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« Oh, no...not more Chopra! | Main | In case you've been wondering »

☮ Peace, man ☮

Category: Politics
Posted on: November 27, 2006 9:03 PM, by PZ Myers

There is this woman in Colorado who's being sued for displaying a peace symbol on her home—it's very weird.

A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.

Well, it is a peace symbol, you know, so it is rather abstractly against the Iraq war. There was also this long-dead Jewish rabbi that some people call the "Prince of Peace", and I understand he's having a holiday sometime soon…I wonder if the homeowner's association will be policing the housing development for Christian symbols, too? Probably. These guys do sound hardcore.

I've never heard of the peace symbol being associated with Satan. I think someone's making stuff up. Couldn't they have just said it was a symbol for those damned dirty long-haired hippies, and left it at that?

Also, look at this: it's pathetic.

peace_symbol.jpg

Here, let me show you how it's done. I think she needs to escalate.

This is a house down the street from me, here in the red state wilderness of western Minnesota. This display has been up every year that I've been here—that peace symbol must be about 12 feet in diameter.

toms_house.jpg

See? That's how you flaunt a peace symbol. It makes me feel a little better every time I walk by it.


Ah, the power of the news and internet. The tinpot dictators realized that they were looking like pathetic, petty wankers to the entire world, and they've withdrawn their demands. I think Mr Kearns, the Homeowners Association GOD, has received a spanking.

None of the three members of the board in the scenic town 270 miles southwest of Denver was available for comment late Monday. Kearns and colleague Jeff Heitz both had their phone numbers changed to unlisted numbers Monday. Tammy Spezze, the third board member, did not return a call seeking comment.

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Comments

#1
I've never heard of the peace symbol being associated with Satan.
Bertrand Russell is sometimes credited with devising it. You know he was a Satanist.

Posted by: llewelly | November 27, 2006 9:07 PM

#2
I've never heard of the peace symbol being associated with Satan. I think someone's making stuff up.

Kinda. Some far right Christians believe that the peace symbol is an inverted cross with the arms broken. There are some 5th century depictions of the martyrdom of Peter showing him nailed to a "crow's foot" cross--peace symbol without the circle--which the religious wingnuts use to bolster their idiotic claim.

In actuality, the symbol is derived from the semaphore symbols for N and D--as in Nuclear Disarmament. Its similarity to the crow's foot cross is just a coincedence, and even if it were related to the crow's foot cross, there's no real connection between the crow's foot and all the Satanic, antichrist bullshit the religious nuts are blabbering about.

Posted by: Wes | November 27, 2006 9:08 PM

#3

(Note: Bertrand Russell was a founding member of the CND, but Gerald Holtom was the designer of the symbol.)

Posted by: llewelly | November 27, 2006 9:13 PM

#4

Huh. I always thought those things were just hood ornaments off a Mercedes Benz. Silly me!

Posted by: donna | November 27, 2006 9:13 PM

#5

$25 a day to support peace and/or piss off fundamentalists? That's a real bargin.

Posted by: Tom | November 27, 2006 9:16 PM

#6

I read about this in the newspaper and thought it was a joke. It sounded like a joke. And then it wasn't a joke. *sigh*

Posted by: j | November 27, 2006 9:21 PM

#7

Drat. I came here to find a link to PZ's e-mail, so that I could point out this new gem of a story to him, just to find out he's already beaten me to the punch. Damn you, you A-list blogger!

Posted by: Hans Derycke | November 27, 2006 9:27 PM

#8

The comments about the peace symbol have been with us a long time. When I was wearing the piece symbol (high school in Ohio) to protest the Vietnam War, one student that I did not think was particularly religous came up and tore it off my neck saying that it was satanic. Since we were in Boy Scouts together a few years back, I told him about the semaphore origin of the peace symbol, but he didn't believe it. I simply tied the cord and put it back on, and he never spoke to me again.

Posted by: Ray | November 27, 2006 9:42 PM

#9
<sarcasm>

Crikey, when the homeowners' association (or more precisely its president) realises the symbol is associated with Nuculer Dismemberment, I hate to think what he'll do do that un-American pinko liberal!

</sarcasm>

Oh, and what is this crap about a "Homeowners' Association" anyway? In the UK such bodies are called Residents' (or even Tenants') Associations, in recognition of the fact that people without the money to buy a house are human too.

Lisa Jensen, if you're reading, then check out the poll on AOL - at last count, 90% of 580,000 respondents support your stance!

