Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Flushing Taxpayer $

War Memorial Field Comfort Station vandalism

Sometime over the Thanksgiving weekend, just before the building would be closed up for the winter, a Luddite vandal trashed the overhead sensor mechanism for turning on the lights, as well as ripping out the flushing sensor mechanism from the back of the toilet at the War Memorial/Ziomek Field bathroom.

And it's not the "broken window" theory in practice, since the 50+ year old building underwent a $140,000 refurbishment just this past summer, in conjunction with a $300,000 renovation of the War Memorial Pool.

Alan Snow, DPW Tree Division Director,  confirms the bathrooms  "are unlocked from the beginning of the spring sports season to the last home game in the fall which was held on Thursday (Thanksgiving)."  

The town is, however, in the process of installing remote time locks on all the comfort stations in town that can be set to open and close automatically, and be controlled via the Internet.


Adam Sweet said...

This kind of vandalism is perpetrated by teenage boys. How do I know? Because I was a teenage boy once.

Because webcams are so cheap these days, and easy to set up, costing nothing to maintain, it would be a good idea to set up webcams on the OUTSIDE of these and other public facilities (obviously you can't set them up inside). That way the cops might have some people to question when this crap happens.

For the record, I never damaged public property when I was a kid, but I know boys who did. And it was just stupid stuff...not intentional vandalism....just doing things like jumping off the sinks in a public bathroom, breaking them in the process. Or using a toilet to flush rocks and whatnot, breaking it in the process...

Dr. Ed said...

I have a very different thought -- who would (a) not want the lights on and (b) not want the toilet to keep flushing relative to movement near it?

My guess -- more restroom sexual antics. One person sitting, one person standing, and it really annoying that the toilet keeps flushing...

Looking only at the picture, it looks like the intent was to stop the toilet from flushing, not to break it, and hence my suspicion.

Anonymous said...

In Amherst, teenage antics belong to the college students.
Pulling up street signs, destroying mailboxes (or raising the flag on each one) as they head home after a night of partying.
My friends are quick to say "it must be teens"

Adam says its teens, Crazy Ed says sex and I blame college students!

Anonymous said...

I think maybe Ed must not be getting any. His comments so frequently reference sex in one way or another.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh Ed, so off base. What is wrong with you?

Dr. Ed said...

Dr. Ed also has a MEd in Student Affairs and more than a little bit of knowledge about vandalism. And with all due respect to Mr. Sweet, it is from the context of holding those who did it responsible and billing them for it, not in doing it, nor in having friends who did.

(Oh, and as an undergrad, being the maintenance superintendent of a now-burnt-down apartment building in Orono, Maine.)

As a UM employee, I was the person who started billing UM kids who broke the plate glass windows in Southwest -- before that when they maliciously broke one and got caught, they would go through the judicial process and either admit or be found to have done it, get a judicial sanction, but never pay for the window. Because no one really knew how much it cost to replace it, which took me a while to find out.


This is a unique (and fairly labor-intensive) way to vandalize a toilet. The whole thing is (I presume as it (a) looks like it and (b) they usually are) made of porcelain, a heavy-grade version of the "stoneware" dinner plates popular in the '70s.

The only thing really fastening down a toilet (the water line isn't structural) are the two nuts concealed by the bumps at the base in this photo. Those are not very strong brass bolts that fasten to the flange on the sewer line with a bee's wax doughnut seal between the male portion of the toilet drain and the female portion of the sewer end.

It's not hard to rock it sideways and get it or break it loose -- girls have done it. (Read "drunken 19-year old UM female students" -- who tried to convince me that they couldn't have done it because they were "girls." ... ) It's also easy to smash it into lots of little pieces just like your dinner plate when dropped doing this, particularly if you rock it far enough sideways for the male porcelain part to snap off inside the (usually) metal sewer pipe.

It is, however, possible to only rock it far enough to snap or dislodge the bolts (or just remove the nuts) and then lift it straight up and walk away with it. (A toilet weighs more than a case of beer but less than a full keg of it.)

I never asked why kids did any of this because I frankly didn't care -- beyond ensuring that someone who knew what he/she/it was doing had made appropriate repairs, all I wanted was to hold the right kid responsible and to make sure that he/she/it paid for it.

(I didn't - and don't -- think it fair to hold all 20,000 UM students responsible for what one of them did.)

But in all my years in Student Affairs, and then my 5 years in the Housing Authority, I never saw nor heard of a toilet ever being broken in the manner shown in Larry's photograph.

In terms of this as "vandalism", this is "Man Bites Dog" -- it is really unusual and what that often means is that something else was involved.

Dr. Ed said...

And I will go further in two regards.

First, the "male"/"female" plumbing reference -- that's how the trade speaks. Don't blame me -- and remember that while electricians are Republicans, plumbers tend to be Democrats.

