January 2018

Well, I Hope You're Happy

In light of this, I've already had to schedule two posts for tomorrow lest they disappear from the blog's front page before you malingerers get around to seeing them.

The extra work I put myself out for, just to please you.

© Wednesday,  January 31, 2018  Kevin McGehee


Groundhog Day Minus 2

So, last night somebody gave a speech, and even his enemies in the media were admitting they liked it.

I'll bet anything every one of those media people woke up this morning to "I Got You Babe."

© Wednesday,  January 31, 2018  Kevin McGehee


One Downside of Returning to a Conventional Carrier

When I was with AT&T I tried using the messaging app they put on the Android app store, wanting to be able to send and receive text messages on my tablet as well as my phone. It started out okay, and went downhill from there. Messages were lost either by not being sent, or by disappearing from my history. There was also a web interface, and it had issues too. Often a message sent from my phone never turned up on either the tablet or the web, or vice versa. Mrs. McG and I wound up using Google Hangouts for some time instead.

Now that we're on T-Mobile, I've tried using their DIGITS app, which is supposed to combine multi-device text messaging with voice calling and voicemail management. Apparently it's a law or something that a carrier's own multi-device messaging app has to suck.

Currently for text messaging I use mysms, a free app that does well what AT&T's app did badly, plus has its own built-in on-the-fly backup function for text threads. I still use the SMS backup option in my call log backup app, but mysms' utility is more readable. So DIGITS -- which by the way has no SMS backup capability -- isn't exactly a threat in the texting arena. I also don't have a huge need to be able to make or take phone calls on my tablet or laptop.

As a voicemail manager though, DIGITS ... sucks. I can neither playback voicemails in the app, nor get transcripts to load. T-Mobile has a Visual Voicemail app too -- for phones only, which means it's superfluous on my phone, where I can playback and read voicemails right in the dialer. T-Mo's Visual Voicemail app seems to work okay though, so I'm mystified as to why DIGITS ... sucks.

I knew long before signing up with T-Mobile that DIGITS had a lousy rep in both the Apple and Android app stores. A few users swear by the app, but most of us use the other preposition. It updates frequently but still manages not to get better. Something is haywire in the developers' workflow and nobody seems to know how to fix it.

There are certainly a lot of third-party apps for multi-device access to voicemail, but if they offer transcription they charge for it. Except Google Voice, which you can have divert your phone's voicemails to its servers, and both listen to and read them on the GV website or in the app. But it's Google.

To be honest, I haven't needed to access my voicemail from my tablet or laptop. But then, I don't need to access my texts from my tablet or laptop. Nor to save backups of same.

But dammit, this is America.

© Tuesday,  January 30, 2018  Kevin McGehee


STOP IT

Whichever one of you miscreants is out there putting pictures of me on Facebook, cease and desist. Arina, from Russia, is losing her sanity because of you.

I saw you photos on Facebook and cant get you out from my head. You look cute and at the same time very sexy and smart...

Poor crazy kid. She obviously needs help.

Or glasses.

© Monday,  January 29, 2018  Kevin McGehee


One Downside to This Format

This is about as late as I would dare to write and post anything I'd be particularly proud of -- because if I posted it too close to the end of the month it might be missed altogether by anyone who doesn't look in every day.

And hell, even I don't look in every day.

Visitors dropping by on the first (or second, or third, or...) of the month are unlikely to click back to the previous month just on the off chance I had something profound occur to me on the 29th or 30th. Which means even if something profound were to occur to me on the 29th or 30th, I'd have to sit on it for a couple of days anyway if I want it ever to be seen.

Lord knows most of what appears here could benefit from being sat on for a couple of days...

© Sunday,  January 28, 2018  Kevin McGehee


A Lesson from Yesterday's Senior Bowl?

"Stay in school."

© Sunday,  January 28, 2018  Kevin McGehee


Look Out, Fauxcahontas

I can only assume this means you have competition for the presidency in 2020:

"A f*cking turd would have been better as a president."

If that doesn't mean Eminem is throwing his do-rag into the ring, I don't know what it means.

© Friday,  January 26, 2018  Kevin McGehee


One More Thing I'm Not Paying Google For

My experiment with Google's Project Fi has ended at last.

