Re: Leaf Blowers

1

And then there was the time L.A. banned leaf blowers, gardeners protested by hunger-striking on the City Hall lawn, and Mayor Riordan greeted them while eating a hamburger.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 3:37 PM
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TWO THREADS ENTER ONE THREAD LEAVES boo ya.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 3:38 PM
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ven all the crazy money here, and the availability of cheap labor, why hasn't it become a status symbol (hell, why hasn't the town passed an ordinance) to have lawns done manually. "Oh, I just can't stand the sound of leaf blowers. We have our yard done with rakes." I can't believe I haven't overheard this.

Indeed, this was and is totally a thing here in rich neighborhoods. I can't remember, K-Sky would know, I think leaf blowers are still formally illegal here. But if so the ban is super unenforced and they are everywhere.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 3:44 PM
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The New Yorker wrote about this issue (I think) a million years ago. I recall the article not at all. Maybe because I didn't read it? No, I don't believe that's it. But who knows, really. I'm getting pretty old.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 3:45 PM
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I thought the ban was overturned, but Halford appears to be correct, according to the NYer: "And in Los Angeles--a city of four million people, where you can hear leaf blowers at every hour of the day--there have been occasional arrests for blower use in some neighborhoods, but the police department's official number of citations issued is exactly zero." Also see here.

The promise was always of a silent leaf-blower, but I think they are too expensive.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 3:59 PM
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That article characterizes the city of Palo Alto circa 2010 as "cash-strapped." How in heaven? Is its approach to property tax _that_ libertarian?


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 4:02 PM
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I used to drive out to Deerfield every day from the city, and I'd recognize the different crews on their way out. They'd stop and pick guys up, sometimes from street corners and sometimes actually on the expressway, with the crewman running down the embankment to climb into the truck. There are 2-3 guys waiting on the corners near me when I ride past just after dawn even now.

A few people in our Chicago neighborhood have lawn service, including the elderly couple next door now, but while many lawn workers live nearby they don't have the blowers on around here very much.

But Ogged's right: in the suburbs, either North Shore or DuPage, the sound of them never really stops. Don't know about the South Suburbs, but why would they be different?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 4:04 PM
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We don't have any Mexicans. The leaves just sit. The acorns get crushed because I like the sound when you step on them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 4:09 PM
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They deliver several environmental blows after just one hour of usage!


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 4:15 PM
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Is 8 a haiku?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 4:16 PM
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Do you count poorly or think I do?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 4:23 PM
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That article characterizes the city of Palo Alto circa 2010 as "cash-strapped." How in heaven? Is its approach to property tax _that_ libertarian?

You can be rich and still cash-strapped, technically - low or negative cash isn't the same as budget shortfalls.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 4:36 PM
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I discovered that if you wait around long enough, the leaves blow away on their own. That's a tip.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 4:37 PM
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Delete the post that had the comment calling attention to the double post. I see how this works.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 4:43 PM
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I thought the "Everyone with a big house has a Mexican gardener and nanny" concept was an LA thing that the entertainment industry obliviously thinks is everywhere. Maybe it's everywhere except Pennsylvania.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 4:45 PM
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The previous owners had a crew to meticulously maintain the landscape here. But not us. Result: pine tree needles all over the sidewalk. I should really get on that.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 4:48 PM
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I was about to post that I didn't know anyone with a leaf-blower, but then Jammies said we have one. But he rakes first, and uses the suck-and-shred function to bag them up. Also he says it's electric, not gas, and thus quiet. Maybe I should just put him on the line directly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:07 PM
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16: Have you tried a crowler?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:16 PM
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Lawn worship is a thing. The way you keep your lawn says a much about your character as which chain restaurants you prefer.

"Quiet" means "no negroes or teenagers drive here" rather than anything to do with sound level. At the risk of a personal question, were you wearing expensive clothing and jewelry at at the timeof your conversation with the agent?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:18 PM
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But that's just like squirrels laughing or something.

Yep, I think that's got to be it: while most people aren't home during the weekday, and so don't notice, they presumably do notice, in a background noise kind of way, during the weekends (particularly at 7 a.m. on a Sunday, my own particular peeve) ... but it feels somehow bucolic to many, I suspect. That sound just shows that you're living in a place with trees, see??

Not so much with the lawn mowers, then? They're an incessant drone around here throughout the summer, from 7 a.m. on. Who the hell thinks it's appropriate to make a noise like that early in the morning? You can't even have a conversation outdoors when the neighbor is driving (yes) his stupid lawn mower around.

But then mine is a resolutely middlebrow suburb in which driving your lawn mower around industriously signals that you (a) can afford a driving mower, (b) would totes be doing home improvement projects all the time, in a manly way, if only you weren't bringing home the bacon during the week, and (c) have standards and don't put up with no scraggly hippie lawn care, thank you very much.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:19 PM
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18: I have not, but it sounds intriguing (in a silly hipster way, but whatever) and I will have to try it sometime.

Squirrel noise is kind of annoying.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:27 PM
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Our neighbors have a crew that shows up every two weeks, leaf-blowers in tow. When I noticed that they were leaf-blowing our (paved) yard as well, I decided I might as well see if they would actually take away the stuff they were blowing around, as sort of an add-on. It's quite cheap, and I'm not gonna lie, it kinda feels luxurious. I do wish they wouldn't use a leaf-blower but... we're an add-on, and cleaning a ton of wet leaves off pavement kind of sucks so, oh well. Here I am part of the problem.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:31 PM
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I honestly don't understand why anything needs to be done with fallen leaves.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:33 PM
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I didn't used to, but now I do! If you don't do anything with them, they sit there, and then they get wet, and then they freeze, and then they melt, and then they rot, and then you have a paved yard that is carpeted with rotting organic matter that is heavy and gross and you can't play basketball.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:41 PM
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Because otherwise Jammies will hear his father's criticizing voice lodged in his ear all fall long.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:41 PM
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But otherwise I'd just consider it composting and natural.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:42 PM
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Well, Sifu, now I know how Halford feels when you say you just torrented something or other.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:53 PM
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It's once every two weeks for an hour. I... have felt more evil.

