First they spin an ISIS-inspired mass shooting carried out by a registered Democrat as being the NRA's fault (what else could they do, admit that Obama's inept foreign policy -- conducted by his fellow former Senate Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Kerry -- have utterly failed to defuse the terrorist threat?).
Then they stage a sit-in on the House floor, demanding to vote on a bill that would place Americans' due-process protections at the mercy of presidential political appointees maintaining secret lists.
I'm #NeverTrump, and even I am wondering whether I ought to think about contemplating reconsidering that position.
Although ideally the delegates to the Republican convention would give voters a tolerable alternative to Clinton for this November. At this point almost any alternative to the Tang-tinted tyrant would be acceptable.
© Thursday, June 23, 2016 Kevin McGehee
When my mother Eileen was in her late 60s, doctors found it necessary to amputate her lower right leg.
The following June, she got on a plane in Sacramento -- alone -- and came to Fairbanks, Alaska to spend two weeks with Mrs. McG and me.
Mom had a prosthesis, but it was painful and awkward to use, so she spent most of her time in a wheelchair. This included the Midnight Sun game, where the beer lady made her rounds in the stands telling jokes to the bleachers rising behind the box area we'd claimed.
Completely unaware of our presence right behind her, beer lady told a riddle: "What do you call a lady with one leg? Eileen!" Mom was tickled, but we weren't sure the beer lady would be if she found out so we kept the laughter to ourselves.
A more adventurous outing was our attempt to take Mom to the Arctic Circle, which ended far short of the Yukon River when my flat tires outnumbered my spare tires. Mom needed to relieve herself while we waited for help, so I pushed her in her wheelchair about 100 yards up the gravel road looking for a reasonably level spot to get her far enough into the woods for some privacy, then I retreated to a discreet distance waiting for any call for help. The only call that came was, "Okay, I'm done."
By the time we got back to the car, Mrs. McG had flagged down a passing king-cab pickup in which a lady from Anchorage was taking her own relatives to see the Circle. She was kind enough to drive Mom and the missus to Yukon Ventures (now Yukon River Camp), where they managed to get spare tires on which I could drive us back to town.
As we made it back into the Fairbanks vicinity I apologized to Mom for the debacle, but she insisted she'd had fun. Later, when I wrote a narrative of that trip, the dire possibilities that had weighed on me during it caused me to rhyme Jack London by giving it the title, "To Change a Tire." Our gratitude to our rescuers remains undimmed.
We lived in Alaska five years, but those two weeks are the brightest memories. When Mom passed away in 2002, my eulogy included the telling of these two stories because they illustrated so well how inspirational she could be -- and epitomized one of the guiding principles I ascribed to her: "Do something you've never done before."
© Wednesday, June 15, 2016 Kevin McGehee
Or, "It Didn't Suck (In Fact I Liked It)"
The Mustache ardently recommends Carmax for all your used-car-buying needs. We've bought two vehicles from the Lithia Springs, Georgia location and been quite happy with both the experience and the vehicles.
And the advantage of dealing with Carmax over that place that lets you buy a car in your kimono is, you get to test-drive your vehicle before you hand over any money.
But what we did today was sell a car, The Hippo. This was the minivan my late mother-in-law got after she moved in with us -- though not from Carmax (that car-buying experience did kind of suck). But Marie was a conscientious car owner and she saw to the recurring maintenance like clockwork. Which is why the Carmax appraiser valued it at almost the maximum Kelley Blue Book number. That was what they offered, and that was what we walked out with.
We weren't at all sure what to expect when we drove up there, but the reality was far smoother and more satisfactory than the best we dared hoped for. So the Mustache also recommends Carmax for your car-selling needs, provided of course the car you want to sell is worth more than the duct tape holding it together.
Now our insurance costs will go down, we'll pay for fewer car tags each year, and it'll be up to someone else to get it smogged, now that it's old enough to need it.
It's a relief to once again not have more vehicles than we have drivers.
© Thursday, June 9, 2016 Kevin McGehee
The Curious Case of the Time-Traveling Meat
Last week I bought some deli-style lunch meat for sandwiches, including a couple of packages of roast beef because I prefer beef over ham or turkey.
Yesterday I finally opened one of the packages of roast beef only to notice that the sell-by date on the package said 2010. I looked at that, and I looked at the meat. As a rule I don't take a chance on eating six-year-old lunch meat -- it's a thing. But as a rule I don't expect six-year-old lunch meat to not be green and fuzzy.
I sniffed the meat. It smelled like fresh roast beef lunch meat should.
And I decided that somehow the package got misdated at the packaging plant, and I went ahead and had my sandwich.
This was yesterday. Nothing uncomfortable has happened since then. Everything I've sent through the digestive tract has traveled in the intended direction and at the intended speed.
I think I may have guessed right about that sell-by date. And I think I'll have another sandwich.
The Curious Case of the Non-Traveling Freight Train
The CSX main line through our general area is mostly single-track, with occasional sidings. It's a busy line, so it's not unusual to see a train waiting on a siding for an oncoming train to clear the track ahead before it continues on its way.
What's less usual is to see a freight train waiting smack-dab on a stretch of single-track line. Today it was a northbound Tropicana train (southeastern trainspotters will know what that means), stopped about 100 yards short of the one major at-grade crossing outside of the next town -- well short of where it could have entered the siding that runs alongside the main line, as sidings do, through the town (where most crossings are not at-grade).
Thing is, some trains are too long for the sidings. So they have to wait on the single-track until the oncoming train can get onto the siding, clearing the main line ahead.
Makes you wonder why CSX doesn't just double-track the line between the two sidings this Tropicana freight was waiting between.
© Tuesday, June 7, 2016 Kevin McGehee
As detestable as I find Donald Trump, I blame him less for the current predicament than the Republican Party that honors his fraudulent claim to represent it.
After decades of effort in vain, the GOP has at long last managed to dissolve its base and elect a new one -- more gullible, more malleable, and more given to blind loyalty.
It is this new base that will destroy the party, not Trump. When the stern rises skyward, ready to chase the bow to the ocean floor, Captain Trump will have long since been barged ashore, his legacy firmly in charge of the ship like the scorpion on the frog's back.
The Establishment hacks will then have no one to protect them from the increasingly impatient vengeance of the Trumpenproletariat, for their blind loyalty is non-transferable.
© Wednesday, June 1, 2016 Kevin McGehee