Category Archives: Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty

Loop Fruits

Today’s post comes from Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease, civilians! But don’t be lulled into a false sense of security!

And as I say that, I realize it’s redundant because “false” is the only “sense of security” brand on the shelves these days.

Nothing is secure!

Look at what an isolated foreign potentate was able to do without leaving his hermit kingdom – he cancelled our plan to go to the movies! That’s a level of meddling in the personal entertainment lives of Americans that I thought was reserved only for the FBI or the Mall of America Police.

And now comes word that there are people actually working in an organized way to try to build Elon Musk’s extremely scary Hyperloop, a high-speed transportation system akin to those pneumatic tubes that they use to move money, paperwork, and out-of-ink pens back and forth from the bank’s drive-up teller to your car.

As your Bathtub Safety Officer, I’ve made it clear I’m totally against this idea.

As I said in my earlier post:

“Even if everything is OK on the journey from point A to point B, what about the people who handle the tube when it arrives at its destination? During the heyday of pneumatic office communication, the weak link always happened in the basement where all the tubes ended and various boobs and imbeciles fumbled to open the capsules and spilled the precious contents onto a dank cement floor. Or at least that’s how I picture it.”

The Hyperloop planners have considered this very thing, and according to the above article, they’ve lavished their attention on the sticky problem of what happens when Hyper-pod arrives at its station.

“So the team decided on what it calls a ‘bubble strategy.’ There’s the swanky capsule, the one with fancy doors and windows, that pulls into the station. It’s the ‘bubble.’ Passengers get in, and that capsule enters an outer shell as it’s loaded into the tube. The outer shell is built to handle the ride, and has the air compressor and other needed bits.”

Now I’m even more concerned. The thought of riding in a “bubble” that’s inside an “outer shell” that goes 800 miles per hour gets me thinking about the metal ball rattles around inside cans of spray paint.

No illustrations needed!

I have been told that I sometimes over-react to threats that are not real.

Maybe the Hyperloop is one of those cases and nothing will come of it. There are so many potential obstacles to the establishment of system that promotes human travel-by-tube, it will probably not happen in our shockingly brief lifetimes. Earthquakes, rising ocean levels or killer bees could quickly take take this, and every other option, off the table.

Or maybe with the growth of the internet and fully immersive high-definition virtual realities, the whole idea of physical travel to distant locations will begin to seem quaint. We may decide that going anywhere at all is not only too risky – it’s unnecessary.

Especially when you consider how easy it is to keep us from going to the movies!

Yours in Safety,
B.S.O.R.

What does it take to keep you at home?

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Love Storm, Revisited

This morning at 9am, my good friend Mike Pengra will re-air the final broadcast of MPR’s Morning Show on Radio Heartland, recorded 6 years ago today.

Such a kind gesture from a true gentleman!

Since it’s only good manners to bring a gift of some sort to a party, I’ll offer this – a post from the old “Trail Balloon” blog that immediately followed the event itself:

Our final Morning Show broadcast was an immense hug and a truly beautiful thing thanks to the waves of faithful listeners who flowed to and through the Fitzgerald Theater and St. Paul’s Central Presbyterian Church. The size of the crowd went well beyond our expectations (I wagered 1500) and their warmth was off the charts.

As a lifelong radio guy, I am naturally timid at the thought of facing a live audience, but this group was as comfort-inducing as any collection of 2000 souls can be. What’s the opposite of an unruly mob? A ruly mob, I guess. That’s what we had.

All the heartfelt words of praise for our Morning Show were oh so welcome, but after awhile I did begin to feel a bit guilty. Let’s face it, everybody works hard and the stress of day-to-day living takes a toll. Who wouldn’t get a boost from having a gaggle of admiring people asking for your autograph? I confess I enjoyed it tremendously, but I recognize that most people deserve a kind word and a pat on the back for the good things they do every day, and do they get it? You know the answer. Sorry Jim Ed and I hogged the love storm, but what could we do? It blew down the doors.

