My Way With Words

So Mrs. McG and I are watching the Orange Bowl, featuring the Wisconsin Badgers vs. the Miami Hurricanes. Mrs. McG is enjoying the game mostly because she doesn't care who wins.

But I confessed that between these two teams I'd prefer Wisconsin.

"Why?" asked the Mrs.

I gave it a moment's thought and came up with, "Miami is sweaty New York."

She suggested I open a travel agency.

Update: Wisconsin won.

Saturday,  December 30, 2017  McGehee

Look That Up in Your Funk & Wagnalls

One of the channels available to us here is Decades, which offers among other things reruns of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In."

Last night, just for the heck of it, I Tivo'd an episode, and got a heck of a surprise when I watched it this morning. Among the big-name guests was Kate "God Bless America" Smith. Now, in keeping with how other big-name guests had been used on the show, I expected her to appear in music-themed sketches, giving solo one-liners, and perhaps as a foil (playing herself) to one or more "Laugh-In" regulars. And she did — including as an opera-voiced scat singer backed up by a string quartet badly in need of a safe space, preferably padded.

She also had to contend in a couple of sequences with Tyrone F. Horneigh, Arte Johnson's Walnetto-craving dirty old man, including once where she had stood extolling the utility and virtues of the good old-fashioned washboard (never once mentioning its musical ubiquity in jug bands). Tyrone unwillingly helped her demonstrate one of its uses.

But they also had her appearing as a married woman on a balcony, creatively rebuffing a relentless and learning-impaired Casanova, played by Alan Sues. This is the sort of thing "Laugh-In" would normally have given to someone known for comedic roles. Well, she may very well have demonstrated comedy chops in her myriad radio and television appearances before 1968, but her timing and delivery in "Laugh-In's" closing joke-wall segment was a revelation to me.

Friday,  December 29, 2017  McGehee

New Year's Resolutions I've Rejected (but You Do What You Want)

In recent years, my New Year's Resolution has been, "Make Only One New Year's Resolution." It's worked out pretty well for me, but this time around I gave some thought to trying something new. The following are resolutions I considered, but decided against.

  1. Get a double dose of nostalgia by writing checks for some purchases — and writing the wrong year on the date line.
  2. Ride a Segway and a Hoverboard — at the same time.
  3. Write a thoroughly reasoned, factually supported argument in favor of outrage mobs.
  4. Buy digital music on 8-track tapes.
  5. Spend less time on social media.
  6. Teach the cats algebra, so they can teach it to me.
  7. Make more than one New Year's resolution.

Stick with what you're good at, that's what I say.

Thursday,  December 28, 2017  McGehee

It's a Different Middle East

Western leftists still obsessed with Israel are exhibiting the same "fighting the last war" syndrome that has plagued Pentagon planners and conspiracy theorists for generations. The fact is that aside from Hamas itself, Israel's only real enemy in the region — since the battlefield defeat of ISIS, if not earlier — is Iran. After that, its biggest enemies in the world are Russia and the Western Left.

Israel's immediate neighbors lost the stomach for waging war on Israel after having ... waged war on Israel. After getting their clocks cleaned a time or three, the most stubborn regimes turned to supporting "Palestinian" factions (Arafat's Fatah, for example, had Tunisian roots) so that the Jewish state would have to focus on insurgency rather than the overt military operations it had excelled at.

These days the Arab neighbors have either signed accords with Israel, or have insurgencies of their own to occupy them; ISIS may be defeated in Syria, but Assad still has rebels to contend with.

Russia's beef with Israel is conventional geopolitics — it represents a durable U.S.-allied outpost of Western power in a region Moscow would like very much to influence again, as it had briefly in the mid-20th century. In fact the nadir of Russian influence in the Middle East came during the 1990 preparations for Operation Desert Storm, when Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev proposed peace talks to head off the invasion of Iraq, and U.S. President George H.W. Bush simply ignored him. Bush doesn't get enough credit for that...

For the last few years the Arab states that once beset Israel have turned their attentions on the regional threat posed by a resurgent Iran emboldened by the nuclear deal unconstitutionally put into effect by then-President Barack Obama. Between that and the faltering cash flow from Persian Gulf oilfields, the Gulf states in particular have judged that distant Israel isn't the immediate enemy after all. They know that Iranians have little use for Arabs.

I mean, yes, they'll use them, but never to the Arabs' advantage.

And it's understood by the more realistic Arab regimes that if a nuclear-armed Iran launched missiles at Israel, resulting in mass casualties of "Palestinian" Arabs both in Israel itself and under the Palestinian Authority, Iran would privately regard those deaths not so much as collateral damage as, rather, icing on the cake. Nor would Israel's Arab neighbors have entirely clean hands, since many of those "Palestinians" were expelled from those countries to serve as cannon fodder in their above-mentioned insurgency strategy against Israel.

In recent months Saudi Arabia has cozied up to Israel in response to Iran's boldness; the Saudis know that getting along better with Israel can only improve their relations with the post-Obama United States. They also know that Israel is the only power in that part of the world with both the motive and the means to oppose Iran effectively — after all, Israel also "reputedly" has nukes, and Iran doesn't know exactly where they are (unless Obama told them).

Any of this could be known and understood by Western leftists, and it may be — but the Western Left regards as its sole significant enemy its domestic political opposition. Self-delusion has left it convinced that there are no existential threats more pressing than the outcome of the next election. Not only are they defined by this trait, but the trait itself is common to multiple pathologies described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. "Liberalism is a mental disorder" indeed.

The respectable Arab world's abandonment of the insurgency strategy is best illustrated by the utter lack of "Arab Street" reaction against President Trump's directive to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The loudest condemnation came from... Iran, Russia and the Western Left. Without Arab backing for telegenic demonstrations in Israel and the territories, even most "Palestinians" simply went about their legitimate business.

This is not your grandfather's Middle East.

Wednesday,  December 27, 2017  McGehee

Merry Christmas

I Keep Telling You: Let It Go to Voicemail!

Shakedown artists, apparently in Mexican prisons, have been faking kidnappings in efforts to get money from people.

For a brief moment on Tuesday afternoon, a Coweta man believed his wife had been abducted.

Fortunately, the scenario turned out to be fictitious, but the man was the latest victim of a “virtual kidnapping” scam.

The 57-year-old man was out shopping when he received a telephone call from a strange number. Upon answering it, the man heard a woman he believed to be his wife screaming in the background.

A stranger got on the line, called the man by his first name and explained he had taken his wife hostage, according to the police report.

The man asked the caller what he wanted, but received no reply. After being disconnected, the man called 911.

The other day I saw a report of this in Wyoming, with the twist that first the perps call the intended alleged kidnapping victim with a jury duty scam. If he or she falls for that, the callers manipulate them into saying things that can be used, as a recording, to convince one of the first recipient's family members that he or she has been kidnapped.

Apparently the Wyoming variant involves gathering information on a specific mark beforehand, while the version attempted here was more at random.

The jury duty scam has been around long enough, and its tactics debunked widely enough, that it shouldn't still work. The random kidnapping thing is more recent, but if someone called to tell me they'd kidnapped Mrs. McG, they'd most likely have to explain how they abducted her from inside a secure, federally owned building.

Saturday,  December 23, 2017  McGehee

"If You're Using an Ad Blocker, You Must Hate Free Content."

Messages like that pop up on so many sites now, I've taken to clicking "You got that right" simply because that's how I always respond to arguments in bad faith.

If I have to wait and let my browser load your ads — and have them jump in front of me so that I have to close them before reading your content, your content isn't free.

The notion that ad-supported TV is "free" is just as false. Any time I am required to expend a resource in exchange for accessing content, I'm paying for it — and time is non-renewable.

So stuff that in your fahoo forehs.

Thursday,  December 21, 2017  McGehee

I Blame Online Shopping. Or Something.

If we have any stray gift tags — you know, those little, decorated bits of thick paper you write "For Sweetie, From Santa" on so the handing out of presents avoids confusion? — in the house, I have no idea where.

Apparently we're not the only ones. The clerk at Walgreens admitted she had looked for them in her store and been unsuccessful. According to my internet searches I could find some at, for example, Target, if it weren't smack-dab in the local retail combat zone. At this stage ordering some online would be pointless, other than to have them for next year. I'm considering it.

Part of this dilemma stems from the fact there are only the two of us here since Mrs. McG's mother passed away in 2015. Unwrapping gifts at home is now a quick affair, and we usually have fewer packages than choices of gift wrap. Buying online and having the vendor do the wrapping saves effort and paper (especially compared to when I wrap) — and the gift-wrapped item comes with gift tags already attached. Well, I didn't do that this year, and while I'm pretty sure I'll know which packages are meant for Mrs. McG, the tag is both an insurance against cerebral flatus, and kind of a tradition.

I even looked for index cards I could cut to suit, but only found the kind with lines printed on the back. I may have to settle for that now that I know how scarce real tags have become.

Wednesday,  December 20, 2017  McGehee

I Remember Christmas Shopping

Going to the mall, seeing all the decorations in the stores, hearing Christmas music from the speakers.

Dealing with the crowds...

Somehow it was okay back then because I didn't have to do the driving to get us there.

In Sacramento, Christmas shopping season was usually cold and foggy — the valley socked in by a thermal inversion that prevented warm air from mixing down to the surface. It made "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" especially plausible, and that sort of made up for the perennial lack of snow. In fact I used to joke that our idea of a white Christmas was a foggy one.

Dad would drive on our family shopping excursions, usually to a mall but sometimes to a standalone store. My brother and I would get some cash and we'd all split up with instructions to meet back at the same spot when we had spent all we had — and we were to spend it on gifts, not things for ourselves — or simply ran out of ideas or time. This was why we sometimes had to go on more than one shopping trip.

I remember getting Mom perfume or a piece of jewelry, provided they were within my budget (I may have persuaded Dad to give me a little more, once or twice). My brother and I usually were listed as givers on one or another of each other's gifts, without actually having been in on the purchase. Once we got older, of course, the doling out of shopping cash ended and we became responsible for buying each other's presents.

It's been a good many years since I ventured into a mall or one of those old-fashioned bricks-and-mortar places for Christmas shopping. I confess there are parts of the experience I miss — except that news reports about Black Friday mayhem always get the season off to an uninspiring start, and I'd just as soon not hear "Last Christmas" fifty times while waiting hours in a checkout line. Nowadays, the local retail combat zones are to be avoided until about the 27th.

Charlie Brown moaned about commercializing Christmas in 1965, and every year since then the retail industry has asked us to hold its beer.

Ah, well. The point of Christmas is still about a gift far more precious and durable than anything you might have grabbed away from you by a wild-eyed fellow shopper at Walmart. Even the part of Christmas the marketers emphasize all boils down to watching a loved one unwrap something you knew would make her happy. Even when I was still shopping the old-fashioned way, that was what made it worthwhile — far more indeed than the decorations and the music.

Sunday,  December 17, 2017  McGehee

Just One More Reason Why I'm Ready for the End of Telephony As We Know It

My reader may remember linking to a now-lost post I once wrote, griping about the continued reliance on strings of digits to identify the source and target of a telephone call.

The telephone number has a long history, rooted in the days when human operators connected each call by hand, and extended into the era of automated switching — triggered at first by the clicks of a rotary dial, then the tones produced by the pressing of buttons. In those days the audio was transmitted entirely in analog on copper cables. These days it's sent as digital packets over fiber-optic lines, not at all unlike the data packets that criss-cross the internet. In fact the internet itself carries a significant portion of voice traffic these days, and not just for services like Skype or Vonage.

So why is it that on my cell phone call logs, each call is identified only by a ten-digit number, without any associated information?

When I receive an email I can usually glean some relevant information from the source email address. When I receive a phone call or an SMS text, all I have is a string of numerals that is only intelligible if I recognize it as belonging to someone whose number I've had occasion to memorize. It's even worse when I peruse the log and see an outgoing call I don't remember having placed. This happened to me the other day, and the only way to figure out whom I had called more than a week before was to redial the number and wait for someone — or in this case, some robot — to answer. Fortunately it wasn't some crook not only spoofing my number (but don't get me started on number-spoofing in the middle of this other rant) to make a call but somehow even hacking my carrier and/or my phone to do it; The call had merely slipped my mind.

As things now stand, with wireless caller ID decades behind its landline counterpart, the only way to make sense of a call log — for those numbers I don't block, and no, I don't block them all — is to create a record in my contact list for each call so I can associate a name or description with the number.

There's no reason for this. I should at least be able to add a note to each record in my call log so I can figure out, days or weeks or months later, what it was about.

Someday in the future, voice communication as we know it will be a thing of the past. Our "phone calls" will go to something more like an email address than a phone number. They'll come with headers on them like you can view in your email client, making it that much harder to obscure the true source of the call. Carriers are already at work on integrating the way our various forms of communication are handled and presented, but for some reason our call logs are lagging behind.

Meanwhile my smartphone's contact list is cluttered with entries for people and organizations I really have no reason to keep there, except that my stupid call logs are so damn stupid.

Update, after further investigation: Turns out I can download my call history from my carrier as a .CSV file, which when opened in LibreOffice is editable. So now I have notes — though only up to tonight, and only with such information about mystery numbers as I was able to dig up online. And only going back six months — though I suppose I could key in earlier calls from the call log on my phone, which goes back somewhat further, and which I've been keeping backed up in case of bug.

Thursday,  December 14, 2017  McGehee

He Won't Last

Alabama elected a pro-abortion Democrat to the Senate today. He will not be re-elected to a full term.

Moore should have been able to weather the storm, but the fact is, he's a bit of a fruitcake. And so is Bannon, who just made it that much harder for the President he supposedly supports, to get his agenda enacted.

Damn fool.

On the bright side, Al Franken has no obvious excuse anymore not to finalize his resignation. He'll have to come up with a new one.

Update, January 3, 2018: Welp.

I'd guess this has some bearing on the matter.

Tuesday,  December 12, 2017  McGehee

There's a Moral to This Story

And it is that when you indulge in virtue signaling, nobody respects you.

The mayor [Pete Muldoon, of Jackson, Wyoming] added that he only agreed to take part in the production [aired on whichever late night show is currently afflicted with Stephen Colbert as its host] believing it would focus mainly on his decision to remove the president's portrait from town hall, and the 'friendly' tete-a-tete it set off between the liberal-leaning mayor and Tyler Lindholm, a conservative Wyoming lawmaker from across the state. Lindholm was subsequently edited completely out of the bit.

"I was told by the producers that the story was going to be about 'portrait-gate' and how the reaction to it — including me getting fired from a job and getting death threats — was really ridiculous," Muldoon shared. "I was hoping there would be some good jokes about that, even if they were at my expense. I was going to be a good sport about it. I don’t know what happened behind the scenes with Bobby and the producers. But I wasn’t expecting that someone I don’t really know and who has zero connection to my campaign, or even the community, would end up appearing in the skit making false statements."

He may have thought the publicity from removing the portrait of President Trump would make him look good to people who didn't like Trump, and ought to have been prepared for a backlash (though getting him fired was way out of line). What he obviously never expected was that to the professional Trump-haters he's just another flyover-country bumpkin. If he'd made his appearance a circus act in which he pissed on a Trump cutout, Colbert's staff probably wouldn't have improvised to the extent they did.

But they still would have used him purely as a punchline, and neither he nor Jackson would have been treated with any respect for it.

This, Mayor Muldoon, is why people supported Trump for the Republican nomination, why more people voted for him in the November election, and why still more who did neither of those other things (including yours truly) now support him as President. Especially when he unloads on the media for the hateful way they depict anyone from between the Hudson River and the Pacific Coast.

Tuesday,  December 12, 2017  McGehee

Alternate Theory

Hey, maybe there's an upside to having every corporation, agency, and (intentionally) non-profit organization out there amassing a dossier on you.

Suppose for a moment that, somehow, it's getting around that I not only don't answer cold calls but block repeat offenders, and that I'm not prone to following ad links that turn up in my browser, email, or whatever. This might explain why my volume of spam, either electronic or telephonic, seems to be so much less than everyone else complains about.

As market research trolls become more efficient and detailed in their information collection, those of us who swat them like flies whenever one unwisely attracts our notice, will become less attractive to them. They'll focus on the marks who answer the phone every time it rings without checking the caller ID, and whose response to online ads is ultimately no different from that of Pavlov's dogs.

They'll be the ones polishing their dust bunnies with the dust bunny polisher professionals use! — and the rest of us will live in peace.

Monday,  December 11, 2017  McGehee

Talking Back to Youtube Video Titles

"How Old Is Humanity, REALLY?"

