October 2017


I Assume the Butterfinger® Is a Comment on the Opposing Player

Wyoming Head Coach Craig Bohl doesn't do sideline props to reward his players for forcing turnovers.

Tennessee has its trash can. Miami has its gold chain. Boise State has its wrestling-style belt, as do other teams.

Wyoming doesn't have any of that. There's no sideline gimmick awarded to a Cowboy who forces a turnover. Wyoming does have 24 takeaways. No Football Bowl Subdivision team has more.

Mrs. McG and I saw a gold chain being passed around on the sidelines during IIRC, the Dallas-Washington NFL game last Sunday Mississippi State-Texas A&M game last Saturday (guess which sideline?). Yet somehow the Pokes from Laramie are doing better at the effort than those prop-wielding teams. How can that be?

The Cowboys have a corresponding candy reward for numerous defensive achievements. A sack results in a Snickers, a tackle for loss equals a Crunch bar, and a pass breakup earns a player a Butterfinger, according to Ghaifan. He should know; the sophomore's nine tackles for loss and three sacks are both second on the team.

Maybe it was Wyoming's sweet tooth that produced a program-record seven turnovers on Halloween weekend, as the Cowboys blew out New Mexico 42-3.

"You kind of wake up on Sunday, you're kind of thinking about your game and going, 'Oh, man. I get a candy bar this week,'" Hall said. "It's cool."

I guess when you're an FBS athlete on a strict diet and training regimen, that works. And those stats do say it works. Boy howdy.

© Tuesday,  October 31, 2017  McGehee

"Will Work for Catnip"

Animal lovers in Wyoming are starting a Jobs for Cats program.

The Rock Springs Companion Animal Committee is starting a "working cat" program in Sweetwater County. Committee Vice President Dorothy Savage said the program will start immediately and would be a great resource for businesses experiencing problems with rodents or interested in saving a cat.

"They're really overwhelmed at Animal Control," Savage said. "Cats are great rodent deterrents; even the odor of a cat on the premises is enough to scare rodents away."

Savage said the Companion Animal Committee came up with the idea after reading about similar programs that have reported great success.

Cities and suburbs can motivate cat adoptions by simply promoting them as pets — rural communities have to get a bit more creative.

© Tuesday,  October 31, 2017  McGehee

Program Note

Up to now I've been copying the October archive page as the index page of the blog whenever I edit same, in effect maintaining two distinct copies of the monthly archive page. With the end of the month coming I've decided to turn the index page into a redirect page, automatically bringing you here — and once I've posted a November entry, you'll be taken automatically to the November archive page. I'll still have to edit the index page, but only once a month.

I guess I should put a hyperlink on the index page for those whose browsers for some reason don't support redirect. BRB.

© Monday,  October 30, 2017  McGehee


First frost of the season here on the home acres.

Well, last weekend Mrs. McG and I watched four sporting events, and in every single one of them the team we were rooting for, won. We were up until damn near 2:00 a.m. watching the Dodgers and Astros exhaust their bullpens trying to break out of the continually retying score. Was that really only ten innings??? By comparison the preceding football game — Cowboys @ Redskins — was hardly even interesting. We joined the game in the 3rd quarter when Dallas was leading by just one point. In the end they won, 33-19.

This is is how fall should be.

© Monday,  October 30, 2017  McGehee

Ends and Odds

I don't want to jinx it, but according to my spam folder it's now been almost two weeks since the last one I got. Is it just me?

Update, next evening: And now the two-week mark has passed. Sure is quiet out there. Too quiet.

Last night both Mississippi State and the University of Wyoming played at almost exactly the same time — and no, they weren't playing each other. Best proof of that is, they both won. The Bulldogs from Starkvegas soundly defeated favored Texas A&M 35-14 in College Station, while the Cowboys, hosting the New Mexico Lobos in Laramie, beat them by 39 points, allowing only a field goal.

Last year the Lobos were the Pokes' last regular-season opponents, and beat Wyoming by 21 at home in Albuquerque. Clearly New Mexico lost a lot of talent between then and now.

This year it's unlikely the Cowboys will make the Mountain West title game, but if they'd ended last year's bout with the Lobos like last night's, they would have gone into the title game with San Diego State with a lot more confidence.

My preferred text editor in Windows defaults to windows-1252 text encoding, and makes it hard to find where to change that default to UTF-8, which I prefer. Why would anyone not use Unicode? Anyway, I finally tracked down the setting, and also converted pages I'd created in that editor (like this one) to UTF-8.

