Mission Of This Blog

The overall mission statement of this blog is to share many unique topics of this blogger's interest. Topics include (but are not limited to): Travel & Photojournalism, Nature & Wildlife Preservation, Americana, Local Places Of Interest, Southern Cultural Heritage, Local History of the South Carolina Upstate, Confederate Heritage Preservation & Awareness, Science & Science Fiction, Astronomy & Night Sky Photography, Literacy & Writing, Southern Cuisine, Popular Culture & Philosophy, Fandom, Local Folklore ....as well as various other topics explained from the blogger's point of view. The following website contains the UNCENSORED thoughts and opinions of a Southern-born country writer from upstate South Carolina - the living, beating heart of the great American Southland!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hiking And Flagging The Tallest Peak East Of The Mississippi

At the summit of the highest peak in the American Southland
with both my United States Flag and Southern Flag (Dixie Cross).
The black ribbon tied at the top of the US Flag bears the names of the five US Servicemen tragically murdered on July 16th in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

To someone who lives outside of the American Southland, the Appalachian Mountains may not seem all that impressive. In terms of their sheer size, the tallest of the Appalachia's rounded peaks (over 5000+ feet) certainly do not compete with the 10-15,000+ foot peaks of the Rocky Mountains in western North America, or the Alps in Europe; and compared to the 20,000+ foot Andes in South America, or the high jagged peaks of the Himalayas in Asia, the Appalachians would probably not even register as medium sized hills.   

The Appalachians themselves are the remnants of a very ancient mountain range - the Central Pangaean Mountains - that once stood as tall as the Andes or Himalayas and cut through the middle portion of the supercontinent Pangaea during the Triassic Period over 250-200 million year ago. The mountains themselves were formed when the continents themselves moved together between 475-250 million years ago.

What impresses me the most about the Appalachians is not their height. What awes me about them is imagining the incredible forces beneath the earth that it took to push billions of tons of earth and rocks thousands of feet into the air, and then millions of years for nature to smooth them out again. The idea of something so old that it existed from a time just before the rise of the dinosaurs of the Jurassic Period to the present day, let alone standing on those ancient peaks, is enough to remind this simple country writer from South Carolina just how small and insignificant we human beings really are compared to this grand old Earth of ours, as well as how short a period of time we as a species have been here.

As I mentioned before in my previous post on July 23rd, I was advised against taking certain actions out of concern for my well being by family and friends. It was advise I decided to take, and opted instead to listen to another calling; one that I had been longing to do a month or so before my birthday the month before, but had to put off for several weeks due to financial issues that were more important and needed to be dealt with.

So on Saturday, July 18th, your humble blogger - after weeks of feeling the mountains calling out to me - took the three hour trek from my home in South Carolina to the Southern Highlands and the Blue Ridge Parkway. My destination: Mt. Mitchell State Park in Yancey County, North Carolina.

At an elevation of 6,684 feet (2,037 m) above sea level, Mt. Mitchell is the highest peak in the Appalachian Mountains and the highest point east of the Mississippi River - literally the very top of Dixie (with the exception of several mountains in Texas). 

The following are some of the photos I took along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Passing through several tunnels along the Parkway.
A quick summer storm can be seen coming up fast in the mountains.

It was close to noon when I finally arrived at Mt. Mitchell State Park in the Pisgah National Forest.

Mt. Mitchell Mini Museum & Gift Shop.
Here I am ready to take on the mountain trail.
At this point I was already a mile above sea level.
The summit of Mt. Mitchell.
Highest peak in the eastern part of North America. 
The Summit Observation Tower And The Grave of Rev. Elisha Mitchell.
Rev. Elisha Mitchell (August 19, 1793 – June 27, 1857) was a Presbyterian minister and professor at The University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. He was credited with measuring the exact height of the mountain. Mitchell fell to his death tragically at nearby Mitchell Falls. Both the mountain and the falls are named in his memory.
On the way to the summit, I began to notice these small back bugs all over the place.
A notice back at the mini museum and gift shop informed visitors that they were Weevils.

