Sunday, September 03, 2006

Hee Haw Luck (published 9-3-2006)

Watching older shows, on TV Land, etc., instead of the latest cookie cutter, cardboard bilge offered by the networks, is a sad consequence of the degradation of society. For example, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I enjoyed watching Hee Haw reruns on CMT recently, which brings to mind the song line, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all . . . .”

“Where has the Appalachian Irishman been, since June 12?” You might have asked. Well, Mr. Murphy struck this summer. After the wonderful birth of our niece, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman sought medical attention, ultimately requiring surgery. Thank the Good Lord, the surgery was successful. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman is recovering well, and she should be fully recovered in a few more weeks.

The Appalachian Irishman’s cooking has inspired his good wife to hasten her recovery time. Soup beans, instant mashed potatoes, and canned green beans have wonderful healing qualities!

Oh, also, the Appalachian Irishman managed to fracture a big toe amongst all this. Don’t, please don’t, ask me how he did this!

So, dear reader, read on! The next few articles have been churning inside me, along with the soup beans, for some time!

Garuba is a Fraud! (published 9-3-2006)

The following e-mail exchange doesn’t produce clean copy, but I am posting it, for the common good of all mankind. I have removed the personal references, except for Mr. Garuba’s e-mail address.

Section One is an e-mail from a friend, with Mr. Garuba’s message forwarded. Section Two is my humorous e-mail reply to my friend.

Beware of Mr. Garuba!

Section One

----- Original Message -----
From: <snip>
To: <snip>
Sent: Saturday, September 02, 2006 9:35 AM
Subject: Assistance Needed on Matter of International Importance

Can someone help me please?

I'm too busy to take all this money, but I really hate to see it go to waste. Please reply directly to Garuba, if you can provide assistance regarding this matter of utmost importance.



Note: forwarded message attached.
To: None
Sent: Saturday, September 02, 2006 4:50 AM
Newton & Associates
Chattered Accountants
6750 Strand Street,
covent Garden,
London,WC2E 7JSl

I am Mr. as garuba, president of Newton & associates, a chattered accountant firm and united kindom appointed Tax manager. I am a member of Chattered institute of london and former President of Association of chattered accountants-london, 1995-2002. Part of my services includes management of clients fund, business funding, auditing, tax management, project financing etc.

My contacting you is based on this (BBCWEBSITE) Just click and go through with your full attention. This website is a link to the victims of the Caribbean cruise organized by Deilmann on a Concorde Flight AF4590 that crashed into the Hotelissimo. I am not trying to make a journalistic reference here, but I want to present you everlasting business relationship that came as a result of this air crash.

Among the victims of the Monday, 31 July, 2000 air crash, is my biggest client Andreas Schranner, 64, a German property magnate his wife Maria, 62, their only daughter Andrea Eich, 38, her husband Christian, 57, and their children Katharina, eight, and Maximilian, 10, all perished in the jet. Just click.

Mr. Andreas Schranner is one of German biggest Estate Magnate. Before the air crash on Monday, 31 July, 2000, he signed an agreement with my firm in london to oversea his %40 capital investment base share with Natwest Bank london Limited. The share is his international investment objective valued at fifty four Million U.S dollars ($ since 2000. On January 8th, 2006, my team of auditors was appointed to execute the annual auditing of the banks investment, shares, reinvestments, and profits. It became obvious that Mr. Andreas Schranner $ has generated %75 interest.

Currently, Natwest bank london is calling my office for immediate presentation of Mr. Mr. Andreas Schranner next of kin for claims of the Mr. Andreas fortune. Since my client Mr. Andreas Schranner and his entire family died in the air crash, I wish to use my humble office to appoint and present you as the next of kin to Natwest Bank and assist in getting the fund transferred to you. Since the fund is my late client's hard earned fortune, it is one of my prerogatives to get the fund utilized. The fund has over stayed expandable servicing and if not claimed, the bank shall confiscate the fund. My Chattered account office is the sole manager of the fund $ which has generated handsome profits which cannot be stated here. I cannot personally apply for the claims as the next of kin since Barclays Bank knows my office and personality. It shall be impossible for me to personally make the claims. All I need is your approval to accept the business transaction. You shall keep %50 of the total fund to yourself while you keep %50 for the office of Newton & Associates. The Bank through my declarations about you shall accept you as the next of kin to Mr. Andreas Schranner and make the transfer of the fund to you with all the interests acrrued from the capital base of $

All I need is your sincerity, trust and confidence. Do send also your
full details viz.
Full contacts............................
Postal Address............................

I wait to read from you urgently.


Mr. as garuba

pls you can call me 22676408234
MSN Hotmail sur i-modeT : envoyez et recevez des e-mails depuis votre téléphone portable !

Section Two

Dear <snip>,

Mr. Garuba is a fraud!

First, I was a member in good standing of the renowned Association of Chattered Accountants--London (not to be confused with the less well known Association of Chartered Accountants--London) in the late 1990's. The esteemed Mr. Bob Cratchit served as president during that time, not a Mr. Garuba.

Second, this Mr. Garuba cannot be president of Newton & Associates, as the highly regarded Mr. Fig Newton is president.

Third, I returned recently from the summer conference of the Chattered Institute of London (again, not to be confused with the less respected Chartered Institute of London) and did not hear a Mr. Garuba's name called in attendance. Attendance is mandatory to retain your seat in the cigar and brandy parlor, so with Mr. Garuba's obvious taste for hard liquor, to which the esteemed Mr. Jack Daniels attests, he would have attended, if he existed.