Second, I was avoiding saying this because I truly am not homophobic, but it is relevant -- this most likely was gay sexual activities between multiple men.

Yes, it is biologically possible for one of either gender (i.e. a female) to sit (on the toilet) and perform the same sexual act, but that usually happens in a Middle School classroom. (Yes, Middle School and parents, know what a "Rainbow Party" is, that they are real and your daughter(s) will be under incredible peer pressure to participate.)

But in terms of such activities in a restroom, it almost inevitably is anonymous gay sex. It is why we don't have highway rest areas anymore, it is why there is that camera & TV as you walk into the UM Tower Library, it is why so many of the men's (but not women's) bathrooms at UMass had to be locked and it is why the Men's Room door at Thorne's Marketplace has that 18" of gap at the top and bottom.

Amherst seems not to have the problem with "glory holes" I have seen elsewhere -- a hole through the stall wall with the receptive partner in the adjacent one -- it's a free country and I don't care what consenting adults do, but it's damn expensive to keep fixing these holes, even harder to keep talking the workguys into doing it yet again....

My issue with all of this is quite simple: Public toilets are intended for just one purpose and some of us would, on occasion, like to use them for that. To be able to use them for that -- watch the insults fly at me for that line.

I also need to say this: those who wish to (do) have anonymous sexual encounters with unknown males in restrooms are but a portion of the "gay" community -- and as I understand it -- really not popular with other segments of "the team" whose sexual life involves partners whose names they know and who really, really would also like to be able to use the restroom facilities for that which they are intended.

JUST for what they were intended -- sanitary (and private) elimination of digestive byproducts.

And I will say one other thing -- there is male prostitution, there are young (underaged) boys who offer sexual services, usually for drug money. Not saying this is happening in Amherst, but it is a real problem in other places, and kids in Amherst aren't into drugs?

Didn't a couple overdose on Heroin back in the '90's?

Anonymous said...

You gotta be shitting me. They give out Masters degrees for "Student Affairs"? What are the requirements -- two weeks online and a quiz from the University of Phoenix?

Anonymous said...

First, the "male"/"female" plumbing reference -- that's how the trade speaks.

Really, Dr. Ed? How fascinating! I'm already almost ten years old, and I never knew that! What other pearls of unbelievably obscure and arcane knowledge are you willing to share with us, O All-knowing One?

Anonymous said...

"(Yes, Middle School and parents, know what a "Rainbow Party" is, that they are real and your daughter(s) will be under incredible peer pressure to participate.)"

Citation needed.
No seriously, they are not real. This one in particular is a story that was first told by the parents of the baby boomers, and has never been demonstrated to be true. It is repeated via email or even the news every so often because it has all the hallmarks of a great news story
(Sensationalist, threat to your children, sexual deviancy, and of course the kicker: not able to be proven to be false).

Anonymous said...

Is there some need that this blog is satisfying for Ed?

Dr. Ed said...

Dr. Ed's Replies:

First, here are the URLs for the MEd in Student Affairs -- note that it is a track within the Higher Education degree but still look at the second URL for course listings:


Second, as to gender and plumbing fixtures, wouldn't this be the classic "damned if you do, damned if you don't"?

Third - while I truly don't even know if lipstick would transfer to a penis I do know teachers who have to be quiet diligent to prevent 12 year old girls from orally sodomizing the boys.

This is a real issue, as is the similar issue of the boys going out to the rest areas for similar purposes with the male truckers. The kids do it for drug money.)

Anonymous said...

@ 12:53 AM:
Ed you seem pretty knowledgeable on this subject. Sounds like experience talking to me. Been hanging around the rest areas and school yards on research again?

Dr, Ed said...

Yep, was in a couple rest areas night before last -- if you are towing a utility trailer, you really want to stop and check it ever 50 miles or so, particularly for hot bearings.

And yes, I have hung out in a a lot of schools and schoolyards -- I am a certified high school teacher and licensed school bus driver, and when you are cashing the School District's paychecks, they kinda expect you to be somewhere near the school and you really outta be.

And I still get talked into helping chaparone high school dances -- it's just that the bribe has changed. It used to be the young male teachers knew that they would be the ones out in the parking lot confiscating the 30 packs and breaking up the inevitable fight or two.

While the dances are as alcohol-free as we can keep them, what is not widely known is that the teachers who chaproned the dance go drinking afterwards, and the incentive was a promise to buy the beer.

Now it is the older, grandmotherly-type female teachers who really like to have a couple male chaperones (the bigger the better) hanging around near the girls' bathroom. Why?-- they know that they will be spending most the night inside said bathroom, with a box of tissues and listening to how someone's boyfriend just dumped her or otherwise did something rather un-chivalrous to her.

