Lawns Are Soul Crushing – A Fisking

The Washington Post (which apparently is written by people who’ve never been beyond the suburbs) wrote “Lawns are a soul-crushing timesuck and most of us would be better off without them“. I hate lawns but they serve a purpose and are better than most alternatives (what am I going to do, pave the forest or live in a jungle?). Thus I must fisk:

“A recent essay by an Ohio woman who refuses to mow her lawn has struck a nerve. Thirteen hundred people have weighed in with a comment on Sarah Baker’s tale of flouting a neighborhood mowing ordinance in the face of a $1,000 fine.”

Agreed. Anyone who makes mowing lawns into a law needs to be tarred and feathered and then burned alive while being fed into a wood chipper. Then we should bury the ashes, take a dump on them, and nuke their grave from orbit.

A note to local governments: if you’re not plowing the streets or putting out house fires, shut the hell up and leave us alone. In fact, just stay in the “shut up” mode permanently; you’re not important and nobody likes you.

“As Baker notes in her essay, lawns are a big part of contemporary American life.”

No they’re not. Maybe you should get a life?

“There are somewhere around 40 million acres of lawn in the lower 48, according to a 2005 NASA estimate derived from satellite imaging. “Turf grasses, occupying 1.9% of the surface of the continental United States, would be the single largest irrigated crop in the country,” that study concludes. Conservatively, American lawns take up three times as much space as irrigated corn. The authors mapped the entirety of the nation’s turf grass, below. You’ll notice that it’s basically a population density map of the U.S. — where there are people, there are lawns.”

So? I can use Google too. Did you know some kid in New Zealand found $65,000 worth of whale shit? Is this what they called “research” in journalism school?

“In some states, a significant chunk of the landscape is covered in turf grass — meaning residential lawns, commercial lawns, golf courses, and the like.”

Don’t live in those states. If a state overdoses on “lawn” does that mean I should too? Perhaps I should freebase “subway” because Connecticut gets high on “turf”? If New Jersey jumped off a cliff should Wyoming follow?

“Delaware is 10 percent lawn. Connecticut and Rhode Island are 20 percent.”

Delaware and Rhode Island don’t exist. They’re just ink blots where colonial cartographers spilled their ale. (Probably Sam Adams brand.) I refuse to acknowledge any state smaller than a Texas ranch. (I also think Luxembourg is a brand of car.)

“And over 20 percent of the total land area of Massachusetts and New Jersey is covered in grass, according to that 2005 NASA study.”

Massachusetts and New Jersey? Are you suggesting those two are the “go to” places  for good examples of natural resource policy? Probably 20 percent of those states are Superfund sites or mob burial grounds. Also, I don’t take economic advice from California or friendliness advice from New York.

“Perhaps not surprisingly, the traditional American lawn has come in for some scrutiny in recent years.”

Is anything not under scrutiny in 2016? We Americans are having a “national conversation” over which shitter I should use in Target. Time for a new variant of rule #34; if it exists someone is “scrutinizing” it.

“Some, like Baker, are abandoning regular lawn maintenance out of environmental concerns — lawns require…”

Wait for it… Wait for it….

“fertilizer to grow”


Unless you’re in a Utah desert the grass knows what to do. Any place that has dirt and rain (see Utah for “no rain”) will grow grass.

Why in God’s name would you bitch about the hassle of managing the growth of something you fertilize? Quit fertilizing it and it’ll grow less. Are you unclear as to what fertilizer is for?

“and gas to mow, and…”

Wait for it…. Wait for it…

“they take up space that could otherwise be used for animal habitat.”

I call bullshit!

Listen up you pansy assed urbanite pontificator… where I live lawns are the buffer zone between my house and wild friggin’ animals who want to kill me and trash my stuff. Only people who haven’t been out of a city think places that aren’t lawns automatically default to pavement. They default to a jungle that’s red of claw and tooth. Woodland creatures won’t stop until they’ve killed your cat, taken a dump in your garage, eaten the tomatoes, sprayed skunk musk on your dog, and chewed the radiator hose off your truck (or in the case of Washington Post hacks, your leased Prius). Nature is not a Sierra Club poster and it’s not your friend. My lawn is an open shooting lane that allows me to pick off furry interlopers before they kill the chickens.

“Other folks are ditching their lawns because of the amount of water they soak up — 9 billion gallons of it per day, according to the EPA. Think of the miracle that is the modern water supply — pristine water pumped hundreds of miles, passed through shiny state-of-the-art filtration systems, treated with miracle chemicals that keep our teeth from falling out of our heads, and available on-demand at the twist of a knob. And then consider that we intentionally dump billions of gallons of that water out on the ground!”

So don’t do that! Quit fertilizing it and quit watering it. If you quit forcing it grow so much you wouldn’t have to bitch about chopping off the extra growth.

Are you freebasing Paul Krugman’s economics again? Explain to me again how spending more money is good because then we’ll have more money? Is that why you fertilize and water the thing you hate trimming?

“These reasons are all well and good enough. But if you’re an average lazy American like me, with kids and a dog and maybe a mortgage and probably a job too, these may seem like valid concerns but they’re probably not worth changing your behavior over.”

Translation: you probably shop at Walmart and I’m better than you. However, I’m going to pretend, temporarily and for the sake of discussion, that Washington Post authors are “average lazy Americans”.

