1. Once again, you have hit the nail right on the head!

    I pray everyday that our country will return soon….


  2. Mas, I had no idea you were in my neck of the woods. When I retired, my wife and I built a home on top of a mountain in the Arkansas Ozarks about 60 miles northwest of Toad Suck. I fell in love with this area and its people years ago, and you’re right, the liberal/progressive type would be like a fish out water here.
    When the recent tornado came through and destroyed whole towns, there were no outcries about where the government was, rather there was an influx of volunteers from all over the state. Everyone with a chain saw, back hoe, front end loader, or just a pair of gloves and a strong back showed up, not looking for contracts, on the contrary, they just wanted to help their fellow man in a time of need.
    For years, Arkansas was a solid democrat state, but as gun grabbing liberals took over the party, the majority are clinging to their guns, bibles, and what’s left of their freedom and carrying this to the Republican Party. Now if the republicans will not blow it by allowing progressive inroads into the party, maybe folks will regain the liberty we all once had.
    If you’re ever back in this area, give me a heads up. You’ll have a comfortable bed and a cup of coffee on my front porch with one of the most beautiful views of the Ozarks you could ever hope to witness.

  3. Glad you liked it here. We left Colorado for Arkansas a little over a year ago for some of the reasons mentioned. I have never been happier!

  4. What amazes me is that country folks/hicks/rebels/rednecks don’t seem to care about book-learning and education as much as liberals/progressives/communists do. Yet, their views on life are much more in line with the truth, as far as I can tell. Liberals read books and go to college, but they end up de-educated or mis-educated. My guess is that the country folks’ parents pass on good traditions to them. The youngens realize that these traditional ideas fit well with life, and so they hang on to them. I think liberals can only hold on to their false ideas as long as they have good health and fat bank accounts. Being brought down-to-earth might shake them out of their strong delusions. Then again, maybe not. I believe we are in the Golden Age of Technology, but every other field of knowledge is in a Dark Age.

  5. Our little town does not have such a distinguishing name, but I do live less than a mile from a convenience store named “Worms and Coffee”. We are on the coast and find that both of these items are of extreme importance at 5:30 am on your way to your favorite fishing spot.

  6. I believe that’s part of fly over country that “they” refer to. There isn’t anything better than small town America.

  7. I was lucky enough to be born in1927 in Southeast Missouri, called Swamp east Missouri because of all of the swamps around. I loved it!. The hunting was great, with ducks, geese, possum, coon, beaver and oodles of all types of game about. The swamps are all gone now as is much of the game. SAD…..I know live in a town originally called “Possum Trot” named after the possums’ that ran across the trail to the Missouri river below. Now it is a city called Kansas City, Missouri. Sad, but the world moves on……

  8. Just as it’s not fair to make broad, sweeping generalizations about gun owners, it’s not fair to make the same about political issues. I have never voted for a democrat, and lean Libertarian. But I support gay marriage, LGBT rights, and birth control. I also am a firm believer in education, book learning and open minded attitudes about things.

    In my view, the best course charts a path between both ends of the spectrum, allowing each person to choose what works for them, while tolerating differences in others. This “us against them” mentality is not productive, and keeps us from choosing the best options regardless of what side of the political fence they happen to be on.

  9. And BTW, Mas. LGBT folks are good guys and gals just like you. They pay their taxes, care for their loved ones, support charity and community endeavors, and protect their friends and neighbors. In fact, thanks to hate-filled, closed minded bigots who wish to do them harm, they need the skills that you teach even more than the general population.

    Please open your mind a little bit, and set aside your preconceived notions. Maybe get to know some LGBT folks, and learn a little bit about what they have to face every day. You might just see that your biases are not justified.

  10. I grew up in a town called Roscoe. Slang for a gun. My grade school was named Kinnikinnick. How’s that for a tongue twister?

    By the way Mas, how were the grits in Toad Suck?

  11. Y’know, Fezzywig, you say, “What amazes me is that country folks/hicks/rebels/rednecks don’t seem to care about book-learning and education as much as liberals/progressives/communists do.” What might really amaze you, however, is that the folks at greater Toad Suck don’t seem to agree with you. The Toad Suck Daze, which Mas was disappointed to have missed, and which happens annually in this paragon location of rural hometown values, is held for the specific purpose of granting college scholarships and Conway, Arkansas (of which Toad Suck is in reality a tiny unincorporated suburb) has three colleges and, per the Wikipedia article about Conway, “More than 36 percent of Conway’s adult workforce holds a baccalaureate degree or higher, making it the third best-educated city in Arkansas with a population greater than 10,000…” Also per that same article, it’s also been held to be the 6th “Geekiest” town in the US, immediately following Austin, Texas. This bunch of country folks/hicks/rebels/rednecks would seem to value higher education quite a bit. And yet, per Mas, it has a sense of community, a willingness to pitch in together in time of trouble, and an openness to diversity.

