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the skunks of los feliz
12.28.2005
 
Now that we are well and truly shut of Christmas, the streets and alleys of Los Angeles will soon begin to sprout strange flora that is peculiar to this time of year: the dessicated remains of Tanne Baume.

Their Yule duty discharged, these once proud totems of Christendom will find themselves stripped of their festive gewgaws, deprived of the small dish of foul water which has nourished them through the long days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and tossed into the gutter, there to sadly shed brittle, browning needles, slowly becoming nothing more than a shelter for vermin (and a potential fire hazard, to boot).

These tannenbaum tumbleweeds will fester on the sidewalk for months (literally: I've seen the things linger until late February, apparently ignored by city sanitation crews), noisily tossing in the wind, or sculling along on the current of a winter storm's runoff.

It's an ignominious end, to be sure.

The City of Los Angeles apparently agrees. The DWP has inserted Christmas Tree disposal instructions into their bills, in what I suspect is a vain attempt to reduce the amount of Noel detritus on city streets (dumping your Christmas Tree in the street is as much a holiday tradition in L.A. as firing automatic weapons into the air on New Year's).

And yet, they have made the effort, concocting a simple 3-step X-mas tree disposal plan for Angelenos to follow:

1) Remove ornaments.
2) Cut in pieces.
3) Place in green bin.

Simplicity itself, assuming you possess a saw, and a green bin. But fear not, apartment dwellers (and those too lazy to delimb your used tree) - you can load your expired evergreen into your Volvo station wagon and deliver it to one of 16 dump sites strategically located around the city.

The dump site serving the Los Feliz area is situated in Griffith Park, natch, near the Zoo. For other neighborhood locations, call 311 or 1-800-773-2489 for more information.

Or just throw the damn thing out on the street. Everybody else will.

Update: according to this Daily News article, the city is incentivizing participation in the tree recycling program by providing "a coupon for a free bag of mulch, an energy-efficient light bulb and a tree seedling for planting" to citizens who bring in their old Christmas trees.

Mulch, light bulbs, and seedlings? To quote Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove:
"
Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff."
 
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