September 29th, 2015

#4923: Planned Parenthood doesn't do mammograms.

They claim they do, but they don't. Planned Parenthood is all about abortions and nothing but, and the "womens' health" thing is just camoflage.

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Hooray! Chicago is the worst city for home prices in the US!

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The US' track record on bringing freedom and democracy to the middle east is not any good. Trump seems to be the only person in the running who understands that.

Quoth Trump:
"The people that want to come in and replace Assad, nobody knows who they are and they could end up being worse," [Trump] said. "We're constantly going out and siding with people and they turn out to be worse than the people who were there before."
And "constantly" is the right term--we backed Saddam Hussein (against Iran) and Osama bin Laden and a bunch of other guys (against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan) that turned out to be skunks after the political situation changed.

The article concludes:
In other words, Trump has no idea here either but what he does know is that the US habitually makes the same basic mistake in the Mid-East when considerations of geopolitical expediency lead Washington to oust Arab strongmen only to watch in horror as subsequent puppet governments crumble and are eventually replaced or at least partially supplanted by something far worse than the regime the US helped to overthrow. Meanwhile it is of course the people of these countries who suffer as is clearly evident in Syria.

So say what you will about Trump and foreign policy, but at least he understands that much and indeed, an honest understanding of that basic concept may have been all that was needed to avoid the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in Syria.
Meanwhile, Putin is the one talking sense. Check this out.
"Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster -- and nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life," Putin said through a translator. "I cannot help asking those who have forced that situation: Do you realize what you have done?"
I don't think "they" do realize, and if they do, they don't care.

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Tax cuts by themselves do nothing about the budget. The "starve the beast" paradigm does not work; the beast refuses to go on a diet.

If taxes are cut, the government simply borrows more; the budgets are higher every year. No, Ace is right--the thing to do is to force Americans to pay for all the government largesse they want, without any borrowing...and then we'd see how quickly the beast was put on a diet.

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Oceanic Airlines is real sorry about your daddy, mon. He be de zombie now. ...it's probably better not to ask why the representative of Oceanic Airlines, who is apologizing to Jack Shepherd for losing his father's body, speaks like he's from Jamaica.

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A fantastic short story from Francis Porretto.

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Today I came home from work and collapsed, getting nothing done that I had hoped to accomplish. I slept for perhaps two hours but I woke up feeling refreshed.

Now I get to wash the dishes. Such a stimulating life I lead.

#4924: I get to learn how to sweat pipes this weekend!

So, I was chatting with Og, and it was past my bedtime, so when he logged off I decided I'd do the same.

Before I could retire, I had to brush my teeth, and the bathroom sink has been clogged for a couple of days. It was worst today, barely draining at all, so this morning I resolved that I'd plunge it before bed. No problem.

So there was I, bravely plunging the sink, and it was quiet in the house because for the first time in months there were no fans running (low 60s outside, windows closed) and I could hear this odd sound.

Do you know what it sounds like when water runs on plastic sheeting? A thin stream like from a barely-open faucet? That's the sound I heard when water began draining from the sink.

Oh, dick.

Grabbed a flashlight, went downstairs, opened the bulkhead to the crawlspace--sure enough, there was a nice little trickle of water descending from the drain pipe.

FFFFFFFUUUUU--

Okay: 95% of the plumbing in the bunker is fifty years old; this is not entirely unexpected. Convenient, however, is another story. A quick gander at the plumbing let me suss out the piping: the toilet drains straight down into the sewer, and the sink and bathtub T into that big pipe. The leak is on the sink side; the tub side is hale and hearty.

So I went back upstairs and ran water in the tub, then went back down to look at the situation. Yes, water began trickling out of the pipe again, because why should it be just a matter of not using the sink?

But I'm nifty; I rapidly thought of a quick fix: I could take a piece of rubber hose and a couple of radiator hose clamps and apply a temporary patch to the pipe. That would keep the water--or most of it, anyway--from draining directly into the crawl space, and give me time to get paid (payday is Friday!) so I'd have money for materials, and to get some guidance from more knowledgeable sources. In other words, I won't have to call off work tomorrow to fix this shit so we have a working bathroom.

I assembled my tools and materials, then geared up: one of my mechanic shirts (leftover red polo from the Target days, already "distressed"), sweatpants, socks I didn't care about, my car work sneakers, and a hoodie as protection from spiderwebs. Two flashlights, my multi-tool, two hose clamps, nut driver for same, and a length of heater hose from my heater core flush kit.

The bulkhead is smaller than I remember it being. It was a snug fit, but the stepstool wasn't tall enough for me to get in; and while I was arranging for something with more height Mrs. Fungus came home with food. I explained the situation to her, ate dinner, and then resumed work.

Squeezed into the crawl space, eeled over to where the hole in the pipe was, and was able to sit upright indian-style and get to work. Cutting the hose was the hardest part; otherwise I was able to apply the patch and tighten it down without incident. Had Mrs. Fungus run some water in the tub, and all the thing did was drip slowly.

A vast improvement over the steady stream I got before when I ran the tub.

...because the hole in the pipe is about 2.5 inches long and half an inch wide. No I don't know how long it's been like this, but this hole is big enough that it did not form overnight. Now, I did put some Drano into the sink drain Sunday night, so it's just possible that the pipe had corroded severely and was already leaking, and the Drano merely put the finishing touches on it; but judging by the overall dampness and appearance of the affected area it's not the way to bet. It's probably been like this a while--possibly all summer, even.

In my defense: the sink does not drain fast--has not drained fast for quite some time--and as I said it was a mere trickle; and in summertime with the fans on you can't hear a pin drop or anything that's less loud than about the volume of normal conversation. The only reason I could hear this noise was because I was home alone and the house was dead quiet.

So this weekend, instead of doing anything mechanical on the Jeep, I'm going to be cutting the rotted section of pipe out and sweating in a new piece. I've never sweated a pipe joint before. It's not rocket science, of course, but it's still going to take some doing.

Plus side, I caught it before freezing weather, so the crawl space will have time to dry out before winter. I'm going to have to temporarily cordon off the basement (to keep the cats out of the crawl space) and put a fan in the bulkhead once the repair is done, so as to blow dry air in there to speed the drying process. Further, there's no mold or fungus smell in the crawl space beyond the musty smell you'd expect from a confined, unfinished space like that.

It shouldn't take much money to buy the materials, either, and I've already got a propane torch. (Come to think of it, this is the excuse I need to buy one of those nifty trigger-type torches! Hooray, new tools!)

Such a stimulating life I lead.