Line drawn

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Last updated on August 6th, 2017 at 05:59 am

As an environmental pioneer, I long ago became accustomed to unfair abuse from planet-flushing reactionary kilowatt-burners. Their petty opposition to my society-shifting solar plans meant little, especially when I was first supported by the mighty Washington Post (in your face, denialists!) and now by Kathleen A. Hughes in the prestigious New York Times:

A clothesline. It strikes me that I haven’t seen one since 1991, when I moved to Rolling Hills, Calif., a gated community about an hour south of Los Angeles. There are rolling hills, ranch houses, sweeping views of the ocean and rocky cliffs – plenty of room – but not a single visible clothesline.

I decide to rig a clothesline as an experiment.

This is where it where it begins, sunshine activists. When you draw the line, make sure it’s a clothesline.

(Via ErnestBludger)

UPDATE. James Lileks – no stranger to New Yorkian publishing attitudes, nor to the fraught issue of clothes drying – weighs in.

Posted by Tim B. on 04/17/2007 at 09:42 AM
    1. over a thousand bucks a month for power? jeez, we aussies do live in godzone

      Posted by KK on 2007 04 17 at 09:52 AM • permalink


    1. We are washing with Sarkozy here in France.


      Can’t say it makes the clothes dry quicker but it keeps the evils of Segolene away from the clothes… 🙂

      (Note didgeridoo in the background to give the pic that Aussie touch)

      Posted by Villeurbanne on 2007 04 17 at 09:57 AM • permalink


    1. Clotheslines are banned or restricted by many of the roughly 300,000 homeowners’ associations that set rules for some 60 million people. When I called to ask, our Rolling Hills Community Association told me that my laundry had to be completely hidden in an enclosure approved by its board of directors.

      hehehe, that’s priceless.

      Posted by Mr. Bingley on 2007 04 17 at 09:58 AM • permalink


    1. What’s the point of having an exploited third-world (and possibly illegal immigrant) maid if the lazy cow just stuffs the washing in the industrial-size Kleenmaid gas-fired dryer? That’s for my smalls- she can chase the goddam crows while she’s hanging out my shirts, I even load the BB gun for her.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 04 17 at 09:58 AM • permalink


    1. Well of course the homeowner associations ban clotheslines.  Actually reducing one’s power usage (and concomitant carbon emission reduction) is something for the serfs to do.  One shouldn’t really expect a person of, say, John Travolta’s stature to actually have his lifestyle impinged upon in any way.
      NASCAR nation needs to do the reducing, not the Jet Set.

      Posted by rbj1 on 2007 04 17 at 10:03 AM • permalink


    1. A “clothesline” in a “gated community” is verboten.

      Posted by El Cid on 2007 04 17 at 10:07 AM • permalink


    1. #4. Habib.
      LOL. But would not such personal generosity, only encourage them to want more, like a remote control to raise and lower the said close line?

      Posted by BJM on 2007 04 17 at 10:07 AM • permalink


    1. Imagine you’re an editor at the New York Times. It’s the apogee of the profession. You’re in a brand-new skyscraper, built at great expense. You’re editing a piece about clotheslines, which are good because they’re nicer to the earth, and you’re all about being good to the earth. (You don’t get on the elevator to go up to your 45th floor office unless there are at least eight others in the car.)

      You read this line:

      In the meantime, our electric bill has dropped to $576 in March from its high last summer, reflecting a series of efforts to cut energy. (That’s still too high, so we’re about to try fluorescent bulbs.)

      You get on the phone. “Kathleen?” you say. “Reading your clothesline piece, and I love it. Just wondering, what was your electric bill before?”

      “Before what,” she asks.

      “You say your electric bill dropped to $576 in March from its high last summer. What was your high last summer, and do you have an air conditioner?”

      “I don’t see how that’s important,” she snaps.

      “You’re right!” you say, and you hang up.

      Ah, time for lunch!

      Posted by Lileks on 2007 04 17 at 10:09 AM • permalink


    1. My ‘leccy bill isn’t $576 a year!

      What exactly is she doing with all those electrons?

      Is she testing fundamental theories of matter with superconducting supercooled magnets in a mile long accelerator?

      Posted by Rob Read on 2007 04 17 at 10:20 AM • permalink


    1. #7 That’s what the winding mechanism is for- if shw leaves it too low, my staffies hang off assorted drip dry Gants in a dreadful spectacle. And what’s more, she needs the exercise unless she’s auditioning for the next intake of the Biggest Loser, which she certainly will be if I dob her in to la Migra’.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 04 17 at 10:22 AM • permalink


    1. Well, now heres the ethical delimma facing the eco-conscious when hanging out the laundry.

      Do you only hang the whites oustide, thereby increasing overall surface reflectivity and decreasing mother Gaia’s suffering or do you also hang out the darks, which increase absorption and cause much suffering to the Polar Bears.

      Since people in New York only wear black I have to assume that they are heartless Polar Bear hating eco-fascists.

