Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

It's Not Easy Being (sorta) Green

Every spring and fall, our neighborhood gets the privilege of listening to our neighbor, whose house is directly adjacent to our own, blow his lawn from sunup to sundown, every weekend. I don't think he even stops to pee. And I don't even know what he's blowing, becausese he doesn't have that many trees in his yard. Not to mention that he starts blowing long before the first tree is even in bud, and long after the last tree has been stripped of the last stalwart leaf.

The entire neighborhood is held captive during this fanatical bout of horticultural zeal. Nobody plans to cookout. Nobody has guests over. The kids don't want to go out and play. For someone such as myself, who has a low tolerance for noise anyway, its on par with Chinese water torture. It is constant, pervasive, maddening. One can hear it in one's teeth, one can feel it in the pit of one's stomach.

And when at long last it stops, the effect is similar to stepping outside a concert hall, where one's eardrums have been violently, albeit voluntarily, assaulted for several unrelenting hours. One is momentarily disoriented. It feels peculiar and wrong, until one realizes that the startling absence of cacophony is right and good...even if one's hearing is terribly muzzy and fuffled. The relief if profound, but tenuous, as one never knows when he might decide that he has missed a particle. Once bitten twice shy, as it were.

So anyway...with any other neighbor, we might decide to approach them and politely request that they KNOCK IT OFF. But unfortunately, this guy is not a reasonable sort at all.

We learned this many years ago when attempting to resolve a conflict between our son and his, during which our son was categorically banned from their home. Being a sensitive kid, Pre-Pubescent one was absolutely bereft. Never had he been treated so unjustly. Husband went to talk to the man, fully intending to be polite, diplomatic, and objective. He was told that the dispute was entirely the fault of Pre-Pubescent One, and that further, his behavior was obviously due to our inept parenting and an egregious lack of discipline.

Husband is a peaceable man. He is incredibly easy going and can get along with just about anybody. But when he returned home red-faced and fuming he declared that he had never wanted to punch someone in the mouth so badly in his entire life. He didn't. And we have spent the last five years or so avoiding this man and his ill-begotten spawn at all costs.

The neigbhor to his left found this out more recently when he caught the man red-handed, blowing leaves and other particulate matter into his yard. The neighbor, quite justifiably, asked him to stop. The man replied that the neighbor couldn't be bothered to care for his own lawn properly anyway, so what did it matter if he blew the detritus from his yard there?

From there it got ugly.

Husband happened to be at the front door checking on the whereabouts of our children when all this transpired. He reported to me gleefully that leaf blowing neighbor almost got his block knocked off, but that the blowee's elderly father-in-law stepped between the two men and then physically escorted the blower from the property.

So you see why we hesitate to approach the man.

But today, I have well and truly had enough. He blew all day yesterday. He blew this morning. And when, this evening, we returned quite late from a day of enjoyable but tiring and sort of crazy making merriment with the in-laws, he was still blowing.

So I did a little research.

And tonight, by the light of the moon, I will creep over to his painstakingly manicured lawn and....

No, I'm not going to tp the house, though don't think it didn't cross my mind. Along with egging, shaving creaming and flaming dog poo'ing.

Instead, I will put this in his mailbox:


Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Leaf Blowers


There are four major health hazards from the use of leaf blowers. They are:

• Exhaust pollution
• Particulate pollution
• Quantity of pollutants
• Noise


One gasoline-powered leaf blower generates as much exhaust pollution in one hour as
would 17 cars traveling slowly. Cars disperse their pollutants over long stretches of road,while a blower concentrates its pollutants in one neighborhood. Two-stroke engine fuel is a gas-oil mixture that is especially toxic compared to automobile emissions.

Exhaust pollution from two-cycle engines is a large contributor of carbon monoxide
(CO), nitrous oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons (HC), and particulate matter (PM). The
particulate matter from combustion is small in size (2.5 or microns or less).2 Combustion exhaust particulate matter remains suspended in the air for hours—sometimes days—and is easily assimilated in the lungs. The EPA and ARB state that such PM can increase the number and severity of asthma attacks, bronchitis and other lung diseases and reduce ability to fight infections. Those particularly affected are children and the elderly.

(PM2.5 microns refers to particulate matter size diameter in millionths of a meter or microns. PM2.5 particles are 2.5microns in diameter or smaller. PM10 particles are 10 microns in diameter or smaller and include PM2.5 particles. A PM10 particle is about 1/17th the diameter of a human hair.)


The airjet generated by blowers with velocities of 185 miles per hour or more spreads dust, dirt, pollens, animal droppings, herbicides and pesticides into the air. The effect lasts for hours on particulate matter that is 10 microns in diameter or smaller. The ARB has estimated that each leaf blower entrains (puts into the atmosphere) 5 pounds of particulate matter per hour about half of which is 10 microns or smaller. The EPA and ARB state that such particulate matter can create the same health risks as does the exhaust pollution.


The ARB calculates that leaf blowers inject some 2.11 tons of combustion pollutants
per day into the air. These pollutants contain organic gases, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides and exhaust-size particulate matter (PM2.5) as described previously. Additionally, twenty tons per day of small size particulate matter (PM10) are swept into the air by blower airflow.