Fourth, the tragedy of Air France Flight 4590 occurred on 25 July 2000, not on the 31st, as this Mr. Garuba asserts. A colleague from the Chattered Institute of London, Ms. Chicken Little, was one of the four individuals killed on the ground, as she looked upward, exclaiming, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"

Fifth, which this Mr. Garuba must be drinking, Andreas Schranner was certainly a big client, as he was 6' 2" and weighted 300 lbs., but he was not a German property magnate. Instead, Mr. Schranner was a peddler of magnetic car signs for insurance companies in the United States. He was not married, as he could not attract a mate. I know this, since he sold a magnetic car sign to a friend of mine.

Finally, as is commonly known, upon the death of Mr. Schranner (which occurred when he crashed through a coffee table while giving a motivational speech) and of any supposed beneficiaries that he may have had, his assets would have passed to his estate. Of course, his assets included only a van down by the river, in which he lived, a box of 100 count car magnets, and a sawed off shotgun. In all, Mr. Schanner's estate was worth about $5,400.00. This Mr. Garuba must have carried the decimal point a bit too far.

Please, pass along this warning to your colleagues. The quality of the letter from Mr. Garuba could dupe many a professional person. Being aware of certain details as I am, however, I wished to pass along the above information for the better good.

Best regards,


Pay with Your Finger (published 9-3-2006)

After having joined half the county in hauling off trash yesterday morning, the Appalachian Irishman’s truck was down to an eighth a tank. Fortunately, someone named “Current Resident,” who must have lived at our address once, had received in the mail a scratch off $2.00 discount coupon from the benevolent people at Shell.

Well, that tank of gas cost the equivalent of $2.417 per gallon, instead of the posted $2.599, a whopping 7% savings! With the joyous fumes of gas discount wafting in my head, my fractured toe and I hobbled into the store to pay.

While making the transaction, I noticed a “Pay with Your Finger” advertisement. “What is this?” I asked the a bit too bubbly clerk. She explained that Shell has formulated an optional, for now, plan, by which you pay for purchases by inserting your index finger in a scanner.

Your index finger? Why didn’t Shell require the middle finger? Imagine the commercial, explaining the process! “Just fold your hand into a fist, then extend your middle finger vertically and insert it into the scanner.”

Let’s give Shell the finger by not giving it our finger! Mark it. This will bring out the beast, if Shell tries to make this plan mandatory!

Gas Wars -- the Missing 7% (published 9-3-2006)

Aha! I just discovered why Shell could offer $2.00 gas coupons!

I took the following shots on Father’s Day, June 18. Notice that the Shell price per gallon, in Rutledge, Tennessee, is 7.5% higher than


 the Appco price, in Rogersville, Tennessee!


I assume that the extra 0.5% went to administrative overhead! Seriously, how was a 21-cent per gallon difference possible, or justified? This confounds my one brain cell!

House Mt. – The Big Dig (published 9-3-2006; updated 11-1-2022)

Over five months ago, I extolled the beauty of My Mountain, House Mountain Park. Now that fall is here, counting from September 1, as the Russians do, I am eager to hit the mountain--after, of course, this busted toe heals.

On August 16, I decided to stop by the park entrance, to see “your tax dollars at work.” As the photo shows, not much progress has been made toward spending that $250 million!

A contractor can build a house in five months or less. Why, then, does the government not have the parking lot paved, the bathrooms built, and the picnic tables set by now? And, again, why should these “improvements” cost $250 million? Once more, this is just too much for my one brain cell to understand!

11/1/2022, Tuesday, note: sixteen years have passed, since I published this article. Today, my website analytics showed that someone had viewed this article in the last 24 hours. On 9/3/2006, I had failed to note that Mom and Dad were married, on 9/3/1959. All I did today was add this note and add the published and updated dates to the original title. I still like what I wrote, on 9/3/2006!

House Mt. -- Winterland (published 9/3/2006)

We had winter in East Tennessee last season, and it fell on two weekends, with snows on consecutive weekends in February.

Finally, after downloading them from my camera, here are a few shots from winter wonderland on House Mountain! I took the photographs on 2/12/2006.Enjoy! I took more photographs, but this website allowed five only, for some reason.


Monday, June 12, 2006

It's a Girl! (published 6-12-2006)

Born at 5:08 PM, weighing 9 pounds and 15 ounces and being 23 inches long, the Appalachian Irishman has a new niece! My brother almost didn’t get his mitt on in time, but he caught her!

I can’t wait to take my new niece hiking up House Mountain and Devil’s Nose!

Congratulations to the new father and mother!

Baby Watch (published 6-12-2006)

No, I didn’t say Bay Watch! The Appalachian Irishman just returned, from the hospital, where the wife of his youngest brother is waiting, with feet still several hours away from the stirrups.

I had to return home, for the catcher’s mitt, as my brother, fully in expectant father mode, forgot his. A new socialized medicine rule is that the baby cannot be born, until the father has his catcher’s mitt!

Anyway, I’ll try to catch a few hours of shuteye, and then return, to join other bleary eyed family members, who are still sitting on Baby Watch!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

“Guvernment Edukashun” (published 6-11-2006)

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, as I have admitted before, is a patient, long-suffering soul. Why she married me, I’ll never know. She also suffers as a government school employee. Of course, she is one of the good ones – trying to wield the sword of positive, responsible, moral (dare we say biblical) influence against the menacing socialist hordes that run, or are brain washed by, the system.

