Dead fans tell no tales.

From the people who brought you the $400 vacuum cleaner, behold the $450 fan:

Yes, it’s the Dyson “air multiplier.” Saw these in a Best Buy the other day, and to be sure, $450 is the price only for the two on the right. The little one on the left is a steal at $300. They were putting out a lot of air, I’ll give ’em that. What makes them worth a price like that? Why, they have no blades. What’s wrong with blades? “Buffeting” — it says right there on the display. No blades, no buffeting.

Of all the things to dislike about room fans, buffeting never occurred to me. Dust on the blades, yes, about a million other things, but not buffeting. Anyway, for $450, you can buy an air conditioner, although the Dyson Air Multiplier is certainly more stylish. I like that blue. I hate to go off on yet another reverie of nostalgia here, but thinking about fans makes me think of a few times in the past when they were significant factors in my quality of life. They were not times when I could afford $450 for air multiplication. My first term at college was a summer session; I left for Athens one week after high-school graduation, and landed in the middle of the steamiest, hottest summer in southeast Ohio in many years. No AC in the dorms, only two of which were open for the small residential community — one for men, one for women. A fan was an absolute necessity, and there was something wonderful about turning it on in the evenings, leaving the room for a while, and returning after dark to feel that blessedly cool, cool breeze.

(Fans told you who had dope; if it was turned around, blowing out, and especially if there was a pillow stuffed into the part of the window it didn’t fill, someone was blowing marijuana smoke out of their room.)

That was a hot summer, but not the hottest. That was reserved for Key West in September, where I went to visit a friend one week in 1980. He and his roommate had an un-air conditioned apartment; can you imagine? In Florida? They called it the hovel, and it was, but for a week it was our hovel. The fan ran constantly, on high, the only thing that made it inhabitable at all. It was dying, and the first lesson I learned was DO NOT TOUCH THE FAN. If it was ever turned off, or even turned down, it might not start up again. Sometimes it would slow down, and all conversation would cease as we turned our worried eyes to look. Would this be it? It ran down, down, down, sometimes so slow you could see the blades turning, but then, huzzah! It found its power again, and we’d applaud.

The other thing we did in that apartment was listen to the neighbors fight. The people in the front of the house were scary; he bounced her off the walls, and she would scream and cry. The people next door were merely hilarious, Florida crackers who slept briefly for a couple hours before and just after dawn, after which they’d rise and resume yelling at one another, which they did non-stop. “My boy ain’t no dummy!” “Shut up!” “YOU shut up!” And so on.

Because it was so hot, we went out a lot. Myer’s rum gimlets we drank, at three different bars, including the famous Monster, on Front Street. One night Jeff walked me to the front door, then said he was going back out. To the baths, of course, for the nightcap that would kill him a few years later. He said he never regretted any of it, and I believe him.

That fan’s in a landfill somewhere. Oh, the stories it could tell.

So how was your weekend? We went to Ohio, to celebrate my nephew’s graduation from Ohio State. It rained, and was plenty steamy there, too, but tolerable. Reading the paper Sunday I learned that soon you’ll be able to carry guns pretty much everywhere, including bars, a law that every newspaper, every tavern-owners’ group, opposed, because what really goes with guns, anyway? Liquor, that’s what. Also, the legislature is going to allow fracking — hydraulic fracturing, to extract oil and natural gas from rocks — in state parks. Not state land, mind you, state parks. Where you go to have a picnic, or show your kids what camping is like, or to drink in some natural beauty. I imagine we’ll see logging in Yellowstone in my lifetime, at this rate.

Is “Beautiful Ohio” still the state song? We had to learn it in grade school:

Drifting with the current down a moonlit stream
While above the heavens in their glory gleam
And the stars on high twinkle in the sky
Dreaming of a paradise of love divine
Dreaming of a pair of eyes that looked in mine
Beautiful Ohio, in dreams again I see
Visions of what used to be.

I see visions of a time before they treated their state parks as mining camps.

