Re: Dante Me

1

What else are you going to do at a red light? I check my email; if I know it's a long light, I might read some comments.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:19 PM
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I realized things were out of hand when I was developing guidelines for how many letters I could type before I had to look back up at the (moving) traffic (I was in). Now I try to refrain from doing anything but selecting music, looking at my mapped route, and googling things I'm vaguely curious about, at least while the car's in motion.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:24 PM
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I don't do this all the time, mind. Usually, oddly enough, when I'm headed back to my computer and get impatient about finding out what's up.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:27 PM
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Depends, are you holding your phone below the level of the dashboard so nobody can see you? If so, guilty conscience; move down one circle.


Posted by: Eric | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:27 PM
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I think they make you drive on this for all eternity.


Posted by: elemund | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:28 PM
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You're a monster, Becks, but less monstrous than ogged.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:31 PM
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What about Tweety?!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:32 PM
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6: I've never seen a picture of ogged, but how could he be both more powerful AND more feminine than Becks?


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:33 PM
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7: Tweety's a repentant sinner, as are we all: Now I try to refrain from doing anything but selecting music, looking at my mapped route, and googling things I'm vaguely curious about, at least while the car's in motion.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:34 PM
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irrelevant


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:38 PM
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First circle, where I will be joining you: I have been known to play Tetris at red lights. I watch for the brake lights in front of me to change.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:45 PM
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What else are you going to do at a red light?

That's when I drum like MAD on the steering wheel to the thundering funk.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:48 PM
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Yes you do.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:51 PM
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Oh man, the story in 13 rules.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:53 PM
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I'm too busy swearing at my fellow motorists, who suck. Plus, I haven't picked up an iPhone yet.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:54 PM
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I'm with Apo in 12. Not so much with the drumming, but funking out and sometimes hoping -- in good weather, when my car windows are down -- that people beside me at the light can *hear* the gorgeous stuff I'm rather blasting. They should turn their heads. I've yet to see anyone do so. No imagination, really.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:54 PM
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I wonder if St//hen A. M//gs found the blog by searching for "ejaculate evolution" and finding the thread linked in 13.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:56 PM
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13 is indeed, great.

Charlie Mingus is the best 'sitting at traffic lights blasting the bass-heavy awesomeness' music, btw.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:58 PM
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Becks is evil for doing this, but a good 50% less evil than the what is the value of analytic philosophy thread.

According to Rescue Time, that thread sucked away two hours of my life.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 5:59 PM
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the value of analytic philosophy thread

I like reading that thread now that it's achieved transcendence. It's peaceful.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:01 PM
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Listening to particular jazz albums enough that you can sing the entire horn solos from memory is also good.* Not to be done when anyone is around.

* ditto guitar solos from rock tunes ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:02 PM
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15: I really have had to relearn so many social mores. No, Sifu, just because you can answer that question by googling doesn't mean you should check right now, in the middle of dinner, at the fancy restaurant. No, Sifu, the etymology of "term" is not an important enough thing to know right away that it's okay to risk causing a traffic accident.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:09 PM
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But, Teacher Tweety, how will we ever truly become a hive mind unless all the neurons are constantly sending and receiving signals from the frontal cortex?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:16 PM
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23: dude, I know. That's why it's so hard; "but I could know this information right now!" What's the point of being ignorant when the answer is in my pocket?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:20 PM
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The answer is not in your immediately retrievable memory. But you know that it's in the part that has been off-loaded into easily accessible backup media.

Never fear! If you need to know, you can easily find out any time you want!

Actually knowing things off the top of your head can be referred to with a much uglier word: MEMORIZATION.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:23 PM
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19: two hours, by the way? Boy did you get off easy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:27 PM
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I didn't read a word of the philosophy stuff because I don't understand it. Hooray for ignorance!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:29 PM
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25:

For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them.
You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise.

And that story in 13 is priceless. It humbles me; obviously I have not done my duty to the archives.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:29 PM
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Witt, That's Plato right? What's it from? I think I've actually read that snippet in Greek, but it was in a textbook, so I don't remember what the source is.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:37 PM
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that story in 13 is priceless

Like the blog, I used to be funny.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:47 PM
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30: hey, that's like my blog, too!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:50 PM
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I seem to think it's from the Phaedrus, but ha! Am not completely sure, and will not google it.

