Tuesday, October 24, 2023

United Nations Day, 10-24-2023: My Commentary (published 10-24-2023; article #437)


Will fireworks light up the sky, this evening, to celebrate the day? Did you see or were you in any parades today? Are families celebrating this day, by gathering around their firepits and enjoying s'mores? Is this a day off from work? In answer to these questions, I didn't think so.

A reader asks, “About what is he talking?” Didn't you know? Today is “United Nations Day.” I would not have known, if I hadn't glanced at my desktop calendar and noticed.

Welcome to the sixteenth article, in the worldviews in conflict topic section, dear reader! This brief article recommends the reading of the article, below, that inspired it. It denotes United Nations Day. My comments precede the conclusion, which inspires us to the true source of unity and peace.

Thanks for stopping by, to read a while! You are welcome to comment, agree or disagree. This article is one man's view. Please feel free to make it yours, if it isn't already. My worldview is correct, as I have proved and can prove again, if needed.

Inspiration for this Article

This website's “Folks, to Whom I Subscribe” section lists four other websites. I have free subscriptions, to each one. A favorite is Ileana Writes. Early this morning, I was inspired to write this article, after having read Dr. Johnson Paugh's latest article. It's the same article, on the following two websites.

“Viral Neo-Communism,” on Ileana Writes, by Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, 10/23/2023

“Viral Neo-Communism,” on Canada Free Press, by Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, 10/23/2023

I'll pause writing, so that you will have time to read her article, on either or both websites. [Ten minute pause.] Greetings, again. Globalist neo-communism, Dr. Johnson Paugh's well-phrased term, is certainly a virus. The disease is transmitted widely, by the United Nations (UN). “Useful idiots” have caught and are catching the virus, in vast majority, around the globe and in this once great nation. We, who are immune, however, are protected, and we are trying to inject the cure, into the “useful idiots,” before it's too late.

United Nations Day

On this date, in 1945, after World War II had ended, the UN Charter was ratified. This year marks the seventy-seventh anniversary of the founding.

The folks at the UN are celebrating. I read “United Nations Day Message - 24 [O]ctober 2023,” on United Nations Peacekeeping (no attribution). The unknown author states, in part, “It is our responsibility to help build that world of peace, sustainable development and human rights for all. I know we can do it. The Charter of the United Nations – which entered into force 78 years ago today – points the way. . . . We are a divided world. We can and must be united nations.”

Yesterday, this once great nation's current president told, whomever was listening, about it. I read “A Proclamation on United Nations Day, 2023,” on The White House, by Joseph R. Biden, Jr., 10/23/2023.

My Commentary

United Nations Day is today! “I'm excited,” as the author stated, in his ho-hum voice. Are you ready to watch the celebrations? What celebrations?

As cited above, the unknown author of today's UN article speaks to us, in the first person. It's our job, apparently, to build their worldview. He or she knows that we can do it. The UN Charter is their bible that points the way, in the author's mind. The anonymous author is correct, in that the world is divided. The ongoing Ukraine-Russia war (started when Russia invaded Ukraine, on 2/24/2022) and the Israel-Hamas war (started, on 10/7/2023, by the Hamas attacks) are only two examples. I agree with the author, in that the nations of the world can and should unite. The question is unite under what worldview?

As cited above, the current president of the USSA (Ununited Socialist States of America, as I prefer to call it) wrote with much pomp and fanfare, to proclaim today as United Nations Day. His proclamation is riddled with the usual socialist catch phrases, such as “climate change,” “climate crisis,” “clean energy,” and “equitable.” He references the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that all United Nations (UN) member states adopted in 2015.

In case you're interested, see: “The 17 Goals” -- on United Nations (UN), UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Sustainable Development. That mammoth conglomeration of web pages includes “169 Targets, 3,858 Events, 1,347 Publications, and 7,775 Actions.” Those socialist goals, as stated, are a “. . . blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.” That labyrinth, as stated, is the “heart” of the UN's The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” That, as I describe it, is the UN's bible, or authoritative source, for their worldview.


I'd thought about adding this article, as the 68th, under the poly-tics (Greek "poly" meaning many & "ticks," blood suckers) topic section. The article, however, is more focused on worldviews in conflict.

As an aside, I didn't know that today is also “National Bologna Day,” until I did some research for this article! (Source: October 24, 2023 | National Food Day | National Bologna Day | United Nations Day, on National Day Calendar®, by Doug, 10/24/2023.) Around here, we call that fine serving of meat “baloney,” not “bologna.” I had a baloney and cheese sandwich, for the noon meal.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has two meanings for “baloney.” The first is as I've already stated. The second is “pretentious nonsense: bunkum -- often used as a generalized expression of disagreement.” Synonyms include “balderdash” and “hogwash.”

United Nations Day, with apology to all socialists, is baloney and hogwash! Since 1945, what is the UN track record, in it's efforts to promote it's so-called peace and unity worldview? What good, practically, has been it's guide (i.e., the UN Charter)? Why are there no parades and fireworks, in every large city, in every nation? We, who are wise, know.

If every person, in every nation, could follow the biblical worldview, then global peace and unity would be achieved. Our hope should not be in the UN, but in the Prince of Peace!

The Messianic prophecy, of Isaiah 9:6-7 (written in 700-681 BC), states, in NIV translation:

For to us a child is born,
  to us a son is given,
  and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
  there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
  and over his kingdom,
  establishing and upholding it
  with justice and righteousness
  from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
  will accomplish this.

Before His vicarious crucifixion, Pilate was questioning Jesus. Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36, NIV). Again, answering Pilate, Jesus said, in the next verse, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37, NIV).

