Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Another Strib Smoke Story

Please tell me they are kidding.

Pam Louwagie (with contributions from Jill Burcum) crafted a fine example of Strib sing-song, storytelling. Start the piece off by introducing us to a couple… how nice. Reading the Strib is just like going to a party.

Here’s a tip. Try writing news instead of fluffing it up. (Just out of curiosity, I wonder if the writers and editors at the Strib know what a fluffer is? I caution my more mild mannered readers from Goggling the word fluffer… especially if they are trying to avoid pr0n searches.)

Skip the story and party guest approach to newspaper journalism for a moment, they also treat us to such storytelling words as hearth and embers, they use the mention neighborhood relationships cooling (ah, in a story about fires… genius), and they even get a quote from a guy who describes the problem as thorny. They actually use the phrase urban bonfire.

How effing cute.

Add to that, the editor (or whoever picked the slugline) used the word s’mores when they hardly play into the story at all… merely a destracting device to get everyone’s attention. (Perhaps White Devil/Ordinary, from the comment section at Anti-Strib, works for Target and the Strib!)

Perhaps Pam and Jill ought to move on from their jobs as news fluffers and jump into Americana fiction or children’s stories. There’s no shame in that career… and they seem to have the knack.

I could go on all day about the Strib. (You want proof, just check the Anti-Strib.) Let’s move on to the actual piece before I dedicate twelve ‘graphs before actually showing the slugline.
S'mores sweet, but what about smoke?
Some neighbors say air quality suffers as urban campfires grow in popularity.
Always with the smoke, these guys. Where theres smoke there’s a ban. At least with this neighborhood firepit story they seem to be ballanced on the subject. However, they wait until the fourth ‘graph to even get to the real conflict.
Complaints about smoke seeping into people's houses through open windows have wafted into city halls and fire departments. Some say neighbors are having fires too often or are burning materials they shouldn't, creating too much smoke.
Wafted into city hall! Ah-ha! Genius! Oscar Wilde, eat your heart out.

Sorry, I was once again sidetracked by such brilliance and wit… the likes I have narry seen for a fortnight. My ladies' wordsmithing eclipses even the Bard himself!

What a load of nonsense. However that nonsense can’t compete with the nonsense of the complaint. Fires that create too much smoke? What do you want, a city employee how measures the scent, volume, color, density, and frequency of smoke?
Cities have varying rules about "recreational fires," often involving the fire's size, wind speeds, what can be burned, how close it can burn to buildings and hours that the fires are allowed. Some cities require permits. Some will issue tickets if rules aren't being followed.
Uh, oh. I spoke too soon.
Edina resident Rick Hauser told the Edina City Council in July that frequent fires nearby were making life difficult for his family.

"Our house fills up with smoke," he told them. "An in-ground fire pit is too big for our neighborhood."

He suggested a host of changes, including limiting the frequency in which fires are allowed.
It looks like Rick is a lawyer. Surprised?

Just what we need, another hand-wringing, mamby-pamby, winge-filled, whiney-woo lawyer in Edina. (I’m all for lawyers and the legal system, I’m just not convinced they all work for interests other than their own and their “billable” hours.)

Tell you what, Rick. Here’s my advice. Start looking for the contractor who designed and built your house. You can probably sue them for not using windows to seal up those vast, yawning holes that riddle the walls of your home.

While you’re at it why not bill your neighbors for the cost of air freshener, fans, and fragrence-free odor-neutralizing incense. That might also rid your house of the unwanted smoke from your crack-pipe.
Minneapolis resident Lisa Nabbefeld said she isn't against back-yard fires altogether, but thinks they turn offensive when people burn green wood or other particularly smoky materials too often.
Offensive??? What’s this too smokey, too often business?
Nabbefeld said she talked with her fire-enthusiast neighbors about the smoke…
I bet that went well. That phrase reminds me of a gal that lived above me in St. Paul who had a lot of “concerns”. Oi gevalt, she had “issues”, too.
…but that only seemed to make things worse…
I’m not surprised!
…Then she eventually contacted authorities, and at one point they sent a giant fire truck to put out the fire, which had grown bigger than the city allows.
Uh, that doesn’t sound like a neighborhood fire, that sounds like an actual blaze. Of course, someone might have exaggerated. Hard to tell when our dilligent wordsmiths didn’t manage to find the other side of Nabbefeld’s story.

Besides, what could be better than the wodnerful smell of a roaring fire? Let me rephrase that. What could be better than the wonderful smell of a controlled, roaring fire? Better make that, what could be better than the wonderful smell of a controlled, roaring, intentional fire?

Wait. What could be better than the wonderful smell of a controlled, roaring, intentional, non-arson fire?

While her relationship with her neighbor has cooled, and that makes her sad, she said, the fires have continued. It's driven her to thoughts of selling her house.

"What a feeling of helplessness," she sighed. "If you forget to close your windows ... your house and your bedding and your carpet all reek of smoke."

Reek??? Feeling of helplessness???

These are the same people who don’t like you cutting your hard or using a weed-whip or a leaf blower for fear of the smell from the gas burning engine… not to mention the possibility of anyone with allergies to grass clippings. (Don’t most of those folks have crappy looking lawns that more closely resemble the untouched wild than a neighborhood yard?) These are the same people who don’t like city lights downtown at night in their neighborhood (and refuse to use curtains even at the expense of the company with the city lights).

Maybe Walter E. Williams was right. Go porcs!


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