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Author: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  May 6, 2007

Topic category:  Other/General

More random thoughts.

A while back, my printer quit. Actually, what it did was stop picking up paper and begin sounding like a demented coffee grinder. I took a shot at fixing it but, without the electronic version of a Chilton’s Manual, I gave it up as a bad idea.

So I called a repair store.

"Hey, I’ve got this printer that won’t pick up any paper."

"How old is it?"

"Four years."

"How much did you pay for it?"

"About a hundred dollars."

"Does it need ink cartridges?"


"Toss it out and buy a new one."

"Do what?"

"Look, the cartridges are going to cost about sixty bucks for the pair. Add my shop rate to that. Figure a minimum of an hour to see what’s wrong and fix it. That’s forty-five plus the sixty for the cartridges. Throw in the cost of parts and you’re well over a hundred bucks for a used printer. You can buy a new one for the same price. Toss it out."

I ended up hearing the same story from several other places so I bought a new one.

Funny thing is, I didn’t feel all that good about buying it. Instead I found myself wondering what ever happened to the idea of something you bought lasting 20 or so years?

I recently read a story about those new compact fluorescent lights (CFL’s) that we’re supposed to be buying because they use less energy than incandescent bulbs. Turns out that they have mercury in them. Mercury’s not all that good for us – healthwise.

Even though there isn’t much mercury in each bulb, if you multiply that small amount by the couple of billion CFL’s that’d be needed to replace every incandescent bulb in this country, there’d be a bit of a problem. It’d have to do with how to dispose of them. Which is, apparently, what no one has given a lot of thought to until just recently.

So here we go with the arguments and counter arguments. "More efficient." "Too expensive." "They contain mercury." "But not enough to worry about." "Blah, blah." "Woof, woof."

I think that I’m going to sit this one out and stick with incandescents until the dust settles. In the meantime, I’ll just buy lower rated bulbs and turn them off when no one’s in the room. Seems reasonable.

Every now and then, I bump into a "9/11" conspiracy story wherein the theorists say there’s no way the World Trade Center towers could’ve been brought down by airliners crashing into the buildings.

Last week, there was an accident on one of the freeway overpasses in Oakland, California. The accident involved a tanker truck that crashed and exploded. No one was killed, but several sections of the overpass ended up collapsing.

The reason that those sections collapsed was because, when the tanker exploded, there was a pretty intense fire. Temperatures exceeded 2000 degrees. In the face of such heat, the steel support beams softened, bolts melted, gravity took over, and those sections of the overpass exposed to the fire came down.

Now imagine an airliner carrying several thousand gallons of fuel and traveling at several hundred miles an hour crashing into a steel-framed building. What do you think the steel in that building is going to do after being subjected to all of the burning fuel and the other flammable materials in the building?

Sometimes, what you see is exactly what happened and nothing more.

Having lived long enough to have watched any number of cover-ups (business, government, and military) fail spectacularly, one begins to wonder.

And what one wonders is if those who start a cover-up will ever understand that the truth is a tough thing to hide and a great thing to tell (I think I’m paraphrasing someone here).

Pat Tillman was the former professional football player killed by "friendly fire" in Afghanistan.

With just about all of history as a guide, you’d think that those in charge would’ve known that the best thing to do would have been to tell everyone exactly what happened right out of the gate. This is especially true whenever there are a lot of people who know or suspect what really happened.

Had that been done, all of the embarrassment and grief that accompanied the unraveling of this latest incident could’ve been avoided.

So we now have another example of what not to do up on the board.

It’ll, most likely, be ignored.

You’d think we’d know better by now.

Larry Simoneaux

Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.

Copyright © 2007 by Larry Simoneaux
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