Also I haven't even told you guys about the mind-blowingly not-good-for-the-movie-industry torrent software I recently learned about, lest I cause hurt feelings.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:56 PM
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For whatever reason I believed that raking as a full-time many-hours-a-week job would cause rampant RSI and long-term physical harm, so I always gave the dudes with the leaf blowers a pass. But maybe it doesn't! Is the pro-blower argument just efficiency? It would certainly be infuriating to be told by a bunch of affluent white people (or by anyone) that you should do your job with drastically less efficient tools. I say this as someone who freaks out like a neurotic dog every time the yard workers (hired by our landlord) show up: hiding under the bed, covering my ears, whimpering, the works.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:57 PM
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30

You know what I'll tell you about instead? How crazily nice our neighbors are. We had this barbecue the other day? And after the barbecue people retired to the basement, where I did some DJing? And the next day our neighbors were like "so, did you have fun?"

Obviously I was worried that we'd keep them up with the music, especially after my friend who was at the barbecue reported that he could hear it from down the street. So I asked if it had bothered them. "Oh, no!"

Then, a few days later, our eighty-something year old neighbor asks us if somebody had complained, and further explains that she had canvassed the neighborhood to make sure that nobody had complained, because we ought to be able to have our fun. I would give them a dozen leaf blowers. A hundred! Let a million leaf blowers sing, awesome neighbors!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:58 PM
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Could someone with a leaf blower and the shred and suck function take care of the happy little dog left out every. single. Sunday. morning. by the next door neighbors? Or take care of the owners. Thanks.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:59 PM
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No, really, leaf blowers. Two things about them that are kind of mystifying

Just put your leafs together and... blow.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 5:59 PM
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Yappy, it definitely isn't happy.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:00 PM
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our eighty-something year old neighbor asks us if somebody had complained, and further explains that she had canvassed the neighborhood to make sure that nobody had complained, because we ought to be able to have our fun.

Aw, yay!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:00 PM
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Also, beause ogged has nimbly gotten me on the defensive, have I mentioned that they were leaf blowering our yard anyhow? All the payoff is doing is convincing them to take away the shit that they would otherwise be blowing off to the side of our yard. The amount of blowing has remained constant.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:01 PM
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ALSO: the fact that our neighbors had already contracted with somebody to leaf-blow their yard every couple weeks is definitive proof we aren't gentrifiers, not like some people.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:02 PM
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Lee bought a leaf blower as part of her panic about having the house and yard ready for the garden tour, which she didn't think I could manage, but it's never been used on leaves and probably never will be. I think sometimes after she mows she uses it to push grass trimmings off the sidewalk.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:03 PM
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We totally have dudes who mow our grass for us and they also leafblow things.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:05 PM
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Sifu, any day now you'll be dealing with people power-washing the sidewalks and wondering why you aren't on board. Be wary, my friend.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:10 PM
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40

We have organic goats that eat the leaves.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:11 PM
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I have no idea what 39 means.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:12 PM
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It's line spraying the sideewalks off with a giant water pik.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:18 PM
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You too, redfox? You think you know people...


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:22 PM
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My dude rakes.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:23 PM
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Line s/b like.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:26 PM
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For a while before I landscaped I just decided to save on money by not mowing or gardening at all. It was awesome. My house was almost cast as th exterior of a crack den home in Detroit for some TV show, the house looked ultra crazy on Google Earth, and I had my pitbull wandering through a post apocalyptic landscape in the backyard. Now it's all fancy and pleasant and nice but I kind of miss that insane negligence.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:26 PM
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My dude abides.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:27 PM
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48

We did try to get the city to plant a tree in front of our house this summer. That's kind of like powerwashing with nature.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:30 PM
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49

30.last is really great.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:30 PM
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My landlord is occasionally apologetic about the crappy state of the yard outside my apartment, but mostly I'm just glad that he doesn't hire people to work out there early in the morning when I might want to sleep.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:32 PM
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You too, redfox? You think you know people...

I'm a monster in so many ways.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:37 PM
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I hereby pledge that if we buy a home, I'll mow the lawn with a manual or electric mower, and no leaf blowers will be deployed thereon, or I will come here to receive my mockery.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:44 PM
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What I should find is some shepherd who could come by and mow by sheep.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:49 PM
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You could buy a house without a lawn. Mine is all mulched, paved, or covered with a raspberry bush that got out of control.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:49 PM
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I would now but I feel like the asphalt would chew up the leaves.

Seriously I was sorta looking forward to raking but... dudes were doing it anyway. It felt weird not even offering to pay them anything.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:54 PM
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In fact what I think the plan is, should Ogged buy a place with a lawn, is we hire somebody to go leaf blow it every couple weeks and see if he get uncomfortable enough to hire them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:55 PM
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Buying someone a house is a good way to get back at them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 6:58 PM
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Our town actually bought a bunch of goats for mowing purposes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:01 PM
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58: I love it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:02 PM
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48: The girls and I are participating in a neighborhood tree-planting this weekend, nearly 100 new trees going in. I mow with a manual push-mower but Lee prefers the electric mower that came with the house.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:02 PM
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55.1 is way weirder than I intended. s/now/mow, s/leaves/blades


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:08 PM
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We bought a house with a dead lawn and piled mulch on it. It's CA-drought-responsible, but it's not hell of fun for a toddler. The neighborhood cats approve of the vast, woody litter box, though.

My dream is to install a patch of astroturf somewhere, although then I'll probably need a leaf blower to keep the Chinese elm droppings off of it. Not to mention the rest of the mulch.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:14 PM
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58: I love utility goats. I looked into getting a team of goats for a friend's brush-filled lot, as a present, but it was too complicated.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:15 PM
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Our town actually bought a bunch of goats for mowing purposes.

