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Author Topic: Luxuries of past become necessities
snopes
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The number of consumer products Americans say are necessities has multiplied in the past decade, suggesting that items such as microwaves or air conditioning — once considered luxuries — are things we can't live without anymore.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-12-14-americans-necessities_x.htm

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FrogFeathers
Grandma Got Run Over By a Gift Card


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Having lived without AC and a microwave, I can personally say that the microwave is a luxury, but the AC is a necessity. I "blame" my health for needing the AC- and dammit, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. [Wink]

Depending on where I live, my vehicle is or is not a necessity. Where I am now- there's minimal public transportation and everything (other than the grocery store) is more than five miles away. (Walmart is 8 miles, any kind of mall is 20 miles). When I lived in Georgia, we had great public transportation. [Smile]

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"Is it ME? Am I a MAGNET for these idiots?"~Pearl Forrester MST3K
Die-Hard Engineers, Big Red One my Dad's website
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Mickey Blue
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Whether something is a luxury or a necessity depends highly upon where you live and your general lifestyle.

If I live in a very temperate place that has nice cool (but not cold) weather all the time I could easily get away with no heater/AC, where as somebody in a very hot or cold area could not.

If I have plenty of time and know-how in cooking I could easily get on without a microwave.. If I don't then I may need one more.

A car in all this is obvious too, depends where you live.

Computer may be, depends on your life, some people need one to do their jobs, I know I do.. Granted it doesn't *have* to be in the home I guess but I still need it, making it a necessity.

I could go on, but the point has been made..

I would also say that either people weren't taking this survey very seriously or the definition of "luxury" and "necessity" were not made terribly clear, otherwise..

quote:
The iPod ranked as the least necessary, with only 3% viewing it that way. Flat-screen TVs were viewed as a necessity by 5% of the respondents. The study's margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
..I cannot imagine somebody literally believing they "needed" specifically a flat-screen TV or an iPod.

And while we're at it the word "necessity" is sort of vague.. Do they literally mean need it to live? If thats true I'd say we don't need the majority of our stuff. Do they mean need it to maintain some minimum standard of life?

I mean heck, by the former bed sheets are a luxury, as is hot water.

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"All people are responsible for the good that they didn't do"

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Hero_Mike
Happy Holly Days


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Couldn't this, at one time, be said about :

- running water
- central heating
- electricity
- refrigeration

etc.

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"The fate of *billions* depends on you! Hahahahaha....sorry." Lord Raiden - Mortal Kombat

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Mouse
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Whoever calls AC a luxury has never been to Oklahoma in summertime. As far as I'm concerned, the inventor of that wonderful device deserves to be nominated for sainthood.

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"You see? The mysteries of the Universe are revealed when you break stuff." Coop from MegasXLR

"I distrust who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." -- Susan B. Anthony

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christmas tree kitapper
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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AC? A luxury? Not in Tucson in the summer.

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"I have never in my life been more disappointed by a politician I voted for than I have been with George Bush. He is a total liberal."- overheard by me on the shuttle to the U of A game on Nov. 11th.

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snopes
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Living in Tucson is a luxury.

- snopes

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christmas tree kitapper
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
Living in Tucson is a luxury.

- snopes

I would call it many things, but luxury is not one of them.

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"I have never in my life been more disappointed by a politician I voted for than I have been with George Bush. He is a total liberal."- overheard by me on the shuttle to the U of A game on Nov. 11th.

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snapdragonfly
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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*raises hand* three months a year of over 90 degree weather (often over 100 for a month) and 85% humidity makes me think that A/C is a luxury kinda like running water. No, you don't HAVE to have running water to survive, if you are happy drinking out of a stagnant watering hole or carting water in a bucket from a stream half a mile away.

People who say these things have never lived in East Texas, clearly.

I notice that the boom in the Sunbelt population didn't occur until AFTER A/C became commonly available. - I am not referring to the normal growth of population, but rather the actual shift of people from colder climes to our "lovely" warm weather all year long.

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"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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UrbanReindeer
Deck the Malls


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When I lived in the costal California city of Ventura, A/C was not only a luxury, it was pretty much totally unnecessary. Where I live now, near Los Angeles, I'd be pretty unhappy without it. I'm thinking whoever considered it a "luxury" doesn't live somewhere that routinely tops triple-digit temperatures.

Car depends on where you live. People in New York City don't seem to consider it as necessary as Southern Californians do. The town I used to live in was hell to get around without a car. Lousy public transportation and limited sidewalks.