  12. Toad Suck is an interesting area. I’ve been there several times, including a trip years ago to Dogpatch USA. The first church looks very similar to the office of a motel where we stayed some 20 years ago after the area was hit by a tornado. The folks there were nice. As I recall, we had good food and conversation. It certainly would not my last choice for a place to live.

  13. Used to drive through there going up to Heber Springs, glad to see it hasn’t changed…

  14. >What amazes me is that country folks/hicks/rebels/rednecks don’t seem to care about book-learning and education as much as liberals/progressives/communists

    In “progressive” states, the state colleges are basically extensions of the public school system, and an elaborate grant and subsidy program means that people can progress from high school to college at little or no cost to themselves. In many cases, with a housing and expenses subsidy as well.

    Here in Arkansas, and most of the South, you have to pay your own way. That makes the “get a job or go to college” decision a bit different.

  15. I wished I had been paying closer attention to your calendar Mas! I’m excited you spent a little time in our state. I’ll try to keep a better eye on upcoming events, would love to be able to take a class and listen to you share the knowledge you have. Thank you for all you do sir.

  16. John Sanstrom, unless I missed something in Mas’ post, I saw no sweeping condemnation of gays, just a statement of fact about local feelings about the same sex marriage issue in the state. I see no other posts making judgement on the issue.
    It may interest you that Conway, the city adjacent to Toad Suck, is one of the fastest growing cities in Arkansas,and home to one of the largest gay populations in the state. Often referred to as the San Francisco of Arkansas, there is an annual LGBT pride parade held in Conway.
    There are diverse opinions in this state, no different than others, it does seem that when some opinions are expressed, some folks seem to have a burning desire to attack without fully analyzing what was said.

  17. There really a place called ‘Toad Suck?’

    The mind boggles . . .

    Of course being a Brit I have come across places such as ‘North Piddle’ and ‘Nether Wallop.’ -shrug-

  18. Dave (the liberal one),

    Good! I hope to be wrong in my impression of country folks/hicks/rebels/rednecks/hillbillies/hayseeds. 😉 In fact, after I posted that, I realized there are a lot of colleges in the South.

    John Sanstrom,

    There are exceptions to every rule, and people are especially diverse. In a country of 300 million + we do need to be tolerant. The only group of people I hate is criminals. But how far do we stretch tolerance? Maybe with all of our diversity, we need a diversity of laws. We have fifty states. The people of the states could vote on divisive issues, and then we could choose where we want to live, and under which set of laws we want to live. Seems to me that might be a peaceful solution to issues like abortion, legalization of drugs, carrying of firearms, divorce laws, marriage laws, motorcycle helmet laws, smoking, school choice and on and on and on. I want to live with people who think like I do. Less aggravation. And I’m sure that people on the other side feel the same way about me and my laws.

  19. I was born and raised in Arkansas and most of my immediate family and my wife’s still live in that state. Thus, we revisit the state often. The entire state has a remarkable small town community feel which is stifling to some but refreshing to others. Hope you enjoyed your trip–next time you might want to try Altus and the local wineries there or even hunt for diamonds at Murfreesboro.

  20. Re the same-sex marriage issue, why would a libertarian be interested in the government being in the marriage business in the first place? Marriage was a religious institution long before the modern nation-state came into existence, and to some religions marriage is a sacrament that, if improperly entered into, is a sacrilege. By putting the government in a position to dictate the terms of marriage there have already been fines, and no doubt soon jail time, for those who can not in good conscience participate in what they believe to be a sacrilege.

    Instead of being “broad minded” enough to extend the reach of government, how about we be bold enough to roll back government intrusion in the first place? What two people want to do is their business, and it is not their business to coerce a third into participating in a sacrilege. Nor is it the business of the west and east coast elites to dictate their fads and fancies, be they right or wrong, the rest of the country.

    More to the point of the article, I have yet to see a small town in the south (of more than a few thousand people) without a town library, often staffed with volunteers. Not bad for hicks.