PDBS rents goats for that purpose.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:17 PM
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All the other things people rent goats for are sort of creepy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:19 PM
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nothing looks more rented than a rented goat.
nobody in history ever washed a rental goat.
why buy the goat when you can rent the milk for fee?


Posted by: turgid jacobian | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:24 PM
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my milk goat brings all the boys to the yard


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:33 PM
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68


mind-blowingly not-good-for-the-movie-industry torrent software I recently learned about

Well?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:52 PM
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On the subject of electricity wastage or savings, if this is an accurate summary, it's a pretty heinous act.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:52 PM
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Lawn mowing is one of the chores that was nominally shiv's, except that he refuses to mow when it's hot out, and it turns out that grass grows mostly in warm weather. So after two years of the song and dance where we pretend he's about to do it and I'm doing it just because it's so hot, we finally acknowledged that it's actually my chore.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:56 PM
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When you're done, do you give him his balls back?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 7:59 PM
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Also, just griping, and on the subject of, uh, the environment, the local Green Party mayoral candidate is not just a Bitcoin advocate, but a "co-founder" of what looks like a pyramid scheme offering Bitcoin instructional videos and maybe trading middleman services.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 8:00 PM
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71: wait, how have you been mowing your lawn?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 8:09 PM
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I'm trying to get my director to let me write a paper advising governments on Bitcoin. The position of the paper will be "You guys really ought to think about regulating the shit out of this."


Posted by: Warren G. Harding | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 8:46 PM
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69: The cutesy tone of that article is annoying, and I have no direct knowledge about the issue it discusses, but if it is accurate then yeah, bad news. Hopefully the Supreme Court will take up the case and rule more sanely. (The scariest part of the article, though, is the last paragraph, which I do know a bit about.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 9:35 PM
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Hopefully the Supreme Court will take up the case and rule more sanely.

...


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 10:23 PM
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Hey, you can't rule it out.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 10:25 PM
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When we lived in Oxford, every time there was a sunny day, the lawnmowers would run. Drove me nuts. Literally all day, from one of the surrounding gardens. You'd think people would be cutting every couple of weeks, and given the relatively small number of adjoining gardens, you'd have an hour or two, at most, of lawnmower noise. But it seemed to be constant.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 7-14 10:37 PM
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You'd think people would be cutting every couple of weeks,

So, every time there was a sunny day.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 2:11 AM
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Blows rakes & leaves.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 2:18 AM
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Ug. At exactly 7:00 AM, our building's gardner turned on the lawn mower and woke my ass up this morning. C'mon, dude, I know it gets hot here in the daytime, but the lawn is tiny. Can it not wait until 8:00?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 4:13 AM
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I don't even have a TV lawn.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 4:18 AM
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68: I am legitimately sort of loath to discuss it here. It's the biggest "holy crap" reaction I've had since trying napster for the first time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 4:28 AM
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I mostly pick up leaves by hand, because I believe in artisinal lawn care. (Or because we really only get them in the front and it's mini & all the trees are on the other side of the road.)

The village my husband grew up in is similarly obsessed with lawn care as ttaM's Oxford neighbours. I prefer living in town if only because we don't get comments on our straggly patch of lawn in our back garden. (Which everyone can see, because row houses.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 4:35 AM
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We have a neighbor (I don't know which one, which is LUCKY FOR THEM) who constantly calls the Lawn Police in our town because we don't mow / rake the leaves / pick up the sticks in our lawn frequently enough to suit them.

I have no leaf blower. Or weed-eater. Or edger. This is what I suspect is actually upsetting whichever neighbor it is. I live in the sort of neighborhood where everyone has a riding lawnmower and an edger and a weed-eater and a leaf-blower and this sort of thing where you rider around on it and vacuum your lawn (I kid you not. I don't know what it is, but it is constantly in use.) They also employ teams of landscapers to come and manicure their trees.

I mow. SOMETIMES.

On the subject of leaf-blowers: wow, do I hate them. Mainly because out at the university, they are constantly in use, and almost always manage to be in use outside the window of whatever classroom I am currently teaching in.

I agree with whoever said it's a bit much to except groundkeepers to use less effective tools to keep us (me) happy. BUT STILL.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 5:09 AM
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Using an edger is a suburban tribal marker that's the functional equivalent of a tongue piercing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 5:20 AM
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True story that I've told before: My dad once made a decision (in an official capacity) that irked people. They took to calling the radio station to criticize our lawn.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 5:39 AM
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I could have written 85.

I live in an area with lots of trees near a river. It should not have perfect, green lawns.

Yet, a couple of neighbors ruined it by bitching to the lawn police.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 5:43 AM
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Is there an HOA or will the actual municipal officials come out at some point before lawn can support bison?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 5:47 AM
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The City polices it. Plus they have an automated system so they just keep sending you nasty letters even after you mow the lawn.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 5:52 AM
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I'm trying to remember if I've ever seen/heard a leaf blower in real life. Maybe in a park, wielded by a local authority employee.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 5:53 AM
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My aunt's neighbors called the health department on her. To be fair, I'm pretty sure that was because of a lot of uncleaned-up dog shit in her yard, which is uphill from theirs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 5:55 AM
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In the land of rakes, the man with a leaf blower is a local authority.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 5:55 AM
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We have a neighbor (I don't know which one, which is LUCKY FOR THEM) who constantly calls the Lawn Police in our town because we don't mow / rake the leaves / pick up the sticks in our lawn frequently enough to suit them.

This would make me insane.

We have had times when the cops have come through and ticketed almost every house on the block (including us) but I didn't have the sense that anyone called it in.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 5:58 AM
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I called the health department on somebody feeding birds by leaving a huge pile of seeds in an open pan on the ground. I felt guilty about it, hence the fake pseud on the off chance my neighbors read, but I'd do it again. Fucking mice and pigeons.


