Posted by: David | May 23, 2010

The Remains of the Couch

Previously, on Thoughts-0-Dave, Oliver, the Jack Russell terrorist, was expressing concern over what was to happen with the old convertible couch. His mother had purchased a new couch from Macy’s. The old couch, as mentioned, was a convertible. Which means that it unfolded into a bed, which means that it contained about 500 pounds of angle iron, rivets, springs, and the like. The thing was in the house when we bought it back in 1995, along with an unbelievable amount of other junk. The final member of the family from whom we bought the house, a sort of shell-shocked older woman, probably could have made it onto that insane AMC show Hoarders. We’d agreed to allow her to stay in the house until the spring following our winter closing. By the time spring came, she hadn’t managed to really eliminate that much of the stuff that packed the attic. We said, OK, no problem. We’ll take care of it. We took lots of stuff to the dump. But we kept the convertible couch. And we bought the stove and refrigerator from them for $200. When we moved in, we found the check we’d written for the appliances on the kitchen floor. We mailed it to them at the Texas address they’d left us. Apparently they were even more dysfunctional than we were.

But back to the couch. The old couch that is. Despite its hideousness we made good use of it for 15 years. So did our pets. Nearly every morning for the past few years, Hunter, our cat, was perched on the back of the couch when I emerged from the bedroom around 5 a.m. She was usually facing indoors, though I imagine she was observing the backyard in the early dawn. She makes herself comfortable on an impressive variety of furniture.

What couch?

zzz zzzz zzzz.

The new couch was delivered last Thursday. Some guys delivered it and wanted to make sure that my wife logged on to the website to report that they’d done a spectacular job with the delivery. Which they did. But the couch arrived with an imperfection. On the front surface of one of the arms there is some kind of divet in the flocking. My wife refers to it as a tear. There were phone calls, discussions, repair kits sent in the mail, conspiracy theories, etc. Apparently the couch was covered by some kind of couch insurance. Can you believe there’s such a frackin thing as couch insurance?

Old couch 90% deconstructed. Cat don’t care.

Old couch 100% removed.

at still don’t care.

Et voilà, the new couch. See the defect on the right arm? I thought not.

Apparently, they overnighted a repair kit, but it was for a leather couch. This couch is not leather. They will send a specialist, but not for a couple of weeks. Apparently couch damage inspectors are either hard to find, or maybe just really busy this time of year. After all, May is National Couch Month. Right? I tried the couch out for a bit last night. Catching up on all the back episodes of Fringe. Now I’m down to the 2-part season finale. Did I tell you that I’m on vacation? The couch is very deep, so for sitting on I’m not sure yet. For lounging on it’s not too shabby. Oliver is still forbidden to get up on the new couch. I originally predicted (silently) that this period of couch suspension would be 72 hours or less. But we’re past that now and he’s still being waved away. Since couch provides access to his favorite observation perch, this cannot last. Perhaps we’ll need to buy the couch force field apparatus from Hammacher-Schlemmer

This morning (Sunday) was dump day. It took me about 2 hours to completely dismember all the metal parts of the couch so that they would fit in my car. With the rear seats folded down, of course. It was a process of drilling and hammering out rivets, a little hacksawing, some prying with a 24-inch crowbar, and a surprisingly small amount of cursing. No injuries either. But the trunk was so full of the couch metal it was 2 trips to the dump. And I stashed the couch’s spine, its largest piece of angle iron, in the rafters of the garage. Never know when you’re going to need a nice piece of angle iron.

The remains of the couch, loaded into my car.

The afternoon of this glorious day was spent cutting grass. Tomorrow there needs to be bicycling.



  1. even on vaycay you are an inspiration. i have also been hoeing out, and am prepping selected detritus for a Massive Two Family Yard Sale (NO EARLY BIRDS!!!) this Sat’d’y, sund’y & mund’y. we yankees sure do know how to spend a day off, don’t we? But I actually wanted to comment on this “deep couch good for sitting?” question. I too bought a soft couch — well, a loveseat, actually — and found (before the damned thing was even paid off) to my dismay that sitting on this thing for more than 37 minutes gives me a terrible aching back, and worse my 87 year old father can’t get up out of it. Actually, he is quite good company; what would be worse is if my {unnamed other elderly relative(s)} couldn’t get out of it. Worse than worse, because it is a loveseat, and my now elderly relatives fed me vitamins when I was young and I grew so well, I now do not FIT lounging on the damned thing, at least not without bending up my knees, which curls my neck around like a scorpion’s tail which is about how I feel about the whole thing. So I would say an upholstery divot is a pretty nice problem to have, if you can actually lounge on this couch, which, by the way, is a lovely color, I think. Perhaps oliver could have a towel on the couch. I will keep my eyes open at my own yard sale for an appropriate item.

