Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

odd lots

Odd Lots

  • Here’s a longish research paper from the NIH National Library of Medicine exploring studies of the effects of light at night (LAN) on various body functions. One of the most startling is the degree to which night work correlates to obesity and Type II diabetes. Less clear but more concerning are links between LAN and certain cancers. The message appears to be: Sleep at night, in the dark. Carol and I do that, and have all our lives.
  • Hating the Other evidently heightens activity in our reward centers. The late Colin Wilson explored the issue, and claimed that in modern society we have to give ourselves permission to hate the Other…but once we do, hating the Other is delicious and hard to stop. This explains a lot about tribalism in modern politics, 90% of which is about hating the Other–and an important reason why I don’t write about politics.
  • Virginia Postrel has a related article on her Substack, about the role of what she calls “purity” and its relation to cancel culture. She mentions Gavin Haynes’ notion of a “purity spiral,” which I think nails the whole purity business. It’s an effort to outbid others in pursuit of an unattainable ideal. It is thus more evidence supporting my notion that idealism is evil.
  • I’ve always wondered why music in a minor key sounds sad, spooky, or creepy. Here’s one of the better online essays on the subject.
  • I include this (slightly) related item because it asks a question I’ve never heard asked before: What is the most evil chord in music? I would guess it’s the chord that runs around with a chainsaw, cutting treble clefs in thirds, and playing hob in a minor key.
  • I wonder how I got to be 70 without ever hearing about raccoon dogs, which are neither raccoons nor dogs. They’re an interesting, albeit invasive, species of canid found in the Far East. The Japanese call them Tanuki, though I don’t recall them coming up in conversation when I was in Japan in 1981.
  • Speaking of my 70th birthday, my writer friend and collaborator Jim Strickland brought a Cabernet Sauvignon to our dual birthday party on July 16. I tried it and found it…not bitter. That was a first in my wine experience, granting that once I tasted a few bitter specimens, I basically stopped trying them. The wine in question is from Daou, vintage 2020. About $20 at our Kroger-affiliate supermarket. Quite dry, but no oak, which spoils all the other flavors for me..
  • Well. Ever heard “Bohemian Rhapsody” played on several disemboweled scanners and piles of 5″ floppy drives, plus the occasional phone modem? Here’s your chance.
  • In case you don’t yet have enough interesting things to read, here’s the Smithsonian’s history of the hard hat.
  • Back in June, people in San Francisco reported that anchovies were falling from the sky. People did not report anyone running around the city’s streets holding a pizza and hoping for free fish.
  • Hey, this was evidently a banner year for Pacific Coast anchovies. My guess is that with no one putting them on pizzas anymore, their depleted populations have rebounded.
  • After using it since 2005, LiveJournal has canceled my account there. I don’t think anybody was reading it anyway. It was a mirror, and I have better backup schemes now.

Lots of Odd Lots

Odd Lots

  • The dairy that delivered milk to our house when I was a kid was indeed Hawthorn Mellody Farms (as verified by the Sister of Eidetic Recall) which was unusual in several ways: They had an amusement park in Libertyville, Illinois, complete with a miniature train ride, a petting zoo, Western town, and pony rides, that was a famous destination in the 50s for suburban moms with station wagons full of Boomer kids. They were the first dairy to put pictures of missing children on milk cartons. And before they went bankrupt in 1992, they were one of the largest Black-owned businesses in the country.
  • Also relevant to my entry of Febraury 24, 2009: Dunteman’s Dairy evidently existed before 1939. A page out of the 1937 Arlington Heights phone book from Digital Past shows an entry for Dunteman’s Dairy at 830 N. Dunton Avenue in Arlington Heights. The 1936 phone book shows a listing at the same address for “L. Dunteman,” so Lenard may have begun operating the dairy from his back yard (not an uncommon thing to do back then!) in that year. Prior to 1936 his listing shows yet a different address. I’ll have to see what’s at that address today the next time I’m in the area.
  • Digital Past is a very good source if you’re doing genealogy research on Chicago’s northwest suburbs; awhile back I found the location and a photo of the headstone of Laura Brommelkamp Dunteman there, after looking in vain for some years. (She was the second wife of Henry Dunteman, founder of R. W. Dunteman Construction, which is still in operation in Chicago’s western burbs.)
  • Well, grub is still plug-ugly, but it’s no longer difficult to configure. I’ve been using KGrubEditor for over a month now, and it makes the job a breeze. Highly recommended.
  • Where’s my flying car? Well, it may be here: Yet another Skycar concept, but this time it’s more Mad Max than Flash Gordon. Put a big fan on the back of a go-kart, get up some speed, and then release the parawing. Off you go!
  • Philip Jose Farmer has left us. Along with Heinlein, Clarke, and Keith Laumer, Farmer was one of the SF writers who inspired me to keep going and make something of myself in fiction. I still consider the Riverworld concept one of the most compelling ideas ever to surface in SF, even though the series wandered toward the end and would have been much better had it been three books (on the outside, four) instead of five.
  • I was going to do a whole entry on this, but Cory Doctorow said everything I intended to say about whackjob Roy Blount Jr and the knucklehead Authors’ Guild, who want money from anyone who does text-to-speech. There’s nothing I can add, and as a longtime author who still makes money writing, I think I have a right to strong opinions about this. Let me quote Cory here, and cheer:
  • Time and again, the Author’s Guild has shown itself to be the epitome of a venal special interest group, the kind of grasping, foolish posturers that make the public cynically assume that the profession it represents is a racket, not a trade. This is, after all, the same gang of weirdos who opposed the used book trade going online.