Suicide by Flop

What can House Democrats really hope to achieve by the clown show they’re staging on Capitol Hill this week?

They may well have the necessary votes to pass articles of impeachment against President Trump, but then what? Can they really believe the Republican-majority Senate will vote to remove Trump from office?

Are there really enough Senate Republicans who would rather see one of these radical Leftist Democrats in the White House, and who are willing to commit electoral suicide by making it happen? They would have to be fools to think there’s any way they could escape accountability for that.

For that matter, what happens to the House Democrats seeking re-election in districts Trump carried in 2016, and which he will carry again next November? Do those House Democrats really think this exercise ends well for them?

For politicians, the trouble with burying their heads in the sand is (figuratively speaking of course) they can still be chopped off and left there.

Thursday,  November 14, 2019  McGehee


A local tax measure, earmarked for transportation projects, was defeated by almost four-to-one in yesterday’s local voting. I don’t think the local pols have any clue why it went down, either.

The county’s existing road network is in dire need of upgrades, to ensure that all the new development already approved is properly served — but the projects on the list for this measure were not aimed at catching up on delayed upgrades. Instead, a whole slew of new road projects were on offer, to be built from the ground up across as yet vacant land where, you guessed it, a whole slew of new development would be approved once the projects were completed.

And if you think the new projects would be engineered from the get-go to support all this new development, you haven’t been paying attention.

Wednesday,  November 6, 2019  McGehee

Now It Can Be Told

The best part of the story is, this morning on our local paper’s website is a story about how to keep the time change from disrupting your sleep patterns. Well, we did something kind of off the chart.

Back in mid-October, I pre-changed all the non-self-updating clocks in the house to Standard Time, and then we absented ourselves from home until the day of.

We spent a couple of nights in the Central time zone before crossing into Mountain for about a week, then spent three more nights on Central Daylight time, and a couple on Eastern Daylight before returning home.

Over the course of that trip, we encountered blizzard-like snow conditions in the Black Hills, in southeast Montana, and in western South Dakota north of Sturgis. We left Rapid City on a morning where temperatures were in the teens and the pavement on Interstate 90 was icy, but the farther east we got the clearer the roads were.

We got pictures of buffalo in Montana, and of a lone bison outside Badlands National Park (click to embiggen). We were accosted in separate incidents by two ringnecked pheasant cocks while driving on a Montana back road. Our phones pinged on a Canadian cell tower though we never got close enough to the border to see it; on the way back to town I saw a badger hustle back into the tall weeds from the shoulder of the highway. We found some of the tastiest breakfasts in America at casinos in the middle of nowhere, and gave lie to online reviews accusing the places in question of being unfriendly to non-locals.

We watched diesel-electric locomotives in Montana and heard steam-locomotive whistles in Tennessee.

The closer we get to the point of going through with moving west, the more we’re examining options other than those previously discussed on this blog, and last month’s travels were part of that reconsideration. Further the deponent sayeth naught.

Tuesday,  November 5, 2019  McGehee

Could They Be Any More Blatant?

The White House released a complete, unredacted transcript of Trump’s telephone conversation with Ukraine’s president, and what do the Derp State Media do? They put headlines on a heavily and misleadingly redacted version designed to make it look as if the only topic of the conversation was “investigate Hunter Biden.” That version leaves out more than 500 words. To put that in perspective, when I was assigned to write a paper in college, a properly formatted page was expected to contain at least 250 words. If I used that estimate, I never had to count words in a paper I submitted for a grade, only pages.

The media, in their frantic haste to protect the Biden family and incriminate Trump, elided more than two pages worth of conversation.

You don’t have to like Trump to see this for what it is.

Thursday,  September 26, 2019   McGehee

To Whom It May Concern

As evidenced by my reduced blogging frequency in recent months, the loss of my only known occasional reader is not the sole cause of the Tally Book’s dearth of content; it’s a cause, but not the only one.

Another big part of it is that, when it comes to things political and social, the only thought that ever occurs to me anymore is to wonder whether it’s possible to roll one’s eyes so hard and so often that they eventually just pop right out of their sockets.

I started blogging back when facts and logic still held sway, and I never quite developed the knack for screaming simply to hear my own voice, or to generate sympathetic howls from others in a comment section or a social media feed.

So, starting October 1 (or whenever I actually post something after that date), McG’s Tally Book will be archived quarterly rather than monthly.

Or maybe I’ll just start now, retroactively, with July, August, and September.

Worst case, my blogging frequency will continue to dwindle and I’ll eventually fall back to archiving a whole year per page. Won’t that be fun?