Posted by: Peter Barber | November 27, 2006 9:54 PM

#10

Actually I think my sarcastic tags should probably be facetious. I was having so much fun working out how to display them at all I didn't think about that. Whoops!

Posted by: Peter Barber | November 27, 2006 9:57 PM

#11

The history of the symbol is a little less concerning than the subjugation of democracy in this little stepford estate.
The committee refused to do as it was told by the president, presumably because there was either a legal or moral reason not to come down too hard on the lady. And guess what?
In true right wing despot fashion the president sacks them all.
mmm that's mighty Xtian of him.

Posted by: Dave C | November 27, 2006 9:57 PM

#12

Oh, the petty tyranny of the neighborhood HOA. Such a pointless waste of human endeavour.

Posted by: Dan | November 27, 2006 10:02 PM

#13

In actuality, the symbol is derived from the semaphore symbols for N and D--as in Nuclear Disarmament.

Huh. I'd always thought it was a stylized phallic symbol--"make love, not war", y'know. Wikipedia agrees with you, though...

Posted by: micah | November 27, 2006 10:07 PM

#14

I think this Kearns guy could fill a few openings in the FSB that Putin may have. If "signs" must be approved by the architectural review committee and they saw no issue, then what's Kearn's beef. Man that guy needs to take a few pills and calm down.

Posted by: Keanus | November 27, 2006 10:11 PM

#15

Here in FL where I am, pretty much every neighborhood is a "deed restricted community."
Even in the urbanized areas. Turn down a side-street and you'll see a sign saying that.

Conformity is big here. As is superstitious idiocy.

I remember back when I worked at Fisher-Price, we used to get calls from Florida and Texas that were hysterical.

One woman called because she was terrified every time she went into her kids room and would see the Activity Center (what some call a "busy box") in the crib. There was a spinner with a star on the handle, and sometimes the star would be upside-down. A "sign of the devil."

Other Florida callers complained about hearing lyrics saying "seek the devil" in a cassette tape FP sold. Churches were spreading flyers around about that one.

people sure can be damned strange.

Posted by: craig | November 27, 2006 10:14 PM

#16

I once moved into a new house over which a home owner's association had some modest sway, which my neither my real estate agent nor lawyer told me of in advance. One rule they had was you can't build any kind of fence. Yet, because we had two large dogs which we didn't want roaming the neighborhood when they were out, I had specifically asked about fences before hand. Then after buying the house I was greeted by neighbors with the home owners' rules, one of which forbade fences. Well, I hired a different lawyer and after some polite discussion, he told me to "build your f**king fence." So I did. I never heard ahother peep out of the association, but six other houses in the neighborhood added new fences within three months after mine went up. Home owners' associations are usually a bunch of hypocritical petty despots and busy bodies. The Loma Linda group's president fits the mold perfectly.

Posted by: Keanus | November 27, 2006 10:17 PM

#17

OH NO!!! a PEACE sign!!! take it away!!! noo!!! it BUUURRRNNNSS!!!!!!

Those people must be some kind of hellish vampire-like creature that are scared of peace signs instead of garlic and the cross.

GASP! PROOF POSITIVE- christians are EVIL. They're the real DEVIL. I demand my scientific theory be taught in science classrooms everywhere! It is of paramount importance that kids are taught the controversy between my scientific theory and those xians!... I will print out books and distribute them.... anyone have some money they can donate?

Posted by: TAW | November 27, 2006 10:22 PM

#18

To the GenXer crowd the 60's era hippie peace symbol is simply a vandalized Mercedes hood ornament.

Posted by: Carol | November 27, 2006 10:27 PM

#19

The other argument for peace-signs-as-Satanic-symbols, which is the one that was used back in my neighborhood once or twice, was that the peace symbol was a Christian cross that had been inverted and had its arms broken. In other words, it was a deliberate defacement of the Christian symbol intended to intimidate Christians and glorify their enemy.

Posted by: Andrew | November 27, 2006 10:29 PM

#20

From the news article:

The subdivision's rules say no signs, billboards or advertising are permitted without the consent of the architectural control committee.

It's not a sign, billboard or advertising though. It's a seasonal decoration. Which isn't covered under said rules, as far as I can tell. I think this subdivision's little tinpot dictator will be getting his comeuppance very soon, in the form of a notice ordering him to cease and desist with his harrassment of the owner over her display of holiday spirit.

Posted by: David Wilford | November 27, 2006 10:29 PM

#21

Perhaps I'm just ill-informed, but I find it jaw-droppingly incredible that this "Homeowner's Association" would have any legal authority whatsoever. Am I to understand that this is actually the case, and if so, what moron legislator dropped the ball?

