Hi there! Welcome to my very miscellaneous blog. Here, I write about everything from mis-used words to gardening, to bad habits in society to going places and seeing things! Enjoy my ramblings.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Silly Counting

Have you ever stopped to consider the ridiculous ways many things are counted? We have many units of measure for counting everything from the passing of years to the water in a swimming pool, and the dimensions of everything.

Smaller units have been grouped into larger units for ease of understanding and handling, reducing or eliminating the need to work with huge figures.

Given this, it never ceases to amaze and confound me, that there seems to be a preponderance of preference for using the smaller units!! For example, feet and inches: I am 5'6" tall. Does it make me sound any taller if I claim I am "66 inches tall?" I think not.

A woman's pregnancy lasts 9 months.....(that's 36 weeks, for the calendar-challenged among you). There are 4 weeks in a month...so, a pregnancy 12 weeks along, is,...come on--you can do it--3 months gone! See? Wasn't that easy? Months are easier to count: smaller numbers to work with!!
Possible error/confusion could arise when accouting for the couple of months of the year that have 5 weeks instead of 4, but for practical purposes, most figuring is based on a 4-week month.

A child is born, grows past the 1,2,3 month milestones, to 11 months of age. The first birthday, therefore, that child is 1
year old. (12 months is also technically correct, ...but why insist on continuing to use the smaller unit of measure, when we have developed a perfectly good measure of "years" in which to group each period of 12 consecutive months? This cumbersome counting nonsense is all-encompassing. Even clothing for young children up to the age of 2 years is labeled by size as "18 months" and "24 months." This is foolish! A child of 18 months is a year-and-a-half old, and a child of 24 months is--hello-o-o...2 years old!!
Is this perhaps an attempt to keep the illusion that the child will remain a baby/toddler if we
count its age only in months? Oh, please! Let me see, then....I am 713 months old--just a youngster! Do you see how ridiculous this is?

We might as well measure the contents of a swimming pool in quarts or pints. How
unwieldy that measurement would be!! Let's see: a pool holding 100,000 gallons (already a large number as it is)...that's 400,000 quarts, or worse yet, 800,000 pints! Why make things more complicated than they need to be?

An average full-sized pickup truck is 276 inches long. How many advertisements, dealership quotes, or owner-bragging statements have you seen using this kind of figure? Correct! None at all. That's because the truck is more sensibly measured at 23 feet in length! (Or, for you football nuts, maybe you'd prefer 7.66 yards--just short of a first down!)

It is not as if the
proponents and perpetrators of this goofy counting do not know better: think back to elementary school arithmetic class--knowledge of measurements, and demonstration of the ability to convert various measures into equivalent units was required!
Most any homemaker knows, for example, that when doubling a recipe, 2 x ¾ of a cup = 1½ cups. It can also be stated as six-quarter cups...but no recipe reads that way, no one uses kitchen measures that way, because it is too clumsy and cumbersome.

A related issue is the lease/rental of commercial/retail/industrial space. The monthly cost is usually handed to the business owner as on a per-foot basis. Come on, people! Who is going to rent or lease only a single square foot or two???? Can you even do that? Doubtful. Why put the burden of figuring the cost onto the potential customer? Residential rentals are not handled in this way: the landlord simply states the full price per month. Commercial space should be no different. I don't give a hoot how much it breaks down to by the square foot: I am only interested in the total monthly cost. Put it out there straight, please!

Therefore, I am on a 1-person mission/campaign to try and change this bad habit. If you mean 1½, say so! If you mean yards, feet, inches, or miles, call it by its largest possible unit, and avoid confusion, and the need for people to have to stop and calculate what you are really saying. There is no need for this obfuscation!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Corporate Greed--Just One Example


To Wit:

We pay for cable or satellite TV "service," and for this "privilege," we pay to have a ton more commercials piped into our homes than are on the "big 3" networks.

Why are we paying to watch commercials? Not only are there a LOT more commercials, but they grow daily more stupid and insulting.

Next, we get to select from a bogus array of "over 6,000 channels"...but no one stops to think about this:

Why do we need so many MUSIC channels on TV, which is a visual medium, (and a high percentage of the offerings are not even music videos.)...If all we wanted to do was listen to music, we can turn on the radio or play a CD!! HELLO??????? is anyone home????

As far as the "huge number of channel choices" offered, in point of fact, this spectacular number of "choices" amounts to no more than dozens of duplications of the same programs and channels that appear elsewhere in the lineup ..

For this we pay extra for satellite or cable? What has happened to our powers of logic and reason??

