The un-celebrity president: Thirty-seven years after leaving office, Jimmy Carter shuns riches, lives modestly in his Georgia hometown

Like: The un-celebrity president: Jimmy Carter shuns riches, lives modestly in his Georgia hometown – The Washington Post

I was not a fan of his as President, but I respect the man.  He practices what he preaches.  In an age of phonies he’s the real deal.

Also on:

The Boston Globe has invited newspapers across the country to stand up for the free press today with editorials. …

Like: A Chesterton Tribune Editorial

Yeah!  I think the national politicians need to get out of their marble temples and see what the real America is like. The Chesterton Tribune is about as even handed and mild mannered as you can be, but they can be feisty when they want to be. But they show us what democracy, stewardship and civics are really about.

Also on:

Maersk Supply Service has signed on to support The Ocean Cleanup, the Dutch non-profit that is developing technology to clean the ocean of plastic waste. For their role in the project, Maersk Supply Service will provide its AHTS, Maersk Launcher, to deploy and support the first cleanup system, known as Cleanup System 001, in the […]

Like: Maersk Supply Service AHTS Selected to Deploy World’s First Large-Scale Ocean Plastic Cleanup System – gCaptain

Also on:

This is the infamous vacuum cleaner post I have been promising to write.

I just bought a refurbished vacuum cleaner.  A Tristar MG-2 canister, if you must know.  It’s a compact model which is handy to pull out quickly when you track something in and for carrying out to the garage for cleaning out the cars.  New Tristars are very expensive.  Refurbished they still are not cheap but they will outlast most of the plastic junk built today.

A family I knew well, bought a Tristar back in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s.  Back then the styling had not changed since the 1940’s.  The family nicknamed it The Pig, because it looked like a little piggy rolling behind them.  It was ugly in a cute sort of way, built like a tank and powerful.  I know they used it for over 20 years and they loved it.

Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

Better to buy a quality refurbished vacuum than a new cheap plastic vac. Most new plastic vacs cost $150 to 500 or more.  The really cheap ones are abysmal and all are kind of considered disposable.

Here are the numbers I am seeing: You can buy a new “high end” plastic vacuum cleaner for $500.  It might be made in China or it might be assembled in Germany from Chinese parts.  Or you can spend $250 – 500 for a quality refurbished vacuum cleaner, made in USA, made of metal, that will still be running in 10 – 15 years.  Heck, $250 – 350 buys a heck of a lot in the refurbished department.

Most of the high quality vacuums are made in the USA. I like that.

High quality vacuums can be repaired, Usually it’s just a new belt.  They can be refurbished and have a second life and will probably still outlast the modern plastic ones.  I’ve learned this the hard way.

It is okay to have more than one vacuum cleaner.  I have one for each floor of my house because I’m done lugging a vac up and down flights of stairs.  Also a vac model that is perfect for your ground floor may not work as well upstairs where the bedrooms are.

Bag vs. Bag less

I’ve owned expensive bag less vacuums.  I hated having to go outside to the dumpster all the time to empty the  dirt collector with dust flying everywhere in the wind.  Trying to empty that dirt cup into a garbage can indoors just puts dust back in the air.  And it’s all plastic so dust clings to that dust collector like crazy.  If you have pets, the disposable bags are neater and do not collect pet smells the way plastic does.  The only two bag less vacuums I recommend are Rainbow and Filter Queen (see below).


Upright vs. canister

Whatever you prefer. I have had several upright vacuums starting with a couple of Hoovers to a couple of Dysons.  Uprights cant get under furniture the way a canister can. Uprights need some room to maneuver.  Uprights seem to work better in offices and retail stores than in smaller home spaces.  If you have large rooms and hallways with big expanses of wall to wall carpet, and are used to an upright, get an upright.  Get a refurbished Kirby.  You want one with a Kevlar fan blade.  If you have small rooms with lots of tight spaces I think a canister is better.

Why Buy Refurbished Vacuums?

Why buy a refurbished vacuum cleaner?  If you buy one of the vacuum cleaners listed below brand new, you are going to pay over $1000 – 2000 or $3000 or more depending on model.  That is a lot of money – too much money for me.  If I buy a properly refurbished machine I get like 96% of the machine if it was new at a fraction of the New price.

Get to the Vacuum Cleaner Models Man!

Upright: Kirby.  Search for Reconditioned Kirby’s.  Runner up: Electrolux/Aerus upright.


