Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Snow Business

My wife told me I should write this down, and my preschooler thought it was funny enough to tell his teacher about, so it's at least worth committing to my blog.

I've been a little skeptical about global warming lately—not that I'm discounting it or even changing my pattern of conservational behavior—but it's been so dang cold this winter, and the snow has been relentless. I'm sick of it. My snow blower has been on the fritz ever since I ran over a stick and took out the right front blades. Technically it still works, but I have to go over everything twice.

It's of significant importance that I keep the face of our driveway clean, since it slopes for a stretch of fifteen to twenty feet to the street; and ours is a blind driveway—which roughly translated means you never really know if some crazy teenager or Boston commuter is coming until your headlamps kiss the median.

So this morning I had a bright idea. I backed the Saturn to the road's edge, then parked the Expedition (bought before global enlightenment) in front of it, both vehicles spanning the incline. The thinking here was to keep the snow from burying the incline so that I didn't have to shovel it. Sound thinking, but just a bit too late since the snow had already coated the driveway. But the Expedition held fast. So, I made of ass of u and me when I decided it would remain so.

I went inside where my wife had the kids bundled up in winter coats, boots, hats and mittens. From that vantage point, I could see something didn't look right from the laundry room window. I could have sworn that the Expedition was not where I had parked it. It appeared to be where the Saturn used to be.

And sure enough, the Saturn was in the middle of the road with the trailer hitch of the Expedition pinned under its bumper.

Thankfully nobody hit it.

So I pulled the Saturn into the neighbor's driveway.

When I picked Emmett up from preschool, the teachers laughed and told me about Emmett's recounting of the story.


Alan said...

My dude! Your car said, "Bag this! Leave me on the slope and go in the house, eh? I'll show you, laddie!"

mr. schprock said...

Wow. Your idea is better than my "thousand hair dryers running at once" solution. I can't figure out what went wrong.

Natalie said...

Wow, that's something!

I hope you are not serious about doubting global warming. You saw An Inconvenient Truth right? Anyway, I have a perfectly logical explanation for the shitty weather this year. I moved up to these parts after spending six years in Florida. It's my own personal weather karma catching up with me. :P

Scott said...

Alan - I think you're on to something. My truck has become Christine.

Mr. Schprock - I don't know about better, because I'm kicking myself now!

Natalie - I did see Gore's movie, and I was incredibly moved. There are groups of scientists that believe that some of the science in the movie was politically motivated and not based in fact; worst case scenario projections and sometimes just willful misrepresentations. I've sent some links to some of my friends here in good ole' New England and have gotten some rebuttal links. One group is saying that the CO2 levels in the atmosphere aren't the cause of warming trends, rather it could be coming from solar flares, for instance. I'll post the links for you to peruse. The counter link came from the UK Guardian which I trust as much as I do the Daily Kos, but the author made an interesting statement about how Michael Crichton used what amounts to doctored testimony where two lines were taken from a graph, leaving only the one line which told an entirely different story out of context--and some of my conservative friends believed what Crichton wrote as if he were some sort of authority on the subject.

Bottom line is, I'm looking into it. And further, it really doesn't matter to me whether it is real or not insofar as how I want to live my life. I'm all for living responsibly, recycling, being kind to the environment and alternative fuels. But I don't like being manipulated into voting one way or the other over politically created issues. I haven't decided that global warming isn't real, in fact I lean towards that it is real, but I was told about this by a politician and that does count for something.

Patricia said...

How funny! I'm tired of cold weather too! Hope you are getting some writing done!
Patricia aka Dixiebelle

Natalie said...


I was actually kidding when I posted that, because I was thinking that of course you accept global warming and our impact on climate change. I remember you posting about the movie and even taking the initiative to check out the Union of Concerned Scientists. That you seem to have backtracked on your views is unsettling to me.

In a perfect society science is performed in a vacuum and everyone trusts results that have gone through the peer review process while still maintaining a small dose of skepticism lest their results be disproven. But this isn't the case, and our science can have policy implications as well.

I will not go out on a limb and say that the Bush administration is the first to have tried to manipulate science to fit an agenda. That has been the case for eons and it saddens me (as well as most scientists) to know that science isn't sacred in politics. But it has been clearly documented in the case of global warming, as well as many other branches in science most notably evolutionary biology, that the recent tactic was to frame global warming as an argument with two equal sides. On one side is the frantic climatologists predicting immediate doomsday scenarios and on the other are people with alternative explanations for the data, such as the ones you suggested. Like the evolution debate, there is an extremely large majority consensus within the scientific community on this issue, and the people you wrote of speaking on "the other side" of the argument are very few and far between. Unfortunately, the public doesn't always get this from their news outlets (and I'm not just talking about the right wing media, until only a few years ago even CNN was promoting a debate on the issue). There have been countless documented cases of scientists claiming the government expressed disinterest or even volatility if their data was in disagreement of the official administration's "stance" on this issue. And it doesn't take a genius to make the connection between the case against global warming and continuing our policy on fossil fuel-based energy and the fact that oilmen ruled this country off and on for 20 years.

I am not going to say that I am unwilling to accept alternative theories on climate change, but those theories should be held to the same standard as those existing, i.e. published in a legitimate peer-reviewed journal (Science, Nature, PNAS, etc). I hope you don't think it's just politicians pushing this issue (I would argue Al Gore hasn't been in politics for years and has no desire to), but there are literally tens of thousands of scientists to back it up.

Scott said...

Hey Nat,

I read this. I don't know who the guy is, but I think politician is most befitting. Nor do I know who the brains behind SPPI--maybe more politicians. I don't know. That's why I said I'm looking into it. Then somebody sent me a link to the Guardian story (here) which referenced the former story directly.

I only see a downside to continuing to burn oil, so I don't need to believe that we are burning up the planet to do my part. I can totally see why a politician would hype up global warming to get his party into power, and I can see why a politician would attempt to discredit global warming to do the same.

You can say Gore is not a politician. I just don't buy it. Now he might very well be a concerned citizen just trying to make the world a better place because he cares about the world he leaves behind him. You trust him implicitly; I have doubts. Like I said, I put that distrust aside when I saw his movie, but that trust will be impossible to ever get from me if it turns out he is just being an opportunist.

I think there should be an agency that dictates matters of science, uncontrolled by the office of the president; one for the economy too, perhaps both branches of the same organization. These things are too important to be playing the vote game with.

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Anonymous said...

Scott, Fun post, If you don't go deep into the global warming thing - I took that to mean you didn't FEEL any warming this winter with it's icy blasts! Regarding your one sided snowblower. Mine has a bolt that goes through the blade apparatus and shaft and often gets sheared off. Check the side that is still working and see if there is a visable bolt and if the not working side doesn't have one that could be the cause. You have to line up the hole in the blade apparatus with the hole in the actual shaft. I use a nail to line the holes up and slip the bolt through. Good luck with that.

Scott said...

Hey, thanks for the advice on the snow blower. I was pretty sure something like a codder pin got shorn, but I never thought to actually look. As for my experience in New England this winter, you sure wouldn't know about any warming trend here. Last winter for sure, but this one really made up for it.

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Beth said...

Scott, I have to take a picture of my driveway for you. It'll make you feel so much better about yours ... I swear it will! Fun story.

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