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Tilting at Windmills

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September 23, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT....Summer is over. Today is the first day of fall. Happy leaf raking!

Kevin Drum 1:29 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (48)

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Ah yes, that wonderful time of the year when the weather in Southern California goes from 'sunny and warm' to 'sunny and mild'. Then there's the 'sweater equinox' (I think some people call it 'winter') when preppies untie the sweater's from around their necks and actually put them on.

Posted by: Augustus on September 23, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Do you think Kevin knows what a rake is?

Posted by: freelunch on September 23, 2007 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Freelunch, I bet secretly Kevin is a rake.

Posted by: Keith G on September 23, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

I guess the season is changing. I am not sure what to make of it, but yesterday and the night before there was, like, water coming out of the sky. It was really strange. And yesterday morning it was almost impossible to drive. I am surprised that Gov. Arnold didn't declare an emergency or something.

Posted by: James E. Powell on September 23, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I blow my leaves thank you...

Posted by: Larry Craig on September 23, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

but yesterday and the night before there was, like, water coming out of the sky.

Sounds like a sign of the apocalypse. Are you sure the sidewalks weren't just wet because gardeners were being over-zealous with their watering? At least, that's what I tell myself to cope.

Though, I have a sneaking suspicion that the reason no one in LA uses turn signals is because it's the same motion as turning on the wipers. Last night everybody on the freeway had their turn signals stuck on.

Posted by: Augustus on September 23, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Due to budget pressure caused by wartime expenditures, fall in Southern California has been postponed to November.

Changing topic: Kevin, for a slow blogging weekend, I'm surprised nobody has picked up on this article in Saturday's Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/21/AR2007092102347.html.

The DHS and Customs are looking through your bag and keeping a file on your reading material? Reading the opinion pieces you publish in the local paper (last paragraph of article)? I wish I could say I found this surprising.

Posted by: Ben on September 23, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Well at least it won't be wet leaves to rake up. SIGH. Still in drought here in Virginia. I just mow over the dry leaves and they mulch up nicely. Now if only some one could figure out a better way to get up all the damned gumballs from the sweet gum tree overlooking the driveway.

Posted by: HokieAnnie on September 23, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

No time to rake, here in North Carolina; I had to clean the pool today. At least it's cooled down a bit to the point of no longer being bath water-warm.

Posted by: RSA on September 23, 2007 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Fall began twenty-two days ago, on September 1.

Ask your friendly local meteorologist.

Posted by: Ralph Geiger on September 23, 2007 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Ralph: My friendly local meteorologist (dad actually...) would disagree. It's 88 here sunny though not as humid as yesterday. We won't have our first frost on average until early November.

Posted by: HokieAnnie on September 23, 2007 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

My Dad, the inventor of Toaster Strudel, would not approve.

Posted by: Mysticdog on September 23, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Hiya Ralph;

Interesting. But that's for those crazy meteorologists. For us normal people and Pagans, it's today ;)~

woof.

Posted by: Thomas on September 23, 2007 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

How bout them Trojans!

Posted by: bmaz on September 23, 2007 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

As a kid my father would have us rake leaves even while we had a lawnmower with a bag, those nifty rear bagging snapper mowers, that came out back when. I haven't raked leaves in decades just get out the mower.

Posted by: Ya Know... on September 23, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, it was 95 in Oklahoma yesterday! We are at the time of year where it'll go from 95 to 25 in 4 hours!! I also just spent 4 hours cutting my overgrown lawn! I will admit that I love those crisp mornings of Fall.

Ok, I welcome Fall this year!

Posted by: HopefulOkie on September 23, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

The only seasons we seem to have out here are rainy and dry.

The coldest it usually ever gets in Honolulu between November and March is in the mid-50s -- and even then, that's only occasionally.

However, just once, during my first year here in late November 1985, I was at a UH - San Diego State football game at Aloha Stadium when a freak arctic cold front made it all the way down here, The temperature was in the high 40s, with 30-35 mph winds, and it was rainng hard and perpendicular. It was the most miserable experience weather-wise I've ever encountered at any outdoor event. The game ended in a 10-10 tie, both teams ran off the field and then later that night it started to hail.

