Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

If You’d Asked Me, I Would Have Told You…

Water-saving, power-saving appliances are about as ecologically unfriendly and consumer-unfriendly as it is possible for a device to be.

P1030121How d’you like what came out of my washer this morning?

The new, fancy, water- and power-saving EXPENSIVE clothes washer creates a massive tangle if I have the chutzpah to put a shirt in with a pair of blue jeans. To avoid a huge wadded mess, I have to put anything that has a strap or a sleeve into a mesh bag.

Today that strategy didn’t work. The entire load of colored clothes came out in a single gigantic knot.

This annoyance is characteristic of the Samsung top-loading high-efficiency goddamn washing machine I bought a year or so ago. I’m told it’s characteristic of front-loaders, too.

Before Samsung (BS, appropriately enough), I could run a load of colored clothes through the old-fashioned top-loading actually functional Kenmore washer, hang the knit tops and cotton bluejeans on ordinary clothes hangers, and let them air-dry on a laundry-room rack. Now, to beat the wadded-in wrinkles out of them — after I’ve spent ten minutes untangling the mess — I have to run them through the dryer!

BS, I hardly ever used electric power to dry my clothes. Most of them dried, with no need for ironing, on clothes hangers that could be carried, once the laundry had air-dried, from the wash area to the closet. Now all the jeans and most of the shirts have to be run through a dryer, wasting electric power and running up the power bill.

A twenty-minute wash cycle has morphed into an hour and ten minutes.

One might avoid the knotting conundrum by washing all of one’s pants separately from all of one’s other clothing. Consider what this would do for you (or to you):

Now you would have to separate out every pair of pants from every other category of clothing. This would, at best, present you with four loads of laundry: colored pants, colored shirts and underwear, white & beige pants, white & beige underwear. Two 20-minute loads (one white, one colored) now convert to four one-hour-and-10-minute “high-efficiency” loads. Four hours and forty minutes to do a forty-minute laundry job! At least two of those loads — the ones including the pants, whose legs will knot together willy-nilly, will have to be run through the dryer whether you prefer to do so or not, to get rid of the knotted-in wrinkles. This more than doubles your water and energy use on the washer, and if you are one of those wily consumers who figured out that few clothes really have to go through a dryer, it increases your power bill accordingly.

It’s in the same category, isn’t it, as the water-saving toilet. You know, the one that supposedly needs 1/3 less water to flush than real toilets used to need, but that has to be flushed three times to get the stuff down. And the ugly fluorescent light bulbs that make everyone in the room look green, that dump mercury into the landfill (and all over your house if you drop one), and that give you a migraine whenever you turn them on.

Big-Brother-Knows-Best good intentions lead people to find workarounds with counterproductive consequences.

The high-efficiency clothes washer and the water-saving toilets are obvious cases in point.

Another one: we know that in 2015 the city probably will institute water rationing. From California’s experience, we know the strategy will be to tell people they will face fines  unless they cut water use, as measured by the present smart meters, to 60% of their prior use. Some folks, then, realize  they need to use about 40% more water than necessary now, so that when the cutbacks come, enough water will be available to keep their citrus trees, energy-saving shade trees, and vegetable gardens alive.

More immediately, though: Our dearly beloved paternal city has installed counter-intuitive roundabouts up and down the ’hood’s main north-south feeder street, and they’ve put infuriating, alignment-wrenching speed bumps along the east-west feeder street. The result? Pass-through traffic is diverted off the feeder streets onto smaller, once-sleepy neighborhood roads. In the few weeks since I found my way around the damn things, I’ve noticed that LOTS more drivers are joining me in the several routes that take us around the stupid speed bumps and the wreck-inviting traffic circles. (Ever had anyone try to pass you in a one-lane traffic circle? I have…)

Want to slow down the passers-through who don’t give a damn about our kids, our pets, or our old ladies trying to walk off a few pounds? Two easier, cheaper solutions: a) install traffic cameras; or b) station a nice, sturdy traffic cop in the neighborhood during rush hours.

Dogs, like humans, should eat real food.

That means actual balanced, unprocessed diets consisting of cooked meat, vegetables, fruits, and healthy starches — not the junk food humans normally eat these days.

Ruby the Corgi Pup has made the transition, at last, to a diet of full-blown real food. Shortly after losing the ultra-premium dog food, she lost the chronic diarrhea. And now, a few weeks after having made her escape?

