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shameless pleading





November 2011 Issue

... and your little dog, too.


All right, already, this isn’t November. November was a bad month anyway. Bad enough that I forgot to put the requisite snarky taglines at the head of each column, and I didn’t notice until a half-hour after I posted these. Too late now. Anyway, there will be a December Issue coming down the pike in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. Honest.

Moving right along, I do not, believe it or not, own any sort of tablet computer or smart phone (crowd gasps, screams, begins stampede to exit).

But I happen to know (Thanks, Google Analytics! Bestest massive privacy violation ever!) that many of you read TWD on on your cell phones, tablets, microwave ovens or mood crystals (I know you’re out there). I also know because you’ve taken to writing me to say how cruddy TWD looks on your phone. So, stepping briskly past how bizarre I find that last sentence, I went looking for an “app” I could offer you folk who evidently cannot afford a real computer, and discovered that cooking one up would either require a lot of money I most certainly do not have (and would send to the gas company if I did), or would take forever to figure out on my own. Drat. Double drat with extra cheese.

But since I can’t sleep knowing that even one reader is suffering eyestrain trying to read my deathless prose on one of Steve Jobs’ tiny cash machines, I searched around until I found a temporary (just kidding, it’s probably permanent) solution in the form of a WordPress plugin that produces a “mobile” version of this site. It’s supposed to automatically detect most flavors of mobile device, but if it doesn’t, you can click the links at the foot of any page on this site. And if you find yourself trapped in cramped mobile hell and wish you were here in the bright, open air, there’s a link at the bottom of that mobile page that will bring you to the regular version. The search box is also at the bottom of the page, although there is a mysterious and pointless “search results” menu item at the top. I know what glitch put it there, but I can’t get rid of it.

Anyone up for a consumer tip? A few years ago we had to buy a new furnace on account of the fact that the old one dated back to WWI and broke every few months. I also needed AC because the MS makes me sensitive to high temperatures (“sensitive” in this case means my vision dims and I fall over). So we scraped together money and bought a high-efficiency furnace. End of Act One. In Act Two, we notice that the furnace, when it’s cold out, keeps coming on for a few minutes, going off, and then starting again about 30 seconds later. That ain’t good. So, long story short, Kathy Googles around for a few days (literally) and discovers that tons of people are complaining of the same thing. And they’ve had their furnaces serviced multiple times, but the problem persists. If it persists long enough, it turns out, your furnace burns itself out and you get to buy a new one. Bummer.

But then she finds a page put up by a furnace repair place that provides an intriguing clue to the problem. In many cases, the culprit is not the furnace per se, but the filter. People buy an expensive  new furnace and figure that they should spring for the fancy-schmanzy high-priced filters that remove micro-micron dust and last for several months to boot. This turns out to be a bad idea because the furnace has to work harder to force the air through, overheats, shuts itself down, and starts again after it cools down a smidgen. What you want to do, they say, is buy the cheapest, flimsiest filter you can find. And so we did, and the furnace works way better now, never does that on-off thing, and keeps the house much warmer, too. Who knew?

Lastly, thanks to all the folks who have supported this site through contributions and subscriptions. Subscriptions, by the way, make lovely gifts, and also feed the vast, lumbering herds of cats around here, so one subscription actually makes two people happy, though in most cases only one of them is covered in fur.

And now, on with the show


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