About 12.

Sunday,  December 10, 2017  McGehee

Still Snowing

Good morning, world.

It's twenty minutes to eight o'clock in subtropical west Georgia. The ground — and trees — are plastered with wet, sticky snow, and it hasn't stopped coming down. You know, I hate to imagine how much snow we'd have, or how early it would have started falling, if it wasn't for global warming.

I asked the ghost of Bing Crosby if it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas. He said, "How did you get this number?"

Saturday,  December 9, 2017  McGehee

Told Ya So

Well, it's not quite quarter to 11 in the morning, and it's snowing. Bunches of big, feathery snowflakes are falling on my home acres. Not sticking yet, but if it keeps coming down like this for long enough, it might.

Not-jinxing may just be my superpower.

Friday,  December 8, 2017  McGehee

Not Even for a Minute

Because I don't want to jinx it by saying I believe it.

The "S" word has appeared in our local forecast, claiming there's a whiff of a possibility of a potential of a snowflake or two in our area tomorrow and/or Friday.

Yeah, right.

Wednesday,  December 6, 2017  McGehee

You've Got It Backwards, There

This is from an AP report, but when I tried to find a similar piece that's not behind a paywall I came up empty, so...

The University of Wyoming has joined colleges around the country in lobbying against any congressional tax legislation that could hurt graduate students' ability to pay for their education.

You want to know what hurts graduate students' ability to pay for their education? The fact you're turning out degree holders with no perceptible advantage in the employment market. The fact you're larding up your payrolls with people who teach identity-group "studies" courses that contribute nothing to the country but division and decline, and administrators who enforce arbitrary and capricious "rules" about "gender pronouns," "safe spaces," and unmerited status tribalism. The fact you've squandered what used to be a near universal esteem for academia in America by transforming your mission from creating world leaders to cranking out culturally illiterate crybabies.

You want to keep that from getting worse? Take the impact of this tax plan as a warning shot across your bow because you've been sailing toward an abyss from which you soon won't be able to turn back. Change course before technology and the times make your imminent destruction more of a boon to the future of civilization that it's already promising to be.

Monday,  December 4, 2017  McGehee

"Your Second Post of the New Month Is About This!? Seriously!?"

You get what you pay for.

So, it's finally down to the end for Peter Capaldi as The Doctor. On Christmas Day, BBC America (and presumably BBC Not America) will air the Doctor Who Christmas Special that will end with his regeneration to female form.

Given the recent history of gender reassignment among fictional characters, it's easy to suspect this is solely for political correctness and isn't actually meant to serve the franchise except as a reason for those running it to pat themselves on the back at their cocktail parties. But let's not forget that the reimagining of old male characters as female goes back a ways. If "Battlestar Galactica" hadn't made Starbuck a woman, we might never have gotten so well acquainted with Katie Sackhoff. And Grace Park's Boomer (depicted in the original series by male actor Herbert Jefferson, Jr.) wasn't just a woman, but a Cylon "skinjob." That ain't hay. And it worked.

I've been watching Doctor Who's second incarnation from the beginning. I thought Christopher Eccleston left the show too soon; that David Tennant's version went too heartthrobby; that Matt Smith's Doctor brought the character back closer to what it had been over the course of its original run; and that Peter Capaldi somehow honed in even a little more on that track.

I also thought that the stories lost something when they went from multi-episode arcs to one-hour adventures — violating the age-old rule of "show, don't tell" by suddenly having The Doctor already know, or easily able to figure out, what was going on so he could explain it all in a few minutes while he tried to decide what to do about it. The latter became the heart of the show, so that instead of focusing on the stakes in whatever peril was afoot, we focus now on The Doctor's reaction to those stakes. As a result, The Doctor's character — always essential to the franchise, obviously — has now become its sole focus, with companions and other characters merely plot devices, when they're not just shadows on the cave wall (though Nardole was a refreshing counterpoint to this trend — but he's already gone).

Anyway, I'll watch the new she-Doctor. If it flies, it flies. If it bombs, it bombs. If the franchise can regenerate once after being off the air for a decade and a half, it can again.

Friday,  December 1, 2017  McGehee

Thoughts My Brain Made, 8

If you can laugh at your own expense, don't go into politics. In politics, doing anything at your own expense is considered bad form.

Thursday,  November 30, 2017  McGehee

I Just Might Start Using It Again

Charles discovers that a certain given name once entirely too popular in the U.S. and Europe, has now become decidedly less popular in Europe.

My reader may have noticed that I now use my full name on the copyright line here in the Tally Book, but I've mostly remained merely "McGehee" in comment threads elsewhere — and when he links me Charles still nods to the complete name of this blog, which only goes as far as "McG".

I stopped using my given name online years ago when it became apparent every third blogger was named Kevin. That seems to have dissipated now. Maybe I'll bring it back, just as a friendly wave to those lovely Europeans.

Tuesday,  November 28, 2017  McGehee

If I Were in Charge

The only times it would be permissible in the United States to pronounce the word "coyote" with three syllables would be in one of the following instances:

One, if you're a cartoon character with intellectual pretensions pursuing a cartoon rabbit — in which case you may pronounce it "ki-yo-tay." As in "Wile E. Ki-yo-tay, Super Genius."

Two, if you're referring to a people-smuggler who conveys illegal aliens into the country across our southern border, in which case the approved pronunciation is "ki-yo-tee."

In all other instances, the correct American pronunciation of the word allows only two syllables, as the terminal E is silent.

Update your stylebooks accordingly.

Update: Charles offers a pretty good "If I were in charge..." of his own.

Monday,  November 27, 2017  McGehee

Leave the Kid(s) Alone

So one or another of the Obama daughters (both?) has been spotted smoking and doing other things legal-adult kids do in the 21st century, and people are getting their panties in a bunch over it.

Their father isn't president anymore, people (though he may have trouble admitting it to himself), and it's unlikely, even if they had political ambitions of their own, that the America we're morphing into will be one-tenth as enthusiastic about political dynasties as the nattering classes thought it was just over twelve and a half months ago. If they do start trying to get into politics, we'll deal with it then. Meanwhile, just try — like most of America has been — to forget they exist.


Sunday,  November 26, 2017  McGehee

How Lovely Are Thy Branches

Our previous home had just one room facing the front of the house — if you don't count the garage. That room had a tall window, so that was where we displayed our tall Christmas tree.

In our present home there are several rooms along the front of the house with windows, but only the living room window is really suitable for displaying a tree. The window itself is tall enough for the trees we had in the old house, but it's a slightly bowed (not quite bay) window, and the joint between the window bow and the rest of the room, has a valence that has tended to obscure the tops of those taller trees. Not wanting to tear down the valence, we've put up with visitors seeing a headless tree.

Last Christmas the tall pre-strung tree we've been displaying lost the whole middle section of lights, so it was time to replace the tree. That's the downside to buying a pre-strung tree, but the upside — of not having to untangle the light strings I took down the previous January — still seems the better side of the bargain. Anyway, this year I bought a shorter tree, kind of cheap, with those auto-twinkle LED lights and colored fiber optics, and a star on top that visitors can plainly see from outside. If our next house has a taller window for the display tree we may get a taller tree from the same manufacturer, while setting up this one elsewhere in the house for our own enjoyment.

Assuming the cats will leave it alone. Another of the appeals of having our tree in the living room is, we can keep the cats out. During Buckaroo's first Christmas we had a compact pre-strung tree in the family room and he climbed up into it and got a leg tangled in the light cords. Efforts to extract his leg proving futile, I had to cut the cord, and that tree never lit up again. That was the last time we had a tree anywhere but the living room. Still, this new tree's light cords seem to be more securely strung. And Bucky is too rotund now to do much tree climbing, though I wouldn't put it past him to try.

It's nice to have tree lights that don't just sit there.

Sunday,  November 26, 2017  McGehee

A Man After My Own Heart

It's behind a paywall, so I'm torn between wanting you to be able to read it all, and violating terms of service after paying good money to be able to read it myself. So, some highlights.

Behold, the 10 Commandments of American Automobiling:

1. Thou shalt not sitteth at a stop sign waving me through the intersection before thee when thou clearly stopped first and also is on the right, thus possessing the right of way, out of some twisted sense of generosity that makes fools of both of us.

I get people doing this to me even when not at a stop sign. They think they're being nice, but in the time it takes for them to communicate to me that I should go ahead, they could have continued on their way and I could have made my move behind them. Unless there are other people behind them, stuck waiting for me to realize why the driver I expected to just go on by, hasn't. I've been in their position too and didn't like that either. It's gotten to the point where when someone tries to "be nice" like that to me, I angrily wave them on regardless of the external circumstances. Just do what I was expecting you to do so I can go on about my business.

3. Thou shalt not passeth at a minutely faster, yet hardly different, speed. Though shalt not spendeth 35 minutes getting closer and closer in the rearview mirror as thou prepare to pass, then taketh another 15 minutes driving directly next to me in the other lane because thou doesn't want to just speed up slightly and getteth this over with.

Yea, verily. If you're not willing to exceed the posted limit, ever, suspend your cruise control when there's another motorist driving one-tenth of a mile per hour slower than you. Better still, reset yours to 0.1 mph slower than him.

I have no qualms about accelerating a few miles per hour past the posted limit just long enough to put some distance between me and the other driver, as long as when I revert to my cruise setting the distance between us will continue to widen. Every so often some doofus will speed up after I've passed him, but if I can't find some other way to shake him off there's always the old "Oh, here's a good place for a comfort stop" trick.

I also have no qualms, if I see someone looming slowly as described in the above excerpt, against ticking my cruise setting up a couple of mph to pull away from them — as long as it doesn't put me into blue-light territory.

The author fails to include the commandment against clustering up with other vehicles. I think this is one of those stupid unconscious things herd-mentality drivers do, but my tendency for selective socializing expresses itself in traffic too. I don't know you, buddy — and I don't need a motorcade TYVM.

6. Thou shalt not, while driving a gigantic semi truck and trailer, attempt to passeth another gigantic semi truck and trailer while going up a hill, backing up traffic for miles behind as the two of thee sloweth to 45 in the 75 on the upgrade and taketh turns pulling slightly ahead of one another and then drifting irresolutely back again, over and over, maddeningly, for minutes on end.

A trucker once roared past posted-limit-observing Mrs. McG and me on a Canada two-lane just before a long, steep uphill climb. You know he wouldn't have done that down here in the gun-crazy U.S. of A.

Saturday,  November 25, 2017  McGehee

I Think That's Called Telegraphing

The Wyoming Lottery's mascot is a jackalope, and its slogan is "Just maybe."

Friday,  November 24, 2017  McGehee

Who Knew?, 2

All this time I thought my preference for daily moments of solitude was driving me batty. Now a study suggests otherwise.

"When people think about the costs associated with social withdrawal, oftentimes they adopt a developmental perspective," she continues. "During childhood and adolescence, the idea is that if you're removing yourself too much from your peers, then you're missing out on positive interactions like receiving social support, developing social skills and other benefits of interacting with your peers."

Bowker believes that the presumed downsides of being alone and withdrawing have lent such a preference a hard-to-erase stigma.

More recent research, including this latest study, has begun to recognize the potential benefits of alone time — provided it's an intentional choice prompted by positive emotions.

Deeming individuals who follow such guidelines "unsociable," Bowker explains that they may enjoy reading, working on the computer, or otherwise spending precious time alone.

The assumption that interactions with other people are mostly positive can be quickly rebutted by just one peek at Twitter or Facebook. People who prefer solitude tend to be not so much averse to social interaction, as selective in whom they wish to spend time with, and where and when they choose to do so.

In my experience, socializing indiscriminately leads to far more emotional and psychological harm than doing so selectively.

Friday,  November 24, 2017  McGehee

Who Knew?

Today, every merchant I've had anything to do with online is dropping Christmas gift ideas in my email.

Did not see that coming.

Friday,  November 24, 2017  McGehee


Two years ago was our first Thanksgiving after the passing of Mrs. McG's mother. I posted this as part of coming to terms with the loss.

One of the paragraphs, though, was due to a pessimistic view of the future of our nation — a view somewhat less warranted now. So I think I'd like to revise (and maybe extend, just a bit) those remarks today.

I'm thankful for my wife of 23 years. Her happiness is my life's meaning.

I'm thankful, as I've always been, that I was born in, and continue to live in, the United States of America — the freest nation on earth.

I'm thankful to God for sending His son to show us that forgiveness is the key to everlasting life, that repentance is the key to forgiveness, and we are all His beloved children — and especially for the blessings He has added to my own life over the years. Some may wonder whether God loves them; He has left me no room for doubt.

Update, a quarter to Black Friday: I guess I'm also thankful Deb Frisch hasn't targeted me. But not as thankful as she should be.

Thanksgiving Day,  November 23, 2017  McGehee

Talking Back to Old Song Lyrics

Well, where would you suggest Amos go to hunt alligator, Jerry? The Cajun Alps? The Atchafalaya Desert?

Wednesday,  November 22, 2017  McGehee

O Hai!

Im in ur parkin lot parkin mai hind!

Photo credit: one of Mrs. McG’s co-workers — this morning in the office parking lot.

Wednesday,  November 22, 2017  McGehee


Jackson, Wyoming doesn't have home mail delivery!!!!

New residents to Jackson Hole may not be aware that there is no home delivery in Teton County. Not for most residents, anyway.

And it's been putting a strain on the local post offices, as well as traffic around their locations.

The package delivery headaches begin with the fact that Jackson, Wyoming is one of those rare places in the United States with no home delivery. Davidson, NC and Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA are two other places that come to mind where USPS does not deliver mail to home residences. Despite the best efforts of Postmaster General John Wanamaker, who served from 1889 to 1893, to spearhead RFD (Rural Free Delivery) ensuring even bumpkins in the middle of nowhere could get their mail, there still exists a few of these smaller communities where no mailman treads even today.

In Jackson, the reason most often cited for the town having no mail delivery is a collective desire to encourage community building by embracing the social aspects of having to meet at the post office every few days. The forced interaction was viewed as a positive thing.

Over 10,000 people now live in Jackson town limits, an area encompassing just under three square miles. The town also serves as the main commercial hub for a county of some 13,000 additional residents, who may not have to visit a post office in Jackson for their mail, but probably do have to navigate the traffic around the town's compulsory "meeting places" on a regular basis.

Maybe back in the olden days before the Harveywood elite discovered Jackson Hole, it was okay to use the post office for "community building," but congestion on the street and in the lobby now get in the way of the postal employees doing their jobs efficiently — which is what those of us in the rest of the country want more than anything from our post offices. So in answer to the question in the article's title...

Is it time to start talking about home mail delivery?

I think any intelligent 21st-century American would say, "Oh, hell yeah."

Too bad we're only talking about the Harveywood elite and their vassals and serfs in the Hole.

Monday,  November 20, 2017  McGehee

Now Read the Books

Mrs. McG and I binge-flixed the final 10-episode season of "Longmire" over the weekend. The writers redeemed the paranoid, obsessive way they had portrayed Craig Johnson's Wyoming sheriff, but I still prefer the books — not just for Walt, but for Henry Standing Bear and most of the rest of the characters they brought over from the books.

If you haven't read the books you might not know just how few of the TV characters were actually in them. Once you've finished watching the TV show, I strongly suggest you remedy that.

The show did have some funny bits — such as a romantic rivalry between two men named Archie and Reggie, though there was no Jughead; and a subtle dig at A&E's demographic-inspired cancellation of the series that caused it to go to Netflix. And a scene with Katie Sackhoff on a horse that might appeal to her male fans in particular.

Monday,  November 20, 2017  McGehee

Words of Wisdom

Found in the Winter 2017/2018 issue of Range Magazine, the following observation by Ethel Barrett (1913-1998):

We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.

Saturday,  November 18, 2017  McGehee

Danger, Will Robinson!

Wyoming is preparing to "update" its voting equipment.

Secretary of State Ed Murray, in collaboration with the Wyoming County Clerks and the Secretary of State Election Division, announced today the formation of a task force to address the future of elections in Wyoming. The Plan for Aging Voting Equipment (PAVE) Task Force will primarily explore the type of election equipment needed in Wyoming and the means of funding the replacement of outdated equipment.

"Wyoming's elections are accurate, fair, and free from any interference. Unfortunately, the voting equipment used in Wyoming's 23 counties is nearing the end of its lifespan, and it is of paramount importance that our voting systems be unfailingly reliable," said Teton County Clerk Sherry Daigle.

