In the past two years we've had a complete turnover of our vehicle fleet. First my mother-in-law's 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee was replaced with a 2013 Chrysler minivan -- for which we traded in my 1996 Ford Bronco, with the intention that I would drive the Jeep.
When the Jeep turned out to be too costly to repair, I got my 2012 Ford Escape. And earlier this year Mrs. McG got a 2014 Honda hybrid and sold off her 1998 Civic.
So far only the Honda hasn't been the subject of a recall.
The minivan needs a window motor replaced due to a potential failure that could lead to a fire. The mother-in-law took it to a dealer a few months back and they didn't have the part -- so they disabled the switch that activates the motor as a stopgap, with the understanding that she'd bring the car back in for the final repair. For reasons I won't go into right now, that has become a low priority.
A few days ago I was trying out the Ford Owner app for Android, and before I discovered that it logs me out for any interruption at all, no matter how slight, I found a recall notice dated just a week before, resulting from complaints about sudden power loss while driving. I deleted the app but investigated the recall, but wasn't sure whether I needed to do anything about it.
Now, I've driven a lot of cars, many old enough to have carburetors. I've driven cars with carburetors that got out of adjustment or were prone to trouble just on general principles. I learned to deal with such trouble just by reflex. On an out-of-town errand my 2012 Ford behaved like it had an out-of-adjustment carburetor. Just for a few seconds. No one else in traffic around me would have noticed anything. The missus in the front passenger seat didn't notice anything. And if it hadn't been for the recall notice I wouldn't have given the incident a moment's thought.
But it reminded me that I'd had something similar happen before, and that three-year-old cars with fuel injectors aren't supposed to act like poorly maintained, 25-year-old, carbureted jalopies. So at the first opportunity I called the local Ford dealership to see when I could bring it in. The next morning, I was on my way home by 10:00 with a completed repair.
The Chrysler repair will get done, though we never used that window motor, and until we learned of the recall we didn't even know that window could open. It's the principle of the thing, at least in (ahem) part.
© Wednesday, August 28, 2015 McGehee
I've been as mystified by my recent return to blogging as anyone, but I think I've figured it out. No, I'm not at liberty to disclose at this time -- and I'm not 100% convinced that I will when I'm no longer "not at liberty."
Let's just say that the drive to keep doing this could evaporate as suddenly as it manifested.
© Thursday, August 22, 2015 McGehee
Mrs. McG knows me too well. She guessed my tagline for this blog just from hearing its name.
I'd like to know what idiot thinks plants that absorb less sunlight offset "global warming." If you look on Page 10 of the 2016 Old Farmer's Almanac, you'll see precisely that assertion, which makes no sense. When plants absorb sunlight, they're also absorbing carbon dioxide, which the climate-alarmist cult blames for "global warming." The Almanac piece exposes the "settled science" as just so much political folklore and fashion packaged for our new Idiocratic overlords (whom I do not welcome).
Speaking of 2016 and Idiocratic overlords, does the sniping over the presidential campaigns and debates remind anyone else of Sayre's Law? That can't be good.
In the 21st century you have to download software updates for your car. For this purpose I needed a USB flash drive, and couldn't find one around the house. So I went to CVS, where eight-gig sticks are in assorted bright colors in a candy jar on the checkout counter for (inside joke alert) EIGHT BUCKS!
No, that does not mean a fundraiser is pending. Though now that I think of it I might put the ol' Paypal tipjar on here, just for the sake of decor. Feel free to use it as (speaking of inside jokes) a swear jar.
© Wednesday, August 21, 2015 McGehee
But it still gets at me when they get things hugely wrong.
Like, for instance, "Hell on Wheels," now in its final season; Bohannon is now a stakeholder and working boss on the Central Pacific. His working headquarters is Truckee, California -- which as we've seen is already linked by rail to San Francisco. The work Bohannon is focused on is drilling tunnels through the Sierra Nevada for the railroad to pass through.
Having grown up in northern California, I have a problem with this because all the deep tunneling in construction of that first rail line across the Sierra was between San Francisco and Truckee. From Truckee the rails were built alongside the Truckee River to the Truckee Meadows (now covered by Reno and Sparks) and beyond, finally emerging into open Nevada desert near present-day Fernley.
I'm not sure where the CP's construction HQ was before crossing the summit above Donner Lake, but a rail camp of that importance would have been a bustling town at the time, regardless of whether any trace of it still exists today. They could have called it anything -- and if they'd known anything about the lay of the land they could have come up with something colorful yet close to accurate.
Truckee, not so much.
So, when I watch, I have to mentally substitute something like Blue-Lips Canyon or Mudsy Springs. Or something Cantonese that translates to "Hell on Wheels."
© Monday, August 19, 2015 McGehee
The forms for the slab are in place, awaiting a dryer long term forecast than we've got right now. And that's just as well, because the county inspector wants changes made that the contractor is pretty sure aren't necessary -- so they're going to have to work that out before any concrete is poured.
Just like my 2004 wrangle with the DMV, I'm learning that you practically need a lawyer for even the most routine interactions with bureaucratic authority -- something our present Ruling Class seems to think is just hunky-dory. Imagine the worst-ever Homeowner's Association board, but without the option of moving to a different neighborhood to get away from them.
And people wonder why the Toupee That Ate Manhattan is getting so much support. A Republican congressional majority and a Republican-appointed Supreme Court majority have proven worthless, so naturally the hoi polloi flock to the bombthrower.
The Boehner-McConnell-Roberts axis have only themselves to blame, at least until after the election.
© Sunday, August 18, 2015 McGehee
If we haven't learned that in the absence of a free market of ideas there will be a black market of ideas, it’s not experience’s fault.
