Tuesday, January 24, 2023

House Mountain Hike #132 on 1-23-2016 (published 1-24-2023; article #387)


I published only three articles in 2016. They are as follows.

I’M STILL ALIVE – WHY? (published 8/26/2016), which has 352 total views and two comments, as of today. The article includes remarks on the 3/29/2016 accident that almost killed me.

PEARL HARBOR at HOMEPLACE (published 12-8-2016), which has 192 total views, as of today, but no comments. The article is about my first visit to the homeplace, after 3/29/2016.

HOUSE MOUNTAIN, #137 (published 12/22/2016; updated 10/3/2022), which has 191 total views, as of today, but no comments. The article marks my first “bionic” hike on House Mountain – at least on the loop trails.

Today, I was reminded of my 1/23/2016, Saturday, hike on “my mountain.” This article is the publication, seven years delayed, about my hike #132 on House Mountain on 1/26/2016. Seven years late is better than none. First, however, I'll note my hiking records on House Mountain in 2016.

2016 House Mountain Hiking Records

From my hiking record document and memory, I hiked House Mountain eight times in 2016. The dates were, in January, on the 3rd, 18th, and 23rd. In February, I hiked once, on the 7th. Hikes in March were on the 16th, 20th, and 26th. After my “sabbatical,” I hiked on December 22nd.

I took nineteen photographs, which I have saved. Three were on 1/18/2016, which was also the day that uncle Bobby died in infancy in 1941 and when my wife's aunt Mona attained age 94. I took eight on 1/23/2016 (which are included in this article). I have one from 2/7/2016, one from 3/20/2016, and one from 3/26/2016. I took five photographs on 12/22/2016 (which are in my article of that date).

Molly (our doggy) went with me on four hikes in 2016 – on January 3rd, February 7th, March 6th and 20th. That was Molly's third through sixth hikes with me. My next to youngest brother also hiked with Molly and me, on 3/20/2016. That was his first and only hike, so far. Two, now former, coworkers hiked with me, on 3/26/2016. I hiked alone, on January 18th and 23rd and, after my “sabbatical,” on December 22nd.

House Mountain Hike #132, on 1/23/2016

I recorded, in my hiking record document, that I had hiked up the west trail in 35 minutes (delayed by the need to hike carefully in the snow and to take two photographs). I had then hiked across the ridgeline and down the east trail to come out.

The temperature, on that cloudy day, was about 25 Fahrenheit, with a crisp wind. About 1.5 inches of snow were on the ridge. I had seen rabbit, fox, dog, and bobcat tracks. Enjoy the following eight photographs, with my comments!

I had taken the photograph, above, at 3:15 PM. I was nearing the west bluff, on my hike up. The image looks north and up, toward the ridgeline.

The above photograph was at 3:16 PM, near where I had been a minute earlier. The view still looks north and up, toward the ridgeline. I had wanted to photograph the icicles!

After I had removed my outer layer, hiking cap, and canteen, I took the photograph, above, at 3:27 PM. The exertion on the hike up had warmed me too much. I kept my T-shirt and sweatshirt on, to let the crisp air cool off the sweat. The image is on the west bluff, looking east, toward the ridgeline.

A minute later, at 3:28 PM, I took the above photograph from the same west bluff. The image looks down and southwest, toward Knoxville.

At this 3:45 PM photograph, I was heading east, on the ridge trail. Several years before, a Boy Scout had built and placed the bench at the location. The marker on the bench denotes by whom and on what date the bench had been placed there. Those are my footprints.

At 4:35 PM, I took the above photograph at the upper, middle bluff, after having hiked the ridgeline farther eastward, to arrive at the bluff. The image looks northwest, as the sun was close to setting. The west bluff is visible, in the upper left of the image. The human tracks are mine (as no one else had hiked that day, apparently). I see some animal tracks also.

A minute later, at 4:36 PM, I photographed that view from the bluff, looking northeast. Again, the human tracks are mine. I see the animal tracks here also.

