Driven to distraction
It has been too long since I blogged about driving. I must have been distracted. Well, no more. Hang on. I’m putting it in “L” for “Lunge.” (Like dad used to say.)
You want to kill me? I want to kill you? Fine. We’re gonna settle this once and for all the way nature intended. We’re gonna settle it on the streets. Let’s race.
Psst. Hey, buddy. Wanna buy a road-based transportation system? This baby is state-of-the-art. It’s the absolute finest this planet has to offer. And it only kills +32,000 people per year and injures over two million more. And that’s in the United States alone.
Wow. That does sound great. I’ll take it!
Excuse me. I have to take this call. Okay, I’m back. What were we talking about again? Look out! We’re about to hit that … uh oh.
90 percent of drivers rate their own driving skill as “above average.” They can’t all be right, can they? It turns out that 99.9% of the 90% are delusional idiots.
I, however, can successfully claim to be among the best of the best on the road. I am automotive elite. No, I’m not bragging. It’s not bragging when it’s a fact. And what makes me so special? Only I have the arcane knowledge of the ancients that serves me
in the field of battle when I’m driving a car.
Because I like you, I’ll tell you what it is. I’m even going to tell you for free even though this simple trick is worth millions. The arcane secret of being the best in a car is … hey, where are you going? I’m unloading guru wisdom here. Eyes on me.
Continue reading →
Our new People Being People segment
More stuff ripped from the headlines. I’m only too happy to pass it along. -Ed.
This story has me “hopping” mad. Get it?
For at least the last five years, beer sold at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho, came in two sizes: A short, wide cup called “small” and a tall narrow cup called “large.” This year a small cup of beer cost $4 and a large was $7.
Sounds reasonable. What could possibly be the problem? It turns out that both cups contained the exact same amount of liquid. Say it isn’t so!
The responsible party, Block 22 LLC, feigned ignorance. Of course. A company spokesperson claimed that 16-ounce and 20-ounce cups had been ordered and that they never meant to mislead customers.
Question: Over the course of five-years why did no one at the company ever notice that profits on beer were approx. 50 percent higher than expected? Maybe they were siphoning that extra beer and drinking it at work?
Editorial: I’m calling on everyone to boycott CenturyLink in every possible way. After all, it’s their name on the stadium. That makes them the bad guy. They’re in bed on this one. I’ll lead the way by extending indefinitely my personal boycott against these kegger bootleggers.
Source: Washington Post – Fans sue Boise arena because “large” beer is same size as “regular” (video)
Addendum: “CenturyLink Arena has responded with an official press release, they have acknowledged the problem and have increased the large cup to 24oz at the same price for the rest of the season.”
What’s Worse Than An Asshole? A Hypocrite Asshole
You may have heard about the case of the grumpy old man at the movie theater who shot a guy because he was texting? Yes, in the Great State of Florida. The victim, a 43-year-old man, was reportedly texting his daughter’s babysitter during the movie previews when the 71-one-year old grumpy old man (and former cop) fatally shot him a single time in the chest.
It is now being reported that moments before the incident, the alleged shooter (and non-alleged asshole) did a bit of texting himself. According to a statement from the shooter’s own son, a text was sent by the shooter confirming that he and his wife had already arrived in their seats for a screening of the movie Lone Survivor. The shooter’s son texted he was running late, received the text from his dad, then walked into the theater just as the shooting took place.
Source: Los Angeles Times – Reports: Florida movie theater shooter also sent text message
And now our continuing coverage of The Biebalypse…
Misguiding In Cars With Boys
Transportation increases the odds of accidental fatalities. However, remaining stationary does not reduce the odds to zero.
–Tom B. Taker
In other words, getting from Point A to Point B can be inherently dangerous. Any method of transportation that moves your body through the physical universe increases the chances you’ll take it in the shorts. The moment you begin to move your odds of dying increase. This can take many forms. It may be a flight from Los Angeles to New York City. It might be your morning commute to work in your car. Or it could be as short of a journey as stepping into the bathtub. Or even just getting up out of your chair.
