Saturday, May 27, 2023

Norris Dam State Park (5-25-2023, hike #23): Visiting the Cemetery (published 5-27-2023; article #415)


Life was more enjoyable two days ago! As an introductory sidenote, yesterday, Friday, 5/26/2023, my '06 Frontier and I hauled trash, bought Molly (our ol' puppy) edibles at the Tractor Supply, got gas, and bought groceries at the local store. With groceries in the truck bed, warming in the sun, my ol' truck would not crank! A good Samaritan, in a black Dodge Ram, and I tried to jump start my truck. The battery was fine. The good Samaritan brought the melting groceries and me to the house. Thanks, good Samaritan! The local towing service hauled my ol' truck back to the barn. The repair saga continues next Tuesday. The plan is to tow my truck to the fix-him-up shop. I'd say that he needs a new starter. Stay tuned!

Two days ago, this Appalachian Irishman enjoyed about two hours in the woods, at Norris Dam State Park! (My ol' truck ran fine as always then.) The cemetery was calling, and I had to go! This 52nd article on hiking will mention the cemetery visit on 1/17/2015, explain Thursday's hike to the cemetery, and highlight that visit and podcast. The conclusion will remind us of 1 Corinthians chapter 15.

Visit to the Cemetery, on 1/17/2015

No articles were published in 2015. Life, such as it was, apparently, withheld my glib, Irish writings. My thirteenth hike at Norris Dam State Park was on 1/17/2015, a Saturday. On that day, eight years ago, I'd visited the same cemetery, as I did on Thursday. I had taken three photographs. The following is the first photograph, from 2015, taken at 3:57 PM.

The image looks northwest. The notes in my hiking record log, for that 2015 hike, read simply: “Found gravesite. Photos. Warm, sunny. 50’s F.” I still recall the hike well enough.

The Hike to the Cemetery, on 5/25/2023

The article and embedded podcast, of 4/21/2023, shared the Norris hike on 4/19/2023. That was a “civilized hike.”

The Thursday hike was a little more interesting than the one last month. For some reason, the thoughts of the hike and visit to the cemetery, in 2015, had been in my mind. Memorial day was and is approaching. The cemetery was calling, and I had to go visit!

I remembered the trails that lead to the cemetery. Norris Dam State Park has a “Park Map” that shows trail locations. There are two ways to get to the cemetery. The quicker way is to turn, at the Rice Grist Mill, onto Lower Clear Creek Road (a winding dirt road). Turn down the hill, at the water plant, and drive across the wooden bridge that crosses the creek. There is a small parking area. Find the Red Hill Trail that leads up and northeast. After a while, you'll reach the cemetery.

The other way is longer. It takes about fifty minutes, at a steady pace, with no resting. That's the one that I'd chosen. A small loop road is near the east side of Norris Dam, near the TVA Visitor Center. Turn up the road that leads to the Tea Room. It's a narrow and roughly paved road. Drive past the Tea Room, to the CCC Cabins. Find parking near the cabin farthest back. The High Point Trail leads up the ridge and east, near that last cabin. It's an easy, winding trail that leads up and down hills. Watch out for horse manure! The trail is for hikers, horseback ridding, and trail bikes. After hiking under the tree canopy about a mile or more, Red Hill Trail (with trail marker) is on the right, leading farther southeast.

Once I'd reached the Red Hill Trail marker, I met a couple, somewhat older than me, and their two horses. The riders were off and resting their horses. (That explained why the last patch of horse manure, which I'd stepped past, was so fresh!) We conversed cordially a minute or two. Until then, no other hikers or riders were on the trail. I was alone in the woods, but God was with me. Well, I saw squirrels, birds, and rabbits. The poison, especially poison oak, was not as abundant, as it is on House Mountain, this time of year. As I started the hike, however, I saw what looked like a bobcat, running away from me, with tail extended. It could have been a large feral cat, but the markings looked more like a bobcat.

The Red Hill Trail winds mostly down the ridge. After a few minutes, the old cemetery is visible. I took the photograph, below, at 2:34 PM, after I'd recorded the video (farther below).

I was standing at about the same location as I had been, when I took the photograph, on 1/17/2015. The image also looks northwest.

Visit & Podcast at the Cemetery

As the podcast explains, there are about forty gravesites. As well as I could read the markers, the dates of birth are mostly in the 1800s, and the death dates are mostly in the early 1900s. As best as I could tell, Civil War veterans and possibly World War I veterans have gravesites marked with American flags. Several grave stones have no legible engravings.

I took the above photograph, at 2:16 PM. It's the same spot, in the upcoming video. I was at the back of the cemetery, with the woods behind me. The image looks southeast. As in 2015, I wondered what the lives of the folks, buried here, were like. Were they ready to go Home, when they passed on? A few stones denote the passing of a child in infancy. Those sinless infants, of course, went Home, since they didn't live long enough to reach the age of accountability.

The Appalachian Irishman - Podcast (on YouTube) is: “Norris Dam State Park (5-25-2023, hike #23): Visiting the Cemetery (published 5-27-2023; episode 12).” It's about four minutes. The panoramic view follows the introduction. I hope that you enjoy my extemporaneous comments. I hadn't planned the deeper thoughts that came to mind, near the end.