Her fur is so shiny it practically glows in the dark. Her eyes are bright and clear. Her mood is happy, rambunctious, and funny. She radiates good health.

Cassie the Elderly Corgi, who has never been off real food since she entered my precincts, continues in good health. Her fur is rich and radiant; her eyes…yes, bright and clear. Her teeth, good. Her everything, healthy and strong. No vet has ever been able to find anything wrong with her.

The difference in the pup since I took her off the commercial dog food is incredible. Reminds me of what happened when I started feeding real food to the aged German shepherd and the aged greyhound, in response to the Late, Great Melamine Scare. The Gershep, who at the time was so advanced in decrepitude she could barely haul herself to her feet, suddenly was chasing her ball across the yard, something she hadn’t been able to manage for a year or more. Both dogs thrived on a diet of 1/2 cooked meat, 1/4 cooked vegetables, and 1/4 starch (such as sweet potatoes, rice, or oatmeal).

Folks. Dogs do best when fed a diet approximating a healthy, balanced human diet, less the onion, the garlic, the sugar, the salt, and the chocolate.

Commercial dog food is a huge scam.

This morning I threw out a half-dozen cans of ultra-premium dog food. At $2.60 per can plus tax, that came to a little over $17, directly into the garbage. That expensive commercial dog food made Ruby good and sick — she had projectile diarrhea for a good ten days, until I finally gave up and took her off the stuff.

Do you think it’s in the natural order of things that when you switch a dog from one food to another, it should get gastritis, manifested by diarrhea and possibly even vomiting?

Well, no, my friends: it is not. When a dog  becomes accustomed to eating real food, it can shift easily and with no ill effects from one type of protein to another, from one veggie or fruit to another, from one source of starch to another. Ruby has readily adjusted to the following:

chicken
hamburger (i.e., beef)
pork
sweet potato
rice
oatmeal
peas
carrots
winter squash
banana
blueberries

But moving from Castor and Pollux ultra-excellent canned dog food to Wellness ultra-excellent canned dog food gives her a violent case of the doggywobbles???? Excuse me? What IS wrong with this picture?

Welp, think about it. Dogs have lived with humans for some 15,000 years. Along about 1860 — about 157 years ago — some entrepreneurial human came up with the idea that doting pet owners could be persuaded that their “pet children” should be fed special pet food! This idea redounded to the vast profit of said entrepreneur, and to that of all the pet industry entrepreneurs who came after him.

Before this genius came up with a scheme to persuade us that nothing would do but what we must feed our animals special pet food, unrelated to anything we as humans would ever dream of eating (would you put a piece of dog kibble in your mouth?), dogs ate whatever people ate. Humans, who at the time did not overindulge in Big Macs, french fries, pizza, and soda, would put down whatever was left over from their own meals, or whatever offal they took out of the animals they hunted for sustenance. Over the millennia, dogs evolved to eat what humans eat.

In just 157 years, they have not un-evolved. Dogs still thrive on the kind of food you and I would thrive on, were we not presented with over-processed, over-sugared, over-salted junk food! We would thrive on it, too, if we could be persuaded to fire up the stove and cook our own food.

At $2.60 per 13-ounce can, a puppy that needs to be fed 2 1/3 cans per day racks up a much, much higher food bill than she does when her human goes out and buys some hamburger, pork, or chicken on sale (it’s a myth that pork is bad for dogs, BTW), a few sweet potatoes or a bag of oatmeal, and some frozen vegetables. It is far cheaper to cook your dog’s food than it is to feed comparable food out of a can or a refrigerated roll. And the results, in terms of your dog’s health, appearance, and temperament, are far superior.

And now for the Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Does it not strike you as odd that once a dog is acclimated to real food, it can switch readily from ingredient to ingredient with no distress, whereas a switch from Purina to Science Diet or from Castor & Pollux to Wellness will cause spasms of doggy diarrhea?

Odd, indeed. IMHO, the only reasonable explanation is that dog food manufacturers spike their product with ingredients that cause gastritis when the consumer switches abruptly from one brand to another. It is, in a word, a scheme to scare consumers into keeping their dogs on the given commercial brand they start with. Dog food is jiggered to make dogs sick when they’re switched from product to product.

Real food decidedly does not have that effect.