It had taken me just under an hour, to hike the short distance west on the ridgeline and then to hike down on the east trail. At 5:24 PM, I had taken the above photograph of my 1995 Nissan pickup, who had been awaiting my return. The tracks of only one other vehicle were present, after my hike. No other vehicle tracks were present, before my truck and I had arrived. I had never seen another hiker. (My 1995 Nissan pickup died, trying to save my life, on 3/29/2016.)


This article -- about House Mountain hike #132, on 1/23/2016 -- is published today, finally. Seven years was a long time ago. My article of 4/25/2021 was about my 4/18/2021 House Mountain hike #178. That article included my tribute to a classmate and friend, who had passed on at age 61.

I have taken a long hiking sabbatical (since 4/18/2021). My “bionic” left shoulder, right knee, and right foot have each improved. My right knee and foot, in particular, could still take the pounding – even easier now.

Lord willing, I anticipate that the urge to hike, which sparks in me at times, will ignite fully. Other interests -- such as the 177 articles that I have published on this website, from 4/28/2021 until yesterday (1/23/2023) – have ignited my greater interest. Still yet, today would have been a good day for a hike!

Monday, January 23, 2023

Raise the Debt Ceiling, Increase Income, or Lower Spending? (published 1-23-2023; article #386)

2/21/2017 photo in Melbourne, Australia, by Alex Knight on Unsplash. Free to use under the Unsplash License.


If I look too long at the high ceiling (surrounding and above the tower, in the photograph), then I start to get dizzy. I'll stop looking and continue to write now.

The media were a buzz, on 1/19/2023. They still buzz. Aside from the buzzing on southern border insecurity, President Biden's classified documents, former President Trump's classified documents, ad nauseam, this buzz is about the USSA debt ceiling. One of several sources is: “House conservative leader rips media for ‘irrational’ debt ceiling coverage, vows ‘serious fiscal reform,’ on Fox News, by Peter Kasperowicz, 1/19/2023. The article states, in part:

The U.S. hit the debt ceiling on Thursday, which means the government cannot borrow anything above the $31.381 trillion it has borrowed so far. House Republicans have said they would require deep spending cuts as a condition for raising the ceiling, but the Biden administration has said it will not negotiate.

The USSA reached its dizzyingly high debt ceiling limit, on Thursday, 1/19/2023. On that same date, Dolly Pardon attained age 77. Happy belated birthday, Dolly!

I am a practical man, who thinks logically. This article places the USSA debt ceiling buzz in the context of recent household income and expenses, for Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and me. Do we raise the debt ceiling, increase income, or lower spending?

Every member of Congress needs to read this article, which is published, as sage advice, as a public service announcement. What should we (as a household and as a nation) do? The conclusion will answer the question.

Raise the Debt Ceiling?

Household: my wife and I still have a mortgage debt. That's the only debt that we have. Our household income is sufficient to meet household expenses, with a sufficient surplus. Our surplus, built up in savings over many years, could pay off our mortgage debt and leave a lower surplus. This is not bragging. It is God's grace, our health, and our work ethic.

If, God forbid, our household debt were to increase, above our combined annual income or our surplus, due to an unexpected and large expense, then we would have to either spend down our surplus or borrow money (at interest, with monthly payments). If, God forbid, that should occur, then we would have a plan to pay off the new debt.

In short, we might have to raise our debt ceiling temporarily. We would plan, Lord willing, to reduce our debt. We would not continue to raise our debt ceiling. That would be irrational.

USSA: the Fox News article, which I cited in the introduction, stated that the debt ceiling is 31.381 trillion dollars. That's $31,381,000,000,000.

How many times has Congress raised the debt ceiling? The official answer is at U.S. Department of the Treasury, Debt Limit:

Since 1960, Congress has acted 78 separate times to permanently raise, temporarily extend, or revise the definition of the debt limit – 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democratic presidents. Congressional leaders in both parties have recognized that this is necessary.

Necessary? Really? Yes, both parties are at fault, especially Democrats – as a study of congressional debt ceiling votes, by party, since 1960 will surely prove. Presidents can't raise the debt limit.

