Funny about Money

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

June 16, 2019
by funny

Modern Inconveniences: The “Water-saving” Toilet

Have you ever noticed that all our fine politically correct appliances actually waste more water and energy than they save? Case in point: the “water-saving” toilet that can’t flush a normal load of flushables…so that you have to do your business, then flush; then wipe, then flush; and then (because the thing won’t flush enough paper to get you clean on the first effort) wipe again and flush again. But just to make you feel really, really politically correct, the effing thing refills at about the same pace as your politically correct shower and your politically correct sink faucets operate.

This morning, as I was waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting to cycle through three flushes, curiosity struck: How long, I wondered, does it REALLY take to flush this damn thing?

Trot out to the kitchen and grab the timer off the counter. Get back to the bathroom and wait and wait and wait some more till the damned toilet fills back up. Flush again to get the last of the TP down and click the timer.

It took two minutes and 17 seconds to flush and refill.

For the love of God. Since every time you poop in it, you have to flush it three times, that means it not only uses as much or more water as a real toilet used to use (we’re told these miraculous devices use a third as much as a toilet that works uses), that means the damn thing takes six minutes and 51 seconds — ALMOST 7 MINUTES — to flush one bowel movement.

Since, thanks to the aftereffects of the clamitadine I had to take, I’ve been to the bathroom three times this morning (and every morning, we might add), that is 21 minutes wasted, just watching the effing toilet flush and refill.

It certainly isn’t saving any water. In fact, it’s probably wasting water…dollars to donuts, three half-assed flushes take more water than a single flush that does the job.

The showers that make you stand under the flow for ten minutes to rinse two minutes’ worth of shampoo out of your hair? I think we all agree on those damn things. I jimmied mine so they will work (there used to be a gadget inside the damn thing that you could break, if you had a long enough tool). From what I understand, it’s not so easy to do that any more. So there we stand, wasting water and time when, if we had a functional appliance, we would need to waste neither.

And then the damned faucets that don’t dispense water! Argh.

Cooking is not a one-step-at-a-time endeavor: it is an exercise in multitasking. So… If you want to fill up a pot but have other things to do while fixing dinner but stand there and watch water dribble out of a barely functional faucet, what do you do?

Right: set the pot in the sink, turn on the water, and go on about your business. By the time you get back, the pot has overflowed and water is running down the drain.

This saves water…how??

Fortunately, Satan and Proserpine (the previous owners) installed some sort of antique plastic faucet in the garage work sink, so when I need to fill a spaghetti pot, I schlep the thing out to the garage and fill it in about three seconds, which is as long as it should take. And no water is wasted. But if I didn’t have that sink, in the 15 years that I’ve lived here I would have poured half the flow of the Colorado River down the kitchen drain.

The Toto brand elongated toilet is, as it was when these idiotic no-flush flushers were first mandated, billed as the fastest, most powerfully flushing models. I bought one for my last house, and I’ll say that it did work well. But forgodsake: the things cost $240, and that’s before it’s installed.  In California and waypoints that have truly PC water-conservation rules, a Toto that works will set you back $563 (!!!!!!! Plus tax, plus the cost of a toilet seat, plus the cost of installation!). Apparently, however, the newer models leave something to be desired…like flushing. Eleven percent of Amazon reviewers describe clogs, difficult-to-plunge design, and impossible to replace parts. Lovely.

As for the obnoxious faucets? Well, check out the current reviews of high gallons-per-minute models at Amazon. Always go direct to the one-star reviews to get the straight dope; then work up the ladder. Uhmmm…you really want to pay to put this stuff in your house? I especially loved the review of the top-rated model, where the customer described a brand-new kitchen faucet springing a leak on Christmas Day! 😀

Ah, the Third-Worldization of America… No wonder people who have had a bellyful of PC vote for a raving moron like Trump. All he has to do is promise to bring back American jobs to make American products, and we’re sold!


June 14, 2019
by funny

Blood pressure drama, revisited…

Those of you who follow Funny no doubt remember the saga that occurred when a doctor’s advice led me to obsess endlessly about my blood pressure.

