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 my 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 underfoot, the smell of the cool fall air, and the beauty of the clear autumn sky invigorate 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 this 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!