Sunday, September 24, 2023

Seven Islands State Birding Park: 9-21-2023 Hike (published 9-24-2023; article #431)


Sunday afternoon greetings, to all local, regional, national, and international readers -- especially to you, dear reader! I trust, in the Lord, that you are well.

This greeting, by the way, does not include the “crawlers” or “bots,” from Singapore! I have tried, without success yet, to stomp those “crawlers.” Website analytics -- for the past 30 days, as of 9:30 AM, last Thursday, when I started the draft of this article -- showed 19,400 views from Singapore -- extremely high. Total views from other nations were far more typical. The other totals were: United States 2,320, China 257, Hong Kong 154, Russia 91, United Kingdom 86, Germany 71, Canada 67, Greenland 53, Thailand 51, Israel 48, India 28, Ukraine 25, Netherlands 13, Sweden 13, France 11, Iran 7, Belarus 5, Switzerland 5, and other 82. Singapore, please stop “crawling” my website! Don't make me fly over there, to stop you!

For local and regional readers, are you enjoying the early fall weather? Northeast Tennessee surely needs rain. Trees are dropping leaves, not because the weather is cooling, but due to the lack of rain. Fall colors won't last as long or be as beautiful this season. I still enjoy fall. It's the start of my hiking season.

Last Thursday, this Appalachian Irishman took a civilized hike at Seven Islands State Birding Park (Tennessee State Parks, Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation). This 53rd article, in the “hiking” topic section, describes the park and trail map, mentions a few details of my hike, with two photographs, includes my podcast (the 7th episode on hiking), and concludes with a point of peaceful reflection.

The Park & Trail Map

The Seven Islands State Birding Park website indicates that the land was acquired in 2002 and that Seven Islands “became the 56th Tennessee State Park in July 2013.” (There are 57 state parks. Savage Gulf -- in Grundy and Sequatchie counties, in southeast Tennessee -- became the 57th park, about this time last year.) Seven Islands “encompasses 416 acres along the French Broad River” and has “more than eight miles of natural trails.” The park is in southeast Knox County. I took the Midway exit 402, on Interstate 40 east, to get there.

I began to remember the winding and narrow two-lane roads, as my 2006 Frontier took me closer to the park entrance. I'd been on them before, in my 1995 Nissan pickup. Entering the parking lot, I knew that I'd been there before. My hiking log, which I started on 4/23/2000, doesn't record any hike at Seven Islands. I do recall, however, that I had taken a brief hike there, after having completed a work assignment in the area. The year was probably 2005 or 2006.

I wish that the park provided printed trail maps. They're handy, for showing trail distances and routes, as you hike. The trail map is on the information board only. It really doesn't matter, since you can't get lost! Just figure out the trails on your own.

Source: Seven Islands State Birding Park, Park Map.

If you open and enlarge, to about 240%, the Park Map, in a web browser, you'll be able to see the trails and the legend well enough. I downloaded the map, to include it in this article. The parking lot is just to the east of the Bluebird Barn. I walked through the barn, noticing the various items. The fancy outhouse and the information board are a few steps beyond the west (or exit) side of the barn. Small information signs, around the barn, describe the plant varieties, birds, and birdhouses, in that area. Beside the barn exit, there is an area where children can play on a slide.

My Hike, with Two Photographs

I wanted to cross the bridge, over the French Broad River, so I decided on that trail, if you can call it a trail. It's called the Bobwhite Accessible Trail. (I never saw Bobwhite access it.) The legend states that the trail is nine tenths of a mile long. It's a wide and asphalt trail, y'all! You could drive a small car on it! My “bionic” right foot endured the pounding on that asphalt. That foot prefers to walk on dirt, grass, or carpet! It doesn't care for concrete, asphalt, tile, or any hard surface. That foot didn't complain too much, however.

I started the civilized hike (as I call the trail), about 12:45 PM. The weather was warm and mostly sunny. The temperature was in the mid to upper 70s Fahrenheit. Clouds built up, during the hike. I'd hoped for rain. I would have been glad to hike in the rain, since we need it. It never did rain. It hasn't yet.

Having pounded my “bionic” right foot to the bridge, I laughed, when I saw the sign! It warned me to watch out for ice on the bridge! (I'm sure that's important, in winter.) I joked briefly, with three folks, who were at an observation area, on the bridge, about the danger of ice, on that warm day!

Having crossed the bridge, my “bionic” right foot led me to the grass and dirt Island Loop Trail. The legend says that it's a 1.2-mile trail, in total. At the fork, I decided to turn right (or northwest). (Always take the right fork, in life, y'all!) The trail presents several great views of the French Broad River.

At 1:29 PM, I took the photograph, below, while still on that right (or northwest) trail. I never did see the Bigfoot that must have built this Bigfoot house!

Yes, I know that a human or humans built this lean-to, from nearby tree branches. My hiking theology asks the question, “Who created the trees, from which the lean-to was made?” My full answer is in the third article, of 11/16/2022, on the teleological argument for God's existence, in the ongoing Christian Evidences series of articles.

Having walked that right (or northwest) loop, my “bionic” right foot wanted more! So, I hiked the shorter left (or southeast) loop. I conversed briefly, as we passed, with only a few other hikers. I enjoyed the solitude. Only the Good Lord was with me.

I saw several pawpaw trees and stepped over quite a bit of pawpaw fruit that was ripening on the ground. I should have picked some, to eat in the woods or to bring home.

At 1:51 PM, having completed the shorter left (or southeast) loop, I took the photograph, below, at a fork in the French Broad River. The trail fork is a few yards behind me. A picnic table (not visible) is a few feet to the right of the image. Thanks, Lord, for reminding me of your living water of salvation! (See John 4:10-13; 7:37-39.)

