didn’t quite see why she got in trouble for saying it.  It is kind of like an online Rotary Club.  That’s what it advertises itself to be, so what’s the issue? 

The issue was the follow-up comment.  “It’s just not sexy.”  Apparently the room was full of undercover Rotarians who were a bit miffed.  Which all leads me to finally do what I’ve been wanting to do for years now and say, “Lookit y’all.  I’m taking sexy back.” 

Postcard from Nick Bantock's Griffin & Sabine trilogy

The first time I heard sexy used in a questionable manner was about fifteen years ago.  I was helping prepare a communications plan for a conference.  My boss said, “Let’s not use brochures, let’s use postcards.  They’re sexy.”  The only sexy postcards I’m aware of are from Griffin and Sabine.  I am for sure they are not from a nonprofit organization offering a training event on HIV prevention. 

Without going into the weeds, I am down with sexy.  Real sexy.  Mirriam-Webster lists the number one definition of sexy as akin to erotic.  The number two definition takes a major dive with being listed as akin to simply appealing

This very morning I looked outside to see my husband, dressed in his professional to-the-office clothes, carrying three very large tools from our shed to his truck.  Pick ax, shovel, hoe.  He is unusually strong, and he carried these three things simultaneously and away from his body so as not to get any dirt on his suit.  He turned to blow me a kiss.  Holy mother of…..come on five o’clock is all I can say. 

I have no interest in telling anyone else what is sexy, but maybe we can all get together and give the word its meaning back.  When you mean appealing, say appealing.  When you say sexy, mean it. 

And when you use LinkedIn or go to Rotary, don’t look for thrills.  Just look for professional networking.  I think we can all be OK with that, don’t you?