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman received a thank you note from a student, whom she had helped, at the end of the school year. The sentiment, the influence, and the result are all commendable.

Looking for the cloud in every silver lining, as I do; however, I must address the grammatical mistakes made by this product of government education. Here is just the first part.

Thank you fur being there for me whin
i needed you that ment a lot to me and
thank you for helping me . . . .

The letter continues for several more lines--totally unencumbered by any form of punctuation whatsoever! The first person singular pronoun is never capitalized. Is this the result of the socialist emphasis on the collective over the individual?

Of course, the aforementioned student may be valedictorian material, for after further thought, the note could have started:

thunk u fer bein thair fur me whin eye
neaded u thatthar mint a lot 2 me +
thunk u fer halpin me . . . .

The Appalachian Irishman is just thankful that he was taught phonetics in the first grade. (No, kindergarten wasn’t required then.) He is also thankful for the excellent grammar teachers, who taught him parts of speech, parts of a sentence (including diagramming), types of sentences, spelling, punctuation, and so forth. Now, as long as little Johnny feels good about himself, it doesn’t matter how well he writes or speaks!

Of course, to correct all these ills, all we need is more money for “guvernment edukashun!”

What say you?

Coke and a Snicker (published 6-11-2006)

“A dollar eighty for a 12 oz. Coke and regular sized Snickers?” I asked the resident scholar behind the counter at the zip-in-to-get-ripped-off convenience store. “Why, young man, when I was a boy, you could get a Coke and candy bar for 25 cents!”

Mr. Earring/Tattoo just looked at me, with the line growing behind me, and asked, “Look, Mister, are you buying?” Plunking down the $2.00 in silence was my answer, since I had a light lunch a few hours ago.

The worst part is that I sounded just like some old guy!

Just Plain Coffee! (published 6-11-2006)

Frou-frou coffee! That’s what’s wrong with the world!” -- I exclaimed, while talking with colleagues, over coffee. No, we weren’t at one of those yuppie coffee houses either. We were at the office for the Friday meeting. Yes, I was drinking regular coffee, black. Okay, I’ll add a few drops of cream, when I’m feeling a bit more sophisticated, but that’s all.

In simpler times, choices were fewer -- Folgers, Maxwell House, JFG, Sanka, and perhaps a few others. Now, however, a Google search of “coffee types” returns 64.7 thousand references! No time for all that, so I hit the Starbucks website, to find 32 types of coffee, in five categories! They even offer multiple serving sizes! Not small, medium, or large, mind you, but Grande, etc.

Just give me a simple cup of coffee, please! I’ll add cream and sugar, if I want to.

Somehow, I just don’t trust the politics of someone, who walks into a Starbucks and says, “I’ll have a Colombia Nariño Supremo, size Doppio, please.” Just for fun, one of these days, I will walk into a Starbucks, which I haven’t done yet, and say, “Give me a cup of coffee, black.” How will the rocket scientist behind the counter reply?

Does anyone else want just a regular cup of coffee?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Kiss vs. the Graduate (published 6-3-2006; article #17)

The Knoxville Civic Coliseum was the site.

The year was 1979. Kiss was in the house! Two buddies and I stood only a few feet, from center stage. We were there! What a show! The rock vibes were rolling, from the speakers. Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley were in true form! What a performance! One very stout and tall friend hoisted me up, from time to time, so I could take pictures, above the crowd. What shots I took! I have great shot, of Gene Simmons breathing fire! The house was packed. We were there! What a memory! I was young and felt great!

The year was 2006. Gibbs High School graduates were in the house. My niece, Trina “Biscuit” (as I nicknamed her) was graduating (as the only National Merit Scholarship Finalist in the class, I might add). Several family members were seated, on stage left. The commencement music did not rock. The speakers were adequate, but not on a roll. I tried to stay awake. I was old and sick, still fighting varicella-zoster. Still yet, when Trina “Biscuit” walked across that stage, a chill of pride and sentiment ran down my back. Was this the little girl, whom I used to “walk on the ceiling?” Congratulations, Trina! Yours was not a ceremony of mediocrity. Good luck and Godspeed in the future!

The Knoxville Civic Coliseum hasn’t changed; I have. I miss the thrill and fire, of the concert, from my youth, but I relish the love, of my dear, long-suffering wife and of those around us. Have I graduated?

What say you?

Marriage Melee (published 6-3-2006)

A marriage melee is raging in our country. On the right, knights gather in defense of marriage as the recognized union between a man and a woman. On the left, hordes pound their shields, shouting that two men or two women have the right to marry.

As Mason said to Dixon, “We have to draw the line somewhere!”

Logically, if, by definition, marriage is not the recognized union between a man and a woman, then it can be anything! The slippery slope will prevail. The line will be redrawn continually.

Today, two men or two women may marry. Tomorrow, a man may marry several women, or vice versa. Next week, a group of men may marry a group of women. Next month, a group of men may marry each other. A year from now, a man may marry his dog – or his truck! Who is to say what is wrong?

To argue “there are no absolutes” is an absolute contradiction. Absolutes must exist, in logical reasoning and in the law.

Marriage is by definition the union of one man and one woman! Anything else is a perversion.

Bring on your “logic” to prove me otherwise!

What say you?

Random Questions (published 6-3-2006)

Why is Knox County resurfacing Cedar Bluff Road, when the road was well-paved already? Was the asphalt just not dark enough? Why aren’t other roads, in less politically affluent areas, not resurfaced, when they are in desperate need?

Why do many public restroom doors open in? After having washed my hands, why must I grab that nasty handle or knob?

