Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Wreck of the Houseperus

"I've got good news!" our renovation contractor said. "Owing to a change in schedule, we can actually begin demolishing the rest of your home tomorrow instead of weeks from now!"

"Good news," in other words, is very much in the eye of the beholder. We now have to desperately scurry around and prepare every stick of furniture to be moved out of harm's way - including taking apart our insanely complex home entertainment system which, we're guessing, will never really go together again because it was assembled by the much younger and more technically savvy guy that we were 20 years ago. These days, we don't know HDMI from Shinola.

We have to unplug all of those bafflingly-connected electronics so that our entertainment center can be broken down and moved. It's a huge piece of custom furniture that in earlier times might have served as the towering centerpiece of Druid rituals.

The sudden change in schedule also forced a whirlwind of buying today: appliances, doors, locks, toilets, and more. Even now, our wallet is whimpering like a mournful puppy and economists are rejoicing at the sudden uptick of economic activity in the nation's heartland.

All of which is to explain why we don't have any real political commentary today, other than the fact that we basically like what Trump had to say about Afghanistan, and we loved the NY Times's spit-flecked outrage over the fact that Trump, unlike his loathsome predecessor, didn't talk specific troop numbers, specific strategies, or declare an automatic "pullout date" for our nation's enemies to pencil into their day planners.

Well played, President Trump.

And now, with hopes of giving you at least a LITTLE something to laugh at, we present an Earwigs cartoon (the frazzled subject of which looks a lot like our self-portrait at the moment). Don't be surprised if you see a LOT of these for awhile...

stilton’s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n’ change, trump, afghanistan, ny times, renovations, remodeling, earwigs, hairy worm


It was unintentional, but the picture in today's Earwigs turned out to be prophetic. Here's the home entertainment situation I had to wrestle with...


  1. "The Wreck of the Houseperus" Goin' kinda highbrow on us ain'tcha Stilton? Heh.

  2. "Puberty hit the Flying Spaghetti Monster especially hard."

  3. "Screw the sensors, Spock. Mr. Sulu, Get us out of here."

  4. "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead", "Knock down those walls, break more stuff". And to think, Maxine wants me to paint the bathroom. Has for five years now.

  5. @Mike aka Proof- Those reading today's blog on a portable device should hold it with upraised pinkies.

    @M. Mitchell Marmel- Good one!

    @Rod- "Bones! Give me something for the willies!"

  6. A go-back to previous edition Monday, @ John the Econ: I'm glad you were able to see the eclipse as well, and appreciate your comment about totally random things being assigned labels. We intend to enjoy our "luck" as well, without guilt.

  7. FINALLY...Congress draws a "road-map" to economic prosperity for the average American.

  8. Probably how my poor intestines look after an especially hot bowl of chili...

  9. Two words: label maker. Label each and every cord. If necessary, put a matching label (or colored dot) on the back of the item you just pulled that cord out of.

    That's the only thing that kept us sane when we moved. By the time we got our electronics into the new house, we would not have known what went where, but for those labels.

  10. @MAJ Arkay,
    Amen, labels are a sanity saver under those circumstances.

  11. that in earlier times might have served as the towering centerpiece of Druid rituals.

    I actually spewed a bit of coffee at this line.

  12. "Good Lord, Dr. Zarkov. These A/V cables have taken on a life of their own!"

  13. What I see everyday since I forgot to use my eclipse glasses.

  14. How offensive must my insides be in order for this thing to want out?

    @Rod, it required getting up before 3am and most of the day in the car, but it was well worth the effort. At totality, I was enthralled and laughing uncontrollably for several minutes. And since most of my day was spent driving, and then in a very remote locale that lacked any modern sense of connectivity, it was a welcome day of disconnect.

    As for Progressives and assigning guilt to absolutely everything: I've always been impressed by their seeming ability to always snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Ours has been the most successful society to ever to inhabit this planet. It's an undeniable fact that today, fewer people live in abject poverty than ever before. Even our supposedly "oppressed" people today enjoy a standard of living that far exceeds that of royalty barely a century ago by almost every measurable metric; health, food, physical comfort, longevity, and even luxuries, such as "spare time" and the endless availability of entertainment. And yet the left honestly believes that the marketplace capitalism that made this all possible is evil and must be constrained, if not vanquished.

    I pray they don't get what they want, not just because of my well-being, but because the people who actually believe this will likely fare far worse than I will.

  15. We sort of had the same problem with the electronics. We recently changed from a bad server to a worse one. My son looked at the mess created behind our center and started pulling out unnecessary wires, boxes, and lord know what else. When he finished, not only everything worked better but he had a sack full of wires, clips, probe things and just a a bunch of stuff. I could not believe all that was unnecessary. Anyways, good luck on that putting it back together.
    On the earwig: What your brain looks like on Monday.

