Category Archives: Commentary

The National Anthem explained …

Currently the NFL is disrespecting the American Flag and the National Anthem. Someone posted this YouTube video on Twitter with a suggestion that the football players should be reminded why we revere the Flag and memorialize all the Americans who have died to protect the Freedoms we enjoy – unlike any other country.

Those of us who are older studied American History in high school. I’m not sure they’re teaching it anymore. This vid is a good refresher course for us and a good lesson for younger people. It reminds us why we stand for the National Anthem and put our right hand over our heart.

One quote in the video is from George Washington. I think it is appropriate given what the overpaid football players are doing.

“The thing that sets the American Christian apart from all other people in the World is he will die on his feet before he’ll live on his knees.”

Most Patriots will get misty eyes as they watch the video. It makes us proud of this GREAT COUNTRY. If you’re not affected by the vid perhaps you might find another country more to your liking. As we use to say Love It or Leave It!

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

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#LivePD is must watch TV

LivePD TV showWeekend TV is pretty bleak but I now have a new fun show to watch on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s on A&E and is “Live PD“. I’m sure I’m late to party in finding this show. Just in case you haven’t watched it, Dan Abrams and others follow law enforcement officers in several cities/states. Greenville, SC and Phoenix seem to have the weirdest people. What makes this a fun show to watch are the tweets using #LivePD. Some of the comments are hilarious as they comment on people’s clothes or the lack thereof. Flex, one of the K9s, is a superstar of the show. He loves to bite the bad guys and barks continuously when he’s held back. Bad guys are more afraid of Flex than they are of the cops.

It’s a good show to highlight the terrible, disgusting people and things that LEOs have to put up with. So many perps actually fight with the officers for no reason. Often it takes several officers to hold them down to put the cuffs on. Another really disgusting things is when the officers do a pat-down for weapons and drugs. Most druggies hide their stash in or near their genitals. One guy even had a syringe in his rectum, which the LEO had to remove. Some of the women are just as vicious as the men. People that claim “police brutality” are LYING! It’s the perp that starts it. If they didn’t resist, they wouldn’t be manhandled!

The other surprise to me, is the number of folks who have some sort of drug in their cars. The officers may stop them for a broken tail light then find a bunch of drugs or an outstanding warrant or they’re driving on a suspended license. That’s unnerving knowing I’m might be sharing the road with them.

If you want a fun time at 9:00pm on Friday and Saturday nights, I recommend watching the show. People tweet that they watch it with the whole family to have a good laugh at people’s stupidity. Click here to read more about this TV phenom.

Kids were tough back then!

A guy posted this old historic photo on Twitter. It was noted that it was taken at Trinity Park in Dallas around 1900.
Trinity Park, Dallas TX (1900)

The tweet received a LOT of comments since it represents a much different playground than is allowed today. Some people noted that these were the kids that helped win WWI. (These kids were also the ones who walked to school in the snow, uphill both ways.) Today’s helicopter Moms would faint at the thought of their snowflakes playing in such an area. One skeptic noted that there’s a kid on the left that appears to be falling to his death. Not really! If you look carefully you can see he’s on a swing.

I grew up in the late 40s-50s. Our grade school had pretty tall swings that allowed us to swing “way up high” … and the seats were metal! We also had 2 sizes of slides – a shorter one and a very tall one. Amazingly we survived although broken arms were considered a right-of-passage. 🙂

We were allowed to be independent – learning to make decisions on our own. If we made mistakes we had to accept the consequences. When I think of the things I (and other kids) did when young I chuckle because kids today would never be allowed that freedom. I think that freedom made us better, stronger adults as a result.

My rant against faucet manufacturers

I’m going to continue my plumbing theme … or perhaps I should say my frustration with the manufacturers of faucets and handles. Bear with me!

shower faucetThis is a photo of the handle in my shower stall. It’s pretty typical of what builders install. I would like to replace the knob with a lever. It would seem that I could just remove the knob then buy a lever and put it on. Not true. There are “universal” levers but they don’t fit this Kohler unit. Why don’t manufacturers make the unit such that handles can be interchanged? That seems like a simple request!

In order to get a lever handle here’s what has to happen:

  • I must buy a completely whole new unit including a cartridge – $$$.
  • A plumber must cut an access hole in the wall opposite the faucet. (In my home that wall is slightly visible from my living room.)
  • Then they replace the cartridge that connects the 2 water pipes. (Cartridges are unique to each faucet style. WHY?)
  • Then the plumber replaces the new fixture and lever onto the new cartridge.
  • The plumber will place a plastic access panel over the hole but they won’t do the drywall work. I would have to do that or I would have to figure out how to conceal the panel by hanging a picture or mirror.

In order to get a $25 lever I would have to spend well over $200 plus drywall work (which I can do). As I joked with the plumber, I’m convinced the manufacturers are in cahoots with the Plumbers Union to make these units such that an ordinary do-it-yourselfer can’t make minor repairs. Plus the manufacturers make more money on a complete faucet versus just a handle.