Why does the song end and the station go to commercials, just as I tune in?

Why do people insist on riding my bumper, since I have no catchy bumper sticker to read? Is my license plate that interesting?

Why does the downpour hit, when I’m trying to get through rush hour traffic, on the interstate in west Knoxville?

Why is there a wreck, blocking the back door route, when I, unwisely, get off the interstate, hoping to avoid the delays?

Why does the last train car pass by, just after I, finally, shut off the engine?

Why does the light turn red, just as I am next in line to turn?

Why do women with flabby bellies wear shirts that show their bellies? Is it an optometrist’s conspiracy to make my eye sight worse? Or do their mirrors deceive them?

Why do people lie to insurance consultants and think that God will not hold it against them?

The glass is still half full.

Shaking the Shingles (published 6-3-2006)

No, I did not say “singles!” Nor is this about a new dance step!

But seriously, folks, the Appalachian Irishman is finally returning, to his former infamous self, after having engaged in a costly and prolonged battle, against his archenemy – varicella-zoster, or Chicken Pox Part Deux. (See the article, “Hanging Up My Shingles (published 5-14-2006).” Costly it was in medical expense and missed work – and prolonged, in a month of suffering and slow recuperation. I wouldn’t wish the shingles on my worst political foe ( (Just kidding, Daffodil.)

Web log? No way! I just managed to endure and to try to work as much as possible!

Well, to friend and foe alike, I’m back!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

20 Years as But a Day (published 5-16-2006)

The Appalachian Irishman admits it; he can be hard to live with at times. Must be those Irish roots! Twenty years ago today, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman made the dubious decision to honor me by becoming my wife. Dubious on her part, because I dragged her, not by the hair, mind you, to the flat lands of Missouri for several years then on to Russia for a few more, before finally, finally returning to the true Garden of Eden--Upper East Tennessee.

Those twenty years have passed by as but a day. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, at times, probably feels as if it has been forty years, but for me, it has been just a day. She is more lovely and dear to me now than then--and believe me, she was lovely and dear then too.

So, I raise my Guinness to you (no, I don’t drink, but let’s pretend), Mrs. Appalachian Irishman! Thanks, my dear, long-suffering wife, for putting up with me all these years. Here’s to twenty more!

Okay, okay, you may wipe your eye now! The Appalachian Irishman will return to his wit and witticism later.

What say you?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

ILLEGAL ANALOGY (published 5-14-2006; updated 6-26-2022)

We have a large, fine home with plenty of room. It is the envy of many in the neighborhood.

We regularly invite our neighbors over for the evening or to stay the weekend. They ring the doorbell and come in through the front door. They conduct themselves politely and properly. They leave willingly, when it is time to go. On occasion, an invited neighbor acts out of turn or over stays his welcome. He is not invited back.

Many in the neighborhood face difficulties in their own homes. We invite some of these neighbors into our home, not as guests, but as new family members. We take them in willingly, and we would take in more, if we had additional room. These neighbors are grateful, agree to obey the rules of our house, take on our last name, study our family heritage, and leave behind adherence to their old homes. We celebrate when we are able to help such neighbors!

Lately, however, some neighbors have tried to sneak in through a back room window. They do not have the dignity or courtesy to wait to be invited in through the front door. We ran them out at first, but they returned. So many started coming in! We couldn’t stop them!

Mother wanted father to increase security around the house, to keep out these uninvited neighbors, but father saw that some of them were cleaning the house, taking out the trash, mowing the yard – doing chores that house members did not want to do. So, he allowed them to keep sneaking in. Mother kept telling father that these neighbors were eating our food, using our medical supplies, and hurting us physically, but father didn’t care. He just noticed how the uninvited neighbors washed his car so well.

Some of the family even argued that we must allow these uninvited neighbors to come in, because we are so wealthy and they are so needy. “Why can’t we go to their homes and help them? Why can’t their own fathers and mothers help them?” I asked, to which I received no reasonable reply.

In time, these uninvited neighbors demanded that we take care of them! They wanted us to change our last name to theirs! They demanded their “rights” as equal members of the family! Our once well kept home is now in need of repair.

Why can’t these uninvited neighbors just wait to be invited in by the front door?

Hanging Up My Shingles (published 5-14-2006)

Chicken Pox Part Deux? Varicella zoster is the more scientific but less entertaining name. Yes, the shingles have floored the Appalachian Irishman!

Too much dang work! Too much darn stress! These are the hammers that nailed me. It started with that little pain in the side, like a sore muscle. Nothing about which to worry, right? Wrong! Next, the malaise poured over me. “What’s this little rash on my side?” I wondered next. Then, over last weekend, the little pox belt appeared!

By the way, for you linguists, varicella, from the Latin, means "little pox." Zoster is Greek for “girdle” or “belt.” The word shingles comes from cingulum, Latin for “belt” or “girdle.”

Finally, the proud Appalachian Irishman went to his family doctor, whose shingle hangs about 30 minutes from home. Having already done the research, I agreed with the doctor’s treatment -- an antiviral medication, ibuprofen, plenty of water, and rest. In another country, I could have bypassed the doctor’s office charge, by buying the antiviral drugs directly from the pharmacy -- without prescription. Not so in the good ol’ US of A! No, I must pay the doctor, to prescribe that which I know I already need! What a country!

Anyhow, I am recovering but not completely well. But, alas, this is not the nail point to the story!