Well, that stopped when I went out to the Mayo, where a PA in cardiology opined that I did not have high blood pressure and I should quit worrying about it.

I do have what is sometimes called “white coat syndrome,” in which a person with otherwise normal BP spikes high numbers whenever the measurement is taken in a doctor’s office or hospital. I am truly phobic about doctors and medical settings. I so hate going into doctor’s offices that I really do get pretty stressed out when I’m forced to go…so it’s reasonable to assume that nervousness and stress explain what led a cardiologist to try to get me on unnecessary medications for the rest of my life.

Losing ten pounds and exercising, however, seem to have brought the BP numbers down to normal, and down to almost normal in the doctor-office setting.

A few days ago, though, I read a report suggesting that people with white coat syndrome actually do experience elevated rates of cardiovascular events (heart attack and stroke), and so such patients should be saddled with blood-pressure meds willy-nilly. Well…fat chance! This is the sort of thing emanated by big pharma and spread through medical societies and government regulatory agencies whose funding depends on pharmaceutical companies. So I conditionally wrote that report off, pending more credible data.

But it did lead me to wonder what the BP numbers were doing, now that I’m older still and fatter again. And more to the point: now that my upper jaw no longer hurts chronically in the absence of the busted tooth. So decided to repeat the testing routine for a few days.

Hang onto your hat…

Over the past four days, my overall blood pressure average has been 124.64/74.95. The day before yesterday, my average day’s BP (morning & evening) was 119/67.

Heh. Wherever we are, it doesn’t seem to be anywhere near Death’s Door…

June 14, 2019
by funny

Invasive Species…

Lookit this!

Two of these little cuties showed up at the backyard feeder this morning. They’re rosy-faced lovebirds, formerly called peach-faced lovebirds: a type of African parrot imported for the profit of pet stores.

They’re adorable as can be, charming…and a squawking invasive nuisance. They gather in flocks, and if they take up residence in a tree outside your bedroom window, you will be rising with the sun each day, when they do. People think they’re harmless, but I would suggest, just from today’s observation, that they are not.

With only one of these small birds perched on the feeder, none of the whitewings would go near the thing. Neither will the finches. They were afraid of that parrot — and twice as scared of two of them. See that vise-like beak? That thing, I would suggest, is capable of removing a dove’s leg in one snap. Doves, interestingly, learn quickly and somehow manage to spread the message among their cohort. As soon as the first parrot showed up, the whitewings took off and refused to revisit the feeder. They perched on the roof, but would not come into the yard.

Hm. By way of experiment, I tossed a few handfuls of seed on the ground.

Ruby thought that was grand. The doves wouldn’t come to ground, but she sure would: she ran out there and started scarfing the birdseed. 🙄 How does this dog do it?

Called the dog. She was willing to trade a few bites of kibble for the birdseed bonanza. A few of the doves ventured in, but most kept their distance.

A foreign bird that chases the native whitewings out — a whitewing is a large bird, btw, much bigger than these little “lovebirds” — is not a benign invader.

After a bit, Ruby noticed someone walking their dog past on the front sidewalk, causing her to fly into a frenzy. This scared all the birds off, but since the whitewings are accustomed to Ruby’s stürm und drang and realize it signifies nothing, the doves quickly re-established their claim to the feeder. The parrots, mercifully, did not reappear.


Speaking of invasive species, this morning I realized that of late we’ve seen a lot fewer drug addicts stumbling around the neighborhood. They still infest the “convenience”-store and gas station parking lots at the corner of Gangbanger’s Way and Conduit of Blight, but they don’t seem to be hanging out as much in the residential area.

That said, though, neighbors have been complaining of encampments in the park, over in a nook right behind a bundle of $700,000 homes. As you can imagine, these campsites are not welcome.

All the city has to do, of course, is set the park’s sprinkling system to come on for a few minutes a couple times during the night, and that would get rid of the bums. But…the truth is, the city doesn’t know what to do about the homeless drug addicts, and so the default strategy is to just let the tax-paying homeowners live with them.