These are the photos I took of the views in all four compass directions from the observation tower itself.

You are here.

After taking photos and sitting down to enjoy the wonderful breezy weather at the top of the mountain  - a good 15 degrees cooler than the 90+ down at sea level - and enjoying the turkey and cheese sandwich and bottled water I had for lunch, I then unpacked and unfurled my two American banners and posed while another traveler took several photos. One one of which actually caught both flags open at the same time. 

I was of course asked about the flags by a couple of curious bystanders, particularly about why I choose to display the Dixie Cross banner. My answer was simply the truth. I brought both banners because I consider them both representative of my heritage and identity as an American and a Southerner by birthright. I also explained that I carry two banners with me whenever I conquer a trail and display them at any mountain peak I reach in victory. 

I also had to confess that in this case I brought both banners and displayed them in solidarity with the tens of thousands of real Southern heritage advocates across Dixie who were taking stands at a hundred flag rallies in protest of the recent elevated attacks on symbols of Southern heritage, and in defense of the rights of individuals to honor who they are and where they came from without being judged or labeled for it. 

I am pleased to report that my explanations were received in a positive way - particularly by a pair of aged Vietnam Veterans, both of whom knew men who carried the Dixie Cross banner with them overseas. They also offered my flags a salute, particularly the US flag with the black ribbon I tied around the top with the names of the five recently murdered US servicemen from Chattanooga, Tennessee a few days before. As always I shook their hands and thanked them for their services to the defense of our nation. 

On my way back down the mountain to the gift shop I picked up a pair of souvenirs: a hiking medallion for my walking stick, and a new bumper sticker for my car. I on the way home at a service station getting a refill, I found a somewhat nifty little nick-knack for my collection that somehow seemed most appropriate.

My hat and walking stick. Note the collection of hiking medallions that designate the mountain peaks from across several Southern States where I've hiked to the summit.
Hiked It. Liked It. My new bumper sticker....along with an older one.
One of the enduring symbols of the Appalachians,
a black bear, holding a Dixie Cross - another enduring
symbol of the American Southland in spite of
everything done to dishonor and do away with it.

Overall, I found the experience of traveling to the Appalachian Mountains once again and conquering it's tallest peak - not to mention holding those two noble American banners out of both a sense of accomplishment and to send a positive message of solidarity with fellow Southerners and Americans - to have been a very rewarding one on a number of levels. 

Standing up there at the highest point east of the Mississippi River and looking out at the amazing view of the remains of what was the first mountain range in this old world of ours, one feels a sense of awe that is hard to put into specific words. It's a connection that one feels on a deeply spiritual level that's a part of the land and a part of ourselves.

I do believe that finding that feeling and experiencing it while standing on the summit was worth the journey, and not just because the mountain was there to be hiked - although I have to admit the "because it's there" excuse is a pretty darned good one too. 

Well, I hope y'all enjoyed this blog post. Be sure to write a comment below and as always safe travels, y'all!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Planetary Photography - 07-25-2015 - Luna & Saturn

Tonight I managed to get an amazing shot between the trees of the waxing gibbous moon and Saturn - the farthest of the planets that can be seen with the naked eye in the night sky.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Angry Racist Regressives Invade South Carolina State Capitol Grounds

On Saturday, July 18th, Columbia, SC, the capitol city of my home state of South Carolina, was invaded by two large groups of intolerant, hateful bigots: the Loyal White Knights (sic) of the Ku Klux Klan from North Carolina and a New Black Panther Party group called the Black Educators For Justice (what they really mean is: "Just Us") from Florida.

Well, maybe "large groups" is stretching matters since neither chapter of either organization holds more than a couple hundred people - not all of which showed up in Columbia, although they did succeed in bringing with them large numbers of counter-protesters and assorted useful idiots.