This article encourages all people, everywhere, to follow the Prince of Peace. He reigns over His kingdom, or church, from heaven, even now. Listen to and follow His eternal truth.

It is possible. A few days ago, by online contact with a friend and sister in Christ, I became aware of the following article. You are welcome to read: “'God Didn't Design Us to Hate:' Former Hezbollah Fighter Now Ministry Leader Recalls Encounter with Jesus,” on CBN News, 10/16/2023. Apparently, this former Hezbollah fighter, Afshin Javid, had an encounter with Jesus, which led to his conversion. His story reads similarly, to that of Saul's (who became the apostle Paul), in Acts 9:1-19; 22:3-16; 26:9-18.

Dear Lord, as my written prayer, in Jesus' name, thank you for your grace, through Christ Jesus. May this divided world unite, in peace, by following the True Source of unity and peace. Amen.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

RATMAN LIVES! (published 10-22-2023; article #436)

Preliminary Greetings (with notes on hiking & the game yesterday)

Greetings, dear reader, on a seasonably warm and clear Sunday afternoon. I'd started writing this article yesterday.

Yesterday, in the early afternoon, as I'd begun to write, the crisp, blue autumn sky was calling me into the woods, for another hike! The light breeze would have been natural air conditioning. It's doing so, again today. Yesterday, I'd set aside the call to hike, for a couple of days, to tend to household chores, watch college football, and start writing this article. Today, the article is finished and published.

Georgia was off yesterday. Yesterday, I'd written, “Will Tennessee (#17 AP) beat Alabama (#11 AP), in Tuscaloosa? Writing this introduction, before the 3:30 PM kickoff, I predict, sadly, Tennessee 17, Alabama 24. Go Vols! Beat Bama!” Unfortunately, the loss was 20 - 34.

At halftime, the Vols were ahead, 20 - 7. I'd told Mrs. Appalachian Irishman that, if Tennessee wins, I'll put on an orange Vols T-shirt and walk around the subdivision. She could video record me, interacting with neighbors. I wish that I would have had to do that! In the second half, the Vols were scoreless, but Alabama awakened and scored 27 points. In the third quarter, Coach Heupel chose to go for fourth and a yard, on the Vols' 47-yard line. They could not get one yard. The turnover on downs led to an Alabama touchdown. Midway into the fourth quarter, the Tennessee quarterback fumbled, while being sacked. Alabama recovered and ran 24 yards, for a touchdown. That was the nail in the Vols' coffin! Without mistakes by the head coach and the quarterback, the score would have been 20 - 20.

Alas, this is not the 14th article, under the “sports” topic section. Let's move on, to Ratman!


Welcome to the 108th article, under the "humor” topic section! The most recent article and podcast -- on 10/18/2023, about my Bigfoot story -- recalled a few memories, from my senior year in high school. This is the story of Ratman. He originated, as far as I know, in 1978, during my senior year in high school. Ratman returned, sometime in the late 1980s. He re-appeared, on 4/11/2023. Ratman still lives!

Ratman, originated in 1978

My senior year was from the fall of 1977 to the spring of 1978, graduating that year. About 25 or 30 classmates and I were in Mrs. Minor's Advanced Math class. I believe that it was the spring of 1978. Mrs. Minor was a dear soul. We students, however, could get away with many shenanigans.

For example, once, during class, we seniors wove thin lines of wire around our desk and chair legs. Mrs. Minor didn't notice our stealth mischief. At the end of our class, while leaving, we stepped carefully over the wire web that we had set, to trap the next class of juniors. As those juniors started entering the classroom, we saw and heard quite of bit of tripping and carrying on, as the wires that they were stumbling into kept pulling desks around them! That was fun!

Student desks were set up in rows that ran horizontally to Mrs. Minor's desk. The row that I was in was next to the farthest from Mrs. Minor. My desk was at the front of the row, near the door. Behind me sat Larry. Behind him sat Phillip. The three of us involved ourselves in a good bit of non-mathematical mischief. (I'd overcome my grade school shyness.)

Ratman originated, as far as I know, in Mrs. Minor's advanced math class, at the Rogersville High School, in the spring of 1978. Phillip and Larry were artists. One of them invented Ratman. They drew his image several times, often like cartoon strips. They shared their Ratman drawings with me. I did my best to copy Ratman.

Several of us seniors had started an underground newspaper, which we distributed at the high school. We wrote under pseudonyms. Mine was I.M. Pitts. Ratman was in most every edition, as drawn by Larry or Phillip.

Ratman became a legend. He went into a prolonged sabbatical, for about a decade.

Ratman returned, in the late 1980s!

Skipping forward about a decade, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I were living in Charleston, Missouri. (See the 8/5/2023 short story, for more details.) Sam (short for Samantha) was a female barber, whose shop was on Main Street. Sam, several years older than me, and I shared a similar sense of humor, as she cut my hair. One conversation brought Ratman back to the forefront of my memories.

Ratman returned! One day, probably in the late 1980s, I drew the following image of Ratman.

I.M Pitts' late 1980's original drawing (scanned on 4/11/2023).

The caption, by I.M. Pitts, my high school pseudonym, reads, “Revived from Mrs. Minor's Advanced Math class, Rogersville High School, 1978 -- RATMAN® lives!”

Ratman himself states, simply and profoundly, “I have returned!” I was glad to have brought him back, from his sabbatical, which had lasted about a decade.

Back in late 1982 or early 1983, I'd bought an new Bible, in the King James Version. (It's The Open Bible, by Thomas Nelson, publishers.) I still have that Bible, along with newer ones. I'd placed my Ratman drawing, in between two front pages of that Bible, for safe keeping.