      Posted by joe bagadonuts on 2007 04 17 at 10:25 AM • permalink


    1. Can someone send Al Gore over here? I’ts mid Autumn and it’s getting to 30 degrees centigrade during the day- I have to leave the airconditioning on for the fish and dogs, and the lazy hounds only get out of bed at night to chase the hyperactive possums. And I can only use the sunroof in my GTR Skyline once the sun goes down, as my terrible Celtic skin winds up looking like an anti-globalisation flag within minutes of exposure to the whim of Sol.

      Mind you it’ll be colder than Bill Clinton’s side of the bed as soon as the wind changes, but that’s never a consideration.

      Posted by Habib on 2007 04 17 at 10:34 AM • permalink


    1. What are y’all a bunch of Luddites? The whole point of technology is to look good without having to feel guilty about it (or pay for it). We didn’t idiot-proof clothes dryers for heiresses, we did it so La Migra couldn’t pick up the maid on a drive-by.

      If we have to give up our clothes dryers to stop global warming, what’s next? Hair Dryers? Do these look like dishwashing hands to you?

      Posted by brett_l on 2007 04 17 at 10:36 AM • permalink


    1. No clotheslines???

      Good heavens – what would I do without being able to colour code the pegs with the clothes? I’d need counselling

      A little O/T

      Many years ago my neighbour confided to me that she washed and hung out a pair of her husband’s PJs each week even though he slept in the nuddy – so we would know he was a good boy and kept his clothes on in bed

      Posted by aussiemagpie on 2007 04 17 at 10:38 AM • permalink


    1. Shit- my dishwasher took out the windscreen of a Prius- can you ge more cred than that?

      Posted by Habib on 2007 04 17 at 10:38 AM • permalink


    1. I thought Barbra Streisand bought all of the clotheslines in California to use at her place. Maybe that’s why the NYT can’t find any? [Look for etc. section at the page bottom.)

      Posted by andycanuck on 2007 04 17 at 10:44 AM • permalink


    1. #2 Dylan Kissane

      (Note didgeridoo in the background to give the pic that Aussie touch)

      What a lovely pic – and a little bit of OZ too

      You should take that didge out and take photos with it in front of the Louvre, Notre Dame etc and post them here

      Posted by aussiemagpie on 2007 04 17 at 10:47 AM • permalink


    1. A “clothesline activist”?!?!?!?  Sheesh!  Sorry, but this country has bigger problems than fighting for the right to hang your undies in your backyard.  I didn’t go to that web site, so I hope the guy is tongue in cheek about this.

      Still, on the gated communities (and it ain’t just the “gated” communities, either).  Some of them are truly anal about their landscaping; there’s Donald Trump’s fight with a homeowner’s association about his American flag, for example.  And I recall one Chicago suburb that effectively banned home owners from parking their pick up trucks in front of their home.

      And I’ll second Rob and Lileks…..methinks that not only is her home is more than a little above average in size, I expect that there is more to a cut in her electricity bill than clothes dryer use.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2007 04 17 at 10:50 AM • permalink


    1. North America gets bathed in ragweed every spring. Hang around here long enough and you’ll develop the allergy even if you don’t have it.

      What does the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommend?

      “Use the clothes dryer so any allergens can be filtered out instead of hanging it on the line, where it becomes the filter.”

      Posted by SoberHT on 2007 04 17 at 11:07 AM • permalink


    1. Don’t use them! Clotheslines attract bullets…..

      Mate of mine (I’ll call him Rob – because his parents named him Robert) was a tour guide and sometimes security guard. He carried handguns to deal with crocs (or mainly to give tourists the impression he could deal with crocs – he told me he’s seen a .357 bounce of one’s head). Anyway, with teen kids in the house, he trained them in weapons use and safety. One morning, daughter (16yo) is cleaning one of the automatics when it discharges. Bullet goes through the window. Rob takes it in his stride, accidents do happen and goes through training again. Reports to the police what happened (to cover all bases). Afternoon coffee, and through the wiindow, sees neighbour with a sheet off the CLOTHESLINE, looking very curiously at the two holes punched through. Evil invention, those bullet magnets!

      Posted by Justin on 2007 04 17 at 11:07 AM • permalink


    1. Ah heck, several years ago Sis and I and the rest of the family were over at a friend’s house and we were shooting some skeet in their back yard. Unfortunately some of the clay pigeons drifted a little too close to the clothesline.

      It’s amazing how effective bird shot is on sheets.

      Posted by Mr. Bingley on 2007 04 17 at 11:20 AM • permalink


    1. You know in the winter we hung our clothes on the basement clothesline (because nothing says good morning like frozen undies).

      If her house is big enough to have a $600 electric bill I’m sure she could string up a few lines in the theater room.

      Posted by tabitharuth on 2007 04 17 at 11:30 AM • permalink


    1. My mom’s been using clotheslines for years; I remember rampaging around the backyard with my older brothers, playing with water pistols and ducking under and around the sheets. The hanging clothes were barriers—if you were behind one, you were safe, because we knew Mom would get really mad if we got the sheets wet all over again.

      Where’s her NYT article?

