Sunday, January 31, 2010

More House Mountain Snow! (published 1-31-2010)

Yes! We had a real snow for a change! The Appalachian Irishman measured four inches in his yard, in the early afternoon before his hike yesterday. The freezing rain of late morning may have diminished the total. Is there hope for global cooling?

Two snows in one month (albeit, the first, on January 9, was light) bring back childhood memories of several good snows each winter.

Enjoy the views, this time mostly of mountain streams and trails. A cloud covered House Mountain, with heavy snow falling, prevented any scenic shots from the bluffs.

Snow Day?

Life is not fair! The Appalachian Irishman worked too hard and too many hours last week, even working last Sunday afternoon, all to get ready for the ever-loving, annual state (socialist bureaucrat) QA survey. (Now, the surveyors are friendly enough, mind you, but the survey can be grueling still yet.) He needed a snow day off. Did he get it? No. Heck, no! Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, however, who works in the socialist edukashun system, was off on a snow day Friday! That was the sixth vacation, pardon me, snow day this month!

Well, I would not have minded, for we must keep the little kiddies safe, but there was no snow! I asked Mrs. Appalachian Irishman to take the following photo from the deck -- since she was home and I was working -- as proof.

The snow did not start until about 3:00 PM, as light flurries. All the counties in the area, except my beloved Hawkins County, took a full snow day, however. (Hawkins County officials had the genital fortitude to hold school until noon, at least.)

What does this say about our society? It says that Americans have become timid, lazy, and easily frightened! Did the socialist edukators just want a long weekend? That’s laziness. Were they afraid that little Johnny might be hit by a snowflake, just as the final bell rang? That’s cowardice!

You know. Actually, it might be the lawyers. What if little Johnny slipped on a snowflake, hit the ground, and bumped his little head? The parents might sue the school system!

Wake up America! Toughen up! Do not be controlled by trumped up mass hysteria! If not, we might become snowed under by another nation. Has anyone heard of the Roman Empire?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

House Mountain Snow! (published 1-10-2010)

We have winter around here, and sometimes it falls on a weekend! Could those global warming fanatics be right? The Appalachian Irishman longs for the cold, snowy winters of his youth, when, getting out of school for days, friends and I would ride sleds, slide on frozen ponds, hike, and even camp in the snow!

We have had about a week of winter around here, with a generous estimate of a whole two inches of snow and below freezing highs. The usual havoc reigned: unnecessary school closings, raids on grocery stores, vehicles in ditches, accidents, radio road condition reports (from “brave” souls who drove in it), etc.

Yesterday, the Appalachian Irishman took his sixty-fifth hike, for three hours, on his beloved House Mountain. It was 25 degrees in the valley. How cold on the mountain? Who knows? The water in my canteen started to freeze. The snow started falling heavily on the ridge, with the wind blowing and temperature dropping. On the north bluff, the updraft blew the snow upward. On the trail down, I slipped, for the first time ever hiking up there, on an ice patch, landing on my butt and tapping the back of my head against a rock. I hiked out the last part in the dark, with no light. What fun! I wish we had more than one week of winter here. I need to go ice fishing!

At any rate, for your viewing pleasure, here are a few photos from yesterday. I wish someone would give me a job hiking, taking photos, and writing about my ventures! The first one, of course, is sheer self-promotion!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

House Mountain & Devil's Nose (published 12-12-2009)

Hiking is the Appalachian Irishman’s escape from the trappings of work and modern society. Living a harder but simpler life in the wilderness of Appalachia 150 to 200 years ago appeals to the imagination.

The following are photos from recent hikes on House Mountain in Knox County, where the Appalachian Irishman is forced, be economic necessity, to live at the moment, and Devil’s Nose, in the Appalachian Irishman’s native and beloved Hawkins County. Enjoy the views.

These are from House Mountain, looking southeast then northwest, from two bluffs. For other entries on House Mountain, read My Mountain, House Mountain Winterland, and Best-Dressed Hiker.

These are of Devil’s Nose. First, see the mountain, from the south. Next, see the views, looking south, from the eastern bluff. For another entry on Devil’s Nose, read Devil's Nose Mountain, Hawkins County.

