Saturday, April 20, 2013

Its Drive Your Car to Sullivan Field Day. Or, They Paved Sullivan Field and Put Up a Parking Lot

No response on my suggestion to ride our commuter bikes to PEEC on Earth Day. Hope some folks did at any rate, but maybe the steady silence was a reaction to celebrating Earth Day on Schicklgruber's birthday. Meanwhile, PEEC and Atomic City Transit advised that folks should park their cars at the free parking at Sullivan Field and take the atomic shuttle to PEEC, because there is very little car parking at the building.

Perhaps rather than reinforcing our lazy nature, i.e., drive your freeway flagship to an Earth Day celebration, PEEC could next year work with the county to provide county-wide M-F (i.e., weekday) bus service on Earth Day and say nothing about providing free parking. After all, the whole idea of Earth Day is to contemplate our increasing burden on the planet, not to contribute to even more of a burden, i.e., celebrating Earth Day by driving there.

I suppose the cynic in me would say such a paradigm as we saw today fits right in with the upcoming Motorist Ride Your Bike to Work Day. (acknowledgments to Ian Cooper, who really came up with that phrase, as far as I know).

The Only Thing Stopping a Bad Guy With a Pressure Cooker is a Good Guy With a Pressure Cooker

Hitting two birds with one stone, our tendency to look for simple solutions to vexing problems, such as an annual one day feelgood time-out from being megapolluters, is pretty universal. As the Senate was gutlessly walking away from any attempts to make background checks more uniform, we once again see that one does not need guns, and certainly not "assault rifles (s.l.)" to commit horrible acts of violence. A pressure cooker, home brew shrapnel, and low tech explosives will do quite well. As we say in the bike world, if there is a problem with the engineering of an automobile, its mainly with the loose nut behind the wheel. Maybe its not just guns and cars that need regulation.

"Whose Garden Was This" written by Tom Paxton, made famous by John Denver


Ian Brett Cooper said...

Oh F***!

Yeah, I guess it's that time of the year again - a period (for me) of untrammeled depression that lasts from mid April through May. Time for all the hypocrites to spend 1/365th of their lives in an effort laden with heavy irony to save 1/365th of the planet (will that be enough this year? I doubt it). Next month comes Bike to Work Day, when many of these same arrant hypocrites try REALLY hard to reduce their dependence on foreign oil by 1/365th, to reduce pollution by 1/365th, to reduce traffic congestion by 1/365th and to become 1/365th fitter.


Maybe this year the 1/365th effort will pay off and we'll achieve some kind of environmental event horizon, where all this far-less-than-half-assed effort finally pays off and we emerge into a new utopian dawn.

On the other hand (and more realistically), maybe not.

On the bright side, at least I spent this evening in good company (my wife and kid) with a few beers and watching a great movie (Safety Not Guaranteed). Life could be far worse. It would be nice though, if the kid had a bit better than a 1/365th chance of inheriting a better world. But the vast majority of people don't even try that hard, so let's face it - she doesn't stand much chance at all.

Khal said...

What impresses me far more, Ian, is that we have several megawatts of solar panels installed over what used to be the town dump, and a major league solar array at the Middle School. Institutionally, we are doing OK in bits and pieces. On the down side, our new City Hall, or whatever it is called, is surrounded by--you guessed it, more asphalt. As if the town doesn't friggin' have enough.

Ian Brett Cooper said...

I realized I have another thing for which to thank Earth Day and Motorist Ride Your Bike to Work Day: a lot of my most cathartic rants come from these events, especially the latter.

Ian Brett Cooper said...

Regarding the asphalt, I've taken to commenting to my wife, whenever we end up in a monster flat featureless wasteland of a parking lot, about the sort of twisted pervert who could design such an obscenity, and how people who drive can blithely accept such depravities.

I wonder how they sell such things to the folks who pay for them? One can only assume that the cost of dotting the occasional oasis of greenery around must be massively prohibitive. Still, one would think that green-lighting such an offense as a square kilometer of featureless asphalt must come with a significant loss of humanity - a dent in one's soul.

Anonymous said...