Ratman re-appeared, on 4/11/2023!

I still have that Bible. It has been with me and used -- in Tennessee, Missouri, India, and Russia. Page edges are somewhat worn. I've written many notes, along the edges of pages and on blank pages. That Bible has been an excellent tool, for study, evangelism, ministry, teaching, and preaching. I've used silver duct tape, to strengthen the worn binder. My Ratman drawing was secured, in that Bible, where ever it was with me. Ratman, thus, became an international traveler!

On 4/11/2023, I had noticed my late 1980s drawing of Ratman, still in between two front pages, in my old Bible. I'd been using that Bible, while studying and interacting online, in the context of my then upcoming article that debunked the binitarian doctrine (4/18/2023 article). I scanned my Ratman drawing, as in the above image, to preserve it electronically.

Ratman lives!

Early yesterday afternoon, when I'd started writing this article, I took the photograph, below, of my late 1980's drawing of Ratman, resting on the Bible, which I'd purchased in 1982 or 1983. Unlike me, Ratman still looks the same, as he did in the late 1980s.

Photograph by M. Fearghail, 10/21/2023, 1:27 PM

Yes, Ratman still lives! He's resting, as usual, back between two front pages of my old Bible. That Bible, along with newer ones, is readily available, in my home office.


I see that a reader has asked, “Who is Ratman?” The creator(s) of Ratman, back in 1978, explained to me that Ratman is a benevolent and good superhero. He uses his superpowers, to do good and to stop evil. As I recall, his creator(s) drew several cartoon strip episodes, in which Ratman, in his witty manner, took down various supervillains.

Yesterday, my youngest brother attained the milestone age of fifty. He had to work, doing inventory, on his birthday. I'd called him, late in the afternoon, when I knew that he'd be home from work. His wife and two teenage daughters were preparing his regular (pardon the pun) birthday cake. He likes a prune cake, on his birthday. The tradition started, when Mom, at his request, made him prune birthday cakes. It became a regular tradition. (Again, pardon the pun.)

Brother, I'd planned to publish this article, on you birthday. Here's your birthday present, a day late!

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

My Bigfoot Story: Yes, It's True (published 10-18-2023; article #435)

Google Maps: 36°26'38.7"N 82°58'55.7"W (Hawkins County, TN). Map data ©2023 Imagery ©2023 CNES / Airbus, Commonwealth of Virginia, Maxar Technologies, USDA/FPAC/GEO. By embedding this map, you agree to the terms of service.


Greetings, dear reader, and welcome to this 27th article, under the topic section “Appalachia - Upper East TN.” My story is set in the region. Yes, it's a true story. The above citation, from Google Maps, marks the approximate location of the knoll.

The inspiration for this article came to me, on Friday the 13th, 2023, as the next section explains. The context of life was the 2023 Israel-Hamas war, which Hamas started, on 10/7/2023. It's ongoing. This man of peace prays for peace. On that Friday the 13th, the annual Heritage Days Festival started, in my hometown, Rogersville, Tennessee. Also, that evening, the Rogersville High School senior class of 1978 held its 45th reunion (counting the graduation year as our first “reunion”). The reunion was at the Davidson Farm / Country Store, beginning at 6 PM. Once again, the start time was too late, for my wife and me to attend. Finally, thoughts were on my mind, about the birthday, the next day, of our niece -- the youngest daughter of my youngest brother and his wife. She attained age 14. Interestingly, an annular solar eclipse occurred, on her birthday (source: “2023 Annular Eclipse: Where & When,” on NASA).

This is my true story. The article begins with further elaboration on its inspiration. Afterward, my story is presented in written (this article) and verb (the embedded podcast) media formats. The conclusion is up to you, dear reader.

Inspirations for this Article

Initial Inspiration

My good friend, Jim, is mentioned favorably, in the first and second articles, of 10/24/2021. The subject line of Jim's 10/12/2023 email is “'Bigfoot' caught on camera in Colorado?” His email included only a link, with no comments, to the following article: “'Bigfoot' caught on camera during couple's romantic getaway in Colorado: Shannon and Stetson Parker shared videos and pictures that they claim prove Bigfoot's existence” (on Fox News, by Chris Eberhart, 10/12/2023). About halfway into the article, it states:

The pictures and videos from a moving train are the latest blurry visuals that some people claim proves Bigfoot is real.

On Friday the 13th, I read the article, saw the photographs, and watched the videos. That was the initial inspiration for this article.

Childhood Inspirations

Childhood inspirations for this article are at least two. The one minute Patterson film tops the list. I've watched it several times, since my childhood. It's still featured on television shows that are about Bigfoot. Online viewing, of seven frames, is available at “Patterson-Gimlin Film: Original title: Bigfoot,” 1967 (on

Grade school friends and I saw the 1972 movie “The Legend of Boggy Creek,” at the Roxy Theatre, in my hometown. (The theatre is gone now.) The movie frightened us, especially since we did a lot of backwoods, overnight camping. The official trailer, just under two minutes long, is viewable at The Legend of Boggy Creek” (on Legend of Boggy Creek). (The movie can be purchased on rented, on YouTube.) I had purchased the movie, on DVD, several years ago. My wife and I watch it, about once a year. It still bothers me.

Ongoing Inspirations

The first two ongoing inspirations are the television shows “Finding Bigfoot” (on Animal Planet) and “Expedition Bigfoot” (on Travel Channel). Mrs. Appalachian Irishman seems to enjoy watching the shows with me. She never says, “Not another Bigfoot show!” The remote stops on those shows, whenever I catch them, while browsing through the thousands of channels, with nothing much to watch. The shows are somewhat interesting and don't bother me. The evidence presented is often sketchy.