HOW TO PRONOUNCE "APPALACHIAN" - REVISITED (published 12-12-2009; updated 11-20-2022)

Well, yuletide, holiday, and, dare I say, Christmas greetings, dear readers. My inaugural article – HOW TO PRONOUNCE "APPALACHIAN" (of 3/6/2006) – continues to generate controversy.

This article is my reply to the latest two comments (as of 12/12/2009) to my inaugural article. I decided to reply in this article, instead of replying in the comments to my 3/6/2006 article.

The original two comments, to which I reply now, are in the comments on my 3/6/2006 article. Sarah Jane commented on 12/10/2009. “Anonymous” (Ryan McGarvey) commented on 1/14/2009. In Appalachian-Irish tradition, ladies are first!

Here are my replies to both, in “ladies first,” not chronological, order. Enjoy!

Sarah Jane, thank you for dropping by! I visited your blog. Keep up the good work!

With due courtesy, ask those socialist-minded, Big Brother-oriented, “guvermit edukaters” up there to check any good dictionary, with phonetic pronunciation. They will find that “Appalachian” may be pronounced two ways. Keep pronouncing it as you were raised! Don’t let them fit you into their mold! Stand you ground, sister! Individualism trumps socialist conformity! Oh, I forgot. The Department of “Edukashun” stopped teaching phonics years ago. Maybe that’s the problem!

Additionally, to Ryan McGarvey (who changed to “Anonymous”):

How did I miss posting a reply to your foul ball back in January (1/14/2009)? I did enjoy the baseball pun.

First, allow me to educate you. Appalachians (not your improperly used possessive “Appalachian’s”) are not sheltered. We are aware of the rest of the world. We just know that our lifestyle is better. Also, check your phonetic dictionary, as stated above, to learn that “Appalachian” may be pronounced two ways. Y’all up north pronounce it your way. We ‘uns down here will pronounce it our way. Further, since when are English words spelled like they are pronounced? How do you say, for instance, “through,” “knife,” or “pneumonia?”

As I continue my effort to educate, I didn’t know that Maryland was neutral during World War II, and I didn’t know that the Confederacy fought during World War II. Amazing! What type of history were you taught by those “guvermint edukaters” up there?

Finally, you do have two redeeming qualities. You call yourself a Fells Point Irishman. Good job! Second, you state that you are not a liberal. If so, I wish you well, as you fight the masses of liberal lemmings in your area.

11/20/2022 update: I added the 12/12/2009 published date and this update to the title. I also indented and italicized my replies, for easier reading. I did update, for clarity, some wording in my original 12/12/2009 article. On 11/20/2022, website analytics showed that a few folks viewed this article, of almost 13 years ago, today.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom (published 11-24-2009)

You would have been seventy-seven years old today, but you were taken from us, so unexpectedly, just two days after Christmas of 2000. You were the hub that turned the family wheel. How would our lives have been different, better, if you had not been taken?

You are the most genuine Christian that I have known. Thank you for your influence for the years that you were with us. You raised four boys, sacrificing yourself in so many ways. You cared for your mother, after Papaw passed, for so many years. You took care of your granddaughters, when they were in need. You helped anyone in any way that you could. You taught Sunday School for thirty-one years. The years that you co-taught the youth division were so influential on me.

You endured so much without complaining, without bitterness. You always drew such strength and support from Jesus, your Savior. Thank you for all your prayers over the years. I wish I had them now.

You did not have much in material wealth, but you laid up countless treasures in heaven. Seeing you there, with Granny, Papaw, Dad, and so many others, especially as you see Jesus himself, comforts me a little. Selfishly, though, I still wish you were here, but healthy.

The year that you endured patiently the terrible suffering before you went to see Jesus was a great example to us. You did not deserve what you endured, but you accepted it graciously. I hope that our care for you during that year was a way of showing our everlasting and profound gratitude for all that you did for us.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are not the same anymore, because you suffered so much around those times. Also, Papaw got sick on Christmas Day, so many years ago. After you passed, Dad had health problems around Christmas, and we lost him after Christmas in early 2008. I still remember, though, the loving care that you put into all the festive tasks. I wish we could have that again.

I will never be the person that you were. Life has made me hard, angry, and bitter at times. The kernel of who you are, and of what you showed me by your life, is still there. I hope, someday, that it will bud and grow again.