    You have no idea how flattering it is to have the likes of you say that I’ve provided inspiration. It really ain’t right, is it?

    The new couch does have a nice color. But I fear its days may be numbered. 37 minutes sitting would be almost acceptable. I lounged on it successfully for 2 episodes of Fringe. Dozed even. But rewound so as not to miss all the intense other-worldliness that show provides. It’s like Lost for those who missed Lost. I guess.

    So my wife sent an email with an attached photo of the divot to Macy’s. Experts will scrutinize the jpeg. All 300K of it. They will consult with their couch actuaries and calculate mortality. How long can Macy’s keep the extra $80 my wife spent on couch insurance? After 7 years with no claim, they have to refund the premium. By which time they will have made only a thousand-fold profit on it. Which will be a loss in 2017. After the Not So Great Depression of 2013, The Year They Should Have Skipped, Like Apollo 13, Duh. When will we ever learn?

    Regarding Ollie and towels … no. He likes to shred towels. I sure that his mommy is planning any number of duvet covers. Perhaps a duvet will conceal the divot. Eventually. Who knows?

  2. So this is you on vacation? David, as for the tear, you need to understand that many women (apparently your wife included) have super powers and we can see things at a greater magnification than you guys can. We also realize that defects in furniture from Macy’s just will not do. Still, a divot duvet sounds nice.

    So sad to see that convertible couch go. I’ll bet someone could build a car with the metal from it.

    Yes, this is me on vacation. This morning I brought my wife to the airport, so now the vacation technically begins.

    She covered the couch with cover we’ve had for some time. It sat in the washer for too long before being put in the dryer so it got a bad smell. I’m not one to do this sort of thing, but I have to live with this for the next week so I bought a bottle of Febreze Extra Strength and sprayed liberally. I thought it might help but at this point it’s the bad smell with Febreze on top. Whatever.

    Yes, the metal coming out of the old couch could have been used to build a Volkswagen. Or maybe one of those Renault Le Cars. Remember that piece of crap?

  3. It would take much of a divot for me to be hollering for an exchange, not a repair. But I’ve become a lot crankier in recent years.

    Assuming that you meant wouldn’t … I’ll bet an exchange is what ends up happening. A repair would void the insurance, which makes no sense, but covers the couch for 7 years. Against what? Theft, fire, or flood? Who comes up with this crap? Rhetorical question …


    Moonbeam you resuscitated? I thought of you the other day because of things I have been learning about a place called HubPages. Do you know?

    The first impression is no good, because there are lots and lots, you can’t believe how many, people out there who will write ten pages for a dime. But of the successful ones, those that make money, many know how to write. The percentage is much smaller than at WordPress, precisely because the money lures in many that don’t know how to hold a pen. And so the first impression is awful. We are already having a great time here imitating people who write with affected seriousness about a topic they don’t know a thing about and couldn’t care less.

    But I am nearly sure you would do great there with that same profile you developed here. It’s for people who can do “topical” articles of between 500 and 1500 words in length. I wanted to help some friends of mine, but can’t do it, can’t write lengthily and am not so interested in topicals. But I did spend a lot of time there to find out how things work.

    I thought you could simply use many of the articles of your former blog.

    Flattering as it is to have you use my blog as a conduit to communicate with the one and only Moonbeam McQueen, she does post an email address at Yahoo on her blog. I’ve emailed her a few times and she’s every bit as delightful and responsive as you’d imagine from reading her blog posts.

