Shortages or not, be thankful for your toilet paper!

If you’re running low on TP, be thankful you still have some, and don’t have to use an old sailor’s method.  The always interesting Old Salt Blog reports: Sailors in the Age of Sail used tow-rags. What is a tow-rag? As can be seen in the video below, close to the ship’s head — the toilets in the bow or “head” of the ship — there was a long rope ending in a short rag that hung over the side into the water. After using the head, the sailor could then clean his backside with the wet rag then drop the

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Adventures with lawnmowers

At the end of last summer, our old lawnmower (a low-end Toro unit we bought when we moved here in 2016) blew its engine in fairly spectacular fashion:  a loud bang, a puff of white smoke, and a deafening silence thereafter.  Our local small engine repair shop said it was deader than the proverbial doornail.  I asked the mechanic’s advice on a replacement, and he said that none of the low-end machines were worth getting these days.  He pointed out that all their engines either came from China, or incorporated Chinese-made parts, and estimated that none of them had a

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The damage road brine causes to your car

I’m obliged to Eric Peters for reminding us about the damage that road brine does to our vehicles. Last week, there was a rumor of snow. The possibility – 60 percent chance – of “up to an inch” that never materialized resulted in a hosing down of every road with a salty brine carried by huge tanker trucks … The sign on the back of the truck reads: Pre-Storm Treatment. . . . This liquid brine – which appears to have replaced the solid salt scattered on roads when it snows and while it’s snowing – is a guaranteed rust-enhancer. You literally

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AG Barr, the Department of Justice and the coup attempt

James Howard Kunstler weighs in on the growing controversy over prosecutions (or the lack thereof) in the Department of Justice. You are forgiven for failing to follow all the twists and turns in this latest installment of what might now be called CoupGate, a summation of the seditious campaign to overthrow the president, which already has gone through so many gates — SpyGate, RussiaGate, MuellerGate, UkraineGate, WhistleblowerGate — that Mr. Trump looks like he’s spent three years training for the giant slalom in the next winter Olympics. A localized Civil War is underway in the Department of Justice now. Mr. Barr

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When civilized methods fail, the law of the jungle takes over

Adam Piggott points out that President Duterte of the Philippines may be a disaster from a modern, liberal, human-rights perspective, but he’s very popular among his people for precisely the same reason. Duterte has been in office for roughly the same time as Trump has been president, but we can call Duterte the forgotten man. When he first gained power the western press was all over him, how he was a horrible individual who was guilty of “human rights” abuses, blah blah blah, you know the drill. This went on for some time until suddenly it didn’t. From rather a lot of coverage

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About that “open container law” for Airbus aircraft .

. it looks like I wasn’t far wrong! Last week I wrote about electrical issues with three different Airbus aircraft after liquids were spilled on control panels in the cockpit, including uncommanded engine shutdowns.  I asked whether an “open container law” might be needed for Airbus cockpits. What’s the old saying about “There’s many a true word spoken in jest”?  Flight Global reports: Airbus A350 operators have been ordered to define a “liquid prohibited” zone in the cockpit, after two incidents in which beverage spillages on the centre pedestal led to in-flight shutdown of a Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine. . . . In

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Debunking myths about cast iron cookware

The use and care of cast iron cookware is almost a religion in many kitchens in America – not to mention outdoor cooking aficionados.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told that one should never use soap on cast iron cookware (“It’ll destroy the seasoning!”), or use metal cooking utensils with it (“It’ll scratch the surface!”), or another warning against the heinous crime of disrespecting one’s cast iron. Thanks to a recent social media post, I was led to a page on Lodge Manufacturing’s Web site.  Lodge makes most of the cast iron cookware produced in

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Potential for voter fraud? Oh, heck, yes .

Kudos to Judicial Watch for stepping up to the plate and continuing its investigation and activist intervention in states and counties that are not maintaining their voters rolls properly.  In a press release, the organization said: Judicial Watch announced today it is continuing its efforts to force states and counties across the nation to comply with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), by sending notice-of-violation letters to 19 large counties in five states that it intends to sue unless the jurisdictions take steps to comply with the law and remove ineligible voter registrations within 90 days. Section 8 of the National

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Oh, he just dropped in for a little swim .

A family in Botswana, Africa, found an unexpected guest in their swimming-pool a couple of days ago. Q:  How long do you allow a hippo to swim in your pool? A:  As long as he bloody well wants to! The Independent reports: Brent Reed, 47, said the giant male was discovered by a night watchman in the garden of his home in Maun, Botswana, in the early hours of 31 December. The safari director managed to capture pictures of his youngest son Troy, 11, and friend Kyle Steyn, 15, gazing down at the wild animal, which he said appeared completely at ease with

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