This is how high schools prevent suicide -- and inevitably, before the box of tissues is exhausted, these grandmotherly type teachers will have defused the crisis and then she will make sure the girl has a ride home.

The problem is that it no longer is just boys fighting over a girl -- now we have girls fighting over a guy. In some cases, these girls are weight-trained athletes, and if a couple 170-180 lb field hockey players start doing their physical best to injure each other in a fairly small room, poor teacher can wind up with a broken hip and other stuff she really doens't need. So she reminds all the young ladies that all she has to is yell for help and people my size will instantly be in there to help her.

The new bribe -- said grandmotherly-type older teacher promises to get some of the newly-hired single female teachers to join us at the after-dance event, and to introduce us to them. And these women don't mind because guess who gets to stand outside the girls bathroom if there aren't enough guys to do it?

Of course, I only volunteer because I don't want to see a friend's mother getting hurt (and often it *is* a friend's mother -- it isn't uncommon for parents and children to be teaching concurrently in the same district). Right....

And in a really morbid sort of way, I am just wondering how the C-H-ds are going to use this to attack my character. Whatever.

I am the person who once brought a high school team (and their truly terrified coach) down from North Conway in an ice storm.

Anonymous said...

"Dr. Ed Cutting" has proven once again how utterly out of touch he is with reality. You need some SERIOUS HELP!
As a parent he is the LAST person I would want anywhere near my kids, male or female, young or old. He has NO IDEA what is going on in the schools these days and how our school system works. And before you go off on how you think I'm in the dark Ed, I have quite the wide range of kids and my oldest just laughed at all this BS you wrote. Hopefully she will never run into you at UMass or downtown, but is ready with her mace just in case.
Hopefully Maria Geryk and other local supers will keep him off our school grounds and out of our buses.

Anonymous said...

Ed Cutting, Your latest post does nothing but prove how sick you really are.
Larry, when will you stop publishing these lunatic ravings? They do nothing but bring the level of discussion on your blog down into the gutter.

Anonymous said...

Dr Ed, do the parents at this "School" you supposedly are employed, ever get a chance to read some of your interesting thoughts? I'm sure they would be overwhelmed to have you enlighten there children with some of your opinions on life. You seem to have so much to offer and no one wants to listen, maybe there townsfolk would pay for your skill set.

Anonymous said...

Ed...Your 8:44 post is Too Much Information for this sheltered townie to process. Way too much. Wayyyy too much.

That being said, I for one do appreciate the thought and effort you put into posting here. I don't always agree with you, sometimes you seem to come out of left field, but at least you go to the trouble of advancing an argument, eccentric though it sometimes might be, and providing evidence to back up your position.

The Soon to be Wealthy Dr. Ed said...

"but is ready with her mace just in case."

Larry -- that's criminal threatening, isn't it?

And I didn't know that those under the age of 18 were allowed to have FID cards.

And to the rest of Team Maria -- you're writing stuff I can take to job interviews.

Anonymous said...

Ed, you need to work on your reading comprehension skills. Or maybe your paranoia. Or both.

Anonymous said...

Ed Cutting, what are you talking about? Your posts are getting more and more bizarre.

Dr . Ed said...

"I have quite the wide range of kids and my oldest just laughed at all this BS you wrote.."

Ask her one thing: If she was being gang raped in the girl's bathroom, and (being sober) she screamed for someone to help her, and there was a male teacher walking by who heard this (and knew it was legitimate because he recognized your daughter's voice and knew she wouldn't lie about something like this) -- would she expect the male teacher to come right into the girl's bathroom and try to help her?

Or should he just call the police -- knowing that she was being raped -- and let the rape continue for another 3-5 minutes until the cops showed up.

But wait, they would need two FEMALE officers to go into that bathroom, so they have to wait for another half hour for one to come back from court.

Ask your daughter this: she is being raped. Would she prefer the guy who is a friend of her parents coming in right now and getting the perps off/out of her? Or would she prefer to be raped for another 45 minutes (or more)?

Where I am from, her father would be rather p****d that the teacher didn't immediatel;y do anything he could.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ed, try to stay on topic. You had been discussing what an expert you are on chaperoning high school dances and the goings on of middle school sex parties.
Seriously out of touch.

Anonymous said...

"The Soon to be Wealthy Dr. Ed said...
"but is ready with her mace just in case."

Larry -- that's criminal threatening, isn't it?

And I didn't know that those under the age of 18 were allowed to have FID cards.

And to the rest of Team Maria -- you're writing stuff I can take to job interviews."

Ed Cutting:

1. This person will have mace with them to use as protection if you get near them. Not criminal threatening.

2. Where does is say that this person is under 18? Making unfounded assumptions once again?

3. What does "Team Maria" have to do with any of this?

4. You are a fool. Any luck finding a job yet?