    Also, with affected seriousness, I appreciate your summation of what it is we’re doing here with all this bloggy activity. I’ve never made one cent from the things I write about here, about which I know little but actually DO care less. Does that sound right? Whatever …

    That was an example of what they call “snarkiness”. It’s a kind of sarcastic gossip. Usually tiresome but occasionally amusing. Does your blog generate any income for you? Just wondering …

  5. David, do you know anybody who has dial-up connection?

    My connection has become so erratic and intermittent that I will have to do something drastic. Sometimes I am only on for 3 minutes at a time, and so, if I have to log in someplace, just when I have finished logging in, I am offline again.

    Yes, I do. There are rural areas all around my town that have places too far from the “central office” of the local ISP to have any kind of broadband. My daughter and her husband are building their new house in just such a setting. They will be thrust back into the stone age of dial-up when they move in to their new home.

    For your purposes, mostly textual, dial-up may not be so awful. Uploading and downloading files of any appreciable size, e.g. a 1.5M jpeg, will be slow, but it may not be so awful. I wonder if your neighbors who use the same ISP are having the same sort of intermittent service as you are having. You may want to check with them just to eliminate the possibility that your computer or modem is part of the problem. I expect that the growth in the popularity of the internet has in many places exceeded the bandwidth capacity of the local providers.

  6. Hi Cantueso! Yes, I resucitated- at least for the time being. Thank you so very much for the information- I will look it up. And David, thank you for being the conduit, and for being so nice about redirecting.


    P.S. Thank you for the information about the laptop keyboard. I’m going to do it. Life without backspace is no life at all.

  7. David

    The large files are no problem. Less than once a month would I download such a big thing. And no, I don’t think it is in my computer, because the interruptions come in series starting at about 6 pm and last about 3 hours.

    I have been doing the annual tax declaration. Taxman keeps reminding me to declare the office I own on Vacas street which is Cow street, and I keep telling the taxman that I do not own an office on Cow street.

    So you have a dial-up connection now? Agreed that the regularity of interruptions makes your computer less likely to be part of the problem. Also, evening is typically a high traffic time for residential internet usage.

    So, do you or don’t you own an office?

  8. David and Moonbeam

    Blogging for Income

    The writing has to generate a marketing interest of any kind or be highly topical. Moonbeam could do that with her knowledge about film music, fads, relationships, parenting, and you could do it with your knowledge about farming, building, plants, technology, computers.

    At HubPages each of the posts called hubs is treated and gets rated separately, but you also get rated for the comments you leave on other blogs, your level of participatin in the forum, the reception you get from other “hubbers”, the marketing potential of your hub.

    The fact that you get points for leaving a comment on other people’s hubs drives everyone around like crazy and leave little wows and lols on every hub they come across. This generates immense site-internal traffic: IMMENSE, and the system has ways to direct this traffic towards the better hubs creating an avalanche effect to lift the better hubs towards a high Google rank and advertising income.

    This whole idea makes me shudder. That there has come a day when our most banal and meaningless utterances could be milked for the mouse-clicks they might generate … But I thank you for your thoughtful contributions here. And apologize for my ellipses …

  9. more on Blogging for income

    Once you have written some articles, you sign up for AdSense and maybe Amazon, and these start placing ads on your hubs=articles=posts.

    Successful hubs:

    “How to” (cook, fix, deal with, do etc)
    “10 best..” (films, books, quotes, ideas, cars…)
    “How to buy..” (car, online, art, computer, laptop)

    All of these would get very high ratings instantly. But remember, there have to be between 400 and preferably 1500 words!!!!!

    The reason why the hubs=articles have to be long:
    Once the reader is there, he will stay slightly longer if there are a lot of things on the page and by staying longer he might end up clicking on one of the ads. If he buys something through one of the ads on your page, you get a cut. If he clicks on an ad, you get another cut. Many people repòrt making only a few dollars a month. Quite a few make 100 or more, and very few make 1000 or more, but only after a few months.

    It is not a scam, though the success of that business model depends on making people believe that to write is to rehash some Wikipedia info about Socrates or blood plasma or the phases of the moon. 99% of the people there do only that, and the results are awful, awful, horrible, where even the spell checker can’t help:

    From an article:

    “….if he new that she was the soul owner of that car…..”

    From the forum:

    “..heck! Michelangelo is the best artist? But if you put him beside Aristoteles, what do you get?”

    (On the best artists): “My favourite is Mozart.” — “But Mozart was an actor, not a painter.”