“So consider the most compelling reason to ditch your lawn, or to at least scale it back: time.”

I agree time is a big deal. When possible I mow with a tractor; ostensibly because it’s faster. In reality I like the tractor because it’s awesome. It’s an antique tractor without OSHA approve ROPS system. I’ll probably die wrapped around the PTO someday. As an American I don’t care because awesome is what American is all about.

When shit gets in my way I’ll mow over it. I tell the kids I’m sorry that I “mowed” their Frisbee.. but I’m not. I loved it!

Who’s got time to drive around a Frisbee? I’m a busy man.

Thankfully, I don’t have a HOA to bitch about my lawn when it’s scattered with Frisbee bits. Folks around me know better. If anyone came to bitch about how I should water and fertilizer my scraggly lawn I’d run over their ass with my tractor. Because I value my time! I can’t waste my life sitting through HOA meetings with a bunch of useless nincompoops discussing grass.

For efficiency sake I only mow just enough to keep the lawn from going feral. I never water and fertilize it for any reason at all. If it dies then I’ll have dirt. I can live with dirt. The best part of late summer is when the grass goes semi dormant and I can ignore it. Dirt is just a non hippie way to say “mother earth”.

“The average American spends about 70 hours a year on lawn and garden care, according to the American Time Use Survey. Considering that this is an average figure that also includes people who don’t spend *any* time mowing, the number for people who actually have a lawn, and actually mow it, is going to be considerably higher than that.”

The average Washington Post reader hires an illegal alien at $6 an hour through his Condominium Association fees and then signs a petition demanding a $15 minimum wage at McDonalds which doesn’t serve the gluten free vegan carrots that are his main diet. Juan, the poor bastard who gets paid $6 per hour to mow the fertilized lawn works 70 hours a week. If he complains his employer will break his kneecaps. Remember this while you sip organic guava nectar fruit drinks and Google the percentage of land area in turf by state on your iPad.

“Some people take pride in their lawns,”

I don’t.

“and get a lot of fulfillment by keeping them immaculately-manicured.”

I don’t.

“So for these folks, this is time well-spent.”

The word for that sort of person is ‘retired’.

Ever notice a retired guy in rural America will have a 60″ deck on a brand new diesel powered “garden tractor” that has more horsepower than a semi truck? He uses that to mow an 8 acre square upon which you could land a DC-10. If there’s a dandelion on it, he’ll drop a grenade on the fucker. There’s something about retired men and dandelions. I don’t know why. I suppose when I retire the AARP will explain it to me.

“But for many of the rest of us, mowing a lawn is nothing more than a chore, and a despised one at that. A November 2011 CBS news poll found that for 1 in 5 Americans, mowing the lawn was their least-liked chore — ranked lower than raking leaves and shoveling snow. Interesting aside: Democrats (25 percent) were considerably more likely than Republicans (16 percent) to say mowing the lawn was their least-favorite chore.”

Can you name any “chore” that involves actual, non theoretical, work that is more popular with Democrats than Republicans? Protesting, preening, and pestering doesn’t count.

When I see a Democratic stronghold full of men stacking firewood and raising two acre “kitchen gardens” I’ll revisit this question.

“Again, in some cases the time investment may be worthwhile — some families use their lawns all the time.”

I do. My lawn’s utility is that:

  • It’s where I park my cars.
  • It’s where I process firewood.
  • It’s where I gut deer.
  • It’s where I shoot guns.
  • It’s where the chickens graze.
  • It’s where the dog shits.
  • It’s where I watch the stars at night.
  • It’s the free fire zone raccoons and skunks must cross to harass my chickens.
  • It’s the place I shove snow when I plow.

Something tells me that suburban boy has never done any of these things. That’s why his lawn is soulless. He has an Ansel Adams calendar on his cubicle wall and stares at it wondering why everything is so much more beautiful in black and white. He grows old waiting for the day to end so he can commute home in the carpool minivan. When he was younger he had dreams of being a trumpet player and having sex with supermodels. That’s all gone now. It’s all very tragic.

Also I can see why I don’t live in a suburb. I’d cause a revolution on a 1/10th acre suburban lot with McMansion’s on all sides. My neighbors would be sipping herbal tea and emoting about Guatemalan peasants and looking forward to Hillary Clinton’s vagina being the next president. Meanwhile I’d be shoveling deer intestines into a garbage bag while my diesel truck heats up. They’d have a HOA on speed dial.

I wonder if I can move in next to the author? It would be an eye opener. I like to tune my motorcycle at 3:00 am. I buy fireworks in box lots. When my dog howls I join in. If I don’t wear pants it’s none of your business. I could probably set my HAM radio to the right frequency to explode his tooth fillings. I might take up yodeling. I’d give his kids a bottle of vodka for Christmas. There’s no reason why you can’t make a snowmobile dragstrip out of the driveway. I like it when life is fun!

“But think of your own neighborhood, and of the number of houses where the only time you see somebody out on the lawn is when it’s getting mowed.”

The only time I see my neighbors is when they’re harvesting the fields. The only thing they do that I can hear is chainsaws for firewood and people shooting guns. They’re busy either working or living.

“It doesn’t need to be this way — there are plenty of low-maintenance alternatives to turf grass out there.”

