June 2017


Suits Me

I think it's a known fact that I watch RFD-TV. My first exposure to that channel's programming was some years back, before RFD was available on our local cable system, when its parent corporation put the channel's programming temporarily on FamilyNet.

Tomorrow, as I just discovered from belatedly watching last Wednesday's "Western Sports Weekly", FamilyNet becomes the Cowboy Channel, dropping (most of) its heretofore predominantly nostalgic TV programming for rodeo and rodeo-oriented fare. RFD-TV has been sponsoring an annual rodeo called The American, the success of which has convinced the corporation there is sufficient demand for Western sports above and beyond what RFD, with its agribusiness and agrarian lifestyle focus, could offer.

I'll watch, to see how well they pull it off. The first few days of primetime programming certainly brings plenty of rodeo events.

Update: Linkback to Dustbury: Not their first 24-hour rodeo

Friday,  June 30, 2017  McGehee

Profit Takers Gonna Take Profit

I couldn't be a day-trader. The learning curve would've been a bitch and I'm not sure the subject matter would've fascinated me long enough to master it. Besides, I've always had the "don't just do something, stand there" temperament where crowd behavior is concerned. I find what everybody's not looking at far more interesting than what they are — which is almost always each other's backs.

The market's been a bit volatile the last couple of weeks, and I'm not sure what's causing people to stampede back and forth like that. Maybe there have been reports in the financial papers that are making people lose whatever ephemeral confidence they may have pretended they had in their investment strategies. Maybe they're panicking because their favorite TV shows are on hiatus.

The ups and downs would be less annoying if there were none of my money in play. I keep telling myself not to look at the closing figures every day, and maybe now's the time to take my own advice.

Thursday,  June 29, 2017  McGehee

Without Even Looking, I Found a Little Truth

Thanks to Dustbury.

Tuesday,  June 27, 2017  McGehee

If You Don't Want It in Your Own Neighborhood, Just Say So

An L.A. smoke shop cashier takes the passive-aggressive route to oppose changing the name of a street in his (her?) own neighborhood.

"Changing the name here won't change anything because it's already a black neighborhood[.] Why not take it to Beverly Hills? Why not change Rodeo Drive to Obama Drive? Because it's a white neighborhood? You're changing the street, you're spending the money, might as well change it there."

I wonder how this person would feel about having a street in a black neighborhood named for George W. Bush?

Sunday,  June 25, 2017  McGehee

Doooh Doooh Doooh, Lookin' Out Her Screen Door

Kitty Houdini is pondering how to effect her next escape now that the screen doors have been blocked. I'm less than confident the grilles will hold up if she gets serious about it, but as long as it's rainy outside I don't think she'll give it much of a try.

Next week though, the sun will be out — and if she can, so will Kitty Houdini.

We'll just have to see.

In other news, the phone clamp I ordered arrived today and I think I've got it set up in a workable spot. The charging cable arrives tomorrow.

Before the clamp arrived I tried another excursion, this time using the Google music player instead of Amazon. I also ran the navigator app as I'd done the other day. Mobile data usage appears to still be an issue but I think this is from using navigation. I'll have to see if offline mode is an option.

Also, I've found that if the music player app is already open when I get in the car, I don't need to do anything with my phone when I'm driving, Auto or no Auto. I don't know if that's a recent innovation or something I just never bothered to try before.

Update, Friday: offline maps will only save me mobile data charges if I set the maps app to wifi only, and if I go beyond where my saved maps extend, I'm out of luck.

Oh, well. I really only use navigation when I'm going someplace I'm not sure how to get to. On those rare occasions I can certainly justify a higher than normal phone bill.

'Nother update, July 2: I now declare the containment of Kitty Houdini a success. Now if we could just string together a few days without rain in the forecast I still have a bunch of chores and projects I've been wanting to get at.

Thursday,  June 22, 2017  McGehee

Good Ride, Cousin

Just found out about this on tonight's Western Sports Weekly, a (ahem) round-up of the week's rodeo news on RFD-TV every Wednesday night. In this case, it's the College National Finals Rodeo.

