Memorial Day

Others may see it differently, but I regard the two observances — Memorial Day and Veterans Day — to be for military men and women who died as a result of war, or who survived their wartime service and returned to civilian life, respectively.

As a result, on Memorial Day I remember the eldest brother of my great-great grandfather, who died of wounds suffered at the Battle of Stones River near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where his Army of the Cumberland under Union Major General William Rosecrans met Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee over the turn of 1862 to 1863. The battle was part of the Union campaign to claim Chattanooga and eventually reach Atlanta. From Atlanta the federals drove to the coast, cutting the already truncated Confederacy into even smaller pieces.

Private Richard McGehee, a sharpshooter for the 42nd Indiana Infantry, was one of three brothers who served in the U.S. Army during that war; my great-great grandfather was one of them but he and the other brother returned from the war and resumed their lives as husbands and fathers. Richard had been a husband and father too, but wounds suffered in the battle claimed his life on January 7, 1863.

The military service of my great-great grandfather, like that of my father, I commemorate in November.


I Do This Every So Often, No Need to Panic

The blog you are about to read is true. The name has been changed because I bloody well felt like it.
A cowboy’s tally book was his record of work done, things (livestock, predators, property damage, people passing through, etc.) observed, weather conditions, and so forth. If he needed to report anything to the boss, he wrote it down so he wouldn’t forget it.
I decided this was a better name for the blog than “Ridin’ Fence”, so here we are.
Addendum, July 31, 2017:

A cowboy, if he’s old school
Minds his whiskers and keeps his cool
He may be old but he learned young
How not to get a sunburned tongue
He won’t complain, bitch, moan or gripe
To boast or brag, he ain’t the type
He’s a natural part of the land he rides
Wherever you see him, his mustache abides

I Got Yer Rant Right Here

(Inspired by a recent email exchange with my brother, who encouraged me to flesh out a rant we were sharing about something in President Trump’s current budget proposal.)

Health care is neither a right nor a privilege. Neither are food or housing. They are transactions.

Food and housing are commodities. Unless you have the means to grow your own food and build your own house, you buy these things from someone that does. They have invested their treasure and sweat to produce these valuable goods and have a right to dispose of them as they see fit — usually in return for mutually acceptable compensation from the person receiving them.

Once you’ve exchanged a price for something, it’s yours, and now you have the moral and legal right to use or dispose of it as you see fit. What you don’t have is a right to have anything provided to you from someone else’s treasure and sweat without providing compensation from your own treasure and sweat.

Medical care is a product of billions of dollars of research, testing, training and production. All of that has to be paid for. If you want medical care, you need to contribute to paying for it. The fact you have to do that means it is not a right. It is a service. Calling it a right imposes a moral context to what is and can only ever be an economic concept. If you pay for your health care, you have a right to expect it to be effective and to improve your well-being — but you don’t have an absolute moral right to receive it in the first place.

If I have purchased something, and therefore have the right to use or dispose of it as I see fit, that means I have the right to present it to some third person without expectation of compensation. The word for this is gift. The recipient did not have a right to demand I do this; until I actually do it, I have the right not to. But once I have made the gift, then it is his — to use or dispose of as he sees fit.

If I have presented it to him on the mutual understanding that I will want it returned when he is finished with it (or after a set period of time), then it remains mine. He is obligated to care for it as I would if it were still in my possession, and return it to me as agreed. If he fails to do so, I am entitled to compel its return, if I wish.

These principles are a part of the concept of property. Contrary to Marx, property is not theft; property is a right. The denial of rightfully owned property, however, is theft — whether said denial is made by the thief, or by a court of law, or by the makers of law.

If I, over the course of years, have earned more money than I needed to live day by day, and put the surplus aside against a day when I can no longer earn a living, that surplus money is mine. If I have entrusted it to a third party on the agreement that he will safeguard it for when I need it, it is still mine. If the third party has misrepresented his intentions and uses my money for other purposes and is unable to provide it to me as agreed, he has committed theft. If he happens to be the government, he is no less a thief.

Being the government, he may well get away with it, but a thief he remains.

The safest place for my nest egg is in the nest of my choosing, not the government’s, but if he will force me to hand over a portion of my earnings and put it where he chooses, he is obligated to care for it as I would if it were still in my possession. If I can’t trust him to do that, he must be made to stop forcing me to let him take it.

They Brought a Gun to a Dog Fight

…and the dog won.

About 10 p.m., one of the young bandits kicked down the baby gate and entered the home waving a handgun and saying, “Give it up, I’m not …. playing,” according to the police report released Monday morning.