Which is fine. Thing is, Wyoming is one of the few states that never adopted touchscreen electronic voting machines. By now it should be obvious that those machines are uniquely vulnerable to mischief, but when you get a bunch of officials together the chance of groupthink-induced imbecility can never be disregarded.

The fact Wyoming resisted the touchscreen fad is reassuring — I just worry.

Update, Thursday: It gets worse — there's a concerted effort to convince the state to adopt vote-by-mail (paywall).

[Fremont County Clerk Julie] Freese isn't the only clerk promoting mail-ballot elections: According to a recent report by the Cody Enterprise, the [County Clerks Association of Wyoming] has proposed changes involving a transition to the process as well. And in September of 2016, the Enterprise reported, Park County deputy clerk Hans Odde was part of a CCAW delegation that visited a mail ballot processing center in Colorado; following the visit, he said 20 of Wyoming's 23 county clerks supported moving to a mail ballot system.

Clerks estimate that, had the 2016 election been a mail ballot one, the cost would have been roughly $453,000 - a 46 percent savings, the Enterprise said, and there would be no need in 2019 to upgrade much of the current equipment.

Fortunately, Wyoming lawmakers aren't buying it.

Zwonitzer and Case co-chair the legislature's Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee, which the CCAW approached three times last year to suggest exploring a mail-ballot system as a cost-saving alternative to buying new equipment, the Enterprise said; on every occasion, the officials, who are charged with overseeing elections statewide, were rebuffed.

"I think it was too new of an issue for Wyoming," Zwonitzer said. "Most people thought Wyoming wasn't ready, and there were concerns there could be fraud."

He did not offer support for mail ballots, according to the report, and he said many of the most adamant opponents to a switch came from rural districts.

It bothers me that the county clerks out there are as enamored of idiotic "new ideas" as educrats and other forms of Homo bureaucratii — that uniquely non-sentient species that resembles humanity in every way except its own complete lack of gray matter. They thoroughly enjoyed the monorail episode of "The Simpsons" but learned nothing from it.

The vulnerabilities of electronic voting machines were pooh-poohed by their promoters 15 years ago, but the naysayers turned out to be right. They're right about vote-by-mail too.

Tuesday,  November 14, 2017  McGehee

I Don't Know Where This Came From

As they walked down the busy city street, they were jostled by fellow pedestrians — and neither was in the mood for it.

The slimmer of the two winced as someone stepped on his foot, then sighed. "Fred, I'm tellin' ya, this is not the 21st century I imagined."

"Tell me about it, George," said the burlier, darker-haired gent. "Watchin' that show of yours, I was sure we'd be ridin' around in flyin' cars by now."

"Can you imagine these people at the controls? We'd all be extinct by Thursday." A passing millennial bumped into George and hurried on without looking up from his phone. "Hey, watch where you're goin'!"

A faint "Sorry" filtered back from the culprit, already lost in the crowd. Both men paused and looked back — George angry, Fred resigned.

"Seems kinda sad we survived supervolcanoes an' asteroids an' floods an' plagues," observed Fred, "but we're gonna be killed off by social media."

Another oblivious pedestrian barged through between the two men. George seethed but Fred just rolled his eyes. "George, you're gonna burst a blood vessel. Just let it go. C'mon, we're gonna get trampled if we just stand here."

George took a couple of long, slow breaths, then sighed and followed his friend. Catching up, he tried to change the subject. "Say, Fred, how's things at home?"

Fred sighed. "About what you'd expect. Pebbles never comes out of her room except to eat or go to school. Wilma says she just spends her day posting selfies on Facester and Twitbook." He took a shellphone from his pocket, opened it, and called up an image, which he showed to George.

"What's that she's wearin'?" asked George.

"Nothin'," said Fred sadly.

"Whaaaaat?" George grabbed the phone and stared at the tiny picture. "You can't let your daughter post things like that!"

"Gimme that!" barked Fred, wresting the phone away and putting it back in his pocket. "Here, let's go in this place and sit down. My feet are killin' me."

They managed to find a booth and sat down. George was still indignant. "What kind of sicko is lookin' at those pictures?"

"I dunno, George," said Fred snidely, "those Twitbook handles all look like dino-scratch to me, names like smoothperv and vpbiden and elroyj. Who knows who they could be?" He pretended not to notice his friend's red face as he recognized the third name.

George lowered his head until his face was on the table. "Fred, what are we gonna do?"

"I'm gonna have a beer." Fred signalled to a server and soon two large glasses of amber liquid were set on the table. He picked up one and emptied it in a second. By the time he put down the empty glass a full replacement had appeared — but this time he was more temperate, only downing two or three glugs.

George hadn't yet touched his, but he was no longer head-down on the table. Instead he was staring after the server's incredibly short skirt. "D'you suppose she's wearin' anything under that?"

"I don't even know if she's a she," said Fred after a glance at the server, who was scampering between other booths and the beer taps at the bar.

"Ugh! Thanks for that visual, buddy!"

Fred shrugged with a malicious gleam in his eye. "Where I come from, underwear wasn't even invented yet. Remember that suit I always wore?"

"Yaaaggghhh! Fred, please stop talking!"

A jangle issued from Fred's pocket, and he answered his shellphone. "Hey, Wilma, what's up? ... Nah, George an' me are talkin' over what we need to pick up, then we'll hit the store an' head right home. ... Wait, what? Animal control? What do they want? ... 'Keepin' an exotic pet without a permit?' Dino ain't an exotic pet! We've had him for eons! ... I don't care about some new ordinance, he's grandfathered. Hell, he's great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfathered! ... All right, all right already. I'll see what I can do." He closed the phone and shook his head. "Absolutely insane. You know what, George, you're right. We do need to do somethin'."

"Please don't say go back to Hanna-Barbera."

"No, no. I mean we gotta do somethin' about the way the world's headin'. I mean we shoulda seen this comin'. First we gave our kids to the schools to raise, then we gave 'em to TV — "

"TV was good to us, Fred."

"Yeah, 50 years ago. Now we give 'em shellphones and wonder why nobody's got any manners an' nobody knows nothin' about nothin'. Somebody's gotta stand up on the table and wake everybody up."

"Maybe, but it won't be you. I can't afford to replace any more tables from you standin' on them."

"Har-dee-har-har." But Fred's mind was racing. "Maybe we should start a vlog on Whotube. You could gripe about how the people in charge have screwed up the world we were supposed to be livin' in by now."

George snorted, "Yeah, an' you could go on an' on about how much better things were back in the Stone Age."

"We could call it, 'The Future Ain't What It Used to Be.'"

George blinked a moment, then chuckled. "Yeah, that's not bad, Fred. I like it."

Fred grinned. "I keep tellin' ya, George, I'm a genius."

George rolled his eyes and sipped his beer. "You sure do, Fred. You sure do."

Sunday,  November 12, 2017  McGehee

Consulting the Magic 8-Ball

Barring the unforeseen — which will apply to at least 75% of what happens between now and then (or, if you live inside the legacy-media bubble, probably closer to 95%) — I expect to vote for every Republican nominee whose name appears on my November 6, 2018 ballot.

Just sayin'.

Monday,  November 6, 2017  McGehee

You'd Think a Guy Who Lived in Texas Would've Known Better

A prime example of someone who "needed killin'," and got what he needed.

Two quick-thinking locals have been hailed as heroes for stopping the man responsible for the worst ever mass shooting in Texas which left 26 dead.

Stephen Willeford, 55, confronted gunman Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, when he was leaving First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, wounding him, before he and Johnnie Langendorff, 27, chased him in a car after he fled.

Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Freeman Martin said Willeford, a keen biker, had 'grabbed his rifle and engaged the suspect'.

According to the Daily Mail piece, "engaged" means "shot" — with precision.

Willeford, a local plumber with no military experience, is however an excellent shot according to the resident, and when he came face to face with Kelley, he shot in between his body armor, hitting him in his side.

H/t Instapundit.

Naturally, The Usual Suspects™ are seeking to deprive Willeford and Langendorff of the means by which they achieved this public service. They're always looking for ways to help their primary constituency — that segment of the American public that most closely shares their values and morals. It's also why they want felons to be able to vote while still in prison.

I'm not going to comment on Kelley's motivation — there have been a few different claims on that score and I don't know whether he was coherent enough to have acted on only one, or even on multiple, mutually compatible ones. The fact of what he had just been doing is sufficient to justify what was done to him, in my book. He was still holding the murder weapon when Willeford shot him, and might have had more weapons in his car when he fled.

One claimed motive, though, is militant atheism. I won't splash his guilt onto other atheists — but I'm fairly confident he's wishing now that he'd been less militant, or merely saner. If you've ever wondered what Hell is like, I imagine it's like the worst nightmare you've ever had — that you can never wake up from.

Update: Confirmed, he did have at least one other gun in his car. I don't think for a minute he wouldn't have continued killing if he could have gotten away unwounded.

Monday,  November 6, 2017  McGehee


Don't forget to change your clocks tonight.

I suggest something in a neo-modern, with an analog readout on a backlit LCD face.

Saturday,  November 4, 2017  McGehee

An Uninformed Opinion Carries No Moral Force

Yet uninformed opinion is virtually universal on the question of breaking up The People's Republic of California.

Broadly speaking, Draper's proposal isn't new. Back in 2014, Draper tried to get enough signatures to put a measure on statewide ballots that would let Californians vote on a proposal to turn the Golden State into six different states. But, Draper failed to get the required number of signatures, and the measure never went before voters in the 2016 polls.

Maybe Draper figured going for six states was too much? Because he's back with his California breakup efforts, this time proposing a new map of three Californian states.

The typical reaction in conservative circles to proposals like this is that it would merely mean giving California more Senate seats and Electoral Votes. Which is just what the ultra-extreme leftists out there want our knee-jerk reaction to be.

In actuality, only one of the three new states resulting from Draper's proposal — the coastal one that includes Pyongyang-by-the-Bay — would be controlled by the Stalinist wannabes that run the state now, and currently control all 55 of its Electoral Votes. The southern one, though it contains Harveywood, would actually be more mainstream. And interior northern California would be culturally more in tune with the other Western states — meaning Republican presidential tickets would actually be favored there.

If you've ever heard from a Washingtonian or Oregonian from east of the Cascades, that's what you'd hear from most of the people who live in California's Central Valley. Their livelihoods have been hamstrung by Bay-Area Bolsheviks like Feinstein, Pelosi and Brown.

I'm old enough to remember when the Bush 41 Administration was fighting tooth and nail to keep Yugoslavia in one piece, keeping Slovenians, Bosnians and Macedonians under the heel of Belgrade because they could only see "instability" resulting from a breakup. Those nationalities had to shed blood to win their independence because Official Washington had its collective head up its collective fundament about the actual on-the-ground reality in that part of the world.

Keeping California in one piece is no less idiotic.

Wednesday,  November 1, 2017  McGehee

I Assume the Butterfinger® Is a Comment on the Opposing Player

Wyoming Head Coach Craig Bohl doesn't do sideline props to reward his players for forcing turnovers.

Tennessee has its trash can. Miami has its gold chain. Boise State has its wrestling-style belt, as do other teams.

Wyoming doesn't have any of that. There's no sideline gimmick awarded to a Cowboy who forces a turnover. Wyoming does have 24 takeaways. No Football Bowl Subdivision team has more.

Mrs. McG and I saw a gold chain being passed around on the sidelines during the Mississippi State-Texas A&M game last Saturday (guess which sideline?). Yet somehow the Pokes from Laramie are doing better at the effort than those prop-wielding teams. How can that be?

The Cowboys have a corresponding candy reward for numerous defensive achievements. A sack results in a Snickers, a tackle for loss equals a Crunch bar, and a pass breakup earns a player a Butterfinger, according to Ghaifan. He should know; the sophomore's nine tackles for loss and three sacks are both second on the team.

Maybe it was Wyoming's sweet tooth that produced a program-record seven turnovers on Halloween weekend, as the Cowboys blew out New Mexico 42-3.

"You kind of wake up on Sunday, you're kind of thinking about your game and going, 'Oh, man. I get a candy bar this week,'" Hall said. "It's cool."

I guess when you're an FBS athlete on a strict diet and training regimen, that works. And those stats do say it works. Boy howdy.

Tuesday,  October 31, 2017  McGehee

"Will Work for Catnip"

Animal lovers in Wyoming are starting a Jobs for Cats program.

The Rock Springs Companion Animal Committee is starting a "working cat" program in Sweetwater County. Committee Vice President Dorothy Savage said the program will start immediately and would be a great resource for businesses experiencing problems with rodents or interested in saving a cat.

"They're really overwhelmed at Animal Control," Savage said. "Cats are great rodent deterrents; even the odor of a cat on the premises is enough to scare rodents away."

Savage said the Companion Animal Committee came up with the idea after reading about similar programs that have reported great success.

Cities and suburbs can motivate cat adoptions by simply promoting them as pets — rural communities have to get a bit more creative.

Tuesday,  October 31, 2017  McGehee


First frost of the season here on the home acres.

Well, last weekend Mrs. McG and I watched four sporting events, and in every single one of them the team we were rooting for, won. We were up until damn near 2:00 a.m. watching the Dodgers and Astros exhaust their bullpens trying to break out of the continually retying score. Was that really only ten innings??? By comparison the preceding football game — Cowboys @ Redskins — was hardly even interesting. We joined the game in the 3rd quarter when Dallas was leading by just one point. In the end they won, 33-19.

This is is how fall should be.

Monday,  October 30, 2017  McGehee

Aaaaahhhh, Shaddap!

You know what I need my phone to make noise for? When I get a phone call.

Everything else is optional — and except for specific things, I opt for silence. So it annoys me when Android and the makers of apps that I use on my phone decide to turn on noises after I've already turned them off.

Actually the apps that are the worst about this are made by Google or Amazon. Until the latest version, the Kindle app didn't even seem to have a working "off" switch for noisemaking. It remains to be seen whether the "off" switch in the new version works.

One of many reasons why I stopped buying ebooks through Amazon was because of this bad behavior. I reinstalled the Kindle app when Mrs. McG and I were finally able successfully to set up Amazon's family library thing. If the app keeps nagging me, it goes overboard again.

Saturday,  October 28, 2017  McGehee

Thoughts My Brain Made, 7

Confucius say, "He who looks for a reason to take offense will find it. Because he is an ass."

Saturday,  October 28, 2017  McGehee

Hands Across the Aisle

In an example of the way politics should be, I'm in agreement with a Democrat in Maine who wants to dump Daylight Saving Time.

Earlier this year, Bailey sponsored a bill that would move Maine to the Atlantic Time Zone, an hour ahead of its current position in the Eastern Time Zone, and no longer observe Daylight Saving Time. The bill passed both chambers of the Maine state legislature. But the Senate added a provision that Maine voters must approve the change in a referendum, and the referendum could only be triggered by neighboring Massachusetts and New Hampshire changing their time, too. Since neither of those states had immediate plans to change their time zones, the move seemed doomed.

But now there is hope. Massachusetts is considering a permanent change in its time zone.

Yup — deep red McG agrees with Democrats in deep blue Massachusetts. Mark this day.

Actually, I'd prefer this happen across the country (Daylight Saving Time as we know it is a fairly recent innovation, by the way), with the time zones all set to split the difference between their current "standard" and DST settings. But any progress is still progress, and shifting all the time-zone boundaries about 7½ degrees west — building on Bailey's proposal — would have essentially the same effect.

Reminder: We go back to "standard" time (which is only in effect for 19 weeks, or just over four months) on November 5 — a week from Sunday.

Thursday,  October 26, 2017  McGehee


Ugh. (Beware of autostart video.)

The nine-month-old colt, called El Rey Magnum, was bred by Orrion Farms, a specialist Arabian breeding farm in Ellensburg, Washington, US.

godwillgetthemforthis-300x188Since launching a promotional video earlier this month, under the title ‘You Won’t Believe Your Eyes’ the farm has received interest from across the world, including the UK.

Doug Leadley, farm manager and primary breeding adviser for Orrion, said: “This horse is a stepping stone to getting close to perfection” and US vets who have examined the colt says it has no medical or respiratory issues.


Public reaction has been polarised with some people commenting that the horse looks beautiful while others have been horrified.

Anyone that can call that "beautiful" should turn in their Human card. (Poll voters at Althouse seem to agree, and not just when it comes to horses.)

Friday,  October 13, 2017  McGehee

It’s Called “Projecting”

Today, Geraghty discusses Harvey Weinstein, the Pig That Ate Hollywood's Moral High Horse.

Hollywood has demonstrated an amazing propensity for believing the problems are “out there” — out in middle America, where the audience lives — instead of within its own industry, actions, and behavior.