I've been without a microwave. Making popcorn was a little harder, true. So, I can go with a microwave being a luxury, I suppose. On the other hand, a new microwave can be purchased for $40 or $50. Now, I was a poor single mother for many years but that's a little below the price range I consider "luxury".

My flat-screen HDTV is a luxury. Nobody "needs" a TV. And even if I did, I've got a 15 year old tv that still works just fine. I didn't "need" to buy my DH the big shiny TV for his birthday.

Come to think of it, nobody "needs" a diamond ring either, but the jewelry companies have done a good job of making that seem like a necessity. I wonder why that wasn't in the article?

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"He feeds the sparrows of the field, but He doesn't sit there and cram worms into their mouths." -- Mouse

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by Mouse:
Whoever calls AC a luxury has never been to Oklahoma in summertime. As far as I'm concerned, the inventor of that wonderful device deserves to be nominated for sainthood.

Try Alabama in August...

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And now for something completely different...

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Magdalene
Happy Holly Days


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Having lives in various climes in several parts of the world....

My parents' house in Missouri had both A/C and central heating, and I would say both were necessities.

I did basic training during the winter in South Carolina in which I swear must be the only year it snowed in that state (January to March of 1989) and we had central heat in the barracks. I couldn't say as to A/C, but I would guess probably so.

AIT was in Georgia--I don't remember being particularly cold when I started (March 1989), but I do remember being a bit uncomfortably warm during the summer until I left in September that same year.

Panama--the barracks had A/C....rumor had it that it used to be a morgue or an insane asylum. Thank God for the A/C there!

Germany--my apartment had central heat, but no A/C. It never really seemed to get that hot.

Ft. Hood, Texas--central heat and A/C.

Oklahoma--central heat and A/C...and yes, in the winter, I tacked plastic over my windows--my apartment faced north, to make things even worse.

Colorado--neither my apartment nor my house had A/C. It was only this last summer (unusually hot and humid for Colorado) that I wished differently.

Magdalene

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Spamamander in a pear tree
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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Chiming in on the "A/C is a necessity" bandwagon. While for the most part people might get away with it on the coastal side of the state, this area has 300 days of sun and triple-digit temps are not uncommon in the least. If not over 100, high 90's for weeks on end without a break are the norm.

Central heating- with the temps staying in the single digits at night a lot this winter I don't even want to think about having room heaters. Eeeek.

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"There is a race between mankind and the universe. Mankind is trying to build bigger, better, faster, and more foolproof machines. The universe is trying to build bigger, better, and faster fools. So far the universe is winning." -Albert Einstein

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UrbanReindeer
Deck the Malls


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It just occurred to me that there are news reports every summer of people dying from heat-related causes when their power goes out for whatever reason. Now if lack of A/C can cause you to die, it seems like that would make it a necessity. At the very least for those people more susceptible to the heat.

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"He feeds the sparrows of the field, but He doesn't sit there and cram worms into their mouths." -- Mouse

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snapdragonfly
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by UrbanReindeer:
It just occurred to me that there are news reports every summer of people dying from heat-related causes when their power goes out for whatever reason. Now if lack of A/C can cause you to die, it seems like that would make it a necessity. At the very least for those people more susceptible to the heat.

You are completely correct and I had forgotten that too.

It's generally older people here, who sometimes do have a/c but feel they can't afford to run it, or perhaps they don't have a/c and can't open their windows easily. They have a fan drive for these folks every year but man, a fan just blows the hot air around. Better than nothing, I guess.

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"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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Morgaine La Raq Star
The "Was on Sale" Song


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A/C is not a luxury. Ours went out earlier this year & within 12 hours, the temp was unbearable, even with fans going. Had it not been fixed within a day or so, the kids & I were heading to my parents (3+ hours away) for the weekend.

To me a cellphone falls under not being a necessity but something that does make my life much, much easier. DH & I are able to keep in better contact when he travels & in emergencies we have a way to communicate. The routes to our parents houses both include a lot of rural, backroads driving. It could be an hour before a car comes by on some of the roads we drive down.

My MP3 player OTOH, is a luxury & I fully admit it.

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I cannot live without books-Thomas Jefferson *~* A child educated only at school is an uneducated child - George Santayana
I'm going to pummel you with such zeal, Buddha will explode! *~* Never miss a good chance to shut up - Will Rogers

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
quote:
Originally posted by Mouse:
Whoever calls AC a luxury has never been to Oklahoma in summertime. As far as I'm concerned, the inventor of that wonderful device deserves to be nominated for sainthood.