Brushfields and dirt. I can live with those. Sometimes when the lawnmower breaks I consider mounting a 50 gallon tank of Roundup on my ATV and just going for it. Why not?

In fact, I heartily encourage Mr. Washington Post author to give it a shot. Just go nuts and kill all the grass. Quit watering it. Quit fertilizing it. And live in a dustbowl.

I’m certainly not stopping anyone from embracing alternatives to stupid expensive lawns. The author should quit writing whiny articles and nuke his lawn. I’m rooting for ya!


Hat tip to Maggie’s Farm.

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More Thoughts On “Being Revolting”, To Have Freedom You Must Seek It

I felt bad about my last post. It had politics. My blog may not be a ray of sunshine but I try to refrain from taking a dump on my readers. If this election cycle isn’t the shit hitting the fan then what is? I did it anyway. I’m only human.

In search of redemption I’d like to discuss something positive. All that brooding sense of silence and calculation in my last post is nothing new and it has yielded far more than malaise. After all, silence and calculation indicates you’re seeking wise choices during difficult times. So here is:

“I have noticed a small but increasing number of Americans who are choosing to vote with their feet and they’re putting freedom front and center in their plans.”

You’ve noticed it too? Surely you’ve seen a few folks choose to move from less free places to more free places. Do you think people move to Texas because they like the weather? Do you think people emote over Montana because they like opera? It’s not a stampede… it’s a trickle, but it’s a steady one and for every person that seeks and attains freedom an eagle shits on a Prius.

Obviously it’s not a choice lightly made. Moving, for any purpose, is a massive pain in the ass. To uproot yourself and your family and then manage the endless logistics is a commitment. It’s a lot bigger commitment than buying another AR-15 to throw in the stack you’ve already got.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Why would you? Instead just check out my blog roll.

On Barking Moonbat Early Warning System you’ll notice a post that describes leaving California and moving to Ohio. He’s clear that he’s doing this in the interest of personal freedom. This is what he had to say (read it all).

“I will be moving halfway across the country. I don’t make it a secret that while I am a man of the right, I have also been a Californian born and raised. And what’s more, someone that has lived on the dread, died-in-the-wool-left Coast itself. My parents came from the Middle of the country decades ago to live here, and I have lived here in this house my entire life.

… the costs of uprooting from the home of 20~ years and moving halfway across the country to a place I scarcely know are less than the costs of staying. Taxes are high, a criminally insane water policy has all but insured drought will strike again, the ‘law’ tried to abolish concealed carry, and I still remember the times when Bernie’s Brownshirts attacked a Trump Rally down the street while two married Jihadists slaughtered a Christmas Party.”

He’s slipped the noose and bugged out. Way to go!

If you click over to Knuckledragging My Life Away you’ll be reading posts from another person who left California’s sinking ship. Earlier this spring he moved to Tennessee. He’s got plenty of posts about the joy of leaving California. Here’s one of his first posts after leaving (escaping!) (read it all):

“I swore I was going to uncase my guns, load my pistol and strap it to my hip the first chance I got after crossing into Arizona for no other reason than I could. But I didn’t. Why? Because I didn’t feel a need to – once I got out of California everybody was genuinely friendly. Seriously – I couldn’t get out of the truck without somebody smiling at me and asking how I was doing – and these were total strangers.”

One part of freedom is “friendly” and indeed California can wear on a man at times. I rejoice at a person who made the choice to find a different, freer home.

I should have put him first because The Ultimate Answer To Kings is a paragon. He leaves most of us in the dust! I’m impressed when someone packs their shit and moves to a different place but Joel went off grid. That takes balls of steel (not to mention patience with batteries and the willingness to shovel shit).

I salute him for going the Full Monty! He makes it clear that living in the desert is not Utopia for all but it suits him and his desire for freedom. Well done sir! May your chickens always evade the coyotes and the sun ever shine on your solar panels.

Claire Wolfe, who is working on her new website, never goes a week without discussing freedom. It’s sorta’ her thing. Obviously her choice of location is based on freedom but so too are most of her other interests.

Fred On Everything is an American who lives in Mexico. He’s written several articles referring to the greater freedom he found in Mexico. Here’s a quote to whet your appetite (read it all):

“They think that just because I went to Mexico, I left the US. They don’t understand. I didn’t leave the United States. It left me. It was a bait-and-switch operation. I signed on to one country, and they slipped another in under me. I want my money back.”

He elaborates…

“In the country I signed on to, things worked on the principle of individual responsibility. If you robbed a bank, which people generally didn’t, everyone figured you did it because you decided to, and you went to jail and everyone was satisfied, except you, which was the idea. Most people knew how to behave, and did. It saved a lot on police departments and you could walk around at night.

In the new country of course everything is somebody else’s fault, unless you are a white male, in which case everything is your fault.”

And it ends with something I’ve felt all too often myself:

“A lot of other countries struck me as fine places. But America was my favorite. It just suited me. I liked the people in their wild variety and the countryside and the music and the brash independence. It wasn’t perfect. Still, given the sorry baseline for comportment in human agglomerations, it was about as good as you could get.

I’m still fond of the United States. I just can’t find it.”

