back to article In redneck heaven, internet outages are the American Way

Welcome again to On-Call, our regular reader-contributed tale in which we reveal the odd things you've been asked to do at all hours. This week, reader “Commander” brings us a tale from the American South. Where they don't just have bacon. They have machine gun bacon! And as one reader once told us, cars in Texas are big. So …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Photo

    Was it taken using a 'Hoffman' lens as a filter?

  2. Knoydart

    Spade fade

    So are shot gun holes the southern United States equivalent to Spade fade?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Spade fade

      No, spade fade exists in the US, too. We try to discourage it by posting notices of calling for underground utility markings before commencing digging. What the article describes is best described as "Redneck Celebratory Collateral Damage".

      But I'm a little surprised the shot from a shotgun actually managed to sever (or nearly sever) an overhead fiber-optic cable. Either the cable was not that high off the ground, the shotgun was of a particularly large bore, or it was literally a million-to-one shot.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Spade fade

        some shotguns shoot rather large pellets plus being an (un)lucky shot

      2. Brian Miller

        Re: Spade fade

        Well, there's 0, 00, 000, and then 0000. Of course bird shot wouldn't sever a cable, but I can take down trees with slugs and 000.

        The cables are well within the range of the larger shot sizes. I don't expect that "shotgun fade" is usually a problem, in that most of the time the rednecks are smart enough to like electricity, etc. (Doesn't stop some of them stealing downed power lines, though.)

      3. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Boffin

        @ Charles ...Re: Spade fade

        The equipment is up on a telephone pole. Well within a regular shotgun's range.

        Could have been going after crows or some other bird.

        Or it could have been an intentional shot. Think about the implications of losing those fibers to businesses around that area. ...

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: @ Charles ...Spade fade

          That depends on how tall the telephone pole is. If it's the normal 15-20 feet, then yeah well within range. But once you get to the taller 50-foot ones, then the scatter of the shot makes it a much less certain affair.

          1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

            Re: @ Charles ...Spade fade

            Don't know about you... but in the rural areas I've been... the power lines and telephone lines are 15-20 feet.

            And even with a decent spread... you could just shoot at it enough times...

      4. James 36

        Re: Spade fade

        As we all know a million to one shot will succeed nine times out of ten

  3. Doogs

    And a big fella, too.

  4. OMGROFLSKATES
    Mushroom

    I shot the Fibre....

    but I did not shoot the transceiver

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Er, that's actually a South Dakota/Minnesota billboard

    If you google that "eat steak wear fur keep your guns" tagline, you'll see it's about 2,000 miles away from the "Deep South"

    I was sitting here going "who the hell wears fur around here? It's usually near 100 degrees!"

    That's ok... everything in Britain is only 20 miles from London, right?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Er, that's actually a South Dakota/Minnesota billboard

      No, no, no. Everything in England is only 20 miles from London.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Er, that's actually a South Dakota/Minnesota billboard

        No, no, no. That's "20 miles from London is not far enough."

      2. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Er, that's actually a South Dakota/Minnesota billboard

        There's a (possibly apocryphal) story about that. Something along the lines of "Glasgow? That's near London, isn't it? I have a friend in London, his name's John. I guess you know each other, huh?"

        1. Juan Inamillion

          Re: Er, that's actually a South Dakota/Minnesota billboard

          "You're from Liverpool? Do you know any of the Beatles?"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Er, that's actually a South Dakota/Minnesota billboard

      Well, to be perfectly honest, everything in England is less than a days drive away. So what's a couple of hours between friends?

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Er, that's actually a South Dakota/Minnesota billboard

        > everything in England is less than a days drive away

        The edge to massive amounts of land. We have single states where that is not even true.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Er, that's actually a South Dakota/Minnesota billboard

        "Well, to be perfectly honest, everything in England is less than a days drive away. So what's a couple of hours between friends?"

        Everything in Texas is less than a days' drive away. 855 miles East to west, 892 miles north to south

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Er, that's actually a South Dakota/Minnesota billboard

          Barely. Getting from Orange (east end) to El Paso (west end) in a single day requires fully exploiting the generous speed limits of I-10 and not planning much in the way of breaks in between.

    3. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Er, that's actually a South Dakota/Minnesota billboard

      >you'll see it's about 2,000 miles away from the "Deep South"

      Looks like we need Venn diagram to explain to the Brits that the Deep South is flyover country but not all flyover country is the deep south. The Upper West/Mountain West are their own special kind of redneck Zeitgeist captured rather well by both the films Napoleon Dynamite and Fargo.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Er, that's actually a South Dakota/Minnesota billboard

        "The Upper West/Mountain West are their own special kind of redneck Zeitgeist..."