The Morning Show is done. It was a long-running and sometimes confounding radio gymnastics routine with plenty of twists and flourishes and it looked like we would come crashing down a couple of times, but our spotters were there for us and gravity gave us some lucky breaks, and the dismount was incredible.

When have you finished well?

Lightning Strikes (Almost) Twice (As Much)!

Today’s post comes from professional alarmist Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease civillians!

Relax but keep an eye on the sky, because I know we have had words in the past about my nemesis, lightning.

This past week, we received some hair-raising news – climate change may well hike the frequency of lightning strikes on our planet.

I know you are thinking several things right now that might disarm my urgent message. Let’s take them in order:

  • “Lightning isn’t a big threat to me right now. Two times zero is still zero.” 

Shame on you for using math to diminish a safety problem! That’s like saying there’s little chance you’ll get Ebola if you don’t come in contact with someone who has it. That’s the kind of reasoning that suppresses fear, which is the only tool nature gives us in the never-ending battle against unlikely calamities. If I did that, I’d be out of work today. And don’t forget The Human Lightning Rod, Roy Sullivan! If we apply math to his story, the number of personal strikes goes from 7 to more than 10!

  • The research says lightning will increase 50% by the year 2100. I’ll be dead by then, so who cares? 

Your “dead by then” argument is simply wishful thinking. Scientists are constantly finding ways to extend life spans. And if you make it to the year 2100, you’ll likely be in a wheelchair, which is made out of metal – a conductor! And … if you DON’T make it to 2100, you’ll most likely be in the ground, which is where lightning hits! Frankenstein’s monster thought he was safe on a “being dead” exemption – until lightning struck!

  • Lightning is troubling, but I have more immediate concerns. 

That’s what lightning WANTS you to think.

  • Lightning has no thoughts or desires. 

That means you can’t reason or bargain with it. You find THAT comforting?

Friends, there is no doubt in my mind we will experience more lightning in our future.

My advice:

  1. Buy a sturdy pair of rubber-soled shoes.
  2. Sell your golf clubs.
  3. Keep doors and windows closed in a rainstorm.
  4. Learn to bathe away from pipes and all plumbing.
  5. Yours in Safety, B.S.O.R.

What are you doing to prepare for the future?

Duck Opener

Today’s Post comes from Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease, civillians!

But at the same time stay very alert, because there are people walking around our lakes and marshes carrying guns, and they’re looking for things to shoot! The Minnesota waterfowl season opened last weekend, and ducks have been in the news ever since.

As a Bathtub Safety Officer, I’m charged with keeping people informed about the hazards associated with slippery, wet, hard surfaces in and around the bathroom, which statistics show is The Most Dangerous Room In The House. You simply can’t combine the disparate elements of water, tile, porcelain, soap, and naked, vulnerable people without taking crazy risks. And this precarious situation was made even less safe by the introduction of rubber waterfowl into the bathroom environment – a move I opposed but people ignored my warnings and now the bathtub duck population has exploded, worldwide!

Where do they come from? No one seems to know! I am deeply worried that there is some sinister force behind the relentless spread of these creatures, which have no official taxonomy but I categorize them as “Bathtub Ebola”.

Rubber bathtub ducks are eye-catching distractions whose distinctive call (“Squeak!”) can be quite alarming to an unsuspecting bather. Unfortunately, these ducks only sound off when they are squeezed or stepped on, usually by a person who has soap in his eyes and is blindly grasping around for a towel. If you are in that situation it means you have probably already lost your balance and injury is imminent!

That’s why I’m declaring a Bathtub Duck season in Minnesota, which commences immediately and ends only when I say so, which is probably going to be never.

Under the guidelines I am making up right now, you can bag as many ducks as you like as long as you remove them from the bathtub area and either pen them up in a safe, non-slippery enclosure, or extract their squeakers and deflate them so they can be of no harm to innocent bathroom users. I realize that this will offend some who think there should be as many of these yellow floaters around as possible, because they are “fun”.

