Friday, March 31, 2023

House Mountain Hike #179, 3-29-2023: My Sabbatical is Over! (published 3-31-2023; article #400)


The mountains are calling, and I must go” -- John Muir, in 1873.

One of my T-shirts has the quote by John Muir (1838 - 1914) on it. The quote is from his letter to his sister, Sarah Muir Galloway, on September 3rd, 1873. (Source: “Get to Know the Story Behind Muir’s 'The Mountains Are Calling' Quote,” on Basin and Range Magazine, by Charles Watkins, published seven years ago.)

Greetings, dear reader, to my four hundredth article and to my forty-eighth article on hiking! I trust, in the Lord, that you are doing well. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman are doing well enough. As I've said many times, “A day in the woods adds a day to your life,” and “any day in the woods is better than not!

The seventh anniversary of my near-death experience was on Wednesday, March 29th, 2023. What else could I do, on a clear and sunny day? I hiked House Mountain for the 179th time (so far)! (The title of my 3/19/2006 article is “My Mountain!”)

This article begins with brief sections on my “bionic” anniversary, my hiking sabbatical, and my hiking records. The main section -- including ten photographs and one video -- brings you along with me, on hike 179. The conclusion anticipates the heavenly view.

Seventh “Bionic” Anniversary

It happened about 5:15 PM, on Tuesday, 3/29/2016. My 8/26/2016 article is the initial expression of the tragedy. That was eight years ago. My 3/29/2021 article describes the four stages of my recovery. I am still in stage four. I am still recovering.

This year, I started calling March the 29th my “bionic” anniversary! Happy anniversary to me! Yes, I feel the muscles and tendons -- in my left shoulder, left side, left hip, neck, right knee, and right foot -- as they still try to recover fully. Lately, the “crossover reaction” (as the medical folks call it) into my right, non-bionic shoulder has become a bit of a mystery. I'm still like a fine-tuned truck that has plenty of power and stamina. The frame, however, is a little warped, so the ride isn't as smooth as a man would prefer!

I'm still standing here. I ain't breathing hard! I still think that Mr. Antonov was correct, when he examined me, on 12/3/2017, on House Mountain (my hike #141, #5 “bionic”). My 3/29/2021 article mentions his examination and my recovery time estimate.

My Hiking Sabbatical

The last hike on “My Mountain” was on 4/18/2021. The 4/25/2021 article includes details about that hike #178 (#42 “bionic”). The hike was in memory of a high school friend, Hal Trent, who had passed to the next life, at age 61, on 4/17/2021.

Unknown to me at the time, my “hiking sabbatical” started the next day. It lasted one year, eleven months, and nine days. Why did I take a hiking sabbatical? I don't really know.

Apparently, my focus shifted to writing articles on other topics. The hiking sabbatical includes the publication of 190 articles (after the 4/25/2021 article to the 399th article). Twenty-five of the thirty articles on Corona Myopia were written during my sabbatical. (Thankfully, Corona Myopia Obsession lingers in only a few areas now.) My retirement started, after my final work day, on Friday, May 13th, 2022 (as the 5/15/2022 article mentions). I endured several “crossover reactions,” especially from my “bionic” left shoulder to my right shoulder, which would not have forestalled hiking.

“My Mountain” must not have been calling me. It has starting calling me again. I had to go!

Hiking Records: Grand Total of All Hikes, Since 4/23/2000

My record of all hikes started on 4/23/2000. I don't know why I started that log, but I'm glad that I did. Several hikes included Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, other family members, and friends.

The record shows, as of 3/29/2023, 230 total hikes, so far. House Mountain has, as stated, 179 entries. Forty-nine hikes on “My Mountain” included Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, other family members, friends, our ol' puppy, Molly, and two other dogs. I hiked alone 130 times. Of course, I've met and conversed with several hikers, when hiking alone.

The other 51 hikes were as follows: 21 in Norris Dam State Park, 12 in Hawkins County, Tennessee (including ten on Devil's Nose, with the summary in my 11/15/2020 article), Five locations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and 13 other locations, which include Big Ridge State Park, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Panther Creek State Park, and, both in North Carolina, Grandfather Mountain State Park and Chimney Rock State Park.

The mountains were calling, so others and I went!

House Mountain Hike #179, on 3/29/2023

Please come along with me, as we hike House Mountain together! This main section includes ten of the eleven photographs that I took, with my comments, and one video. Are you ready? Let's hike! The mountain is calling.

Upon arriving at the parking lot, my '06 Nissan Frontier clocked 186,929.7 miles. Leaving the parking area, I touched the sign post, to mark the start of our hike, at 1:05 PM. After our hike, I touched that same post, at 4:24 PM – three hours and nineteen minutes in the woods! The sky was clear and blue, with only a little warm weather haze. The temperature rose from the lower 50's to the lower 60's Fahrenheit. It was a good day for a hike!

