Daughter as an evil undead dead girl:


Down to the Haunted Triangle at the bottom of the block for the annual outdoor party:



That's a shot from Jasperwood, looking down the hill. Looked better in real life.

And now, the oven story, con't.

As feared, Centerpoint informed me that the part I liked was not coming back in style. They had scoured the world, and could find no evidence of Part #486752. I could try to find it myself, of course.

“Good luck,” Wilford the Wheezing Repairman said, and he made it sound like the last thing you say to someone who probably won’t be coming back from the mission.

Websearch. Searched for the model number; got a hit. Called the company. A nice young lady said they didn’t have that part. She gave me the part number. Googled it. Got a hit. Checked the site: they had it. Emailed a request, just in case. They had it. Okay, well, let’s just call to be sure.

A fellow answered the phone, and I said I was calling to make sure they had a part.

“Let me guess,” he said. “486752?

I reeled.

Yes, I said. How -?

“You sound like a man of taste and refinement who would have a Thermidor.”

“But - oh, you matched my email to caller ID.”

“No. We get tons of email,” he said. “I’ll tell you something. We’re the only place on line that has the part. So that’s why people call.”

I should mention something else - at the start of the call I didn’t quite get how he answered, so I asked if this (name of the website), and he said yes, that’s one of ours. So he did a little social engineering there.

Still spooky.

He explained why he had the part: Thermidor didn’t make it, of course. Someone else did. This company used the same design for another company, and they still made the part. He was the only guy who’d figured this out, so he made a tidy profit on Thermidor’s clocks going out after ten years.

Which they always did. “What’s the guy who finishes last in his engineering class going to do?” he said. “He’s going to design appliance parts. So the board, the 486752, gets too much voltage [I’m paraphrasing] and the light dims after ten years of use.” I noted that the light on our panel dimmed after ten years of use. He said this usually meant the board would follow soon. Hence the number of calls he gets.

He had some choice words for Wheezy as well, noting that his description of “F1” as a “Stuck Key” indicated that “he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Said with the offhand, casual pleasure of one engineer peeing on another.

So. I called Centerpoint, asked to speak to a manager, and had a nice friendly conversation about the fact that I found the part with elementary googling, and I had to pay for it and wait to be reimbursed.

Manager: we have supply channels and have to set up payment contracts and we can’t find anything, and what’s more blah, blah, blah.

To which I said I understood, but the fact of that matter was: I found the part in seconds, which means someone entered the part number into your system, it came up null, and that was it. They’d done their job. They’d checked the box. Move on to the next. So what I get as a customer of your service is that you don’t really look for the part. You search one closet and call it quits. Apparently there’s no leeway for your people to look elsewhere.

She understood my dissatisfaction, of course, but



Lie to me. Lie to me over and over: I understand your dissatisfaction AND I will be adding this company to our database. I understand your dissatisfaction AND I will be sending my boss a letter about expanding our searches and allowing for more individual initiative on the part of the part-procuring people. I understand your dissatisfaction AND apologize you’ll have to carry a $476 charge on your card while we process your request. I don’t care if none of that’s true. Just say it.

I still think they’re going to try to wiggle out of this somehow. I think my wife was right: they don’t want to fix it. They don’t want to pay for it.

All it took for me to be that cynical was a manager invested too deeply in company policy. I would have trusted them more if they’d lied.




Watched, for some reason, a Jam Handy industrial, probably intended to bore high school kids to death back in the 30s. It has a spiffy 30s title card: They loved that Hollywood-Bowl effect. Or the Looney-Tunes logo effect, if you wish.



It's not about the need to find roads and conquere them. It's about roads that CONQUER. The very idea seems archaic and militaristic and just plain wrong - why, that's the problem. We view the car as something that conquers the land instead of lives with it in sustainable harmony. Once we built highways everyone moved out of the city, which wsa wrong because, well, suburbs; need one say any more?

It's all very instructive, particularly the part about the condition of roads off the main drag. Mud. Lots and lots of mud. Today we're peeved if a back road peters out to gravel. Back then gravel was the norm all over the place. If you'd taken the family Chevy to visit Grandma and spent a few miles going hands-and-knees over some rutted path, this looked like the bright brave future:



Interesting design; wonder where it was. Wonder why they dropped it for the cloverleaf.

Through the magic of special effects, this cloverleaf . . .



. . . turns into this!



Question: how many people today would know what those are?




New Motels over there; just a few, but I have to dole them out wisely to make them last. Just like candy. See you around!











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