Posted by: President Ford | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 5:59 AM
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That's how you make midgeons.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:01 AM
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All the world seems in tune on a spring afternoon
When we're fucking mice and pigeons in the park
Every Sunday you'll see my sweetheart and me
As we fuck the mice and pigeons in the park


Posted by: Bawdy Tom Lehrer | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:03 AM
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We have had times when the cops have come through and ticketed almost every house on the block (including us) but I didn't have the sense that anyone called it in.

Wait, so the lawn police is actually the police? I thought it was a reference to an HOA or something.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:04 AM
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Real police. We don't have an HOA.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:10 AM
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The boyfriend's father was the Lawn Police for one of their neighbors. The BF insists that it was bad enough that there was a vermin problem and that the neighbor refused their offers to have the BF mow it. I guess the neighbors ended up with fines, maybe threats of a lien? I suspect, though, that he's exaggerating how bad the neighbors were, given the stories he tells about how his father required that their lawn be moved in alternating directions every week. "Tightly wound" seems inadequate to describe that kind of diligence about lawn care.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:10 AM
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101

So why do the police care about your lawns?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:11 AM
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102

When I was a kid, we had a riding mower. Between our house and grandma's house down the street, we had four lots. Probably about 2 acres.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:15 AM
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Public eyesore? I dunno exactly. Freedom?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:15 AM
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104

101: In many localities, the only purpose of local government is to maintain the property values for the residents.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:16 AM
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105

utility goats

Brings to mind the image of a sort of ambulatory Swiss army knife. Or a goat in a utilikilt.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:16 AM
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101: Vermin? (Ostensibly public health.) 104 is more the actual reason.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:22 AM
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When I lived in North Carolina, I had an office near a high, steep embankment. There was nothing at the top except railroad tracks. But every few weeks they would trim the grass (with weed eaters because it was too steep for any mower). I asked why they bothered since pretty obviously nobody ever had a reason to go up there. I was told that if they let the grass get high, it would fill with snakes and be a danger to those nearby. It seemed plausible enough. There are way too many living, creeping things when you get that far south.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:26 AM
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Front lawn vegetable gardens are kind of a thing in our city. I think the lawn police would be run out of town. One of our neighbors uses his back yard (like ours, paved) to store all the trash from his plumbing business, but hey, live and let live.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:27 AM
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It's not like keeping gardeners from breathing fumes all day is doing them a horrible classist disservice. This, which might be 100% made-up, argues that leaf blowers are sonically particularly annoying to humans.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:27 AM
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I have a neighbor who I'm pretty thinks *we* called the township on him although we did not; but I have no doubt that somebody did (repeatedly). A long story, but we do have a long-running feud with him with multiple dimensions, and I do hate his fucking yard--which has basically been a 25-year construction site with drainage issues that do affect us. I'm tempted to link to the Google Earth historical evidence.

He's an interesting and very handy guy (he has a Bobcat that he just loves to run around doing stuff with like a kid with a great big sandbox) who we mostly got along with for the first 15 years or so of construction/residency but it has since gone sour in a very unpleasant way*. We both share a driveway and he also has a 2nd right-of-way across our yard (over which we both briefly lawyered up--he has had lawyer things with other neighbors as well). All around yuck.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:28 AM
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You're allowed to have vegetable gardens in your front yard, here. It's just that your yard can't look too abandoned.

There was, until recently, an old bullshit statute against xeriscaping your yard, which is doubly insane given the ongoing drought, which is why it was finally overturned.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:29 AM
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109: I agree that leaf blowers are terrible (mostly because of the emissions, but sure, also they are noisy) but that article is ridiculous.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:32 AM
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the Lawn Police

THEY LIVE INSIDE OF YOUR HEAD!


Posted by: OPINIONATED CHEAP TRICK | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:38 AM
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Public eyesore? I dunno exactly. Freedom?

What does it say on the tickets?

I guess I hadn't considered that in the suburban US the vermin situation might be different - over here it's hard to think of any meaningful vermin problem that would be exacerbated by long grass. Mice would just come indoors anyway, foxes don't care about grass (seriously, I used to have a family of them in my garden and they'd often sleep on the wall), moles are underground, and we don't really have snakes, as discussed. I guess you might have more aphids.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 6:55 AM
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The vermin issue is only sort of legit. Yes, chiggers, fleas, mosquitoes, etc will all thrive, but there's always going to be acres and acres of empty space all over the place, where these things thrive, because there is just plain a lot of space.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 7:03 AM
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I think the ticket said "for having grass over 14 inches" or something. The bullshit part was that the grass itself was never going to grow that high, but yes, those Y-shaped things with the black seeds do spring up overnight and grow two feet tall, plus who cares.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 7:06 AM
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Mosquitos? Do the police ticket people for having ponds?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 7:06 AM
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i mow my lawn because it keeps the ticks and spiders down.

plus i don't want it to look like we live in an abandoned house.


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 7:41 AM
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117: only if it detracts from home values.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 7:43 AM
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On the OT, back when AB worked for the city (preservation planner), she once got a call from a resident of one of the historic districts, someone she was acquainted with. "Hello, AB, this is Acquaintance. I have a rich wives' problem..." She wanted to know if somehow the historic district regulations could prevent the use of leaf blowers in the neighborhood.

Uh, no.

This same district, incidentally, is the one that brought us together: my boss was an expert witness hired by the neighbors to prevent the opening of a B&B. They were concerned that this business - located directly across the street from Pitt-associated institutions - would bring terrible traffic and riff raff. One woman referred to the business as a "bed and brothel". Ridiculous, but the neighbors won (it hinged on the interpretation of an ambiguous exception in the zoning code).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 7:45 AM
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Brush/grass cutting = fuel reduction so in many suburban / rural parts of the west makes sense. But no need to maintain a lawn. Actually not just suburban, Oakland and Berkeley hills fire was massively worse because of fuel build up.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 7:48 AM
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"Brothel and Breakfast" seems like a winning combination.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 7:51 AM
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OVERTHROW CLEW! FIGHT THE MAN!