The rather personal and ongoing inspiration, of course, is my own story. The written version is next. My spoken version follows afterward. It's a true story.

My Written Story

The First Friday

It was a Friday, in late September of 1977, the start of my senior year in high school. The location was in northeast Hawkins County, Tennessee. Bill and Randy, two friends, both my age, lived a few miles away. Those two friends, Bill's younger brother, my younger brother (closest to me in age), and I camped out overnight more times than I can count. We even camped out in winter, after it had snowed. Those were some rather memorable cold nights and mornings!

A buddy named Gary, my age, lived closer by, in the Sunset Hills subdivision. (He passed away, two years ago, at age 61.) Gary had never been overnight camping. He was interested in a young lady, Helen, who lived farther back and near the woods, in the same subdivision. Gary wanted me to take him camping, on the knob that was high above and far behind her house. Apparently, Gary wanted to prove his devotion to the young lady. I had agreed to take Gary overnight camping, on a Friday after school.

The knob was on land that Randy's family owned. Neither Randy nor Bill wanted to camp with Gary and me, but Randy's parents allowed the two of us to overnight camp, on their land.

The early evening weather was mostly cloudy and warm, as Gary and I started hiking up, north, through the woods, to reach the knob. We needed only T-shirts, but we carried light jackets. The ground was dry, since it hadn't rained in days. We hiked up to the ridgeline, which ran west to east. The narrow trail up to the ridgeline had been made, over the years, by Randy's family. We called it the main trail. We'd reached a flat and fairly open spot, on the ridgeline, where Bill, Randy, and I had camped before.

From that ridgeline location, Gary and I continued west (or left) and hiked up a short and steep distance, to reach the knob. At the knob, the mountain sloped sharply down on three sides (to the south, farther west, and north). The short, steep, and narrow trail, from the ridgeline to the knob, had been made by bears, deer, wolves, foxes, and other animals. We called it the animal trail. The Dublins, as locals called the thick and hilly woods, were behind (or northeast) of the ridgeline and knob. Hunters spotted bears, in the Dublins, at times. Bill, Randy, and I had overnight camped in the Dublins before. At night, we thought that we saw deer eyes, near our camp. The next morning, we saw bear tracks, in the damp ground, not far from our campsite.

Dusk began to fall quickly, once we'd reached the knob -- the highest point of the mountain. We started to set up camp, just south of a large tree. The ground was fairly flat there. Nearby, several large rocks protruded from the ground. A large fallen tree was about fifteen yards to the east of and below our campsite. (We'd passed that fallen tree, to reach the campsite.) I had unrolled my sleeping bag. Gary had unrolled my brother's sleeping bag, which he had borrowed. We didn't set up my tent. We put on our light jackets. I got out my cooking kit, the food, and gathered fallen branches, to start the fire. Dry leaves on the ground made good fuel also.

Not long after I'd struck the match and started the kindling, Gary and I both heard the sound.What was that?” -- we both whispered, as we looked, in surprise, at each other. Crouching beside the slowly building fire, we remained silent, listened, and looked around. We could see trees, branches, rocks, and the fallen tree. Darkness had fallen. The moon, still mostly full, would come and go, as the clouds passed by. The moon was behind a cloud, at the time.

We heard loud, deep, gruff, and growling sounds. It was like heavy breathing, being taken between steps, when something large is walking. We could hear footsteps, in long strides, between the sounds. The steps sounded like a two-legged, not four-legged, mammal. At age 17, I had hiked and camped in the woods often enough, to know how a four-legged animal, such as a deer or a cow, sounds, when it's walking or running on dry and leafy ground. The sounds and steps were slowly approaching us, coming up the same trail that we had been on, to arrive at our campsite. We heard what we heard. We could not see what was making those sounds. The entity was still several yards below us and to our east.

The mammal, still breathing gruffly, stopped, about fifteen yards east of and below us, behind the large fallen tree. We could hear whatever it was shaking nearby tree branches or rustling leaves on the ground. The being moved a few feet to the north, which was to our left, as we faced the fallen tree. It was now behind a large rock outcropping. It remained there for a while, still breathing gruffly and shaking nearby branches or rustling leaves.

Gary asked, “What should we do?” I said, “Let's roll up the sleeping backs. I'll pack up the food.” We did. The entity was still behind the rock outcropping, making the gruff sounds, shaking tree branches, and rustling leaves. My backpack always included a small bottle of kerosene, to use to help start a fire, if needed. I had a hunting knife, in a sheath, on my belt. I had already added larger and longer tree limbs, to build up the fire.

The mammal, still making the gruff noises, moved back onto the path, near the fallen tree. We still could not see what it was. The darkness, distance, and several tree branches blocked our view. We could hear it, stepping slowly up and closer to us!

Instinctively, thinking that the being would either kill me or that I would kill it, I poured the kerosene, from the small bottle, onto the fire. That brought up the flames. I took my hunting knife, from the sheath, with my left hand. I picked up the largest burning branch, with my right hand. As the entity, which I still could not see, continued to come up and closer, I jumped forward, into the air, with knife in one hand and fiery branch in the other. I yelled at the top of my lungs! When I landed, about ten feet farther and down from where I'd jumped, I realized that I hadn't died or hit anything.

A steep and deep ravine was below and to our southeast. Gary and I heard, after I'd landed, the entity running, in long strides, on two legs, as it sounded to me, down into that ravine. We could hear tree branches snapping and leaves crunching, as it ran. The being stopped. We couldn't see it. It remained silent. It was no longer making the gruff breathing sounds or shaking anything. The forest turned completely silent.