Upon arrival at the doctor’s office, promptly, for my 9:45 AM appointment, I had to take a place in line, behind one of those well-dressed, overly friendly to the medical staff, pharmaceutical sales representatives -- pill pushers, by another name. Great! I almost asked the young thing, “Are you here to see the doctor for a medical reason?” Assuming her negative answer, my next line would have been, “Well, since I’m actually sick, you shouldn’t mind if I cut in front of you!” But, being a southern gentleman, I brushed aside those thoughts. Instead, the added stress, caused my side to hurt more. I’m sure that another red streak appeared as well. Thankfully, the receptionist made pill pusher chicklet sit down to wait also.

The good doctor took my advice and prescribed the antiviral medication that I recommended -- the generic that works as well as the high dollar brand name, which he first suggested. The brand name drug was probably the one that the sweet young thing out in the lobby was pushing!

Upon leaving the examination room, what did my wandering eyes see? Yes, another pill pusher -- standing just outside the door, like a vulture awaiting its next victim! This time, it was a young man, slickly dressed in the traditional dark suit. “Hello, Dr. Cox!” he cheerfully chortled. He caught my eye, and I glared at him.

Oh, by the way, before getting in to my family physician, I tried out a foreign doctor, whose shingle is only about five minutes away. “With the price of gas these days, why not try the local guy?” I had concluded.

Well, arriving for the 8:00 AM appointment, I filled out the traditional reams of new patient paperwork. To my surprise, the receptionist started talking about payment -- before I could see the doctor! “Well, with my HSA health insurance plan, I pay doctor’s office visits, for a reduced premium,” as I told the one-brain-celled young lady. I added, “I am ready to pay the $70.00 with my HSA debt card.” Well, to my surprise, the debt card frightened to death the educationally challenged chick! She asked me to go home, get the HSA checkbook, and return, before I could be treated!

Having arrived home, with additional pain and reddening in my side from the experience, I called my regular doctor, mentioned, above, to set an appointment. I then promptly called the give us money first, before we help you, doctor’s office. I told, politely, the one brain cell babe that I didn’t like her approach. I told her that I had arranged to see a real doctor.

Fortunately, the Appalachian Irishman is from hearty stock and doesn’t need a doctor more than once a year, if that. This experience, however, illustrates the sad state of medical practice in this country. First, the lack of true market forces continues to drive up health care costs. Set aside the stinking co-pays, to which millions think they have a constitutional right, and dicker directly with doctors on office visit charges! Second, pharmaceutical companies should neither advertise nor send their minions of pill pushers, to bribe doctors into prescribing their high priced product. Third, people should put down the Twinkie and get some exercise, instead of neglecting their health and expecting the doctor to fix them. Finally, tort reform should eliminate frivolous medical lawsuits and limit settlements. Other measures, I’m sure, could be taken.

Despite the need for reform and improvement in our medical system, we must not seek salvation, by further socializing healthcare! I’ve been to Russia, and I've seen the effects of socialized medicine. We don’t need that here!

Well, it’s time to take another pill. Maybe America will do the same.

What say you?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Cloth Towel Dispensers (published 4-25-2006; updated 8-17-2022; article #10)


8/17/2022 Note

On 8/17/2022, I checked my website's “all-time” analytics, which I do rarely. I was surprised to see that “Cloth Towel Dispensers,” published on 4/25/2006, was my sixth most viewed article! It was my tenth article. As of 8/14/2022, I have published 346 articles. I had to read what I'd written, over sixteen years ago.

Analytics on the article (for 6/30/2010 to 7/31/2022) indicate that my article is still being viewed. I searched “Gaggle” by the article title. I found twelve pages of various articles and advertisements. My article was not included. The reason why folks still view my article is a mystery. I'm just glad that my article remains relevant, sixteen years later.

On 8/17/2022, I redacted my original article, for style, and I added a few more words. The basic content is the same, as it was, on 4/25/2006. My 8/17/2022 podcast, “Cloth Towel Dispensers (published 8-17-2022; episode #5),” adapted my written words, of sixteen years ago, to my spoken word.


The Appalachian Irishman was out trying to make a living today, on 4/25/2006. By the way, was today Tax Freedom Day? Government-educated types don't realize that their income, through late April, goes to Uncle Sam, do they? Also, they think that they're sticking it to ol’ Uncle when he gives them a meager refund. Right! Uncle takes too much, in federal income tax, through the year. Then, Uncle gives back, as a refund, the excess money that he'd taken. Why doesn't Uncle pay interest on the excess he took?

Anyway, back to the story! I made a pit stop at a convenience store. After addressing mother nature’s urging, I washed my hands. Argh! It was another one of those push the button and stand there all day, trying to dry your hands, air drying units! Just give up! Wipe your hands dry on your pants!

It Was Easier Back Then

Do you recall the old cloth towel dispensers of years ago? You'd pull down on the corners, and a clean section of towel emerged. Wiping your hands, and possibly face also, was a snap! Ah, those were the days!

Life was so much easier back then. Cars had character. They all didn't look like the same type of little Matchbox Cars, as now. Gas was inexpensive, and someone else usually pumped it – and checked the oil and washed the windshield.

Football players stayed with the same teams for years. Kids played outside and didn’t get fat – by only playing video games indoors.

Families stayed together. Neighbors knew each other. Parents, not grandparents, raised their children. Churches were not metal building, mega-marketed monstrosities – filled by Christianettes, who hear sermonettes, preached by preacherettes.

