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Now, how do I change the subject?


Ah, yes…chickens playing the xylophone. No, no link. Unfortunately, it’s a FaceBook video — I refuse to link to ’em, and I can’t find this particular video elsewhere. Never mind. If you enter “chickens xylophone” into YouTube, you will find literally minutes of wholesome entertainment.

Chickens like sounds. They will return again and again to peck things that have no food value but make an interesting noise, like empty buckets, wooden gates or my banjo.

So anyway, I have thoroughly enjoyed the political salt storm this week. I intend to continue enjoying (and probably posting about it) for some time to come. But, let’s face it, it’s politics — if you get pulled in too far, it will always break your heart.

No hostages to fortune.

p.s. Tell me electric blanket stories. We bought an expensive one last year, got a whole luxuriant season out of it, fired it up this year and…control burnout. To be fair, I think the big fat cat napping on it during the heat-up cycle tripped the heat sensor — but it’s a lousy failsafe design that permanently breaks when overheated. Any advice?


Comment from Argentium G. Tiger
Time: November 14, 2016, 8:06 pm

From the picture, this might be the video on YouTube: BACH BACH Chickens

As for the electric blanket problem: Contact the company’s service department, see what options exist for repair and/or replacement. However they treat you, let us know?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 14, 2016, 8:45 pm

I found that one. Very close, Argentium. May even be the same chickens. But in the FB one, the wall behind the xylophone is white.

My boss has sent back THREE of them just this year. Same brand. Which is, by common consent, the best brand on the market here. A Google search is terrifying.

Remember when electric blankets used to burn houses down? Well, they fixed them. Now they just break if you look at them funny instead.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: November 14, 2016, 9:07 pm

Mme. Ermine, about five years ago Mrs. Uncle switched us from electric blanket to electric mattress pad. It has been highly satisfactory. Because it is designed to laid upon rather than under, it is much more robust than a blanket. Ours is packed away at the moment because here in Florida the weather is still far too warm to need it, but if you like I’ll break it out and get the make and model.

The main practical difference is that you will need a bit more additional cover than with an electric blanket, but that doesn’t mean lots of heavy layers. Finally, it works particularly well for pre-heating the bed on a cold night.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: November 14, 2016, 9:32 pm

Husband and I have given up on electric blankets. Our last one would turn itself ON. That was the last straw for me. But we don’t need one in San Antonio. The house is snug, and we have four down comforters of various weights if it gets freezing cold. I actually prefer to sleep cooler now, but my ageing knees complain. Maybe I need to sew some knee cozies 🙂

I used to have bizarre dreams if I got too hot sleeping under an electric blanket. I think the heat kept my brain from regulating my body’s temperature, or something. I’d love to buy a new Pendleton wool blanket and with a top sheet I’d be just right. Now if I could just solve my pillow problem …

Comment from Formerly known as Skeptic
Time: November 14, 2016, 9:58 pm

I will second Uncle Al’s recommendation. An electric mattress pad is the way to go.

Comment from p2
Time: November 14, 2016, 10:02 pm

ran an electric underblanket while living in england. havent used one since…even here in the frozen north. i do second uncle al’s comment about them preheating really well..

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 14, 2016, 11:07 pm

We started with a heated mattress pad, several years ago. I forgot why Uncle B didn’t like it, but he didn’t. I think it was lumpy and uncomfortable.

Comment from bikeboy
Time: November 14, 2016, 11:46 pm

If those chickens could play “Turkey in the Straw,” they could be serious competition for the tic-tac-toe -playing chickens at carnivals, geek shows, etc.

Dear Uncle Al…

Cold night …. in Florida?

Hahahahahahahahahahaa! (Joke, right?)

If you don’t get any satisfaction with the customer satisfaction department or whatever… if the control will disassemble with household tools, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it doesn’t have a 10-cent glass fuse inside, and probably easily replaceable. At least it’s worth checking before you toss it, if it comes to that. (Such fuses are rated for amperage – if you can find one the same physical size and amperage, you should be in business.)

Comment from Gromulin
Time: November 14, 2016, 11:50 pm

Say what you will, but I’m old enough to have slept on a waterbed for a few years. That thing was the warmest bed I’ve ever had, likely because the years I had it the only other source of heat in the hovel I lived in was an electric dish-type heater.

Comment from The Neon Madman
Time: November 15, 2016, 12:28 am

You can have my electric blanket when you unwrap it from my cold, dead carcass.