The entire Island Loop Trail, grass and dirt, is wide and well maintained. It is mostly flat, with only a few gentle slopes. If I hike Seven Islands again, I'll try the Hickory Ridge Loop Trail (eight tenths of a mile), since I may be able to get a good workout, by climbing the ridge. The Seclusion Bend Trail (2.7 miles long) looks interesting also.

My Podcast

Starting back, on the Bobwhite Accessible Trail (asphalt), I found an observation area, near the middle of the bridge. I decided to record an extemporaneous podcast episode. Are you ready to hear what I said? I thought so!

My Appalachian Irishman - Podcasts (YouTube) episode is Seven Islands State Birding Park: 9-21-2023 Hike (published 9-24-2023; episode 19). I started recording at 2:05 PM. As the description indicates, “I stated, incorrectly, that this is the seven 'rivers' state park and that the bridge crosses the 'Holston' River. My mind was in full retirement mode, apparently!”

I hope that you enjoy this brief episode, of about three and a half minutes. I was standing where the French Broad River runs through it! The final segment, which I recorded at 2:27 PM, shows the two deer that I saw, when I was near the Bluebird Barn. Can you spot the deer?

My total time, on this civilized hike, was an hour and 51 minutes, from 12:45 to 2:36 PM. Any day in the woods is better than not.

Remember, fellow hikers, that the Lord is the source of living water! See John 4:10-13; 7:37-39. Also, please remember to take the right fork, in life! That's my hiking theology.


I happened to notice that last Thursday was Peace Day. What's that? The United Nations (UN), on “International Day of Peace: 21 September” (United Nations), states:

Each year the International Day of Peace (IDP) is observed around the world on 21 September. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. Never has our world needed peace more.

The UN wants only twenty-four hours of non-violence? This world needs peace, all peace, not just more. The UN can't provide it. Who can?

The Prince of Peace can, if we let Him! This article concludes, by encouraging you, dear reader, to study Isaiah 9:6; Luke 2:14; and Ephesians 2:14 -- in their full contexts. You may know the Prince of Peace. If so, we are family, in Christ. If you don't, please get to know Him. You are welcome to use the “Contact Form,” on this website, to begin a private and confidential email conversation.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

How to Pronounce “Appalachian?” This Podcast Helps! (published 9-13-2023; article #430)


Greetings, on this warm and mostly sunny day, in early fall. Meteorological fall started on the first of this month, as always. I don't accept the astronomical beginning of fall, which can vary by three days. This year, it occurs next Saturday. Thank you for dropping by.

By the way, if you are from Singapore, please help me stop those Singapore “bots” (or web spiders) from crawling my website! They increase view totals, but they are not legitimate. I'm trying to stomp the spiders, but they keep crawling.

Around these parts of northeast Tennessee, folks -- who were raised here -- know how to pronounce “Appalachian.” Interlopers, however, who come into this area, legally or illegally, often mispronounce the word. This article -- the 26th entry, under the topic section “Appalachia - Upper East TN -- will, once again, try to educate all interlopers.

After all, this website is called “Appalachian Irishman.” This article wants all readers -- family, friends, national and international viewers, and even enemies (if I have any) -- to pronounce “Appalachian” correctly, as we do, in these parts. Listening to my embedded podcast, below, is crucial!

Important Note

This article explains the pronunciation of “Appalachian,” as folks in northeast Tennessee say it. I know that Appalachia is a huge region. See, for example, “About the Appalachian Region,” on Appalachian Regional Commission ( The first paragraph states:

Appalachia is made up of 423 counties across 13 states and spans 206,000 square miles, from southern New York to northern Mississippi. The Region’s 26.3 million residents live in parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, and all of West Virginia.

That document includes the following map, “Subregions in Appalachia,” which denotes the five subregions of Appalachia.

Subregions in Appalachia,” in “About the Appalachian Region,” on Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). ARC Web and Privacy Policy, Copyright Information: “the country, state, and regional maps on this website, which were created by ARC employees, are in the public domain and may be used without permission.”

As you can see, northeast Tennessee is in the south central subregion. Don't you just love how “guvrmint” bureaucrats like to divide us folks! Who decided to designate the five subsections? Inquiring minds want to know!

Folks -- in the Appalachian Yankee states of Maryland, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania -- often pronounce “Appalachian” with the soft sound, unlike we do, here in northeast Tennessee. That's their right. It's still a fairly free country -- at least for now. This article does not critique how they say the word. It does, however, critique Appalachian Yankees, when they try to impose their pronunciation on us here! Y'all up north say it how you choose. Honor how we, down here, choose to say it -- even if we visit or move up there!

Previous Articles

This website has made two previous attempts to educate, on how to pronounce “Appalachian.” In fact, the very first article that I published is titled “How to Pronounce 'Appalachian' (published 3/6/2006; inaugural article).” That article, of over 17 years ago, still draws views, almost daily. It's still the most viewed article, on this website, with over 12,540 views, as of 9/12/2023. It has garnered 35 comments, so far. I wrote the article, with my sarcastic tongue placed firmly in my cheek. Notably, the wiser Merriam-Webster Dictionary now defines “Appalachian” as “a native or resident of the Appalachian mountain area.” Seventeen years ago, the definition was “a white native or resident of the Appalachian mountain area.” Did my article motivate those folks to remove the word “white?” I hope so!

The other article, written about three years and nine months after the first, revisited the inaugural article. It's titled “How to Pronounce 'Appalachian' - Revisited (published 12-12-2009; updated 11-20-2022).” The article is my reply to two comments, on the first article. You'd have to find and read those comments, in the first article, to understand the revisited article. As of 9/12/2023, this article has had over 1,755 views.

