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2022

 


Thursday,  September 22, 2022

Equinox

I can see yellow leaves out my window.

Fall in the South — this part of the South, at least — is kind of frustrating. The diversity of trees and the gradual pace of cooling means that color just kind of straggles; there is no occasion where the colors just pop and dominate, as in, say, interior Alaska where there’s about ten days of brilliant color everywhere you look, before all the leaves fall and the world waits for winter snow.

Obviously a middle ground is best, in which leaves turn over the course of a month or so, a moving kaleidoscope of yellows for a while, joined and eventually replaced by red, and so on. Sadly, those places attract too much traffic during the peak.

But soon enough my favorite things about fall will appear: cooler temperatures and — I pray — a few months’ pause in political campaign ads.

Tagged as Boreblogger Nirvana




Sunday,  September 11, 2022

REMEMBER

The 9/11 Memorial’s interactive timeline.

It’s been twenty-one years.

Tagged as REMEMBER




Thursday,  September 8, 2022

God Save the King

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, has died. She was 96 years old.

Her eldest son, Charles Philip Arthur George, is now King Charles III.

Tagged as God Save the King




 

Britain Without Elizabeth?

Queen Elizabeth II's doctors have placed Her Majesty under “medical supervision,“ and members of her family are rushing to her side, all of which is being interpreted as meaning that the 96-year-old monarch, who has reigned now for over 70 years, may be on the threshold of departing from this mortal coil.

Since monarchs in the UK have no official political power, the people there will find their new prime minister, Liz Truss, to be of more actual consequence than a new king, but the living head of the royal family has a substantial impact on that family, and that will undoubtedly affect how Great Britain is perceived here in the States.

The face on the money will change, of course, and new official pronouncements will take on new official pronouns. The title and lyrics of the national anthem will even change. Some titles will be shuffled; the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will, of course, become King and Queen Consort, respectively, while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will become the Prince and Princess of Wales in their turn. The new King will be expected to confer his late father’s title, Duke of Edinburgh, on his younger brother Edward*.

Elizabeth became queen at the age of 25; Prince Charles will be 74 in November. His reign will necessarily be briefer than his mother’s, but if he matches her age before passing, Prince William will be in his 60s before taking the throne himself.

Tagged as God Save the Queen

 

Personal Reflections on Queen Elizabeth

Mother McG was born into a world that already had Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of York in it. I was born into a world where she was already the Queen over in London.

I am American because of decisions made by two of my ancestors. The more recent was made by my five-times-great grandfather, William McGehee of Shadwell, Virginia, to affix his mark or signature to a paper now styled as “the Albemarle Declaration,” which echoed locally in 1779 what had been declared three years earlier in Philadelphia for Virginia and 12 other colonies. Also affixed to the Albemarle Declaration was the signature of William’s neighbor and sometimes employer, Thomas Jefferson.

As this decision by William has been deemed of sufficient significance that it got me into Sons of the American Revolution, I honor it as part of my family’s heritage of patriotism.

Over a century earlier, William’s great grandfather, who also bore the name William, arrived in Virginia as an indentured servant. Family lore and historical context have led me to believe he, a Scot, was sent to Virginia by the regime of Oliver Cromwell after the 1652 battle at Worcester, the last clash in Charles II’s effort, at the head of a Scottish army, to oust his father’s murderer and restore the monarchy to England. Charles’ failure left Cromwell in power for many more years, giving him time and motivation to extend his rule to Scotland and Ireland. The king returned to Europe, many of his higher-ranking officers were executed, and as after previous battles the rank and file soldiers of the defeated were sent to the colonies.

Where my ggggg-grandfather rebelled against his King, his progenitor had risked his life, and in a way given it up, for his. That’s mixed up — but the common thread is patriotism. The younger William declared his loyalty to America, the country to which his ancestral William had been exiled because of his loyalty to Scotland and its by-then English king.

What does all this have to do with a woman who was born in the 1920s? Heritage, and history. Scotland is ancestral to me. So is Great Britain, as mother country to the colony of Virginia and of what is now the United States of America. Whatever I may think of modern Scotland’s current socialist leanings and Woke sensibilities, whatever I may think of monarchy and the unchecked power of Winchester-style parliamentary government, they are ancestral to me, a fact that cannot be disavowed simply because I don’t like certain things they did or represented.

Likewise, I have individual ancestors with less admirable traits. Even William McGehee of Shadwell had his bad traits, some of which were catalogued in a letter written by none other than Thomas Jefferson to a neighbor who had asked for a reference on my ancestor. If Jefferson’s assessment of my ggggg-grandfather's character was accurate, he would not have been a pleasant man to work beside. But his flaws were his own, and I can acknowledge him as my ancestor without embracking the entirety of his conduct.

Many of my ancestors, in that and other lines, were slaveowners. Some treated their slaves even worse than was tne norm among slaveowners in those times. I cannot expunge them from my blood; but I can take solace that my great great grandfather and two of his brothers wore Union blue in the Civil War, rather than the Confederate gray many others of my surname wore in that conflict, and I can be firm in my reaolve that involuntary life servitude for race, or for blood or conscience, should never be resurrected in my country.

We do not control our past. Only the present; through that, we can shape the future. The past is more than prologue, it is education — if we accept the instruction.