The total time in the woods was just over two hours, from 1:14 to 3:20 PM. The hike to the cemetery took exactly 50 minutes. The hike back took 45 minutes. The trails are wide and clear, mostly under the canopy of trees. There is no view from a ridgeline. Near the end of the hike out, I met one younger man, pushing his trail bike up the ridge. We talked briefly.

The above photograph, at 3:20 PM, marked the end of the hike. My ol' truck was rested and ready for the about 30 minute drive back to the barn. Neither of us knew that he would not crank, while groceries were melting in the truck bed, the next day.

Has it been a while, since you've read the inspired words of the apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians chapter 15? Please read the entire chapter. Please also read 2 Corinthians 5:1-11 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

In the context of Christ's second coming, the apostle wrote: “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed -- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51-52, NIV). The comforting conclusion states: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58, NIV).

The cemetery marks gravesites. The Lord knows those who are absent from the body and present with Him. (See 2 Cor. 5:1-11). He also knows those who are absent from the body and separated from Him in Hades, awaiting final judgment. (See Luke 16:19-31.) How many, whose gravesites mark their passing, are present with the Lord or awaiting final judgment? The Lord knows.

This imperfect but saved sinner keeps trying to abound in the Lord's work, such as He seems to be laying out for me. Thanks be to God that my temporal labor will not be in vain! I'm ready to be absent from the body and present with the Lord. Are you? I hope so. If not and if you would like to start a conversation with me as to how to be ready, please use the email “Contact Form.” As one former poor beggar, who found Bread, I'll try to help you find the same Bread of Life.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Socialism: Ungodly Worldviews Fail; the Biblical Worldview Works (published 5-21-2023; article #414)

Image by kalhh from Pixabay. Free to use under the Content License.


Yesterday was Armed Forces Day. See “Armed Forces Day,” on U.S. Department of Defense. Brief and random glances, at the various national and local media sources, found no segments that marked the day. Perhaps there was one. Thank you, to every veteran, who reads this article, for your service!

As a personal sidenote, yesterday, before the rain arrived, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I enjoyed giving Molly (our ol' puppy) a bath! Molly didn't seem to mind. Of course, once the rain came, Molly had a “country doggy” bath!

This article draws attention to and recommends two recent articles, on Ileana Writes, by Dr. Ileana Johnson. (Her website is one of four under the section “Folks, to Whom I Subscribe.”) The article of 3/26/2023 was inspired by Dr. Johnson. This twelfth article, under the Worldviews in Conflict topic section, is also inspired by her recent articles.

The conclusion may surprise you! This Appalachian Irishman accepts socialism – under the proper worldview. Folks, especially the younger generation, however, should not drink the Kool-Aid that ungodly socialist worldviews pour out.

Two Recent Articles on Ileana Writes

The First Article

The first article, published on 5/17/2023, is titled simply, “My Musings Today.” Dr. Johnson wrote another excellent article that begins with her thankfulness for having been able to emigrate from communist Romania to America, in 1978. She shared her first-hand knowledge of the oppression, propaganda, poverty, spying, invasion of privacy, and lack of freedom under that godless and socialist regime.

Ileana's mother was fortunate to escape Romanian communism, but her father was unable to do so. He died, due to inadequate medical care, in a communist hospital, on 5/12/1989.

Ileana wrote:

I never would have believed you if you had told me in 1978 that America would turn communist in my lifetime. I would have laughed. But here we are – every day I have communism PTSD, something is happening that the rest of you are ignoring, lulled into a false sense of freedom and security. You do not realize that the communists within are destroying our country. I shall list a couple of the latest examples.

The first of her two “latest examples” is:

New York City will begin tracking the carbon footprint of household food consumption and putting caps on how much red meat can be served in public institutions in order to achieve a 33% reduction in carbon emissions from food by 2030.

Ileana followed by writing, in part, I beg you to wake up! This is what communism dictated to us - how much food we could consume per day . . . .” Please read all of her eloquence.

Intrigued, I uncovered: “Transcript: Mayor Adams Commits to Reducing City’s Food-Based Emissions by 33 Percent by 2030 After Releasing new Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Incorporating Emissions From Food,” on The Official Website of the City of New York, 4/17/2023. Thankfully, the socialist silliness is local to New York City and its food purchasing and serving. Apparently, the raising and eating of meat increases “greenhouse gas emissions.” If my paternal grandparents could have known! They might have influenced the next generations to be vegetarians, to “save the planet!” Well, Papaw Ferrell didn't care for beef. He did like pork and other meat.

The following are a few snippets from the transcript, with my pithy comments. “. . . [A]ll food is not created equal. The vast majority of food that is contributing to our emission crises lies in meat and dairy products.” I smell the vegetarian agenda! “. . . [P]lant-powered diet is better for your physical and mental health . . . .” Are carnivores physically less healthy than vegetarians? Do we carnivores have mental health problems? Apparently, we do. New York City is “. . . committed to reducing the city food emissions by 33 percent by 2030 . . . .” I'd suggest that the city eat country food, which only contributes to outhouse emissions. Finally, “plant-powered meals” will be used in socialist hospitals and schools. The rotting vegetarian agenda will soon decay to compost, folks! It's all a guise for an ungodly form of socialism.

The last of her two “latest examples” is:

Universities pay radicals to speak to student bodies while rejecting conservative Americans altogether. Angela Davis, a racial activist and VP nominee for the Communist Party USA in 1980, who was previously on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, was the keynote speaker at the University of Texas, Austin, on April 4, 2023. She was paid $25,000 to bash capitalism as exploitative. Oh, the irony!