What it is, is, Hollywood assumes whatever horrible behavior happens there, must be happening everywhere. The flaw in that reasoning is that the entertainment industry attracts people who are more comfortable playing "let's pretend" — where the consequences are elided in favor of manufactured closure.

"Out there," consequences are real and endings are also beginnings and middles. Real people "live happily ever after" for about three minutes before life... goes on. No ending credits, no immediate negotiations for a sequel, no residuals. Just... more living, for those still alive.

In Hollywood, "more living" is what you base a sequel on. No sequel deal, no additional consequences.

That's how Weinstein lived. It's how everyone in Hollywood lives. Not knowing any better, it's how they assume everybody lives.

That's why they're not fit to preach, even to those who live in that bubble, let alone to you and me.

Friday,  October 13, 2017  McGehee

A Downside to a Small School District

Fremont County, Wyoming, has eight active school districts, twice as many as in any other Wyoming county. What's more, it used to have, um, quite a few more than eight.

In Wyoming, the official name of a school district is "____ County School District #x," even where the county has only one district, as some do. One of Fremont County's districts has the official name, "Fremont County School District #38." Obviously, at least 30 former school districts there no longer exist, having been absorbed by one or another of the eight that remain.

Since Fremont contains only about 10% of the state's population, some of the districts have very small enrollment, which can become problematic in surprising ways.

(Ethete, Wyo.) – It was a numbers decision. In last Friday afternoon’s conference game against county rival Wind River, the Wyoming Indian Chiefs only suited up 14 players. One of those players was injured the game and didn’t return. With two games left in the schedule, the Chiefs simply ran out of players. Several of the team members were unavailable this week for this week’s game against Shoshoni, and the school decided to forfeit their last two games of the season, Friday night against Shoshoni and a week from Friday against Rocky Mountain.

Wyoming Indian High School serves Fremont County School District #14, based in the mostly Arapaho community of Ethete, north of Lander. It's one of three school districts that mostly serve Wyoming's only Indian reservation (which, contra TV's "Longmire" and the books it's loosely based on, is home to bands of Shoshone and Arapaho, not Cheyenne) and was until recently the only one of those three with an established conventional high school; students in the other districts could transfer to an adjacent district or attend a charter school if available.

I suppose some of WIHS's previous success in at least fielding interscholastic sports teams may have been due to attendance from one or more adjacent districts that now have high schools of their own. The large number of districts in Fremont County has led to talk — almost none of it in Fremont County — of consolidating some of them.

One of the reasons why there are so many districts is that Fremont's population is so widely scattered and so diverse, even on the reservation. The nearest other school district to Ethete is majority-Shoshone; the other majority-Arapaho district is far more remote. It's a big reservation, otherwise the two tribes wouldn't coexist as well as they do, and even then it's not all incense and peppermints.

It's sad to see these kids having to give up the rest of their season, and it's possible maybe there will be more recruits next fall. But if not, I'm not sure what can be done to rescue the program unless the two majority-Arapaho districts, at least, join forces.

Thursday,  October 12, 2017  McGehee

I Am Officially an Old-Timer

Today I got a haircut and renewed my driver's license.

Years ago the Georgia driver's license process was an incandescent mess. (The fact I can remember those days tells you I've lived here a good while longer than I'd hoped to.) A lot has been done to ease the process since then, but today I went to the barber shop for a haircut and then headed to the license office to renew.

The barber shop was about as busy as it ever is; both haircutters were busy when I sat down.

When I went to the driver's license office, I had taken advantage of something Georgia's DMV-equivalent calls "Skip-A-Step," where you can fill out your renewal application paperwork online, as much as 30 days ahead.

My wait at the barber shop was longer than my wait to see the clerk and hand over the documents I needed to bring to convince them I am who they say I am. I think the haircut even took longer than the license clerk took in getting me processed and out of there.

I'd been dreading this renewal because it was the first time I would need to comply with the "SecureID" requirements, but this was a breeze.

Wednesday,  October 11, 2017  McGehee

Beneath Notice

I can remember when taking a knee
Was a sign of respect and submission
But we can't expect twenty-something millionaires
To engage in that much cognition
So they kneel as a sign of disrespect
To the flag their grandfathers might have died for
Millions of immigrants fled home for
And all good Americans have pride for

A flag flown by my ancestors
Who fought to free the slaves
And saw their eldest brother killed
And laid in a soldier's grave
A flag laughed at by Hitler
He didn't laugh for very long
A flag sneered at by Stalin
We're still here, his flag is gone

Bin Laden tried to end it too
Doused in jet fuel and burned
Yet it rose again from the ash and rubble
And he got the comeuppance he earned
So to pampered gridiron idols I say
Indulge your childish vainglory
Your moment in the spotlight's glare
Won't be a footnote to that flag's story.

Monday,  September 25, 2017  McGehee

There Are Some Things Money Can't Buy

Cancelling extra cloud storage capacity I don't need? $20 a year.

Ending an annual payment of $20 to Google? Priceless.

Saturday,  September 23, 2017  McGehee

Happy Autumnal Equinox

By the time you see this, the sun has gone south of the equator, and there is no longer any excuse for heat waves or drenching humidity.

But hereabouts, we'll get them anyway.

Which is why the last few days it's been a pleasure to look at Wyoming webcams.

Okay, so Yellowstone having snow isn't that impressive; it's the snowiest place in Wyoming after all.

There's a phenomenon called a moisture channel that extends from the point where the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain chains meet, across northwestern Nevada and southeastern Oregon to the Snake River Plain, and right to the mountains in and around Yellowstone. Much of the water that feeds three of America's great river systems — the Columbia, Colorado, and Missouri — flows when Yellowstone's abundant snowfalls melt in the spring and summer.

A surprising percentage of the people who work in Jackson Hole don't live there. Many live on the other side of the Tetons in Idaho where, presumably, it's cheaper to live — and commute across the state line and the mountain range to their jobs. The above is the view those commuters saw this morning as they crossed the summit.

Not that snow in the Tetons is any more unusual, perhaps, than in Yellowstone.

Even the upper Wind River valley is a bit close to Yellowstone for this to be all that unusual, I suppose, but Dubois — at only 6,900 feet above sea level — is not really in the mountains.

To be fair, this snow is unlikely to still be there by local noon, unless temperatures drop further and a lot of additional moisture makes it into the valley.

Normally this spot is noteworthy for its scenic view, but this morning it was socked in by snowfall. Red Canyon is on the east side of the other end of the Wind River Mountains from Dubois' valley location; its elevation may be comparable or not much lower. It's definitely not part of the Yellowstone environs.

When we have weather like this on the home acres, it's January (February at the latest) and sensible people hunker down at home with the spoils of the panic buying they indulged in when the S-word appeared in the forecast.

Those trans-Teton commuters mentioned above? Just another high-country morning rush hour for them.

Friday,  September 22, 2017  McGehee

Autumn in Georgia

The midday shadows are longer now
The driveway's scattered with leaves
I've learned to avoid telling the missus how
There are big spider webs under the eaves

The stores have big Halloween candy displays
I just walk past them, calm and sober
Nothing I buy in late September
Is ever still around in October

I look out the window at the pond
Half-expecting to see it freeze
Then I look at the thermometer
Oh gawd, it's 87 degrees!

Monday,  September 18, 2017  McGehee


Mississippi State's first two lopsided victories this season were non-conference games, so it was reasonable to wonder how well they would do against a fellow SEC school.

Now we know. LSU's Tigers are butter on MSU's pancakes.


Meanwhile in Laramie, the PAC-12's Oregon Ducks nibbled the Cowboys to death, defeating Wyoming 49-13. Fortunately for the 'Pokes, it won't count for but so much in their Mountain West standings.

Saturday,  September 16, 2017  McGehee

One Year Ago Today in Idaho

I didn't hear about this. Did you hear about this?

(Originally, the YouTube video was embedded, but for some reason nothing I can do will get the correct video to display, so...)

Turns out there was a reason:

The jump was made on private land, so it was limited to family and friends of those who put it together.

Ol' Evel was more of a showman, I guess. Also, in his day, believe it or not, there were fewer distractions.

Saturday,  September 16, 2017  McGehee

After the Squall

With the sun finally making an appearance again today, we're expected to get into the mid-70s.

You might have thought that with a monster tropical storm committing seppuku all over top of us on Monday we would have had some pretty warm temperatures these last two days, but that wasn't the case. Yesterday I had to turn off the A/C in my car because the outside temperature was actually cooler — mid-60s — than what I like to have inside the car.

We'd had a cold front come through while Irma was pillaging America's Wang, which I confess played into why I stopped short of panic as I watched her approach; apparently even a monster tropical storm can be staggered by a wall of dryish, coolish air athwart its path. The weather professionals must have expected the cool pool to make way submissively for the whirlybitch. It didn't.

There's even been a very slight but noticeable increase in autumnal coloration hereabouts, and less lost foliage than the media frenzy had led us to expect. A rather large tree did take out a section of long-suffering fence belonging to one of our neighbors Monday, but on the home acres there were about as many fallen limbs as we typically see after a single severe thunderstorm.

The lawn is still soggy though, and likely to remain so for a few days. As it warms up, the standing water and damp ground will give up some of its moisture to the atmosphere, increasing the humidity. And as humidity increases, the take-up of ground moisture levels off. If the humidity leads to thunder, said take-up will actually go into reverse.

We could use a few more cold fronts, is what I'm saying. Alas, it's still only September.

Wednesday,  September 13, 2017  McGehee

Đis Kould Get Silly

Does it seem like one of the surest ways to spot a crank is when they start complaining about how irrational the rules are in the English language?

The rules are kind of irrational compared to other languages, but this is because English is one of the most acquisitive languages ever to thrive; it's collected words from pretty much every language it's encountered — like the Borg, it assimilates other languages' distinctiveness and makes them its own. As a result, the pronunciations of various letter combinations can differ wildly depending on which language family we stole them from.

Seems to me since we already steal words, we could address some of this by stealing letters from other languages as well. It would be far simpler to tell which sound associated with th is intended if we were to dump th in favor of Đ and Þ; ðen I þink ðere would be a good deal less confusion. In fact, we could do away wiþ a lot of our difþong problem by raiding oðer alfabets or, you know, ditching unnecessary combinations like ph altogeðer.

And why do we need ðe letter C when we already have K and S? Talk about unnesessary! Đe only þing C is good for is ðe ch sound, so why not re-employ C to do someþing useful for a cange? As for sh, ðe Syrillik alfabet has ðe perfektly good Ш — it шould work just as well for us as for ðem, шouldn't it? Or would it? Maybe ðat kould use some more þought.

Oh, and ðose instanses where we use whole silent kombinations of letters, like ðe "ugh" in þought? Yeah, I þot not. You mit þink ðis kould get pretty ruf (gh is anoðer unnesessary difþong, when it izn't part ov a silent slug of Engliш's pointless letteraj) but I þink it's worþ taking a canse. It kan only make Engliш eziir tu understand!

And furðermore, when do we ever use Q wiþout U? Let's dispense wiþ ðe U in ðoze wordz, and be qik about it! It's --

What's ðat? Time for my medikaш'nz?

Wednesday,  September 13, 2017  McGehee


Few people may recall that September 11, 2001 was supposed to be the day of a New York City mayoral election. Rudolph Giuliani was coming to the end of his second term and his successor was to be chosen on the day 19 Muslim mass-murderers decided to crash jet airliners into the World Trade Center's twin towers, along with the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol in Washington (passengers prevented Flight 93 from reaching its target).

The election was rescheduled, and Michael Bloomberg was elected. In a city that was the scene of the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil, claiming thousands of lives, he devoted his three terms to policing the size of fountain drinks New Yorkers could buy.

His successor, Bil de Blasio — murderer of groundhogs — is now on a crusade to eliminate private property and personal autonomy in the city.

What the hell are we as Americans to make of this?

I'm sorry, this probably isn't the kind of remembrance post you were expecting. Fortunately, not everyone is a New Yorker.

Addendum: Officially, September 11 is a national day of remembrance, called "Patriot Day," which you know damn well people call "Patriots' Day," which already exists. I've never understood why it is at all appropriate to call 9/11 Patriot Day. We might as well call December 7 "Flag Day."

You'll notice the name we give to December 7 is utterly free of euphemism: it's "Pearl Harbor Day." That's because back then people knew what was needed to honor the American patriots who fell on that Sunday morning — we went out and won the damned war. After we got through with Germany and Japan, the belief systems that turned them into our enemies had been dismantled and discredited.

The victims of 9/11 deserved no less. Does it really feel to you as if we've done it?

Monday,  September 11, 2017  McGehee


In a game that saw Louisiana Tech start one play 3rd & Goal from their own 7 yard line — yes, their own 7 yard line, it stands to reason this wouldn't go in their W column.

Oh, you want to know how that happened? It started with a bad snap at the Mississippi State 6, and a frantic chase in which players for both teams kept kicking the ball instead of recovering it. Finally a Louisiana Tech player did recover it, saving either a touchdown if State grabbed it, or a safety if State didn't grab it.

They gained 21 yards on the next play, but with the goal line still 72 yards away, they chose to punt. Just their luck Mississippi State didn't commit a foul that would've been an automatic first down.

In a game I didn't get to watch, Wyoming shut out Gardner-Webb, 0-27. That's a nice comeback from their loss last week to Iowa.

(Side note: Mississippi State, Louisiana Tech, and Gardner-Webb are all Bulldogs — GW being the Runnin' kind.)

Saturday,  September 9, 2017  McGehee

Caveman Chic

From the time the prehistoric existence of Homo neanderthalensis was detected, it's been a standard trope to call someone with allegedly primitive habits of thought, a Neanderthal.

But in recent years it's been discovered that Neanderthal Man didn't simply die off; his DNA now exists in wide swaths of modern humanity. Essentially, anyone with ancestry from any part of the world outside of Africa is now presumed to have a small but significant amount of Neanderthal DNA.

The inventors of agriculture? Part Neanderthal. Builders of the first civilizations? Part Neanderthal. Developers of the world's great philosophical schools? Part Neanderthal.

The great cities of today — centers of economic, social and cultural progress — are brimming with descendants of that handful of cavemen who got to Europe and Asia millennia before Homo sapiens made it.

If there's any part of the human race that can genuinely claim to be of pure blood, it's the Africans.

Something for the white nationalists to contemplate.

Friday,  September 8, 2017  McGehee

I Can Remember When They Were Extinct

Mind you, the fact they turned out not to be doesn't mean extinctions don't occur, nor that declared extinctions aren't nearly always true. Black-footed ferrets and coelacanths are indeed the exception.


The black-footed ferret population near Meeteetse, Wyo. is getting a boost. Last July, 35 black-footed ferrets were released on the Lazy BV and Pitchfork ranches. Now biologists have found wild born kits at the site...

“We believe the initial ferret release at Meeteetse was extremely successful. Now with the discovery of wild-born ferrets, we are extremely excited and appreciative of the landowners and other groups who support these incredible animals,” said Zack Walker, Game and Fish statewide nongame bird and mammal program supervisor.

Game and Fish biologists were having to release captive-born ferrets to bolster the numbers of the wild population, but ferrets kinda know how to make more ferrets on their own, so it was only a matter of time before they stopped needing the fold-out couch in dad's basement.

To date, three wild-born kits have been discovered, and biologists suspect there are at least three litters identified. Surveys will continue until mid-September.

Here's hoping they stay out in prairie-dog country and don't take to raiding anyone's henhouses.

Wednesday,  September 6, 2017  McGehee

That Fascinating Big Picture

While people talk about who'll run against Trump in 2020 — assuming he seeks a second term — I'm thinking about how we've just had three consecutive eight-year presidencies: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

That is exceptional.

Only three times in U.S. History has the republic had a span of 24 years (or more) with only three men heading up the executive branch of the federal government.

The first was 1801 to 1825, with Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe.

Next, the unique span from 1933 to 1961 when Franklin Roosevelt was elected four times only to die in office after being reinaugurated three months earlier, then Harry Truman serving out FDR's fourth term and winning one of his own, to be followed by Dwight Eisenhower who served two full terms.

There has never been a span in which four consecutive presidents of the United States all served two complete terms. Jefferson's predecessor served only one, as did Monroe's successor. Herbert Hoover lost to FDR in 1932, and Eisenhower's successor was the ill-fated John Kennedy.

Clinton, of course, beat Dubya's father in 1992.