I was born in 1960. I'm 62 years old. I have not needed to raise my debt ceiling limit 1.25 times a year, in each year of my life. I have never had that kind of an income versus spending problem. Dad taught me that money doesn't grow on trees. You've got to make it, to spend it. Don't spend more than you make. If you need to borrow, then get out of debt as fast as you can.

The “guvrmint,” however, has had to raise its debt ceiling limit 1.25 times a year, in each year, from 1960 to 2022 – 62 years. It has a definite income versus spending problem. The “guvrmint” must think that money grows on trees – or is devalued, causing inflation, by printing more almost worthless Monopoly money dollars.

In short, the “guvrmint” must stop raising its debt ceiling and devise a plan to reduce its debt.

Increase Income?

Household: We have sufficient income for manageable expenses. I draw retirement income. My wife, bless her heart, is <deleted by Mrs. Appalachian Irishman> years younger than me, so she must work another year or so. By God's grace and our wisdom, we manage the best that we can, to keep expenses below our income.

If our household expenses, at some point, require additional income, then I could find a part-time job. I know how much the “socialist insecurity administration” states that I could earn, without reducing the amount of money that they owe me on a monthly basis. At this point, I have toyed with attempts to find the right part-time job, but I've not yet found a position that would serve my interests. I could become less picky, if inflation continues to be so uncontrolled.

USSA: the “guvrmint” has sufficient income but unmanageable expenses. The Fiscal Data on section is: “How much revenue has the U.S. government collected this year?” (Note: scroll down to the “Federal Revenue Overview” segment.)

That segment states that, in fiscal year 2022, the USSA “guvrmint” collected $4.90 trillion ($4,900,000,000,000) in revenue. It spent $6.27 trillion ($6,270,000,000,000). The deficit, thus, was $1.37 trillion ($1,370,000,000,000). (Note that it reports $1.38 trillion deficit, but $1.37 trillion is correct by my math.)

Isn't $4.90 trillion ($4,900,000,000,000) in revenue enough? The “guvrmint” may try to increase taxes. Wisdom dictates, however, that it must control and reduce its runaway spending! This leads to the next question.

Lower Spending?

Household: my wife and I are thrifty. We don't just “blow money.” We limit our so-called “discretionary” spending.

Unfortunately, runaway inflation (caused by federal spending) forces us to pay more for groceries, utilities, gasoline, household supplies, home and vehicle maintenance, and so forth. We track and budget our costs. My article of 9/2/2022 was a snapshot on how grocery costs have increased.

In a recent ten-day period (1/11/2023 - 1/20/2023, Wednesday through Friday), we endured a “perfect storm” of expenses. On 1/11/2023, my wife had her six-month dental cleaning, which we knew. On 1/12/2023, we had to replace our garbage disposal, which we didn't expect. On 1/17/2023, my wife had a follow-up dental appointment, which we didn't expect. On 1/19/2023, our propane tank was filled, which I'd rather have put off until next month. On 1/20/2023, Molly (our doggy) had her dental cleaning, which we'd known. (Interestingly, Molly's dental cleaning cost the same as my wife's!) In that ten-day period, we had to spend over $2,200.

Upcoming, we know that our 2012 Nissan Sentra needs new struts (estimated at about $1,100 total cost for parts and labor). Property tax must be paid before 2/28/2023. Thankfully, we have managed, and we should be able to manage those expenses. Our surplus, however, will be lowered, at least for a while.

In this period of inflation, we are unable to lower total spending. We, however, reduce costs, by dining out rarely and by not just “blowing money.” By God's grace, we will survive. (Jesus' words, in Matthew 6:25-34, assure us.)

USSA: the “guvrmint,” in contrast, is not thrifty. It, apparently, spends money like a drunken sailor, with apology to all sailors. Yes, certain outlays are necessary. Others are certainly not. I could unpack my thoughts on necessary verses wasteful spending, but I will not take the time to do so, in this article. Anyone with any fiscal common sense should know what I'm thinking.

