Monday, February 18, 2013

Marley redux: Hot water heaters

I have learned more about hot water heaters today than I ever wanted to. Perhaps this may save you similar angst:

+ There are three types: traditional tank, tankless, and calorifiers.

+ The first is the cheapest, in the short term. But they only last for 13 years at the best. Mine, ITOT, is a six year version and takes $1000 in parts and labor to replace, without complications.

    - the complication, of course, is that when they installed it they had to take out and reinstall a couple of doors, so we'd have to do the same to replace it, so add another $1000.

+ For that amount of money you can install a tankLESS unit, prolly two of them. If you are smart. 

     - As it is, since my predecessor was not, I can do that, but then what to do with the old unit? 

     I vote for kicking it into a corner and letting the next owner decide if s/he wants to go to the expense of ripping out and replacing doors to get rid of it.

+ The third is appealing in an engineering sense and is what I have on the boat. A calorifier that takes hot space heating water from the furnace and circulates it through a tank to heat the service water. But new technology to American plumbers. And still leaves me with the problem of what to do with the old heater...


So how to avoid this angst?

Start with a healthy dose of RTFM:

tank heaters have anodes to counter-effect water chemistry. The anodes are designed to be replaced periodically, like every year. We, of course, have never touched them.

+ They also have drains and are designed to be flushed out every six months preferably, but at least annually. Again, we, of course, have never done this.

Had I done these things, maybe it would have lasted longer.

Does anyone remember Marley?

No "if-onlies"...
But in any case, you can check the manufacturer date with the serial number:

ITOT there are very few true manufacturers, and AO Smith is a big one. Mine was State Industries, subsequently acquired by AO Smith.

So check out the date of your unit and get prepared, either by saving up or at least having a plumber come by and check things out.


Clearly, after all this, the TANK solution is off my 'scope. Haven't yet decide between options #2 and #3.

But for you, my friends, as with my cancer bouts (get your colonscopies and stay out of the sun), I hope this little Screwtape venture may spare you further misery.

Check your anodes, purge the tank. Every six months.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Newport City Council Violence Resolution

There is righteous angst and frustration at the level of violence in our society. The Newport City Council has before it a proposed resolution that, even in its latest revision, is in my opinion toothless feelgood political correctness. We need positive, albeit politically incorrect, measures if this issue is to be resolved.

It works for Israel, it can work here:

Clause # Preface Original Napolitano text Proposed Revised text Remarks
1 WHEREAS, tragedies at schools, such as Columbine, Virginia
Tech, and Sandy Hook, bring to the forefront the
need to protect our most vulnerable citizens, our
children and school personnel, from gun violence;
No change
2 WHEREAS, similar events have taken place in other public
areas, such as the Aurora Theater and work places
around the nation, and even at Ft. Hood, which is
considered a secured environment; and
No change
3 WHEREAS, the President of the United States has issued
executive actions based on the recommendations of
a Study Commission of gun violence, to promote
fact- based, common sense legislation which would
protect the rights and freedom of all citizens,
No change
4 WHEREAS, there has been widespread support among those who
own guns, and those who do not, for the
recommendations that include: the banning of
assault weapons and high capacity magazine clips
of more than ten rounds; reporting to the Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF)the sale
of large quantities of ammunition; requiring
background checks on all gun purchasers,
including those purchased at gun shows; and a
number of other recommendations, all of which
will be debated in Congress to control gun
violence in America, which has permeated into
every element of our society; and
Palliative measures rendered heretofore such as background checks, gun-free zones, registrations, and databases, having been proven ineffective time and again; while proven effective measures, such as armed guards, concealed-carry training and equipping of school officials, gun safety and responsibility training for adolescents, restrictions on perversion and violence in games and entertainment media have been effected only to a limited extent or not at all, constrained by politically correct aversion to restraints on First Amendment rights and concerns for individual sensitivity, “Widespread support” is simply a measure of political correctness and proof that substantive measures are being proposed by thinking people, not “feeling” people.
5 WHEREAS, New clause Federal agencies having been at best ineffective at reducing, and at worst complicit in increasing gun violence, (e.g., the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms “Fast and Furious” project that did place thousands of deadly weapons in the hands of criminals), and The ATF is useless, proven by the fact that Congress has failed to assign a director for many years.
6 WHEREAS, New clause prior proposals have demonstrated public ignorance of fundamental firearms definitions, terminology and modes of operation (e.g., “assault weapon”, “automatic” versus “semi-automatic”, time required to empty magazines of different sizes, spray patterns) This one has been beaten to death, but is still true.
7 WHEREAS, the State of Rhode Island currently does not have
and should implement a centralized data base
system to identify all legitimate gun
registrations in the State, including the scope
of concealed-carry weapons, which would greatly
benefit all law enforcement agencies.
8 RESOLVED: New clause That state and local governments embark on a proper path of violence control in general, including examining constraints on perversion and violence in games, video, and other media available to minors; Keeping young minds on the straight path has been proven effective over and again.
New clause That state and local governments embark on a proper path of identifying psychological deviants to include an anonymous free line or web site that citizens can contact to identify people who appear “weird” to be followed up by social workers. Visceral perceptions, while not politically correct, have been proven time and again to be valid. Our system of jury trial is just that: if twelve men good and true find you guilty, then you probably are guilty.
New clause That state and local governments develop properly supervised databases of said psychological deviants, and You want databases? This is a useful database. Not one of lawful gun owners.
New clause That state and local governments embark on a proper path of public education on the roles, utility, and use of all manner of weapons, including firearms,
New clause that such education include education on the tenets of the First and Second amendments, including current law for defense of home and place of business (“Castle Laws”) and the rights of self defense;
New clause that such education be manifested in mandatory curriculae in high school and state community colleges, as well as being offered for fee in community centers;
New clause That state and local governments develop properly supervised firing ranges and training facilities, similar to those established in the state of Israel for the proper weapons training of every citizen. AND BE IT FURTHER “Why Israel Has No Newtowns”
15 RESOLVED: that copies this resolution be sent to our
Congressional and State Legislative
Delegations, and to all the cities and towns
in the State of Rhode requesting their support
on this vital issue.
No change

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Two fairy tales (maybe) and two true stories

Americans, it seems these days, prefer feelgood political correctness over reality.