One of these worthies has taken up residence in the alley that runs behind the Funny Farm. That, presumably, would be the one who’s using the berm along my wall as her toilet.

This morning on our 5 a.m. doggywalk, we encountered only one bum, a big bull of a man bicycling up the border between lower and upper Richistan, conversing with himself as he rolled along. 🙂 Hey…who else is there to talk to at that hour?

He seemed a little unnerved by me and my shrimp-sized dog, possibly because I’ve taken to carrying a hefty shilelagh with me. But…seriously, dude? What do you think a little old lady and a 23-pound pooch is gonna do to a big bruiser like you?

LOL! Yesterday whilst cruising around the city, I spotted a shady-lookin’ character riding a kid’s bike and carrying two bicycle wheels looped over the handlebars. He was headed toward a pawn shop.

Yeah. Well. You’ve got to pay for your dope somehow. Our beloved brethren…

June 12, 2019
by funny

Good things…Dumb things

In the GOOD THINGS department… Have you ever noticed how little disasters seem to lead to large benefits? Why is that, d’you suppose?

Case in point today: the busted tooth disaster. How did I NOT want to have my muzzle cut open to remove that broken tooth? And how did I TOTALLY not want to pay out my entire goddamn year’s tax refund to an endodontist for the privilege? Let me count the ways…oh, wait! I can’t count that high.

But…oh, yes, but…

With that cracked fang out of there, the mouth doesn’t hurt annnnyyy more.

That is correct: no pain. Zero-point-zero-zero twinges, stabs, or aches.For the first time in a couple years, I can chew on that side of the maw…and did you know your taste buds are different, one side of the tongue from the other? Yeah: food tastes different (read BETTER) when you can munch it on the other side of your mouth.

I know: weird.

Yet another benefit of the Battle of the Busted Tooth: whilst convalescing, I learned about Pacific boxed soups. Not that I hadn’t tried a few of them. But canned (and by extension, packaged) soups are not my cuppa. My experience with canned soups and broths has been that they’re oversalted and they taste of industrial chemicals.

But I had to eat something. One of Funny’s readers had recommended the Pacific brand, so I picked a variety of them at Sprouts.

Hot dang!

These things taste like REAL SOUP. I mean, they taste like that soup would taste if I’d made it myself, upon mine own stove.

The potato soup? Outta the way, Julia Child!

The tomato soup… What? It seems to have…well…tomatoes in it. The sweet potato ginger Thai soup? To DIE for.

What? Today, after having had a lovely and interminable morning farting with the computer, I finally rose from the chair into which I had been frozen along about 11 a.m., starved and craving a ration of strong drink. Remaining in the cupboard: a little box of Pacific brand lentil soup.

Dump into pan. Add a little chard. Heat. Zing up with a squeeze of lemon. Use it as an excuse to pour a glass of wine. And…

Dayum! How do they do that? Once again, it actually tasted like real lentil soup. If I made a giant pot of lentil soup, it would taste just like that.

In other precincts, check out this little post at Quora: it’s garnered 242 “likes” since I put it up just a few hours ago. Probably because it’s kind of funny. Stupidly hilarious, we might say, if we were cynical enough…

In the Dumb Things department: might as well ’fess up: I just do not have it anymore when it comes to techno-talent.

Yea verily. Back in the Dark Ages, I was ahead of the wave. Always on top of the computer revolution. And all that bullshit. But today: I do not care soooooo much that I can’t remember stuff I learned and knew and used for years.

Last night I set up the first raft of FREE READS Fire-Rider stories to post automatically starting about 7:00 this morning. There. All done. Nice, eh?


Well. It would be if I were still even faintly competent with computers.

What did I fail to take into consideration? Wellllll….  With a blog, the most recent post is what appears first to the reader. Soooo… If you posted chapter 1 and then chapter 2 and then chapter 3 and then chapter 4, your reader sees your posts effing BACKWARDS: she sees chapter 4 FIRST.

