If I Had Ever Made a Bucket List

…that would have been on it.

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

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

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

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

And darkness fell.

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

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

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

Everything’s a Trade Off

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

Ends and Odds, 6

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

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

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

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

I Know Those People!

There’s an interactive map on Ancestry.com that can show how your family surname was distributed at three points in American history.

The map for McGehee is interesting to me because, apparently, at one point people in my ancestral line were pretty much the only McGehees in Indiana. I’m not giving anything away there because I already posted last May about my great great grandfather and his two brothers, all from Indiana, who served in the Civil War. In 1840 all three of them would have been in the same Indiana household.

Indiana wasn’t the only non-Confederate state with a recorded McGehee presence, but all of the other states were slave states. If there were any McGehees in Union blue besides my ancestor and his brothers, I’d be very surprised. After the war, my kinsmen had dispersed across the Sunbelt, including to California.

By 1920, of course, we had spread like the flu to all corners of the nation…

Limit Lifted, a Little

My limited De-Googlization just became a tiny bit less limited, thanks to a new bug (they consider it a feature) in the Google search app for Android.

It appears no longer possible to open search results in any web browser; instead they open in something called “custom tabs” — there’s no apparent way to turn this linkjacking behavior off.

Now, I’m using what looks like a custom tab in Chrome to replace the FUBAR Contacts app, and it works great — but I chose to do this.

What Borgle has done with its search results bug, however, is deprive me of my choice, and that’s a hostile act by a vendor against a customer (I do, in fact, pay for certain Google services).

So now when I want to search the web from my phone I’ll open Firefox, on which I’ve made Metacrawler my search default. It searches Borgle, but also Bing and Yahoo.

Quoth Me

Thanky to Charles of Dustbury for pointing me to a plugin that can show quotes in the sidebar. At the moment only one in the collection isn’t a self-quote (those attributed to “John Wolf” or “Caleb Scruggins” are from one sample or another of my fiction), but that is sure to change sooner or later.

Truth Is Stranger than Fact

Many years ago, there used to be awards bestowed upon bloggers, in recognition of the quality of their blogging.

Believe it or not, I even managed to get nominated a time or two, under whatever moniker I went by at the time (“McG” is a relatively recent distillation; most of the time I’ve gone by “McGehee”, mainly because, as I was wont to observe, every seventh blogger was named Kevin).

One category in which I was never nominated was “Lifetime Achievement”, and I probably would have demurred anyway because back then — hell, even now — I don’t consider my oeuvre to have amounted to a lifetime’s worth.

If it were called the Life Achievement Award, well…

No, guess not.

Ain’t It Funny How…

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

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

Totally, dude.

Take the Long View

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

Obviously

Via Ed Driscoll at Instapundit, this by Christian Toto:

[Laurie] Forest’s book, The Black Witch, is the story of a girl living in a world where her race is deemed superior to other creatures (think: wolf men and selkies). She slowly learns to shed those ugly social constructs as the tale moves forward. One reviewer hailed the book as “an uncompromising condemnation of prejudice and injustice.”

But that wasn’t enough for SJW blogger Shauna Sinyard, who decided to make it her mission to defame Forest and her work with a meandering, aggrieved, 9,000-word blog post, as New York magazine reported. “It’s the most dangerous, offensive book I have ever read,” Sinyard raged, suggesting she hasn’t read very widely if that’s the case. YA Twitter, along with a few other influential authors, spread Sinyard’s rant far and wide. Forest was called a Nazi sympathizer. SJWs demanded that Harlequin Teen, the book’s publisher, do something about this hateful story.

Here’s where the story took an interesting turn: The publisher didn’t back down. Nor did Forest.

The title of Toto’s piece, the whole thing of which you must read, is “Stop Apologizing to Social Justice Warriors. It Just Feeds their Sanctimony.”

My reflex when confronted with unreasonable criticism has for years been a combination of seven letters distributed among two words. Three of the letters are F.

You know how some of the people in your childhood teach you lessons opposite to the ones they intended? Yeah. Well, I’m still grateful for the lesson.

Limited De-Googlization

As the Chromebook post from yesterday suggests, my disentanglement from Google is never going to be total, even if I wanted it to be.

For starters, the alternatives to an Android phone are the iPhone (been there, chucked that) and a Windows phone. So, Android it is.

And even though I now have my domain email back, it and all my other email addresses are going through Gmail, because the only thing Gmail lacks that I could ever want is a sort function, and I’ve lived without that for years. Gmail’s spam filter may well be the most advanced AI on the planet, and probably already controls the military, air-traffic control, and the stoplights in L.A.

If it ever decides to go Skynet on us it’ll start by letting all that spam through. We’ll be begging for the killer robots to wipe us all out.

Nor is Gmail the only service where Google leaves Microsoft and Apple in the dust. I’ve looked. I’ve tried to find a cloud-based contact manager half as good as Google’s; I’ve looked for a cloud storage option with the same capacity and live-sync capabilities that doesn’t cost more; I’ve been looking at mobile phone service options since going with Project Fi because I’m pretty sure it won’t work so well once we’ve finally gotten out of metro Atlanta for the cowboy’s promised land.

There are plenty of Google properties I dislike enough to stop using: Blogger; Google Sites; G Suite; Hangouts. Some of those I quit using before Goolag-gate, others I’ve only dumped recently and at some additional expense to myself, but I can’t really say for sure whether I wouldn’t have dumped them eventually regardless.

I think I hit Peak Boycott after the Brendan Eich affair — but Chrome proved to be one of those Google things I don’t like well enough to use unless the alternatives, such as Firefox Mobile, are substantially worse. Meanwhile I did eventually resume using Firefox on my laptop and phone.

Is there anything Google can do that would make me quit using them altogether? Well, if you’ve been reading between the lines you’ve figured out that I don’t decide what to use based on the political opinions of the corporate pukes who produce it. As long as it does what I need it to do, better and cheaper than the other guys’ stuff, I’m going to use it.

We conservatives reject the idea that everything has to be politicized. I believe in a government so small that no one ever needs to obsess about politics in their daily lives.

Trust me, it’s a much more pleasant existence.

Well, Roll Me in Powdered Sugar and Call Me Crepe-y

I just stumbled on something that brightened my day. Slightly.

When I bought this Chromebook I didn’t know anything about Google’s offer of a free 100 gigabytes of additional Google Drive storage to go with it. It isn’t bestowed automatically; you have to know about it and go redeem it. Which I just did.  And it’s only good for as long as you keep the Chromebook.

I’d been contemplating upgrading my existing Google Drive storage because, between my files and my mail archives (which I try to keep under control, but…), I’ve been using up what I’m already paying for. This reprieves me for at least a little while, and if I exceed my new allotment by the time this ‘Book craps out I can still upgrade. Assuming I don’t decide to get another Chromebook.

I hate to admit it, but I’m starting to warm up to this thing.

It Ain’t Petticoat Junction

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

This one would kinda redefine “full size.”

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

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

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