Incidentally when I’ve been in Mexico (which hasn’t been nearly often enough) it has indeed fell freer than most of America. It seemed like a fine place where you could drink a beer without being hassled, tinker with a car without the EPA shitting on you, and go fishing without needing a 200 page rulebook…. and really isn’t that what life’s all about?

If you click over to Captain Capitalism you’ll find thoughts about freedom that revolve around economics and personal choices (which is more important than seeking a magic geographic location). The Captain also spends a fair amount of energy trying to nudge youth away from self destructive decisions that’ll (you guessed it) chew up their future freedoms. I recommend “Worthless” to any person of the age where they’re still in the thrall (through no fault of their own) of school teachers. (I also enjoyed “The Curse Of The High IQ” and have been meaning to write up a review.)

If you click over to Sippican Cottage you’ll hear articles about moving to and living in rural Maine. In his case the source of freedom was outlandishly cheap housing (read it all):

Truth be told, it was much worse than a hovel. We aspired to live in a hovel. We thought we might be able to fashion a hovel out of what we’d purchased. We dreamt of wretchedness, and are still doggedly trying to clear away all the debris just to get to the dirty part, so we can live in it and be happy. …

…Why would we move to such a place, you ask? We had become instantly broke, and the house was free. That’s a great combination. OK, not free; but we bought a fairly big, 1901 vintage, Queen Anne house for $24,400. I consider any house for sale for less than a Kia ‘free.’ 

It wasn’t the “Detroit” version of free, either. I know you can buy a crackhouse in the Motor City for a double sawbuck, or trade it for a couple syphilitic chickens or something, but then you’ve got to try to defend its walls against all comers –the walls where the copper pipes used to live before the crackheads gave your new home its crackhouse soubriquet —  but we moved to what’s considered a nice neighborhood in a quiet little town in western Maine. And in addition to a lack of Mogadishu-level crime, the taxes here are comparatively low because there’s a huge, stinking paper mill right in the center of town paying half the town’s freight, so our free house didn’t come with a bent number followed by a vapor trail of zeroes after it for back taxes, or front taxes or sideways taxes.”

Considering how hard it is for me to keep my shithole of a house standing, I salute him for keeping his house standing with far more grace and dignity than I. (Also his kids rock “The Girl From Ipanema“!)

Click over to MArooned to find another prime example. Early on, the whole point of his blog was being trapped in Massachusetts. Ugh! I can’t imagine surviving that! Massachusetts is East Germany administered by Dolores Umbridge but with higher taxes! (At least California has a great climate!) His subtitle was “trapped in Volkspublic of Massachusetts“.

So where does the author of the MArooned blog live now? Northern Virginia and happily so. That’s not an accident. It’s a deliberate planned move on his part.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another fellow who made the move. That would be yours truly. I did time in a snobbish, uptight, urban area and it sucked donkey balls. People were crawling up my ass every day; each dawn was followed by a new regulation, another fee, a different tax, a near miss on the highway, and the general misery of being swarmed by a hyperactive herd of retarded lemmings and their insipid, unceasing, inexplicable desire to drag me down to their level. I tunneled under the wall and set myself free. Where I live now the night sky is dark and I’m mostly left alone. It’s not perfect but it’s a step toward heaven!

It’s never really “game over” until you’re dead. So take heart and protect your soul carefully against the indignities that will be shoved your way. Take a deep breath, keep your eye on the prize and think “just hold on ’cause it’s not over.

Seeking freedom isn’t inherently grim. Lock and load and stacking ammo and watering the tree of liberty and all that shit sounds impressive but the little decisions matter more. Sometimes it’s a job interview, sometimes it’s a long drive, sometimes it’s a paid off debt… whatever. Freedom will flow through the mundane decisions you make throughout your life. With luck, forethought, and hard work those who seek freedom find it.


P.S. If you’re on my blogroll and made the break but I missed it; sorry. Enjoy your freedom even if it doesn’t come with a high five from an unimportant blogger who talks to trees.

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Thoughts On Z-Blog’s “On Being Revolting In The Modern Age”

Forgive me for falling off the “no politics” bandwagon. I’m only human. Tomorrow I’ll go back to home maintenance and firewood. You’re welcome to tune out in the interim. I won’t mind. Have a nice day.

Still here? OK then I’ll start. The Z-Blog posted wise thoughts in On Being Revolting in the Modern Age:

“Certainly voting for Trump sends a message, but messages need a sender and a receiver. If the people on the other end refuse to acknowledge the message being sent, then it’s not really a message. The Olive Branch Petition was the last ditch effort by the Colonist to avoid a breach with the mother country, but the King’s refusal turned it from a message to him into a message from him. That message was clear to the colonials. They could either submit unconditionally or prepare for war. A Trump win followed by a unified refusal by the political class to cooperate would also be clear message.”

You’d be hard pressed to find any living being who likes the 2016 election cycle so one more blogger bitching about it (self included) is irrelevant. But, just for the record, I’ve spent decades observing D.C. and thinking “these people are playing with fire”. I perpetually wish they’d quit trodding upon large groups of people. No good can come of it.

The Z-Blog adds the usual about the media giving up on even the appearance of journalism:

“A little girl skins her knee and there is a news team there to blame Trump in a four hour TV special. Hillary Clinton is caught running a pay-for-play scheme and no one can be bothered to ask her why she went to the trouble of installing an illegal e-mail system in her bathroom.”

