The Most “Consumer Reports” Bio Of All Time Is Found At… Consumer Reports


Well, it’s been an exciting day of waiting for my new washer and dryer to arrive. Given that the delivery date is in December, it looks like I’ll be waiting for a while. And, as you know, the waiting is the hardest part.

Since I like to second-guess my own choices, however, I took a moment to read through Consumer Reports on their washer testing. And that’s where I saw the above bio.

The car guys at CR are very far from the shambolic gasket-measurers that Car and Driver portrayed them as for most of the Eighties and Nineties. Jake Fisher, as you can see above, will gleefully abuse a car every chance he gets, and he’s fun at (auto show) parties. Ms. Janeway, on the other hand, seems really sad. She looks sad in her photo. Like she was testing a washer, and she really thought it was going to work well, and then the spin cycle hits and the washer throws an “F35/SUDS” error code and all of a sudden she realizes: Christ, I’m past forty, I’m alone, I’ve spent the last eighty-three weekends watching “Sex And The City” reruns while grooming my cats, and this GOD-DAMNED WASHER CAN’T EVEN MAKE IT THROUGH MY TESTING, it’s as unreliable as every date I ever had who fucked me and didn’t bother to call the next day even though I made it perfectly clear that I wasn’t looking for anything serious, that I’ve long since given up on that dream, all I really want is to be touched, is that so fucking wrong? WANTING TO BE TOUCHED?

And that bio! She thought she would write in New York City, and she’s stuck with the washers! It’s her job! It’s what she has to do! Given the chance, she could have been a Joyce Carol Oates, but instead she’s the Joyce Carol Oates of washer reviews, minus the part in “You Must Remember This” where Felix lets Enid straddle him in the truck, she takes his thirty-something prick to the hilt in her teenaged snatch and somehow we, as Serious Readers, are supposed to be totally okay with this, it’s all in the service of the plot, never mind the fact that if I was hobbling across the parking lot of Lowe’s on my way to buying a new washer and I saw some ex-boxer with a fourteen-year-old straddling him in a pickup truck I would put my crutch through the window and then take that Felix guy to the ground so I could put him in a rear naked choke until he agreed to, you know, stop fucking his underage relatives.

There are times I feel like Kimberly Janeway’s bio. Like, I was made for greater things. I was going to write a brilliant, perceptive first novel in my early twenties then spend the rest of my life on book tours, becoming ever more professorial and dignified even as I shotgunned my books full of the most disturbing middle-class sex scenes possible. The New Yorker would ask me to review my contemporaries and I would graciously accede or decline as my whims dictated. I’d live in quiet wealth on the East Coast and every morning someone who loved me would cook me a real breakfast, and I would sit and eat the real breakfast because I would have nothing but time. Periodically, I’d have an intense sexual relationship with a vaguely Latin or Native American-looking graduate student, someone with firm, ripe breasts and a flat stomach and an intense desire to know me from the inside out. The relationships would always end in under six months. We would part ways as friends and she would always treasure the various bon mots I’d trotted out in our postcoital glow. It would make her a stronger, better woman and in the years afterwards I’d occasionally see her at parties, often in proximity to other women with whom I’d had similar intense sexual relationships. I would wear tweed more often than I did not. I’d graciously accept a tenured position at an Ivy. The co-eds (can we still call them that?) would see me riding my GSXR-1000 to class and they would twitch with anticipation of the scandalous and exciting things that I’d be saying in that afternoon’s lecture.

Instead, what do I do? Yes, I’m currently on the cover of the best American car magazine, my name and words reprinted 1.2 million times on glossy paper and another few million times via the wonder of the Internet. Yes, I go to all these wonderful places and do these wonderful things. I’m aware and I’m grateful. But both of my legs hurt all the time where previously only one of them hurt all the time and I’m consumed with guilt at the terrible things I’ve done to all these wonderful women and I don’t sleep as well as I’d like and, I’m only mentioning this because it’s relevant, I’ve started to think that I’m just never going to get any better at playing the acoustic guitar no matter how expensive an acoustic guitar I buy to practice with.

