fighting the lack of good ideas

gum must die

What is wrong with people?

Why is it that activities considered totally uncouth with “normal” chewing is thrown out the window when people chew gum?

When you chew food, you chew with your mouth shut.

When you chew food, you don’t crack it.

You don’t blow bubbles.

But when people chew gum, they feel the need to chew it all day, like cows, and crack it every few seconds.

I hate gum because people that chew it are [almost] all assholes about it.

It’d be nice if people could have some courtesy around others, but apparently gum chewing is the exception to being polite. Or maybe it’s just narcissism has risen to the national pastime of America.

toll revenues are down, and they do what?

USA Today reports that toll revenues are down because (drum roll please): fewer people are driving, they’re driving shorter distances, or they’re taking mass transit.

What is the response from the organizations that run toll roads? Why, raise tolls of course.

That’s right: like any other time the government gets involved in something, instead of encouraging people to drive more (such as by dropping tolls), they raise them. They do it with taxes, bus fares, and anything else where they think they’re entitled to revenue.

When private enterprise starts losing customers, they sure as hell don’t *raise* prices: they cut them to get people back. But not the government.

And don’t get me started on the fact that all these roads have paid for themselves dozens of times over from the tolls *already* collected.

why alcohol and cars don’t mix

I found out today when I logged into my email that one of my former coworkers was involved in a crash yesterday. 19 year old Justin Crouse was drunk and rammed my friend Philip’s car when he ran a red light in Raleigh yesterday.

Right now, Philip’s in ICU in Raleigh. His girlfriend, who was in the passenger seat, died at the hospital because this underage asshole couldn’t restrain himself from climbing into a vehicle after he had had too much to drink.

I hope Justin gets the book thrown at him: he knew going in that he could kill somebody, and this needs to be treated like the intentional homicide it is.

I also hope Philip gets much better soon so he can start to get to his life.

Phil: we’re all pullin’ for you.

News stories here.

am i the only person who *didn’t* skip that day…

I seem to recall – and not too horribly long ago, either – that people used to at least approximate being polite. I’m pretty sure we as a nation used to encourage being polite, sharing, and thoughtfulness. We used to try to make our kids be those things starting before kindergarten (Sesame Street pops to mind). And during kindergarten. And school.

Not anymore. Nope: now everyone seems to be a narcissistic asshole. So tied-up and consumed by themselves to not even take a fraction of a second to THINK about anyone else.

Cases in point: I fly a lot for work, and I was sitting in an airplane last week when the jackass in front of me decides to slam his seat back into me. Didn’t look behind him to see if anyone might be bothered. He didn’t even lean his chair back in a fashion I might have had a chance to notice and shift out of his way. That was bad. But it didn’t stop there: next he decided to start bouncing in his chair, repeatedly driving the seat into my knees over and over again. I tried to get him to stop, but was unsuccessful. So I was forced into being a jerk back and repeatedly kneed him in the kidneys.

Or have you driven recently? Anywhere? It used to be that certain areas of the country were notorious for having bad drivers (aggressive, incompetent, lolly-gagging, etc). Not anymore. Now driving involves taking your life in your hands and hoping like mad nobody fouls up so badly you die. No one uses turn signals. They drift lanes when turning. They cut corners early on lefts. And if you happen to find some kind soul who DOES signal, they’ll turn the blinker on as they’re moving into the new lane.

I hate gum. I hate the smell. I hate the sound. I hate the sight of it. Especially when the jackass chewing it chews with his mouth open (wasn’t that an express no-no growing up – you chew with your mouth shut?); or worse: if they’re blowing bubbles and cracking it.

I tell people I hate gum, generally in no uncertain terms, and ask they not chew around me because it really bugs me.

Some folks when I tell them this seem to have the decency to stop. Most don’t. Some chew louder just to piss me off. Others don’t care, and keep doing what they’re doing because they can. It used to be that folks had a common courtesy to chew with their mouths shut. No more.

It used to be that folks would at least pretend to respect the teacher (in class), presenter (in work meetings), or whathaveyou and refrain from being assholes – at least in those settings. I’ve had professors inform the class on the first day that gum chewing, food eating, etc would not be tolerated. I’ve seen kids proceed to do those verbotten activities, and get upset when they’re told to leave class.

