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Vive la liberté! Vive all y'all!
Ante omnia armari
To each of you ... Thanks for stopping by.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
I’m tired. No ambition. Had to change the kitchen faucet and I am too old for crawling around under sinks. Wore me out so I don’t much feel like blogging off in public today. How about an archive from 20 years ago?
This is another that has been found at various sites on the web.
FidoNews 4-26 Page 1 13 Jul 1987 James Zachary Fido 115/537
Hotline! (1) (c) 1987 James Zachary
On any given day, at any given moment, the phone at the water and sewage department can ring with a crisis call.
Southeast Treatment Plant, this is Zack.
"Ahem, err, why are ... uhhh are you adding ... uhhhmmm, why are you putting ammonia in our drinking water ...?"
"Uhhh, in my drinking water ... in my fish-tank ..."
You drink the water from your fish-tank?
"Uhhhh, errr, nooooo, I uh ..."
Sir, we have a terrible connection, sounds like you're talking into a garbage can ...
"Hold on a sec ... THERE! IS THAT BETTER? I WAS ON MY NEW SPEAKER PHONE!"
What else are you on?
Never mind. Don't shout, I can hear ya fine now. You said your fish-tank tastes funny?
"Uhhhh, nooooo. All my fish died so I tested the water and it has ammonia in it."
What's your point?
"The water in my fish-tank came from our faucet ... it's regular drinking water from you. Your ammonia killed my fish!"
We don't add ammonia to our water. Some of the large systems do, to form chloramines so they can carry a chlorine residual for great distances, but we don't do that.
"Now wait a minute! I tested the water, both in the fish tank and from the faucet and it has ammonia in it!"
I see. How much ammonia?
Five ...? Five what? Five parts per million, parts per billion, parts per trillion...?
"Uhhhhh, it just says five."
What kind of equipment are you using?
"Well, I dunno but it cost me PLENTY! I spent $12 on it to find out YOU killed my fish! It has test tubes and a color chart! I went to college, you know!"
Uh huh, I'm sure your mother is proud. Look, friend, let me assure you our lab, as well as the EPA lab, cost a tad more than $12. Both labs are certified for technique and accuracy and their results show the drinking water has barely enough ammonia to measure.
"You mean I wasted $12?"
Looks that way.
"But my fish are all dead! The tank even smells like ammonia!"
How big was the tank and how many fish were in it?
"It was a 10 gallon tank and I had 50 black mollies in it."
Wonderful. You had 50 fish in a 10-gallon tank?
"Sure! The book that came with the tank said ..."
Whoa! Listen, ammonia may have played a part in bumping your fish off but the ammonia came from their own waste.
"Their own waste? I don't understand!"
Waste ... excrement ... in college terms, your fish made wee wee in the water...
... and they made big poo poo ...
"Ahhhh, but my filter removes all that!"
Right. When was the last time you cleaned your filter?
"Why, NEVER! This filter turns the waste into air by rotifer reaction so it never needs cleaning. It worked fine for a month!"
Sir, have you ever considered changing hobbies to something other than tropical fish?
"Well, I USED to raise tropical plants until YOUR water killed them!"
How often did you water them?
"At least four times a day ..."
Maybe you'd consider raising hydroponic pet rocks.
"C L I C K ! ! "
Sometimes it doesn't pay to be helpful ...
Monday, August 13, 2007
Many years ago I was a member of an amateur personal computer communications network known as FidoNet. It was good fun; I learned a lot and met many wonderful people. That network had its own newsletter, and they were kind enough to publish some of my work. It was a pleasure to find that people moved some of that work onto different pages on the internet, where it can still be found today. The following is one.
FidoNews 4-29 Page 9 3 Aug 1987
James ZacharyFido 115/537Hotline! (2) (c) 1987James Zachary
The telephone at the water and sewage department is often busy with calls from customers concerned with public health matters.
Southeast Treatment Plant, this is Zack.
"Is this the water department?"
Yes Ma'am, for most of this area.
"Good. I have some very technical questions to ask you about the water."
I'll try to help.
"Why are my nipples getting so hard?"
You're not really serious.
"I AM SO!! My nipples ... they're hard and they have this white coating on them!"
Uhhhh, huh ... hard, uhhh, nipples with white, uhh ... stuff...
"Not only that, they're getting warped!"
"They used to be soft, pink, and round!"
I'm sure they were.
"Now they really look disgusting!"
I'm sure they do.
"So I want to know what you're going to do about this!"
I really don't think I can help you. Have you discussed this with your personal physician?
"Yes I have! He said I should call you because he thought it was from the water!"
I see... uhhhh, just why and how does he think the water is causing this?
"He said cleaning them in boiling water sometimes does that."
Sounds painful. Can't you just sponge them off?
"Painful?! THE BABY BOTTLE NIPPLES ARE THE ONES I'M TALKING ABOUT!"
Now I understand.
"Are you going to buy me new ones?"
Why would we do that?
"Because your water ruined these. My baby won't suck them anymore. He's been sick and I think it's from the white stuff... he used to really suck ..."
May I ask how old your baby is?
"He's six, going on seven."
Six ... and he refuses the bottle? Maybe he's getting a little old for the bottle.
"DON'T TELL ME HOW TO RAISE MY CHILD!"
I wasn't. How long have you been using these nipples?
"Since he was born."
Hmmmmm. My guess is the white film is from the calcium carbonate in the water ... kind of like bathtub ring of the nipple ...