Wednesday,  September 18, 2019  McGehee

A Milestone of Sorts for Western Civilization

For the past few years, Americans reaching voting age have had a dwindling chance of having any personal memory of the events of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Today, that chance vanishes away completely.

Now, granted, there wasn’t a realistic chance of anyone turning 18 yesterday having any personal memory of 9/11, but today brings an absolute finality to the notion. New voting-age Americans over the next several years will have some memory of the consequences of the attack, but will only know of the attack itself what others — increasingly, a public “education” establishment hostile to Western civilization — tell them.

Today the memory of 9/11 is old enough to vote, but it probably won’t.

Wednesday,  September 11, 2019  McGehee

Blogger in the Hospital

Charles G. Hill, Squire of Surlywood and proprietor of Dustbury, is in the hospital after a vehicle accident. Some of us had begun to worry because he hadn’t updated his site — nor his Twitter timeline — since Tuesday morning. However, fellow blogger HollyH left a comment to Charles’ most recent post with the information.

Charles has been having health issues in recent years, and has occasionally had difficulty driving because of some of the resulting complications. Of course, he has always had to contend with other people’s lousy driving habits on his daily commute too, so until we hear from him we won’t know whether this was a result of the former or the latter.

Update, Friday: This tweet was posted yesterday but I just found it.

According to his own blog, Charles has been chronically depressed for most of his life, yet he has also borne up against trials that might have crushed a man of a more sanguine disposition. Like all of his friends I fear the worst, but I’m also hopeful that, if he possibly can, he will get through this too.

Update, Sunday night:

I’m too busy stuffing cash into my swear jar to comment at this time.

Update again, a bit later: I managed to find some G-rated words that I posted in the thread on Charles’ last post:

Many of his loved ones went before, and his pain is behind him.

Ours is just begun.

Update, Monday: Fellow Dustbury reader and Friend-of-Charles Roger Green offers a eulogy.

Update, Wednesday, Sept. 11: The Oklahoman’s Steve Lackmeyer offers a tribute of his own.

Thursday,  September 5, 2019  McGehee

Pass the Hot Cider, It Must Be Fall

Yesterday your blogger got to watch two college football games of the NCAA variety: Mississippi State visiting Louisiana-Lafayette at the Superdome in New Orleans, and Wyoming hosting Missouri at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.

Mississippi State’s Bulldogs scored first in their game, but couldn’t seem to keep the Ragin’ Cajuns from tying things up again until the third quarter when they opened a 14-point lead. Louisiana narrowed that to seven in the fourth, but State scored a field goal near the end of the game and finished 38-28.

Wyoming’s game started less auspiciously, with Missouri leading 14-0 at halftime, but the Cowboys emerged from the locker room ready to come back; soon they had opened a 17-27 lead, and the Tigers never again saw daylight. Long pass troubles by Wyoming’s quarterback in the first half evaporated, and the Wyoming defense ceased to be caught flat-footed by Missouri’s ground game. When it was all over, Wyoming had defeated Missouri, 31-37.

Both losing teams suffered from costly turnovers, but the winners weren’t immune — a Louisiana punt bumped an inattentive Mississippi State player’s leg from behind, freeing the Cajuns to reclaim possession. They went on to push into the end zone on the resulting drive, scoring one of their first-half game-tying TDs. That Bulldog player will certainly be looking forward to next Saturday when hopefully some other topic of conversation will emerge from their game against Southern Mississippi.

The NFL regular season starts next weekend.

Sunday,  September 1, 2019  McGehee

All of Them Witches

United States Senators were poleaxed to discover that other legislative bodies manage to enact budgets and avoid chronic deficits without dancing naked with Satan under the full moon. (Paywall warning.)

In Wyoming, the constitution mandates that the Legislature pass a balanced budget, (Republican state Sen. Eli) Bebout continued, recommending a similar rule be put in place in Congress. Once that balanced budget is in place, Bebout said, Wyoming lives "within those revenue streams."

He referred again to the Wyoming Constitution, which bars the state from incurring debt that exceeds 1 percent of the assessed value of the taxable property in the state.

That lack of debt made it difficult for Bebout to answer a question from Kaine about debt management policies in Wyoming.

"We don’t have anything in place," Bebout said. "We don’t have any debt."

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., spoke later, saying he was "still trying to get over the fact that Wyoming has no debt."

"I’m trying to get my mind around that," he said.

