May 2019


Some Gave All

Rather than reiterate things I’ve said before, I think I’ll just link to my posts from the last couple of Memorial Day observances.


If I should fall in battle, I will not be the first.
But may God grant that I be among the last.

And also this, courtesy of Doc:


Feels Like 99°

We can get this hot this early in the summer because it hasn’t gotten up to its normal midsummer humidity in these parts; the dewpoint is still less than 70°F.

Mind you, when I was growing up in Sacramento, a dewpoint in the mid 60s was unliveable, but back then we didn’t have air conditioning. In fact the house we’re in now — the second one we’ve lived in since moving to Georgia — is also only the second house I’ve lived in that did have air conditioning.

When I was really, really little, when my parents were managing a motel in midtown Sacramento, A/C was still a pretty rare thing in Western motels.

So far our A/C here in subtropical west Georgia is holding up okay, but when the dewpoints get higher than the range we set on our thermostats, that could change.

To quote the late Jay Silverheels, “Ugh.”


(The Third Week of) May in Wyoming

Al Gore promised them global warming. Where is it!!!???

Update, next day: It ain’t over yet.

Meanwhile, back at the home acres...


Now a Three-Walgreens Town

As foreshadowed last August, one of Newnan’s two Rite Aid stores finally has Walgreens signage, and a page on the Walgreens website.

This makes it not the closest, but the most convenient in many ways of all the local Walgreens stores, at least from home. CVS is still closer than any of them, but we’ve used Walgreens for our prescriptions for several years. Before Mrs. McG's mother moved to Newnan six years ago, and for some time after, she used CVS despite having a Walgreens closer to her Chattanooga home — but after dealing with the pharmacy at the CVS near us one time too many, she too switched to Walgreens.

There are some former Rite Aid locations in other nearby towns that I thought might go W, but at least one of those closed down altogether despite there not being another Walgreens for many, many miles. I haven’t scouted them so I don’t know the status of the others; we just happened to pass that one and notice it was empty and I have no idea where that one store’s prescription customers got sent. The Newnan store that closed was so nearby an existing Walgreens that the chain would have needed a Starbucks-fifteen-years-ago business model to justify not closing it.

Nor have I darkened the door of our town’s new Walgreens since noticing the completed conversion (I visited it once last fall when it was still signed as a Rite Aid except in the pharmacy). I imagine the rough layout remains as it was, with only the aisles’ category organization adjusted.

The local Rite Aids were built (as Eckerd stores) with their entrances in the middle of the front wall, not at the corners like Walgreens and CVS. I can’t picture the new ownership spending that much money at this point just to move the door. Even if the location proves sufficiently profitable to consider a greater investment (which would surprise me, frankly), I think the chain is more likely to find a larger parcel not too far away and build a new store from the ground up to replace this one.

There are still a handful of Rite Aids southwest of Atlanta, by the way, that were not sold to Walgreens and are still operating as Rite Aid stores. They would have been involved in the Albertson’s merger last year, had that not been rejected by Rite Aid shareholders.

Update, Saturday: Having now visited the new Eckerd-cum-Rite Aid-cum-Walgreens, I’m even more convinced this store wouldn’t be upgraded where it stands, even if I believed The W would make the investment. Walking into the store, it feels smaller than the existing purpose-built local Walgreens stores, but in actual square-footage it really isn’t — Eckerd-built stores use the space much less efficiently than the corner-door model preferred by the ascendant chains. Which would tend to explain why the corner-door model is so popular with those chains.

When Rite Aid acquired PayLess Drug Stores 20-plus years ago, many of the newer PayLess stores were also corner-door stores, and the newer CVS stores even have similar internal layouts. Ironically, at least one of the stores Rite Aid still operates in this general area seems to be one of those former PayLess locations with the corner entrance.


That’s Just Nuts

Years ago when we lived closer to it, Mrs. McG and I had memberships at our local Sam’s Club. One day when we were in the store, we passed a huge, almost six-foot-high display just behind the checkstands — and I mean almost half of the checkstands.

