We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Monday, September 10. 2012
I've never gone to Coyote's site on a regular basis. Coyotes are, to be perfectly frank, scavengers. And a pretty scruffy lot, to boot. As such, I also tend to view his writing as 'scruffy'.
Such is the power of word association.
Well, Bird Dog bravely linked to this scalawag the other day, so I held my breath (coyotes live in filth, I needn't remind you) and checked it out. I enjoyed the article, but it seemed like there was something 'off' about it. I read a few more posts and continued having this strange feeling that all wasn't right in the world of coyote scruffiness.
Then I discovered the raw, naked truth: A blatant admission to the world that he had spit in the face of Truth, Justice and The American Way by preaching outright anarchy against the government!
Automatic weapons, you ask? Incendiary bombs? Molotov Cocktails?
Pic: Artist's concept of the crime in progress
After calling the FBI, DHS, EPA and OSHA (just for good measure) about this self-admitted nihilist, I felt it my duty to warn you, the Maggie's Valued Reader™, about this 'gateway crime' — where the pusher draws you into his web of sin with a 'simple' crime — only to have you later trapped into doing his bidding when it comes time to rob that armored car guarded by six ex-Army commandos with Uzis and you end up dying a horrific, painful, bloody death — and all because you visited Coyote's blog.
I also thought I might elaborate on his post, so that you may further know exactly what to watch out for while steering clear of gateway crimes such as this. I have a little perspective on the whole water-rationing thing because I was a sub-contractor when California went through an official 8-year drought back in the 80's. Then the weather cycle flipped back around and 'flood control' was at the top of everybody's list.
Such were the whims and vagaries of weather, back in the days before global warming, back when nature still had a say.
I remember them well.
On the technical front, if the flow restrictor doesn't pop right out with an ice pick or small screwdriver, you can always just stick a 1/4" drill bit in the 7-micron hole and drill it out.
As for low-flow toilets, about the only thing you can do is make sure the water level in the tank is as high as it can be. For the older type of toilet valve with the big float ball, turn the adjustment screw or bend the rod up until the water is just below the overflow tube. For the newer plastic types, there's usually a fine-tuning adjustment on it, and the whole unit will raise by twisting it.
If you're determined to overcome the low-flow problem, just go find an old-style toilet and install it. Like a lot of things, it's not illegal to sell or buy them — just illegal to use them. If the water cops ever catch you, just tell them Coyote made you do it and give them his web site address. The Feds always prefer to go after the mastermind arch-criminal rather than the hapless flunky.
One of the points 'Yotey makes is that water isn't 'scarce' everywhere, so why are restricted shower heads, faucets and toilets a federal mandate? Damn good question.
But it can be a little tricky. When I moved to Las Vegas, I was stunned at the high water pressure. I had never seen it so high before, and I've lived in every corner of the U.S. Yet Vegas is in the middle of a friggin' desert, so isn't that where the water pressure would be lowest?
It would, except that Vegas has this great big fresh water supply called Lake Mead all to itself, so there's plenty to go around and it's just spend, spend, spend until the well runs dry — as befits the Vegas way.
As for the California drought I mentioned, once it became 'official' and temporary water restriction ordinances were in effect, the property managers I worked for had me replace a zillion shower heads with the new, improved planet-saving devices.
When it came to toilets, this was back before low-flow toilets came along, so I put a brick in everybody's toilet tank so it wouldn't flush as much water.
On a personal level, though, I did the same at home. Everybody pitched in; nobody 'resented' our bad luck or blamed anybody. As I said, this was back before AGW, so reality still had a say in the matter. These days, well, we all saw what happened when the recent Midwest drought was officially labeled a 'drought'. The AGW zealots came out in droves. And a lot of people read this stuff and believe it.
There will be Midwesterners out there today looking at their dead lawn, then eyeballing their neighbor driving up in his planet-killing SUV and thinking, "Thanks a lot, asshole."
And thank you, AGW crowd, for helping to make our neighborhoods a nicer, friendlier place.
Some notes on fixing water leaks, etc:
— Unless it's some oddball brand, like Moen, dripping house faucets are usually very easy to repair. You just turn off the cut-off valve where the water pipe comes through the wall, pop off the cap on top of the faucet knob, undo a screw to get the knob off, then unscrew the valve with a crescent wrench. Replace the little rubber washer on the bottom of the valve and you're done. If it doesn't have a rubber washer, replace the whole valve.
— Dripping showers are just like faucets except you'll need a cheap set of deep-well shower sockets to turn out the valve. Turn off the house water, twist out the valve, replace the rubber washer and you're good to go.
— Dripping garden hose bibs are also easy to fix. Turn off the house water, screw off the valve's collar, twist out the valve then replace the rubber washer. If the faucet's too corroded inside, it should just unscrew from the pipe so it can be easily replaced (it says here).
— A running toilet has to be one of two things (assuming it's not leaking onto the floor). The most obvious is when the float adjustment is off and water is spilling into the overflow tube. Do whatever it takes to lower the water level.
