Before we get to today’s burning question, my smart answer and the real deal, a quick update on a mystery machine.
First off, let me note how much I love getting the readership of 10 year old columns, as happened on September 8 when we posted a “Classic Answer Man” about a mysterious object traveling on I-40. The diary often does this when I’m not around, as some of those older columns are sort of “consistent” meaning they’re still intriguing a few years later.
If I didn’t need to be dead for this to be a permanent setup, I would seriously consider running only “Classic Answer Man” columns. Good career movement, bad life movement.
Either way, this one really involved a trip back in time, dating back to September 2011 – and it lit up the dashboard! It got over 12,000 pageviews and generated over 80 comments on our Facebook page, including some suggestions on the usefulness of the item.
The guesses ranged from a giant hookah or a suppository for President Biden (ouch!), To “Sputnik en route to Biltmore Scrap and Iron” or maybe “The Oscar Meyer Weinermobile on steroids?” Of course, several people have referred to our beer industry or suggested that maybe it was part of a giant still.
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Scott Cason threw a reference to Bugs Bunny: “Wow, I can’t believe that so many people have never seen an illudium Q-36 space modulator.”
Kim McDonald Perry suggested it was a “Starbucks Giant Milk Frother!” Dave Mills wrote: “I thought this might be the new vaccine coming to town. “
Some people were really serious. The only clue given in the original story was that it appeared on DOT records as some sort of “reactor vessel,” and related items seemed to be a popular theme.
“Chemical reaction tower. Probably an oil or fertilizer plant,” Charles Lord said.
Pam O’Shields Weyerman wrote: “Looks like a cryogenic tower that separates different gases, like propane, natural gas, etc. Used in oil fields.” Sky D Taylor said, “I guess it’s is an air cleaning unit for an incineration vessel, presumably for poo, so OP (another drive) wasn’t too far away. “
A few readers even emailed me with their theories.
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“It just looks like a very large prefabricated heat exchanger in which high pressure, high temperature steam or water is routed, through flanged connections at the ends, and is used to heat a secondary side of the liquid to heat water or steam, ”Herb Wilhite wrote. “Steam generators / heat exchangers are used in thousands of industrial applications across the country. Even for mundane tasks like heating swimming pools. “
Wilhite’s background is in building and licensing nuclear power plants, as well as supporting oil and gas pipeline safety regulation, so I’ll give his opinion some credibility.
Another reader wrote to say, “It looks a bit like a fractionation tower for the oil and gas industry.
Googling pictures of these serious suggestions, they all seem achievable.
Alas, the mystery will persist. That’s why that was my favorite personal comment, from our Facebook post: “It was 10 years ago. Who cares ?
Question: Our cable operator, who will remain anonymous, has visited us more than a dozen times. They are good at answering, not so good at fixing. They finally told us that our problem was with the lines going down our street and that it was a “level three” problem. They continued, “Level three means lowest priority, so it will hardly ever be fixed.” Our cable internet is painfully intermittent. Most cities have a CATV Citizen Council to hold cable providers accountable, but I cannot find such advice on the Asheville website. Don’t we have one? If not, how is it?
My answer: Ah yes, the classic “tier three” problem. I’ve used this a few times with my editors when my story is overdue – “Sorry, but I ran into a level three issue right in the middle of the leaderboard. It’s probably something to do with the illudium Q spatial modulator. -36. “
They buy it every time.
real answer: Neither the city nor the county of Buncombe has a citizen council for cable television, according to spokespersons for each organization. The city gave no further explanation.
Buncombe County spokesperson Lillian Govus expanded on the subject a bit.
“Buncombe County has no control over the Internet Service Providers that provide service in Buncombe County,” Govus said. “The Buncombe County government contracts for services with vendors to provide Internet access to Buncombe County government buildings, but this has no impact on residents. “
She also noted: “There are many internet providers in Buncombe County including, but not limited to Charter, AT&T, Skyrunner, Riverstreet, Frontier and others.”
Back then, when options were more limited, many municipalities and counties had committees and contracts with cable companies, but now there are so many providers and options that it’s probably just not possible.
This is the opinion of John Boyle. To submit a question, contact him at 232-5847 or [email protected]