Way too often, veterinary bills are  inflated by unnecessary testing, unnecessary “wellness” exams, and unnecessary procedures.

Remember when your vet tried to get you to come in once a year for an annual pet exam? Well, they’re accelerating that: today when my vet’s assistant left me on hold to listen to the endlessly annoying, uneasy-making advertising tape, I was informed that he now wants customers to bring their pets in twice a year!

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that many of the vaccines we’ve been told our pets must have, over and over world without end, lest they die of some dread disease are truly unnecessary. Endless annual booster shots operate, at many veterinaries, as a tool to get you back in the door, where you can be subjected to the Big Upsell: persuaded that any number of unnecessary procedures, from expensive dental cleaning to daily medications that require expensive semi-annual blood tests to routine over-vaccination…to god only knows what. These procedures, many of which may be unnecessary, cost pet owners some very big bucks.

And while we’re on the subject, humans also are subjected to massive unnecessary medical examinations and testing.

I tire,  so let’s abbreviate:

The annual physical exam (thank god) is going out of style.

Annual physicals are unnecessary.

Unnecessary, we say.

Annual pelvic exams for women are unnecessary.

Routine physicals lead to invasive, dangerous, and unnecessary procedures, even among the one-percenters.

Routine screening tests lead to exorbitant unnecessary costs.

Studies show unnecessary tests rack up 40% of Medicare spending.

Do I regret allowing myself to be subjected to the “routine” mammogram that has sucked me into a mutilating surgery and an uncertain future? Maybe. Maybe not. From what I can tell, the extremely low-grade entity discovered in my boob may or may not morph into an invasive cancer. Apparently no one can tell. If I were six or eight years older, cutting open my breast and yanking this thing out would be a destructive, pointless, harmful exercise in futility — I would die of some other natural cause long before this thing could kill me, if it ever decided to spread around. But because I’m  not quite 70…it’s ambiguous.

Probably nothing would have happened if this thing had never been discovered.

On the other hand, getting rid of it may insure — provided that I’m not subjected to radiation therapy, which over time will elicit some unpleasant and possibly life-shortening side effects — that I’ll have a shot at a ripe old age.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

P1030120

 

Author: funny

This post may be a paid guest contribution.

13 Comments

  1. Regarding the cans of dog food, I was wondering why you wouldn’t return them to where you bought them and get a refund rather than pitching them out? Just the cheapskate in me who never likes to throw away money.
    On annual physicals: I struggle with this. I have to get blood drawn due to being able to get a prescription for my low thyroid. Doc still wants me to do annual mammograms but I’m not sure on that. Had them annually since age 39 and worry about all that radiation.

    • Arghle! Don’t get me started on Petsmart!

      I paid for the stuff with the cash card that I got as a rebate from Hayward when I paid for the new pool cleaner. Thus it was essentially a cash purchase, and, assuming I would use the stuff, I didn’t save the receipt.

      Petsmart has one of those “give-us-all-your-private-inforomation” annoying “membership” cards. When I went back to see if maybe they’d take the six cans back, they informed me that I had to go online (right…i’ve got lots of time to fart around with another website!) and enter my data from the card to get the information I needed for the refund and then bring that back to the store, and THEN they would give my money back.

      Well, I highly resent those cards. I resent being asked to reveal my name, phone number and address so some corporation can track my purchases and pester me with advertising, and I resent being made to carry fistfuls of plastic cards around to get a fair price on the merchandise. In general, I do not shop in stores that make me do this, and that’s one reason why I dislike shopping at Petsmart. So when I’m really cornered, as I was some years ago when I got their piece of plastic, I lie my little head off.

      I have NO IDEA what name I made up, what phone number I invented, or what crazy address I entered. So, because I value my privacy and do not care to lug their plastic around, I can’t get a refund.

      Ask another doctor about the mammos. My gynecologist and the radiologist at St. Joe’s seemed to think the three-year interval between the latest pictures and the last one I’d had was reasonable.

  2. Interestingly, none of my human doctors have encouraged me to see them annually, whether it be my PCP or OB, only my pain pros expect to hear from me somewhat regularly but they don’t press the issue. I usually go three years between OB exams and we just do “routine” tests to get a baseline but not regularly. It’s nice to have that at least.