        Spoken like a true elitist. I'm sure you you are actually an elite person, since if you weren't, it would be a bit embarrassing.

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: Er, that's actually a South Dakota/Minnesota billboard

          Elitism aside check out suicide rates and you will find this area rates higher than just about anywhere else in the US. Has to be an awesome place to make you want to put a shotgun in your mouth.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Er, that's actually a South Dakota/Minnesota billboard

            Actually that is incorrect. Minnesota is #39 down the list, and South Dakota is #9.

            The stats don't appear to show any clear trend except that the West has more suicides than the East. And that there is something wrong with Montana...

      2. yo_G

        Re: Er, that's actually a South Dakota/Minnesota billboard

        Upper West? *What*? You sound like the kind of poseur who comes to San Francisco and starts referring to the place as "San Fran" or "Frisco".

        Confusing the West with the Midwest is an extremely elementary error. I don't think "Upper West" is even a typo -- you went out of your way to capitalize "West". Midwest is one word, contains no hyphen, and there is no plausible typographical explanation for the capital "W". It is true that there is an Upper Midwest, although most residents therein (formerly including myself) would simply refer to themselves as being from the Midwest, or perhaps as being from the particular state from which they hail. Readers interested in the exact boundaries of these regions can find helpful entries on Wikipedia.

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        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. asdf Silver badge

          Re: Er, that's actually a South Dakota/Minnesota billboard

          I have decided to take everything back and not denigrate any more another place I don't live. I am sure a lot of people in that region believe in the spirit of that sign including a certain infamous lion hunter calling it home. And you are correct yes Minnesota and South Dakota outside the cities is prairie and farmland and are different to the North Dakota badlands and the mountain states in many ways (some would say the mountain states are lot more beautiful but that would be personal opinion).

  6. cd

    Welcome again to On-Call, our regular reader-contributed tale meant to put you in a state of...ANXIETY!

    1. asdf Silver badge

      picture of the most interesting man in the world

      I don't always test my code ... but when I do, I do it in production. Stay on-call my friends. -- Every cowboy coder ever. (Old meme but never goes out style sigh).

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    “A tech drove three hours to get the spot where the outage was occurring"

    The bonus question is, was he a Sun Person?

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought that in Redneck Heaven an internet outage is when you email your neighbour to say that one of your wives that he's sleeping with is actually your sister, your mother, girlfriend and his aunt too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's an Internet Outrage.

      An Internet Outage is when you and your neighbor sleep the night in the other's hammock.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        >An Internet Outage is when you and your neighbor sleep the night in the other's hammock

        ... and you've forgotten to turn your webcam off.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rednecks typically use road signs for target practice.

    Of course there's a story about P-38 pilots using the insulators on the trackside poles for machinegun target practice on a train from one training base to another.

  11. Maynard G. Krebs
    Pint

    Poorly thought out attempt at Bitcoins?

    I bet the redneck in question had just heard about bit coins on faux news and thought to himself. Well golly gee wiz! Internet money! All I gots ta do is shoot that there cable and I bet they will just a come pouring out all over the place. I guessing that the last words uttered before the shot "Hold my beer and check this out!"

    1. Hollerith 1

      Re: Poorly thought out attempt at Bitcoins?

      "Rednecks" is a term for people (men, usually) who work out of doors, usually in economically stagnant areas of the sourthern and southwestern USA, and who come from communities, more often rural than not, that have historically always been poor or disadvantaged. Their local culture can be racist, can be violent, but I do get tired of 'redneck' being one of the permitted terms of abuse. I have spent time in "Redneck country" and have received nothing but hospitality and courtesy.

      1. Maynard G. Krebs

        Re: Poorly thought out attempt at Bitcoins?

        I lived in Oklahoma for about 7 years, now I live in Alaska. Not sure which place has more of them. For the record I pretty much like them as a group. You are very correct in that their culture does involve a bit of violence and racism, but it is also one of the most generous I have ever come across. They will come put in a hard days work on a project at your house for a couple burgers and some beers and they will have your back in a tight spot. The other thing I really like about them as a group is that they really won't hold your past against you. They tend to judge you on what you are doing at the moment, and not what you did 10 years ago. Of course the trend of decorating the entire main room of the house in NASCAR memorabilia is a little over the top but for the most part I would rather spend a night drinking beer and playing poker with a group of rednecks than going out on the town with a group of self important political types. (I live in Juneau and we are over run with the self important political types..)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Poorly thought out attempt at Bitcoins?

          > "...I would rather spend a night drinking beer and playing poker with a group of rednecks than going out on the town with a group of self important political types."

          I agree, no buzzkill is worse than a self-important jerk who likes to label people with mindlessly derogatory terms like redneck.

          1. jrwc

            Re: Poorly thought out attempt at Bitcoins?