Let's start up the mountain, on the east trail this time. (The usual west trail is steeper and more cardiovascularly challenging.) We want to get to the upper middle bluff first, which is quicker on the east trail. Being “lame mountain goats,” very careful, and meeting five groups of hikers going down, we reach the middle bluff in 52 minutes (about 12 minutes slower than our “pre-bionic” average time). There were a few muddy areas, in the usual places.

The Treacherous Switchback

After hiking up the various switchbacks and seeing the views, we reached the final switchback, just below the ridgeline. I took the following three photographs, over four minutes, at that final, wet, muddy, and treacherous switchback. Do you remember? I do.

We had just reached the point, in the above photograph, which faces southeast. We were standing on a small, flat rock, at the center of the most treacherous spot. The next photograph, standing at the same spot, but looking northeast, shows where we had to go next.

Yes, I know. The photograph doesn't show the almost vertical and wet steepness that is to the lower right of where we were standing. That was the most treacherous spot. Our “lame mountain goating” was at its maximum!

The above photograph, looking south and down, is after we'd made it safely above that most treacherous spot! The image -- with the ridgeline behind us, while still on the south face of the mountain -- looks down to that almost vertical challenge.

Photos from the Upper Middle Bluff

We decided not to photograph the bench, on which we sat, once we reached the ridgeline. We touched the sign post, at the ridgeline, at 1:57 PM. That's 52 minutes from base to ridgeline. After a brief relaxation, we headed east, toward the upper middle bluff. It took us the usual about ten minutes. I took the next three photographs, while at that bluff.

The above photograph looks northwest, with the west bluff of the mountain visible. Do you see where I'd placed my cap, canteen, knife, and phone carrying case? That was a nice view. It had been a while!

In case you missed them, the above photograph is the close up. My cap has a stick figure of a hiker, getting struck by lightning. The caption is “Life is crap!” A sister-in-law gave me that cap as a Christmas present, many years ago. Occasionally, while wearing it, I meet folks, who laugh and inquire about the caption. That often opens the door to a spiritual conversation!

The above photograph shows the relaxing and beautiful view, looking northeast. About three hawks and a couple of turkey buzzards were circling around at times. I wish that I'd been able to photograph at least one hawk. I'm glad that no one else was on the bluff. It was just you and me – and God.

Podcast from the Upper Middle Bluff

Photographs, from the upper middle bluff, are in several hiking articles. Your patience was appreciated, while I filmed my first video there.

Please see Appalachian Irishman - Podcasts (on YouTube, since 5/26/2022), where I published that podcast. The podcast is titled, House Mountain Hike 179, 3-29-2023: My Sabbatical is Over! (published 3-31-2023; episode #6). It is a three-minute production. Please turn up your speaker volume, once I switch to the panoramic view. For some reason, the audio has less volume than my actual voice did. I may have had a finger over the audio input!

After a brief conversation with the Good Lord, we decided to hike across the ridgeline, west, toward the west bluff. Let's go!

Picnic Rock

As we hiked westward, on the ridgeline, we passed the “picnic rock,” as I call it. Thanks for allowing me time, to take the photograph below.

West Bluff – Three Young Ladies & Two Hammocks

Hiking along farther west, we passed several well-known locations, such as the cistern, to our right, just before where the old fire tower used to be. The old two-seater outhouse, still damaged by shotgun blasts, is still just below the fire tower footings. Of course, we saw the cell phone tower and the “dinosaur rock,” as I call it. Yes, we saw some well-known and very nice views!

Upon reaching the west bluff, I decided not to take a photograph. Three young ladies were relaxing, with two hammocks tied to trees. We conversed for a few minutes. I'm glad to know that they, as Christians, have the biblical worldview! Perhaps other young folks and they can help restore this once great nation, to its founding principals. They seemed glad to hear the brief snapshot stories of my life.

Parking Area

The hike back down on the west trail saw well-known and wonderful views. We passed the “defiance tree,” as I call it. I touched it, as usual. Thanks for waiting on me, while I moved carefully, at the steep and rocky slope area. I'm a “lame mountain goat,” as you know.

My “bionic” right foot and knee didn't “talk to me” much, as we hiked down the six main switchbacks, the lower switchbacks, crossed the small stream, and hiked out. Of course, my right foot “talked to me” that evening enough, but it got over it, as usual.

At 4:24 PM, I touched the same sign post that I'd touched, when starting our hike. Three hours and nineteen minutes in the woods is better than not having been there! We had another very good hike.

I wonder how long that the new information board, in the above photograph, has been there. The old one had my photograph of snow on the mountain, with my name under it. Unfortunately, hooligans had shot the old board with a paint gun, leaving yellow streaks, and shot it with a pistol or rifle. I'm glad to have seen the new information board.

There he is! My '06 Frontier, with 186,929.7 miles on the odometer, was waiting patiently, as usual. He likes to have his photograph taken! The photograph looks west. We met a few other folks, on the ridgeline and on our hike down – but not too many. Weekday hikes are better, since the parking lot wasn't full, and not many others were hiking.

