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 NariƱo 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!