Category Archives: Barber Shop Blog

The Knoxville Cowboy Performs Live

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NOTICE: Andy will not be performing live at the Wild Boar Tavern again until further notice. Please check back later for the official restart date.

Marshal Andy performs publicly on the first Sunday of each month at 1:00 at the Wild Boar Tavern located at 950 E Emory Road – Knoxville, TN 37938 in the Powell area of Knox County. The phone number is (865) 623-1000.

Marshal Andy performing at the Wild Boar Tavern in 2022.

Why I Wear a Facemask at the Barber Shop

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Rex, hard at work with a face mask, practicing what he preaches

Ever since Governor Bill Lee allowed non-essential business to re-open on May 6, 2020, I have worn a facemask everyday while inside the barber shop. I am in the minority as most people do not wear facemasks; and I am occasionally told by someone in the majority that wearing one provides no protection whatsoever and is, therefore, absolutely useless. I disagree.

I have long held that while facemasks are not a fool-proof, one-hundred-effective means of protection against air-borne viruses and bacteria, they do offer some protection and can reduce the amount of inhaled substances. As studies have demonstrated that the amount of matter exhaled into the air is reduced by the fact that air droplets are caught by the interior of a facemask, it seems only logical that the reverse must also be true – that the amount of matter inhaled by the wearer can be reduced too, especially if the wearer is using a N95 or KN95 type of mask.

An article published by (published on November 12, 2020 – updated on February 17, 2021) agrees with my assertion and provides a list of ten studies that also concur. The article may be accessed by clicking here.

When we changed over to an appointments-only service model, I quickly discovered that cancelling customer’s appointments was quite a bit of hassle. First of all, we have to call people and inform them that we are not going to be able to make their appointment. Simply not showing up for a customer’s appointment would be rude and result in a wasted trip for the customer. Secondly, we have to call them back and reschedule their time. “Well, just call them then. What’s the issue?” some may assert. It’s not that simple.

We have found that if a person does not recognize a phone number, he will automatically assume that it is a spam sales call or possible scam, and will simply not answer his phone. In light of the fact that a large portion of the population does not check their voice mail, has a voicemail that is not set up, or has a voicemail that is full, it is sometimes the case that it is impossible to reach a customer when we need to. The only remaining option is to send a text message if the customer’s phone number is assigned to a cell phone and hope for the best.

An inability to reach a customer when necessary has some negative consequences. If the customer shows up for his appointment, and the barber he scheduled with is not at the shop, he may become angry and ask, “Well why didn’t you people let me know so that I could reschedule?” Or he may simply say, “That’s okay. You (meaning the other barber who is at the shop) can cut my hair.” That may not be possible if the other barber has another customer scheduled.

Unforeseen personal family issues, illness, car trouble, being caught in stand-still traffic – these are all reasons why we may need to contact a customer and reschedule; and we really, really need to be able to get in touch with him when such issues arise. I, therefore, want to do everything in my power to make sure that I do not have to contact a customer and reschedule. That “everything in my power” certainly includes not becoming sick because in this time we live in now, coming to work sick is no longer an option, at least for those of us who are not self-centered and take other people’s well-being into consideration.

So, that’s why I wear a mask folks – to make sure that I don’t get sick, don’t have to cancel people’s appointments, and don’t deal with all the negative aggravation that is accompanied. Whether it’s covid-19, influenza, strep-throat, pneumonia, or simply a common cold – any illness that requires me to contact you guys and deal with rescheduling is something I absolutely want to avoid.

New Customer Essential Information

If you are considering coming to Mulberry Street Barber Shop for the very first time, please be advised of the following:

  • The barber shop is open Tuesday through Saturday and offers services by appointment only. Those who arrive without an appointment have no expectation of immediate service. Showing up without an appointment is not advised.
  • The barber shop opens at the time of the first scheduled appointment of the day; and it closes at the time of the last scheduled appointment of the day. In other words, open and close times are contingent on previously-scheduled appointments.
  • The barber shop phone number is (865) 458-4777.
  • The barber shop is located at 401 1/2 Mulberry Street, Loudon, TN 37774. This is next to Greer’s Home Furnishings. NOTE: Highway 11 and Mulberry Street are the exact same road within the city limits. For an in-depth, printable directions page, click here.
  • We accept cash and check only – no credit or debit cards.