Rainbow: Made in USA.  These use water to filter out dust and dirt instead of a bag. Even the older pre-HEPA models are remarkable at filtering the air.  I’m convinced every home should have a Rainbow and here is why: a Rainbow can suck up water: plumbing leaks, basement seepage, roof leaks, windows left open in a storm the Rainbow can suck those wet messes up.  If you live in a place prone to flooding a Rainbow is great for cleaning up afterwards.  It’s great for sucking up excess water out of a basement carpet.  It’s great to have one in reserve. Search for Reconditioned Rainbow’s.

Pro Tip: If you buy a Rainbow, invest in a non-electrified wet hose, plastic tubes and squeegee attachment if your unit didn’t come with it.  These can be aftermarket but made for your model Rainbow. Cheap insurance!

Even if you already have a working vacuum cleaner, a rebuilt Rainbow with it’s wet pickup can be a good investment and a compliment to your primary vac.  Add the optional carpet shampooing attachment and it has even more uses.

Plus, of course, it vacuums up dry dust and sand like crazy.  It works really well for dusting and not putting allergiens back in the air.

There is a downside to the Rainbow, because you have to fill the tank with water before each use, it is not the best for a quick cleanup when the kids track in dirt and the in-laws are due any second, or for lugging out to the driveway to vacuum the interior of the car. The Rainbow is for weekly cleaning day.

Others in no particular order. You really can’t go wrong with any of these.

Electrolux/Aerus:  These are well built machines which are sort of torpedo shaped.  They have a great disposable filter bag system so bag changes are clean and neat.  The retractable cord is a great feature.  They last a long time.  Search for Reconditioned Aerus.

Tristar: Made in USA. compact, powerful, they are built to last.  If you need something smaller and lighter for lugging around or in a cramped home or apartment this is perfect.  Search for Reconditioned Tristar.

Filter Queen:  Made in USA. my experience is only second hand but they have a reputation for lasting forever and being very good at cleaning and air quality without losing suction.  These can be good if you have a long haired pets.  They even make a dog grooming attachment.  Refurbished Filter Queens seem to be in high demand.  Search for Reconditioned Filter Queen.

The only caution I hear about Filter Queen is, officially, you are supposed to change the paper filter cone – every time you use it – if that is true in real practice then it’s not quite the grab and start sweeping type of vac like an Aerus, Tristar or Kirby is. Plus the cost of those cones could add up.  I have no experience with Filter Queen, but I suspect that most owners don’t change that filter quite that often unless they have lots of pets or allergies.  Again, a Filter Queen will last a good long time.

Where else to buy?

Online Retailers:  There are a number of them, a good search engine will find them.  I bought my Rainbow from Great Vacs a few years ago and I just ordered that Tristar from them because I was satisfied with their service.

eBay:  You need to do your homework buying a refurbished vacuum cleaner on eBay.  You want to find a seller that really refurbishes the machine and doesn’t just polish up the exterior with Armor All and pass it off as refurbishment.  Find out: 1. what the seller does for refurbishment, 2. what their return and refund policy is (if they don’t have one pass), 3. what is their sales history and buyer satisfaction rating, 4. how much is shipping and what is the final price with shipping, 5. what exactly you are getting: hoses, attachments etc.  You want to separate the garage sale finds from a truly refurbished model done by someone that knows what they are doing.

What if I Want a New Vacuum Cleaner?

We’ve established that the vacs above are too high priced if bought new, at least for me.  But some people really want a new decent quality vac at an affordable price or they just don’t like the looks of the reconditioned vintage style vacs, above.

In my opinion, you will not find a really good quality vac for $100 – 200 range.  You get what you pay for and at those prices, even the plastic seems 3rd rate.

I have no direct experience with any of these brands or models.  My information comes from doing a lot research online.

Sebo – as of this writing, Sebo vacuums are still made in Germany.  They have a reputation for quality and some good features.  They make both canisters and uprights. They are not cheap.  Search for Sebo vacuum cleaner.

Perfect – new retro. These are reproductions of classic Electrolux/Aerus model canister vacs.  I have no experience with them.  I have heard they have a very powerful motor.  Made in China.  C101 has a metal body. C103 is a copy of a newer model with a high grade plastic housing.  Search for Perfect C101C103.

