Entry for March 04, 2006

The montage above is of illustrations from World Weekly  News,  my favorite  supermarket tabloid.  To see excerpts from the actual stories scroll down to the bottom of this entry.

 Often, reading the Roanoke Times, I’ve  seen a story that could appear in the World Weekly News and then sure enough it did later.  The one I recall is about a Richmond, Virginia man who  suffered from  a disease that made him photophobic with a craving for rare meat.  No problem.   

A  friend, the poet  Ron Ellis,  who is now the Associate and Art Editor and Web Designer for Rosebud Magazine introduced me to the paper, when we were at the Atlantic Center for the Arts  back in 1985. Ron wrote a poem based on the article, “Human Head Severed, Lives 7 Days, Talks by Blinking.”  Together we collaborated on a pantoum, based on stringing article titles together,  changing them here and there to make them scan better.

But living in Appalachia (albeit an area that has denied the tag to its loss of  federal funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission),  I’ve learned to recognize another type of  story with national media “legs.”  Other than mining tragedies like Sago, our region is know for being “colorful.”  The  polygamous preacher whose second wife is sixteen.  The man named “Gay” who shoots up the gay bar.  And now Laurence Hammack’s series of stories on the town of Appalachia’s  voting fraud indictments, including of the town’s mayor and town manager, the top police officer, a member of town council and several town  employees, many of them related to each other. 

Today’s story  was, “Townspeople shrug, go on:  News that 14 people were indicted in Appalachia on election fraud charges does not shock many residents.”

The  town celebrated its centennial yesterday and was planning for a parade and  ceremony when Hammack’s  March 3 story on the 300 page March 2  indictments appeared in the paper– “Top cop, mayor indicted: The indictment lists about two crimes for every vote cast in the May 2004 elections in the Wise County town of Appalachia.”  There was also Hammack’s companion story,  “Critics say town’s mayor rules with an iron fist.”

Well, as Bob Henry Baber wrote in his low-ku

Appalachia, where the road are crooked

But the people are straight

At least we indict here for voter fraud.  As John Dufresne says, a “short story waiting to be written.”  Hammack started writing about the fraud May 5, 2005, at least according the archive of articles available free of charge.  His initial lead was,

At first, Christina McKinney just laughed at the suggestion that she sell her vote for a pack of cigarettes and a bag of fried pork skins.

Then McKinney started hearing stories from her neighbors in Appalachia: They too had been approached by a supporter of a town council candidate, she said, and offered beer, booze or cigarettes in exchange for their votes.

 

* For those of you interested in the World Weekly News, the montage is from the following:

*the  politics feature, “PARALLEL UNIVERSE DISCOVERED . . . Where Bill Clinton Is A Celibate Priest!  REV. CLINTON considers his body a chaste and holy temple — in this universe”  by Michael Rovin. 

WASHINGTON D.C. — Since the advent of the telescope, astronomers have been trying to answer the question “Are we alone in the universe?” Scientists still don’t have the answer. But Dr. Al Ternet of the Institute for Miscellaneous Technology has answered a different question.

*the conspiracy and secret organizations feature and cover story for March 16, “MYSTERIOUS COW ABDUCTIONS SHOCK CALIFORNIA DAIRYMEN”

Theories range from calcium deprived aliens to lactose intolerant radical fringe groups. Now we’re concerned that this may be occurring in other states as well and we need your help.

Several times a week, we will be publishing photos of missing cows like the three bovines below. If anyone has knowledge of their whereabouts, please click here to send us your information. Or, if one of your cows is missing, click here to send us a photo and background detail of the animal. And check back to the Weekly World News website for important updates. To get more information about cow abduction go to www.cowabduction.com.

*the chamber of the bizarre story, “6 NEW CURSE WORDS IT’S O.K. TO SAY
Because no one’s ever heard them!” by By Nigel Fleming.”

 As psychologist Dr. Herman Fugmunker noted, “It’s dangerous to say ‘&*@# off’ to a truck driver. Five days in intensive care convinced me of that.”

But help is on the way. Fugmunker did extensive research for his latest book, Cuss Your Head Off, and came up with six new curse words it’s O.K. to shout from the rooftops, because no one has ever heard them before. They’re nasty, vile and disgusting. Learn ’em and use ’em…. pfnark, snog, kuq, chuz, jizzlewax and zighumple. They can be used alone or combined (to form compound curses); when you’re mad or when you’re happy; as adjectives, verbs, nouns and, especially, interjections. Pfnarkin’ A!

To read more, here are the archives for all categories:  Alien & UFO Reportings

• Sex • Religion • Prophecy • Science • Technology • Politics • Chamber of the Bizzare • The Unusual Suspects • Free Stuff • Horoscopes • WWN Columnists • How To… • Adventures of Bat Boy.
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