Derbtown

Quarterly Potpourri

January 16, 2014

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Quarterly Potpourri

Tightwad corner. If, like me, you never learned to touch-type; and if, also like me, you work your laptop to death; and if, like mine, your machine is a cheapo model; then you have watched with dismay as the letters get worn away from your laptop keys. By the end of 2013 I had utterly lost several letters, while other pairs (C-G, N-M) were so worn I couldn’t tell them apart. Typing was becoming a major memory chore.

You can buy replacement keys, and even entire keyboards, but I didn’t want to spend the bucks.

Solution: Shell out $2.79 for a white-out pen. Write letters on keys with white-out. Allow to dry. Spend another $2.48 on extra-hard clear nail varnish. Cover letters with it. Allow to dry. New keyboard, for about the price of one replacement key.

How to open a safe. In England many years ago, chatting with a locksmith while he worked, I learned the following thing: One of the country’s leading manufacturers of safes shipped all its products set to a default opening combination of 102030, and a high proportion of customers never reset it.

“I guess safeguarding my Netflix account is more important than preventing a nuclear holocaust.”

He: “If I need to open a Chubb safe, it’s the first thing I try. You’d be surprised how often it works.”

This came to mind when I was reading the story about Kennedy-era launch codes for our nuclear missiles:

…The Strategic Air Command greatly resented [Defense Secretary Robert] McNamara’s presence and almost as soon as he left, the code to launch the missile’s [sic], all 50 of them, was set to 00000000.

I use a random-string generator for my passwords and change them often. I guess safeguarding my Netflix account is more important than preventing a nuclear holocaust.

Al Goldstein, RIP. Al Goldstein, co-founder of Screw magazine, died December 19th. Jim Goad blogged a brief tribute, calling Goldstein “pornography incarnate.” Goldstein (according to John Heidenry) described himself as having been “in the right place at the right slime.” The New York Times obituarist pulled in Alan Dershowitz for a view. Said Al of Al: “[Playboy founder Hugh] Hefner did it with taste. Goldstein’s contribution is to be utterly tasteless.”

Goldstein would have agreed happily. Tasteless was what he did. Let it at least be said, though, that he did it with intelligence and wit. How, for example, could one improve on Goldstein’s advice concerning what a gentleman should say when his lady catches him masturbating in the shower? “Hey, it’s my soap and it’s my dick.…”

Weather: the English philosophy. During a nasty cold snap in November I went to the family doctor for my 30,000-mile check-up.

Usual drill: Pre-doctor, a nurse came in to take my blood pressure, etc. I took off my street jacket, fleece quarter-zip, wool sweater, and shirt, leaving my undershirt on.

She: “Oh, you’re one of those people who layers.”

Huh? It’s fifteen degrees outside, lady. What should I do?

We conversed. Apparently there are people who throw a coat over their shirt, then sprint from house to car to office.

For heaven’s sake! It’s only weather. It won’t hurt you.