Mom, I will never forget how you made homemade biscuits from scratch early every morning for years and years. You also made a rice crispy Christmas wreath for me every year. Those biscuits, and the wreaths, sum up in symbol who you were – always caring, always doing for us, no matter how much time or difficulty required.

Mom, I miss your biscuits. Will you have some ready for me when I join you someday? I love you, and I miss you.

Your devoted son.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

TRIBUTE TO DAD (published 6-21-2009)

Born in 1927, the youngest of eight children, five brothers and two sisters, Dad grew up in the Cave Springs community in rural Hawkins County—a county in which he lived all his life. His father was born in 1880, and his mother in 1892.

Subsistence farming, especially during the Depression, was rough. The Depression had little affect on their lives, since life was difficult in that area anyway. Dad said that it was hard to find a nickel to rub between your fingers. Still, with strong extended family togetherness, with neighbors helping each other, the people survived. Life made them tough, independent, and stubborn, but also quietly concerned and caring for each other--not in words, for a man didn’t express his feelings, but in deeds.

In 1953, Dad took over the water well business, which his father started in 1901, with a mule-powered drilling machine. In 1959, Dad and Mom were married. I came along one year later, followed by three other brothers.

Dad passed away on January 25, 2008, after bravely enduring heart trouble for several years. This is our second Father’s Day without him. Dad never told me that he loved me; he wasn’t raised that way, but he was proud of me, and he loved me. He always wanted to feed me, have Sunday dinner ready when I arrived, send me home with my favorite Winesap apples, etc. That’s how he was raised to show his feelings. Dad and I butted heads at times, for we shared that stubborn Irish core, but we had a unique relationship.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I miss you. Tell Mom, Granny and Papaw Wood, Granny and Papaw Ferrell, and everyone else there that I said, “Hello.” A few more years, and we’ll all be together again. Until then, I’ll keep wearing the watch that I gave you one Christmas, to remember you.

Cross Species Fatherhood? (published 6-21-2009)

I have a pet peeve – pun intended!

Do you cringe when people talk about their pets as if they are children, members of the family? For example, “I have four granddaughters. Three of them have four legs!” Now, I can tolerate giving a pet a Christmas present, especially if the present is scraps from the dinner table, but I must draw the line at calling some four-legged varmint, no matter how much you might love it, a son or a daughter! Come on!

We have a cat. I don’t like to admit it, but we do. Somehow, a few years ago, telling my youngest brother that I might get a dog in the spring translated into “get them a cat for Christmas.” Well, I tolerate the cat, and I even like her sometimes. She’s not much on a hike in the woods, though. That’s why I wanted a dog!

Well, kind reader, I must confess that I received a “Father’s Day” card from this four-legged, clump of fur, rug rat today. I suppose that, over the years, my constant grimacing, and down right protests, about referring to pets as children have gone unheeded.

I suppose that I have to put up with it, if I don’t want to sleep in the doghouse! Does anyone else have similar thoughts, or do you want to send me to the pound?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tennessee Motor Oil Survey (published 4-18-2009)

My, this lady at a particular state university is persistent! The Appalachian Irishman finally responded to her Tennessee Motor Oil Survey, after receiving the second letter. I might as well have some fun filling out the thing.

I’ll share some of her questions and my answers, along with my other comments. Yes, she made the mistake of allowing freelancing from my glib tongue!

To begin, the eight-page survey asks mundane questions about the number of oil burning, gas guzzling, smoke belching, evil combustible engine vehicles and equipment one uses. It asks if you change your own oil, and if so, what you do with it. Then, several questions address oil collection centers. Other questions regard the use of recycled oil, which the survey wants to call re-refined. Finally, the survey snuggles up personally, asking about leisure activities, education, employment, dwelling location, gender, age, ethnicity, and income range. The survey, of course, promises complete confidentiality, despite pegging you with a unique number.

One question asks what I do with the old oil after changing it in my mowers. Of the ten options, I chose “other,” stating that I pour the oil on a big rock in the yard for the sun to evaporate. I bet that’s a unique answer! Although a collection center is less than five miles from the house, the big rock does just fine. (I wonder when the Big Brother sky-spy cam will catch me and send an eco-enforcement officer to demand that I take the oil to the center, blowing up my rock in the process!)

Another question asked if I would use their so-called refined oil for an oil change. No thanks, I replied. I can’t trust the quality. When will we be forced to reuse “refined” household waste?