I'm now down to only paying Google for my domain registration, because I haven't found any other outfit that charges as little for a .us domain except promotionally -- and for ebooks, since Amazon's Kindle bugs the hell out of me more than Google Play Books does. So far. Both options allow for the sharing of ebooks with family members, but Amazon's Family Library set-up process failed repeatedly and locked me out of trying again for six months at a time; it didn't finally work until after I had already set up Google's ebooks to be shareable (a late entry into the shareability stakes, too) on the first attempt.

Meanwhile Mrs. McG and I are back on the same carrier (T-Mobile), paying less per month for wireless service than we have since getting our first smartphones, and with what for us should literally amount to unlimited and unthrottled wireless data because we're unlikely to pass 50 GB in any given month. This will make using my phone for travel navigation easier to stomach, since it's a big wireless bandwidth hog. It's possible that on long trips it could suck up dozens of gigabytes, but we'll just have to see.

And the gimmick that led me to Project Fi in the first place works with T-Mo too -- though with wifi calling enabled and while logged into wifi, the wireless network downgrades from 4G LTE to 3G HSPA+, presumably because wifi is carrying the actual load. Off wifi the wireless network automatically upgrades to 4G again. That never seemed to happen on Fi (even though the signal was almost exclusively from T-Mobile), but I don't imagine it will become an issue.

© Wednesday,  January 24, 2018  Kevin McGehee


Thoughts My Brain Didn't Exactly Make, So Much As Glean from Decades of Observation

If you're not sure what's media spin and what's not, remember this Iron Law: the national news media never err on the side of "everything's going to be okay," unless everything not being okay will reflect badly on a Democrat.

© Tuesday,  January 23, 2018  Kevin McGehee


Official Washington Invents the Weekend

The federal government shut down on Saturday and reopened the following Monday.

Wow.

© Monday,  January 22, 2018  Kevin McGehee


Screen/Road Test

Mrs. McG recently purchased an extremely low-end (she calls it "Playskool" Fisher-Price) dashcam, and I took it for a test this evening on a takeout run to Domino's (we're not close enough to either local store for delivery).

You get what you pay for. The sound quality is poor, and the cam records in VGA mode, which is 640 x 480 resolution -- too rough to pick up plate numbers in the event of an accident or hit-and-run happening in front of us.

Given some of the hijinks she witnesses on her way to and from work, Mrs. McG decided maybe she ought to have a dashcam to help identify miscreants, but the armored truck that was speeding and running red lights on the day after our most recent snowstorm, and splashed slush all over her windshield, probably wouldn't have been any more identifiable with this dashcam than without.

We'd talked about getting one for some time, but starting where we are on the learning curve we were never going to buy a top-of-the-line model. Lord knows our first digital cameras were at about this point on the quality spectrum, and even our first cell phones took better still photos.

Youtube is safe from us. For now.

Update: "Read the instructions"? That's crazy talk! Then again, that's how I found where the setting is for changing it to HD mode...

'Nother update, Monday night: I need to get better at placing and orienting the camera, but even that, even in HD mode, doesn't seem to capture tag numbers unless they're very close, and unless both camera and subject are perfectly stationary. I've seen dashcam videos on Youtube that have better resolution, so I know it's possible, but I think we're up against the boundary of what a "Fisher-Price" quality device can offer.

© Sunday,  January 21, 2018  Kevin McGehee


Enough With the Social Experimenting

Children of both sexes need parents of both sexes.

A boy needs to learn from someone who knows what it was like to be a girl. A girl needs to learn from someone who knows what it was like to be a boy. That way each has some basis for understanding the other. When either example is missing from a child's life, he or she grows up lacking an important perspective on how men and women are supposed to get along. Even when the relationship they grow up watching is dysfunctional, vital lessons are learned -- even bad examples are valuable.

We are where we are because highbrows thought they knew better than the evolved outcome of thousands of generations of trial and error.

© Sunday,  January 21, 2018  Kevin McGehee


Socialism! Yum!

Bet you've never had money that was so worthless even the looters won't bother with it.

A friend recently sent me a photograph that tells a powerful story about the situation Venezuelans find themselves in now. It’s not a very good picture, really, just a blurry cellphone shot of trash: some wrapping material, an old CD — the detritus left behind after a store was looted last week in San Felix, a city in the country’s southeast.

And yet I can’t stop thinking about it, because strewn about in the trash are at least a dozen 20-bolivar bills, small-denomination currency now so worthless even looters didn’t think it was worth their time to stop and pick them up.