Posted by: Azkyroth | November 27, 2006 10:59 PM

#22

My son's comment: "If Satan is trying to get humanity to stop fighting wars, then we're worshipping the wrong deity."

Posted by: decrepitoldfool | November 27, 2006 11:04 PM

#23

In the spirit of the season, I think we should all send a Christmas card to the homeowner's association president:

Robert Kearns
2520 Loma Linda Dr.
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147

How 'bout it?

Posted by: Sir Oolius | November 27, 2006 11:27 PM

#24

"Perhaps I'm just ill-informed, but I find it jaw-droppingly incredible that this "Homeowner's Association" would have any legal authority whatsoever. Am I to understand that this is actually the case, and if so, what moron legislator dropped the ball?"

Not surprisingly, when you reference the words "moron legislator" that pretty much automatically invokes "Texas Legislature." Here, a bill was recently introduced that would allow Homeowners Associations to SEIZE YOUR HOME for failing to follow the rules. No kidding. It was defeated, but still...

Posted by: The Local Crank | November 27, 2006 11:46 PM

#25

Just for fun, suppose the symbol really was meant to be Satanic, and the woman was a practicing Satanist. Wouldn't that make it harder for the homeowners association to force its removal?

After all, in such a case the woman could argue that she's practicing her religion. It would be the same as if the homeowners ass'n president tried to force a Christian to remove a cross. Would 1st amendment rights trump apparent conflicts with homeowners ass'n rules (supposing, of course, that a true conflict existed)?

Posted by: qetzal | November 27, 2006 11:52 PM

#26

'Perhaps I'm just ill-informed, but I find it jaw-droppingly incredible that this "Homeowner's Association" would have any legal authority whatsoever.'

Depends on where you live. In certain exclusive gated communities, people pay for the privilege of having draconian rules imposed on them. My sister is not allowed to put any structure in her back yard that is taller than the fence, which means that a standard-sized swingset for her children would be out of the question.

Posted by: swe | November 28, 2006 12:20 AM

#27

I have an aunt and uncle who live in a controlled-access (aka gated) community in Florida. I had occasion to visit them a few years ago, and found the enforced homogeneity to be remarkable. Even more remarkable was the fact that a neighbor had been forced to take down a flagpole flying a U.S. flag, because it violated the homogeneity rules. The community also had a People's Hall (really, the name was something like that; my brother, who was also along for the trip, now refers to it as the Great Hall of the People when the topic arises).

An additional thought: what's the deal with the associations that don't allow clotheslines? Goes along with those that don't allow flagpoles or personalized seasonal ornamentation, I suppose...

What, exactly, are such people afraid of? (partly rhetorical question...)

Posted by: beccarii | November 28, 2006 12:25 AM

#28

My son's comment: "If Satan is trying to get humanity to stop fighting wars, then we're worshipping the wrong deity."

Basically my reaction.

And I've said it before: Satan's a hell of a great guy.

Posted by: Skemono | November 28, 2006 12:25 AM

#29

Homeowners associations here in Colorado are oppressive. They'll start these little towns in the mountains and then run them with draconian rules, kick people out of their homes for planting trees, and so on.

They have such a presence here because if, in Colorado, you suggest that we should not let developers run their own private little authoritarian nations, then you'll be accused practicing "Bouldernomics". This is promply followed by either blatant and explicit accusations of communism, or at least an insinuation.

Now you know.

Posted by: Dustin | November 28, 2006 12:32 AM

#30

My favorite part was the bit at the end of the article where Mr. Kearns fires all 5 members of the committee simply because they disagreed with him. I think this wackjob's abuse of power is the more amazing part of this whole affair. The "Satanic" peace symbol is easy to understand. I mean is it surprising that Christian fanatics will try to play the victim in any situation? We already knew that...

Posted by: darrell | November 28, 2006 12:43 AM

#31

Wait, I've got a fantastic idea. We could call Bill O'Reilly in on this. "Yes, Mr. O'Reilly, you noble Culture Warrior (TM), Bob Kearns hates Christmas. Let slip the dogs of war!".

Then I could watch Fox News and a Homeowners Association fight to the death.

So, start a letter writing campaign -- it'll be hilarious.

Posted by: Dustin | November 28, 2006 12:48 AM

#32
My favorite part was the bit at the end of the article where Mr. Kearns fires all 5 members of the committee simply because they disagreed with him.