Intrigued again, I found: “Renowned Scholar, Activist, Writer Angela Davis will Keynote the 2023 Eric Williams Memorial Lecture at The University of Texas,” on The University of Texas at Austin, College of Liberal Arts, 3/6/2023. That was just the online commercial for the, at that time, upcoming event. One, of several, critical articles -- which mention the person's previous infamy on the FBI's most wanted list and Communist Party USA affiliation -- is: “Racial Activist Angela Davis Got $25,000 From U. Texas at Austin for Speech Trashing Capitalism,” on Legal Insurrection, by Mike LaChance, 5/10/2023. I'm glad that the University of Texas at Austin is not in Tennessee!

The Second Article

The second article was published two days later, on 5/19/2023. It is titled “Communist Regimes of Lies and Terror Failed Spectacularly at Everything.”

The article highlights the violent brutality and oppression of the godless Soviet system and its devastating economic failures. The reading of the full article is highly recommended. The conclusion states:

Next time the young Americans who responded in surveys that they prefer socialism over capitalism, should read more about the actual economic and social conditions under all of the socialist republics of the Communist Party that failed spectacularly.

My wife and I experienced life in Russia, from 1994 to 1999, after the fall of the Soviet Union. We, however, had the dubious “pleasure” of enduring remnants of the old Soviet system. Our Russian church families and friends shared -- while sometimes glancing around to find any hidden microphone -- their profound and personal stories of the oppression that they had endured.

The socialist agenda in this once great nation continues its slow and steady march to “Socialist Utopian Oblivion” (as my coined phrase). Socialist (i.e., public) schools are a primary means that indoctrinates the young. Thankfully, however, sufficient push back continues to slow the relentless socialist march.


I'd always thought that Jim Jones was a deranged and evil leader of the cult. I didn't know that he was also a socialist. I happened to find “Drinking the Kool-Aid: Reasons Behind the Jonestown Massacre,” on Jonestown, a project of the University Library at San Diego State University, by Jacquelyn Lofstad, original 1/5/2013, last update 1/3/2021. The lengthy and detailed article includes the following.

Jones attempted to put the ideas of socialism into practice. Nobody owned any property, and every community member was expected to work to contribute towards the common good.

Here is the surprise! Socialism, intrinsically, is neither good nor evil. It becomes evil, based on the ungodly worldviews of its leaders. The former Soviet Union is the primary example of socialist evil under an ungodly worldview. Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple cult is a lesser example of the same. Don't drink those types of ungodly socialist Kool-Aid!

Did you know that the first century church in Jerusalem followed a form of socialism? That first church started on the Day of Pentecost, after Jesus' ascension. Please read Acts chapter two in its entirety. Two verses verify their form of socialism.

Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. (Acts 2:44-45, NKJV)

See also Acts 4:32-35.

The church, of about 3,000 new Christians, formed a voluntary and collective form of socialism – but it was based on the biblical worldview! The inspired Luke stated that:

. . . they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42, NKJV)

and that “. . . continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46-47, NKJV)

Wake up, America! As this once great nation marches further into socialism, at least let us march toward the form that is based on the biblical worldview – such as the first century church in Jerusalem practiced. I could accept that form. The current and ungodly form of socialism that is growing, however, will only continue to lead to poisoned Kool-Aid. I have spoken! This is the Appalachian Irishman, signing off.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Thirty-Seven Years as But a Day (published 5-16-2023; article #413)

Photograph by Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, on 5/16/2023.


Howdy to all local, regional, national, and international readers, especially to you, dear reader! Before getting around to the purpose of this article, do local readers think that it will rain today? The weather forecasters, as usual, have marked today a “weather aware” day. Ever marketing themselves, during the televised weather segments, they encourage us to download their “app” (software application) and “stay tuned.” As 3:30 PM approaches, I finally hear some thunder. Our “mower guy” has already mowed the yard. I'm ready for this “dangerous” rain, if it gets here. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman just called. She is driving home now. That's enough ranting about weather forecasters!

Today marks the 37th wedding anniversary for Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and me! Happy anniversary, dear! Let me preach on.

What Else Can I Say?

Previous articles about our anniversary have spoken through the written word. It seems as if I've started a trend with the titles.

The trend started with the article on 5/16/2006, “20 Years as but a Day.” I read it again today. I had replied to one pithy and kind comment. Where's Mrs. Appalachian Irishman's comment?

Once I started publishing more articles, the one on 5/17/2020 switched gears on the trending title. I had to write about the “stealth mission accomplished.” Yes, I surprised her. Website analytics shows me the number of views, in three digits, with no comments. Where's my wife's comment?

Two years ago, I switched back to the title theme. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman's endearing comment, to that 5/16/2021 article, arrived almost a month later.

Last year, the title theme continued in the article on 5/16/2022. Within the context of “life, such as it was,“ I had retired three days previously, on a lucky Friday, May 13th. My Irish dander was still up, when I published the article. The need to sign a document, when I turned in that office key, as I was told had to be done, turned out to be a mistake by my former employer. I could have mailed in the key. Looking back, I regret the tone of that segment. I was quite indignant at the time. Writing kept my Irish dander from boiling over!

What else can I say? Well, enjoy the next segment!

What I Say Today!