The photo stopped me dead in my tracks. In theory, according to the “official” exchange rate, which long ago lost even a hint of connection with reality, each of those bills is worth $2. In fact, as Venezuela sinks deeper and deeper into the first hyperinflation the Western Hemisphere has seen in a generation, bolivar banknotes have come to be worth basically nothing: Each bill is worth about $0.0001 at the current exchange rate, meaning you need to have 100 of them to equal one penny.

It’s easy to see why the thieves left them behind.

It's been a while since I looked at a standard cents-off coupon that stores and manufacturers hand out to get people to buy their little cheap foodstuffs instead of some other brand, but I distinctly remember seeing on many of them a notation that reads something like, "Cash Value: 1/20th of a Cent." Turns out that was in 1978.

Just think: if you find one of those 40-year-old coupons stuck to your shoe, you can sell it in Venezuela for five bolivars. The ones they give out nowadays are only worth one bolivar.

Afterthought: I just realized we're all looking at this the wrong way! What this really means is, now there's plenty of toilet paper again!

© Thursday,  January 18, 2018  Kevin McGehee


Customers Want Sandwiches That Taste Good

Mrs. McG and I love Firehouse Subs. The food is good, and the house-brand cherry limeade is delicious. If you have one in your area and haven't tried it, you need to.

But the TV ad I saw this morning got on my nerves. It started out well, touting the good things the chain does for the local firefighters in the communities where they have stores. But then came the tagline. I'm going from memory here, but it was very much like, "If you're going to eat a sub, eat one that makes a difference."

This virtue-signalling theme in marketing is not only getting out of hand, it's now degrading the quality of the food made and sold by a fine sandwich chain by implying that the real reason you want to eat there is not for the food, but to help them do good.

Sorry, no. The real reason I like to eat at Firehouse Subs is because I like the food. What the chain's management does with the profits is just icing on the cake.

Furthermore, if what you want to do is help your local firefighters, there are more direct ways to do it. Don't let the fact that the place that sells you sandwiches also does it, be an excuse to not do something on your own.

© Thursday,  January 18, 2018  Kevin McGehee


ಠ_ಠ

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

Well, that's reassuring.

Delivery Exception, Local Weather Delay

Fuhhhhhhhhhhhh...

In fairness, the first excerpt above isn't an official motto, and never has been. It was always just ... marketing.

© Wednesday,  January 17, 2018  Kevin McGehee


I Could Be Wrong, but That Looks Like More Than an Inch

(Obligatory "That's what she said" line goes here)

There is so much snow on the ground this morning that I can't even tell where the driveway edges are. Mrs. McG's weather station is reporting a temperature of 12½°F.

Last month's snow was pretty nice, but this one is looking kind of serious.

© Wednesday,  January 17, 2018  Kevin McGehee


Let Me Tell You About My America

Saw one of these yesterday. Without the slightest effort I was able to rewrite it with a touch more accuracy:

In our America, buzzwords, slogans and hashtags rule, because making real change requires hard work, which is too much like work so the f*ck with it, we'll just post stupid signs and virtue-signal our idiocy in front of our friends and neighbors.

In my America, your friends and neighbors laugh at you behind your back if you have one of those stupid signs in your yard.

Vapid, squeamish and snowflakey is no way to go through life.

© Wednesday,  January 17, 2018  Kevin McGehee


That Escalated Quickly

I'd been aware of the winter storm barreling across the country, which The Weather Channel had dubbed Winter Storm "Hey Look at Us! We Name Winter Storms!!" I watched the local forecasts for any sign that it would bring us anything beyond more cold, but there hadn't been any joy.

Until this morning. I check the local forecast this morning and we're looking at some hours of snowfall tonight -- though The Weather Channel says we'll barely get an inch of accumulation.

Doesn't matter. The store shelves were instantaneously swept bare the moment the S-word was published.

Update, 9:00 p.m. EST: Snow is in the air (and on the ground).

© Tuesday,  January 16, 2018  Kevin McGehee


Don't Forget Disbarred

© Sunday,  January 14, 2018  Kevin McGehee


If Norway Has What You're Looking For in a Country...

...then by all means, stay there.