Yeah, I try to point things like that out to anyone who tries to defend the Homeowners Associations with something like "But the board members are elected!". Yes, they are. And so are Iran's leaders, for that matter -- a fat lot of good that does, huh?

Posted by: Dustin | November 28, 2006 12:51 AM

#33

"[S]ome say i[t']s an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan."

That's silly. It's obviously a flux capacitor.

Posted by: "Q" the Enchanter | November 28, 2006 12:57 AM

#34

How stupid can people be!?

A peace sign is not a pentagram. And even a pentagram is not exclusively a satanic symbol.

Posted by: Markus | November 28, 2006 2:55 AM

#35

The Pentagram, incidentally, has been used as a sepecifically christian-mystic symbol.
In Gawain and the Green Knight , Gawain's shield is carefully described.
And it has a linked (i.e. single-strip, over-and-under) pentagram in silver (Argent) on a green (Vert) field.

Posted by: G. Tingey | November 28, 2006 3:48 AM

#36

As far as I know the origin of this symbol is its use by Dalton for Phosphorus. See:
http://www.webelements.com/webelements/elements/text/P/hist.html
In the early days of the peace movement apparently Phosphorus was more than anything else a symbol for war. It was used during WW I in white phosphorus mortar bombs. Obviously, it would have been more logical to place a cross through the symbol, but the result would not have been very esthetic.

Posted by: amph | November 28, 2006 4:42 AM

#37

WW II, that is.

Posted by: amph | November 28, 2006 5:28 AM

#38
As far as I know the origin of this symbol is its use by Dalton for Phosphorus.

The Phosphorus symbol has 2 lower branches, the peace symbol has 3 lower branches. Furthermore, Gerald Holtom documented the reason for his design, which was described in the 2nd comment.

Posted by: llewelly | November 28, 2006 5:56 AM

#39
My son's comment: "If Satan is trying to get humanity to stop fighting wars, then we're worshipping the wrong deity."

A round of applause for decrepitoldfool's son!

Posted by: Anuminous | November 28, 2006 7:11 AM

#40

Too bad she didn't put up a big neon cross. Then the whackjobs in her area would defend it.

Posted by: Lya Kahlo | November 28, 2006 7:49 AM

#41

Try driving through Germantown, TN (the small, expensive city just to the SE of Memphis) sometime. No elevated signs allowed, only ground-level ones, which makes finding things really difficult. Very few colors allowed, only a few earth tones- which makes the Wal-Mart and Waffle House in Germantown very strange looking indeed. It is like a little communist state... naturally, it's a solidly Republican enclave.

Posted by: MJ Memphis | November 28, 2006 8:25 AM

#42

Apparently, the peace symbol is the Cross of Nero, or so this fantastically whacked piece of Christamentalist (emphasis on the mentalist) tinfoil hattery purports:

http://www.exposingsatanism.org/signsymbols.htm

Satan? Check!
Illuminati? Check!
New World Order? Check!
It's conspiracy theory bingo!

Of course, the irony is, if it wasn't for this conscientious/batshit-crazy pastor, I'd never have learned all this interesting satanic trivia. Obviously Pastor Billy is in league with beelzebub.

Posted by: Paul | November 28, 2006 8:34 AM

#43

"Perhaps I'm just ill-informed, but I find it jaw-droppingly incredible that this "Homeowner's Association" would have any legal authority whatsoever. Am I to understand that this is actually the case, and if so, what moron legislator dropped the ball?"

Uh, haven't you ever lived in a condo? The HOA is in charge of keeping the neighborhood beautiful. Members can attend meetings and vote on the rules and so forth. I believe, but don't really remember, that you sign a contract with the HOA when you purchase a home in the community. Of course there are always moron HOA presidents who go way beyond the reasonable, such as in this case of kissing the ass of retarted residents.

Posted by: writerdd | November 28, 2006 8:42 AM

#44

This just in:

"Homeowner Lisa Jensen told The Associated Press on Monday that the board of directors of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association had apologized, called the incident a misunderstanding and had withdrawn its request for the wreath's removal."

Posted by: DrSteve | November 28, 2006 8:57 AM

#45
"An additional thought: what's the deal with the associations that don't allow clotheslines?

My in-laws are subject to this rule (semi-gated community in Florida). Basically, there's to be nothing "ugly" in the back yard which can be seen (and complained about by other neighbors) from other back yards. If it can't be seen, then it's okay--several of the houses open up to a conservation area or a wooded area, but my in-law's house is near a corner lot.

