Memo: To Mother Nature
Dear Ms. Nature:
You obviously forgot to read the New Haven municipal Web site before deciding on your own schedule this year.
If you had read the Web site, you would not have had the leaves on the trees quite so long. How rude of you to have the times chosen for leaf collection pass with no leaves to collect!
The folks who collect the leaves even added another collection time and you did not arrange for most of the leaves to be on the ground in time for that collection either. And now, you have brought a big wind to blow the leaves back from whence they came. At the risk of redundancy, how rude!
So now, we have the fussbudgets who insist that nary a leaf should be seen on somebody's front lawn. I'm lucky, all my leaves migrated to my backyard where, as far as I am concerned, they can spend the winter It's sort of a Cancun for leaves.
There is one serious part of this, however. That's when the leaf removal people who are too cheap to buy a vacuum rig for their trucks blow the leaves into piles in the street. Children like to play in the leaves. Older children driving cars like to drive into the piles and watch the leaves scatter in the wind. That's a real danger for kids, so parents, please tell your kids it's fine to play in leaves on your lawn, but not in the street.
As far as I'm concerned, people can leaf well enough alone (sorry, I had to) on their lawns, but they should sweep leaves off the sidewalks (do you hear, caretakers at Mondo Condo at the top of the Fountain Street hill, across from West Prospect Avenue?) The leaves are full of mold and when you walk on them, you stir up the mold and stirs up people who are allergic to mold and have problems breathing. Breathing is definitely recommended over the alternative.
The city should crack down on the people who blow leaves into the street. Wet leaves can be as slippery as snow and ice. So, police should give them tickets, but whatever you do, don't ask them if they're here legally.
I am happy to hear that Sudan freed Gillian Gibbons, the British woman who was arrested and jailed for allowing her 7-year-old students in that nation to call their new teddy bear Muhammad. You know Sudan. It's the nation that brought you the Darfur catastrophe and genocide.
Ms. Gibbons was freed from her 15-day jail sentence and spirited out of the country after some moderate Muslims from Britain had a "now look, you idiot" conversation with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Hey, the 15-day sentence was a gift: She could have gotten 40 lashes and 60 days in the slammer, or, as marchers on Friday demanded, stood up before a firing squad.
The non-moderate Muslims were ticked off because the teacher allowed her students to name the bear Muhammad, which insults Islam, according to them.
According to most thinking Muslims, the radicals are the ones who are insulting Islam, as well as the world's intelligence.
I'm sorry for Paul Bass, who got his car towed because of street sweeping in his neighborhood. Maybe I should keep my mouth shut, but in my neck of the woods, if your car is parked in front of your house when the street sweeper comes along, the driver just steers it around the car and you just don't get the gutter in front of your house swept. That seems like more of a just outcome than having to shell out a couple of hundred dollars for a fine and to enrich the towing companies.
While I'm on the subject, let me reiterate about the Orthodox Jew who had his car towed because the city posted the towing in his neighborhood on one day of a major Jewish holiday and did the sweeping the next. He could not drive his car because it is religiously prohibited. He got his ticket fee back from the city, but still have to pay the tow fee.
That's not fair. It's also not fair that things like the collection of hazardous waste should be only done on a Saturday, when Orthodox Jews can't participate. Orthodox Jews pay as much in taxes as the next guy, maybe more. It wouldn't kill the city to cut them a break and advertise that the collection center could be opened on a Wednesday once in a while.
I love streetcars. I take the T is Boston whenever I can. I have taken streetcars in many European cities. I think Mexico City has electric buses, as well as a well-run subway.
I there is a chance to have streetcars in New Haven, we should go for it. They don't puff out the fumes that the Diesel engines of our buses do and are a lot more fun to ride -- a lot smoother than buses.
Three cheers for the federal funded study that could lead to the clang clang clang of the streetcar on New Haven streets.
Until next time...