The Mole reads the papers (and other things) so you don't have to
The swine, oops, H1N1/A flu is NOT stopped by N95 masks which retail for about $2. What is required is a type N100 mask which will pass only material smaller than 0.3 microns –at a cost of $10 each. CNN told us on April 30, “reported” by “Jeanne Moos” in a silly style, that money was being made on masks, but apparently didn't think that the critical details regarding masks, above, were newsworthy. For this and other of other reasons, I now consider CNN to be the “Twitter” station.
A New York Times column(1) by Maureen Dowd, one of my favorite columnists, one of very few, expresses better than I can, my feelings about Twitter. She says “I would rather be tied up to stakes in the Kalahari Desert, have honey poured over me and red ants eat out my eyes than open a Twitter account.” All that su Topo can say is, “Brava!”.
A discussion of how the GPS system can be used to improve transportation operations, which is too technical to take on here, can be found at http://www.nctr.usf.edu/jpt/pdf/JPT%208-1%20Bullock.pdf
It should be required reading for the LACMTA IF they could find someone to understand it.
Ear to the Rail
Now there is no guarantee that the recording here(6) http://filebin.ca/cemxt is actually what happened at lunchtime on Snoble’s last day at the Taj Mahal, but then again, who can say that it didn't happen.
Seriously, we need to educate everyone about better hand washing techniques as a disease prevention methodology. Here is a link to an excellent site, The Scrub Club) http://www.scrubclub.org/ , especially for children. If you want to try some of the fun things yourself, such as placing the hand washing steps in proper order, then go ahead –I won’t tell anyone. Here is the link to that game http://www.scrubclub.org/site/meet_6steps.aspx . Children and adults too, will like it! If they “win” the game, linked above, they will be allowed to print out a Scrub Club membership card. If you would like to ensure that an adult knows proper hand washing, assign him to help a child learn the steps J. Too, under the heading “Downloads” you can find posters in Spanish and French. Oh, and the scrub Club is produced by the NSF (National Science Foundation) International.
The New York Daily News offers a piece(2) that is sort of a suspicions confirmed article and squares with la Taupe’s experience with the USPS. The reporter discusses her experiences with the USPS. ‘At the Roosevelt Island post office last week, tennis club manager… said he gave up priority mail long ago. "It's a ripoff," he said. "If you do the math, it's just more money. It isn't quicker."’
Su Topo too, has found that, at his Post Office, even when he asks for the least expensive mode he is still forced to listen to a litany of all possible sending modes with the counter person reciting the most expensive method FIRST. Since almost everyone is forced to listen to this undesired “sales pitch” service times are lengthened along with a corresponding lengthening of the service queue. Your Mole has also noticed that the free mailing materials are kept behind the counter while the supply racks are well stocked with the “for sale” envelopes, boxes and etc. This usually means that one must wait on line, obtain the free materials, rejoining the line while addressing the materials and then purchasing the proper postage. Is this a conspiracy? All this lack of transparency on the part of the USPS leads up to a gradual loss of trust in our Post Office by this Mole.
Don’t look now, but a black hole may be gaining on us. (See http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/429/2 ) Than may not really be the case, but the article describes the possibility of roaming, rogue black holes.
Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is mapped for us –at least an artist's conception shows us a sort of “You are here” picture at : http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/0806/MWspitzer_lab_2048.jpg Click on the image for a large view.
Then for the big picture, and a fairly simple explanation of how our universe fits into the megaverse: see http://randall.physics.harvard.edu/RandallCV/NYTimesuniversegraphic.jpg
and see Charlie Rose (not one of su Topo’s favorites) allow the beautiful, extremely intelligent Dr. Lisa Randall to speak, almost uninterrupted, about her work.
Then consider how one might communicate with possible inhabitants of an adjacent brane.
She mentioned the LRC (Large Hadron Collider) which won’t be back in operation until September 2009 (See: http://lhc.web.cern.ch/lhc/ ) at CERN (Organisation [Conseil ] Européenne pour la Recherche Nucléaire) whose home page is at http://public.web.cern.ch/public/Welcome-fr.html (Click on “en” in the upper right for English).