However, there is a wide window given for compliance--something like 30 days. Thus, when I was visiting and the dryer broke, we could set the clothesline up and use it anyway.

Posted by: pdrydia | November 28, 2006 9:26 AM

#46

Always got to love those republicans who complain about government interference and property rights and then buy a house in a gated community with a homeowners association. A HA is just another level of government that really does tell people how to live and what to do with their property. I just don't understand them.

Posted by: KevinC | November 28, 2006 10:16 AM

#47

KevinC, I have brought up that same point with several of my coworkers (almost all Republican, almost all suburbanites with HOAs). Somehow they don't see the irony of voting Republican and then choosing to live in what amounts to a small communist state. But then, given the state of the modern GOP, maybe it's not an irony anymore.

Meanwhile, in the artsy, overwhelmingly liberal part of the city where I live (and where the suburbanites come on the weekend because there is nothing to do where they live), I could paint my house pink with green polka-dots and no one would bat an eye.

Posted by: MJ Memphis | November 28, 2006 10:22 AM

#48

Here's a question. Are homeowners' associations always completely insane and dysfunctional, or is that just an unfair assumption because the insanely dysfunctional ones make it into the news?

I've certainly never heard a news report of a homeowners' association actually doing good for a neighborhood, but then again, if it doesn't bleed, it probably won't lead.

Posted by: Julie Stahlhut | November 28, 2006 11:15 AM

#49

Well, the peace sign is too Satanic. Just because it was designed from the semaphore for "ND" doesn't mean that Satan (or more probably Crowley) hasn't been working away for the last 6010 years especially to ensure that the semaphore for "ND" is a broken cross. It's just the sort of horrid thing those devils would do. So there!

Posted by: chris y | November 28, 2006 11:18 AM

#50

Just for fun, suppose the symbol really was meant to be Satanic, and the woman was a practicing Satanist. Wouldn't that make it harder for the homeowners association to force its removal?

Hehe, that is too precious. I have some Wicca friends who, seeing Mormons at their door, answered in full witch regalia. They told me that the Mormons managed to say, "Um..." and then took off running.

Posted by: Kristine | November 28, 2006 12:45 PM

#51

MJ Memphis wrote:

"KevinC, I have brought up that same point with several of my coworkers (almost all Republican, almost all suburbanites with HOAs). Somehow they don't see the irony of voting Republican and then choosing to live in what amounts to a small communist state. But then, given the state of the modern GOP, maybe it's not an irony anymore.

Meanwhile, in the artsy, overwhelmingly liberal part of the city where I live (and where the suburbanites come on the weekend because there is nothing to do where they live), I could paint my house pink with green polka-dots and no one would bat an eye."

"Conservatives" and Republicans dislike government ONLY when they perceive that it interferes with one's ability to make money. HAs by restricting things that *may* lower property values are in line with the love of money so they are OK. On the other hand "conservatives" LOVE for government to interfere with what one does in one's bedroom. It is immoral to interfere with making money, and it is also immoral to rub your naughty bits against anything other than your spouse's naughty bits in very prescribed ways and they don't mind watching to make sure you engage your partner appropriately. It is for your own good and the good of society.

Posted by: bybelknap | November 28, 2006 12:57 PM

#52

Saw this on another blog regarding this story:

10 Things a Homeowners Association Won't Tell You

Posted by: Tukla in Iowa | November 28, 2006 1:36 PM

#53

Hasn't this Kearns guy noticed that "Satan" is an anagram of "Santa"? I trust that when this occurs to him, Santa Claus displays will also be prohibited.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne | November 28, 2006 1:41 PM

#54

Homeowner Lisa Jensen told The Associated Press on Monday that the board of directors of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association had apologized, called the incident a misunderstanding and had withdrawn its request for the wreath's removal

A scourge of hungry ticks on the scrotum. Works every time.

Posted by: Great White Wonder | November 28, 2006 2:04 PM

#55

Ah, shame. Thanks to the internet, anyone can use it, not just the clergy.

Posted by: stogoe | November 28, 2006 3:31 PM

#56

Now that the War on Christmas - oops, holiday - peace symbols is over, on to the next inexplicable war-on-something:

The War on Penguins

Washington, D.C. -- Not content with their annual discussion of a supposed "War on Christmas," conservative talking heads have taken on a new issue this season: environmentalist propaganda in children's movies. CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck and Fox News' Neil Cavuto recently spoke out against Warner Bros.' new animated children's movie Happy Feet; criticizing the film for its alleged pro-environmentalist content. [...]