So you might think to yourself, “I’m not moving. I’m going to sit right here and remain safe.”
A nice thought. Except that death may still find you.
For example, you could be on the bed in your very own home when a sinkhole suddenly opens up and you’re just gone. Or, ripped from the headlines just yesterday, you could be standing in your home when the ceiling violently gives way from the impact of a jet aircraft. There are no reports of deaths on the ground in this latest incident, but a young boy did get nicked on his forehead. Come to think of it, the last time I wrote about this theory, I used the example of a jet aircraft engine landing on a house. As always I hate being right.
Being alive can be dangerous.
Maybe it would be a good idea to go for a walk, clear my head and think things over. (Hint: It’s not.)
Continue reading →
U is for Undertow
At least at the beach you knew where the undertow might be lurking. It was generally isolated to that narrow strip of the sea where waves expended themselves on the sand. If you didn’t go in the water the undertow couldn’t get you.
My undertow was more ingrained than that. It wasn’t limited to any geographical location. No, the undertow I dreaded was the one inside my head. I could feel it flirting on the frayed outer edges of my consciousness. It was there, an omnipresent black cloud, probing for ways to get inside and drag me under.
The waves and the primal roar of the ocean gave me no solace, so I stumbled back to the parking lot and drove away. The cloud temporarily pulled back. Continue reading →
Click It Or Sticky Wicket
I freely admit it. I cried like a little girl that first night in jail. They say never let ’em see weakness but I couldn’t help it. But at the same time I wasn’t oblivious. I could see the other prisoners betting cigarettes on how long I’d last. But I’d show ’em all!
The next day I was released to the yard along with everyone else. Dammit. Then a big mean looking bald guy approached me. Here it comes, I thought. This is how it ends for me.
“What are you in for, man?” he asked me.
I looked him straight in the eye. “Seat belt violations, motherfucker,” I said. “One shitload of tickets.”
They pretty much left me alone after that…
I’ll be straight up with you. I think our nation’s fixation with programs like Click It Or Ticket (CIOT) is misguided. And I’ll tell you why.
Some argue that CIOT is a violation of our civil rights. They say that government has no business in coercing us to take care of ourselves. This is especially a sticking point for opponents of motorcycle helmet laws.
Some have argued that seat belt enforcement is an invasion of our privacy because officers have to look into vehicles without probable cause.
These are interesting points that may or may not have some validity. But I say fuck all that as irrelevant. I say that safety enforcement should be prioritized based on a very simple criteria. Just for fun, I’ll call it who is the meat with the brain splatter.
This approach is a simple one and seeks to understand who is at risk, not the nature of the infraction.
Consider an idiot who drives without their seat belt. Who’s meat are they risking? Their own. If they decide to go SVA (single vehicle accident) into a tree or roll their rig, they are the ones who will suffer from brain splatter. SVAs are a special case that, unless the result of something like mechanical failure or acts of God, are generally textbook examples of self-Darwinism. The vast majority of SVAs are caused by intoxicants, excessive speed, and/or operator error.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand that shoveling up the brain splatter can be disturbing, but that’s not a valid reason for prioritizing enforcement of seat belt laws artificially high. Besides, the people who scrape up brains – that’s their job. One that probably pays two to three times what I make, and with excellent benefits, too. Sorry, they can deal with it.
Note: I’m not talking about children here. The drivers of vehicles have a moral obligation to protect underage passengers. (This will be address by my hypothesis below.)
The same thing goes for motorcycle helmets, too. When I ride I always wear a helmet. You’d have to be a friggin’ moron to do otherwise. (Case in point: See Ben Rothlisberger.) My head happens to be where I store my gray matter and I’m pretty fucking partial to that shit. It’s all-important to me and oh-so-fragile and irreplaceable, so yeah, I’m going to protect it. Therefore I have never ridden without a full helmet. None of that “screw the cops” half-helmet bullshit for me.