A Sam Houston State University freshman from Victoria, Texas, Lane McGehee dominated the bareback riding. He won two of the three preliminary rounds and scored 79.5 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Spicy Chicken to place second in the championship round, a point behind Sheridan College’s Hunter Carlson. McGehee’s overall win was by an almost unheard-of 16 points.

Never met him, but I think I noticed his name on a past season's report on the National High School Finals Rodeo. Can't wait to see him in some PRCA events, but I gather that'll be a while.

Wednesday,  June 21, 2017  McGehee

Just One More Friendly Reminder

If you call me and get my voicemail, leave a message. No exceptions; violators' numbers may be summarily blocked.

If you call me and your number won't display on my caller ID, you will get my voicemail, because I never answer calls from undisplayed numbers. What should you do? See above.

If you can't call me without blocking caller ID, or if leaving a voicemail is against your religion, then don't call me.

Wednesday,  June 21, 2017  McGehee

Could Stand Updating, 2

(With apologies to Bob Dylan and music lovers everywhere.)

How does it feel?
Ah how does it feel?
To be on your own?
With no direction home?
Like a complete unknown?
Like you misplaced your phone?

Wednesday,  June 21, 2017  McGehee

To Boldly Go Where No Mustache Has Gone Before

Mrs. McG's car has in-dash navigation, but mine does not. This means I am dependent on a third-party device — or a passenger reading a map — if I want to navigate.

For a number of years now this family has used Garmin GPS devices, but in the last couple of years I've found them increasingly troublesome and unreliable; in particular, the newest Garmin will not keep an update — it may work for one trip but revert to outdated maps on the next.

In this day and age of Google Maps it seems obvious to rely on it, via a smartphone, for navigation, but fiddling with smartphone apps while driving is bad (m'kay?) and the only USB-A - to - USB-C cable I have doesn't handle charging well.

Google has addressed one of these issues by making its Android Auto app, which originally was limited to certain vehicles (or others with compatible aftermarket sound systems) usable in any vehicle, thanks to the Google Assistant and Bluetooth. All I'll need to try this thing out is a good charging cable and something other than my belt holster to hold the phone.

I've had such lousy luck with suction-cup holders for (coincidentally) the Garmin that I won't even consider them. Vent mounts might work in a climate where I'm less dependent on the air conditioner but I can't have any of the vents blocking air flow. So I've ordered a cockamamie gooseneck clamp thingie that may do the trick.

The Auto app should also make using my phone's music app more user-friendly so I can quit enduring the lousy sound quality from my thumb drive.

What remains to be seen — aside from whether the new cable can keep my phone charged and the gooseneck clamp mount can keep my phone from falling under my feet at the first speed bump — is how much cellular data it uses. I've gotten used to rarely paying more than a dollar each month for data usage, and from what I've read Google's map app doesn't seem to be a big problem data-wise, but there may be some troubleshooting and settings-adjusting in my immediate future.

If this test works out, future vehicle purchase decisions are likely to include the question of built-in Android Auto compatibility.

Update, after a test drive: I ran music through the Amazon Music app and had tracks play that were not on my phone. Supposedly I had the app set to only access tracks that were on my phone, but that doesn't seem to have carried over. As a result I wound up with a rather large data usage for such a brief time — as of now, most of my month's data usage occurred during that one outing. Oddly enough the battery usage (I don't have the cable yet) wasn't all that bad.

Next test I'll use Google's music app — it and Amazon were the only options — with (again) only downloaded tracks supposed to play. We'll have to see how my data usage looks then.

Tuesday,  June 20, 2017  McGehee

Not on a Submarine, but About as Funny

Now that our dog is no longer around to patrol the back yard around the screened-in, covered downstairs patio where Mrs. McG's late mother's cats get their fresh air, we need to upgrade the security of said patio against foxes, coyotes, raccoons, dingoes, bobcats, orangutans and pamphleteers.

This means the cheap wooden screen doors that were installed when the patio was screened in, won't do. One of the cats loosened a corner of the soft, fabric screen and has tended to spend most of her day lounging in the back yard (after having indulged her curiosity about the front yard and I suppose some of the nearer woods).

What I'd prefer is to replace these doors with something that has a solid bottom panel so the screen's edges aren't so accessible, and actual metal screen material that would withstand the determined efforts of Kitty Houdini for more than a minute or two once she discovers the edges don't come loose.