The most entertaining question concerned what my neighbors do with their used oil. Of the 12 options, I again selected “other,” stating slyly, “Big Brother should not spy on his neighbor’s preference on disposal of used motor oil.”

I could not resist the opportunity, on the race or ethnicity question, to write in, beside White, “Irish American.” Why not? African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian were other options.

And now, dear reader, let’s move on to my other comments. I wrote:

I have responded to your survey finally, after receiving your second letter. I just don’t want you to show up at my doorstep next, with clipboard in hand.

Why did you send the survey in English and Spanish? We are not, yet at least, a bilingual country officially. I went to Russia and learned Russian. Those who come here by legal or illegal means should learn English. Eta pravilna?

I replied to the survey, despite my misgivings regarding its hidden agenda. I suspect that your survey will be used to promote legislation requiring used oil to be recycled, disallowing the option to use fresh oil, and to create intrusive regulations on personal disposal of used oil – all for ecological purposes.

I am a conservationist, not an environmentalist. We should care for the environment, but we must not worship the creation over the Creator.

Just don’t track me down and take away my big rock!

Are my comments on oil slick, or what? What say you?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Best-Dressed Hiker (published 4-13-2009)

The Appalachian Irishman hiked his beloved House Mountain, for the 55th time, on Easter Sunday. (The last hike was almost five months ago, so the trek was long overdue!)

The Appalachian Irishman has met a few interesting people on the trail. Often, he meets folks who “aren’t from around here,” either by geography or by mindset, who bring all the professional hiking gear. You know – the fold up metal hiking sticks, the high dollar packs, the costly hiking attire. The Appalachian Irishman usually snickers, after a brief conversation, as he continues on the trail, in his beat up blue jeans, old shirt and cap, carrying his “old school” quart canteen and Army surplus gas mask container, which contains his few essentials (e.g., beef jerky, toilet paper, lighter, first aid kit, snake bite kit, etc.). The brief conversations with these folks are entertaining. The vehicles they drive are easily identified in the parking lot. They usually drive a Subaru, fully equipped with the mandatory liberal, politically correct, tree lover bumper stickers.

Well, on Easter Sunday, I saw the best-dressed hiker ever – in my entire life of hiking! A young man with an older lady, perhaps his mother, came across the ridge from the east to the west bluff, just after I arrived, having come up the west trail. I was shocked, shocked, to see the young man dressed in black dress shoes (of course, quite dusty from the hike), gray-stripped dress pants and matching vest, white dress shirt, and light blue necktie, still neatly tied! For once, I was – almost – speechless. After a brief exchange of pleasantries, I allowed them to enjoy the view from the rock ledge.

Not being able to subjugate my mischievous side, and before continuing across the ridge eastward, I had to, just had to, remark, “Young man, I must say in my 55 hikes on this mountain, you are the best dressed hiker that I have ever seen.” The young man wasn’t sure how to take my remark at first. I paused, awaiting his reply and giving him a little smile. He retorted sincerely, “Thank you.”

As I turned to continue across the ridge eastward, I could hear the older lady, who had walked a few feet around the ledge toward the west trail below, laugh aloud delightfully. My smile broadened. It was another proud moment in the hiking history of the Appalachian Irishman. Enjoy the photo of the young man, which I took by stealth.

Lesson to all Easter Sunday hikers: Change your Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes before the hike! Otherwise, folks will laugh at you, as they laughed at Mr. Douglas, riding his tractor in suit and tie. (Please don’t tell me that you don’t remember the 1960s TV show Green Acres!)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Wal-Mart Experience (published 3-7-2009; updated 9-3-2022)

9/3/2022 update:
     My analytics indicated that this article, of 13 years ago, had three views in the last seven days. I'd almost forgotten about this article. I published it, later on the same day, as my far more profound article: WHY I LEFT (Published 3/7/2009).
     I decided to re-read what I'd written and to update the formatting and font size. I did not change one word that I'd written 13 years ago.
     The article was my “customer survey,” after a frustrating Wal-Mart “shopping experience.” I don't shop at Wal-Mart – unless absolutely necessary.
     By the way, on 9/3/1959, Mom and Dad were married! I was born 10 months and 14 days later! Thanks, Mom and Dad, for giving me life!

