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Musings of an Energy Nerd

Two Poems for Christmas 2018

The 10th installment of a holiday tradition

Blowin’ in the Wind

How many leaks must a contractor seal
Before you can call him a man?
How many coils have to be cleaned
To stop all the mold in the pan?
Yes, ’n’ how many times should you come back to test
Your house with a blower door fan?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Yes, ’n’ how many times must the neighbors protest
When wind turbines rise to the sky?
How long will it be, in the East and the West,
Till wind power’s easy to buy?
Yes, ’n’ how much more carbon needs to escape,
Till we all give windmills a try?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Yes, ’n’ how many storms will New Orleans face
Before it is washed to the sea?
Yes, ’n’ how many years will it take to erase
The homes on the Florida Keys?
Yes, ’n’ how many times can Republicans blink,
And pretend that they just do not see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.


Henry Petrossian, a builder in Watertown, Massachusetts, is the current owner of a family construction company founded in 1916 by his great-great-grandfather, also named Henry Petrossian. Henry, a prominent Watertown citizen, is affectionately known there as Henry the Fifth. 

In the fall of 2017, Henry and his crew were hired to build a Passive House in Newton. Since his crew had never before achieved the ambitious airtightness goal of 0.6 ach50, Henry knew that his employees would have to perform as never before. On the morning of December 24, 2017, he assembled his workers for a jobsite meeting, where he gave the following memorable pep talk.

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  1. Paul Eldrenkamp | | #1


    This was maybe the best Holladay gift of all time.

    Heartfelt thanks and gratitude for all you do, Martin.

  2. STEPHEN SHEEHY | | #2

    As usual, Martin has exceeded expectations. Good job and thanks. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc.

  3. Expert Member

    I look forward to your poems every Christmas. Thanks for your thoughts and the sage advice you give us all year.

    Thanks to all the GBA staff. I especially enjoy the way Scott Gibson re-frames the issues in his Spotlights, and keeps us up with current news.

    And thanks to all the members who contribute. You have all taught me a lot.

  4. PAUL KUENN | | #4

    Tears are shed with powerful laughs to back them up. You inspire Martin. Thanks!

  5. AndyKosick | | #5

    I sang and then recited the first two aloud to my wife and son. (Their eyes may have rolled at some point but it was with love.) Thank you for all you do, especially your perspective.

  6. GBA Editor
    Rob Wotzak | | #6

    Martin, I am very thankful for your ability (and willingness) to combine humor, history, honesty, and love to sum up so much of what makes our lives worth living for. Bravo!

  7. Expert Member
    KOHTA UENO | | #7

    Many thanks, Martin! A wonderful holiday season to you and all the GBA folks!

  8. fourforhome | | #8

    Thank you for posting your most recent experience with Messiah.
    "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by his
    blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour,
    and glory, and blessing. Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto
    Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever."
    ~ from part 53, Handel's Messiah.

  9. dankolbert | | #9

    Great poems, and lovely, timely, heartbreaking thoughts. Thanks.

  10. ilovebatz | | #10

    Excellent. Martin, thank you for the poems and the thoughts on the fragility of not just our world but our communities. It may be that if we can't rebuild our environment we may not be able to rebuild our communities either. I choose to believe that we can rebuild our communities and deal with climate change!

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