Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Household Criminals: Reagan Was Right Edition

by Tom Bozzo

My friend Oscar claims to be a meme-avoider (*), but is ever so keen to start one of his own. Some of his efforts, while worthy, suffered from the difficulty of having not so much been invented as much as rediscovered. I don't think that's the problem with the brilliant "Dangerous Criminals At Large" post. In fact, I'm not sure Oscar even intended it this as a meme-candidate. But, then, we all know "intelligent design" is a crock, don't we?


The oak tree — OK, my next door neighbor's, but we have 4-1/2 of our own. Majestic. A diabolical machine for imparting gravitational potential energy on small projectiles (innocently called "acorns" by tree apologists) which it releases, over a period of days or weeks, and all hours of the day and night, without regard to what or who may be innocently working, playing, or passing underneath — or just trying to get a good night's sleep without a gunshot-like crack every two minutes.

Danger: UXB.


The neighbors think this white pine, probably at least as old as the neighborhood, is an invaluable part of the neighborhood treescape over which they'd be on my front steps with torches and pitchforks were I to, say, cut it down to build a garage. I know it better as an unreformed sprayer of droplets of sticky goo on the parking pad, the side street, and related environs. Plus, it drops large quantities of easily weaponizable "needles" on the ground where terrorists could easily pick them up and misuse them. (Yeah... maybe instead of spending 5 grand getting it cut down, I can just have the tree sent to Gitmo. Sorry, neighbors, nothing I can do about it. [**])


(*) Though see here. Note that I do not claim any proprietary rights to the "evil meme," which I couldn't have passed along to the Phantom Scribbler pixiesphere at the time in any event.

(**) I've long wondered if the Bush national security team is smart enough to distinguish a 70-foot pine tree from an actual terrorist, a question fairness dictates that I classify as answer unknown, however much my prior might be negative.
Ah, Tree Bomblets. Our first house, in urban Chicago, sported a mature female ginko tree in its postage-stamp sized yard. If you've ever smelled ginko fruit, you see the problem already. If you haven't, consider yourself lucky ... then imagine a month-long rain of hundreds of slimy orange kumquat-shaped fruits that smell remarkably like, well, dog shit.
Kim: I have indeed smelled the ginkgo fruit (there was a female tree shading the sidewalk along one of our walking routes in the old neighborhood that we'd have to avoid in season) -- thanks for the reminder that there are worse things than to be bombarded with acorns.
Trees are beautiful, don't cut yours down. 99% of the time, our Silver Maple is a wonderful tree to have. It's just the 1% when it releases 10 million helicopter seeds that clog the gutters and grow in the garden and mulched areas when it is annoying.

I say build a tree house or hang some bird feeders.

I would also invite friends over and have everyone stand under the tree and then laugh my ass off when anybody got nailed by an acorn. The anticipation of getting clunked in the head by an acorn would probably be noteworthy.

I would totally harvest some of that sap from the white pine and see what you could do with it. Like see if it burns.
Truth be told, living without a garage hasn't been so bad, thanks in no small part to the miracle of heated seats. My car has gotten a bit scratched up in the great outdoors, though. If/when we do build a garage (not in the foreseeable future), an architect will get to make some $ figuring out how to site it w/o a need for tree removal.
You should build an underground garage with an elevator for your car.
That would be totally awesome, though it would be nice to work out a solution that I could afford w/o becoming the CEO of a major corporation.
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