You're Standing on My Neck

MTV has announced they're rebooting "Daria," but they're going to call it "Daria & Jodie."

I remember the Jodie character. She was every bit as smart as Daria and Jane, and likable -- but I don't remember her being very funny. Really the most memorable thing about her character was that she was what kids these days call "woke," though in a low-key way. She wouldn't have led an outrage mob to besiege some poor slob at home or try to get him fired, but she might have said something low-key sarcastic about him. Other than that, there didn't seem to be much sense of humor there. Jodie's sarcasm was never in the same league as Daria's or Jane's.

But you know why she's getting co-star billing in the planned reboot. Daria, being a Morgendorfer, is too -- shall we say "privileged"? -- to be acceptable as the sole star of a new TV show aimed at (well, looky there!) Generation Woke.

I'm willing to be surprised, but the last thing MTV did that surprised me was ... well, putting the original Daria on the schedule.

©   Kevin McGehee

And Now for Something Completely Inane

Wih apologies to Eric Clapton and music lovers everywhere.

It appears to my eye
My crop is gonna die
No rain

If he can fetch you a log
That is one big dog
Great Dane

Roll on by
Roll on by
Roll on by
Coal train

Your cookout guests have all gone
'Cause charcoal takes too long

Your self-esteem is reduced
Because your hair has vamoosed

Roll on by
Roll on by
Roll on by
Coal train

Roll on by
Roll on by
Roll on by
Coal train

Eating expired food
Is an idea that ain't good

This island Gulf state
Is not an emirate

Roll on by
Roll on by
Roll on by
Coal train

Roll on by
Roll on by
Roll on by
Coal train

I was right,
I was right,
I was right...

Update: If that tune's in your head
And makes you wanna be dead
I can feel
I can feel
I can feel...
Your pain.

©   Kevin McGehee

They Don't Want You to Think for Yourself

And so they pretend you already can't. Gideon Resnick writes in The Daily Beast:

Trump’s apparent stranglehold on Republican voters has also led them to buy into the notion that the mainstream media is out to get him in their coverage of the administration.

No, Gid, you have that backwards. The media's inability to maintain even the semblance of objectivity about Trump, Republicans, or the American people outside of coastal enclaves -- in evidence long before Trump decided to run for office -- accounts for what you call "Trump’s apparent stranglehold on Republican voters."

©   Kevin McGehee

Space Opera Is One Thing

Reality is another.

President Trump has directed the Pentagon to establish the United States Space Force, which has space geeks everywhere imagining a space navy like on "Star Trek."

When I point out what history tells us about the formation of new military branches in the U.S., I'm given all kinds of arguments for why the Navy is a better choice on which to base the Space Force than the Air Force is, and why the Air Force should be stuffed back into the Army because it's incompetent and just plain icky.

None of which changes the fact that these things happen according to the Iron Laws of Bureaucratic Thermo(non)dynamics. Merit is irrelevant. Rationality is irrelevant. Bailiwicks exist and Will. Be. Defended. The Air Force will not stand by and watch squids or ground-pounders take charge of above-the-ground operations.


If you doubt me, consider that the U.S. Air Force has never had a unit called "brigade." Yet, for 71 years, its lowest general rank has been the Brigadier General. This is because of bureaucratic inertia, the single most powerful force in every organizational chart having three or more levels.

A hundred years from now, the officer commanding an American starbase will be a Brigadier General.

Just you watch.

Afterthoughts and Addenda: If anything, the most likely space-opera template for a real-life space force is "Battlestar Galactica" which -- despite being set aboard a huge spaceship that functioned like an aircraft carrier -- was led by a former fighter pilot whose executive officer was a colonel. All officer ranks, at least, below that of Commander Adama were based on army/air force structures.

Despite having no apparent naval cultural influences, the ship functioned pretty well. They used it mainly as a mobile forward operating base (FOB) when they went on the attack, which is essentially the military role of a naval aircraft carrier ("projecting power" is essentially a political and strategic role, but ultimately a consequence of an aircraft carrier's immediate military value as a floating FOB). "Galactica" -- at least in reboot -- presented a picture of space combat that was a hell of a lot more realistic than anything on "Star Trek."

The application of the rank of Commander on "Battlestar Galactica" did manage to avoid the absurdity of "Brigadier General Adama," but it's way out of line with its naval counterpart, and we already have inter-service discontinuities regarding lieutenants and captains.