Once a quarter-century is tolerable.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 23, 2007 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Happy leaf raking! - Kevin

Don't even go there! I will have pinecones, *bushels* of walnuts, and tons of oak leaves the size of small dinner plates that not only have to be removed from the yard, but the gutters too. It takes at least FIVE weekends to get it all. I would like to put together a flamethrower with a water hose. Zap a bunch of leaves with fire, and *just* before it gets out of control-douse it with water.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on September 23, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

It was 80 degrees here in Vermont today, too.

If all y'all would just lose the big lawns and plant wildflowers or let it grow, you wouldn't have to spend all that time raking leaves. They make an excellent winter mulch on flowerbeds, it's only fancy grass that swoons under them.

Posted by: gyrfalcon on September 23, 2007 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

bmaz: How bout them Trojans!

Don't like them at all...but why am I reading this? I really ought to be in the woods shootin' at bars (or am I in bars doin' shooters? Foggy here on the coast, and I lost track.) had to check my email, and I have 15 minutes computer time left, and I still haven't gotten to the naked babes websites.

Posted by: thersites (in the woods) on September 23, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

This part of Georgia was clearcut until the 1950's... so plenty of pine needles and sweet gum to rake! Yay

Posted by: absent observer on September 23, 2007 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Squirrels, pine cones, and pine needles for everybody! Maybe the same squirrel that threw the pine cone at my head last year will return. OH, I don't do rakes. That's for the "little people" (ghost of Leona Helmsley).

Posted by: Candymarl on September 23, 2007 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

a rake? isn't that another name for a republican senator...

Posted by: andyvillager on September 23, 2007 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

If ya don't get the acorns up, they will take root. Which can be good in some circumstances...but not most. About 3/4 of our property is "wild", but you still have to dig up the acorns. :( It's a lot of work, but it must be done.

Posted by: Babba on September 23, 2007 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Fall is here, fall is here, life is skittles and life is beer...

Posted by: Helena Montana on September 23, 2007 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

I spent the first day of fall watching the last baseball game at RFK Stadium. Nationals defeated the Phillies, 5-3 -- curiously, the same final score of the Nats' first game at RFK in April 2005 (although they played Arizona that night).

Next spring, people in Washington will see baseball in their new palace on South Capitol Street.

Posted by: Vincent on September 23, 2007 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Fall came last week up here in the Puget Sound area. Finally turned on the furnace. The Puyallup Fair got only one day of rain this year, but the calendar doesn't lie. Two weeks ago we had 84 degrees and sun. This week low 60s.

I've noticed the outdoor cats have also started adding their winter coats.

We don't rake nuthin' up here. Mulch, mulch, mulch.

Posted by: bigcat on September 23, 2007 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

No leaves at this urban condo...

Posted by: monzie on September 23, 2007 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, Kevin, since you live in southern California, I'll bet you don't rake too many leaves, do you? I live in northern Virginia. If you ever get a hankering to rake some leaves, let me know. I'll have implements waiting for you...

Posted by: pol on September 23, 2007 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't raked leaves in decades just get out the mower.

Actually, I haven't raked in a long time, either. I pay someone to do it.

Posted by: pol on September 23, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

I'm way ahead of the fallen wallnuts this year. Been kicking 'em into the shrubs for the last month, and the few remaining will fall and be easily defeated. Leaves are gonna be a huge battle, though. You gotta get a good, springy steel leaf rake that's not too wide. Those huge plastic rakes are horrible. They don't store any energy for a nice springy fling at the end of a swipe. They're just dead weight, like using a lead pipe golf club shaft.

Posted by: ferd on September 23, 2007 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

It's still early in the season for the real show in the Northeast, with the wonderful smell in the air and a priceless show of colors everywhere you can see. The roads - still free of ice - are filled, unfortunately, with buses, but not now.

