Saturday, August 13, 2022

Wolves hunt in packs, chance meetings and washing machines


A man and his girlfriend were avid fly-fishermen.

They planned a fishing trip to the Madison river in Wyoming. After fishing for a few days, the man asked his GF why she did not seem spooked by the heavy grizzly bear population.

She showed him the .38 snubbied tucked into her ISW holster.

He scoffed "That won't stop a grizzly bear."

She replied "It doesn't have to. All I have to do is shoot you in the leg. I will be fine as long as I can outrun you..."

Working out

I had somebody ask why I was pushing so hard in Physical Therapy.

The philosophical answer is "Because that is how I am wired."

The practical answer is because most human predators are wolves and hyenas, not bears.

Bears are solitary.

Wolves hunt in packs and have been known to kill for enjoyment.

Avoiding trouble is more than "Not being the slowest buffalo in the herd". Safety is found by being free of the cues the wolves search for while they go through their victim selection process.

Avoiding trouble is to not walk with a limp. Avoiding trouble is to walk at the same speed as a "fit" person in the store, parking lot or on the sidewalk. Avoiding trouble is to have enough muscle to look like I would push-back if shoved.

Getting back up

I have been walking at least a mile every day. The track is 9 laps-to-the-mile.

I have been doing a set of push-ups every lap. My motive is strengthen my entire body because everything got weaker while I was recovering.

After the interaction I had with the granny who fell off of her bike and could not get back up I have been very intentional at getting back on my feet after my push-ups.

At nine-laps to-the-mile it gives me nine repetitions of smoothly rolling into the genuflecting position, i.e. injured leg with foot flat on the ground and good leg with knee and toes on ground, and then continuing into a full standing position.

Chance meeting

After working out, Mrs ERJ, Southern Belle, Quicksilver and I went to the local Walmart for a few items. The checkout lanes were long so I played the "my leg is sore" card and sat on the bench by the exit.

The store was very busy.

Southern Belle and Quicksilver joined me and we started chatting with the woman I was sharing the bench with.

The woman volunteered the opinion that the store was getting a lot of traffic because they were battening down the hatches for the looming recession.

My take was that some of the shopping was back-to-school shopping and I offered that opinion.

She responded "Maybe so, but I saw a lot of "staples" in the carts pushed by other customers. I think people don't want to look at their pantry shelves this winter and see Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard."

She also said "If you burn LP for heat you best be seeing about getting your tank filled. Or if you burn wood you best cutting it and stacking it high."

Today was the first time I had a total stranger volunteer such a bleak view of the future. Random chance or is the wind shifting?

Washing machines that don't wash

We have an awesome washing machine that processes huge loads and uses almost no water at all. It lacks an agitator so the clothing receives almost no wear-and-tear while in the machine. It spins the clothing at the end of the cycle at speeds approaching cyclotrons used to accelerate sub-atomic particles so they spend little time in the drier. It is fully compliant with California edicts about water use.

It has only one flaw.

It does not remove the dirt from the clothing. Mrs ERJ claims her clothes come out of the machine dirtier than when she put them in.

Does anybody have an opinion about a traditional washer with an agitator that actually removes dirt from clothing.


  1. I’ve been using a front loading clothes washer for more than ten years. Cleans the clothes well and is great for big bulky items like sleeping bags and quilts. I always use the “extra water” setting. No complaints. Tried one of the top loading washers without an agitator. It lasted for two months and I helped it find a new home. Worthless. The only real advantage of the front loader over a standard agitator model is the ability to wash big items without having to use a laundromat.

  2. If you can find an old Kenmore, they clean really well. By old, I mean 1970's or 1980's. Good luck. We got tired of washing machines that didn't work, and bought a copper washing plunger and a washboard. We now wash everything by hand. It's a lot of work, but everything gets clean, and it saves money on the electric bill.

