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Archive for July, 2011

Shocking.

Yes, Steve Williams, “shocking” was the first word that came to mind after reading that Eldrick Tont Tiger Woods had issued you your pink slip.  I haven’t the foggiest idea what the hell a “Tont” is, and rest assured, that topic will be discussed in this space in the future.

Today, however, the bigger story is that it has become clear that Woods wasn’t the only delusional whack job on Team Tiger.  “After 13 years of loyal service needless to say this came as a shock.”  Beside being a poorly constructed sentence that lacks punctuation, is this guy kidding?  I’m sure he’s awesome at carrying things and reading maps of golfing holes.  We certainly know he’s good at being an asshole to spectators and throwing cameras into ponds.  But crying foul after “13 years of loyal service” to a hot mess?  Isn’t that, you know, a little ridiculous?  Kind of like being surprised when your pet Bengal tiger takes a bite out of your head.  “He’s never tried to eat my head before…I don’t understand???”

Really, how difficult is it for rich and famous people to NOT end up as buffoons?  Here’s a guy whose considerable wealth and notoriety is exclusively a result of Woods being good at golf.  Since that train has now derailed and about to roll down the side of a mountain in flames, I would think it’s time to quietly and humbly step off.  Say “Thanks,” and move on.  But no.  Instead, we get to watch chapter 20 of the never-ending horror story about Tiger Woods and everyone he knows.  Personally, I was a big fan of chapter 8, where we met the Perkins Pancake girl.  Good stuff there.  This fiasco, however, is painful.  Woods was perfectly happy to disgrace himself, his wife, his children and his dead father, all while Williams watched from the front row and lied for him.  That’s pretty loyal, I guess.  Except, wait, what the hell does Tiger Woods care about loyalty?

Clowns, the both of them.

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Today’s feature: Jackassery in the public sector.

At issue: Daytime lane closures on our expressways.

Let me begin with a friendly, what the fuck?  Allow me to continue with a second question:  Are these people as unintelligent as they seem?

I think they are.

I think the silliness runs deep.  I think it runs right through silly, and firmly into stupid.

Let me explain.  Regrettably, I’m an expert in traffic.  No worries, I’m an expert in other areas too, but today, it’s traffic.  It’s what comes from staring at clogged roads from a helicopter for 10 years.  If there is one conclusion that I’m qualified and comfortable in making, it’s that traffic flow will suck when any part of the pathway is blocked.  Stay with me here, as this gets pretty complex.  Delays are caused by volume and they are caused by obstructions.  That is to say, by 9am on a typical weekday, expressway volume should drop enough for rush hour delays to vanish into the dense, smoggy air above them.  This allows us lazy bastards who resist the 9-5 institution the pleasure and convenience of using the system delay free.  Our only concern should be obstructions, i.e: the schmuck who runs out of fuel in the center lane, or the dizzy lady who hit the wall while updating her Facebook email MMS text account on Google+, LOL, FML.  What should never be an obstruction is pictured above.  You see these scientists here?  They are changing light bulbs at 10:30a in the left lane on the inbound Eisenhower Expressway at Kedzie.  A great big “so what” situation, until you consider the 6000 cars and 10 miles of crawling traffic behind them.  Travel that was supposed to take 15 minutes, took 40.  Again, seems like no big deal, in the grand scheme.  But it is exactly the grand scheme that I argue IS a big deal.  For years we’ve heard of ambitious new ideas to reduce the commute times in our region.  Additional lanes, carpool lanes, double-decker lanes, cars sharing the railroad tracks with trains…whatever!  All of these are billion dollar ideas to help reduce drive times by a few minutes everyday.  Why?  Those minutes are monumentally important.  Reduce the travel time in just the 15 miles radius of the Loop and it’s a different ballgame.  More productivity at work, more local tourism, higher retail sales, higher home values and potentially lower levels of pollution.  It’s not a whimsical idea from an irritated State Senator who sat in traffic one day.  It’s well studied and understood.  Sitting idle on an expressway equals a low quality of life.  It could also foul personal relationships.  For instance, while taxiing the 6 year-old outbound to Elmhurst this morning, we both observed this mess of inbound traffic that I would soon be sitting in.  I explained how I wasn’t at all impressed with what would be the next hour of my life.  She noted that while the traffic was indeed poor, I would ultimately survive the experience.  I was then not at all impressed with her belittling my concerns.  I was able to move on, but a lessor person may have let such impassivity strain the father/daughter relationship.  Big picture, people.

All of this because some idiot at IDOT allowed the light-bulb-boobs to park a cherry picker in a lane of expressway traffic in the middle of the day, as opposed to say, 2am.  It takes a billion dollars to widen the expressway, but only 1 moron and a box of light bulbs to fuck it up.  I say keep the billion, fire the moron and hire a graduate of school for a year.  Let’s see how that goes.

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Water racing.

Sailing took one on the chin today after 2 racers from Saginaw died during the Race to Mackinac.  A storm rolled through at midnight and flipped their boat.  Six were rescued.  Blame it on horrendously bad luck, as the storm didn’t seem to cause much damage to the rest of the Mackinac field.  Ten boats nearby withdrew from the event to help search.  While expected, it’s still a notable gesture of unselfishness.  I mean, people are pretty nutty about winning sports games, and this is a HUGE sailboat race.  While few probably approach the race casually, with no intention of record-setting pace, most are likely in it to win it.  That crazy bastard with all the money that flew around in balloons still holds the record in this race while sailing a copy of the America’s Cup winner, Stars and Stripes.  No offense to the late Steve Fossett, but I wonder if he would have been willing to withdraw if he was in the vicinity of another boat in distress.  He and others have brought lofty goals and some pretty serious equipment to Chicago to try to win this thing.  So really, I only mean to say that I’m impressed with the teams that set aside their goals to assist these others in need, because you know, people are nutty about winning sports games.

I’d now like to celebrate sailing with a handful of pics from a windy Wednesday 5 days ago.  The wind blew out of the north at 20mph for like, 12 hours.  It was excellent.  Lake Geneva was teeming with wind-powered boats and club racing.

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