Posts Tagged ‘plumbing’

Plumbing and Philosophy 101

Posted in General on August 10th, 2011 by Eugene Finerman – 4 Comments

Optimising cooling towers will improve water efficiency


How do we face and overcome the pessimizing  in today’s plumbing? As you know, the development of modern plumbing coincided with the publication of Schopenhauer; and philosophy has been impeding the flow ever since.  True, metaphysics has always needed a roto-rooter, but natural philosophy once was “natural” while moral philosophy actually felt obliged to be plausible.  Thomas Aquinas would never stand between you and your epistemology.

But compare the common obstructions in modern philosophy and plumbing!  Kierkegaard completely dries up the flow.  Nietzsche and Heidigger gush to the right.  Imagine your home’s plumbing based on Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: by the time you found a washroom….And any Sartre plumbing would be at a complete disconnect.

So, how can we overcome the profound angst in modern plumbing?  Oh, let’s just die.

My New Career

Posted in General on June 8th, 2009 by Eugene Finerman – 3 Comments

I am about to begin an exciting career as a ditch digger.  It pays better than being a writer–three times as much.  I owe this vocational revelation to my plumber.   When he was prepared to charge me a $150 an hour to dig a hole in my yard, I realized that I was in the wrong business.

My apprenticeship began last week when I noticed that soapy water from the washing machine was backing up into a toilet.  If I were more sophisticated, I would have appreciated my fulminating toilet as a makeshift bidet.  Unfortunately, I am just not that French.  No, I could only think of the situation as a disaster, and so I called the most reliable plumber we know:  someone who will only rob you blind but guarantee the work. 

Eight hundred dollars later, his crew alleviated the immediate problem and gave us the long-term prognosis: we needed a new pipe and that would require extensive digging by two men at a $150 a hour.  I told him that I could get Ivy League PhDs to do the job for less.  (Actually, I only know two–and I am not really sure that they can be trusted with sharp tools.) 

However, I can be.  When it comes to tools and manual labor, I even have delusions of being Gentile.  So, to save money, I offered to dig part of the hole.  The trench is supposed to be six feet long, three feet wide and four feet deep.   (If there is a jester’s skull there, it is mine.)   At the very least, I can remove and save the top soil.  True, my 57 year-old body probably can only do half the work of some burly young plumbers; but I would only charge one third as much.  That is a 17 percent savings! 

The plumber would still do any work that required skill and training, but I was capable of the mindless drudgery.  I cannot tell exactly what his reaction meant.  Did he shrug in acquiesence or in disbelief?   He has yet to send me his official estimate for the project; so perhaps he is trying to avoid me. 

That is too bad.  If he liked my work as a ditch digger, I could have used him as a reference on LinkedIn.

Your RDA of Medieval Plumbing

Posted in On This Day on January 19th, 2009 by Eugene Finerman – 5 Comments

This is a real advertisement:


“A throwback to the medieval era of knights, castles and fairy tale romance, this throne toilet with French Merovingian style (8th century) is highlighted by hand painted earthenware accessories (Musset poem, ashtray…). Its high-profile seat back with a gothic-arch top and full armrests give the toilet a majestic appearance. Inscribed on the seat back is a poem by the French poet, Alfred de Musset. The musical chime “Le Bon Roi Dagobert”, with a voice reciting the Musset poem, starts when you raise the lid and a bell is coupled with the flush, making a visit to the bathroom an unforgettable experience.” Made from an Ash tree, it’s protected by three layers of polyurethane. Comes with candle holder and ashtray. Priced at or above $9000

Medieval plumbing is an oxymoron and why would a “fashionable” toilet be named for a seventh century Frankish king? You’d think that the Byzantine Emperors or the Caliphs might have had more impressive thrones, but King Dagobert I apparently set the standard for royal assizes.

Although Dagobert (603-639) would seem like the name of a bad pizzeria, the king was actually one of the more formidable French rulers of the Dark Ages. When he died–this day in 639–he had managed to hold the throne and actually rule for five years. Few of his ancestors could make that claim, and none of his descendants could. Dagobert was almost an only child, so he only had one sibling and a nephew to eliminate to gain complete control of France.

Being king of all the Franks was an achievement in itself; he certainly would never have imagined himself the namesake of a toilet. Indeed, he probably never imagine the idea of a toilet. True, the Romans had them although not with ashtrays; but the running water had been shut off some two centuries earlier. In Dagobert’s lifetime, the ultimate accolade for a Frankish warlord would be getting a bolt of silk from Constantinople. From the Frankish perspective, it was pure status; from the Byzantine perspective, it was the equivalent of a Christmas card for the help.

Perhaps the toilet was a more sincere tribute.