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Say....doesn't it snow in Colorado?

Then.......why are we so totally, bloody unprepared as we enjoy our 87th blizzard since the end of November? Eh? Answer me that.....

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, January 31, 2007.

As we start our – let’s see – seventh week in a row with a major snow storm here in Boulder, the world’s attention drifts over Iraq and Iran, the Libby trial in Washington, the fiasco that is the Bush administration’s promises to New Orleans, past the one vast white-out that composes the Great Plains at present, and settle on the great issue, the one issue that has galvanized the attention of man and woman, child and pet around the world since our first blizzard at the end of November previous to the current string of - did I mention? – seven weeks of snow here in Boulder. Colorado.

To wit: When are they going to plow, melt, gently remove, apply napalm to the streets? Just curious, because the ruts in the residential area thoroughfares currently serve as an archaeological dig, and people can only discuss the joy of commutes with hand puppets. You see the strata of all twenty-three major blizzards I think we’ve had since the end of November. They have different colors, and different water content and it’s all visible as a charming and informative ribbon of intense interest to us here in Boulder and CU’s Paleontology Department. Boulder is in Colorado. It generally snows in Colorado in the winter. I know this. I was not surprised by the shocking excitement of snow outside my window.

But with each of our thirty-eight blizzards since the end of November, the ruts get a little deeper and when construction vehicles with about a four foot clearance get high centered on these residential streets with the attractive ribbon of informative strata upon them, it’s probably gone on too long, and something perhaps should be done.

I know this only happens in Boulder and not elsewhere. It is true that anything higher than four inches of snow brings Denver to its knees and has ever since I came to Colorado – which is where Boulder, my home, is located – in 1971, but Denver quickly flies into action and clears its streets within hours of the two week anniversary of the first snow flakes and never has failed to clear its streets by the end of April. Well. Mostly.

After all, our own Denver International Airport was only closed utterly for four days or so because they couldn’t plow the acreage of flat runways because of all the planes backed up with the passengers forced to drink bottom shelf liquor and watch Eregon III for six hours over and over till the plane had to be refueled.

Far be it from me to point fingers on this, the start of our forty-fifth blizzard since the end of November here in Boulder - which is in Colorado - but it occurs to me that since we mortgaged the solid gold equestrian statue of former Mayor Federico Pena that bestrides the avenue which bears his name under which all who traveled to DIA must go before the two hour pat down and boarding and bottom shelf liquor and six hour waits before refueling and debarkation to a terminal lobby, that we – as a nation, as a people – have not addressed the issue of predictable natural phenomena with the focus and the stamina that true western pioneers should. Know what I mean?

Because it strikes me that the energy expended in plowing our roads and our runways, our municipal parking lots and the first three feet of residential streets where the plows turn around to firmly pack shut any driveway missed the first time through, would be far more than some rather simple devices already known.

It would take a great deal of liquor to raise estimation of my engineering brilliance to deficient, but I don’t understand why we haven’t wired our sidewalks, bridges, and roads to melt the snow. There is expense in installing it, but almost none in running it. At current gas prices, it has to be a lot less expensive in the medium to long run than tallying up the time, labor, equipment, and energy expended now to such little effort.

Is that wrong? Well, how about filling water trucks with, well, salted water or whatever the chemical that deices our sidewalks and dissolves our footwear, rugs, and clothing is – providing it’s safely biodegradable - and hosing down the streets with the packed ice and melt it where drains could handle it. Wouldn’t that be less expensive than pointlessly kinda/sorta plowing? And, you know, work? And if we wanted to feel rich, perhaps the water could be heated some?

I mention this only because we’ve been out here three hundred years, and - year in, year out - it snows. And every time the infrastructure behaves as if we’d never had reason to think it would happen. It strikes me - and maybe it’s my age and the immense amount of top shelf liquor I normally consume before starting my day - that having improved horse powered plows to internal combustion plows in all that time suggests we’re not thinking this through. It can be done with far less energy expenditure far more efficiently, prevent broken ankles, car accidents, frayed tempers. Just something to think about as we enjoy our sixty-third day of blizzard and snow since the end of November here in Boulder. Which is in Colorado.

We have winter in Colorado, I read somewhere.