Go Gators!

January 26th, 2015 @ 6:44 am
Los Angeles Monorail

MonorailDid you know that way, way back in 1963 Alweg Research Corp. — the company that built the Disneyland monorail — offered to give a monorail system to the city of Los Angeles?

I’ve ridden both the Disneyland and the Walt Disney World monorails hundreds of times in my life and I’ve wasted thousands of hours sitting in LA traffic. I mean, really, can you just imagine the wonderful benefits of having such a 21st century mode of transportation in the City of Angels?

A friend of mine recently complained on the Facebook about not being able to find a parking place, and I posted a mini rant in reply about the fact that the whole automobile culture of America is just awful.

Think of how many thousands — tens of thousands — of lives would be saved every year if we ditched the whole concept of everyone having a car. I’m not just talking about the 30,000 people annually killed in auto accidents, either:

  • Less pollution!
  • No drunk driving!
  • Fewer heart problems and obesity! (Everyone would walk a little bit more.)
  • No more deaths from texting and driving!
  • No more idiotic police chases!

And think of how much money you’d save:

  • No more car payments!
  • No more car insurance payments!
  • No more gas to buy!
  • No more oil changes or brake pads or tail lights!
  • No more speeding tickets or parking meters!

And then there would be all the other side effects:

  • Less dependence on foreign oil!
  • Hell, less dependence on domestic oil!
  • You could text or read or play a video game on your way anywhere without killing anyone!
  • You could party all night and not worry about needing a designated driver!
  • No more road kill! Think of all the cats and dogs and armadillos and deer!
  • No more ecosystems destroyed by roads!
  • So much more room for parks and houses and playgrounds and bike paths!
Traffic is terrible everywhere you go.

I don’t currently own a home, so if you consider car payments, auto insurance, maintenance, and gas, the “luxury” of driving my own car is the most expensive thing in my life. And the two cars in my household are also by far the least efficient investments I’ve ever made. Almost every day of the week there are two cars sitting there doing nothing for something like 23 out of every 24 hours! And I am almost always annoyed while driving. Traffic is terrible everywhere you go, and most people are horrible drivers. And, for the love of all that is good and holy, cars are dangerous beyond belief.

MonorailThere’s no good reason for there not to be a robust monorail system in Los Angeles. Seriously. How could you possibly argue against that? Have you ever had to drive anywhere in LA? Then you must agree.

Four decades ago the cost was estimated at $105M dollars, which translates to about $750M in 2015 money. Let’s just go crazy and round that up to an even billion dollars. The Westside extension to the Metro line right now is pegged at something like $4.6B and it’s not supposed to be completed until 2036! And when it’s finally actually done (in what will probably be 2043 for a few billion dollars more than projected) Angelenos will be in the exact same pathetic situation they are in now. Only with a stupid amount of money having been wasted and even more of the city sacrificed to a method of transportation that should have gone extinct a century ago.

What can we do it about?

Continue reading …

January 23rd, 2015 @ 1:26 pm
Friday Five: Pearl Jam Albums

tenMy five favorite Pearl Jam albums:

  1. Ten
  2. Binaural
  3. Vs.
  4. Yield
  5. Vitalogy
January 17th, 2015 @ 5:27 pm
Life in Space

SpaceI recently read an article in The Atlantic titled 5,200 Days in Space that is incredible. We use words like “awesome” and “amazing” pretty cavalierly most of the time. The fact that there have been human beings continually living in outer space for almost fifteen YEARS is awesome and amazing.

It is mind-boggling to think that the United States is spending about $8,000,000.00 per day to help maintain the International Space Station (ISS).

And some of the details are really just hard to fathom, like this tidbit about the way the station was built:

[T]he station’s exterior elements have a remarkable engineering feature: although the station is made up of more than 100 components, with a surface area spanning almost three acres, most bolts the astronauts work with are a single size. That way astronauts almost never have to worry about changing sockets. Imagine constructing a whole building that way.

If you have a few minutes to spare, it’s a fascinating and well-written article.