It's only a nuisance because I came back to Windows and reinstalled this text editor, knowing I needed to fix that default but never getting around to hunting it down until this morning.

For some weeks now I've been lusting after a new cowboy hat on Sheplers.com that's totally unwearable in this climate — a buffalo felt hat — and every day its rather largely discounted price is good only until midnight, whereupon the price is discounted again to the same price it was the previous day.

I wonder how many hats they sell with this trick?

Update, mid-December. The "one day only" discount is still in "Groundhog Day" mode.

'Nother update, early February: Funny you should ask, but... yes. Six straight months of "one day only."

© Sunday,  October 29, 2017  McGehee

Aaaaahhhh, Shaddap!

You know what I need my phone to make noise for? When I get a phone call.

Everything else is optional — and except for specific things, I opt for silence. So it annoys me when Android and the makers of apps that I use on my phone decide to turn on noises after I've already turned them off.

Actually the apps that are the worst about this are made by Google or Amazon. Until the latest version, the Kindle app didn't even seem to have a working "off" switch for noisemaking. It remains to be seen whether the "off" switch in the new version works.

One of many reasons why I stopped buying ebooks through Amazon was because of this bad behavior. I reinstalled the Kindle app when Mrs. McG and I were finally able successfully to set up Amazon's family library thing. If the app keeps nagging me, it goes overboard again.

© Saturday,  October 28, 2017  McGehee

Thoughts My Brain Made

Confucius say, "He who looks for a reason to take offense will find it. Because he is an ass."

© Saturday,  October 28, 2017  McGehee

Hands Across the Aisle

In an example of the way politics should be, I'm in agreement with a Democrat in Maine who wants to dump Daylight Saving Time.

Earlier this year, Bailey sponsored a bill that would move Maine to the Atlantic Time Zone, an hour ahead of its current position in the Eastern Time Zone, and no longer observe Daylight Saving Time. The bill passed both chambers of the Maine state legislature. But the Senate added a provision that Maine voters must approve the change in a referendum, and the referendum could only be triggered by neighboring Massachusetts and New Hampshire changing their time, too. Since neither of those states had immediate plans to change their time zones, the move seemed doomed.

But now there is hope. Massachusetts is considering a permanent change in its time zone.

Yup — deep red McG agrees with Democrats in deep blue Massachusetts. Mark this day.

Actually, I'd prefer this happen across the country (Daylight Saving Time as we know it is a fairly recent innovation, by the way), with the time zones all set to split the difference between their current "standard" and DST settings. But any progress is still progress, and shifting all the time-zone boundaries about 7½ degrees west — building on Bailey's proposal — would have essentially the same effect.

Reminder: We go back to "standard" time (which is only in effect for 19 weeks, or just over four months) on November 5 — a week from Sunday.

© Thursday,  October 26, 2017  McGehee

Perspective, Please

One of the surest ways to turn The Mustache off of a pundit, a blog, or a TV show is for it to devolve to a constant drumbeat of My team rocks! Your team sucks! — if it is not (a) about sports, or (b) ironically meant.

And most especially if it's about politics. I'm one of those weirdoes who expects politics to be about debating issues and solving problems. Partisan allegiance-signalling belongs at a rally, not in our daily lives.

National allegiance-signalling is a different matter of course, but unless at a parade or sporting event, a nice lapel pin should suffice.

© Thursday,  October 26, 2017  McGehee


This morning's low on the home acres was not quite frosty, but encouraging nevertheless. It's always good when we here in subtropical west Georgia experience fall-like weather before the end of fall. In fact, at this moment, we appear to be on temperature parity with some places out in Wyoming.

It's still too crowded here though.

© Thursday,  October 26, 2017  McGehee

Better Luck Next Time, Cousin

Back in June I learned that collegiate bareback bronc rider Lane McGehee of south Texas had placed second in the College National Finals Rodeo. I said then,

Can't wait to see him in some PRCA events, but I gather that'll be a while.

"A while" turned out to be four months. At weekend-before-last's All-American ProRodeo Finals in Waco, a PRCA event, Lane turned out on a horse named PTSD Power Play, only to get bucked off before the eight-second whistle. Here's hoping he keeps showing up, and stays on his next horses as well as he did in Casper.