Twitter users, some of them from Norway, quickly lashed out asking Trump: Why would Norwegians want to come to America? ‘I’m confused — why the f*** would anyone migrate to the US from Norway? Why would you give up healthcare free at the point of access, living wages and reliable public services?,’ one tweet read. ‘I live in Norway and would never move to USA. We have free health care, free higher education, 5 weeks vacation 8 hours work a day. No thanks Trump,’ another user tweeted.

Just as you Norwegians like Norway just the way it is, I and millions of Americans like America just the way it is. I agree with you that if socialism is your definition of good government, America should be the last place you ever want to go. Forever and ever.

H/t: The Other McCain

© Friday,  January 12, 2018  Kevin McGehee


No, Why Do You Ask?

The Guardian wonders, "Is deep-red Texas ready for a gay Latina Democrat?"

It would rank as one of the greatest political upsets of 2018 and a stunning rebuke to Trumpism: a gay Latina Democrat grabbing hold of the country’s biggest red state.

But is Texas ready for Lupe Valdez?

The question was first posed in Dallas in 2004, when Valdez scored a surprise victory to become the nation’s first openly gay female Hispanic sheriff on the same night that George W Bush secured a second term in the White House. She won re-election three times in Dallas County before announcing last month that she would resign to stand for Texas governor.

Her ethnicity and sexual preference are less problematic than her political affiliation. The last Democrat elected governor in Texas was Ann Richards in 1990 -- whose quest for a second term was undone in 1994 by the 48-year-old son of a man who spent his free time in Maine. You may have heard of him. Since then only three people have sat in the governor's chair, all Republicans.

It's not impossible for Texans to elect a Democrat as governor; I'm old enough to have seen them do it. But the last few unsuccessful Democrats have all been "gimmick" candidates aimed more at motivating a dwindling base than attracting broad-based support, and if they play up Valdez's sexual preference she'll end up perceived as just another "gimmick" candidate.

Worse, they'll be treating her like the Democrats have always treated their non-white and female candidates down through the years, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton -- using them to score moral superiority points rather than to put competent people in positions of huge responsibility.

Never elect the learning-disabled.

© Friday,  January 12, 2018  Kevin McGehee


Stop Praying to San Andreas

It isn't a massive earthquake that's going to send California beneath the waves of the Pacific.

It'll be the constant interplay of wildfire and torrential rain.

© Thursday,  January 11, 2018  Kevin McGehee


Thus Endeth the Novelty of Project Fi

Having procured for Mrs. McG a new iPhone for Christmas, I've now discovered that (1) wifi calling is available on iPhones too, and (2) it's also supported by such conventional mobile carriers as AT&T and T-Mobile.

Since signing up for Fi in 2016, I noticed that my cell signal from T-Mobile -- the primary network "partner" for Project Fi, along with Sprint -- has been quite satisfactory for those occasions when a wifi signal wasn't available. As a result, when I stumbled across this offer, I was immediately tempted. Two lines for $60 (including taxes and fees) is noticeably less than what we're paying on our two separate carrier plans now.

I went with Fi in the first place because it offered wifi calling; as best I could determine back then, the only other wifi calling providers were little companies (such as the one Mrs. McG's dad was using) with extremely limited selections of compatible phones. I wanted to use a phone that would be kept up-to-date with the latest version of Android, and those were only supported by Fi.

*Mrs. McG declined to join me on Project Fi because it would have meant switching to an Android phone -- a new learning curve she preferred not to pursue -- and even though iPhones now support wifi calling, Project Fi doesn't support them.

Ironically, the loss of wifi calling wasn't going to bother me much if we took the T-Mobile 55+ deal -- but apparently it wouldn't be lost anyway.

One potential issue was the lack of T-Mobile coverage in Wyoming; its roaming "partner" out there doesn't seem to have the depth of data coverage that carriers offer here in metro Atlanta. Given what's happened with wifi calling in just a year and a half though, the much longer horizon on our Wyoming move may not necessarily pose much of a problem.

And if it does, well, there's always <sound of dollar bills flying away> Verizon.

© Sunday,  January 7, 2018  Kevin McGehee


Where Snow Miser Is At His Most Disagreeable

Wyoming has been declared the most dangerous state to drive in when there's snow.

The online resource that provides information on safety for communities compiled stats from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2016 crash data to make a calculation that put Wyoming far out in front of any other state for winter driving hazards. Safewise calculated the likelihood of crashing during snow per 100,000 people in each state with Wyoming receiving a 1.5 chance compared to the nearest state: Vermont (0.8).