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., also wanted to talk about debt in Wyoming: He asked Bebout about the state’s capital construction fund, assuming that Wyoming’s balanced budget amendment must not apply in that area.

Bebout clarified that Wyoming’s budget includes capital expenditures.

"It’s all one package based on our revenues," he said. "(The budgets) includes capital construction and capital spending."

"So the year-to-year spending on a particular building is right in the constitutional budget?" Whitehouse asked.

"Yes," Bebout replied, recalling the state’s recently completed capitol renovation project that cost $300 million.

The idea behind the testimony in question was to help Congress find ways to get federal deficits and long-term debt under control. Wyoming’s senior U.S. Senator, Mike Enzi (R) invited Bebout — a longtime Wyoming lawmaker and a onetime GOP nominee for governor — to tell about how his state does it. You can almost see the other Senators’ jaws agape and their eyes bulging from their heads as they grapple with the alien ideas to which they were being exposed.

Enzi and others who spoke during the Senate hearing expressed a desire to see a biennial budget process applied at the federal level. The change would "give Congress more time (for) executive branch oversight and policy development and reduce the potential for government shutdowns," Enzi said.

Bebout spoke about Wyoming’s two-year budget process during his testimony, offering support for the idea of a biennial federal budget that would provide more certainty for those impacted by government spending decisions.

He also suggested the federal government base more of its budget process on revenue predictions, like Wyoming does.

"The thing that really drives our budget is not what we want to spend but the revenues available to us," he said. "That’s where we start ... rather than having the spending side of it drive it."

Senators Kennedy and Whitehouse were later seen piling cordwood for a bonfire, with a Bebout-sized stake on the top.

Saturday,  August 10, 2019  McGehee

“The Eagle Has Landed”

I don’t remember “watching” the landing itself, but I do remember sitting in front of the TV waiting what seemed like an eternity for the astronauts to finally leave the Lunar Excursion Module and set foot on the Moon.

Fifty years later, NASA describes the moment:

They reconfigured Eagle’s cabin for depressurization, donned their helmets, visors, and gloves, and then opened the valve that vented the cabin.

Aldrin opened Eagle’s forward hatch, which swung inward toward him, giving Armstrong access to the outside front porch. Aldrin added, “About ready to go down and get some Moon rock?” He helped Armstrong navigate through the narrow confines of Eagle’s hatch and onto the front porch. Once on the ladder, Armstrong pulled a lanyard that released the Modularized Equipment Stowage Assembly (MESA) on the side of Eagle’s Descent Stage, on which was mounted a black and white TV camera, allowing hundreds of millions of viewers on Earth to see him descend the ladder down to the landing leg’s footpad.

As a precaution, he practiced the three-foot jump back up to the ladder’s first rung, made easier in the one-sixth lunar gravity. Once back down on the footpad, Armstrong described that the footpads had only sunk one or two inches into the lunar dust which he noted was fine-grained, almost powdery. Armstrong announced, “I’m going to step off the LM now.” And at 9:56 PM Houston time he did just that, firmly planting his left foot onto the lunar surface, proclaiming, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Of course, we all heard it — and still do on playback — without the indefinite article in the first clause, but apparently that was due to Armstrong’s Midwestern inflection.

I remember having a cardboard punch-out LEM model that I don’t think I succeeded at putting together, though I seem to recall that my older brother got his set up the way it was supposed to. (The link was selected because it includes a photo of the model put together.)

We sent six more missions to the Moon, of which five landed — the last in 1972. It’s scandalous that we haven’t landed anyone there or anywhere else since. There are people who weren’t even born yet in 1972, who are grandparents now. Imagine if the Wright Brothers had stopped experimenting with powered heavier-than-air flight in 1906, and in 1953 there were still no prospect of another such flight in the foreseeable future.


Saturday,  July 20, 2019  McGehee

Free As Can Be

I posted the entire text of the Declaration of Independence last year (and the year before), and if you’ve a mind to read it again here (as opposed to, oh I don’t know, any of the thousands of other places online you can find it), you can follow either of those links.

The state of our American union these days may be — and certainly ought to be — of profound concern to many of us, but the rest of the world is no better off. Americans remain more free even now than anyone else in the world. Some countries are dead set on getting worse; others want to get better. I think we’re one of the latter, The Most Busted Name in News™ and its fellow-travelers in the media and in public office to the contrary notwithstanding.

The next sixteen months, give or take a day, will show whether I’m right or wrong about that.

Me, I’ll be celebrating this day with some target practice. Because I can, and nincompoops in Congress can’t stop me.