    Yeah, but Mozart never won any Oscars®, did he?

  10. Articles that I remember right now that could be used for a hub:

    Moonbeam: about tatoo and her daughter
    David: about gardening and carpentry.

    It has to be things that one really knows and likes. So for instance I love linguistics, Proust, Machado(poet), and these can’t be made to bear ads, or would maybe get some Amazon ad for Proust biographies and hence some ad about gay literature.

    However, what I wrote about the Hubpages here, now, that could be turned into a successful hub with the tile of “How does HubPages generate income?”

    But I hate to tell the many that they are being used as cannon fodder seeing they tell each other that they are the greatest thing since Mark Twain or Shakespeare.


    Forgot to mention:

    There are ratings for each hub.
    The best things I saw got 95 out of 100.
    The bad things get 30 or 35.
    Only if you read the FAQ closely will you find out that if your article is rated below 50, you won’t be listed in Google.

    By hampering many, the system can favour the best, maybe about 1 in 8. Understand? One in 8 is actually made to profit from the stupidity of the other 7.

    These 7 might end up thinking that the system is a scam, but it isn’t. It is a business principle. HubPages gets part of the advertising income generated by the one thanks to the concurrence of the seven.

    Again, thanks for this thoughtful analysis of HubPages. I wish I had the time and the patience to look over HubPages for more than the 10 minutes I gave it. It seems like there is some potential there for useful information and/or personal connection. And maybe even some income. Luckily, I have a day job which I really love.

  11. Moonbeam:

    You would HAVE TO take things already written, because I DO remember that when once you actually tried to write for pay (Christmas issue of an online mazagazine) Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez! did it come out flat! Wasn’t that a surprise! But at HubPages it might still get a 75 or more.

  12. David

    On WordPress you are not allowed to write for income.

    WordPress said somewhere that they might consider what is called “revenue sharing” for blogs reaching something like 50 000 visitors a month, probably unique visitors.

    My blog posts, with maybe 2 exceptions, are not of the kind that an advertiser would choose to put an ad on, whereas you have many that could carry ads for tools, fertilizers, seeds, construction companies, laptops.

  13. Access to a listing of the best hub authors all rated 100

  14. Angle iron is the one thing I keep close by in case of emergencies 😉

    I’m glad I got to this post, and I’m glad I got to see so many adorable pictures of Hunter! A nice distraction that I needed… 🙂

    I’m glad too Romi. I’ll let kitty know.

    You want I should ship a piece a angle iron to Toronto? (please read in ‘Fat Tony’ Mafioso accent)

  15. No, I don’t own an office on Cow street, but a garage! GARAGE! declared as such every year since I bought it some 4 years ago. GARAJE!

    No, I don’t have a dial up connection yet. Would not take such measures until I see vacations coming. There was a holiday here, and there weren’t any cuts, which means that your idea that my provider is overloaded is right.

    Maybe it is part of La Crisis. At a buildings materials supply place it said “Prohibido hablar de la cosa”: speaking about the thing is prohibited.

    Perhaps the address of your garage on Cow Street was once the address of some sort of business office?

    So your broadband ISP is having occasional problems keeping up with the traffic. This is to be expected. To change to a dial up connection would be analogous to sending faxes to your friends instead of attaching documents to emails. If that makes any sense. It looks like Madrid has plenty of broadband ISPs. Probably not related to La Crisis ….

    Yes. In Estados Undidos one avoids referring to this as The Great Depression II. Though there have been some references lately to a “double dip” recession. 🙂

  16. As to those HubPages, there was one glorious discovery.
    Remember I told you that they strongly recommend that the articles should be LONG, some 500 to 1400 words in length (or whatever). So here was the enigma: why do they recommend such a strange thing?

    Every blogger knows: unless it is short, it won’t be read.
    The New York times published that the average reader reads a single article for…how long? Was it 2.4 minutes?
    The “Shiny Stats” publish that 50% of visitors stay on their home page for just a few seconds.
    Nielsen says the average page view lasts 57 seconds. So now how come HubPages keep saying “magazine length”, just when magazines in general are disappearing?

    Here is a real live rabbit pulled out of a real live hat, and it took me at least four tries.
    The reason that HubPages and the NewYorker want long articles is that length discourages reading.

