Monday, November 7, 2011

Leafblowers: The Evil Wind

"Leafblowers," William Shatner fumed, "is there anything more futile??" The line appears on his great CD "Has Been," and the track "I Can't Get Behind That." He's livid about how the serenity of being close to nature has been seared by the screaming drone of leafblowers…the laz-z-boy air hoses that now substitute for old-fashioned time-honored rakes. Julie, a guest-star on Shatner's "Star Trek," has a long track record of protesting against hot-air politicians who turn a deaf ear to noise pollution complaints. She's renewed her fight with TV appearances, and a recent letter to Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski.

"Life has become less and less livable in this city," Julie wrote on November 6th. "Millions of people…hate these leaf blowers and the continual battery to our lives and health." Catwoman took the councilwoman to task for the "public nuisance" of workers who "wander about in this brainless activity with a three foot extension on their masculinity…everyone hates it…sanity is the issue. Get rid of leaf blowers." Ever since Adam and Eve dropped their fig leaves and began populating the planet, the simple and easy answer to fallen flora has been to sweep it up, rake it up, gather it up quietly and efficiently. Technology's creation, the leafblower, is indeed "futile," blowing the mess around, making noise, using up gas or electricity.

The excuse gardeners give is that it's too "hard" to use a rake or a broom, and asking them to use old-fashioned elbow grease is somehow racist. Sad isn't it? How heavy are leaves? How difficult is it to quietly gather them up on a pleasant morning, rather than zoom around giving everyone a headache, and kicking up more dirt and dust than the Indy 500? "We need strong leadership," Julie writes. And that's why Julie is once again leading the fight, because the blow to the senses caused by these machines leaves much to be desired.