The Media Catches Up?

October 24, 2009

A day or so after I posted my short piece on leaf blowers the Oregonian, my local paper, ran a whole page article giving what they thought were the pros and cons of rakes versus blowers. It seems I have a few allies in the battle; and some enemies. There were some claims that the blowers were more efficient by outrageous and somehow unbelievable margins. These were from landscape companies and city officials who could hardly say otherwise without looking foolish, after having spent a lot of money on buying and maintaining them.

But lets just assume that blowers were more efficient by say two or three times. I still dont care. The noise and smell of the things outweighs the benefit of speed. Speed which is overrated in any case. What is our rush?

In the neighbourhood where I live, the crews come around twice a week to clean the place up year round. When they leave everything is spick and span and yet there is not a soul on the street to admire it. We are all inside glued to the idiot boxes; TV and computer. The street is sterile. Clear of any leaf or human.

But even as I write this I can hear a blower somewhere close by. The autumn sun filters down through the golden leaves and mist, but the scene is almost raped by someones impatience and fury at nature.

Kill the blowers!

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My neighbour’s truck has an enormous V-8 engine which the designers thought necessary to haul around the empty metal box attached to the back of cab. However silly this application of the internal combustion engine may seem it does posses one impressive feature. You cant hear it coming. Those same engineers made sure that the noise reduction and muffler system of this behemoth; usually carrying one person; works so well that cats sleeping in the driveway are surprised at its approach.

Let us compare this to the Leaf Blower. A device which uses an engine probably less than 5% of the size of the truck, and yet makes as much noise as a small Cessna aircraft landing in ones yard. Why?

It’s not as if these infernal devices were any more efficient that the rakes they replaced. I would bet that one man with a rake and a broom could clean up a leaf covered driveway in about the same time or less than two men with blowers. It would also be a lot more peaceful and less polluting.

Way back in the 1980’s I actually bought an electric version blower. Replace Cessna with Lear jet and you have the noise level. And of course the pollution occurs far away at the power station, but it does happen. Was it faster? No, it was fantastically frustrating. After a few weeks, it was shelved in the garage and remained there until we moved. We remained a raking family, and I recommend this to all. Get out there in the leaves, rake, and enjoy. Dont give me that, “Oh, but my yard is so large” nonsense. Start a neighbourhood raking team. Rake, drink cider, beer, schnapps, tell long involved stories about rakings of the past. Make huge piles, watch your children jump in them and laugh.

Kill your blower!

Next posting may deal with the tyranny of lawns.

October 17, 2009

The season of leaf blowers is upon us. Their ceaseless racket destroys the sad beauty of fall. Where are the rakes? The soothing rakes.

October 10, 2009

When we Americans understand what the Nobel Peace Prize means then we can comment. Remember, the joint winner in 1973 was Henry Kissinger

What if there were a poets union that had a medical plan. How would that be? Instead of a copayment would I have to produce a sonnet, a quatrain, an elegy, a haiku or two, a just a cheap limerick.

There once was poet from Oregon, who imagine himself thoroughly put upon, he struggled with rhyme, as much as with time, and finally….asked for help with the last line.

October 2, 2009

Speculation: What if Tom Lehrer had met Richard Feynman? Perhaps they did..answers please..