Saturday, February 16, 2008

I'm Back! (I Think.) (published 2-16-2008)

Well, after a long hiatus, I'm back – I think. (By the way, "hiatus," from the Latin "hiare," means "to yawn." My almost year and a half break was definitely not a yawn!)

Well, as you can see from the photo, I've been on a long trek through the mountains, hiking the Appalachian Trail from north to south and back again. Okay, okay, I'm dreaming!

Actually, the practical hectic nature of life called, and I had to answer. From late 2006, I endured a career transition – from the adequately lucrative, but unfulfilling, life of insurance sales to the more fulfilling but chaotic and stressful world of a non-profit position. I also endured the illness of my mother-in-law. Sadly, I endured the multiple hospitalizations, ER trips, and final passing of my father.

Yes, 2007 was, and early 2008 has been, a roller coaster ride, not a walk along the trail! (I despise roller coasters!)

Now, I'm back. I will endeavor, with greater diligence, to post away my life story, for any and all, if anyone is out there, to read. Let's see where we go. Read on!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Hee Haw Luck (published 9-3-2006)

Watching older shows, on TV Land, etc., instead of the latest cookie cutter, cardboard bilge offered by the networks, is a sad consequence of the degradation of society. For example, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I enjoyed watching Hee Haw reruns on CMT recently, which brings to mind the song line, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all . . . .”

“Where has the Appalachian Irishman been, since June 12?” You might have asked. Well, Mr. Murphy struck this summer. After the wonderful birth of our niece, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman sought medical attention, ultimately requiring surgery. Thank the Good Lord, the surgery was successful. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman is recovering well, and she should be fully recovered in a few more weeks.

The Appalachian Irishman’s cooking has inspired his good wife to hasten her recovery time. Soup beans, instant mashed potatoes, and canned green beans have wonderful healing qualities!

Oh, also, the Appalachian Irishman managed to fracture a big toe amongst all this. Don’t, please don’t, ask me how he did this!

So, dear reader, read on! The next few articles have been churning inside me, along with the soup beans, for some time!

Garuba is a Fraud! (published 9-3-2006)

The following e-mail exchange doesn’t produce clean copy, but I am posting it, for the common good of all mankind. I have removed the personal references, except for Mr. Garuba’s e-mail address.

Section One is an e-mail from a friend, with Mr. Garuba’s message forwarded. Section Two is my humorous e-mail reply to my friend.

Beware of Mr. Garuba!

Section One

----- Original Message -----
From: <snip>
To: <snip>
Sent: Saturday, September 02, 2006 9:35 AM
Subject: Assistance Needed on Matter of International Importance

Can someone help me please?

I'm too busy to take all this money, but I really hate to see it go to waste. Please reply directly to Garuba, if you can provide assistance regarding this matter of utmost importance.



Note: forwarded message attached.
To: None
Sent: Saturday, September 02, 2006 4:50 AM
Newton & Associates
Chattered Accountants
6750 Strand Street,
covent Garden,
London,WC2E 7JSl

I am Mr. as garuba, president of Newton & associates, a chattered accountant firm and united kindom appointed Tax manager. I am a member of Chattered institute of london and former President of Association of chattered accountants-london, 1995-2002. Part of my services includes management of clients fund, business funding, auditing, tax management, project financing etc.

My contacting you is based on this (BBCWEBSITE) Just click and go through with your full attention. This website is a link to the victims of the Caribbean cruise organized by Deilmann on a Concorde Flight AF4590 that crashed into the Hotelissimo. I am not trying to make a journalistic reference here, but I want to present you everlasting business relationship that came as a result of this air crash.

Among the victims of the Monday, 31 July, 2000 air crash, is my biggest client Andreas Schranner, 64, a German property magnate his wife Maria, 62, their only daughter Andrea Eich, 38, her husband Christian, 57, and their children Katharina, eight, and Maximilian, 10, all perished in the jet. Just click.

Mr. Andreas Schranner is one of German biggest Estate Magnate. Before the air crash on Monday, 31 July, 2000, he signed an agreement with my firm in london to oversea his %40 capital investment base share with Natwest Bank london Limited. The share is his international investment objective valued at fifty four Million U.S dollars ($ since 2000. On January 8th, 2006, my team of auditors was appointed to execute the annual auditing of the banks investment, shares, reinvestments, and profits. It became obvious that Mr. Andreas Schranner $ has generated %75 interest.