January 16th, 2015 @ 1:15 pm
Friday Five: Steaks

steakThe five best steaks I’ve ever had:

  • Lakeside Golf Club — Burbank, CA
  • Oceanside Country Club — Ormond Beach, FL
  • Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse — Lahaina, HI
  • The Palm — Hollywood, CA
  • TIE:
    • Spago — Beverly Hills, CA
    • Mr. Chow — Beverly Hills, CA

#

“Growing up in a place that has winter, you learn to avoid self-pity. Winter is not a personal experience, everybody else is just as cold as you, so you shouldn’t complain about it too much. You learn this as a kid, coming home crying from the cold, and Mother looks down and says, ‘It’s only a little frostbite. You’re okay.’ And thus you learn to be okay. What’s done is done. Get over it. Drink your coffee. It’s not the best you’ll ever get but it’s good enough.”
Garrison Keillor

January 9th, 2015 @ 7:54 am
Friday Five: Soul Coughing

Soul CoughingMy five favorite Soul Coughing tracks:

  1. Screenwriter’s Blues
  2. The Incumbent
  3. Super Bon Bon
  4. Soundtrack to Mary
  5. Unmarked Helicopters

#

We are as happy as people can be, without making themselves ridiculous, and might be even happier; but, as a matter of taste, we choose to stop short at this point.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

January 2nd, 2015 @ 7:50 am
Friday Five: Dreaming to Run

Nike Free 4.0Here are five places where I’d really like to go on a nice long run some day:

  • Maui, Hawaii
  • Rome, Italy
  • Paris, France
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Boston, MA
December 26th, 2014 @ 7:33 am
Friday Five: Home

Five places I’ve called home:

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Gainesville, FL
  • Bristol, RI
  • Daytona Beach, FL
  • Boston, MA
December 19th, 2014 @ 7:25 am
Friday Five: Advice

Five random things I’d like my son to remember:

  • Few things in life are as frequently useful as a good Swiss Army knife (or Leatherman pocket tool). I always have one handy and still own the first one your great-grandmother, Nana Rainy, gave me when I was in fifth or sixth grade.
  • I have never regretted not going to a funeral, but I have often regretted not visiting someone before they died.
  • Brush and floss at least twice every day. No excuses. Just do it.
  • Be passionate about music and be open to hearing new songs. You will not like every song you hear, but you might really like a song you haven’t heard yet.
  • Call your mother. She misses you.

Hemingway’s Cuba, Cuba’s Hemingway

December 18th, 2014 @ 4:50 am
Throwback Thursday
Mia Elise

December 2007
Miami International Airport

#

There’s no use in regret. You can’t change anything.
Your mother died unhappy with the way you turned
out. You and your father were not on speaking terms
when he died, and you left your wife for no good
reason. Well, it’s past. You may as well regret missing
out on the conquest of Mexico. That would have been
just your kind of thing back when you were eighteen:
a bunch of murderous Spaniards, out to destroy a
culture and get rich. On the other hand, the Aztecs
were no great shakes either. It’s hard to know whom
to root for in this situation. The Aztecs thought they
had to sacrifice lots of people to keep the sun coming
up every day. And it worked. The sun rose every day.
But it was backbreaking labor, all that sacrificing.
The priests had to call in the royal family to help,
and their neighbors, the gardener, the cooks…. You
can see how this is going to end. You are going to
have your bloody, beating heart ripped out, but you
are going to have to stand in line, in the hot sun, for
hours, waiting your turn.
by Louis Jenkins, from Tin Flag: New and Selected Prose Poems

December 11th, 2014 @ 8:44 am
Throwback Thursday
Christmas 2005

Christmas 2005
Ashley, Laura, me, Michelle

December 10th, 2014 @ 9:33 am
Baby, It’s Cold Outside

My wife is still pretty awesome.

#

When you’re curious, you find a lot of interesting things to do.
Walt Disney

December 5th, 2014 @ 7:39 am
Friday Five: 1973

vinylMy five favorite songs from 1973:

  1. Radar LoveGolden Earring
  2. Live and Let DiePaul McCartney
  3. Stuck in the Middle with YouStealers Wheel
  4. Sweet JaneThe Velvet Underground
  5. KodachromePaul Simon

Continue reading …

December 4th, 2014 @ 6:30 am
Throwback Thursday
Snowboarding

Snowboarding in Big Bear, CA
2002

November 28th, 2014 @ 9:30 am
Friday Five: Thanksgiving Leftovers

TurkeyMy five favorite Thanksgiving leftovers:

  1. string bean casserole
  2. stuffing
  3. candied yams
  4. turkey
  5. apple pie
November 27th, 2014 @ 8:07 am
Throwback Thursday
Thanksgiving, 2003

Thanksgiving
2003