Saturday, December 24, 2011


As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Release Date: Dec 1, 2011
Column Number: FM 1148

Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere on the back side of Frogpond, Tennessee; you have probably heard of the fiasco that is currently unfolding.

“What fiasco?” you may ask. Hey, pick one! There are plenty to go around.

The fiasco I’m talking about today is the one where one person says “this” and the other person says “that”.

You knowhatimean?

The lyrics by Gershwin/Gershwin say: “you say potato, I say potahto; you say tomato, I say tomahto” (actually you may say tomato or tomaho or whatever, but I say “mater”; but that is column fodder for yet another day).

Vice President Quayle got into a heap o’ trouble when he corrected a spelling student (from the card the school had given him) who had spelled the word “potato” instead of “potatoe”. I thought it was humorous that the press agitated itself into a frenzy about that; because I had just returned from Idaho on a mission trip (you do know the starchy, tuber from the perennial Solanum of the Solanaceae family for which Idaho is famous, don’t you) and they had the word “potatoe” right on their license plates. Potato, Potahto!

We have all recently heard anxious wannabe news people standing in crowded airports and proclaiming “The Day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year”; and then they are back on Sunday standing in crowded airports and proclaiming “The Sunday after Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year”. “Tomato, tomahto”.

We have all been “treated” to the expertise of the sports commentators who proclaim that “that play was the play of the game”. “The play of the game” is coming up right here! No pressure on that place kicker; but this is the “play of the game”.

Or how about “That shot was the shot of the year”; whether it was a golf shot, a basketball shot, a mumblypeg throw, a curler’s slide, a javelin throw, a hammer hurl, a vaulter’s “stickit”, a synchronized swimmers’ design, or a shooter’s shot – it was the (whachamacalit) of the year!

Many people hung on every word that was uttered in private or in secret, in open court or in side bar, in interviews or in news releases of the “Trial of the Century” (actually mis-carriage of justice) several years ago in Los Angeles. I think the Lindberg kidnapping trial personnel might have grounds to disagree; or the Alger Hiss hearings; or the Scopes “Monkey Trial” jury; or the Teapot Dome hearings; or the Nuremberg War Crimes trials; or maybe Sacco and Vanzetti; or Michael Jackson and his doctor buddy. President Johnson’s impeachment trial, President Clinton’s impeachment hearings, and President Nixon’s impeachment votes might just be in the running.

But, the OJ fiasco was officially crowned the “trial of the century”. Potato, potahto!

Gershwin/Gershwin went on to talk about “either and ither”; “neither and nither”; pyjamas and pyjahmas”; “vanilla and vanilla”; “bananas and banahnas”; “Havana and Havahnah”. Whatever! Press “one” for English!

Now the thing is whether or not we can say “Merry Christmas”. It’s no big thing (correctly pronounced in the Frogpond Universal Dictionary – “thang”) for me. Ima Sign (our electronic sign at West End) says, “It’s Merry Christmas! You can have happy holidays anytime”.

Seems our neighbors (naighbers) can’t get it scoped in; and they are going with the more politically correct “Winterfest” (which they start before Winter). Don’t want to offend anyone, you know!

Do we have a standard? Is there anything upon which we can depend?

Yes! Glad you asked! The Bible is God’s Inerrant, Infallible Word; and is the “ONLY THING” that will stand when your world is burning down around you! Better hang your hat on that Hook, my friend.

In a world of nothing but changes; you need something upon which you can depend! The Bible, God’s Word, is a wonderful Guidebook by which you can LIVE; but It cannot be beat as a Guidebook by which you can DIE!

Christian, it’s “Game On”; Let’s get cracking”!

Tom Mooty currently serves the West End Baptist Church as Senior Pastor. He writes this column for the Thursday edition of the “Newport Plain Talk”; and appreciates all comments. He can be heard on Sundays over WLIK at 11:00; and is the published co-author (with Michele Washam) of “Protecting Those You Love in an X-Rated World” (Bridge-Logos). Mooty has plans to enlarge his ministry into further publishing and broadcasting. Contact Mooty at or at P.O. Box 851; Newport, TN 37822.

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As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
December 22, 2011
Column Number: FM 1151


Sunday evenings after church at the Cracker Barrel are always interesting times. There are some things that are very predictable: my “Atkins-legal” double egg and double bacon order (yes, I’m down 35 and counting, thank you), Larry and Lisa’s unpredictable ordering (if it is his time to pay, it is water for both of them; if it is my time, it is steaks for both of them), Jack’s predictable “No thank you”, Gracie’s predictable baked potato; and – wait for it – a table visit from my long-time buds, Charles McNabb and M.E. Edwards.