Those articles include only my written instructions. This article includes the embedded podcast of my verbal guidance.

Two Other Podcasts

Before getting to my podcast, I thought that I'd present podcast instructions, from two other folks. My comments follow each episode.

Yesterday, I searched, on Norton Safe Search and Google, by “How to Pronounce 'Appalachian?'” Each search provided thousands of results. The first result, on both platforms, was: “How to Pronounce Appalachian (2 Correct Ways in American English),” on SpeechModification (YouTube), by Christine Dunbar, 1/27/2022. The episode is two minutes and 36 seconds in length. Yesterday, it had over 14,480 views, with 35 comments. The speaker, in fairness, states that both the hard and soft pronunciations are correct. Her opinion is that the soft pronunciation is the most widely used. (Of course, only the hard pronunciation is correct around here!) Interestingly, Christine Dunbar admits that she's from the Midwest! Early in the episode, she states, incorrectly, that the Appalachian mountains are only in the Southeast. A comment, of two months ago, corrected her error. How could a Midwesterner speak with authority, on how folks, in these parts, pronounce “Appalachia?” Despite appearing somewhat confused, at the end, Christine Dunbar did a good job, explaining the hard and soft pronunciations.

The second result, on both search platforms, was “How To Pronounce Appalachian,” on pronunciationbook (YouTube), 9/14/2011. It's only 10 seconds long. Yesterday, it had over 343,165 views and 279 comments. The male voice nails the way folks, in these parts, pronounce the word! It's short, to the point, and spot on! I like it. It presents only the hard pronunciation.

My Podcast

Drum roll, please! Are you, dear reader, ready to listen to my podcast presentation, of how folks, in northeast Tennessee, say “Appalachian?” I thought so.

On Appalachian Irishman - Podcasts (YouTube), it is published today! See “How to Pronounce 'Appalachian?' This Podcast Helps! (published 9-13-2023; episode 18).”

The episode is five minutes and 22 seconds in length. My Irish blarney got a bit long winded, as I spoke extemporaneously. If any of y'all know, please explain what a “far tar” is! I've climbed several, over the decades.


If you, dear reader, were raised around these parts of northeast Tennessee, then you know how to pronounce “Appalachian.” If you've moved away, especially into a Yankee state, don't let those folks make fun of how you pronounce the word! Let them pronounce it the way that they do. Just keep saying it, the way that it rolls off your tongue naturally!

To any interlopers -- who have come into this area, legally or illegally -- pronounce “Appalachian” the way that we do in these parts! Don't try to chide us, into saying it the way that you do!

Two previous articles -- on 7/28/2022, about Cades Cove, and on 4/4/2023 -- highlight Donnie Laws. The 4/4/2023 article introduced him, on this website.

Donnie Laws East Tennessee Outdoors (YouTube) is an Appalachian treasure trove of episodes. As of today, he has 705 episodes. Subscribers number 164,000. I highly recommend, as you finish reading this article, that you watch “Appalachia Mountain People Talking and their way of life #Appalachia,” on Donnie Laws East Tennessee Outdoors (YouTube), by Donnie Laws, 2/14/2023. It's just over 20 minutes long. As of today, it's been viewed over 276 thousand times. The episode includes the audio recording of John McCaulley (1880 - 1961), who lived in Cades Cove. Mr. McCaulley and my paternal grandfather were born in the same year.

Well, now that I've peeled “them thar taters,” I reckon that Mrs. Appalachian Irishman is “fixin' ta mash 'em.” Y'all keep turnin' right and goin' straight out there, ya hear?

Thursday, August 31, 2023

August 2023 Tennessee Special Session: Morality Can't be Legislated (published 8-31-2023; article #429)

4/13/2019 photograph, by M. Fearghail. See the 4/13/2019 article.


Poly-Tics” -- do I need a 67th article? There are already 66 articles, under that “Topic Section.” I've grown tired of writing on the subject. There is a higher calling. By the way, “poly-tics,” as I say and write the word, is from Greek, πολύς, meaning many, and ticks, or blood suckers. Dwelling too much on “poly-tics” will suck the life out of you! In contrast, being inspired by God's grace, through Jesus' atoning sacrifice, will fill your life with everlasting joy.

This month has had two full moons, on 8/1/2023 and yesterday. This is certainly a Blue Moon type of article. I'd rather not write it. I have to. This article is another effort to encourage biblical morality, to get this once great nation on the right path. Please indulge me.

Reason for the Special Session

The immoral actions of one person, on March 27, 2023, at The Covenant School, in Nashville, Tennessee, murdered three adults and three children. The murderer used firearms, to carry out the immoral deed. The trigger was the wrong decision by an evil person.

Of several media sources, this article references: “Nashville school shooting: Seven fatally shot at Covenant School, including 28-year-old suspect,” on The Tennessean, by Chris Gadd, Rachel Wegner, Kirsten Fiscus, & Craig Shoup, published 3/27/2023; updated 3/30/2023. The police stopped the threat, in a just manner, by killing the murderer.

That immorality prompted Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to call a special legislative session, which was held from the 21st to the 29th of this month. See “Gov. Lee Announces Special Session on Public Safety to Begin August 21,” on Tennessee State Government (, 5/8/2023.

Result of the Special Session

The news media have filled several segments about the special session. I've had passive interest in the stories. This article cites two sources that summarize the session.

First, see “With tempers mounting, Tennessee's special session ends with little action on guns,” on The Tennessean, by Melissa Brown, Vivian Jones, & Angele Latham, 8/29/2023. The article begins, by stating:

Tennessee's special legislative session, held in the shadow of the worst school shooting in state history, ended Tuesday with no significant changes to the state's gun laws and only a narrow slate of bills sending more money toward public safety issues.

