Friday, January 25, 2008

Don't Look Down

I chuckled when I read the story of the couple who have given new meaning to the phrase "express yourself."

Quoting Mark Twain, who once said: "When angry, count to four, when very angry swear," the reports, in Fed up with jet noise, couple raise the roof:

ARMED with white roof sealant and three choice words, a Ridley Township couple has bypassed bureaucracy and taken their grievances straight to the top - of their roof - in letters 7 feet tall:

"F_ck U F.A.A."

* * * *

Since the FAA's new departure headings out of Philadelphia International Airport went into effect last month as part of a massive restructuring of the airspace over the congested corridor from New York through Philadelphia, Hall said the noise level at his home on Fairmount Avenue near Ladomus Circle has been unbearable.

"I'm p----- off," he said. "I have to sleep with earplugs at night in my own house."

Hall, who has owned his home for 10 years, and his live-in girlfriend, Michaelene Buddy, brainstormed ways to get their complaints heard.

They finally resorted to the one true expression of anger and frustration - profanity.

Two weeks ago, on the black flat-topped roof of their one-story ranch home, it took the pair about an hour and about a gallon of the roof sealant to paint the incendiary three-word sentence, along with "No Fly Zone" and a symbol for "no planes."

"I wanted to have little things that were shooting the plane down, but my girlfriend thought I would get arrested, so I settled for the picture that's up there," Hall said.

The airspace re-routing at the Philly Airport is (obviously) contentious. Although you can disagree about the issue itself, I just have to admire the manner in which Hall has reacted to the situation. Of course, not everyone sees the value in a passionate expression. As the article notes:

Hall's mother, Anne, who lives two houses down from her son, wasn't as concerned with the picture of the plane as she was with her son's use of one of the most controversial and universal words in the English language.

"It is freedom of speech; I guess you can say what you want to say," she said.

But Anne E. Howanski, Ridley Township manager, isn't so sure Hall has the right to invoke that particular word on his own house, even if it isn't visible from the street.

"I will have to check our ordinance on this," she said. "It appears to be an obscenity and we will be in touch."

While I tend to fall in the feisty category, Howanski needs to get a grip already. Perhaps she should read the case of the potty mouth toilet, Flush That, in which a magistrate in Scranton ruled that cursing (even at a toilet) is protected by the 1st Amendment.

I admit that I appreciate the self help methods used by the Halls of the world to vent their frustration. I've written about others who have used similiar means before, such as my post, A New Way to Say You Suck, about the man who had a problem with a Cherry Hill dealership and put a sign on his truck, or the Utah couple who painted a hand giving the finger to their neighbors who built a house that blocked their mountain view, Let Your Fingers do the Walking.

I've been tempted to do the same to the developer who bought the house behind us last summer. Not only did he tear down an old stone house to built two big homes on the lot, he also cut down over a dozen trees on the lot, many of which were 100 plus year old. He also cut the branches on the trees on my property that grew across the property line. The loss of foliage in my back yard can be seen in the pictures on the left (before) and right (after). One day this past summer, I came home to find this gaping hole in the back. As you can guess, I was (and still am) not happy. And I have been plotting my revenge ever since.

I live in Mount Airy section of Philly, and my home is not far from Fairmont Park. It is definitely a tree hugging community. Like me, the people that would want to move to our neighborhood would not appreciate this destruction of the forestry. When the homes are completed and put up for sale, I've had visions of erecting a huge, ugly fence along the property line and painting the back side of my fence with the words:


(Via The Daily Examiner, who also supplied picture)

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