Up in the Hollow

Former congressman and “Dukes of Hazzard” mechanic Ben “Cooter” Jones writes about the world as it looks from Harris Hollow.

Up in the Hollow: The little town with the big pulse

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June 19
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Washington, Va., has seen a lot, and has provided a perfect bucolic setting for our county seat. But every so often there is what can only be called a “cultural clash.” We are now in one such crisis, writes Ben Jones.
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Up in the Hollow: The ‘in’ ate Little Washington

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June 12
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The misguided, feverish energies of “high-powered” Washington, D.C. real estate developer Jim Abdo to “rebrand” our county seat is a remarkable example of how not to make friends and influence people.
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Up in the Hollow: Americana music — what it is, and what it isn’t

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April 10

Ben Jones has written about a lot of things in this space, from kudzu to baseball, but this particular column is simply a shameless self-promotion for the upcoming Rappahannock Americana Music Festival on Saturday, May 17 in Washington, Va.
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You can take this ‘Party’ elsewhere

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Jan. 25
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Stop dragging "Dukes"-watchers down with promos for your "Party Down South" sleazefest: An open letter to Viacom and the Country Music Television network (CMT) from Ben ‘Cooter’ Jones.
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Up in the Hollow: Dereliction of beauty

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Nov. 14, 2013

There are worse things (and bigger problems) than so-called “derelict” buildings and vehicles, writes Ben Jones.
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Up in the Hollow: Our national dog is being wagged by the tail

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Oct. 10, 2013

Ben Jones isn't sure that even a visionary like Mark Twain could have predicted the current idiocy emanating from the, uh, “leadership” of the House of Representatives.
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Up in the Hollow: Hail to the Redskins! Hail to the Redskins?

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Sept. 19, 2013

Roger Goodell, the majordomo of the weekly bone-crushing fracas called the National Football League, said the other day that he is sensitive to those who think that the nickname of the Washington franchise in the NFL, the “Redskins,” is a racial slur. Listening to the offended, even a minority of one, could become a...
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Up in the Hollow: Well, maybe there’s room for a quiz

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Aug. 1, 2013

Ben Jones has a few more things to say about response to his defense of Paula Deen — and since letter-writer Clay Fulghum says that she “would fare pretty well in a ‘More Southern than thou’ competition,” he also went ahead and created the very first “Up in the Hollow More Southern Than Thou...
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Up in the Hollow: The Second War of Northern Aggression

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July 11, 2013

Over the years Ben Jones has heard a lot of his Yankee friends say, “You people down South seem to be still fighting the Civil War.” The South was bad; the North was good. Abe Lincoln was the finest American who ever lived. This is the myth of the victors, who get to write...
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Up in the Hollow: I speak of the South and its people

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July 4, 2013
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Every day Ben Jones reads that Paula Deen, the television chef, has lost another contract: Walmart, Target, JCPenney, the Food Network, Random House, QVC – and the list goes on. But she has committed no crime, and has not been charged with anything. What gives?
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Up in the Hollow: Y’all thrum back now, y’hear?

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June 27, 2013
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And as they gathered for the final ritual of departure, the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Corps of the 2nd Horde, all 170 billion of them, began to fall silent. There, in Harris Hollow, they bowed to the Great Pharaoh Baba Loo Bop, Lord of the Vast Cicada Hordes.
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Up in the Hollow: A response to Mr. Miller’s cutting remarks

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May 6, 2013

To say that “every budget can be cut” misses a grand point. The question is not whether or not a budget “can” be cut, but whether or not a budget “should” be cut. And Rappahannock County's proposed 2013-14 school budget should not be touched any further.
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Up in the Hollow: Spring has arrived, not giant snails  

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April 18, 2013

You think we’ve got problems around here? Check out this recent lead paragraph from Reuters News Service: “South Florida is fighting a growing infestation of one of the world’s most invasive species: The Giant African Land Snail, which can grow as big as a rat and gnaw through stucco and plaster.”
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Up in the Hollow: Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette!

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April 4, 2013

Mark Twain famously said that it was so easy to quit smoking, he had done it a hundred times. Ben Jones only quit once, back in 1978 -- he had smoked maniacally for over 20 years. And Family Dollar? They actively try to cultivate smokers, calling them "repeat customers."
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Up in the Hollow: Running (for office) vs. driving (to chain stores)

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March 21, 2013

As an old theatre trouper, Ben Jones love getting good reviews and being praised. Who doesn’t? And while several of his recent opinions have elicited some very positive agreement and support, in person and in writing. one suggestion frightened him -- the notion he should run for office.
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Clark Hollow Ramblings: Springtime surprise

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March 21, 2013

Like many of you this winter keeps surprising Richard Brady. A couple of weeks ago, it was so nice and balmy he had visions of getting my peas and potatoes in the ground. Then came the big snowstorm. He kept telling his bride, who hates snow, “it’s not going to amount to anything.”
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Up in the Hollow: Wouldn’t give a nickel for a dollar store

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March 7, 2013

Many of us have made the complete absence of nationally franchised commercial outlets in Rappahannock a point of pride, writes Ben Jones. That should absolutely include Family Dollar, the kind of “discount chain” outfit purposely designed to run local mom-and-pop operations out of business.
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Up in the Hollow: A long way from Puddleville

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Feb. 28, 2013

I had heard the name, but that’s about all I knew about Gene Patterson. As time went by, I learned more – a lot more – and everything I learned bolstered that first impression. He was indeed a good man, one of the best that came out of the South in the 20th century.
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Up in the Hollow: Leopold and Fritz, just two good ol’ boys