During their programs, both Beck and Cavuto referred to the film as "propaganda," adding that the movie amounted to "an animated version of An Inconvenient Truth." [...]

Conservative talk-radio host Michael Medved took his criticism a step further [...] referring to the film as "Crappy Feet" and saying it was the "darkest, most disturbing feature length animated film ever offered by a major studio."

Come on, now. Don't these Grinches have anything better to do?

Posted by: anomalous4 | November 28, 2006 3:42 PM

#57
Julie: Are homeowners' associations always completely insane and dysfunctional, or is that just an unfair assumption because the insanely dysfunctional ones make it into the news?

I've certainly never heard a news report of a homeowners' association actually doing good for a neighborhood, but then again, if it doesn't bleed, it probably won't lead.

Years ago I bought and lived in a townhome, and my parents bought me some security screen doors soon after I moved in. Turns out we didn't realize that we had to get HOA approval for adding screen doors, and it turns out that the kind I had gotten weren't of an "approved" type. I think I received two letters from the board about removing them (maybe 6 months apart), but didn't bother to reply, and wasn't threatened with fines. A couple of years later, I happened to notice in an HOA update that my doors were now on the "approved" list. Not a single shot needed to be fired on my behalf. :-)

Then when I went to sell the place, the people who wanted to buy it wanted to have central A/C installed, which required HOA approval. I went ahead and checked with the board like a good little community member, and they said so long as it sits on the basement pad, no problem! Three minute meeting and .... SOLD! :-D

Posted by: minusRusty | November 28, 2006 6:24 PM

#58

Would the homeowners association ask someone to take down a sign that said "Peace on Earth?" I find it interesting that people are actually admit they are against peace. That explains our current government.

Posted by: Unstable Isotope | November 28, 2006 8:28 PM

#59
The comments about the peace symbol have been with us a long time. When I was wearing the piece symbol (high school in Ohio) to protest the Vietnam War, one student that I did not think was particularly religous came up and tore it off my neck saying that it was satanic. Since we were in Boy Scouts together a few years back, I told him about the semaphore origin of the peace symbol, but he didn't believe it. I simply tied the cord and put it back on, and he never spoke to me again.

Using the square knot to tie the cord, of course.

One of the reasons Scouting suffers these days, as if it needed any more, is because fundies don't like to learn the stuff Scouts need to know -- you know, courteous, kind, cheerful, reverent, morse code, conservation of air and water, that sort of stuff.

So it's all the more sad that Scouting takes positions favoring fundies. Those who suffer most: Kids who would enjoy Scouting.

Posted by: Ed Darrell | November 28, 2006 9:15 PM

#60

I think that in general, it's the people who want to mind everyone else's business who find time to sit on those committees. Community action committees are similarly hampered. A conversation of two people in a critical Parental mood was dubbed a "Committee Meeting" by Eric Berne, the founder of transactional analysis. after his observation that most committees get together to complain ("There ought to be a law!") Home-owners' associations are small enough so that the complainers can swing it.

I wouldn't want to live anwhere where I couldn't hang my clothes to dry at least part of the year: it saves energy, they smell good, and automatic washers and dryers are incredibly hard on clothes, tearing seams and fading colours.

Come to Toronto, where we have a gay Scout troop! And somehow, civilization hasn't collapsed.

Posted by: Monado | November 28, 2006 10:38 PM

#61

Julie Stahlhut wrote, "I've certainly never heard a news report of a homeowners' association actually doing good for a neighborhood, but then again, if it doesn't bleed, it probably won't lead."

True, and there are variations among homeowners associations.

I wasn't aware that my neighborhood had one until two years ago when they sponsered a get aquainted meeting in a nearby park.

I went over and chatted. Apparently it was founded in the late 1960's in order to prevent the county from putting a prison in the community. The prison didn't go in. There are no draconian rules, and the city will, as a first step, report many resident's complaint to the association to see if the association wants to get involved. A neighbor recently was told their fence was too high to comply with a city ordinance, and the homeowners association helped the neighbor argue with the zoning board. (They lost that one.)

The difference may well be that the association was formed because of a need for the homeowners to band together against an outside incursion rather than set up to maintain continuity of style within a community.

Needless to say, I joined.

Posted by: Flex | November 29, 2006 1:04 PM

#62

Speaking of hippies, here is a video that shows that hippies still know how to have fun dispite all their time spent at protests:

http://peoplegeek.wordpress.com/2007/01/20/a-bike-race-lance-armstrong-could-not-win/

Posted by: Heather Flanagan | January 20, 2007 5:37 PM

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