Update: If you genuinely believe this flag is the equivalent of the Nazi swastika, you have the IQ of dirt.

’Nother update, July 5: A couple of well-timed webcam visits to Wyoming last night netted me these. The first, in black and white because nighttime, was in Evanston alongside Interstate 80. The second came from the Jackson Town Square webcam, which sees in color at all hours.

Independence Day,  July 4, 2019  McGehee

Bank on This

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

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

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

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


The “Man Bites Dog” Fallacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Some Gave All

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


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

And also this, courtesy of Doc:


Buzz Off, I Said!

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

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

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

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

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

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


Check, Mate

Found on Facebook by Mrs. McG



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

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

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

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

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

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


Achievement Unlocked

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

She, who still uses Gmail, replied:

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

I take great pride in confusing Google.


Take This Nationwide, PLEASE!

Because it’s apparent vast swaths of the country don’t require anything like it.

High school students in Natrona County are required to complete a financial literacy course in order to graduate.

“The main goal is for students to leave these courses empowered financially,” Natrona County High School Assistant Principal James Catlin told the board.

Catlin said that NC students typically take the course in their junior year.

The course provides skills and information for students to manage themselves financially. That includes lessons on how to plan for a career, how to fill out tax forms, how to prepare a budget, and more.

“It’s a super powerful class, and if you haven’t seen it, you should come around,” Roosevelt Alternative High School Principal Shawna Trujillo said.

Wyoming remains one of the most conservative states in the Union, with one of the least spendthrift state governments, so even just this one class certainly seems to make a difference. If more kids were familiarized with the realities of money, they’d be less likely to fall for the fallacies that fueled Obama’s rise, and Ocasio-Cortez’s notoriety.

God knows, if more school systems across the country required anything even remotely as effective as this one class in this one school district in Wyoming, the allure of socialism would be greatly diminished.

Not that that’s something educrats in other states would ever tolerate.


Thoughts My Brain Made, 13

If someone made me absolute ruler of the world — just gave me the keys and said, “You’re in charge, command it and it will be done” — I would make a list of all the people on earth who think they’re qualified to rule humanity, and I’d build a fleet of spaceships. I’d round up all those would-be world-rulers, put them on those spaceships, and launch them into the sun.

And then I would put the keys away, except that every so often I’d have to identify and round up a new crop of would-be world-rulers and build a new fleet of spaceships. That’s all I would use that power for — because trying to control all of humanity is pretty much the only reason anybody ever causes serious trouble in this world.

A mere serial killer may off a few dozen people before he’s stopped, but it takes a genuine do-gooder to kill millions at a time.


I Could Learn to Appreciate High School Basketball

Is March Madness over yet? Will the NBA title be decided before school gets out for the summer? I can never keep track of professional or college basketball, despite Charles’ best efforts to help. However, there’s a chance I may do better a few years from now if stories like this can serve as a gateway drug.

In March, the Wyoming Indian boys and girls both captured championships. Both championships game wins came in dramatic fashion, the WIHS boys beat Pine Bluffs in double overtime and the Lady Chiefs knocked off Southeast on a 3 point buzzer-beater.

Both WIHS boys and girls are no stranger to winning championships, but they had never done it in the same season.

Wyoming Indian High School is located in Ethete, a community on Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation with a predominantly Arapaho population. Basketball is highly popular on the reservation and in a wide variety of Indian communities across North America, including Interior Alaska where it offers young people something to do during long winter nights. Winters in Wyoming may not be as harsh, but life on a reservation in this day and age is tough enough even without 20-hour-long nights.

The high school’s football program, on the other hand, has struggled in recent years with poor records and lack of players. So, basketball it is.

Update, April 25: Wyoming’s high school sports authority offers relief to Wyoming Indian’s football program.


Look at Where You Are

Today I watched a Youtube video on a channel I subscribe to called Taofledermaus. In the course of explaining why he posted the video, Jeff mentioned that Youtube had been imposing new restrictions on gun-related channels like his.

At first, I got angry that Youtube is imposing viewpoint discrimination on its users — but then I remembered, Youtube's parent corporation, Google, does business all over the world, and has to try to satisfy the delicate sensibilities of everyone from effete European Union bureaucrats to vicious Iranian theocrats.

And it's occurred to me that much of the free-wheeling dynamism of the internet we used to know and love has vanished precisely because of this globalization of authority. Unfortunately it has meant a trend toward forcing content generators in the world's freest societies to be accountable to repressive police states despite never having come under their jurisdiction, nor ever planning to.

