by Bob Steaely
Phyllis Brown of Musgrave Street, a new friend Ive
met in my column-writing days, has made an interesting observation about
tattoos that Id like to pass along.
Watch any football or basketball game and you can
see them, she pointed out. Watch the young folks and the not-so-young
folks at the mall and you can see them. ... From a pink rosebud or a tiny
butterfly on the ankle of a lady to an elaborate dragon with two heads
on; the muscular arm of an athlete its quite evident that tattoos are
very popular now.
As she points out, tattoos have been around for thousands of years
in all corners of the globe, and for a number of reasons.
The early Greeks and Romans and the Japanese often
tattooed their prisoners and slaves, marking them as undesirables. And
during the second world war, the Nazi officers registered Jewish people
in the concentration camps by tattooing numbers on the forearms of the
Mrs. Brown said, In the mid-1700s, the famous Captain
Cook traveled to the South Pacific, where he and his sailors saw tribal
members with body designs that told stories of family relationships, honors
and skills. These naval seamen soon spread the art of the tattoo to Europe
and eventually to America.
She added that by the 1800s, these body designs
became fashionable and gave people a unique identity. The British sailors
tattooed themselves with eyes on their chests as a superstitious protection.
By the late 1880s, Mrs. Brown said, about 80
percent of all sailors had some kind of tattoo. In more recent times, sailors
would tattoo the name of their girlfriend inside a heart or the word Mom
She explained that her study of tattoos led her
to what she recently found in the Harrison County Register of Deaths
an entry that has been on the record books for more than 100 years.
On July, 1, 1895, she began, a white male about
40 years old was killed by a train in Salem, a town west of Clarksburg.
He was listed as Unknown Tramp and was buried in Salem. The interesting
notation was the description of the tattoos on this man. On his right arm
was a woman in morning glories and on his left arm were the initials J.C.C.
A book found on this Unknown Tramp had the name
Jim Chambers written on it. Could the Unknown Tramp have been James
Mrs. Brown suggested that for any genealogist researching
the Chambers family tree, this could be the answer to their family member
who just vanished into thin air.
Back in 1937, the Clarksburg Publishing Company published
the Reporters Guide Book of Style ... And Other Information. It was
prepared for the use of writers of the Clarksburg newspapers, especially
At the front of the booklet was a quote from the
French philosopher and author Rochefoucauld, who said, Fine eloquence
consists in saying all that should be said, not all that could be said.
The booklet was made available to me by Leslie Moore,
secretary of Cecil B. Highland Jr., president and treasurer of Clarksburg
Publishing Company. She said it was one of many interesting items of information
retained during their recent move to the Exponent-Telegram building on
There were many different guidelines printed in
the booklet, including information on capitalization, spelling, apostrophes,
abbreviations, figures, plural-singular, punctuation, indention, names
and titles, etc. There were some unusual headings of the various divisions
of the booklet, including: classifying those who steal.
Of particular interest to me was the section headed,
For Correspondents. It reads as follows: Correspondents are urged to
cultivate a proper appreciation of the value of spot news, including
such stories as murders, suicides, robberies, important fires, big business
deals, serious auto wrecks and any other big story in their town or its
Stories like these make the front page and that
should be the aim of every correspondent. The run-of-mine news is good
and we need daily letters, but we need real stories on page one to sell
papers. Each correspondent should furnish his share of them.
My thanks to Leslie for passing along that interesting
Have a great rest-of-the-week. Another BobnAlong Wednesday.
A simpler tax system may involve some pain
If you are a member of Congress you have to be scratching
your head right about now. A poll released by the Associated Press on taxes
certainly has to have our representatives wondering if their constituents
are somewhat schizophrenic.
The poll showed that 66 percent of those questioned think the federal
tax system is too complicated. Many of them have to have professional help
in filling out their tax returns.
No surprises there.
More than half of the respondents say they favor
a flat tax as a fairer way to go about taxation. But two-thirds say they
dont want to give up their deductions.
Whats a legislator to do?
If we are to have a flat tax, were going to have
to give up many, if not all of our deductions. Thats why they call it
a flat tax. Thats why its so simple.
This is one of those situations where we cant have
it both ways. If we are to have a simpler tax form to fill out were going
to have to give up the many exemptions that we take advantage of each year
to get that big, fat tax refund.
Congress and the White House have had a busy year tinkering with the
federal tax code. The IRS had to create 11 new forms and revise 177 current
ones for this years tax season alone.
Not to point fingers, but the very people who complain
about the complexity of the tax system are the same ones who write their
representatives demanding certain credits or deductions.
This has to leave the folks on Capitol Hill in a
quandary. The folks back home, it seems, what their cake and they want
to eat it, too.
If there is to be some meaningful tax reform on
the federal level, somethings got to give. Either taxpayers yield some
of their deductions in order to pave the way for a simpler tax return,
or they put up with a system that is designed to please the voters.
Your deadline, by the way, is only 10 days away.
Todays editorial reflects the opinion of the Exponent editorial
board, which includes William J. Sedivy, John G. Miller, Julie R. Cryser,
James Logue, Kevin Courtney and Cecil Jarvis.
Underwoods juggling act: how to save both mountains
Gov. Cecil Underwood is urging cooperation and common
sense following his signing of legislation meant to protect the future
of mountaintop mining. He knows that without coal, jobs in the Southern
coal fields will dry up and West Virginia will experience another great
exodus of people in pursuit of a means to support their families.
Environment or Jobs, that is the dilemma Gov. Underwood
faces. With environmentalists on one side armed with federal laws intended
to protect environmental issues, and coal industry workers on the other
side threatened with the loss of jobs, Underwood attempted a juggling act
that resulted in compromise legislation that he signed last week.
The legislation tightens some regulations and sets
up an office within the Division of Environmental Protection to study blasting.
One key provision scales back from 480 acres to 250 acres the amount of
watershed that mining operations can bury through a procedure called valley
fill, without compensating the state.
Many components of the bill were developed by a
task force during the past year, which the governor appointed after coal
operators became embroiled in legal battles with environmentalists and
coal filed residents who sought to block mountaintop removal projects.
The realities of our economy dictate that mountaintop removal must continue,
and our collective conscience dictates that we must do it better, Underwood
As the economic effects of the temporary injunction
ordered by U.S. District Judge Charles Haden hit home, some people are
having second thoughts. Two of the residents who originally joined the
West Virginia Highlands Conservancy against Arch Coal withdrew from the
case last week, citing the economic effects of abolishing mountaintop mining.
I will never apologize for fighting every inch
of the way to protect your job from people who dont care about your future,
Underwood told coal industry supporters at the signing of the bill.
But the governor urged coal officials to place more
emphasis on post-mining development plans for the hills they flatten in
I ts quite apparent that Gov. Underwood is trying
to save both mountains and people. We believe that his efforts to come
to a compromise are right on target. Lets hope that the federal courts
are convinced when trial begins in July. The fate of our coal field economy
is dependent on the outcome.
Telegram Editorial Board member