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 Cosmic Plumber's Union

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Vito

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PostSubject: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:05 pm

For those of us who belong the the Cosmic Brotherhood of Perpetual Homeowner Plumbing Tasks, Local Sol-3 (Earth), the necessity of installing a new dishwasher is dues-paying time. Like some other unions, the CBPHPT takes its dues in blood:


…in this case, it was uncombobulating the 1/2-inch water line from the old dishwasher so I could get that bad boy outa there to make way for the new one.

The new one took some wrangling to get it installed, mostly because of some stupid design issues, but that's not the point. The point is, it seems the universe requires periodic re-qualification in the cosmic plumber’s union, often in the form of some kind of bodily injury. Hopefully, I won’t have to re-qualify again anytime soon.

jocolor
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bosun1

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:26 pm

I try to be careful so a blood sacrifice is not always needed. But the best laid plans of mice and men oft go aglae as I've often found out..
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:26 pm

You big wimp, Veet, most mommas wouldn't even deem that teensy abrasion bad enough to kiss and make better. Laughing Smile

May your new dishwasher give you joy, in any case.

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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:59 pm

Kyle Weiss wrote:
You big wimp, Veet, most mommas wouldn't even deem that teensy abrasion bad enough to kiss and make better. Laughing Smile
Hey, I wish that were the worst injury I ever sustained in doing a job. I figure I'm lucky if I get out that easy. The point is that it seems there's always some little bit of dues to pay in one form or another—as Brother bosun1 sez—no matter how careful you are. Maybe it's a result of not doing these sorts of things day in and day out, like the Professionals™ do.

Kyle Weiss wrote:
...May your new dishwasher give you joy, in any case. Cool
I'll settle for clean dishes and trouble-free performance. The last dishwasher we had (a Maytag) lasted about 10 years. That’s not bad, given the general downhill spiral in quality and durability among most major appliances.

Before that, we had a KitchenAid (made by Frigidaire), which we bought on the strength of a recommendation by some friends who had one that worked for more than 20 years…probably made back when KitchenAid was still KitchenAid. Anyhow, the one we bought was a piece of crap.

Before that we had a Tappan (made by Whirlpool)…which was a little better than the KitchenAid, but not much. The Maytag was the best one of the lot, but Maytag is now owned by Whirlpool, so a Maytag isn't really a Maytag any more. Anyhow, the Maytag model we had is no longer manufactured (naturally), and the reviews of the new Maytag models were unimpressive.

We ended up buying a Haier DWL3225DDBB. Most reviews we read were good to very good, but who TF knows any more? It's kind of a crap shoot. The construction seems good. It's easy to see that the unit is designed for easy assembly (...made in China, of course). It looks like it should be fairly easy to service…although I’d prefer not to do any such thing. The manufacturer's warranty is 1 year labor, 3 years parts, and we bought an “Extended Protection Plan” that adds 4 years parts and labor for another $100…well worth it given my past experience, and the ridiculously high cost of replacement parts.

I like the stainless steel tub, and there's loads of room inside, but I won't post a review anywhere until after I've had some experience with its performance. Appliance reviews that are based on one or two days of use usually are full of either (unfounded and therefore useless) glowing praise, or they're often a bitchfest about delivery or installation snafus, and not reflective of the actual operation of the unit. When somebody writes a review based on six months or more of usage, that's prolly got some useful information. That's the kind of review I write...but then, I'm a mutant.

jocolor
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:10 pm

Almost everything bought and consumed with motors, buttons, gadgets, etc. is made on the same Main Drag in China (...or is that "Mein Drag?"), so it is going to be a crap shoot, for sure. I had two Haier air conditioner units that were bulletproof monsters, but name means nothing anymore, it's just a sticker organizing outsourcing. Laughing Meh.

For what it's worth, Kithcen Aid has never impressed me. When these little stand mixers started being the apple of the consumer eye about 20 years ago, I knew it was a matter of time before they started slapping their name on anything that went in the kitchen (and not necessarily making those products here), and they went from being a product to a "brand." Their mixers are fine, but 9 times out of 10 are only used at Christmas and as kitchen fashion curios. There's a 1940s Hobart half-stand mixer a friend has in his kitchen, about twice the size and volume of a standard KitschyAid which is classic post-war silver-green, pockmarked with a few rust divots, and has the original dough hook. Been buggin' him to give it to me for years. Laughing

If your dishwasher is anything like my AC units, it'll be fine. Hopefully, anyway, right? Can't have ya skinnin' any more knuckles and runnin' to us about it. Laughing

