Friday, September 23, 2016

Ends and Odds, 5

Fall is finally here, which in this part of the world means a heat wave in the next three or four weeks.


Mrs. McG got her first single-line AT&T bill, and it's not as small as either of us hoped. The fact her base rate is so much higher than mine must inflate the taxes, fees, assessments and surcharges proportionally higher.

Meanwhile I've taken to keeping cell data turned off on my phone, except as needed. I expect to save some 40¢ or more over last month -- and even more next month since I won't be waiting ten days or so to start this practice.


For some reason certain local drug stores started getting single-serving bags of Salsa Verde Doritos in the last few weeks, an availability that is almost unprecedented hereabouts. Once, years ago, I found them in full-size bags at Walmart but they weren't replenished the next time I went looking for them.

Well, the full-size bags are at Walmart now too -- or at least at the one Mrs. McG visited yesterday. I'm hoping this keeps up, and to encourage the stores in question I intend to keep buying whenever and wherever I find either size, whether or not I'm already stocked up.


After last season I would have expected Mississippi State's football team to be embarked on a winning season while the University of Wyoming struggled. The opposite has so far proven to be the case, with the Bulldogs 1-2 and their game tomorrow against Massachusetts not being carried on any cable channel we get.

Wyoming, on the other hand, is 2-1 and their game tonight against Eastern Michigan is on our TV lineup. I hope they do as well tonight as they have against everyone except Nebraska.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sometimes Cops Are Just Darwin's Messengers

I've been asked on Twitter to tell this story, but it's far too long a story for Twitter.

Years ago, when I was single and underemployed and living in my mother's mobile home in south Sacramento, the neighborhood surrounding the MH park was on a long downhill trajectory and, as a result, so was the park itself.

This place was not a stereotypical white-trash, tornado-magnet "trailer park" -- at least, as intended when designed and opened in perhaps the 1970s. It was supposed to be a safe, quiet country community for retirees and decent working-class people whose only shot at home ownership in those days might be one with axles under the floor. Residents might have a house note far briefer than the typical 30-year mortgage, plus a monthly rent bill and utilities. The park had its own well and water system so that was included in the rent.

Park management had a pretty high rate of turnover and some managers were more conscientious than others. No sooner did one with good ideas for cultivating a sense of community get burned out and leave than her successor started letting in all manner of riff-raff including people who got busted for drug-dealing and prostitution.

The incident I'm going to relate, though, involved the son or nephew of someone who had already lived there when Mom moved in and a family that had moved in after, but some years before things really went bad. At some point the former son or nephew, with some friends, got into a feud with the eldest son of the latter family, and one night a brawl broke out that resulted in several sheriff's cars and a sheriff's helicopter responding to restore peace.

Later as I was talking to members of the latter family someone threw a juice bottle full of -- it turned out -- water against their house. The eldest son, Jason, got a baseball bat and I got a smaller, lighter club of my own making and we walked over to the other side's house to see if there was anyone around to ... ask about the juice bottle.

We stood outside the darkened mobile home and spoke amongst ourselves loudly enough to be heard if anyone was hiding inside or nearby, to remind them that they didn't have as many friends there as Jason's family had.

Soon a sheriff's car came around the corner in our direction, headlights off. I called to Jason and we walked toward the car -- with our respective clubs in our hands.

The car braked and the driver threw open his door and crouched behind it with his gun pointed at us, ordering us to drop our weapons, which of course we promptly did. We got patted down, and before this deputy was finished with us another arrived and said we weren't the ones they'd been called in about. Deputy Gun agreed, but finished the procedure and put our clubs in the trunk of his car before letting us walk back to Jason's house with the other deputy.

After some conversation with Jason's parents about what had happened and what Jason and I had been up to, Deputy Gun gave us back our items, and advised me that mine especially, being smaller and lighter, would be most effective against an enemy's knees.

Later when we told the story to some of our other neighbors, one of them -- a redneck from somewhere in Texas that probably favored Trump over Ted Cruz in that state's GOP primary -- bluntly informed us that if he'd been with us he would have told the deputy to go stuff himself, and maybe even taken his gun away from him.

It might have been doing the gene pool a favor if he'd tried.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Thoughts My Brain Made, 52

Click through and read seven more in this Twitter mini-rant.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thoughts My Brain Made, 51

That, I think, is what Trumpers have done. It's what most party-line voters do. It's why both major parties (and the Libertarian Party) are now just different brands of the same crappy politics.