While that’s all true I haven’t expected news from the news in decades. Nobody has.

My big observation of the “Hillary’s private server with State secrets affair” wasn’t about the press. It was about the people; or rather roughly half of the people. A moment passed that felt colder and more unsettling than the usual “they’ve fucked us again” situation.

Think about it like this; the FBI infuriated half the electorate and that half… did nothing. Yet it wasn’t a moment of defeat. It wasn’t a wail of despair, not gloom, not anger, not resignation, not desperation. It was a subdued tone of quiet finality. An acceptance that corruption is so deep that no one, nobody at all, can pretend otherwise.

We all know it. Jerks with badges will shut down a child’s lemonade stand, convict your car of a crime, demand a license for your dog, zone your house into oblivion for a salamander, and invade nations you’ve never heard of… but everyone everywhere knows that mishandling State secrets will put anyone in the clink. Or at least it formerly would.

The FBI just demonstrated they’re afraid to enforce the law when Hillary is involved. They did it in front of God. They did it on live TV. Like the moon landing, it’s an event with a clear “before” and a clear “after”. I think it unwise to have fomented such a moment.

The left side of the spectrum didn’t notice. They were busy rioting over cops being too racist, or not protecting them enough, or maybe wanting more cops but only when cops hug them, or maybe they need a safe space or whatever. Cars got burned, screams were uttered, some cops got shot, a person got blown up with a robot bomb defuser. As photogenic and ugly as it was, it also blew off steam.

The silence on the opposite side of the fence didn’t release a damn thing. It held that pressure. Their attachment to rule of law means blocking a road or smashing a Hyundai is not their style. It’s stupid, wasteful, and inefficient. Hillary and her minions might have thought silence demonstrated their total dominion. I doubt that. Americans are a prickly lot. Many will join the herd but many will not. Ever.

When a big bunch of them see something infuriating and then collectively clam up it’s not because they’re afraid. It’s because they’re thinking. Thinking hard. “What will happen next. How will it affect me. What is my best course of action.” The FBIs abdication led to the eerie and deafening silence of a people with a deep focus.

There are two kinds of silence. One is “you’ve beaten me and I shall go nurse my wounds”. The other is a grim “keep your powder dry” mentality. It is without humor and full of malice. It’s the intelligent observation reserved for when there’s wolf on the periphery and you’re not afraid of it but fully aware that it’s a predator and you should react accordingly. It reminds me of Ralf Waldo Emerson’s admonition “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.” I’d much rather have seen the right wing burning cars and spray painting American flags on walls… but the quiet ones don’t roll that way. And really, who thinks a riot and a burned car does any good?

I’m not advocating violence. That shit sucks. I want nothing to do with it. I never will. I like my nation. I want it to be peaceful. Violence is the failure to find a more reasonable solution.

Also I’m a little worried. When Americans get motivated they’re not ineffective. They’ll put a man on the moon, build a 1,000 horsepower NASCAR, win every damn gold medal they can, whatever. I worry that should they get violent they’ll be too damn good at it.

And that’s what makes me nervous. It’s not the dog that barks that you need to watch. It’s the one you’ve kicked several times but it didn’t back down. When a beaten dog backs off, shakes out the kinks, and then looks you in the eye without a hint of cowering.; that’s when you’ve made the dog into something you ought not have. Anyone sane would have know to not kick the damn dog in the first place… but once it’s done I’m not sure what defuses the moment.

Z-Blog is thinking American Revolution. I’m more worried about the Civil War. I’ve been reading a lot of American history. Something I didn’t understand until recently is that neither side really thought it was going to happen. For eighty odd years everyone had always come to their senses. The general attitude was sanity would prevail at the last minute. But it didn’t. Too many people played with fire and the nation stumbled backwards into horror. Hillary’s endemic corruption unnerves me because it’s a flame seeking a fuse. She’s played with fire so long she can’t imagine life without it. She can’t be boring. She can’t play by the rules. She’s dangerous to everyone, regardless of their opinion because, she can’t let sleeping dogs lie.

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The Curmudgeon, the Wuss, the Dumbass, and the Survivalist

The Curmudgeon:

For quite some time our clothes dryer has been on the fritz. It’s supposed to turn off automatically when it’s finished drying, but, like a politician, it keeps droning on well past its usefulness. It only does this once in a while so I employ the classic method of just checking on it a lot when I use it. Recently it added a second issue. Intermittently, and for no reason, it would just turn off with the clothes still wet. As a proper Curmudgeon I went on a rant about how a brand-new dryer should last much longer than this. That’s when I realized it was over 15 years old. I accept that appliances in the past lasted for all eternity but 15 years is definitely not brand-new. Even though no one but the laundry room heard my rant, I formally retract it.

The Wuss:

With no plan in mind I descended upon the laundry room with a random assortment of tools. It’s my customary opinion that when something is broke you can’t make it worse. (I realize this is incorrect but shut the hell up.) I presumed the problem was somewhere in the electronics because that’s where the problem always is. But then I started thinking about integrated circuit boards and how I’d rather be drinking beer and how shit just breaks nowadays and why should I swim against the current? I threw my arms in the air, said “fuck it”, and didn’t even try to fix it. Two days later we bought a new dryer.