The other reference is: “Tennessee special session on public safety comes to an end after House and Senate Republicans reach deal,” on 10News WBIR-TV, by WBIR Staff, 8/29/2023. This column indicates that SB 7089 passed. If the bill becomes law, it would spend tax dollars, in the following seven areas. The total cost would be $110.2 million.

-- “$10 million for school safety grants;”
-- “$1.1 million to create a public safety campaign dedicated to safe gun storage;”
-- about “$12.1 million” for “sign-on and retention bonuses for behavioral health professionals;”
-- about “$3 million” for a “behavioral health scholarship program;”
-- “$4 million for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for a'Behavioral Health Safety Net Program;'”
-- “$30 million” for “school safety grants;”
-- and about “$50 million” for “community mental health agency grants.”

The article further states:

Other than the appropriations measure, the House and Senate passed three other pieces of legislation that will head to Gov. Bill Lee's desk.

  • SB 7088: Requires the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to submit a report on child and human trafficking crimes and trends in the state by Dec. 1, 2023, and each Dec. 1 thereafter.

  • SB 7086: Requires clerks of circuit or general sessions courts to notify the TBI of the final disposition of criminal proceedings within 72 hours, instead of 30 days.

  • SB 7085: Directs the Department of Safety to provide free firearm locks to Tennessee residents if they ask for them, and requires handgun safety courses to contain instruction on safe gun storage.

The media have reported on the various opinions, conflicts, disagreements, and protests. In several instances, emotion seemed to have outweighed reason. A legislator or two may have addressed the root problem, which additional funding and laws cannot fix, but I didn't see a news segment that included the remarks.


The Violence Prevention Project Research Center (The Violence Project) has mass shooting data from 1966 to current. The project states that it is “a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to reducing violence through research that is public-facing and informs policy and practice.” The website includes a Mass Shooter Database. The chart, on that database, titled “Mass Public Shooting Deaths by Incident, 1966 – present” shows 191 total mass shootings that has led to 1,369 deaths. (My tally, from that chart, indicates 194 total mass shootings and the same 1,369 deaths.)

My study of the chart derives the following summary. From 1966 through 1979, 14 years, there were 18 total mass shootings that caused 91 deaths. In the decade of the 1980s (1980 - 1989), 23 mass shootings are listed that inflicted 150 deaths. The decade of the 1990s (1990 - 1999) shows 37 mass shootings and 213 deaths. The 2000s (2000 - 2009) reports 37 mass shootings with 237 murdered. The last decade, of the 2010s (2010 - 2019), lists 56 mass shootings that killed 516 people. 2020 records two mass shootings, killing nine people. 2021 lists eight mass shootings, resulting in 53 murders. Last year, 2022, reports seven mass shootings and 58 deaths. In the current year of 2023, so far, the chart shows six mass shootings that killed 42 people.

When I was in grade school and high school, from 1965 to 1978, mass shootings and so-called “gun violence” were unknown, in the rural area where I was raised. School buildings were unlocked, when school was in session. In high school, older students and even teachers had shotguns or rifles, on the gun racks, secured in their locked trucks. (They had either been or were going hunting.) The societal norm was morality, based on the biblical worldview, the Declaration of Independence, and the US Constitution.

Additional laws could, in theory, lessen the so-called “gun violence.” The further spending of tax dollars might help prevent some “gun violence.” Those steps, however, are like trying to stop tons of water from pouring through many holes in a dam, by plugging a few small holes with chewing gum. More laws and funding, which are constitutional, may help, but they are not the ultimate solution.

What is the ultimate solution? It is not political. It is moral. This once great nation must restore the biblical and constitutional values, upon which it was founded. Only then will so-called “gun violence” become seldom and rare events, as it was when I was growing up.

Where are the politicians, who boldly make that statement? Did Governor Bill Lee make that statement? I don't recall having heard him do so. Morality can't be legislated. I have spoken. Who is listening?

Friday, August 25, 2023

Trip to Sevierville, on 8-24-2023: Epic Failures, but a Good Day (published 8-25-2023; article #428)

8/24/2023, Thursday, photograph, by M. Fearghail.


Greetings, dear reader, and welcome to the 98th article, under the Topic Section “Life (such as it is)!” I'm glad that you could join me. I hope that you stay around, to read and listen awhile. The embedded podcast is in the conclusion.

The rather lengthy short story of 8/5/2023 -- about our Charleston, Missouri, Family Reunion and our Mission Moscow Reunion -- sets the stage for this article. In that article, under the subsection “7/11/2023, Tuesday,” I referenced my phone conversation with Travis. His wife, Kelly, and he were able to attend the recent Polishing the Pulpit event, in nearby Sevierville, Tennessee.

Well, as someone once said, “The best laid plans of mice and men . . . .” I'm sure that you can finish the quote. Apparently, the phrase is an adaptation from a line in To a Mouse, by Robert Burns. To make a long story short, the plans that the other couple and we attempted to make, to get together, never did work out. The four of us were frustrated, since we were within about 30 miles of each other, but we couldn't arrange our get together.

Meeting Attempt -- Epic Failure

Attempting to “take the bull by the horns,” I thought that I'd make an impromptu visit, on the final day of the Polishing the Pulpit event. That was yesterday. My 2006 Frontier was ready for a good stretch of his legs. I arrived at the Sevierville Convention Center, where the event was being held, just as it was ending. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman was aware of my plan. I thought that I'd surprise Travis and Kelly.

The convention center was crowded. Cell phone communication with the other couple informed me that they'd had to leave early that morning. I'd missed them. Travis and Kelly, the four of us tried, but fate forestalled our plans -- this time. Perhaps we can arrange another time and location, to get together.