Are these specifications readily available at some home improvement store? Not that I've found, unless I want to spend around $700 for the project. I may have to.

If it's going to be that expensive though, I might as well just install storm doors and be done with it.

Update, Tuesday: Good things happen when you ask questions. Since I was going to have to consult on possible installation anyway, I went in to Home Depot to ask preliminary questions, and walked out with a couple of these instead.

They mount with itty-bitty screws, but if Kitty Houdini looks to be getting the better of them I'll drill itty-bitty holes through the doors and use itty-bitty machine screws and nuts and wide washers to better secure the grilles.

Saturday,  June 17, 2017  McGehee

She Spoiled Us

We couldn't possibly find another dog of Lucy's temperament and discretion. She is no longer in pain. The reason I brought the old blog posts about her into the Tally Book was in sad anticipation of her no longer being with us, so they could serve as part of our remembrance of her.

Turns out, knowing it's coming and being prepared for it, only do so much.

Thursday,  June 15, 2017  McGehee

With a Rebel Yell

I cried, "Mow, mow, mow!"

The other day I was all set to have some more tractor time, but when I turned the key nothing happened. So now I can report that the new battery charger I bought a few months back, works.

While I was mowing the field today, a man came along on a big county tractor towing a huge mowing sledge and got the part of the field that is county right-of-way. If he had come by a half hour sooner he could have saved me a little work on one side of the driveway, but I hadn't done the area near the mailbox where I put the trash barrels for pickup, so I was still glad to see him. Tipped my sweaty old cowboy hat and he waved back.

This tractor's front wheels aren't as big as the rear wheels, but they're bigger than the front wheels on the ZTR, which makes the holes — we suspect armadilloes — less of a hazard. I still have to be careful, but the tire size, horsepower, and weight distribution mean I have a much better chance of backing out if I can't continue forward.

There's a feature I have yet to try that means I can keep the cutting deck operating in reverse, but I'd settle for having the deck restart automatically when I start forward again. Instead I have to push-and-pull the deck engage to restart. It's still simpler than I think the cut-in-reverse feature sounds. I'll have to try it out eventually though.

Now I'm going to go look at the product of my morning's toil, and feel self-satisfied.

Monday,  June 12, 2017  McGehee

Holy Mortality!

Yes, it was campy, but I was in kindergarten. So to me, then and for many years after, Adam West was Batman.

I hadn't yet discovered comic books, and the Dark Knight was still years away. The show could be called a takeoff on the Silver Age Batman, whose adventures took place within the bounds of the Comics Code Authority and came to be regarded in later years as fluffy and silly. Really though, there wasn't all that much room for parody.

I just happened to be at the right age, completely innocent of The Batman's origin story, to be enthralled by the show. It was only later, I think after the show's original run, that I learned why Bruce Wayne had put on the costume. By then I had bought in to the characters so much that giving me a book containing some of the old comic-book adventures was a pretty good way to ensure that I stayed out from under foot for an afternoon.

Though I was momentarily confused that Commissioner Gordon in the comics looked more like Alan Napier than Neil Hamilton. And I wondered where Chief O'Hara and Aunt Harriet were. That was my first exposure to the differences in how characters were realized in different media, or even in different outings in the same media — after all, the origin story was definitely pre-Silver Age.

Still, in my head I still always heard Adam West's voice when comic-book Batman spoke. As for later TV incarnations, Olan Soule? Who was he?

It wasn't until after the Tim Burton series of movies that TV successfully replaced Adam West as the quintessential voice of Batman in my memory, when Kevin Conroy took on the role. Having the chance to play off the best Joker voice ever, whoever that guy was who had the same name as Luke Skywalker but couldn't possibly be him, didn't hurt.

Still, Adam West kept going, eventually voicing a Batman-like TV superhero on an episode of "Kim Possible," in between his duties of voicing Quahog's mayor on "Family Guy" (a guy who, according to West, was named Adam West and looked and sounded just like the actor of the same name, but wasn't actually him).

Actors whose later opportunities end up limited because of one definitive role often complain, for a while, about the burden — but even Leonard Nimoy eventually admitted that, yes, he was Spock. If Adam West ever complained he was low-key about it, and like so many others he found a way to turn the limitation into a spotlight of his own that no one, not even Kevin Conroy, could steal.