Any “guvrmint” that has had to raise its debt ceiling limit 1.25 times a year, in each year, from 1960 to 2022, has a spending problem or obsession! That's what our “guvrmint” has been doing.

My article of 1/11/2021 cited a credible source, which indicated that, in 2014, the “guvrmint” started spending more than it brought in. Could you imagine spending more than your income, for nine inclusive years in a row? That's what our “guvrmint” has been doing, under various Presidents and Congresses.

 The “guvrmint” needs to remove some of the “piglets” that are sucking on the “tits.”


The search of my website by “debt” finds the following six articles, listed below, in chronological order. This is my seventh article on the subject of national debt.

“ELIMENTRY” LESSONS for the “GUVERMINT EDUKATED, SO$IALIST” FOLK (published 2-24-2013; updated 8-28-2022). The article notes that the 2012 national debt was $16.6 trillion and change. Of the six articles, this one is my favorite.

STATUS OF A ONCE GREAT NATION: Inflation, Debt, Socialism, & 1/6/2021 White House Attack (published 1/11/2021; updated 10/4/2022)



PRESIDENT BIDEN'S REPLY TO MY LETTER – Over a Year Late (published 7-27-2022; article #341)

STAGFLATION & MONEY TREE: “Engine Air Intake Hose” Story (published 8-28-2022; article #350)

Should the USSA raise the debt ceiling? No! If the house is full of garbage spending, then raising the roof will only allow more garbage to be added. Instead, haul off some garbage spending.

Should the USSA increase income? No! Who wants to pay Uncle Sam more, to allow him to keep up his addiction to reckless spending? Uncle Sam needs to undergo rehabilitation for reckless spending.

Should the USSA lower spending? Absolutely! Remember, the national debt is available on at least three websites: Fiscal Data on, an official website of the U.S. government (Total Public Debt Outstanding), USA Debt Clock, and US Debt Clock – which also records debt per citizen ($94,200 debt per citizen, as of 1/23/2023, 2:45 PM).

I can't look up at a high ceiling too long, without getting dizzy. I can't watch the numbers increase by the second, on USA Debt Clock and US Debt Clock, without getting dizzy.

Wake up, not woke up, America! Come down from the dizzying heights of spending, increasing by the second! My wife and I know how to manage our household budget. Does Congress know how to manage the federal budget?

You are welcome, dear reader, to share this article with anyone – especially to any member of Congress. Those folks need our common sense advice, if they will listen.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

What Is “Woke?” - on Chinese New Year & National Sanctity of Human Life Day (published 1-22-2023; article #385)


Computerized “artwork” by M. Fearghail, 1/22/2023.


The need to blow my nose woke me a little early this morning, about 5:30 AM. That didn't inspire this article. The inspiration for this “woke” article is followed by my definition of “woke.” (This is my eighth article, in “Worldviews in Conflict” topic section.)

A mundane note and another important note will precede the inspiration for this article and my definition of “woke.” Please reflect on the important note. It is profound.

I trust that you are doing well, dear reader. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I are doing well enough. The conclusion will trust that you are “woke,” by my definition.

Mundane Note and Important Note

Before continuing the “woke” theme of this article, I will make a mundane note and an important note. First, the mundane note is that today is Chinese New Year. Apparently, 2023 is the “Year of the Rabbit.” I like rabbit stew. I'm certain that the Chinese are excited today. I wish them moral goodness and blessings in their new year, in hope that they know or will know the one true God of the Bible.

The important note is that today is National Sanctity of Human Life Day. The National Day Calendar® entry -- “NATIONAL SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE DAY – January 22,” last updated 1/18/2023 – has further information. Please pause to read that entry.

In a section of my 6/26/2022 article, I wrote (as emboldened in that article):

On 6/24/2022, Friday, the “Supreme Court” decided in agreement with God's SUPREME COURT! I pause, to bend my knee, in a prayer of thanksgiving to the Good Lord!