Well, that meeting attempt was an epic failure. Walking around the convention center, however, was enjoyable. The weather was sunny, humid, and warm. I conversed briefly with a few folks.

Dinner Date Attempt - Epic Failure

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman works about three miles from the convention center. So as dinner time (or lunch, as Yankees call it) was approaching, I figured that I'd take my “long-suffering” wife out on a dinner date.

My wife met me at the entrance door. Inside, we conversed with some of her coworkers. I saw her office area and one classroom. I didn't have to walk through the security metal detector, since I was a known guest.

I wish that I'd asked to step through that metal detector! I wonder how loudly it would have beeped, as it found the 25 metal items, surgically implanted in my left shoulder, right knee, and right foot! (The article of 3/21/2021 includes X-ray images of each joint.) If I have another visit, to where my wife works, then I'll plan to walk through that metal detector -- just for fun!

Well, the dinner date attempt was an epic failure. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman wasn't hungry, and she didn't want to have a dinner date, just to watch me eat. That's okay, dear. We saw each other, at your work location, for the first time, since I became a “bionic” man. Thanks for the jaw kiss, as I was leaving!


You ask, “Where's the podcast?” It's on Appalachian Irishman - Podcasts (YouTube), as “Trip to Sevierville, on 8-24-2023: Epic Failures, but a Good Day (published 8-25-2023; episode 17).” Yes, the podcast title is the same as the title of this article.

I hope that you've enjoyed this virtual trip to Sevierville, of yesterday, with me, dear reader. It's life, such as it was. The trip included two epic failures, but I enjoyed the day. My truck had wanted a good stretch of his legs. I did too.

On the way home, I stopped at a grocery store, to eat dinner and to buy some potatoes (for me primarily) and peanut butter (for my wife). The robot checked me out, at the deli. A live human being checked me out at the register. The cashier and I exchanged humorous comments. The robot didn't talk back to me, when I argued with it. The folks around me enjoyed a good laugh.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Hilary Catastrophic Disaster: Clickbait Warning! (published 8-20-2023; article #427)

6/23/2020 photograph, by Anne Nygård, on Unsplash. Free to use under the Unsplash License.


The title warned you! Did you click anyhow? Apparently so, since you are reading this sentence. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “clickbait” as something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink, especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest.”

Don't worry! This article contains no malware or malicious intent. The title is clickbait, in that it may be of “dubious value or interest,” unless you share my sense of humor! Welcome to the 107th article on the topic of “Humor,” dear reader!

Recent television news is responsible for this article. Some news captions brought out my sense of humor!


Recently, news segments, on various television stations, were captioned along the lines of the two website articles, below, which I have selected for this commentary. I couldn't find the website versions of the televised segments that I saw.

The first is “Flooding disaster threatens Southern California as Hilary takes aim” (on AccuWeather, by Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist, published 8/16/2023, updated 8/20/2023). Hilary aims to cause disastrous floods in Southern California? I wish that Hilary wouldn't do that. Why would she want to do so? Thankfully, we don't live in that neck of the woods. I hope that no one is injured or killed.

The other is “Hilary expected to bring catastrophic, life-threatening flooding to US Southwest” (on ABC News, by Nadine El-Bawab, Kenton Gewecke, Dan Peck, and Meredith Deliso, 8/19/2023). Again, why does Hilary want to threaten the southwest, with catastrophic and life-threatening floods? What did that area, of this once great nation, ever do to her, to deserve her anger? I hope that Hilary doesn't injure or take life.

Did the writers and editors of those two columns, among others, forget to add a word to the titles? By not adding “hurricane” to those titles, this Appalachian Irishman's sense of humor was sparked!


Y'all may remember the former first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton. She still makes the rounds, on certain media outlets.

As well as I can tell, she has online platforms, on at least a couple of websites: The Office of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Onward Together. Listing those websites does not connote agreement with their content.

To converse with the former first lady -- twelve years older than me and far more well known than I am -- on the topic of worldviews, would be interesting. She could define and present arguments in favor of her worldview. We might have some general points of agreement, as most folks do. I would have to ask questions, to unpack the shaded layers of her insinuations. She could ask me questions. I would use sound and valid logic, to disagree with her overarching worldview and to affirm the biblical worldview. Yes, it would be interesting.


I disdain clickbait, which is on so many websites. This 427th article is my first and only use of clickbait. I apologize. I won't do it again.

The clickbait is that there is only one “l' in Hilary, the name of the current hurricane. There are two “l”s in Hillary, the first name of the former first lady.

This article hopes that, in God's providence, hurricane Hilary causes no deaths or serious injuries. Some property damage may occur.

This article also encourages the former first lady, Hillary, not to cause further catastrophic disasters, to this once great nation. It asks her to please follow the biblical worldview, in its entirety, without twisting certain aspects of it into her unbiblical agenda. I can unpack this concluding paragraph, if any commentator wishes to ask me to do so.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

My Valentine's Day “Roto-Rooter” is Finally in My Rear View Mirror! (published 8-15-2023; article #426)

12/25/2016 photo by Nathalia Segato on Unsplash. Free to use under the Unsplash License.


I apologize, dear reader, for the pun in the title! I couldn't resist it! I call a colonoscopy a “roto-rooter,” as a expression of my style of humor.

Colonoscopies, however, are no laughing matter. Colon cancer is a serious disease. A colonoscopy can detect and remove early forms of colon cancer, before the cancer becomes fatal. An annual stool sample can also detect early forms of cancer.

Improper eisegesis should not read into this article what this article does not say. This article is not opposed to colonoscopies, as preventative measures. In fact, it affirms them, in wise and informed consultation with your doctor. The physical torture of the preparation is far worse than the actual procedure. An annual stool sample, sent off for laboratory analysis, is my preferred option.

