Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • Whew. We’re in Phoenix, now permanently, with the Colorado house on MLS. Much remains to be done, but the immense project of getting our house emptied and ready to sell has been nailed. The Smaller But Still Significant Truck Full of Stuff has emptied itself into our living room, and we have a week or two of sorting and sifting and putting away. Overall, we’re in good shape.
  • Iconic Mad Magazine cartoonist Jack Davis has died, at 91. I’ll readily admit that I used to read Mad while I was in high school, though not where my parents could see me. Humor mattered to me, as it does to this day. The only Mad artist who rivaled him in my view was Mort Drucker, who is still with us. (“I don’t believe your ears either, Mr. Spook.”)
  • I’m wondering if it would be possible to write a Windows-like user shell for Windows 10 IOT, which is available for the RPi. (You would be perfectly justified, this time at least, in asking “Why would you want to do that? Answer: Because it would be a cool hack, and it would probably annoy Microsoft, which is always a plus.)
  • Do you see the sunspot? I don’t see the sunspot.
  • We have now gone a record 129 months without a major hurricane making landfall on the US mainland. One of my friends continues to argue that Superstorm Sandy was a major hurricane because of the damage it caused. Ok…except “major hurricane” is a technical term in climate science, with a technical definition: Class 3 or above. Sandy was Class 2 when it hit the Atlantic Coast, and not a hurricane at all when it did the most damage. We’re talking about sustained wind speed, which is the only way we have to objectively classify hurricanes and get a handle on hurricane trends over time.
  • I got the impression (see above) that I was supposed to bow my head and whisper, “Hurricane Sandy was a horrible tragedy,” every time I talked about hurricane physics. Uhhhh…no. That’s like requiring me to say, “Nuclear bombs are horrible things,” every time I talk about the physics of nuclear fission. Sorry. Not gonna happen. Emotion has no place in science, except to politicize discussion and demonize dissent.
  • Where do Americans smoke the most weed? No points for guessing Colorado, though central Maine has a surprising constituency. What else do you do during those interminably miserable winters? (Thanks to Esther Schindler for the link.)
  • Speaking of which, Donald Trump supports allowing states to legalize marijuana, a position neither our president nor Hillary Clinton has taken. This is truly the weirdest presidential election in my considerable lifetime.
  • To be honest, I’m more interested in nootropics. Here’s a light article worth citing because it mentions a nootropic I had not heard of before: L-theanine.
  • Which is best used in conjunction with the oldest and probably best nootropic of all. Drinking coffee significantly reduces the risk of suicide. Well, caffeine raises mood, therefore acting against depression, and depressed people are those mostly likely to kill themselves.
  • Oh, and coffee acts against prostate cancer, too. I never drank coffee regularly until I was 33. I hope that wasn’t too late.
  • We had numerous Nash Ramblers when I was a kid. The company just turned 100, even though they became AMC and got devoured by Chrysler years ago. Nash did a lot of good stuff, some of it far earlier than their competition.
  • Why do I have to say this so much? Genuine virtue does not need signaling. I’ve come to the conclusion that all signaled virtue is fake. The rest of us are onto you. Just stop.


  1. Carrington Dixon says:

    We in the stf community tend to forget that Kelly Freas was a Mad artist as well. (He did a number of covers; I don’t recall anything inside.)

    I was reminded of this several years ago. A friend from college days was visiting and saw the (signed) Freas prints on my wall. (No originals, alas.) He immediately recognized Kelly even though he had never shown an interest in stf. He remembered Kelly from his work for Mad.

  2. jim f says:

    Jack Davis is a great loss to humor and cartooning.

  3. Bob says:

    The 1992 election was also a doozy. I remember it well. (cue the harp music) Perot was going great guns–remember “let’s look under the hood”–then suddenly drops out. Later he claims he was afraid that unless he dropped out someone would ruin his daughter’s wedding. LOL Then he gets back in during September and still pulls enough votes to throw the election to Clinton. Ah yes, I remember it well.

    1. Peculiar, yes, and memorable (mostly because it demonstrated the deadliness of third parties) but not weird. I respected both candidates that year. In 2016, I respect neither. Tribalism has completely taken over the political sphere. I know Democrats who are voting for Trump. I know Republicans who are voting for neither. I know people who are just waiting for their own heads to explode, thus ending the suffering.

      Somehow, “weird” doesn’t quite capture it.

      1. paul says:

        I remember a great comic-editorial from the 1992 election. It showed a reporter interviewing a husband and wife. The reporter asks “who do you want to win the election?”. They both answer “Ross Perot”. He then follows up with “who are you voting for?” One responds “Bush”, and the other “Clinton”.
        You are correct though, at least then we had a few viable choices. The present is just depressing. I wonder if something like an instant-runoff voting system would help the system self-correct from our current type of scenario. Nothing like it would ever pass into law with our two current parties in power though.

      2. Bob says:

        I agree, weird is too tame. How about tragic or disheartening? You have to laugh to keep from crying. If this were a story for Mad Magazine, the editors would reject it as too far out.

  4. I got big into Mad in the late 80s/early 90s. Lots of fond memories. Davis will be missed.

  5. Vince says:

    Jeff, the Colorado house is really nice. How long were you there? How many books did it give birth to?

    1. We designed it with an architect in early 2003, construction began in July of that year, and we moved in on St. Patrick’s Day 2004. So we were in the house a little over twelve years. I wrote my parts of Degunking Your PC and Learn Computer Architecture with the Raspberry Pi there, and all of Degunking Your Email, Spam, and Viruses and Ten Gentle Opportunities. I updated my assembly book for the 2009 edition there, as well as the second edition of Jeff Duntemann’s Wi-Fi Guide. That’s all that comes to mind, but in truth that’s quite a bit.

      It was and is a good house, for someone younger and without oxygen issues. (It’s at 6700 feet above sea level.) And in truth, we missed swimming pools, which we had from the beginning of 1987 until we left Arizona in 2003.

      Which reminds me: It’s 3:30 and I haven’t been in the pool since noon. Be back later…

  6. Wile_E_Coyote says:

    So, due to your “Nash Rambler” reference, I now have the “Beep Beep, Beep Beep, his horn went beep, beep, beep” song stuck in my head 🙂

    1. Consider yourself lucky. I could have mentioned “Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weeny Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini.” Or if that didn’t work, “Afternoon Delight.”

    2. jic says:

      Google *rambler song shellac*. That’ll knock it out.

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