Let's pack up and drive home, shall we? It's only a ten-mile drive, one way.

North Side of House Mountain

I may have taken the above photograph before. I may hunt for it, if I did. The good neighbor was mowing his yard. We stopped and asked to take the photograph. He replied, “Sure! People do it all the time!” As we were leaving, I honked the horn and waved, in appreciation. He waved back and smiled.

The photograph shows the entire north side of House Mountain. The west bluff is the western most part (or to the right in the image). The upper middle bluff is east (or left in the image) of the high middle. From the middle bluff, if we'd hike another five minutes or so, then we would have reached the east bluff (or to the left in the image). I've hiked all three bluffs many times. Maybe I'll take you with me, and we'll hike to the east bluff, next time!


In 1873, John Muir wrote, “The mountains are calling, and I must go.” On 3/29/2023, House Mountain was calling me. I had to go! Thanks for hiking along with me!

As my podcast of earlier today records me as having stated, while on the middle bluff, the hike up the east trail had some dangerous areas. Three photographs, above, are of the treacherous switchback. The view from the middle bluff, however, was worth the hike!

My hiking theology is that life has good points and treacherous points, behind and ahead of us. We see several good points. We endure several bad ones. We, however, continue onward and upward.

The heavenly mountain is calling, and I must go! The ridgeline is closer than it was. I see the good and bad spots behind me. I can't see what's ahead of me. By faith, I shall reach the heavenly bluff. The everlasting view there will be spectacular!

Dear reader, if you have not already started, please go to the mountain. It should be calling you. You must go.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Nudging the United Nations (UN) to the Outhouse! (published 3-26-2023; article #399)

“Outhouse in rural southwest Colorado,” by Tanner Marquis, 7/26/2021, on Unsplash. Free to use under the Unsplash License.


Photograph of old outhouse, on House Mountain hike #75, by M. Fearghail, 12/26/2010.


I might use that outhouse in Colorado. The one on House Mountain has several holes, from shotgun blasts. (The photograph is the eighth, of fifteen, in my 12/26/2010 article.) I've never used it. Trees and rocks provide cover. Leaves are wiping material, if needed.

This is the eleventh article on Worldviews in Conflict. It explains the inspiration for this article. It will numb your mind a little, with a note on United Nations (UN) bureaucracy. It mentions the “little green nudges,” by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Mainly, this article nudges the entire United Nations (UN) to the outhouse, since they need to go! The conclusion explains the worldviews in conflict.

Inspiration for this Nudge

Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh's website, Ileana Writes, is one of four listed under “Folks, to Whom I Subscribe” (lower right hand column of my website). Dr. Johnson Paugh's articles are often published on Canada Free Press, where she is listed as a member:

Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, Ileana Writes is a freelance writer, author, radio commentator, and speaker. Her books, “Echoes of Communism," "Liberty on Life Support," "U.N. Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy," and "Communism 2.0: 25 Years Later," are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Dr. Johnson Paugh -- or Ileana, as I believe that she prefers – emigrated, from Romania to America, in 1978 (when I graduated high school), as her inaugural article states. Please read her first article: "American paradise - January 13, 1978," on Ileana Writes, 4/22/2010.

Early Wednesday morning, I read "Indoctrination Nation, Sustainable Development, and Nudging," on Ileana Writes, 3/20/2023. The article published a day later, on Canada Free Press: "Indoctrination Nation, Sustainable Development, and Nudging," on Canada Free Press, by Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, 3/21/2023. The reading of Ileana's article, on either website, is highly recommended.

Later that same morning, I commented favorably on Ileana's article. A little later that morning, Ileana replied, kindly, as follows (with my emboldening added, for emphasis):

Mr. Feargail, I agree with your suggestions entirely. Perhaps you should write an article with that exact topic: How socialists should follow their own advice and regress to their favorite times by living by what they preach to the rest of us.

Thusly, Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh (Ileana) inspired this article. I enjoy Ileana's articles, and I have commented on several. I imagine how her younger years, under communism, must have been. Her articles often denote details of her early years in Romania. By having serving as missionaries in Russia (10/1/1994 – 9/30/1999), my wife and I understand how life under communism must have been. Once we had established friendship, many Russians opened up to us and shared their stories. Some of them still glanced around, to see who may be listening or to find the hidden microphone.

Mind-numbing UN Bureaucracy

In her article, Ileana, as I think that she prefers, referenced: "Nudge to action: Behavioural science for sustainability," on United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 3/3/2017. Please remember the key word “nudge,” as I will return to it. I was inspired to investigate further. I have not walked into such a labyrinth of spiderwebs, by hiking in the woods! My apology in advance, for numbing your mind by the bureaucracy.

The UNEP is part of the United Nations (UN), which was founded in 1945. The UN consists of 193 “Member States” (or countries). Our planet includes 195 countries, according to Worldometers, How many Countries are there in the World? The source lists each country and states:

There are 195 countries in the world today. This total comprises 193 countries that are member states of the United Nations and 2 countries that are non-member observer states: the Holy See and the State of Palestine.