If it's not that, it has to be leaking past the flapper — that rubber thing that lifts up with the chain when the toilet's flushed. It might just have some dirt around the bottom edge and isn't making a good seal. Take a scrub sponge or SOS pad to the bottom of the flapper and the top of the plastic rim. If that doesn't fix it, replace the flapper.
Also, feel the top of the rim while you're there. If you feel a small notch in it, that's the problem. Whether or not that piece can be replaced depends on whether the bolt heads inside the tank are too corroded to get a screwdriver on them so the nuts can be removed from below.
As far as aerators go, they naturally limit water so not all have flow restrictors. Take it apart, and if you see a white plastic disc with a small hole in the middle, remove it. If the aerator then leaks at the threads because you removed some of the spacing and it's not making a tight fit, drill out the disc and put it back in.
If you look at the other parts of the aerator, you'll see a white plastic insert with lots of tiny holes. Tiny grains of sand can block these up. Use a pin or needle to clean things out.
Speaking of blocked aerators, if you turn off the water to the house, always run something without an aerator, like the tub, for half a minute after you open it back up. Closing and reopening the main valve might kick up a few microbits of dirt, sand or rust, and if you run a faucet first, they might clog up those tiny holes.
Any specific plumbing questions, give a holler in the comments.
As for you Junior Anarchists out there, it's widely acknowledged that CoyoteBlog is where the hip crowd meets. You simply don't get that kind of high-quality anarchy on your average blog site. In fact, I heard he's thinking of changing his blog's motto.
Anarchy With Style!
That's our Coyote, scruffy to the end.
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P-s-s-s-t. Anyone know where I can get a new-old-stock pre-ban toilet?
Of course, good friend! I have a large supply here in stock. Simply deposit $5,000 in Swiss bank account #534305-783-35 and it will be shipped directly to your door! At midnight. When it's foggy out. During an electrical outage. With race riots on the other side of town distracting the cops. Just after a large earthquake or volcanic eruption in the vicinity.
Us scofflaws can't be too careful.
And thank you for your business! Another successful blog post!
Update: Actually, I meant to mention it in the post. That's why I said "About the only thing you can do" re: toilets is to check the water level. To actually solve the problem, just go find one and install it. Like a lot of things, they're not illegal to buy and sell -- just illegal to use. Post has been updated, and thanks for the mention.
Back in the 80's, when cable TV was coming of age, the cable box sitting on top of the TV determined what channels you got. But sitting right there in the back of Omni Magazine were ads for 'black boxes' that allowed you to get every damn channel on the dial. 100% legal to sell and buy -- just not use. They worked perfectly, and, when the cable company upgraded the copy-protected signal, you'd simply buy an updated chip from the company and you'd be good to go for another year.
They don't call 'em "the good old days" for nuthin'.
Oh, wait -- you said 'anarchist', not 'heretic'. Never mind.
Well, anybody who would blatantly defy the law like that is okay in my book, even despite the scruffiness. I've bookmarked him for future times when I'm feeling hopeless and worthless and need to compare myself to somebody else to cheer myself back up. "Well, I could always be THAT guy!", I'll think out loud. I feel better already!
Did you know this pain-in-the-butt has a pain in the butt like our own personal Doc pain-in-the-butt has a pain in the butt? His "Eeeek!" post was very, well, eeeky.
Yes, I've been following his Eeeky adventures lately, giving him my as-usual excellent advice. I just left another pearl in the "Eeeek, Help, I'm a Girl!" post. What a wimp. Here he is complaining about a little laxative -- when people pay BIG MONEY for therapeutic enemas in L.A. every day! He obviously does have his priorities straight.
You expected more from a scofflaw?
Recently, I was surprised to discover toilet technology is still improving (it's a bowl, you poop in it, what's to improve?)
In 1996 I bought two inexpensive Kohler brand toilets; I was assured that they had worked all the kinks out of the low-flush design. Well, they worked, but not great. My kids grew up frequently hearing "Children! Flush early, flush often!"
I just bought a 2012 model Kohler to replace an ancient toilet in a rental house. It's an ultra-low flush model (1.28 gal) and it works great! Even being stress-tested by a middle-age fat guy, it didn't choke. I decided to replace one of the toilets in my house with one of these.
I selected the particular toilet because it was one of the cheaper models ($150) at the local Home Improvement Emporium.
Not trying to push a brand here, just wanted to point out toilets have gotten better.
Shower heads? Yeah, drill them out.
Well now. That IS an encouraging tale. I assume that since you're a member of the Sekret Skofflaws Klub, that you don't have a financial interest in Kohler or the Emporium.
Why don't they have these devices available to try at the store??
I may take a $150 chance, since it's safer than risking a bust by the Toilet Police (I heard that they're busy at the Detroit/Windsor border crossing preventing toilet smuggling from Canuckistan).
Thanks, and a tip o' the hat, Samsam.
"Why don't they have these devices available to try at the store??"
Pardon me, but did you just suggest they have live turds floating around the display model?
