April 26th, 2020

#7119: Sushi didn't happen this evening

Instead I washed dishes and cleaned the kitchen a bit, then made something simple for dinner (chicken patties and mashed potatoes). Sushi tomorrow, damn it!

* * *

YES this whole COVID-19 panic is nothing but a fiasco in progress and if the American people realize it before November, there is going to be a (metaphorical) bloodbath at the polls.

* * *

Saturday night, and I'm sleepy, but all I really did today was sleep. It was a good day for it: cloudy and chilly and raining constantly; a good day to lay in bed with your honey and not do anything.

Of course it makes tomorrow that much more hectic....

Took apart the IAC valve for the Jeep, the one that failed. Turns out there's a little motor inside--essentially a servomotor--and it causes a shaft to turn which screws the pintle in and out. Except that it wasn't turning all that well; once I got it apart enough to see the shaft, I needed pliers to get it turning. So I think it had a sticky spot and, well, got stuck there in operation.

The dismantling of the thing was destructive, but it was already replaced with a new part so that's no biggie.

* * *

Interesting problem: for some reason, the computer speakers lose the right channel. But they don't lose sound from the right channel; the left channel ends up there. To fix it, I unplug the speakers entirely from the computer, then plug them back in; and presto, stereo music again.


...so I'll have to figure out if it's the PC or the speakers. I can disable the motherboard audio and install a sound card easily enough, and in fact that might be preferable to the integrated audio anyway; the hard part will be finding a sound card I can live with that doesn't cost a fortune.

* * *

Well, Pandora finally got their shit together enough to goof up browsers that are using ad blockers. That was a pretty good run, though--I don't remember when I started using Pandora but it's been since at least 2014, and it wasn't long after that when I listened to the thing via Pale Moon with Adblock, no commercials ever played.

The next thing to try is the "redirect" trick, where you edit the hosts file to send all ads to /dev/null, but that takes a little more hacker mojo than I care to expend at this time.

* * *

It's really late. Time for bed.

#7120: The true major controversy of our time

...whether or not you double-space after a period.

I was taught in my typing class that you always double-space after a period. You double-space after a colon, too, and an exclamation point--anything that has a . at the bottom of it. In the event of the end of a quotation, if it ends with any of those, two spaces. You single space after a comma under any of those circumstances.

So my typing class hammered home all those rules, to the extent that it is 100% (possibly 150%) automatic for me to hit the space bar twice, and I do it absolutely without apology for anyone's delicate sensibilities about it. I feel like this tempest-in-a-teapot is manufactured by the same people who get fainting spells over the use of Comic Sans which--it turns out--is a readable font with a casual feel, which is why it gets used so much.

If you are a competent and well-trained touch-typist you do the right thing automatically and the double-space rule is honored every time.

The reason for the rule stems from two things, both of which are centered on making it easier to read typed text. You see, for a very long time after their invention, typewriters could not kern their text; each character had exactly the same space on the page as the one next to it, including punctuation.

Not being an expert on typewriters I can't say whether or not mechanical typewriters ever gained the ability to print in proportional fonts--which is to say, fonts where the room taken by each character depended on its width. I don't see how it's possible to do that without things getting way the hell out of whack, but I suppose that with enough gimcrackery involved, the platen could be set up to move over by the width of the character just typed. Since the carriage return is executed by the person operating the typewriter--usually a pavlovian response to the ringing of an "end of line" bell--the kerning could begin anew at the start of the next line. (Right justification wasn't possible, of course, until much later.)

But the earliest (and later the cheapest) typewriters used tabular, or monospaced, fonts. And in order for text done with a monospaced font to be easily readable you put two spaces after a period, in order to help the reader's eye detect that this sentence is over; get ready for a new one.

"But Fungus," you say, "I've checked out your text and there's nothing but single spaces everywhere I can see!" Livejournal turns all multi-spaces into single spaces, as I've found to my chagrin when trying to format text with extra spaces, only to have it turn into single-spaced mishmash.

I have been touch-typing since 1982. I am not changing. Get used to it.