© Thursday, August 15, 2015 McGehee
Like a lot of people, I dumped Firefox when Mozilla dumped a guy whose sole crime was giving a little bit of money to the Prop. 8 campaign, back before that had been reclassified as among genocide, child molestation, and singing karaoke as Great Crimes Against Humanity™.
Well, that meant I ended up with Chrome.
And while Chrome offered spiffy features that Firefox didn't, it also didn't support the array of add-ons I had accumulated over the years of using Firefox.
I toughed my way through for quite a while, helped by the fact most of my web browsing was on one or another of my mobile devices (for which these add-ons are unavailable even for Firefox) -- but since I've resumed using my Windows PC their absence has been getting on my nerves once again.
So, I'm off the wagon.
Deal with it.
© Thursday, August 15, 2015 McGehee
Twenty-one years ago today, I defected from the Defective State of California.
© Monday, August 11, 2015 McGehee
So today's huge Issue to End All Issues is RedState founder Erick Erickson's decision to rescind an invite to Donald Trump because he said something boorish and asinine to a Fox News host who behaved asininely (with two of her colleagues, at least one of whom ought to have had more, you should pardon the expression, class) in a debate featuring most of the Republican presidential candidates and that guy who's pretending to run so everybody will talk about him instead of the real candidates.
First, I have never taken these freelance second-tier political conventions seriously -- I barely take the real ones seriously -- so the outrage over the invitation list is Just So Much Gossip Drama™ as far as I'm concerned. RedState is not a public utility and its choice to include or exclude anyone is entirely up to the guy in charge.
Second, it's Trump. Whom I take seriously only as a marketer who projects exactly the self-image he wants to project, exactly when, where and how he wants to project it. He's there to suck all the oxygen out of a mind-bogglingly good, compared to the last few election cycles, slate of Republican presidential hopefuls. That's bad for the party, and it's bad for the country.
That said, it's also come out that Erickson never even invited Ben Carson, on what appears at first glance to be a truly lame pretext -- and which on closer inspection looks even worse. I'm on record as saying that Carson is a brilliant surgeon and a much-needed voice on the political scene, but that as a candidate for president he is not among my first choices for 2016. If he gets the nomination I'll happily vote for him without holding my nose, but with a sigh for what might have been.
Even so, Carson is a genuine candidate who genuinely believes he can do good as president. He may know he's a longshot and therefore he surely has a Plan B for what to make of his effort this cycle, but I have no doubt that if nominated he would run, and if elected he would apply all of his intellect and life experience to serving his country as best he could.
I think Erickson made two mistakes: having invited Trump in the first place, and having not invited Carson. Yet somehow I just can't work up an outrage over it. Mostly because even a well-organized freelance second-tier political convention is still just another freelance second-tier political convention.
© Saturday, August 8, 2015 McGehee
I just bought a new phone on contract; the phone came free with the contract and my monthly payment will be lower.
Downside? Instead of Android 5.1 as my "old" phone has, the new one has 5.0 and won't be getting 5.1 ever. The next flavor of Android, "M," will almost certainly be the next this phone gets.
So far, I'm not complaining.
© Tuesday, August 4, 2015 McGehee
So far I've given money -- amounts that the billionaire donors would find in their clothes dryer lint trap -- to two candidates: Scott Walker and Ted Cruz. There are a handful of others running that I could vote for without much in the way of qualms, but you won't find Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, Chris Christie or Mike Huckabee on that list.
I had respect for Huckabee when he succeeded to Arkansas's governorship after Clinton's own gubernatorial successor got sent up the river -- Huckabee even responded personally to a congratulatory email I sent him, back when a state governor could spare the time to read and answer his own email because trolls and spammers hadn't figured out how to operate a dial-up modem.
But Huckabee developed a track record as a more-government conservative -- the type that overlooks the role of individual free will in the charitable deeds and compassionate outlook preached by Christ. Huckabee, it turns out, is a collectivist as surely as any atheistic Marxist is.
God confers grace on individuals, not groups. He doesn't give any soul an easier road to Heaven than others because of the color of their skin nor the colors on their flag. The use of the United States government's power to buy cheap grace by doing "good works" against the will of those paying for them, is fundamentally unchristian. I won't vote for such a candidate.
Christie's appeal is that he brings to politics a stereotypical New Jersey attitude -- but his political views as expressed on the national stage are at odds with the acts as governor that first brought him to national attention. Politics, of course, is the art of the possible, and in New Jersey principled conservatism isn't on the menu. It may be that he's fought for more principled conservative ideas, but he doesn't seem to have won many such battles. Instead he's sought to temper his "attitude" image by making nice with people he ought to have chewed up and spat out. Not a promising performance for someone who wants the job of cleaning up Barack Obama's global mess, a job far more complicated and demanding than cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy.
Graham has been riding point for the Republican side of the amnesty push, and Bush has said that violating our nation's borders and invading our country illegally is "an act of love." Neither has demonstrated the requisite allegiance to the country they seek to lead, to merit a single vote -- let alone enough to win election. I'd sooner vote for Donald Trump.
And that's pretty damning, because there is no poll result that can turn Trump into a serious and qualified candidate for president. He is Huey Long with a Yankee accent, bad hair and deep pockets. The extent to which he believes any of the things he's saying is precisely the extent to which he believes it can get him something he wants -- and he's not foolish enough to sincerely want to be the 45th President of the United States. He has never bought a Superfund site, and winning this election would mean doing just that.
So, I'm still with Walker. He's won the battles Christie has either avoided joining, or quietly lost. That's who we need after these last several years.
© Sunday, August 2, 2015 McGehee