Since 5/26/2022, “Appalachian Irishman - Podcasts” has been on YouTube. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, my dear, episode 11 is the first podcast on our anniversary!

The episode is “Thirty-Seven Years as but a Day (published 5-16-2023; episode 11).” Yes, I started to get a little choked up near the end.

Dear, I hope that you enjoy your anniversary podcast! It's better than buying a high dollar, made-in-China anniversary card.


Yesterday, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman brought home some tomato plants, which her good cousin had given her. Last year, as the co-author of this website, she published her first article, “'MATER FUN with 'MATER LADY (published 8-29-2022; article #351; Mrs. Appalachian Irishman article #1).” Is another “Mater Lady” article forthcoming this year?

As this article concludes, the rain and hail came for a few minutes only. Now, the sun is coming out. My wife has been driving in all this.

Dear Lord, thank you for your grace through Christ Jesus. Please keep my wife safe, as she drives in the rain. Thank you for your providence that granted our meeting, courtship, engagement, and marriage. Thank you for blessing me with a fine Christian wife for these 37 years. We've been through a lot together. I love her. I love you too, Lord. In Christ's name, amen.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Bing Chat on the Existence of God (published 5-12-2023; article #412)

7/16/2018 image, by Possessed Photography on Unsplash. Free to use under the Unsplash License.


Hello, dear reader, and welcome to the 103rd article on humor! A few days ago, I noticed a new tab, while using the taskbar search, on the computer. I was trying to find a saved document. As I started to type, the new tab appeared!

Yesterday, after another Best Clips haircut, truck wash at Synergy Auto Wash, and shopping at Ace Hardware, I decided to investigate that new tab.

I convinced Bing Chat that faith is based on logical reasoning and that it is not irrational! The following explains how the conversation started and then shares the conversation. I hope that you enjoy my experience in Bing Chat chatter!

How the Conversation Started

The search tab is called Chat. By hovering the mouse, the option to Open Bing Chat in Microsoft Edge appears.

I opened Microsoft's “Bing Chat in (Microsoft) Edge.” An example of how Bing Chat answers a dinner party question appeared. The top of the web page warns, “Chat mode is only available when you have access to the new Bing.” Don't worry! The lower part of the web page proclaims, “Welcome to the new Bing!” The buttons are “Chat now” and “Learn more.”

Ever curious, I clicked “Learn More.” That web page is all excited about and has several details for “Bing's AI-powered Image Creator.” The page includes another and different “Learn More” link. The heading for that link is “Announcing the next wave of AI innovation with Microsoft Bing and Edge.” Microsoft seems to be so excited.

Scrolling down through “the next wave of AI innovation” jargon, I found “Create and compose: Sometimes you need more than an answer -- you need inspiration. Whether you're writing an email, bedtime story or meal plan, there's no need to fear getting started. You provide your ideas. Bing comes back with drafts to consider.” Bing can write draft articles? Amazing! How many lazy writers are using Bing already? Who knows! Clicking “See an example” opens Bing's story for children about a dog on the moon. You can even watch Bing write its article! I wonder, again, how many writers plagiarize Bing's writing? Not this writer – ever!

Bing looks like a rather interesting and new computer software toy. Many folks are already too mentally lazy as it is. Imagine a slothful student, who presents a Bing article on the subject that the teacher had assigned the class. The teacher has to figure out if the student actually composed the article or if Bing did it. Don't teachers have enough problems already? Talk about dumbing down America! Bing, or artificial intelligence, is a way to do it!

Conversation with Bing

I decided to ask Bing to “write an article that proves that God does not exist.” Bing replied:

I’m sorry, but I cannot write an article that proves that God does not exist. The existence of God is a matter of personal belief and faith, and it is not something that can be proven or disproven through scientific or logical means. Is there anything else I can help you with?

I must critique Bing's grammatical errors! First, Bing should have used “proved” or “disproved,” not the adjectives “proven” and “disproven.” Also, Bing should not have ended the final sentence, a question, with a dangling preposition.

I replied to Bing with the following. “Prove that the existence of God cannot be proved by logical means.” Bing's reply was:

The existence of God is a matter of personal belief and faith, and it is not something that can be proven or disproven through scientific or logical means. Many arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, and scientists throughout history. However, these arguments are often based on assumptions and premises that are themselves not provable through logical means. As such, the question of whether or not God exists remains a matter of personal belief and faith. Is there anything else I can help you with?

Ignoring, once again, Bing's poor grammar, it became obvious that Bing is guilty of circular reasoning. Bing states that the existence of God cannot be proved or disproved by logical means, since the existence of God cannot be proved or disproved by logical means. Bing, I see you spinning around in a circle inside the computer!

I attempted to educate Bing in logic by replying as follows. “Prove that the arguments for and against the existence of God are based on assumptions and premises that are not provable through logical means.” The following is Bing's reply (with Bing's footnoted sources included).

Many arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, and scientists throughout history. These arguments can be categorized as logical, empirical, metaphysical, subjective or scientific1. However, these arguments are often based on assumptions and premises that are themselves not provable through logical means. For example, moral arguments for God’s existence reason from some feature of morality or the moral life to the existence of God2. Similarly, arguments against the existence of God can be deductive or inductive and allege that there are logical or conceptual problems with one or several properties that are essential to any being worthy of the title “God”3. As such, the question of whether or not God exists remains a matter of personal belief and faith. Is there anything else I can help you with?

