Columns

Another 100 columns bites the dust 2016.02.03

By RICH FOLEY

I’m sure you didn’t notice that the previous installment of this column was number 400 in the series, especially since I made no mention of the fact. Besides, does anyone really care? But the circumstances of such a minor event were mildly interesting, so bear with me a bit and I’ll make it brief, if that’s possible.

My original coal-fired Macintosh computer was retired immediately after column 300 back in 2012. An eMac, actually built during this millennium, replaced it, and things rolled along without a hitch until last November. When I tried to turn it on to do final proofreading on my November 25 column, nothing could convince it to complete the startup process.

Not even a call to tech support, aka Mr. Green, could help. Luckily, I had an extra column stored on a flash drive at the office in case of illness, blizzard, or similar calamity, so it was used that week in place of the one now trapped for eternity within the eMac.. David later delivered a newer used monitor and tower to replace it.

 The latest unit seemed fine after setup and ran beautifully for about 15 minutes when it suddenly put itself to sleep. I restarted it, typed for 10 or 15 seconds, and it went to sleep again. The process repeated itself, over and over.

It took some time to finish the column, but I eventually discovered that if I let the computer sleep for 15 or 20 minutes before restarting, it would then work fine for about 15 minutes. With that knowledge, writing the next column was somewhat easier.

David delivered a different tower to begin 2016, and I celebrated by recreating the lost November column the dear, departed eMac tried to take to its grave. So far, so good with the latest unit, except for the one time it wouldn’t start and I discovered it had shut itself off completely. I guess it must have wanted a deeper sleep. After restarting it and resetting the clock, I was back in business and column 400 was soon complete.

Looking back over the previous 100 installments, column 301 involved my “adoption” of Challenger, an orphan black bear cub then residing at Appalachian Bear Rescue, an organization near Tennessee’s Smoky Mountain National Park that cares for bear cubs in need. He was released back into the wild later in 2012 and I assume and hope he is now a happy and healthy four-year-old bear, possibly with cubs of his own.

Also in 2012, I wrote about several odd obituaries I had come across in my reading. One I recently added to my collection was, unfortunately, for someone I actually knew. He was one of my college professors, well-known for his sense of humor. His obit stated, after the service and visitation times, “In lieu of flowers, Ike would like you to not vote for Hillary.” If that’s his final wish, I’ll do my best to honor his request. 

Speaking of presidential hopefuls, I also wrote a 2012 column about candidate Vermin Supreme, whose platform included giving a pony to every American. He also campaigned wearing a rubber boot for a hat. This year, he’d hardly stick out in the crowd.

In 2014, I mentioned drinking a can of Coke that was 22 months past its expiration date. Not normally a fan of the product, it must get better with age as it tasted pretty good, although I wouldn’t recommend the practice to anyone else.

 I’m still resisting the urge to taste a can of “Woodstock ‘94” Pepsi that’s 21 years past expiration and a can of Budweiser commemorating the NASCAR Cup debut of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. That one is a mere 17 years old. I’m definitely not tasting my unopened can of J.R. Ewing beer. It’s 36 years old, but at least it’s not leaking.

Last year, I wrote about a Massachusetts company that makes, shall we say, “fecal matter” into medicine to treat patients with a particular intestinal disorder. Qualified donors can make $250 a week by visiting the facilities at the company instead of using their own. In a later related column, I reviewed the history of toilet tissue.

In September, I wrote a column titled “Running for president is easier than you think.” Unfortunately, the current crop of candidates seem to validate that statement.

I think that’s enough review of the past for now. Stick around as we continue our long journey toward column number 500, computer willing.