The purpose of this article -- the 97th under the topic “Life (such as it is)” and the 66th under "Poly-Tics (Greek 'poly,' many, plus 'ticks,' blood suckers) -- is to publish my critique, from experience, on the high cost of the overly bureaucratic and socialistic healthcare system, in this once great nation.

This Article, in Historical Context

First, however, the historical context of this article must be set. On August 14, 1945, Japan surrendered unconditionally, ending World War II. Yesterday marked the 77th anniversary of that surrender.

On August 15, 2021, this once great nation lowered its flag at the Kabul, Afghanistan, embassy, ending the “War on Terror.” The article of 8/16/2021 remains my public statement.

Anesthetist's Bill, for 22 Minutes of Work

Moving to the purpose of this commentary, the article of 2/15/2023 mentioned my Valentine's Day “roto-rooter.” Also, one of the four sidenotes, in the article of 7/5/2023, noted the anesthetist's first bill, sent on 6/27/2023 and received on 7/3/2023, for $1,440.00. The procedure was on 2/14/2023 (Valentine's Day). Why did it take so long for the anesthetist's bills to start arriving? He sent me three additional bills, on 7/4/2023 (Independence Day), 7/21/2023, and 8/7/2023 (received yesterday). Apparently, once his bills start, they just keep coming. Common business practice is to send a bill, with the due date 30 days after the bill is sent. If the bill isn't paid by the due date, then another bill is sent, after the missed due date.

The log that I have been keeping is now ten pages. In it, I've been recording the mind-numbing and overly bureaucratic details, related to my colonoscopy. The log contains records of Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) received, bills received and paid, letters, and phone conversations. I won the appeal, to my insurance provider, in that I verified that one small polyp, discovered on 2/14/2023, could not have been, logically, a pre-existing condition!

Having received the anesthetist's fourth bill (dated 8/7/2023 and received yesterday), I sent my $467.50 payment, to him, by postal mail, today -- with my pithy letter included. (I saw the mailman take it from the mailbox. Yes, he is a man.) An email, which I had received on 8/9/2023, verified that the anesthetist worked 22 minutes, during my colonoscopy. My letter included the following analysis.

By my calculations, the anesthetist's initial charge of $1,440, for 22 minutes of work, is $65.45 per minute, or $3,927.27 per hour. Thankfully, the insurance adjustment decreased his charge by 67.743% (or $975.50). Thus, my $467.50 payment, for 22 minutes of work, calculates to $21.25 per minute, or $1,275 per hour. Even with the adjustment, that's not a bad pay rate! Wouldn't $21.25 per hour, not per minute, be a good pay rate? For 22 minutes of work, the anesthetist would earn $7.79. I'm sure that's not enough. So, let's try $100 per hour! If so, he would earn $36.67, for 22 minutes of work. That's better -- and reasonable!

Dear reader, how would you like to earn $467.50, for 22 minutes of work? Just earn the proper degree and get a job as an anesthetist! Apparently, it's easy money!

Total Costs, for Colonoscopy

Focusing now on the total costs, for my Valentine's Day colonoscopy, my records indicate the following charges, the approved amounts, and what I paid actually. The information is from EOBs, my bill payment records, and my 10-page document record.

Total charges, for the Cologuard kit, all laboratory, and all services, was $6,120.91, which includes the 1/27/2023 consultation. (The total does not include the $50 that I paid for the 24 pills, mentioned in the 2/15/2023 article.) Total insurance adjustments (decreases) were $3,461.47. Subtracting the insurance adjustments from the total charges results in approved total charges of $2,659.44. As of today, I have paid, for all laboratory and services, a total of $2,446.03 (not included the $50 paid for the 24 pills). Subtracting my total payments from the approved total charges leaves $213.41.

So, dear reader, my 2/14/2023, Valentine's Day, “roto-rooter” may not yet be in my rear view mirror completely! Will some provider send me a bill for $213.41? We will see. If I get another bill, I will write about it, and I will reference this article! Well, that is according to the Lord's will, of course.


As to life, “such as it is,” I hope that my Valentine's Day “roto-rooter” is finally in my rear view mirror! I hope that the EOB mailings, which I have been collecting, have stopped. I hope that the bills, which I have collected, challenged, and paid, have stopped. This sad saga has occupied enough of my time, over the last six months!

As to “poly-tics,” my experience is only one sad example of many. I have major medical health insurance coverage, through a well-known and reputable insurance provider. The policy is in place, to cover major medical care expenses, if, God forbid, they were to occur. The monthly premium is fairly reasonable. I chose the policy, since I'm healthy, can pay the deductible and maximum out-of-pocket costs, if needed, and want a lower monthly premium. I did not select a plan, with a much higher monthly premium, with lower out-of-pocket expenses.

The sadness of my example illustrates the high cost of the overly bureaucratic and socialistic healthcare system, in this once great nation. Months ago, I wrote, in the 10-page document, which I've mentioned previously, that the total cost should have been no more than about $500.00 to $750.00 – for the Cologuard kit, laboratory, the 24 pills, and the about 30 minute colonoscopy (including anesthesia). The “consultation,” before the procedure, was not necessary. Instead, total charges, as I've stated earlier, were $6,120.91 not including the $50 for the 24 pills. If one pill costs about $2.08, why should I not have expected the higher costs, for the procedure?

The healthcare industry needs to be like, for example, the automotive repair industry. Any vehicle repair shop will provide, up front, an estimate on the cost of parts, labor, supplies, fees, and taxes. You decide to do business or not. Competitors are out there!

Healthcare providers, in non-emergency situations, should provide up front estimates, on the cost of equipment, laboratories, medications, supplies, labor, and fees. Then, you consult with your health insurance provider. By that means, you determine your out-of-pocket costs, up front.