Try Alabama in August...
Or Nashville today with 20 people in your house.

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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Salamander
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Hero_Mike:
Couldn't this, at one time, be said about :

- running water
- central heating
- electricity
- refrigeration

etc.

- sewer systems
- vehicles
- telephones
- televisions

This isn't a modern revelation... it's just the way things go. All the things we take to be basic neccessities were most likely considered luxury items at some point in the past.

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"victory thru self-deception"

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Wolf333
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by Salamander:
This isn't a modern revelation... it's just the way things go. All the things we take to be basic neccessities were most likely considered luxury items at some point in the past.

And, on the flip side: some things that were once necessities are now luxuries. Take the fireplace, for instance; since most new homes (in the U.S. at least) have central heating, the fireplace is now merely a luxury.

ETA: Fixed the quote

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
Originally posted by Wolf333:
quote:
Originally posted by Salamander:
This isn't a modern revelation... it's just the way things go. All the things we take to be basic neccessities were most likely considered luxury items at some point in the past.

Take the fireplace, for instance; since most new homes (in the U.S. at least) have central heating, the fireplace is now merely a luxury.


Not if you have to clean the bastards out they're not [lol]

To my parents having sugar and butter on the table were luxuries, it's all relative...

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This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever...

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Roadie
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by Jay Tea:
quote:
Originally posted by Wolf333:
quote:
Originally posted by Salamander:
This isn't a modern revelation... it's just the way things go. All the things we take to be basic neccessities were most likely considered luxury items at some point in the past.

Take the fireplace, for instance; since most new homes (in the U.S. at least) have central heating, the fireplace is now merely a luxury.


Not if you have to clean the bastards out they're not [lol]

To my parents having sugar and butter on the table were luxuries, it's all relative...

I've been trying to talk DH into getting rid of our fireplace and chimney. We don't use them, as we have two other sources of heat. They take up a whole wall of our front room and a chunk of space off the patio. He insists on having them "just in case" something happens to the other two sources of heat. *sigh*

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"The little local company I buy from has CHEAP shipping and I have met their goats." (snapdragonfly)

"And that's one lost erection I'll never get back! You hear me Dan! I'm owed an erection!" (I'mNotDedalus)

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Roadie:
I've been trying to talk DH into getting rid of our fireplace and chimney. We don't use them, as we have two other sources of heat. They take up a whole wall of our front room and a chunk of space off the patio. He insists on having them "just in case" something happens to the other two sources of heat. *sigh*

Our gas "fireplace" might be going the way of the dodos soon, God willing! In the five (four?) years I've lived in our house, we've used it twice. It doesn't get cold enough to justify its usage (which, because we didn't get instructions with it when hub bought the place, adds a little extra danger).

We're thinking about taking it out, opening up the kitchen to make it a great room combo with the living room, and putting in an island with a gas cooktop. It'll so rawk!

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I dream of retiring to arizona precisly for the heat. I hate air conditioning.

In any case, micky blue, there will always be someone with some idea of why they need something. Even a flat screen TV. For example, maybe you're a AV tech trying to build your own home-studio business, and you frequently need to show potential clients demos of your video editing and post-prod prowess, and so you need a large high quality TV in your home to do this. I would call that legit. Sure, what percentage of the general pop is this, not much, but this and other things like this could probably reasonably give you a few percent.

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a moment for old friends now estranged, victims of the flux of alliances and changing perceptions. There was something there once, and that something is worth honoring as well. - John Carroll

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Delta-V
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by Magdalene:
I did basic training during the winter in South Carolina in which I swear must be the only year it snowed in that state (January to March of 1989) and we had central heat in the barracks. I couldn't say as to A/C, but I would guess probably so.

I can say that Ft. Jackson in the summer in un-air conditioned WWII-era barracks is not a pleasant experience. It'd still be over 80deg in the barracks at night.

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"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
Originally posted by Jay Tea:
quote:
Originally posted by Wolf333:
quote:
Originally posted by Salamander:
This isn't a modern revelation... it's just the way things go. All the things we take to be basic neccessities were most likely considered luxury items at some point in the past.

Take the fireplace, for instance; since most new homes (in the U.S. at least) have central heating, the fireplace is now merely a luxury.


Not if you have to clean the bastards out they're not [lol]

Which is why a shop vac is a necessity. [lol]

When I was a kid, the only people I knew who had fireplaces were rich. I definetly feel that my fireplace is a luxury. Curling up in front of it with my dog or the appropriate friend is very nice indeed.