      Posted by Tungsten Monk on 2007 04 17 at 11:33 AM • permalink


    1. I’m also hoping to use less energy and to reduce our monthly electric bills which hit the absurdly high level of $1,120 last summer.

      GACK! My electricity bill is fifty bucks!

      I love it when some envirotard who’s sucking down twenty times the kilowatts I am hectors me about Goebbel’s Warning.

      Posted by Dave S. on 2007 04 17 at 11:33 AM • permalink


    1. I mark the edge of the yard with carbon-absorbing clothesline in property-line training the dog.

      Posted by rhhardin on 2007 04 17 at 11:40 AM • permalink


    1. #16 andycanuck, great article at that link. Especially the line about “episodic methane outbursts.” I hate when that happens.

      Posted by Latino on 2007 04 17 at 11:43 AM • permalink


    1. Clotheslines are the secret behind the success of the Australian cricket team.
      Ssshhh, don’t tell the poms.

      Ball, ladies stockings, clothesline, cricket bat – instant solo batting practice.

      Might want to ask your mum’s permission to use her stockings first; amazing how quickly those things develop ladders when practicing on-drives.
      And watch your head when you connect.

      Posted by Mike_W on 2007 04 17 at 11:53 AM • permalink


    1. Here’s the key line in the piece:

      “It looks beautiful,” she said when we stepped back. “It looks like we care about the earth.”

      There you have it. The motivation behind every libtard’s useless, ineffectual actions to “make a difference.” It makes me feel good, and look, everyone else can see what a good person I am. Philistines.

      Posted by CraigC on 2007 04 17 at 12:25 PM • permalink


    1. Globally-er than thou.

      Posted by Jim Treacher on 2007 04 17 at 12:45 PM • permalink


    1. That’s an insane electric bill.

      Putting up a clothesline is like offering free band-aids after nuking a city.

      Posted by TallDave on 2007 04 17 at 01:06 PM • permalink


    1. #9, my guess is grow lamps.  Lots and lots of grown lamps.  I have no idea what she might be using them to grow in NYC, of course, but perhaps someone from the DEA might want to look into it.

      The most revolting thing about this whole Greenie thing is that these idiots apparently believe their own crap.  They’re evidently fact, number, and data oblivious.  I doubt if most of them could add 2 + 2 and come up with 4 three times running.

      Posted by JorgXMcKie on 2007 04 17 at 01:10 PM • permalink


    1. Let’s find out more about Ms. Hughes’ little cottage, shall we?

      Posted by SoberHT on 2007 04 17 at 01:24 PM • permalink


    1. I’ve nothing against clotheslines, though I hated putting up and taking down the wash in the scorching South Florida sun when I was a kid. Also, there were lubber grasshoppers the size of Volkswagens that infested that part of the backyard. Brrrr! But a dryer wouldn’t have fit into our tiny utility shed (and would have displaced several families of roaches and spiders). However, dryers are more convenient for a number of reasons that outweigh the higher electric bill (for those that have electric dryers, that is). For one thing, you can dry your clothes at any time of day or night, in any weather. Also, it’s better for your clothes—at least in Florida, the sun can wreak havoc on even the toughest pair of jeans. True, you don’t get that “sun fresh” smell—but in a city, you don’t really get that anyway.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2007 04 17 at 01:37 PM • permalink


    1. #32


      Inspired.  <tips fedora>

      Posted by SSG Pooh on 2007 04 17 at 01:41 PM • permalink


    1. #32 – from the article – “Farmhouse with an edge was the request we gave to our architect”

      God, that just about sums up this annoying bint.

      The article is great, Rich – this horrible, shallow woman goes on for two pages about how she resents (and prevents) anybody copying her home decoration. Me-ooow!

      Posted by Dave S. on 2007 04 17 at 01:45 PM • permalink


    1. #32 I followed that link & read the story (even though apparently we are not to do that)

      Wow: “When Imitation Is Annoying, Not Flattering”
      Still, it can be irritating. It took Michelle Dewey, the mother of one of my daughter’s water polo teammates, more than two years to build a 6,300-square-foot “Old World French-style” home in La Canada Flint-ridge, Calif. “I’m a perfectionist,” she said. “If I’m looking for doorknobs, I want the best doorknobs in the country.”

      She raced all over the area, visiting some stoneyards up to 10 times trying to find the perfect slab of marble. Then, recently, she said, a friend who was about to remodel came over and said, “I want those and those and those.” The friend, who is using the same contractor, explained that she isn’t very picky and would just tell the contractor to “give me whatever Michelle has,” Ms. Dewey recalled.

      This was upsetting. “I labored over my decision-making,” Ms. Dewey said. “Everyone wants to know where everything comes from, like it’s my job to tell them.”

      I live in an 1100 sq.ft. house, electric bill under $100.  But this serf will be happy to cut back on his emissions, now knowing the great difficulties my betters have to go through.  To have a water polo teammate’s family copy your countertop—I just can’t imagine the horrors.