By the way, my three years in “Freshman Bonehead English 101” didn’t enable me to come anywhere close to being able to outline that last sentence. Yours?

Charles is always predictably carrying on some delightful foolishment; and M.E. predictably always has some interesting tertiary tidbit to tantalize us; whether it is an old black-and-white photograph, or an “Enka” story, or maybe something from the days-gone-by in Parrotsville. (Since there had only been fourteen presidents when M.E. was in school, they weren’t too difficult to memorize).

Anyway; (or to use the most-hated word of the year – “whatever”)! Moving right along; M.E. wanted me to write a column under the title of our title today. So, I shall endeavor to endure to enact an encouraging endowment to enable you to encircle the subject.

Actually, I cannot remember a time when Santie Claws missed a landing at Frogpond International Airport – at least to at least one of my friends at least. You have to remember that that was way before GPS, “Tom-Toms” and Garmons; smart phones and most dumb phones; and 24/7 newscasts (are you kidding me: that was even before black-and-white television – and color? Forgetaboutit)!

Whether it was a pair of skates with which we could ruin the floor of Mary Mims’ basement; or a bat and ball with which we could break out the windows of any neighbor in hitting range; or a bicycle with which we could try our luck coming down Grammar School Hill or the High School “Walkway-to-Downtown” (the sudden stop at the end of both of these torture devices was generally worth a visit to Fred Marvin’s and Josephine Celeste’s first aid station (which was well stocked with a box of band aids, a little dropper bottle of Mercurochrome, and a jar of Vicks’ Salve.

“Mercurochrome”? Wonder what was in that? Looks like Mercury and Chromium to me – both of which are hazardous waste now, aren’t they? I can’t wait for a commercial from some ambulance-chasing lawyer who intones that I have been injured by prolonged use of mercurochrome; I am due a settlement of a gazillion green American dollars.

On second thought, maybe that is what happened to me! Where’s my ambulance-chaser?

You see, I was Fred and Josephine’s “baby” – translation – “youngest”. “The Big Ugly” and “The Music Man” were six and four years, respectively older than me. So Fred Marvin had to have somebody with whom to “play the game”; so I was elected. I remember I checked out my bicycle which they had hidden over at the Masters’ house across Fifth Street several days before the big day.

Fred Marvin had lung problems which led to Emphysema which led to COPD which led to Heaven; but while he was with us, he had a lot of problems breathing. One Christmas Eve, I heard him carrying my set of barbells (I think they are called free weights now) up from the basement. He was breathing so loudly, he sounded like an obscene phone call. I wanted so desperately to help him; but they loved to play the game; so who was I to spoil their fun – even though I knew, and they knew I knew; and I knew they knew I knew.

My gift was usually wrapped in the color comics section of the Sunday Newspaper. I think that was because “The Big Ugly” thought that was cute or something. Seems kind of juvenile, now that I think about it.

Whatever! It was always a fun time of the year; with lights and colors and sights and sounds; and sometimes, even a visit from Santa Claus when he could get directions to Frogpond. Remember, that was before the printing press so maps were non-existent and the Frogpond Post Office (with its zero mile marker) had burned the year before!

One Personality that was always there; but especially showed up at Christmas was The Lord Jesus Christ! He was the Object of our Church Services and Christmas Carols; and He did not need a map to find the hearts of a lot of the kids that grew up in Frogpond. It would really be interesting to know just how many of those kids accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior while a resident of Frogpond, Tennessee.

So, to be politically incorrect for the umpteenth time – Merry Christmas, everyone – or Merry CHRISTmas! (It IS named for Him, you know!)

Tom Mooty currently serves the West End Baptist Church as Senior Pastor; and writes this column for the Thursday edition of the “Newport (TN) Plain Talk”. Mooty appreciates all your comments (especially the good ones). He is a published author and can be contacted at or at P.O. Box 851; Newport, TN 37822.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011


As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Nov 24, 2011
Column Number: FM 1147

Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere on the back side of Frogpond, Tennessee; you have probably heard of the fiasco that is currently unfolding in Washington DC.

“What fiasco?” you may ask. Hey, pick one! There are plenty to go around.

Someone said that Congress is just like sausage: It might look ok until you see what is in it; and how it is made!

Is there anyone out there in Fiveminuteville that really thought that “super committee” was going to succeed? I mean, really, now; did you think they could put aside all the “sausage ingredients” long enough to do what was genuinely correct for “we the people”?

It’s really sad that a few good men and women who might be populating the hallowed halls of “our” government buildings are grouped in with all the “sausage ingredients” that insist that somehow they have a “mandate” to bilk and milk “we the people” for every last penny so they can send it to someone who does not like us, and will turn against us in a heartbeat. Or maybe they use my money to buy another vote by building another bridge to nowhere.

