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June 2019

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Clever Headline of the Week

Most headlines deemed “clever” tend to be puns or wordplay, or an ironic play on the history of the subject of the piece.

What we have here is a mite more low-key than that.

Upcoming Event Aims to Connect Us to Our Heritage Using Storytelling and the Sweet Smell of Gunpowder

Lander Valley Sportsmen’s Association (LVSA) is hosting a two-day event in July to promote civic responsibility. To accomplish this LVSA is bringing the nationally recognized Project Appleseed program to leverage the tradition of rifle marksmanship as a tool for teaching colonial history and the timeless values our culture has embraced.

Project Appleseed’s site shares its goal like this: “In today’s world of 24-hour news cycles, changing technologies, and push-button gratification, it’s a challenge to stay connected to the values that our great country was built on. Ideals like integrity, commitment, and personal responsibility are what our founding fathers relied on to win our independence and to then make America a great nation. We use rifle marksmanship instruction as a gateway to help bring our nation’s history to life and to show that many of the values that our forefathers relied on to win our independence are still very much in demand today.”

I’ve smelled gunpowder smoke from Fourth of July fireworks, and I’ve smelled expended nitrocellulose, which is the propellant used in modern cartridge ammunition. The difference is subtle, and they do smell similar enough that I won’t complain. Why ruin a cleverness with pedantry (after I’ve already had to correct an its/it’s error in the copy)?

©   McGehee



Bank on This

Your financial institution will not spoof your own phone number to warn you they’ve suspended your account.

The Cheyenne Police Department are warning people in the capital city of a phone scam, where the potential victim’s own number shows up on the caller I.D.

“They will claim that your bank account has been suspended and that you must verify your account information with them,” the Cheyenne PD said in a statement Wednesday morning. “Please continue to be wary of these types of calls and hang up immediately or don’t answer them at all.”

If future me slips through a time warp and calls me from my future phone, he’ll know I check my voicemail, so he can leave me one when I don’t answer. Any other calls purporting to be from my own number can only be scams.

©   McGehee



Speaking of Integrity in Public Office...

The Coweta County school board recently had to commission an investigation at the insistence of one of its members — who was then the only board member that refused to cooperate with it.

On the one hand, this seems to be one of those “Sayre’s Law” instances where the battles are so vicious because the stakes are so small. On the other hand, one might be excused for assuming the only thing at stake here was the board member’s own ego.

As the local paper sifts through the investigation’s findings, though, it discovers increasing evidence that the allegations that sparked the investigation were cooked up for unrelated reasons.

God knows that’s never happened before.

Diogenes, I think you’d better re-light that lamp of yours.

©   McGehee



Well, I’m Unconfuzzled

For the seventh time in a row, the incumbent sheriff was re-elected.

This time it was Lenn Wood, who succeeded to the job a few months ago when longtime incumbent Mike Yeager retired to take his post as United States Marshal for the Northern District of Georgia.

This result is exactly what I expected. Yeager had been a popular sheriff for the entire time Mrs. McG and I have lived in Coweta County, and he specifically promoted Wood into the position to become sheriff when he left office. The only people arguing that Wood was unsuited to the job were the three candidates trying to take it away from him. He beat the entire field, 3-to-1.

Now, it’s entirely possible they were right — but a few months is hardly enough time to see if that’s true. Fortunately, there’s a regular sheriff’s election next year, and if Sheriff Wood really is a poor choice for the job, one or more of his special-election opponents will be duty- and honor-bound to run against him for the Republican nomination next May.

I rather hope at least one of them does. They’ve invested their personal reputations in saying things about Wood that, if they sit out the regular election rather than try again to prove their point, will be shown as humbug born of pure, ugly ambition. And if we do end up needing to replace the man we just elected, we should have someone with integrity for an alternative.

Update, the following Monday: Wood actually won in every voting precinct in the county.

©   McGehee



The “Man Bites Dog” Fallacy

Maybe you’ve heard of “Gell-Mann Amnesia,” the tendency of people to notice that journalists get everything wrong about things they have independent knowledge of, but assume those same journalists get everything right about everything else.

That’s only one problem with modern journalism, though. Even if the Derp State Media weren’t politically biased — which it is — the calculation of news value that goes into deciding what to report, creates a misperception of the real world that actively disinforms news consumers.

To figure out why, simply consider the judgment intrinsic to the idea that a dog biting a man isn’t news because it happens so often.

Unfortunately, a lot of news consumers have never bothered to compare the picture of the world they get from the media, to the picture they get from pretty much every other source. While Crichton’s Gell-Mann effect refers specifically to experts, a variant of it can apply to literally anyone. Among them? Journalists.

Journalists don’t report the world you know. They don’t think the world you know is newsworthy. They report a skewed, wacked-out, perverse world that they used to think readers and viewers would recognize as consisting of the weird and crazy. The abnormal. These days, if you really pay attention to what they say, how they describe the world when they’re not merely reciting what happened (do they even still do that?), you can tell they don’t even think it’s weird or crazy anymore. They think reality begins and ends with what they report.

What bothers me most is that too many of the people who still pay attention to them agree, even if they wish it weren’t so. And they let that skewed, wacked-out, perverse vision of the world inform their expectations for the future.

Whenever I see it at work, I want to reach through the internet and slap the stupid right out of them.

©   McGehee



“Concerned”

There is no “inconsistency” between conservative views on abortion and capital punishment.

The victim of abortion is innocent. A perpetrator of a capital crime — assuming the guilt proved in court is true — is not. We do not put people to death for something they have not yet done. Period.

If you have doubts about the application of the death penalty, address them. Don’t set up a false equivalency with another issue that has nothing to do with it.

©   McGehee



Refenestrated

For months now, the games I have from the Microsoft Store — Solitaire, Minesweeper, and a third-party Hearts game — have all been exhibiting bad behavior when ads are cycling. That is, when a banner ad is loading, or changing its display image.

The Hearts game in particular, which is the only one cycling ads during actual play, was the worst; cards in motion would freeze in place for several seconds until the ad process had finished, and only then could play resume.

There's been buzz about a new version of Windows 10 (remember when “Windows 10” was the version?), and today I found out why it hadn't yet installed on my laptop: I needed to install the "upgrade assistant" for such a momentous update. Well, so I did it.

It changed my taskbar, and I had to re-select my background image, but at least the ad-cycling in the various games is working more smoothly.

It remains to be seen what damage the upgrade does to the rest of my user experience.

©   McGehee



And Here I Thought March Was Madness

Last summer I was taken somewhat aback to find that the NBA had a summer league that started play in July. Today I discovered something I hadn’t realized back then.

The NBA’s non-summer league began the final round of its playoffs two days ago.

Back in April when I asked, “Will the NBA title be decided before school gets out for the summer?” I thought I was kidding (the school year hereabouts normally ends just before the Memorial Day weekend). Turns out the answer was “No.”

So here’s football struggling to keep a spring league going for one lousy season, and the NBA, between a playoff schedule that stretches into June, and a summer league that bridges much of the gap between then and the start of regular-season play in — what, August? — is almost literally a year-round operation.

Thank God the NFL’s Hall of Fame Game is only two months away. That’s, like, a quarter-finals round in pro basketball.

©   McGehee



 


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June 2019

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Original content and design © 2019 Kevin McGehee. Images and excerpts are © their respective owners.