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bosun1

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:46 pm

When you buy something, and the brand/maker is "Made in China", what does that tell you about its quality and expected brand loyalty?
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:16 pm

China can make stuff as good or better than the USA, they build what we tell them to build...and we tell the makers how to build it by the way we buy stuff. Low price matters MORE than quality or usability. So, that's what we get. We've done this largely to ourselves, no one's gonna twist our arm. Stuffs just gotta get to a point where it breaks AND its expensive before we'll wise up as a whole, but there's probably plans to prevent that, too...it just so happens companies like money about as much as we like our stuff. Interesting relationship, that one. Smile

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bosun1

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:17 am

Walmart mentality. People want to buy something as cheap as possible so Walmart (as an example) makes their suppliers give them the cheapest prices so they " can pass the savings onto the customers" and make as much profit for themselves as possible. Cheapest source of low cost manufacturing is currently Asia so they get the business to manufacture. Our manufacturing plants close down, workers are unemployed, and then they don't even have enough money for Walmart. I believe you get what you pay for, so if you're getting something disposable at a disposable price then that's fair. If you add in the costs of unemployment insurance, welfare, lower tax income for schools/fire/police, obscene salaries for upper management maybe then its not fair. Ain't no surprise -- been going down this road for thirty or so years. Now back to the original subject - BLOOD and PAIN!!
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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:33 am

The thing about "Made in China" is that, for certain kinds of products, the low cost of manufacturing does not outweigh all other considerations. The result is that one major American industrial company — General Electric — is sparking a revival in U.S. manufacturing by insourcing its major appliance manufacturing. You read that right — insourcing...meaning they're bringing the manufacturing back to the U.S. from China.

See The Insourcing Boom.

They're not the only ones. EAW was once a leader in high-end pro audio gear. Then the suits and bean counters farmed out the manufacturing to China, and shitcanned their 'Merican workforce. Quality took a nosedive, the EAW name no longer stood for quality, and customers fled...along with the best sales people, who weren't interested in selling crappy gear. Then someone in upper management had enough sense to let the engineers take over. In short order, they brought manufacturing back to the U.S., hired back their former workers, and they're well on their way to restoring their former position in the market.

Where quality matters more than price, the market supports it. There's a lesson there.

jocolor
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bosun1

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:31 am

Vito wrote:
The thing about "Made in China" is that, for certain kinds of products, the low cost of manufacturing does not outweigh all other considerations. The result is that one major American industrial company — General Electric — is sparking a revival in U.S. manufacturing by insourcing its major appliance manufacturing. You read that right — insourcing...meaning they're bringing the manufacturing back to the U.S. from China.

See The Insourcing Boom.

They're not the only ones. EAW was once a leader in high-end pro audio gear. Then the suits and bean counters farmed out the manufacturing to China, and shitcanned their 'Merican workforce. Quality took a nosedive, the EAW name no longer stood for quality, and customers fled...along with the best sales people, who weren't interested in selling crappy gear. Then someone in upper management had enough sense to let the engineers take over. In short order, they brought manufacturing back to the U.S., hired back their former workers, and they're well on their way to restoring their former position in the market.

Where quality matters more than price, the market supports it. There's a lesson there.

jocolor

Agree. Getting an extra penny in profit has almost killed us. But we were on top of the heap once and we can do it again, if the greedy allow it!
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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:34 pm

bosun1:

I'm sorry you missed the point of my post. I didn't say anything against profit. The truth is that both GE and EAW have found a way to become MORE profitable by bringing production back to the U.S., while still increasing the quality of their products.

Profit does not equal greed. Everyone who produces any product or service does so for a profit, or they won't be able to do so for very long...well, except the state; but that's a legalized racket, not an enterprise that seeks to make voluntary transactions with willing customers.

jocolor
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Carlos
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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:05 pm

We have a GE Profile for the dishwasher and the fridge. Like them both so far.

Speaking of made in the USA. I really got pissed off some time ago about those sacrificial #2 Phillips drill driver bits. Turns out nearly all are made in China now. But some careful searching turned up some made here in the USA. Montana Brand tools. I bought several of all of their tool kits. Drill bits, driver bits, etc. been quite satisfied.

