Category Archives: One-Foot Putts

Not Born to Run

What is it about me and popular culture?

Perhaps versus would have been a better conjunction in that question.

I do not feel the slightest twinge of anything (other than mild annoyance) when I hear Springsteen’s Born to Run.  What place wasn’t I that every other American seemed to be when that song was popular?

Nor have I ever identified with American Pie by Don McLean.  In fact, I grew to actively dislike it, because popular people with other sets of experiences seemed to expect that I should pore over it and spend hours trying to re-interpret our shared youth through it.

The number of rock and/or pop music concerts I have attended over my lifetime can be counted on two hands, with a thumb or two to spare.  I wouldn’t call my taste in music monophonic but The Beatles are the main course and everyone else is garnish.

My cultural disconnect is not limited to music.  I never saw The Titanic or The Lion King or Fast & Furious in any version, stage or screen.  I never watched an episode of America’s seemingly-indispensable television comedies Seinfeld, Friends, Cheers or 30 Rock.  I think I stopped watching fiction on television (not counting press briefings by Donald Trump) shortly after L.A. Law and Star Trek: The Next Generation wrapped up in 1994.  All right, there was The X-Files.  And The Sopranos.  And Fringe.  (But it was my alt-universe self who watched Fringe, so that may not count.)

Anticipation / Born to Run -- Illustration by CHCollinsGarth Brooks, Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, Bruno Mars, Drake, 50 Cent, Beyoncé.  The names and faces and brands and personas come and go.  I am not sure what demands more of my attention these days, musical celebrities or Medicare plans.

I guess I am just not that impatient for entertainment.  I like to entertain myself and you.

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trump-threw-paper-towels-into-a-crowd-while-visiting-hurricane-victims-at-a-church-in-puerto-rico.jpg

I yearn for the days when my blog may once again turn its attention to something other than the disaster that is Donald Trump.  I cannot begin to tell you how ashamed I am that this man, the leader of my government, presumes to speak for me.  His words and actions embarrass me to the marrow.

The trope “Ugly American” originally described those Americans who traveled overseas and imposed their arrogant expectations of service, privilege and obeisance upon the peoples and places they visited.  Trump has managed to bring the Ugly American home, modelling for us how Americans can be ugly to each other.  This he has nailed.

Photo Credit: AP/Evan Vucci

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Out the Window

Photograph: 20th Century Window by CHCollinsWell, that was quick.  One week ago, I downloaded Windows 10 for my Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro laptop (late 2013 vintage) as a purported “upgrade” for my schizophrenic but functional Windows 8.1.  As of today, I have booted Windows 10 out the window and returned to 8.1.  Thank you, Microsoft, for giving me a thirty-day grace period to get out.  But that is all the appreciation I can muster for you.

Many people have encountered serious problems switching to Windows 10; others have had no issues.  In my case, the problem was the laptop display flashing or blanking out.  Other Yoga 2 Pro users had this same problem — the cause seems to be a “panel refresh” option in the display driver.  To get rid of the problem, you can roll back the display driver to a previous version and turn off panel refresh.  But this fix lasts only until Windows 10 scans your drivers, detects that your driver is out-of-date, and reinstalls newer drivers (without giving you a choice), which reintroduces the display problem.

I am not going to spend hours fighting Windows 10.  You win, Microsoft.  I retreat.

We have two laptops in our family.  Both had Windows 8.1 and I chose to upgrade both of them to Windows 10.  And both of our laptops had problems.  Although I decided to throw in the towel on mine, I was able to fix the touchpad functionality on my wife’s Asus laptop by installing a program called “Smart Gesture.”  Again, the only reason I knew about this is because other Asus owners had the same issue.

Microsoft, do me a favor: if you intend to uninstall Smart Gesture from my wife’s laptop, please tell Windows to do so in the next 23 days, so I can throw her copy of Windows 10 out the same window I threw mine.

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