The Mole Rides Again so that you don't have to be forced to listen to drivers' interminable conversations
2009-04-27: about 10:30, Line 212, bus # 6342, Driver: 16476 This driver is engaged in a lengthy cell phone conversation –this one on a walky-talky, so we are "treated" to both sides of the conversation, like Metrolink engineer, must they kill a bus-load of people before the LACMTA takes action?.
A 704 bus 9394 bypasses the clearly marked stop at Cañon in Beverly Hills and stops a long bus length away at the #4 bus stop, causing me to run. When I ask the operator why she did that, she offers no coherent explanation. I wonder if Leahy was that kind of driver and whether he condones her 'attitude. I am riding a line 3 Big Blue Bus, the woman who is seated directly in front of me is an excellent time manager –she is making something with yarn and some kind of needle. Molette later tells me that it is called crocheting [crow-shaying] and that it is not a needle but a hook.
The woman doing handicraft is joined by another woman, a stranger, but they fall into easy conversation in Español. The woman's handicraft might be a French flag, she has completed the white section and is working on the blue.
2009-04-29: Oh no, BCT is said to be assuming lines 124, 125 and 130. Yet another decrease in value of my monthly pass.
Green Line: An obviously toothless old man with stringy hair and the number 19 on his cap, silently gums out the words as he reads. His book is thick, its' title is "Executive Orders".
It is still early, about 6:30 when I board the Blue Line, the "transbordo " announcement is still ongoing.
At 8:30 AM. Air Canada materials, this time mostly tightly rolled up baggage labels, litter Sepulveda BL just south of Century BL, at the bus stop on the west side of the street. In the past –this has been going on for quite while– it was the small "tag" type labels that someone had shredded (by hand) and scattered all over the general area. SHAME ON AIR CANADA! The photo above, taken at the site later in May shows a typical littering.
What is needed here is action not only by Air Canada but the Airport Police as well. The police need only install a temporary surveillance camera above the site and, su Topo estimates that this littering can be stopped within two weeks.
This is either one of their employees or someone with easy access to their materials AND is unhappy with Air Canada. Your Mole has seen several reports which were sent to an apparently impotent Air Canada. The reports express concern that having such a person at LAX, with access to aircraft represents a security threat. Su Topo concurs and wonders why Air Canada doesn't involve the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) and the Airport Police? This littering seems to take place late evenings by someone who is a bus rider or waits at the bus stop for his ride. This Mole will fly one of the many other carriers who fly coincident routes until he feels that Air Canada has found the culprit.
You, of course, will decide on your air carrier based upon information available to you. In some ways this is a situation like the "whois" bumper stickers which deface buses and which the LACMTA has long ignored and seems disinterested in stopping.
2009-05-05: aboard a Line 439 headed downtown. 8:30 the driver over accelerates then is forced to break when he overtakes the vehicle ahead. He produces severe jerking by rocking his foot on the accelerator. His ID number is 16856.
Gold Line: The door closing warning is too loud and nerve jangling. The current signal in use in Tokyo is much
more pleasant (I will include a link to a sample when I find one).
A woman on her cell cautions someone that "... those summer classes fill up fast, so register ASAP ...". She makes another call, this one to Richard ... " this guy is cheap as the day is long ... he wants to build for $100 per square foot ... architects fees are around 15% ... the drawings must be computer produced .. I don't care what program you use ... I haven't worked since February ... so I need this project ... ".
She is intent on lowering Richard's expectations, while simultaneously teaching me and the entirety of this rail car a "Masters Class in Project Administration" and your Mole is so engrossed in his note taking, that he passes Lake Av. Changing at Allen, he returns to Lake in car number 712, on one of the new green coloured Gold Line trains. It has no "door closing alarm" at all so, on average the system-wide sound level is just right. Like much done by the LACMTA these consistent inconsistencies are bumpkinish, lacking in sensitivity and sophistication!
As I near the staircase I note that the exit to the west side of Lake AV is blocked. Unsurprisingly, there are no signs. I take the east exit, walk south to the 210 FWY entrance, look across at the west side of the street and see that the entire bus stop area is coned off. There are no signs ANYWHERE! With the LACMTA it is not so much of a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, as a case of the left hand not even knowing that a right hand exists. Su Topo ended up walking about three blocks south to the next bus stop. New head at Metro, same body!
