Wednesday, February 13, 2008

NIMBY's Corner: Learning to Count with Hans Morsbach

posted by chicago pop

An Instructor of the NIMBY-Gripes School of Numeracy

Occasionally I try to figure out some way to re-use my copy of the Herald. This happens after its utility as a newspaper has expired, which is usually something like 95 seconds. But I don't have a bird cage to line, and my dogs are house broken. So what do I do with it?

Then today, the answer flew straight at me like a NIMBY out of Harper Avenue. I can teach children to count! How? By using Medici owner Hans Morsbach's itemized lists of NIMBY gripes.

This week's letter from Mr. Morsbach, which quite incidentally deals with a railroad clearing brush off its right-of-way -- to the great surprise of neighbors who were suddenly reminded that they lived next to a railroad embankment [*] -- has 6 items, so it will be part of our beginner's module.

To get to the number 7, we can resurrect Hans' letter of August 1, 2007, which happened to contain a grab bag of 7 gripes about Drs Hospital.

At some point, of course, we'll have to get up to the very important number 10, and then beyond. I'm not sure if Hans has this many gripes left, but I won't write off the possibility. This is Hyde Park, after all, and people tend to have boxes of gripes stored up in their attics.

In the meantime, we may turn to the issue of Harper Court to get us up to and past 10: a Mr. William Knack offered up a 14-point plan for fixing Harper Court back in September 2007, but that will still only get us so far.

We need Hyde Park citizens to roll out their gripes and demands, count them up, and send them in to the Herald. The future of our children's numeracy depends on it.

*[For readers who may actually be interested in the NIMBY content of this letter, in which Hans Morsbach questions the validity of Metra's need to remove trees and brush from its embankment for safety reasons, the author helpfully sums things up in the following sentence: "I have no qualification to assess the danger of mechanical damage to a steel wheel by a wet leaf..."

Click here for the opinion of someone who is qualified to assess such a danger.]


Alec Brandon said...

The Herald was a NIMBY special this week: Morsbach AND Spicer!

chicago pop said...

The truth is, neither of these guys is as big a deal as one would otherwise think, going just on the self-important tenor of the various pronunciamentos that they regularly feed El Heraldo. They're just easy to make fun of.

Zig & Lou said...

Hans is a piece of work. I am partial to his statements:
1) "as a tree person"
2) "The damage can not be reversed, it is like cutting down a virgin forest...". Wow, it is the end of the world, as Hans sees it.
3) "There should be no brome grass, it is the worst thing next to herbicide." The worst thing ever?
I read the Herald for the letters. They should collect all of Hans letters and issue a special 'kooky issue'.

chicago pop said...

A virgin forest? Growing on and out of a man-made structure? How does that figure? That would be like an oak tree growing on top of the Sears Tower. Would cutting that down be like cutting virgin timber?

Mike said...

At least they published a letter about fixing the Point as well. I assume is was written by someone who frequents this blog.

LPB said...

Yes, hooray for Jeff Edstrom's letter to the editor about fixing the Point.

It is rather ironic that both Spicer and Morsbach, who supported the "preservation" of the Point in its current sad state, had letters in the same edition of the Herald as Mr. Edstrom's call to improve the Point.

I don't really see much evidence that Spicer or Morsbach are trying to "save" the Point now, or defend its deteriorated and dangerous condition. Hmmm, maybe they believe the Point has already been saved, and thus, their goal was accomplished.

Alec Brandon said...

I generally don't think anyone in the LTEs of the Hyde Park Herald is a big deal.

chicago pop said...

But you're right, Alec, it was a NIMBY special this week!

Elizabeth Fama said...

Duh, I had to look up LTE ("Letter to the Editor," for those of you who are as slow on the uptake as me)!

Famac said...

I've been in houses on Harper - they are pretty close to the tracks, and it’s a pretty high incline. (The viaducts at all of the intersections are pretty high, right?)

I honestly can't imagine how trimming those trees would have any effect except perhaps to allow someone in the back bedrooms to have more light and a view of greater distance. The back of the houses face east so they probably are enjoying more light, which is something only a rat or bat finds offensive.

And isn't Hans the guy who has a statue on his front awning of a woman who sprays water out of her nipples?

All the trees were radically leaning to the left on Harper, that's why they had to be trimmed.

Get it?

Richard Gill said...

Hans Morsbach's letter in the Feb. 13 Herald seems harmless enough. All he did was lecture Metra on how to maintain the railroad's own railroad.

Morsbach's letter just re-illustrates a key tenet of the Hyde Park NIMBY Establishment: "What I Do On My Property Is My Business. What You Do On Your Property Is My Business." Or, put in negative terms, "What I Do On My Property Is None Of Your Business. What You Do On Your Property Is None Of Your Business." How dare the Hyde Park Bank remove a clock from their own building (remember that letter in the Herald?)

Then there's the Herald's hysterio-comic headline above Morsbach's letter-- "Hurricane Metra." Omigod! Metra has laid waste to the entire South Side! Well, if the Herald can manufacture a hurricane with a headline, the publisher should have naming rights. How about Hurricane Bruce?

chicago pop said...

You guys are all missing the educational component of HM's letters.

Now let's all count our gripes together: One ... bah ha ha ... Two ... bah ha ha ... Trrrreee ... bah hah haa...

One question remains unresolved, however: if someone claims to be a "tree person", does that mean they're an Ent?

Richard Gill said...

ok, ok, I get the idea. This time with counting.....


Honus Horseback, the High Highest of the Harpie Avenue Host of Homeowners, heaved a heavy sigh. He had hoped that half a hundred, or so, of the Harpie Avenue householders would help him heap heaps of hooey about heather, hemlock, hazelnut, hollyhocks and (heaven help us) who has any idea how much other hardwood, herbs and hothouse horticulture. But only his neighbor, Cloy Claxon-Carp, had heeded Honus's hysterical hollering.

Cloy contemplated calling a conference, but considered it counterproductive. "Holy Huckabee," he hiccuped, how humiliating."

"Heapin' Hillary," hammered Honus, "How can we hope to have the Herald hoot a horn for us, if the Harpie Homeowners hesitate to holler to high heaven? We need twelve twerps tut-tutting; eleven loads of limestone; ten tongues a'tsking; nine naysayers nay-ing; eight editorials erring; seven shouters shrieking; six nixers nixing; five flights of fancy; four focus groups forever; three thinkers thoughtless; two tons of treacle; and someone to chain themselves to that there tree."