Tuesday, August 22, 2017

On The Fast Track

I used to be against carpool lanes and express lanes.  This was my reasoning.

If you’re going to force people to travel with at least one other person, then there must be a better way of doing it, such as some sort of positive reinforcement to the people engaging in it, but without being a detriment to those not doing it.  And removing one lane from a five lane freeway, which is the size of most freeways in the Los Angeles area, is a detriment to the greater public.  That’s a 20% in driving space suddenly taken away from a work force and a travel force, many of whom could not possibly commute with someone else given the insane distances that comprise Southern California. 

And then there’s another thing.  Enforcement.  Carpool lanes are extremely difficult for law enforcement to monitor.  It’s not like there are little ramps along the carpool lanes on which motorcycle officers can sit and dole out citations as single travelers pass by illegally.  I see so many drivers in the carpool lanes who are single occupants, and non-hybrid/electric vehicles, that it makes my head spin.  What a foolish plan for such a large urban area; the honor system. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Night Duster

It was a typical summer evening in the Central Valley; still very warm and humid air and a flat horizon all around with just a few ribbons of car lights indicating distant roads.  We were driving back down Highway 99 south of Bakersfield after an afternoon of getting a few things done for Brenda’s parents.

To our right at about Two O’Clock appeared off in the distance a bank of horizontal lights that were moving above the ground.  We quickly identified them as the flying lights of a crop duster spread out across it’s wings.  The pilot made sweeping turns and dips down to the dark fields for maybe fifteen seconds, and would then ascent back up and into the black sky.  There were moments when we couldn’t see him at all as he turned away from our direction.  But sure enough, the row of lights reappeared as he flew in our direction, maybe two or three miles from us.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

"She's A Valley Girl And There Is No Cure"

My last visit there to the original mall has always haunted me.  I was reminded of the poignant memory after reading Kevin D. Williamson’s article, “Closing Time,” in the National Review this week.

During my high school days at Ulysses S. Grant, and with my girlfriend Trish, I went to what probably amounted of hundreds of movies in the General Cinema Theater on the third floor.  I even saw “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” in that theater.  It was a strange feeling walking out of the theater at the end of the film through the entrance that had just been a location for the movie I had just seen. 

I remember going to Perry’s Pizza, and to the arcade.  I often visited my friend, Debbie who worked at Crabtree and Evelyn inside the mall.  She always seemed surprised to see me for some reason.  “Ah, we’ve spent most of our pre-adult lives in this mall, Debbie, so don't be so shocked.”  Debbie was one of the cuter girls who ever worked in the Galleria, so he naiveté was always excusable in my book. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Poop Bag Controversy

I don’t often rat on my friends, but I also don’t talk to this friend much anymore.  So without identifying him, I want to tell you a quick story that I though was completely odd and has stuck with me because there seemed something in it that smacked of some weird kind of retribution.  I think it’s because I love dogs to the “nth” degree that I probably remember this story so clearly.  For what his problem was exactly, I don’t know, but here is the story. 

I used to go to dinner with a friend of mine rather regularly, but I’d say, at about two month intervals.  One night we were at dinner at a local restaurant, and he started to tell me a story that had just happened that same morning.  He said that he had put out his plastic city issued trash cans onto the street in front of his house the night before, and as he was walking to the car on his driveway, a young woman who was walking her dog happened to be lifting up his trash can.  Mind you, the trash had not been picked up yet.  She placed a poop bag, the kind you’d find at a park or that you can buy at any pet store, into the trash can. 

Health Insurance Is Not Insurance

I believe that there is a huge misunderstanding about what insurance is when it comes to health care.  What most people think of as health care insurance is not how one would define as traditional insurance.  The concept of insurance was designed to protect people from catastrophic events.  For instance, when you buy automobile insurance, you pay a reasonable premium into a pool of funds that will pay out if you experience a huge, costly event such as an accident, or a car theft or massive vandalism. 

The problem is that what most of the world calls health care insurance is exactly not that.  Think about this.  What if every time you went and got your oil changed in your car, you made an insurance claim.  Or each time you get windshield wipers put on your car, you made an insurance claim.  How about each time you had to get new tires for your car, and tires are expensive.  But what if you made an insurance claim for your tires?  If this were the accepted status of what car “insurance” was, then premiums for Allstate, or whomever you use, would be in the tens of thousands in order to cover the cost of every shmo who wanted their air filter changed. 

And that is exactly what the problem is with health insurance.  What most people think health care insurance is, ain’t insurance.  It could only be called insurance if it covered catastrophic events such as the breaking of an arm, or cancer, or a heart attack. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Just Another Couple Of Dates

There was a time when I was seeing my therapist many years ago, one of the several spans of time during my life that I was going to him for advice of differing sorts, that I told him about this gorgeous girl I met in Santa Monica.  Her name was Julie.  I had actually met her at a Del Taco drive through in Marina Del Rey.  She was so sexy and pretty and sitting in her friend’s blue bug’s passenger seat while they were ordering.  I was getting back into my car on Lincoln Avenue when I decided to put my order to go into my car (I had walked up and ordered), and go up and talk to her.  It was a funny scene.  Her friend was ordering while I was squatted down on the drive through curb talking to her on the passenger side with my elbow resting on her friend’s car.  I got Julie’s number and told her I’d call her.

I took her out on a date and we went to eat at a place on Main Street in Santa Monica, kind of on the far northern side of the same street of where the Oar House used to be if you remember that place. Also, north of Schatzi, or whatever Arnold Schwartenegger’s restaurant was called.  We had a great dinner that night and enjoyed each other’s company.  She wore tight jeans that made my heart flutter and all that I could think about was that I wanted to sleep her directly in the next few weeks. I was about age twenty-seven, so forgive my directness of intention; I was young at the time.  As we were walking to our cars (now that I remember it, we had both driven there separately and we had parked in the same lot near Ocean Park Blvd by coincidence), she pulled out a cigarette and puffed it pretty quickly so that as we arrived at the lot, she had finished her cigarette down to the nub.