This infested house

Someone remind me homeownership is good.

By Charles P. Pierce
October 18, 2009

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Dear Frank Hoess: As I recently learned, it was you who, in the late 1930s, came to invent modern metal siding for residential buildings. Of course, World War II and the resulting demand for steel and aluminum put the kibosh on the business for a while. (Something else we can pin on Hitler.) But the postwar years were boom times for your field. People went door-to-door selling siding as the latest in modern, no-work convenience. This, in turn, gave America a class of salesmen even less trusted than those peddling used cars. But it seems at one point one of them made a sale to the previous owners of the house in which I now live, a sale I am in the process of reversing, one bloody panel at a time. Not that I’m complaining. I have now developed a certain expertise in archaeoentomology, having uncovered vast complexes of ancient insect civilizations. I’m not kidding. I’m the Heinrich Schliemann of cobwebs, the Louis Leakey of larvae. If bugs had a History Channel, I’d have my own series. This has presented us with

another, unanticipated problem. Namely woodpeckers, come to feast handsomely on the bug-ly deceased. This is dangerously close to certain chapters in the book of Exodus. I’ll tell you now, Frank, if anything bigger comes along now to eat the woodpeckers, I’m freeing all the slaves in Goshen.

Charles P. Pierce /

  • October 18, 2009 cover
  • october 18 globe magazine cover
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