So, here you go, America: two fairy tales (well, maybe, or maybe not) and two factual accounts.

You be the judge:

1. Once upon a time a man went into his business's Federal Credit Union. He had done business with them for over fifty years, always paid his bills, never bounced a single check, always been generous.

 But now as a consequence of Congressional intransigence and budget impasse he was out of work and had not found a new job despite daily hours of searching and sending resumés.

No one, it seems wanted to hire his services, since they didn't know what was going to happen with the budget. And besides, he was getting a bit long in the tooth.

But his bills were mounting so something had to be done.

So he goes to the faithful credit union.

"I'd like to get an equity loan on my house," he says, and explains the details of his finances.

They listen carefully, then ask: "How will you pay it back? You have your military retirement, but the Government is talking about suspending that, and you have Social Security but they're talking about sequestering that as well. So how can you pay it back?"

"Well", he says, "I have an obscenely rich education, I'm kind to the poor, and I sing in the choir. And I'm still quite healthy. I can work at Walmart of Stop 'n Shop. Heck yesterday I was invited to cut fish at Anthony's Seafood. I'll gladly sign a promissory note and I really reeely promise to pay it back."

"Yes, well all that is nice, but the three you mention are minimum wage and no one is hiring anyhow. You might make $24K a year, but your expenses are $37K a year, so without your military retirement and social security you are going into debt at the rate of $13K a year. And you already owe $163K in credit cards, let alone whatever we lend you. So you can never pay off your debts with this formulary...

"So once again, how will you pay?"

"Well I can sell my house, but then why bother getting a loan..."


So he puts his house up for sale.

Fade out, then back in.
2. The Government goes to the financial markets. Let's call it Seaward and Pacific Credit Union. It's next door to the business Federal Credit Union.

The Government says, "I need to feed the poor. I have an obscenely rich education, I'm kind to the poor, and I sponsor a choir. Several in fact, and some
TV stations and some swimming meets as well. And I'm still quite healthy.

"But I'm in $163,700 in credit card debt. I make $24,690 a year, mostly collecting protection money from others, not actually building bridges or dams or roads or doing anything really useful (like Roosevelt or Eisenhower tried to do).  I used to hire a bunch of analysts but I can't afford for anyone to actually think any more, so I've laid them off.

"But I do presently spend $37,930 a year, mostly being kind to others (especially those who don't have jobs), sponsoring nice music, and paying for a few gorillas who sit outside my door (and go into the bad neighborhoods) to keep people from breaking down my door.

"And I just hired another couple of goons, one named Danny Happy Smith (DHS we call him) to sit around INSIDE the door in case anyone gets past the other four.

"Oh, and then this is this pretty girl Nancy Sweet Angel (we call her NSA) to listen in on everyone's cellphones and email and Twitters and Facebook accounts so that we'll know when someone is coming.

"So I really need a loan. I'll gladly sign a ton of promissory notes (you call them "bonds") that I promise, I really reely promise to pay back. I am a nice guy. Trust me."

 Seaward and Pacific (S&P for short) says: "Yes, you are a good and faithful servant, and wise beyond your ears. Oh, sorry, I meant years. Bless you my child.

"But before we proceed, didn't you just lay off the guy that just applied for the loan next door? Why did you let him go? Have you hired him back?"
"Oh, no. I can't hire him back. I can't afford my own expenses, so I can't hire him back unless you give me a loan. And besides, he has an obscenely rich education. He's an analyst. His job is thinking, and we can't afford that anymore. But anyhow, he'll find another job, eventually."

"Oh. I see," said S&P. "You can't hire people who really do useful work, but you can afford to give money away to the poor. Well, yes. You certainly are kind.

"But how are you going to pay it back?"

"Well", it says, "I'll just borrow more money."

"Well child, I don't think that will work. You can never pay off $163K plus the money you want to borrow by spending $13.2K more than you earn.

"So we just can't lend you any more, and I'll tell all my friends who run banks and credit unions these details as well, since they can't afford to lend you money either."


(And maybe send some of their gorillas to visit S&P.... )


Oh! And neither of them lived happily ever after...

And now a break from the sponsors; a little touch of reality, as in "truth" as well as consequences:

 1. TRUTH:

or if you prefer

 U.S. Sues S&P Over Ratings
2. CONSEQUENCES: Oh, and I do hate to be so inconveniently direct about truth and historical precedent, but do please see the following:


Such a beautiful song to hear, but talk about stuck on stupid...

Apologies to the brothers Grimm, Jim, Walt Kelly, and others...

A Nation of Camp Followers

Open letter to my representatives (as well as sent directly to POTUS, Boehner, Reed, & Ciccilini):

Do not surrender on obtaining cuts and on accepting the sequestration. We have become a nation of camp followers, prostituting our bodies and souls for handouts from big government.

This must cease.

We are delusional. Some people won't even listen. When people become delusional you have to put them in a straitjacket to prevent them from hurting others and themselves. This government is delusional and must be so equally constrained. Absent that there will be violence. And violence reaps violence in return.

Do not surrender.