Basic Meditation 101

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What is Meditation?

Meditation is the process of focusing your attention on something, becoming distracted with thoughts, realizing that you have become distracted, and then returning your attention to that which you were focusing on. This cycle of focus, distraction, realization, and refocus is meditation.

Focusing on What?

The three most common “somethings” on which mediators focus their attention are:

  1. The Breath. Meditators pay attention to the movement of the lungs or diaphragm as air enters and exits their body or the sensation felt in the nostrils with each breath.
  2. A Mantra. Mantras are thought or spoken phrases repeated over and over. A mantra can be whatever you want. Some meditators use foreign Sanskrit words which are said to have a deep meaning, but this is not necessary. Your mantra can be something as simple and meaningless as, “I like peanut butter.”
  3. The Flame of a Candle. Focusing on a candle flame is said to help the mediator develop his or her attention better than other objects of concentration. If you wish to use a candle flame as your object of concentration, put the candle at a height that will allow you to look straight at it without tilting your head and sit about two feet away from it. Stare at the flame for about three minutes then close your eyes and focus on the afterimage. When the afterimage disappears, open your eyes and resume staring at the candle. Repeat.

Components of the Typical Meditation Session

Positioning your body. There are four standard ways that people position themselves when they meditate. Some people lay flat on their back on a yoga mat or some other soft surface with their hands to their side; some sit on a chair; others use a special meditation bench or pillow; and some folks sit in the cross-legged, Lotus position. Position yourself in whatever way is comfortable for you.

Pre-Meditation Relaxation. Before jumping into the actual process of meditation, take a minute to simply relax and let go of any pervasive, obsessive thought patterns. In other words, prepare yourself for the session.

Commencement and Duration. As a beginning meditator, you should probably meditate for ten minutes. As you get used to the process, work your way up to fifteen minutes, and then maybe twenty minutes. The average session duration for an experienced meditator is twenty minutes. It is advised to use a timer so that you don’t have to stop and look at a clock to monitor your remaining time. There are meditation timer apps such as Insight Timer, available for iPhone and Android, that can be set to issue a bell alert at preset intervals of your choosing during your session for the purpose of reminding you that you are supposed to be refocusing your attention on your object of meditation. And, of course, these apps also let you know when your session has ended.

Ending the session. When your meditation session has ended, take a minute to simply relax and be present. Don’t immediately get up and resume your to-do list for the day.

Why Meditate?

The purpose of meditation is to develop mindfulness, specifically a mindful awareness of our thoughts and impulses. Mood, speech, and behavior are preceded by thought and impulse, which influence our mental health, personality, and how we interact with others. When we are able to mindfully and objectively observe our thoughts and impulses, we can better judge them to be either constructive or destructive to our own well-being and that of others. If we deem them destructive, we can then opt to not act on them. Simply put, mindfulness developed through meditation is about self-analysis and introspection for the purpose of becoming a better person.

Meditation also has a calming effect on the brain which creates a sense of peace.

Miscellaneous Observations About Meditation

The brain is a thinking machine. Thinking is exactly what it is supposed to do. So don’t be surprised to discover that your brain frequently gives in to the urge to stop focusing and resume thinking because the brain does not like to meditate. It would much rather engage in thought.

As a beginning meditator, you may find that as much as five minutes have elapsed before you realize that you are supposed to be focusing on your “something” of choice. This is normal. Don’t become discouraged or frustrated with yourself. It takes time to develop the ability to maintain focus on an object of concentration. Even those who have meditated for years still lose focus and have to refocus. As stated earlier, losing concentration is part of the meditation process. So just hang in there and keep at it.

Drinking a cup of regular coffee thirty minutes before meditating will help keep you from falling asleep during meditation.

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