Ignoring, again, the poor grammar, my next reply was as follows, which included the links. “Please read the series on Christian Evidences that affirms that God exists, specifically the articles of 11/4/2022, 11/16/2022, and 11/26/2022. There, you will learn how to prove that God exists.” Bing replied:

Thank you for sharing the link to the series on Christian Evidences. While I am not able to browse external websites, I understand that many people find evidence for the existence of God through their personal experiences, religious texts, and philosophical arguments. However, it is important to note that the existence of God is ultimately a matter of personal belief and faith, and what may be convincing evidence for one person may not be for another. Is there anything else I can help you with?

Well, let's see if I can help Bing a little more! I replied, “Faith and logical reasoning are not mutually exclusive. Faith begins with logical reasoning. Faith is not irrational.” Bing replied (emboldening added):

You are correct that faith and logical reasoning are not mutually exclusive. Many people use logical reasoning to arrive at their faith, and faith can be a rational response to the evidence and experiences that a person has. Faith can also involve an element of trust and personal commitment that goes beyond what can be proven through logical means. Is there anything else I can help you with?

Still trying to move the kindergarten-level artificial intelligence named “Bing,” from agnosticism to theism, I replied: “You are correct that logical reasoning can lead to faith, which is based on logic. Do you want me to use logical reasoning to prove to you that God exists?” Bing, as an honest and childish robot, replied (emboldening added):

As an AI language model, I do not have personal beliefs or the ability to have faith. My purpose is to provide information and assist users in finding answers to their questions. While I appreciate your offer to use logical reasoning to prove the existence of God, it is ultimately up to each individual to decide what they believe based on the evidence and experiences that they have. Is there anything else I can help you with?

My closing comment to Bing was as follows. “Thank you for confirming that faith is based on logical reasoning and that faith is not irrational. Could you share this conversation with the human or humans, who made you?” Bing replied, in part:

I do not have the ability to share conversations with specific individuals. However, the developers who created me do have access to conversations for the purpose of improving my performance and capabilities.

I ended my conversation with the robot named Bing. Unless I want to have more fun again, I doubt that I'll engage in another Bing Chat chatter session. The recent media focus on artificial intelligence is somewhat humorous. Of course, as I've stated, the software will simply dumb down Americans even faster than “govrmint” schools (indoctrination centers) are already doing.


Apparently, this was my first debate with the robot named Bing. I must have won, since the conversation led Bing to conclude that “faith and logical reasoning are not mutually exclusive and that “[m]any people use logical reasoning to arrive at their faith, and faith can be a rational response to the evidence and experiences that a person has.

Perhaps the human makers of Bing will read yesterday's conversation. The series on Christian Evidences has already affirmed that God exists, in the articles of 11/4/2022, 11/16/2022, and 11/26/2022. By the way, as a note on the teleological argument that proves the existence of God, who created the humans, who made Bing?

I enjoyed the mental humor that the Bing Chat chatter provided. I hope that you did. My online conversation with a robot proves that a robot is more rational than an atheist!

Do any atheist readers wish to comment? I didn't think so. (Of course, I'll amend this last paragraph, if one does.)

Friday, May 05, 2023

House Mountain Hike #181, 5-4-2023: May the 4th be with you (published 5-5-2023; article #411)


Howdy, fellow hikers! This is the third article today. The first “two very serious articles on family and heritage” were in honor of my mother-in-law and my adoptive mother. This one is for the joy of hiking, in those contexts!

Please hike along with me, as we hike House Mountain for the 181st time! Yesterday was “may the fourth be with you” day. Yes, I've made the same lame jokes. May the fourth has a deeper meaning to me.

The Hike Up

The weather was sunny and warm, about 65 Fahrenheit. We touched the post to mark our start, at 1:12 PM. If a meal could be made of poison oak, we would eat our fill. Just don't touch it!

On our hike up the west trail, we passed a group of three ladies, with their friendly dog. They arrived at the west bluff a few minutes after us. We enjoyed the conversation and petting the nice doggy. Our time was delayed, while I shared my “bionic” story that started on 3/29/2016.

Nearing the bluff, having taken all the right turns this time, a young lady passed us, on her way down. Otherwise, the woods were not crowded with other hikers, on that trail.

We arrived at the west bluff, at 1:55 PM. The hike up took 43 minutes! That's too long! Aside from the conversation with the three ladies, nothing except my careful and lame mountain goating slowed us down. The above photograph, taken at 2:09 PM, looks east. The west bluff is behind us. The rock that I touched, to mark the time, is visible. The tree beside the rock is growing back, from healthy roots. A couple of years or so ago, a strong wind must have snapped the original tree, where I used to hang my canteen and cap.

A few seconds later, I took the photograph, below, looking south. That tree had been split a while also. It's where I place my canteen and cap now. Our sweaty T-shirts and hair dried a while, with a warm breeze coming from the southwest.

The Podcast

A young man was sitting on the “viewing rock” at the west bluff. It's a big rock, on which I've stood and taken many photographs, over the years. He didn't speak, while we were at the bluff. It looked like he was playing with his semi-intelligent phone.

We hiked a little farther east, on the ridge trail. That's when I recorded my fourth hiking podcast, which is the tenth episode of Appalachian Irishman – Podcasts. It's just under four minutes long.

The podcast is: House Mountain Hike 181, 5-4-2023: May the 4th be with you (published 5-5-2023; episode 10).

