Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire?

Not in YOUR future, Gentle Reader, if "things" continue as they seem to have begun.  Witness:
Hard as it may be to believe, the fireplace — long considered a trophy, particularly in a city like New York — is acquiring a social stigma. Among those who aspire to be environmentally responsible, it is joining the ranks of bottled water and big houses. 

“The smoke from a fire smells very nice,” said Diane Bailey, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco. “But it can cause a lot of harm.” The tiny particles, she said, “can cause inflammation and illness, and can cross into the bloodstream, triggering heart attacks” as well as worsening other conditions. 

Or as Starre Vartan, a 33-year-old blogger who goes by the name Eco-Chick, put it: “Any time you are burning wood or cow dung, you’ll be creating pollution. It’s like junk food: if you do it once a month, then who cares? But if it’s something you do every day, it’s important that you mitigate it somehow. It’s a hazard.” 
A hazard.  Well, yeah, according to the pointy-head types... disregarding the ridiculous cow dung statement, coz I've yet to encounter an American who burns cow dung in their fireplace:
Wood smoke contains some of the same particulates as cigarette smoke, said Dr. Norman H. Edelman, the chief medical officer for the American Lung Association, as well as known carcinogens like aldehydes; it has also been linked to respiratory problems in young children.

“We now know from lots of studies that wood smoke is very, very irritating,” Dr. Edelman said. “It contains a lot of irritating gases and it also contains damaging particulate matter. It’s probably not good for anybody, and it’s especially bad for anybody who has a chronic respiratory problem.” So the association strongly advises people not to use the traditional fireplace, he said. 
Amazing.  There doesn't seem to be one single simple joy in life that is immune from attack by the Perpetually Offended class.  I dunno about you, Gentle Reader, but a fireplace was a highly desirable amenity back when I was in the property owning game.  Witness, yet again:

The first pic is my house in Ferndale, Michigan, the second is my house in Perinton, NY (New Year's Eve get-together, 1999).  I have some experience with "clean" fireplace alternatives... like this, in my post-divorce apartment in Webster, NY:

That's a gas-fired fireplace and you'll notice the fire ain't lit.  It rarely was lit because it just wasn't the same... the flame quality wasn't there, there were no audible snap-crackle-pops that make a fire viscerally rewarding, and above all... there wasn't the pungent and magnificent aroma of burning hardwood.  You'll note the builders DID include a "fireplace" in my apartment because that was something everyone wanted in their living space.  What the builders failed to consider were the aesthetics... and a gas fireplace is but a pale shadow of the Real Deal.

I'm almost glad to be old and on my way out because the current generation seems Hell-bent on destroying ALL of life's simple pleasures and this is yet another brick in the wall.  Who among us is gonna yell "STOP!!"?  That's a serious question.


  1. Nothing like a crackling fire going on a cold winter evening. It seems, no matter what we do, some kook, or group is going to try to show us the error of our lifestyle's. Sadder yet, is that these people actually make a living putting out this kind of crap. Screw 'em and throw another log on the fire!

  2. It's worth noting that this crap is coming out of the Bay Area, where there are now Government Jobs that consist of driving around looking for smoking chimneys on "Air Quality Days." No kidding. San Francisco, California, home of the cleanest air in the Continental United States.

    The Board of Stupidvisors is also considering, ala Red Ken Livingstone's City of London, charging theme-park entry fees for anybody (commuters too) entering the city because of traffic congestion.

    This isn't the end, Viejo. We're only fortunate enough to be witnessing the high tide mark of the Left, and it looks so bad simply because we're also witnessing the beginning of the end of the Leftist experiment begun in 1789.


  3. Sadder yet, is that these people actually make a living putting out this kind of crap.

    Which brings new meaning to "living well is the best revenge," no?

    Rob: The SFO bits do NOT surprise me, but I heard the Stupidvisors (nice turn of a phrase) backed off on the "entrance fees" for commuters. Apropos o' nuthin'... I had a fireplace in my Beserkeley apartment but never used it due to the HIGH... I mean astronomical... cost of firewood there.

  4. Hit enter too soon. The Libs may be in their death throes, but they sure as Hell are being dragged to the grave kicking and screaming. I'm reminded of Twain's famous quote in this space.

  5. The Libs may be in their death throes, but they sure as Hell are being dragged to the grave kicking and screaming.

    Nothing on the planet is more vicious than a cornered rat. Current events show nothing, imo, more than their increasing desperation. They seem blissfully unaware of the fact that, due to the Web, The Whole World Is Watching.

    Keep yappin, girls.

  6. Aussi,

    The deal about the BOS backing off from the city tolls is that they'll be back, and there will be further egregiousness in the interim.

    The entire strategy of the Left since Voltaire, Diderot and their ilk is aptly characterized by the old favorite "Nibbled to death by a duck." The hope is that normal people will give in to the tedium and resign.

    Ain't happenin now, though, is it?

  7. Ain't happenin now, though, is it?

    Not in MY neck o' the woods it ain't! ;-)

  8. Vail, Aspen and The Peoples Republic of Boulder started on the banning of wood-burning fireplaces in new construction and limitations on # days existing fireplaces could burn AT LEAST 20 yrs ago. They even--SWEAR TO GOD--have "Smoke Police" that cruise around and monitor/track "illegal" burning with citations, fines--the whole bit. Ain't "progress" wunnaful?

