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Showing posts with label Humor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Humor. Show all posts

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.

Introduction

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.

Conclusion

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.)


Tuesday, April 25, 2023

What a Man Hears, while Making His Coffee: EPA Rule, PFAS, and Water Bill Increase (published 4-25-2023; article #407)

Image title “PFOA, also known as C8, has 8 carbons.” From “Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)” on National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, last reviewed 3/9/2023. “This content is available to use on your website.”

Introduction

What did this Appalachian Irishman hear, while making his morning coffee? This brief article has to share the funny story! It's the 102nd article on humor.

In the early morning dawn today, after Mrs. Appalachian Irishman had just departed for work, I had the TV on the local news. I was in the kitchen, making coffee. I thought that I'd heard the newscaster say, “the EPA's regulation of pee pads could increase water bills.”

Nothing is wrong with my hearing. In fact, at my annual physical, two years ago, the nurse was surprised that I could hear above the normal human level. The sound of the coffee brewing must have caused my misunderstanding. I had to fact check what I thought that I'd heard!

What I Learned

So, what was the actual news segment? The website article for the TV segment that I heard is: “Some local utilities warn proposed EPA rule could raise rates for water,” WBIR-TV, Knoxville TN, by Vinay Simlot, 4/24/2023.

Apparently, the newscaster had said, “the EPA's regulation of PFAS could increase water bills.” I stood corrected. I stuck a finger in each ear, to check for earwax. The news article begins by stating:

A proposed rule by the Environmental Protection Agency could raise rates for drinking water, some local utilities warn.

Our water bill -- as is everything, in the “Biden economy” -- is higher and high enough. My investigative desire dug deeper into the well of online research. The “proposed rule” link is to “Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): Proposed PFAS National Primary Drinking Water Regulation,” on United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), updated 4/7/2023.

That rather complex source -- rich in acronyms, PDF download links, and “policy-wonk psychobabble” -- states, in part (with my emboldened red font added for emphasis):

On March 14, 2023, EPA announced the proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for six PFAS . . . . EPA anticipates finalizing the regulation by the end of 2023. EPA expects that if fully implemented, the rule will prevent thousands of deaths and reduce tens of thousands of serious PFAS-attributable illnesses.

To learn more about PFAS and to find important background information to support understanding the details of specific actions EPA takes to address PFAS and other emerging events related to PFAS visit: https://www.epa.gov/pfas/pfas-explained.

So, what are polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS? Why are they dangerous? The website, https://www.epa.gov/pfas/pfas-explained, includes a link to “Our [EPA's] current understanding of the human health and environmental risks PFAS.” I selected the following quotes from that link (with my emboldened red font added for emphasis).

PFAS are a group of manufactured chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s because of their useful properties.

. . . surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that most people in the United States have been exposed to some PFAS. Most known exposures are relatively low . . . .

Current peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown that exposure to certain levels of PFAS may lead to: Reproductive effects such as decreased fertility or increased high blood pressure in pregnant women. Developmental effects or delays in children, including low birth weight, accelerated puberty, bone variations, or behavioral changes. Increased risk of some cancers, including prostate, kidney, and testicular cancers. Reduced ability of the body’s immune system to fight infections, including reduced vaccine response. Interference with the body’s natural hormones. Increased cholesterol levels and/or risk of obesity.

. . . health effects associated with exposure to PFAS are difficult to specify for many reasons . . . .

Of course, that link includes a mind-numbing amount of additional information and links to other sources. I clicked and read enough, to see the bureaucratic spiderweb forming around my computer monitor. I cleared the spiderweb.

My Reaction

Initially, I said to no one, aside from God hearing me, “Well, I wonder when and how much our water bill will increase.” Since God is all-knowing, He heard me. (See Jesus' warning, in Matthew 12:36-27.)

The water utility district that provides our water filters river water. It's as good as “city water” can get. We filter our drinking water, from the tap. If our water has any PFAS in it, then it is not bothering us.

