austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

You can get a little heat

Do you need to clean the snow off your sidewalks and driveway? That's a great question and should be answered before you go cleaning the snow off. It should be answered after the one about whether you have sidewalks and a driveway, of course: nobody would blame you for failing to clean snow off your imaginary driveway. Yet preliminary to all that is whether or not you have snow. Snow can be obtained through most winter months for as little as $3.90 per liter, or even less if your community offers supplemental services, so ask around. Remember not to giggle.

But granting the existence of places you would need to clean snow from, do you need to clean out the snow? Is there even snow there? The surest way to tell is to have in your house one (1.00) Labrador retriever, preferably a cheerful one who can be riled up to overwhelming heights of canine enthusiasm by having its head rubbed and being spoken to in dog-friendly words such as its name, or, ``Good Boy Or Girl'', ``My Big Puppy'', ``Calendar'', ``Syncopation'', ``Lugubrious'', or ``Pingwibble Smarky''. Labrador retrievers can be enthusiastic about nearly any attempt to speak with them, which is why they're well-suited to most residential dog service applications. More cynical dogs would look askance at the obvious nonsense.

But once you've got the retriever warmed up to an excited state by saying something like, ``Pingwibble Smarky! Who's a good boy or girl, Entrabulous? Yes you are! Wanna go out? Wanna go out, Mapmaker? Wanna go out?'' Then run toward the front door, run back as if you forgot something (you did: your wallet, which you do not need), and run to the door again, swinging it open soon enough that you don't hit the poor dog in the nose, which would skew the results of the experiment. If the dog suddenly comes to a screeching halt, with a face a mask of shock and a clear sense of doom because it turns out the snow comes up to a foot and a half above its head, then there's some use for snow-clearing. If the dog keeps running out, make note: if it ran out because there's no snow on the ground, then you don't need to remove the snow. If it ran out despite the snow, then you probably should clear it off.

The best method of snow removal is to press a button by your front door which prompts the sidewalk and driveway to lift up on huge hydraulic levers, tip to the side, and then have a giant whisk broom on the end of robotic arms come out, dust the snow to either side, and then slam the sidewalk and driveway back down, upside-down and clean. Unfortunately, there is only such a button if you are in a cartoon, and in any case it's difficult for the dog, who thought the sidewalk lifting up and tilting was a fun ride. It is, until the tragic end. It's also a bit hard on any cars left in the driveway.

One satisfying snow-removal method is ``radiant heat'', in which you have the areas that need clearing warmed up until the snow simply melts away and goes to a far-off land where it makes a good binding agent for sand castles. Unfortunately this is also energy-intensive unless you have a natural source of abundant heat, such as the middle of summer. This is why the thoughtful homeowner will preserve a few mid-summer days to unseal them and fit them in the middle of winter. Mid-summer days can be preserved in classic glass mason jars, although these days most people prefer to use plastic containers because they are easier for dishwashers to clean. Make sure the seal is a tight one or you could have summer leaking out into your pantry all autumn long, prompting untold havoc in the germination patterns of your pantry forest.

You know, it'd be great if there were some way to get the dog to clean the snow off. Maybe you just need to use the right words, such as ``Please''.

Trivia: Elias Howe and Isaac Singer's original patent pool for the lock-stitch sewing machine earned them a $15 fee per machine from dozens of firms. Source: Life Science Library: Machines, Robert O'Brien.

Currently Reading: Herman Hollerith, Forgotten Giant of Information Processing, Geoffrey D Austrian. Frankly, Hollerith is coming off as a bit of a jerk, in that way demanding perfectionists manage. Austrian is sympathetic but reading between the lines I think I would have avoided the guy.

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