    We’ve also been on 3-year cycles for Doggle’s vaccines but unfortunately there’s no way around the annual exam to continue to get his meds refilled. :/ That’s annoying. But otherwise there’ve only been a few expensive “nuisance” visits that you can chalk up to my nervous nellydom after he was totally abnormal for a week.

    • At a certain point in a dog’s life, the vaccines are no longer necessary at all. Look it up. It’s amazing.

      About once every three years is probably optimal, although as the dog gets older, it may acquire lifelong immunity to some or all of the diseases for which it has been vaccinated repeatedly. At one point I had more credible sources on this subject; offhand the least woo-woo ones I’m finding in a short search are here:
      http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/13_8/features/Annual-Pet-Vaccinations_20036-1.html
      here: https://www.msu.edu/~silvar/vax.htm
      and here: https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/rbbroch.aspx (on cats and vaccine-generated sarcomas).

      Younger and more up-to-date docs apparently no longer buy into the annual physical schedule. The Mayo requires people on Medicare to show up once a year for a physical, or else they shuffle you off their rolls and you can no longer be treated there. Of course, they want to get rid of Medicare patients because Medicare doesn’t pay enough. But they also want to collect from Medicare for pointless tests, presumably making up the difference for more expensive treatment that won’t be fully covered.

  3. I had read about the tangling effect of the new high efficiency washers – but I have to say, I’ve had mine (top loader) for about 3 years now, and have never had a single issue. I gave up on “whites” a long time ago – I buy coloured undies and throw everything in one load – pants and shirts and all!

    The roundabouts – now those have been proven to be more efficient at moving traffic – but only once people figure out how they work. It will take time, but eventually (hopefully) Americans will get it figured out.

    • What brand of washer? Maybe it has to do with the make.

      They put the roundabouts into this neighborhood not to make traffic more efficient but to make it less efficient: to slow people down. It’s true, this being Phoenix, everybody feels entitled to drive 40 or 50 mph on surface streets — even on two-lane neighborhood roads, while texting. And it’s true, that is annoying.

      The turns are too tight and the roads are way too narrow to support efficiency. The bike path goes away there, and so the only way for a bicyclist to get through is either to stop and wait for cars to go first or to get off the road and ride on a sidewalk or on someone’s lawn.

      Drivers regularly climb up on the curb — sidewalks near the roundabout are covered with tire tracks; curbs are blackened with rubber. So any pedestrian who has any sense gets off the sidewalk ten or fifteen yards before the the roundabout, walks past on a neighbor’s lawn (one side of the road has no sidewalks) or traipses through grass (often wet) in the park.

      A truck cannot get through these traffic circles. Thus if a person hires, say, Bekins to move house, a moving van the size of a semi can’t reach the job without the driver figuring out how to get there by some obscure route. A large fire truck similarly would have difficulty getting around the things.

      The roundabouts are an asset to the neighborhood in that they have been expensively landscaped and are handsomely maintained by the Parks Department. And that is why I say it would be cheaper and more effective to post a traffic cop near the park during rush hour or to install a traffic camera.

      But then…Arizonans think traffic cams are unconstitutional. No joke.

  4. As for the washer….I share your pain…somewhat….DW and I opted for a Maytag Neptune TL (top load) back about 8 years ago. We fell for the “hype” and we all know of Maytag’s dependability heritage. Well about 6 years in…the thing starts making noise and won’t operate correctly. Call the repair guy who shows up and collects $129 immediately for the pleasure of his company. Then after a 5 minute “exam” declares the worse…”it’s the mother-board”….+$300 and he doesn’t like how the bearings are sounding…+$600 for the “module”…. in other words it’s terminal. Declined his “generous” offer to sell us a replacement for $1000. Did some research and went to Lowes and tempted fate…and bought another Maytag TL …very energy effecient….had a manufacturer rebate PLUS $100 back from the electric company….making it around $450 net. It has performed flawlessly and the spin cycle is so powerful the clothes nearly come out dry. Would not buy a Samsung or LG for that matter …on a bet….they are junk and designed to be pretty…not durable. For full disclosure…my first washing machine a GE lasted 26 years and served us well. But I would highly recommend the Maytag (owned by Whirlpool now)Bravo top loader….

    • Maytag used to have a wonderful reputation, but after it was sold to Whirlpool that reputation dropped off.

      But that seems to be true across the board. A repair guy told me that all kitchen and laundry appliances are now engineered to last seven years. So it looks like yours just about reached the end of its life.

