The decline of Western civilization is an agonizingly slow process peppered with occasional indicators like inflation, reduced funding for the arts, limitations to individual freedoms, “Elimidate,” the rise of corporate oligarchies, Animal Planet and Crystal Pepsi.

To this bold list, I am forced to add coin-op washing machines. Our apartment has one – apparently our rent covers gardening, but not utilities.

The damn thing couldn’t remove watercolor from a paintbrush, much less ketchup from a shirt. And there’s only room in it for three pairs of underwear at once.

Wednesday’s forecast: Clean becomes a relative term.