  3. Ditto To DaveS on the front-loader. With a couple caveats...

    Despite being perfectly leveled, there always seems to be a bit of washing residue left after the cycle is done. This has caused me to have either myself or the bride pay close attention to two things.

    1) About once a month, a "Hot, Hot" cycle is run with no laundry in it, no detergent but white vinegar loaded to "Max" level in the fabric softener drawer. This does a good job of flushing prior wash residues out of the interior. If you decide to go this route, you should perform this three times in a row to get rid of long-standing residue.

    2) Leave the door open for a few days, at least, to get the interior dry completely so as to avoid any mildew growth.

    Da Perfessor

  4. When I moved into this house, we needed new washer and dryer. We opted for the HE (high efficiency) models. I will never buy HE appliances again. The first time you need to run the wash again there goes any saving. Often my clothes look dingy, and stains in jeans remain. Crap IMO.
    On a side note: a guy I met who traps beaver up here used an old standard wringer washer with cold water to remove the initial layer of funk and oils from the beavers, before it's skinned.
    A couple of beavers a 1/2 cup of Sunlight. Bet they didn't engineer that into the plan. It sits outside his shop and drains onto the back lawn. Oh, and he's a Hudderite.

  5. Speed Queen. US made, has an agitator, built to last 15-20 years, not 6 years like other machines. I love mine.

    1. That's what we have. Best washer available.

    2. Our 36 year old Whirlpool went out recently and we replaced it with a Speed Queen. It seems to get the clothes clean but the lid lock is aggravating.

    3. After several fruitless attempts to have our front loader washer and dryer repaired, we replaced them with a Speed Queen pair. I did not feel the front load washer cleaned well. However, I have noticed a big difference with the SQ. My verdict: expensive, but work very well and are made in the USA!

  6. My daughter bought a top-loader with no agitator against my advice. The only thing they are good for is washing big bulky items. We have an old top-loader, with agitator. I've replaced the agitator once. The best thing about it, it has a 'Soak' feature that extends the 40 minute cycle to 3 hours. It gently agitates once in a while during the soak. I find the clothes get very clean, plus we are using Norwex concentrated detergent - about a tablespoon per load.

    When this machine dies - it's a Fisher-Pakel, not made anymore - I'm guessing we'll get a commercial grade top-loader (Thx for the tip on Speed Queen). Have tried front-loaders but didn't like'em.

  7. Maytag MVWB765 USA made, with a center agitator, and it works just fine.

  8. What’s an “agitator” (rhetorical), the only thing we’ve been offered here for decades is front-loaders. They work ‘well-enough’ but for heavy-soiled I tend to pre-soak in a five-gallon bucket before-hand (as the only way to get them clean).

    Victim selection? Kudos on the training, but from my experience it’s not so much the ‘physical’ as the ‘attitude’ that determines whether you’re a target or not (we’ve all seen the small ‘weedy/whippet’ guy nobody will mess with, similarly the big ‘gormless/submissive’ guy who … everybody does. The difference, attitude). That the physical makes all the world of difference if/when you ‘are’ a target is obvious, but even then the attitude and commitment to say “fcukit” and take it ‘to’ them can make them ‘reconsider’.

    Personally now (with more cumulative injuries and limitations than I care to mention) I’m reduced to assuming in any confrontation that ‘there are no limits’ (I haven’t the reserves to ‘play nice’ any more, it’s all out, no limitations, destroy or be destroyed, from the get-go now). I can still (most days) walk in even the bad parts of town without issue, partly I suspect precisely ‘because’ they can tell I have even less restraints on what I’ll do, than I ever had.

    The mental (as always) is, to the physical ...

    Oh, and make sure to concentrate on range-of-motion exercises (I know yoga is a bit 'gurly' but ...) as it's, again as always, "there's strength, and then there's strength that can be applied".

  9. The other joke up here in Alaska is “file the front sight off the 44mag so it doesn’t hurt so much when the bear shoves it up your butt”, I do carry a 44 when fishing but have never needed it. By the way, a long time record grizzly was shot by an old native lady in northern Canada wit 22longs!

