Ugly and expensive.
That applies to the grotesque transit station foisted upon New Yorkers at the World Trade Center, described by the civic asset David W. Dunlap in Wednesday’s Times.
Or it could apply to the hideous World Trade Center now looming at the bottom of Manhattan, critiqued recently by another vital journalist, Michael Kimmelman.
But the toxic telephone poles, perpetrated by government in Port Washington, Long Island are downright bad for health.
These new poles tower above the tree line, foisted upon the populace after Hurricane Sandy took down many existing poles two years ago.
Something had to be done. Governor Andrew Cuomo arranged for a power company to take over for our incompetent locals. He reached across the river to the state of his partner and pal Chris Christie, the bridge guy, and imported the Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), which describes itself as “a publicly traded (NYSE:PEG) diversified energy company headquartered in New Jersey, and one of the ten largest electric companies in the U.S.”
In the wake of the storm, utility crews from Canada to Mississippi to the Midwest did an admirable job restoring power, but somehow thousands of healthy-looking trees were cut down, giving the impression that crews were paid by the tree trunk. The utility then installed poles 80 feet high, twice the height of the previous poles, and our local government bunglers forgot to arrange for taking down the old poles. So now we have double sets, a blight on the entire peninsula.
Bad enough. But it turns out the new poles are also poisonous – treated with Pentachlorophenol, known as Penta, “a PCP chemical produced by mixing and pressure-treating wood with lethal phenols, chlorine and F9-HTS biodiesel fuels. Penta preserves the wood from rot by killing any living organism in, on or up to eight feet around the pole,” according to one environmental web site.
The site continues: “With that chemical cocktail, Penta poles leach carcinogenic poisonous gases and liquids that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says shouldn’t be encountered without protective clothes, gloves and masks.”
Belatedly, PSEG began putting aprons around the lethal poles, and putting signs every few poles, but the poison still leaches into the aquifer.
As the price for being poisoned, Long Islanders are receiving rate increases of 27 per cent from PSEG this fall. I am sure the PSEG shareholders are happy about the rates.
I am also sure Gov. Cuomo is proud of his import from across the river, which reminds me of lyrics by the great Tom Paxton:
Our leaders are the finest men
And we elect them again and again.
And that’s what I learned in school today,
That’s what I learned in school.
Meanwhile, on their way to school, don’t let the kids near the PSEG poles.
"Among the things that have long fascinated people about Jesus and explain his enduring appeal is his method of dialogue and teaching. "He asked a lot of questions and told a lot of stories in the form of parables. In fact, parables form about a third of Jesus’ recorded teachings. The Gospels were written decades after he died, so his questions and parables clearly left a deep impression on those who bore testimony to him....
"Some of Jesus’ questions were rhetorical; others were meant to challenge or even provoke. In some cases, Jesus used questions to parry attacks by religious authorities who set traps for him. In others, he used questions to enter more fully into the lives of others and to help people look at the state of their hearts. He asked people about their fears and their faith. Jesus used questions to free a woman caught in adultery from condemnation and to inquire whether people considered him to be the Messiah. He probed deeply into questions not many had asked before him, like “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
---(Peter Wehner, long-time White House consultant and writer, in the NYT last week about Jesus Christ’s method of teaching by asking questions.)
"Would that I could mention all the illuminating details in this biography, for example, why Wells praised Black Americans so highly, saying, 'I took a mighty liking to these gentle, human, dark-skinned people,' and 'Whatever America has to show in heroic living today, I doubt if she can show anything finer than the quality of the resolve, the steadfast efforts hundreds of black and colored men are making today to live blamelessly, honorably and patiently, getting by themselves what scraps of refinement, beauty and learning they may, keeping their hold on a civilization they are grudged and denied.''
-- "How H.G. Wells Predicted the 20th Century," Charles Johnson, NYT Book Review, Nov. 19, 2021. ***".
...the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)