I ASSURE YOU, there is nothing “fun” about these dangerous creatures. Here are two examples:

A giant bathtub duck appeared in Seoul, South Korea this week and after dominating the landscape with its imposing, Godzilla-like presence, it began deflating – much to the delight of the local populace, many of whom took pictures of the weakened rubberfowl. But it has since been pumped up again by its masters, and the people who were momentarily released from its mezmerizing spell have once again fallen silent. Where is the Minnesota duck hunting population when we so desperately need it?

Duck_Comet_2

And scientists got the “go-ahead” this week to land a probe on a rubber-duck-shaped object hurtling through space. Which raises the question – could comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko be the extra-terrestrial source of this Flaxen Scourge? The notion that there is a Rubber Duck Mother Ship rocketing around our galaxy is an admittedly wild idea that can only be tested by landing a probe right on its head. I am not a violent person, but I admit I’m comforted by the thought that the first thing the Philae probe will do once it makes contact is thrust a space-harpoon into the comet’s (hopefully soft) head.

Only then will we begin to understand the true dimensions of what we are really dealing with!

Stay Alert!
B.S.O.R.

What was your favorite childhood toy?

Control Issues

Today’s post comes from Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease, Civilians!

Be at ease but be cautious whenever someone else offers to do the driving, especially when that “someone else” is a machine!

Yes, I admit I’m alarmed at the progress Google is making with its Autonomous Car Program.  Why?  It won’t be long before you will be able to buy an automobile that will drive itself to wherever you’re going – regardless of whether you intend to go there or not.

What do I worry about when I imagine our driverless car future? Everything, of course! But mostly, it’s the loss of control.

And here’s another thing that keeps me up at night – Americans who ride around in autonomous cars will eventually forget how to drive. It’s inevitable, because anything that is not practiced withers away. Think of it – when the autopilot switches off, we will suddenly discover that we have lost the talent and the ability to safely operate automobiles.

In other words, it’ll be just like today, only more so!

The downsides here are so many and so negative, I hardly know where to begin!

The upside? Suspense novelists will have a new way to commit murder – cruel geniuses will be able to hack the on board computer of dispensable characters and drive the poor unfortunates off a cliff from poolside using an iPad.

Cue the evil laugh!

And once this starts happening in books, it’s only a matter of time before it’s in your neighborhood, and then in your driveway. Good God, get out! That menacing phone call is coming from inside your own garage!

Stay worried,
B.S.O.R.

The autonomous car is coming. Will you be strong enough to resist?

Fear & Worry to Align in Morning Sky

Today’s post comes from Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease, civillians! But stay vigilant when it comes to bright spots in the sky!

We’ve already discussed the terrible risk posed by Asteroids and Lightning – two glowing airborne things that typically do not have your best interests at heart.

A good rule of thumb for the safety-obsessed (like me!) – intensely bright things overhead are usually a cause for concern.

Any full moon is a great reason to be on guard against strange behavior of every possible type.

The sun is another one that I simply don’t trust. I realize that this glowing orb is responsible for many good things, like warmth and everything we eat, but that doesn’t mean there’s no downside. The sun, to me, is like that generous uncle who is also a bit creepy – always hanging around and often just over your shoulder where you can’t see him, but can sense his presence.

I know I’m not the only one who is worried. Some of the people who write for this blog get what I’m talking about.

And now comes word that we are supposed to look at the northeastern sky just before sunrise this week to witness a conjunction of the planets Venus and Jupiter! It’s wise to question all these things that others simply accept based on propaganda like the following video.

As your local Worst-Case-Scenarist, I would caution against doing everything described in this unless you’re stationary, seated, and completely locked-down. Why?

