Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Gutter Rants

Rant to follow, but first a look at this week in Meowville. I'm working up the energy to start another day of manual labor. Ked and I have been hard at it for days, doing much needed home repairs in preparation for the rains to come. Last year, some of you will remember, we jumped through the hoops demanded by the City of Portland to pass inspection on our new garage. Well, now we're trying to catch up on all the work we neglected while doing the City's bidding. Ked's taken the week off, and we have been going like gangbusters. Sunday we jacked up both our front and side porches and replaced the rotting pillars. Monday and Tuesday we replaced the gutters.

You may be saying to yourself, "Wow, gutters aren't that hard. Why'd it take them two whole days to get them done? Ked and Kat must be incompetent!" Without arguing the finer points of the incompetence question, allow me to offer a small bit of self defense. Although we live in quite a small house--only about thirty feet square--it has a hip roof, which means that the gutters go all the way around, with twists and turns for the porches to boot. We have almost one hundred and sixty feet of gutters, and a dozen corners to turn!! We are quite thrilled that the project went so smoothly and that we will no longer have to put out buckets to catch the water pouring from the leaking gutters to prevent it from soaking our basement bedroom. (NEVER install plastic gutters. They are nearly worthless.) Anyway, today we're heading out to paint the chimney and trim that didn't get finished last year in the height of City appeasement season. The happy thing for us is that after all the work is done, once we can face the coming winter weather with equanimity, we're going to head to the coast for a couple of days of camping and resting. That thought will keep us going for today. That and caffeine. Praise God for caffeine.

Anyway, I'm sure you didn't check in here for an update on Meow home improvement, so I'll toss you a little something from the "Good Grief, Save Me From The Nanny State" files. Looks like Los Angeles lawmakers are looking for ways to keep other people from packing on the pounds. No, they're not sponsoring fitness walks and heart-health awareness lectures. They're not giving tax breaks to fitness centers, or even signing "good example" pledges, where they promise that they will forgo dessert in favor of an after-dinner walk in hopes that where they lead Los Angelenos will follow. No, they have a much more "we know better than you" approach, compounded with a little "do as I say, not as I do" for good measure. According to The Center for Consumer Freedom:

Yesterday, with that unique blend of condescension and stupidity all too common among nanny staters, Los Angeles lawmakers unveiled plans to “fight” obesity by prohibiting fast food restaurants from building new outlets in one of the city’s poorest districts. The bill’s sponsors claim that fast food restaurants are crowding out “healthier” outfits in low-income communities, leaving poor Los Angelenos with exclusively high-fat, high-calorie food options.

Wow, they're only planning to stop the building of fast food places in poor neighborhoods, so that "healthier" restaurants will stop being "crowded out." Like there's simply not room for them with all those fast food restaurants forcing people to patronize their establishments. Do these people not realize that stopping the installation of a McDonald's is not going to drive the poor hapless ignorant masses to Tofu Heaven? Do they think that, just by virtue of having less money, poor people somehow have less of an understanding than the well-to-do that a Whopper is going to have more calories than a side salad with fat-free dressing? People eat what they want to eat! McDonald's and Wendy's and Burger King all offer salads and fruit and milk and other "healthy" choices. If people don't order them, it's because they don't want to. Some of them want triple burger combo meals with fries and a milkshake, and no amount of salad options is going to distract them from their culinary goal. They don't want salad! Is the solution to make the choice for them, and deny them them options they do want? Maybe in "we know better than you do" world, but not in anyplace that I want to live, and not in anyplace realistic either.

Hint to legislators: People find ways to get what they want--even poor people. Some of them might even hop on the bus to head to the restaurant in your area that offers the food they actually want to eat. Worse, some of them might get in their cars to do it, burning fossil fuels and cash to get to the thing that is okay for you, but not for them! Take away the burger joints in their neighborhoods, and you're still going to have poor fat people running around offending your sensibilities, but they'll be doing it in your neighborhood. Now, who's going to legislate a solution for that one?

Okay, rant over. Have a lovely day!