Again, though, if you opt to ride without a helmet, who are you risking? Yourself. Sure, you might get brains on someone’s windshield but the presence (or not) of your helmet is not very likely to have a life or death impact on others.
So why the emphasis on the enforcement of laws like these? Where the friggin’ hell are the programs for things like red light runners? Ever heard of one? I sure haven’t.
The thing with red light runners is that they put the lives of other people than themselves at extreme high risk of serious injury and death. If we want to enforce some traffic laws, why the hell don’t we start with something like that?
My hypothesis is simple:
Proactive enforcement of traffic safety laws should be prioritized based on the danger to innocent people.
Drivers who refuse to wear seat belts, stupid and annoying though they may be, by far only pose a significant risk to themselves. Therefore, under my hypothesis, enforcement prioritization of seat belt laws would be minimal.
Drivers under the effects of intoxicants greatly risk the lives of innocent people, therefore proactive enforcement for that should be very high. Ditto for those who dangerously break laws like running red lights.
To this day our DUII laws are far too gutless. Yes, the enforcement prioritization is there, as it should be. There are DUII programs and funding. But the punishments are far too lax. If I had my say, upon conviction for a first offense the offender would lose their license to drive for three years and the vehicle, regardless of ownership, would be forfeit. Period. A punishment would sure make vehicle owners think about driving while intoxicated, eh? And it would force employers and friends to be highly discriminating of who they trusted with their wheels, too.
A second conviction would result in a loss of driving privileges for life and mandatory jail time.
Talking on cell phones while driving or, worse yet, texting, is rightly getting attention, too. For once, things might be working as they should. Rare, I know. When innocent lives hang in the balance due to egregious selfishness and stupidity, enforcement must drop like a hammer and the laws must have enough teeth to actually make a difference and weed out the most foolish amongst us.
Similarly, I’d drastically increase enforcement on red light runners. Too many people get impatient and take liberties with red lights that they shouldn’t. In my town the problem is at epidemic levels and law enforcement still doesn’t do jack shit about the problem. There is no funding and no enforcement prioritization. I predict it won’t be long until a vehicle is t-boned or a pedestrian is flattened and innocent lives are irrevocably destroyed.
In my experience law enforcement is supposed to have a proactive component. I’ve heard a figure that says 43% of law enforcement should be proactive. (Our local police aren’t there yet.) But the way it seems to work is that this doesn’t happen unless there is some grant that funds overtime, which is fantastically probably the most inefficient way to prosecute things like traffic safety programs. And that grant money is typically narrowly restricted to very specific applications, like CIOT, DUII or pedestrian stings. Those who give out grant money don’t want local communities making their own prioritization decisions. So the money comes with strings attached.
CIOT, for example, is typically conducted with overtime paid for my “federal highway safety grant funding.” Where is the funding for red light enforcement programs, if there even is such a thing?
Why so much emphasis on CIOT? My personal theory is that it is based on some sort of “do-gooder complex.” Some apparently see it as their role to force people take care of themselves. Sounds like they have control issues to me. Perhaps they’ll also come up with a program to enforce restrictions on Texas contributions to world cuisine like deep-fried twinkies, deep-fried pork ribs, deep-fried cheesecake, deep-fried Coke, chicken fried bacon, deep-fried banana splits, deep-fried beer, and, of course, deep-fried butter.
Fuck that. Fund the traffic safety programs that prioritize the increased safety of innocent people. The innocent must be prioritized above the moronic!
Are you a moron? Do you have a death wish? I say fine and dandy. Feel free to take yourself out, hopefully before you’ve procreated and passed along your genes. We shouldn’t spend our time, money and resources trying to stop you.
Let’s concentrate on protecting the innocent instead. Let us prioritize the safety of the innocent above the safety of the stupid.