A 439 Line bus, number 7594. As I look down into the dirty troughs below the dirty windows of this bus with the dirty floors and un-deployed trash bags, I understand that the LACMTA is ahead of my country in its slide into third world status..
Apple & Fairfax, under the Santa Monica Freeway, is site of the dark and dirty West Los Angeles Transit Center. It is always filthy. The approximately block long site has only two, under utilized, trash cans. Litter is everywhere! In the gutter I even see a discarded hypodermic syringe! The asphalt street has a cobblestone appearance due to a lack of concrete bus pads which would have prevented fragmentation. The lack of civic responsibility on the part of bus-riders contributes to the average of the five blobs of gum which dot each square foot of sidewalk.
I board bus number 8052, a newer vehicle, which is about as dirty as 7594, has no trash bag deployed and, for its age, has more graffiti.
The seediness of Hollywood BL causes me to speculate as to exactly how disappointed tourists to my home city must become once they raise their gaze above the walk of stars. Three women tourists stop at Lassie's star –one poses, sort of dog like, squatting using her hands to emulate paws in the begging position, while another takes her picture.
Only an organization that is truly delusionary could consider it to be "best" of anything when they advertise their ineptness as in the photo above. Years of dirt and grime cap this grafitti covered kiosk at the LAXCBC.
LAXCBC: Birds peck at the bread crumbs which litter the area (photo above). Not that one would notice with all the other litter, filthy kiosks, the graffiti which is to be seen on most surfaces and the thoughtlessly discarded blobs of gum, which identify the sidewalk as a substitute trash can.
I look down at at the base of one of the tall palms which are sprinkled through this bus center. There is an accumulation of all kinds of litter, predominately cigarette related (photo above).
Too, each of the approximately eight foot by eight foot concrete slabs which constitute the “island” portion of the bus center is flecked with gum(photo above). Every slab has space between it and those abutting it, some of these intervals are as wide as two centimetres, but all contain debris, again, mostly cigarette related.
Looking up, somewhat in horror, your Mole sees the desiccated remains of at least four birds, only two are shown in the photo above. These poor creatures must have died of starvation after becoming exhausted attempting to escape from the netting which is used to prevent birds from fouling the area. However, the mesh is wide enough to allow smaller birds to somehow wiggle in, yet too small to allow them to exit. This is indeed cruelty to animals and something that could be avoided if the LACMTA had the intelligence and sensitivity to periodically inspect their various sites, report problems and take prompt remedial action.
At the Hollywood and Vine Station, the sign promises the next train at 12:52 but it is a full minute and a quarter after that before it arrives and the doors open. This is evidence that the display simply projects the schedule rather than dynamically interfacing the real world –as is done on BART in San Francisco.
I exit at Hollywood and Highland, a sick bird tweets, huddled in the space between the wall and the side of the escalator–poor thing!
Of course, the street in front of the station is blocked and someone, whose I.Q. is roughly equal to the square root of his body temperature,has provide an ''explanatory”” sign.
After a short period of wandering, relying on "crowd wisdom" we find the stop. Note to Lahey: they should provide a white rectangle on the bottom of these signs which would allow for a simple map to be drawn.
At the LAXCBC: Vor is again today, moving trash from one container to another, a single item at a time, using his gripper device –it is difficult to understand how anyone could imagine that this is an efficient operation.
I am aboard a 439 line bus being driven by a driver who I have code named "Chatty Kathy" (73679). She is quiet this morning but her jerky driving gives her away and she allows a passenger to stand in the "forbidden area", forward of the yellow line. They discuss an accident which is in the cleanup stage, while he fumbles for his fare, the two actions seem just beyond his limit of concurrency.
The Greyhound Depot: In an ambiance like that found in the bar, in the original Star Wars, I am asked a question –four times – by a waiting passenger. I pass his query past my known. languages without recognition. It turns out that he is asking "dose donets?". Which translates to "Are those donuts?, referring to the bag containing my lunch. Others pass through the Greyhound station –one man mumbles out his plans. The TV is turned on and begins to show TMZ –a broadcast, the participants of which rank lower than used car salesmen, in my opinion, that is.