      Posted by rbj1 on 2007 04 17 at 01:46 PM • permalink


    1. Oops – Mark, not Rich. Sorry.

      Posted by Dave S. on 2007 04 17 at 01:46 PM • permalink


    1. 37.
      None taken, Dave—I’m Mark who wishes I was as Rich as Hughes!

      Posted by SoberHT on 2007 04 17 at 01:57 PM • permalink


    1. My usual electric bill is somewhere around $35-50, with the biggest one I’ve had in my apartment being around $80 (this was back in January when the temperature stayed mostly below freezing for a week and a half.  I do use a dryer for my clothes (nowhere to put a clothesline here) but I only do 2 loads of laundry on a typical week.

      Posted by Vexorg on 2007 04 17 at 02:14 PM • permalink


    1. I don’t live in a gated community, but there are very few clotheslines anywhere in our small town, and those mostly in the older part of town.  None in the newer, yuppified additions.  I think it has more to do with convenience than anything else, and also with the fact that putting your laundry outside to dry is an invitation for every pigeon and Canada goose to drop a gift while going over.  I can tell you from previous experience, washing your sheets and then having to wash them again after they’ve hung outside is enough to raise your blood pressure.

      Also, I don’t like things to crunch and crackle when I’m trying to dry off or sleep.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2007 04 17 at 02:34 PM • permalink


    1. Having read both NYT articles, I conclude that it is not possible to satirize these people. They mock themselves.

      Posted by ErnieG on 2007 04 17 at 02:38 PM • permalink


    1. What with all the bird feeders in our backyard I don’t think a clothesline would be a good idea, unless the ‘guano tie-dyed’ look becomes popular.

      Posted by Rob C. on 2007 04 17 at 03:59 PM • permalink


    1. Just to make it clear—as the NYTimes is bad enough—but this bint, Kathleen Hughes—lives in California. (And if I sound a tad defensive, well, maybe I am. We got enough nutters in NYC, we don’t need to be tagged with nutty Californians, too.)

      Posted by Forbes on 2007 04 17 at 05:34 PM • permalink


    1. #32 That looks like an Emeco chair at the breakfast bar, and the least expensive one they sell, which that one isn’t, is USD850. The fridge looks like it eat electric meters for lunch! Sod off, swampie.

      Posted by Retread on 2007 04 17 at 06:00 PM • permalink


    1. My weife is an American and one of the fun little thjings about her is the absolute comtempt she holds for clothes lines. It’s a class thing: poor people hang their washing on lines stretched from tenement to tenement. Therefore, having a dryer establishes one’s middle-class credentials.

      Posted by Phranger on 2007 04 17 at 06:29 PM • permalink


    1. #8,
      THE LILEKS!!!

      *genuflecting mightily as I crawl backwards to the door. I am truly blessed*

      Posted by Pogria on 2007 04 17 at 06:54 PM • permalink


    1. MfM: Thanks for Googling!

      People of Wealth can do what they like as far as I’m concerned- buy fancy stone tiles, compete for the right door knob, have a fridge big enough to house a polar bear. But Hughes clearly thinks that hanging a Clothes Line is a heroically principled act- instead of just another decor decision for which she’ll relish being congratulated (and maybe even copied!) by envious peers.

      Posted by arrowhead ripper on 2007 04 17 at 07:06 PM • permalink


    1. The sun is powered by nuclear fusion, so how can anybody in good conscience hang their clothes out to dry using nuclear power?

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2007 04 17 at 07:42 PM • permalink


    1. She allegedly cut her electric bill from $1120 to $576 by hanging a clothesline?  Bitch, how many loads of clothes were you drying?

      But the rope lines started to sag, allowing the sheets and heavy wet towels to drag in the dirt. The wooden clothespins soon became weathered and fell apart.

      Heart-rending, isn’t it?

      This other greenie lives relatively close to me.  As most of his ilk down that way are self-righteous, self-important, pompous sods who live in huge multimillion-dollar homes and waste no opportunity bitching about how wasteful we local yokels are, I dislike him on principle:

      For those in colder climates, going without a dryer can be a challenge. Tom Stokes, a global warming activist in Stockbridge, Mass., managed to fit six clotheslines in a large downstairs bathroom, and he now hangs all of his laundry there in the winter. “It’s relatively easy in the summer. It takes more determination to string up a line and hang laundry year round,” he says.

      What an incredibly gripping tale of determination in the face of adversity – color me impressed!  I mean, damn, nobody in the history of ever has ever had the determination, grit, and sheer guts to hang laundry in the winter in New England!  Granted, Tommy-boy’s reduced electricity and heating bills are probably higher for one month than those incurred by us po’ folk in the less desirable areas of the county are for an entire year, but he’s DETERMINED, so that makes it, y’know, admirable and junk.

      These clowns still have a lot of work to do to catch up with No-Toilet-Paper Guy.

      Posted by Blue State Sil on 2007 04 17 at 08:02 PM • permalink


    1. We don’t hang out clothes because we have dogs.

      (Who have, at times, jumped the fence and gotten the neighbor’s clothes, or at least a well chewed pillowcase, which evidence I sort of got rid of hoping that the neighbor wouldn’t figure it out.)

