More Cheapness in Design

November 17, 2015

leafIt is eight in the morning; a light rain is falling driven by gusty winds. From my second floor office window I am watching a man wearing ear protectors blast a dozen or so soggy leaves across a driveway with a shoulder mounted leaf blower. They don’t cooperate and so he is constantly circling to the left and right. The noise is appalling.

As I have done every fall I ponder the idiocy of this ridiculous apparatus. For the umpteenth time I reflect that with a large broom and a rake the work he is charged to complete would be over in less than half the time and with only the reassuring swish and scrape of the bristles to bruise our ears. No air pollution either from a poorly designed gas motor. And again it defies logic to understand that a motor that is less than a few percent of the size powering my car can be allowed to make orders of magnitude more noise. Have the makers not heard of mufflers? And don’t give me that baloney about it making the machine less efficient. You don’t seem to worry much about fuel efficiency in the vehicle you drove up in, and perhaps worry even less about the hearing and lungs of the users. Nope folks, it’s just plain old design laziness and its lifelong friend cheapness at play. Spun with clever marketing and a desire to be seen as modern and efficient the leaf blower looks like being around for a while.

Unless…I propose a contest between two teams. Two fields covered in maple leaves. One dry the other wet. Each field is divided down the middle. One side for each team. Their task is to gather all of the leaves at one end of the two fields, and bag them for compost. One team has rakes and the others has blowers. You know, even if the the blower team is good and finishes close the to the rakers or even beats them I still believe the rakes are better for us all.

You disagree? Let me hear why…

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It must have been in 2014 that I wrote a poem about the frustration of commuting in bad weather to a job you hate leaving a house where a relationship is going through some stress. I have read it at a few open mikes. I called it a A Day or Freeway Blues.

One evening my friend Barbara Bridge was talking about not having an idea for a song needed to satisfy her songwriting class homework. I gave her three poems including Freeway Blues. A week later she came back with a song you can listen to at this LINK

It knocked me over. I had never heard my words expressed in a different medium than the original.

And it happened again. Another singer songwriter friend, Suzan Lundy, heard my poem, ‘Take Me Down To The ocean’ at a reading and asked permission to write a song around it. Once again I was blown over by the result. I like to think of it as a song for veterans. Listen at this LINK.