Noise interferes with communications, sleep, and work. The EPA claims noise degrades quality of life by impairing social interaction. It also reduces work accuracy and creates stressful levels of frustration and aggravation. The average blower generates noise that measures 65 to 75 dBA or more at 50 feet, and even louder at close range.

Leaf blowers are often used fewer than 50 feet from NON-CONSENTING people. Neighboring homes may be occupied by home workers, retirees, day sleepers, children and the ill or disabled. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends general outdoor noise levels of 55 dBA or less, and 45 dBA or less for sleeping. Thus, a 65-decibel leaf blower would be 100 times too loud3 for healthful sleep.

Blower noise can, and probably does, impair the user’s hearing. A blower generates upward of 95 decibels of noise at the operator’s ear (see Table 1 above). The Office of Safety and Health Administration requires hearing protection for noise over 85 dBA. Hearing protectors as worn in the field provide only a fraction of the attenuation needed for hearing protection. There is an increased risk of hearing damage and deafness from repeated exposure to noise above 75 dBA. Deafness caused by noise is irreversible.A decibel change from 45 to 65 dBA, is a 100-fold change in volume.


I even included a bibliography of my sources, lest he is inclined to believe that I, err...the anonymous party who placed the information in his mailbox, is manufacturing information to suit my, err, their agenda.

Now look...I'll concede that I am not the greenest person on the planet. I will also concede that my motivation is mostly that of extreme personal annoyance.

But even an ecologically noncommittal person such as myself can comprehend that burning several gallons of fossil fuel to achieve an objective that can be just as easily (and honestly, I believe more expeditiously) accomplished with a simple device known as a rake, is environmentally irresponsible and frankly, just plain stupid.

And after doing the research, I am finding myself affronted on a completely different level. Atlanta has enough problems with pollution without idiots like him pumping more into the environement for purely aesthetic reasons.

Plus, you piss off all your neighbors...people who might one day have to succor you as you huddle in your boxer shorts and watch your house burn to the ground (possibly due to some flaming dog poo gone awry), or call an ambulance when someone beats you to a bloody pulp for blowing leaves onto their lawn.

I'm hopeful, but not deluded. Chances are, he doesn't really care. But at least I'll feel like I did something, instead of sitting here seething and slowly losing my hearing.

I can't wait to see if he powers that sucker up next Saturday.


  • At 10:53 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Has anyone contacted your city government regarding the rules of running a noise pollutant like that for hours at a time? Because, at least in my community, that is illegal. And you can turn the sucker in.

    Also, can your neighbors get together and file a suit against him for disturbing the peace and aggrevation? I think you would have no trouble winning. You gotta wonder just why this guy is out there all day long. Avoiding the wife and kiddies, perhaps?

  • At 7:21 AM, Blogger Kerry McKibbins said…

    You should add impotence to the list of leaf blowing hazzards. That'll stop him!

  • At 9:39 AM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    Crappy neighbors suck. I have debated a similar tactic with our otherwise-awesome neighbors who let their dog run loose and poop in our yard---once at the very bottom of our slide! Ugh!

    I think you should be able to complain to the town about the noise pollution. Those leaf blowers are horrendously loud!

  • At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What is it with bad neighbors everywhere these days! THEY'RE EVERYWHERE!

    The blowing sounds about as delightful as a generous donkey kick in the gut.

    Good luck. Threaten him with a lawsuit. It's got to stop.


  • At 11:15 AM, Blogger OhTheJoys said…

    How annoying. It so sucks that you can't go kick him in the head.

  • At 5:15 PM, Blogger Kisha said…

    I agree with margailt, you should be ableto complain about it, I know at our last place they complained about our dogs barking all the time. Goo luck.

  • At 8:17 PM, Blogger Kelly said…

    Seems a tad on the obsessive-compulsive side...

    I'm betting on something mental. If not the leaf blower, something else. But man, that would annoy the hell out of me, for sure.

  • At 8:42 PM, Blogger Code Yellow Mom said…

    Maybe it's a midlife crisis...some guys buy a porsche and get hair replacement, some buy a leaf blower and wield it for hours on end to prove...something. ;)

    Love your informational mailer. Please do post whether or not he starts it up next Saturday.

  • At 11:55 PM, Blogger Girlplustwo said…

    damn, you did something, indeed.

    if that doesn't work, steal his extension cord. i mean, wow.

  • At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What about city ordinances? Can they help you shut the guy up?

  • At 7:06 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I'm with margalit - where I live you can complain to both local council and state authorities about noisy neighbours who run machinery all day everyday without good reason.

    Or you could go the passive-aggressive route (my personal favourite) and play loud music (opera and classical is a good choice here) directly into his window all night long each time he fires the leaf blower up. He'll soon get the hint.

  • At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah, unfortunately your well-researched and well-reasoned flyer is SO likely to just go straight over this jerk's head - and straight into his trash, as he maniacally laughs while powering that bad boy up for another weekend.



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