On Regulations.gov: Your Voice in Federal Decision Making, I found: “You are commenting on a Proposed Rule by the Environmental Protection Agency: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances National Primary Drinking Water Regulation.” I entered the following comment:

This morning, a local TV news station had a segment on this proposed rule. I read through enough material, until I found this comment section. Of course, the website information about this proposed rule includes a plethora of bureaucracy and mind-numbing details that are amazing! I know how to read and sort it all out, even if it takes time. I hope that our monthly water bill does not increase. It's high enough already. We should have had a water well drilled, during the construction phase of our house. I hope that every government official, who is involved, uses enough educated common sense, to do right by we the people. You serve us, after all. Serve us properly, please!

Mine appears to have been the sixty-seventh comment. As of this entry, I don't see that my comment has been published yet. It is, however, published in this article!

Conclusion

I may need to stop turning on the local TV news, in the morning, while making coffee! This is not the first time, this month, that the news inspired an article. (See the funny 4/19/2023 article!)

Please enjoy, after skipping the advertisements, the song, “Dig A Little Deeper In The Well,” by the Oak Ridge Boys, on The Oak Ridge Boys official OAKSTV channel!

Papaw Marion Ferrell (4/13/1880 - 11/21/1970) started Ferrell's Well Drilling, in 1901. Dad (Earl Ferrell, 9/17/1927 - 1/25/2008) continued the business, in 1953, until he retired, in 1999. Dad drilled water wells for 46 years in and around Hawkins County.

I wish that Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I had decided to have a water well drilled, in 2003, while our house was under construction. At least the EPA isn't trying to regulate pee pads -- yet!


Wednesday, April 19, 2023

“Best Apps to Save Money for Kids” (published 4-19-2023; article #405)

5/28/2021 photo, by Bra┼ło on Unsplash. Free to use under the Unsplash License.

Introduction

Howdy, y'all! Coined between the serious article of yesterday and the forthcoming seventh article in the Christian Evidences series, I have to write another funny little article!

This is the one hundred and first article on or including humor. (See the Humor topic section.) This Appalachian Irishman has to have a little fun!

Inspiration” for the Article

In the predawn this morning, after Mrs. Appalachian Irishman left for work, I had the TV on a local morning news station. (I glance and listen, with partial interest, while making my morning coffee.) I happened to catch a segment, titled “Best Apps to Save Money for Kids.” The newscaster seemed to enjoy “educating” any parents, who may have been watching.

Apparently, parents need to get “apps” for their young'uns, to help them figure out how to save and spend money. The assumption is that parents know how to manage money. These “apps” (software applications) even give little Johnny or little Sarah a debit card!

Of course, I was amazed! I laughed out loud and exclaimed to the unhearing TV, “What? Haven't y'all heard about piggy banks?” I had to write a funny article!

Search by “Best Apps to Save Money for Kids”

I assume that the local news station did an online search by the segment title, to find what they needed, to produce the segment. Using Norton Safe Search, I searched by “best apps to save money for kids.” I had to do it – just for some retirement fun!

Ignoring the seven advertisements that appeared first, the following are the top four websites that the search found, by listing order. This article -- in no manner whatsoever -- endorses any of the four websites. I didn't even bother to read the articles! I was just having some online fun.

The first to appear was “10 Best Money Apps For Kids and Parents,” on Esavings Blog, by Kari Cullen, 12/6/2017. By digging under “Contact,” I found “About Esavingsblog/Work With Me.” Apparently, Kari Cullen owns the website. She claims to be “a Ramsey Solutions Master Certified Financial Coach.” Interestingly, this article, over five years old, appeared first.

Next up was “Best Money Apps for Kids,” on Educational App Store (no author or date listed). The “About Us,” at the bottom left of the page, provides details about what the website does. Who owns the website? Your guess is as good as mine! Ownership is not listed.

Third up was “The 5 Best Allowance and Budgeting Apps for Kids,” on Parents, by Mia Taylor, updated 2/23/2022. This website is certainly more professional. The “About Us” section includes “Our Team” and “Contact Us.” It's easy enough to figure out who these folks are and what they do.