The UN is part of the larger UN System. The UN System has layers. There are six “Funds and Programmes,” one of which is the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).” There are fifteen “UN Specialized Agencies.” There are nine “Other Entities and Bodies.” Finally, there are eight “Related Organizations.” The UN System chart is downloadable. This is a labyrinth of global bureaucracy that spiderwebs out from the six “UN Principal Organs.” I apologize for the mind-numbing that this point may have caused.

UN Environment Programme (UNEP) – Little Green Nudges

Ileana's article focused on the UN's nudging toward “environmentally friendly” (as it's called) lifestyle changes. Scrolling down the UNEP main webpage, I found their “Sustainable Development Goals,” which are (with my emboldening added, for emphasis):

A clean and healthy environment is required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Efforts to counter the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste must be ramped up in order to truly transform societies and economies for everyone, everywhere.

The words that I emboldened are another way to state nudging. Everyone, everywhere, must be nudged, to save the planet, according to the UNEP. They even have The Little Book of Green Nudges, which primarily targets universities.

Once stuck on the UNEP spiderweb, I further tangled myself onto several spiderweb pages, such as About UN Environment Programme, UNEP and the Sustainable Development Goals, and Why does UN Environment Programme matter? Thankfully, I managed to untangle myself. If you get caught in those spiderwebs, please free yourself quickly!

Similar to the tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9), the United Nations (UN) is an ongoing effort to unify all nations into one global nation. The UN is following a humanistic and socialist worldview – as the inhabitants of the ancient city of Babel were.

Nudging the UN to the Outhouse!

Following the biblical worldview, as a Christian and as an outdoorsman, I affirm that we must conserve, sustain, care for, and improve the environment – as practically as possible, with consideration to modern comforts. God created the earth to sustain us, and He expects us to sustain the earth.

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I live in a comfortable house. We have central heat and air-conditioning. We drive gas-powered vehicles, which include environmental protection features. We use electricity, propane, and indoor plumbing. We are connected to municipal water. (I wish that we'd had a water well drilled instead.) We recycle all that is allowed. We, however, feel the environmentalist nudging -- under the scientific fallacy of so-called human-made global climate change – to “live green.” (Yes, so-called human-made global climate change is faux science. This article, however, will not unpack the facts that support the statement. That could be a future article.)

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is an example of the environmentalist worldview. My comment, in part, on Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh's article stated (emboldening added, for emphasis):

Logically, to be consistent, since the socialists worship the creation, not the Creator, they need to return to living as our ancestors did, in the 1700s to early 1800s, before the industrial revolution. Their nudging to save their god (creation) is a half-measure. If they truly worship the creation, then they should live in very modest homes, with no electricity or sources of heating or cooling, except for a fireplace or stove. (Cutting trees for firewood would have to be allowed.) They should feed and clothe themselves, by what they produce on their small farms. Fruit trees, gardens, and livestock would provide food, milk, and clothing. Water would come from a well (dug by hand, of course) or a nearby source of clean water.

Perhaps we should nudge the “green new deal” socialists to live as our ancestors did.

I call a spade a spade. I do not mince words. This article nudges, challenges, and demands that all these “green new deal” environmentalists put up or shut up!

I'll bet a hundred dollars -- not a dollar, since a dollar ain't worth much nowadays -- that most of these environmental nudgers live on elaborate estates in fine houses, have plenty of central heat and air-conditioning, use way more utilities that we do, drive expensive vehicles (probably electric), jet set around the globe in airplanes that emit tons of pollutants, and so forth. (I'll avoid unpacking the fallacy that electric vehicles are better for the environment than gas vehicles. That could be a future article.)

This article demands (as my Irish dander rises while writing) that these environmentalists – to be consistent and not hypocrites -- return to life as it was for my ancestors, in the 1700s to early 1800s! If they truly want to “save the planet,” then they will do so.

  • Live in basic houses, with no electricity or indoor plumbing!

  • Drill a water well or get water from a nearby and clear spring!

  • Cut your own firewood, to heat your houses in winter!

  • Plant trees to replace the ones that you used.

  • Use only fireplaces, chimneys, cast-iron stoves, and wood-burning ovens!

  • Refrigerate with a cellar!

  • Bathe once a week, in a creek or a tub!

  • Travel by wagon, mule, horse, or on foot!

  • Raise livestock, grow a garden, and have fruit trees!

  • Can your gardening, for food in the winter!

  • Make your own clothes, buying only what you can't make!

  • Go to church on Sundays! Live as the Good Lord wants you to live!

  • Use an outhouse!

These environmentalists must stop their half-measured nudging and start practicing what they preach! If they do, then my wife and I will join them. I'll guarantee that it would be easier for us, to transition to living as our ancestors did, than it would be for them to do so.