OK, enough nostalgia! Monday is always a killer, so let’s get to it:

Brian Dickerson, in the Freep, addresses the nightmare I linked to last week, that of the family riven by false sexual-abuse charges, and takes note of the weak-willed and cronied-up judges who aided and abetted the case, surely the worse miscarriage of justice to come down the pike since…the last one.

In the WashPost, Henry Allen identifies America’s problem: WASP rot.

Also in the WashPost, yet another story pointing out the obvious, which will be branded class warfare. Go enjoy your state parks, peasants! (Hope the water at the pump doesn’t catch fire.)

I’m off. Happy week to all.

Posted at 9:17 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

29 responses to “Dead fans tell no tales.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 20, 2011 at 9:26 am

    A hot, muggy day always makes me think of my grandmother’s “Zero” fan, with the name on an enamel plate decorated by a lightning bolt, screwed into the center of the wire housing around the blades, which rattled softly as it swung towards the sink, then towards the pie safe, and back again, endlessly. The buffeting was one of the attractions when it swung your way during dinner around the kitchen table.

    (And yes, “Beautiful Ohio,” in all its Gilded Age kitschy glory, is still the state song. “Back Home Again in Indiana” will always be mine, though, wherever I live. Both sets of lyrics written by: Sing it, Jim Nabors!)

    675 chars

  2. coozledad said on June 20, 2011 at 9:44 am

    I like the bladed fans. Some of them remind me of Raymond Loewy.
    If you’re going to break new ground in consumerist items, why not go for the orgasmatron? We’ve got the technology.

    181 chars

  3. Julie Robinson said on June 20, 2011 at 9:45 am

    The summer our first child was due was miserably hot and our hovel of a house had no AC. We ended up borrowing against our life insurance for a big window unit and used fans to distribute the air to the rest of the downstairs. We turned the dining room into our bedroom and stayed there through the winter until we were finally able to get heat to the upstairs. Nostalgia? Only to remember how fortunate we are now.

    I finally finished The Passage last night about an hour before it was expiring on my Nook. I wish I hadn’t had to rush through it because there’s a lot to think about. I looked at a few reviews online and learned it’s the first of a trilogy, but also that many compare it to The Game of Thrones series. Since I know there are fans here I wanted to pass that along, and now I’ll have to read that too.

    825 chars

  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 20, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Cooze . . . just make sure there’s no buffeting.

    48 chars

  5. coozledad said on June 20, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I’ve got an old Freshn’d Aire fan in my shop. It has a two-bladed bakelite propeller and looks like an engine pod on a B-29. You don’t want to dangle any body parts near it.

    217 chars

  6. 4dbirds said on June 20, 2011 at 10:14 am

    You and I are thinking alike. I saw the Dyson fan commercial this weekend and said to my son, “Yeah, that buffeting keeps me up at night”.

    139 chars

  7. 4dbirds said on June 20, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Julie, I read The Passage also. I like that genre, always have.

    64 chars

  8. Jolene said on June 20, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Some years back, my parents came to visit me during an unusually hot June in Boston. Having spent the previous five years in Tucson, where swamp coolers and AC kept us alive, I needed a fan and picked up a standing, oscillating fan at a bigbox store.

    My dad, who was then about seventy, put it together for me. Although he had a good sense of humor, he rarely made jokes, so I was surprised when, after completing the assembly, he started jogging back and forth in front of fan, cracking wise about how you had to keep moving to get the benefit of it.

    The moment was a small delight, partly because it was genuinely funny to see him in this little dance and partly because he was so pleased with his own joke.

    716 chars

  9. Chris in Iowa said on June 20, 2011 at 10:22 am

    A fan without blades makes me wonder what my old college buddy, Bill, would do if we were in school today. At many parties back in the day, Bill would get drunk and use his tongue to stop a moving fan blade.

    We saw him do it so many times that we kind of took it for granted until, one night on David Letterman’s old TV show, we watched some other guy do the same thing in the Stupid Human Tricks segment.

    408 chars

  10. MichaelG said on June 20, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Talk of hot is timely. The TV tells us that we’ll hit triple digits for the next couple of days. Yes, I have A/C.