Arrrghhhhh….. Yea verily, I failed to remember this basic factoid — i.e., the computer universe is unstuck from reality every which way from Sunday, which in computer land is the last day of the week, not the first day. So when I got back from this morning’s wee-hours doggy-walk, I found that the first few posts had appeared…bass-ackward.

So I had to sit down and repost every goddamn entry, with the first entry to go online last, so that it appeared at the top of the queue…

THEN…then I discovered that for the life of me I can. not. remember. how to build a widget.

Worse yet, I do not want to know.

Absolutely positively not. I do. fucking. NOT. want. to track that BS down and relearn it!

See why I don’t own a smartphone? Because I do not want a damn telephone that’s smarter than me, that’s why.


June 10, 2019
by funny

Why I Love Walmart People…

So, it’s coming onto the noon hour when I stumble into the neighborhood Walmart grocery store. This is when workin’ (and non-workin’) folks get off for a bit. Both the check-out lines run by humans are backed up halfway to the pharmacy counter. (I know: self-service checkout…but no. Do not do that. Keep your fellow Americans employed, dammit!).

So I join the shortest human-operated checkout line. I know this clerk. Which means I know better. She’s gotta be 80 years old if she’s a day, and she’s sloooowwwww as molasses in January. She comes from an era where that old chestnut made literal sense.

We stand and we stand and we stand and we stand and we stand and we stand while she goes through one (1) lady’s only moderately large basketful of purchases. I would guess we spent at least 15 minutes waiting to get up to the cash register.

But….. Ya can’t complain.

We — that would be me and half the planet’s population in line behind me — are standing behind THE single cutest little boy that God and all His Goddesses ever put on this earth. He’s parked in the shopping cart’s baby seat and is being, sporadically, doted upon by the woman he has with him. He is a creature of great cheer.

Believe me. This is a male child who will ALWAYS have women with him.

He is not cute. He is staggeringly, movie-star handsome. Every future woman in this child’s generation is dooooomed! The same is no doubt true of a fair number of male children.

Between the woman and the boy, a family resemblance is obvious. Is she the mother? Or is she the grandmother?

“Look! Flags!” the little boy points to patriotic tinfoil decorations strung over the check-out lines.

“Those are for the Fourth of July,” the matron explains.

“When is the Fourth of July?” he asks.

We line-waiters watch. All RIGHT! Tell him: when IS the Fourth of July?

Flummoxed, she shrugs. Luckily for her (and for the rest of us), she reaches the head of the line and so is forced to abdicate this Teaching Moment by forking over a basketful of groceries.

A bum walks by behind us.

He is tired. He is hot. The ambient temperature out of doors is 105 degrees. He heads for the hallway that houses the men’s room. And the women’s room.

We in line think: and THAT is why we don’t use the toilet in the Walmart: so we don’t get nits.

But he doesn’t go into the men’s. He marches up to the water fountain and drinks. And drinks. And drinks.

The old lady behind me and I glance at each other. Without a doubt, we each have the same thought: There but for the grace of God…

The agèd cashier finally dismisses the little boy and his grandmother/mother/whatever, just about that moment.

“That was a cute one,” I say to my informal cashier friend, whom I see almost every time I go through that store.

Her tired expression brightens. “Yes,” she says. “Yes, he was!”

Thank you, God, I think. And it is not because I’ve finally reached the front of the line.

June 10, 2019
by funny

Pests…and pests

Eight a.m. sharp and a damned robocaller pest gets through the new CPR Call Blocker. Occasionally they do slip by. That notwithstanding, though, we’re still down from a dozen nuisance calls a day to one, at most. Often whole days go by without a single nuisance call!

The FCC recently passed a rule allowing phone companies to block robocalls. BUT…they’re allowing the companies to gouge us an extra fee for the privilege! Naturally. The effin’ phone company gets you comin’ and gets you goin’. If I’ve had to go out and plunk down a hundred bucks for a gadget to block pestering calls when the phone company could’ve been doing it for me all these years, then I should not be required to pay still more for the privilege after the phone companies decide to move, a day late and a dollar short.