  16. Here's hoping your contractor doesn't run across something REALLY expensive during the demolition! Like... "Mr. Jarlsberg; we just found out why the rest of Texas is experiencing a record termite shortage." Of course, if your remodel is just the cosmetic things, perhaps you can live out your years in blissful ignorance of that dry-rotted beam under your living room!

    Hey, I'm a glass is half full kind of guy; no need to thank me.

    John the Econ,
    For many years, I worked for a non-profit famous for building housing using volunteers. I still believe this organization is a good one, but can certainly confirm that today's "poor" bare no resemblance to the real poor people of the world. Most had the latest cell phone, a wide screen TV, video games, decent cars, microwave ovens, and plenty of food in the pantry. Not all, but most.

  17. Oh, and Stilton,
    Surely you know a 14 year old kid who'd gladly reconnect your entertainment center components for a pizza and a 6 pack.

  18. I don't know what that is but I am tired of them showing up under my pillow......
    mainly cause I don't know if they are crawling into me.......or out of me.......

  19. @MAJ Arkay- I'm absolutely using a label maker, though it was driving me crazy because it only took 10 seconds to spit out a label, but then took me a minute or longer (sometimes much long) to peel the sticker away from the backing paper. I eventually just had to go with scrawled notes on masking tape.

    @John the Econ- I'd actually love to see a totality event. And apparently I'll have a chance in 7 years, assuming the nursing home is willing to wheel me out and remind we where the sky is.

    And of course I completely agree with your summation of the moronic Left's condemnation of our nation's remarkable achievements. .

    @James Daily- I think when (and if) I put things back together, there will be a lot of spare wires that are no longer needed. A major complicating factor was running EVERY device through my amplifier so I could enjoy glorious sound. What I didn't realize when setting it up was the extent to which my hearing was degrading. Oh, I'm fine (mostly) for purposes of communication and such, but I can no longer hear truly deep lows of the kind that give substance to music or action movies. So I may just box up the good amp and speakers, still virtually unused.

    @Colby Muenster- I can't remember the exact stats, but I want to say that Obama's half-brother in Kenya was living in a 10 x 10 hut with a dirt floor on a budget of $8 a month. Compare that to our "poor" in the United States. Mind you, I'm not denying the existence of poverty and wretched living conditions - just saying that by comparison almost everyone in our country is living reasonably well.

    @Colby Muenster- These days, I'm not sure a 14 year old kid would know what I was talking about when I pointed out the VCR.

    @Readers- By the way, if you peeked in yesterday afternoon and found today's post missing, it wasn't a conspiracy. I tried to post a video clip of our ongoing demolition and A) it didn't work and B) I accidentally put the post back into "draft" mode where it wasn't showing online for a few hours. Oopsy!

  20. Tactical hairball of doom - Or as Sparky calls it, 2am....

    Seriously, hairballs may be the only disadvantage of cats over dogs..
    Thanks for the explain Stilt, had wondered what happened.
    And yes, had noticed next total solar will be passing over Dallas, thinking of visiting friends there, as I expect weather to be better than in Cleveland... I think as many of us as possible should make the trip, then we can gather for a meet up some place w/ decent "coffee"...

  21. Hey! That looks like my home entertainment center!

  22. @Colby Muenster, Mrs. Econ used to do visits with a humanitarian organization that would frequently interface with "poor" people. Many of these "people in need" drive nicer cars than we have, lack for nothing in terms in first class modern entertainments, and suffer no lack of calorie intake. Judging by their conspicuous levels of consumption, it's clear that their choice to live in "poor" neighborhoods is, in fact, a "choice". We call these the "entitlement people", and it's genuinely dispiriting to deal with who consider themselves materially poor when you know that there are people in genuine need elsewhere.

    But that this even subject to debate by some is simply absurd. The fact that the world's truly poor literally risk life and limb to come here to merely and enthusiastically live as "poor" in America is itself a testament to our success.

    @Pete (Detroit): Not cat boxes?

  23. Off topic, but:

    Hillary Clinton: ‘My Skin Crawled’ at the Sight of Donald Trump During the Campaign

    You'd think a woman who stayed married to Bill Clinton for decades would have built up a sizable immunity to skin crawling.

  24. What's the cake pan on the bottom shelf? Is something alive trapped under it? Or dead?
    Enquiring minds want to know.
    I may be living in Dallas for the next eclair. But, I'll be senile in my daughter's back bedroom. She promised. Riiiiiight.

  25. Stilton,

    Harf! Mrs. Muenster and I actually have a VCR connected to our TV. The grandkids love to drag out the antique movies we still have.

    John the Econ,

    My skin just crawled when you mentioned her name. If ever there was a politician more crooked, ruthless, and grating on the nerves, I surely can't remember them.

  26. I was going to use the VCR at the cabin with a new tape while we were out for the eclipse. But it wasn't plugged into all that mess in the cabinet. Remembered why. The VCR had not been connected with multiple feeds from the Digital Conversion Box for the old style (non-digital) TV back when our dear leaders legislated all that change (probably in exchange for huge payola.) We're reasonably modern at the house but still on broadcast antenna with digital conversion at the cabin. And that is just fine.