Sad? That word doesn’t cover it; not at all!

And then, there is that silly television commercial that has been running for years. You know the one!

It features that combination lawyer-watchdog who glibly intones that if I have years of unfiled tax returns lying around, he will take care of that for me.

Notice that phrase please; “unfiled tax returns”; and not just one; no, years of them!

That guy is supposed to be able to “take care of that for me”. Years of unfiled tax returns! Gimme a break!

Best thing to do is just gather up all those unfiled tax returns to make them filed tax returns – or go somewhere where they have more simple tax laws. You know; the ultra short form – the post card!

It reads like this: Question: “What is your income?” Directive: “Send it in!” Comment: “We will put it in our sausage grinder and send it to our “sausage ingredients” to spend it on bigger and better “sausage grinders” than you!”.

I hope all these supposed new Internal Revenue Agents that are supposed to be hired to keep up with all the supposed simpler rules and regulations (which have not yet been written) of the new health care rules and regulations – whew! - I hope they will write letters to that guy who is hawking his “expert” services to all who have years of unfiled tax returns lying around.

Frankly, times are hard, and we cannot afford his types trying to get reductions for people who are too lazy or dishonest to file.

I got a phone call the other night – you know, one of these automated calls that told me that “my government” had made money available to reduce my house payment, and I qualified, and I should … the call ended when I hung up. I thought that stuff was one of the major ingredients of the congressional “sausage grinding”.

If I sound bitter, I assure, I am not! I love my nation; I love my country! I am so very thankful that I was fortunate to be born here in this country instead of God’s choice of 120 others. I am so very thankful that the Joseph Mooty family came to Charleston, South Carolina several hundred years ago and stood in line, signed the papers, obeyed the rules and became American citizens.

I am thankful for many things; but the biggest of them is that God has allowed me by His Grace to become one of His Children. That is really something for which a kid from Frogpond, Tennessee can thank God.

Sure, we have problems – lots of them – the big “sausage grinder” in Washington is just one of them; but we are still the greatest nation ever! God bless America; and God bless you, dear reader!

Tom Mooty serves as Senior Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and can be reached with your comments at tommooty05@comcast. Check all of the posts on both of the blog pages; and come back - as the ole sarge used to say - "with great frequency".
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As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Nov 3, 2011
Column Number: FM 1144

Ok, don’t hit me again! I’ll talk! I’ll tell you what that title means!

Actually, the sample is taken from an extremely complex extinct language. It is an original manuscript of an ancient dialect which was spoken by the inhabitants of Frogpond, Tennessee. The priceless document was discovered by an archeological dig being operated by ex-mayor, Lester Starnes at the actual site of the actual frogpond.

It appears to be coupled with a particle or word fragment that is found in several different spellings, the most frequent being: “ID” or “AHD”.

“Fizeu id” makes no sense at all; but of course, it fit in very nicely among the indigenous population of Frogpond.

Noted linguist, Gary Hammonds, who has the distinction of being the very first doctoral candidate from Frogpond University gave me a lot of help in deciphering the cryptic scribbling. Dr. Hammonds, whose doctoral thesis was entitled, “I don’t nohow to talk too purty good” actually remembered frequently hearing the mysterious words being used in conversations on the whittlin’ benches around the Frogpond Courthouse; and was able to come up with a translation.

Hammonds remembered the phrase was used thusly: “Fizeu ahd do hit thisaway”; and was able to translate the ancient line of dialog into: “If I were you, I would do it this way”.

Viola! It now makes good sense; and archeologist Lester Starnes can now sleep at night.

There are always the delightful people who are always looking over your shoulder with groans and heavy breathing as you whittle yet another masterpiece; and they say, “Fizeu, ah’d do hit thisaway”, as they point out the way they would do it differently.

But, you know, the simple truth is that “Fizeu” is a faulty premise; you are not me; I am not you!

I have heard of identical twins taking each others’ places with tests or other various “sticky wickets” we face every day.

My Tennessee Tech roommate came to Newport one time and people mistook him for me; called him by my name. And he was not nearly as good looking as I used to be!

I have heard of people doing a thriving business filling in for students in big impersonal college classrooms, taking notes, taking tests, writing papers, etc.

But, while you might indeed be able to do a better whittling project than me; you still cannot “be” me; and I cannot “be” you.

Especially in the realm of the spiritual!

You will face the Judge of the Universe yourself; and no one can ever take your place!

The simple question is, are you ready to face Him?

Tom Mooty serves as Senior Pastor (Medicare Minister) of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and can be reached with your comments at Check back to our two blogs frequently; who knows; you might happen to find something new! (Who knew?)

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