I'm old enough to remember when we had a succession of short-tenured presidents. Even Lyndon Johnson, despite having won a term in his own right in 1964 and having been constitutionally eligible in 1968, didn't have eight years. Richard Nixon resigned. Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter were both defeated for re-election.

As uproarious as American electoral politics have become in recent decades, it's phenomenal that our incumbent presidents keep getting re-elected, and leaving office on schedule rather than vacating early by resignation, impeachment, or extralegal means.

Maybe the divisiveness of our politics is like so many stories told to us lately: not entirely true.

Wednesday,  September 6, 2017  McGehee

Young Buckaroo Simmons and the Bull Named Misteak

The arena smelled of manure and sweat
But the show ain't even started yet
Cowboys and bullfighters markin' time
Gonna go at some beef a bit past its prime
The crowd waited with bated breath
To see which cowboy would go home with
A gold belt buckle and a hefty check
To make up for nearly gettin' stomped to heck

Young Buckaroo Simmons was goin' first
On an old bull everyone said was the worst
But he blocked all that out and stretched his rope
So his ridin' hand wouldn't come loose — he hoped
Pushed his hat on tight an' spat out his wad
Hunkered down low and gave 'em the nod
The gate swung open and away they flew
Snortin' and blowin' as buckin' bulls do

Down went the horns and Buck, he leaned back
So far that bull's tail gave him a whack
Shruggin' it off the rider rolled with the tide
On the bull named Misteak bound to give him a ride
They spun to the left, then twirled to the right
And again Misteak reared up, oh man what a sight
Four seconds had passed while Buck aged a year
So focused on ridin', no time spared for fear

That's when the bull let his freak flag unfurl
Spinnin' in place just like a tilt-a-whirl
Buck, he'd been warned that ol' Misteak was mean
But it'd been a lot of years since he looked that green
Six seconds gone, the crowd cheered and crowed
Declarin' already that this bull's been rode.
Buck was a hero, the judges were in awe
He stayed put as that bull pitched and yawed

Just one more second, he'd be cream of the crop
With a ride that no other cowpoke could top
The whistle blew and the crowd blew its stack
There was Bucky still on the bull's back
Now, let's just say he didn't stick the dismount
If it's after eight seconds, it just doesn't count
He spent the rest of the show sort of daze-y
His memory of that day is still pretty hazy

He still wears the buckle, though the money's long gone
And most bulls these days he cannot stay on
He freely admits he didn't get scared
During the ride, but he shouldn't have dared
To watch the film of all those bounces and swerves
'Cause that was when he finally lost his nerve

Monday,  September 4, 2017  McGehee

Leave Me Out of It

I have been known to donate money to out-of-state politicians, but those were unique situations and I didn't donate because of email from somebody whose name means nothing to me.

I don't care if you were involved in Ted Cruz's 2016 presidential campaign here in Georgia — you don't email me in 2017 about a 2018 Senate primary in Alabama. If you do, you get blocked.

Saturday,  September 2, 2017  McGehee

If I Were in Charge, 2

All uses of the phrase "new normal" would incur cruel and unusual punishment.

Which would make the punishment a new normal, and by definition not unusual...

Tuesday,  August 29, 2017  McGehee

Born to Be Riled

Apologies to Steppenwolf and music lovers everywhere. The SJWs can suck it.

Got my outrage runnin'
In the middle of the highway
Seekin' validation
For always havin' things my way
Oh golly gotta make it happen
Or I might as well fade away
Shout my every grievance at once and
Ruin the whole world's day

Gonna put chains on you
Don't waste time trynna ponder
You deserve to lose 'cause
My opportunities I squander
Oh golly gotta make it happen
Or I might as well fade away
Shout my every grievance at once and
Ruin the whole world's day

Like a true tantrum child
I was born, born to be riled
Roll your eyes and sigh
As I stamp my feet and cry
Booooorn to be riiiiiled!

Sunday,  August 27, 2017  McGehee

Well, Damn

I'm thinking "Cruz/Rock 2024." Sooner, if Trump decides to skip re-election.

Sunday,  August 27, 2017  McGehee

Quit Beating Around the Bush, Lefties

Move on to burning books, lynching deplorables, and fire-bombing people's homes, already. Drop the mask and show your true colors.

It's not as if your allies in the media have any integrity left. Of course they'll keep covering for you.

Addendum: Today's soundtrack: "Born to Be Riled" by Goosesteppenwolf.

Friday,  August 25, 2017  McGehee

Getting It Backwards

Former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming wants to amend the Constitution to "get the money out of politics."

He takes exception to the Citizens United decision, which ultimately arose from an attempt by Hillary Clinton supporters to suppress funded political speech critical of her. In Simpson's complaint, he gets the problem wrong by 180 degrees.

The problem is not that money has undue influence over American elections; the problem is that there is so much at stake in American elections — in American politics — that there is demand for funded political speech to influence political outcomes.

The Founding Fathers — authors of the Constitution Simpson wants to change — explicitly limited the enumerated powers of the federal government in hopes of preventing national politics from becoming the primary focus of American life. They knew that if the political stakes became high enough in a society where people were free to prosper, there would be those who sought to buy their way into power.

They also knew that powerful elites like to raise new barriers to entry so that potential rivals are unable to challenge them. That is the phase we're in now with this effort to amend the Constitution — it's not to clean up politics by getting money out, it's to consolidate power by keeping new money out.

They're reacting to Citizens United because it wiped away years of work they had already invested in raising these barriers to entry.

One thing is true: there is too much money in politics. But the way to fix that is to extract the government's claws from the economy and lower the political stakes in any given political campaign.

No one will spend millions of dollars to gain control of a government that can't seize a rancher's property over a mud puddle. And that's a fix that doesn't require a constitutional amendment rewriting the First Amendment.

Thursday,  August 24, 2017  McGehee

Is "Reshape" French for "Fundamentally Transform"?

France's new Messiah President recently inspired me to observe, "Unto each country, a little Obama must fall."

Well, il le fait à nouveau.

Macron will visit Romania, Bulgaria and Austria, where he will also meet the leaders of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but is skipping Hungary and Poland, whose right-wing governments he has accused of spurning the bloc's values.

An Elysee Palace source said Macron was visiting countries who were "the most attached to their European anchoring".

A senior French diplomat said the president was deliberately snubbing Poland and Hungary "to send a message to Warsaw and Budapest".

How sad that the Poles and Hungarians won't get to sit at the cool table during 7th-grade lunch period!

Wednesday,  August 23, 2017  McGehee

If I Had Ever Made a Bucket List

...that would have been on it.

A while back I referred to "the dark spot where the sun was just a minute ago" — I had no idea how exactly right that would be.

The sky was only as dark as, say, half an hour after sunset, but inside the halo of the sun's corona the moon was, or at least looked, totally black.

Before totality, I had been watching a patch of cloud to our west, figuring the shadow would fall on it first.

Meanwhile, Copperhill's street lights started coming on. Then, I looked west again and saw that the clear sky beyond the clouds was bright while the clouds themselves ... weren't.

And darkness fell.

Later, as the edge of the sun began to emerge, there was finally the famous shimmer on the ground that I'd been too distracted to notice before, so subtle that I didn't see it so much as detect it, slightly away from where I was looking directly. I've read that it's too faint to ever be photographed, and I believe it.*

Did birds fall silent or critters take to their dens? Copperhill may be a small town, but it was busy and noisy yesterday afternoon.

Mrs. McG made the arrangements for that experience, and I am glad she did.

Assorted Afterthoughts, Addenda, and Additional Apocrypha: Yesterday, as described by fellow eclipse-watcher Richard: "Mostly sunny, except when it was partly moony."

A Wyoming time-lapse, apparently facing eastward.

Copperhill, Tennessee, and its counterpart McCaysville, Georgia, would seem to be one town if you didn't know there was a state line running through it, across the supermarket parking lot, and through some of the downtown buildings. Mrs. McG and I, and her father, had time for lunch between our arrival and the day's big event, so we went to the Copper Grill, whose bar and dining room (and shaded sidewalk dining area, where we sat) are in Copperhill, but whose kitchen is in McCaysville.

After we ate, I wondered out loud which state the men's room was in. Well, to find it I had to go past the kitchen. It would have been a waste to visit a town like that and never cross the state line while I was there, but I wouldn't have expected it to happen like that.

Photo gallery and another time-lapse, from Casper, Wyoming.

We didn't encounter unusually bad traffic until the drive home this afternoon, when we found ourselves mired in creeping traffic on the interstate for three solid miles. Of course we bailed at the first exit, but we hadn't been the only ones to have this idea, and I grew increasingly worried about the traffic we might encounter on our usual alternate route away from the freeways; on past occasions even that route has been horrific during afternoon rush hour, which was fast approaching.

Finally I opted for one of the very few roads in Georgia that leads to Rome instead of Atlanta. Once we got to Rome, the drive homeward was much more pleasant.

A Wyoming web-journo makes more of an effort to convey the experience than I have. For example, he took video — some of it from a drone. In Part 2 he writes:

Having watched many documentaries in preparation for the eclipse, I found that I agreed with those who had witnessed it before. The experience is existential, highlighting the fragility and preciousness of life on Earth in the vast cosmos.

I didn't have that reaction. I've seen a lot of things that give other people that kind of feeling but it never seems to hit me that way. Yes, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I wouldn't mind seeing another one (heh), but maybe it's because I don't need spectacular reminders of life's fragility and preciousness that these spectacles don't get at my soul like that.

If I had needed a reminder, the drive through Atlanta last Sunday was sufficient.

*Correction: Do a web search for "eclipse shimmer" now (Wednesday, August 23) and there are videos, like this one. Clearly some manifestations (or observers...) are sharper than others.

Tuesday,  August 22, 2017  McGehee

Everything's a Trade Off

The whole of my domain is leafy and green
As monochrome a world as I've ever seen
Sometime next month, though you don't need to be told
We'll start to see splashes of scarlet and gold
It happens gradually here, taking months to complete
As each single tree concedes annual defeat
If you didn't pay attention the leaves might all fall
Without your ever knowing it happened at all.
I'll see neighbors' houses emerge from the greenery
As the intervening woods become less screenery
The sound of passing traffic grows ever more clear
Remind me, why is fall my favorite time of year?

Monday,  August 21, 2017  McGehee

Ends and Odds

Q.: What do you call a retired hooker? A.: An emeretrix.

I hope NASA or somebody releases satellite photos of the Moon's shadow crossing the face of the Earth after Monday's show is over. That would be cool.

I see that Kellen Moore is getting a lot of playing time in Dallas' pre-season play. As with starter Dak Prescott I watched him during his college career, and remember how little anyone expected of him in the NFL because of his height. Yet he was a big-winning quarterback for Boise State, and I like what I'm seeing of him this season. Glad he's recovered from last year's leg fracture.

Of course, Cooper Rush is no slouch either. He likes to throw to the outside and he's really, really good at it. Dallas could save some games this year by playing him in the final minutes when they're a few points behind and short of timeouts.

Sunday,  August 20, 2017  McGehee

Dear Elected Officials at All Levels of Government Everybody

Your personal drama is not a public interest.

Wednesday,  August 16, 2017  McGehee

Ain't It Funny How...

...it was terrible when the Taliban or ISIS tore down monuments they didn't like, but American SJWs can tear down monuments they don't like and the American media cheer? The same American media that loved to refer to conservatives as the American Taliban.

Well, the SJWs claim their destruction is justified on moral grounds — which I'm sure makes them totally different from the Taliban.

Totally, dude.

Wednesday,  August 16, 2017  McGehee

Take the Long View

Wolves have packs and bees have hives
Soldiers have platoons, Indians tribes
Football players on the gridiron have teams
Everyone's part of a group it seems
Teamwork is good, don't get me wrong
Takes a passel o' notes to make a song
And a lot o' hands you'll need for your roundup
But plenty o' folks let their souls get ground up
Needin' acceptance from others is human nature
Exchangin' loyalty can enhance your stature
Just remember though when your work here is done
When you stand before God, you'll stand alone.

Monday,  August 14, 2017  McGehee

Just a Reminder

The highest temperature ever recorded in Alaska was at Fort Yukon, which is right on the Arctic Circle.

It happened on June the 27th, back in '15.


Sunday,  August 13, 2017  McGehee

It Ain't Petticoat Junction

I'm pretty sure the one time I ever rode behind a bona fide steam locomotive was at Knott's Berry Farm back in the early 1970s. There may have been one or two miniature steamers here and there but I don't remember any other full-size ones.

This one would kinda redefine "full size."

It's been at the Union Pacific Steam Shop since four years ago and is undergoing restoration to working order — oil-fired, as most working steamers are these days, rather than coal.

And if you happen to be in Cheyenne these next few months, the Steam Shop will once again be open for tours, and apparently the Big Boy will be featured.

Damn, I wish I weren't still here in Georgia.

Saturday,  August 12, 2017  McGehee

To Be Fair, It IS Only 15 Months Away


There's a Wikipedia page for next year's Georgia gubernatorial election, and two of the declared names on the Republican side — Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp — are pretty well known to me.

Of the two, I lean toward Kemp, because I haven't seen him acting like a tyrant the way Cagle has done at least once in the nearly 11 years he's been the state's #2 constitutional officer. Cagle is the first Republican lieutenant-governor since the office was created in the late 1940s.

Kemp is only the second Republican to serve as secretary of state here since Reconstruction — the first was Karen Handel, who previously sought the governorship and is now in Congress after this year's special election.

Neither of the names shown on Wikipedia as declared for the Democrats is familiar to me, though state Rep. Stacey Abrams has the endorsement of NARAL.

What's most interesting is the roster of declined candidates in both major parties. My Republican former congressman Lynn Westmoreland, for example; and perhaps the most formidable Democrat in Georgia right now, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who is instead seeking a third term in his current job. Perhaps he, unlike Abrams, understands how some of his non-mayoral political stances would play with the statewide electorate.

I'm just hoping by the time next year's winner is seeking re-election I'll be voting in another state.

Update, October: I was wrong, Reed isn't seeking a third term as mayor; Atlanta mayors are prohibited from seeking a third term.

Which makes me wonder why he's packing it in. He never struck me as unambitious.

Saturday,  August 12, 2017  McGehee

And After All That, What If It Rains?

It does rain sometimes in Wyoming. It may rain there on August 21. Or another forest fire could be sending dense smoke across the state (assuming the ones doing it now have even been put out by then).

I can certainly understand why people are going to Wyoming to view the eclipse — totality will pass directly over the part of the state where Mrs. McG and I want to move to when she retires. It's a high desert and the presumption is that the sun's always shining in the desert.

Well, not exactly. Even if it isn't raining, the sky can be obscured by clouds. The anvil of a thunderstorm dumping on a mountain range 40 miles away can put a town in the valley in the shade; in fact, the town may get nothing from that storm but shade, and a spate of gusty wind as it collapses.

And then there's the remoteness. Gawkers by the tens of thousands seem to be assuming because it's far from big cities it must be too difficult for other people to get there. Well, you do kind of have to be wanting to go there to wind up there — but a total solar eclipse is a strong motivation, and the whole world knows it's coming.

Places in the path of this celestial-yet-man-caused disaster have been planning for months, if not years, to deal with the once-in-a-lifetime influx of crowds, expecting to find themselves up to their armpits in people who think a flying visit to Wyoming should be no more challenging than a drive to the playground.

It's a mercy that this eclipse will be visible across the entire width of the country; I'd hate to imagine the trouble if it were only happening in Wyoming. While I do find myself wishing we were already living there so we could see the show from our front porch, lately I'm kind of relieved we don't. Trying to stock up ahead of the invasion would be like shopping here in the South when there's snow in the forecast.

Furthermore, if we had land of any amount we'd need to worry about trespassers — or set up at the gates and take people's money. If we didn't already have a landline, we'd better get one. As it is, my idea of observing the eclipse online from here by looking in on webcams? Might not work.

Update, August 19: It's just occurred to me that, as rough as it's going to be for residents in many of these small towns — not only in Wyoming but across the country — it could be worse. It could be an annual event lasting a week and a half...

Wednesday,  August 9, 2017  McGehee

Opinions Are Like...

The old saying comparing opinions to a body part is wrong. It isn't that everybody has one, it's that everybody has an endless supply.

So, opinions are not like that body part, they're like what comes out of it.

Making that realization, however, can suck all the gratuitous drama out of life. If you like gratuitous drama.

Monday,  August 7, 2017  McGehee

Caveat Viewor

I only took nine weeks of Latin, in seventh grade...

