So, another State of the Union Address has come and gone in this, our great Empire. I’m certainly not going to go over it point-by-point; I agree with most of the positions the President laid out, and I understand the ones I don’t agree with. I skipped out on the rebuttals – shame on me! – but it was already late into a long day, and I didn’t feel like elevating my blood pressure right before bed.
I was struck by some of the Fox News coverage the next morning (I saw it by accident, I swear…). If one of your main quibbles is that Obama didn’t use the words “radical Islam” (although he did talk terrorism), isn’t your position a little thin? I mean, really… I can think of more terror attacks, performed in the U.S. inspired by what I’ll call radical Christianity, than not. Can we talk McVeigh in 1995? The Sikh Temple Massacre in 2012? The Centennial Olympic Park bombing, 1996?
Much of the Fox coverage was really quite divisive–even when they were pretending to have “reasonable” discussion. They tended to set up an “us-vs-them” divide, demonizing the “them.” Even when the “them” was, well, “us”. The wording on their headlines was inflammatory–I wish I had jotted down notes, for examples, but I suspect that catching any session will provide plenty of examples. From a purely sociological standpoint, it was fascinating.
The Fox reaction to the recent events in France was interesting, too – and how they were brought to issuing on-air retractions and apologies (four times!) was instructive. Satire, humor, and an email/twitter campaign. If only they were called out more often–and with appropriate focus–maybe they’d start being worth something.
I promised I’d talk about the terracotta emergency room heaters. To describe them (a quick Google search should provide lots of pictures and instructions), you’ve got a set of nested terracotta flowerpots, connected through the drain-holes with a bolt and numerous washers & nuts. These are inverted, and placed on blocks over at least one candle–the blocks keep it raised over the candle, and allow airflow (can’t have the flame go out, that would defeat the purpose).
The principle is that the pots act as a masonry (of sorts) heat sink, absorbing the heat from the candles, and releasing it slowly over time. My opinion? Well… They work, mostly. I’d recommend using multiple tea-lights, or votives. (Taller candles–pillars, or tapers–make positioning unwieldy.) At least three. The longer they burn, the more heat you’ll get, obviously. They don’t put out enough warmth to heat up a house–unless you had a few dozen of them–but in a pinch, if you had a small room, you’d be able to (at least) take the edge off.
Don’t get me wrong–they’re surprisingly warm, especially after they’ve been going for a while. Not dangerously so, with the possible exception of the head of the bolt; we got small terracotta saucers, and glued them over the head of the bolt (with a heat-resistant silicone adhesive). There are also “feet” available for the pots; they hold the entire contraption up high enough for at least tea-lights. Otherwise, I recommend some bricks or the like–anything fire-resistant. (A large glazed tile to set the entire thing on is probably not a bad idea, either.)
Overall, I’d give the device six stars out of ten. My biggest complaint is that it’s not as effective as I might like; I could be convinced otherwise (maybe my technique is off?), which might raise my opinion of them.
Has anybody else used these? What did you think?