Next come the 'packages' they offer: no matter what fancy names they bestow, it amounts to paying extra to watch the programs that we are really interested in. Instead of simply offering each customer the specific channels they would like, down everyone's throat are crammed dozens of other channels in which they have no interest at all. Believe me, the technology does exist to pipe in just what the customer wants, without forcing undesired "options" upon them in a "package."

All of this is bad enough, until you consider the acutal choices worth watching, and how slim the pickings are! It used to be that the TV season ran all fall, winter and spring, and the re-run 'season' was summer only. Now, the various producers seldom create more than 5 or maybe 10 episodes (if we are very lucky), and re-run them endlessly all the rest of the year!!

The final insult comes in the form of PPV (Pay-Per-View) selections. Not only are we already paying for a lot of nothing, but now they want us to pay an extra premium to watch the movies on these channels...and these PPV channels make up a large number of the so-called "array of choices."

The movies offered here are not first-run, they are not movies that have made it to TV prior to being released on DVD--they are old movies, that most people have either already seen, or were not interested in seeing in the first place.

Why should we pay an extra $5. to watch a pay-per-view OLD movie, when we could use any of the various rental services (in-store or by mail) and watch it for less money! (Or, if we really want to re-watch movies, we can purchase a copy for ourselves for less than the price of paying PPV several times over!)

Keep your eyes open, folks...cable and satellite TV are only the tip of the iceberg--this sort of thing is rampant in our culture today. Let's all do our part to turn things around! Pass this on to as many people as you can!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Traffic Design


Continuing the discussion of our traffic mess, let's take a look at the freeway system. The current design is dangerously flawed, causing traffic to snarl hopelessly as ongoing traffic is held up by vehicles crossing to exit, and by more cars entering the roadway. Not only does this cause traffic jams of epic proportions, it is also very dangerous. See Fig. 1 below, for a graphic illustration of just how fouled up this system is.

The green arrows represent traffic already on the freeway, and intending to continue. The red arrow indicates traffic

attempting to exit, while the blue shows traffic just entering.

Note how they all converge! Can we say, "asking for trouble?"

Oh, you say, 'the red line comes from the far left lane....'. ... well, come on, now, admit it...people are seen doing exactly this move all the time! In any event, that person attempting to exit is still crossing traffic trying to merge into the freeway, even if they had been in the right-hand lane!

Now, have a look at Fig. 2, below. It is easy to see how much safer, and smoother this design would be. It would not cost any more when implemented at the design drawing stage of freeway construction. (Naturally, the on/off ramps would not converge outside the freeway, either...this illusion reflects the limitations of the paper size on which this was drawn.)

Read the arrow colors exactly the same as for Fig. 1, above. Entering and exiting traffic would not cross each other, resulting in far fewer screeching of tires with panicked brake application, and worse.

Let's pick up this idea and run a campaign with it! Make our highways safer and more efficient. This change alone would do more good than all the carpool lanes ever could hope for. Maybe "just one person" can't make a difference anymore,, but a whole group of "just ones" joined together can!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Observations on Traffic Problems

Did you ever wonder why the traffic is so bad? We need look no further than our illustrious city planners, state highway engineers, and laws made but not enforced.
While it is surely true that the traffic has increased many times from what it was even 20 years ago, that is only part of the problem. Many of the attempts to "fix" problem traffic areas are misguided, and do not even make sense on the surface, let alone bear up under scrutiny. For example, below is a short list of "ideas-not-well-thought-through:"
  • Carpool lanes
  • Metering lights
  • One-way streets
  • Traffic circles (or "rotaries")

Each and every one of these so-called "solutions" has exactly the opposite of its intended effect. The traffic is not reduced or made to move faster; all that happens is that the problem has been re-located from one area to another.

The first two usually deal with freeways. What happens in the case of carpool lane privileges is threefold: first, the rest of the traffic is squeezed into the remaining lanes of freeway, making less room for the same number of vehicles; next, there are, and always will be, violators, who use the 'carpool' lane as a normal passing lane, weaving in and out of traffic, or simply ignore the rule and drive in it anyway, defeating the purpose; lastly, other drivers, disgusted with the additional clogging of the highway by the lane reduction, simply find another route, thereby impacting a different set of streets.

Also not considered in this "solution," is the fact that there are many, many people for whom carpools are simply not possible. To name a few: the service technician who must carry a supply of tools and parts needs his own vehicle; the real estate agent showing properties; the sales rep calling on various clients; the mom doing grocery shopping; various small delivery services; landscapers/gardeners, etc, etc. All need a vehicle of their own, or one they drive by themselves, whether the car belongs to them personally, or to the company for which they work. Not one single person in this category (and there are many, many of them) is able to either carpool or use public transit! So, all these people making an honest living are penalized for "failure" to use a carpool, and squeezed into the remaining traffic lanes to sit through time-wasting traffic jams, when in fact, the only "failure" is that of the person or committee that came up with the 'carpool lane' idea in the first place.

In the case of metering lights, the actual fault is less with the number of cars entering the highway than it is with the drivers attempting to merge not understanding that the purpose of the acceleration lane is to come up to the speed of traffic already on the highway, and merge in smoothly; not come to a dead stop, and sit there stupefied waiting for oncoming traffic to 'give them a break.'

The second half of this problem does lie with the lack of manners of 99% of drivers on the road, failing to move over, wave in, or otherwise allow incoming traffic to merge in smoothly. This "ME FIRST" attitude is responsible for more accidents and cases of road rage than anyone thinks.

Lastly, the metering lights merely have the effect of moving the back-up onto surface streets, more often than not ill-equipped to handle the extra traffic, and causing jams for those trying to simply navigate the city streets.

One-way streets are a 20/20 hindsight problem in which city planners failed to allow for future growth, and made the street too narrow to accomodate both traffic and parking. The real solution is not making the street one-way, but to disallow parking during commute hours. Making one-way streets is yet another way to simply divert the problem to another street. It also wastes everyone's time, causing them to take circuitous detours because "you can't get there from here" on one-way streets! Consider this analogy: would you attempt to make a blanket longer by cutting off one end and sewing it to the opposite end? That is exactly how well a one-way street solves a traffic problem.

Traffic circles, or "rotaries" as they are known in some areas, cause confusion and frustration, are another waste of time, and are the direct fault of city planners trying to make their city look "quaint." This is a very inefficient means of routing traffic, as too many streets come together in one area. Instead of, for example, simply making a left turn into the next street over to your left, as with a normal 4-way intersection, you must drive to the right, all the way around the circle, moving away from the desired direction, until at last you have come back nearly to the starting point, in order to now make a right turn into the street that used to be on your left.

The worst offence of all, however, is in areas experiencing a lot of new growth, whether that be homes, businesses, or a combination of both. Constantly on display are inadequate older streets, 2-lane roads, and huge amounts of newly-generated traffic which simply cannot be accomodated.

Yet the city has allowed all this growth to happen without bothering to first beef up the infrastructure! They do it backwards. Constantly. How often we go down roads and highways, seeing all sorts of road construction surrounding these new areas, and messing up the traffic severely, after the fact of all the new building projects. This should have been done first!

Finally, we come to the problem of laws not being enforced. New traffic laws are made all the time, yet the personnel to enforce them does not exist. Enforcement happens only on a haphazard catch-as-catch-can basis. How often we see moronic behavior behind the wheel, such as applying make-up; talking on the phone; reading maps; turning around to yell at kids in the back; and countless things other than paying strict attention to one's driving! Everyone knows what at "DUI" charge is. But there are also laws against driving with undue distractions....how often do you see that enforced?

The solutions, my friends, lie with you...each and every one of you! Get vocal.. attend your city council meetings, be informed of new projects in your areas, speak up when you see impending bad ideas. Communicate with your state representatives about the needs of your area, and new laws.

Oh, and let's keep an eye onourselves, as well...do we really, really need to make that phone call right that minute? Can't it wait until we are parked? Let's not become part of the problem. It is up to each and every one of us to make a difference....every day.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Reading..Make that REQUIRED Reading....

At the moment, I am reading a very interesting book. It should be required reading for all citizens who wish to be intelligently informed about the choices they make, and how this country of ours came to be, and how all things political, governmental and corporate really work.

The title is: Secret Societies of America's Elite
From the Knights Templar to Skull and Bones

by Steven Sora

This book will inform you, probably anger and shock you, perhaps send you into fits of dismay and hopelessness, but ultimately, it will empower you. I have been studying about some of the revelations made in this book for some time, so I was less shocked than the rest of the mainstream public may be. Nonetheless, it has served to confirm what I have already learned, and in more depth. The author reinforces his credibility and proves his rigorous research with a prolific appendix of source notes.

Was I shocked in any way? Oh, yes...I was very surprised to see some family names from my own ancestry show up! Even though these names are on a "sideways" branch, such as distant cousins, rather than direct lineage, it was still a bit unnerving.

I do highly recommend this book as well as another along the same lines, but which goes into more depth on one specific secret society. That book is:
The Hiram Key by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Greetings, everyone!

This blog is a collection of random thoughts, idle musings, sudden flashes of brilliance, re-writings of rules as they should be and general societal commentary.

It will have, most likely, a jumble of unrelated topics, observations and comments, the majority of which are the sole opinion of the moderator. I make no apology for that: that is what blogs are about.