* * *

By the way: can we all just stop trying to pretend that Trump told people to shoot up with bleach and Lysol? That's not what he said. We all know that's not what he said, you included. While he didn't exactly cover himself with glory during that briefing, and said something kind of bone-headed, he didn't say what you claim he said, so stop saying that he did.

I didn't see you assholes harping on any of Obama's gaffes, like how he visited all "fifty-seven states", and how the "corpse-men" were all present, and so on and so forth. As far as I know this is the first time Trump the politician has said anything this manifestly dumb, and you don't need to amplify it by mischaracterizing it. (And in fact he's comported himself well enough that I don't recall any press attention to any gaffes while he's been President.)

Your characterization of Trump's statement as advising people to inject themselves with bleach is about like me claiming that Obama said, "I've visited all fifty-seven kingdoms of the United Realms!"

...but again, when I listen to what he said, I understand where he was coming from. There are methods of using ultraviolet lights internally to kill pathogens. Having heard that somewhere, and having heard how effective disinfectants are, he blabbed something about using them internally. I've had that thought myself, before, but I wasn't trying to steer a country of three hundred million people through a major catastrophe and probably losing sleep because of it, and I sure as hell wasn't thinking about this in front of a bunch of reporters who hated my guts and were just champing at the bit to hound me out of my job.

I think you can make your point about what Trump said, without exaggeration. If you're too lazy to make that point, that's on you. Stop making shit up if you want the American people to listen to what you say.

* * *

By the way, quoth Pixy Misa:
There hasn't been a spike in calls to poison control centres after President Trump didn't suggest injecting disinfectant. (MSN)

MSN's headline is wrong in every possible way.

There has been a spike in calls to poison control centres going back to early March because people are failing to understand that the universal warning not to mix different cleaning products together actually means DO NOT MIX DIFFERENT CLEANING PRODUCTS TOGETHER OR YOU MIGHT PRODUCE POISON GAS OR IF YOU ARE REALLY INVENTIVE AN ACTUAL FUNCTIONING EXPLOSIVE YOU GODDAMN MORON.

Specifically ammonia and chlorine bleach, but good advice in general.

Also, don't give your husband fish tank cleaner to drink and then blame it on the daily Wuhan Bat Soup Death Plague briefing. The media may buy it. Maggie Haberman may buy it. The police won't.
I'm interested to know how mixing household cleaning supplies could yield an explosive, but I'm not curious enough actually to look into it. Nearly every time something like that occurs, the product is unstable, and likely to blow your ass apart if you even look at it funny. And one must never forget the wisdom from my favorite book, Have Space Suit--Will Travel, which said (slight paraphrasal), "Never manufacture explosives in a frame building."

And of course you're much more likely to produce chlorine gas, which is bad for you. You have to be careful; heck, I know better, and yet one time I accidentally mixed something with hydrochloric acid with something else that had bleach in it--a surefire way to free up chlorine.

People are acting as if they need to decontaminate their homes as if they'd hosted an ebola ward. That's not the case; your home is safest because only you live there, and there's not going to be anything there that you didn't bring in yourself. If there's COVID-19 in your house, you've already been exposed to it. Just wash your hands with soap and water and keep things reasonably clean. Your house will not infect you with this.

* * *

Victor Davis Hanson has a gift for producing must-read columns. That one is no exception.

* * *

Francis Porretto knocks one out of the park with today's "Sunday Rumination":
I believe that the inability to contemplate the end of one's existence--the sure knowledge that, yes, we ALL will die--is the underlying root of the Left's madness. Many of the crazier Baby Boomer women--having forgone their chance to have children--are now, near the end of their lives, faced with the reality of the period at the end of their life sentence. They have no descendants; those that do, often find that their children have little interest in making them grandparents. They've not reached those lofty career heights they expected to, in that long-ago time when they were young, and all was possible.

They are without spouse or other family. Their friends, likewise old, are dying off. Their entire world is crumbling.

Is it any wonder that they want the rest us to face a lonely, broke, isolated existence, one that matches their own?
This is why they hate Christians so much. Christians understand what the reality of life in this universe is, what it amounts to. Christ taught us a lot about the nature of our existence here, and emphasized that everything you build and do in this world matters, but nothing you do here will last.