Lord willing, I plan to require up front estimates, on total costs, before any future non-emergency medical care. I grow tired of being surprised, for example, by an anesthetist's bill, for 22 minutes of work, that charged me $1,440.00. The healthcare industry needs more competition and less socialism.

Also, let's stop the constant barrage of prescription drug commercials, in the media, such as the walking roll of toilet paper commercial! We can do it! On 4/1/1970, President Richard Nixon signed legislation that banned cigarette advertisements on radio and television. In 1997, while my wife and I were doing mission work in Russia, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed pharmaceutical companies to advertise directly to consumers, on radio and television. If cigarette advertisements are banned, then pharmaceutical commercials can be banned!

What say you?

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Visit by My First Cousin, on 7-24-2023 (published 8-10-2023; article #425)


Howdy, again, dear reader. I hope that you enjoyed the article of 8/7/2023, about the birthday cake pie. This is the second article, which was waiting its turn, after the short story, of 8/5/2023, published.

I'd spoken with a fine first cousin, Waymon, on my birthday. He'd told me that he planned to come by here, to visit, in a week or so. He did! My cousin is about 15 years ahead of me, on the “ago-o-meter.” His middle name is the same as my first name. Being so named, our parents honored our paternal grandfather, Marion Ferrell (4/13/1880 - 11/21/1970). (Papaw Ferrell didn't have a middle name.) Before publishing this article, I'd called 'cuz Waymon, to obtain his permission to use (as y'all can figure out) his full name and the photograph (below) that includes him. Thanks, 'cuz!

This article remembers our last face-to-face visit (over ten years ago), honor's my cousin's parents (my uncle and aunt), and relives our visit, on 7/24/2023. By topic section, this is the 117th article on “Family” and the 97th on “Heritage.” I hope that a Fearghail clan relative isn't too shy to comment on this article. The conclusion should inspire at least a few comments!

Our Last Visit, on 9/27/2012

I've been writing daily notes on desktop calendars, since 10/1/1994, the day that Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I moved to Moscow, Russia, to begin our five-year mission work. From desktop calendar notes and my recollection, the last time that 'cuz Waymon and I saw each other in person was on Thursday, 9/27/2012. His older brother was with us also.

On that day, we had dinner (or lunch, as Yankees call it) and conversation, at the Red Pig Bar-B-Q, in Johnson City, Tennessee. The day also marked the end of my eighteen weeks of training, which had started on 5/13/2012, as a new employee (hired on 4/16/2012), for the state of Tennessee. That employment ended, with my retirement, on 5/13/2022 (as the article of 5/15/2022 mentions).

My two cousins and I, among other topics, talked quite a bit about the heritage of our branch of the Fearghail clan (from County Longford, Ireland; see, among other sources, “The Farrell Clan,” on We swapped a few stories and tall tales as well. That pleasant memory lingers in my mind.

Unfortunately, time and distance hindered my cousin and me from seeing each other again, until 7/24/2023. We live about an hour and forty-five minutes apart. We couldn't meet at family reunions, at the same time. “Life, such as it was,” certainly forestalled opportunities to gather.

Uncle George & Aunt Blanche

This section honors cousin Waymon's parents (my uncle George and aunt Blanche). They are mentioned in previous articles -- on 7/7/2019, 10/31/2020, 9/7/2022, and 11/30/2022.

On my paternal grandfather's side, I was blessed to have two aunts and five uncles. Uncle George Charles Ferrell (1/14/1920 - 12/1/1995, age 75) was the third son of my paternal grandparents. For decades, I've said that, if someone were to force me to name my favorite uncle, I'd have to name my uncle George. That's no slight against my other four uncles!

All my uncles had a sense of humor. Uncle George's sense of humor was more obvious, and his humor matched mine quite well. We could just about laugh, without saying a word, when we looked at each other, with mischievous grins on our faces.

Uncle George served in the army, during World War II. He was in the Battle of the Bulge, serving under General Patton. As I understand the story, Uncle George carried his entrenching tool on his hip, not on his pack, as was the usual placement. A German bullet hit the entrenching tool and ricocheted off. Uncle George was not injured.

I remember other details about uncle George and aunt Blanche. They farmed and had a dairy farm. I watched uncle George milk cows several times, when Dad and Mom would take us boys to visit them. As I recall, uncle Carson talked me into milking a cow once. Uncle George probably encouraged me to try my hand at milking, but I declined.

The last time that I saw uncle George was, as I recall, in April of 1995. My wife and I had started our five-year mission work, in Russia, on 10/1/1994. We, however, had our first furlough, back to this country, from 4/1-24/1995. Uncle George and I happened to meet, while we were both shopping at the Food City grocery store, in my hometown. Pleasantly surprised to see each other, we talked as uncle and nephew for quite a while. I'm sure that we exchanged a few witty comments, on various things.

Mom and Dad made the international call to us, in Moscow, on 12/1/1995. I remember talking with both. The news that uncle George was killed, by a driver going the wrong way, was shocking. Uncle George had been on his way to a routine VA appointment. My wife and I had our second furlough (12/12/1995 - 2/1/1996), to visit supporting churches. We were able to see aunt Blanche and other family, during our stay with my parents.

Aunt Blanche Allen Ferrell (6/18/1924 - 7/3/2012, age 89) and my Mom shared similar spirits. They even looked like each other a little. Aunt Blanche's calm, caring, loving, soft, and sweet spirit is her legacy. Her faith was demonstrated, by the outpouring of the fruit of the Spirit, which was a blessing, to family, friends, and many others. I don't recall aunt Blanche every sharing a negative or cross word. Her words were always encouraging.