_________________


"Never turn your back on a Breen".
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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:57 pm

Thanks for the tip, Carlos: http://www.montanabrandtools.com/

I hate lousy tools. If your tools are crap, your work is crap. The real pisser is when you go out to buy something and it's all crap. Grrrrrr... Mad

I don't mind paying to get quality. In the end, it often costs more to buy cheap stuff that doesn't last. I'd rather spend the bux now and have tools I can rely on later.

jocolor
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:06 pm

Most people don't mind paying to get quality, but the shift has pushed most of it into the dark shelves of the figurative store (sometimes, literally). It's cheaper in the long run for us to buy better stuff, which is partly why the manufacturers don't like it! They make stuff, and the more stuff they make, the more they sell.

The "Insourcing" article is an interesting one Veet posted. It's not cause to celebrate yet, there's plenty of ground to cover (and plenty of people to screw it up) if it means the US wants to be productive once again.

I've said for a few years now that once China catches wind of the different pay scales, conditions, etc., there versus here...things would change. Whether it's "the people" or their government. The honeymoon might be showing signs of being over. Economically, how this is all working can't sustain such a "lovely" arrangement, top-dollar returns for cheapest-possible. Economies are dynamic, too dynamic, for assured stability.

If these blades of grass coming from the ashes are real, it's refreshing...also, a long way of becoming grazing land.

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bosun1

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:51 pm

Vito wrote:
bosun1:

I'm sorry you missed the point of my post. I didn't say anything against profit. The truth is that both GE and EAW have found a way to become MORE profitable by bringing production back to the U.S., while still increasing the quality of their products.

Profit does not equal greed. Everyone who produces any product or service does so for a profit, or they won't be able to do so for very long...well, except the state; but that's a legalized racket, not an enterprise that seeks to make voluntary transactions with willing customers.

jocolor
Got your point, with kudos to companies coming back and finding out that they can make it in America! Honest profit and greed. There is a major difference between making 15 or 20 percent profit on your investment (making a good living and staying in business) and 30 to 50 percent profit by squeezing every penny you can. We are getting more millionaires and billionaires but you can make 250,000 dollars/year and still be middle class. They keep talking about the shrinking middle even when they seem to keep raising the upper limits. I think the proper Biblical quote is something like "Bind not the mouths of the kine that tread the grain" meaning share the wealth with those that help produce it for you..john
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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:20 pm

I have a confession to make. I don't use the word "greed" because I'm not smart enough to determine who is greedy and who isn't. In principle, anyone is free to charge whatever he wants for whatever he's selling, and I'm free not to pay it if I don't like the price.

It's easy to assume that rising prices are the result of greed. We all try to find simple explanations that help us get a better handle on the FACT that it's getting harder to earn a decent living in the face of skyrocketing inflation. Maybe some companies are greedy (whatever that means), but the emotionalism that's attached to "greed" is the first tip-off that it's a superficial explanation. Besides, if the problem is really greed, we’re already doomed. You can’t change human nature.

But greed isn’t the problem. The non-specificity of the term "greed" is part and parcel of the increasing false perception that profit is the boogeyman. It's not. When we're quick to find a boogeyman, there will always be someone who sees an opportunity to grab power to vanquish it for us. We believe in such myths, but that never actually happens. Instead the "public servant" becomes the master. That’s the problem.

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bosun1

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:33 pm

Companies have to be profitable to stay in business, simple as that. There are reasons for cost increases - price of fuel, fertilizer, raw materials, taxes, etc. Difference between profit and greed may be hard to quantify in some cases. Two weeks ago filled up the car - $3.27/gallon. Filled it up today - $3.79/gallon. I'm sure there is a good reason that all of the gas stations increased the price by that much around here. "Good reason" might have a different meaning to the refineries and wholesalers than I do (g). And BTW, you're preaching to the choir on this...we both are thinking of the same thing with slightly different viewpoints perhaps. Time to let this die an honorable death!
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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:46 pm

bosun1 wrote:
...we both are thinking of the same thing with slightly different viewpoints perhaps...
That probably captures the essential nature of most apparent disagreements. It has been my experience that the fact that many disagreements go unresolved is due to the inability of the communicants to recognize the truth in what you just said...well, that and the fact that they use different words to mean the same thing, or the same words to mean different things. And they don't know it.

That's one reason I belong the Cosmic Plumber's Union. I like dealing with things. They're simpler than people, and a whole lot less confusing. Sometimes you get bloody knuckles, but there are few misunderstandings, and no arguments.

jocolor
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:43 pm

Thanks for your thoughts, Vito. You know, if this does kind of fade away.

Once again, we share something in common: I say to people all the time I have no idea how to define "greed." I continue to mention I lack experience with it in any great amounts to confidently know it, or smart enough to make an educated guess. Since it's something I cannot define, it's an intriguing enigma, both personally and around me. It's like jealousy, which seems to follow (what I know as) greed like Mary's little lamb. No offense, Mary.