The Galactica reboot, at least, did incorporate the rank of Admiral for the senior-most Commander in the fleet, but it was really out of place in a service brimming with non-naval officer grades. The reboot also introduced two NCO characters who were "petty officers," but their roles didn't make their naval designations necessary; they could just as easily have been sergeants. I suspect they and the Admiral rank were injected by the reboot's writers because they -- like the space geeks mentioned above -- couldn't abide a spaceship that didn't have at least some naval trappings. But why, then, didn't they simply redesignate Adama's commissioned subordinates? It would have made more sense.

Then again, maybe the non-naval ranks of Galactica's line officers speaks, as I've been contending, to bureaucratic inertia -- while enlisted ranks were easier to tamper with (as with the U.S. Air Force, which started out with privates and corporals like its Army predecessor), and political whims can sometimes, rarely, win trivial battles with the bureaucracy on such things as what to call the highest-ranking officer.

The analogy only extends so far; after all, by the time of either TV incarnation the Colonial military had no inter-service rivalries because there were no rival services. If anything, the competitive atmosphere among admirals and green and blue generals would make things even more intractable. Far from imposing a solution from the top that pleases none of the brass, Congress will end up adopting a compromise that pleases none of the brass.

But I'm betting that the blue generals will be least displeased.

Update: Mr. Know-It-All (me) risks getting on Rand Simberg's nerves with an epic threadjack -- though admittedly not without an accomplice.

©   Kevin McGehee

A Difference Which Makes No Difference?

For some time now I've been relying on an auto-uploader to copy my web pages from my laptop to my website. Yesterday it started having problems and after several attempts on my part to troubleshoot, it quit working altogether. I may actually know why, but I've decided it doesn't matter and I'll just go back to using FTP with FileZilla.

One of the benefits I anticipated with the auto-uploader, that never actually materialized, was that I could edit pages with my tablet, save them to a cloud account that autosyncs with my laptop, and the auto-uploader would then copy the file to the website without my having to do anything more. However, neither the autosync nor the auto-uploader actually operate when the lid on the laptop is closed. So I still had to come log on to the laptop to make the system finish the process.

And although I could copy the files directly from the cloud account to the website on my tablet, the auto-uploader invariably had a hissy fit when I did that.

Without the auto-uploader on the laptop, now I can go ahead and do my uploads directly from the tablet -- or even the phone, if I'm feeling masochistic enough -- without bothering with the laptop. On those occasions when I'm away from the laptop, which does sometimes happen.

So, yeah, I can fix what broke the auto-uploader, but why bother?

©   Kevin McGehee

Good Game

...though the suspense at the end was a bit unnecessary.

Mrs. McG's post-baccalaureate alma mater, Mississippi State, is in the College World Series this year, and last night was their first game -- "hosting" the University of Washington at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. Together we watched most of the game, which saw a lot of hits, a lot of strikeouts, and a lot of men on base -- and a lot of double plays. One of them came when the Huskies had the bases loaded with one out, and their next batter hit what should have driven in the first run of the game. Outs two and three were rung up before the scoring runner could reach home plate.

Later on, Washington returned the favor against Mississippi State with a single inning-ending tag-out beating the runner home.

Mrs. McG finally had enough when, along about the sixth or seventh inning, the score was still tied at 0-0, but I stayed in front of the TV.

Washington tried to get a run in the top of the ninth, they really tried, but stranded baserunners had become the game's defining motif, and they were forced to play defense in the bottom of the ninth.

I guess I don't even really need to finish this story. Only one pair of cleats stepped on home plate all night, belonging to a Mississippi State player, driven in by a hit deep into the outfield, ending the game.

The Bulldogs face North Carolina in their next outing. Given the format of the tournament it's even possible they may meet Washington again in a later round. If so, I rather hope they don't try to replicate the suspense of last night's game.

©   Kevin McGehee

Activist Research

Gee, I wonder what other kinds of fields are susceptible to this kind of propaganda operation?

Simons said the movement to ban hydraulic fracturing techniques in oil and gas development regularly produce these kinds of tentative studies, sometimes with sloppy methodologies, with the goal of producing scare stories in the media that then create exaggerated fears in the public toward unconventional oil and gas development.

She calls it the “anti-fracking playbook” and points to the coverage of research by Lisa McKenzie, University of Colorado Public Health professor.

McKenzie produced several studies on the supposed health impacts of fracking. In 2012, McKenzie was the lead author on a study that concluded air emissions from unconventional natural gas sites was impacting people’s health.

After the study made headlines, it was found to have exaggerated emissions from well development by at least 10 times because it failed to account for a major interstate highway less than a mile from where the air samples were taken.