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There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

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noysey
The Swordfish in the Stone


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I have always felt that firepaces are less than useless. In my experience, when you use a fireplace the bulk of the heat generated goes right up the chimney with the smoke. My sister lives in Alaska and as I understand it the heat going up the chimney problem is solved by a pipe system which directs the smoke/heat through the room, radiating heat, before it exits on the roof. That makes sense.

In my humble California pad, a fire in the fireplace radiates some heat, but at the same time draws air from the room by the chimney draft, and the air has to be replaced somehow so it is replaced by cold air from outside coming in by any means it can. A Franklin stove makes sense because it is designed to radiate to the max but a fireplace is, IMO, a liability. Unless you keep the damper closed when it is not in use a fireplace draws the warm air generated by your heater which again has to be replaced by cold air from outside.

Does anybody remember what we did before microwaves? [Confused] [Confused]

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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There are also reflector gadgets one can use in a fireplace to deflect heat into the room rather than up the chimney. But I think people nowadays use them more for atmosphere and enjoyment than for their home-heating properties. I certainly did, when I had one.

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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Depends. Here in northern ontario heating your home with a wood stove is absolutely standard. About a month ago you could have made friends with any guy in the pub just by walking in and saying "so, got all your wood?" to which he would have replied with a long, proud discussion of where he got his wood from this year, what kind of a deal he got it for, how quickly he got it stacked, and the ingenuity of the tarp/covering system he has rigged to keep the snow off of it. In the last month I have not hear a single male-to-male conversation that has not, at some point, including the exchange of hot tips about where and how to score wood deals, like little boys trading baseball cards.

Further, in my experience, these wood stoves are quite effective. My FIL uses his almost exclusively as their heat source. when I have visited I have seen first hand that with just a few good logs you can heat pretty much the entire single story bungalow to a cozy 24 degrees C, and keep it that way for most the day. I usually get the wood from the wood stack when I'm there, and I would only bring in a wheelbarrow about every two days, with each wheelbarrow holding about 6 or 7 logs.

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a moment for old friends now estranged, victims of the flux of alliances and changing perceptions. There was something there once, and that something is worth honoring as well. - John Carroll

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Callee, woodstove != fireplace. Woodstoves (or pellet stoves, or corn stoves) direct far more heat into the room and far less out the chimney. That's why your neighbors use stoves and not fireplaces.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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Archie2K
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I'd personally say that AC is less a luxury than heating is. In the cold there are things you can do to keep warm. Granted that might involve wearing five layers, gloves, hat, curling into bed and watching Trisha re-runs, but you can at least stay warm. With heat there is only so much you can do to keep cool. I'm fortunate enough to live in a country in which the temperature rarely gets that unbearably hot. I feel for those of you who do. Not a big fan of the heat me. My pasty English skin doesn't like it. I had two distinct tan lines from a six day holiday to the East coast in May this year!

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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Bundling up can stave off the cold until you need to use the toilet or take a shower/bath. Even if you have hot water, getting out into a cold room could seriously impair your staying warm solution.

Also, you get enough cold and the plumbing will freeze. Heat won't do that.

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

Posts: 3694 | From: Arizona | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Curiously, one of the reasons my great-grandmother was able to get a divorce from her first husband (which is good, because my g-grandfather was her second), was that he regularly refused to maintain the fire in their home. In Minnesota, in the winter. The judge viewed this as potential danger to her life and that of her children.

She survived because her father took to coming by every evening to make sure they had enough wood for the night.

I would not say that heat is a luxury.

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There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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It's a lot more common to die from hypothermia than too much heat. So, uncomfortable as it may be, humans have lived in some of the hottest places on Earth without cooling for hundreds of thousands of years but, in many places, they couldn't have survived for more than a few days without heating. That's not even considering that nearly all humans need heating, even in the hottest environments, to cook. Heating is not a luxury.
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Rhiandmoi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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It also depends on the size of your hearth. My grandparents used to live in a midcentury modern with a fireplace where the hearth was basically a wall of bricks with a brick bench. That sucker heated the house even with the giant picture windows in the livingroom and multiple sliding glass doors. The brick bench was so hot that we had to have special butt cushions so we wouldn't burn our legs sitting next to the fire as kids.

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I think that hyperbole is the single greatest factor contributing to the decline of society. - My friend Pat.

What is .02 worth?

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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Two hours ago the only TV in our house broke. I can now say, officially, that TV is an absolute necessity!

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a moment for old friends now estranged, victims of the flux of alliances and changing perceptions. There was something there once, and that something is worth honoring as well. - John Carroll

Posts: 3375 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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