Wednesday, December 05, 2007

And the Words of Dementee Were Written on the Subway Walls

I had intended to fisk NonMonkey's column today. If for no other reason than for this line:

That opinion won Dietzen praise for upholding "parental rights" from "pro-family" groups that support Pawlenty, despite Dietzen's tortured finding that the "chosen form of discipline for [the son's] knife-wielding and suicide threat may not have been the best approach."

No. Perhaps in a world where people know stuff simply by declaring so, that is a "finding". However, in the real world where real words have real meanings that excerpt is something us law talking guys like to refer to as "obiter dictum": an informal observation by the court that carries no legal weight (as opposed to a "finding" which does). I was going to title the post "Obiter Dickhead" - a caption that would have justified the post no matter what came below it.

But then I stumbled across something else... Something so inane and evil that I had to preempt NonMonkey to bring it to your attention.

Back in July (when Dementee still posted stuff), the Demenster fisked a Strib letter sent in by one Julie Mellum which he titled "The Fascists won't stop with smoking."

Dementee: Moonbat exterminator. Crabby fisker. Furry blue foul-mouthed gadfly. Seer. Prophet:

Julie Mellum: But the fire is not delightful

We're snuffing secondhand tobacco smoke, but we continue to romanticize recreational wood burning -- a hazard all its own.

Yes. That's right. Now Julie wants your fireplace.

One big source of air pollution -- as deadly as vehicle exhaust, and with many of the same toxicants as cigarette smoke -- is wood smoke.

To be fair, none of those are "deadly" unless you are trapped in an unventilated area for a long period of time with them.

The Star Tribune's recent feature on the joys of back-yard wood burning ("All fired up," Oct. 24) was so well-written and enticing that it no doubt caused sales of wood-burning equipment to skyrocket.

Oh through the roof, I'm sure! Do people like this always talk in superlatives and absolutes?

Yet it did not address the perils of wood smoke. Wood smoke is more than a nuisance -- it is a health hazard.

Yes.

Minnesota's antismoking ordinance allows people to go to bars and restaurants and avoid smoke, because tobacco smoke is a proven killer. Yet because we still allow recreational wood burning in the city, where homes are close together on small lots, it has become a serious livability problem. All citizens are forced to breathe outdoor air that smells of smoke in many neighborhoods, night and day, in all seasons.

In her next commentary, Mizz Mellum will decry the hazards of computer keyboards. Touching the keys requires a certain amount of pressure to be placed on the fingertips which may cause some wilting weak-tits discomfort. Keyboard manufacturers should be required to make them out of nerf.

Where's my duct tape?

There is so much smoke, either faint or heavy, that many hardly notice it anymore. But wood smoke is there, heavy in most neighborhoods at night or around our many wood-fired restaurants, if you stop to notice.

Soon, all you will be able to order in restaurants is triple-filtered tap water and organic free range iceberg lettuce.

How did this happen in a city such as Minneapolis, which has long been focused on improving air quality for the health of its citizens?

And yet - even with all the booger green nimrods that keep getting elected to office in Minneapolis - they haven't though about banning fireplaces. We ought to ponder that for a second.

Wood smoke comprises fine particulates, many of which are carcinogenic, such as benzene, toluene, formaldehyde and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. It is far more concentrated than cigarette smoke and travels much farther, spreading soot and fine particulates directly into our air and our lungs. It also invades our water and food supply with persistent organic compounds that do not break down but remain for years, causing a host of health problems in frogs, bluegills and mammals -- including humans.

[Brushing arms and hair copulsively] MYYYYYAAAAAAAARRRRRGH!!!!!!! IT'S ALL AROUND ME!!!! GET IT OFF!!!!

GET! IT! OFF!

YEEEEEAAARRRRRRRGHHHHH!!!! WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[/Mellum]

Everyone is at risk from wood-smoke exposure. But children of all ages, the elderly, and anyone with asthma, allergies, or heart disease are in the highest-risk categories.

She forgot to mention poor people and minorities.

The American Lung Association states that a majority of asthmatics cite smoke of all kinds as a trigger for asthma attacks. Asthma is epidemic in children, and it is life-threatening. Wood smoke is even implicated in sudden infant death syndrome.

Really? She-it, when my youngin's were just tadpoles I built a fire every night in their nursery. And even though there was no chimney in their room (I burned those soiled diapers right in the pail, I did), they all done growed up just fine.

Seriously - what the hell is this bat talking about?

Are we OK with this? Aren't these facts reason enough to stop recreational wood burning?

No. You are a crackpot.

Why, then, do people continue to burn?

Indeed, why then do people even venture out of their bedrooms anymore - what with all the cars that could hit them, uneven surfaces they could trip on, and certifiable, panic-stricken gits like Julie Mellum wandering around to crush their faith in the sanity of our neighbors?

First, because they don't know how harmful it is. Second, because it is strongly promoted by the hearth and home industry.

Aha! We have a new boogeyman: Big Hearth and Home! (Does Haliburton make fireplaces?)

And third, because burning wood is an addiction.

I know that I'm jonzin' to burn something...

I cannot be outside at all when wood smoke is in the air, because I have a "reactive airways" condition affected by it. I ache for clean air outdoors in a world where nature often is our only respite. Bad air is forcing many others I know inside when, as city taxpayers, we have a right to be outside breathing clean air.

Um... just a thought. But if you really are this absurdly sensitive to, well, everything, then WHY IN THE HELL DO YOU LIVE IN THE CITY??????????? How about YOU move rather than forcing 400,000 other people to change their lives, you sanctimonious git?

I know: because if you were to move to, say, Anoka, then the various ambient pollens and spores would bother you, forcing you to call on the banning of gardens and ragweed. Right?

We must urge our City Council members to ban recreational wood burning -- especially at a time when cities are looking for ways to reduce pollution to save lives and receive federal funding by being in compliance with air-quality standards. Many feel that our air-quality standards are not high enough. If air quality were measured near where people actually breathe it, when neighbors are burning, the results would be off the charts.

I look to the Star Tribune and to all citizens to start building public awareness of the hazards of wood smoke.

Don't...*snicker*...er...*giggle* hold your breath.

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