Posted by: OPINIONATED TICKS AND SPIDERS | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 7:55 AM
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Augh! Cleek, not clew.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 7:56 AM
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Yeah, some California HOAs and even cities were apparently issuing fines for brown lawns even in this drought. The Legislature quickly banned this, and by urgency statute so I guess the new law has taken effect now.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 8:10 AM
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The more-suburban town next to ours was trying to ban leaf blowers but didn't quite succeed. I'd rather they just banned two-stroke gas engines instead, since those are genuinely terrible (and power many leaf blowers).

It turns out that my wet/dry utility vacuum can convert to an electric leaf blower, which is kind of neat, but every time I try to use it I decide that raking would be faster and easier.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 8:20 AM
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A general ban on two-stroke engines seems like it might be easier to justify on environmental grounds. I think you've given ogged an idea he can take to city hall.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 8:24 AM
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I'd really like to ban all growing things. Let's take our trees and grass to the Amazon, where I hear they're running out, and let the poor people deal with our detritus.

--Opinionated Larry Summers?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 8:30 AM
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the functional equivalent of a tongue piercing

Huh, I thought suburbanites were rife with weirdness, but really? An edger?


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 8:54 AM
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I'm trying for a "In Soviet Canada, leaves blow you!" joke but can't make it work. Maybe it should be "Leafs" and from OPINIONATED MALE PROSTITUTE NHL CAMP FOLLOWER.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 9:06 AM
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The scoldy letter the enforcement agency keeps sending us says it has to do with the city maintaining property values and a high "standard of living" for everyone in our city. Blah-blah-blah.

And they threaten us with fines, which if we don't pay with result in a lien against the property. Joke's on them, since we rent.

I have the neighbor who's ratting us out narrowed down to one of two at this point, based on the nature of the complaints. It's sad that I believe in non-violent action only. Because my fantasies for revenge are getting seriously more and more elaborate with every bullshit complaint that gets phoned in.

(The most recent? I put out the trashcan at 9:00 a.m. on trash day. Within an hour, y'all, I had a pink violent ticket taped to my door. Because you can't put out the trash can until NOON on trash day. I mean, holy fucking hell.)


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 9:14 AM
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American freedom is a varied and wonderful thing.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 9:25 AM
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Within an hour, y'all, I had a pink violent ticket taped to my door

Incredible. So this neighbor is basically watching you all day. Who is it? Come on, tell us.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 9:28 AM
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The scoldy letter the enforcement agency keeps sending us says it has to do with the city maintaining property values and a high "standard of living" for everyone in our city.

This seems like a bizarre thing to have in statute, but I guess I can see the incentives behind it if you have a property tax system.

(The most recent? I put out the trashcan at 9:00 a.m. on trash day. Within an hour, y'all, I had a pink violent ticket taped to my door. Because you can't put out the trash can until NOON on trash day. I mean, holy fucking hell.)

This sort of thing just seems insane. I suggest leaving your trash at the neighbours' houses.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 9:30 AM
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131 last is insane. How are you supposed to go to work?!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 9:34 AM
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I have to stop thinking about 131 -- it's filling me with so much rage against this stupid fucking neighbor. Fuck you, delagar's neighbor!


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 9:37 AM
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136: Oh, Walt! Think how sad and lonely delagar's neighbor must be!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 9:39 AM
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Whoever is behind the statute requiring trash be put out only at noon should be thrown out of office. I'd be crazy furious if I found myself in Delagar's position. IOW 136 is me.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 9:44 AM
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For my birthday last month, I got "Lawn Gone" and a couple of other books about converting our lawn to something native/drought tolerant. It's interesting how much of the book is devoted to "Check you HOA rules" and "maybe leave some lawn next to the neighbors and blend it in/up", and "talk with them so they'll understand it's intentional, not overgrown".


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 9:52 AM
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138: I also find this infuriating. Are the summers there so extreme that leaving out trash cans for a few extra hours causes a hideous stench? When do they do pickup, anyway? Ours is usually around eight or nine in the morning and we put it out the night before.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 9:53 AM
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My rubbish bins live on the street. As do all of my neighbours'. This is only an issue when drunk people decide it's amusing to tip them.

(While I can understand a prohibition on leaving them out all the time - I think there might technically be an unenforced one in my area - noon is just ridiculous. RIDICULOUS.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:02 AM
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I think I've mislead y'all -- it's noon of the day BEFORE pickup. So like if they're picking up at dawn on Tuesday (which they are here) you can't put your trash out before noon on Monday.

So it's not unreasonable, exactly.

But on the other hand, apparently my neighbor (whichever one it is) has nothing to do but spy on my house and wait to speed-dial the lawn police.

Here's how I REVENGED myself on the trash can complaint.
You get seven days to "correct" your error, right, before they can levy a fine or whatever? So I left the trash can out by the curb for four days. (MWAHAHA!)


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:12 AM
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I'm really having trouble even understanding the policy in 131. I've heard of not before noon the day before trash day, but the day of? Surely not. And if so, then surely you can get an exemption due to work? But...surely not.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:14 AM
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131.last. So someone has to stay home to put the trash out at noon? I guess that's supposed to be your wife, who of course is a stay-at-home, because your city has apparently timewarped back into the 1950s.

On leaf blowers, I have one, and a lawn mower (not a riding one). They are indeed noisy and annoying and I use the leaf blower about once a week on Saturday or Sunday (not at 7am: yikes!) until the end of leaf season. I also bought a leaf mulcher shredder vacuum this year. This did not make me happy, but there is no longer a place for leaf composting in our yard without shredding them first. I am told they are even noisier than a leaf blower.

I once wrote to James Fallows after he had a rant about leaf blowers in The Atlantic, defending them. He was not convinced, not at all.