Both groups came to the Palmetto State to cause trouble and to stir up hate in the wake of the removal of the Confederate battle flag ANV replica from its honored place as part of the Confederate Soldier's Monument - the justification of the Klan group's protest and the subsequent counter-protest by the Black Panther group.

The Klan group's protest was dubbed a "pro-flag rally" as the Establishment Media called it, even though no legitimate Southern heritage organization, nor any other Civil War history group either offered support, nor sanctioned the rally, nor the presence of these false prophets. 

Prior to the rallies, SC Governor "Knee-Jerk" Nikki Haley urged the people of the State of South Carolina not to be in Columbia on that day. “Our family hopes the people of South Carolina will join us in staying away from the disruptive, hateful spectacle members of the Ku Klux Klan hope to create over the weekend and instead focus on what brings us together,” she said. “We want to make the Statehouse a lonely place for them.”

Ironic words coming from Governor Haley considering that she and much of the South Carolina Legislature practically invited both groups of these racist scumbags to South Carolina in the first place through their obscene, pro-white supremacist act of removing a soldier's flag from a soldiers monument dedicated to recognized American Veterans under the pressure of the Leftist US Media Establishment and other "politically correct" culture fascists. 

Their justifications for removing the flag and the flagpole itself, while vainly attempting to sound respectful for all parties involved, did nothing to bring about a new era of tolerance, or bring the people of this State together. It did nothing more than offer white supremacist throwbacks like the Klan and Neo-fascists organization justification and some would argue "legitimacy" for their wrongful misuse of a flag that rightfully belongs to Confederate descendants and ALL Southerner-born people regardless of race, creed or religious faith.

Also of note Governor Haley failed to mention the New Black Panther Party and their allies for their part in creating a "disruptive, hateful spectacle". Especially curious on the governor's part considering that the Southern Poverty Law Center (which on occasion actually does gets something right) recognizes the New Black Panther Party, along with the so-called "Loyal White Knights" (sic) as hate groups.

This "flag rally" on the part of the NC based Klan group was nothing more than a naked attempt to legitimize their organization's continued misuse of the Dixie Cross banner and in the process stir up as much anger and division as they could. Between them and the black separatist groups that attended, they managed to accomplish quite a bit of that. 

Overall it was estimated by local police and SLED officers on hand to act as security that about 2,000 assorted pieces of human trash who laughingly call themselves Americans and Southerners, let alone white and black people, attended this event. Of the two groups themselves: about 35 Klan clowns and 60 odd Black Power degenerates. The rest were either useful idiots who attended to bolster immoral support for both groups, or bystanders who got caught up in this fiasco as they stood around watching this train-wreck unfold. 

The event went on for about a little over than an hour too long and resulted in several small fights leading to a few minor injuries, a couple of flags (a Confederate and US flag) being destroyed by black separatist activists, one Israeli flag stomped on by a white supremacist, five arrests, and over 23 cases where medical attention was needed for sunstroke on the hot, blistery summer day.

If I could have been there to offer advice for passers-by - or out-of-town tourists who had the misfortune to witness this bad comedy play out - it would have been to advise them that if folks really wanted to see a zoo animals, then Riverbanks Zoo And Gardens is about six blocks away from the Statehouse. At least there all the animals are safely behind enclosures. 

My Planned Protest  

Up until just a few days prior to the Day of Hate In Columbia (as I will infamously refer to to this event - as opposed to Haley's War) I was making plans to attend this event, not as a representative of either side, but to protest both sides, particularly their view of that flag and by extension their obscene ideologies.

My plan was not to carry either a US or Confederate banner - I believe I mentioned in a blog post before, and if not I will state this for the record: I do not and will not dishonor myself, the South, or my ancestry by flying the Dixie Cross banner in anger - but rather to carry a handmade sign about some of the men who fought and served with honor under the flag despised by one group and misuses wrongly by the other. The hope was to try and educate some about the true history of that flag and how modern Southern heritage supporters and many Southerners of Confederate descent truly regard it.