2009-05-20 Gratis, free, or tada, no matter how you say it, it sounds great. RTC, the Las Vegas transportation authority was giving free rides this morning between 06:00 and 09:00 AM. My free trip to the convention venue on the Strip, and everyone else's too, was a gift of a local wireless company in celebration of reaching a sales goal. A great idea which got lots of positive coverage –I saw it last night on several TV stations and this morning as well The wireless company (think Jiminy, you know, something which chirps), promoted mass transit use –and dios knows, Las Vegas could use less traffic, while simultaneously garnering free press. The 116 bus offers an alternate slower, less expensive route to the Strip. I shift seats when a man with a tool belt encroaches on my space. My new location is more comfortable so I take out my book. No luck! I am now seated one seat away from a "speed talker" who is on her cell. She had a fleur de lis insignia on her shirt, so she is likely an hotel employee.
Think the guy who used to do the Fedex commercial speaking very rapidly –only she is about 25% faster. "... I made baked beans what you bringin' ... just like it's hard to find a man without kids ... then he knows when he is going to have a seizure ... so I told him 'you're not my man' ... the cheapest Beyonce tickets are $250, I like her but not that much ...". This could have continued indefinitely but I wanted to save some Blackberry battery.
Greyhound bus stations, like this one in downtown Las Vegas, must be the most depressing places on earth. My last trip here was on the now defunct Megabus, thinking back it wasn't too bad. Although we weren't allowed inside the "station" which was our point of departure. The group with whom I return to Los Angeles all have cell phones and seem to be competing for awards given for possessing the loudest and/or most irritating ring tone, being able to carry on a conversation in the loudest and/or most irritating manner. I must also add the categories of making and/or receiving the largest number of calls and the highest percentage of unnecessary calls. The passenger behind me has already made two calls and we are only six minutes out of the Las Vegas station. I will call him "jangles" after his loud, irritating ring tone to which he will only respond to after his lucky number of rings, seven –so far he is leading the competition in all categories. I should have added a prize for carrying on the longest conversation, it would have been won by the woman who carried on a walky-talky exchange with some man in her life. Perhaps conversation in not the correct word because, at least his side, seemed to have a constantly rising tone signifying an escalating argument.
Early this morning as I arrive at the LAXCBC I am greeted by the sight of a homeless person still asleep on a bench. The bench which is his bed, amazingly, is one of the few not defaced by graffiti (photo above). There is absolutely no routine security patrol available at the City Bus Center, although from time-to-time,I have seen various police agencies responding to call. There is a need for frequent routine patrols here in order to eliminate the on going acts which results in the situation described above. Too, the LACMTA should send someone to school so that there is an organisational understanding of the term “maintenance”, that coupled with on-going site inspection and correction would clean up these sad areas. Eliminating smoking at all transit centers, or stops where more than 5 people congregate, would be an excellent first step.
The Fly-Away, LAWA's (Los Angeles World Airports) service to LAX is losing money –at $6 per passenger– Metro is talking about cutting service on the 439 line service, which costs passengers $1.75 ($1.25 base fare and .50 Freeway Charge) , so what kind of convoluted logic caused this? The 439 should run full most times, if properly promoted that is. But what kind of promotion can we expect from an organisation which cannot even construct a timely advisory to its' passengers of a change in Pasadena bus stops.
This is a rare digression into politics:
La Taupe is not, by background or training, an economist. However, he is a critic, so here is his criticism of President Obama's approach, at least partially, to stimulating the economy by placing cash in the hands of the population. Let's say that you were given $250 to spend. If you purchased clothing the money would flow partly to stores that sold you the merchandise and perhaps mostly to the foreign producers of the clothing –thereby stimulating that foreign economy. If you purchased shoes the same division of the monies would occur but this time, China as the world's largest shoemaker would benefit. When you buy a foreign car the same cash flow is approximated.
It is time to think America first! Or at least, the U.S. and its neighbours, Canada and Mexico. I am very concerned for my country: it is deeply in debt to foreigners; each year it loses the skills and equipment necessary to produce machinery, machine tools and capital goods; its population, due to an irrational fear of a standardised curricula, is undereducated; I understand that firearm and ammunition sales are very high, which is not a good sign.
The president should, like native American chiefs of old, metaphorically speaking, eat last –that would ensure that there was enough food for all.
He should focus on the provision of jobs for the average American, NOT increasing the wealth of the ruling class (yes, we do have classes in America) and those who, by producing products in low wage foreign countries synchronously enrich themselves while depriving their countrymen of jobs.