So, I guess I am the devil.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:16 AM
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Nobody reads links or comment 142.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:17 AM
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pwned by 142.

I think in the town where I live you aren't supposed to put trash out until the day of pickup. It's not enforced as far as I can tell.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:18 AM
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Being completely unfamiliar with leaf blowers, can someone explain where the leaves go when you blow them, and how does it help?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:24 AM
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The leaves, assuming they aren't glued down, blow in the direction in which the leaf blower is propelling air.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:26 AM
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Generally, the landscape guys use the blowers to propel the leaves onto a tarp, which gets emptied into the green waste bin.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:32 AM
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I always wondered about the leaf blowing, too -- once you blew them into the big pile with your leaf blow, THEN WHAT?

But now I realize you also have a leaf vacuum (like my neighbors) and you just suck them all up, into giant bags, eh voila!


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:34 AM
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The big landscaping crews have trucks with giant vacuums on them. They can suck up a pile of leaves the size of a small car in a minute or so.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:35 AM
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147. I blow them into piles or rows, then onto a tarp, which is dragged to and dumped on the compost heap.

Some people put them into giant special-purpose trash bags, usually with a pumpkin motif (really) and the trash collector takes them away.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:37 AM
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My neighbors all have things like riding lawn mowers, except they are riding vacuums. They ride around on them, vacuuming their lawns. DAILY.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:37 AM
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My parents' neighborhood has the vacuum truck as a city service now. No more yard waste bags.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:38 AM
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I mean, seriously, y'all. How fucking obsessed with your lawns do you have to be to vacuum the leaves and twigs off it every day?


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:38 AM
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153. Mine is not a riding one. They are ridiculously expensive.

155. Unless you are obsessive you don't do it every day. We have a neighbor who is obsessive, and is out there two or three times a day. That is madness.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:41 AM
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I think I might be living in the wrong neighborhood.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:41 AM
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I repeat myself, but Sacramento used to have a completely fantastic yard waste system, in which a frontloader dealie called The Claw would pick up piles of yard waste of any size from the street and put it into a truck. The Claw followed the truck. It was so excellent, both for how fun it was to watch, and also because you could take out a tree or make some huge pile of green waste any week of the year and it would get taken away next trash day.

Now we only get The Claw during leaf season which, come to think of it, must be soon.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:48 AM
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California has autumn, but not in a way I'd understand.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:49 AM
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Speaking of autumn, legally, it snowed in Pittsburgh this past Saturday.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 10:51 AM
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Yeah, it snowed here over the weekend. I just try to think of it as water.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 11:08 AM
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Well, the midwest is much colder.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 11:10 AM
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It's in the 70s here today. So weird.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 11:12 AM
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Wait, what? Wasn't that just hail?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 11:17 AM
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Back to the question why the police care about your lawn,

115: The vermin issue is only sort of legit. Yes, chiggers, fleas, mosquitoes, etc will all thrive, but there's always going to be acres and acres of empty space all over the place, where these things thrive, because there is just plain a lot of space.

In some areas there really can be an issue with fleas and ticks -- in particular deer ticks, which can carry Lyme disease -- so it's a better idea to keep the lawn/grass/field mowed to a level lower than knee-high if it's within a stone's throw of living spaces.

I've caught some shit for this perspective over the years, but really, if you have deer and cats and bunnies and foxes and groundhogs and moles and mice and raccoons and various other critters routinely around, that's wonderful! But you're probably better off keeping the vicinity closest to your home cut back, which is not to say it should be a police matter. Also I reject the term "vermin".


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 11:19 AM
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We had the glorious, mild September enjoyed by much of the eastern US, then a front came through on Friday, and it's been purely autumnal since. Maybe we'll touch the low 70s early next week, but from last week to this there'll be a 10-15° drop in average daily high. It's like nature remembered that September was supposed to gradually get cooler, not stay sunny and 75° all 30 days.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 11:20 AM
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164: That's what I thought. I was out in it. The government said it was snow. Because Obamacare.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 11:21 AM
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Hey, Moby, do you have stinkbugs showing up in the house again? Damn, I thought we were over that, but I take it that with the cooler weather, they're looking to nest indoors over the winter. Kill, must kill, immediately.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 11:23 AM
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Have not seen a single stink bug in my house since the bitter cold of February. Probably because I never put my trash out early.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 11:24 AM
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Yeah, it snowed here over the weekend.

Meanwhile I was worried about getting heatstroke during my soccer game on Saturday morning.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 11:24 AM
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Hm, I mention this because I just found one on the bathroom mirror (kill), and then another crawling on the kitchen faucet (kill). Good grief.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 11:27 AM
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I've seen some in the park. It's possible we just had a colder winter than you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 11:31 AM
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Likely. We're having a string of lower-70s days, for several weeks now, which is giving them plenty of time to decide what they should do.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 11:52 AM
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We've had a few stinkbugs, but not that many.

When we moved in, our house had an inordinate number of house centipedes. Apparently they're fragile things that die quite easily and are mostly now gone. Their ecological niche has been replaced by various prowling spiders, mostly sac and wolf. Honestly I'd rather have centipedes.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 11:58 AM
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In late September it felt like fall, but the temperatures have rebounded. Yesterday was 98--a degree less than record setting. It's in the low 90s/upper 80s for the next week.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:03 PM
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I've been seeing stinkbugs increasingly over the past 2-3 weeks. There's one on my office window right now. I was hoping that they'd all been killed off (for this year at least) but no such luck.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:04 PM
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"Graupel"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:05 PM
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174.2: Something centipede-like is the dominant species in our basement.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:22 PM
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To tell the difference between graupel and hail, you simply have to touch a graupel ball. Graupel pellets typically fall apart when touched or when they hit the ground. Hail is formed when layers of ice accumulate and are very hard as a result.