I whispered to Gary, “Let's get out of here.” Using my flashlight to help us see the trail, Gary and I hiked, with our gear, very quietly and slowly, east and down, to the main ridgeline. I was cupping a hand over the flashlight, so that the light would not be too visible. At the main ridgeline, we turned south (to our right) and headed down, to come out of the woods. The forest was completely quiet. We could hear only our breathing and muffled footsteps, as we hiked slowly and quietly. We didn't speak to each other. The moon had been behind clouds all this time.

Gary and I reached what I call the lower camping spot. It was a small and level clearing, not too far into the woods. Bill, Randy, and I had camped there often. The trail from the ridgeline, down which we had hiked, was now behind (or north) and above us. The ravine, down into which the unknown mammal had run, from the knoll, was just west of us. We wondered if the entity was still there, silently near us. The clouds parted. The nearly full moon shined brightly. We could see better, by the moon light.

I affirm -- to the Good Lord, before Whom I will stand on judgment day, and to you, dear reader -- that Gary and I both saw, far behind and above us, on that ridgeline, where we had been, a tall and bulky figure, standing upright, on two feet. It did not move. We were relieved that it wasn't near us, in the ravine. Cold chills came upon me. We could make out what appeared to be two legs, a large torso, two arms, broad shoulders, and a head. What seemed to be two eyes appeared to glow green. It was not a tree that looked like such a figure, to our frightened imagination. Trees were visible and very distinct, around that figure. The figure was not a tree. It seemed, from that distance, to be staring at us.

Gary and I turned away and hiked south, quickly, back to where his car was parked, near Randy's house. He drove me home. He went home. Mom and Dad were surprised that I'd returned, since they'd expected me back the next morning. I told them what had happened. They were thankful that Gary and I had not been hurt. I went to bed.

The Next Few Days

I don't think that I saw Bill, Randy, or Gary, until the next week, at the high school. Gary and I didn't talk much about our experience in the woods. We did exchange what we remembered. Our memories were identical. Gary said that he'd never go camping again. We lost touch, after high school graduation, and he passed away a couple of years ago, so I don't know if he ever did or didn't.

I'd shared the experience, with Bill and Randy. Bill accepted my words. Randy made fun of it. I challenged them, especially Randy, to camp out, at the flat and fairly open spot, on the ridgeline, where we'd camped before. I did not want to return to that knoll. I've never been back to it.

Bill and Randy agreed that we could camp out that coming Friday, after school, on the ridgeline campsite. We did.

The Next Friday

That next Friday, Bill's younger brother and my younger brother (next to me in age) joined us. There were five of us. Randy brought his pistol. Chidingly, I asked him why he'd brought his pistol, if he didn't believe what I'd told him.

The temperature was still warm enough, so we didn't pitch tents. We built a fire that faced the north slope of the ridgeline. We lined up our five sleeping bags, in a row, fairly near and south of the fire. The knoll was up and to our west (or left), as we faced the fire. No one wanted the spot closest to the knoll. I took it.

The evening camping routine started. We used our cooking kits, to make supper, from the food that we had brought with us. It was some type of beef and bean stew. It was good. We ate well.

In the darkness, we talked and kidded with each other, as teenage boys do. The sky was fairly clear. The moon light was better than the Friday before. We were enjoying another overnight camping trip. Randy, at times, asked me, kiddingly, “where's the creature?”

Suddenly, amidst our conversations, all five of us heard the same loud, deep, gruff, and growling sounds, like heavy breathing, that Gary and I had heard the Friday evening before, on the knoll. The sounds came up from far below us. Whatever was making the sounds was at the bottom of the ravine, down around the steep north side of the ridgeline. We also heard the sounds of tree branches shaking and leaves rattling.

We already had a good fire going. We added more wood. I poured the kerosene, from my small bottle, onto the fire. It looked like a bonfire. We were in a clear area, so we knew that we would not start a forest fire.

The five of us remained silent, as we listened to the growling and branch shaking sounds. Eventually, the sounds stopped. I don't recall how long we had heard them. It was several minutes. We never did hear anything walking, as Gary and I had. We did not hear a howl, on either Friday evening.

We determined that it was safe enough, to spend the night on the ridgeline. Each of us, in turn, took watch, while the others slept. None of the five of us ever heard the disturbing sounds again. It was gone. Randy turned from skeptic to believer. He accepted the story, about the experience that Gary and I had, the last Friday, on the knoll.

Early the next morning, we fixed our breakfast, packed up our gear, and hiked back out, to Randy's house. Our camping group never did camp on the ridgeline again.

As the years went by, I lost contact with Randy. Bill and I keep in touch. He still asks me, at times, if I remember the experience that the five of us had, while camping on the ridgeline, that next Friday. My younger brother and I rarely talk about the experience. When we do, we both remember the same details.

My Verbal Story

Over the decades, I've shared both encounters with family and several friends. I don't seek opportunities to share it. It comes up in conversations. For a week each summer, from 1982 to 1984, I served as a counselor, at Hillbrook Christian Camp, near Knoxville, Tennessee. Occasions arose to tell my story, to several of the boys and adult counselors.

After Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I were married, we served as counselors at Bootheel Youth Camp, near Bloomfield, Missouri. It was one week, each summer, from about 1986 to 1993. Again, as others told their campfire stories, I told my story. From year to year, boys, who had heard my story the previous year, asked me to tell it again.