Miele – as far as I can tell, Miele is an EU company but these vacs are made in China.  I have no experience with them. They seem to be well regarded and they generally run lower in price than the Sebo and Perfect models. Be sure to check if they are bag or bag less so you get what you want.  Search for: Miele vacuum cleaners.

Pro Tip: You will see some canisters say “hard floor vacuum cleaner”.  They appear to be less expensive.  This is because they do not include a power head.  These are only good if you have no carpet and no area rugs.  IMHO you are better off getting a vac that lets you clean hard floors, carpet and area rugs right from the beginning.

What do you have?

Note: reading below is strictly optional in case you have insomnia.

I have a Rainbow “D” model bought refurbished as my main machine on my main floor.  I dust with it and sweep the floors with it. I bought this a few years ago online from Great Vacs (see above.)  It’s also my “just in case” vac should I ever have a wet cleanup requiring more than just a quick mop (ie. dishwasher leaks, clothes washer leaks, plumbing leaks, water in the basement, etc.)

Pro Tip:  I dump my Rainbow dirty water on the back lawn in good weather.  The lawn loves it.  In winter I empty the water into the toilet.

When I bought the Rainbow, I already had a subcompact 1990’s Royal canister with shoulder strap for quick spot cleaning, doing the stairs and cleaning car interiors. It was too small in capacity for general cleaning but it was good for those jobs.  The Royal also had a tendency to flop over off it’s wheels when trailing behind.  The Royal finally broke down and repairs were more than the little plastic vac was worth.  The refurbished Tristar, mentioned above is replacing the Royal.

My upstairs is all carpet.  I have a refurbished Electrolux, that I bought on eBay.  It is close to the model we had when I was a kid, so I guess nostalgia.

Unfinished basement:  I have a Dyson canister.  I originally bought this as a general purpose vac.  I hated it from the start.  I replaced it with the Rainbow.  The Dyson sits next to my workbench, plugged in and ready to suck up sawdust and anything else on the concrete floor in that area and off the workbench.  It works well for that task.

(Electrolux is now called Aerus.)  2018.

I tried to cover everything pretty extensively.  If you have questions feel free to ask in the comments below and I will try to get you an answer.

This was also posted to

Also on:

For decades I’d write notes to myself on the backs of old envelopes.  These immediately got lost, thrown out or washed in the next load of laundry.

I liked the simplicity of iOS Notepad but it locked me into the iOS walled garden at the time.  Evernote came along, but then jumped the shark.

Simplenote is free and ad free.  There are apps for every computer, even Linux, and every mobile OS, plus web.

It’s so simple, basic, it takes no thought to use it.  Typing a note has no barriers, it’s as easy as typing a post on Facebook or  It automatically saves so I don’t even have to remember to do that. I like this simplicity.  I don’t want a lot of things getting in the way of my thoughts in that instant.  So it works for me.

And, of course, everything syncs.  I have the Linux app on my laptop, lost connection to the internet,  but the note I typed in Simplenote still saved locally and synced with the network once it was restored. (I can’t remember if I had to reopen the app first or not.)

It’s not fancy.  Basic text. But it beats writing on the back of old envelopes.

Also on:

I have a Nokia 6.1 (US 2018) phone running AndroidOne. No complaints except the camera locks up every once in awhile, but I’m not a big camera user.

So I’m in my car, pulling out of my neighborhood onto a highway.  My phone is in my shirt pocket.  Suddenly the phone starts playing a sorta doo wop tune over the speaker, a tune I’d never heard before. Then it went to voice over, it was a commercial!  I know it said something about Google and maybe it said something about Wifi.  I, of course, was busy, fumbling, trying to get the phone out of my pocket. But I’m fricking driving on a highway. I manage to thumb the lock screen on and see some notification saying something like “Dave’s open wifi network” or words to that effect.  But I’m fricken driving so I can’t PIN unlock the phone.  Then the commercial is over, the speaker goes dead and the notification disappears from the lock screen.

WTF just happened?

That’s the first time something like that has ever happened to me.  The Nokia does have a FM radio receiver built in but I’ve never used it.  I got no repeat of the incident, in that area, on the way home.

I did a full antivirus scan and a full malware scan that evening, two different programs, neither found anything.

I’m just putting it down to the freakishness of radio waves – wifi is really just radio waves.  But it was strange.

Also on:

I live in a subdivision that is overrun with rabbits and ground squirrels.


Every home in the subdivision has a usable porch.  Under those porches is a safe place for rabbits from predators.  Of course everyone has flower beds and shrubs that the rabbits like to eat.  So good habitat.

