October 2018


The Chill of a Western Fall

I've posted plenty about how the Rocky Mountain West can have "unseasonable" weather of almost any kind -- hurricanes, maybe not so much, but almost any other kind.

A major winter storm in October really isn't "unseasonable" by Rocky Mountain standards. Oklahoma and Texas, though...?

Snow will continue to blanket parts of the Rockies, Plains and Upper Midwest this weekend, possibly as far south as New Mexico and the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas, over a month ahead of the average first snowfall in those locations.

Snow continues to fall from parts of northern Colorado into Nebraska, South Dakota, southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.

Parts of Montana, northern Wyoming and the Black Hills of South Dakota have picked up 6 to 12 inches of snow, including Sheridan, Wyoming (6 inches), Red Lodge, Montana (10 inches), and Custer, South Dakota (6 to 10 inches).

A band of moderate snow Saturday night into Sunday morning dumped 4 to 8 inches of snow from southeast Wyoming into far northern Colorado and the Nebraska Panhandle.

Ft. Collins, Boulder, and Loveland, Colorado, picked up 4 to 7 inches of snow through Sunday morning. Cheyenne, Wyoming, picked up almost 5 inches of snow, while up to 8 inches of snow was reported in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

Much of central Wyoming had lows in the teens this morning, and single digits here and there.

The only formality left is for The Weather Channel to dub it "Winter Storm Hey Look at US! We Name Winter Storms!"

©   Kevin McGehee

Oh, Yeah. That.

We hardly even noticed.

Coweta County didn’t totally escape the wrath of Hurricane Michael as it moved through the area late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

The height of the storm hit the county between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m., bringing with it heavy downpours and wind gusts peaking at 38 mph, according to Meteorologist Matt Sena with the National Weather Service.

The strong winds knocked down tree and power lines across Coweta County, said Jay Jones, director of the Emergency Management Agency and 911 center.

Some people, mainly in the southern part of the county around Moreland, Senoia and Grantville, briefly lost power during the storm.

According to the Coweta-Fayette EMC website, around 23,000 customers had no electricity after a transmission line blew at their Brooks station.

Fortunately, there were no serious incidents associated with the weather, said Coweta County Fire Rescue Chief Pat Wilson.

Soggy, breezy. Same ol' same ol'. Mrs. McG's cousin in Tallahassee had it worse, but they have a generator.

©   Kevin McGehee

"You Can Help by Drinking Beer!"

I dump on the Jackson Holes a lot, but this time they've come up with an innovation I can applaud.

The Animal Adoption Center (AAC) is headed back to the Wind River Reservation next weekend for a free spay/neuter clinic.

AAC is dedicated to reducing the number of homeless animals through adoption, rescue, education and spay/neuter. The AAC’s Spay/Neuter Wyoming Program attacks the root of the pet overpopulation problem through free and low-cost spay/neuter across Wyoming. On Oct. 19-20 the AAC will host its third, free spay/neuter clinic this year on the Wind River Indian Reservation.


The Animal Adoption Center is currently running a pet and human food drive and will be giving the resources out to people in need during the clinic. AAC has also partnered with Snake River Brewing. SRB will be pouring Mah Di’s Rescue Brew starting Saturday, and have pledged to donate one dollar of every Rescue Beer sold to the Spay/Neuter Wyoming Program.

"Mah Di", according to the linked piece, means "good dog" in Thai. With this partnership, Snake River Brewing and the Animal Adoption Center earn pats on the head for being a "good cause."

©   Kevin McGehee

Dear Democrats

If you didn't want the Republicans to fight back, maybe you shouldn't have declared war on them in the first place.

Yours truly,
The American People

©   Kevin McGehee

If Only Journalism Schools Bothered to Teach Journalism

One of the first things taught in the class that managed my high school paper was the necessity of putting basic essential information about the event being covered, if not in the first paragraph, as early in the piece as possible. This is known as The Five Ws: who, what, where, when, and why. Plus the H for how.

While it's true that not all of these facts can be provided in a news item about, say, a fatal accident (if the next-of-kin have yet to be notified), those facts that can be provided should be provided at the beginning of the article. None of them should be left to the very end.

So, here's how the local paper provided The Five Ws in a recent piece:

A fatal train accident [WHAT] marked the second incident on the same stretch of railroad track in less than a week.

Scott Brannon Duke, [WHO] 41, of Acworth, Ga., died as he was attempting to cross [WHY] the railroad tracks at Groover Road and N. Hwy. 29, [WHERE] where his truck was struck by an oncoming train, according to Sgt. Mike Searcy with the Georgia State Patrol.

A CSX train struck the right side of the truck, which caused the truck to rotate and overturn before it came to a rest between the railroad tracks and Groover Road. [HOW] The truck landed on its right side, facing northeast, Searcy said.

Duke was reportedly unrestrained and ejected from the truck upon impact. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the wreck, according to Coweta County Coroner Richard Hawk.

Duke was the sole occupant of the truck, and no one else was hurt in the crash, Searcy said.

There are no crossing arms or lights where the train tracks cross over Groover Road.

Last Wednesday, a driver was hospitalized after his car was struck by a train near the intersection of Wash Johnson Road and N. Hwy. 29. That intersection is two miles south of Monday’s crash. [WHEN]

Is it just me, or does that last W look like an afterthought by someone who didn't want to make the minor revision necessary to include it closer to the beginning?