My article of 6/30/2022 affirmed the pro-life position. Today, I continue to rejoice that the morally evil decision (in majority) by the “Supreme Court” -- on 1/22/1973, in Roe vs. Wade – has been overturned by a morally good (in majority) “Supreme Court” decision. Forty-nine years were required to decide correctly. God's Supreme Court has not flip-flopped.

Inspiration for This “Woke” Article

ILEANA JOHNSON, by Ileana Johnson, is one of five websites, listed in my “Folks, to Whom I Subscribe” section. Early this morning, I read her article of yesterday, “St. Simeon and His Pillars.” The article is quite interesting. In it, Mrs. Johnson mentioned “the cult of stylitism.”

Using Norton Safe Search, I started to type “what is stylitism?” -- even though Mrs. Johnson's article described it in detail. Before I could type “stylitism,” the search provided several options at “what is . . . .” The second search option was “what is woke.” I finished my search on “stylitism,” but that second search option inspired this article.

Apparently, a bunch of folks want to know what “woke” is. This article will help them.

My Definition of “Woke”

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (ol' man Webster) defines “woke” as:

woke: past tense and past participle of wake.

woke: adjective (first known use in 1972): 1: chiefly US slang: aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice). 2: disapproving: politically liberal (as in matters of racial and social justice) especially in a way that is considered unreasonable or extreme.

Ol' man Webster has accommodated himself to a current and ongoing political and socialist agenda, in my opinion. (Feel free to make it yours.)

My definition of “woke,” which is the only meaning, is to awaken from sleep. I've already used the word, correctly, by having stated, the need to blow my nose woke me a little early this morning.

I only use “woke” by my definition. I will not use the word as ol' Man Webster has defined as an adjective. I will not allow the propagandists to determine my choice of words. As a further example, I say that I am “pro-life,” not “anti-abortion.” An induced “abortion” is a euphemism for the murder of an unborn child.


In his two concluding chapters, the apostle Paul encouraged the Christians at Ephesus to “follow God's example” (from Ephesians 5:1). In those two chapters, the apostle Paul wrote, by inspiration:

This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live -- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:14-17, NIV)

In both my 7/22/2022 article and 7/22/2022 podcast, my written and spoken conclusion was:

Wake up (not woke up), America! Do not go to the devil! Turn to the Lord! I have spoken.

America still needs to wake up spiritually. God woke me back in 1981, when I accepted his gift of grace, by my active (and still active, even if imperfect) faith response.

Are you “woke” by God's grace? I trust that you are, dear reader. If not, and if you would like to converse with me, please use my Contact Form. I will be glad to reply and to continue our conversation.

Sunday, January 01, 2023

APPALACHIAN IRISHMAN: 2022 RECORDS (published 1-1-2023; article #384)


New Year's Day greetings, to local, regional, national, and international readers -- especially to you, dear reader. Has it been a year, since the most recent article -- of two days ago? My, how time flies! I hope that everyone -- even if not a legal resident in Tennessee -- voted early and often, as I did, for “No More, Mr. Ice Guy!”

Last evening, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman was in bed, about 9 PM as usual. I joined her, about 10:30 PM, at my usual time. We enjoyed “sleeping in the New Year!” I'd seen enough of the #1 Georgia versus #4 Ohio State college football playoff semi-final game. The game should have started before 8 PM. Early in the third quarter, Georgia was behind by eleven points (24 to 35). This morning, I was amazed to learn that Georgia won (42 to 41)! The championship game, on 1/9/2022, between Georgia and TCU starts at 7:30 PM. Go Dawgs!

The 12/31/2021 article focused on this website's records in 2021 and since 3/6/2006 (my first article). I record this website's analytics, on the first of each month, to track total views, for the previous month. On this cloudy to partly sunny spring (in winter) day, I might as well write about the 2022 records.

You, as a reader, are appreciated. May God's richest blessings bestow to you in 2023, as you serve Him.