  10. Even the less than bright people out there can see things are NOT right. They may have to get hit by the truck to notice but lately the truck has been running people over repeatedly.

  11. Ditto what anonymous said about attitude. Gait and stride make an impact. Granted it helps that I'm built like a linebacker, but I have set groups of youths into silent mode with a mean look before.
    I think a lot of people are wise to the jig. Especially up North, winter follows fall every darned time. When I lived in WNY, if I didn't have 3 cases of water and a case of spaghetti-os in the basement by October something was wrong. People can see the breeze is picking up and the maple leaves are backwards. Rains a coming.

  12. Your recovery and work outs are inspiring. I’m trying to overcome arthritis and tendonitis in several joints and tend to ‘forget’ to exercise.
    When I was young and a bit more resilient, I swore that attitude and appearance kept away the bad guys. I walked to work at night, in Boston. I stared back at the guys hanging out, and answered you talkin’ to ME? Attitude. Never had a problem. Might just be dumb luck. Things were different 40 years ago, crime was lower, mostly.
    Situation awareness helps a lot. Everyone I see walking around has their head down, staring at their phone.
    We have an old top load agitator. Makes a lot of noise, my husband said 10 years ago it was about to fail. Still works, clothes are clean. Won’t ever get a HE front loader.
    Southern NH

  13. Don't forget that half the problem is modern laundry detergents, which have been "dumbed down" by EPA regulations until they're far less effective than they used to be. Solution? Add a small amount of TSP to your laundry detergent. Cleans like it used to, and is a lot cheaper than replacing the machine. Just don't tell the EPA about it.

  14. I just bought a GE washer and dryer. I bought the GE because it was the only one I could find that allowed me to set the water level if I wanted to. It has the automatic fill feature but I like to be able to use more water if I need to.
    The dryer is gas and it works so I'm OK with that. The washer has some whistles and bells that I don't care about but you can't get away from that stuff if you buy new.
    I spent some time looking for what I wanted and surprisingly, the models I chose came in in the bottom half of the price range.
    I've had them for about 8 months now and no problems.
    I did buy the additional 5 year warranty but that's just how I buy appliances.
    The washer has an agitator and I've never had a problem with cloths getting clean.
    All told, I'm happy with the pair, I'd buy the same set again and I'd recommend them to anyone who was looking for laundry appliances that do the laundry and aren't preoccupied with all kinds of gimmick features.

  15. Second Peter Grant's statement. Before going and buying another washer, try some trisodium phosphate. A tablespoon will do. I throw in a tablespoon of borax for the real tough loads. Buy both at hardware stores.

  16. Put a couple of plastic footballs in the washer with your clothes. They will agitate more than you think, and are easy to find when putting clothes into the dryer. Not a great solution, but it does work. Find brightly colored ones if you can.
    Note: Plastic ones, not vinyl or leather ones.

  17. There's a reason even in the most primitive washing circles they beat their dirty clothing on the rocks by the river to make them clean--because it works. That agitator is the modern day "rock".

  18. Had an LG front loader that did a nice job, years back. Front loaders are supposedly easier on the fabric than an agitator, and the tumbling motion makes up for not having one.

    But there is a filter on the discharge side that needs to be checked and cleaned periodically. You'd be amazed what gets through to that filter when the machine discharges.

    And yes, leave the door open when not in use so you don't get mold on the door seals.

    Currently have a top loader with no agitator. It does okay, I guess, so long as it isn't loaded too full. Might be I don't get things as dirty as I did when I was on the farm cleaning stalls.

  19. Yep, prepping is starting... We just got our portion of a cow this week.

  20. I bought a GE top loading washer last fall from Costco.

    It has an agitator and you can select the fill level (or use the automatic sensing). Came with delivery into the house with new hoses and removal of the old washer.

    It has worked well for nine months now.


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