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Tag Archive: air conditioning

Jul 08

When A/C goes out, so does good humour

“What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.” –Jane Austen

Did you know that pasta can lose its shape when your air conditioning quits?

Did you know that chocolate actually turns gray in high humidity if you don’t put it in the refrigerator?

I didn’t know that either, but I found out last weekend when our air conditioning unit decided to “meet its maker” after 22 years of near perfect service.

The resulting hot and humid ordeal lasted three plus days.

It is undoubtedly written somewhere that air conditioning breakdowns are required to occur over a holiday weekend.

You guessed it—our A/C breakdown happened over the Fourth of July. We were at the Lake of the Ozarks where typically one cannot find a repairman if the fish are biting or if there is a cloud in the sky. In this case, the repairmen did his best to get there, but we were simply too far down the list of “you have to come now” service requests. He didn’t make it.

Did you know that when you live three days in record heat and humidity without A/C, your bread molds over night and everything in your house attracts dust by the bucket load?

The dust was about the only thing that hung around our house. Some guests started bailing out on the second day, and I don’t blame them at all,

Our immediate family stayed, however, and so did a cousin from Nashville and a nephew from Kansas. I really don’t know why. I was ready to leave on the second day myself.

Instead, they accepted their fate and dug in for the duration.

My solution–I jumped in the lake and stayed there until forced to come inside for food.

I did not want to cook and left that up to my cousin from the South who did. Incidently, the sweltering temperatures in the kitchen never deterred him for a second.

When the rest of us woke on the morning after the third stifling night, we found our Nashville cousin in the kitchen frying sausage to add to his homemade gravy and baking biscuits in, yes, the oven!

“Hey, good morning,” he said, “This heat isn’t so bad. The pioneers never had air conditioning, so I guess we don’t need it either.”

“Hey,” I replied, “You know what Benjamin Franklin said, don’t you? After three days, fish and visitors stink.”

I guess you could say I was a lot like Jane Austen about then and in a continual state of inelegance and bad humour.

My cousin, who always seems to be in a disgustingly good mood, laughed as he started frying up some bacon to accompany the biscuits and gravy. You gotta love it.

I went outside where there was a breeze and ate a popsickle.

Oct 26

Silly studies make no sense to Baby Boomers

“A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies not soft and chewy cookies like you make.” (Response to Debbi Fields’ idea of starting Mrs. Fields’ Cookies.)

More often than not these days, market research and silly studies and polls make absolutely no sense to me, and I suspect to a lot of baby boomers.

Each time I read a new study I ask myself, “Who writes these things? Who comes up with such foolhardy profundity?  Why does the media report them?

What got me going on this topic was a study I read this month that swore that regular swearing at work can help boost team spirit among staff, allowing them to express their feelings better.

Excuse me?

Yehuda Baruch, professor of management at the University of East Anglia, and a grad student conducted the study.  Ok, I am stopping right here and now and asking, “Where is East Anglia?”

Next this pair added a disclaimer that swearing in front of senior staff or customers should be seriously discouraged or banned. No kidding. A study was required to figure that out?

Next, and I am not making this one up either, newscientist.com reports that a new study claims sexual intercourse reduces stress. It begs the question, “How do they know?” Apparently, they used volunteers. Now, there is a reliable scientific study for you.

Writer Elliott Temple concludes that the media is just as responsible for reporting these silly, non-science studies as those who conduct them. He says think about it.  What other reasons could cause less stress? Perhaps, a happy couple in a stable relationship? Temple says, “I guess that wouldn’t make a very exciting headline, such as–study doesn’t show but researchers guess that a happy sexual relationship reduces stress.”

A story in the Chicago Sun Times admonishes those who conduct such silly studies and the media for reporting them.  William G. Sutton writes an article titled, “Cool it with silly studies.”

Take a look at what he wrote about a silly obesity study.

“I disagree with Dr Robert Kushner who is quoted as saying we need to explore even the silliest possible contributors to obesity…But if you read the study Kushner is referring to, you learn that even silly ideas can make it through what should be a rigorous peer-review process.”

The reporter says that the researchers found air conditioning to be a possible contributor to obesity. The evidence they cite is a 1993 consumer survey suggesting, “After an air-conditioning breakdown restaurant sales drop dramatically.”

From that the researchers concluded that we do not eat as much when we are hot.

Sutton answered, “Call me silly, but I’ll bet those folks went someplace else to eat in cool comfort.”