Last up was “17 Best Money Apps for Kids [Banking, Stock Investing + More],” on Young and the Invested, by Riley Adams, CPA, last modified 4/6/2023. The “About” section states clearly that Riley Adams, CPA, is the founder of Young and the Invested, and he provides information about himself and the purpose of his website.

Conclusion

What's wrong with all this? It's way too complicated! Why pick from up to seventeen different applications? Why write articles on the best applications? The simple is made complex.

Do parents know how to manage the household budget? I hope so. If they do, then why don't parents just give their young'uns a piggy bank and explain to them how to save and spend money? What comes in must always be more than what goes out! Young'uns need to see coins and paper money! They don't need debit cards!

As a “poly-tics” aside, maybe someone should write a software application for the federal “guvrmint,” called “The Best App to Save Money for the Government!” (See Debt to the Penny, on Fiscal Data, by the Department of the Treasury. As of yesterday, total national debt outstanding was $31,456,445,296,319.41 -- or $31.4 trillion and change).

I still have the little red piggy bank, which Mom and Dad gave me, when I was a child. It's in a wooden trunk. (I wish that I'd taken a photograph of it.) As a child, I learned how to make and spend money, by using that piggy bank. Mom and Dad couldn't afford to give me an allowance. I started earning money, by mowing the yard of a elderly neighbor, who lived a few miles away. A bicycle ride got me there and back. I earned five dollars, each time that I push mowed about an acre of yard.

Give those young'uns a piggy bank – not an “app!” What say you?


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.

Introduction

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.

Barbershop

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!

Conclusion

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.

Introduction

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.

Conclusion

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!


Wednesday, March 15, 2023

My Brief Humor on Briefs, in “Dagwood” Winter: Are You Ready for the Final Resurrection? (published 3-15-2023; article #395)

Introduction

Greetings, dear reader! Dagwood is a comic strip, which I enjoyed reading as a child. Around these parts, we're in dogwood or redwood winter – whichever or both. Yesterday, for example, the low was about 30Fahrenheit (F) and the high was about 42F. This morning, the low was a balmy 20F. In humor, I call this “Dagwood” winter – just to see how folks respond.

If you're interested in all those little winters, in Tennessee, a good article is: Blackberry Winter & Other Tennessee Little Winters, on Tennessee Historical Society, by Ann Toplovich, 4/23/2019. The article explains the traditions behind all the little winters.

Reading the following article, however, is highly suggested. It tells the legend of the dogwood tree: The Legend Of The Dogwood, on Blind Pig & the Acorn, by Tipper, 4/23/2010. Tipper's website is the first listing under Appalachian Heritage, on this website, for a good reason. I visit there every few days, to read a while. She has fresh articles, on Appalachian heritage, about every day.

As my ninety-eight article on humor, this one will be “brief.” The conclusion, however, will return to the legend of the dogwood. May this article inspire both laughter and reflection. After having published my sixth article on Christian Evidences yesterday, I need a little humor!

Brief” Humor

On 2/16/2023, a Thursday, I had to break down and order new underwear (or “briefs,” as some folks call them), online at Kohl's. (No, I didn't need new underwear, due to my Valentine's Day “roto-rooter,” as mentioned in my 2/15/2023 article.) The local Kohl's, which I'd visited on 1/27/2023, did not have them in stock. (It's the “new normal” of “supply chain” problems, in the new Socialist Utopian Oblivion, but I digress.)

If I'd been able to purchase in the store, then I might have noticed the difference. Online, I had ordered the following. The red font indicates my mistake.

Two packs of men's white, size 32, Jockey 4-pack Classic Low-Rise Briefs, $47.20. (That's $5.90 for one pair of underwear, if you're calculating, as I had done. A dollar ain't worth much, in “these inflationary times.” One pair of underwear should cost about $2.50 or $3.00 only.)

One “Minecraft Mini Mining Figure Set,” on clearance, $1.99. (The “regular” price was $7.99, for a little toy, made in China. Amazing!)

The before tax total was $49.19. (I had to buy that little toy, to get “free” shipping, sadly. The order had to be over $49.00. I was nineteen cents over!)

The following is a photograph, which I took, of the “Minecraft Mini Mining Figure Set.” The little toy is placed proudly on my home office desk. It reminds me of the humor in the “new normal.”