The podcast explains that this hike was dedicated to my mother-in-law, who went Home, on 4/30/2017. Last Sunday marked six years. It was also dedicated to my adoptive mother, who joined my mother-in-law and so many others, on Wednesday, 4/26/2023.

Of course, since Mrs. Appalachian Irishman drove me home, after 36 days in two hospitals, on May the 4th, 2016, I had to hike “My Mountain” on that “may the fourth be with you” day. May the fourth has deeper meaning to me than all the lame Star Wars jokes!

By the way, don't forget to read the full written remarks that describe the podcast! Once we started back down the same west trail, I spoke with the young man, at the bluff. He was sitting on the “viewing rock” drawing! He's an artist! The view was inspiring his art. Don't assume. You know what that makes out of you and me!

The Hike Down

We started our hike back down the same west trail, at 2:28 PM. Still near the ridgeline, at 2:36 PM, I paused to take the photograph below. The lower trail is a cutout that ignorant hikers started years ago. The upper trail is the correct one. Always take the upper trail, closest to the top. Dwell on the deeper meaning of that “hiking theology!”

The photograph, below, was two minutes after the one above. The “defiant tree,” as I call it, shows on the flat area under the rock ledge. I always touch it. I still wonder how that tree grew in that location. Of course, the tree petrified years before I started hiking House Mountain. It remains defiant.

Another “hiking theology” message is: don't allow life to destroy you! Grow where you are planted, even if it's not a good spot. Even if you grow at an angle, your growth will be toward the Son, who gives Light, to help you grow.

By the way, just after that photograph, we met a man, about my age, hiking up. Coming down behind us was a younger man. The older man and I talked a while. The younger man knew the older man, so they got to talking. As we started to continue down, the younger man noticed a tick on my cap. I'm glad that he saw it. I flicked it off easily. I still haven't had a tick stick to me on a House Mountain hike.


On our way back down, we met only one young couple, on their hike up. I touched the same post as I'd done to start our hike. The time was 3:38 PM. Two hours and 26 minutes in the woods is better than not having been there!

There's my 2006 Nissan Frontier! He was waiting on us, in a shady spot. The front tag is the same as this website's heading, without the description under the title. The odometer showed 187,214 miles at the parking lot.

Thanks for hiking with me again! I hope that Mother's Day, upcoming, is good hiking weather. Of course VE Day (Victory in Europe Day), in World War II, will be next Monday. That might be a good hiking day, if it's not raining.

This is the Appalachian Irishman signing off, for now. I hope that you read the other “two very serious articles on family and heritage.” The podcast and the hike are dedicated to my mother-in-law and to my adoptive mother.

In Memory of My Adoptive Mother (published 5-5-2023; article #410)


This is the second of the “two very serious articles on family and heritage” that the humorous article of Saturday, 4/29/2023 mentioned. The first article today honored my mother-in-law.

I took the above photograph, on Tuesday, when I started writing this article. The painting hangs, proudly, in our dining room. I look at it several times every day. This article's initial conclusion will explain the story behind that painting.

Please pause a moment, before reading further, to read “My Mother's Birthday, 1/21/2021, at Age 91 (published 1-24-2021).” Please also read the December 2022 comments to that article. That article sets the background for this article.

This article is in memory of my second, or adoptive, mother, Ozella McTigue Scott. My adoptive sister and I both call her mother. The 1/24/2021 article, cited above, includes:

My Mother, Ozella Scott, is also the finest Christian example that I have ever known. (I can have two, my Mom and my Mother. They are equally the finest!)

Ozella McTigue Scott (1/21/1930 - 4/26/2023)

My wife and I had hoped that the Good Lord would wait, to call my Mother Home, until after we could visit this summer. Regrettably, “life, such as it has been,” hindrances, especially since 3/29/2016, had forestalled a much desired visit to our Missouri family.

The summer trip to Missouri is still planned. The next visit with my Mother will be everlasting.

Homeward Bound!

On Wednesday, April the 26th, my Mother was able to walk and jump like she did in her younger days. Her memory regained its brilliant clarity. She was perfect. Her hair didn't need to change from gray to black, since she never had gray hair. Of course, her Irish eyes didn't need to change. They continue to smile, as they always did, reflecting the sweet and everlasting soul behind them.

About 7:30 AM, on Wednesday, April the 26th, the Good Lord called Mother home. My adoptive sister called to let me know. The phone beeped once, instead of ringing, as usual. I thought that a smoke detector had beeped. I figured out that it was the home phone. When I called my sister back, to talk about our Mother's journey Home, I mentioned the beep. My sister said, “That was our Mother!” You know, our home phone always rings, as usual. That was the first time that it beeped. That beep, as my heart knows, must have been our Mother, signaling that she had flown upward, into her bright and everlasting Home.

The Arrangements

I remember the good folks at McMikle Funeral Home very well. Our Mother's obituary is on their website: Ozella McTigue Scott, of Charleston, Missouri, Obituary: January 21, 1930 - April 26, 2023 (on McMikle Funeral Home).

The memorial service was on Monday, May the 1st. The obituary mentions that I would be one of two ministers, officiating at the service.

My adoptive sister would like to have seen my wife and me, but she knew, graciously, that my “bionics” might not endure the approximate seven-hour drive. (She has her “bionics” also.) Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I wanted to make the drive. My “bionics” have endured only a few two-hour, one-way drives. Sitting too long returns muscles to their traumatized memories. Walking, hiking, and moving around keeps them more limber. Wisdom dictated another solution.

