The Mole reads the papers (and other things) so you don't have to

AFP(1) (Agence France-Presse) carried a nice piece on the a law against engine idling which is being considered in Hong Kong, SAR. In Japan, one often sees parking attendants waving signs encouraging those waiting on line for a parking spot, to shut off their engines. I don't know whether the Japanese advisory has the status of law or not.

In an editorial(2) The Los Angeles Times argues against Mayor Villaraigosa's plan for free Metro rides in an attempt to lure future paying riders. The Times editors make a compelling case against the plan citing an influx of homeless on hot days here even though all had paid fares. In San Francisco which is the source of the idea (can't we ever originate something here??), they experienced teenagers engaging in food fights and vandalism on “Free Days” there. The Times editorial says, in part, “... The best way to get commuters out of their cars is to create a public transit system that is fast, efficient and blankets the city. ...” This is certainly NOT the plan which the LACMTA is attempting to implement as evidenced by the reduction in service every six months (See: Beach Cities Transit below).

I won't say much about a silly argument about calling the money wasting Expo Line the Aqua Line(3). This is somewhat like arguing about the best placement of deck chairs on the Titanic.

Ear to the Rail

The Mole is constantly looking for interesting MP3 downloads and other audio, to which he can listen when the ride is too rough or too short, for reading. Here is a link to Fresh Air.

Unfortunately, these broadcasts cannot be downloaded, but, you can listen on-line, beginning on July 17th and continuing for four days, Terry Gross provides us with an excellent surprisingly balanced background briefings on the Israel's main areas of conflict, viz., Gaza and Lebanon.

On July 24, 2006, in a broadcast called Republican Strategies in the 21st Century ,Terry interviews Los Angeles Times reporters Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten about the Republican party's approach to forcing their priorities. On item discussed was the Washington, DC “Wednesday Meeting” showing how seemingly disparate conservative groups can be brought together to kill proposed legislation, e.g., improved CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy or Clean Air for Europe) standards which, to my way of thinking, then lead to a worsening of Global Warming.

Fresh Air is just one of many excellent NPR offerings . www.NPR.com

Your Mole also likes to be entertained and is interested in history. An excellent source for podcasts which cover both of these bases is an OTR (Old Time Radio) site. e.g..

Listening to these programs, some more than seventy years old, can be entertaining AND, some say, can sharpen one's listening skills and improve concentration. There are many OTR sites, this one offers a samples of “Mysterious Traveler” the host takes a train ride and “Nero Wolfe” a well developed character based upon novels by Rex Stout (1886 – 1975).

The Mole Rides Again - so that you, won't have to listen to the driver's (and other's) inane cell phone conversations

On a 232 bus (No. 11059), it's 2006-07-22 qt 14:20. The bus is behind schedule but the operator (No. 70835) doesn't mind as he chats on his cell phone and seemingly slows down a little with each word.

I experience a sense of déjà vu on another bus. As I wait to exit, the operator tells me: “I do that a couple of times a day, forget where I am”. This was by way of explaining his indecisiveness about which lane to take, after hanging up upon completing his cell phone conversation. Sooner or later – CRASH!

Mathew, a visitor from Canberra Australia, echoed my feelings about the 333 Line from Santa Monica, which abruptly terminates in a less than desirable part of Los Angeles. He told me that he was given a ride out of the area by the LAPD and a friendly cautionary lecture about the people who live in the area and it's dangers. The 333 should terminate at Union Station, or at least the 7th/Metro Red Line Station, which is only several blocks away. See Line 333 route map on page 4. But, that would be “systems thinking”. Mr. Snoble are you listening??

Once again, today, 1 August, the LACMTA showed that its customers are the furthest thing from its mind. Today, the Beach Cities Transit Line 109 supposedly went into operation, but, there were no announcements, no schedules, no notices – no nothing. This is definitely par for the course for an agency that is more secretive than the CIA, and I mean this in a bad way. Additionally, the value of one's pass has depreciated because extra fare is now required to accomplish the same trip – if, indeed, the trip is even possible under with the reduced service (think old Line 220) - that was included in the pass until the 25 June 2006 “shakeup”.

The woman, holding a faux Louis Vuitton bag on her lap, is pronouncing each word silently as she reads. The man, seated across from me, is dressed in maculate clothing and wearing a hat which mostly conceals his long hair, seems to have experienced a corporal failure. His mid-section seems to have melted and reconstituted itself around his mid-thigh. Daliesque might be properly descriptive of his condition.

  1. N/A “Polluted Hong Kong mulls laws on idling engines” 25 July 2006 Agence France-Presse

  2. N/A No Free Metro Rides” 31 July 2006 Los Angeles Times

(3) Guccione, Jean Parks Aims to Derail 'Aqua Line'20 July 2006 Los Angeles Times

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