What was my mistake?” -- you ask? I should have purchased men's white, size 32, Jockey 4-pack “Classic” underwear, without that “Low-Rise” stuff added. “What's the difference? -- you ask?

The following photograph that I'd taken doesn't show the difference, except in the name. The “Classic Brief” is an old pair. The “Classic Low Rise” is a new pair. Both are made, sadly, in Cambodia, not in the USSA (Un-united Socialist States of America). By the way, when did the USSA become a bilingual nation, like Canada?

The difference is that the “Low-Rise are about an inch narrower at the waist and about an inch lower in height – despite both being size 32. I can wear the new ones. I've been a size 32 waist, since I stopped growing. The “Low-Rise are comfortable enough, despite being a size 31, as I suspect. I prefer the “Classic” actual size 32 fit!

So, what have I been doing? I've been looking on various online shopping websites, to see if the “Classic” fit underwear are in stock – in a store. Of course, I've had no luck. Eventually, I plan to either find the “Classic” fit in a store – which would be a “muricle” -- or pay very close attention to the high dollar “Classic” fit underwear that I buy online again. I won't make the same mistake twice!

Conclusion

The dogwood tree legend is that the tree was once as large as an oak tree. A dogwood tree, due to its size, was used to make the cross, on which Jesus was crucified. The tree regretted it's size, to be used to make that cross. Since then, the dogwood tree has grown smaller, as it is today, with blossoms in the form of a cross. Of course, this is legend. It's a nice legend. The legend, however, is not true.

The historical fact of the crucifixion of Jesus, however, is reported by the inspired writers – Matthew (27:32-44), Mark (15:22-32), Luke (23:33-43) and John (19:17-24). The reading of the Gospel accounts -- in the context of the Last Supper during Passover, Jesus' death, His resurrection, and His ascension -- is recommended.

This “brief” humor, in “Dagwood” winter, ends -- as St. Patrick's Day approaches, in two days. Also approaching are Good Friday, on April 7th, and Resurrection (or Easter) Sunday, on April 9th.

I am ready for the final resurrection. Are you, dear reader? This “brief” article concludes, with the apostle Paul's inspired words, about the final resurrection, to the first century church at Thessalonica:

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, NIV)


Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Roto-Rooter (1-12-2023) & My Valentine's Day “Roto-Rooter” (2-14-2023) (published 2-15-2023; article #390)

2/14/2018 Photo, by Brooke Lark, on Unsplash. Free to use under the Unsplash License.

Introduction

I count seventeen heart-shaped items, in the above photograph. Do you? Please comment, if I am right or wrong!

This is a humorous article, about our new garbage disposal, by Roto-Rooter, on 1/12/2023, and about my Valentine's Day “roto-rooter.” Yesterday, I had told Mrs. Appalachian Irishman that, in about ten years, my “roto-rooter” experience would become funny, but not then. Okay, it's a little funny today, the day afterward.

I'll explain why the seventeen heart-shaped items were not enough, in the conclusion. Remember, what goes in must come out – several times.

New Garbage Disposal, by Roto-Rooter, 1/12/2023

I mentioned our new garbage disposal, in the “Lower Spending?” section, of my 1/23/2023 article, on “poly-tics.” It is our third garbage disposal, so far. We don't use the garbage disposal often. Maybe we should do so.

On 1/12/2023, a Thursday, a friendly and professional younger man, from Roto-Rooter, in the Knoxville, Tennessee area, arrived at the scheduled appointment time. (The second garbage disposal had decided to retire, on the day before.)

In brief, we had to spend money, for that unexpected expense. We managed.

We might just start raising goats! They are four-legged garbage disposal units. They would fertilize the yard, and entertain Molly (our ol' puppy). We could use, sell, or give away goat milk. Goat meat is delicious, also, by the way.

My 2/14/2023, Valentine's Day, “Roto-Rooter”

On Monday, 12/26/2022 (the final day of our four days of winter), I had my usual, annual physical, by Kalpesh D. Parikh, MD, my good doctor and friend. My health, at age 62, was and is still fine – for a “bionic” man. As usual, my doctor bragged on all those levels and on how great my ticker and lungs were.