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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:22 pm

"Greed" is just like so many other words that folks use without having any clear and unambiguous definition of what they mean. I'm talking about words (symbols) that are actually more closely associated with emotions than with reason. "God" is another one. Ask people to define what they mean by "God". You might wanna make some popcorn for the show. You'll get everything from insistence that it's not possible to define it (poppycock), to definitions that make no sense, or are circular, or make you wish you had never asked. Morality is another such word. There are many more.

I usually don't ask any more. People think I'm picking nits, or I'm doing some kind of semantic gamesmanship. No I'm not. I'm just trying to understand what they mean. As it turns out, that's not possible when they don't even know what they mean.

jocolor
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:31 pm

True, true and more true. Smile It's hard enough trying to convey clear thoughts with proper words and wording that many people don't understand, only to be further confused by very "liquid" words mixing into people's assumptions. That's when "agree to disagree" tends to soft-close any discussion. You know, the Borg Collective did at least a few things right. Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:03 pm

You can't always get what you want, but you can always get what you need. A paraphrase (sayingthat cause I might nor exactly remember it) from the Stones.
Profit is getting enough. Greed is getting too much. Probably two different numbers between me and "The Donald"!
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Vito

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PostSubject: If all you have is a hammer, every job is a nail   Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:22 pm

bosun1 wrote:
...Profit is getting enough. Greed is getting too much. Probably two different numbers between me and "The Donald"!
I have no doubt that the two numbers are different, and therein lies the problem Bro'. Maybe if you were to sit down with Donald (assuming he would agree that it's any of your business), he might explain to your satisfaction why his number and yours don't jive. Wink

In any case, you've identified the fundamental problem—namely that what you think is “greed” is your opinion, not the opinion of the person who owns the property involved. Perhaps you could persuade Donald that your opinion should overrule his. I doubt it, but at least that would be the honest approach.

But that's not the approach most people take. The usual approach is to get the politicians to act as a proxy for their opinion by forcing business owners to do their bidding under the threat of coercive interference. In other words, "If you don't agree with my opinion about how much is enough, I'll get someone who will force you to agree." And the hired thugs are only too happy to assist you. They thrive on conflict. In fact, they depend on it.

It's the us vs. them approach—a zero sum game in which there must be winners and losers. It's the classic approach of politics, and it explains why everything is such a friggin' mess. If the only tool you have is a hammer, every job looks like a nail. There are far better solutions that require no one to lose, and which create a helluva lot less conflict into the bargain. But not if we're going to insist that every problem is a nail.

I have found that "Don't treat other people the way you don't want to be treated" is a general operating principle that works pretty well for me. Part of that is not interfering with things that aren't any of my business. That's a matter of principle. Once you violate that principle and go down that road of forcing others to do your bidding, where do you stop?

You may consider that a rhetorical question to which you need not respond. I know full well that others don't see it that way, and I suspect that we're going to have to agree to disagree on that point, and let it lie there, as you suggested earlier. That's OK with me.

jocolor
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bosun1

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:03 am

"I have found that "Don't treat other people the way you don't want to be treated" is a general operating principle that works pretty well for me. Part of that is not interfering with things that aren't any of my business. That's a matter of principle. Once you violate that principle and go down that road of forcing others to do your bidding, where do you stop? "

A slippery slope indeed. I prefer the old fashioned golden rule myself, but it is a fact of nature that the modern definition is more applicable. All you can do is what you feel right for yourself and try to run your life the way you see fit. The floor of hell is paved with good intentions.
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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Plumber's Union   Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:18 am

bosun1 wrote:
...I prefer the old fashioned golden rule myself, but it is a fact of nature that the modern definition is more applicable...
Indeed. Perhaps there was a time when people were not twisted perverts (although I don't really believe that), and it was "safe" to use the traditional version of the Golden Rule. But these days, it doesn't work. I learned from my years in the music biz that there were some real sickos who would have loved it if I or anyone else had done some things unto them that I definitely would want them to do unto me.

The double negative version is much more practical because it's far less meddlesome. At least it seems to so to me. My interpretation is this: The baseline condition of all interaction is that you do NOTHING unto others without their permission. If there's any uncertainty, the moral compass is, "Would I want them to treat me that way?" If the answer is no, you're probably going to start some trouble if you go ahead and do it anyway.

The rule does not apply to defense, of course. If someone attacks you, you have a right to defend yourself. All defense is moral.

jocolor
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