Don't oppose evil so fervently that you follow a false leader, blind to the evil he does.

Update, about a half-hour later: Indeed. (Via this tweet.)

'Nother update, two days later:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sheriff Longmire and Game Warden Pickett

Before the latest Longmire book came out -- it turned up in my e-reader app yesterday morning and I finished it by that afternoon -- I had devoured all 16 of C.J. Box's Joe Pickett books. Both are set in fictional counties in Wyoming, and both involve the named protagonist in the solving of mysteries.

Most people only know the Longmire on TV (returning soon for Season 5 on Netflix), but apart from the characters' names and the Wyoming setting (though filmed in New Mexico) the TV series is a different critter with a more troubled, less confident Walt than in the books. And the literary Henry Standing Bear makes Lou Diamond Phillips' version, however well portrayed, look like a koala.

Well, Joe Pickett is a game warden, employed (in most of the books) by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. He's not supposed to solve crimes unless they're committed against elk, sage grouse, or cutthroat trout. And the first time we meet him in "Open Season," he's trying to cite a poacher who ends up taking Pickett's gun and stopping just short of blowing the game warden's brains out.

Similar mishaps befall him in most of the books, but even before this incident he was already famous for citing the Governor for fishing without a license -- something most of his colleagues consider a damn fool stunt.

Thing is, a few months later the man who grabbed his gun is found murdered in Pickett's home woodpile, and the mystery of why he's there doesn't seem to interest Twelve Sleep County's sheriff as much as it does Pickett.

After having immersed myself in sixteen years worth of Box's Wyoming -- the Pickett books come out every March like clockwork; I wish I had his discipline -- the new Longmire book, "An Obvious Fact," was a chance to revisit Johnson's. It's less political than Box's stories -- heck, it's even less political than the "Longmire" TV series -- and also more comfortably masculine.

Well, part of that is because Walt Longmire is a widower and his best friend is tall, dark and savagely noble. Joe Pickett, on the other hand, is married and he and his wife Marybeth have spent the book years raising three girls on a paltry state salary and whatever his wife can earn at the local library or as a free-lance business manager. And while Walt approaches his job philosophically, Joe is kind of a stickler (hence the ticket he wrote against the Governor) for whom his occasional acts of badassery, demanded by exigent circumstances (nearly always to protect his wife and daughters), are departures he prefers not to let become habitual.

I like Longmire because he's an example. I like Pickett because he's the kind of guy Longmire would be an example for. And I'm looking forward to next March to find out what happens to him next.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Legends of the Autumn, 2

Meanwhile on the home acres here in subtropical west Georgia I am actually seeing some first fall color on certain trees. I don't mean the poplars -- apparently they start dropping leaves in midsummer -- but others that I wouldn't expect to see turn before October.

Our highs are staying in the mid to upper 80s, so I don't know what's up.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fifteen Years Later

...and this is where we are.

Good God.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Twelve Years Ago, the DMV...

Back in 2004 I bought the second of my two Ford Broncos -- the one I traded to a rent-a-car outfit in 2013 for The Hippo -- and set about arranging to get tags, insurance and title.

I got tags and insurance okay, but for the heinous crime of putting the correct odometer reading on the title application I was told to get the seller's notarized signature attesting that the odometer figure I had entered was correct. Once I had persuaded the seller to meet with me for that and submitted the paperwork, the DMV (or whatever it was called then; its name has changed since) told me to find the person who sold it to the seller and get their notarized signature.

As you might imagine, I told them no. I also told my state senator and state representative. And the governor. In the end it was the letter I'd sent the governor that won that battle for me. I got my title without any further field trips.

Flash forward to 2016, when the county water agency replaced the water meter here at the home acres. Two months later our new high-tech water meter began showing such spikes in the flow rate that a water agency technician brought a notice to our door about it, and upon further investigation our best suggestion from the agency was to check around the house for leaking faucets or toilets.

Right at the beginning I told them we had no leaks that would explain these spikes, and pointed out the apparent coincidence of their leak report coming so soon after a new meter was installed. The response was that no, if that were the cause it would not have taken two months for the leak to appear, nor would it happen in spikes as the meter was showing.

When after some weeks of this I finally photographed water running across the edge of our front field and into the ditch, it having risen right at the meter, they finally sent a technician to check it out.