I don't seek opportunities to tell my story. It bothers me to tell it. I still get cold chills, when I tell it. I've felt cold chills, while writing about it, in this article.

The verbal sharing of my story, on Appalachian Irishman - Podcasts, is “My Bigfoot Story: Yes, It's True (published 10-18-2023; episode 21).” I tell it in a more natural style, than in my written story, above. It's just over 30 minutes long.

I recorded my verbal story, in my home office. I'd wanted to hike House Mountain, to record it from the middle bluff. The weather was seasonably warm and clear, with a crisp blue sky. Molly, our ol' puppy, who is age eight, however, was favoring her left front leg. I decided to remain at home, so that I could tend to her. She seems to be better! She's back to running around as usual.


Thanks, Jim. Your 10/12/2023 email inspired this article and embedded podcast! I'll reply by email, to your email, once this is published, so you can know.

This is my true story. I call it my Bigfoot story, since I don't know what else it could have been. I've thought that it could have been a bear, but bears don't run upright, on two legs. They do stand, on two legs, at times. I've thought that it could have been a large man, who was in the woods, on both Friday evenings. The loud, deep, gruff, and growling sounds could have been a bear, but they didn't sound like any man, whom I've ever heard.

My mind is still open. Sufficient evidence appears to indicate that Bigfoot (Sasquatch, Yeti) may exist. I may have heard one, in a close encounter, and seen it, from a distance -- back in September 1977.

The conclusion is up to you, dear reader. What do you think that it was?

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Cove Lake State Park: 10-10-2023 Hike (published 10-12-2023; article #434)


Greetings, dear reader! Thanks for stopping by! Yesterday, the weather was warm and cloudy. We didn't get the much needed rain, which I'd hoped that the clouds would bring. Perhaps the temperature will drop, to more seasonable highs, in a few days.

Two days ago, on 10/10/2023, Tuesday, however, the weather was warm, mostly sunny, and a little windy. Cove Lake State Park had been calling me, since the day after I'd hiked Seven Islands State Park. (That hike is highlighted, in both the article and podcast, of 9/24/2023.) Mrs. Appalachian Irishman -- enjoying her fall break week -- decided to accompany me! She is even featured in the embedded podcast! I don't think that my wife will get in three hikes, during her fall break week. We will see. I've suggested it.

This was the first time, to hike at Cove Lake State Park (Tennessee State Parks, Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation). It's about as far from the house (driving northwest) as Panther Creek State Park is (driving southeast). Lord willing, Cove Lake will call us, or at least me, again soon!

This 54th article, under the “hiking” topic section mentions the park and the trail map, describes our hike (with six photographs), and includes the podcast, featuring Mrs. Appalachian Irishman! We enjoyed a good meal, which I'll mention, just before the conclusion.

The Park & Trail Map

The Cove Lake State Park website describes the park as follows.

Cove Lake’s 606 acres are situated in a beautiful mountain valley on the eastern edge of the Cumberland Plateau. Scenic nature trails lead through a diversity of wetlands and woodlands offering wildlife viewing for the nature enthusiast. A paved walking/bike trail provides easy access to all park facilities. Visitors can spend the day fishing or simply sitting back and capturing the picturesque vista Cove Lake offers.

My 2006 Frontier got us to the visitor center, at 11:32 AM. I conversed with a park ranger, about the various trails. The “Printable Trail Map,” below, once enlarged to 200%, is readable in my web browser.

Our Hike, with Four Photographs

My “bionic” right foot did not want to pound the easy and “civilized” 3.5 mile “Paved Trail.” I thought that the 1.55 mile “Volunteer Trail (Loop)” -- to the far left or west, on the map -- might be sufficiently challenging for me and easy enough for my wife. To reach that trail head, from the visitor center, we drove 1.8 miles west, on US-25W N, to Bruce Gap Road (which the map identifies). My ol' truck was the only vehicle in the parking lot. We had the entire hike to ourselves!

We started our hike, at the information board, in the photograph below, at 12:11 PM. (Please note that all the photographs, in this article, were taken, as we hiked back out.)

Photograph by M. Fearghail, 10/10/2023, 1:33 PM.

Can you see the reflections of my wife and me, in the above photograph? Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, with a wave, was standing behind me. I was wearing a white T-shirt and my favorite hiking cap. The view looks northwest.

We'd hiked northeast, only a short distance, on a level trail, until we reached the main trail head, in the photograph below. The several trail options increased my interest in additional hikes!

Photograph by M. Fearghail, 10/10/2023, 1:29 PM.

Some years ago, a friend and former co-worker had mentioned the “Devil's Racetrack Trail.” Intrigued, I'd always thought that it would be a farther drive, from the house. After we'd been on the “Volunteer Trail (Loop)” a while, I noticed where the “Devil's Racetrack Trail” connected to it!

While Mrs. Appalachian Irishman waited, I hiked a short distance on the “Devil's Racetrack Trail!” It was somewhat interesting. I never did see the devil or his racetrack. I may call my friend, to see if he would like to hike the “Devil's Racetrack Trail” with me, one of these days!

The “Volunteer Trail (Loop)” is easy enough. It also intersects with the “Cumberland Trail,” on which we hiked awhile. Several switchbacks offered steep enough climbs, to challenge me a little. Going down other switchbacks was somewhat challenging. We saw many buckeyes, which had fallen from several buckeye trees. I brought two buckeyes home. If we'd had a sack with us, we could have picked a bag full!

At one point, we crossed a wooden bridge that spanned a small creek. Later, as we were on our way out, we spotted a turtle, apparently asleep, right on the trail. I tapped him, with my foot, and suggested that he get off the trail, before someone, not noticing, stepped on him more firmly. He didn't even stick out his head, to thank me for the warning!

