Here at Nogglestead, we have had some recent run-ins with government-mandated ill efficiency and poor economy in the service of the all-important but apparently impotent Mother Gaia. I mean, aside from the light bulb lament that I post regularly here.
One, one of the boys recently broke the wand portion of a shower head. Remember when these came into all the rage in the latter decades of the 20th century? Now they’re pretty much de rigueur; all the shower heads come with the wand attachment. So I bought a new kit and installed it. Although I had heard of the new low-flow showerheads, I had not experienced them. When I did, I did not care for it; saving water by making it take longer to rinse yourself is definitely government economist thinking. After a week or so, I swapped the old shower head back in and just used the new wand, which has the strictures in place, but the main head still gets it done. Yeah, I know, the way you’re supposed to use the new low-flow showerheads is to use the showerhead and the wand at the same time all the time–it’s not lost on me that the wand mount is now atop the showerhead so you can use them almost like one showerhead which is still weaker than the old showerhead.
The second was another bit of plumbing work. My mother-in-law requested an upgrade to our hall bathroom–a taller commode that would make it easier for her to use. We hadn’t been in a rush with this–it has been a year of nobody going nowhere, after all–but the hall toilet recently came loose, so we figured we’d just have a plumber swap out the toilets instead of reseating the existing one and replacing the wax rings. So we have a new senior toilet which uses very little water and often does not fill the bowl with water. I have not placed a bucket in the hall bathtub to gather water from the bath toilet to assist, but if I have to plunge it a bunch, I will end up doing this.
On the other hand, I guess I should count my blessings that these rites in the service of the nature goddess do not require expensive heavy metals mined in countries without strict environment controls that make it easy for thieves to cause thousands of dollars of damage to American automobiles for a couple dollars of drug money (Metal prices make catalytic converter theft a problem of ‘epic proportions’ in Springfield).
After investigating 95 total instances of catalytic converter theft in Springfield between 2016 and 2019, there were 408 reports of catalytic converter thefts in the city in 2020.
And through the first four months of this year, there had already been 337 reports of thieves shimmying under vehicles to cut out and steal the catalytic converter.
The huge rise in catalytic converter thefts is not unique to Springfield. The New York Times reported earlier this year the nationwide problem has been spurred by a big increase in the price of precious metals that are found in catalytic converters, like palladium and rhodium.
The Times reported that the price of rhodium went from $640 an ounce five years ago to $21,900 an ounce earlier this year (roughly 12 times the price of gold).
On the plus side, the environmentalists got a cheap thrill forty-some years ago in leading us to this place. On the minus side, it’s never enough and it has little impact as the rest of the world industrializes with greater populations without the scruples we’ve drilled into generations of Americans through judicious spacing between passing the mandates and things just aren’t as good as they were in the old days.