September 18, 2018
"The Check in the Mail" — Jack Ziegler
This is my all-time favorite cartoon.
It originally appeared in the April 21, 1986 issue of the New Yorker.
Back then, as soon as I turned the page and saw it, I got up and got a pair of scissors and cut it out and put it on my fridge.
Though I've since bought a new fridge, the cartoon, now weathered and battered by more than three decades of fridge life (top), remains up and still amuses me when I happen to look at it.
Two Faces of Gloria
I heard this great 1982 song, sung by Laura Branigan, twice last week while watching movies: 1) as the final number in the 2014 Chilean film "Gloria," just released in a 2018 remake starring Julianne Moore as Gloria, and 2) in "I, Tonya."
Those who go back a ways further may recall Van Morrison's 1964 "Gloria," which accompanied the opening scene of Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 film "The Outsiders" and recurred several times during the movie.
Gutter Sense Gutter Cleaning Tool — A reasesssment
So long ago, I don't even know if it was in this century, I bought one of these to clean my gutters.
After trying to use it without success, I stuck it in the basement and forgot about it.
Fast forward 15-25 years to today, and the giant maple tree that towers over my house, occasionally dropping a limb big enough to kill, is doing its autumnal best to shed enough of its big leaves such that the second story gutter of my house gets clogged overnight, even after my hired gun goes up on his two-story ladder and scours the gutter clean.
Those check$ add up.
I pulled the Gutter Sense tool out of its cobwebby corner and took it upstairs to give it a try from inside the house: WINNING!*
It appears that the passage of time has given me new skilz because after
1) removing the storm windows
2) lowering the top half of my double-hung windows
3) shortening the extension pole attached to the Gutter Sense mechanism as much as possible (the resulting tool measures about five feet long in total)
4) shortening up the control rope to about five feet long
5) patiently leaning out and over the bottom half of my windows (no worries about falling out; the top edge is 52" high and I'm 68" tall — the window comes up to my chest)
I was able to successfully grasp and remove from the upper gutter — at the point that always gets blocked up by leaves — about five loads of packed sopping wet leaves.
"O! The Joy!" (to quote Meriwether Lewis's journal, recording the emotions that accompanied the expedition's first view of the Pacific Ocean at the end of its epic journey).
Note that it's still not an easy tool to use, and requires a lot of patience along with substantial coordination and dexterity to simultaneously maneuver the cleaning arms, the attached extension pole, and the action rope to just where you want them to go in the proper sequence.
If you don't have a lot of patience and tolerance for a long, annoying learning curve, this tool's not for you.
From the website:
Cleaning a gutter with your bare hands can cause painful scratches and cuts.
And climbing a ladder to reach second-story gutters is just asking for trouble.
Instead, keep your hands unscathed and your feet on the ground by using Gutter Sense.
This tool features large polycarbonate "tongs" that will grab leaves or pine needles from flat-bottom gutters up to 14 feet high with its extension pole fully extended when you pull on the included 12-foot-long braided rope.
Tongs may be adjusted through 180° side-to-side.
*Full disclosure: the second photo is from Google image search: it's not a selfie.