  27. The label maker was an obvious late addition to the stack of entertainment equipment...

    Just remember during reassembly, the goesuoutta on one machine is plugged into the goesinta on the other. Simple.

    Oh, and if you need some help with needing a cable adapter/converter, here's just the thing:

    Don't say I never did nuttin' for ya...

  28. @Pete (Detroit)- If the good Lord is willin' and the creek don't rise, maybe I can host an eclipse-watching event!

    @SiGraybeard- I'm starting to think that "home entertainment" might be better served with books...

    @John the Econ- Dinesh D'Souza tells a story about an acquaintance who was desperate to immigrate to America. When asked why, he replied "I want to live in a country where the poor people are fat."

    Regarding Hillary's "crawling skin," I assume it was simply trying to get out of the light and back into the safety of a coffin.

    @Sortahwitte- The cake pan held my DVD player high enough that it could "see" the IR remote control. Not an elegant solution, but a cheap one!

    @Colby Muenster- I just finished a long marathon of converting our old VCR tapes to digital (and then converting the newly-minted DVDs to "m-discs" which have a longer archival life. It's reassuring to know that my daughter's piano recitals now have a thousand year shelf life.

    @Rod- I get a laugh out of seeing cheap TV antennae being advertised as a new miracle product that frees people from cable bills.

    @Igor- I loved, loved, loved the picture of the universal adapter! Thanks for sharing!

    @Tracy Evans- But I'm afraid NONE of it will look familiar when it's time to reconnect things!

  29. Good Lord man! I thought my entertainment center was a maze of wires and cords until I gazed upon yours!

  30. All I remember about CEC is loud noises and chaos.

  31. Wires and cables galore!
    I have my a/v system stacked in two vertical cabinets, parked next to each other. Everything is connected to my receiver, so I have cables criss-crossing from one side to the other.
    As time went by, and various devices were replaced or removed, numerous cables now lie behind the cabinets, unconnected to anything. Once in a while, I think that maybe I'll pull all the cables and neaten up the whole shebang. Then I remember how hard it is to pull the cabinets away from the wall on those goofy wheels that never go in the same direction on carpeting (especially with cables connecting things from one cabinet to the other) and figure, as long as everything is functioning, why take a chance on screwing that up.
    Pretty much ditto for my computer and accessories behind the heaviest desk west of the Mississippi.

  32. @jimbro- Astoundingly, it looks even worse when seen from the other side!

    @Judi King- Your memory is not playing tricks on you. I simply added some specific noise and chaos.

    @NVRick- I think I've got the same thing going on; cables which once were important are now orphaned but not removed. But dare I pull them? I wasn't kidding about having an entertainment center the size of Stonehenge, and snaking wires in and out of little holes (and only several inches wall clearance) is nightmarish. And yes, the same is true of my desk, with wires to two computers, 4 or 5 hard drives, printers, phones, answering machine, modem, router, and some other things that frankly baffle me.

  33. John the Econ - he's pretty good w/ the cat box (has pretty much stopped pooping in the basement - for now, at any rate - but hair balls have a habit of showing up on the on 'vintage' ('39)wooden floor, w/ a 80 year patina of wx, as opposed to IN the box, or tub, or scrungy kitchen lino, or....

    Stilt - seriously thinking booking a room NOW... ( for eclipse '24)

  34. You need doors on the other side of the wall. I did that years ago and the doors just looked like more cabinets in the other room. Small holes for the cables to pass through and wind around to other components. I also was able to run the speaker sires up and into the ceiling to other parts of the living room using planters to hide the wires coming down. I miss that living room.


  35. I am now a homeless guy, living in a shelter and collecting $491 a month of SSI (I'm old and beat up, but still laughing at Stilton's Place)...I bin in those other places, and yes, our poor live the Life of Riley (see William Bendix, TV shows of the '50s;LOL); free medical, clothing free for the taking, more food given to us than most 3rd Wold people have access to...admittedly, most homeless where I have been are not quite right, and need psych and medical care not available...I, of course, am quite sane. Obviously.
    As for the cables, years of installing DishNetwork taught me one thing...when dealing with connecting equipment, better to redo EVERYTHING each time anything new is added, or removed, than to try to find the ONE wire/RCA jack/HDMI cable that is wrong, backwards, or loose.
    Good luck, Stil...I do not envy you!

  36. @Gee M- I'm sincerely sorry about your homeless situation and hope that things are at least bearable for you. I'm always aware that Life has a big, spinning roulette wheel that could put any of us in that situation at any time.

    Regarding your wiring suggestions, I'm inclined to take your advice. Part of the reason I have so much electronic spaghetti is that I'm still nursing along an old HD (by yesteryear's standards) TV which doesn't have high tech inputs. Getting a current model wouldn't be that expensive, and would probably solve a heap of problems.