Incidentally, I wish CBS Sports Network would either learn to edit their rodeo telecasts better, or stop showing the PRCA rodeos after the PBR events. I record the real rodeo programming on our Tivo DVR, and since the PBR events always seem to end a few minutes late, I often end up losing the last few bull rides from the subsequent PRCA broadcasts. That's like bumping the finish of the Daytona 500 because the Facebook Celebrity Demolition Derby ran long.

© Monday,  October 23, 2017  McGehee

It's Better This Way

A real cowboy's tally book would be a paper-and-pencil affair, and typing content and format into a static HTML file with a text editor comes a darn sight closer to that than using an online HTML editor that auto-formats it all and pastes it up without me having the faintest idea how it all works.

Now, granted, I am using an auto-uploader, but I installed that on my laptop and configured it myself. It's about a step and a half more advanced than using an FTP application to upload the pages after I've edited them, though that step-and-a-half does save me having to switch over and upload after every edit. Them old cowboys were practical men, not Luddites. Also, the automation works both ways, so I can edit the actual online page — such as, if I were away from the laptop — and it saves the edit to my on-disk copy. This gives me more direct control of the formatting, which means cleaner code and a cleaner, more legible page.

I've never heard of a hacker inserting malicious code on a purely static web page. Maybe it's happened, but I'd have a hard time imagining it could do him any good.

Update, Thursday: Charles Hill has an example of it happening.

© Sunday,  October 22, 2017  McGehee

As If I Needed A Special Reason

The University of Wyoming Cowboys take on the Boise State Broncos on the smurf turf in Boise tonight.

Years ago I rooted for Boise State when Mrs. McG was after a position in Boise, and afterward I especially remember how much I enjoyed watching them beat the Georgia Bulldogs at a season opener in Atlanta. The Broncos remain a football powerhouse in the Mountain West Conference, though Wyoming defeated them last year. When I was first able to watch Wyoming's football games on TV I was a little torn about them and Boise.

Not so much anymore. I don't like to let politics get into my football, but this isn't really politics so much as academic self-immolation by a university. It's sad to see this happening at an institution with such a good football team. You'd think they'd have learned from what's happening to the University of Missouri, but no.

They deserve to lose tonight's game. Let's hope it teaches them a lesson.

Update: Nuts.

© Saturday,  October 21, 2017  McGehee

Yup, This Is the Place

This is where I'll be blogging from now on. Since I resumed blogging in 2015, I really never did get into a pace that demands a CMS, and in my present situation I'm spending around $120 a year to maintain two webspaces when I really only need one. The old posts are already archived at WordPress.com, and if I find I absolutely must resume using a blogging platform again, it'll be there.

© Friday,  October 20, 2017  McGehee

That'll End Well

Hey, Spain — while you're at it, send troops to seize the colonists' Catalans' arms.

Spain is to start suspending Catalonia's autonomy from Saturday, as the region's leader threatens to declare independence.

The government said ministers would meet to activate Article 155 of the constitution, allowing it to take over running of the region.

Catalonia's leader said the region's parliament would vote on independence if Spain continued "repression".

Catalans voted to secede in a referendum outlawed by Spain.

Some fear the latest moves could spark further unrest after mass demonstrations before and since the ballot on 1 October.

Spain's supreme court declared the vote illegal and said it violated the constitution, which describes the country as indivisible.

The secession vote may very well have been illegal, but so was our Declaration of Independence. Every signatory to that document could have been hanged for treason under the laws of Great Britain at the time. The United States has endured now for 241 years.

Many Americans say the Civil War "settled" the question of whether states can secede from the Union, conveniently overlooking that the United Colonies had successfully seceded from the British Empire less than a century before. I've said that legal questions cannot be settled by force — only the particular conflict at issue.

When a dispute among nation-states reaches the point of armed conflict, legal precedents covering it go out the window, never to return. By seeking to suppress Catalan independence in this manner, Spain risks accelerating its own disintegration.

© Thursday,  October 19, 2017  McGehee

Just Admit It, Google

The Nexus 6P is never going to be successfully upgraded to Oreo, is it? Just tell us. You want people to buy the new flagship phones after all, right?

The longer you let us believe the new version of Android will someday be coming to our two-year-old phones, the longer we'll hold out on spending that money. So just admit it. You couldn't find a way to make Oreo work on our phones.

Not that you were really trying...

© Wednesday,  October 18, 2017  McGehee

I left my shocked face around here somewhere but I can’t seem to find it.