He tightened a nut near the meter -- apparently left slack during the installation months previous -- and fixed the leak. And we're getting almost our entire current water bill credited back to us.

When will these government agencies learn not to mess with me?

Monday, September 5, 2016

We Pay More Than That For Dinner, Some Places

My Google Project Fi phone bill this time around, including a credit of over nine bucks for cellular data (I used 77 megabytes of my 1-gigabyte budget) and the various taxes, fees, assessments and surcharges came to less than $25.

It wasn't all that long ago, with three lines on our AT&T account, that we could find ourselves spending over $200 a month.

Of course, Mrs. McG is still on AT&T but her next phone bill should be south of $60, depending on how Ma Bell calculates those taxes, fees, assessments and surcharges. She's paying a flat monthly charge for data, with unused data being rolled over for one month, after which time she will have paid for data she didn't use. I like the plan I'm on better.

I'd like to see if I could keep my data usage even lower this month, just for the heck. It may not work out that way though.

One thing bothering me is, my very-much-not-new Nexus tablet has already upgraded to the next version of Android; my much newer Nexus phone hasn't, yet. There's no reason for the delay, either.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Thoughts My Brain Made, 50

Monday, August 29, 2016

Legends of the Autumn

The fall season you're familiar with begins with the autumnal equinox in mid-to-late September and ends with the winter solstice a few days before Christmas. That's known as "astronomical fall."

According to weather types though, there's a different fall, one they call "meteorological fall."

It starts Thursday and only lasts until the end of November. Theoretically.

Hereabouts, it doesn't start usually until mid-to-late October. And in some years it never quite ends until spring -- though with a few winter-like mornings here and there. Sure the leaves are all down by Christmas or so, but the weather...?

Another reason I'm so looking forward to eventually moving out west. There'll always be four seasons, and they'll start and end more or less on time.

Update, September 9: Some places in Wyoming are already having subfreezing morning lows.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Where the Wild Things Are

We live in whitetail deer country, where the land was naturally forested before settlers came to farm. While farming hasn't disappeared from this patch of subtropical west Georgia, the forest has grown back more than it's been held at bay. People like having trees, especially if it means less to mow.

And you know how I feel about mowing.

Most of our home acres is wooded, as is the case with most of the neighboring properties. We hear owls sometimes at night, and I've seen coyotes skulking across open spaces. And we often see whitetail deer.

Most often what we've seen this summer have been two does and three spotted fawns. We've seen hints that one of the does is mother to two of the fawns, suggesting the third belongs to the other doe. We don't know for sure but we think one of the does was the fawn we saw last year and that the other is her mother.

They've all become pretty brave about being near the house, as a picture in a previous post suggests. Given the usual range of whitetail deer I can't say whether they hang around mostly on our property but we're definitely on their regular circuit.

Years from now when we resettle out west the most common deer will be muleys, mainly because whatever place we settle on won't likely have much in the way of woodlands, even if the surroundings aren't agricultural. In fact we'd be more likely to see antelope than deer. Either way their range would be such that we probably won't see the same animals as regularly as we do here.

They'll most likely be farther away too, but that'll mean more opportunities. Especially the antelope, which are almost as common out there as pigeons in a city park.

Update, Wednesday, just after 9:00 a.m.: We just had two whitetail bucks venture into the front yard, nervously looking around. One had a fairly small rack but the other's was approaching respectable. This isn't the first time I've seen antlers on deer around here, but it's not common -- or at least it hasn't been.

Bucks wandering around together is a clear sign that the rut hasn't started, as if it still being August weren't. Once the pheromones start flying bucks that were friends become rivals and won't be getting along at all.

Anyway, Hartford and his little buddy went back into the woods after just a few minutes.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Does ANYTHING Support the Left's Narrative Anymore?

The Riverton, Wyoming Daily Ranger is behind a paywall, but in yesterday's issue was a story about a recordbreaking high temperature in that town last Friday.

The temperature was 56°F. Riverton has never recorded a high temperature that low in the month of August. Until this, the latest out of 237 consecutive "hottest years on record" according to the global warming alarmists.

Yes, yes, there is a difference between weather and climate. Funny how that difference never applies to unusually hot summer temperatures. Or even temperatures that aren't the least bit unusual.

Saturday, August 20, 2016