    115 chars

  11. Scout said on June 20, 2011 at 11:11 am

    We Phoenicians rely on central air and ceiling fans in every room to survive the summers. Heard it’s supposed to be 110 on Wednesday. Yeah, that’s hot.

    When I moved here in ’83 I had a Karmann Ghia. I adored that car but she had no a/c. I didn’t even make it to the 4th of July before having to trade her in. Every time I see an orange KG I wonder if it’s my old car.

    375 chars

  12. brian stouder said on June 20, 2011 at 11:35 am

    When I saw the header on this – Dead fans tell no tales – I thought we were going to hear about some death-metal group (or whatever) that accidently electrocuted 6 or 8 people in their mosh-pit. (Possibly the gray and threatening weather hereabouts is what put me off on the wrong foot. As I read Nance’s post, the fans she reminded me of were the ones haunting Mickey Rourke in Angel Heart)

    391 chars

  13. Suzanne said on June 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I do love my very pricey Dyson vacuum, but I’ll probaby skip the fan/air mover.

    The rich getting richer and richer and richer makes me depressed. Most of my family is very right leaning and think that is great because those rich people and their businesses are all altruistic and will spread that wealth to the deserving in the underclasses. They don’t seem to grasp that we are all becoming the underclass…and the rich don’t think we are deserving.

    455 chars

  14. Mark P. said on June 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    I thought the state song of Ohio was “My City Was Gone.”

    56 chars

  15. prospero said on June 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Whatever the state song of Ohio is, it should be legally required to be a Chrissie Hynde composition. I’d select Middle of the Road, for the line:

    When you own half of the bloody third world, the babies are part of the scenery.

    Old fashioned oscillating fans are possibly the greatest sleep aid ever invented. Cool and soothing buffeting breeze with perfect white noise. And I don’t know about anybody else, but this James Dyson is exactly the sort of smarmy Brit jackass that annoys the crap out of me. It’s hot as hell in South Carolina, and to make matters less comfortable, some jorts-wearing, mullet-headed Florida rednecks keep starting wildfires and the smoke comes up the coast, meets our relentless high sky high pressure cells and just sits here. It does smell pleasantly like well-cured cypress in a campfire or woodstove, but it’s oppressive at 100 deg.

    Does Mitt Romney ever pause to listen to the bullshit that spews from his mouth? Why would anybody in Michigan vote for this Bozo for anything but off the island? Does he really think it’s funny to joke about unemployment when he’s worth about $half a billion? What a clueless prick.

    1348 chars

  16. alex said on June 20, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Hadn’t owned a fan in years, but recently picked one up for about ten bucks. I love getting buffeted by it. What does a Dyson air multiplier do that’s so special? Blow sunshine up your ass?

    I hear there’s a mosquito eater that emits carbon dioxide that costs about that much. Now there’s something I might consider splurging on if there were any credible evidence that it worked. Has anyone here tried it?

    409 chars

  17. MarkH said on June 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Those of you roasting in the lower latitudes and elevations may want to consider moving up our way:

    Crazy, even for Beartooth Pass. Yellowstone is all plowed now, but just barely, and the snow walls along the roadways are maybe 2/3 or 1/2 as tall as this. The cooler weather here just won’t break and it’s the only thing keeping Wyoming’s 300% of normal snow and water content at bay. Flood threats are low and Yellowstone’s Lewis Lake only lost its ice covering two weeks ago. Temps in Jackson are 25 – 30 at night and 50 – 60 during the day. LOTS of rain, too.

    636 chars

  18. Dorothy said on June 20, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Holy crap, Mark!!!

    18 chars

  19. Mark P. said on June 20, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    In parts of Georgia we’ve had about a month of 90+ degree days so far, extending back into May a little. It appears likely that there will be a new record string of 90-degree-days this early in the year. The drought in the southern part of the state is considered “exceptional.” Up in NW Georgia we have had about a third of an inch of rain in the last month. Although there are widlfires in south Georgia, we are lucky that even without rain, our humidity is higher than in Arizona and New Mexico; otherwise we would probably be having similar fires.