...laydeez


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:25 PM
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What fell Saturday was so small that it melted when it touched you or the ground. I don't know how you could do that test.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:27 PM
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According to our lawn police, we have to keep the grass under six inches. Though they keep sending me citations when the grass is, in fact barely four inches high, so.

Other violations include: having sticks in the yard.

Having "waste" in the yard. (I think this means litter, thrown there by my neighbor's thug children, which is why I have tentatively eliminated ONE neighbor -- though WHO KNOWS, maybe that neighbor is [Machiavellian-like] getting his kids to pitch litter in our yard SO THAT he can rat us out?)

Having excessive leaves in the yard.

Having "tree limbs" in the yard.

And the aforementioned crime of placing the trash can out too early.

That's it, SO FAR.

Today I mowed the lawn down to the dirt. Seriously. There's like just roots and dirt. We'll see if this is sufficient.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:28 PM
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Other violations include: having sticks in the yard.

Is it possible that's a euphemism?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:30 PM
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165. We have a huge Lyme disease problem in MA. I know a lot of people who have had it or been bitten by infected ticks (myself included in that last one).

I'd cut my lawn anyway, but due to having been bitten this Spring I'm more militant about mowing, mouse disinfecting, and deer hunting. (Deer season starts next week, I think.)

168. We get "stink bugs" too, but I'm told they aren't actually stink bugs in the classic sense. For one thing, they don't stink much if at all.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:34 PM
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For one thing, they don't stink much if at all.

Yes. I smashed a bunch of them and there was hardly any scent. I was outside, but still, I must have smashed close to 100 of them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:35 PM
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i blow all my leaves into the empty lot next to our house.

i don't have a plan for what happens if someone buys that lot. bonfires maybe.


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:37 PM
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We don't water, so our yard is basically dead except for dandelions. I mow maybe once a month to cut those down. I switched to an electric (corded, which is a pain in the ass) mower when I got too lazy to mow often enough for the manual mower to work on the tall dandelions.

Delegar, your situation would fill me with so much HATERAGE that I would consider firebombing as a practical solution.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:39 PM
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having sticks in the yard
Having "tree limbs" in the yard.

This seems to be an issue for our neighbors as well. I can't say any actual police have become involved, but I've heard from the across-the-street neighbor that they wonder whether we have any legal responsibility for taking care of that sort of thing. I dealt with it as gamely as I could -- we're renters, so the woman mostly wanted to know whether there was a clause in our lease requiring us to tend to things, and if not, who was the landlord?

As I say, I dealt with it gamely, but I mentioned it to my workmate, who flatly stated that he'd have told the across-the-street-neighbor to go fuck herself. I can say that here, right?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:42 PM
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There are some people that feel the need to make life difficult for anybody renting in their neighborhood regardless of what they do. I wonder if that's not what's happening in Delgar's case.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:43 PM
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The invasive sort of stinkbugs don't stink. Or at least I've never noticed any stink from them, and I'm from the town where they were first found in America the '90's.

(Wikipedia says they smell like coriander, and whether you find that unpleasant is genetic. So I guess I'm just lucky.)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:44 PM
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Coriander is what they call the new place that used to be Kazensky's or whatever.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:46 PM
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Our stinkbugs generally "stink" when I squish them. But like some people I don't find it unpleasant at all. A grassy, cucumbery flavor.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:48 PM
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Yeah, the stinkbugs smell lemony. As long as you haven't smashed them in numbers in a closed environment, it's not nausea inducing. One still doesn't like to find them crawling on the kitchen counter.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 12:51 PM
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||

This has been in the back of my mind: how do people feel about those who openly acknowledge that they don't vote, in fact have never voted?

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post explained on the Diane Rehm show this morning that he doesn't vote, has never done so. I found this ... disgusting. My opinion of the guy isn't that high to begin with, but really, I'd have a hard time simply chuckling amicably with someone who explains such a thing.

|>


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 1:00 PM
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150: eh voila

As the French Canadians say.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 1:38 PM
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Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post explained on the Diane Rehm show this morning that he doesn't vote, has never done so.

Did he say that it had to do with maintaining his objectivity?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 1:48 PM
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193: If someone tells me they don't vote I generally tell them not to complain about the government.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 2:01 PM
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The Washington Post hired someone who doesn't vote to write about politics? Yeah, that sounds about right.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 2:07 PM
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I can say that here, right?

Sure, but what are the odds your across the street neighbor will see it. Maybe in the comments section of your local paper?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 2:13 PM
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On the four inch grass, demand a jury trial. And bring in a bunch of pictures with rulers.


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 3:31 PM
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194: awesome


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 10- 8-14 3:36 PM
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On the way into the office, there was a guy using a leaf blower to get leaves (from a giant oak above) out of some small bushes. It's hard to see how it could have been done any other way, thought it's also hard to see why it had to be done.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 5:29 AM
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But who ever has the car whose alarm is continuing to go off has about five minutes before I smash their fucking windows.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 5:37 AM
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those who openly acknowledge that they don't vote

I suppose there's an argument to be made that voting only encourages them.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 5:37 AM
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"...your situation would fill me with so much HATERAGE that I would consider firebombing as a practical solution."