Some would say that my Irish blood, of which I have much, should make me anti-English. Some would say that because my ancestor was uprooted from his country by a government based in London, that I should be anti-British. I’ll concede that both those things in my heritage leave me contemptuous of Oliver Cromwell, but he’s long dead, and I am content to let God settle his hash.

Queen Elizabeth has never given me offense. King Charles has little power to do me inconvenience of any kind. The British people have their foibles that in turns annoy and entertain me, but if I can honor William of Shadwell despite his vices, I can give the British my condolences in their time of national grief, as they did to us after the events of September 11, 2001.

Tagged as Put On Your Waders




Thursday,  September 1, 2022

Biden Is a Thug

Update, after Joe’s Nuremberg rally: Holy shit.

History repeats — first as tragedy, then as farce.

This is the farce.

'Nother update, next day:

Tagged as The Lowest Form of Comedy




Wednesday,  August 17, 2022

28.7%

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming has been a person of interest on this blog since January of last year. Yesterday, Wyoming held its primary election for 2022, and even with rampant crossover voting solicited by the incumbent in an effort to rescue her from the wrath of her fellow Republicans, she was only able to achieve 28.7% of the total vote.

While the media call that a defeat, many online commentators are calling it a resounding repudiation. After Cheney turned her congressional career into a monomaniacal effort to punish former President Donald Trump for the imagined crime of attempting to overthrow the Constitution on January 6, 2021, she was stripped of her position as Republican Conference Chair, drummed out of the Wyoming Republican Party, and targeted for defeat by Trump, who endorsed Harriet Hageman for the nomination in her place. Hageman collected 65.7% of the vote in the primary, and will face Democrat Lynette Greybull in November.

Democrats, the media, and Swamp critters of all stripes (but I repeat myself) are now urging Cheney to run for president and ahemming that the GOP will one day regret ousting her.

It remains to be seen whether her ego, and her blinding hatred of Trump and the people who support him, have left her with an even bigger political death wish than we’ve already seen from her. If she had enough sense to avoid the trap, she would have known better than to burn every bridge in the Cowboy State that her father’s name had once held open for her. Now, thanks to her, those bridges are closed to her father as well.

Tagged as Out West, The Lowest Form of Comedy




Thursday,  August 4, 2022

One Year Later

...more or less. After all, today is the anniversary of the late Mrs. McG’s collapse, which proved to be irreversible. It has come to be the day I associate with having lost her because, well, that’s what happened. The subsequent hours in the hospital ER weren’t going to save her.

Over the months I have dreamed about her pretty regularly. In most dreams her presence is accepted as unremarkable; she hasn’t been away at all. Those dreams occur in an alternate reality where the events of last August 4 and 5 simply never happened. A few dreams, though, happen in a magical realm in which her absence, though real, was reversible — my dream persona wasn’t clear on where she’d been, but was profoundly happy to have her back.

The most recent dream in which she appeared, I think less than a week ago, was... a bit weird. Her reason for having been gone gone involved, apparently, a second husband — whom she had now left to come back to me. She was happy, healthy, and a source of joy and hope for the future.

I have no idea what to make of that one, any more than any of the previous ones.

Last night, though, was very much a first, and that it happened last night feels like it means something. In this dream, not only wasn’t she there, but I knew why she wasn’t there. It was definite and not subject to interpretation: she had passed away and wasn’t coming back. It was, not a major plot point in the dream, but an integral part of the backstory of what was happening. The overall dream was bittersweet, but forward-looking.

On the one hand, it seems that my subconscious has finally come to terms with what happened a year ago, and although I will probably still dream about her, even in the dream I’ll know that her presence is anomalous, and why. After all, other lost loved ones have contnued to appear in my dreams even after I’ve accepted the loss, and she is unlikely to be any different.

It just seems odd this dream comes so soon after the previous one. It’s almost like emotional whiplash to go from “she’s back!” to “she’s never coming back” in two dreams one right after another.

If dreams carry messages, these two clearly have very different meanings, and I can only assume with very different contexts. The only thing they seemed to have in common was the future; both took it as a given that there is one.

Tagged as REMEMBER




Monday,  July 25, 2022

I’ll Call It What It Is

BrandonCorp, the collective flustercuck of a “presidency” nominally headed by the empty-headed Meat Puppet of the United States, has decided that the recession we’re in isn’t really a recession — because they can redefine the word and the Gaslight Media won’t call them on it.

It has long been a core principle of The McGehee Media Complex (consisting of me) that the ruling class can call it (whatever “it” might happen to be) whatever they like, but we (consisting of me) will call it what it is.

And the economic shambles wrought upon this country by Shamblin’ Joe is Joe Biden’s No Good, Very Bad, Totally Avoidable and Completely Unnecessary Recession That He Caused.

So that’s what I’m calling it. You are of course perfectly welcome to do the same.

Tagged as The Lowest Form of Comedy




Saturday,  July 23, 2022

Yippee-ki-yay, My Friends!

Today is the National Day of the Cowboy. Celebrate by tuning in to the Cowboy Channel and watching the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Today is a day for eating beef and thanking God you’re an American. Or, if you aren’t an American, for wishing you were. God is good and He just might grant your wish.