Three sides of the subdivision are wood lots or vacant land.  The coyotes roam those areas but are reluctant to enter or hunt in the human occupied subdivision.  This is exactly why all the rabbits and ground squirrels are in the subdivision – it’s a refuge.

We can’t let our cats out to hunt because the cats are too daft to stay in the subdivision so they get picked off by the coyotes.

We humans are prohibited from discharging firearms, grenades, high explosives or flying monkeys within town limits.  👮

The rabbits are chewing up our gardens and the squirrels are undermining our infrastructure and both are getting bold.

So does anybody have a good technique for getting rid of rabbits and squirrels.

Also on:

After much discussion I came up with a new blogroll. Ta da!

Not perfect but a bit easier to maintain.  I used the Links Shortcode plugin to resurrect the “Links” function in WordPress and let me put the links on a Page rather than a Widget.  I still have not fully figured out the formatting for the links lists but I got the core: clickable links, a description automatically arranged in alphabetical order.  Good enough.

I borrowed a lot of suggestions from Chris Aldrich.  Even though I didn’t use it, I like his use of the term “Following” page.  I think it fits better.  I stuck with “blogroll” because that’s what I’m used to.  I used a different plugin to resurrect the Links function but it gets the job done.  I copied his menu taxonomy and made my Blogroll Page a sub-page under “About”, not to hide it but to to personalize it and show ownership of it – that it is my list and should be equated with me.

Now I’m free to add blogs to the roll, so It will grow.

Also on:

I just added a small link directory using this plugin.  I’m using the free version of the plugin which is not bad although very few features in makes a decent one page directory.  Now that I know how to use it I can add URL’s fairly quickly.


  1. Half the fun of the Web is exploring the Web.  In the 1990’s we called these pages “Links” and we found our way around by surfing the web.
  2. I wanted a place for links to things I like.  The blogroll is for people so this is for websites and stuff.
  3. I guess I have not fully gotten curating links out of my system.
  4. It needed to be more permanent than a blog post but easier to manage than a static html page.
  5. I’ll eventually add to it, this is good for a start.
  6. RamblingGit is my web presence and where you link to says something about me, my interests and what I find important.
Also on:

What is the purpose of a “tall kitchen garbage/waste bag?”  In my household, it is to keep all the non-recyclable trash together until it reaches the landfill.  An amazing amount of that waste is plastic packaging used on food.  So the plastic garbage bag keeps all this plastic and some paper together both in the home and on the truck.  When driving behind a garbage truck, I see a lot of those plastic “grocery bags” flying out the top or back of the truck to litter the environment or work it’s way into a waterway.  A garbage bag minimizes that.

To me, it does not matter if the garbage bag itself will break down because it is going to be sealed in an air tight landfill and will probably still be there for centuries.

Compostable Plastic Trash Bags

These are made mostly of corn (maize).  They actually do compost into organic material.  Back in 2015 I tried some of these bags.  I wish I could say I was impressed but I can’t.  The bags are expensive and not strong enough.  I had to use two bags, one inside of the other which doubles the cost and even then they were barely strong enough.  The corners of trash would slit them too easily and they were leak prone.

I do see some uses for this technology from BioBag.  They might work as lawn and leaf bags, grocery store produce bags (if strong enough) and dog waste pickup bags, but not for general kitchen trash that is going to end up in a landfill anyway.

Responsibly Sourced Trash Bags

So the trash bag will end up in a landfill anyway, so how do we make trash bags more environmentaly responsible?  Either make them from recycled plastics or plastics derived from renewable sources.

Seventh Generation Drawstring Kitchen Trash Bags:  I bought these in 2017.  They are 65% recycled plastic (somebody has to use up the plastic sent to recycling).  To my surprise, these are pretty darn good.  Strong, reasonably priced and I like the drawstring.  They are also sized right.  They help the environment by creating a use for some of that plastic we recycle and they take less energy to produce.  I would buy these again.

Hippo Sak Tall Kitchen Bags:  So far I like these the best.  The material is 85% plant based from sugar cane.  They are not any more environmentally friendly after you use them than any other plastic bag, but they use less petroleum products so that’s a win.  They are very strong and resist leaking.  I didn’t think I would like the handles but I found it just as easy to tie then off to secure the top as any draw string bag. I will buy these again.

Your routine and circumstances may vary from mine.

Also on: