<<< Newsflash Friday >>> #24

Sidewalk Rating: Partially un-heaped

This is getting to be a habit, but there's a heap of a lot of snow out there on the sidewalk. I urge you to shovel it if you haven't already. If you don't you'll find yourself like me, walking down the sidewalk through the deep snow in a very funny way. You hold your arms almost straight out at 45-degree angles from your sides, lean way forward, and take giant steps with your boots through the deep heaps. It's pretty stupid looking, but it works.

Hey, what ever gets you home, right?

[A photo of an icicle barely hanging off the blue awning on the porch at the Kitty Cat Klub.]


One of the things that happens in a blizzard is that all the systems that we're used to depend on all the time get kind of broken. Coats don't work, windows start to fill up with snow, shoes and cars are useless. Pretty much the only thing that doesn't fail us are buildings, so most people stay inside them.

I took the bus home at the peak of the storm, and after a lengthy wait, boarded the #3B. The busdriver was already doing an hour of overtime, and was still driving because a number of the other buses on the route had gotten stuck. She seemed to be enjoying herself, and here are things I saw along the way:

[Apparently the bendy buses get stuck quite easily, particularly if they attempt to go near the curb. Here's one stuck at the corner of Raymond and Como while another bus tries to pass it. It had bumped the bus stop a little bit.]

[This semi-truck was on the Northbound on-ramp leading from Energy Park Drive to Snelling Avenue just spinning its wheels and blocking the entire roadway. I don't know how he got out of that situation!]

[At my stop, there were not one but TWO #3B buses stuck at the hilly corner. I guess they just continued to pile up, one after the other, kind of like beanbags in a funnel?]


One of the fun things to look forward to is this activity, 'sidewalk skating', here taking place in Dubuque...


I'm not sure that I can really understand that atomic paranoia was like back in the 50s. I can only imagine that it was like the GWOT, only far more hegemonic and terrifying.

But, regardless, fear of a nuclear age was used to justify the nation's huge anti-urban freeway system. Part of the idea was to be able to quickly evacuate cities, and part of the idea was to just make cities disappear completely, and have everyone go off and life in the woods, etc.

Tom Vanderbilt had a nice post on this topic this week, and he includes this fantastic ad from the Caterpillar Company which kind of points to the real reason we built all those freeways... to keep the US economy going. Concrete companies, construction companies, car companies, oil companies, real estate developers... they all had a lot to gain from the new roads. Fear of atomic apocalypse was used to sell Americans this nice bill of goods.

Now we have to wonder what sort of con game is lurking under the War on Terror, apart from the obviously insidious Halliburton/Xe nexus.


And speaking of history, this wonderful clip of ignorance in the state legislature is worth seeing, if you haven't seen it already...

... it shows a U of MN civil engineering and urban planning prof talking about the need to think about transportation systems as a matter of energy and military policy.

It wasn't just that the GOP legislator was unwilling to connect the dots between the 'US lifestyle', our impact on the environment, and our military presence around the world...

... rather, the thing that I found astonishing was that she was so unwilling to think through the historical parallel. Somehow, she called a poster that explicitly mimics a US of A World War II propoganda "un-American".

I ask you, what is more "American" than hating Hitler and fighting World War II? It's practically the most 'American' thing we have left, after all our other failed attempts at global domination.

The nice thing is that, even in the typically flame-ridden Strib comment threads, about 95% of the commenters agree that Sen. Julianne Ortman (R-Chanhassen) is a moron.

[h/t Matty Lang for the story.]


Here's a nice and rare story about a local city politician explicitly campaigning on the promise of "fixing the sidewalks".

"As Mayor I will ensure Santa Barbara remains safe, clean and economically viable. Fixing our sidewalks, and paving our streets, dealing with the gang crisis and graffiti removal may not be glamorous, but they are the heart of what a city must focus on to effectively serve its citizens. I will provide proven, experienced leadership as Mayor."

It's not the kind of issue that typically brings home the bacon, but good luck to Council Member Iya Falcone on her bid!


Probably the greatest sidewalk music video ever?

via videosift.com

... Jacko back in the day really knew how to walk down the streets.


Here are three photos:

1) A blizzard sidewalk in Minneapolis -- img fm bironic via Flickr

2) Chickens on the sidewalks of New York -- img fm. NYTimes

3) A slow walk down the snowstreet -- img fm news0040 via Flickr


charlieq said...

Ortmann isn't the only one who labored mightily to miss the point. King Banaian, whose own recent attempt to become an "expert witness" for Norm Coleman was hardly problem free, sees the clip of the professor's testimony differently — and condescendingly.


Bill Lindeke said...

Yikes! It's all so ironic!