Tagged as Yippee-ki-yay!




Sunday,  July 10, 2022

I’ve Given, Have You?

Make a contribution here.

Update: Goal reached, fundraiser closed.

Tagged as Help a Friend




Wednesday,  July 6, 2022

SMH

Some of the self-proclaimed Trump supporters I encounter in comment threads seem to have just as low an opinion of other Trump supporters as the Trump-haters do, just expressed differently.

It makes me wonder about them.

Tagged as Boreblogger Nirvana




Independence Day,  July 4, 2022

246

Read a transcript of the Declaration of Good Riddance to Tyranny Independence here, or an image of its 1823 “facsimile” by clicking below. (The original is faded, making digital images, at least the ones I’ve seen, extremely difficult to read.)

With God’s blessing, may it endure and prevail.

Tagged as America




Saturday,  July 2, 2022

Yoinked

Saw this in a comment thread at Instapundit.

So of course I had to appropriate it.

I confess the third item under “Yes” cuts a little close to home even now, but I think I’ve healed enough to be able to handle it.

Tagged as Boreblogger Nirvana




Friday,  June 24, 2022

‘Bye, Roe v. Wade

Former Chief Justice Warren Berger tried the very same tactic to justify stealing Americans’ individual right to keep and bear arms, but he didn’t get near as much traction; dissenting minds, including a certain University of Tennessee law professor, fought back and created a building momentum back to the plain reading of the Second Amendment, making yesterday’s Bruen ruling inevitable.

There had been popular and legislative movement against Roe too — including by none other than the late liberal SCOTUS icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who unequivocally declared it bad law — but I confess that I did not foresee Dobbs finishing up this way before the draft opinion leak last month.

In any case, bad reasoning is mortal. It may live for decades, but eventually it too must die, just as did Dred Scott.

Tagged as The Lowest Form of Comedy, Justice Prevails




Saturday,  June 11, 2022

The Century

How many computers do you own?

Forty years ago or so, that would have been an easy question to answer, since the only computing power most people owned was powered by a 9-volt battery and could ride around in their shirt pockets.

Or did it? Maybe it also rode around on their wrists. And if they were early adopters there might have been an actual personal computer on a desk or tabletop in a spare room.

These days, there are computers in your car, in your microwave oven, your TV, your DVR, your various streaming devices — and of course your phone. Maybe your refrigerator, your coffeemaker, obviously your wi-fi router and any network-access hard drive you've connected to it.

Your doorbell? Your garage door opener? Your marketing eavesdropping device from Amazon or Google, of course. Your e-reader. Hell, your Christmas lights!

Your clock radio. Your portable music player, and probably a separate one in your wireless earbuds. You may have computers in your table lamps. Your washer and dryer...

While most of these domestic computers are fundamentally limited and air-gapped, many are not. Yes, the vulnerabilities associated with the Internet of Things are well-known, and for most people they represent a calculated risk, much as does reading your credit-card number over the phone to a telemarketer. And in these days of hyperinflation, runaway violent crime, and the threat of nuclear war, the risk of electronic intrusion may seem to fade into background noise; who has the time or energy to worry about some hacker hijacking your home security system?

The would-be intruders know that too.

Pleasant dreams.

Tagged as Boreblogger Nirvana




Memorial Day,  May 30, 2022

Courtesy of Doc

Stolen from The Whiteboard webcomic. Check it out.

Tagged as Remember




Wednesday,  May 25, 2022

As Simple as That

Tagged as The Lowest Form of Comedy




Monday,  May 16, 2022

Thinking a Thunk

What if I were to re-home my website on a host that supported the necessary software for a true CMS-supported blog, complete with comments?

Almost nobody reads blogs anymore, and of my blog there’s no “almost” about it. Would that change if I had comments? No — the last comments I ever received when I did support feedback were from one or another of two readers, one of whom has passed away, the other seems to have gone offline and is probably happier because of it.

There’s also the small matter of my not having enough to say to keep people clicking in, should they ever stumble on my site in the first place. Any fans I might have would be perfectly safe avoiding the place but once a month or so. Once a week if they’re obsessive-compulsive.

Still, I’m having the thought. It would mean more excuses to fiddle with the innards, which would only serve to distract me even more from other things I could be devoting my limited energies to. It would add to my monthly costs, since I wouldn’t give up my current host entirely (they’re excellent for email, while more conventional domain hosts are merely okay at best).

Most blogging platforms don’t offer the flexibility to retain the page design I prefer — the canned themes are unimaginative, and adapting the CMS tags to a sandbox-created personal theme is grueling work that can sometimes be completely undone by a single software update.

Go to all that trouble and dyspepsia to let random internet strangers dump all over my website (assuming they even find it)?

Tough call.

Tagged as Boreblogger Nirvana




Wednesday,  May 4, 2022

What’s New?

Anything been happening this week?

Tagged as Boreblogger Nirvana




Monday,  April 26, 2022

Just Chill

It took a while, but it finally occurred to me that with only one of us left to receive DVDs from Netflix (with the slight monthly savings that implies), I wasn’t availing myself of the service enough to justify continuing to pay for it. So I no longer do.