The Dumbass:

We wrestled the new dryer into the laundry room and I set out disconnecting the old one. Dryer vents are always filled with lint and it’s gross. Planning ahead I’d bought a new dryer vent hose. When I removed the old dryer vent hose I found a bird’s nest! I’d just solved the mystery of the dryer that wasn’t drying. I also had the fun of chasing a little brown bird all over the room. (I got the bird out of the house without injuring it but the eggs and the nest were trashed.) I tossed out the old dryer hose and had to accept the fact that I’m such a dumbass that I hadn’t checked obvious weaknesses before dropping a few hundred dollars on imported Chinese consumer goods. I suck!

The Survivalist:

In modern times the proper American thing to do is throw shit out. I can’t do it! If two is one and one is none it just seems to make sense to keep both dryers. After all I had already paid for the new one (which is awesome) and own the old one (which is a little creaky but generally works ok). Where’s the benefit in tossing a mostly useful appliance? So I installed them both side-by-side. If there’s ever a zombie attack on clothes dryers I’m gonna’ rock the world!

I also did something pretty cool with the installation. I have regular AC circuits and I have funky hippie high-tech AC circuits that the power company shuts off at times of peak load. The Faustian bargain behind this is that the peak load circuit is cheaper electricity. I love me some warm clothes on a bitter winter day… precisely when the power is likely to be off. So I never put the dryer on that panel. Since I had two dryers, I installed a new 220V outlet on that panel and will run the new slightly more efficient dryer on cheaper power. How cool can you get? One dryer runs on cheap eco-electricity and that will be sufficient for 90% of our needs. The other one is a backup that is guaranteed to operate even at times of peak load (unless I’m attacked by another bird nest). If I go totally mad I suppose I can run both at once.

So there you have it, my Curmudgeonly four stage process to evolve from a broken dryer to a dual redundant system. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go chase birds out of my dryer vents.

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Perseid Meteor Shower

Most nights, before I go to bed, I make one last check outdoors. I tell myself it’s a last patrol of the perimeter and a chance to walk the dog before I turn in but mostly all I do is peer at the sky. I’m a big fan of northern lights. I don’t see them very often but I check just about every night. Also, I have a fabulous night sky and it seems like a good idea to appreciate it.

In a proper world the night sky would be free to everyone, after all it was free to everyone for most of humanity’s existence. Unfortunately, if you live in an urban area your sky sucks. This means for many people all over the world their sky sucks and that’s a real bummer. As one of the lucky minority I make sure to savor the stars on their behalf too. No need to thank me, I’m here to help.

Last night I stepped outside for my evening check for the northern lights and low and behold there was a shooting star! This shouldn’t be surprising, it’s the Perseid meteor shower. Duh! (I’d forgotten.)

Fortunately for me it’s a weekend; how good of the Universe to schedule the Persieds for my convenience. I decided to watch.

The bad news is that the moon was up and it was ruining part of the view. Also it’s been really humid so the dew had everything soaking wet. Did I mention the mosquitoes?

My solution was to throw my sleeping bag in the back of my truck, drive to the back field where trees blocked most of the moonlight, fire up an anti bug device (I’ll link to it later… it really works), and hunker down to observe. (The truck bed also blocked the moonlight a little more.)

This worked pretty well. I forgot about the bugs and once my pupils adjusted to the dark I had a fabulous time. Just me and the sky. All humans ought to spend a few hours staring at the stars from time to time. As my grandmother used to say “it’s good for what ails ya'”. (I have a feeling that 2016 wouldn’t be so stupid if Hillary and the Hairball both looked at the night sky and got a realistic view of their insignificance in the cosmos. How much bullshit would be averted if everyone in D.C. had to spend a night alone in the dark under the stars? “I’m sorry Senator Shithead, the historic Curmudgeon Act of 2016 requires you to sleep in a truck bed in a field in Wyoming no less that quarterly or face impeachment and execution. While considered obtuse at the time it led to our current age of peace and contentment.” Whoops… sorry about the rambling. Forgive me.)

Someone, likely someone smarter than me, said that the best things in life are free. Laying in the back of your truck staring at the sky enjoying a couple shooting stars (which is not a euphemism!) is cheaper than dirt and time well spent.

Sadly (or maybe not) I didn’t last long. After a couple hours I fell asleep. I woke after the moon had set but by then the sky had clouded up. Oh well. ‘Aint nothing wrong with a good night’s sleep either.

I hope everyone who wanted had plenty of time to see the the show. It was pretty decent, even in sub-par viewing conditions.

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The Joys Of Homeownership: Part 7.02: Coffee Fisking

Now for a fisking.

The Art of Manliness, Brewing the Perfect Cup of Coffee, starts as follows:

“Every man should know how to brew a decent cup of coffee….”


If you cannot brew coffee you are not a man. I don’t care how old you are. I’ll repeat for clarity; if you can’t make coffee you’re not a man. You might be “male” as defined by properly plumbed to piss on a stump… but you’re not a man.

I also have reservations about any male who can’t use a clutch, won’t gut a fish, and doesn’t have a set of wrenches.

“It’s an everyday skill that should be passed down from father to son, like shaving or mowing the lawn.”