Blanket robocall blocking poses a number of problems, the main two being school systems and emergency alert systems. Personally, I do not need to be reminded by some GD recording that I have a doctor’s appointment this week or a prescription waiting at the Walgreen’s. BUT…if a wildfire is bearing down on my little town out in the boondocks or if my kid is sick and needs to come home or be taken to a doctor — or is playing hooky — I sure want to know about it. To my mind, the CPR Call Blocker is about as good as it gets in that department, because it gives the user the discretion to choose which nuisance calls will get through.

Also in the Department of Pests, the weather is gorgeous at this time of year…and so naturally we’re overrun by mosquitoes.

To my knowledge, there’s no actual standing water in my yard, and I kind of doubt there’s any in my neighbor’s…she never replaced her deceased dog (hence, no water dish), and she’s not into container gardening.

I, however, decidedly am. Into container gardening, that is. Bzzzzzzzt!

The outdoor plants do not have saucers under their pots: they rest either directly on the ground or on the plastic fake “wood” deck on the side. BUT…once temps reach the 90s, they have to be watered every…single…day. Miss one morning drench, and the potted plant keels right over dead.

This means the soil itself is damp all the time, and so the soil itself is probably what harbors the mosquito larvae. Confirmation: leave the sliding door to the deck open for a few minutes, and you’ll be swarmed.

So I ordered up a 30-ounce bottle of Mosquito Bits. This stuff is the business. It contains a bacterium (Bacillus thuringii) that produces a toxin that affects only the larvae of mosquitoes, blackflies, and fungus gnats. You apply it to standing water (such as water in the drip dish of a potted plant, or birdbaths, or backyard ponds), perennially damp soil (such as the soil in potted plants that have to be watered every day…), and the like. It works, and it does no harm to any other critters.

In the past, I’ve bought the stuff from an outfit in Arizona that supplies organic farms and ranches. That’s their business: providing environmentally friendly products and tools for organic farmers. The problem is, they charge an arm and a leg for this stuff. You get a tiny bottle containing just enough to apply it to the potted plants outside and to the very few spots where standing water occasionally accumulates, however briefly. (Mosquitos can go from pupa to flying dive-bomber overnight in this climate.) But lo! At Amazon, here we find this freaking pail of the stuff for all of 18 bucks!


Sprinkling it into every pot I even vaguely suspected might harbor skeeters and working it into the cracks between boards on the deck (you just know the pot water is dripping down under the deck’s flooring and puddling there, don’tcha?) used less than a third of the bottleful. So I figure this ought to last through the season, at least.

Speaking of pests, Ruby is campaigning for a doggy chew treat. She’s already had her morning ration. So the mumbling and boofing around the kitchen is likely to go on for awhile. {sigh}

In the doggy pest department, though, it’s other people’s damn dogs that are the pests hereabouts. After the Loose GerShep Attack, I’ve taken to carrying a heavy ironwood walking stick with me when I take Ruby out for her morning doggywalk. This morning we stupidly walked down Feeder Street Northwest — having gotten a late start, we were encountering enough traffic that I could not easily step out into the traffic lanes to avoid incoming, a little detail that gave me pause when we started…but it was a shortcut, and because we were late, the heat was starting to come up, and I was hungry, and…and…I just wanted to get home quicker.

Naturally, around the corner came a guy with two dogs in hand, one of them a large pit bull. Sheee-ut! That sidewalk is narrow and there’s no way to easily cross the street at that hour, because of the commute traffic. I had to climb up on a xeriscaped yard to drag Ruby out of the oncoming doggitude.

“Ohhh don’t worry, they’re friendly,” says the dog lover.

“Sorry. I’ve had my fill of dog fights,” say I, “and I don’t want another one today.”

That’s gotten to be my standard keep your damn dog at heel! line. It gives even the dimmest nitwit enough pause (they apparently have to think about this…) that I can usually slip past them without incident.

Well…here’s the client on the e-mail. So i suppose i’m going to have to get back to (ugh!) werk!