The photograph below shows Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, waving, at the convergence of the “Volunteer Loop” and “Cumberland Trail.” This was at our hike out. Hiking in, we'd taken the right (southeast) fork, to the “Volunteer Loop.” We'd returned down the higher (northeast) “Cumberland Trail.” My hiking theology always states, “at a life crossroad, always take the right path, going in!”

Photograph by M. Fearghail, 10/10/2023, 1:09 PM.

A minute after I'd taken the above photograph, I used my “semi-intelligent” phone to record the podcast. The podcast is in the next section.

The next photograph is of the parking lot. As I've stated, this is on Bruce Gap Road, a short drive from the visitor center.

Photograph by M. Fearghail, 10/10/2023, 1:35 PM,

No other vehicle, aside from my ol' truck, was in the parking lot, at our arrival and departure. There's Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, waving at y'all again! My truck enjoyed the shade, while awaiting our return.

As an interesting note, we were near the parking lot and almost off the trail, when a local police officer drove in, around, and out of the parking lot! He must have been checking my truck. I hope that he saw us. I waved at him. If he'd stopped, I would have shaken his hand and thanked him for his service, to the folks in Caryville!

The “Volunteer Trail (Loop)” and adjacent trails are interesting enough. Interstate 75, maybe a tenth of a mile or so to the west, runs alongside much of the trail. I didn't care for all that traffic noise. Still yet, as I've said many times, “A day in the woods is better than not!”

For further reading, about the “Devil's Racetrack Trail,” this article suggests “Devil's Racetrack,” on Tennessee River Valley and, for a more personal article, “East Tennessee Hike: A Review of Devil’s Racetrack Trail to Triple Falls & Devil’s Overlook,” on "adventure and the girl," by Jayme, 3/19/2022. Both articles include great photographs. The first article summarizes the trail quite well. The second article, well written, is about a hike that the couple had taken last year. I like the personal style of the second article.

The Podcast, Featuring Mrs. Appalachian Irishman!

I started the video recording, at 1:10 PM, as I'd stated, below the third photograph -- where Mrs. Appalachian Irishman was waving, at the convergence of the “Volunteer Loop” and “Cumberland Trail.” It's only a minute and 32 seconds long, since I couldn't coax my wife into a more pithy conversation. I tried!

This Appalachian Irishman - Podcasts episode introduces, for the first time, and highlights Mrs. Appalachian Irishman! Take it away, dear! Here she is, folks: “Cove Lake State Park: 10-10-2023 Hike (published 10-12-2023; episode 20).”

Y'all are welcome, dear readers and viewers, to encourage my wife to open up her gift of gab a bit more, in her next podcast feature! She can and does talk more, when she sets her mind to it.

Dining at Rickard Ridge BBQ

Being hungry, after our hike, my wife and I decided to dine at Rickard Ridge BBQ, which is located in the park, just west of the visitor center. The cordial server (or waitress, as they were once called) seated us and took our orders quickly.

That had to be one of the best hamburgers that I've ever eaten! The french fries were great also! My wife enjoyed her loaded baked potato. We each ate every bite! I'd even thought about asking the diners, nearby, if I could have one of their mushrooms! Those looked good.

As the two photographs, below, indicate, the restaurant is quite nice. Large windows allow views of the valley, Cove Lake, and the Cumberland Mountains.

Photograph by M. Fearghail, 10/10/2023, 2:56 PM.

The next photograph looks northwest. The restaurant, to my southwest, is beside me. Enjoy the view!

Photograph by M. Fearghail, 10/10/2023, 2:58 PM

Wouldn't you like to hike up to the ridge line, somewhere, on Cumberland Mountain? I would!


I wish, years ago, that I'd figured out that Cove Lake State Park is about the same distance, from the house, as Panther Creek State Park. I know now! My hiking log and memory recall three hikes, so far, at Panther Creek State Park: on 10/29/2010, as noted in “Four Hikes in Four Days! (published 11-14-2010),” on 11/24/2017, and on 12/10/2017. I have photographs and memories of the two hikes, in 2017, but I didn't publish articles about those hikes.

This hike was my 236th, since I started logging hikes, on 4/23/2000. Only the Good Lord knows the actual number of hikes that I've taken, before I started my log. It was Mrs. Appalachian Irishman's 28th hike with me. She's accompanied me on: House Mountain (12 of 181 hikes so far), Norris Dam State Park (three of 23 hikes so far), Hawkins County (one of 12 hikes so far), Smoky Mountains National Park (four of five hikes so far), and other locations (eight of 15 times so far). This hike is an “other locations” hike, in my hiking log.

Remember, dear reader, “Any day in the woods is better than not!” Today, the weather is clear, sunny, windy, and unseasonably warm. It would have been a good day for another hike. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, however and unlike me, did not sense that “[t]he mountains are calling, and I must go” (John Muir, 1873). The source for the John Muir quote is noted in the articles of 3/31/2023 (House Mountain hike #179) and 4/14/2023 (House Mountain hike #180). My wife, bless her heart, doesn't hear the mountains call, as I do. To her credit, however, she did manage one hike in one week.

Well, this Appalachian Irishman is 10-10 on the side now. To any readers, who are interested in hiking House Mountain, I've hiked “My Mountain,” as I call it, 181 times, so far. If you'd like a free hiking guide, to help you on your first hike there, then you are welcome to use the “Contact Form,” on the main page of this website, to email me. I will respond!

