Ken Lienemann is no stranger to energy. With a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Remote Sensing, he certainly understands the technical elements involved in the process of heating and cooling. As an employee with the New Mexico Environment Department, he also grasps the ecological implications of how we chose to fuel our homes, our cars and our lives. And as an Albuquerque homeowner who's spent the last four years revamping his abode to increase energy efficiency, it's fairly obvious that to Mr. Lienemann, energy is quite personal.
There are times when numbers just don't add up. Or rather, they add up, but the answer is all wrong. One of those moments when I had special difficulty wrapping my mind around the “new math” of public policy was in a recent Legislative committee hearing. The meeting was for the virtually automatic confirmation of a pair of very impressive women who had volunteered to serve the state as members of the Parole Board.
Dateline: Maryland—A Montgomery County judge ruled last Tuesday that the act of mooning someone is not illegal in the state of Maryland. The decision cleared Rockville resident Raymond Hugh McNealy, 44, on charges of indecent exposure after brandishing his buttocks to a neighbor during an argument. Judge John W. Debelius III said McNealy committed a “disgusting” and “demeaning” act when he exposed his posterior to his neighbor and her 8-year-old daughter on June 7 of last year. But the judge overturned an earlier decision by a District Court, clearing the defendant of criminal wrongdoing. “If exposure of half of the buttock constituted indecent exposure, any woman wearing a thong at the beach at Ocean City would be guilty,” Debelius said, according to a report in The Washington Post. McNealy allegedly had a heated debate with his neighbor, Nanette Vonfeldt, at a homeowners association meeting last June. The morning after the clash, Vonfeldt accused him of yelling at her as she and her daughter walked out of their apartment. “Then, for whatever reason, in full view of my daughter, he mooned us,” Vonfeldt wrote in court documents. Debelius agreed with McNealy's attorney that, under Maryland law, indecent exposure only covers display of a person's “private parts,” which does not include buttocks. McNealy attorney James Maxwell said the Debelius ruling should “bring comfort to all beachgoers and plumbers” in the state.
Nothing is more irritating than when a smaller, more nimble competitor seems to be getting the best of you. These days, that must to be how leaders in the state's 800-pound gorilla (a.k.a. Albuquerque) must be feeling about their pesky persistent neighbor to the northwest.
'Tis a shame the clues and the grid to this week's puzzle got crosswise (Dec. 29, 2005-Jan.4, 2006). Hopefully, in the future, you will not go down again and your readers will not be (a)cross with you.