Before Mrs. McG passed away, we had quite a few Netflix originals — or programs that went to Netflix after being canceled by their original channel — on our viewing list, but by last August there were only two such programs, and one of those (which had only interested me anyway) ran its final season months ago. The remaining program, “The Crown,” has fallen prey to Netflix’s habit of taking up to two years to produce a new season, and given that next season’s subject matter will be the same as in Helen Mirren’s movie The Queen, which I’ve already seen, I had no particular incentive to keep watching the Netflix series.

Throw in the fact that the dearth of interesting content was coinciding with Netflix raising its subscription rates, and the solution was obvious. That it also finally deprives Barack and Michelle Obama of money from my pocket is pure gravy.

I have other sources of entertainment — not even counting the Left’s meltdown over Elon Musk buying Twitter — so it’s not as if I’m going to be spending my evenings twiddling my thumbs. I still have my Paramount-random-math-symbol subscription, which will pay off soon with the debut of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.” And someday “The Expanse” and “Britannia” will be back with new episodes on their respective streaming channels.

The money I’m no longer sending to Netflix will help pay for those subscriptions.

Tagged as Boreblogger Nirvana




Sunday,  April 10, 2022

Your Utopia

Long ago — or perhaps someday in the future — a patrician presented himself before a crowd of the hoi polloi and exhorted them to join the elite’s project to transform the country into a utopia, a perfect society where everyone worked at what he was best qualified to do, and all decisions were made to promote the common good.

“Who will decide what the common good is?” asked a member of the crowd.

“They who have the requisite education and background will be best qualified to make such determinations,” the patrician assured him.

“Who among us now has such qualifications?” asked another peasant.

“We,” said the patrician, with a show of humility, “but one of the changes we will make is to provide all — your own children, and all children thereafter — with access to the same education, if they show aptitude for it.”

“What will they be taught?”

“They will become fully versed in the ideas and principles underlying the model on which our perfect society is to be based,” replied the patrician. “Old ideas that undermine the quest for perfection will necessarily be deprecated.”

“Old ideas?” asked someone in the back of the crowd. “Can you give examples of some old ideas that must be discarded?”

“There are some superstitious notions about an afterlife where all injustices will be resolved. This encourages people to accept injustices rather than to fight them. In a perfect society, injustice cannot be tolerated.” The patrician saw the people in the crowd exchanging glances, and was pleased that he was reaching his audience. “We would also teach your children that divided loyalties are to be avoided. Their first and only allegiance must be to the common good on which our society will depend.”

The people were murmuring among themselves, and the patrician was certain they were murmurs of approval. “Our new society will also require that resources be distributed according to the common good. The fruit of every person’s labor must go to enrich every person, to address every person’s needs, to uplift every man, woman, and child.”

The crowd’s reaction to this became louder, making the patrician hesitate.

A man said, “It sounds as if, in order to create this perfect society you envision, we must reject all that we have believed and held dear throughout our lives — God, family, liberty — and embrace what you believe and hold dear.”

The patrician was relieved. “Yes, yes. For it is our ideas and principles that will make it possible.”

“But there are more of us than there are of you,” countered someone else. “Wouldn’t it be simpler for you to reject your ideas and embrace ours?”

“But your ideas are... icky! They’re rooted in the muck and grime of the past! They’re all sweat and stink and dirty fingernails!”

“They work!”

“Like us!”

“The new ideas will work too!” argued the patrician. “You just need to give them a chance.”

“We gave them a chance in my father’s time,” retorted someone.

“And in my grandfather’s time!”

“And before that too! Every time, they have failed!”

The patrician was beside himself. “The ideas didn’t fail! You failed the ideas! You failed us!”

And then the stones flew.

The Russian Tsars were overthrown because while the empire’s elites bought in to Peter the Great’s Westernization project, the peasantry never did — and the divide between the Russian elites and the Russian people only got wider over the next two centuries.

The Soviet Union’s party elites sought to lead the entire world — a world Russia had never been a part of — into Communism.

Our own elites are trying to rule an America they despise.

It won’t work. It never has.

Tagged as McGesop’s Fables




Tuesday,  April 5, 2022

It Won’t Happen

But if it does...

Oh, you want to know what “it” is? “It” is Liz Cheney somehow winning the Republican nomination for another two-year term occupying Wyoming’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. It won’t happen, but if it does, there is an alternative that doesn’t require voting for a Democrat or a dopehead.

The Constitution Party is often described by emphasizing — some would say overemphasizing — its reliance on the Christian Bible, but the party actually shed most of its religious underpinnings 22 years ago when some members split off to form the Christian Liberty Party.

It wouldn’t be my first choice of an alternative party over the Republicans, even if Liz Cheney’s swamp faction were back in control of the latter — but I would certainly rank it higher than the Libertarian Party, whose platform has ceased to be very libertarian over the last few election cycles. But when self-described “anarchists“ are demanding more government, and “anti-racists” are preaching race-hate and segregation, what can you expect?.

Anyway, voters in August’s Wyoming Republican primary need only bounce Miz Liz to the curb, to give their party the best chance of keeping that seat. But I’m reasonably confident that if Cheney were renominated, Marissa Selvig would be the choice in November most in line with Wyoming, and Republicans.