I appreciate the opportunity to address my “store experience” of today, Saturday, March 7, 2009. I shopped at Store #1319. I regret that your online survey disallowed comments, but, after searching through your website maze, I found this means to express myself.

I am skeptical that change will arise from these remarks. At least, I may vent by this means. I am a lowly customer, who, by sheer practicality, may continue to shop, less often, at Wal-Mart, since few similar options are available conveniently. (Oh, a Target is nearby. Perhaps, I will shop there more often.) I am one of many, who shop at Wal-Mart, but who desire other options. (The Lowes employee, who assured me by phone earlier that Lowes stocks my bulbs, shared a similar view.) Unfortunately, you have eliminated much of the competition. My skepticism arises from my opinion that your concern, as a "retail giant," for one customer is lost in the larger world of number-crunching profitability.

The crux of my “experience” is that I am extremely frustrated by key items being unavailable, while being surrounded by a million products. It is not ironic? Interestingly, I interacted with two other shoppers, who also sought products that were not available.

Now, to the specifics of my “experience,” despite buying other items, the primary intent of my shopping was to purchase (1) four 21-inch florescent bulbs (better stock up, since they are rarely available!), (2) black, blue, red, and yellow ink cartridges for my Brother MFC-420CN, and (3) Pantene Curls mousse (for my wife). Of course, these items were not available. I would have spent almost $100.00 more. That is $100.00 in your debt column and one frustrated shopper in your credit column—hardly a winning balance sheet for Wal-Mart.

I am not one who gives up, walks out, and returns another day, in hope of finding these items. Instead, I extracted my pound of flesh from your polite and understanding management. Gregg was very helpful, as he inquired from others, regarding the availability of the bulbs and cartridges. By his assistance, I learned that Wal-Mart darn well has no intent to ever stock the 21-inch florescent bulbs. Why? I don’t know, nor does he. The fixture is only five years old. 21-inch bulbs should have their rightful place, between the 18-inch and 24-inch selections. (Is Wal-Mart prejudiced against 21-inch bulbs? Alas, I jest!) Again, from Gregg’s inquiries, I learned that Wal-Mart no longer sells Brother printers; hence, I understand why the store will not continue to carry the cartridges. (Sorry, Brother. You must not have jumped through all the hoops to have your products placed on the coveted Wal-Mart shelves.) The lingering question, however, is: Why can I find black, red, and yellow cartridges at Store #2310 and find only red cartridges at Store #1319, but I can’t find the necessary blue cartridge at either store? (Is Wal-Mart prejudiced against blue? Is that not one of your store colors? But, again, I jest!)

What is my solution? Well, I found the mousse at CVS, buying two bottles at $4.49 each. Lowes has my 21-inch bulbs at $5.98 each. (I plan to buy four.) Office Max has all four of my cartridges, at a total cost of $63.98. I will shop more at Target, Dollar General, CVS, Office Max, and Lowes.

What is your loss? $96.88 in sales. What is your “gain?” One disgruntled customer, who will share his experience with others. Yes, this little article is posted on my blog! It is in expanded form, without your restriction on the number of characters. What is your solution? Let’s see if you respond. I will not hold my breath.

WHY I LEFT (Published 3-7-2009)

Today, while exploring the Internet, being too lazy to explore a mountain, I discovered an article at The Christian Chronicle, regarding why members leave the Church of Christ. The article points to a survey being conducted by Flavil Yeakley, the director of the Harding Center for Church Growth, in Searcy, Arkansas. The following are my responses to the survey questions.

1. Why did you leave the Churches of Christ? I served in fulltime ministry for 14 years, including five years as a missionary. I was a member of the Church of Christ for 26.5 years, including four years before my fulltime ministry and 8.5 years after. I am still a member of Christ’s church.

First, I left the Church of Christ, finally, because I could not continue to associate with a group that -- by a doctrinal implication that does not understand grace fully -- concludes that the soul of my godly mother, who passed in 2000, is destined for hell, since she was a member of the Baptist Church. Silently, I disagreed with the implication for 7.5 years, uncomfortably taking my place on the pew, as I moved from lifeless congregation to lifeless congregation in the area. My mother was saved by God’s grace, and she lived her life as a humble and shining example of God’s loving grace in her life. She may have had sincere misunderstanding on certain points of doctrine, which the Church of Christ stresses, but she was saved by God’s grace. Her salvation was not determined by her perfect doctrinal understanding but by her sincere, if imperfect, faith response to God’s free gift.