Currently, Natwest bank london is calling my office for immediate presentation of Mr. Mr. Andreas Schranner next of kin for claims of the Mr. Andreas fortune. Since my client Mr. Andreas Schranner and his entire family died in the air crash, I wish to use my humble office to appoint and present you as the next of kin to Natwest Bank and assist in getting the fund transferred to you. Since the fund is my late client's hard earned fortune, it is one of my prerogatives to get the fund utilized. The fund has over stayed expandable servicing and if not claimed, the bank shall confiscate the fund. My Chattered account office is the sole manager of the fund $ which has generated handsome profits which cannot be stated here. I cannot personally apply for the claims as the next of kin since Barclays Bank knows my office and personality. It shall be impossible for me to personally make the claims. All I need is your approval to accept the business transaction. You shall keep %50 of the total fund to yourself while you keep %50 for the office of Newton & Associates. The Bank through my declarations about you shall accept you as the next of kin to Mr. Andreas Schranner and make the transfer of the fund to you with all the interests acrrued from the capital base of $

All I need is your sincerity, trust and confidence. Do send also your
full details viz.
Full contacts............................
Postal Address............................

I wait to read from you urgently.


Mr. as garuba

pls you can call me 22676408234
MSN Hotmail sur i-modeT : envoyez et recevez des e-mails depuis votre téléphone portable !

Section Two

Dear <snip>,

Mr. Garuba is a fraud!

First, I was a member in good standing of the renowned Association of Chattered Accountants--London (not to be confused with the less well known Association of Chartered Accountants--London) in the late 1990's. The esteemed Mr. Bob Cratchit served as president during that time, not a Mr. Garuba.

Second, this Mr. Garuba cannot be president of Newton & Associates, as the highly regarded Mr. Fig Newton is president.

Third, I returned recently from the summer conference of the Chattered Institute of London (again, not to be confused with the less respected Chartered Institute of London) and did not hear a Mr. Garuba's name called in attendance. Attendance is mandatory to retain your seat in the cigar and brandy parlor, so with Mr. Garuba's obvious taste for hard liquor, to which the esteemed Mr. Jack Daniels attests, he would have attended, if he existed.

Fourth, the tragedy of Air France Flight 4590 occurred on 25 July 2000, not on the 31st, as this Mr. Garuba asserts. A colleague from the Chattered Institute of London, Ms. Chicken Little, was one of the four individuals killed on the ground, as she looked upward, exclaiming, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"

Fifth, which this Mr. Garuba must be drinking, Andreas Schranner was certainly a big client, as he was 6' 2" and weighted 300 lbs., but he was not a German property magnate. Instead, Mr. Schranner was a peddler of magnetic car signs for insurance companies in the United States. He was not married, as he could not attract a mate. I know this, since he sold a magnetic car sign to a friend of mine.

Finally, as is commonly known, upon the death of Mr. Schranner (which occurred when he crashed through a coffee table while giving a motivational speech) and of any supposed beneficiaries that he may have had, his assets would have passed to his estate. Of course, his assets included only a van down by the river, in which he lived, a box of 100 count car magnets, and a sawed off shotgun. In all, Mr. Schanner's estate was worth about $5,400.00. This Mr. Garuba must have carried the decimal point a bit too far.

Please, pass along this warning to your colleagues. The quality of the letter from Mr. Garuba could dupe many a professional person. Being aware of certain details as I am, however, I wished to pass along the above information for the better good.

Best regards,


Pay with Your Finger (published 9-3-2006)

After having joined half the county in hauling off trash yesterday morning, the Appalachian Irishman’s truck was down to an eighth a tank. Fortunately, someone named “Current Resident,” who must have lived at our address once, had received in the mail a scratch off $2.00 discount coupon from the benevolent people at Shell.

Well, that tank of gas cost the equivalent of $2.417 per gallon, instead of the posted $2.599, a whopping 7% savings! With the joyous fumes of gas discount wafting in my head, my fractured toe and I hobbled into the store to pay.

While making the transaction, I noticed a “Pay with Your Finger” advertisement. “What is this?” I asked the a bit too bubbly clerk. She explained that Shell has formulated an optional, for now, plan, by which you pay for purchases by inserting your index finger in a scanner.

Your index finger? Why didn’t Shell require the middle finger? Imagine the commercial, explaining the process! “Just fold your hand into a fist, then extend your middle finger vertically and insert it into the scanner.”

Let’s give Shell the finger by not giving it our finger! Mark it. This will bring out the beast, if Shell tries to make this plan mandatory!

Gas Wars -- the Missing 7% (published 9-3-2006)

Aha! I just discovered why Shell could offer $2.00 gas coupons!