2022 Statistics and Total Viewers by Nation

In 2022, I published 96 total articles, which are 25 fewer than in 2021. (“Website Archive” shows articles, by year and month.) Total views, in 2022, were 26,360. I started publishing more articles, in 2019. Since my retirement, on Friday, 5/13/2022, I have had more time, to write better articles, on topics of interest (under “Topic Sections”). Some articles are very serious. Some are on “life, such as it is.” Some are humorous. Some are a mixture of topics. I will always affirm the biblical worldview and the good in Appalachian-Irish heritage!

As of this morning (1/1/2023), at 8:22 AM, this website had 163,058 all time total views, since 3/6/2006. Since I've been publishing more articles, viewership has increased. Last month, I published nine articles, and this website had 2,646 views. In 2022, this website received 45 comments. Since 3/6/2006, my first article, this website has drawn 212 comments. (Some comments are mine, either as replies to comments by others or as additional notes to an article.)

In the last twelve months (January - December, 2022), annual viewer totals, by nation, were: United States 11.9K, Russia 3.34K, Germany 2.09K, Netherlands 1.1K, China 503, United Kingdom 497, Belgium 462, France 451, Canada 437, Sweden 400, Turkey 374, Ukraine 191, India 190, Estonia 159, Poland 110, Hong Kong 85, Norway 77, Romania 73, Japan 72, Other 3.86K. (I hope that Ireland is included in “other!”)

My public journal and commentary continues to draw local, regional, national, and international viewers. Analytics show me these data only. Your identity is secure on this website. I see only numbers, not names. If you are a subscriber to this website, then I don't know anything about you. I do not know the number of subscribers, their names, or their email addresses.

While I'm pleased that my website maintains viewers, I wish that more folks would comment every now and then. Of course, I also read websites, often without leaving comments. I comment on certain websites often, since I enjoy the articles. The “Folks, to Whom I Subscribe” section lists five websites. I comment, on at least three of them often.

2022 Top Ten Most Viewed Articles

I thought that I'd share my 2022 list of top ten most viewed articles. Analytics give me some idea, as to why articles are being viewed, often based on the title. The following is my top ten list, for 2022, in order from number one to number ten.

Four articles are from 2022. Three are from 2021. One is from 2014. Another is from 2009. My inaugural article, of 3/6/2006, was the eighth most viewed in 2022. That article, in which I was just having a little sarcastic fun, remains my most viewed article of all time.


IF I WERE THE DEVIL” – Inspired by Paul Harvey (published 7-22-2022; article #340)


HOW TO PRONOUNCE "APPALACHIAN" - REVISITED (published 12-12-2009; updated 11-20-2022)

DENOMINATIONALISM: 2012 Discussion Continued (published 10-12-2022; updated 10-26-2022; article #364)

Devil's Nose, 11-29-2013 Hike (published 1-1-2014)

BIBLE and FAITH DISCUSSIONS - CHRISTIAN VIEWPOINT (published 1-31-2021; updated 9-17-2022)

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

9-17-2022 Football Review: Georgia Bulldogs compared to TN Vols (published 9-18-2022; article #358)

BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW - BOOK RECOMMENDATION by BARNA: “American Worldview Inventory 2021-22: The Annual Report on the State of Worldview in the United States” (published 6-7-2022; article #332)

I'll keep writing, as folks keep reading. Thank you for stopping by, every now and then, to drink a cup of coffee with me!

My public journal and commentary is a means, by which I attempt to serve the Good Lord, record family history and heritage, uphold the good in Appalachian culture, affirm the biblical worldview, critique “poly-tics” (as I call it), record some of my hikes, and enjoy a bit of sarcastic humor. I am a minister, writer, public speaker, and conversationalist. This forum is a way that I express myself.


The evening is approaching, as the sun sets. Supper will be within the hour. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I pray that 2023 will be a good year. We could all use one.

Please remember to seek first God's kingdom and righteousness. Do not worry. God provides what we need when we need it, until we meet Him. See Matthew 6:25-33.

Good New Year's Day evening, y'all. Thanks for reading. Don't be too shy to comment!