Second, I left the Church of Christ, because I could no longer tolerate the arrogant hypocrisy of that body, which, by implication, denies the fullness of grace, by asserting that its doctrinal understanding is correct and that all who disagree are in need of salvation. The body of Christ is exclusive, in that it is composed of all who are saved by grace through faith, yes. The Church of Christ, however, in its legalistic and elementary understanding of grace, cannot, with straight face, lay claim as the exclusive body of Christ. My God and my God’s grace are bigger than that.

Third, I left the Church of Christ, because I realized that the standard hermeneutical approach of its members is a foreign imposition on scripture. The model views scripture as legal code and interprets scripture by legal method. Scripture, in particular the New Testament, is composed primarily of inspired and authoritative but occasional letters. Interpreting occasional letters as legal code represents the imposition of foreign scaffolding on the text. This scaffolding skews the focus from grace to legalistic accuracy in obedience. Certainly, grace inspires our attempt to follow Christ’s will as accurately as humanly possible. Our salvation, however, is not merited by how perfectly we follow an understanding of Christ’s law that is skewed in its understanding by a legalistic approach to hermeneutics.

Fourth, I left the Church of Christ, because its local congregations, at least in this area, are lifeless. The candlestick has been removed. The Spirit of Christ is not present. In His place, is a spirit of legalism, which expects unquestioned conformity to the legal code. There is no freedom, without consequence, to question, to explore, to discuss openly. I was shackled in my silence, feeling unable to openly engage in dialogue on the points in this commentary. I felt as if I would be ostracized, shunned, labeled as a “change agent.” I am thankful that this forum allows me to express myself anonymously.

Finally, I left the Church of Christ, because my brothers and sisters of so many years were not concerned enough to offer supportive inquiry as to why I had left fulltime ministry, after returning from my mission work. To this day, no one, not a one, has asked, “Why are you not preaching anymore?” Instead, their silence has greeted me. In sum, I left the Church of Christ, for the reasons mentioned, because I have matured in my theological understanding, unfortunately, as brought about by my mother’s passing. If the Church of Christ can move beyond its elementary understanding of grace, I can re-embrace it. Otherwise, I am now free to find and identify with a true non-denominational body of Christ.

2. Do you have any advice or suggestions regarding things Churches of Christ could do to improve and do a better job of meeting the spiritual needs of those who are still members? First, and foremost, church leaders should create a spirit of open, non-judgmental dialogue in the congregations. Allow members to feel free to question, to discuss, and to study, without fear of labeling. Through this renewal effort, churches could be revived, members could be retained, and Christ could be honored.

Second, local congregations should seek comment from those who have left. Of course, if relationship ties and brotherly connection were strained, this attempt will be difficult. Still, with open and honest hearts, leaders should attempt unbiased, non-judgmental communication with those who have left.

Third, leadership in these congregations, after receiving feedback from ex-members, should implement plans to address the legitimate reasons why their former members left. 

Finally, the Church of Christ should rethink its hermeneutical approach, with a primary focus of exploring the amazing depth of God’s grace.

3. If, when you left the Churches of Christ, you joined another religious group, what church did you join? Also, please comment on what you have found in that other church that meets your spiritual needs better than what Churches of Christ were doing. Currently, I am attending a non-denominational, community church that has ties to the Restoration Movement. In this body, I have found a rich understanding of grace, a natural, exegetical approach to scripture, and an authentic sense of community. This church is not without its problems. (Name one that is.) It is, however, more truly in line with the purpose that Christ intended for his body.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Keyes on Obama (published 3-1-2009, updated 12-5-2022)

He’s my candidate - an independent, conservative voice for the future! (I, too, voted for him in the 2000 Republican primary.) Sadly, Alan Keyes’ articulation is too direct and bold for the lily-livered, touchy-feely, mainstream.

Of course, if the mainstream is heading toward the sewer, we must keep paddling toward fresh water!

(Please hit the title link. It will take you to my friend’s website (Stock Market and Political Commentary), where the link is found.)