      Anyhow, I’m gonna defend this lady.  Her reasoning for wanting to hang out her clothes doesn’t matter, really.  It doesn’t matter at all compared to the homeowners association pathology.

      Can’t hang out clothes, can’t wash the car much less open the hood, can’t grow vegetables or put up a kitchy seasonal flag.  It’s a bone-deep offensive assault on simple human liberty.

      Yeah, it’s fun to make fun of people doing very ordinary things for silly reasons and feeling so out of proportionally proud of themselves for it, but seriously folks… in this case I’m on her side.

      Posted by Synova on 2007 04 17 at 08:32 PM • permalink


    1. Oh, and when’s the last time Tipper hung out clothes, do you think?

      This was in Al Gore’s suggestions to save the planet?

      Anyone know if *his* neighbors are going to allow him to install those ugly solar panels?

      Posted by Synova on 2007 04 17 at 08:34 PM • permalink


    1. #32 – I cannot imagine the shallowness of her life to drive her to such extremes in her renovation.  So much waste of time and money, and then to whinge about people using her as inspiration.  Does her life have no other meaning?

      Posted by peter m on 2007 04 17 at 09:24 PM • permalink


    1. In Australia, running a clothes dryer 2 hours every day would cost the equivalent of about $US12 per month for the electricity.

      Drying clothes on a line in your house will save little energy if there is central heating, since the heating will have to work harder to overcome the cooling effect of evaporation. A better option would be to have a clothes dryer in the house so any excess heat (there is always some)contributes to house heating.

      Posted by zscore on 2007 04 17 at 09:46 PM • permalink


    1. But the rope lines started to sag, allowing the sheets and heavy wet towels to drag in the dirt. The wooden clothespins soon became weathered and fell apart.

      1. The people I know who used clotheslines seriously fastened their clotheslines to heavy poles anchored in concrete or to buildings. They also maintain the rope or use coated rope.

      2. You’re supposed to take the pins in out of the weather.

      Posted by Rob Crawford on 2007 04 17 at 09:47 PM • permalink


    1. #32 Man, what a bunch of annoying, self-absorbed bitches.

      I’d like to see them all forced into a reality TV show called “Permanent Wifeswap”, in which they’re forced to swap with women from poverty-stricken backgrounds. Permanently. Let’s see how important bespoke doorknobs become when you can’t even afford to pay the heating bill.

      Posted by blandwagon on 2007 04 17 at 09:50 PM • permalink


    1. I have a clothes line and use it.

      I had a dryer once and used to get sick and tired of teenage children putting one pair of knickers or a pair of socks on High for half an hour in between writing school essays on climate change and global warming.

      So when it broke I didn’t replace it. Hang it on the goddamn line, I tell them.

      Later, I found the teenager drying a Tshirt in her room with a blow fan on a perfect summer day.

      I nearly hit the fucking roof.

      They’re entitled to be lefties and have their ideas until they grow out of them, but I pay the fucking bill.

      Not happy, Al.

      Posted by ilibcc on 2007 04 17 at 09:52 PM • permalink


    1. What Rob said—also, you have to periodically tighten the lines, they do tend to sag over time. Our clothesline was one of those spinning deals. And yes, wooden clothespins do tend to deteriorate even if you keep them indoors. (Which… you… should… what the hell did she do, leave them on the line? You can still get a think called a “clothes pin bag” at any grocery store, you know. And you can also buy plastic clothes pins.)

      I never can get over the rarified, unworldly lives some rich people live.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2007 04 17 at 10:07 PM • permalink


    1. I forgot to add, after “our clothesline was one of those spinning deals,” that my father would have to periodically go out and pull the lines taught and re-knot them.

      Maybe I should start my own business, hiring myself out to rich, guilt-ridden liberals, showing them how to do things like hang clothes on a line and wash dishes in the sink with their own hands.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2007 04 17 at 10:09 PM • permalink


    1. My mother used a clothes line for many years. As soon as she could afford a clothes dryer the clothes line became kindling.  I and my family tried to use a clothes line at Bondi and our clothes were stolen from the line in our backyard.

      Posted by allan on 2007 04 17 at 10:38 PM • permalink


    1. Online sources give the wattage of a clothes dryer at 1.8-5.0 kilowatts.

      There are 744 hours in a 31 day month.

      That’s a range of 1340 – 3700 kilowatt-hours for an entire month of dryer use.

      Cost per kWh from my local utility is $0.0736.

      Cost of running a dryer 24 hours per day, 31 days per month, therefore, ranges from $98 – $273.

      Instead of saving money by drying her clothes outside, maybe she should just leave her dryer off when she’s not using it.

      Posted by MattJ on 2007 04 17 at 10:50 PM • permalink


    1. A few years ago, my wife and I brought a Hills retractable hoist back from Oz.

      At departure, a suspicious customs officer asked wife what was in the box.

      “a clothesline” she replied.