Nah, dead ones will do, just don't leave them in so long that they come to life.
What I love are the toilets, common in motels, where the water level in the bowl is so high that your balls get to go skinny dipping. Yeah, I know, someone in LA probably charges big bucks for the experience.
Where were you Chuck? Maybe you were sittin' on one of these...
chuck, that happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I was like "What the HELL!!!!" and then I quickly obviously had to clean myself.
and then wonder if I had suddenly become Super-Endowed...
annnd I've been more than somewhat puzzled about how exactly to phrase the letter to the hotel management describing this little problem.
Well . . . Yes.
Just to try and calm ole Doc Merc down, I gOOgled "fake turds to test toilet function," and came up with this: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-04/27/maximum-performance-soya-poop (You will not believe it until you cast your disbelieving eyes upon them).
There are scientific test results at the company's website: http://www.map-testing.com/info/menu/map-testing-protocol.html
I know! We should get the vending machine rights for the "specimen" dispensers at the home improvement and plumbing stores. Not sure if the store is going to want to stock and sell them.
Also, horrifyingly, the same company has a page on Shower Heads, but I'm traumatized enough for one day, and don't need any more excitement.
Time to go cook some sausage for lunch. M-m-m-m.
"Time to go cook some sausage for lunch. M-m-m-m."
Now that was funny. Cool article, too. The things you learn on Maggie's Farm!
I read Coyote's post a while ago. Afterward, I felt dirty. But I couldn't get clean without removing my own shower's flow restrictor. Turns out, being a scofflaw is refreshing.
"I read Coyote's post a while ago."
You have my condolences. I only read it a few days ago, but the stench still lingers. Like you, after brushing against this anarchistic side of the blogosphere, I, too, felt dirty in an unwashable sort of way.
I've also been doing my part to let the crowd over there know what they're dealing with. It just doesn't seem fair to keep them in the dark. They're so blinded by adulation they probably viewed the shower post as 'simple fun' -- but we know better.
My dear American friends, I am told that one of the most smuggled items into the USA from our fair and beautiful Dominion of Canada is the full size toilet. When the ladies tell you Yanks that size doesn't matter, they are lying to you. Sad but true.
Our proud, rampant, full size, throbbing, virile, Canadian toilets are unfortunately mostly manufactured by foreigners. They are made in China (boo! hiss!), Spain, Mexico and the USA.
That's right, you make 'em, but you can't use 'em.
Forget storming the Bastille, storm the toilet factories and a few Mexican trucks could surely be made to fall of their own backs.
Thankfully my father went thru the 1930's Great Depression, as opposed to the 2010's Great Depression. Ergo, "never throw anything away - we can use it again".
I went thru a drawer with intentions of cleaning it out. Lo and behold: three Pre-LowFlow Shower Heads.
The American Standard one is my favorite, although it's spray is a bit "needle-ish".
The thing about them is, I can take a shower so much faster and more efficiently. I'm not sure I'm wasting water at all.
No, they are not for sale.
Wait! Before that bandit Mercury tries to charm those showerheads away from you with magical offers, "computer assistance" and flowery language, come talk to us last, and we, your friends here at the Sekret Skofflaws Klub will make a realistic and honorable offer.
You might have seen where he offered to sell me a toilet for US$5000; probably inferior merchandise smuggled in from Alabama, and no doubt in that pukey pink color, to boot.
It was the classic 'monkey vomit green', if you must know.
And I don't like the idea of you making fun of the people of the beautiful exotic country of Alabama. 3rd-world countries have the right to exist, too, ya know. Let's try to show a little more sympathy for the downtrodden in the future, okay?
Here in Minnesnowta we don't really have water shortages in the Twin Shitties, since we get our water supply from the Mississippi. Only once in memory did the river drop so low (the drought years of '88 and '89) that they had a sprinkling ban. We basically live in the middle of a great big swamp.
So by using MORE water, we're actually helping the environment...follow the reasoning:
- Nobody would drink water right out of the river...it's nasty, dirty, and polluted; full of nasty germs, too.
- The city graciously pulls water out of the river, filters it, cleans it, treats it, re-filters it, all to the point where we're willing to drink it and wash in it, and then puts it into pipes to deliver to my house.
- By running water through my house and NOT dirtying it (leaving the sink run, or using more gallons/flush) I get the privilege of paying for it on a per-gallon basis.
- The water goes to the sewage plant on Pig's Eye Island, where it's settled, treated, filtered, and put right back into the same river it came from.
The more water I use, the more clean water is put back into the river. Using more water actually helps the environment. If you can explain this just right to self-professed "environmentalist" (the kind that can't actually, you know, think) you can make their head explode.
But my understanding is that it's NOT unlawful to have, use or to install (yourself) a regular toilet. You simply can't purchase a new one, or have a professional install it for you. There are several used-plumbing-fixture stores in town, and while they mostly specialize in high-end antique-type fixtures, they've also got a pretty good stock of just plain regular toilets.