Dirt roads led somewhere. Rock was classic, and country didn’t rock. There was no rap or hip-hop. Students could carry their pocket knives and use them in shop class, and they were spanked by teachers – and then by their parents. Doctors could make house calls and didn’t charge an arm and a leg for an office visit.

Folks bought goods at Mom and Pop shops and ate at locally owned restaurants. Carhops wore roller skates.

In schools, principals led morning prayers, heard by all, through the speaker system. Everyone could say “Merry Christmas!” There were Christmas and Easter breaks – not winter and spring breaks.


Yes, I know that some things have improved, but we have lost so much.

We need to pull down the towel, in the towel dispenser, and wipe away the bad. We can keep what little good remains.

What say you?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Too Much Work! (published 4-23-2006)

To those who are wondering where I've been lately, the rumor of my demise at the hand of a Yankee, tree-hugging, quiche-eating liberal are mistaken! Such a one couldn't take me anyway!

No, instead, I've been working and taking care of family business. Good ol' Uncle Sam took some time -- and dollars -- also!

A warning to you leftists out there: I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Cereal Serial (published 3-28-2006)

Kellogg’s Special K Red Berries. Yes, I ate them, and I’m sorry. I apologize to all the red-blooded Irish-American men out there. But, confession is good for the soul.

Here’s my excuse. You can’t eat eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits, and gravy every morning – even thought our corpuscles cry out for it daily. So, I usually eat a bowl of good ol’ IGA generic raisin bran cereal in the AM. Yeah, yeah, it’s healthier for me. I can hike up House Mountain in 25 minutes, easily, so my ticker is fine. I want to keep a healthy ticker a while longer, so I eat cereal.

Well, neither my long-suffering and precious wife nor I had gone to the store lately, and the cupboard was bare. No generic raisin bran for the Irish-American. Not enough time to whip up a good country breakfast. Not enough time to go to the Huddle House to tank up.

Decision time! Either go hungry, which my stomach was forbidding me to do, or eat (yuck, gag) my wife’s frou-frou, namby-pamby, get-in-touch-with-your-feminine-side Kellogg’s Special K Red Berries cereal.

As I said, I ate it – not one morning but two in a row! Finally, my wife brought in my regular morning staple, but the deed was already done.

And, guys, it wasn’t that bad!

What say you?

P.S. Yeah, yeah, I know. The photo is a Kellogg’s Raisin Bran box from 1967 (, but I couldn’t find a photo of an IGA box!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

My Mountain! (published 3-19-2006)

At the risk of being a Benedict Arnold to the local hiking community, I will reveal the secret location of my Saturday getaway – House Mountain!

The mountain is located in east Knox County, standing alone, off either Washington Pike or Rutledge Pike. Only a small sign marks the direction from Rutledge Pike.

At 2100 feet, House Mountain is the highest peak in Knox County. It has commanding views in each direction – west facing Knoxville, north facing the Clinch Mountain range, east facing Blaine, and south facing the Holston River and the Smokies.

Two primary trails lead to either the western or the eastern points on the ridge. The western trail is not as long, but it is the more challenging. (Real Appalachian Irishmen prefer this trail up.) The literature says that one should anticipate an hour’s hike to the top, but if you’re in shape, 23 to 30 minutes is all that is required.

After taking in the view westward, the scenic hike across the ridge takes another 15 minutes. You pass a communications building and the location where a fire tower used to perch. (The two-seater outhouse is still there; although, it suffers from a few shot gun blasts!) Near the fire tower is a tabletop rock, perfectly suited for a picnic.

Having crossed the ridge to the eastern trail, which leads back down, do not make the mistake of quitting at that point! No, go on across the ridge farther! In about five minutes, you will turn left to find the northern bluff, which, to me, has the best view. (Go just past the “Private Property” sign then turn left.) Watch for hawks circling nearby for prey! What a view!

Continue eastward on the ridge about 10 more minutes to reach the eastern bluff, from which you see toward Blaine and the Holston River. On one cool, crisp, and clear Saturday morning, I stretched out on a rock there, with my canteen for a pillow, and took a nap. I woke up with a hawk circling just overhead. “Not yet, not yet!” I said to him.

Now, you have seen all three views from the bluffs, so you may head back toward the eastern trail, which descends to the parking lot. Notice the views as you go down. The descent takes about 25 minutes.

The distinctiveness of House Mountain is the rugged terrain, challenging climb, breathtaking scenery, unique rock formations, diverse fauna, and relative isolation. Yes, you will pass a few hikers, but the trails are not as crowded as in the Smokes, and they are by far more passable than I-40 during rush hour!

Thus, our secret is out! I apologize to the area hikers who wish to keep our mountain a secret. I just hope that the socialist powers that be do not spoil the mountain for us.

Unfortunately, Congressman Duncan decided to bring in just over $250,000.00 in pork into our little park. These taxpayer dollars will be wasted to “improve” the parking lot, build a picnic shelter, install restrooms, and put up new signs. I’ve even read-tell of paved sidewalks!

Note to Congressman Duncan: our quaint, little parking lot is sufficient! You’ll only be killing several old trees to expand it. For those who make it, the natural picnic rock on the ridge works just fine! And restrooms? Who needs restrooms, when all nature is around you? Take a roll and hide behind a tree, for goodness sake! And, as for taking a leak, there’s nothing like standing on the big rock at the top of the western bluff and taking a leak toward Knoxville!

By the way, some government intellectual set a couple of portable potties near the parking lot a couple of years ago. Some local rocket scientists, who must have been drunk, for beer bottles were amongst the ashes, set fire to them!

Give the $250K back to the taxpayers!