      “A CLOTHESLINE??” said the officer, suspicion deepening.

      “Yes, Australia leads the world in clothesline technology”, explained the missus.

      “Oh, very good!”, responded the now completely satisfied officer.

      Posted by Jack from Montreal on 2007 04 17 at 10:56 PM • permalink


    1. I use a clothes line in summer cos I’m a cheap bastard.

      Posted by Rachel Corrie’s Flatmate on 2007 04 17 at 11:02 PM • permalink


    1. Hey Tim- what is the link to the Lileks editorial?

      Posted by mencken_cynic on 2007 04 17 at 11:17 PM • permalink


    1. I couldn’t be more shocked If I stuck my pecker in an electric eels mouth. What the hell are RWDB’s doing owning clothes lines or clothes dryer’s? Don’t you chuck your clothes out at the end of each day and have new ones flown in from your Camobodian sweat shop? Smarten up, the lot of you.

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2007 04 17 at 11:30 PM • permalink


    1. Proper clotheslines are made with light steel cable not some pansy “rope” or “string” or what-have-you.

      Posted by wreckage on 2007 04 17 at 11:40 PM • permalink


    1. #63 – No editorial, Mencken – just a remark made here in the finest comment section in God’s own Antipodes. Number eight, to be exact.

      Posted by Lileks on 2007 04 17 at 11:52 PM • permalink


    1. The various new tenants in my building arriving from parts unknown, are all habitualised to hanging their washing over the apartment’s balcony to dry.  I am so sick of calling on the strata manager to send them the “Strata Living” brochure (with multiple translations) that I could… that I could… ah what the fuck – I’m moving soon.

      Posted by anthony_r on 2007 04 17 at 11:59 PM • permalink


    1. This is my favorite:

      Tim Eames, a British designer who lives in Los Angeles, does not own a dryer. “The thought of getting a machine to do something as simple as drying my laundry is totally inconceivable,” he said.

      I guess taking a machine to do something as complicated as moving him from the UK to LAX must have really blown his mind.

      Posted by Tommy Shanks on 2007 04 18 at 12:29 AM • permalink


    1. Yes, light steel cable gives the best combination of strength, tautness, cleanliness without rust and grip. This is important.

      Further, my clothesline is one of the last partially functioning hydraulic systems still in operation in Australia.

      I say partially because it still dries clothes like the day it was installed, but the hydraulic oil function no longer works and the line sadly stays at only one level.

      Accordingly, I have installed split tennis balls on the ends of each of the four radial steel posts to prevent me losing an eye each time I hang out the clothes.

      Details here for the engineering-minded.

      Posted by ilibcc on 2007 04 18 at 12:45 AM • permalink


    1. #12 Habib

      as my terrible Celtic skin

      Was your nickname at school “Fluoro”?

      Posted by kae on 2007 04 18 at 02:03 AM • permalink


    1. #13

      What are y’all a bunch of Luddites? The whole point of technology is to look good without having to feel guilty about it (or pay for it).

      That’s why we have the internet.
      And radio.

      Posted by kae on 2007 04 18 at 02:08 AM • permalink


    1. #14
      I used to do that, colourcoding the pegs with eachother.
      Then I realised it my be a bit OCD, so I stopped.

      Now I’m only obsessive about hanging like things together, you know, certain things dry at the same rate and if it rains it’s good to be able to gather the dry or near dry stuff easily…

      Um. I hang my clothes under the carport now… *sigh*

      Posted by kae on 2007 04 18 at 02:21 AM • permalink


    1. Every appliance in my home, including the grey water and pressure pumps, run on electricity.
      My quarterly power bill is about $230. Now, take off the Ambulance Levy (and that’s a whole other crock cos I’m in a health fund), of about $22, and my bill isn’t too bad. I have fluoro lights in all rooms where the light is left on for any length of time, this is to save me money. I also like to turn lights off in rooms I am not actually in – easy.
      Recently my state government sold of the sale section of Energex and now I pay another company. It’s going to make power cheaper (yeah, whatever). There’s a brochure in my latest bill, which I received yesterday, telling me all about green power.
      I KNOW about green power, well, green energy. It’s what you get when you burn a Flannery, or a Suzuki, or a Brown, or a Garrett, and you know something? I’m pretty sure it’s all heat and useless for power.

      Posted by kae on 2007 04 18 at 02:37 AM • permalink


    1. #32
      She wouldn’t be short of a quid.

      Posted by kae on 2007 04 18 at 02:41 AM • permalink


    1. Hills Hoist, the Australian invented clothes line!

      Posted by kae on 2007 04 18 at 02:54 AM • permalink


    1. You call that a clothes line?  This is a clothes line.

      Posted by walterplinge on 2007 04 18 at 03:00 AM • permalink


    1. An old friend of mine who used to be in the RAAF went to Alabama for a stint with the USAF.  Soon after arrival his wife committed the faux pas of hanging out her washing.  A depututation of neighbours soon came over to say ” I don’t know how you do things down under, but if you hang your washing on a line people will think this is a black neighbourhood”
      She was gobsmacked. On hearing this story, I told her that no doubt it was also protection against snow droppers, which are well known to inhabit air force bases. Her husband promptly threatened to throw me out of the house.