Tagged as Way Out West, The Lowest Form of Comedy




Monday,  March 21, 2022

Thoughts My Brain Made, 16

“Normalcy bias” is the tendency, when assessing the likely result of unusual events, to bias one’s expectations toward an outcome that is less different from the status quo ante rather than more.

If there is an apt opposite of normalcy bias, I would call it “doom bias,” the tendency to expect the most drastic possible change to result from events, rather than the least. Promoters of catastrophic antropogenic climate change are one example of a group given to doom bias, as are those sometimes referred to on other websites as “covidiots” or “Branch Covidians” — their response to news of a purported threat is to assume that things can only get worse at an accelerating rate.

A more correct response to normalcy bias, though, might be the “Overton window” assumption, wherein changes of any degree are seen as shifting the public’s acceptance of what is “normal” in a particular direction. If the events leading to such a shift are brought about intentionally, it can reasonably be expected that more such events may also be engineered.

However, the Overton window assumption can still lead to conclusions subject to either normalcy or doom bias; in the latter, one overestimates the forces engineering shifts in what is considered normal, while in the former one overestimates the safeguards that would resist such shifts.

My own sense is that if there are deliberate attempts ongoing to move the Overton window in a certain direction — toward less individual liberty, say, and more collectivism — the engineers may be overestimating their ability to achieve this shift based on an isolated perspective.

I have opined in the past that

Fringe opinion in America is what fringe opinion in America has always been, and its embrace by the political, media and even business elites cannot change that. Educational experimentalists may detach or devalue the fundamental tenets of America’s self-image, but they are ingrained too deeply to be uprooted in a generation or two.

As a people, Americans are comfortable in their own skins. They may play along with fashion or fad just for the fun of it, but it’s a mistake to confuse their willingness to stray from their comfort zone, with a willingness to discard it altogether in favor of one prescribed from an ivory tower.

Maybe it’s my normalcy bias at work, but I stand by this opinion, even seven and a half years later.

Tagged as Put on Your Waders




Thursday,  March 10, 2022

I Smell a Ratski

The unrelenting Rusprop now has me wondering how much of the common perception of U.S. political corruption is real, and how much a result of battlespace preparation by Russian propagandists to create a perception of moral equivalence between America and Putin’s Russia.

I previously marveled at the audacity of the all-out Ukraine invasion, and wondered whether Putin perceived a narrow window of opportunity that might close before, say, the 2024 U.S. presidential election. Now I’m wondering whether the window might be closing this November, when the outcome would contradict much of the electoral defeatism whipped up on the right since the result of the 2020 election.

Is it possible Putin expects this fall’s outcome to restore American self-confidence?

So much of the Putin-apologia seems to hinge on the portrayal of American and Western politics as irredeemably corrupt and unworthy of support. If Putin has been watching the U.S. polls and the off-year election results, he’d have to know everything is about to change over here, in a big way.

Only another blatantly stolen election could possibly prevent his most potent rivals from regaining our footing and getting back in his face. He needed — still needs — to complete his conquest of Ukraine irreversibly before November.

Of course, if he’s still struggling to win that battle in eight months’ time, another bad election here won’t save him.

Tagged as The Churn




Saturday,  March 5, 2022

Absolutely Not

Intervene directly in Ukraine?

With a shambling revenant as Commander-in-Chief and a pandering pansy as chairman of the joint chiefs? With our supply chain still in meltdown and us dependent on foreign oil instead of enjoying the energy independence we had under President Trump?

Are you out of your fucking mind?

Listen, you swamp-dwellers, you created this mess by installing Flatline in the Oval Office because you didn’t like Trump’s public demeanor — trashing all the good things he brought about that had America strong and getting stronger. You’re responsible for the twitching ineffectuality that emboldened Putin.

You don’t get to remedy your idiotic 2020 mistake by sending thousands of America’s best to die in Europe, with the attendant risk of millions more dying in cities around the world — including the ones YOU and I live in.

It’s sad that Ukrainians have to suffer because of your folly, but how could spreading that suffering to our own shores possibly assuage your guilt?

Sit down, shut up, and await your medicine. The American people will deal with you just as soon as they’re able.

Tagged as The Churn




Sunday,  February 27, 2022

When You’re Chasin’ the Crown, but You Just Get Bogged Down

I don’t know what’s going to happen in Ukraine. Until it actually happened, I didn’t believe there would be an invasion. Perhaps I underestimated Putin’s illusions about his place in the 21st-century world, but Ukraine’s resistance actually seems to have stiffened European resolve to stand up to Putin, so maybe he’ll get the disillusionment he needs before it’s over. Maybe.

A lot of people seem to be embracing Putin’s justifications for the invasion, either because of their reflexive antipathy to the Western Derp State (understandable and deserved) which they associate with Ukraine, and a simple-minded one-dimensional view of the world (infantile and, did I mention simple-minded?), or because they’re just pro-Putin for other reasons. It has the same effect either way, until events conspire to expose the willing fellow travelers.

Only a fool takes anything from any institutional source at face value. Every government, every corporation, every institution of any kind has an angle it’s pursuing in its presentation of any message, however innocuous. It boggles my mind to see commentary from otherwise intelligent, sophisticated consumers of information, waxing nostalgic for a nonexistent past in which “the media” could be trusted. C’mon people, even Walter Cronkite was a willing liar.