Don't hold your breath, however! These environmentalists will continue their hypocritical nudging, while they enjoy their twenty-first century lifestyle.


This article has explored the contrast between conservation and an environmentalism. The opposing worldviews are in conflict.

By following the biblical worldview, I am a conservationist. All who share this view, as good stewards, use natural resources in an ethical manner, to better humankind. We, however, care for and manage those resources, to improve them, for future generations.

Environmentalists, in contrast, follow a pantheistic worldview, in that they worship god (the creation), instead of God (the Creator). Deifying nature, they subjugate human needs to protect nature, which has preeminence. They see all humans, including themselves, as parasites and disrupters of nature. They, however, see themselves as “noble parasites,” while looking down on us, as “disrupting parasites.”

These are not my thoughts only. See, for example, "Conservationist or Environmentalist?" On Mackinac Center for Public Policy, by Russ Harding, 10/2/2008. (An online search by “conservationist versus environmentalist?” finds similar articles.)

God -- the Creator of the universe and planet Earth – created humankind in His image and likeness. As such, we “have dominion” over His earthly creation, since God formed the first man from the earth. (See Genesis 1:26 - 2:7.)

“Dominion” means that God has appointed us to use, care for, and maintain the earth, under His guiding authority, as Creator. We are accountable to God, as to how we manage the earth. We must manage it, according to His creative pattern of “very good” (Genesis 1:31). The earth, however, is not deified as god. We harvest natural resources, to improve our lives, but we ensure that the earth is improved by our use of its resources.

Of course, the earth has been and continues to be harmed, by the improper use, waste, and destruction of natural resources. Conservationists, however, have never intended that to be the case.

As a personal note, Friday was the anniversary of my father-in-law's birth. Family gathered yesterday, to celebrate with him. This article is published in honor of my father-in-law. He often talks about how he was raised on the family farm, similar to how my parents were.

I have childhood memories of my paternal grandparents' home. They heated and cooked with wood. Baths were taken in a cast-iron tub. A hand pump drew water from the well. Livestock, hunting, apple trees, and gardening produced most of the food. A cellar stored the canned goods, for winter meals. They had finally connected to electricity for lights, but they still used coal oil lamps and candles. There was no indoor plumbing. A two-seater outhouse was nearby. (Two seats were so one could encourage the other!) As a child, I used that outhouse several times. Sears catalogs or corn cobs were the toilet paper.

To the pantheistic, socialist, environmentalists out there, here is my challenge. My wife and I are ready to return to life, as my paternal grandparents lived. Are you? Take the first step! Put up or shut up! Practice what you preach! Stop your hypocrisy! My wife and I will follow your first step -- if you are man or woman enough to take it!

What do I hear? Nothing but crickets chirping, so far.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Paint & Cut Shop Versus Barbershop: It's a True Story (published 3-22-2023; article #398)

“Old cars in restoration workshop,” published 6/4/2020, by Egor Vikhrev, on Unsplash. Free to use under the Unsplash License.


A next-door neighbor has a detached shop, in which he restores old vehicles. I've been in his shop many times, over the years. His shop looks a little like the one in the above image, but nicer.

To an Appalachian Irishman, these shops are called paint and body shops. Old vehicles go in, and classic showroom vehicles come out. Those shops can also spruce up dings, dents, and paint, for a newer vehicle that had a boo-boo.

How does a paint and body shop bring up the difference between a paint & cut shop and a barbershop? Well, this humorous article will explain.

Paint & Cut Shop

The “long-suffering” Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and one of her sisters use the same beauty parlor. (They are called salons now.) Her sister had an appointment for a “paint and cut” yesterday. My wife had her appointment today.

Why don't they go together?” -- a reader asks. They use the same “stylist” (barber). A “paint and cut” (fancy haircut and dye job) takes at least two hours. They can't ride together, to see the same “barber,” on the same day, since one would have to wait a couple of hours, while the other one was getting “painted and cutted.”

I used to call it their “high dollar haircut” place. Yesterday, I was inspired to rename it their “paint and cut shop.” The shop is actually called Salon Yeager.

That's a fancy, yuppie website, folks! Watch that young lady walk in and be greeted! It's like a little movie! Various women are enjoying wonderful “paint and cut” experiences, in the shop and hanging around in beautiful, yuppie locations outside!

The service menu warns that prices shown are starting prices. Among the services, I need to ask: what is a Balayage color? What is a Brazilian Blowout specialty hair? What is a Ouidad haircut? I've never needed a chin wax, especially since I have a beard.

My wife's paint and cut shop, from home, is a one-way drive of 28 minutes (19.3 miles). The usual “out the door” cost is in the mid-to-upper $100 range, depending on how much paint is needed – for that one small patch of gray hair on a corner of her forehead. Dear, take me up on my offer. I'll get some brown paint and paint it for you, at no cost, except the paint!

At least my wife's high dollar haircut, at the paint and cut shop, happens about every two months or so. I'm glad it's not ever four to six weeks, like my haircuts.