Producing goods at home will mean that due to our standard of living, prices will go up. There are those who will say “basket ball shoes cost a lot more!”. If you don't have a job, it really doesn't make any difference how much basket ball shoes cost.
The three areas which su Topo feels offer the greatest opportunity to reduce the loss of our national treasure and in the case of the first area the loss of our fellow citizens lives: (i) immediately cease all military operations and repatriate our troops (police agencies can continue to search for Bin Ladin); (ii) Immediately cease all foreign aid as American citizens are not responsible for being the supplier of free military aid or any other kind and; (iii) Cancel all H1B visas and stop the pretense that American citizens are not available for jobs other than the most menial; (iv) consider legislation which will encourage multi-national corporations to use workers from a given country in some ration to their earnings in that country.
Greater minds than mine make recommendations about jobs(3) and education(4), please read them and come to your own conclusion.
There is much available to read and listen, this Mole encourages you to do so. Please start with(5) below. Change, if it does come to America will not come from on high, it must originate with us.
Dedicated to the Dulcinea of my dreams
“Her name was Aldonza Lorenzo, and upon her he thought
fit to confer the title of Lady of his Thoughts; and after some search for a name which should not be out of harmony with her own, and should suggest and indicate that of a princess and great lady, he decided upon calling her Dulcinea del Toboso -she being of El Toboso- a name, to his mind, musical, uncommon, and significant, like all those he had already bestowed upon himself and the things belonging to him.”
Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616), Don Quixote, (1605)
Fare Box Score Box
Bus numbers of buses with Out of Order Fare Boxes: 7172; 6309; 6322; 5169; 5163; 5069: 5097;
Note: Few entries above do not necessarily mean more working fare boxes.
Numbers of Buses Defaced by WhoIs stickers: 6342+UR; 9394+UR; 6386+UR; 5213+UR; 6133+UR; 6370; 5188; 7594+UR; 8052+UR; 3331+UR; 6386+UR;
+UR = whois sticker and/or the ugly residue left after passengers partly remove the sticker.
Numbers of Buses whose Head and Tail signs disagree: 6439—42/blank; 5180-115/108; 7379-38/blank; 6459-42/590; 7039-439/446;
(1) Dowd, Maureen. “To Tweet or Not to Tweet”. New York Times. 21 April 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/opinion/22dowd.html
(2) New York Daily News. 4 May 2009. http://www.nydailynews.com/money/2009/05/04/2009-05-04_priority_mail_isnt_faster_than_regular_mail.html Accessed 2009-05-27
(3) Editorial Writer. “Obama’s plan stimulates the deficit, not the economy”. 19 May 2009. Washington Examiner. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/Obamas-plan-stimulates-the-deficit-not-the-economy-45348542.html
(4) http://www.democracynow.org/2009/2/2/stream Accessed 2009-05-27
(5) Johnston, David Cay. “Fiscal Therapy”. Mother Jones. January/February 2009.
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2009/01/fiscal-therapy Accessed 2009-05-27
(6) With thanks to a “Bob and Ray” broadcast of 1960-02-03. Still need a laugh? Listen to lots more Bob and Ray at: http://www.archive.org/details/otr_bobandray
Su Topo’s Disclaimer and apologia
I try to write an easy-on-the-eyes page using text input. Blogger.com however, has other ideas and will often not stay with a single font type or point size, produces extraneous spacing and etc. I wish I had time to debug the HTML which they produce, it is NOT the straight text which I pasted into the form, but I don’t. Therefore, I apologize on behalf of Blogger.com for the changes which they make, of which I do not approve. Sometimes, what I see, thankfully you don’t, is 24 point type –it is giant and other times they swallow my text, although it still seems to be there. In fairness to them, things seem better, although this is partly because I do understand which of their “features” do the most damage to me and consequently do not use them. Communicating these problems to them, for me, is something like having teeth extracted without the benefit of anesthetic, actually it is less fun than that. By their design, there is no simple e-mailing them with "Please look at my posting of 2009-02-28, it is weird!” I am hoping that one of their developers will some day read this, copy my code and improve their text to HTML engine. Until then, lo siento.
Mole’s Copyright Statement
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