  9. Chests and Nuts23 January, 2011 14:45

    I didn't read much farther than the title. You see, I hate chestnuts.

    I would rather eat Crisco on a spoon, like a child eats peanutbutter.

    I read once, that all the chestnut trees were in danger to some chinese evil bug, and my reply was: good!

    wv:poticat brings a smile for some reason...

  10. The libs and eco nuts really just want to make sure that all of us are as miserable as they are.

    They'll have to pry my fireplace and the keys to my diesel truck from my cold dead fingers. Just sayin'.

  11. I'm a closet ecologist. I get through most weeks without a second thought as to where my garbage and toilet contents goes.

    Then I drive by the "land fill."

    Have you noticed that the "fill" is actually the highest point of land in many cities?

    This isn't really bad, because you just know the TV stations will want to move their antennas there when they do finally close them.

    The French have a saying: "Usine d'incinération d'ordures ménagères." (factory for incineration of houshold garbage).

    Yea, we don't sort our crap, we just bury it. I mean, why on Earth would you want to generate steam energy from trash?? It's crazy EU stuff...

    My neighbor conciously uses the blue baskets to put his plastic stuff. I tried it once, and they skipped my house for two weeks. Screw them, I put everything in the non-recycle (mountain bound) canister.

    wv: jugall (slurp)

  12. Oh please! I grew up in a house with a very active fireplace. When we bought our first (and current) house a fireplace was mandatory; we turned away about 3 lovely houses that did not have one. We burn ours as early in the season as we can and use it as often as possible.

    Cozy, intimate, welcoming. I'll deal with any possible side-effects.

  13. Taos and Alb. have "burn days" and smoke detectors driving around giving tickets to those who burn on the wrong day. Good Grief!

    Having been the wife of a trash man, I could tell you some things about landfills vs burning, but I don't want to talk trash at the moment.

  14. “The smoke from a fire smells very nice,” said Diane Bailey, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco. “But it can cause a lot of harm.”

    Natural Resources Defense Council? Don't you just love the fancy names these asshats come up with?*

    How about a counter quote from Dr. Mark Trail, founder of Fireplace and Hearth: the Renewable Warmth and Emotional Well Being Utilization Committee? Trail says, "Wood fires and hearths have been around since the beginning of civilization and may actually be the cause of civilization's development. People who don't understand the importance of hearth to home (including most everyone in the SF area) are idiots."

    Sorry Buck. I got a little carried away. But this kind of Nanny/enviro stuff is really beginning to get to me.

  15. Good post, Buck. And, FABULOUS comments to boot.

    I could get started with "fireplace" stories, but we've all got 'em, and you know where I'm going.

    Good post, my friend.

  16. Wow. And I thought I was doing good by putting a fireplace in our new home to save on the electric/heat bill in the winter. Huh. Oh, well. ;o)

    I DO know someone who once used cow dung in the fire. My mother-in-law, who will be 65 next month, had to pick up cow-chips as part of her chores for them to heat their homestead in Milnesand (S. of Dora in good ol' Roosevelt County). Her father came to NM in a covered wagon. They also had an outhouse and they didn't have electricity or a phone til she was a teenager in the 60's.

    However, I think I'll stick to wood.

  17. Vail, Aspen and The Peoples Republic of Boulder...

    Well, THAT pretty much sez it all right there now, don't it? I used to love HST's rants about Vail and surroundings late in his life.

    I didn't read much farther than the title. You see, I hate chestnuts.

    Which, I suppose, is as good a way of sayin' "your post sucks" as any. ;-)

    Screw them, I put everything in the non-recycle (mountain bound) canister.

    I've ranted on THIS subject before, specifically about the trash police in Beserkeley where there are at LEAST six different flavors of trash bins... paper; green, brown & clear glass; kitchen garbage, etc... I shit thee not.

    Cozy, intimate, welcoming. I'll deal with any possible side-effects.

    I'm with YOU, Kris.

    ...but I don't want to talk trash at the moment.

    Heh. C'mon, Lou... DO it!

    How about a counter quote from Dr. Mark Trail...

    Heh. VERY good, Dan! Excellent!

    And, FABULOUS comments to boot.

    I LOVE the commentariat in these parts, Andy. They're sufficiently reactionary and witty, to boot!

    Jenny: Burnin' cow chips was quite common when yer MIL was a girl, especially on the plains... any plains. Not so much today, methinks! One question: where will you get the wood for your fireplace? Or will ya burn cow chips? ;-)

  18. Late to the party, I'll just say, *heavy sigh* Our poor grandchildren!

    There's nothing quite as pleasant as a nap beside a crackling fire. I miss it. All our chimneys are sealed and ceased being serviceable decades ago, and it's hardly worth the expense to get them functional for a few days a year.

    Yet another *deep sigh*.

  19. I miss it, too, Moogie. VERY much. And I agree with you about our grandchildren... most will have NO idea of what they missed.


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