More from Zimbabwe

In December of ’04 I wrote that Air Zimbabwe was going out of business because the Zimbabweans were now so thin, they could be faxed to their destinations. Well, things are no better today. One might have guessed it, of course, since it is still a Marxist nation. The NY times reported today:

“How bad is inflation in Zimbabwe? Well, consider this: at a supermarket near the center of this tatterdemalion capital, toilet paper costs $417. No, not per roll. Four hundred seventeen Zimbabwean dollars is the value of a single two-ply sheet. A roll costs $145,750 — in American currency, about 69 cents. The price of toilet paper, like everything else here, soars almost daily, spawning jokes about an impending better use for Zimbabwe’s $500 bill, now the smallest in circulation. But what is happening is no laughing matter. For untold numbers of Zimbabweans, toilet paper — and bread, margarine, meat, even the once ubiquitous morning cup of tea — have become unimaginable luxuries. All are casualties of the hyperinflation that is roaring toward 1,000 percent a year.”

Under “white minority rule” Rhodesia was the breadbasket of sub-Saharan Africa. Now they are starving.

Perhaps they will ask for handouts from non-Marxist, non-Black nations to keep from dying of starvation? But that would demonstrate who is superior to them. No, they couldn’t do that.

Could they?


Crooks in the Plumbing Business

The plumber-customer relationship includes a certain trust common to all professionals: the plumber is responsible to advise the customer honestly. When he does otherwise, he is dishonest. Such a principle precludes overselling.

I recently got a call from a man who said he needed his sewer replaced and asked if I did such work. After assuring him that I did, my first question was “How do you know that it needs to be replaced?” He answered that Leech Plumbing had told him so. (That’s not their real name, but it should be.)

To really shorten the story, I fixed his problem for $76, compared to the $4,000 that Leech quoted him. As I sat at his table, preparing to rake in my loot, I saw Leech’s invoice. They took $730 off this fellow a few nights earlier. Eliminating the useless work and charging my prices for the necessary work, I could have provided the same services for $140. More specifically, they charged him $300 for some extra work I would have thrown in for $40.

I went behind this same company a week earlier as well. They quoted a man $3,200 to replace his sewer. I quoted $1,500, and I would have made plenty of money at that price. Come to find out, it didn’t need replacing at all; Leech had misdiagnosed it.

On my company web site (see link on sidebar to the left) I have a page labeled “company philosophy” and it tells a story about Vampire Plumbing, another nest of bloodsuckers posing as professionals. I’m happy to report that Vampire closed its doors here in Memphis a few weeks ago.


The Blessings of Gun Control

AP news reports this morning that a bear attacked a family camped in Cherokee National Forest, killing a six-year-old girl and wounding others. The unhappy campers tried to beat the bear with sticks to drive it away, but the bear prevailed.

Why didn’t the father put a bullet into the bear’s skull and save the life of his daughter?

Federal law deems that, despite the right to keep and bear arms, and despite any legal permit you may have to carry your weapons, you cannot be armed legally in a national forest. You are at the mercy of any lawbreakers or bears who decide to feed upon you.

Isn’t it nice that Ol’ Massa is protecting us so well?


How We Know Society Is Doomed

I realized a decade-long ambition today: I bought a Sears water hose. 😎

As a plumber for large shops, I used to visit about a thousand homes a year. Now, on my own, I make about 1/3 as many calls. Even still, for over sixteen years, I’ve been to a lot of homes and I’ve used a lot of water hoses. Never have I seen a hose that compares with the ones sold by Sears. They’re just good.

Can’t say as much for their legal, department, though. On the cardboard that came wrapped around my new hose, I found this on the inside:

WARNING: Do not spray water into an electrical outlet. Severe electrical shock could result.”

By rights, other such warnings should be equally necessary. “Do not use this hose for colonic irrigation.” “Do not drive with this hose coiled around your head and eyes. You could have a wreck.” “Do not swing the end of this hose around when others are present. It could hit someone in the eye.” “Do not spray water on passing strangers. They could charge you with assault.”

We’re doomed, I tell ya. :angry:


Why Is This Man Laughing?

marionbarry (37k image)According to the Washington Post, “Former D.C. mayor Marion Barry pleaded guilty yesterday to two misdemeanor tax charges, admitting in federal court that he failed to pay most of his income taxes for five years after departing from the District government in 1999.”

He faced a possible 18 months in jail and $30,000 in fines. He got probation, and he’s supposed to pay the taxes. That’s why he’s laughing.

Barry is a habitual offender: philandering, drugs, perjury, publicly exposing himself, nonpayment of debts. They arrest him, they convict him, they issue judgments against him–he doesn’t care or comply. He just gets a criminal underclass to vote him back into office for business as usual and dares anyone to enforce the law against him. That’s why he’s laughing.