    551 chars

  20. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 20, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I still fondly remember wading through hip deep snow on May 20th on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon . . . then sweating in the high 80s down past Roaring Springs about an hour and a half later. Haven’t made it to Yellowstone yet, but it’s on the list, in or out of the bucket.

    278 chars

  21. Kirk said on June 20, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    I remember flinging snowballs at one another above the tree line on an arm of Mount Rainier a few days before the Fourth of July, but it was definitely leftover; we were quite comfortable in T-shirts.

    200 chars

  22. Deborah said on June 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    I grew up in Miami, FL without air-conditioning. None of our neighbors had it either, until I was in college. We had lots of fans and didn’t knobs any better.

    158 chars

  23. Mark P. said on June 20, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Here’s a quick take on the Dyson fan:

    And another:

    272 chars

  24. Deborah said on June 20, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    That was supposed to be, “didn’t know any better” damn auto correct.

    68 chars

  25. george.w said on June 20, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    The fan isn’t bladeless; the blades are just hidden where you can’t clean them.

    This is seriously a semi-clever bit of plastic but nothing remarkable other than the 14x price.

    I found out recently you can increase the efficiency of any fan quite a bit by taking the front cover off. I wouldn’t take the back cover off though because that’s where the leading edges could make your fingers all blood-spurty.

    530 chars

  26. alex said on June 21, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Weird Al goes GaGa. LMFAO.

    98 chars

  27. brian stouder said on June 21, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Deborah, I liked your ‘knobs’ every bit as much as your ‘knows’

    63 chars

  28. prospero said on June 21, 2011 at 10:40 am

    MarkH: away from the beach? Not in a million years. Brown pelicans in formation when we wake up and look at the high sky? And Darth Cheney never invades with black helicopters to allegedly fish with flies. Buddy Holly songs are as magical as his name. Seriously, Buddy Holly? This could make your day. Incredibly good covers of great songs. And in my book Zooey Deschanel is truly astounding. Patti Smith is even finer.

    George.w: I took the back off a TV once. Not recommended. Capacitor blew my ass about 15 ft. Kirk, that’s summer skiing, which is fantastic.

    The Dyson fan takes everything enjoyable out of fans. What an ahole. Perfecting something that was already perfect is a seriously stupid game. This guy is the Chris Hitchens of the inventing game. A true Brit ahole. Get your lardasses out of Ireland, you shitheels. I admit it, there is nothing good about Brits since Johnny Rotten. They are the uber Israelis, occupiers. With bad intention.

    Gaga is entirely likely a guy. She isn’t as lame as Madonna. But it’s still a sad excuse for music. Words of Love by Patti Smith is ridiculously gorgeous. And it turns out she is a superb writer. Her memoir about the piss-Christ guy is excellent. And doesn’t KidRock turn Well Alright into a Seger song meets the Tempts? These are just great songs. And who but Lou Reed would make a simple teen love song into something incredibly frightening. And the John Doe take is even better. What a brilliant voice. Morrissey,? Kiss my ass? Lame as shit.

    Brian Stouder, you just like knobs. They are beautiful in every peregrination. I had a very strange friend in high school that would approach girls after the Johnny Mathis sock-hop closer and try to dial in knobs and say come in Tokyo.I know this is late, but this is the best for Father’s Day: this is kinda wonderful. My dad was astounding. When he was dying, I was giving him crushed ice. And it reminded him of a novel that we both loved. And my mom too. Smilla’s Sense of Snow. He could recall every detail. That was the hardest time I ever spent. But the best. I wanted him to die. sometimes, because he wasn’t really my dad anymore. And I did not want to see him suffer for breath. It’s a cruel truth, but everybody should see their dad die. Burned in my brain.

    2555 chars

  29. Brandon said on June 22, 2011 at 1:38 am

    “…[T]here is nothing good about Brits since Johnny Rotten”–prospero

    He’s of Irish descent. His parents emigrated from Ireland.

    A few years back, he wrote his autobiography, whose title spells out the discrimination he had faced in Britain.

    422 chars