That’s when the family pet came to its owners’ protection, according to the report.

While pugs are often described as a small dog friendly to strangers, this particular pug reportedly ran barking toward the home invaders, who turned tail and fled, according to police.

Nothing was stolen and no one was injured, police said.

The mutt let ’em off easy. This time.

Android Guhhh…

So Google just announced an upcoming innovation called Android Go, which will be a branch, sort of, of the next version of Android. It’s meant for low-end devices that don’t have the power or storage of phones like my Nexus 6P or tablets like my Pixel C.

Sounds nice, right? I still have a Nexus 5 and a couple of older tablets lying around that might benefit from being able to run a lite version of the latest Android operating system — they’ve all been dropped from the update schedule and are stuck with past versions of Android.

Well, apparently not. It reads as if the devices Go is meant for, are new lines that will begin to ship next year.

Where Do You Go When the World Is Ending?

Apparently, Norway.

It’s not just Donald Trump’s volatility, or the unfitness of his cabinet appointees, or his possible collusion with Russia, or the certain prospect that everything from health care to quality education will soon be inaccessible to great numbers of Americans.

It’s that with or without Mr. Trump, America may no longer be the America that I returned to from Norway (after my girlfriend and I were unable to obtain visas) and whose blessings and opportunities eventually made it possible for me to make a career and a life.

Lefties, if Trump is that bad, the resulting damage will be global, not strictly limited to central North America. There will be no escape on that portion of continental Europe closest to North America. There will be no escape in Australia. It might not even be safe on the Moon, or on Mars, if the way you’re describing him has any basis in reality.

The first thing all you bed-wetters need to do is examine your premises. You’ve convinced yourselves of something that millions of your countrymen don’t see. It may be that they’re blind, or hypnotized, but you need to consider the possibility that you’re wrong.

It’s what a rational person would do. And you do want us all to believe you’re rational, right?


Two of the Seven Are Locations We Rented From

Blockbuster Video is a shadow of the forgotten past.

…except in Alaska. Seven (according to Blockbuster’s website — yes, they still have a website) out of twelve remaining U.S. stores are in Alaska, including locations on College Road in Fairbanks and North Santa Claus Lane in North Pole. When we lived in Interior Alaska there was no broadband internet, and you couldn’t stream movies on dial-up. You probably still can’t.

And apparently even those in Alaska who do have broadband now, 18 years later, can’t afford to stream movies. And I suppose Netflix DVDs may take weeks to arrive, coming as they do by slow boat from Seattle.

In our Alaska days you rented movies on VHS tapes; we didn’t even have a CD player — actually a CD-ROM drive on a Windows 95 computer — until 1996. Our first DVD player didn’t arrive until we’d moved down here to metro Atlanta. And we did rent from a Blockbuster store (now a Verizon store) about three miles from our first Georgia home, until we signed up with Netflix and helped sign Blockbuster’s death warrant.

Which apparently hasn’t been carried out yet.

New Toy

When I opined to Mrs. McG that it was time to replace the troublesome ZTR mower, I expected to be in for a … discussion. But in reply to my proffer of the new tractor-style mower I thought was the best choice for the money, she said — in effect — “want me to come with?” So she came with, and today I finally got the front yard and field mowed.

We stayed with the same brand; the John Deeres cost more, and the reviews were disconcerting. The cutting deck is eight inches wider than the zero-turn, so the job gets done quicker. And whatever mischief this tractor is going to do hasn’t happened yet, so I can approach the job with confidence I’ll actually be able to do it.

It’s also a higher ride, like graduating from a sedan to, say, a Bronco on a three-inch lift. That may make for some precarious moments on a part of the property I still have yet to do.

But unlike the ZTR or the used Craftsman mower the ZTR replaced, the new tractor can operate powered attachments. When we move to Wyoming the snow-clearing attachment will come in handy.


Over the last few days I’ve been noticing that some of the images posted on various entries here have disappeared and had to be re-uploaded. Previously I’d had to re-upload my mugshot and title banner as well. Only now have I realized what’s going on.

Until a few weeks ago I was using a different Google account, which I have recently had deleted. And apparently pictures posted from a Blogger account that is linked to a deleted Google account, get deleted.

I’ll have to make time to sift through the old posts to find which images I have to re-upload, but until then some of the posts may not make a lot of sense without the picture.


Update: Turns out that on about a dozen of the posts the missing images are screenshots of tweets by Twitter accounts that no longer exist, and I didn’t bother to save the screenshots. So, there’s no point keeping the posts. Nearly all of the remainder have been repaired.