12/5/2022 update: Yesterday, I noticed that this brief 3/1/2009 article had three views in the last 24 hours. I wondered what I'd written 13 years ago. Today, I added the published and updated dates to the title. I enlarged the font. I added the citation for the image of Alan Keyes. Please note that the title link to the “Stock Market and Political Commentary” article is no longer valid, so the link is now unknown. The main link to my friend's website is still valid, but the author is no longer active. The author is still my friend.

Fuzzy Math (published 3-1-2009)

Math wasn’t my best subject in school; I’ll admit. Of course, I made decent grades, but math didn’t excite me. Still yet, I know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide – without a calculator.

(Don’t get me sidetracked! These “guvmint edukatd” kids know all about self-esteem, but they get that deer in the headlights look, when, at the drive thru, they ask for $3.56 for the biscuit meal, and you give them $4.06. You see, the cash register, which won’t work during a power outage, had already told them how much change to return, if I provided $4.00. Do it for fun sometime! Usually, you have to tell them how much change to give you.)

Well, back to the point, let’s see, our new savior (oops! President) indicates that government must live within its means. Yes, that’s right folks. We’re going to cut government spending, waste, and fraud! Great! Good ol’ W should have done that, instead of going on his drunken spending spree. Well, good for the Obamanator. (Yes, W turned me from a Reagan Republican to a disillusioned Independent.)

But, wait, there’s one little additional point. Let’s spend about a gazillion dollars to stimulate the economy. Let’s get over 8,000 earmarks in there. The fate of the country hangs in the balance, depending on research into the mating habits of the earthworm, ad nauseam.

So, all the punditry aside, we will spend a Pacific Ocean of money while, at the same time, try to cut back on spending a Pacific Ocean of money. That’s the bottom line. Logical? Not at all.

What’s the problem? Well, too many “guvmint edukatd” lemmings are drinking Kool-Aid from the poisoned trough of socialism. Tax and spending our way out of a recession is not the answer. Growing government is not the answer. In fact, one can argue that government policy got us into this mess. Instead, look at the 1980s for the answer. But, alas, the democrats are galloping toward socialism. Many republicans are speed walking toward it. I am just sitting back, awaiting the inevitable. Perhaps, a new conservative spirit will rise eventually from the ashes.

Unless, of course, the new math that the kids are learning is correct: A gazillion spent + a gazillion saved = a gazillion!

What say you?

Big Brother Got Me! (published 3-1-2009; updated 11-1-2022)

Well, it had to happen! Big Brother got the Appalachian Irishman – caught on candid, not-a-real-cop, but-we're-goin'-to-make-a-buck camera!

Yeah, yeah, so I did run the red light! As I recall, the yellow light was on when I started under. It must have lasted 0.62 seconds. Of course, as most vile criminals of my ilk state, the guy behind me would have eaten bumper, if I had come screeching to a halt at the light!

Worse, yet, when I paid cash for my little truck eight years ago, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and her sister had to pick him up, after I had left the salesman, who had needed to make a sale, weeping at his desk. (I had to get to work.) For some reason, the ditsy get-the-tag person had placed Mrs. Appalachian Irishman’s name above mine on the title. I suppose since she picked up the truck. So, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, who arrived home before I did, was quite perturbed when the ticket came in her name! Yeah, okay, I’ll pay the stinking $50.00 fine and ask Big Brother to put my name first on the title. I have to live with the little lady, you know.

Entrepreneurial idea: Could someone out there create some type of product that would not allow these socialist cameras to read your license plate? Of course, the plate must still be legible to the naked eye. Any ideas?

By the way, let’s brag on my truck. We paid cash for him eight years ago, when he was six years old. He had about 84,000 miles on him. Now, he has over 222,000 miles on the clock. He doesn't use oil. He starts right up. He's a Nissan, built in Tennessee.

Does anyone still want to bail out the American motor companies? Another idea: since we, the lowly taxpayer, must bail out these companies, why don’t we demand a new vehicle, after they straighten out their mess and become profitable again? Don’t hold your breath.

11/1/2022, Tuesday, note: thirteen years have passed, since I published this article. Today, my website analytics showed that someone had viewed this article in the last 24 hours. 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 3/1/2009! I am proud to say that no other speed camera cop has nailed me! I miss my ol' 1995 Nissan hardbody. He died, trying to save my life, on 3/29/2016. His spirit, however, lives on, in my 2006 Nissan Frontier!