-by J. Williams

It certainly has been a cruel meeting of nature and the so-called invisible hand with the historic rise in home heating costs in this, our coldest winter in recent memory. Interestingly enough, developing strategies for economizing in home heating has become a fashionable pastime. A mathematician I know, for example, constantly adjusts his thermostat according to a logarithm that he himself devised. One woman has built a translucent dome over her home so that it looks like a gigantic snow globe. A suburban couple have decided to heat only eleven of the twelve rooms in their home, and annoy their neighbors with their constant sermonizing on the subject. But yesterday, while in line at the upscale grocery store in the now-fashionable downtown area, I heard an immaculately dressed woman bragging to her companion: "Yes, we have beaten the issue by hiring a little Mexican Boy to shovel Coal at night into the reproduction Victorian stove we have had installed in our family room!"

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