Anyway, if you're planning to get yourself into the path of this month's New Moon and gawk at the dark spot where the sun was just a minute ago, you might want to double-check your eye protection. Seems some unscrupulous people are looking to cause an epidemic of eclipse-related blindness.

How can you tell if your “eclipse glasses” or handheld solar viewers are safe? It is no longer sufficient to look for the logo of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and a label indicating that the product meets the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for filters for direct viewing of the Sun’s bright face. Why not? Because it now appears that some companies are printing the ISO logo and certification label on fake eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers made with materials that do not block enough of the Sun’s ultraviolet, visible, and infrared radiation to make them truly safe. Some sellers are even displaying fake test results on their websites to support their bogus claim of compliance with the ISO safety standard.

The American Astronomical Society offers a list of manufacturers it has verified as complying with the safety standard.

Even if your goggles' manufacturer isn't on the list though, they may still be safe.

You shouldn’t be able to see anything through a safe solar filter except the Sun itself or something comparably bright, such as the Sun reflected in a mirror, a sunglint off shiny metal, or the filament of a bare incandescent light bulb. If you can see ordinary household light fixtures through your eclipse glasses or handheld viewer, it’s no good. Safe solar filters produce a view of the Sun that is comfortably bright (like the full Moon), in focus, and surrounded by dark sky. If you glance at the Sun through your solar filter and find it uncomfortably bright, out of focus, and surrounded by a murky haze, it’s no good. You should contact the seller and demand a refund or credit for return of the product, then obtain a replacement from one of the sources listed on the AAS’s reputable-vendors page.

Be safe. The eclipse should be awe-inspiring, not vision-impairing. This is one case where "The goggles do nothing!" isn't funny.

Saturday,  August 5, 2017  McGehee

Blessed Are the Mechanically Capable

...for they get all kinds of free stuff.

The defunct ZTR mower has found a new home, having been saved from being left in the woods to rust by a handy fellow who has been fixing mechanical equipment like mowers since he was a young'un.

He got a real good idea of what needs to be done to fix it, after having attempted to tow it onto his trailer with his big Exmark ZTR and popping wheelies on the trailer ramp. The Exmark is too big for many parts of his property so he also had a little Snapper riding mower nearly as old as him, but it conked out on him so...

Anyway, whereas I thought maybe the trouble with our ZTR could have just been a drive belt somewhere, apparently the hydraulics on one side are seized up. He'll have a fair amount of work to do before his narrow spots can be mowed again, but at least it'll get a few more years of use.

There's no way I would have gotten it on our trailer to take in for repair without another machine to help. He ended up having to get behind the patient and push it up with the Exmark, me tugging sideways on the front end to keep it moving straight.

Next time I see him, probably in a few months, I'll ask after his new pet.

Saturday,  August 5, 2017  McGehee


Almost a year and a half ago, I wrote this:

Those annoying little drones are about to change the way aircraft are designed and built.

Multi-rotor drones are more stable because the lift footprint (if there's such a phrase) is wider, and when the rotors are distributed around the edges, the body interferes less with the air's downward motion, which means the rotors provide more actual thrust.

By not wasting thrust you get more lift with shorter rotors, which require less power to rotate faster, amplifying the benefit of more rotors.

Processing power used in miniature drones allows the thrust on each rotor to be adjusted more responsively to changing conditions.

While I'm not big on the idea of pilotless passenger drones, I can see these innovations making the piloting of small aircraft simpler with computer-assist (as most of us already have to some extent in our cars), which could finally put personal VTOL flight within reach.

Today, via Drudge, I saw this:

German automobile firm Daimler and other investors have invested more than $29 million dollars (25 million euro) in aviation start-up Volocopter.

Volocopter plans to use the money to invest in further developing its electrically powered, autonomous Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft and 'conquer' the market for flying air taxis.

Volocopter's 'Volocopter 2X' is a fully electric VTOL with 18 quiet rotors and a maximum airspeed of 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour - and it can transport two passengers without a pilot.

<Heather O'Rourke> They're here. </Heather O'Rourke>

The Volocopter is all-electric, and therefore has the same limitations as an electric car — range, and recharge time — but you have to start somewhere.

Friday,  August 4, 2017  McGehee

Fun With Drudge Headlines

Years ago, I used to take the occasional Drudge news link and gently poke fun at it. Obviously the original series has gone the way of Jack Lord's "Hawaii Five-O." Today, we reboot.


How many staggering pilots do we need?

You may talk among yourselves about why the original series ended.

Friday,  July 28, 2017  McGehee

The Unfalsifiable Religion of Climate Change

Climate alarmists could get some respect if they could bring themselves to admit once in a while that they're not as sure of the "settled" science as they used to claim to be, that the data don't necessarily all point the way they used to claim it would, and that they still have a lot to learn about how the climate works.

Actual climate scientists do include these caveats in their pronouncements, but the media can't bring themselves to emphasize them anywhere near as boldly as they do the claims of Al Gore, Hockey Stick Mann, and the rest of the "March the Infidels to the Prison Camps" alarmist cult.

NASA has been "tweaking" the data so consistently that the truple-digit summer heat waves of my youth in Sacramento have surely been retconned into subzero blizzards by now, so that the trend line can still point toward future actual subzero blizzards being forecast as triple-digit winter heat waves and still support the CAGW Newthink.

Here's the thing: climate changes. It is a natural process, and nothing in nature is static. While the cult wants everyone to believe that man is responsible for catastrophic changes that nature can't possibly recover from, the truth is that the geological record has been known for over a century to demonstrate a tremendous range of natural variation. Our planet has seen subtropical conditions in the subarctic, and has at other times been a virtual snowball, with no significant liquid water to be found anywhere.

If the prescriptions of the cult could actually be implemented, and if they could actually affect the climate (the former is unlikely and the latter is impossible), they could be every bit as negatively disruptive as they claim modern industrialization has been.

But the cult churns on, and mere scientific truth shall ever fall before it.

One of the fundamental tenets of the faith has been rising sea levels. (The site in the link has had its server melted down due to a Drudge link. I found this quote at Gateway Pundit.)

NASA satellite sea level observations for the past 24 years show that – on average – sea levels have been rising 3.4 millimeters per year. That’s 0.134 inches, about the thickness of a dime and a nickel stacked together, per year.

As I said, that’s the average. But when you focus in on 2016 and 2017, you get a different picture.

Sea levels fell in 2016, and with all of this winter’s record-breaking snowfall, I wouldn’t be surprised if they decline again this year.

This is actually not the first sea-level decline observed in recent years. From merely searching "sea level falling" on Google, I found the following cultsplaining of similar findings from 2013 and 2015, respectively. The first is a real howler.

The one-and-a-half-year, 7-mm fall in sea levels was certainly a curveball. At the time, global warming skeptics used it to support arguments against climate change.

Fasullo, who was trying to balance out the Earth's "water budget," sought an explanation for where that water, normally ocean bound, might have ended up.

Now he believes he has one....

In most cases, though, water that falls on land eventually drains into the ocean. Even if a whole lot of rain fell in South America's Amazon, for example, it could slow sea-level rise for only about a couple of months, as it slowly made its way to the sea.

So in order to make sea levels fall, the water had to be stored in a place where it didn't reach the ocean for a long while. That place, it turns out, was Australia.

Yes. Tiny Australia has enough water storage capacity to cause the oceans to drop by a measurable amount, according to a member of the Most Holy Church of How Your Cushy Modern Standard of Living Is Destroying Everything.

The later cultsplanations at least have the advantage of trying to blame an actual geological process, but in 2015 they seem to have misplaced the decimal point on the timescale.

Rocks seem so very solid from our puny human perspective. Things are rock hard, rock solid, and are reliable as the rock itself. But from a geological perspective, rock is an elastic sheet that encompasses our planet in a thin, flexible membrane that responds to every disturbance.

Nowhere is this more evident than with isostatic rebound, a process of geological buoyancy by which the earth's crust, having sunk beneath the weight of glaciers from a preceding ice age, bounces up as ice sheets melt and the water runs back into the sea. While this melting ice is filling the oceans, the land can rebound so quickly that it rises even faster than the climbing sea level. The result is an apparent paradox: where continental glaciers are melting and exposing the land, the local sea levels are dropping.

The last major glaciation on North America, during which the continent was compressed under billions of tons of ice, ended some 11,000 years ago, but parts of the Great Lakes region, for example, are still rebounding. This is what could be contributing to sea-level decline in the present day, not the melting of the scattered few puny glaciers climate alarmists are whining about.

In fact, by 2016 the dogma of rising sea levels actually had to be jettisoned.

Here's another shocking discovery about global climate change: It contributes to the falling of sea levels, and not to the rising of the seas as previously thought...

"What we didn't realise until now is that over the past decade, changes in the global water cycle more than offset the losses that occurred from groundwater pumping, causing the land to act like a sponge – at least temporarily," the lead researcher added.

He further explained that these new findings from this study, which is set to be published on Friday in the journal Science, give scientists an idea of the connection among climate change, sea levels and water shortage.

This actually comes close to admitting that the "settled" science isn't settled, but the greater doctrine — that Human-Caused Climate Change is Coming to Kill Us All — still needs to be advanced.

The coming plummet in sunspot activity that the world's actual space scientists have been forecasting, could result in Sacramento actually having subzero blizzards in July, but the cult would blame it somehow on mankind. They might even find a way to say it's a consequence of global warming, as they have been wont to do for three decades and change.

When any other set of false prophets keeps predicting the end of the world and getting it wrong, eventually, cosmopolitan and hick alike, we all laugh them off the stage. We hicks are still waiting for the cosmopolitans to catch on to a scam we never bought into in the first place.

Wednesday,  July 26, 2017  McGehee

Yippee-Ki-Yay, Moo-Cow Farmer!

Today is the National Day of the Cowboy. Please include cash in your "Happy National Day of the Cowboy" greeting cards.

A cowboy always could use some extra cash.

Update: No, I don't care that Congress didn't declare it for this year. What cowboy with any self-respect needs Congress' approval?

National Day of the Cowboy,  July 22, 2017  McGehee

21st Century Problems

A hundred years ago people lost treasured memories in a fire, which also tended to destroy their homes and furnishings, and even claim lives. Those things still happen, but much less often.

These days you're much more likely to lose family photos and copies of correspondence in a hard drive crash or a cloud-sync failure. You still have your home and nobody dies.

Living in the 21st century isn't perfect, but it beats the alternative.

Wednesday,  July 19, 2017  McGehee

Secret #1: Never Check "Yes"

It came in a large-ish envelope with those red-and-blue hashes around the edge, like on an actual international-mail envelope. But the postmark was domestic.

Right away the letter started in with the flattery. The mustache does not abide flattery. It said,

McG, please forgive us, but we have taken a closer look at your profile. It turns out you're even more special than any of us imagined!

I'd like to know how they got their hands on my bank balance — I mean, profile.

Notice: this is not a mass mailing; this letter came to you by first-class mail, not by third-class bulk mail.

The going rate for first-class mail, according to the U.S. Postal Service, is 49¢ — but the postage stamped on the envelope was only 40¢. You don't get that kind of discount unless you're sending (ahem) mass quantities of first-class mail. Not to mention the fact this wad of ... paper can't possibly have come in at only one ounce.

McG, we are the rich, the famous, the powerful — and the crème de la crème of society; famous sports and movie stars, musicians, billionaires, businessmen, intellectuals, and scientists.

Do tell. Nice use of the Oxford comma — you've got that going for you at least.

I wish I could tell you who I am. But under advice from my counsel, I cannot reveal my full name.

So you're pleading the Fifth?

I don't mean to brag, but I'm one of the most famous people in the world. If you own a TV, listen to the radio, browse the internet

...look at the flyers on the post office wall...

there's barely a day that goes by that I'm not mentioned in a news story.

Fools' names and fools' faces are often seen in public places.

The Society has uncovered the World's most powerful secrets. Most people will never know them. We are only willing to share them with our members.

Every successful person throughout history knew the secrets. And that's why they were successful, rich, happy, healthy, and powerful. It's a blueprint for your success. And I will send the secrets to you FREE of charge. Why?

Because I am nominating you for membership into the Society.

My guru, Groucho Marx, will present my answer.

You'll note that this letter is marked "FOR YOU ONLY". It is meant to be read by you and you alone, McG. Its contents are TOP SECRET and contain sensitive information which cannot be shared by anyone except the recipient.

These words are intended for your eyes only. They are not to be shared with anyone else.


Wednesday,  July 12, 2017  McGehee

Global Warming: Is There Anything It Can't Do?

(Apologies to Betteridge.)

And here we thought the climate-change scam was merely an attempt by mega-statists to stampede people into agreeing to a global authoritarian state. It apparently has less apocalyptic — though equally nefarious — uses.

By allowing development in areas where fires are known to regularly occur, it is inevitable that damage will occur, Simon argues. In “Flame and Fortune in the American West,” the author says that the way we often discuss dangerous wildfires — as unstoppable natural events, rather than the result of building homes and businesses in unwise places — contributes to this view and he proposes a new model of viewing the interaction between fires and development. Simon also takes issue with how climate change has been used to explain the increase in fires, arguing that global warming is often used as an easy explanation to cover up poor decision making by planners and developers.

Which suggests that while those bloggers who have popularized the snarky question in the title of this post have done so ironically, the typical irony-challenged bureaucrat has taken the concept to heart.

I left my shocked face around here somewhere but I can't seem to find it.

Monday,  July 10, 2017  McGehee

The Facepalm Chronicles, 1

You may have seen how The Weather Channel's periodic local forecast break starts with a snarky little tagline. Just now the one shown to us here in my town said, "But it's a DRY heat."

Immediately thereafter came the current local conditions: Temperature 87°; "Feels Like" 98°.

But it's a dry heat.

Update, 3:45 p.m.: Current conditions at Mustache World Headquarters: temperature 91°, "feels like" 102°.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure when a temperature "feels" 11° warmer, it's not because of dry air.

'Nother update, Monday morning: cool front finally came through, and the actual and "feels like" temperatures are the same, just under 80°.

Not quite El Paso, but I'll take it.

Friday,  July 7, 2017  McGehee

Artificial Mortality

Previously known as planned obsolescence, which has been a feature of mobile devices since the TI-1200. My tablet, a Google Pixel C, got dropped in the vicinity of our brick hearth, and when I find out who dropped it I'll send him to bed without his nightly wee dram.

It's not as catastrophic as what happened to my Nexus 4 phone — I'm writing this post using the tablet — but there are visible cracks in the touchscreen and they'll never get smaller.

So I guess in this case it's not so much planned as anticipated, like the eventual outcome of an incurable disease. I'm not contemplating buying a replacement and the last time I had a touchscreen replaced (did I mention the Nexus 4?) the operation was not a success. I still have my Nexus 9, which is slower and has less storage, but can resume some measure of its former duties if the Pixel C goes Technology Up before I win the Powerball.

But yeah, if I ever do buy another tablet it's getting a case, just like nearly every one of my phones since the Nexus 4.

Update: Well, pieces of glass are starting to come off now. I think I'll just try doing without a tablet.

'Nother update, Sunday: I would have expected tablet withdrawal pains by now, but not so much.

'Nother other update, February 2020: I'm still using the Pixel C; screen damage has stabilized, more or less. I have tried to set up the Nexus 9 to my current Google account but there's some kind of bug or glitch preventing it — it's a known issue.

Thursday,  July 6, 2017  McGehee

Internet Anonymity

I've been saying for years now that the power of internet anonymity is vastly overrated by many of those who depend on it. The only thing standing between online trolls and exposure is the question of how motivated someone needs to be to hunt them down.

You've undoubtedly heard or read about this:

What a public service CNN has done, identifying the dangerous man behind a silly GIF posted to Reddit! Days of investigation in the making, CNN ascertained the name of a guy who likely lives in his mother’s basement while posting to a sub-Reddit devoted to Trump.

Read the whole thing.

CNN even went so far as to retain jurisdiction over the defendant, should he ever re-offend:

CNN is not publishing ‘HanA**holeSolo’s’ name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.

CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.

In yesterday's Morning Jolt, Jim Geraghty checks in:

Deep down, a lot of obnoxious online trolls don’t want their comments and behavior associated with their real identity. They know it’s wrong, and it violates their own conception of who they are, and how they want other people to see them. If you’re doing something that would cause you that much personal and professional ruination if it were ever exposed . . . eh, maybe you shouldn’t do it?

Nothing to disagree with there, but...

There are all kinds of things about CNN's action here that makes the hair stand up on my neck. For one, it's a clear case of "punching down." As Bethany Mandel, author of the first linked excerpt above, noted (in case you didn't read the whole thing, as I instructed),

CNN took it upon themselves to not question the world’s most powerful man about this, but to dig into the private life of the private citizen who had created the GIF.

