Monthly Archives: March 2003

From Bagdad, Kentucky, to Baghdad, Iraq

The Samurai is live on-location here in Bagdad, Kentucky, and I’m talking to Delmus MacDaniel.

Samurai: Delmus, we know this is a war against the regime of Saddam Hussein and not against the Iraqi people. Do you have anything you’d like to say to the people of Iraq and particularly the people of your near-namesake town of Baghdad, Iraq?

Delmus: Well, I think people are pretty much the same wherever you go. They just wanna get up in the morning, get ’em somethin’ to eat, go to work, come home, watch a little TV and go to bed without worryin’ about gettin’ blowed up.

And that about sums it up. Back to you, Laurie.

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Mailbag: Happy Birthday Wishes to the Samurai

So my birthday came and went. How many people do you think emailed me happy birthday wishes? I’ll tell you: exactly one. Was it my mother? No. My sister? Nope. Saddam Hussein was the only person in the world to email a happy birthday wish to me:

--- Saddam Hussein < > wrote:
> They'll never think to look for me here.  I like
> your web site.  I look forward to meeting you.  Soon
> I will live in NH too, near you.  I know all about
> you.  
> I wear a bra.
> *****HAPPY BIRTHDAY*******
> Saddam
> _______________________________
> The above message was sent when you were offline,
> via your LivePerson site.
> Message sent from IP:

Now tell me: could this kind and thoughtful soul possibly be the monster portrayed by our Ameedican government? I smell a propaganda campaign. So he gassed a few people and fed some others through a shredder feet first. Is that so wrong? I think he’s just misunderstood.

Hillstomping Update: Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge viewed from Mt. Lafayette--click for larger view.Made a couple of great hikes up to the Franconia Ridge last week. The first one was up the Falling Waters trail on an overcast day to the summit of Little Haystack Mountain where I had an impressive view of Mt. Lafayette at the other end of the ridge. The Falling Waters trail is a tough trail in summer with no snow–even more so during winter. I honestly didn’t know if I would make it to the summit. Even Ouzo was one hurtin’ unit at the summit of Little Haystack.

Then, a couple days later, I hiked up the Old Bridal Path trail to the summit of Mt. Lafayette. This was a sparkling, cloudless day that afforded excellent views of the Franconia Ridge, the Bond Range in the Pemigewasset Wilderness area and the Presidential Range.

You can check out the complete set of photos from these two trips here.

Lesson in Liberty: Take a Nice Big Sip

Don't Tread on MeHey. How y’all doin’? You’ve probably had your eyeballs glued on Fox News watching the fireworks show in that sandbox over there in the middle east. Yeah, me too. Every now and then, I’ll change to another channel where they’re giving free publicity to the beautiful people protesting the war.

I also oppose this war. But not because of the empty and tired cliches being thrown about by the bed-wetting, hippie-wannabe crowd: America is bad, no blood for oil, American colonialism, blah blah blah. Anyone with a half a brain knows that’s a bunch of America-hating rhetoric sponsored by the Socialist Worker’s Party and their ilk.

I oppose this war because I don’t think we need to expend American blood and treasure on a middle eastern dirt patch. Free the people of Iraq? Who cares? Dictator-schmictator–let ’em have their own revolutionary war like everyone else. Why do we need to play Globocop?

I know, I know, Da Man tells me this war is about protecting America from terrorism. But I just don’t see how bombing Iraq makes us any safer from terrorism. If anti-terrorism is the real motive, then the most effective response is to get a grip on immigration and secure the borders. The INS and Border Patrol are jokes. The Mexican border is a border in name only and has well-travelled roads where all sorts of illegals, including terrorists, freely come and go. Would it be expensive to secure the long borders with Canada and Mexico? You bet! But you can also bet that it’d be a lot less expensive than lobbing 1,000+ Tomahawk missiles at $1.4 million each, deploying five carrier battle groups, and over 200,000 troops with all their hardware half way around the globe.

Take a nice big sip.As I watch these “anti-war” demonstrations, the puke-ins, the ignorant cliches bantered about by the pseudo-intelligentsia, I just wonder: where were all these enlightened paragons of virtue when the Clintonistas bombed Kosovo? (Remember Kosovo?) Aren’t these just sad, lonely people with empty lives and empty heads clamoring for a “cause” to make them feel morally superior? So all these beautiful people come together to feel good for 15 minutes and bash America. Do you think they really care about war? Or do they really just care about how they feel? If they were truly anti-war activists, wouldn’t we have seen this same freak show during the bombing of Kosovo? Remember Kosovo.