      Posted by entropy on 2007 04 18 at 03:53 AM • permalink


    1. #75 & 76

      Proof-positive that OZ leads the world in clothesline technology.

      Say it loud
      and say it proud
      we lead the world
      in.. um.. drying clothes

      Posted by Jack from Montreal on 2007 04 18 at 04:28 AM • permalink


    1. Well, Mister Jack from Montreal, what’s wrong with that? It’s better than leading the world in beer drinking…

      er, wait…

      I’ll think of something else that’s worthy, gimme a while…

      Well, I wouldn’t wanna be anywhere else, that’s for sure!

      Posted by kae on 2007 04 18 at 04:35 AM • permalink


    1. kae

      I think weve got a lock on things that bite, sting, and kill you though. So thats something to be happy…about…isnt…it?

      Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2007 04 18 at 04:58 AM • permalink


    1. Yeah, frollicking, we do have the best bitey/poisony/stingy things in the world. AND in abundance.

      by the way, do you know anyone over east involved in mine rescue? There was bloke who was nicknamed Siraji Mine (pronounced minni) in the rescue mob over here ‘cos someone read the name on his overalls and called him that, it stuck.

      Posted by kae on 2007 04 18 at 05:02 AM • permalink


    1. #77, Entropy,

      What the hell is a “snow dropper”?

      Posted by Pogria on 2007 04 18 at 05:28 AM • permalink


    1. Hi Kae,

      Tell Dan and TimB I’m ready to party!!!!

      Posted by Pogria on 2007 04 18 at 05:29 AM • permalink


    1. For a westy, Pog, you’ve had a sheltered life!

      A snow-dropper nicks items of clothing off clothes lines, usually ladies’ undergarments.

      Posted by kae on 2007 04 18 at 05:37 AM • permalink


    1. #82 I can’t believe you live in Oz and don’t know what a snowdropper is.

      They’re the ratbags that steal your washing off the line, of course.

      When I was living in a flat in Thornbury back in the 80s I learned the hard way not to leave my underwear on the line.

      They left everything else, though, so I guess that’s something.

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2007 04 18 at 05:42 AM • permalink


    1. I’d be safe from a snowdropper these days.
      My scanties now look more like orthopaedic underwear!

      Posted by kae on 2007 04 18 at 05:45 AM • permalink


    1. Argh!

      That should have been “pull the lines taut.” Well, my father was a teacher—though not an English teacher.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2007 04 18 at 06:06 AM • permalink


    1. Don’t worry, Andrea, given his trade he may have taught those lines a thing or two!

      Posted by kae on 2007 04 18 at 06:18 AM • permalink


    1. Snowdroppers would have no luck out my way,

      I don’t own any undies.

      Posted by Pogria on 2007 04 18 at 06:46 AM • permalink


    1. Or PJ’s

      Posted by Pogria on 2007 04 18 at 06:47 AM • permalink


    1. It’s a funny old world. I grew up in Maryland, one of those border states that the Yankees think is southern and the Rebs don’t claim because we’re too close to the Yanks to trust. Anyway, all the mothers in the neighborhood had clothes lines and delegated the hanging to the kids as soon as they were tall enough to reach the lines. It was never a black or white thing, and I’m a bit surprised to find out it is/was farther south.

      One downside to drying clothes on the line were the resident birds and squirrels inhabiting the trees in the neighborhood. The squirrels, at least, thought the line was installed for their benefit to get from tree to tree. Their little paw prints all over the white sheets were not the least of the problems they created.

      Still can’t beat the fresh smell of laundry dried on the line though.

      Posted by Retread on 2007 04 18 at 07:04 AM • permalink


    1. What a wonderful article! And have a comment section graced by Lileks Himself (We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!) is beyond price.

      When I was growing up, my mom would hang stuff on the line. However, most of our neighbors burned coal to heat their homes – not just coal, but soft, high-sulfur Illinois coal. So in the early spring and late autumn, the clothes would come back in dirtier than they’d been before she washed them. Nowadays that’s not a problem, thanks to people using natural gas to heat their homes.

      My wife (Sonetka’s Mom) hangs clothes on the line in our yard when the weather is mild – in part because we’re cheap, and in part because they just smell nicer. Crawling into a bed freshly made up with sun-dried sheets is one of life’s real pleasures.

      Posted by Urbs in Horto on 2007 04 18 at 07:26 AM • permalink


    1. #86 in that case they’re not real scanties then.

      When I was a kid we called them bog catchers.

      I prefer not to discuss my underwear. Safer that way.