Well, this site is on a .us domain. Its owner, and the sole author of its content, is a citizen of, and resides in, the United States of America. The servers hosting this site are likewise located in the United States of America. The content of this site is intended for a U.S. audience.

If you're in a country that imposes limits on the content you're permitted to see, and you visit this site and see content that your government deems inappropriate for your eyes, it is you who have violated your country's laws. I'm way over here in America, and under my country's laws I haven't done a damn thing wrong.

If it bothers you that I can post things on an American website hosted in America and meant for Americans, that your government wouldn't allow you to post on a website in your country for your fellow citizens there, I submit that your problem isn't with me, nor with my government, and not even with my hosting provider.

You know what? If you're okay having your thoughts policed by your government, just go away and don't come back. And don't ever again visit a site whose domain URL ends in .us because that's kind of a giveaway that you're venturing into waters your government does not, and never will, control.


They’re Just on the Other Side

Every so often you hear people griping about how we need to "get money out of politics."

What they really mean is that they want to get the other side's money out of politics.

And they ain't on your side. They're never on your side.


Still Chugging Along, Unlike Certain Household Appliances

Oddly, right about the time the (Twenty-Five Percent of the) Government Shutdown began, leaving Mrs. McG's next paycheck in doubt, our retirement savings began to recover from a long and dispiriting decline started many months ago. The Dow may not like the uncertainty surrounding federal operations, but our investment managers seem to have chosen... more wisely.

The coincidental breakdown of our kitchen refrigerator (as opposed to the much older and simpler inherited one in the garage, which is still puttering along quite nicely, thank you for asking) will be addressed this week with the arrival of a new one Mrs. McG found on sale, saving us a couple of hundred dollars over the comparable not-on-sale units we had been considering. The about-to-be retired 1999 GE had stopped being a refigerator by virtue of no longer refrigerating, at the same time its freezer side barely retained its job title, and the automatic icemaker was found slumped at its desk when the office reopened after a long holiday weekend — nobody remembered having spoken to it since Thanksgiving.

In other fake news, the Dallas Cowboys beat the Los Angeles Rams so badly last night that the NFL has already awarded them the Lombardi trophy. Any reports you may see to the contrary are lies cooked up by the White House to distract America from triple-digit unemployment and the mass radiation-sickness die-offs along the West Coast as a result of the President's inept diplomacy with China and North Korea. This is CNN.


You Couldn’t Prove It by Me

It just occurred to me this evening that I couldn't remember the last time I saw one of these things around here. The brand is still out there, but they're suddenly sparse on the ground in our part of metro Atlanta.

I mentioned it to Mrs. McG and she suggested that there'd been a wind event of more than 20 miles per hour — maybe they'd all blown away — but I pointed out that we ought to have seen at least one stuck in a tree.

"Maybe," she replied, "the autumn leaves fell on them and crushed them."

Sounds plausible. Heck, I was surprised they withstood all the pine pollen.


Nothing to Lose Sleep Over

So, my local paper is running a poll:

The CDC has declared sleep deprivation a public health crisis. One-third of U.S. adults don’t get enough sleep, resulting in 1.23 million lost days of work per year and $400 billion in economic losses annually. Do you think you get enough sleep?

Maybe I've gotten old and cynical (you ever notice how those two adjectives go together — almost as if, once you've lived long enough, you see these things coming from a mile away?), but the first thing that popped into my mind on reading that was, "There's no way in hell I'm answering truthfully if it's going to contribute to another bogus public-health "crisis" they'll exploit to try to get some big new government program going."

Honestly, I think these people just lie awake nights trying to think of new ways to expand government power.


Thoughts My Brain Made, 12

America has been great all along — it's our elite institutions that got smaller.


Happy New Year

It seems lately every year has a worse reputation than the one before it, but I think it's just a nostalgia effect.

See, by the time any given period of upheaval has ended, people have gotten used to whatever weirdness has been going on, calling it "the new normal." Then some new weirdness comes along and the old weirdness actually seems normal by comparison. In reality though, the new weirdness isn't any worse than the old weirdness. It's just different.

2019's "new" weirdness will probably have a lot in common with the weirdnesses of 2015 and 2011, and less in common with those of 2017 or 2013, but in a world where tweets of 280 characters are TL;DR, it takes us dinosaurs to remember what was going on back then and recognize the similarities.

One truly unprecedented new weirdness is the Tally Book on Publii, which now includes Disqus comments, among other things. I hope it doesn't get a worse reputation than the previous incarnation — content from which can be rummaged here.