What say you?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A Liberal's Stew (published 3-18-2006; article #6)

I have discovered the joys of “blogging;” although, being a linguistic purist, the term does not fit well on my keyboard just yet. Is not “weblog” or, even better, “web log” preferable? However, I digress.

Earlier this week, I came across, via a relative’s web log, a link to the log of someone, with whom I had a religious discussion years ago. Back then, we agreed on some religious aspects but disagreed on others. Still yet, I found the young man polite, objective, lucid in thought, and willing to consider other viewpoints. Despite our disagreements, we had a hearty respect for each other. Therefore, having found his web log serendipitous, I looked forward to stirring the pot again, by having the type of direct but open-minded exchange that we had years before.

To my disappointment, however, I discovered, sadly, that this good man has boiled, in the stew of liberal opinion, too long. The vital nutrients of discussion (i.e., objectivity, courtesy, and logic) have evaporated, in the steam.

Please feel free to visit his site yourself ( He has a lovely family, and many of the entries, by his wife and him, are on that topic, but many articles careen recklessly down the road of political opinion also.

For example, the following is a sample of my friend’s current ingredients, referring either to Republicans or to the Republican Party. To him, Republicans: are “amoral monsters,” “hate America,” are “without values,” seek to “destroy our Constitution,” wish to bring about “slavery,” cause “tyranny,” are not “real Americans,” are “godless Republican animals,” “seek America’s destruction,” are “hypocrites,” have an “amoral Republican ideology,” are “radical America hating Republicans,” are “dumb,” are a “disgraceful people,” are “vile,” have a “simplistic view of the world,” are “evil,” are “worthless cowards,” are a “racist hate group,” are “morally bankrupt,” are “moronic” and “stupid,” and, finally, “[undermine] our way of life.”

He also adds that Republicans (1) seek to “allow children to starve to death and want to throw the elderly out in the streets;” (2) ”are too weak morally and mentally to be allowed to hold office in this country;” (3) “are [sic] danger to our way of life;” (4) “[work] night and day to destroy the country;” (5) “only represent a narrow group of radical extremists;” (6) “hate Americans and especially the poor;” and (7) seek to “[eliminate] the freedom of the press.”

Furthermore, he adds that “corruption is the core defining value of the Republican [sic] party” and that “there are no limits to Republican incompetence and ignorance.” Finally, he concludes, “the Republican [sic] party is the devil's concubine.”

In addition, he labels Christians, by his definition, as a “radical religious minority” (emphasis his). He states, “The Republicans have capitalized on [their agenda] by working within the most radical of the churches and encouraging the new version of the Christian Identity movement to flourish which has labeled itself the born again movement.”

Obviously, my friend is good at casting insults and engaging in ad hominem attacks, but his postings are woefully lacking, in logical reasoning and objective proof, to support his comments.

I feel as if I should apologize, for placing this smelly stew on your plates. I should have tossed it into the garbage. I decided to write about this man’s web log, however, to illustrate the digression of the liberal mind. Years ago, the ingredients for the stew were there, but they were fresh. The young man was courteous, well reasoned, and open to divergent dialogue, despite his liberal, secular leanings. Now, having boiled in the liberal pot for years, the ingredients have putrefied. The man is blinded, by his bias, and closed to disagreement. Such is often the destination of the liberal journey.

Granted, we conservatives, too, can be closed-minded and biased. We cook our own stews at times also. The striking point of contrast, however, is that the secular liberal takes pride in his tolerance. “We must be tolerant,” he says. This tolerance, however, often ends, at the border of his own views and agenda. Tolerance means that you must accept his belief, not that he is willing to accept yours.

Instead of using intellectual reason, the secular liberal often looks down his nose, with disdain, at the “unenlightened and ignorant” conservative before him. Emotion, not reason, holds sway, as the secularist brushes aside facts, to affirm his own perceptions.

In conclusion, biblical conservatives have nothing to fear from secular liberals, such as my friend from years ago. They will only persuade those, with whom they already agree.

I suggest that my friend learn how to eat, from his own kitchen, before he tries to serve his stew to others.

What say you?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Irish-American Heritage Month (published 3-14-2006)

How did I miss this proclamation? Further research indicates that March has been so designated annually since 1991, when the first President Bush made the initial declaration.

Where have been the media announcements, the special interest pieces, the programs dedicated to Irish influence in this country? One wonders.

Here are a couple links of interest, which I have come across before.

Just read and enjoy!

Remember, Irish-Americans should watch “The Quiet Man” on Friday!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Just Try Lye Soap! (published 3-10-2006)

A couple of days ago, I, a real Appalachian Irishman, succumbed to the wiles of modern, left-coast influence--if but for a moment. Yes, I must admit it! You can’t walk down a rain soaked trail without getting a little mud on the back of your pants legs.

I needed a haircut, and my regular barber, who doubles as a used car salesman (what a great job combination!), was already closed. So, not wanting to be accused of being a leftover from the flower power decade, I stopped by one of those barber shop/salon combos. Kind of like a steak and tofu restaurant, it just doesn’t seem natural!

The barber gave me a good haircut for the going rate price. So far, so good. But, he added the little comment about a shampoo that would work well for my salt and pepper grey (variant of gray, for you socialist school graduates) hair. “How much is it?” I asked – suddenly feeling the soft squish of bovine excrement between my toes – for I realized after speaking that I had stepped in it.