Really? Obviously one must teach their children the things they need to know, but what kind of yutz expects to get lovingly brewing coffee from underage wretches? Coffee is IMPORTANT. Have you seen boys? Have you talked to them? Do you think they should be doing IMPORTANT things? Boys are wonderful young people who will eventually become productive members of society. In the meantime some portion of their mind is occupied with schemes for their XBox and some part of their body is occupied hitting other boys with sticks. You can’t presume a kid’ll make you decent, timely coffee any more than you’d trust them with a nuclear reactor. Seriously… talk to a boy someday. They’re partially wonderful and partially feral.

Also enough with this shaving thing. I have a big scruffy beard. I’ll shave when I either get good and ready or when I’m dead. I shaved when I was younger. Why? Girls. My kid will learn to shave when no teenage girl will make eye contact. Probably not a minute sooner.

As for my lawn, he certainly does help around the [glances out the window]… Goddamnit, that little cretin ducked out on mowing the lawn again! I’ve got bears in my lawn. BEARS! I told him to mow the… Ugh… kids!

There is a better way to teach a kid about coffee: convince them to take on two summer jobs at once. Preferably jobs that really suck. Possibly the night shift at a salt mine or a complaint desk at Walmart. Anything that involves shit and shovels is ideal. Nothing too pleasant. If they’re in school they’d better be taking chemistry, calculus, physics, and AP everything… and they still should spend many hours per week manning a hot sweaty fryer or slaving away at some other low wage job. (This will also teach them what taxes are and who pays for free shit from the Government. This is a lesson about half the population didn’t get.) In their spare time kids should be prepping for a marathon or maybe competing in rodeos. Running a trap line or enlisting in the Marines would be fine too.

Don’t coax them into coffee, work ’em until they need coffee.

Eventually they’ll discover that work sucks, taxes are too high, and Mountain Dew or Red Bull is just not enough to make it through the day. That’s when a boy becomes a man.

“…Now, I don’t profess to be an expert barista…”

Translation: “I actually have a job and I’m not going to bore you with stories about my SKA band.” Good for you!

“…1) Get decent beans….”

Death Wish Coffee

For good beans I recommend Death Wish Coffee. (I prefer Odinforce Blend. Click image for link.)

“2) Grind the beans yourself.”

Yes. (Exception duly noted for camping and war, instances where carrying a hand crank grinder is pathetic.)

“3) If you’re serious about coffee, ditch your fancy automatic coffee maker and try the French press.”

Yes. (Melittas are allowed as backup but only if you’re too much of a fuck up to manage the JetBoil’s tendency to erupt its French Press gadget if left unattended.)

And another fisking. This time of The WoodPile Report’s analysis of the above article:

“The author recommends a French press. Most laudable, but second best. I’ve given various methods a couple year’s trial and settled on cold brewing. Brews overnight, or twelve hours minimum.”

Are you fucking kidding me!?! Tomorrow? I may be dead by then. I want my coffee now. It’s coffee and therefore I can’t wait. Brew it and serve it. NOW.

“Mine’s a Takeya. Nineteen bucks or near enough. Two of ’em, one for drinking while the other’s brewing in the refrigerator. Pour a cup ‘n heat it in the microwave.”

Oddly I don’t mind cold brewed coffee heated by microwave… but this whole thing started with a power outage.

“Every cup is a fresh cup. Those who don’t know why “cafe Americain” is on offer abroad will want to dilute it.”

Do not dilute it. If it’s too strong you haven’t been working hard enough. Once you’re exhausted like the rest of us it’ll be just right.

“If your idea of “real” coffee is Starbucks, hot brewed from burn-roasted so-so beans, you have a pleasant surprise in store.”

Agreed. Also you’re about to find out that water’s wet, the sky is blue, and real girls aren’t like the ones you’ve seen on YouTube. Welcome to the real world.

“Even store brand supermarket coffee grounds taste smooth and satisfying when cold brewed. I use dark roast, whatever’s on sale. No need to go Full Fanatic and hang around the waterfront for incoming beans to roast and grind yourself. It’s coffee, not a calling.”

Yes it’s just coffee. So long as it doesn’t suck you can nut up and face the day. If it’s Folgers it sucks.

The Takeya blurb says, “The traditional hot brewing process releases undesirable acids and oils, resulting in bitter flavor and acidity that is intolerable to many.””

Yeah whatever. I like warm brewed drinks. I live where it’s cold. When it’s cold I want a drink that’s hot because nature is a bitch and wants to kill me. On weekends I want a hot drink with bourbon added because nature is a bitch on weekends too but I can have liquor for breakfast. This goes double when I’m camping. It may be acidic but I’d drink a battery if it’d keep me warm.

Also, and this is no fault of anyone but my own, things left in my fridge tend to go feral. I can’t abide the thought of cold brewed coffee that sits there evolving for six months just because I accidentally stuck it behind the big jar of pickles.

With cold brewing, only the naturally delicious coffee flavors are extracted, leaving behind the bitter oils and fatty acids, creating a perfectly balanced, smooth extraction of concentrated coffee.” If it’s over the top it ain’t by much. Here’s a field expedient: use a Mason jar as a canister and make a “coffee bag” from a coffee filter. Works at 33°F and above.”