            Redneck is not considered verboten or negative because Brits use the term much more often than Yankees. Now Blackneck is quite insensitive and never used by libs.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Poorly thought out attempt at Bitcoins?

              There are people in the south who are proud to call themselves rednecks. Otherwise, Jeff Foxworthy would never have gotten off the ground as a comic.

              PS. I hope everyone realizes the term itself comes from the sunburn on the back of the necks of people who work outdoors all day.

              1. ma1010 Silver badge
                Headmaster

                Re: Poorly thought out attempt at Bitcoins?

                Actually the term "redneck" came from a confrontation between union miners and those opposed to them in West Virginia back in (I believe) the 1920's. The miners in the northern part of the state were mostly union members while the miners in the south part of the state were not -- and had much worse pay and working conditions. Union organizers were, to put it mildly, not welcome in the southern part of the state. So a large number of union miners decided they would march down to the southern part of the state and try to organize the miners there. Many of them wore red neckerchiefs as an identifier, and a newspaper writer christened them "rednecks," and the name stuck.

                This did not end well. Some of the "rednecks" were armed, and the mine-owner-controlled police used this as an excuse to bring out machine guns and other heavy weapons and fired on the "rednecks," who retreated after taking casualties.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Poorly thought out attempt at Bitcoins?

                Just as other races are allowed to use words that have a denigrating racial connotation when they speak amongst themselves, "Rednecks" are allowed to call themselves that term. However Brits, Canadians and Damn Yankees should just shove off and find something less derogatory to call Southerners or get off their high horse(s) (preferably the wrong way) and stop criticizing others for the use of language, flags and terms they don't like used.

                1. willi0000000
                  Mushroom

                  Re: Poorly thought out attempt at Bitcoins?

                  i have always wondered why a group would use a term, regarded by that very group to be derogatory. to describe themselves to themselves . . . i wouldn't dream of calling myself a "Yankee" or "Damn Yankee" or a "Honky" for that matter . . . but you go right ahead.

                  i seldom criticize others use of language or terms unless i think they are improper or derogatory . . . but flags, flags are another story . . . i don't care if you fly your southern swastika on your own property but KEEP YOUR LOSER FLAG OFF MY GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS AND PROPERTIES.

                  [ sorry about the shouting but that's something i get passionate about ]

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Poorly thought out attempt at Bitcoins?

        I am also outraged by the use of the word "redneck" here. It's plainly racist and bigoted. You put people on moderation for less. Just because you don't think it is insulting doesn't mean it isn't.

        If you don't want other derogatory words like the "N" word to be used then stop calling people names like "redneck".

  12. Mark 85 Silver badge

    It's a sport....

    and not limited to redneck country. One of the biggest headaches for power companies and telcos is bored hunters who decide some target practice is needed and use the insulators on the poles for targets. Now if deer hide in trees or up the poles, it might be beneficial to the hunter to have that skill..... <rolls eyes>

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      @Mark85, re target practice.

      Don't forget that sheep like to roost in trees!

      <Inserts Monty Python skit for amusement's sake>

      Ba-aa-aa-aaaaa!

    2. Little Mouse

      Re: It's a sport....

      "if deer hide in trees..."

      I saw a documentary about that just the other night. Vicious buggers they are too, with their cloaking camouflage, thermal imaging & auto-aiming shoulder-mounted weaponry.

      You'd need to be some kind of 80's action hero to even think about taking one on.

      1. Medixstiff

        Re: It's a sport....

        Yeah well just be thankful you don't have Dropbears like we do.

        We should have a sign in our airports for the tourists "Welcome to Australia, where the wildlife want to kill you and our politicians are a bunch of lying, thieving wankers paid for my Rupert Murdoch and his friends"

        1. Sarah Balfour

          Re: It's a sport....

          With slight adjustment, that'd work in Blighty too… well the bit about politicians at any rate. Wouldn't say our wildlife is all that dangerous (unless you happen to be sitting on a sea wall eating fish and chips. I did laugh at the American family sitting on the sea wall at Salcombe, feeling smug they'd the entire wall to themselves, having ignored the ubiquitous gull warning signs, then having to beat a rapid retreat (I say 'rapid' they were stereotypical septics) being pursued, coz they weren't gonna leave their tea!).

        2. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: It's a sport....

          >"Welcome to Australia, where the wildlife want to kill you

          Not just the fauna either, the flora have a tendency to spontaneously combust and try to burn you alive.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's a sport....

      Now if deer hide in trees or up the poles, it might be beneficial to the hunter to have that skill

      Sounds like an ideal skill for hunting these. They're unbearable!

    4. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: It's a sport....

      " bored hunters who decide some target practice is needed and use the insulators on the poles"

      What goes up must come down.