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Feb. 21, 2013

Leopold Kohr and E.F. “Fritz” Schumacher never visited Rappahannock County. But surely they would have recognized in this good rural life the core of their smaller-is-better philosophies and their hopes for the future.
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Up in the Hollow: Baseball, the boy and ‘The Man’

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Feb. 7, 2013
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It was not just love at first sight; it was adoration, idolization and devotion. Ben Jones was five years old when he saw the picture of Stan Musial on the cover of a sports magazine. In his famous crouch, his bat high, he was the picture of relaxed concentration.
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Up in the Hollow: Laws and sausages

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Jan. 24, 2013
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A surprise counter-offer to People Inc.'s apartment proposal by a group including the mayor and councilman raises all kinds of questions for Ben Jones, who says he doesn't think "these fellows were elected to do business with themselves, or to indicate their 'nay' vote in such a unique way."
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Up in the Hollow: Praise the Lord, pass the ammo

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Jan. 10, 2013
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One could not help feeling the frustration in James P. Gannon’s editorial letter, but his targets, those he holds responsible for this sorry state of affairs, include many of the Tea Party’s usual suspects. And the 1950s were . . . "normal?"
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Up in the Hollow: Setting our sights higher

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Dec. 20, 2012

Since the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Americans of all political persuasions have been having a renewed dialogue about the role of firearms in our country; hopefully we'll treat it with the objectivity and wisdom it deserves.
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Up in the Hollow: The case for K-rationing 

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Dec. 13, 2012
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Well, it has finally happened and Ben Jones says he feels as if he has completely given up what few, meager principles he had left. For brothers and sisters, he has . . . Kardashianed.
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Up in the Hollow: Forget global warming, kudzu’s coming!

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Dec. 6, 2012

For years, I have carried around the ghosts and bones of skeletal ideas, those unfinished writing projects that I have never quite gotten back around to, including one about the "mile-a-minute" vine: kudzu.
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Up in the Hollow: The old man’s sports page

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Nov. 22, 2012
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Ben Jones, whose father used to call the obituary section of the Portsmouth Star daily newspaper “the old man’s sports page,” explains why it's a page that people “of a certain age” still turn to first.
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Up in the Hollow: Hazzard County is our county on Aug. 13-14

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July 28, 2011
About a hundred of these restored specimens -- the General Lee -- will be in Sperryville Aug. 13-14.

Here comes Hazzard Nation for a two-day get-together in a beautiful field in Rappahannock County. We are calling it “Hazzard Homecoming.” So far, we have visitors coming from 36 states and from as far away as Scotland and New Zealand. If you are new here, it is hard to explain, but basically it will...
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Up in the Hollow: Ain’t gonna study war no more

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April 21, 2011

As the nation commemorates the Civil War Sesquicentennial, Ben Jones suggests that national mythologies "have completely washed out certain realities of the decades leading up to that terrible conflict," and presents some discussion points.
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Up in the Hollow: Gid me a break

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April 14, 2011
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Maybe it’s just me, but I was not only bemused, but downright astonished at the screed which Paul Hagstrom wrote regarding his distress at having to travel the wonderful treasure that is Gid Brown Hollow Road.
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Up in the Hollow: Schools and cell towers — git ‘er . . . educated

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Feb. 17, 2011
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The Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors, at the behest of AT&T, will vote at its March meeting on the tabled motion to place a cell tower at the Rappahannock High School. In a surprise move, according to the Rappahannock News, “an alternate site for the proposed 199-foot monopole at the high school had been...
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Up in the Hollow: Take the picture now

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Feb. 3, 2011

“Get your old Kodak out or maybe Rachel’s new digital high definition thing that pops ‘em right up” The old man on the porch in the late winter sun. Galluses like no one wears anymore, old stains of chaw across the chest pocket flaps. Buzzards circling over Mary’s Rock. “They’re waitin’ on me,” he...
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Up in the Hollow: Cell phones, a towering fancy

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Dec. 23, 2010
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All hail the things we can’t do without: the ice man, the “church key,” carbon paper, telegrams, spats, eight-track players, the outhouse, the truss, cell phones, whitewall tires and Wildroot Creme Oil. These were all things that people simply could not do without at one time or another; the latest craze, the badly needed...
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General Custer, Rappahannock County and me

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Dec. 2, 2010
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Lately I’ve been seeing strange headlines. “Man Swallows 100 -Year-Old Museum Exhibit.” “Woman Robbed by Clown While on Toilet.” “Man Forced to Eat His Own Beard.” And then “Obama Praises Indian Chief Who Killed U.S. General,” this last courtesy of Fox News. It all got me to thinking, (which, for me, is also unusual...
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Fond memories shot through with holes

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July 22, 2010

I had an uncle who once shot his television set. I don’t know if it was a symbolic gesture involving his existential angst at the overwhelmingly nonsensical zeitgeist of late 20th century de-culturalization, or if he was just ticked off because “Bonanza” had been canceled, but he put a couple of slugs through the...
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The Twain is still running

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May 20, 2010
Samuel Longhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain.

By the time he was 30 years old, Samuel Langhorne Clemens used his nom de plume of “Mark Twain” every time he went out his front door into the public life. That way, he said, Mr. Clemens could blame all of his incendiary rhetoric on his look-alike, Mr. Twain. That scheme mostly worked, and...
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