Fair nuff. However, this all started with “power down coffee”. Refrigerated microwaved cold brewed is good but grid down I want it hot and now. My impatience isn’t a reflection on The Woodpile Report’s desire for the perfect cup but rather on my… did I mention impatience? Woodpile Report wasn’t thinking about coffee brewed when the lights are out or on campout it’s cold enough to make your testicles rattle like castanets.

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The Joys Of Homeownership: Part 7.01: Revisting The Coffee Outage

In a recent post I struck a cord. Here’s a Cliffs Notes rehash: the power went down and Mrs. Curmudgeon couldn’t (or wouldn’t) make coffee without a functioning electric coffee maker. Without an assured coffee supply civilization teetered on the edge of annihilation.

Folks love them some coffee… as they should. So I got a lot of comments… most of them about how excellent and handsome I am. (It’s my blog and I can make shit up if I want to.)

Now to pontificate further.

Lets start with the facts:

  1. Mrs. Curmudgeon needed an electric coffee maker. Not me. I can make coffee anytime anywhere and it’s moderately good too.* Dead electricity ‘aint a problem for me. All I need is water (the wellhead is electric). However, I was 700 miles away. (That said all I did was drink Starbucks in my truck cab and I think we can all agree Starbucks is pretty much the low end of palatable). (Another note: in the back of my truck, even as I was sipping Starbucks, there was a “coffee kit” stashed in my tool box.)
  2. I decided that if Mrs. Curmudgeon needs an electric coffee maker then by God I’d better make it happen as a matter of survivalist prudence. That’s ’cause I’m such a cuddly, sweet, kind, thoughtful, gentleman and also a perfect husband and generally a ray of sunshine all around. (Note: Mrs. Curmudgeon probably isn’t reading this so I can definitely claim to be all that and a bag of chips.) Also if the grid goes down and a the Russkie/Zombie/Freeshit Army/Robot-Drone-Terminator horde is about to breach the perimeter I’d still be safer with them than dealing with a household in caffeine withdrawal.
  3. Mrs. Curmudgeon’s (and my) favorite brand is “Death Wish Coffee”. (Though we buy other beans too.) Any coffee that has a skull motif is meant for us!

I now present the Curmudgeon’s guaranteed coffee method:

It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s so idiot proof that you can do it while hunkered under a tree in a blizzard. Also no electricity needed. Did I mention the part about the blizzard and the tree?

Step 1. Get a JetBoil. Any of the different flavors of JetBoil is fine. You can get ones that look like a Nike productin camoflage (really?), or a pattern suitable for a Speedo. Whatever. Yes there are 10,000 other camp stoves. Everyone thinks their brand is best. Don’t Ford versus Chevy me on this. JetBoil has served me well but you can carry your brass alcohol burner if you want. All you really need is water that’s hot (the ability to boil matters while camping too). I really like the “radiator fins” on the JetBoil. They make water boil NOW. Sometimes making coffee NOW is very important.

I could do without the graphics that make it look like a fancy sneaker.

I could do without the graphics that make it look like a sneaker.

2. Boil water. (Incidentally I’ve made tons of coffee from lake water. Boiled or not I filter it first. You only need to get fucked up once by bad water to start carrying a filter as a matter of course.)

3. If you’re patient use a Melitta. These make fine coffee. I used one for years until I accidentally threw it in a lake with the mouse that jumped on it. (It was the mouse or me and I hadn’t had my coffee yet! I fished it out and washed it and used it the rest of the trip but the magic was gone. Once a mouse has crapped on something it’s time to upgrade.) Melittas are slow but they work great. You’ll need filters. They’re nearly impossible to break. They’re light enough to take backpacking. You can run a few rounds of hot water through the same grounds to stretch your supplies. They’re slow though. Did I mention slow? I’m not a patient man at dawn. Slow.

Cheap but serviceable. Like me.

Cheap but serviceable. Like me.

4. If you need coffee RIGHT FRIGGIN’ NOW you should cram a French Press gadget in your JetBoil. This is the fastest good coffee known to man. It’s faster than the electric coffee maker that you can’t have in a power outage. (Slower than a keurig but only a little slower and that’s pretty good for off grid. Also a keurig feels like I have to join a cult to get my coffee.)

PAY ATTENTION: As soon as the plunger starts to rise turn down the heat. You’ve been warned. If you’re watching the sunrise or observing the loons or scratching your ass or thinking about boobs… BLAMMO! The coffee will erupt and make a mess. That said coffee made this way is always good and it’s FAST. (Also you don’t need to carry filters.) Don’t forget to rinse the JetBoil after your coffee or your morning oatmeal will taste funny.

Good coffee but watch it like a ticking bomb!

Good coffee but watch it like a ticking bomb!

There you have it, four steps and two are redundant. Trust me on the JetBoil thing for non-electric coffee with speed and efficiency. I’ve tipped a canoe and had a hot cup of Joe in hand within 5 minutes. When you’re soaked to your skivvies in icy lakewater a cup of coffee will be the attitude adjustment you need (plus it’s one of many backstops against hypothermia).

More to come…


*It is true that Mrs. Curmudgeon makes better coffee than me with the electric coffee maker. Usually I’m far too bleary eyed to pay attention to how much coffee I put in. Sometimes it’s weak and other times it makes the dog’s eyes water.

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