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!


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.

Fall Color in Alaska

It’s probably more accurately categorized as “The High Latitude Life” though.

I’m not 100% sure exactly where this “Chena River” webcam is located, but judging from the paved paths it’s a good bet it’s in Fairbanks. The river only flows 100 miles, according to Wikipedia, and feeds the even wilder Tanana (doesn’t rhyme with ‘banana’) River just a few miles downstream from downtown Fairbanks.

(My suspicion is that it’s across the river from the Carlson Center, not far from the Ice Alaska grounds.) (Nope, it’s here, between the Cushman and Old Steese bridges. Or see it like this on Google Maps.)

I did tweak the color saturation just a bit to make the fall color stand out a bit more.

That one week in September each year is one of a great many things I miss about Fairbanks. By the time we get much in the way of color hereabouts, interior Alaska’s trees should be bare and its ground covered with the first inch or so of the winter’s snowpack.

Update, Saturday: And also winter color in the Wyoming mountains! It snowed in the Bighorns, Tetons, Absarokas, and Wind Rivers. It even snowed — a little — on Elk Mountain between Rawlins and Laramie. Oddly enough, the evidence of snow I saw in Yellowstone, on the Old Faithful webcam, consisted solely of a remnant dusting on the tops of signs and benches.

The snow won’t stay around long; the ground is still warm and the dry wind can suck the moisture out of snow even when the temperature stays below freezing. But it’s snow! It hasn’t even snowed yet in Fairbanks!

‘Nother update, Monday: (Actually, this was posted last Friday.)

Just Don’t Try to Use Their Online Store

I don’t have any first-hand experience of shopping in an actual bricks-and-mortar Boot Barn store, but as God is my witness, friends don’t let friends try to use their online store.

Any email you’re supposed to receive from them — an e-receipt, a shipping notification, a password reset link —  may be intercepted by SpamCop if your email provider uses it to block spam.

Didn’t write down your order number? If something goes wrong with your order you’ll never know it. Unless you managed to set up an account ahead of time, that is, so that you can log in and look up your order history.

But if you used a SpamCop-covered email address to set up that account, better write down your password on a Post-It note and hang it on your monitor, because if you lose it you’re SOL. Then again, if somebody else uses your password to log in and change the password, you’ll be even more SOL. And you still won’t get any mail from

Don’t try to use a robust password generator to set up your account either. I tried that using LastPass and rejected every password LastPass offered. I had to make one up and type it in — and God help me if I forget it. (No, wait — I used one of my spare email addresses for that. I hope SpamCop isn’t patrolling that server too. I haven’t received an acknowledgment of the new account yet though, so, probably it is.)

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.

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?

I’d Prefer That to This

“This” being days like yesterday. “That” being, well, that in Wyoming (text at link may change if much time has passed):

… Major change to colder and wet conditions Thursday night through Saturday…
… Significant mountain snow possible Friday into Saturday…

A cold storm system over the Gulf of Alaska will drop southeast into the Great Basin later Thursday into Friday and swing east across the area Friday night and Saturday. Widespread showers and some thunderstorms are expected ahead of this system Thursday into Thursday night. Only the highest peaks will see snow from the first part of this storm. However, as a strong cold front moves in Friday, much colder air will be ushered in along with falling snow levels. Widespread rain will continue across the lower elevations while snow levels fall from above 10,000 feet Thursday night lowering to between 6000 and 7000 feet Friday night and Saturday morning. Significant snow is expected over Bighorn Mountains later Friday through Saturday as much colder air moves in and snow levels lower. It’s quite possible that the Big Horn Mountains see 4 to 8 inches of snow with over a foot above 10,000 feet during this period. The lower elevations will see periods of rain during this period, possibly mixing with or changing to snow above 6,000 to 7000 feet late Friday night or early Saturday.

Campers, hunters and other outdoor interests should keep abreast of the latest developments on this first cold, wet, and white, storm system of the pre-fall season. Some of the higher trails in the Big Horn Mountains could be covered by a significant amount of snow later Friday into Saturday. Pay attention to the latest forecast and plan accordingly.

Freezing temperatures are also possible in the low lying areas Sunday morning behind this system.

Stay tuned for further statements from your National Weather Service office in Riverton.

I remember the Gulf of Alaska. It didn’t much affect us in Fairbanks but we heard a lot about it anyway. Kind of like how, if you watch The Weather Channel it doesn’t matter where you live — you’ll still hear way too much about Atlanta.


At least one source has consistently moderated the expected winds for today with each new set of forecasts. I think we can take that as a good sign — though the ground truth won’t be known for sure for another 12 hours or so, by which time it’ll be all over but the screaming.

Bearing in mind, a single fallen tree in the wrong place could blackout half the county, if it derailed a train which then took out a substation.

I don’t know why I had that thought just as a train was passing through…

Now for a seemingly appropriate musical interlude:

Update, 6:45 p.m. EDT — Dramatization (stolen from here):

Actually so far, the most we’ve suffered at Mustache World Headquarters was a devastating power outage about four hours ago that interrupted my wifi for almost a minute.

There are trees down here and there, and power lines down, and there have been traffic accidents but not a lot. It helps that most people with no particular reason to be out in this weather are, in fact, not out in this weather. Of course the Atlanta TV stations have a lot more to report, there being a much greater concentration of people and power lines. Also, though it isn’t that far to our east, somehow the big city managed to get hit harder as the worst of the storm (so far) passed through.

The National Weather Service wind forecast indicates the sustained winds are about to taper off hereabouts but the gusts won’t really abate until the wee hours of tomorrow morning.

Personally, I think I just might be able to sleep through it.

Update, Tuesday morning: Stop interrupting my wifi, Irma you minx!


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?

On My Soggy, Soggy Lawn

At the moment the temperature outside is in the low 60s, with a dewpoint in the low-to-mid 50s. But the weather eggheads say we’ll start to see rain from Irma after midnight, and then it’ll be raining until well into Tuesday morning.

Best-case scenario is that we get rain, and wind, and a few scattered small outages that may or may not include yours truly but are cleared up within a few hours. Worst-case is that even the cell towers get knocked out, our house incurs damage from heavy tree limbs or even (God forbid) an entire tree, and we can’t get to a shelter because roads are blocked by fallen timber and/or downed power lines.

I have a 9/11 post slated for tomorrow morning, and a miscellany post queued up for Saturday a little before noon. If nothing appears here in the interim, you’ll know it got really bad.

Until things get to that point though, I expect to be monitoring some of the outfits that are likely to have emergency information:

I’ve given this some thought.

Update, mid-Sunday afternoon: According to Weather Underground’s hourly forecast chart, expected winds hereabouts should top out in the mid-30s tomorrow afternoon. Rain eases off through Tuesday morning and should let up around midday.

I like mid-30s a lot better than mid-40s. I vote we go with that.

‘Nother update, minutes later: Mrs. McG says the National Weather Service is still holding at 40, with gusts in the mid-50s. I like gusts in the mid-50s better than the mid-60s, but I think they’d go much better with slower sustained winds.

Which stage is “bargaining” again? Third or fourth?


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.)