Babbling Boiseans 

It's Bush's fault

After much thought (well, not THAT much), I've decided that Vista and Broadway boulevards, those tasteless trails of trashiness, are Bush's fault, not that things to blame him for are in short supply. Forty-eight percent of Americans are screaming: You nasty boob, you're up to no good, get out of our bedrooms, and by the way, Iraq-and don't let the screen doot hit you in the ass on the way out! But is Dubya insulted? Does he feel slighted? Or, god forbid, does he RESPOND? Feh.

George Bush is one of those guys too clueless to insult, which has apparently inspired some Boise business owners on Vista and Broadway-recently cited in an earlier article as local blights on the landscape. Just like Bush, these folks are ignorers, which rhymes with schnorrers, a Yiddish word roughly meaning, "a smarmy guy who gets what he wants through a sense of entitlement." They run businesses lacking landscaping and allow their properties to face the streets in shocking states of shabbiness. Silly me, I was looking forward to writing an uplifting and inspirational column called, "City of Trees, City of Flowers" or "Boise Businesses Take Up The Challenge," but since the Vista/Broadway folk failed to add plants and flowers to their storefronts, instead we'll have a jolly lesson (for them) in reversing revoltingness. Not that they'll listen, the schnorrers.

Judging from the e-mail at gardenlefty@cableone.net, a lot of you care about the way Boise's main entrance streets look, and you don't agree these businesses are "entitled" to resemble crack houses. "GEEZZZ ... every single time I have to bring a visitor in from the airport or I-84 from the direction of Mountain Home I CRINGE!" wrote Kate Riley. "Even at the last minute before making my decision on whether [to] take the Broadway or Vista exit, I hesitate. Both directions are in dire need of help and I find myself rambling on, in the hopes that my guest doesn't notice!"

Now this is alarming. If Boise citizens are reduced to spouting drivel to distract visitors from the ugliness of our city, aren't we all just a little bit concerned? Boulevards of babbling Boiseans-what's next, a bag over Aunt Sue's head? Now there's a potential airport-exit curbside business: "Out-of-towners in the car? Get your BLIGHT BAGS for visitors here." And those green show guys at the Shakespeare Festival, they could clean up with a car service and act-for-hire: "We'll pick up your relatives and blind them with humor all the way to your house." I realize that we have urgent news stories to think about, such as sleazy lobbyists cahooting with sleazy lawyers about election-night phone calls, but right-wing fanatics messing around with elections is so unremarkable it's on the Republicans' "recurring appointments" list. However. The revelation that it's a condom shop (Rubber Rainbow) which has the best landscaping within blocks of the Broadway entrance-now THAT'S no ordinary news. What are we insinuating here? "Boise, City of Condoms" does have possibilities; after all, promoting safe sex is a GOOD thing; but it's not the general theme the founding mothers had in mind. Besides, we'd have to get all the city signs repainted and reprint the mayor's stationery.

Since our request to V/B businesses produced invisible results, let's get serious here: Do you KNOW what happens to water when it runs off asphalt jungles into our storm drains? Screw your head on frontways and think about this: It goes directly into the Boise River. No, it's not treated. I swear. Look at www.partnersforcleanwater.org, the excellent Web site of water-concerned groups in Boise. Here's an appetizing image: When it rains on asphalt, the runoff contains cigarette butts, unpronounceable chemicals, pet poo, litter, car oil ... VOMIT. But when flowerbeds are properly dug and prepared, rainwater soaks into the ground to be used by the plants and trees. Duh, right? The simple idea of planting drought-tolerant growing things to cut down on revolting runoff would also result in ... OMG I never thought of this ... prettier properties! Maybe even on Vista and Broadway! Let's all sing the Vonage song: Woo hoo, woo hoo hoo!

So, the worst of the worst on Vista-the Chinese Grand Buffet and the Benchmark, with asphalt right up to the wall of the building-this is your second mention. Here's your chance to lead the way for the rest of the street. On Broadway, Jim's Alibi, Kelly-Moore Paint, Thriftway Hardware and the Junkyard Jeans block: I'll bring the shovel. To whack you over the head.

With some easy Web-surfing, perhaps a book or two, and a consult with a small landscaping firm (or even a talented friend) Boise Beautification could be underway. Carpe rutila! (Seize the spade.)

Send uplifting and inspirational comments to gardenlefty@cableone.net.

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