Potemkin town hall
Tuesday, October 7 2008
While Gretchen was off at work, I deployed three different flea-killing fogger bombs: one in the laboratory, one in the upstairs bedroom, and one in the first floor office. I had to evacuate all the critters first, including Wilma, who doesn't consider the outdoors part of her territory. Wilma does occasionally sun herself out on the east deck, so when she went out there I closed the door behind her and she wouldn't be coming back in for two and a half hours. I also had to scoop up Marie (aka "the Baby") from her nest on the bed in the upstairs bedroom and relocate her outdoors, to the sun-warmed hood of the hatchback (which is black). Finally, I had to render the pet door inoperative. With the exception of Clarence, I was sure I'd seen everyone outdoors before I started fogging, but just in case Clarence was trapped inside, I made several forays through the house to look, holding my breath for the entire duration of my time indoors.
I was very happy when, an hour or so later, Clarence materialized at my greenhouse site while I was finishing up the footing for its east wall. He'd come out of the woods from the direction of our downhill neighbors.
During the time the indoors was off limits, I made a run to the dump with the dogs. I hadn't been to the dump since late June, but, aside from recycled bottles and cans, I only had a few small bags of trash I had to pay to deposit, and the fee only came to $1.50. Nearly all of our trash is either recycled or burned, and some of it (such as styrofoam packaging and peanuts) can be disposed of onsite as insulation, either in the walls or in the ground. Over time, I've been finding more and more ways to minimize my trash stream and energy consumption. One recent example is the considerable quantity of water necessary to mix the greenhouse's concrete. All of it has come from rainwater collected from the roof of the garage.
Tonight Gretchen and I watched the second Obama-McCain debate, the one using the so-called "town hall" format. If that was a town hall, it was a Potemkin town, featuring a set of animatronic cardboard cutouts for "people." They didn't speak or move, and their questions could well have been coming from pre-recorded sound clips recorded by actors. Still, even in this stilted format, it was clear that Barack Obama was mopping the floor with John McCain. While Obama was smooth, calm, and cool on stage, McCain's movements resembled those of an angry puppet. I kept expecting to see the little wooden sticks coming up from below to move his arms, which, due to war injuries, never rise above zero degrees. McCain is a menacing white bundle of overcaffeinated rage, and as he relentlessly stalked the stage, I couldn't help but wonder if he's still bitter about the bayonet wound that rendered his pecker just another useless flap of skin. I'd like to think our country doesn't bestow the presidency on people as an award for having survived failed military endeavors.
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