That's just one example. The "Wyoming fracking study" in the linked article's headline is another:

Activists in the environmental movement are producing a wealth of research on hydraulic fracturing, which representatives of the industry are saying is part of a coordinated public relations campaign meant to demonize unconventional oil and gas development.

And Pavillion, Wyoming, has gotten a lot of attention in this regard.

“Pavillion has been very susceptible to these kinds of tactics,” said Rebecca Simons, spokesperson and field director for Energy In Depth-Mountain States, based in Denver.

The latest in this line of research is a recent study on groundwater near Pavillion, which grabbed a headline in Wyofile that read, “Study: Water near fracked Wyo gas field disrupts hormones.”


In [a Casper Star-Tribune article about the study], reporter Angus M. Thuermer quotes Mary Lynn Worl, chairperson of the Pinedale-based anti-fracking organization Citizens United for Responsible Energy Development.

Worl makes the absolute statement, “This study has major ramifications health-wise.” Several other quotes from Worl speak to health impacts the study allegedly proves.

Such a conclusion cannot be drawn from this research.

This is how the science gets "settled," and not just on evironmental issues like fracking or climate change.

©   Kevin McGehee

Don Rickles Called

...he wants his hockey puck back.

When someone insults you in a political thread, there's a good chance one of two things is true: either there's a huge hole in his argument, he knows it, and he's trying to distract you from it -- or there just is no argument.

Sun-Tzu and Napoleon Bonaparte are both credited for the advice that whatever the enemy wants you to do, don't. Wherever he wants you to look, look elsewhere. If he's obviously trying to draw you in one direction, give due attention to the other. If he's trying to distract you from the gaping hole in his argument, only use the fact of the misdirection to find the hole and nuke it.

Otherwise, you're playing into his hands in front of an audience that may not be disposed in your favor; you're making yourself look foolish; and you're letting him establish his weak argument as rhetorical fact, which will make it harder to refute when he attempts to build on it later.

As for the cases where there is no argument, the only correct response is a counter-insult that is a thousand times funnier. And since Don Rickles died, almost nobody has the chops for that.

©   Kevin McGehee

The Tally Book Terms of Service

I rule here by whim.

I write what I want, when I want, for whatever reason I want. Want an example? You're reading it.

This site does not collect information about you; I don't even have a traffic meter. If the domain host has one, I haven't found a way (or a reason) to consult it. Visitors to this site are therefore not "users" in the way they would be on Twitter or any other, more interactive website. The implicit agreement entered into when you visit here is that you may read what I've written and, if you find you must respond directly, you may use the contact form link, or find a post with a comment link -- either of which take you to which, as a more interactive site, has a more extensive TOS and will collect information about you that I may know how to access but am unlikely to bother with. Unless you really tick me off. Hint: don't.

There is a notice at the bottom of each content page asserting that my copyright claims apply to original content and design, while conceding that some content not original to this site does get used here; I adhere as best I can to "fair use" principles so as not to infringe their copyright. Low traffic and nonexistent profit also help, but that isn't a guarantee. You as the reader are expected to respect all of these diverse copyright claims in sharing on other platforms what you may find here. I may never find out any violations you may commit, but those profit-making, lawyer-hiring entities whose ownership of excerpted content I have acknowledged on every content page of this site? They'll know.

In the end, this site is not a public accommodation, but private property -- just as a front yard posted with political signs is private property. You can look at it as you pass by, you can stop and stand on the sidewalk and read in more detail, but I am under no obligation to let you do more than that.

There is one way, though, in which the front yard bristling with signs is an inapt analogy: you didn't get here by accident, and if you come here again that won't be an accident. So if you don't like what you see while you're here, all you have to do to avoid continuing to see it, is go away and don't come back.

I promise I won't be offended. Return the favor, and go in peace.

©   Kevin McGehee

The Derp State

I have becoming increasingly convinced that the "collusion" probe, and the kid-gloves handling of 2016's Hillary emails investigation, bear striking parallels to a Wisconsin "John Doe" investigation that targeted supporters of that state's Gov. Scott Walker until it was shut down by the state supreme court -- and which, even after being shut down, continued efforts to target those supporters through extralegal channels (such as by dumping their private documents to the public).

This is what they meant when they said "by any means necessary." They certainly didn't mean that they ever expected these rules to be used against them.

They've earned it, but that doesn't mean I like it. A society of people openly and mutually armed against one another is supposed to be a polite society. What happened here is that one bunch assumed they were the only ones who would ever be armed, and the result is going to be (only figuratively, I hope) bloody.

This is why the Founders didn't want power concentrated in just a few hands.

©   Kevin McGehee

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