I'm a little annoyed, I'll admit.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 5:54 AM
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193: I've never voted, and have no intentions of ever doing so. I started off wanting to, but not, on account of being abroad for every election I've been eligible to vote in, except the 2002 midterms. Nowadays I just don't think voting makes all that much difference, at least in the US, and on balance it's better not to provide the illusion of consent in the system.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:03 AM
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I don't understand how not voting is supposed to be remove the illusion of consent. Going to vote and deliberately casting an invalid ballot might, but not bothering at all looks as much like "too satisfied to care one way or the other" as it is "unwilling to provide the illusion of consent."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:13 AM
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206: On an individual level, yes, it's hard to tell the difference between not giving a shit and not wanting to provide consent, but in aggregate it is unequivocally the latter.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:19 AM
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"too self-satisfied to care one way or the other"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:19 AM
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I think it is even more equivocal in the aggregate. There are plenty of elections where those don't vote are a majority and in nearly every election they are a plurality. It's hard to consider being able to control the outcome of an election but not doing so as anything but tacit consent.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:24 AM
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ffeJ's argument is why activists fought so hard to keep southern blacks from voting in the sixties.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:26 AM
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I'm not the public-mindededness fairy or anything. Don't vote if you don't want to vote. Especially with living on the other side of the ocean, I can see why you wouldn't want to bother. But it's not as if it accomplishes anything at all or sends any message more discernable than 'meh'.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:28 AM
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204: You might consider one of these. Unless you prefer metalwork.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:28 AM
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209: Sure, but controlling the outcome of an election is not the same as controlling your government.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:29 AM
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211: Well, I disagree. People can vote GOP for a million different reasons, and Democrat for a million reasons. Not voting can also be done for a million reasons.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:34 AM
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Expecting to get everything you want from a government and flouncing when you don't get it is childish. The election that will take place next month will determine who controls the Senate for the next two years and if the Republicans win (which depends to a very large extent on how many people bother to vote) there will be very real consequences for the government.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:34 AM
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Yeah, Ffej, you are not sending the message you think you are sending. Not voting means you're too lazy, don't care, or aren't paying attention.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:34 AM
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210: I'm here, you can address me directly.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:35 AM
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Not that we have any Senate races in this state this year.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:38 AM
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I didn't vote until I started paying attention and when I started voting it was mostly to vote no on ballot initiatives. I feel like a sucker voting for people who will clearly lose or win in safe seat elections and like an idiot for voting for people named Diane Feinstein.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:50 AM
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215: It really depends on your assessment of "very real consequences". I see very little real daylight between Democrats and Republicans on, say, climate change, imperial wars, apartheid in Israel, income inequality. Whatever lever gets pulled we keep getting the same shit somehow.

This is a hard call to make, to be sure. A few years ago, I would not only have disagreed with this position, but had probably had contempt for it.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:51 AM
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I feel like a sucker voting for people who will clearly lose or win in safe seat elections and like an idiot for voting for people named Diane Feinstein.

But aren't there always a dozen other races on your ballot - local elections, etc? I mean, I personally believe in the value of contributing towards someone's mandate or lack there-of, but there must always be complicated local politics going on as well.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:55 AM
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On the imperial wars thing and Israel, maybe. But if you don't see any difference on climate change or income inequality, you just aren't paying attention.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 6:56 AM
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221: I've so far never been in a place long enough to really get a sense of local politics beyond ballot measures, but I do vote in those races even though I don't have much information on them. This reminds me that I don't think I'm registered in CA anymore. I should do something about that.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 8:49 AM
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220: One of the parties actually cares to some extent about civil rights for minorities. The other one doesn't.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 8:58 AM
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Democrats don't much care and Republicans are strongly opposed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 9:00 AM
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There was a Dilbert cartoon along the lines of:

- (to his dog) Remember last week, you convinced me not to vote in the election, because we disagreed on every policy issue, and so our votes would cancel out, so we could save time by neither of us voting?

-- So?

- It turns out DOGS CAN'T VOTE!!

-- Well, not directly...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 9:10 AM
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221. In MA it's very rare to have an actually close contested election for anything down-ballot. A lot of the races are uncontested or contested by run-and-lose-every-time loons. All the action (if there is any) is in the Democratic primary.

This year a scumbag Congressman got turfed out in the primary (Tierney) but that doesn't happen very often. Scott Brown's Senate win and the close Baker-Coakley Gov. race are outliers caused by Martha Coakley failing to be likable.

There are some good ballot questions, though isn't isn't always the case. (For example, Question 2 expands the bottle deposit bill and the bottling industry has dumped $8 million of outright lying ads on it, essentially threatening to buy the election as the ads have flipped the polling from 62% in favor to 60% against.)


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 9:18 AM
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The closest election I ever voted in was a primary for governor decided by 51 votes out of 166,000 cast. The winner was Ben Nelson. I think I voted for one of the other guys.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 9:23 AM
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220. John McCain wanted to invade Iran, and Romney was an actual investment banker arguing publicly that there was too much regulation after the crash. On climate change, while the dems could be doing so much more than they are, republican ads use "drill, baby, drill" as a slogan.

It's a flawed country, but voting is a duty.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 9:24 AM
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I love it when Moby gets serious.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 9:34 AM
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Moby Gets Serious would be a great pron title.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 9:50 AM
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226: That reminds of me of a story about Jack Russell, the cricketer. Some time in the 1980s he was playing in a county match in Leicestershire or somewhere and there was an election on. He decided to leave the ground as soon as play finished, drive like hell down the M5 back to Gloucester, vote, and then tear-arse back to the hotel. Before he could set off, though, he learned that his teammate, Colin Cowdrey's son whose name I forget*, was in the same position, so he offered Cowdrey a lift.

They've gone a few miles when Russell says something about looking forward to voting against Thatcher. This of course moves the conversation onto politics, and it turns out Cowdrey is planning to vote Conservative. Russell says - well, if you vote Conservative and I vote Labour, we're going to cancel each other out, so why don't we spare ourselves the 5 or so hours' driving, turn back, and catch the rest of the gang up at the pub?

Cowdrey insists on voting for Thatcher. So Russell grits his teeth, blasts all the way back to Gloucester, they both cast their opposing and pointless votes, get back in the car, back on the motorway...


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 9:51 AM
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* Cowdrey jr. was only a cricketer because of his legendary dad, to be brutally frank.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 9:52 AM
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233. There were two Cowdrey juniors, Chris and Graeme. Chris was an adequate cricketer at county level, who only captained England (1 test) because of his legendary dad, so I assume you're talking about the other one. The whole family were wazzocks AFAIK. There's a third generation now, who may be solid socialists for all I know, but I doubt it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10- 9-14 11:10 AM
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