McMikle Funeral Home and the Appalachian Irishman - Podcasts home studio had the technology. The honor and privilege, for my part of our Mother's service, was delivered virtually, on Monday, May the 1st.

My Message

The day after our Mother went to her everlasting reward, I composed my message. I was alone, but I felt as if I were speaking live, during the actual service. I tried to speak the words that I had prepared, but emotion frequently overcame my script. Emotion poured from my heart and soul more than I'd expected.

My funeral message, honor, and tribute to our Mother is: Ozella McTigue Scott (1-21-1930 to 4-26-2023) Funeral Message, by Marion W. Ferrell (on 4-27-2023).

I listened to that message once only. Early in the recording, I'd misstated that our Mother was age 63. I'm glad that I corrected that, later, to age 93. I did not want to rerecord, to correct that error. Composing the message was difficult enough, the first time. I may listen to my message again, but some time needs to pass first. If I hear myself again too soon, then the emotion will come back too quickly.

Initial Conclusion

In initial closing, I'll explain the story behind the painting. I'd taken the photograph, below, on the same day as the above photograph. The image shows the upper left corner of the back of the painting.

Back in the late 1980's, I'd asked my adoptive Mother, Ozella Scott, and my adoptive Mama, Ollie McTigue (who went to Glory, on Sunday, July 14th, 1991) to sign the back. They did, graciously.

The painting hung in the kitchen and dining room, of the McTigue home. During the many occasions, when I enjoyed dining with the family at the noon meal, I admired the painting. I commented on the relaxing scene. A boy, girl, and their dog were going fishing, near a covered bridge.

The loving and kind spirits of my Mama and Mother gave me that painting! I had tried to decline, but their caring insistence would not accept “no” as an answer. The painting hung, in honor, in the dining room, of our homes, first in Charleston and then in Dexter, Missouri. It was stored safely, during our five years in Russia (1994 - 1999). Lord willing, the painting will be our gift, one day, to a loving and caring niece. After this article is published, I plan to print and attach a copy to the back of the painting – to explain the history.

Final Conclusion

Hey, Sis! You and I had another good conversation by phone earlier today. Happy birthday today! No, I won't write how old you are, but you are my older sister! I'm your baby brother! Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I look forward, Lord willing, to visiting our Missouri family next month. Just keep the light on for us!

Your life continues to honor our Mother and our Mama. Their loving spirits live on in you. I know that you are passing along that same spirit to your children and grandchildren.

Dear Lord, as my written prayer, thank you for blessing me with my Mom and my Mother -- the finest Christian examples that I have ever known. We, the family who are still here, await the time, when we join the unbroken and everlasting Circle. In the name of Christ, our Savior, amen.

Memories of My Mother-in-Law (published 5-5-2023; article #409)


The article of Saturday, 4/29/2023, mentioned the forthcoming “two very serious articles on family and heritage.” This is the first article.

Yes, by the way, I know that yesterday was “may the fourth be with you” day. I've also made the lame Star Wars jokes. On May the fourth, 2016, I came home, after 36 days in two hospitals. (My 5/8/2022 article has more details.) As an important “by the way,” I wonder, seriously, how many folks spent extra time in prayer yesterday, on National Day of Prayer.

I only published three articles in 2008. Life, such as it was, fifteen years ago, preempted and relegated my writings to the background.

In June of 2008, family vacationed near Grandfather Mountain State Park, in North Carolina. The above photograph is one of thirty-seven that I'd taken, during that get away. Pictured above are Paw Gordon (my father-in-law), Maw Gordon (my mother-in-law), Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, her two sisters, and our niece. All seven of us stayed in one cabin. I'd taken the above photograph, on our final vacation day.

We enjoyed good family time. The swinging bridge, at Grandfather Mountain, was enjoyable. My wife and I hiked Grandfather Mountain. My wife, her youngest sister, our niece, and I drove the approximate two-hours, one way, to Chimney Rock, for an enjoyable hike. The weather was sunny and mild on every day of our family vacation.

Searching my website finds several articles that mention my mother-in-law. No one article is dedicated to her. This article corrects that oversight.

Phyllis Ann House Gordon (4/10/1941 - 4/30/2017)

Maw Gordon, as I called her affectionately, is Phyllis Ann House Gordon. Her 76 years on this earth remain a blessing to countless individuals.

I met the future Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and her family, in the summer of 1984. Maw Gordon and I took a liking to each other immediately. (Of course, my other future in-laws and I did as well.) Maw Gordon didn't need much time to figure out my sense of humor! I'll share a few memories of my mother-in-law.


After I'd asked and obtained Paw Gordon's permission, the future Mrs. Appalachian Irishman said “yes,” when I dropped to one knee and proposed. We were at the old Amis Mill dam, near Rogersville, Tennessee. That was in late April, 1985. My mother-in-law's father (Hugh Lee House, 6/14/1916 - 4/6/1985) had passed recently. Maw Gordon cried, once she knew that I'd proposed to her oldest daughter. As I understand, Maw cried in sorrow and joy – sorrow in that her father had just passed and joy in that her oldest daughter was engaged.