Sunday, October 08, 2023

Tribute to KCSO Deputy Tucker Blakely (published 10-8-2023; article #433)


The article of last Monday, on sports, was published, at 3:41 PM, before I'd learned of the sad news. This article, the 39th under the "freedom” topic section, honors an outstanding member of the thin blue line. The young man died, last Monday, due to injuries sustained, late the prior evening, while in service to Knox County, Tennessee, residents.

Late last Sunday evening, about 11:15 PM, Knox County Sheriff's Deputy, Tucker Blakely, age 29, was one of the deputies, who had responded to a domestic disturbance, in Knoxville. Shots were fired. The perpetrator died at the scene. Deputy Blakely, injured severely, was transported to a local hospital. He passed away the next day. Tucker Blakely was also a veteran of the United States Army.

Local television news stations conveyed the sad news, to my wife and me, at 6 PM, last Monday evening. We were saddened profoundly. The obituary for Deputy Blakely is found at: Tucker Carmichael Blakely (July 22, 1994 - October 2, 2023), Mynatt Funeral Home, Inc.

Tributes to Deputy Tucker Blakely

This section first shares the tribute to Deputy Tucker Blakely, by WBIR TV. My tribute follows.

WBIR TV Tribute

Several articles honor Deputy Sheriff Blakely. Of those, I wish to cite the following, for this section. Please read “KCSO Deputy Tucker Blakely honored during celebration of life: The deputy was revered at the sheriff's office for his passion for working as a law enforcement officer. He leaves behind a wife and a 5-year-old child.” On WBIR TV, by Madalyn Torres, published 10/4/2023, updated 10/6/2023. The first four paragraphs state:

East Tennessee honored and remembered the life and legacy of fallen Deputy Tucker Blakely during a memorial service on Friday.

The day of remembrance began at 8 a.m. as people lined the procession route and hundreds of officers from agencies across East Tennessee drove to Clear Springs Baptist Church along Emory Road.

A celebration of life was held for Blakely on Friday, Oct. 6, at Clear Springs Baptist Church. Doors opened at 10 a.m. for people to pay respects to Blakely as he lied in repose, and officers conducted a "Sea of Blue" at 11:00 a.m. by turning on their cruisers' lights.

The celebration of life began at 2 p.m. You can watch the full stream from that ceremony below or at this link.

About halfway, the article reads, “Blakely was responding to a domestic situation at a house in West Knox County when he was shot Sunday night. He died at the University of Tennessee Medical Center on Monday.”

The final paragraph states, “The last Knox County deputy who was shot and killed in the line of duty was Detective James Kennedy, in March 1984.”

The church building, where Deputy Blakely's service was held last Friday, is only a few miles from our house. The article, cited above, includes the link to the service. The full service is viewable at “Watch: KCSO Deputy Tucker Blakely's Celebration of Life,” on WBIR Channel 10 (YouTube), 10/6/2023. The service was two hours and three minutes.

Tucker Blakely's wife, Katarina, spoke with sad eloquence. His father spoke, in honor of his son. Several others spoke also. I watched the celebration of life, last Friday.

My Tribute

I can't begin to comprehend how that I would have responded, if, in 1965, my father had passed away, at age 38, when I was age five. I wonder how my father, mother, brothers, wife, other family, and friends would have endured, if, in 1989, I had died, at age 29. (The driver, my guide and translator, and I could have died, in India, in 1989, if the roadside bomb had detonated.) I hope that my wife would have remained strong, if, in 1993, I had passed on, at age 33, in the seventh year of our marriage.

Tucker Blakely's young wife and five-year-old son honored him, by the strength that they showed, during his funeral service. His father epitomized strength and character.

The thin blue line separates the dark and wicked evil from the good, in this fallen world. Sadly, evil can and does, too often, violate that line. Officers, troopers, and sheriff's deputies, while protecting us, sacrifice themselves, while holding that thin blue line, when the wicked evil take them from us.

Deputy Sheriff Tucker Blakely died, at the hand of the wicked evil, while he was holding firmly the thin blue line. I did not have the honor of meeting brother Blakely, but I look forward to doing so, once I join him, at our everlasting Home. His eulogy affirmed that he is my brother in Christ.

The deep red ocean of Christ's shed blood separates unsaved sinners from saved sinners. The saved do not practice a life of sin, and we live out the grace of Christ, which indwells us. The unsaved are welcome to cross the deep red ocean, to join us, on the saved side.

At the final judgment, the gulf will separate everlastingly the saved from the unsaved. Heaven will be the permanent home of the saved. Everlasting torment will be the abode of the unrepentant dark and wicked evil.

The dark and wicked evil, who took Deputy Sheriff Tucker Blakely, is enduring everlasting torment, even now. Brother Blakely is, even now, comforted by everlasting joy, in paradise. We, who remain, will miss him. We will see him again. He awaits us. May his parents, wife, son, family, and friends be comforted by this thought. Final justice has been and will be served. Dear Lord, bless, by your grace, the family of Tucker Blakely, with these thoughts. In Christ, our Lord and Savior's name, amen.

The fifth article, of 12/9/2022, in the ongoing “Christian Evidences” series, under the heading “The So-Called 'Problem of Evil,'” contains a complete statement on the dark and wicked evil that is in this fallen world. Final justice will be served.


As I began writing this article, my mind drifted back to two articles, which I'd published in 2021, as tributes to two fine officers, whom I'd met. The first article published on 5/8/2021. The second article was on 6/12/2021. I also recalled the two articles, of 9/12/2021 and 3/20/2022, that mention and honor Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss.

This article honors the thin blue line. It also honors, loves, and cherishes the deep red ocean. I trust, dear reader, that you do also.