Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • Stumbled across Atlas Obscura, which is a collection of pointers to peculiar places around the world, including a museum in Iceland housing the world’s largest collection of animal penises. Alas, they do not list Bubbly Creek, on the south side of Chicago, where the stockyards dumped untold quantities of animal blood and offal for 80-odd years, forming a layer of clotted blood up to three feet thick on the riverbed. Peculiar don’t quite capture it.
  • Don’t know if I buy this, exactly, but there is some evidence that people lose weight just by living at higher altitudes. I certainly weigh less at 6600 feet than I did in Scottsdale at 1900, though strength training, shunning sugar, rationing grains, and eating lots more meat and dairy may have had something to do with it as well.
  • AVG is at it again; I got a trojan warning today for Trojan Generic 16.AUZZ in the installer for the Pan newsreader, which I have used off and on for several months. The file has been in my installers directory since last September and never triggered an alert before. I don’t think it’s a threat, but it demonstrates the difficulties of signature-based virus detection.
  • In case I haven’t mentioned it before: I’ve abandoned Winamp (after something like twelve years) for the VLC Media Player. It plays every audio and video format I’ve thrown at it (including some odd ones like mkv) except for MIDI. It never bitches about codecs and so far has never failed to play a playable file or disc. It even plays HD video, though the only example I have right now is some footage of me doing stand-up comedy with Terry Dullmaier at our 40th grade school reunion. Simple, sane interface with controls big enough to see. Free. What’s not to love?
  • And the Gimp may become a lot more lovable within a year. Man, I’ve tried to love the product for years…and always failed. The 2.8 version, due in December, could be just the thing.
  • Cool emerging space tech: Ionic mini-thrusters small enough to build several into a CubeSat.
  • What is the term for those people who dress up in chicken suits and wave signs too damned close to the street near places like Wild Wings? (Lately it’s mostly been guys in Statue of Liberty suits hawking Liberty Tax Service.) Helluva way to make a living. (I keep thinking I’ll be wiping them off my windshield.)

One Comment

  1. Erbo says:

    VLC has long been on my list of essential open-source software for Windows as “a better media player than [Windows] Media Player.” I still keep Winamp around for quick listening (and ID3 tag touchup) on MP3 files, but I use VLC for most video file and DVD viewing.

    As for the people waving signs on the side of the road…this columnist seems to refer to the ones for Liberty Tax Service as “tax wavers.” But it’s not just them. There’s one “waver” that I always see standing by the entrance to the shopping center at Leetsdale and Quebec waving a “Books” sign, advertising the discount bookstore that’s opened there. I’ve even seen “wavers” along the 16th Street Mall, presumably waving to the pedestrians and the people on the mall shuttle.

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