The makers of Flash have a word of caution for its users.

Adobe Systems Inc warned on Monday that hackers are exploiting vulnerabilities in its Flash multimedia software platform in web browsers, and the company urged users to quickly patch their systems to prevent such attacks.

To which experienced web users respond,


Since — as Stephen Green is wont to say — Flash is malware masquerading as an interactive content platform, it only makes sense that someone would exploit it maliciously.

Adobe is discontinuing Flash, but nowhere near soon enough.

© Monday,  October 16, 2017  McGehee

Just a Head’s Up

McG's Tally Book will never — never — give you a pop-up offering to send you push notifications.

If you think that's a bad thing, I don't want to know why.

© Saturday,  October 14, 2017  McGehee


Ugh. (Beware of autostart video.)

The nine-month-old colt, called El Rey Magnum, was bred by Orrion Farms, a specialist Arabian breeding farm in Ellensburg, Washington, US.

godwillgetthemforthis-300x188Since launching a promotional video earlier this month, under the title ‘You Won’t Believe Your Eyes’ the farm has received interest from across the world, including the UK.

Doug Leadley, farm manager and primary breeding adviser for Orrion, said: “This horse is a stepping stone to getting close to perfection” and US vets who have examined the colt says it has no medical or respiratory issues.


Public reaction has been polarised with some people commenting that the horse looks beautiful while others have been horrified.

Anyone that can call that "beautiful" should turn in their Human card. (Poll voters at Althouse seem to agree, and not just when it comes to horses.)

© Friday,  October 13, 2017  McGehee

It’s Called “Projecting”

Today, Geraghty discusses Harvey Weinstein, the Pig That Ate Hollywood's Moral High Horse.

Hollywood has demonstrated an amazing propensity for believing the problems are “out there” — out in middle America, where the audience lives — instead of within its own industry, actions, and behavior.

What it is, is, Hollywood assumes whatever horrible behavior happens there, must be happening everywhere. The flaw in that reasoning is that the entertainment industry attracts people who are more comfortable playing "let's pretend" — where the consequences are elided in favor of manufactured closure.

"Out there," consequences are real and endings are also beginnings and middles. Real people "live happily ever after" for about three minutes before life... goes on. No ending credits, no immediate negotiations for a sequel, no residuals. Just... more living, for those still alive.

In Hollywood, "more living" is what you base a sequel on. No sequel deal, no additional consequences.

That's how Weinstein lived. It's how everyone in Hollywood lives. Not knowing any better, it's how they assume everybody lives.

That's why they're not fit to preach, even to those who live in that bubble, let alone to you and me.

© Friday,  October 13, 2017  McGehee

A Downside to a Small School District

Fremont County, Wyoming, has eight active school districts, twice as many as in any other Wyoming county. What's more, it used to have, um, quite a few more than eight.

In Wyoming, the official name of a school district is "____ County School District #x," even where the county has only one district, as some do. One of Fremont County's districts has the official name, "Fremont County School District #38." Obviously, at least 30 former school districts there no longer exist, having been absorbed by one or another of the eight that remain.

Since Fremont contains only about 10% of the state's population, some of the districts have very small enrollment, which can become problematic in surprising ways.

(Ethete, Wyo.) – It was a numbers decision. In last Friday afternoon’s conference game against county rival Wind River, the Wyoming Indian Chiefs only suited up 14 players. One of those players was injured the game and didn’t return. With two games left in the schedule, the Chiefs simply ran out of players. Several of the team members were unavailable this week for this week’s game against Shoshoni, and the school decided to forfeit their last two games of the season, Friday night against Shoshoni and a week from Friday against Rocky Mountain.

Wyoming Indian High School serves Fremont County School District #14, based in the mostly Arapaho community of Ethete, north of Lander. It's one of three school districts that mostly serve Wyoming's only Indian reservation (which, contra TV's "Longmire" and the books it's loosely based on, is home to bands of Shoshone and Arapaho, not Cheyenne) and was until recently the only one of those three with an established conventional high school; students in the other districts could transfer to an adjacent district or attend a charter school if available.

I suppose some of WIHS's previous success in at least fielding interscholastic sports teams may have been due to attendance from one or more adjacent districts that now have high schools of their own. The large number of districts in Fremont County has led to talk — almost none of it in Fremont County — of consolidating some of them.