But there is a bright spot to these “anti-war” protests. As the protestors continue their feel-good, ego-stroking theater, they suck away police resources that would otherwise be used to ensure their own safety from terrorist attacks and so increase the likelihood of an attack in the very place they are protesting. In fact, one of those “I Hate America” parades would make ideal cover for a terrorist attack. Ahh, such delicious irony if a terrorist were to blow himself up with a backpack nuke right in the midst of one of these protest crowds! Yes, the sword of Islam just may be their salvation. I need to stop for a moment, I’m tingling with excitement…

Ok, I’m back. I feel better now.

Anyway, the bombs are falling now and all the sign-waving in the world ain’t gonna stop it. Regardless of how we feel about the war, it’s time to be Americans and close ranks. Let us pray for a speedy end to the conflict and that our guys come home quickly and safely to their families. Amen.

Winter Farewell

View of Lake Ashulet.  Click for full-size view.Winter is loosening its grip on us up here in New Hampster. And as we watch it melt away, it’s like saying goodbye to an old friend. It’s been an especially long winter, distinguished by several kick-ass snow storms and scores of sub-zero days with rare and challenging hiking conditions. I did lots of snowshoe hikes this winter but the best ones were Mts. Welch and Dickey in December, North Kinsman in January, and Carter Dome in February.

So while we say goodbye to our old friend, Winter, we also look forward to what is called Spring in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere and is affectionately dubbed Mud Season up here in the great Live Free or Die state. But I thought it was only meet and right that I put together a collection of photos to commemorate the glorious and awesome Winter of ’03. Enjoy!

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Mail Bag: Whirlpool Washer No Spin Problem

I frequently get email from folks asking me appliance repair questions and I’m happy to answer them. I’ll pick out questions that I think can help others and answer them here on my homepage. Email addresses will always be blanked out and I may edit the original question for typos or clarity.

--- thanki < ********@*******.com> wrote:
> I have whirlpool washer and just lately it doesn't
> perform well. After the wash cycle is complete it
> stops with water still filled and doesn't spin dry.
> Can you please help and let me know if it is
> repairable?
> _______________________________
> The above message was sent when you were offline,
> via your LivePerson site.
> Message sent from IP:

The first thing to check in a no-spin condition on any washer is the lid switch. The whole purpose of the lid switch is to stop the tub from spinning when the lid is opened. It’s one o’them safety thangs that I’m sure came out of a product safety law suit a long time ago where some goober opened the lid while the washer was spinning and stuck his arm in there and had it broken in five different places. His lawyer probably made $5 million off that case is now comfortably retired in the Cayman Islands while the poor schlump who had his arm broken off is a one-armed dishwasher at Doodle’s Diner.

A quick and dirty check of the lid switch is to slowly raise and lower the lid a little bit and listen for a faint clicking sound. This is usually a pretty good indication that the lid switch is working but it’s not definitive. A better test is to put an ohm meter on it and test the continuity of the switch. So how do you get to the switch to check it? Keep reading.

I’m assuming that you have the direct-drive style Whirlpool washer. If this is the case, you would access the lid switch by removing the washer cabinet. The lid switch will most likely look like one of the two pictures below. You can click the pictures for a larger view and to order the part.

Older-style Lid Switch
Older style lid switch and plunger assembly for a Whirlpool or Kenmore direct drive washer--click for larger view.
Newer-style Lid Switch
Newer style lid switch for a Whirlpool or Kenmore direct drive washer--click for larger view.

If you have an appliance repair question, go ahead ask ol’ Samurai. Your question just might end up here on these hallowed pages where you’ll have your 15 minutes of fame.

Appliance Tip of the Day: Maytag Atlantis Washer Squealing

appliance tip of the day archive
So your Maytag Atlantis washer finishes spinning the water out of your clothes and then squeals like a Burmese war pig in heat. Since you’re a fixit kind of a guy, you dutifully check for foreign objects between the inner basket and the tub. Nothing. You even check for restictions under the tub. Still nothing. Maybe you even replaced the thrust bearing but your washer still makes that awful squealing whenever it completes the spin cycle or when you open the lid during the spin cycle. Perplexed? Confused? Keep reading, grasshopper, all is revealed.

Maytag Atlantis brake rotor and lining--click for larger view.The problem is the brake. Usually, what’s happening is moisture gets on the brake rotor and the squealing is heard when the brake stator is applied to stop the tub from spinning.Maytag Atlantis brake stator--click for larger view.This moisture, by the way, drips down from the tub onto the brake rotor which could indicate a leaky tub seal. If you can’t see it actively dripping when you fill the tub with water, don’t worry about the tub seal.

