Sunday, October 21, 2007

Blue Rabett or as the toilet twirls

In which the bunnies learn why physics is always less useful than plumbing. On her way out the door this morning, Ms. Rabett muttered, the toilet isn't working, that's your job. So Eli did the manly thing and went and bought about a hundred bucks worth of tools, observed that the toilet not only didn't flush down, but also needed a complete gut replacement, went back to the hardware store, bought a complete set of innards, stopped by the bookstore to get a book on useful expletives for when nothing works and took the damn thing apart getting the blue stuff all over himself and the floor, that book came in useful, and we learned that contrary to rumor brass screws used in toilets do corrode so you have to go back to the hardware store and get WD-40 and when that doesn't work you go back yet again and get a nut cracker (nononono, not that kind).

Put it back together and it still didn't flush (we won't talk about running, that's another project), so apart and together it went again, but clearly water was not filling the bowl quickly enough, so Eli went upstairs and looked at the working toilet in the house. Being a scientist and all, Eli observed that the water in the upstairs toilet circled clockwise when flushed and the downstairs one circled couterclockwise. As a well trained physicist Eli occasionally believed that this was all due to Coriolus forces, so he concluded that the upstairs toilet was in heaven, and the downstairs one in hell, or Australia, and we know that nothing works there because of the Howard government which, like the toilet, soon will be replaced.

Still, it was clear that closer inspection was called for and the Rabett
bent over, assumed the position and observed the brown underrim. Folks, Eli's shit may not stink, but it does stick, so the bunnies gloved him up and away we scrubbed and stuck pointy things into the holes which brings us to the point of this diatribe. If you bend down and feel around the bottom rim of your toilet you will find a bunch of little holes and one big one. When you flush, the water is forced into the rim and through the jets into the bowl. The big one is aimed slightly to one side or the other of the standing water in the bowl, which is what causes it to rotate rapidly. If you actually looked when you flushed you would see this jet of water cross the bowl and twirl the water. The direction of the big jet determines clockwise or counterclockwise. The other jets wash down the surface and rapidly build the volume until siphonic action strikes. Your crapper at work.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

One of your best posts yet.

But you forgot the most important tool of all for plumbing: a case of beer.

Anonymous said...

We all wish Eli well with his plumbing endeavours, but would gently suggest the real lesson: sometimes what you think is the cause, isn't.

If this is the case, expensive efforts to correct the symptoms by remedying the putative cause are less than helpful.

A friend of mine once expensively changed a fully working thermostat, when the problem was down to the valve controlling the hot water flow sticking. He then expensively changed the whole valve, when the problem was actually the cheap solenoid driving it.

Yes, there are valuable lessons to be learned from plumbing....

Boris said...

Is this post a metaphor for reading a Tim Ball column?

Boris said...

Anon 1:49,

You know, the best thing to do is get a whole bunch of the world's top plumbers to evaluate the vast plumbing literature. I mean, if thousands of plumbers and all plumbing related physics agreed, we can be damn confident of what the problem is, dontcha think?

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

I thought it was going to turn out to be Al Gore's fault.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:49 said
"there are valuable lessons to be learned from plumbing...."

Yeah, like "Hire a plumber do it".

...and then drink the case of beer while you watch.

Anonymous said...

By the way, Anon 1:49

Which would you rather do?

Pay a few extra dollars to replace a couple parts that may not yet need replacing?

Or let the crap continue to flow all over your floor?

It's called the "Precraptionary Principle".

Boris said...

"Or let the crap continue to flow all over your floor?"

Ah, but you're assuming that crap all over the floor is a bad thing. Crap is known to make plants grow better. So, why is it always assumed that life will be harder in a crappier world?

Anonymous said...

Boris,

Just out of curiosity, do you grow plants (and perhaps animals) on your bathroom floor?

Not me, at least not if i can help it. That's why there's Lysol disinfectant.

There is a place for everything. The bathroom floor is not the place for crap (at least not in my house -- yours may be different) and the atmosphere is not the place for all the extra CO2 (and other crap we are pumping into it like waste into a sess pool)

Hank Roberts said...

And if you haven't solved it yet, you should suspect CO2 fertilization has made the lovely landscaping growing above your sewer connection thrive and put eager roots down through the gaps in your old tile pipe, and proceed to your public tool lending library to borrow a 'snake' (not that kind) to clean the whole length out (you do have a cleanout port poking up through the grass outside next to the foundation, right? If the downstream pipe going toward the street is blocked, it may be brimfull when you open it there).

Anonymous said...

Hank, you clearly know more about this stuff than the rest of us.

When talk turns to "snakes" and "brimful" (of sewage) and the like, I prefer to call the plumber.

But thanks for the info, just the same.

Cynthia said...

Eli, maybe your plumbing contractor is a certified plumber for the axis of evil and maliciously installed a counterclockwise toilet in the bowels of your burrow just so that you can experience living hell every time you flush!;~)

Dano said...

"there are valuable lessons to be learned from plumbing...."

Yeah, like "Hire a plumber do it".

...and then drink the case of beer while you watch.


And then Audit(TM) the plumber's work, create a website, and whine and complain that he did it all wrong.

Yeah, yeah: that's the way to do it.

Best,

D

Hank Roberts said...

Speculating, I think toilets are cast ceramic, and they use the mirror image molds south of the Equator so they work with instead of against the coriolis force. OR antiforce.

