The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Archive for June 6th, 2011

Good Read – Chasing the White Dog

leave a comment »

Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw’s Adventures in Moonshine
by Max Watman

Buy this book on Amazon
(Your purchase supports WKMS!)

Product Description:

From these moonshine pioneers, to the bathtub gin runners of the 1920s, to today’s booming bootleg businessmen, journalist Max Watman traces the historical roots and contemporary story of white lightning, which has played a surprisingly large role in American history. It touched the election of Thomas Jefferson, the invention of the IRS, and the origins of NASCAR. It is a story of tommy guns, hot rods, and shot houses, and the story is far from over. In this fascinating, centuries-long history of illicit booze, Watman infiltrates every aspect of small-scale distilling in America, taking us from the backwoods of Appalachia to the gritty nip joints of Philadelphia, from a federal courthouse to Pocono Speedway. Along the way, this unrepentant lover of moonshine profiles the colorful characters who make up white whiskey’s lore and hilariously chronicles his own attempts to distill hooch from his initial ill-fated batch to his first successful jar of ’shine.

Angela Hatton says:

“Some call it white lightning, hooch, red-eye, and bootleg. The moonshine still is an iconic, but clichéd image of Appalachian culture. Max Watman knifes through the stereotype of bucktoothed backwoods hill-billies with a book that’s as sharp as uncut corn whiskey.

“Watman intertwines chapters on famous moonshine rings and stings, with his own bumbling attempts at illegal distillation. In one chapter, Watman sweats his way through buying still equipment at a brewer’s supply store, guiltily avoiding intrusive questions like, ‘what are you making?’

“Watman interviews dozens of distinct characters like a police officer who busted a multi-million dollar moonshine operation in West Virginia. He talks to distillers who’ve gone legit, slippery distillers who keep avoiding arrest, and one who has turned his illegal liquor into a tourist attraction.

“Chasing the White Dog traces both the personal and the political heritage of moonshine. Watman’s passion for the craft and his keen journalistic perceptions come through with every word.”

Check out our Good Reads page for more recommended books.

Written by Matt Markgraf

June 6, 2011 at 11:45 am

morning cram [caffeine fix edition]

leave a comment »

The line separating caffeine pros and cons is muddled.

NPR reports the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping children away from caffeine, even as hordes of new products hit the shelves.

Kentucky~ Graves County Amish appeal denied; they’ll have to keep the orange triangle on their buggies. The state Historical Society gets a grant for oral history. The Paducah City Commisioners voted on a new budget. Clinton residents may have to pay more for water. Fish and Wildlife officials plan to allow some sandhill crane hunting.

Tennessee~ The state tops $13 mil in recovery aid.

Datebook: June 6 – Soyuz 11 launches 40 years ago

leave a comment »

Soyuz 11 launched on June 6, 1971. The Russian spacecraft was the first successful visit to the world’s first space station, Salyut 1. The mission ended in disaster when the crew capsule depressurized during preparations for re-entry, killing the three-man crew. This accident resulted in the only human deaths to occur in space (as opposed to high atmosphere). The crew members aboard Soyuz 11 were Vladislav Volkov, Georgi Dobrovolski and Viktor Patsayev.

Here’s Datebook for Monday, June 6

Tonight there’s a benefit for Need Line serving Murray and Calloway County at Murray State’s Lovett Auditorium. It’s an evening of laughter and testimony with Vocal Impressionist Michael Kelley whose impersonations range from Ray Charles and Clint Eastwood to Kermit the Frog and Ronald Reagan. Tickets are $10.00. Doors open at 6. The program starts at 7.

Murray native Leigh Anne Florence, author of the “Woody Book” series, signs books at University Book and Bean on Chestnut in Murray tomorrow at 1 p.m.

The Easter Seals “Artist Within” exhibit is on display tomorrow through June 28th. at Etcetera Coffee House — 360 North 6th Street in Paducah. There’s a reception celebrating the artists Thursday from 3 to 5.

Friday there’s a free concert featuring the Josh Williams Band on the Benton Courthouse Square, starting at 7. Bring a lawn chair and non-perishable food for the Benton “Caring Need Line Pantry.” Former WKMS Front Porch Host Grady Kirkpatrick emcees.

Use to communicate your events. Enjoy your week!