Archive for August 2016

Sounds of UnSilence   3 comments

Anyone who says the suburbs are quiet must live in the city. Even here, which falls on the country side of suburban, complete silence is rare. In fact incomplete silence is rare. I’m not talking about the pleasant sounds of birds, crickets, peepers, and cicadas. I’m talking about machines.

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is.

Fall?

leaf blower

 

Winter?

snow blower

Spring and Summer?

power mower

I grew up on city sounds, where the noise, other than honking  horns and sirens, is more of constant, a type of noise that one grows so accustomed to that it is no longer heard. As for sirens – up here we not only have the sirens sounding from ambulances, police cars, and fire engines, we have the air raid type siren that summons the volunteer firemen and EMTs.

And oh yes, then there’s the mother of all sirens, the ear-piercing Indian Point nuclear power plant alert siren that is tested regularly. These are mounted in strategic spots in every town within a wide radius of the plant, and take it from me, if you happen to be next to the one in the shopping center in Peekskill, if you survive a nuclear meltdown, you’ll do so with impaired hearing!

But back to the ubiquitous leaf blowers, I don’t think I ever saw one until I moved back to New York from California.  I do remember when I lived in San Jose, reading how Palo Alto wanted to outlaw leaf blowers, and wondering what the fuss was about. I guess that’s because my neighborhood had lots of shrubs but few trees. Someone down the street had a cluster of palm trees on their lawn, and everyone had a city-planted curb strip tree, but leaves they shed could easily be wept up with a broom.

Then I moved back to NY, (in the fall, wouldn’t ya  know!) and rented an apartment in a private house in Harrison, a town of massive trees. Being home all day until I found  a job, I was treated to the full effect of lawn blowers underneath my windows every Tuesday when the gardener made his rounds.

But I hadn’t seen anything . Those days were quiet compared to up here – where it seems everyone and his brother has a

chain saw

– the bigger and more macho the better. They run them in spring to clear away any trees who bit the dirt, or I guess I should say bit the snow (or vice versa) over the winter. Then they power them up again in summer and fall, to cut up those same logs to burn through the winter.

Oh, and did I mention

generator

Before I even open my eyes, I can tell if there’s been, as the utility company gently puts it, a power interruption over night. These little generators produce more noise than they do power!

But come once a year, I get my revenge when I power wash my deck each spring!

 

 

And tee hee, bonus! This week I hauled it out a second time to power wash the house. But I’m all done, and as soon as these babies dry, out they’ll be back in the shed –until next year.

 

 

Getting the First Word In   9 comments

My father used to chide me for having to get the last word all the time. To which I’d reply “No, I don’t.” Well this time I think I’m getting the first word in, or at least I believe I am, since I haven’t heard it discussed on TV nor read it in the paper. The word is branding and it’s my opinion on why Donald J. Trump is running for president.He wants to brand the presidency, put his name on it.

Trump wine, Trump steaks, Trump University. Like a dog who lifts his leg to mark everything in sight, the man has an egotistical compulsion to put his name on everything he sees. During the course of the primaries, it was brought to the attention of the press that while he really does own Trump Tower and the failing Trump casinos, many of the other enterprises merely paid him to use his name – a win/win situation for all involved, except  the innocent people who spent their money  on any of his brands.

While he has managed to muster enough votes to become the Republican candidate, he has also garnered criticism for not having a plan. This ties in with my branding idea. He has no plan because he doesn’t need one. If he gets in, he intends to leave running the government up to other people, his board members, so to speak.

I came upon an article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine a few weeks back, a very long one, and as I made my way through it,  I thought the author, Mark Leibovich  was going to touch upon the branding concept. But the nearest he came, was mentioning at one point that”Trump has outsourced a great deal of the nitty-gritty of an enormous general election campaign” to the Republican National Committee. And a little further on, he cited Trump’s “willingness to outsource the conservative  ‘idea’ architecture to Paul Ryan and like-minded Republicans.

Then at the Democratic Convention last Wednesday night when President Obama declared “The Donald is not an ideas man,” he came close, but no cigar. And I held my breath on Thursday because Hilary came closest, when in the middle of her acceptance speech she assured us that “The family I came from did not put our name on buildings.” But again, nope, no B word.

Although Mr Leibovich may never have used the word, branding in his article, the picture accompanying it is worth a thousand words.

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