The church I grew up in had a standing policy to not eat during the service. A candy or cough drop was fine (you suck on those), but chewing was right out. The leadership (and members and attenders) wanted everyone to be able to listen without being unduly distracted by unnecessary activity. If you were really so bored or tired you needed to do something to stay awake: stay home – or go to sleep. Lack of preparation on your part was no excuse to distract everyone else in the room with your incessant moving or chewing. It was a church service, not a park. It was a worship time, not a buffet. What you did in your own time was your business, but when in the specified meeting, you were there for God. And you could at least pretend to care about what was going on.

It used to be that you could count on “public venues” (such as a theater, train, concert, etc) to be pleasant places to go where people were generally considerate of others.

Sadly, this seems to no longer be the case.

I don’t hold an idyllic nostalgia for bygone days, but it was nice when people weren’t in a constant rush, and they’d take even a second of their day to stop and think about what they were doing and decide to NOT do it because it was likely to bother other folks. It was nice when you could count on knowing your neighbors. It was nice when folks would take more than that second, and actually intentionally go out of their way to help somebody else.

Maybe I’m a romantic, or a damn fool. But I wish we could return to a nicer society where folks would take a second to at least warn the poor slob behind them on the plane they’re about to lean their seat back.

my first act as president…

…will be to eliminate the TSA.

I was in Chicago this week for work, and on my way back the TSA gerbil found a knife in my briefcase. The same briefcase that made it through RDU without anyone noticing a knife.

When I am elected president in 2016 the first thing to go will be the stupidity that is TSA. That’s right, they took my $60 knife from me. The mail-it-home kiosk has been closed for months at MDW because people complained items didn’t make it back or something.

The stupid part about this whole episode, though, is that I don’t need a knife to cause havoc on a plane. I’m a big enough guy, and know enough about the basics of martial arts and self-defence to cause issues.

But I’m honest, and up-standing, and have no reason to do so.

But the TSA doesn’t consider whether or not you’re likely to cause an issue. Nope. It’s an outright ban.


the inanity of ‘special’ lanes

Carpool lanes do not alleviate traffic. They encourage folks to either a) ignore the ‘carpool-only’ signs, or b) get pissed-off at other drivers ignoring the signs.

I’ve been in California for a few days on a working vacation, and the carpool-only lanes are stupid. Because I’ve been driving by myself to work, I do not have 2 or more people in my car, and therefore am not supposed to be in said lanes, unless it’s *not* between certain hours, which are, of course, exactly when I’m on the road.

There is a similar phenomenon in Virginia where they have dedicated HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes open northbound for part of the day, southbound for another part, and closed the rest of the time. To use those, you must have at least 3 people in your vehicle (unless you’re in a motorcycle or vehicle that can only hold two people, in which case the 1 or 2 (respectively) is OK. So, for those of us who don’t typically travel with more than ourselves or maybe one other person, those spare lanes are useless.

That’s right: even when traffic gets slowed down, those lanes are [mostly] barely used. So, instead of actually alleviating traffic, they end up making the drivers stuck ‘where they belong’ pissed-off at those lucky jerks who can use those spare lanes.

If Virginia were smart, they’d open up those spare lanes to everybody, with the caveat being that there are fewer exits from those extra lanes, so if you are a ‘local’ driver, you should stay out, but if you’re a ‘through’ driver, go ahead and use them.

And out here between San Francisco and Sunnyvale on the 101: drop the signs. Having one lane utilized at <15% while the others are stopped or barely moving is stupid.

All that extra lane has done is make traffic worse.

other drivers suck

I went to upstate NY for my fall break this past weekend. The trip up was great – until I got about 5 minutes from my parents’ house when a dumptruck driver decided he didn’t like Mazda Proteges and just changed lanes whilst I was next to him. Fortunately I-787 has fairly decent shoulders there, and I could avoid him. But what a jerk.

All through my stay in NY, and the first leg of my return to NC via NJ was good driving. But I got stuck for about 3 hours in traffic due to 4 crashes on I-81. My budgeted delays for construction of 20-30 minutes turned into just 5, but the crashes held me up for a disturbingly long time. All in all, they pushed my return time to NC to 2a Wednesday rather than about 2230 or 2300 Tuesday.

I’ve decided that other drivers need to be taken off the road. If you can’t look before changing lanes – and especially when you can’t use a turn signal, you should have your license revoked. If you do look and just miss somebody, you need better mirrors.

But the idiots who decide that watching the aftermath of a crash means that you need to slow down to 5 miles per hour, and – oh heaven forbid – not switching lanes until you’re at the crash are morons and need to be taken off the road.

Ahh. That feels better. Rant over.