Now, let's contrast my wife's paint and cut shop to my barbershop. I've written about and have recommended Tony's Best Clips. (See “Business Recommendations: northeast Knox County, TN.”) From home, the one-way drive is 15 minutes (8.8 miles).

Tony is both a master barber and a cosmetologist. His website is concise, informative, and practical. Thankfully, it does not show a movie about some feller walking into his shop. My positive comments are found, on his website, by selecting the “Read More” button, under “Testimonials.” Also, the title of my 2/13/2021 article includes the name of his barbershop.

Before the new China-made cold virus, I usually just walked in, on any given Saturday, for a haircut. No appointment was needed. I'd usually waited a few minutes for my turn, talking with Tony, other fellers, or reading an outdoors magazine. If I were lucky, not many other guys were waiting. Since the new cold virus, however, Tony cuts by appointment. I call, arrange the date and time, and get another great haircut!

The perfect haircut takes a few minutes only. (A real man doesn't paint his gray hair. See Proverbs 16:31; 20:29!) About twenty years ago, when I started going to Tony for haircuts, the cost was in the single digits. Over the years, inflation has taken its toll, as on everything, especially lately. Tony had to start charging a low double-digit cost for a haircut. (He has to have enough for a Happy Meal at McDonald's! That's a joke that Tony and I know.)

Hey, dear, as I've said before, Tony can cut and paint your hair! He's a cosmetologist also! I've seen his prices on cut and paint. It's less than your yuppie salon – and closer to home!


Yes, I know. I should be working more on my next Christian Evidences series article. I needed to write the article of yesterday and today first. This Appalachian Irishman has to enjoy a little writing humor at times.

As I close, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman is just over an hour into her two-hour paint and cut. I wonder if either her sister or she will read and comment on this article. We will see. Of course any male reader is welcome to comment. Any female reader, who is brave enough to comment, will receive my graciously sarcastic response. (I have to warn them, guys!)

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Church Hayride & the Moonshine Still: It's a True Story (published 3-21-2023; article #397)

Image added by EllieWalker & posted in Alcohol and Old Lace, in The Andy Griffith Show Episodes, Season 1, on Fandom. Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.


For the life of me, I don't recall which year. I was a teenager, probably fourteen or fifteen, and a member of the West View Baptist Church youth group. Mom (Betty Lou Wood Ferrell, 11/24/1932 - 12/27/2000) and another lady, Sandra V., taught and led the youth group. We met, in Sunday School, before the morning worship service. We enjoyed several other activities, such as rollerskating and hayrides. Several adult chaperones helped. The youth group was a wonderful, positive, and formative part of my teenage years, back in the 1970s.

The adult chaperones, around Halloween, had arranged a fall hayride and bonfire, for the youth group. The bonfire -- with roasted marshmallows (marshmellers, as we called them), hotdogs, and Cokes -- followed the hayride.

What do a youth hayride and a moonshine still have in common? This twenty-second article on Appalachia - Upper East TN will explain. It's heritage and humor also. This article is inspired by Grandpa’s Still, on Blind Pig & the Acorn, by Garland Davis, published by Tipper, 3/16/2023. Reading that article, in the context of this article, is highly suggested. (I'll wait here, until you're back, after having read that article. It's a good article.)

Church Hayride

As I recall, a couple dozen or more of us teenagers rode in the big hay wagon. An adult chaperone or two rode with us. I think that Mom was one. A man drove the tractor that pulled us. As dusk approached darkness, the hayride started.

We rode off a two-lane highway and along various dirt roads, which were lined by trees, ridges, and fields. Singing, talking, and joking, we were enjoying a great time! I probably had a liking to a young lady or two. In shyness, I probably tried to do some subtle courting. (Yes, I was shy, until my junior year in high school, when my Irish blarney starting opening my glib, Irish tongue!)

After a good, long ride, the tractor driver hunted an open area, to turn the hayride back for the food and bonfire. He found an open gate, in a field, that was near someone's barn.

Moonshine Still

As we began to circle around behind the barn, to make the return loop, the driver pushed the tractor into high gear and exclaimed, “Hang on!” The wagon jerked, causing most of us to roll backward in the hay! I'm glad that the wagon had wooden side boards; otherwise, some of us could have fallen off the wagon. We rode in high gear, hanging onto each other or to the side boards, until the hay wagon was back onto the dirt road safely.

What happened? Why did we have to go so fast?” -- we had asked and wondered. Just before the tractor jumped into high gear, I'd noticed, near the back of that barn, something that looked like a big barrel, with pipes on it. I didn't know what it was -- at first.

Safely back onto the dirt road, the driver replied, “Did you see that still? Someone has a moonshine still behind the barn! We had to get out of there!” Well, no wonder! I'm glad that no one was making moonshine at the time! Coming upon moonshine making, even by accident, could have been very dangerous -- even on a church hayride.