  21. Fez, you said, “The people of the states could vote on divisive issues, and then we could choose where we want to live, and under which set of laws we want to live.” I know you’re engaging in a fantasy, but we’d need more states. If you take just the eight issues you mention, “abortion, legalization of drugs, carrying of firearms, divorce laws, marriage laws, motorcycle helmet laws, smoking, school choice,” and limit each state to a up or down, yes or no vote on each of those issue, there’s a possibility of 256 different combinations. And that doesn’t take into consideration the possibility of three or more choices on some of those issues (polygamy in marriage laws, no divorce vs divorce for cause vs no fault divorce, no helmets vs helmets for minors vs helmets for everyone). If you throw in a ninth issue such as religious or racial divisiveness, then we’d need to divide up the US into spaces the size of your shadow and then be tolerant of the person standing next to you. … Oh, how about that: That’s what we do already.

  22. Jacob Morgan,

    I agree the government should not be in the marriage business. I have read that George Washington did not have a marriage license. The reason is because they had not been invented yet! I read that King George III got mad when one of his relatives married a commoner, so after that, he made his relatives come to him for a license. That is, they had to get his permission to marry. The marriage licenses in the USA began with states trying to prohibit inter-racial marriages.

    Liberal Dave,

    Your hyper-complex idea is not necessary. Most people can get along with each other under two broad tents; big government people versus small government people. The little details don’t really divide most people that much, I don’t think. If we did have to go into such detail, we could simply go from state level laws down to the county level. I think this is already seen with “dry” counties in various places.

    Oh well, food for thought. Mas tosses an idea out here, and we take it and make many variations on it. We do with English and ideas what jazz musicians do with music. Kind of fun, though, and instructive.

  23. …as long as the “dark-skinned stranger with a Yankee accent” doesn’t appear to be intimately involved with someone of the same biological gender 😉

    I’ve never understood why so many people who cherish ‘gun rights’ exhibit xenophobia, and so many people who cherish civil liberties are so anxious to abrogate the liberty to bear arms.

  24. In some ways, the government has to be involved in the marriage business. Otherwise, how do you figure out who can inherit property from partners, or who can acquire information from doctors when a partner is in the hospital, or who even has visiting rights? I would be perfectly happy with getting government out of the whole marriage thing, but we’d need to find a way to manage all of those issues that crop up when two people decide to create a partnership.

  25. “John Sanstrom, unless I missed something in Mas’ post, I saw no sweeping condemnation of gays, just a statement of fact about local feelings about the same sex marriage issue in the state.”

    I’ve taken classes from a small collection of people in this world, and don’t find them to be very LGBT tolerant. In fact, I remember Mas telling us to never lie to the police because you can’t retrieve your credibility after being caught in one lie. The way that Mas put it, was “Once a cocksu–er, always a cocksu–er”. He never would have said “Once a woman kisser, always a woman kisser” because men kissing women is an admirable trait. Apparently being gay isn’t. I also didn’t see any condemnation for the anti-gay marriage attitudes of some of the people in this neck of the woods. That’s why I asked people to try to change some of their attitudes about LGBT folks.

    I’m not gay, but I have a lot of LGBT friends who need the skills and training that Mas provides. Every day, they are at risk of assault, attack or assault from ignorant, violent, angry people. I merely hoped that Mas and his fellow gun folks might set aside their preconceived notions, and assumptions, and try to view people as human beings rather than LGBTs, progressives or liberals.

  26. John Sanstrom, “Once a woman kisser, always a woman kisser” is not a common saying in the vein of “Tell one lie, you’re a liar forever,” as is the comparison you objected to. You could also benefit from reading the first word in the fourth paragraph of the post in question; to help with understanding the context.

  27. John Sanstrom,

    I’m sure LGBT folks don’t feel real comfortable everywhere they go in this society. But maybe they should consider that, instead of keeping quiet, they are trying to change other people’s minds (and laws) about a tradition that is thousands of years old. If they want to feel some real push-back, they should consider the uphill battle they would be fighting if they lived in a country which practices Shariah Law, or even in Russia.

    In America we are upset when a billionaire basketball team owner says ugly things about millionaires whose talent provides him with his income. In Nigeria teenage girls are kidnapped into slavery. I think someone once asked George Harrison what it is like to be rich, and he replied, “It’s just a different set of problems.”

  28. John Sanstrom, these issues have been dealt with for years with wills, living wills, general power of attorney, and medical power of attorney. Everyone should have these documents married or single, hetero- or homosexual. This is a false argument for the gay marriage advocates.

  29. MAS glad you had great time. Toad Suck is a fun place and I have fond memories of going there during my College Days.