I don’t know whether the Ukrainian government is as corrupt and brutal as they say. The Ukrainian people aren’t welcoming the Russians as liberators, and the entire population of Ukraine can’t be corrupt. So, we look upon this in the same way that we would look upon a home invasion — and many of the same people defending Putin’s actions would argue, as many of us do, that no-knock raids by police here in America are no better than criminal home invasions.

Putin’s plan was for a quick win. He hasn’t gotten it. His hope was for a fait accompli before the European powers (such as they are) could come to a decision what to do about it. He hasn’t gotten it. Faced with these setbacks, he must either continue to escalate, or back down in a way that doesn’t leave him badly weakened at home (that train may have already left the station), and his escalation options are more limited, I think, than most people assume.

I don’t know what will happen in Ukraine. I think it’s fair to guess what’s likely to happen in Moscow afterward, though. And I don’t think it’s premature to start looking around for who will emerge in a post-Putin Russia.

Tagged as The Churn




Tuesday,  February 22, 2022

Bounce the Checks

Does social media make people crazy, or do people make social media crazy?

The easy and glib answer is, “Embrace the healing power of AND.”

It’s also the true answer, no surprise. All kinds of people flocked to social media when they emerged on the internet, but then a winnowing process began. Partly a process of altering people’s online behavior, and partly a process of driving away people who didn’t want to behave that way, it has had the effect of turning social media into a virtual-reality Bedlam Asylum, a Pandæmonium worthy of Milton himself.

It’s unfortunate that the increasingly anomalous atmosphere of social media is seen by so many to exemplify the way people interact in the real world — especially to the extent that it informs their own real-world interactions.

Every generation has its social revolutions that previous generations look upon askance, worrying whatever will become of a world in which such things are tolerated, but I’m hard-pressed to regard social media as just another subject of generational fear and loathing. While it’s true that civilization’s Deep Thinkers have deplored the coarsening of discourse for decades, those same classes have embraced social media and its impact on society, confirming the suspicion that their former complaints were not about true incivility, but about the lack of reflexive deference those of lower perceived status showed them. We not only dared to think ourselves their equals, thwarting their self-images, but we insisted on thinking for ourselves.

Social media started out as something of an actual meritocracy, where one could accumulate clout by attracting followers. The would-be elites didn’t like that, and so along came The Blue Check, a special badge of extra importance that identified those who deserved more clout than just any random user who just happened to have a lot of followers. Once the social networks bought into this social credit system, it was inevitable that the political preferences of The Blue Checks would skew the application of “community standards.”

In recent times, social media have become targets of a growing backlash, such that Facebook has begun losing money and Twitter is faced with wider and more determined competition from rival networks that, we hope, will avoid The Blue Check sickness.

I wish I were confident that any of these responses will be enough by themselves to reverse the trend toward authoritarianism and totalitarianism, both online and in meatspace. I fear it will take a generations-long struggle to pry humanity out of the vise it has put itself in.

Tagged as The Lowest Form of Comedy, Put on Your Waders




Wednesday,  February 16, 2022

Fight or Be Damned

I sent money, via GiveSendGo, to the Canadian Freedom Convoy — before Canadian Prime Sphincter Fidelito Trudeau undertook to treat these peaceful Canadian citizens, who are merely expressing an opinion shared by most of their countrymen, as domestic terrorists (sound familiar?).

Besides efforts by Ottawa-controlled banks and the Canadian judicial system to seize those funds, some hacker broke into GiveSendGo's systems and obtained information about Freedom Convoy donors in an apparent attempt to intimidate potential future donors against using the service to support these working people’s demand to be heard.

I’ve just received GiveSendGo’s response to the breach:

Sunday evening, February 13th, GiveSendGo was attacked by malicious actors attempting to eliminate the ability of its users to raise funds. There was a broadcasted breach showing one such actor illegally hacking into GiveSendGo and distributing the names and emails of the donors of the Freedom Convoy Campaign.

However, no credit card information was leaked. No money was stolen.

GiveSendGo has a dedicated team aggressively focused on identifying these malicious actors and pursuing actions against their cybercrime. At the time of the intrusion, GiveSendGo’s security team immediately shut down the site to prevent further illegal actions against our site. We have also performed many security audits to ensure the security of the site before bringing the site back online.

We are in a battle. We didn’t expect it to be easy. This has not caused us to be afraid. Instead, it’s made it even more evident that we can not back down. Thank you for your continued support, prayers and the countless emails letting us know you are standing with us.

It’s refreshing to see an organization that’s willing to resist the shock troops of the Fascist Left. I may make another donation.

Tagged as The Streaming Beagles (101st Chairborne)




Tuesday,  February 15, 2022

Whiskers

With apologies to Gerome Ragni, James Rado, The Cowsills, and music lovers everywhere.

