Oddments: On Not Being Scots-Irish

Scots-Irish is almost synonymous with hillbilly in the US.  Scots migrated first from Scotland to Ulster (not Northern Ireland), then to the US, often entering through Philadelphia, walking west until they hit properly tilted country, then working their way down the Appalachian Mountains (at the time America’s “backcountry”).  But many Scots immigrants never detoured through Ulster.  More importantly, as David Hackett Fischer points out in Albion’s Seed, a large portion of that immigration wave were from northern England.  They weren’t from Scotland at all.

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October Month-in-Review and Blog Update

For the last year and a half I have published at least three posts each week across both blogs—a Music Monday post at Hillbilly Highways on Monday, a speculative fiction post at Every Day Should Be Tuesdays on Tuesdays, and a country noir or hillbilly studies post at Hillbilly Highways on Wednesdays.  Not to mention the occasional Throwback Thursday post at Every Day Should Be Tuesday and New Music Friday post at Hillbilly Highways.  It’s fun, but it’s also a grind.  All while I have been getting continually busier professionally and personally, bringing a tiny human into the world and twice having to drop everything for a week and head down those hillbilly highways on short notice to tend to a family emergency.

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Oddments: Top Five Hallowreads at Hillbilly Highways

I have a couple more Hallowreads coming for y’all.  I am several stories into Harlan County Horrors, edited by Mari Adkins, and after that I will start Congregations of the Dead by James A. Moore and Charles R. Rutledge.  I am also somewhat distracted by watching AMC’s Preacher.  But I will get reviews posted of both by Halloween.  In the meantime, I’ve already reviewed some pretty damn good horror here at Hillbilly Highways.

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Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Spooky Country Noir Reads

I did not move this far north to deal with near 90 degree temps in September.  I love the fall, and that means crisp temps, college football, and . . . Halloween.  And, for me, Halloween means reading.  Really, all of those things mean reading, because I really like reading.  Not reading horror, necessarily, but the Halloween season is an exception.  In the past I have focused on older horror at Every Day Should Be Tuesday, running a series of posts on Frankenstein and a series of posts on the horror of Robert E. Howard.  This year I am bringing it home to Hillbilly Highways.  Ghost stories are a rich part of my cultural heritage, and country noir offers plenty of spooky options.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings.

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The Lowest Difficult Setting There Is

We flew down to Texas this past weekend for a wedding.  We got to the airport early enough for lunch before we flew out.  no-angel was sitting in a highchair at the end of the table, my wife and I on either side, while we waited on our food.  At one point, she reached to her left and squeezed my wife’s arm, then reached to the right and squeezed my arm.  That’s a baby who appreciates being raised in a stable two-parent home!  Even a little baby with a brain a third the size of that of an adult (it’s science) knows the value of a two-parent home.  That is the sort of thing you have to miseducate out of a person.

Some people have been known to claim that being a straight white male is living life on the lowest difficulty setting there is.  It just ain’t so.  While I can see why you might think that if you are a straight white male mediocrity who has had anomalous success, an anecdote does not empirical findings make.  Other things matter more.

Her grandpa says she looks like either Albert Einstein or Ray Wylie Hubbard here

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Life in the Mountains After Coal

I spent last week in Canmore, Alberta.  Canmore is a little mountain town nestled just inside the Canadian Rockies shortly before you reach Banff National Park.  I didn’t know ’til I got there that Canmore used to be a coal mining town.

Queen Victoria herself granted a charter for coal mining in Canmore (well, she probably in reality had little to do with it . . . but it was issued in her name).  The first coal mine in Canmore was opened in 1887.  Canmore remained a coal mining town for the next 92 years.  I might not have realized the history but for happening to be in town on the 40th anniversary of its last coal mine closing.

The entrance to Canmore’s last coal mine. It is sealed off a few feet in.

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Follow Hillbilly Highways on Social Media

The best way to follow Hillbilly Highways is using an RSS reader (I use the G2Reader).  But Hillbilly Highways does have a social media presence and you are welcome to and encouraged to join me.

Hillbilly Highways Facebook page: Hillbilly Highways

Hillbilly Highways adjunct Facebook group: Gravel and Guts: Grit Lit and Country Noir Books

Don’t like Facebook?  I’m also on Twitter: @tuesdayreviews

You can find me on Litsy as TuesdayReviews

And, last but not least (ok, probably least), you can follow me on Goodreads