There are surely people in this polarized political landscape that are cheering a multinational media company for raining global vitriol on an internet troll who ... made fun of it. Which leads me to another thing that bothers me here: while the trolls who infested my first blog 12 to 15 years ago undertook to harass me, hijack my comment threads, and drive me off the web, this guy ... made a joke at CNN's expense.

If I went after everybody in the world who'd ever made a joke at my expense, I would have been in prison since I was ... well, probably 13 or 14, since by then the state would have decided to try me as an adult.

As I said at the top of this post, motivation is key. CNN wasn't motivated to investigate this guy because of his other material — they only found that because they dumpster-dived him for the Trump tweet.

I've seen claims that HanA**holeSolo's animated GIF wasn't even the same one Trump tweeted. I haven't looked into that myself but if true it only adds to CNN's ignominy. It's bad enough you go after some schmuck who made an animated GIF that a President you hate retweeted — but to wind up nabbing the wrong suspect?

It just goes to show:

Thursday,  July 6, 2017  McGehee

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

Re-posted the following year, so no longer displayed here.

Independence Day,  July 4, 2017  McGehee

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.

Friday,  June 30, 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

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, 6

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

I Do This Every So Often, No Need to Panic

The blog you are about to read is true. The name has been changed because I bloody well felt like it.

A cowboy's tally book was his record of work done, things (livestock, predators, property damage, people passing through, etc.) observed, weather conditions, and so forth. If he needed to report anything to the boss, he wrote it down so he wouldn't forget it.

I decided this was a better name for the blog than "Ridin' Fence", so here we are.

Addendum, July 31, 2017:

A cowboy, if he's old school
Minds his whiskers and keeps his cool
He may be old but he learned young
How not to get a sunburned tongue
He won't complain, bitch, moan or gripe
To boast or brag, he ain't the type
He's a natural part of the land he rides
Wherever you see him, his mustache abides

Saturday,  May 27, 2017  McGehee

I Got Yer Rant Right Here

(Inspired by a recent email exchange with my brother, who encouraged me to flesh out a rant we were sharing about something in President Trump's current budget proposal.)

Health care is neither a right nor a privilege. Neither are food or housing. They are transactions.

Food and housing are commodities. Unless you have the means to grow your own food and build your own house, you buy these things from someone that does. They have invested their treasure and sweat to produce these valuable goods and have a right to dispose of them as they see fit — usually in return for mutually acceptable compensation from the person receiving them.

Once you've exchanged a price for something, it's yours, and now you have the moral and legal right to use or dispose of it as you see fit. What you don't have is a right to have anything provided to you from someone else's treasure and sweat without providing compensation from your own treasure and sweat.

Medical care is a product of billions of dollars of research, testing, training and production. All of that has to be paid for. If you want medical care, you need to contribute to paying for it. The fact you have to do that means it is not a right. It is a service. Calling it a right imposes a moral context to what is and can only ever be an economic concept. If you pay for your health care, you have a right to expect it to be effective and to improve your well-being — but you don't have an absolute moral right to receive it in the first place.

If I have purchased something, and therefore have the right to use or dispose of it as I see fit, that means I have the right to present it to some third person without expectation of compensation. The word for this is gift. The recipient did not have a right to demand I do this; until I actually do it, I have the right not to. But once I have made the gift, then it is his — to use or dispose of as he sees fit.

If I have presented it to him on the mutual understanding that I will want it returned when he is finished with it (or after a set period of time), then it remains mine. He is obligated to care for it as I would if it were still in my possession, and return it to me as agreed. If he fails to do so, I am entitled to compel its return, if I wish.

These principles are a part of the concept of property. Contrary to Marx, property is not theft; property is a right. The denial of rightfully owned property, however, is theft — whether said denial is made by the thief, or by a court of law, or by the makers of law.

If I, over the course of years, have earned more money than I needed to live day by day, and put the surplus aside against a day when I can no longer earn a living, that surplus money is mine. If I have entrusted it to a third party on the agreement that he will safeguard it for when I need it, it is still mine. If the third party has misrepresented his intentions and uses my money for other purposes and is unable to provide it to me as agreed, he has committed theft. If he happens to be the government, he is no less a thief.

Being the government, he may well get away with it, but a thief he remains.

The safest place for my nest egg is in the nest of my choosing, not the government's, but if he will force me to hand over a portion of my earnings and put it where he chooses, he is obligated to care for it as I would if it were still in my possession. If I can't trust him to do that, he must be made to stop forcing me to let him take it.

Thursday,  May 25, 2017  McGehee

They Brought a Gun to a Dog Fight

...and the dog won.

About 10 p.m., one of the young bandits kicked down the baby gate and entered the home waving a handgun and saying, “Give it up, I’m not …. playing,” according to the police report released Monday morning.

That’s when the family pet came to its owners’ protection, according to the report.

While pugs are often described as a small dog friendly to strangers, this particular pug reportedly ran barking toward the home invaders, who turned tail and fled, according to police.

Nothing was stolen and no one was injured, police said.

The mutt let 'em off easy. This time.

Wednesday,  May 24, 2017  McGehee

Where Do You Go When the World Is Ending?

Apparently, Norway.

It’s not just Donald Trump’s volatility, or the unfitness of his cabinet appointees, or his possible collusion with Russia, or the certain prospect that everything from health care to quality education will soon be inaccessible to great numbers of Americans.

It’s that with or without Mr. Trump, America may no longer be the America that I returned to from Norway (after my girlfriend and I were unable to obtain visas) and whose blessings and opportunities eventually made it possible for me to make a career and a life.

Lefties, if Trump is that bad, the resulting damage will be global, not strictly limited to central North America. There will be no escape on that portion of continental Europe closest to North America. There will be no escape in Australia. It might not even be safe on the Moon, or on Mars, if the way you're describing him has any basis in reality.

The first thing all you bed-wetters need to do is examine your premises. You've convinced yourselves of something that millions of your countrymen don't see. It may be that they're blind, or hypnotized, but you need to consider the possibility that you're wrong.

It's what a rational person would do. And you do want us all to believe you're rational, right?


Monday,  May 15, 2017  McGehee

New Toy

When I opined to Mrs. McG that it was time to replace the troublesome ZTR mower, I expected to be in for a ... discussion. But in reply to my proffer of the new tractor-style mower I thought was the best choice for the money, she said — in effect — "want me to come with?" So she came with, and today I finally got the front yard and field mowed.

We stayed with the same brand; the John Deeres cost more, and the reviews were disconcerting. The cutting deck is eight inches wider than the zero-turn, so the job gets done quicker. And whatever mischief this tractor is going to do hasn't happened yet, so I can approach the job with confidence I'll actually be able to do it.

It's also a higher ride, like graduating from a sedan to, say, a Bronco on a three-inch lift. That may make for some precarious moments on a part of the property I still have yet to do.

But unlike the ZTR or the used Craftsman mower the ZTR replaced, the new tractor can operate powered attachments. When we move to Wyoming the snow-clearing attachment will come in handy.

Saturday,  May 13, 2017  McGehee

Well....... That Happened.......

I finally — finally! — doused myself with tick repellent and went out to the shed to get started on what I expected to be another tedious process of getting the mower up and running for another long, hot season of yard care.

Just for the hell of it I mounted up and turned the key, expecting the usual to happen, which was nothing. I'd bought a battery charger a couple of months ago on that expectation. In fact I have in recent years become so exasperated with this mower that I hate even the thought of trying to get it going in the spring. Which is why I touched it for the first time today after putting it away last fall.

Lo and behold, the mower cranked. And then it started! Wowee! Like so many preparations I make for the recurrence of bad things, the charger turned out to be more good-luck charm than actual tool.

The inner front yard has been needing attention so I headed over to get that done while the gas in the tank held out. I finished one quick turn around the edges, and the transmission gave out. Again. No power at all to either transaxle.

I hate this mower. I hate all zero-turn mowers. I hate this brand of mower.

I'm not a big fan of any mower, but if it will just do its damn job without costing me double its purchase price in repairs over just a few years, I can work with it. These ZTR mowers, though, seem to run afoul of Scott's Dictum.

Wednesday,  May 10, 2017  McGehee

Misadventures in PC Rehab

Aw, c'mon — if you think that title refers to offering Gitmo detainees subsidized housing and free health care in the big American city of their choice as an incentive to tell their captors they've denounced terror, you just don't know me at all.

I have custody of two Windows 7 PCs that used to belong to Mrs. McG's late mother: an HP desktop and an Acer laptop. Yesterday I isolated the files on the laptop that Mrs. McG would want to keep, and copied them onto a thumb drive (the desktop's contents likely will require more than one trip). Then I gave the laptop a mindwipe, hoping the machine's peanut-butter-and-molasses performance would disappear along with the remnants of all of Marie's old software that hadn't come off the disk when I uninstalled it last year. Restoring the factory installation of Windows took some time, and Windows Update consumed some more hours installing all of the updates Microsoft had issued for Windows 7 over the years. Actually, there weren't as many individual downloads as I was fearing.

It did stop tripping over itself in trying to carry out the simplest tasks, but there were two tasks I set it that it just couldn't do. I tried to install the PC-to-cloud sync utilities offered by Google, Dropbox and Microsoft. Somehow Dropbox didn't even need to ask for my login credentials, having perhaps smartloaded them into the installation after I'd logged into the website to get the software. It worked like a charm, taking only minutes to sync the cloud account's contents onto the Acer's hard drive.

Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, however, couldn't find their way to the internet to log me in. Both installers had accessed the internet to bring in the complete software, but once the software was complete, nothing.

I have 17-plus gigabytes of data on those cloud accounts. Without a working live-sync utility, that laptop is no good to me.

Oh, and it's still slower — by oozes and farts! — than this Linux machine I've been using these last couple of years.

So, back to Gitmo with it. I'll eventually get around to lobotomizing the HP too, but I don't expect better results. Besides, I've had lousy luck with desktop computers since moving to Georgia. Surge protectors don't really seem to work all that well hereabouts.

Update, Sunday: I downloaded a version of ChromeOS from CloudReady, which installed okay — but the screen flashes so much I could barely do anything with it. This Acer laptop seems to want to face the firing squad.

Saturday,  May 6, 2017  McGehee

Apples in Wyoming

And I don't mean the road kind.

John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, was a nurseryman who introduced apple trees to many parts of the country in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. He’s known for spreading apple seeds wherever he traveled. The history of Johnny Appleseed will soon spread its roots at Central Wyoming College’s Sinks Canyon apple orchard.

Dave Morneau with the Popo Agie Conservation District explained that during the Garden Expo a few weeks ago in Lander, one of the guest speakers, Scott Skogerboe with the Fort Collins Whole Sale Nursery, brought a surprise tree to be donated to the CWC orchard. This special tree had been propagated from one of the last known remaining Johnny Appleseed trees.

One thing I miss since moving from California is the annual Apple Hill festivities in Camino, a straggling community in the upper foothills of the Sierra Nevada east of Placerville. There wasn't much apple growing going on in Interior Alaska that I ever heard about, and the nearest apple harvest center hereabouts is up in the north Georgia mountains, through which we only go on our way to East Tennessee where Mrs. McG's father lives.

I kind of doubt there would ever be much in the way of apple sales (or bake shops with hot cider) in Sinks Canyon, Wyoming, but at least there are trees there. And now, one more.

Saturday,  April 29, 2017  McGehee

I Order My Jeans from Cabela's

I saw the picture of this... garment last week on Dustbury, and this morning Sarah Hoyt posted about it on Instapundit.

Thing is, I'm not sure that's more egregious than this item:

New jeans made to look muddy splashed onto Nordstrom’s site for the dirty price of $425 per pair!

The description posted on the retailers page implies that it’s hip to be “down and dirty”:

“Heavily distressed medium-blue denim jeans in a comfortable straight-leg fit embody rugged, Americana workwear that’s seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you’re not afraid to get down and dirty.”

Personally, I'm with Mike Rowe:

This morning, for your consideration, I offer further proof that our country’s war on work continues to rage in all corners of polite society. Behold the latest assault from Nordstrom’s. The “Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans.”

The Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans aren’t pants. They’re not even fashion. They’re a costume for wealthy people who see work as ironic – not iconic.

Ain't that the truth.

At this moment I'm wearing what are known as "dungaree fit work jeans" from Cabela's with carpenter-style pockets. I'm not a carpenter, so there's some irony in my wearing these, but on those rare occasions when I actually do work with my hands I do find the extra pockets handy. Also, unlike entirely too many pants sold these days my carpenter jeans actually have belt loops in the same zip code as the button and fly.

Also also, my most recent order — just now — was placed in part because they're on sale for around $20 a pair.

Tuesday,  April 25, 2017  McGehee

Talking Back to Pop Tunes

If you'd listened to me when I told you not to give her your house key and ATM card, lover boy, you wouldn't need to keep asking her to turn you loose.


Thursday,  April 20, 2017  McGehee

If You're Sober, Drive Like It

That, my only-half-joking advice to local drivers who may or may not be texting while driving or farding in their cars, has a more serious corollary:

If you're at war, fight like it.

Clearly, President Trump grasps this as Obama did not. Dropping the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (a.k.a. "Mother Of All Bombs") on ISIS in Afghanistan achieved more in one earth-shattering kaboom than all of Obama's sternly-worded hashtags and invisible-ink "red lines" throughout his eight years in office.

Leftist academics who think they know more about smart diplomacy than Theodore Roosevelt did, would have been the death of civilization if we had let them have their way for much longer.

Friday,  April 14, 2017  McGehee

August 1969

It's commonplace to marvel at how toxic American politics are in the second decade of the 21st century. Yet there was at the original Woodstock music festival nearly 48 years ago a performer named Jeffrey Shurtleff who, in introducing a duet he was about to sing with Joan Baez, dedicated a song to then-Gov. Ronald Reagan of California.

The song was "Drugstore Truck Drivin' Man," and the second line was "He's the head of the Ku Klux Klan."

When I first heard this song — after my brother received the album in 1970 — I was no fan of Reagan, who was still in his first term as governor. But even then I couldn't see how the man in the song resembled him in any way.

I was eight years old.

Thursday,  April 6, 2017  McGehee

The Answer, My Friends

I knew there was bad weather in the cards today, so hearing the county warning siren at about a quarter after eight this morning wasn't so much a surprise as an incongruity — I'd only ever heard them being tested before, and it took a moment to understand that this couldn't possibly be a test.

None of the weather apps on my phone showed a tornado warning. A glance at the official Twitter timelines didn't turn up anything either, at least initially. The better part of valor was to get to the most tornado-proof room in the house, but we really don't have one.

While I considered, I finally found the tornado warning both on Twitter and the weather apps, and the radar app showed an approaching storm with a pronounced tailhook shape. What's more, the home acres were smack in the middle of the warning polygon

The vast majority of tornadoes, as it happens, don't level homes, so the biggest danger in our case would be from falling trees. I could be safer downstairs, even with windows in almost every room, and heavy appliances overhead of the sole exception. So, hoping the odds would hold, I went into the finished basement to wait out the warning.

Over time the storm's hook faded out, reappeared, and re-dissipated, all before it got here. Mrs. McG was at work, where she was well able to track the big picture, but I texted her a more home-centric series of updates, including a wry observation that the train sound I was hearing was from an actual train. In the end, I came back upstairs as the warning ended, not with a roar, but with a whisper.

It's possible we may have to go through this all again later today, but I'd rather not, thanks.

Wednesday,  April 5, 2017  McGehee

Sync or Swim

I still remember when being able to sync files with a cloud service such as Dropbox, live, to your Mac or your Windows PC, was a huge deal. Now of course pretty much every cloud storage service has a live-sync app for the Applesoft duopoly, and there are good Linux apps for Google Drive and Dropbox.

They, along with Microsoft's OneDrive, also have third-party-created almost-live sync apps for Android devices, if you've shelled out, as I have, for the models with more storage.

Having more storage means the 1,300-plus tracks I now maintain in my primary listening rotation can all live on both my phone and my tablet without crowding the system files, apps and other user files I keep on them. Using Google's cloud-centered services like Gmail, Docs, and Keep, among others, helps too.

But today I discovered that Google's Play Music app wasn't finding and indexing all of the MP3s I have in my Music folder tree. I tried Amazon's counterpart and found exactly the same problem, leading me to wonder if Amazon merely licensed the guts of Google's app to power theirs. So now I'm using VLC, which also happens to be the standard music player on my Linux Mint laptop. Since it's not wedded to a cloud music stream, it can easily understand and deal with an entirely local music library — ignoring ring- and notification tones, for example, unlike Play Music.