This display consisted solely of cases and cases of peanuts, mixed nuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios...

I nudged Mrs. McG, jerked my thumb at this massive excess and said, “That’s just nuts.”

She rolled her eyes so cutely that I repeated the gag a number of times on subsequent visits just to see her do it again. In retrospect, it may have had just the tiniest bit to do with why she eventually allowed our memberships to lapse.

Anyway, yesterday there was a post at Dustbury with a picture of a Little Debbie® Nutty Bar™ and a caption describing it as dessert lasagna.

Later that same day I was in one of the various grocery stores we have around town and was reminded that Little Debbie is now calling that particular treat “Nutty Buddy.”

Which reminded me of the ice cream treat I remembered by that name, created and marketed when I was a kid by a company that no longer exists. Here in the South though, Mayfield offers something apparently patterned after the original.

But I guess nobody really owns the phrase anymore. Eesh.


(The Second Week of) May in Wyoming



Buzz Off, I Said!

The other day I walked out my front door and a wasp, which had unwisely chosen a spot directly over said door to build its nest, even more unwisely decided to inform me of the nest’s presence by buzzing my face.

I was wearing heavy work gloves so I slapped it down, and by the time it got airborne again it had decided against a rematch and so flew away. I then satisfied myself the nest was unattended, and knocked it down as well. I don’t mind wasp’s nests as a rule, but my front door is off-limits — just like the inside of my house is off-limits to pesky bugs in general.

Fast-forward to last Monday when I opened the front door again to find the nest under reconstruction, with again a solitary wasp in attendance. I slammed the door forcefully, which sent the wasp away. This time I didn’t bother destroying the nest, since it obviously wasn’t going to deter the wasp. Rather, I resolved to wait until the next time I saw it and give it a blast of bug spray.

Fast-forward yet again to this morning when, after a visit by our pest-control contractor, I opened the front door to find said contractor had knocked down the second nest. If it reappears, though, I will proceed with deadly force as planned.

I didn’t claw my way to the top of the food chain just to put up with rude hymenoptera.

Update, Thursday: A wasp, possibly the same one, is still buzzing around collecting raw material for its nest, but it ain’t building it over my front door, nor anywhere else I can see. I didn’t escalate directly to lethal force but sprayed the nest site and some distance around it with insect repellent, and that seems to have done the trick. Like I said, I don’t mind wasp’s nests as a rule, as long as they don’t encroach on my front door.


Check, Mate

Found on Facebook by Mrs. McG



The 150th anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike is on Friday. Back in the day it was a race between the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific — the winner being whichever built the most miles of track before they met. Where they met was Promontory, Utah, north of the Great Salt Lake.

The Central Pacific was acquired by the Southern Pacific in 1959, and the SP was acquired in turn by the UP in 1998. In the long run, the number of miles built turned out not to matter so much.

Anyway, just in time for the Golden Spike 150 celebration, Union Pacific’s Steam Shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming got its “Big Boy” steam locomotive 4014 operational for the first time in almost 60 years to chug out to Ogden, Utah for the observance. Also making the trip is UP 844, a smaller steam locomotive UP has operated for excursions for a number of years.

The first of these videos shows 4014 making an initial shakedown run from Cheyenne before the Ogden trip.

Next is video from a railcam in Laramie, Wyoming as 4014 and 844 arrive for a photo opportunity, and then depart to continue westward.

4014 is now the largest operational steam locomotive in the world, outclassing its stablemate, UP 3985 — which is staying behind in Cheyenne this time around, and will undergo an overhaul after this year’s excursion season.


Achievement Unlocked

So I had mixed success with a yardwork chore today, and since a planned project depends on this thing getting done I emailed Mrs. McG with a sitrep.

She, who still uses Gmail, replied:

Google is confused by your message. Two of the three suggested answers are “That’s good” and “That sucks”.

I take great pride in confusing Google.


May in Wyoming




May 2019


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