I would like to have bronzed faucets like the one I just put in the half bath. But that’s out because the separate tub with chrome fixtures does not have an access panel either so ceramic tile would have to be cut to access it’s cartridge. I don’t even want to think about THAT mess! Guess I’ll just live with chrome and ball handles!

I’m still pretending to be a plumber!

I’m a glutton for punishment! My half bath needed an update from the plain chrome faucet with plastic ball handles. I also was tired of the gawd-awful builder-grade glued ceramic/plastic towel rod and TP holder. I watched various videos on installing faucets to see if I could do it. As with my earlier Korky installation, the videos make it seem much easier than it really is. I also believe the job would be much easier with a 2nd person to help with the above-the-sink holding-things-in-place job.

pipes under bathroom sinkFirst problem is the small size of the cabinet in a half bath. Crawling in it to reach the gizmos holding the faucet in place is a challenge and requires a sturdy pillow to prevent pain on shoulder blades. Regular wrenches are useless. However, in the videos I watched I was introduced to two very handy tools.

tools needed to remove faucetsThe first is a Rigid Faucet & Sink Installer (red tool in photo). Follow that link to Rigid and you can watch a video of how versatile this tool is. In my case it didn’t work to get the nut off when I was removing the old faucet because my copper pipes were curved. This tool only works with straight pipes that can go in the tool’s opening. But once the pipe was removed, I could then use it for the piece that screws up tight against the sink. It worked just great when installing the new faucet.

The other metal tool is called a basin wrench. It can be extended to reach the top hex nut when arms are too short. The top black part has wrench teeth to grip the nut while you turn the bottom rod to leverage your strength. That top also flips over to other side depending on the direction you need the teeth to grip.

Delta Porter bath faucet

click to enlarge

I’ve partially got the new Delta faucet installed. Looks good from the top! Underneath I’m still working on it. The flexible connectors that I bought to replace the copper pipe is not fitting the pipe fitting that comes out from the wall. It seems the threads may differ. I may need to visit a plumbing store or last resort call a REAL plumber! 😦

I did just fine in removing the old GLUED towel & TP rods. I used a box cutter to slice around the glued parts so when I eased the ceramic off it wouldn’t tear off a large piece of drywall paper. I applied spackle a couple times, sanding in between each layer. Then I covered the spackle with a primer and sanded again. Finally I rolled on the paint to match the walls. When dry, I installed the rods. VOILA!

UPDATE EDIT: I called a plumber to help with the final connectors. He was impressed with my tools (pictured) and thought I did a great job considering how narrow my cabinet was. He said I did the hard part. That made me feel good.

I now self-identify as a plumber

I’m sure I’m not alone in doing some minor “fix” which exponentially explodes into a full-blown project. That recently happened to me … AGAIN! The toilet in the half bath wasn’t doing a good job of flushing. It appeared that the fill valve was lower than it should be to allow the tank to fill with sufficient water. Several years ago my daughter had installed a Korky Quiet Fill in this toilet. It worked very well until recently. I suspected it had “slipped down”.

I turned off the water supply below the toilet then unscrewed the two attachments at the base of the tank. Then I pulled out the Korky unit and tried to extend the tube. It had ratchets that lock the tube in place once the right height is determined. Well as I was working with the height, the ratchets locked in place and I couldn’t get them to unlock.

I checked YouTube to see if there were any instruction videos. There are MANY! I picked this one from Korky itself. Notice that this video is 1.52 minutes long. In it the gal does the complete installation. Trust me … it takes longer than that! 🙂

Korky Quiet Fill ValveThe main thing I noticed from the video was that the ratchets on my old unit were different. I suspected there was a problem with the old design, so Korky revised the design. So off to Home Depot (my fav store) to buy a new unit. I put the new unit in with no problem being careful to position the height as instructed.

Then I reattached the solid chrome connector to the tank and the faucet bar. Once done, I turned the faucet back on. Water dripped from the tank and from the nut near the faucet knob. @#$%^&*!!! I won’t go thru the multiple steps I tried to fix the drips but let’s just say the toilet was out of commission for a few days.

toilet tank connectorBack to Home Depot where a terrific guy told me to use a flexible connector then throw the old solid one away. (The flexible connector has better washer system in it.) Voila! It worked great, easy to install AND it worked. No leaks!

I was so confident in my skills(?) that I bought another Korky and flexible extender for another toilet. Took me only 30 minutes this time and NO LEAKS! The extender I bought is a little longer than needed but I was afraid to buy too short cause I didn’t want to have to make another trip. I’m so proud of me!

NOTE: If any plumbers read this, you’re worth every penny! While I saved money on this project, there are a couple projects yet to do that I will need to hire a plumber because they’re beyond my ability. So there’s that!🙂