My good doctor, however, suggested wisely that I should do the Cologuard test. (You know. It's those walking roll of toilet paper commercials, on TV.) I bit at my doctor's bait, which I regret.

My annual physicals, for years, have included the stool sample test kit. I'd always taken home the kit, made my stool sample, and returned it to my doctor. The tests have always come back negative, with no problems.

I'll spare you all the details and costs, on the Cologuard stool test kit. I am keeping a personal record of every detail and cost.

In brief (underwear pun intended), on Monday, at 5 PM, I started taking the series of “crapping” pills, with all the water required. My “last supper” had been on Sunday evening. Approaching 8 PM, my approaches to the porcelain throne started. They continued, frequently, until just after 10 PM – when I could go to bed finally. I counted at least sixteen trips to the throne.

At 5 AM, on Valentine's Day morning, yesterday, I started taking the next series of “crapping” pills, with the water as required. At least I had a couple of cups of coffee. Coffee was allowed, thankfully. I lost count of the times that the porcelain throne called me. Those calls ended, gratefully, about 8 AM – giving me time to shower.

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman drove me, in our 2012 Nissan Sentra, to Gastrointestinal Associates, for my 10 AM appointment. At check in, I stated my name and, “I'm here for my 10 o'clock roto-rooter.” (I could have driven us to the appointment, but my wife had to drive me home.)

Ramanujan Samavedy, MD -- whom I'd met initially, at the consultation, on Friday, 1/27/2023 – performed my “roto-rooter.” Before that colonoscopy, my wife and I interacted with a lady, whose birthday is exactly the same as mine! (She had to go over some of the paperwork with us.)

In brief (underwear pun intended again), the procedure went well. The doctor had found and removed one small, benign polyp. Otherwise, my colon was fine. After Mrs. Appalachian Irishman drove us home, she prepared me a hamburger and fries! That was my “first dinner” (or lunch, as Yankees call it).

Conclusion

My mother-in-law, Phyllis Ann House Gordon (4/10/1941 – 4/30/2017), bless her heart, underwent two colonoscopies that almost killed her. The first was in early 1994, when my wife and I lived in Missouri, before we moved to Russia (10/1/1994 – 9/30/1999). The other one was in, as my wife recalls, 2005 or 2006. Each time, the doctor had pricked her colon wall, causing life-threatening infections. My mother-in-law survived each time, thankfully.

For those two reasons, I had rejected colonoscopies – choosing the annual stool sample kits. One colonoscopy, at age 62, with one small, benign polyp removed, isn't bad. I may have another colonoscopy, at age 124. For my annual physical, in December of this year, Lord willing, I'll return to the annual stool sample routine.

The stress, with so many trips to the toilet, to prepare for the colonoscopy (“roto-rooter”), felt like a form of physical torture, which I'd rather not endure again, electively.

Why are the seventeen heart-shaped items, in the above photograph, not enough? It's because I had to take 12 pills, on Monday, starting at 5 PM. (That started the at least 16 trips to the throne.) Yesterday, on Valentine's Day, I took 12 more pills, starting at 5 AM. (The uncounted bathroom trips started afterward.) That's a total of 24 pills. Seventeen were not enough.

Well, thanks, dear, for hauling me to and from my Valentine's Day “roto-rooter” and for putting up with my glib, Irish tongue, as I endured the physical torture of the toilet, multiple times, before the procedure. We've had more enjoyable Valentine's Days. Yesterday was certainly different.

Remember, dear reader, what goes in must come out. Spiritually, fill up with the Good Lord, so that His glory may be expressed by your life. I'm ready to eat supper!


Friday, December 30, 2022

TN TDOT Name a Snowplow Contest - Last Day to Vote! (published 12-30-2022; article #383)

Introduction

Early this morning, while performing my routine fecal plowing, I was listening to News Talk 98.7 FM, on one of the three radios, on my bathroom sink counter top. A news item – aside from shootings in other states reported as “local” news – that caught my attention was that the final day to vote, in TDOT's name a snowplow contest, is today.