As a boy and then a young man, I recall mealtime gatherings with uncle George and aunt Blanche. Talk about good, country food! The conversations, as the meals, were also hearty.

After uncle George passed and while Dad (Earl Ferrell 9/17/1927 - 1/25/2008) was still living, Dad and I would visit aunt Blanche, after Dad's cardiologist appointments. I often just listened as aunt Blanche and Dad talked about various family topics. I wish that I'd recorded some of their conversations. The last time that Dad and I visited aunt Blanche together was on 8/27/2007.

As mentioned previously, I was in training from 5/13/2012 - 9/27/2012, staying each week in a Johnson City hotel. During that time, I was able to visit with aunt Blanche nine times, on May 24th, June 5th and 18th, July 11th and 24th, and August 8th. The last two visits were on September 20th and 27th. My 2012 desk calendar notes that my visit on 6/18/2012 was aunt Blanche's 88th birthday. I do believe that she had a good birthday, despite my visit!

During those visits, aunt Blanche gave me two of her three books of poems. She didn't have copies of her first book. Over the years, I've read each of her poems. They are on spiritual and Christian themes, to comfort during grief, to encourage during discouragement, to bring laughter during sadness, and, primarily, to bring salvation to the lost. Aunt Blanche dedicated each book of poems to her husband, their sons, and their son's families.

Photograph, by M. Fearghail, on 8/9/2023, at 11:30 AM.

The book (on the left in the image), Reflections From Life, was published in 1987. Eighty-two poems are in the book. The “Introduction,” by aunt Blanche's sister, Rowena Allen Nelson, states that this was aunt Blanche's second book. The first book of poems, printed in 1981, which I don't have, is titled Reminders of God's Love.

The other book (on the right in the image), Lasting Impressions, was published in 1991. Seventy-seven poems are in the book. Aunt Blanche wrote that, as the book was going to print, Desert Shield had become Desert Storm. In addition to her family, she dedicated the book to soldiers, fighting in Desert Storm.

Aunt Blanche honored her Lord and Savior, for blessing her with the gift of writing, and she also dedicated each book to Him.

Aunt Blanche had also given Mom and Dad copies of her books of poetry. Mom kept aunt Blanche's books, prominently, on a bookshelf. I've searched for the missing book, Reminders of God's Love, but I've not found it yet.

Uncle George and aunt Blanche are enjoying everlastingness together, with many other Christian family members and friends. Their legacy is of biblical values, faith, family, devotion, honor, love, and nurture, with a good amount of humor mixed in! I look forward to seeing them again, once it's my turn to join the everlasting family reunion.

Visit on 7/24/2023

'Cuz Waymon and I have talked several times, over the years. We keep in touch. On Monday, 7/24/2023, good ol' 'cuz Waymon called me, at 10:15 AM. He planned to drive down here, to first visit a school-aged friend, in nearby Luttrell. Afterward, he'd call, to visit us.

Being a Ferrell, Waymon knows how to time a visit, for supper! (Hey, Waymon, we were glad that it timed out that way!) He called just before 6 PM. I drove to meet him, at the Corryton fire department (next to the post office). He followed me to the house.

While Mrs. Appalachian Irishman was finishing the supper fixins, Waymon and I talked, swapped stories, and told a few jokes. Over a decade had passed, since we'd seen each other in person, but we picked right up, as if we'd seen each other the day before.

Waymon and I swapped stories about our various physical ailments. I showed him the scars that mark my three “bionic” joints (left shoulder, right knee, and right foot). Waymon, despite his ailments, is holding up well enough. After all, he'd already driving down here and visited with his grade school friend, before having to put up with me!

For supper, my “long-suffering” wife had prepared chicken, mashed 'taters, and green beans, with tomatoes and cucumbers on the side. Thanks, dear, for another fine, country supper!

Well, after supper, 'cuz Waymon and I loosened our belts a little and kept on talking. My wife chimed in often, while she tended to supper dishes. You ask, “Was the TV on?” Are you kidding? Who needs a TV, radio, computer, or semi-intelligent phone, for entertainment, when you have family conversation going on!

I'd not noticed the time, but dusk was coming on. We invited Waymon to spend the night, so that he could drive back home the next morning. 'Cuz thanked us for the offer, but he decided that he'd better head back home. By the way, Molly, our ol' puppy, didn't come around to meet Waymon, but she saw him, while looking in the living room, from the deck.

Photograph, by Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, on 7/24/2023, at 8:29 PM.

As the caption, above, reads, my wife took the photograph, of 'cuz Waymon and me, at 8:29 PM. Waymon will claim that he's the good looking guy, in the photograph. All that I can say, by reply, is, “Why are you wearing a belt and suspenders, Waymon? Are you a pessimist?” You must admit, dear reader, that I got in the last word!

About 8:35 PM, I led 'cuz Waymon to Blaine. I turned around at the Little Dipper, while Waymon continued his drive, on 11W, back home. He honked and waved, as he went by me. I'd asked 'cuz to call, once he'd arrived home. He called, at 10:20 PM, to say that he'd made it back safely.

Waymon, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, and I had a good Ferrell family reunion! Since I've realized that my “bionic” body can endure a long drive, as the short story, of 8/5/2023, verified, then we may have more frequent reunions. It's all according to the Lord's will


This article challenges the Marion Ferrell (4/13/1880 - 11/21/1970) and Molly Gertrude Archer Ferrell (11/30/1892 - 6/11/1971) branch of the Fearghail clan! Many have already left this old world. Many, however, are still here, as the generations continue.

When and where would y'all like to plan a family reunion? You are challenged either to add comments to this article or to use the “Contact Form,” to email me -- if you don't know my phone number. What do you say?