      The Samsung was highly rated. Truth to tell, from what I could tell in reading reviews, ALL top-loading HE washers tangle up clothes. I really didn’t want a front-loader, though. I’m old enough to remember the back-breaking work my mother (and I!) had to do with the old Bendix. And the enormous mess to clean up after the damn thing overflowed, which it did with some regularity — I understand this is characteristic of the new front-loaders, too. And that they stink if you don’t leave the door hanging open all the time it’s not in use!

      Anyone who grew up with a Bendix has GOT to wonder why on earth anyone would want to bend over to haul heavy, wet clothes out of a front-loading wash machine.

      Guess I’ll be going back to what my mother used to do, back in the 50s: hand wash a fair amount of the laundry. Ain’t these modern conveniences grand?

  5. Have not had one tangled piece of clothing from the Bravo…I tell ya this thing is crazy.What makes it so effecient is it’s large capacity…pretty sure the largest available…much taller than the old one…..And no center agitator and as I said the clothes are spun at such a velocity that they are almost dry. Pretty sure this was designed by the Maytag guys before the buy out and then put into production by Whirlpool. A lot of “overkill” like the old Maytags …heavier motors and belts…

  6. That’s one talented tie-dye ready machine, I’ll give it that… some machines will tangle small items (think bras, cloth belts, anything with a strap). Sorry you’re having so many issues… it is funny from the outside, but I am sure you’re having no fun untangling that.

    I think you should’ve donated that dog food instead of throwing it away… shelters could’ve really used it. We fed our Star regular pet food, and though she’d be picky when we switched brands, she never had any real issues related to feeding. She did eat a lot of human food, though.

    • Yeah, I thought about donating. But it made my dog sick! So donating it to make some other dog sick seemed kinda counterproductive.

      Hee-heee! Isn’t that the most amazing wad you ever saw?? That’s why I couldn’t resist taking a photo: after I got through cussing, I started to laugh!

  7. Vaccines: you know where they get you? Licensing. You can get fined for not having a licensed pet but you can’t get a license without an up to date rabies vaccine.

    These fellas are old but I doubt they ever got their distemper vax in their youth (hello strays and poorly cared for pups), so we’ll probably stop those a little later than we did with my dogs I’d had since they were truly young pups.

  8. Whoa, that’s some mess! I bought a GE front loading HE machine in 2009 to replace the washing machine that came with the house when it died. I’ve never had my clothes come out in a tangled mess. I have no problems loading it, either, as it sits on a pedestal and the door is at about my waist. I do have to leave the door open or it gets smelly inside, but that’s no big deal to me. Clothes come out very clean, nearly dry, and I just shake them and hang them to complete their drying. Yes, the standard washing cycle is LONG, but there is also a shorter washing cycle if I choose to use it. (I rarely do.)

    As for driving…oh, my. I HATE driving here in Chicago, where it seems to be a competitive sport. This includes driving on the expressways, main arterials, and side streets. We have red light cameras and speed cameras, but they do nothing to address the incredible aggressiveness of drivers. I get passed on the right from the parking lane and/or bike lane, cut off, and tail-gated all on a regular basis from drivers who just don’t think I’m going fast enough for them. (Why you need to drive over the legal 30 MPH speed limit down a street with a park on one side and houses on the other, other than you’re an a**hole is beyond me.) I drove all over the Bay area last week, even during peak travel times when the roads were packed, and never encountered such nasty behavior.

    Dogs…well, my old lady is 11.5 right now and seems to be going strong. That’s pretty good for a medium-sized dog (50 lbs). She eats kibble every day (Taste of the Wild), and the vet has me supplementing with fish oil and Vitamin E, too. She gets her vaccinations per the recommended schedule. I used to work at a veterinarian’s office in a lower income area and it was heart-breaking to see dogs with parvovirus and distemper in our isolation ward, slowly dying. True, those were usually younger dogs or puppies who hadn’t had time to build much immunity from the few (or no) vaccinations they had, but it was disturbing nonetheless. Ditto for heartworm. My dog gets her heartworm preventative like clockwork because I saw how bad it can be. As Revanche said, too, we are required to have a current rabies vaccine in order to license our dogs in Chicago, and they have been cracking down on people who don’t get licenses. (What cheapskates! The license is only $5 a year if your dog is neutered.)