Letter from Santa Clara
No Gropenatorial Hypermuscularism
While Carolin’s out there merrily mowing the lush
green back-lawn (yes, right now, in mid-Nov. & all thru the damp, snowless
NorCal Winter) with our 18” (457mm) electric reversible mulching mower
(Black & Decker Leaf Hog MM675, 1350-watt motor series), I thought I might
just write you about this kind of forward-thinking large-yard tool being
Here in California, such mulching-mowers are warmly
recco’d by the California Environmental Protection Agency Integrated Waste
Management Board (8800 Cal Center Drive, MS 23, Sacto CA 95826;
1-800-735-2929) in its Pub. #443-99-01 [printed on recycled paper]: "GRASSCYCLE!
Make the most of your lawn. Make the most of your time." In Silicon
Valley, of course, Time = Money.
Rather than repeat every word in it here, just let me tell
you that on its 1st-panel, there’s a smiling bearded guy (who looks a lot
like Bob Vila) dozily kicking-back as some iced tea’s being poured into
his yellow plastic tumbler from a shiny purple anodized-aluminum pitcher.
You know, a real man who isn’t bustin’ to cut his grass. Like me, who’s
listening to little Carolin doing it as I type this; she’s just come back
in to ask me to roll it out to the front lawn so she can mow that one,
too. She also used the 12” (300mm) 10K-rpm electric Black & Decker weed-whipper.
Now you may wonder why such an XXXL-Man (as I am) is
leaving all the hard part of this mucho-macho kind of task to the Little
Lady. The answer is: none of it’s really hard, thanks to these particular
electric tools, bought used via Craig’s List (mower, $60) and a local
yard-sale (whipper, $10). Also, my end-stage arthritic knees (soon due for
replacement at Kaiser-Permanente, my nearby HMO) hurt too much for me to
even slowly walk the lawn pushing these hyper-efficient electric
maxi-tools across it. I can, however, do low-intensity manual leaf-raking
— but we don't yet have an electric leaf-blower.
You see, we just don’t do hard, here, in
NorCal (as they call it here), despite both Dubya & The Gropenator’s
hypermuscular rhetoric. We don’t unnecessarily pollute the air, or
spill gas, or even necessarily store 5gal red-drums of it in the attached
garage or detached garden shed. Aren't we way-slick?
I should also mention that electricity is
(relatively) cheap here in the City of Santa Clara that runs its own
electricity-generating plant, effectively protecting it from those
energy-arbitrage games the feral Enron boys maliciously played on what
they jokingly called “Grandma Millie” (aka the California Republic, later