She was disgraced
By my hairy face
It’s hairy noon and nighty-night-night
It’s such a fright
It’s hairy high and low
Don’t ask me why
‘Cause I don’t know

Gimme a face with whiskers
Long, bristly whiskers
Shining, gleaming, streamin' flaxen waxen
Gimme ‘em out to there (Whiskers!)
Extendin’ over my shoulders (Whiskers!)
Here baby, there momma, everywhere daddy daddy
Whiskers whiskers whiskers whiskers whiskers whiskers whiskers
Billow like a willow, spawled across my pillow, my whiskers

I feel ‘em flutter in the breeze
They get wet when I sneeze
Go crackle when they freeze, my whiskers
Crackle when they freeze
Get big-bushy when I say 'CHEESE'
A perch for birds
There are no words for the sheer, awesome magnificence
Of my whiskers whiskers whiskers whiskers whiskers whiskers whiskers
Billow like a willow, spawled across my pillow, my whiskers

Oh say, can you see my mouth
If you can my mustache is too small
Out to here
Out to there
Out to there
Out to where they stop by themselves
Don’t never have to trim ‘em ‘cause they stop by themselves

So gimme a face with whiskers
Long, bristly whiskers
Shining, gleaming, streamin' flaxen waxen
Won’t you gimme ‘em out to there (Whiskers!)
Extendin’ over my shoulders (Whiskers!)
Here baby, there momma, everywhere daddy daddy
Whiskers whiskers whiskers whiskers whiskers whiskers whiskers
Billow like a willow, spawled across my pillow, my whiskers

Meh.

Tagged as Musical Offenses




Wednesday,  February 10, 2022

HONK

Tagged as The Streaming Beagles (101st Chairborne)



Wednesday,  February 2, 2022

Prairie Dog Day?

Out in Lander, Wyoming, there’s a statue beside the highway of “Lander Lil,” who may be a groundhog, or a prairie dog*, but the statue stands in for the traditional weather-forecasting varmint on February 2.

Above you see what Lander Lil is faced with this morning in Lander. I’d say she probably didn’t see her shadow. To see a live-ish view of the intersection where Lil holds court, you can click the image. She’s in one of the views on that page; if you click here I’ve circled her in red in a saved pic.

As you know, folklore holds that if the appointed rodent sees its shadow on Groundhog Day, winter weather will continue right up to the equinox — but if not, spring will come early.

Looks like spring will be coming early this year to that part of Wyoming.

Update: *She’s a prairie dog.

Tagged as Way Out West




Saturday,  January 29, 2022

Agency Is a Choice

If this world is a gigantic computer simulation, you either have personal agency, or you serve the needs of the game. If you’re not a player, you're a plot device — in someone else’s narrative.

If you’re unable or unwilling to challenge the ideas presented to you by those in authority, you are not a player.

Tagged as Put on Your Waders



It No Longer Swings To and Fro

Oh my whiskers are quite appalling
All across my face they’re sprawling
But the mustache really suits me so
Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow

As my face becomes old and gristly
So my facial hair gets bristly
It no longer swings to and fro
Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow

It's been years since I was kissed good night
Girls say it's like kissing a broom
If just one can get past the fright
I'll be a distinguished groom

When I'm a few more years older
It'll reach out past my shoulders
Maybe on each end I'll tie a bow
Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow!

Tagged as Musical Offenses




Thursday,  January 27, 2022

Today Is “Everybody Blog About Mass Formation Psychosis” Day

Fomented by Stacy McCain, the idea is to call attention to the theory underlying why so many people are so thoroughly devoted to the notion of COVID-19 as a death plague, that those who encouraged this point of view are now powerless to dissuade them.

While I’m sympathetic to the idea, I’m inclined to write about a different aspect of the issue — though part of McCain’s call, it won’t deal with sociological forces but simply describe my own reasons for not having been vaccinated.

Back in... April, I think? I had an opportunity to receive the Moderna vaccine. I went to the site and told the receptionist why I was there, waited for someone to call me back for a shot. An hour later I left, unjabbed. That was as close as I ever came to being medically immunized — if it would even have worked — against COVID-19.

As a matter of habit, I’m not against vaccinations. I don’t bother with annual flu vaccines only because I don’t see much point in being vaccinated against something that I’ve already had repeatedly in my life and never suffered much with even when I got a secondary sinus infection back in the late 1980s. Yes, the infection was bad, but it went away just like the flu had. I lived with it the way I had learned to live with colds and the flu while growing up, before anybody ever had the idea of a flu vaccine.

I’ve been vaccinated for all of the childhood diseases they had vaccines for when I was little, and that I hadn’t already had by the time the vaccines became available. I’ve been vaccinated for polio and diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (and gotten boosters at least for tetanus). I’ve been getting vaccinated against hepatitis B and pneumonia in the last year or so.

When a medical blathering head spoke on TV last year about “incentives” to be vaccinated against COVID (after I had already walked out on the Moderna opportunity), red flags went up. When I was getting jabbed as a kid, the only incentive that was required was you wouldn’t get the disease. The concession that grown men and women would have to be offered a figurative lollipop to get the COVID jab struck me as suspicious.

Let me be honest here: I don’t really even care at this point whether there’s anything bad about the vaccines. If the vaccines are or are not causing heart problems in otherwise young, healthy people, is a matter of impersonal interest at most for me in my present condition. It bothers me that apparently people who’ve been vaccinated are far more likely to come down with the Omicron variant than the unjabbed, but the prospect of spending a couple of weeks suffering from a bad cold — which is pretty much what Omicron is — doesn’t scare me.

