We have to replace our furnace/ac. The AC is dead as a doornail, both are over 20 or 25 yrs old and horribly inefficient. So we’ve been getting quotes. Got two that came in at $6500 and $6800 for 3 ton 100,000 BTU 95% efficient 14.5 SEER variable flow and all that jazz. Third dude came today and did a long presentation after having measured all sorts of shit and went on about importance of proper installation, bla bla, explained all sorts of bla-di-bla about the equipment, how their employees are carefully screened and drug tested and they don’t allow any convicts to work for them because in prison they teach convicts plumbing and HVAC and here’s a picture of brown dudes in prison uniforms studying to come rape and kill your wife in your own home under the guise of installing your new furnace and ac, and you can get a heat pump too to further reduce costs, and bla bla more tech stuff, and voila! four options for your consideration, good, better, best, wow, ranging from $11k to $16k.
And I said, “WTF?”
But wait, don’t answer yet, there are rebates, and we can take this and that off, and discounts, and I can come down on price, and so on, and now the four options range from just under $9k to $11k or something like that.
And I said, “dude, you might want to rethink that one part of your sales pitch where you subtly scare me about the brown prison dudes coming into my house.”
And he said, “well, yes, but Ashton Kutcher’s ex-girlfriend was killed by an ex-con, and there are white guys in that photo too.”
I do not think we will be buying the fancy expensive heat pump furnace from this dude with the laminated pictures of scary brown men in prison uniforms studying earnestly to come rape and kill me in my own home.
The last week or so I’ve been reading that classic of naturalist writing, The Outermost House by Henry Beston, as the last of this year’s selections for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Book Club.
The book is a delight to read for those who love language – it is essentially one long prose poem. But at the same time, it is sweetly painful, as one takes the measure of all the glory that must have been lost in the time since Beston wrote.
Nothing quite prepared me, however, for encountering the following passage about halfway through the book, in the chapter titled “Winter Visitors”. Beston is described the birds that come to the Cape in winter – “a region which is to them a Florida”.
A new danger…now threatens the birds at sea. An irreducible residue of crude oil, called by refiners “slop,” remains in stills after oil distillation, and this is pumped into southbound tankers and emptied far offshore. This wretched pollution floats over large areas, and the birds alight in it and get it on their feathers. They inevitably die. Just how they perish is still something of a question. Some die of cold, for the gluey oil so mats and swabs the thick arctic feathering that creases open through it to the skin above the vitals; others die of hunger as well. Captain George Nickerson of Nauset tells me that he saw an oil-covered eider trying to dive for food off Monomoy, and that the bird was unable to plunge. I am glad to be able to write that the situation is better than it was. Five years ago, the shores of Monomoy peninsula were strewn with hundreds, even thousands, of dead sea fowl, for the tankers pumped out slop as they were passing the shoals – into the very waters, indeed, on which the birds have lived since time began! Today oil is more the chance fate of the unfortunate individual. But let us hope that all such pollution will presently end.
Oh, unfortunate individuals of the Gulf Coast, how I mourn for you and your “chance fate”. I suppose we can take heart that we are no longer purposefully discharging “slop” into the ocean – we aren’t, are we? – but it’s slim comfort.
But no matter. I heard a story on NPR the other day about how the oil slicks haven’t made it to the beaches of the Gulf Coast yet, so the white sands are still sparkly. And the state tourist bureaus are hard at work on ad development to reassure you that your vacation need not be ruined or delayed by any distressing sights on the beach; all is well! Out of sight, out of mind! The only oil you need to worry about is the tanning oil on the shapely young lass on the beach towel in this tourist ad! (There’s nothing female flesh can’t sell!) Come relax, spend your dollars, support our local tourist industry, and forget about the environment for awhile! It’s all good! Till it’s not.
I was making a quick jog through the local supermarket the other night, seeking out cough drops and a few other things for a sad soul at home with the croup, when I rounded a corner and came upon this fresh new vision from hell:
And here I am wasting my extra cash on donations to food pantries for hungry humans in the greater Delaware Valley area. You, poor sap, may be throwing away cash on stupid causes like earthquake relief in Haiti, or trying to save birds from extinction. Let’s just all live it up and make sure Fido has a nice Fresh Meal. Maybe we could give the leftovers to the hungry in Philly, or send them off carefully wrapped up to the Haitians. I don’t think they’d fit well in a bird feeder.
Today I googled the phrase “eyes on the prize”. Here’s an excerpt from one link that came up.
The fire hoses and police dogs. The Montgomery bus boycott. The march on Washington. You’ve probably seen scattered footage of these images, but no project ever connected pictures to context with the tenacity of Eyes on the Prize.
The 1987 PBS series brought the strategies and struggles of the civil rights movement to new generations worldwide. Now, after years of wrangling over copyright and licensing issues, Eyes is finally available on DVD for a new mass audience. (It was already available for educators.)
The six-hour series is a masterwork of visual storytelling and eyewitness recollection, spanning the events from the grisly murder of Emmett Till in 1955 to the marches from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. In between, we find heroes both famous and obscure, many bearing witness for the first time, others who died for the cause of equality.
I have no doubt that is why IKEA felt compelled to create this homage to racial justice and equality, featuring the use of the phrase “eyes on the prize” by a white woman who has seen the light.
A black couple could not have been cast in this commercial, because it is meant to illustrate how far whites have come along the path of understanding racial issues in America.
Hat tip to reader James Ramsey…
What do women really need in computer? Because, what with our vaginas and all, our computing needs are so, so different from those of men. Thank the goddess Dell is looking out for us, with its helpful marketing strategy that emphasizes “color schemes, cases and dieting tips”. Oh my god, I can accessorize my laptop? I must have died and gone to heaven! Here’s a “Tech Tip” from the Della site (isn’t that so cute??? get it? Dell, the real site, is gendered “guy”, while Della is for us girls. I mean, who would want to buy a laptop from a guy site, right?):
Tools like Gyminee help you track workouts and reach your fitness goals. You can even map out new running routes via sites like Map my run. Improve your mood by listening to music, viewing pictures or even watching a movie. Some netbooks even offer an optional DVD drive
Yes, because women need MORE encouragement to focus on their bodies. Oooh, a DVD drive? How techie!
Pardon me while I hork up my lunch.
Last fall a Dell “back to school” catalog arrived in my mailbox and I almost blogged the cover. It showed a young girl in a sea of pink, holding a pink laptop. If this is the most creative marketing that Dell can come up with to reach the female consumer, I hope the company dies a swift painful death.
At the YMCA: they used to have perfectly serviceable water fountains in the room with the treadmills, elliptical trainers, and weight machines. They ripped them out and replaced them with water coolers that require the use of little conical paper cups – which, of course, must be used once and then thrown away. I and a few others left comments on their comment cards to the effect that this was a fucking stupid move, wasteful in the extreme, bad for the environment, blah blah. Response: we hear your concerns; we are so concerned about sanitation, water coolers are better for everyone, blah blah, use the fucking coolers ’cause we ain’t bringing back the fountains.
Today in the Y: a sign says “please bring your own reusable water bottles to save on paper waste.” Fucking morons. IF YOU HAD JUST LEFT THE WATER FOUNTAINS IN THE FIRST PLACE, YOU WOULDN’T HAVE THE MOUNTAINS OF PAPER WASTE TO DEAL WITH NOW!