It’s also possible that I’m reading too much into Ms. Janeway’s bio. She might just be a fun, self-deprecating person who doesn’t much care for being photographed. Regardless, Kim — can I call you Kim? — I want to tell you this: You write a hell of a washer review. And though I still feel good about my choice of yet another set of Whirlpool Duets, made in the USA, you really have me thinking about the LG for next time. You’re just that convincing. All the hearts, Miss Janeway. All the hearts.

20 Replies to “The Most “Consumer Reports” Bio Of All Time Is Found At… Consumer Reports”

  1. M3ntalward

    I honestly wish I knew you were considering the LGs. In 2013 the wife sold our newlywed stackable Maytags that served us faithfully for 11 years to another newlywed couple. When we settled here a year later she researched and decided on the LGs. As a geared with no concern for my appliances, I gotta say they are awesome. I hope you new set has the steam setting. Its like air conditioned seats, you never knew you needed it until you have it.

    Your beating yourself up on the guitar thing because you are comparing yourself to the greats. I am 6 months older than you and can’t get past learning the same 4 chords.

  2. jdh

    Not entirely certain that it is a nice thing to pick this lady out of the Internet ether, and make fun of her for a few paragraphs. Even if you do kiss her afterwards.

    Enjoy your new washer. The dog ate my Duet. Actually after 6 years of living in harmony with the cat – he killed the cat. After eight months of no farm cat, the mice got into the wiring. A new wiring harness and control box staved off the inevitable for a while, but we finally got a new Oasis. And a new cat.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I’m not trying to make fun of her — I’m expressing a solidarity of disaffection. If it comes off as mean-spirited, that’s a failure of talent and/or execution on my part.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian


        Is there any exception to free speech that was violated here?

        That is, assuming you think this was mean.

        I read this and keep getting the sense that Jack is asking her out in a very roundabout way 😀

        • jdh

          I don’t know, Jack selects a fairly anonymous lady with a work-related Internet presence, decides she looks faded and worn and depressed, and ascribes sexual fantasies to her. Then in typical Jack fashion, he rattles off some of his achievements, which are certainly impressive but somehow tragically just not *enough*. And besides, his leg hurts.

          It obviously isn’t a free speech violation, but If I were her, I would feel irritated, and consider the post a bit creepy. Maybe Jack is indeed asking her out. Jack gets a lot more action than most, and this type of approach likely works well for guys with the ego and self-confidence to pull it off.

          In the Everyone’s a Critic Department, I consider the writing good, but probably not his best work.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            Thinking about this a bit further, it’s perhaps true that I have become so accustomed to comments about every facet of my online presence from everywhere that I don’t necessarily think about the effect it might have on a “lower-profile” colleague.

          • Pseudoperson Randomian

            Honestly, no. Just no

            Don’t over think it.

            This is the most innocuous thing I’ve read. Like driving along and commenting on a random person on the street. If everyone overthinks everything, then we don’t have free speech anymore and nothing interesting will ever get written again.

            There are some people on the left who do overthink and write 10000 words about something like this. And they are part of the reason Trump is winning and this infuriates me. I don’t want to have to choose between xenophobic reactionaries and thinskinned appeasers.

          • Pseudoperson Randomian

            Can’t delete my previous comment.

            I walk it back
            Where did that sudden bout of anger come from?

  3. George Smiley

    Para 5, beginning with, “There are times…,” is a very funny paragraph.

    On to washing machines: Speed Queens are made in the USA. I’ve had the same pair for ten years, after my first generation Duets (made in Germany) repeatedly failed out of warranty with electronic problems that always required a new $400 control panel. The Speed Queens, on the other hand, finish a wash load in a tenth of the time. When there’s a failure (there’s been one) it required a $60 part. Give them a look next time.

  4. Don Curton

    My bio would say “Shut the hell up and get that damned camera outa my face! I’m trying to write something about a broke ass washing machine.” I’d then go back to surfing Craigslist for used 1970’s era motorcycles.

  5. -Nate

    Jack ;

    I’m most pleased you never wrote books as I’d have to wait too long to read your well written thoughts .

    Don’t ever change .

