What Now? Off My Desk, 2013

| October 29, 2013 | 0 Comments

If you’re not grumpy about the state of things lately, you’re just not paying attention.

Item: The shut and open case. The Tea-imposed financial hostage crisis is over, and we’re good with that, tho’ we lost $24.6 billion, to say nothing of wasted time, attention, and our good moods. “A ‘quixotic’ adventure,” “a fools’ errand,” and, “no economic rationale,” say our pundits, saying the least.

Repentant, Remorseful, Rueful, Republicans?

Hmm. Don’t think so.

Item: Calcutta in India is among the most polluted cities in the world, but instead of outlawing cars on the road, among the chief contributors to bad air, they have outlawed bikes. Why not outlaw cars? “Politics!”

Item: Traffic laws have long managed street safety in American society: the light turns red, you stop; green, you go. Stop sign? Stop. Look around. Safe? Move on.

Givens? Any of us who drive or walk unquestionably subject ourselves to these practices. Not only will we live longer, we’ll maintain a safe and civil society.

Why, then, do cyclists by the dozens – flying through every kind of traffic signal – arrogantly consider themselves exempt? Great minds want to know.

Governor Brown recently signed legislation requiring California drivers to give bicyclists a 3-ft. buffer zone when passing. Not a word, though, about how easily bikers can endanger themselves – and us – by disobeying traffic laws.

The S. D. County Bicycle Coalition (sdcbc.org) gives us “lessons in sharing the road.” Now, for instance you’ll begin to see “Sharrows” – “Shared Lane Markings,” to indicate a lane too narrow for cyclists to ride side-by-side with cars. When you see a bicycle painting in the middle of a lane, you know that the bike has a right.

We’ll soon have bike sharing fleets in every community, so be prepared – indeed, brace yourselves – for many more cyclists on the road.

Item: What’s “popular”? I dunno. What kids think is popular, for instance, is music I probably never heard – and there’s a good chance will ever hear again. This is due to our entirely fragmented world of entertainment. You can tell this is true; except perhaps for the Star Spangled Banner (and I’m not too sure about that), just try singing anything in unison in a multi-generational crowd. Adam Sternbergh, a New York Times’ writer, nails it: “Thanks to today’s ubiquitous media choices, rather than sharing our experiences, we are all relegated to ‘our own individual cocoon.’”

Item: The ironies of life: here at home, we’ve recently been turned down for new credit cards. Why? We don’t maintain enough debt.

Item: This column is getting me gray(er) – but I have lots of company. From earliest B.C. days, gray-heads have somewhat yielded to hundreds of reversals, from oils and cat-blood, vinegar and salts, black powders, and numerous other “solutions” – but by the mid-1600’s most figured out that just wearing a black wig does the trick. Today, getting “rid” of it is comparatively easy. Don’t thank me, wig-makers, for building your business.

Enough already: Fast Company ran a list of how to buy happiness. The “purchases” – i.e. money, lifestyle upgrades, community support, etc., are all myths, they say. It’s much more productive – and successful – just to be happy.

I’m in.

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