I suspect now that the message on this poster would have been lost on the small-minded mentalities involved.

That plan changed when I was informed by other members of the SCV that the Division Commander of the South Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans to avoid Columbia that day and any association with either group - particularly the Klan group.

Now, I am not someone who blindly takes orders and was prepared to take a stand as simply just as citizen of South Carolina and private defender of Southern heritage. I do not fear for my personal safety and would be more than proud to take a physical beating in defense of my heritage and the people who honor it. But then several other friends I know from facebook and other sources who knew of my plans pleaded with me not to attend siting my recent health issues - particularly one dealing with heat stroke. Family members also cautioned me not to go, including my grandmother who is recovering from cancer surgery. They urged me to find an alternative and more positive form of protest.

Finally I relented two days prior to the event and decided to take both the moral and literal high ground in defense of my Southern heritage and identity; a story I promise to share with y'all on my next blog post on Friday.

Images From Columbia

After learning the details of what happened in Columbia on Saturday, I am fortunate that I did not attend at all considering the climate - and I don't just mean the weather. Also, no matter how much mental preparation I could have done, the sight of the Dixie Cross and the US flag being dishonored in the hands of white trash like the KKK in person might have been too much for me to deal with emotionally. Just looking at the photos online were enough to make me sick. 

These are several photos of the event taken from several online sources - the only ones I could barely stomach enough to post here:

Seeing those two beautiful banners (Old Glory & the Dixie Cross) in the hands of such unworthy people never fails to sicken me as a proud Confederate descendant and a proud American.
See mom and dad, this is what happens when you smoke crystal meth. My little anti-drug message for the day.
Raise your hand if you're a disrespectful piece of white trash.
Hey guys didn't y'all get the "one nation one flag" memo from your white Northeastern Leftist Elitist friends? So what happened to the US flag....you know the one that many anti-Confederate flag folks kept saying "stood for us all" as Americans?
Oh yeah, that's what y'all did with it.
(Note: this event took place the day of the funerals of the Charleston Nine. A little reminder of just how little respect these people and their Leftist elitist allies really showed for those slain men and women - and what they think of this nation's flag and country as a whole).
Note the burning US flag on one of the banners from the Black Panthers? Clearly the Dixie Cross isn't the ONLY banner they see as racist.

Also on a personal note, I think I understand now why both sides raise their arms and scream "White Power!" and "Black Power!"...two words: no deodorant. Since edged weapons and firearms were officially prohibited within two blocks of the dueling rallies, I believe that both sides were literally trying to kill each other with their B.O. stinks in that nearly 100F heat. 

Hey, it's just a little theory of mine.

There were other photos from that day, but I think the six I offered were more than enough to get the point across. Though there was one more photo that really drove a point home:

Officer Leroy Smith SC Dept of Public Safety helps an elderly white supremacist get out of the heat after suffering sunstroke. One of the only positive acts of human decency shown there that transcended racial hatred fostered by both groups, and shows the fallacy and inherent flaws of both white supremacist and white guilt/black power ideologies.

Blogger's Summary And Final Thoughts

I will summarize the entire situation by expressing how I truly feel about the ideals of racial supremacy, racial guilt, and notions of racial privilege: They're all bullshit!

Racial supremacy is completely discredited through the science of genetics which conclusively prove we all share the same basic traits, we all have the same brain function as human beings, and we all share the same blood. There is no scientific basis for the idea that some human beings are either physically or psychologically better than any other based on skin color. Even morality does not make one human being better, nor more superior than another since an free thinking individual defines morality by different standards.

Racial guilt is also complete garbage thinking. My ancestors were Ulster-Irish and Ulster Scottish. Am I to attack and guilt trip anyone who has Anglo-English heritage because one group of people enslaved and held down my own ancestry for 700 years? Obviously not. If people held grudges like that then everyone would always hate everyone else for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with today and now.

As far as "racial privilege" goes, well I won't even dignify that sorry logic by putting it on my blog since it defies all common sense thinking, and this blog is in fact about common sense.