But all that being the case, what would be the point? To win the approval of other laypeople who would judge me harshly for being unvaxxed? My doctors and nurses aren’t the least bit concerned about my vax status. They know that natural immunity is better than any vaccine, and they know Omicron isn’t dangerous.

I live in my body, and you live in yours. If you’re vaccinated you should be safe from me. If you’re vaccinated and still not safe from me, maybe it’s not my fault.

Update: McCain’s Thursday post is here.

Tagged as The Streaming Beagles (101st Chairborne)




Friday,  January 21, 2022

Cowboy Wisdom

Electing a politician is like buying a horse. You have to break him to saddle and ride him regular-like, otherwise all you’ve done is bought dog food on the hoof.

If you slap your brand on a fleabag and turn him out to pasture and leave him there, don’t complain when all he does is cost you money.

Tagged as Boreblogger Nirvana




Tuesday,  January 18, 2022

Sam Elliott’s Losing No Sleep

The Mustache Who Must Be Obeyed™ is bigger than ever before, but I think it needs a few more months yet to achieve its full potential.

Even so, I decided to update my pic in the sidebar over there with the current whiskerage. Lousy light and even worse subject matter make it really not ready for prime time. Maybe this summer I’ll be able to get someone to snap a decent pic with what ought by then to be an even more impressive soup strainer.

The less of my face that shows, the better you’ll like it.

Update: A few days later, a new pic with better light. And my hat.

Tagged as Boreblogger Nirvana




Thursday,  January 13, 2022

I Hear the Dire Wolves Howling

Winter is coming! My neck of the woods is expected to get snow and/or ice this weekend.

I hadn’t tuned in to a weather forecast in months until Tuesday night, just in time to hear about a coming winter blast. It’s been a while since this area has received frozen precipitation, and I’ve gotten into the habit of avoiding driving soon after such storms because I don’t have studded tires to put on my car, and people around here have essentially zero experience in dealing with icy roads. It doesn’t matter how well I can drive in those conditions (and I’m badly out of practice after 20-plus years in the South) if any unwary local can crash into me.

Anyway, this is as good an excuse as any to repost my winter song. Apologies, as always, to Simon, Garfunkel, and music lovers everywhere.

Hello winter, my old friend
I see you’ve come around again
Tomorrow there will be some rain dripping
And that night so many cars slipping
On these roads, narrow, winding and all too dark
A skating park
And the sound
Of sirens

Will echo through the chilly night
And we will see the flashing lights
Reflected on the fenders all wrinkled
Yet so pretty with the snow sprinkled
While the victims stand exchanging insurance cards
In nearby yards
To the sound
Of sirens

If I were you I’d hesitate
To get onto the interstate
Because you know it won’t be heavenly
Skidding sideways going seventy
Knowing it will end with a hollow, crashing thud
And spurting blood
And then the sound
Of sirens.

Maybe Old Man Winter will go easy on us, but that’s never the smart way to bet.

Update: The channel I consulted was not the one that names winter storms. In case you were wondering.

Update, Saturday afternoon: Worst case would have been freezing rain, but while most of the forecast precipitation is rain, we’re not looking likely to get temperatures below freezing. Which also means that however much snow we may get, it’s unlikely to accumulate.

We shall see.

Update, Sunday afternoon: It’s been snowing off and on, lightly and less lightly, for hours now — and still no accumulation. We haven’t been below freezing yet.

Tagged as Mother****ing Nature, Musical Offenses




Friday,  January 7, 2022

Distance

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but I’ve noticed that when I see a piece of news or a funny meme that I would have reflexively shared with Mrs. McG, I no longer have to experience that brief jolt of intense sadness upon realizing she isn’t here to share it with anymore.

That’s a step forward in the grieving process, surely. I still miss her terribly, and when I’m reminded of the loss in deeper ways I still get that upwelling of sadness that I can’t imagine ever going away completely — but the pain is becoming more of a background noise that is a lot more manageable now.

Tagged as Milestones




Sunday,  January 2, 2022

A Man’s Gotta Know His Limits

I’ve gone back to NextCloud for a couple of things that I’d liked about my previous try — the calendar and the notes app. And since this is a different host I hope that the issues that drove me off my previous NextCloud host won’t arise here.

I’m not using this NextCloud host for file storage, since I have a seemingly perfectly good NAS setup up and running. Thanks to my ISP I can’t access the NAS outside of my own home LAN, but that’s okay because the NAS is there as a backup in case of hard-drive failure on my laptop. And not needing file storage on NextCloud means I can get what I want from it without paying for it.

The free NextCloud account does offer up to (giggle) two gigabytes of storage, which is less than I have on any of my conventional cloud accounts, free or otherwise. Even on Dropbox I have almost seven. Google offers 15 GB free but I don't use it.

The best free cloud service I use is Mega, on which I have 50 GB for free, though that’s grandfathered; if you signed up now you’d only get 20.

That’s still better than Google, even besides the advantage of not being Google.

Tagged as Boreblogger Nirvana




New Year’s Day,  January 1, 2022

Happy New Year

I second this New Year wish from Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds: “May 2022 be less stupid than the preceding years.”

Tagged as Wishcasting



 

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