    Imagine how funny. I rarely find out such a funny thing.

    Length leads the reader straight over to those little trap doors to relief and freedom: the ads.

    I myself used to have a New Yorker on the kitchen table to oblige myself to read some of it, and even now I remember only some of those tiny ads. The dread lenghth of literary text made me rest my weary eye on those humble little ads in the margin: coin collections; book binding; elevators for the handicapped; first communion gifts; Christmas calendars; handbags from Hungary.

    Oh, that IS a glorious discovery. I have New Yorkers all over the place, which I mainly peruse for the cartoons (“drawings”). When I bother to read the lengthy pieces I am rarely disappointed, yet volume after volume goes largely unread. However, I’ve been ignoring the “trap doors” forever. If it’s one thing that we Americans are good at it’s how to ignore advertising. But here is how to make the best commercial use of our dwindling attention spans before your magazine vanishes completely: print long pieces. So when the guy selling the authentic woolen berets is done, so is the New Yorker? Golly.

  17. “The Remains of the Couch” – This sounds very high class and important. It could be the title of your first novel. But you need to be British. Tell me you’re British.

    Yeah. Okay. I’m British. Dead common, but British. Born in the Colonies. Hey what? Pip pip. Bob’s your uncle. Pulled through a hedge backwards. Etcetera.

  18. The New Yorker cartoons can be seen at Google images, but the New Yorker ads, the ones in the sidebar, are different from other magazine ads in that they are from 1 man outfits selling things not available anywhere else, imported from the East, handmade, antique, or meant for very old people.

    Look at this:

    It is a Swiss village school. It is by Albert Anker. He is the Swiss Norman Rockwell, but lived a century earlier. I don’t mean to say: “now here, this for once is real art.” In fact, I know that this painter was a social justice fanatic, and this painting is ever so slightly critical, though so real that I feel I know every one of those kids and what has become of them.

    God help my pathetically uncultured and historically unschooled soul … I’ve always loved that painting and thought that it WAS by Norman Rockwell. There are 39 children in that classroom. It is very realistic and compelling, in an almost documentary way. All those evocative faces! Rockwell must have been influenced by this artist. Thanks for linking me to it!

  19. Here is one more. This is typical Swiss town architecture. The children are war orphans, and they are being adopted by wealthy citizens.

    I think this was not Napoleon’s war. There must have been another war, some 40 or 50 years later.

    Another amazing painting. Makes you wonder why they ever bothered to invent photography. The childrens’ expressions are so moving. The more you study this scene the more it draws you in …

  20. Yes, you can see that the children are scared and speechless, and one, in the foreground, walñking away with a rich lady and her extremely well dressed son, looks so humiliated as if he understood that he had had to be sold. The way he lifts his chin and just won’t start to cry, while getting examined by the other boy.

    In the past clothes were immensely expensive. In warm countries that may not have been so important, but e.g. in Russia a winter coat cost more than a years’ savings. So all coats became tell-tale.

    In Switzerland there was poverty, but never of the desperate kind.

    Yes, that adopted boy has what we call the “thousand yard stare”.

  21. By the way, don’t you think that Anker’s schoolteacher looks somewhat like you, though older? There is something in his posture, some lack of authority or what.

    Now I am in a hurry because I have to go and see whether the little computer is still ok or whether it has reverted to its Albania ways. It’s worse than having a baby, but only for a short time.


    Billie, don’t you want to see that sweet tiny little baby sister that the stork has brought you?
    No. But I want to see the stork.

    Hmmm. Yes, I guess I see the resemblance. I was similarly lacking in authority whenever I found myself in front of a classroom full of students. So, uh, thanks. 🙂

  22. The teacher looks like he cannot decide whether to go after one of those kids. Schools were like that all over Europe and probably in the US too. In Spain they were like that until recently.

    Now I guess this is no longer intelligible, though here (in Spain) to be a teacher for little children is still an option for people who have bad grades and cannot go to the university.

    Kids are told that they don’t have to obey the teacher.

    Yes he does look like he’s trying to get better control over the class. I think it still reads very well. Not much has changed in the public school classrooms here in the USA. Kids don’t even have to obey their parents now. Parents are admonished if they “punish” the kids for their errors.

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