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

June 2019 Month-in-Review and Mid-Year-in-Review

Head over to Every Day Should Be Tuesday to check out what I’ve been reading and the most popular posts here at Hillbilly Highways in June.

Every Day Should Be Tuesday

After a very hectic May, June provided a more sedate pace.  The rest of the summer should prove even better.  Hopefully two trips to Canada provide plenty of reading time.  I hope to read even more in July and August than I read in May and June.  Sadly, it looks like there will be no summer blog series this year.

June was my fourth-best month ever at Every Day Should Be Tuesday and my fifth-best month ever at Hillbilly Highways.

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Celebrating One Year of Hillbilly Highways

It is hard to believe that it has been (now over) one year since I launched Hillbilly Highways.  It has been a richly rewarding year.

I am quite happy with the balance I have struck.  My rough rule of thumb is to strive toward two parts country noir, one part nonfiction, one part TV/film, and one part “oddments,” balanced against a Music Monday post each week.

A number of the posts are deeply personal.  They take a lot out of me.  The nonfiction posts are a great time suck.  But they are both immensely rewarding.  I am gratified to see that none of the interests I have chosen have entirely escaped your interest.

Read on past the jump to learn the most popular posts here at Hillbilly Highways over the past year.

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Love Means Always Having To Say You’re Sorry

Now that I’ve been married for five full years I am qualified to lecture everyone else on the topic.  Let me start with a quote that really sums up what it’s all about.

No, let me start with a story about the quote.  It is a quote from a movie that I have never seen.  What I have seen is the episode of VH1’s I Love the 70’s devoted to 1970.  What is it that makes us enjoy looking back nostalgically, even to things we don’t personally remember?  (Related: every time I walk into a college bar they seem to be playing music from when I was in high school or college.)

The one thing that stuck out to me from original episode way back in 2003 was this quote from the movie Love Story:

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

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May 2019 Month-in-Review

Check out the top posts across both blogs and see what I have been reading. May’s Month-in-Review:

Every Day Should Be Tuesday

The end of May marked the four year blogiversary of Every Day Should Be Tuesday, and Thursday marks the one year blogiversary of Hillbilly Highways, both of which deserve posts of their own.  May was my second-best month ever at Every Day Should Be Tuesday for views, buoyed by Game of Thrones recaps.  It was a slow month at Hillbilly Highways (unsurprising since I missed a couple Music Monday posts), but Hillbilly Highways is still running 25% ahead of where Every Day Should Be Tuesday was at this point.

I paced myself in May, only publishing seventeen posts.  I am proud of myself, though, for publishing seven reviews (admittedly, three were old reviews dusted off and polished up).  My Game of Thrones recaps were so successful I had to split them out from the rest of my posts for my “top 5”.  Views grew over the course of the season…

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April 2019 Month-in-Review

Check out the most popular posts at Hillbilly Highways in April and see what I’ve been reading.

Every Day Should Be Tuesday

April was another whirlwind of a month.  I finished my watch of all 67 then-existing Game of Thrones episodes in the 67 days before season 8 premiered.  I have been recapping each episode the night it airs and those posts dominated my stats this month.

I am back home in the mountains now after completing another grueling year in the academic salt mines.  In addition to finishing my grading, I am celebrating accepting an offer to publish my latest academic work.

Read on for more on my April stats and my plans for May!

When the Night King is coming so you put on your red pants.

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Oddments: We’re Still Here

I am still slowly working my way through the essays in Appalachian Reckoning.  A helluva lot of people struggling and striving and suffering who are too inconvenient to admit exist when you have a narrative of your own to peddle.  Nevertheless we persist in existing, an inconvenient truth.  A throwaway line in an essay full of them reminded me, in that bewildering, wonderful way the human brain connects random bits, of a line from a buddy of mine from middle school.  Riffing on Robin Leach and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (then still on the air), he would, repeatedly, refer to the “lifestyles of the poor and dainty.”  It was a funny line, but not one that had any real reason to be memorable.  Again, the human brain is funny like that.  I wondered what my old friend was up to these days.  So I did what we do these days.

I looked him up on Facebook.  I spent a few minutes browsing a very normal small town Facebook page before noticing that it was a memorialized account.

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Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Like Lions by Brian Panowich

Like Lions is the sequel to Panowich’s excellent country noir Bull Mountain.  I have a review copy and, let me tell you, Like Lions is even better.  You can find my review of Bull Mountain here.  Keep an eye out for my review of Like Lions on May 1.  Check out the blurb for the multi-generational hillbilly crime drama after the jump.

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

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