July 21st, 2011


Dear Internet Fairy

What the hell is this thing?

Every couple of days, I hear a clanking sound as I try to boot up my laptop, followed by the appearance of this dialog box. Whatever I do with it, I hang my computer up. I suspect it's a virus.

So, each time, I wind up booting up in Safe Mode with Networking, and using System Restore. This allows me to open my browser normally. It lasts for a while -- multiple re-boots -- before I get the message, above, again. Oh, yeah, and usually my computer tells me that System Restore didn't work, but my computer works normally, anyway.

I've updated Malwarebytes, Avast! and Zone Alarm. I've scanned my system. I can't find anything wrong with it, but this snotsucker keeps showing up. What should I do?

-- Disgusted

O bury me not

I believe that dumping Osama bin Laden's body at sea was the wisest course. In fact, I advocated doing it long before we caught him, though my other hope that he would be hanged on the deck of the U.S.S. Enterprise under a blazing sun in the middle of the Indian Ocean didn't pan out. For those who thought burial at sea insensitive, compare the current buzz over the grave of Rudolf Hess.

Hess was Adolf Hitler's right hand man, the last Nazi to die in prison some years ago at the age of 93. His grave was becoming a shrine for neo-Nazis, so his remains have been exhumed (with his family's permission), and they are being cremated. His ashes will be scattered at sea; his gravestone has already been removed.

The top German war criminals who were hanged (including Hermann Goering, who managed to kill himself the night before) were all cremated and their ashes scattered in secret. No shrine to them exists anywhere. By the end of the War in the Pacific, though, we were feeling more sensitive to local opinion. We gave the ashes of hanged Japanese war criminals back to the Japanese government, and they have all been entombed in the big national Shinto shrine, where lots of people -- including at least one prime minister -- have paid their respects, much to the worriment of those who wonder just how repentant the Japanese are for their aggression in the 1930s and '40s.