Often, you can fix the squealing by cleaning the rotor and stator with a light sandpaper, such as emory cloth. Maytag Atlantis brake removal tool--click for larger view.If that doesn’t work or if the brakes are badly worn, you’ll need to replace the brake stator and rotor. If you need to replace ’em, do it as a set, don’t just change the stator without also replacing the rotor, or vice versa. And here’s a bonus tip: the brake spring exerts 200 pounds of force. If you try to remove the 5/16″ screws without using this brake removal tool, you could have a real mess on your hands…or in your hands.

The Cliff Notes version of the instructions for replacing the brake rotor and stator:

  • Tip the unit back.
  • Remove the main pulley.
  • Attach the brake release tool.
  • Remove the seven 5/16 screws holding the stator.
  • You’ll need to pull the tub forward to get the stator over the lip it is caught on.
  • Then unscrew the brake.
  • Abadee, abadee, abadee, that’s all folks!

Awwite, go quiet that noisy washer down.

grasshoppers mediating with the master uninterrupted by that damn obnoxious squealling from their maytag atlantis washer

There’s a new domain in town and his name is It’s the new domain name for The Appliantology Group. So now instead of having a long, hairy URL like, all you need to do is enter in your browser and you’ll be mystically transported to the Illuminati of Appliance Repair. Go ahead and try it now, I’ll wait… easy as pie, da tovarish? Ok, now bookmark it for ready reference. And be sure to tell a friend or two!

Appliance Tip of the Day: Zen and the Art of Refrigerator Door Gasket Replacement

appliance tip of the day archive

Ahh, Grasshopper, you are about to embark on the artistic side of appliance repair. There’s more to changing a fridge door gasket than just turning a few screws…not much more, but enough so that if you’re not aware of them, you’ll do a crappy job. Finesse, man, finesse, that’s the name o’ dis game.

When you get the new gasket, it’ll come in a box, all twisted up with wrinkles and puckers. If you were to just install the gasket as it is right outta the box, you’d have more gaps in the final gasket seal than Clinton’s memory during the Lewinsky deposition. Stick that sucker in the dryer on medium heat for about 10 minutes. That’ll give you enough time to do some prep work on the fridge door.

First thing you gotta do is take all the food off the door shelves. If’n you don’t, you’ll probably have a hard time making the door square up right with the cabinet when you’re all done.

Next, loosen all them billion and a half retaining screws all around the perimeter of the door like this or this. You can also see what these look like in relation to the gasket. One of those Versapak screw drivers with a long 1/4″ nutdriver attachment takes away alot of the drudgery here. Don’t take ’em out all the way, just back ’em out about 2 full turns. Then pull the old gasket out all the way around.

By the time you finish pulling the fool thing apart, your new gasket should be nice and warm and soft from its ride in the dryer. Wash your hands at this point so you don’t get gookus from the old gasket on your new one. Take the new gasket outta the dryer and untwist it.

Lay the new gasket up around the door like it’s supposed to go on and start at a corner working the lip into the retaining bracket. On some fridges, there are no retaining brackets, they just use the whole plastic shelf piece to hold the gasket in. Either way, same idea. Get the gasket in all the way around and situated like it’s supposed to be before you tighten any of the retaining screws.

Now, here’s the finesse part. Some of these doors get really floppy when all the retaining are loosened. Start tightening the new gasket from the top working down to the bottom of the door. Periodically, eyeball the door or check it against the cabinet to make sure it ain’t warped, like what’s shown here. If it does seem to be warping on you, just hold the bottom half with your leg and warp it back into place.

Once you got it looking right, go ahead and tighten the retaining screws. I like to put a little silicone lube along the surface of the gasket that’s next to the door hinge so it don’t squeek so damn much.

Awwite, go fix your fridge.

To learn more about refrigerators or to order parts, click here.

grasshoppers meditating with the master before embarking on the sublime journey of refrigerator door gasket replacement

The Honor Roll

Several Appliantology group members have earned the coveted distinction of a free live appliance repair help session. They’ve earned this by contributing appliance repair photos to the group’s photo album or by making outstanding contributions to the group’s repair forum. Since I start forgetting things in quantities greater than two, I thought I’d better make a list of these members of distinction. It’s called The Honor Roll and it’s a new link in the menu on the left hand side of the group’s homepage. Oh, I know: I’m just too clever. But really, I owe it all to my lobotomy that I did myself (with a little help from my wife and kids mopping up the blood and wiping the brains and skull particles off the drill bits–thanks gang, I feel better now!) It’s really helped me to think about things more…ummm, what was I talking about?