The actors playing the arch-villains on "Batman" may have been more famous when the show was on, but Adam West was the star.

Saturday,  June 10, 2017  McGehee

Thoughts My Brain Made

In a world where a woman named Huma marries a man named Weiner, is anything beyond the realm of possibility?

Thursday,  June 8, 2017  McGehee

Watch Out When He Starts to Twist

The other day, a re-airing of 2017's RodeoHouston Super Shootout appeared on one of the FoxSports channels. To my surprise they skipped the preliminary barrel racing round, in which last year's NFR champion — who was 68 last December — failed to make the final four. World champion bull rider Sage Kimzey, who placed second in the prelims, chose a daunting bull for his final-four ride, but the perfectly understandable go-big-or-go-home move — why draw an easy bull that can't give you a winning ride? — cost him a premature dismount.

One of the bareback bronc riders had an early dismount from a horse that seemed to have been taking lessons from the bulls; normally horses don't spin in place like bulls do.

Recently it occurred to me I had acquired two coffee mugs depicting rodeo events. From the University of Wyoming I'd ordered a mug with the state's bucking horse icon (seen at the second link above), which represents saddle-bronc riding. I also have a mug with the words "Cowboy Up!" where the cowboy on a bucking bronc is leaning sharply backwards as bareback bronc riders do, and isn't holding a rope as saddle bronc riders do.

I've since added two more mugs, depicting bull riding and steer wrestling. I think team roping will be next.

Tuesday,  June 6, 2017  McGehee

Clarification Reiteration

Not being any great fan of Donald Trump didn't mean I wanted Hillary Clinton to be President.

Not being any great fan of Karen Handel doesn't mean I want Jon Ossoff to be in Congress.

Update, June 6: Migawd, we still have two weeks of commercials to endure for this runoff. The British election for an entire new government was called April 19, the day after our special election for one congressional seat on April 18 — and they'll be finished this Thursday.

Sunday,  June 4, 2017  McGehee

A Poem

I once used to long
For wine, women and song,
Before old Father Time played his tricks.
As my age has climbed higher,
Now I can only aspire
To beer, porn and dirty limericks.

Saturday,  June 3, 2017  McGehee

If I Were in Charge, 1

Crossword puzzle writers who associate nooses with rodeos would be hanged.

Friday,  June 2, 2017  McGehee

Leftist Butthurt Is The Best Butthurt

The wailing and rending of garments on The Weather Channel over President Trump's reversal of Obama's unconstitutional adoption of the Paris climate change mumbo-jumbo, is brightening my day perhaps more than it should.

Friday,  June 2, 2017  McGehee

Well We Got No Class

It's June, and in Georgia the school buses sit idle until August. The amber lights on the school zone signs no longer flash twice a weekday but you can bet some idiot will slow down — probably the same idiot that slowed down for them during the school year at 10:30 at night, or on Sunday.

That idiot is of course different from the far more common ones who rocket through the school zones at full speed even when the lights are flashing.

They wouldn't get away with that in Tennessee, where the speed limits in school zones, even where the normal limit is 45 or higher, drops to 15 when the kids are arriving or leaving. And anyone there who tries to observe that lowered limit when it's not in effect would be a smear on the pavement in short order.

When I'm driving around in the afternoon during the school year I'm constantly comparing my intended route to a mental map of where the schools are. Elementary schools let out earlier, their school zone speed limit hours mostly ending by 3:00. The road past the middle school nearest the home acres slows from 45 to 35 between 3:00 and 4:00. There are only three high schools in the county and none of them are on a route I ever really need to drive; there are ample alternate routes — but their zone hours can extend to 4:45.

I don't always get to avoid an active school zone; our vet is within the zone for an elementary school, and often by the time an appointment is set to check Lucy's arthritis or bring a cat in for a check-up, the options are limited. Nor do I necessarily go out of my way to avoid one if doing so would add miles and extra minutes to my journey that I could put to better use otherwise. But knowing I'm going to pass through one and having some idea of its effective period are a fact of life in this county.

It would be nice, though, if fewer of the schools here had been built along main roads

Thursday,  June 1, 2017  McGehee



June 2017


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