What do you do when you realize that you won't live forever in this world, that your existence here has an end, that nothing here can last, and you've already rejected Truth? What I see is that those people--who are themselves too proud to admit error--get angry at those who have not rejected it, who understand and accept their place in the universe as servants of God. If they could but say, "Okay, I was wrong, let me in," they could be redeemed...but they won't, not after decades of denying the things they likely were taught as children, but then rejected after deciding that it was "bullshit"...mainly because their pop culture idols and university professors told them so, and because if Mom and Dad believed something, it had to be wrong ("Don't trust anyone over 30 40 50 60 80....") just on general principles.

If someone asked me to condense the philosophy that informs my SF stories (such as Apocalyptic Visions) to a single sentence, I'd have to say it was, "We live in the universe of the dead."

It's a line spoken by a member of a race of energy beings, who arrived at that exalted state not by natural evolution but by a purposeful rejection of mortality. They figured out how to become perfectly immortal, and did so...and upon doing so, quite suddenly understood the colossal mistake they'd made. From that moment onward, their only goal is to undo what they did to themselves. And for five-odd billion years they get nowhere, until they discover the existence of the human race...and then something happens.

Now--this is a larger, background story told across several novels. There is no one book that tells this story. AV has the earliest hints of it in it, but in fact most of its mentions come out of the Alternity campaign I ran. $Release_Candidate_One is where it really begins to be told; and after that there are two other books which complete the story of this race of energy beings. So there are basically three books which have this tale as their "B plot" and the latter two are in serious need of being rewritten, but at least the story is there.

* * *

Illinois can open for business sooner than May 31, damn it. The "emergency hospital" at McCormick Place is being downgraded from 3,000 beds to 1,000 beds because--guess what!--they simply aren't needed.

* * *

College sports are nothing but a scam and I honestly think the world would be better without them. But that won't happen, so I agree that football players who are recruited to play for universities ought to get BA degrees in Football.

Generally speaking I think organized professional sports are stupid, too, but one might as well shout at the wind.

* * *

It certainly makes socialized medicine work better, if you get rid of the most expensive patients in a deniable fashion. Had to look up "Operation T4" but--having done so--I can understand where the suspicion comes from, that NYC's decision to force nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients is meant as a kind of covert euthanasia of the elderly.

The left loves death. This isn't surprising.

* * *

I had high hopes for today. They were dashed.

...was up too late last night, mainly just looking at pictures and not thinking. Mrs. Fungus wanted me to read some AV to her, and then it was almost 2 AM, and I sat here at the computer flipping through memes on Imgur and listening to music, basically vegetating.

Finally got to bed somewhere around 4-ish, woke up at 7 with a dry throat, coughing, but went back to bed after that. Finally got up for good around 1:30 or so, but since then all I've done is sit here and bloggerate--first reading, then writing, as usual.

I was going to try to get a few little tasks done today, but so far I have not managed any; and the proximity of the dinner hour means I likely will cook something for dinner before doing anything else.

And I want to make sushi, damn it, even though that's a time-consuming process. *sigh*

* * *

Turns out Amazon has several sound cards, including actual Sound Blaster cards, for not a lot of money. Interesting.

...my first resort has become Amazon, mainly because they have everything and I've been paying for Prime, which eliminates most shipping costs, and which--in normal times--generally guarantees fast delivery to boot. The number of items I've ordered from Amazon in the past few months--averaging 1-2 per month--have amortized the cost of the Prime subscription quite nicely. I've found that, overall, it's been a winning proposition for me.

Especially when I factor in the cost of the time it takes me to go somewhere to buy the things I've bought. Time, gasoline, and annoyance.

Example: the SSD for Achernar. I forget what I paid for it, but in order to buy something similar at a store I would have had to drive 30-45 minutes each way to get to the closest Best Buy, and it probably would have cost more to boot. Ditto for the toner cart for the printer.

I bought a headlight retaining ring for the Jeep. $13 shipped. I could not find one at O'Reilly's or Advanced, for some reason. (Most cars don't use them anymore--that's why.)

* * *

Well, we're coming to end of April. Soon it will be May. I wonder if we'll have our freedom back anytime soon?