How minor a revision? See if you can spot where it would have appeared had it been placed properly:

Scott Brannon Duke, 41, of Acworth, Ga., died Monday as he was attempting to cross the railroad tracks at Groover Road and N. Hwy. 29, where his truck was struck by an oncoming train, according to Sgt. Mike Searcy with the Georgia State Patrol.

How hard was that?

©   Kevin McGehee

With a Rebel Yell She Cried, "Mow! Mow! Mow!"

That's an exaggeration. There was no yelling or crying, just a pointed request, which yesterday I granted.

You may recollect from earlier posts that I've been having trouble with this Non-Deere tractor, and having little success figuring out how to fix it. Well, the last time, I finally used up the last of the 10%-ethanol regular unleaded I'd been putting in the tank -- same grade I use in my car, which was perfectly acceptable to our previous mower, a ZTR of the same brand. Having already arrived at a hypothesis that the ethanol might be to blame, this time I took the red, five-gallon gas can to the ethanol-free pump, where the price-per-gallon was just shy of $4. I also noticed that the octane rating on this grade of gasoline at this particular station was 90, just a hair under premium.

It took a while to burn up what low-octane, ethanol-containing fuel was still in the system, but once it did, the tractor's engine suddenly ran smoother, and the sputters all but all but disappeared. So now I know that either the ethanol or the low octane in the other gas is what was causing the trouble. I just don't know which.

Premium runs for well over $3 a gallon around here, which isn't great, but still better than $4 a gallon. If the octane is the determining factor, less expensive, slightly-higher-octane premium gas would be better. It took running a lot of the regular through this tractor to make the trouble appear, so if I were to experiment I'd need more than a gallon, but preferably less than a full can.

The manual might tell me ethanol is the culprit, but I've read that about all lawn-mower engines -- and this is the only one -- walk-behind or riding -- that's ever had trouble with the grade of fuel I put in it.

The amount of ethanol in regular automotive gas has been increasing lately, though...

So, I'm going to stick with ethanol-free for now. But if premium gets much cheaper than it currently is, I may go ahead and test it.

©   Kevin McGehee

Thoughts My Brain Made

Boy oh boy, could I use a vacation.

©   Kevin McGehee

Sorry, Democrats

Brett Kavanaugh will serve as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Your antics couldn't stop him.

So, when it comes time for Justice Ginsburg's successor to be confirmed, you'll just have to realize that you haven't been acting crazy enough. C'mon, put your backs into it!

©   Kevin McGehee

So, I stumbled upon a Windows app called "Your Phone" that, for now, enables me to send and receive text messages from my laptop without having to use any particular messaging app on my Android phone (it also works for iPhones, allegedly). While it's true that it's Microsoft (boo, hiss) it is also not Google (boo, boo, hiss, hiss).

If that doesn't boggle your mind, consider this: since I no longer have to use a texting app on my phone that specifically allows messaging from other devices, I'm using... Verizon's texting app. On my T-Mobile phone.

It may not last, but for now I'm savoring the irony. According to the article linked above, this Windows app will become even more Android-friendly in 2019. We'll see.

©   Kevin McGehee

I'm Awake Now

Yes, I got the test alert. On my Android phone (8.1, "Oreo") there appeared, along with the ear-splitting alert tone, a white notification box reading:

THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.

And underneath that, "OK." Touching "OK" dismissed the alert into the background. A few seconds later I brought the alert back into the foreground and the sound resumed. I used Android's hard-close gesture -- not the one involving my middle finger -- to make it go away for good. Mrs. McG was able to silence it on her iPhone by setting it to vibrate-only.

According to Wikipedia, these Wireless Emergency Alerts were enacted near the end of George W. Bush's presidency, and put into full operation by 2012. I confess at the time I was among those concerned that President Obama would use them at whim, perhaps directing cell phone customers to his latest tweet of a picture of himself looking sad because somebody people actually liked had passed away. He didn't; he never even tested the system.

Obama defenders would certainly have harbored similar suspicions about President Trump, but he hasn't used it either -- today's test was conducted by FEMA. The judge dismissing the lawsuit seeking to block the test also noted that the law establishing the system only allows the "presidential" alerts to be used for "legitimate emergency messages."

Given the system's track record, I'm prepared to accept that. Now.

©   Kevin McGehee

Aesop Wasn't Entirely Right

Had the Tortoise and the Hare agreed to a sprint rather than a marathon, the tortoise would have lost in seconds. It wasn't entirely the Hare's arrogance that cost him victory, except insofar as he agreed to a longer race than he should have.

Our portfolio is populated with equities designed to grow steadily. There are very few, if any, shares of Dow Jones Industrials in it -- as a result, when the Dow posts a record-breaking rally, our gains are comparatively modest. On those days, slow and steady does not win the race.

Fortunately for Mrs. McG and me, we're not running a day race -- and stocks seemingly chosen not to be representative of the market, but for their headline-grabbing volatility, are of little benefit in the long-term. And when the Dow posts a headline-grabbing loss, we may still see modest gains.

Too many people know only what they see in those Dow-obsessed headlines when they think about the stock market. In this day of #FakeNews, perhaps that lack of skepticism will change.

The more skeptical people are of news calculated to get attention rather than to inform, the better.

©   Kevin McGehee

The Mustache Abides

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October 2018


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