See if you can guess which device is the climax of a column on "If I had a magic wand, I'd change...." by the well-known Sydney-based columnist (and former City Councilor) Elizabeth Farrelly. The illustration above, from the Sydney Morning Herald, may offer a clue. Here's how the column ends:
Which returns us to my sixth and final prohibition, the vile two-stroke leaf-blower, preferred power tool of dastards and dunderheads.
Back in my lofty Redfern avenue [part of Sydney] there were human sweepers, with arms and brooms and big canvas bags. They were strong and fit.
Inexplicably, here in the forest, we have the indolent leaf-blower dudes. They rev up their filthy machines, more psyche-shattering than the Dyson hand dryer and more polluting (per erg) than the car. For an hour or two they whoosh the leaves around. Then they depart – whereupon nature whooshes the old ones right back.
This is clearly futile, as well as lazy, dirty and irritating. I'd tell you more about how all this outdoing nature symbolises the hole we blew in our culture, only I just can't hear myself think.
In another part of the column, Farrelly writes about larger questions of "cleansing," an extreme version of which is the power-blowing of lawns and driveways:
Judaism, Shinto, Hindu, Christianity, Islam; count the religions that involve ritual cleansing. Ablution and oblation are not identical, but they're mighty close. Our cleansing should connect us to the joys of planetary existence – water, breezes, light. Instead, we shrink ritual back to mere utility.
Worth reading; congrats to Ms. Farrelly.