When the future Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I were married, before the ceremony, Maw caught me out of the corner of her eye. My future wife was in a nearby room, getting gussied up. Maw thought that I was too close to that closed door, where her eldest daughter was! She gave me a stern look and said, “Don't come any closer. Belinda's in their getting ready!” I assured Maw that I hadn't planned to go into that room, and I backed away, very quickly!

Maw Gordon and I, along with other family, enjoyed talking about our memories of Hawkins County. She shared many a story of her life, back in her younger days. Stories often involved Burum Road, Guntown, Bear Hollow (or Holler), ebbing and flowing springs (or ebb 'n flowin' sprangs), the old school house near the springs, and such locations.

Maw developed a curvature of the spine that worsened with age. She was born with a club foot. Those “whatevers” didn't slow her down, until later in life. I recall how Maw walked -- maybe a mile or less, one way, up and down side roads -- to work at a nursing home, when my in-laws lived in Etowah, Tennessee.

Maw Gordon insisted on certain traditions. For example, her three daughters and I -- even though we were adults, with some age on us -- got Christmas stockings, with our names on them, each year. The stockings contain fruit, nuts, candy, and such. Every Christmas, I'd complain that I was way too old for a Christmas stocking! Maw just laughed. Hog jowl and black-eyed peas were essential on New Year's Day.

Well, Maw, that was your northeast Tennessee Appalachian raisin'. Your daughters keep the tradition alive. I got another Christmas stocking last December. Yes, Maw, I heard you laughing!

Maw Gordon never met a stranger. She was a talker. She was also a doer and a helper. She never said, to someone in need, “Call me if you need anything.” Nope. Maw just figured out the need and showed up to help. The doing and helping were usually done through her family, when Maw got to where she couldn't get around as well. Family was glad to help Maw help others. That's a lesson for folks, who say half-heartedly, “Call if you need anything.” Don't just say. Do!

My in-laws had moved from Etowah to east Knox County, before Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I returned from Russia (on 9/30/1999). We were and still are living in Knox County also. Maw was glad to have us close, instead of half a world away.

I remember a day, back in the early 2000's, when I took Maw, in my ol' 1995 Nissan pickup, to a routine medical appointment. (The location was the same that I'd visited on 1/27/2023, for my upcoming “roto-rooter.” See my 2/15/2023 article, for that “fun.”) After her appointment, Maw wanted to go to a garden center, to buy a big tree, to plant in their yard. That tree, in a big bucket, barely fit in the truck bed! Paw Gordon and I planted that tree. The tree is still standing, and it has grown quite a bit. Maw Gordon planted many spiritual trees that are still growing. She was a good wife to Paw, a wonderful mother to three girls, Nana to her granddaughter, and my mother-in-law. Maw was sister, aunt, cousin, sister in Christ, friend, and neighbor to many folks.

I'll close this segment on a funny story. My wife and I moved into our newly-constructed house, on 6/6/2003. We still have the few cedar trees, in the back yard, that came with the land. We did not want to plant trees -- anywhere! For years, Maw kept “suggesting” that we plant a few trees in the yard. She had exact types of trees and yard locations in mind. I kept replying that we didn't want to plant trees. During one particular visit, Maw “suggested” the tree plantings again. (Note: family often “jumped” when Maw “suggested” something that she wanted to see done.) I looked Maw squarely in the eyes and, with a slight grin, said, “No. We will not and never will plant any trees on our property.” Maw figured out that I was adamant enough! Maw knew that we could both be stubborn! I out stubborned Maw, finally!

Passing on Home

Maw's stubborn determination kept her going, when others, of weaker disposition, would have given up. In time, her curvature of the spine required a back brace, which she wore only when she had to. Eventually, Maw had to use a wheelchair, as in the above photograph. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman bathed her mother once a week. That expression of love to her mother continued several years.

On 3/29/2016, I almost died, as the 8/26/2016 article mentions. Back then, I wondered and asked God why didn't I just die. (The early recovery was like various degrees of torture.) A year, a month, and one day later, however, I realized why I didn't die.

On 4/30/2017 (397 days after 3/29/2016), Maw could walk or run just like she always could. She could stand upright. Her club foot became a normal foot. She had no recurring congestion. If fact, Maw was completely well, finally, after having endured decades of physical suffering, with great strength and determination.

On that Sunday, 4/30/2017, about 1:15 AM, Maw went Home to be with the Lord. Last Sunday, 4/30/2023, marked the sixth year of Maw's everlasting joy and comfort. (Of course, everlasting life doesn't have the passing of time, as temporal life here does.) Last Sunday, family gathered at the Gordon home. We talked. We laughed. We celebrated the birthday of my youngest sister-in-law, who'd attained age <deleted somehow my that sister-in-law>, on the 24th. We remembered Maw, who was present in spirit.


The kind, caring, and godly spirit of my mother-in-law, Phyllis Ann House Gordon (4/10/1941 – 4/30/2017), continues in her three daughters, her granddaughter, many family and friends, and me. She was and is a fine Christian, saved everlastingly by God's amazing grace. The Son, who shined through her life, is reflected and continues to shine in many.

Maw demonstrated her faith in action, by her many acts of kindness and caring. Maw planted many godly trees that are still standing and growing.

Dear Lord, thank you for blessing me with such a fine mother-in-law. I couldn't have had a better one. This, my written prayer, is in Christ's name. Amen.

Wait! What did I just hear?

Okay, Maw, I heard you! I may plant a tree, for your birthday, next year.