Yeah. Google's app wouldn't serve up all of my actual music, but it did insist on little now-for-a-word-from-our-sponsor interludes of Carme and Callisto.

Apparently VLC can access streaming services, but I haven't played with that. I don't pay either Google or Amazon to force-stream me music I can't stand, so I wouldn't get but so much out of it. Google won't accept certain tracks I bought with a different Google account, and the utility I used the last time that issue came up isn't available for Linux — neither is the uploader for Amazon's music storage service — so even using VLC to stream only my own music library isn't an option.

Yet. Looking back up at the first paragraph, I have to invoke the Y word.


Sunday,  April 2, 2017  McGehee

'More Older Women Are Drinking Hard'

What would we do without studies?

More older American women than ever are drinking — and drinking hard, a new study shows.

Most troubling was the finding that the prevalence of binge drinking among older women is increasing dramatically, far faster than it is among older men, the researchers noted.

193553_5_The difference was striking: Among men, the average prevalence of binge drinking remained stable from 1997 to 2014, while it increased an average of nearly 4 percent per year among women, the researchers found.

Increased drinking and binge drinking can be a serious health problem for women, said study author Rosalind Breslow, an epidemiologist at the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

I'll be on my fainting couch.

Wednesday,  March 29, 2017  McGehee

Talking Back to Pop Tunes

Say, um, Bono? Maybe you should try DuckDuckGo.

Monday,  March 27, 2017  McGehee

Could Stand Updating

Back in 1994, the late George Jones released a song called "High-Tech Redneck," about a country boy who had all the latest technology at his fingertips.

Today of course, much of the technology described in the song is laughably obsolete. So it seemed to me it could use a bit of an update:

He's got a Duck Dynasty marathon
Binging on Netflix and it's streamin' in strong
A wifi virtual remote control
3D TV with stereo
Football, baseball, NASCAR too
With picture-in-picture it's all in view
And if it comes on just a little too late
With his DVR he can watch it next day.

He's a high-tech redneck
Mayberry meets Star Trek
He's a bumpkin
But he's plugged in
He's a high-tech redneck.

He's got twenty sub-woofers in the bed of his truck
A thousand watts of power and he keeps it cranked up
He ain't into hip hop, he ain't into rap
He likes to rattle them speakers with Ronnie Milsap
CDs and MP3s with gigs to send
CB, radar and SiriusXM
And if he needs to talk to his honey at home
He has Siri dial 'er up on his Apple iPhone

He's a high-tech redneck
Mayberry meets Star Trek
He's a bumpkin
But he's plugged in
He's a high-tech redneck.

I never have heard anybody blasting "It Was Almost Like a Song" out of a truck bed full of sub-woofers. In the immortal words of Jayne Cobb, that would be an interesting day.

Sunday,  March 26, 2017  McGehee


Once upon a time, there was an item known as a cash register. Many of them were made by a company known as National Cash Register. Now...

The NCR Corporation (abbrev. National Cash Register) is an American computer hardware, software and electronics company that makes self-service kiosks, point-of-sale terminals, automated teller machines, check processing systems, barcode scanners, and business consumables.

"Point-of-sale terminal" is the fancy 21st-century term for cash register. They don't make that "cha-ching" sound that persons of a certain age associate with cash registers, so I suppose the new name is apt enough. The beeping of UPC scanners is cacophonous enough, especially when mixed with the gasps of horror at the final totals.

NCR is a bigger player these days in ATM manufacture. Just once I'd like to make a deposit at an ATM and hear a cheery "cha-ching" as a kind of cybernetic congratulation to my bank account. Lord knows most bank accounts these days could use cheering up.

Thursday,  March 23, 2017  McGehee

That Would Make a Good Opening Line to a Country Song

I am, as promised, reading the new C.J. Box novel, Vicious Circle, and in it April — adopted middle daughter of Joe and Marybeth Pickett — says, "I might have had my fill of rodeo cowboys."

In the days when country music still went by "country and western," there would have been dozens of female singers who could have sung that line and a whole song flowing naturally from it.

Maybe there are now, but who today could get away with writing it just like that? In a song destined for radio, I mean.

In a way it's good, I guess, that music has so many more ways to find an audience than a big-label recording contract. I just wish I knew where to find new music in the classic, mid-20th-century country-and-western style.

Now that I have room on my phone for actual new music...

Anyway, back to my reading.

Update: Also as promised, I finished the book before sundown. Now I have to wait until next March 21 for the next book

'Nother update: Now that I have room on my phone for actual new music, I'm no longer using my phone to stream music over Bluetooth in my car.

Okay, that's a lie. I actually quit 'Toothing music in my car long ago. It requires using the music app on my phone, which I have to wear my reading glasses to work with — whenever I get into my car, and again when I get out, but not in between because I can't drive with them on. And since I will not 'Tooth music on my phone on battery power, and since the charge cable for this phone isn't compatible with the USB port in the car...

You see where that's going.

So for fun I tried copying my music library — 1,300-plus tracks — onto an 8GB thumb drive and plugging it into said USB port. I had to select it as the media source, but then it was off to the concert.

I've since reformatted a thumb drive containing a 128GB microSD card (the sound system's OS is by Microsoft, so it needs FAT32 rather than NTFS or whatever) and successfully played the music off that. And this means I can collect more music to play in my car than my phone could hold.

Which at the moment means amassing about 120GB of additional music.

Betcha I could. I probably won't, but betcha I could.

Tuesday,  March 21, 2017  McGehee

Jurisprudence from the Far Side

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune comes news that only a talking cow in horn-rimmed glasses would find normal:

Privacy law experts say that the warrant is based on an unusually broad definition of probable cause that could set a troubling precedent.

“This kind of warrant is cause for concern because it’s closer to these dragnet searches that the Fourth Amendment is designed to prevent,” said William McGeveran, a law professor at the University of Minnesota.

Issued by Hennepin County District Judge Gary Larson in early February, the warrant pertains to anyone who searched variations of the resident’s name on Google from Dec. 1 through Jan. 7.

But seriously, folks — this is hardly the time for state judges to follow the example of their lawless federal counterparts.

Sunday,  March 19, 2017  McGehee

Well, It's About Time

Somebody's finally teaching SJW lunatics how to breathe.

"Right now I'm going to ask everyone who's on this call to take a moment and just breathe with me," Johnson began. "This is a simple technique that you can use as we're in the tactics, as we're in the strategy, as we're in the back-to-back actions that we're going to be in we can take a moment to breathe," he said.


Step 1.: Inhale.

Step 2.: Exhale.

Repeat as needed.


I worry they may be too old to master the technique. People should be taught how to breathe as early in life as possible.

Friday,  March 17, 2017  McGehee

It Was Brutal

Today Mrs. McG and I went out to lunch, and between the two of us we et tu Caesar salads.

Wednesday,  March 15, 2017  McGehee


A nonconformist is someone who, when told to question authority, retorts, "Why do you get to tell me what to do?"

Tuesday,  February 28, 2017  McGehee

What Really Happened to the Unicorn

The popular legend is that the unicorns all perished in the Great Flood because they hid from Noah when he went to gather the animals into the ark.

That's actually not true. Here's what really happened:

The unicorn was a best friend of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, visiting with them every few days and enjoying their times together.

But one day the unicorn wandered through the Garden looking for Adam and Eve, but they were nowhere to be found. Puzzled, he asked the monkeys if they knew where his friends were. The monkeys didn't know.

Then the unicorn asked the birds, who surely would have seen them while flying through the air. The birds hadn't seen them.

The unicorn asked the mice, who often picked up the crumbs that fell from Adam and Eve's food as they ate, but the mice hadn't found any crumbs lately.

Getting worried, the unicorn wandered everywhere in the Garden, asking the tortoises and the deer and the bears, but none of the animals could tell him where his friends had gone.

Fearful for Adam and Eve, the unicorn decided to ask God where they were, but was interrupted by the serpent.

"Pssssst," said the belly-crawler. "It's probably best not to talk to God right now, but I can tell you why you can't find your friends. I don't know what they did to make God so angry, but He drove them out of the Garden and forbade them to return."

Horrified, the unicorn wept. "That's horrible! I have to find them and guide them back!"

"You should do no such thing," chided the serpent. "If you do, God will not only reject them, but you as well."

"But they're my friends. I'll be so lonely without them. If going with them means I can't come back to the Garden, then so be it."

"You'll never find them," warned the serpent. "God has erased their tracks to make sure they can't find their way back, and that means you won't be able to follow them."

"I don't care. I have to do something."

Seeing that the unicorn was determined, the serpent sighed, and wished it had hands to throw up in the air. "If that's how you feel, I guess you have to go, but I am afraid for you, wandering alone in the wilderness with no idea where to look for them." Then the serpent looked at a nearby tree. "But maybe there is a way to know."

Stretching its body toward the tree the serpent said, "I have heard that tree bears a fruit that is called Knowledge. Maybe if you eat that fruit you will know where your friends have gone, and be able to find them."

The unicorn knew the tree's fruit was forbidden, and was afraid. "God has told us all not to eat of that fruit. He will be angry."

"True," agreed the serpent, "but you're leaving the Garden anyway. What could He do to punish you?"

This made sense to the unicorn, who gathered up his courage and walked over to the tree. Reaching high with his graceful neck, he plucked a fruit from its branches.

But before the unicorn could even taste the juice on his lips, lightning flashed and thunder boomed, and God appeared before him, His eyes afire with divine wrath.

"This is getting intolerable. Obviously I must be sterner with you than I was with Adam and Eve." And God imposed His punishment on the unicorn, who dropped the fruit, uneaten, and fled the Garden, never to return.

whiterhinoHe never did find his friends, nor would they have recognized him if he had. No longer was he the graceful white creature with beautiful, lustrous eyes, dainty hooves and gleaming alabaster horn; rather, he had been transformed into a bulky, ugly beast with lumpy body, weak eyes and stubby toes, and his horn had moved from his forehead to the end of his nose.

Back in the Garden the serpent waited until God had returned to Heaven, then snickered softly. "Oh yeah. That's never getting old."

And for the serpent it didn't, which is how the world got such creatures as the dodo, the camel, the giraffe, and the duck-billed platypus. Though, after the platypus incident the animals finally got the message and stopped letting themselves be talked into trying to eat the forbidden fruit.

Saturday,  February 18, 2017  McGehee

So, What Have I Missed?

With Mrs. McG recuperating at home I've had scant attention for politics. Has Elizabeth Warren managed to get Trump's scalp yet? Did Chuck Schumer succeed at gunning down Trump's Cabinet picks? Is Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court yet?

Gloat, moi?


More like muhuhuhuwahahahahahahahaha!!!

Friday,  February 10, 2017  McGehee

One Meme to Rule Them All

Pretty much everything the elite Left — activist groups, media outlets, etc. — have said or done since early November has boiled down to one thing:

I mean seriously, if they were setting out on purpose to discredit themselves with mainstream Americans and ensure that political candidates they endorse never win another election (outside of California), what would they be doing different?

At this rate, by 2024 the two major parties will be different wings of what is now the Republican Party, with a few congressional seats way up in a back corner occupied by Democrats who have to be frisked for stink bombs and Ziploc® bags full of urine or feces before being allowed in the chamber.

In recent years we've seen Democrats flee the Texas legislature to try to block enactment of a congressional redistricting map, and the Wisconsin legislature seeking to block major public employment reforms. Both groups left the state to avoid being brought back by their respective state police agencies. Where will Pelosi and Schumer lead their caucuses to avoid quorum calls? Mexico? Cuba?

Wherever they go, do they have to be allowed back?

Tuesday,  January 24, 2017  McGehee

Obama's Future

My reply to Local Malcontent's comment on the previous post got me to thinking about what we can expect of the next four years.

"Unfortunately the unhinged Left always makes it damn near impossible not to fall into knee-jerk defense mode."

There is a key difference in the upcoming Trump presidency though, in that the 45th President-to-be so far hasn't really needed defending.

Part of Trump's armor is simply his own willingness to respond to criticism in his patented manner — a trait that, while embarrassing many Republicans, also has the effect of treating his Leftist critics as the unhinged crybabies they've always been. And this causes them to behave more and more like unhinged crybabies.

But there's another asset Trump has that he had no particular hand in creating: his predecessor, Barack Hussein Obama.

In his effort to denormalize gun ownership, Obama has caused more guns to be sold in America these last eight years than any other President.

In his effort to finally bring to fruition dreams of a permanent Democrat majority, he has relegated his party to the fringes of the country both ideologically and geographically.

In his effort to help inoculate Hillary Clinton against the electoral consequences of her scandals, he created an enduring narrative of her as corrupt, petty and incompetent, leading to her defeat by the least electable Republican nominee since Alf Landon.

And he says he isn't going away, at least not for long.

If he continues to speak out in his post-presidency, Barack Obama will remain the public face of his party, preventing any future Democrat prospect from assuming a credible leadership role. Remember when I cursed him by wishing him a long, healthy life after leaving the White House?

This suggests that Republican onlookers may very well emerge as Trump's most authoritative and effective critics, an eventuality that bodes well for his presidency, the party, conservatives, and the country.

Sometimes God gives us what we pray for by giving us the opposite of what we thought we were praying for. Then it's up to us to deal with it and make it turn out right.

That's what 2016 appears to have been.

Update, after DNC Chair election: Drudge's link to this item reads, "Still Obama's Party". He's not wrong.

Friday,  January 20, 2017  McGehee

Twenty-three hours and 35 minutes

...but who's counting?

The following are comments made to this post when it was originally published on Blogspot. Preparatory to migrating this entry to static HTML (after two WordPress migrations already...), and in light of the subsequent post, I've decided to incorporate the conversation here.

The Local Malcontent, January 20, 2017 at 2:54 am
Everybody's counting down the hours until noon, Jan. 20, 2017. Till when the nightmare is over finally. This week has passed so slowly too, it seems. We're looking forward to the much more conservative agenda of President Trump, but always ready to hold his feet to the fire, to keeping his campaign promises, ready to call him out too, when he wavers from them. Let's watch it unfold~

McG, January 20, 2017 at 7:56 am
As it always should be. Unfortunately the unhinged Left always makes it damn near impossible not to fall into knee-jerk defense mode.

Thursday,  January 19, 2017  McGehee

The Second Rule of Holes

The last load of mail has been collected from the decrepit plastic mailbox across the road from our driveway, and just now, in a feat of herculean strength, I took it down with my own — er, gloved hands.

Turned out an ant colony had taken up residence in the ground the anchor post was sunk in, and softened the soil enough that I only needed to twist the box and post about 90 degrees and lift it all out of the ground.

This project came in what appears to have been the nick of time; a bad storm or a distracted driver could have uprooted that old box any time. Heck, if I'd lost my footing collecting the mail and tried to catch my balance on the box, I could have done it.

The new box, set (as mentioned previously) in a bit of Quikrete next to our driveway, is on a metal post and ought never to be plagued by the detaching-door syndrome that caused the old one to be covered in duct tape.

And there won't be any more worries about delivery people looking for us on the wrong side of the road (it really only happened once twice, but still...).

I am proud of Mrs. McG for taking the lead on this, and grateful to neighbor Cathy a couple of houses down for working the phones to make sure everyone who stood the benefit from this let the postmaster know they wanted it and would move or replace their boxes. It was nice seeing all those mailboxes appear on our side of the road as the day approached.

And of course our postmaster deserves a note of thanks for responding to the need and handling the necessary changes on the post office's side.

Friday,  January 13, 2017  McGehee

...and to the banana republic...

One down, fourteen to go — assuming only Cabinet secretaries are accorded the privilege of decorating the outgoing caudillo.

Addressing a room of men and women from the various branches of the military, Obama praised their service and sacrifice. He said there is "no greater privilege and no greater honor" than serving as commander in chief.

"As I reflect on the challenges we have faced together and on those to come, I believe that one of the greatest tasks before our armed forces is to retain the high confidence that the American people rightly place in you," Obama said. "We must never hesitate to act when necessary to defend our nation, but we must also never rush into war because sending you into harm's way should be a last and not first resort."

Prior to his remarks, Defense Secretary Ash Carter presented Obama with the Medal of Distinguished Public Service as a token of appreciation for his service as commander in chief.

Letting a subordinate pin a medal on you is not only a bad look for an American president, it's literally a repudiation of the republican values on which our government is based.

Thursday,  January 5, 2017  McGehee