Well, the price seemed reasonable, a bit more than my regular who-cares-what-brand-it-is-just-give-me-the-generic shampoo, but not too pricey. “I’ll try it,” I added, as I began to smell the fragrant aroma rising from between my toes.

Okay, after washing my foot, I took the shampoo home and tried it the next morning. Conclusion: stick to the generic shampoo!

Maybe I should just try lye soap! It worked for the old timers!

What say you?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Give Me a Horse and a Dirt Road (published 3-9-2006; article #3)

Dirt Roads,” on Othala Acres Heritage Farm, in Troy, New Hampshire

 . . . any day! I absolutely detest having to drive into the yuppie, slick suit and tie, cappuccino (pronounced ‘cap’ + ‘puck’ + ‘ino’) world of west Knoxville!

Take today for example. First, I-40 westbound – that illustration of eternal suffering in the nether region – had one lane blocked, for the perpetual, “keep the fat cat contractors in business” road construction. To top off the dung heap with a rotten cherry, a wreck had occurred, in the now left-hand lane, which used to be the center lane. It was déjà vu “all over again!” The same thing had happened yesterday!

Second, on the way back (for you government-school educated folks, in Farragut, that’s I-40 eastbound), a tractor-trailer didn’t think that I was speeding sufficiently. (I was just trying to stay in the traffic flow, folks!) So, he tried to climb into the bed of my little pickup! I saw his tactic just in time, so I hit the gas, to prevent him from eating my rear bumper. Fortunately, I had kept a good distance behind the driver in front of me, just for such occurrences. (No, I don’t believe in the NASCAR style of riding someone’s windbreak!)

Give me a good horse on a dirt road any day!

What say you?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Devil's Nose Mountain, Hawkins County (published 3-7-2006; 2nd article)

Ah, so relaxing – the view from the eastern bluff of Devil's Nose in beloved Hawkins County! Get away from the trappings of modern life and wonder how you would have lived 150 or 200 years ago! The crunch of the leaves under foot, the smell of the cool fall air, and the beauty of the clear autumn sky invigorates the soul – making the struggle through the briars not too aggravating.

Yes, yes, my inaugural article (of yesterday, 3/6/2006) was a bit salty – overstatement for effect in my political persona. But the true Appalachian native enjoys the woods – hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting. He yearns for simpler times, when family lived and farmed together. You knew your neighbors, and they honestly cared for you. Times were hard, yes, but modern conveniences would not have been missed then – since they weren't around. People worked with their hands, staying better fit than today's "couch pizza." (The potato, being an Irish staple, gets a bad rap. It is rather nutritious!) Churches were not mega, big business conglomerates but small, rural spiritual families.

Okay, okay, I am romanticizing a bit, yes, but do you not feel the temptation to go back? What say you?

Monday, March 06, 2006

HOW TO PRONOUNCE "APPALACHIAN" (published 3/6/2006; inaugural article)

[11/14/2023 addendum: this inaugural article, of seventeen years ago, continues to have views, on a daily basis. Please see the more recent article: How to Pronounce “Appalachian?” This Podcast Helps! (published 9-13-2023; article #430). The YouTube episode -- How to Pronounce “Appalachian?” This Podcast Helps! (published 9-13-2023; episode 18) -- is embedded in the article. Y'all keep turnin' right and goin' straight out there! Ya hear?]

Well, the Appalachian Irishman is trying to get this website up and running. Hundreds will soon rush to this site – for obvious reasons. So, let's start off with a little education on the basics of how to pronounce "Appalachian."

All you foreigners (i.e., Yankee transplants; see below on "Yankee") and New Age, mush-minded liberals need to understand how to pronounce “Appalachian.”

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (M-W) states that the word may be pronounced two ways: "a-p&-'lA-ch(E-)&n, -'la-, -sh(E-)&n." Now, for you government-school educated "scholars," who were not taught phonetics, the citation makes no sense. So, let's go back to Romper Room. First option: pronounce a strong "ch," in "Appalachian," as it sounds in "church." Second option: pronounce a soft "ch," as "sh," as it sounds in "shoe." Got that?

Well, even though the dictionary gives you two options, let me tell you right now that you can just pitch out the second option with last night's left over quiche! "Appalachian" is pronounced with a strong "ch" -- as anyone from here will tell you! Got that? Good! You can always spot an Appalachian chameleon, by the way he mispronounces the word.

By the way, M-W defines “Appalachian” as "a white native or resident of the Appalachian mountain area." Now, far be it for me to disagree with the mighty M-W, but that definition belies a clear Yankee, liberal, and politically correct bias, toward God-fearing conservatives, from around here! The word actually refers to any person, who lives or used to live in Appalachia and who abides by true southern, Christian conservatism! What is this "white native" fluff, M-W? What happened to the content of character over the color of skin? To a true Appalachian, skin color doesn't matter. Of course, our necks may be a little red, from getting out and actually working for a living, but you can be red, yellow, black, brown, or white and still be an Appalachian! Understand?

Oh, regarding "Yankee," there is a difference between a northerner, who simply moves into Appalachia, and a Yankee! A northerner may have been born somewhere else, but he is proud of Appalachian values, heritage, and culture. He tries to fit in, without attempting to change us. A Yankee, on the other hand, is a haughty, arrogant, blankety-blank, who thinks that he knows it all. He comes down here to “educate” us "poor, dumb folks." A Yankee tries to force his politically correct "tolerance" on us (a contradiction in itself). We just laugh at him behind his back – or do worse, if he gets too uppity! Now, do you understand the difference? Good!

Well, that's the lesson for today. Live it and love it! That is all!