I took the following shots on Father’s Day, June 18. Notice that the Shell price per gallon, in Rutledge, Tennessee, is 7.5% higher than


 the Appco price, in Rogersville, Tennessee!


I assume that the extra 0.5% went to administrative overhead! Seriously, how was a 21-cent per gallon difference possible, or justified? This confounds my one brain cell!

House Mt. – The Big Dig (published 9-3-2006; updated 11-1-2022)

Over five months ago, I extolled the beauty of My Mountain, House Mountain Park. Now that fall is here, counting from September 1, as the Russians do, I am eager to hit the mountain--after, of course, this busted toe heals.

On August 16, I decided to stop by the park entrance, to see “your tax dollars at work.” As the photo shows, not much progress has been made toward spending that $250 million!

A contractor can build a house in five months or less. Why, then, does the government not have the parking lot paved, the bathrooms built, and the picnic tables set by now? And, again, why should these “improvements” cost $250 million? Once more, this is just too much for my one brain cell to understand!

11/1/2022, Tuesday, note: sixteen years have passed, since I published this article. Today, my website analytics showed that someone had viewed this article in the last 24 hours. On 9/3/2006, I had failed to note that Mom and Dad were married, on 9/3/1959. All I did today was add this note and add the published and updated dates to the original title. I still like what I wrote, on 9/3/2006!

House Mt. -- Winterland (published 9/3/2006)

We had winter in East Tennessee last season, and it fell on two weekends, with snows on consecutive weekends in February.

Finally, after downloading them from my camera, here are a few shots from winter wonderland on House Mountain! I took the photographs on 2/12/2006.Enjoy! I took more photographs, but this website allowed five only, for some reason.


Monday, June 12, 2006

It's a Girl! (published 6-12-2006)

Born at 5:08 PM, weighing 9 lbs., 15 oz., and being 23 inches long, the Appalachian Irishman has a new niece! My brother almost didn’t get his mitt on in time, but he caught her! I can’t wait to take my new niece hiking up House Mountain and Devil’s Nose! Congratulations to the new father and mother!

Baby Watch (published 6-12-2006)

No, I didn’t say Bay Watch! The Appalachian Irishman just returned from the hospital, where the wife of his youngest brother is waiting, with feet still several hours away from the stirrups.

I had to return home for the catcher’s mitt, as my brother, fully in expectant father mode, forgot his. A new socialized medicine rule is that the baby cannot be born until the father has his catcher’s mitt!

Anyway, I’ll try to catch a few hours of shuteye, and then return to join other bleary eyed family members, who are still sitting on Baby Watch!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

“Guvernment Edukashun” (published 6-11-2006)

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, as I have admitted before, is a patient, long-suffering soul. Why she married me, I’ll never know. She also suffers as a government school employee. Of course, she is one of the good ones – trying to wield the sword of positive, responsible, moral (dare we say biblical) influence against the menacing socialist hordes that run, or are brain washed by, the system.

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman received a thank you note from a student, whom she had helped, at the end of the school year. The sentiment, the influence, and the result are all commendable.

Looking for the cloud in every silver lining, as I do; however, I must address the grammatical mistakes made by this product of government education. Here is just the first part.

Thank you fur being there for me whin
i needed you that ment a lot to me and
thank you for helping me . . . .

The letter continues for several more lines--totally unencumbered by any form of punctuation whatsoever! The first person singular pronoun is never capitalized. Is this the result of the socialist emphasis on the collective over the individual?

Of course, the aforementioned student may be valedictorian material, for after further thought, the note could have started:

thunk u fer bein thair fur me whin eye
neaded u thatthar mint a lot 2 me +
thunk u fer halpin me . . . .

The Appalachian Irishman is just thankful that he was taught phonetics in the first grade. (No, kindergarten wasn’t required then.) He is also thankful for the excellent grammar teachers, who taught him parts of speech, parts of a sentence (including diagramming), types of sentences, spelling, punctuation, and so forth. Now, as long as little Johnny feels good about himself, it doesn’t matter how well he writes or speaks!

Of course, to correct all these ills, all we need is more money for “guvernment edukashun!”

What say you?

Coke and a Snicker (published 6-11-2006)

“A dollar eighty for a 12 oz. Coke and regular sized Snickers?” I asked the resident scholar behind the counter at the zip-in-to-get-ripped-off convenience store. “Why, young man, when I was a boy, you could get a Coke and candy bar for 25 cents!”

Mr. Earring/Tattoo just looked at me, with the line growing behind me, and asked, “Look, Mister, are you buying?” Plunking down the $2.00 in silence was my answer, since I had a light lunch a few hours ago.

The worst part is that I sounded just like some old guy!