... and they are hard and warped because of being boiled and bitten for six years.
"So! You are refusing to pay!"
Well, that's not for me to decide. I was only trying to suggest they might just be plain worn out.
"THEY WOULDN'T BE WORN OUT IF YOUR WATER WAS ANY GOOD!"
There is really nothing more I can do for you.
"JUST HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GET MY MONEY?"
Well, why not grab your nipples and run down to our main office. There you can file an insurance claim.
"What good would that do? Will they give me the money?"
They will investigate and make a judgment whether to settle or not.
"Well, you sure haven't been any help! How do I get them to pay more attention than you have?"
Just show them your nipples.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
The word “survivalist” often has bad connotations. People picture some shirtless Rambo gnawing the bark from trees, or some camo-clad recluse scavenging road-kills. In fact, we are all survivalists. When things go bad, we look for ways to get by, we find ways to survive. Even with no planning at all, most will salvage or scavenge enough to last quite a while.
Mom and Dad came from an area of the country where luxuries were few, and from an era in time when people knew how to make do with what was available. As far as food, if they did not buy it, barter for it, or grow it, they would go out and shoot it. They had kerosene lamps for reading homework assignments, homes heated by burning wood and / or coal.
The Chicagoland suburbs are not the Cumberland Mountains, until Mother Nature decides so. While I was a little tyke, an ice storm once took down all of the power lines and closed every road. This event lasted for several days, and Mom and Dad took care of themselves and their brood of five sons in style. There was no heat, no fireplace, no water, but we never shivered, never thirsted, and never felt hunger. Mom always kept the shelves well stocked, so food was available. Water ran a little short, but we got by. One morning Dad built a fire in the front yard, melted snow in a pot, tossed in a hand full of coffee grounds and voila, the vilest tasting coffee ever suffered by man or boy. This memory prompted me to have bottled water, a propane stove, and a camp-stove peculator in my collection of disaster gear. I am never going to be as tough as Mom and Dad, nor will I ever be as smart. I need to plan ahead. Winter survival can be tough. One of these days, you will be in an area where the electricity will be off for days. If the roads are closed going to Grandma’s house will be off the option list. Give it some thought.
Summer survival should be easy, but heat kills more people each year than any other weather event. If the power drops off for a week or two during a heat wave, what will be your options?
Many people associate the word “survivalist” with eating insects. If you plan ahead, bugs will be pretty far down your food chain. A couple of large jars of peanut butter and a couple of boxes of saltine crackers will store on the shelf a good long time, and feed you and a couple of friends for three or four days. If you tire of eating peanut butter, put some on a cracker, leave it outside for a few hours, and then munch the peanut butter with the bugs that are stuck on it. Think of it as animated extra crunchy with color. If you are starving to death and find yourself covered with bugs, you may want to eat those bugs before they finish eating you.
When Y2K was all of the rage some folks took it to the extreme and decked their domiciles out in preparation for the end of civilization. When Katrina was bearing down on the Gulf States, most treated it as just another windstorm. The best preparation is probably somewhere in between obsession and neglect. What will you need to have on hand to survive for one week, be it at work, at home, or stuck somewhere in between?
Thanks for listening,
James A. Zachary Jr.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Every day there are great numbers of needless deaths because your elected officials do not have the fortitude to institute the ban needed to save lives. The body count rises daily. Until a total ban is in place, the bloody carnage will grow and bodies will be stacked in the morgue like cordwood. Heed my words.
What do you hear when someone honks a car horn? Do you hear the horn as the voice of the other driver saying, “Excuse me, I hate to bother, but I believe you need to be aware of my presence,” or do your hear “WATCH OUT YOU PUSS GUZZLING SPAWN OF A WHORE”?
When you honk at some antisocial types, what they hear is you saying “I NEED TO BLEED! KILL ME! COME ON, KILL ME RIGHT HERE AND NOW!” They often will be most accommodating.
Of all of the money the government wastes on studies, as far as I know they have yet to study the effect car horns have on people. I speculate that ninety percent of all road-rage incidents begin with the puff on the old horn. It is time to BAN THE HORN! Before you dismiss that idea as bullhonk, consider the following. How many times do you use a car-horn to avoid an accident versus using it to insult other drivers? Come on now; be honest about it with yourself. Only once or twice in your entire life of driving is the horn used to help avoid an accident. The balance of your honking is pure horn abuse. When you honk, the horn is your voice and the thoughts in your head are full of great malice. All horns sound like four letter words, and you have a full vocabulary readily available on the steering wheel. “MOVE IT MOTHER-HONKER!”
In reality, I am aware that a horn-ban will never work; that some judge will rule that honking-off in public is a form of free speech. So be it. A kinder gentler car-horn needs to be developed. Something that sounds friendly and polite, and less like death howling from your bowels.
If the angry horn cannot be eliminated, maybe we can offer drivers incentives not to toot. I propose a big honking tax. The government can work with the automakers and the cell phone companies to rig high-tech gadgets in every motor vehicle. Give a toot and your bank account is debited ten bucks. Lean on the horn for a full second and you just blew twenty bucks. A nice long complicated sliding scale of penalties; the hornier you are, the more you pay. The politicians will love the idea, citing your health and welfare as the motive, all the while dreaming of green.
Please, no angry emails telling me to get honked.
Thanks for listening,
James A. Zachary Jr.