Bleat Lite is less lite today. Starting to get absent mojo back, slowly. This is also a preview of Bleats to come, since I'm rethinking this whole end-of-the-day model. Lots of behind-the-scenes work this week, partly to keep my mind off Stuff that's been hanging over my head. Anyway, I have the semi-monthly anti-appliance screed, and that requires full bleatage. To wit:

The company in question is a large, blue-hued chain retailer of TVs, appliances, computers. I won’t name which one; take your pick among the many options. This morning I called to make the inevitable service call request, because the recently purchased appliance had gone daft. It’s a dishwasher. It likes its work. It’s what you might call a volunteer. Turns itself on, all the time, and refuses to shut off. Pushing the buttons that say STOP have no effect, so we have to leave it open, or it just goes off.

At first I thought it had developed Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - filthy! The dishes are filthy! They'll never come clean! Must run pot-souring cycle again! - but the more logical answer is a defect in the circuit board. There’s more computational power in the dishwasher than you’ll find in an Apollo command module. Those things managed to find the moon. My dishwasher probably runs Linux and thinks it’s a good idea to run for nine hours while everyone's out of the house. Progress, yes, but I have a water bill like the Belagio casino now.

At least it took two months to fail; the matching fridge was defective the day it arrived. So this morning I called to set up an appointment. The repairperson will ring us at 7 AM and tell us he will be around sometime between nine and five. I expect he will squat, peer, nod, and tell me that parts have to be ordered from Brazil. Here’s the kicker: the person who took my call – very professional, very crisp – said I would have to show the repairman my receipt. I said I had no idea where it was. She said I could go to the store and get a copy. Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. You’re looking at your computer, ma'am, and it shows that I purchased this item. I’m looking at the fridge, which did not arrive through some mysterious interdimensional gateway that randomly squirts appliances into our galaxy from a parallel universe. You delivered it. Why do I have to show the receipt? She explained: it would have information about the warranty.

And you don’t have information about the warranty? I asked. Anyway, it broke after two months; I’m guessing it’s still under warranty. I didn’t recall being offered the “You’re On Your Own Plan,” whereby the price is reduced $100 dollars in exchange for giving up warranty protection. She said that the repairman would not have the warranty information. She said she could not give the repairman the warranty information.

So now I have to go back to the store, and it’s my fault. Let us make this a learning moment for all, then: remember to put your sales receipt in an envelope and tape it to the front of any appliance you buy, because if my recent experience is any indication, you’ll need it. Soon. Unless you avoid Electrolux appliances for a while. Me, I'm 0 for 2.


More stuff from the Archives, filling out Bleat Lite week:

Head On! Apply windshield glass directly to the forehead. Note how everyone seems to be doing everything right - I assume the red car hit a skid, but eveyone's steering as they should.

The Death Seat. The vernacular always nails it.

Another piece of flotsam that will end up on the Motel site, when I finish it next week: motel soap!

A different world: baby sitters and free kennels. Radio.

These amenities were printed on the soap wrapper, mind you. Did anyone ever read the soap in a motel? Or did Holiday Inn presume people would take a bar home, consult it later, and subconsciously internalize the particulars?

It's Bob Newhart's birthday: herewith a cut from "Behind the Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart." We had this comedy record in our house when I was growing up; I listened to it over and over as a small child. I don't think I understood 14 percent of it, but this was my favorite cut. For obvious reasons.


Finally: Spanish Mickey with the Hitler Nose. Impossibly bad computer animation, via Cartoon Brew. From the very first frames, you have no idea what they're doing, or why. See you at!