Posted by: The annoying LonewackoDotCom on September 23, 2007 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Weird seeing non-Californian comments imply that the state has no deciduous trees, or any at all, or that "preppies" (who again?) hire out to pick up the one or two leaves that blow down as they tool around Hollywood glued to their, what? "mobile phones"? Having lived east and west, south and north, here's some earth-shaking news about the US: it's more same than different. So blow. Leaves or whatever.

Posted by: Ripley on September 23, 2007 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

And here is me thinking this was spring. Very confusing.

Posted by: wmmbb on September 23, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

So if it's the first day of autumn, how come the day (sunrise to sunset) is 12 hours and 8 minutes long huh? Shouldn't the day be 12 hours or less?

I write this from Seattle, your part of the world may vary.

Posted by: AnotherBruce on September 24, 2007 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, I haven't raked in a long time, either. I pay someone to do it. -Pol

Yes, I suppose thats included in the apartment rent?

Posted by: Ya Know... on September 24, 2007 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

Actually removing leaves is, along with college football, one of the great joys of autumn.

I hook-up the lawn sweeper to the riding mower and buzz around the yard.

Great fun.

Posted by: cal1942 on September 24, 2007 at 5:01 AM | PERMALINK

Having gone from homeownership back to apartment life, I can say with a great deal of confidence that I do not any form of miss yard work, leaf disposal in particular.

Posted by: smitty werbenmanjensen mclovin on September 24, 2007 at 7:03 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with gyrfalcon. My unraked leaves -- nature's mulch -- are the reason my flowering trees and roses are looking so spectacular. It's fertilizer, people! Oh, and in winter, grass is SUPPOSED to die.

Posted by: Crazed Opossum on September 24, 2007 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Well, bigcat, glad to see you are still doing the "Pully Up" fair - Loved it when the Huard boys made it to the NFL - Announcers had a fit with pronouncing their high school, Puyallup.

What Kevin fails to mention is it rained hard in So Cal a couple of days ago - Saw racing on TVG on Saturday from Fairplex in Pomona - Slop and mud. Mudslides in Griffith Park, as well from the rain. Yet, the Pacific Edenic Northwest was sunny and warm - OK, it did get down to 46 in Portland last night, but, in order to live in Paradise, one must not whine. Must finish exterior painting before the six to eight month eternal gray sets in. But, of course, a true NW type can differentiate among 42 different shades of gray.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 24, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Kudos to Crazed Opossum - As an Ann Lovejoy devotee, amen to mulch manure - I even used to put in green manure cover crops, as well - However, in the Pacific Northwest, I would add, that grass, if one really feels the need for such, should be left to go brown in the summer - Just hate to see the tremendous waste of water by those wishing to emulate England. If they really want to emulate, forget the estate gardening, and go with the Cottage type. Here's to more shrubs and natives, and to hell with Weed and Feed.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 24, 2007 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

do you think Vitter has a special diaper rake to clean up his motel rooms before leaving?

Posted by: discodave on September 24, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

For millions of years trees have shed their leaves in the fall and no one was around to pick them up - yet it all worked out. Why the sudden need to change this time proven scheme?

Posted by: alex on September 24, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

FYI - It is projected to be 87 in New Hampshire tomorrow! Just thought you might like to know:)

Posted by: mat1492 on September 24, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

This whole "first day of..." thing was invented relatively recently by calendar makers looking for stuff to put on their calendars. There's only the most indirect causal connections between the equinoxes and solstices and the seasons.

Anyway, what USE is it to think of fall as starting on a certain day? Fall is when the leaves change color on deciduous trees, and the weather cools down. That happens at different times in different places, and in different years. There's no reason whatever, except for the modern American penchant for quantifying everything, to have seasons start on some standardized date.

Posted by: wahoofive on September 24, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and here's a link with more...
http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_170b.html

Posted by: wahoofive on September 24, 2007 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

From the dew-soakaed hedge creeps a crawly caterpillar
When the dawn begins to crack
It's all part of my autumn almanac

Breeze blows leaves of a musty-colored yellow
So I sweep them in my sack
Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac...

Posted by: Wally Ballou on September 24, 2007 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

012117.. Retweeted it :)

Posted by: www.washingtonmonthly.com on April 27, 2011 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK
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