Pond Skimmers

Written by Michael O'Brien
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Why pond skimmers? What if the pond is going to be a natural environment where you are trying your best to simulate a real eco system? Elements like leaves and other debris are a natural part of the life of a pond. Isn't the filter enough to deal with these things?

Pond Skimmers: A Little Boost in the Natural Order

Yes, it's true that ponds in nature don't have pool cleaners with pond skimmers to clean their surface when leaves and things fall into them. Most ponds you see in nature also had a much longer time to form than the one you are going to build in your backyard. Chances are they have many more plants and fish. They may even be connected to a source of running water, like a stream or brook. Most ponds in nature are also a lot dirtier than one you will want to have in your backyard.

Just as you don't want your swimming pool to be filled with debris, neither do you want your pond. Granted, it's not like you are going to be swimming in the pond like you do a pool. The fish certainly don't care. Pond skimmers are still important though.

The simple truth of the matter is that your pond isn't going to be as equipped to deal with impurities the way a natural pond is. Filters are designed to handle small debris. Larger things like leaves will eventually clog and damage filters and pumps. Leaves can also deposit chemicals into water that can make a pond unhealthy over time. This is why you want to get that stuff out of your pond as quickly as possible.


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The End of Dunder Mifflin For several years, The Office was elsiay the funniest and best written comedy on television. Its hard to pinpoint which season is the pinnacle of the series, it may be a tie between seasons 2, 3, 4, and 5. Every one of them is tremendous. Considering season one was barely half of a season, The Office was still fairly young heading into its 6th year, so it was reasonable for fans to expect the same level of high quality comedy we'd been enjoying since the show's inception. Tragically this isn't exactly the case with #6. The season begins with a very promising start that maintains both the energy and the quality of the previous seasons. In fact the entire first half of the season is, for the most part, very well done but eventually season six dissolves into a mix of mediocre and sometimes, painfully bad episodes (the finale being one of the worst eps in series history).The biggest problem of season 6 is the massive story arcs. Now, multiple episode storylines have always been a strong point for this series; whether it was the Dwight and Angela affair in seasons 2-5 or the Michael Scott Paper Company in season 5, reccuring plots on The Office were always successful. This is also mostly the case in season 6; the problem is that the show ultimately becomes so reliant on large story arcs that they eventually lose sight of what the foundation of The Office's success had always been: great characters and great comedy. There is a glaringly obvious shortage of stand alone episodes. No matter how many reccuring storylines there were in previous years there was always a large number of classic stand alone episodes (naturally revolving around the hysterical antics of Michael Scott). As I've said, there is nothing wrong with extended story arcs but when every single episode relies on them it is inevitable that the humor and the character development will suffer. As is the case here.Most of 6 s storylines are engaging and well written. The financial trouble of Dunder Mifflin is topical and provides several great episodes (Michael making empty promises to a room of angry Dunder Mifflin investors is classic) but ultimately the writers paint themselves into a corner and make drastic, unnecessary (I cannot stress the word unnecessary enough!) changes to the series. The introduction of Sabre turns a very good season into a shockingly mediocre one. The changes to the cast are awful. We lose the subtlely hillarious David Wallace and are force fed two bland and awkward replacements: Gabe Lewis and Jo Bennett. The presence of Kathy Bates is especially intrusive. Not that she's a bad actor, but her character is just so out of place that she literally sucks the comedy out of every episode she's in.Its also terribly obvious at times that the writers are either not working together or are on seperate pages. Some of the ongoing subplots are incredibly inconsistant; many are forgotten about for episodes at a time, never resolved or never even lifted off of the ground. At the end of a mid-season episode, an alliance is formed between Dwight and Ryan the Temp; the goal: to bring down their mutual nemesis, Jim Halpert. This promising subplot is then instantly forgotten about until a much later episode, when it is put to a sudden, dissapointing end. There is also a mid-season resurfacing of the Dwight/Angela saga, which again, is consistantly ignored, conveniently brought back every two-three episodes or so before another quick ending. The only story that gets constant attention is the awkward relationship between Andy and Erin, which has its moments but is also often filler material. Andy is a great character but Erin comes on way too strong when heavily featured.Fortunately though, season six actually starts out fairly strong with a string of very memorable episodes, and even throughout the rough stretches there are still a handful of good eps. One of the major story points that drives much of the early season is the promotion of Jim to the co-manager position. This one works very well (while it lasts) as it advances the progession of the character from goof-off to responsible future parent and it provides the basis for some great early episodes that play off of the rivalry/friendship of Michael and Jim, as well as the rivalry/rivalry between Jim and Dwight. Though, at the same time, putting Jim in a position of responsibility undermines the foundation of his character and all later attempts to regress him back to what he used to be come up short.Basically, The Office simply runs out of steam halfway through its sixth year. The scripts begin to allow very little room for Steve Carell to shine. Creed no longer gets his usual one liners. Character development comes to a near halt. There are no more stories about Pam as a salesman. Ryan is pushed to the distant background. Dwight doesn't get nearly enough screentime, and even more disturbing: he gets almost no screentime with