Monday, January 3

Ladies And Gentlemen, The Next President Of The United States

FIRST: posting may be light last week.

For one thing, I did get to go swimming with my Poor Wife, which I don't do often enough. She's a wonder. A former competitive swimmer. It must've been what watching DiMaggio play centerfield was like. I was an athlete, too, but I'm all angles and elbows and herks and jerks and exaggerated topspin; she's pure sinuous efficiency. Darlin', let's do it again sometime soon. Assuming you haven't given up checking this place for updates.

And I had to spend a lot of time acquiring shit, is what. My First iPod--I feel like I've really entered the 90s now--the 2GB, $45 4th Generation Shuffle in what Apple describes as "orange" but which turns out to be more like Schwinn Metallic Gold. Target still had the same three in stock it had on Xmas eve, when I just happened to peek in, and Silver seemed more imminently losable than even its sisters, and the Green was, well, that fucking Green I've been sick of since the actual 90s.

I hadn't looked in on the 24th with the intention of buying one; my relationship with gizmos these days requires they justify their existence with huge amounts of storage. So I'd said to myself I'd buy only whichever Generationally-Adjusted Pod it is tops 120 GB, and I wouldn't buy that one because it was too expensive for its gizmo status. And then the other night I was riding the exercise bike, and the teevee selection was even more dismal than expected, so I plugged the headphones into iTunes, and a suitably uptempo mix, and it was a really good experience. So I decided that mobile tunes outdoors might be an improvement over listening to my own horrible gasping sounds.

You habitu├ęs of a later century may have already realized that this means I had to sync the thing, and that this would probably amount to one of those interminable recountings of vexatious modern inconveniences. And you're right.

Suffice it to say I went through the litany of Apple's troubleshooting solutions twice before the thing appeared, with no warning or evident action from me, where it was supposed to have been all along; that the list included de-installing (what is commonly known, for some reason of which "literacy" can be ruled out of consideration, as uninstalling) iTunes, which process included my managing to create a duplicate copy of nearly every piece of music in my library, pegging two back-up drives in the process, and which I then spent an entire day getting rid of, in part because my duplicate file removing software would allow automatic selection of only the originals, not the duplicates, which all have a "1" or "2" after their names, and you don't wanna know what paroxysms of OCD that sort of thing leads to around here.

(It's interesting, by the way--I've owned Macs since the late 80s, and I've long since resigned myself to the fact that my expertise with the Operating System, such as it was, vanished with OSX, never to return; I'm trapped in a world now where I know just enough not to risk fucking with command lines, but where I'd rather live in a cave than inhale next to an Apple Genius--that the beloved Apple of Woz the Phreaker could only become a mass-market success story by turning into some 21st century version of DOS. I accept that Progress, or "Progress", might dictate that I have to jump through flaming fucking hoops of flame to uninstall something, but fucking iTunes is the goddam stupidest, buggiest, most counter-intuitive piece of software I can ever remember dealing with, and "counter-intuitive" ought to be, as it once was, the biggest insult you can aim at Mac software. No wonder it captured the Market. You can't do anything with it. Gathering knowledge about it requires the same dedication the Leakeys exhibited in East Africa. And command of many of the same processes. And this is because it's designed to Do Things For You. It's beyond me how no one has seemed to notice this, how the Through the Looking Glass tenures of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have influenced an entire culture to do the opposite of what it says it will do, then lie about the results to even things up. Funny how so many people who're silent about that helped spread the fear that the Clinton administration would lead impressionable young people to enjoy oral sex.)

Speaking of politics, Indiana Economic Mage and Winner of the Best Toy Governor category Mitch Daniels has regifted Hoosiers with a $2.6 B* coal gasification plant that nobody in his right mind wanted.

It's the latest in a series of brilliant Let's Have People Who Aren't Born Yet Amortize Our Loans schemes. Essentially, the state of Indiana--that is, the taxpayers and ratepayers of Indiana--have agreed--through their wise counselors--to buy the natural gas produced by the plant for the next thirty years, and sell it on the open market. Which would, as of this writing, result in a 42.3% loss.

Not to worry, says the Mighty Atom; the price of natural gas is bound to go up. And when it does, the state'll be sitting on a goldmine. And he'll be sitting on a beach in the Cayman Islands.

The state's guarantee will allow Leucadia National Corp. to obtain the loans necessary to build the plant. Which it couldn't obtain otherwise on accounta it's a risky crackpot scheme no bank would touch.

In other words, the Perfect Instrument of the Invisible Hand pounded this thing into paste. So cue Mitch Daniels. It's Play-Doh time.
Daniels bristles at the critics. He said they overlook the new jobs the plant and mines would bring to the area's distressed economy.

"You either care about the poor people of southwest Indiana or you don't," he said. "My goal from the beginning has been to bring some jobs and hope to the poorest part of the state."

Seems like we could buy and stockpile coal, then. For a decade, not a lifetime. Then when the price of natural gas reached the point where Leucadia National Corp. (NYSE: LUK; net income -$2.535 billion in 2008, total assets $5.198 billion) can build its own goddam gasification plant, the way Ayn Rand intended, we'll be ready to sell at a good rate and tidy profit.

Granted, I don't have any experience wrecking the national economy in just eighteen months at OMB. So maybe I've missed something. But if so, it's not that smell.

* corected


StringonaStick said...

Oh yeah, betting on commodity prices years in the future; that Mitch, he's a sharp one.

How many schools for the less than middle class is he proposing to close in order to pay the 42.3% loss/vig?

coriolis said...

"deinstall" vs. "uninstall". What's wrong with the good old "remove"?

KWillow said...

You might try asking one of your Poor Wife's students to hook up the ipod-computer-machine thingy. It'd probably take him or her 90 seconds.

I always have my daughter do the updating of my 2nd-hand (formerly hers) ipod. Otherwise I'll end up infuriated and a little bit teary for DAYS. And I, too, have a Mac, have always had a Mac (shouting in the direction of Cupertino: Because they were EASY!)

Husband says he can set my newish Mac up with OSX if I want, but then the ipod "updates" might not work. hahahahahaha.

Kent Fisher said...

Glad and sorry to hear that I'm not the only longtime Mac user who struggles to make iTunes do what it should. Below is the actual text of an actual message box that I've actually seen several times, despite the fact that it should, logically, eat itself as soon as it pops into existence. I was trying to delete an app from iTunes, and after confirming that I really did want to delete it, I was asked and informed the following:

"Do you want to move the selected app to the Trash, or keep it in the Mobile Applications folder? Only files in the Mobile Applications folder will be moved to the Trash."

The buttons in the box are "Cancel", "Keep Files", and "Move to Trash". I think I need advice from Bertrand Russell on which option, if any, will do what I want, and what the hell the other option is for. ("Cancel" I can handle on my own.)

M. Krebs said...

You're quite right that it is essentially impossible to make sense of iTunes. But I have accidentally discovered (and then forgotten) some pretty cool shit that it lets you do. So my advice is that, if you imagine something you wish you could do, try it. It might work.

Brendan said...

For the first time, I actually want to see Daniels run, because I can't wait to hear how he explains this Big Gubmint move to the rest of the Republican primary participants.

desertscope said...

If you haven't read Matt Taibbi's book Griftopia, it goes into shameful detail on these sorts of shenanigans.

Fiddlin' Bill said...

Investing in a house is also a no-lose proposition, because home values always go up. Only losers rent.