Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

November 12th, 2008:

Odd Lots

  • The pseudobachelor life does not become me, but I'm working on it. So far, the heuristics seem to be: Stay in touch (our cell phones are being given a workout), stay busy, and socialize whenever possible. I've also found that I must get out of the house at least once a day or I get bitterly depressed. Today, at least, I had a mission: I FedXed Carol some papers and things that she needed, and grabbed lunch at the Black Bear while I was in the area. On the way past the Shell station (hardly the low-price leader hereabouts) I noticed that regular was down to $1.99.9. I do not remember the last time I saw gas break $2.00.
  • I didn't read Slate for at least a month prior to the election, because by a month prior to the election I had already heard quite enough about the election without going to Slate. Alas, Slate still isn't over the election, but here's a very good article on why we are always so angry. The author seems to see unchallengeable genetic predispositions, but I see spoilt brats: People who give rein to their anger are immature, undisciplined dorks. (Read the blogosphere for abundant examples.)
  • And the severely liberal Slate has finally copped to something I learned 25 years ago in Rochester, New York: In tony urban neighborhoods where then-stylish wood stoves burned through the winter, you couldn't hardly breathe. Wood is not clean heat. Wood is filthy, borderline toxic, dangerous-to-your-children heat that does not belong in urban settings, or anywhere with more than one house to five acres. (I cop to having had a wood stove on a third-acre lot in Rochester. I was part of the problem. I apologize, and I won't make that mistake again.)
  • This seems too good to be true—or at least permanently true—but it seems like a US court has thrown out most business-practice patents. (Thanks to Bruce Baker for the link.)
  • Well, Manischewitz Egg & Onion Matzos are back at the local King Soopers markets. I brought home two boxes yesterday evening, and could barely get in the door before ripping one box open, slobbering a whole cracker up with butter, and stuffing it back with hazardous haste. (Had Mike Sargent not tipped me off, I doubt I would even have looked.)
  • It's not just simple utilities like MozBackup. (See my entry for November 8, 2008.) AVG Antivirus triggered an alert on an essential Windows file, user32.dll, claiming it was infected with a trojan called Generic9.TBN, and recommended that users delete the file. Urrp. ClamWin is looking better all the time.
  • I rented The Golden Compass at Blockbuster the other night, and I will say this: It sports the coolest steampunk backgrounds and retromechanicomagical gadgetry of any film I have ever seen, and if you're a steampunk freak, don't miss it. However, having seen it, I know precisely why it was a fantastically expensive flop: It was utterly cold, and not because much of the action took place in the perpetual arctic dusk of Svalbard. I mean it in the sense that I detected little humanity in the characters, with the single exception of the broadly-drawn Texas aeronaut, Lee Scoresby. (The anti-Catholicism of the books was so muted that the Magisterium might as well have been a crew of Sith lords in baroque attire.) When the film was over, I was awed, but depressed. That's the job of an art movie, not a big-budget, kid-oriented, special-effects blockbuster. I doubt that the remaining two volumes in the trilogy will ever be filmed.