Also you need a right-handed toilet brush north, and a left-handed toilet brush south of the equator.

Trust me on this.

Also they use left handed monkeywrenches to install the toilets in the Antipodes.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rabett, this picture of you looking down your crapper peeling off your crap with Boris, Hank, Cynthia and, of course, Dano(where's Stevie Bloom) standing over your shoulder offering comments, seems so apt.

Not knowing how a toilet flushes, and yet calling yourself a physicist, and well trained at that, again seems so apt.

Rabbet, Dano and crap in the same sentence. Its great to be alive.

Even better than best
JohnS

Anonymous said...

Ah, it's JohnS the increasingly bitter denialist. Things are just getting worse and worse for you, aren't they?

Eli, maybe it's time to consider this as an opportunity to acquire one of those dandy new double-flush toilets.

SCM said...

Coming from the land down-under, Australia that is, not Hell, I was glad to see you poking a stick at our soon-to-be-ex PM. I only hope Howard get the arse-kicking he so richly deserves come Nov 24!

On matters toilet related- with the lack of rainfall in these parts we soon won't be allowed to flush at all - 'if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown...tough shit!'

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon, not bitter at all. In fact like I say , enjoying life greatly. Rabbet with double story home, likely two cars and sundry other energy intensive devices- carbon print large, large large. Rabett as representative of other large carbon footprinters here- right on the money.

A great reason why I'm not worried at all about carbon taxes, carbon penalties at all. You see Anon, those faith warmers here like Rabett, don't believe a word of AGW, thats why they they have large carbon footprints. Kinda like Algore- talk the talk but don't walk the walk.

Impose a carbon tax, or even ask the mice to cut their energy use, and the mice really will squeal. Tell China to cut their energy use the mice will say. China will just give the mice the finger.

So picture of Rabett looking down his toilet and China giving him the finger. There's something awfully rude there but really funny. Great to be alive it is

JohnS

EliRabett said...

Two toilets, no waiting.

But we are soliciting donations for Johnny.

Anonymous said...

Rabbet with double story home, likely two cars and sundry other energy intensive devices- carbon print large, large large. Rabett as representative of other large carbon footprinters here- right on the money."

All surmised from an article on fixing a toilet.

Truly amazing.

We're going to have to start calling him "The Amazing Johns".

How fitting that he would weigh in on toilets.

Anonymous said...

JohnS, as Eli would very likely say, "Eli enjoys fine imported beer, too." Very likely requires transport to get Eli down to his favorite imported-beer-drinking place. Eli joins Kennedy and Edwards and many others who, while 'concerned about Global Warming", are burning the carbon dioxide candle at both ends.

But hey, it generates increases in their favorite Totem, so it's all ok. The Great Global Average Temperature Totem. The Totem with the biggest mojo on The Entire Planet, ever, in all of recorded times.

EliRabett said...

Nah, Eli just hops over there. Good local ones too. There are advantages to being a metrobunny.

Fancy Rat said...

JohnS said "Impose a carbon tax, or even ask the mice to cut their energy use, and the mice really will squeal. Tell China to cut their energy use the mice will say."

Funny, "Tell China to cut their energy use too" is what the Republicans, the CEI, AEI, and many many others, including our soon to be ex-PM [please :-{] said and still say when the Kyoto treaty is discussed.

Anonymous said...

Hey Fancy Rat, funny when Kyoto is discussed, nobody mentions the utter failure of western Europe countries to be anywhere near their reduced targets. Not may years to go to achieve their goals Eastern europe achived as old soviet type industries closed bacause they were economic failures.

Now europe is running around looking for carbon credits to get reductions close- plant a few trees in poor african countries and feel good about yourself- kinda like Algore again.

If you think China, India, the rest of Asia gives a f--- what you think,go now and join Rabett with his head down the toilet

Anonymous said...

John S, you really are bitter. Must suck to be you.

Anonymous said...

Anon, I thank you for your attention. I realise you have parent issues and that all this talk of Rabett over the toilet and Chinese fingers is playing with your mind. You so want to believe Algore and his faith warmers- there, there. Look Anon, if it helps that you wish to transfer your self loathing onto me, you go right ahead.

Yes JohnS is a bitter, bitter man. Say it loud three times. Now don't you feel so much better.

JohnS

Anonymous said...

Oh, please keep going John, this is getting truly enjoyable!I did the "say it loud 3 times," wasn't that great, what should I do next?

Anonymous said...

(psss, Rabett, you gotta stop encouraging your maddie students from coming to the site. I know you're in a mines-bigger-than-yours faith warmers site competition with Tamino, and evey hit helps, but really)

Hallo Anon, hehehe, yes wipe the spittle away first, uncle Rabett good to you.Taken your tablets yet.Playing with the switches, are you, pushing the half flush button on the toilet, Aren't you a good boy. Rabbet will give you a pass mark for that.

(really Rabett. How awkward. Just quietly take him off to the side)

Bye Bye little Anon.

JohnS

EliRabett said...

Methinks serious intervention is called for. Take a timeout John. There are some very nice cafes somewhere near where you are where you can sit and relax.

Dano said...

Do they dispense Placidil or Xanax at these cafes?

Best,

D

Anonymous said...

Stop it, John, you're killing me, my ribs hurt, can't stop laughing...

Anonymous said...

Hey Rabett, I think you warned the wrong loon.
JohnS