I live in Cheesehead Country, and in the winter turning the blanket on for a half hour before going to bed is the difference between “ahhhhh” and “×%:!!&$#@!!”

I had a waterbed quite a few years ago (simple bag bed, no soft sides or padding). That was the best. I’d love to have one again, but the missus hates them. It’s a shame -they’re supposed to be good for bad backs. The electric blanket with dual controls is the best I am going to get now.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: November 15, 2016, 12:30 am

+1 on electric mattress pads vs blankets. They are much more reliable and durable if for no other reason thank that they don’t get flexed, folded, or washed as often as electric blankets. Comfortwise having the heat come from underneath is just, I don’t know, better somehow.


Comment from Uncle Al
Time: November 15, 2016, 12:31 am

@Gromulin – Waterbeds sure had their advantages and disadvantages, and with a good heater they were marvelous in cold weather. I slept on one from 1971 to 1997 so I know what I’m blathering about.

@bikeboy – Sure it gets cold enough for electric assistance! Where I am in Sarasota county it gets down to about 40°F (about 5°C) by early a.m. in the winter several times, and “normal” low is 50°F (10°C). While we have central heat, we usually don’t use it unless it is cold during the day as well as at night. So, that electric mattress pad can feel mighty good!

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: November 15, 2016, 12:37 am

@stoatie – see if you can persuade Uncle to try it again. If his objection was that it was lumpy or otherwise didn’t lie flat, then the problem may have been either a bad/cheap pad, or you didn’t have an exact size match. I can’t imagine any way that Brussels has failed to send armed thugs to mattress manufacturers all over the EU to make them make only govt-dictated standard sizes, or face instant death by firing squad. But that doesn’t mean that European mattress standards are the same as US standards. I’m guessing on very little factual evidence, but I do know that over here bed linen for a King mattress doesn’t work worth a damn on a California King. (It would be the Californians, wouldn’t it?)

edit addition: You definitely want an electric pad that is made to match the exact size of your mattress. Fitted corners of the right height or you need those elastic corner gadgets to hold it all tight. You know, the ones with thingies that look like garter snaps.

Comment from Bob B
Time: November 15, 2016, 2:35 am

I recall that some electric blanket controllers have a fuse inside. If you replace the fuse and it immediately blows again, throw away the blanket. You wouldn’t want to put a bigger fuse, it might catch fire while you were sleeping.

Comment from drew458
Time: November 15, 2016, 4:00 am

Like everyone else, I’ll say check the fuse. If that doesn’t do it, go to YouTube. There are dozens of “fix electric blanket” videos.

The top brands carry a 10 year warranty, many others give you 5 years, but it’s not worth the hassle for a 10 cent fuse. Anything more than that, and I’d send it back.

Comment from Timbo
Time: November 15, 2016, 11:02 am

I’ve always wondered what would happen if you peed the bed with an electric blanket or warmer pad on.

(I’m asking for a friend) 😉

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: November 15, 2016, 5:54 pm

Timbo—last year I stripped the wires out of two defunct electric blankets. The wires were securely encased in a thick rubbery coating (a composite of some kind). Honestly, I think any break or fissures in the wiring would have to be deliberate. I don’t see how ordinary or even rough usage, repeated launderings, et cetera—would ever crack the coating. In fact, it was so hard to cut that I had to use the EMT scissors. I don’t think urine could cause a short in the wiring, if that’s what your friend is wondering. 🙂

Comment from BJM
Time: November 16, 2016, 4:27 am

We have three large dogs so a pre-bed warmer is not required.

I have the “Princess and the Pea” gene so lumpy electric mattress pads bug the crap out of me. We use a combo of cotton quilts and cotton thermal blankets…they’re lightweight,washable, easily adjusted in layers and plenty warm enough.

However, the CA Central Valley is fairly temperate, sustaining near and freezing temps for only about 12 weeks…just enough to harden off the orchards and vineyards. Once in a blue moon we’ll get a really hard freeze for a few days with icy roads or even a foot of snow but it doesn’t stick.

I’m wore a short sleeved tee today as we’re having an unusually warm Nov. I’m pretty sure Leonard DiCaprio’s carbon footprint is to blame.

Comment from Mitchell
Time: November 16, 2016, 7:02 am

Electric blankets?? Sounds like you poor souls don’t have proper hand-made quilts! We’re finally getting into the low 60’s for our nights and I love opening my windows and snuggling under one of the fantastic quilts my parents made for me. 🙂

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