He’s 70 and in poor health. If he can finish his current term, he can retire at taxpayer expense. Is this a great country, or what? If he dies, he gets by with a lifetime of living off the labor of others. (Of course, he then faces a holy God, but that’s another topic.)

Memphis can be proud when it looks at Barry–proud that it got rid of him fifty years ago. :laugh:


Sawing Concrete

One sawconcrete (27k image) doesn’t automatically think of concrete as something that can be sawed, but we do it all the time in the plumbing trade. In this photo you see me sawing a path through a driveway. We removed a 24″ swath, excavated beneath it, and laid a 3″ drain pipe.

This isn’t easy work. It takes a few hours to cut that much concrete, get it out, and haul it away. The circle saw blade you see in use here costs $350. We used up about 1/4 of its cutting edge on this job, including some cuts to the brick and sidewalk behind the house.


Altogether Too Cold

In Memphis, it is altogether too cold.

It’s so cold, the weather people can’t even tell how cold it is. When I checked the ‘net this morning, no two sources agreed, but they reported us being between ten and seventeen degrees. Southerners have way too much common sense to live in a place like that, but this weekend we’ve had no choice.

frozen truck (64k image)I had jobs yesterday, which is not always the case on Saturday. These jobs, as luck would have it, were outside. And they were hard. I was digging in the precipitation and the mud for six hours. Pity me, oh pity me, my readers.

See what it did to my truck? I wash that thing faithfully at least once every three months, and I happened to have washed it just this week. Now look! –>

Most of the churches in Memphis are closed this morning. I’m not sure why. At any rate, I’m home and blogging, furnace and fireplace operating at full tilt.

Alas! Relief is on the way. We just finished the warmest January in recorded history, and the high tomorrow is predicted to be 40. I suppose I can’t complain. But I will anyway: it is altogether too cold. :angry:


Cheney is Guilty

Cheney-Duckhunting (33k image)I must disagree with my fellow conservatives on this one. Dick Cheney was dead wrong, and this event bears all the marks of a coverup.

First: that line initially offered by Gertie Armstrong about Harry Whittington “not announcing himself” as he rejoined the group after retrieving his downed quail is hogwash. From all evidence I’ve been able to research (and the info is hardly available), Cheney was inexcusable to have followed that bird and swung around to where he could hit a fellow hunter. I’ve hunted quail myself, and that’s something you just don’t do. The initial story was “damage control.”

Next, there are conflicting reports about alcohol consumption. At first, there was no alcohol that day, only Dr. Pepper. Then the story changed to one beer at lunch. To cover the inconsistency, the hostess then said there might have been some beer, as if she didn’t know. And there may have been other versions of this story in addition to these.

Then there is the unwillingness of the sherriff’s department to report what they knew and when they knew it. They claimed that they were turned away by the Secret Service when they arrived to question Cheney. But the SS claims differently. Now the sherriff’s office won’t talk.

What are the real facts? That’s the problem: we can’t learn them because the administration is stonewalling and feeding us one line of inconsistent bull after another. I dare speculate that Cheney’s blood alcohol level was such that he didn’t want to interact with anyone for a few hours. He didn’t go to the hospital with his victim and apparently he was unavailable to the police until the next morning.


Oh, brother…

Here More snow (65k image) we go again. The weathermen predicted some snow tonight with little to no accumulation. The result? It’s showering down by the bucketfulls out there with no end in sight. Since I shot this photo, the ground is now covered. Winter wonderland my foot! And it’s only 3:00 PM. Rush hour is yet to come.

I’ve never understood romantics who “just luvvv snow.” Don’t these people ever work for a living? Bing Crosby is fine for an evening in front of the tube; but when the alarm clock rings in the morning, somebody’s got to get out of bed and provide the goods and services that make the world go ’round. At that point, it’s goodbye White Christmas and hello John Henry.

(In case you don’t understand that allusion, John Henry was a steel drivin’ man who died with his hammer in his hand, Lawd Lawd, died with his hammer in his hand.)

I presently hear a load of kids who just got off the school bus in front of my house. As I look out my window, listening to their cries of glee, I see them frantically scooping up gobs of snow and flinging it at the bus, one another, and the world in general. Of course they love it. They’re just kids. They don’t have to make the world go ’round tomorrow morning. Daddy will shovel the car out of the snow, Mr. Baker will get the food to the stores, Mrs. Mommy will make sure that there’s food from the store, into the oven, and on the table. Mr. Sparks will make sure that electricity flows into the house and powers all the gizmos they play with when they’re tired of the cold. So kids love snow.

But why do grownups?


Hilarious Video

There’s just no limit to human stupidity. Libertarian or Communist, Christian or infidel, Black or White, we’re surrounded by idiots on every side. Which is why I formulated Barley’s Third Law of Plumbing, which states “Everybody’s an idiot, just at different times.”

Some convulsive-fits-foaming-at-the-mouth left wing extremists have created a little video showing what America is about to be like since Samuel Alito is heading toward confirmation today. Check it out.