Looking up in the sky means you’re not looking at the ground, where so many hazards wait to trip you or run into you head-on. The video shows a woman gazing out her window in the early morning light while holding a steaming hot cup of coffee in her bare hands. I don’t have to tell you, I’m sure, about the dangers inherent in this kind of reckless behavior. Gaping in wonder at the sky could cause a person to miss her own mouth while drinking, and she might pour that scalding beverage on her tender skin.

Plus, standing by a window when it’s semi-dark outside makes you a sitting duck for peeping toms and snipers, not to mention real ducks, migrating waterfowl and other natural creatures like bears who love to eat human food and may have already developed a taste for coffee. No one knows for sure what they’re thinking!

One account attempting to promote this remarkable convergence says some people may mistake it “for a UFO.” Not only is it troubling to think that people in the tender early morning hours will look at the sky and be thrown into a state of panic (especially while driving), but Science Fiction fans know that any naturally-occurring astronomical event that “looks like a UFO” can be used by actual space aliens to mask a real invasion!

Yes, “they” know our calls to 911 will be discounted, which gives their landing forces extra time to gain a foothold (if they even have feet – we don’t know!). And if you think the chances of any of this actually happening are beyond remote and bordering infinitesimal, congratulations! That’s exactly what they want you to think!

My advice on this is the same as I offer for most worrisome things – note the hours when this effect will be a fascination for most people, and stay in bed with the covers drawn until it is over!

You will probably be able to leave the safety of your protective cocoon shortly after sunrise, which is not a great sacrifice for most people. Please, sleep late all week in spite of attempts in various media to convince you to put yourself at risk.

Stay vigilant, but with your eyes closed!

Your safety-obsessed friend,
B.S.O.R.

What constitutes “sleeping late” for you?

A Bolt From the Sky

Today’s post comes from Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease, Civillians!

After all, it’s summertime – the season when lots of people dream of taking an afternoon nap in the soft grass beneath a shady tree. But before you relax remember this – the outdoor environment is dangerous and unpredictable, and there’s a good chance that just as you begin to drift off to sleep some backwoods cowboy will come riding through your peaceful glade on his ATV (All Terrain Vehicle).

And if you think that’s disturbing, just wait. Because I’m about to ride through your picnic on my ATW (Assume the Worst)-mobile!

Outside is NOT the place to be this summer. Sorry, but in case you missed it, my arch-enemy lightning has recently gone on a spree and is striking people at will.

Lighting is the safety maven’s nightmare – the Ace of Spades – a dealer of almost certain death striking randomly from the sky! This is the reason I became obsessed with security years go, and when it comes to lightning, no one A’sTW more vigorously than I.

People ask how they can be safe outside in a storm and I say don’t go outside! Stay inside! And while you are inside, keep far away from all windows, phones, television sets, reinforced concrete (including floors), electrical things, and plumbing.

Basiclly, if you can suspend yourself in mid-air without any physical support connecting you to the walls or ceiling inside a first floor room that is designed to be a place where you do Absolutely Nothing, then you might be safe from lightning!

Otherwise, you’re exposed.

Even people taking a bath or a shower can be shocked by lightning during a thunderstorm because current can be carried along by pipes and fixtures. Don’t believe me? Here’s a quote from the New York Times about being zapped in the shower:

Ron Holle, a former meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who tracks lightning injuries, estimates that 10 to 20 people in the United States are shocked annually while bathing, using faucets or handling appliances during storms. “There are a ton of myths about lightning,” he said, “but this is not one of them.”

Just thinking about that gives me the willies. Now I know the true meaning of “Naked and Afraid.

So my advice is to stay indoors this summer. Or if you go out, wear a fully insulated non-electricity conducting head-to-toe body suit.

And before you take a shower in the morning, check the weather radar! Sometimes there are good reasons to go to work smelling like you are a bit past your expiration date.

Yours in safety,
B.S.O.R.

I’m wondering if Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty begins each day mapping his paranoia on a worry chart – will it be asteroids or lightning today? After all, either one could strike suddenly and without warning.

Have you had a close encounter with lightning?