      _ANYONE_ who fires a shot without knowing where the bullet will land up should be flayed and delivered home in a bag made of their own skin.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's a sport....

        @Alan Brown; Since we're talking about shots aimed in a primarily vertical direction though, is it such a major issue in that case? I seem to remember that they're nowhere near as lethal, primarily due to air resistance slowing them up and- most importantly- limiting the speed they'll reach on the way back down, which- if it were down to gravity alone- would otherwise be the speed they left earth at. (#)

        Did a look-up on the subject and got this:-

        http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2011/03/watch_out_for_falling_bullets.html

        Seems the orientation of the bullet on the way down is also normally tail-first, which tends to limit things too. Quite willing to bet that they'd still cause a nasty hit though, even if they didn't kill you.

        'Course, this only applies to near-vertical shots with minimal horizontal component.

        (#) For that reason, it's probably a significantly worse idea to try this on the moon.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: It's a sport....

          Since we're talking a shotgun, then no odds are the shot falling back down isn't likely to be an issue. Recall we had this discussion a month ago when a man took a shotgun to an invading UAV. Since shot aren't on spiral trajectories, they'll just tumble back to the ground like comparably-sized gravel.

  13. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Not just the USA

    “Someone had fired a shotgun straight up in the air into a 16-count fibre optic cable,”

    A long time ago, on the other side of the world, in another life as a telco tech, we'd routinely run into problems traceable to water ingress on aerial cables caused by shotguns. Even if they don't sever the fibres/wires, damaging the jacket is often enough to cause long-term problems.

    Dickheads are dickheads the world over. If road signs have shotgun damage then they're unlikely to be the only thing in the area that got targetted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not just the USA

      Dickheads are dickheads the world over. If road signs have shotgun damage then they're unlikely to be the only thing in the area that got targetted.

      Indeed, I've seen bullet holes in road signs around the Snowy Mountains, so it's not just the US.

    2. Richard 45

      Re: Not just the USA

      "Dickheads are dickheads the world over. If road signs have shotgun damage then they're unlikely to be the only thing in the area that got targetted."

      Road signs around on the Powys/Shropshire border around Bishop's Castle have shotgun damage. https://goo.gl/maps/OBnRZ

  14. Jock in a Frock

    Happens here in the U.K.

    We have some overhead fibres atop the National Grid network, and routinely get shotgun damage on a section between Plymouth and Exeter near a clay pigeon shooting range.

  15. NobbyNobbs

    reminds me of:

    Given an infinite number of pickups with an infinite number of rednecks with an infinite number of shotguns and an infinite number of road signs they could write the whole works of Shakespear in braile.

  16. OzBob

    It was probably

    the alien spaceship taking off after abducting a local that snapped the cable. Seriously, if these are the people Aliens are using as an example of our species, we must be considered the "Norfolk" of the western spiral arm of the galaxy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It was probably

      Um...which Norfolk: England or Virginia?

  17. Robert Grant

    Weirdly...

    in South African, it's British people who're known as rednecks, as we aren't used to the sun!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Weirdly...

      Well, that makes sense since people who've lived a long time in South Africa are either dark-skinned or have developed the tan needed to avoid sunburn.

  18. BrentRBrian

    Yes, it was guys like these GUN TOTING, MEAT EATING, FUR WEARING, TEA CHUCKING good old boys that ran the KING'S BEST back to their island 18th century ...

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      What a wonderful sight to behold at dawn: Shotgun damage

      Actually it's Texas, so it used to be part of the King of Spain's dominion...

      Definitely not "the colonies".

  19. sisk Silver badge

    Sounds par for the course. Except that, 'round here, the F150 is a status symbol, not a compact car. Though not much of a status symbol really. The poor sod driving an F150 just isn't quite good/rich enough to drive a gas guzzling Ram 3500 with a Cummins Turbo-Diesel engine. (Bonus points if it never sees anything more rugged than the Wal-Mart parking lot and the bed is so immaculately clean that it's obvious it's never had anything heavy or dirty in it.)

  20. TomPhan
    Unhappy

    In the liberal socialist west coast, Internet outages are the American Way

    because we have Comcast.

  21. dentext

    Texas is Redneck Heaven, and Texas has more assholes than mosquitoes,

    Texas has a lot of mosquitoes.

  22. Rick Giles

    This isn't the first time...

    this has happened. My company is in Memphis and was affected by the Comcast outage.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/04/raccoon_gunshots_downtime/

  23. sgp

    Eat steak the American way?

    I won't ruin a perfectly good piece of meat by putting plastic cheese on top, thanks nonetheless.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Eat steak the American way?

      And we won't talk about the abomination that Americans call bacon...

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