Almost everyone, who was born and raised in Appalachia, has had a moonshiner in the family or a moonshine story to tell. Thanks, to Tipper, for inspiring this story, as she shared Garland Davis' story.

Fallen off the wagon” usually means that someone has started drinking again. As a teenager, I was glad that none of us young uns had “fallen off the wagon” -- when the tractor driver high geared us away from that still!

Do I hear you laughing? I thought so!

Friday, March 17, 2023

Reaction to Carl Spain Center's Letters of Response to White Supremacy: Happy St. Patrick's Day! (published 3-17-2023; article 396)

Irish American Heritage Month on 99Covers, by free download.


Happy St. Patrick's Day, dear reader! It is green, wet, and rainy, here in these parts. The conclusion will include a brief mention of St. Patrick's Day. First, however, the reason for this article is explained. (This is the tenth article by Worldviews in Conflict topic.)

Early on the Sunday afternoon of 3/5/2023 -- while engaged in further research, on the sixth article, in my Christian Evidences series -- I happened to come upon an article, by a godly brother in Christ, with whom I have exchanged online correspondence, over the years. The article is A Letter to the Body of Christ, by Dr. John Mark Hicks, on John Mark Hicks, 2/13/2023.

Later that afternoon, I spoke by phone with a friend, whom I've known since grade school. He had attained age 63 on Friday. Our conversation -- after having read brother Hicks' article -- had inspired this writing, which I'd been keeping in draft. It is completed and published on St. Patrick's Day.

The news media report facts on news topics, followed by the reactions of their guests. I do not care to hear those reactions. Just present the facts, with no spin. I am able to react!

First, this article reports the facts on the Carl Spain Center on Race Studies and Spiritual Action and the Carl Spain Center on Race Studies & Spiritual Action: Letters of Conscience to the Churches in America: A Courageous Christian Response to White Supremacy. Then, it places my reaction to that news -- about which I'd not known, until 3/5/2023 – in the context of the phone conversation with my grade school friend. The conclusion will encourage churches to wake up, not woke up.

The Fact: the Carl Spain Center

Dr. Hicks' 2/13/2023 article presents the 4/21/2020 transcript of his initial oral presentation, at the opening of the Carl Spain Center on Race Studies and Spiritual Action, at Abilene Christian University (ACU), in Abilene, Texas. His transcript is included in Letters of Conscience to the Churches in America: A Courageous Christian Response to White Supremacy. Dr. Hicks' website includes articles that are useful to me, in my ongoing Christian Evidences series. I had visited his website for that purpose. I was surprised to find his 2/13/2023 article.

Investigating further, on the Carl Spain Center on Race Studies and Spiritual Action website, I confirmed that the Center is affiliated with Abilene Christian University (ACU), as ACU's undated Campus News article, ACU announces new Carl Spain Center on Race Studies and Spiritual Action, states and as Carl Spain Center – History states. Apparently the Carl Spain Center started in 2018. The mission of the Center is to “. . . conduct research on the historical and contemporary role of race and racism in the church and its Christian institutions.” The Center's purpose is to assist churches in their understanding of race, promote racial unity, and to draw Christians, of all races, closer to God and to each other. The mission and purpose, as stated, are laudable, of course.

The Fact: Letters of Conscience to the Churches in America: A Courageous Christian Response to White Supremacy

The Carl Spain Center website does not include a search option; however, by selecting the Resources link, one of the three Resource Downloads links is to A Christian Response to White Supremacy. The direct download and complete title is: Carl Spain Center on Race Studies & Spiritual Action: Letters of Conscience to the Churches in America: A Courageous Christian Response to White Supremacy.

The undated volume is 135 pages. The Forward is by Jerry Taylor, Executive Director. The volume, apparently, was published in 2020, within the paradigm shift of the new cold virus (COVID-19) and the racial tensions that were major focus points at the time.

The volume includes letters by twenty-nine individuals. I know two, who are brothers in Christ. Dr. Hicks' letter is found on pages 40-45. The letter by the other brother is found on pages 21-25. That brother and I had spoken in person several times, in our younger years. I knew his Christian parents very well. His family and he were missionaries in Ghana for many years.

I read most, but not all, of those twenty-nine letters. (After a while, I grew tired of reading the same type of statements.) My specific focus was on the Forward and on the two letters, by the known brothers in Christ. The volume ends with the Index, on pages 132-135.

The letters cite biblical themes of spiritual unity in Christ and encourage all Christians to that unity. Who could not agree? Letters oppose “white supremacy,” white supremacists,” and the “white supremacy movement.” Agreement against that form of racism should be universal. Universal agreement should be against all forms of racism.

The underlying theme of the letters follows the paradigm shift, in 2020, which is continuing. For example, my search of the volume, excluding the Index, finds “racism” used forty-one times. “Systemic racism” is found once. “White supremacy” is found nineteen times – including the title page. “White supremacist” is found eleven times. “Privilege” is used in the context of “white privilege” nine times. “White privilege” is used once. One letter, on page 45, encourages white churches and white Christians to confess their corporate sin of racism.