If those who follow the flawed logic of white supremacy and black separatist ideologies choose to shout dumbass slogans about the so-called power of their skin pigmentation, then let them. If that's all they choose to see as what defines them, then that's their right as Americans....and also a sign of how pitifully shallow their sense of priorities are.

Watching these two groups show disrespect, misuse, and desecrate the two American banners that I love and respect sickens me, as I know it does the vast majority of the South and the American people as a whole. The Black Panthers may tear apart and burn a pair of US and Confederate flags, but they cannot destroy what they mean in the hearts of those who honor them. The Ku Klux Klan may wave around our hijacked Dixie Cross, but thankfully their questionable credibility with that flag does not exist to the vast majority of the American people.

Meanwhile, across Dixie on the same day, tens of thousands of REAL defenders of Southern heritage and supporters of that flag -- Southerners of all races and ancestry -- in a hundred individual protests stood in defense and affirmation of the REAL heritage of the Dixie Cross as a living symbol of identity for ALL Southern-born people.

RIP Mr. Anthony Hervey.

These brave men and women faced the violent hatred of the "tolerant" and one was even killed in defense of the idea of individual liberty, personal identity, and true tolerance among the Southern people - and more importantly against the idea of condemning that flag and handing it over to intolerant agents of bigotry and hatred....something that those who control the politically correct Establishment in America seem to have absolutely no problem doing to serve their own narrow-thinking agenda. 

For every hateful bigot who screams about racial hate and guilt, and who wave, burn, or condemn the flags of America, there are hundreds more who stand against them and say: You don't have the power to define us!

The lesson to be learned from these good Southern-born folks, and from noble men like Officer Smith is that the best way to overcome those filled with hate, to defeat those who misjudge and falsely label others based on prejudiced mindsets; to overcome those wrong-thinking narrow mindsets is to prove those same mindsets wrong through positive actions. With respect. With love. 

And with good ole Southern Fried Common Sense, of course.  

Noted Defender Of Southern-Confederate Heritage Killed On Mississippi Highway

Anthony Hervey In Confederate Uniform With Flag, Oxford, Mississippi, May 2000.
On Sunday, July 19th, Mr. Anthony Hervey (age 49) a resident of Oxford, Mississippi, USA, a US Veteran and Purple Heart recipient, and noted activist for the defense of Southern Confederate historical heritage, the Dixie Cross, and the State Flag of Mississippi, was tragically killed in what appears to be a deliberate road rage incident involving another vehicle.

Mr. Hervey and another Southern heritage activist, Miss Arlene Barnham, were returning home from a pro-Confederate flag rally in Birmingham, Alabama, when another vehicle sped up beside the 2005 Ford Explorer he was driving and the occupants of the other vehicle began heckling and shouting hateful insults at them. Mr. Hervey lost control and the vehicle flipped off the roadway into a ditch off Mississippi Highway 6 in Lafayette County. Mr. Hervey died soon after. Miss Barnham was rushed to the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery from her injuries.

Police are still investigating the incident and updates will be made when they are available.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of Mr. Hervey and Miss Barnham. May God be with them in their time of sorrow and well wishes to Miss Barnham for a speedy recovery.

It is also the firm wish of this blogger that the people responsible for this terrible tragedy be brought to justice for their shameful acts of intimidation and causing the wrongful death of Mr. Hervey and injuries to Miss Barnham. Believe me when I say that those of us who honor these two brave defenders of individual liberty and Southern identity as family will neither forget, nor be intimidated by this act of domestic terrorism.

The following are several links to this story with further details:

Confederate Heritage Activists Mr. Anthony Hervey (Second From Left) and Miss Arlene Barnham (Third From Right). The Two Victims Of A Vicious Road Rage Incident.

RIP Anthony Hervey. (Oct. 27, 1965 - July 19, 2015) A True Son Of Dixie! You Shall Be Missed!