    (American made washers eh ? I’ll look into this)

    • Felis Concolor

      As one who’s experienced Dexter ownership and maintenance directly, I’ll recommend their 30 lb stack washer/dryer units if you can find a laundromat parting with its inventory, and if the mounting area has the requisite strength: Dexters and several other hard-mount washers do require reinforced concrete floors in order to keep their mass stable. The new-generation C-series are boasting several remote monitoring and operation features which the average homeowner won’t give a damn about, so you might benefit from a decent price on a T-series washer from a laundry center owner who’s eager to upgrade and work that depreciation hit.

      I saw Gold Coin Laundry’s page offering a new washer/dryer unit for $6000 (ouch!) which is just a little bit steep for the average homeowner. Often a used unit sale will see that price cut to a half or a third of new, so check around to see who’s selling.

      You also can’t go wrong with Speed Queen’s stuff; a local competitor/colleague has a decent mix of Speed Queen and Dexter washers and dryers in his shop, and the dryers are so old they don’t even feature display panels. A simple coin slot and twist knob are all that greet you.

      And for a real-world example of keeping a Dexter running, I lost the upper dryer in a stack 30 yesterday and the replacement arrived this afternoon. It took me about 15 minutes yesterday to remove the safety covers and diagnose the lack of power to the gas valve. It took me about as much time to replace the faulty ignition and gas control module once the part arrived, the total cost of which was $120 including the speedy shipping.

      If you want to chat direct, I’ll be at the shop tomorrow from 8AM-3PM MST. Plugging “sunshine uintah colorado springs” into duckduckgo should pull up our direct number. I had posted on the prior thread earlier but for some reason it didn’t show up; perhaps offline composition plus cut-and-paste tactics are automatically dumped.

      • -Nate

        Felis ;

        Thanx ~ I have already found a place in Los Angeles (I think) that sells new and rebuilt Speed Queens , I want to go check those out next as I support American made when I can , the Dexter looks good too but is Swedish I think ? .


        • Baconator

          Funny that we’ve got two laundromat owners in this tiny little community! As the owner of a whole ‘mat full of Dexters, they are definitely made in America. In Iowa, in fact. And a used T-series is what I’d install in my home.

          As for Speed Queens, the *older* ones – like from the ’70s – are great, the newer ones are fairly dubious. Opinions differ on this – some ‘mat owners swear fealty to the House of Speed Queen. But I sold my Speed Queen ‘mat and kept the one with Dexters. Speed Queen currently offers lots of monitoring and programming features that are helpful to obsessive ‘mat owners, but for a home machine you’re just looking for durability.

          • -Nate

            Thanx Baconater ~

            I saw one of the OnLine sellers mentioned they were imported …….

            As of yet I’ve not yet passed the hurdle of SWMBO not wanting an industrial -looking- machine in her house….

            Does Dexter make a staking washer/dryer combo you’d suggest ? .

            (indeed it’s a small world)

  6. Thomas

    My first assignment was a small piece for the NYTimes. It paid 150 bucks and was due 3 hours after I got the commission. Since then I’ve done work for a barrage of clients like Wired, GQ, Nature, National Geographic, Google, Nike…even Car And Driver I think. Ive won some awards, taught a few students, had some nice words said about my work from people like Bill Gates, and make a relatively comfortable income. Relatively to most people in my field, I’m probably considered a success. If you asked me in college what my career goals would be, I think I’ve achieved them.

    At the end of the day though, I still think things could’ve worked out better. I wish I could’ve been taken advantage of my 20s more. I see more skilled and successful colleagues all around me everywhere, and wish I had their talents or their passion.

    Yet, I can see not all of them are satisfied either. No matter your station in life, there will always be someone who’s better off, and someone to make you feel just a bit inadequate. There will always be a 993 to your 964.

    Funnily enough I write this as I begin working on my first assignment for none other than Consumer Reports.

  7. Paul Alexander

    Hahaha! Jesus Christ, if she wants to help consumers, it’s probably not a good idea to drive them to jump off of a bridge. That picture just screams, ‘Just get it over with, get it all over with!’. She’s the reason to invest in Charles Shaw.


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