Just Plain Coffee! (published 6-11-2006)

Frou-frou coffee! That’s what’s wrong with the world!” I exclaimed, while talking with colleagues, over coffee. No, we weren’t at one of those yuppie coffee houses either. We were at the office for the Friday meeting. Yes, I was drinking regular coffee, black. Okay, I’ll add a few drops of cream when I’m feeling a bit more sophisticated, but that’s all.

In simpler times, choices were fewer--Folgers, Maxwell House, JFG, Sanka, and perhaps a few others. Now, however, a Google search of “coffee types” returns 64.7 thousand references! No time for all that, so I hit the Starbucks website, to find 32 types of coffee in five categories! They even offer multiple serving sizes! Not small, medium, or large, mind you, but Grande, etc.

Just give me a simple cup of coffee, please! I’ll add cream and sugar, if I want to.

Somehow, I just don’t trust the politics of someone who walks into a Starbucks and says, “I’ll have a Colombia Nariño Supremo, size Doppio, please.” Just for fun, one of these days, I will walk into a Starbucks, which I haven’t done yet, and say, “Give me a cup of coffee, black.” How will the rocket scientist behind the counter reply?

Does anyone else want just a regular cup of coffee?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Kiss Vs. the Graduate (published 6-3-2006; article #17)

The Knoxville Civic Coliseum ( was the site.

The year was 1979. Kiss ( was in the house! Two buddies and I stood only a few feet from center stage. We were there! What a show! The rock vibes were rolling from the speakers. Simmons, Stanley, Criss, and Frehley were in true form! What a performance! One very stout and tall friend hoisted me up from time to time, so I could take pictures above the crowd. What shots I took! Great shot of Simmons breathing fire! The house was packed. We were there! What a memory! I was young and felt great!

The year was 2006. Gibbs High School graduates were in the house. My niece, Trina "Biscuit," was graduating (the only National Merit Scholarship Finalist in the class, I might add). A score of family was seated to stage left. The commencement music did not rock. The speakers were adequate but not on a roll. I tried to stay awake. I was old and sick, still fighting varicella-zoster. Still yet, when Trina "Biscuit" walked across that stage, a chill of pride and sentiment ran down my back. Was this the little girl whom I used to “walk on the ceiling?” Congratulations, Trina! Yours was not a ceremony of mediocrity. Good luck and Godspeed in the future!

The Knoxville Civic Coliseum hasn’t changed; I have. I miss the thrill and fire of the concert of youth, but I relish the love of my dear, long-suffering wife and of those around us. Have I graduated?

What say you?

Marriage Melee (published 6-3-2006)

A marriage melee is raging in our country. On the right, knights gather in defense of marriage as the recognized union between a man and a woman. On the left, hordes pound their shields, shouting that two men or two women have the right to marry.

As Mason said to Dixon, “We have to draw the line somewhere!”

Logically, if, by definition, marriage is not the recognized union between a man and a woman, then it can be anything! The slippery slope will prevail. The line will be redrawn continually.

Today, two men or two women may marry. Tomorrow, a man may marry several women, or vice versa. Next week, a group of men may marry a group of women. Next month, a group of men may marry each other. A year from now, a man may marry his dog – or his truck! Who is to say what is wrong?

To argue “there are no absolutes” is an absolute contradiction. Absolutes must exist, in logical reasoning and in the law.

Marriage is by definition the union of one man and one woman! Anything else is a perversion.

Bring on your “logic” to prove me otherwise!

What say you?

Random Questions (published 6-3-2006)

Why is Knox County resurfacing Cedar Bluff Road, when the road was well-paved already? Was the asphalt just not dark enough? Why aren’t other roads, in less politically affluent areas, not resurfaced, when they are in desperate need?

Why do many public restroom doors open in? After having washed my hands, why must I grab that nasty handle or knob?

Why does the song end and the station go to commercials, just as I tune in?

Why do people insist on riding my bumper, since I have no catchy bumper sticker to read? Is my license plate that interesting?

Why does the downpour hit, when I’m trying to get through rush hour traffic, on the interstate in west Knoxville?

Why is there a wreck, blocking the back door route, when I, unwisely, get off the interstate, hoping to avoid the delays?

Why does the last train car pass by, just after I, finally, shut off the engine?

Why does the light turn red, just as I am next in line to turn?

Why do women with flabby bellies wear shirts that show their bellies? Is it an optometrist’s conspiracy to make my eye sight worse? Or do their mirrors deceive them?

Why do people lie to insurance consultants and think that God will not hold it against them?

The glass is still half full.