One of the reasons why there are so many districts is that Fremont's population is so widely scattered and so diverse, even on the reservation. The nearest other school district to Ethete is majority-Shoshone; the other majority-Arapaho district is far more remote. It's a big reservation, otherwise the two tribes wouldn't coexist as well as they do, and even then it's not all incense and peppermints.

It's sad to see these kids having to give up the rest of their season, and it's possible maybe there will be more recruits next fall. But if not, I'm not sure what can be done to rescue the program unless the two majority-Arapaho districts, at least, join forces.

© Thursday,  October 12, 2017  McGehee

I Am Officially an Old-Timer

Today I got a haircut and renewed my driver's license.

Years ago the Georgia driver's license process was an incandescent mess. (The fact I can remember those days tells you I've lived here a good while longer than I'd hoped to.) A lot has been done to ease the process since then, but today I went to the barber shop for a haircut and then headed to the license office to renew.

The barber shop was about as busy as it ever is; both haircutters were busy when I sat down.

When I went to the driver's license office, I had taken advantage of something Georgia's DMV-equivalent calls "Skip-A-Step," where you can fill out your renewal application paperwork online, as much as 30 days ahead.

My wait at the barber shop was longer than my wait to see the clerk and hand over the documents I needed to bring to convince them I am who they say I am. I think the haircut even took longer than the license clerk took in getting me processed and out of there.

I'd been dreading this renewal because it was the first time I would need to comply with the "SecureID" requirements, but this was a breeze.

© Wednesday,  October 11, 2017  McGehee

They’re Being Stupid Again

You know, the whole point of buying a Nexus phone was that it would be first in line for Android updates.

I'm still waiting for Oreo on my Nexus 6P, which Google made a point of announcing would be among the handsets getting the new version.

Apparently they rushed Oreo without making sure it would work on the 6P.

I'm tempted to call this a broken promise. It certainly doesn't dispose me favorably toward a Pixel phone (hugely overpriced successor to the Nexus line) (Especially after I paid too much, in my opinion, for this 6P).

Update, Tuesday: So much for my thoughts of opting for the non-flagship phone.

I'm starting to wonder if Google's considering scuttling Project Fi.

Maybe I'll just go the LineageOS route, when/if it becomes obvious my phone won't upgrade any further.

© Sunday,  October 8, 2017  McGehee

Asked and Answered

Somebody the other day asked, "Who exactly is harmed when people speculate after a terrible event?"

I suppose it depends on how wildly they speculate.

Reality doesn't conform to TV police-procedural limitations; I've seen it make monkeys out of real-life Sherlocks — let alone the armchair self-proclaimed variety who write for TV. Or blogs.

This is the "All the President's Men" syndrome, is what it is. Blogdom overturns a Big Media narrative during the 2004 presidential campaign, and now everybody's the next Bathrobed Columbo.

© Thursday,  October 5, 2017  McGehee

Own It. You’ll Be Much Happier.

While most actual theologians place a high importance on repentance, I've been emphasizing forgiveness.

This is because so many sinners cling to the argument that their sin was somebody else's fault. How can you repent your sin if you're dodging responsibility for it? Free will means you have the power to make your own decisions. Others may try to limit your options, but ultimately it's your choice.

Jim Geraghty, remarking in today's Jolt about the Las Vegas murder spree, observes:

We’re going to hear a lot of questions in the coming days about “why did he do it? Does it matter? Aren’t all of these shooters more or less the same?” In their minds, they’ve been wronged by the world; the world owed them something, and it refused to give it to them. The Isla Vista shooter believed he deserved pretty women; the Alexandria shooter who tried to kill GOP congressmen believed he deserved a world where his party was in charge. The Columbine killers believed they deserved a world where they would never feel ostracized.

Those are the kinds of sins that can get one's soul consigned to hell, sins even the perpetrators know are monstrous, and can only commit after convincing themselves it's somebody else's fault.

This makes me worry too about people who never actually do anything monstrous, but who believe when monstrous things happen the victims had it coming. Because they were stuck up, or they voted the wrong way, or they professed the wrong faith.

God wants us all to atone, and repent, and forgive. It sounds so simple, but in the history of mankind it has always been the exception, not the rule.

When people tear down the institutions that make civil society seem normal, we discover in horrifying ways what this world's real default looks like.

© Monday,  October 2, 2017  McGehee


Get Waterfox


October 2017


Original content and design © 2017 Kevin McGehee. Images and excerpts are © their respective owners.