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2007 04 18 at 08:14 AM • permalink


    1. If she sets up a clothesline as an experiment, then doesn’t she have to run a dryer continuously as a control?

      Posted by Penguin on 2007 04 18 at 08:40 AM • permalink


    1. #91 I think my friends were quite surprised at the ‘black neighbourhood’ statement, too.  Apart from that issue, they only had good things to say about the yanks (although I understand that people from Alabama don’t take too well to being called yanks).
      On the risk to clothes damage m hanging about on a line, we tend to be a bit slack here , and sometimes don’t get around to taking the clothes off (the line, that is) until dark.  The dew is setting in, the cane toads are out, etc. etc. so the clothes kinda get left out until they dry off the next day.  This is often OK, except for the odd message left by the flying foxes.  Now there is something to permanently ruin your jeans!

      Posted by entropy on 2007 04 18 at 08:48 AM • permalink


    1. Entropy, that’s not called a “message” from a flying fox.
      It’s more like a full-on tome.

      Posted by kae on 2007 04 18 at 08:54 AM • permalink


    1. (well, the MESS bit is right)

      Posted by kae on 2007 04 18 at 08:54 AM • permalink


    1. #93 – what about “grundys”?  As in Reg Grundy = undies?

      Posted by mr creosote on 2007 04 18 at 09:07 AM • permalink


    1. 50.

      Well, I might understand Hughes’s point if it came without the lecture or pomposity. But I have to agree with you about the little “rules” in modern developments. When we bought our place there were all kinds of rules—not as bad as yours, apparently—like Two Dogs or Less and No Wacky Mailboxes. As if the sheriff would come beat us up. Anyway, from the look of the mailboxes on my block, there is obviously (to quote St. Al) no controlling legal authority.

      Posted by SoberHT on 2007 04 18 at 09:15 AM • permalink


    1. 95.

      As the saying goes: To the rest of the world, a Yankee is an America. In America, a Yankee is a northerner. In the North, a Yankee is from the northeast. In the Northeast, a Yankee is a New Englander. In New England, a Yankee is a New Hampshirite. In New Hampshire, a Yankee is a guy who still uses an outhouse. And we’d better stop there.

      Posted by SoberHT on 2007 04 18 at 09:17 AM • permalink


    1. I KNOW about green power, well, green energy. It’s what you get when you burn a Flannery, or a Suzuki, or a Brown, or a Garrett, and you know something? I’m pretty sure it’s all heat and useless for power.

      Would that it were a nonrenewable resource, kae, but (I fear) they’ll always be with us.

      Posted by andycanuck on 2007 04 18 at 09:19 AM • permalink


    1. #100 Well done, mark!

      Want to have a go at the flip side? To a Reb….

      Posted by Retread on 2007 04 18 at 10:26 AM • permalink


    1. 102.

      No way, Retread! A man could get boycotted for that!

      Posted by SoberHT on 2007 04 18 at 04:58 PM • permalink


    1. 80. kae

      Dont think ive run into the bloke. Im a bit unusal in the mining game I tend to stick with who Im working for rather than “job hopping”. Some blokes rack up 4 or more sites a year!

      Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2007 04 18 at 08:57 PM • permalink


    1. I know he was involved in mine rescue and training and he used to, I think, go to different mines training – he was involved in the Cave Rescue training so that cavers knew specific stuff about mines.

      My ex-sister in law worked for a mine at Mt Isa I think and her job was to keep track of all the machinery in the mine.

      Posted by kae on 2007 04 18 at 09:09 PM • permalink


    1. Heh—there’s nothing wrong with clothes lines, but the sheer arrogance of this person still astounds me.  I also wonder if she was on a rampage about other electrical applianaces getting turned off when not in use.  I still can’t figure out how she cut that much off her power bill, unless she ran 6 dryers all the time.

      Anywho, we had both a dryer and clothes line growing up, although my step-mother was wont to pinch a penny until Lincoln screamed.  So I hung a lot of clothes out to dry.  Since we lived down wind of two oil refineries and an aluminum smelter, you can guess what our clothes smelled like.  In the winter, we had freeze-dried clothes (they froze, and then we dried them inside).

      And, of course, there were always the seagulls.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2007 04 19 at 02:16 AM • permalink


    1. I thought loading the clothes dryer was getting the wife drunk?

      Just bought the Spousal Unit one of these beauties.  Ten day weather forecast for Seattle: rain, showers, showers, rain, etc.  I’ll leave the clotheslines to the parts of the world who actually have solar radiation.

      Posted by Director on 2007 04 20 at 07:08 PM • permalink


    1. Clotheslines are wonderful energy saving tools for drying clothes in a Gaia-affirming way. Here are a few tips for getting the best out of your clothesline.

      1. Set up a series of fans near the clothesline to expedite the drying process.
      2. Use a heating element in conjunction with the fan to further speed things up. By adding heat to your clothes you will remove it from the atmosphere, according to the Principle of Heat Conservation. This isn’t a well-known scientific principle, but it is a fake one.
      3. Build spinning metal enclosure around your clothesline to keep the clothes moving and improve drying time.
      4. Remove the clothesline.

      I have employed this practice at home in lieu of purchasing carbon indulgences from the local priestesses, and it’s really helped me free up time and money for charcoal and freon. I hope it does the same for you.

      Posted by Nathan on 2007 04 22 at 04:33 AM • permalink


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