"The Only Thing Stopping a Bad Guy With a Pressure Cooker is a Good Guy With a Pressure Cooker" WT?

or a few well-placed Tomahawks, 500 lb bombs, more armed drones, or even NUKES to ELIMINATE radial Islam NOW. It's time for the US to stop being mister nice guy.

Khal said...

Waddaya gonna nuke, Boston? The ding-dong they took alive lived in the States since he was nine, right?

Anonymous said...

Rat nests across the pond. That is the root cause.

Ian Brett Cooper said...

In my opinion, the root cause of this particular incident is the same cause we see in many random shootings - a guy with serious emotional problems who needed social support and some kind of therapy but who couldn't get either, because as a society we'd rather pretend that everything is fine and wait until some nutcase loses it and starts murdering people, rather than accepting that mentally ill people need early treatment.

The only support this guy got was from his brother, and it was the wrong kind of support, because his brother was barely an adult and probably had no idea how sick his brother was.

The US is rarely Mr. Nice Guy on the world stage. Blowing other countries up is the American way - it has the benefit of making complicated things seem very simple, but when do we start realizing that it's not doing us any good? Al Qaida was born in the Cold War battlefields of Afghanistan - funded by the US to deal a killing blow to the Russians (Google 'Operation Cyclone') and then betrayed in the early 1990s. If there's a rat's nest overseas, we bred the rats, we armed them, we taught them how to fight, then we turned on them. We created our own monster and it came back to bite us. If we want to stop terrorists, it might help if we don't create them in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I think we need to stick to bicycle topics here. I doubt this blog can solve the problem of the "loose nut behind the wheel."

Yes. Mental illness is a serious problem poorly dealt with. The Boston thing is a combination of mental illness and foreign influence.

I also believe the international terrorism problem is coming to the US. We should find a solution. It won't be pretty and it won't be politically correct.

Khal said...

We normally stick to bicycling topics, but since it seems to be my blog these days, I can set the rules. Main rule is keep it civil. We see what happens when we lose civility. People blow shit up. And blow up each other.

There was a very interesting article in I think the Atlantic a decade or so ago. Called Blowback. Pretty much how Ian describes it. Americans can claim innocence on the world terrorism stage, but we are part owners of it.

Here 'tis.

Little Jimmy said...

Wow. I stay away for a while, come back and see this pure gold here! Awesome! Thank you!

Ian, thank you for saying everything I normally say on Mirth Day, only saying it better than I ever could. You have spared me yet another annual blast of ill-will delivered by all of the Evil Do Gooders who have convinced themselves that enough wishful thinking will result in a magical event that can painlessly right all of the self-inflicted wrongs and indignities that we have unleashed upon the Earth and our global brothers and sisters. Hand me a beer, a Xanax and a smart phone photo of a tiger cub or a baby harp seal and I'll gleefully postpone the inevitable while choking on another mouthful of toxic sludge and call it victory!

But I digress....

Anyway, thanks, too, to Khal for reminding us of 1984—a book that has become so forgotten that it almost doesn't exist at all, particularly in the minds of the New Generation. Soon enough they, too, will realize that they love Big Brother and that their future lies as soldiers in the glorious army defending Our Beloved Leader.

But why read when we can all look at pretty red, white and blue photographs on our iPads and Kindles, and rally in the street for a suspension of basic civil liberties—at least for the terrorists, right? They deserve nothing but contempt, right? Damn the slippery slop! If we believe hard enough in Freedom and The Invisible Hand, and we ignore all the inconvenient comments from unpatriotic freaks who haven't accepted Angry, Bloody Jesus into their decadent, stricken hearts, freedom, love, humanitarian capitalism still exists, doesn't it? And that can't help but lead to some damned fined television, right?

Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, indeed.

Good to see some people out there are still alive and awake!

Khal said...

Between drones, the Dept. of Homeland Security, and the Patriot Act, I am starting to think I live in that movie. Add life on the hill, and its palpable.

Ian Brett Cooper said...

Speaking of 1984 and dystopian future visions, my favorites have to be the genetic science dystopia of the movie Gattaca and the advertising dystopia of the book 'Feed' by M.T. Anderson. Both of these are already starting to come true and unlike drones, the PATRIOT Act, peak oil etc., they are sneaking up on us with hardly anyone at all noticing.