Montana, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Iowa, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Nebraska rounded out the top ten most dangerous states for snow driving.

But do you know what you find when you search, say, Youtube for videos of car crashes in Wyoming? The same thing you see in the image at the link: Interstate 80 -- choked with out-of-state drivers. And usually it's a particular stretch of I-80, running roughly between Rawlins and Laramie. The Snow Chi Minh Trail.

The newly constructed stretch of I-80 was dedicated Oct. 3, 1970, but residents had warned highway officials of the adverse weather conditions around the Elk Mountain area and advised them not to build a road in that location. Wyomingites who knew their history reminded highway officials that the Union Pacific Railroad looked at that same area 100 years earlier when planning and constructing the nation’s first transcontinental railroad and decided against the shorter, more direct route.

But, just four days after the highway was dedicated, a winter storm wreaked havoc on motorists traveling on the new highway, which Wyomingites referred to as a “monument to human error,” Waggener says.

I've driven that stretch twice -- both times in the summer -- and though it's scenic as all get out, it can also be nerve-wracking when unprepared car drivers are sharing just two lanes each way with the constant stream of big rigs. At one point in 2016 I was trying to pass a big rig behind a driver whose car apparently lacked the necessary power to climb that grade. I was driving a Ford Escape, so you can just imagine what must have been wrong with that guy's car.

In blowing snow, that guy would almost certainly have caused a pile-up like those seen in the aforementioned videos.

Part of the problem is that Wyoming is windy pretty much all the time, and that means mere snowfalls become blizzards. Wyoming's snow season, at the elevations on the Trail, can include summer months. Your typical transcontinental trucker knows this. Your typical vacation motorist, not so much. And conditions there can close in faster than the Highway Patrol can react.

Of course there are crashes, and fatalities, elsewhere in Wyoming, and they can involve lifelong Wyomingites. But the statistics naming the Cowboy State the most dangerous in the nation stem mainly from that one stretch of interstate. And remember, the ranking is based in part on the state's population -- where Wyoming ranks 50th. This, coupled with the presence of a major transcontinental artery, can't fail to inflate the statistics.

I promise you, when Mrs. McG and I have at last relocated to Wyoming, we will avoid that stretch of I-80 in the fall, winter, and spring months.

Afterthought: If you scroll down to the map of most and least accident-prone states at the first link, you'll notice Georgia and other Southern states are among those with the least. That's because when snow falls down here, life stops. But it can only do that where snow falls rarely.

Update, February 15: Imagine that!

© Saturday,  January 6, 2018  Kevin McGehee


Our Pond Is Iced Over

But remember: if not for Global Warming, the whole pond would be frozen so solid it would have popped out of its bed entirely. And we would have found ManBearPig frozen in it like Encino Man.

True story.

© Friday,  January 5, 2018  Kevin McGehee


Thoughts My Brain Made

You know how the Climate Change Thought Police love to jump into threads where unusually cold weather is being discussed, to point out that "weather isn't climate"?

Turns out they're right. Climate is theory. Weather is practice.

And their heads make the most darling little "pop" noise when they explode!

© Tuesday,  January 2, 2018  Kevin McGehee


The Rose Bowl

Four minutes into the second half, I just need to say this.

Oklahoma's defense offends me. How many big plays do they have to allow before they remember how to play the game?

Update: Apparently, just enough to not win the game. Ugh.

'Nother update, next morning: And now the NCAA football championship game will feature two SEC teams, and we'll be forced once again to root for the one that isn't Alabama, for no other reason than it isn't Alabama.

That is, if we decide to care about the outcome, which we probably won't.

© New Year's Day,  January 1, 2018  Kevin McGehee


Happy New Year!

Looks like the world survived 2017 after all. Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) hardest hit.

I am aware some people have proclaimed that 2018 has got to be better than either 2016 or 2017, because it couldn't possibly be any worse. Excuse me? Hello-o-o! Have you met the universe??

I'm approaching 2018 the same way I did the Trump presidency: expecting the worst, but willing to be pleasantly surprised. It's worked so far with him, so who knows?

© New Year's Day,  January 1, 2018  Kevin McGehee


 
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Original content and design © 2018 Kevin McGehee. Images and excerpts are © their respective owners.