Following the paradigm shift of 2020, however, the volume, as titled, specifically opposes “white supremacy,” as it intended and as it should have. It does not, however, except in general terms, state opposition to other forms of racism against other ethnic groups. The balanced approach, against all forms of racism, as properly and biblically defined, is missing.

My Reaction -- in the Context of the Phone Conversation with My Grade School Friend

The volume, including letters by twenty-nine individuals, did not define key terms that are used. Let us define those key terms. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the following terms.

Racism: 1: a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. also: behavior or attitudes that reflect and foster this belief : racial discrimination or prejudice. 2 a: the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another. b: a political or social system founded on racism and designed to execute its principles.

White supremacy: 1: the belief that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races. 2: the social, economic, and political systems that collectively enable white people to maintain power over people of other races.

White supremacist: a person who believes that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races.

White privilege: the set of social and economic advantages that white people have by virtue of their race (see race entry 1 sense 1a) in a culture characterized by racial inequality.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary does not define “systemic racism;” however, the Cambridge Dictionary does, as follows.

Systemic racism: policies and practices that exist throughout a whole society or organization, and that result in and support a continued unfair advantage to some people and unfair or harmful treatment of others based on race.

The 135-page volume is understood in the context of the 2020 paradigm shift. Despite the biblical comments, which are good, the volume follows the secular “white privilege” agenda. That agenda alleges that all white people, corporately, are guilty of the sin of racism (even if only socially and economically) against all black people, by virtue of having been born white. That “racist from birth” agenda is a form of negative peer pressure. While we (as individuals) should confess and repent of every legitimate sin, the imposition, by negative peer pressure, of an alleged corporate sin of racism upon an entire race is, in itself, a form of judgmental racism, or sin.

Those who wrote the letters in that volume simply followed the negative peer pressure of the “white privilege” agenda. In other words, they followed the socialist propaganda, even if they didn't realize it.

My grade school friend and I had a good and long conversation. We talked about many subjects. He brought up the subject of “white supremacy.” Reflecting on our school-age days, my friend didn't recall any personal racism against black children. He and I both remember several black children of our age then. We liked and got along well with them, as they did us. I observed that parents, black or white, had raised us young folks, in the proper and biblical manner. We remembered what our parents had taught us, in the little song that we had sung: “Red and yellow, black and white. They are precious in His sight.” We judged by content of character, not by skin color, as a wise man (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) had stated, in his eloquent restatement of biblical wisdom.

My friend observed that any “white privilege” that he had, as a boy, must have been the “privilege” of working hard on the farm and in the fields. Yes, that was similar to my “white privilege,” which included eating a lot of soup beans and mashed potatoes and hard work, by the chores that Mom and Dad expected me to do (without any allowance paid).

My friend and I were both raised, in a rural area of northeast Tennessee, near a small town, by godly parents. We were not raised in wealthy families, monetarily. We were wealthy, in that we were raised by godly parents.

In my 3/10/2021 article, I wrote, in part:

Anyone who is truly Appalachian knows that the color of the skin does not matter. What matters is the content of character. Appalachians have known this for decades. I have met many fine Appalachians -- red, yellow, black, and white. On 3/7/2021, while on House Mountain hike #177, I met a family (man, wife, and child) hiking up as I was hiking down. Their skin was black. My skin was white. We all made new Appalachian friends! I hope that I see them again.

Irish heritage and black history have one item in common. Actually, any genealogy has one item in common. What is that one item? All people are one, starting from Adam and Eve. Also, all people, who are Christians, are one, in Christ. I refuse to allow the socialist propagandists to distinguish us. Do you? You should not.

Today, I would not change a single word. My basic reaction to the 135-page volume is that I will not allow the negative peer pressure, of alleged corporate and white racism, to influence me into a sense of false guilt or to force me to repent of an alleged sin. The volume does well, to encourage oneness in Christ. It, however, errs by affirming the alleged sin of corporate white supremacy.


The church is not divided by race, color, social status, gender, or age. The apostle Paul has told Christians that we are “all one in Christ Jesus.” (See Gal. 3:26-28.) Before His atoning sacrifice, Jesus' prayer to the Father was for all Christians to be united and one, as He and the Father are one, so that the world would believe in Him. (See Jn. 17:20-23.)

I have ministered in predominately white nations (America and Russia), black nations (Jamaica), and brown nations (India). A specific focus of ministry was in a predominately black community, in Charleston, Missouri. Mom and Dad raised me correctly. I am not guilty of “corporate” racism, simply by having been born white.

My article of 1/22/2023 defined “woke” correctly. The conclusion states, in part:

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.

I hope that the Carl Spain Center and all who contributed to the Letters of Conscience to the Churches in America: A Courageous Christian Response to White Supremacy are following the Lord's agenda – not the “woke” agenda (by the common and secular meaning).