Several days ago, a local TV station had mentioned this contest. I had flushed the thought, after wondering why TDOT would waste “toilet paper” money on such a silly contest. Well, the thought “back flushed” into my mind.

Yes, I know that, on 12/30/2000, family and I gathered, in the frigid cold, for the graveside service for Mom (Betty Lou Wood Ferrell, 11/24/1932 - 12/27/2000). Writing this humorous article, however, will help lift my spirit and distract my thoughts, from memories of Mom's graveside service.

Name a Snowplow

After my morning fecal plowing, I found, on TN TDOT Department of Transportation, “Name A Snowplow Contest: Voting Begins.” (The “A” should not be capitalized.)

One of three photographs from “Name A Snowplow Contest: Voting Begins.”

The content of that web page is:

Vote for your favorite Snowplow name. Simply check the circle beside the name you like best and hit submit. Voting ends Friday, December 30 at 4:30 p.m. The top four names with the most votes will be displayed on four different snowplows – one in each region. The winners will be announced in early January.

*Select your favorite entry*

Twenty-five candidates are listed.

Contest Voting*

Big Leplowski; Big Orange; BoomBoomPlow; Brinestone Plowboy; Darth Blader; Don't flurry, be happy; Freeze Slick Mafia; Gatlinbrr; Graceland Growler; Grit & Brine; King Henry; Melton John; MilkNBread; Nashville Plowdators; No More, Mr. Ice Guy! Reba McEnplower; Rhinestone Plowboy; Sleetwood Mac; Snowlene; Snowletta Lynn; Sweet Child O' Brine; Tennessee VolunCLEAR; Thaw Enforcement; Tim McThaw; You're Welcome

Thank you for your submission. A TDOT representative will contact the contest winners.

The website does not state how the 25 candidates were certified or who the contestants are. I suspect a “TDOT deep-state conspiracy!”

After seconds of “deep contemplation,” I voted for “No More, Mr. Ice Guy!” – twice. I reloaded the website. What do you know? The website allowed me to vote often! Since I hadn't voted early, I decided to vote again. So, I voted once more for “No More, Mr. Ice Guy!” I decided that two votes were enough. Of course, I could have continued to reload the website and to vote far more often, until 4:30 PM, but I have better ways to occupy my time.

Of course, I have several questions. Is this the primary or general election? When did voting start? (I voted twice on the last day to vote.) Should voting have been allowed on one day only? Are only Tennessee citizens allowed to vote? Are illegal aliens or citizens in other states, or nations, allowed to vote? (I did not have to present a voter registration card.) Does voting end today at 4:30 PM Central Time or Eastern Time? Was there early voting, before the unknown day that voting started? If so, what were the early voting numbers? What about paper ballots? When will the votes be counted? Who will count the votes? Are they certified to count them? Will there be a recount? What about a tie? Will there be a runoff? What about hanging Internet chad? Will you fine or arrest me, since I voted twice? These are several questions that come to mind.

Conclusion

On the eve of New Year's Eve in 2022, I remember, with sadness, Mom's graveside service, on the eve of New Year's Eve in 2000. I remember my “adopted sister” and her husband, from Missouri, visiting at the homeplace, before the service. I remember the bitter cold. I remember driving in the funeral procession to the cemetery. I remember blocking the impatient driver, who tried to pass the procession. I remember shivering, while seated on the very cold metal chair, during the service. I remember how Dad (Earl Ferrell, 9/17/1927 - 1/25/2008) looked and what he said. I remember the family gathering at the homeplace after the service. I remember every detail.

Should I email TDOT.Comments@tn.gov, with a link to this article? If I do and get a reply, then I will mention it in a comment. As a public service, I encourage my readers in Tennessee to vote early and often! Today is the last day to vote. Readers in other states or nations, of course, are free to decide to vote or not, based on their own convictions.

Mom, of course, would understand why I wrote this humorous article, laced with sorrow, today. Mom enjoyed my sense of humor. Perhaps, once I join Mom, and so many others, in heaven, I'll share this story with her. I will have plenty of time to do so.