Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Expressway Etiquette

When I started this Blog, I had this in mind as one of my first things to gripe about, but I got busy with other stuff.
Now that the first phase of the US 281 expansion is complete, I thought I'd be happier with the results. Alas, but no! The state was kind enought to widen our thoroughfare to the point you could land a B-52 on it, yet traffic still snarls along like an earthworm on SOMA.
Why? Based on my observations of the unique behavior of the Valley Driver, or VD as I like to call 'em, there are a few sticking points that eat at me every time I see it happen.
First of all, let's at least try to drive the speed limit. It's an expressway! If you don't want to drive that fast, fine, use the frontage road. If your 1987 Grand Marquis P.O.S. can't go the speed limit, you should likewise stick to the surface streets. But, if you must drive slowly on the highway, please for the love of all that is holy, STAY IN THE RIGHT LANE.
Next. The interchange at U.S. 83 in Pharr and the new overpass to Business 281 in Edinburg. Those bridges were engineered for us to travel at a very reasonable speed to keep the flow moving. Some VD have trouble understanding this concept. Trust me when I say that you aren't going to fall off. The vibration caused by your rusted muffler dragging on the pavement is not going to collapse the bridge. Get on. Get moving. And get over it. . .again at or near the speed limit.
And now to the behavior that peeves me to no end. VD has a facination with lollygagging up the entrance ramps to the expressway. The ramps were designed, ingeniously enough, to enable a driver to enter the highway at a speed that is comparable to the traffic already on the freeway, thus making the merge process as painless as possible. What a novel concept! VD however sees it as a way to create as much havoc as possible. VD goes 30 miles per hour up the ramp, then, for whatever reason STOPS! Meanwhile, we sensible operators are forced to take evasive action making the ramp look like that scene in the Return of the Jedi when the rebel ships arrive upon the still shielded Death Star. Fortunately for the rebels though, they could at least go up or down.
What do we do about VD? Sadly, there is no cure for VD. My suggestion is that we hold on to our butts, use the horn efficiently, and left lane it out of there at warp speed.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Edinburg Canis latrans

Enough with the hypersensitivity to the name of the new Edinburg baseball team. When I hear the word coyote I think of exactly that, the miniature wolf that roams the plain. Couple that with the graphic of a howling coyote silhouetted in a baseball moon and I'm pretty sure they're talking about a cute wild doggie.
How can anyone with an ounce of sense think that an organization would actually name a sports team after an immigrant smuggler, intentionally or otherwise? Should we dare speculate what that logo would look like? How about an actual moon with the silhouette of a guy running over a cactus covered hill. No, wait. even better. A cartoon style graphic of a crappy, burnt orange 1970's GMC pick-up with a big black EDINBURG painted on the door. 49 people crammed into the camper-topped bed, with arms, legs, and heads protruding out the windows. The "coyote" driver could be leaning out the window, grinning with a baseball in his hand.
And since when is the word coyote a derogatory term that is "racially charged," as some clown put it in a letter to the editor in The Monitor? It's not the Frito Bandito for Pete's sake, it's a dog. Seems to me that the only folks who could be offended by the use of coyote would be the smugglers themselves, but how organized could they be?
I would figure that the National Association for the Adavancement of Immigrant Smugglers might stage a boycott of the baseball games and call for an end to the terrible mischaracterization of their trade. If that fails, I'm sure their lawyers would file a temporary restrining order against the team taking the field with that name.
So before the issue comes to a head and takes up more valuable docket space needed for our booming lawsuit industry, the team should get really specific about their name. The solution? Canis latrans. The scientific name for the coyote. That way we'll all know what the team name means.
I can just hear poor Forina up there as he screams, "Ladies and gentlemen lets hear it for your Edinburg Canis latrans!" Ponder the possibilities in the naming contest for the on-field mascot. Somehow Corky the Canis latrans doesn't have the same ring as Corky the Coyote. By the way, Coyote organization, feel free to use the name Corky if you desire. I don't mind.
As summer approaches I wish that the nine of you who are offended by the name would please chill out and get p.o.'d about something important. It's just baseball. No matter if it's the Coyotes or Roadrunners (highly insensitive to the 10K'ers I might add) this May, it's a place where we can take our friends and families to escape the daily barrage of life's b.s. Enjoy yourself out there and watch out for those foul balls.

Rules for a Vegas Vacation

If you've never been to Las Vegas you may not fully understand what I'm talking about. Should you ever have the opportunity and the means, Las Vegas is the place to spend some of your vacation time, at least once in your life.
This was my second trip to Sin City and it was my wife's first foray into the oasis in the desert. To say we had a good time would be an understatement, but we came home saying that we needed four more days and about five thousand extra dollars. There is so much to do, day or night, that you can't seem to figure out what to do next. The Strip, Freemont St., eating, the shows, food, sightseeing, the buffets, gambling, and oh, did I mention eating?
Having been there twice I feel as though I've figured some things out about vacationing there. There are some general rules that should be followed by everyone for everyone elses benefit.

1. Leave your kids at home. Contrary to popular belief, Vegas is not family friendly. Children get in the way and can really hamper your good time, and the good time of those around you. Face it, minors under 21 are not allowed in the casinos. Case closed.

2. If you choose to walk in Las Vegas, then do so. Keep it moving please and don't doddle. We all have somewhere to go, but if you feel the need to stop and look at something or figure out what planet you are on, move to the side. Otherwise, be prepared to be mounted from behind by perfect strangers.

3. Just because you can smoke doesn't mean you should. Nothing is more nauseating than the smell of cigarette smoke except the smell of a thosand cigarettes puffed in unison on the casino floor. Smoking's allowed, so I guess I'll have to eat that rule.

4. Just because you can drink all you want for "free" doesn't mean you should. How do you get the smell of a thousand cigarettes out of the carpet by the pai-gow poker table? Juice up a lightweight until he pukes his pale ale. Those drinks you get aren't really free since they are subsidized by your drunken decision to hit on 20.

5. Don't be mean to the dealers. The dealers are there to facilitate the loss of your money with style, dignity, and grace. They're not the ones making the stupid bets, so point the finger of blame for losing your kids' college fund exactly where it should go. Besides we all know who runs those places. You wouldn't want to be dragged to some back room by Vito and Paulie to have your knees broken would you?

6. Don't accept anything from people on the street. It's either a pornographic solicitation for hot escorts or time share condo crap. Funny how those two go together. Don't think you can get away with speaking Spanish either. They've figured that one out.

7. Take it easy with the A/V equipment. You're on vacation, not on assignment for NewsChannel5. Let's keep it under 5 pounds.

8. See the water show at the Bellagio. It is truly amazing. Be sure and catch the last show at midnight. It's the Whitney Houston version of the Star Spangled Banner that she did at the Super Bowl during the Gulf War. Very moving! I think it's Steve Wynn's way of reminding all of the foreign visitors that this is the greatest nation on earth. . . and we know it.

9. See rule # 1.

It's hard to imagine that anyone would follow these rules, but those of you who have been there and experienced first hand the carnage that is hoofing the Strip, I'm sure you can appreciate my point of view. Viva Las Vegas!