But yeah, while I realize it sounds presumptuous as hell, one reason I try not google every damn thing (or turn to wikipedia), at least at the moment, is that I know, knowing myself, that it'll become a habit. It's not just a function of memory; it's that I'd prefer to keep live teaching and asking of questions among people going, rather than having everyone just turn aside to look things up.

I've noticed that my strategy isn't working, though. You can ship me my cane any time.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:51 PM
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In LA, we check our gun sights at red lights, just in case someone is holding up traffic by texting past the light change.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:52 PM
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it's that I'd prefer to keep live teaching and asking of questions among people going, rather than having everyone just turn aside to look things up.

It's not like it's going to replace the asking of questions, sanctimon. It's going to replace general ignorance with a further option to learn something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:55 PM
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Ha! Stopped at a redlight on my way home from dinner tonight, I glanced in the rearview and saw the Boy-for-Now texting. Reflexively, I reached for my phone and checked Unfogged -- only to find this post. I'm going to second ogged -- what are redlights for if not to check out the traffic on the information superhighway?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:56 PM
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At red lights I associate the cars ahead of me with sections of epic poetry which I recite from memory.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 6:58 PM
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re: 36

After a quick stroll round your memory mansion?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 7:01 PM
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34: Oh, don't get me wrong: it's not like I disapprove of calculators or anything. I adore the intertubes.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 7:06 PM
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38: well you just better!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 7:13 PM
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Dilettante.

(insert emoticon! okay?)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 7:16 PM
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And confirmation. The Phaedrus -- at least I assume (that is, see Derrida, "Plato's Pharmakon" or rather "Pharmacy," I see.) God, I love the internet.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 7:30 PM
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41: heh. Meta: funny!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 7:35 PM
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speaking of Pharmakon, I was wondering if ben w-lfs-n has any interest in the doom metal from before the days when it started to mean "ambient drone".


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 7:42 PM
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Parimon: Those of us who answer questions as a part of our job get really annoyed by questions that could just as easily be answered by the the first resource the internet offers up. If the answer is in the syllabus or on the college website, or in the first three sentences of a wikipedia entry, don't fucking ask me.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:14 PM
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parsimon.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:16 PM
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Indeed.


Posted by: Eric | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:21 PM
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47

OMG they tried to kill Toby Keith.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:31 PM
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47: he's passed the commander-in-chief test!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:36 PM
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I would rate it quite high.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:36 PM
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According to Rescue Time, that thread sucked away two hours of my life.

I warned you.

I have been known to text from the car, but I have also been known to accidentally delete a complicated text message when the light changes, which actually sort of broke me of the habit as it was still in its infancy. Thank god.

I do check my voicemail, though. But other than that, you people are all evil and I hope you all have accidents and your insurance rates go up.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:40 PM
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I'd prefer to keep live teaching and asking of questions among people going, rather than having everyone just turn aside to look things up.

"... and while I have life and strength, I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy, exhorting anyone whom I meet and saying to him after my manner ..."

I will sacrifice a cock to Asclepius for you, parsimon.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:42 PM
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50: Actually it would lead to your insurance rates going up too, as someone demographically/actuarially similar to Becks et al.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:43 PM
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49 dictator


Posted by: :P | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:44 PM
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I have actually never used the loci memory method. But I did used to recite poems and stuff from memory to kill time while waiting for buses.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:48 PM
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52: No, I think I'm too old for them to know I use the internets.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:50 PM
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Riding in the car is for listening to fucking National Fucking Public Radio, white people. Get it right.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:51 PM
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LeBlanc is correct.

I actually am seriously trying to step back from the internetical habit of Must Be Doing Something At All Times. It's kind of hard! But I think it sets a bad example for PK.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:55 PM
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56: shit girl I have the Car Talk podcast on my iPhone. I drive a Volkswagen. I'm so many layers of demographic mockability deep I have my own gravity.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 8:56 PM
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Text your way through this, pink people.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-30-08 9:04 PM
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60

(insert emoticon! okay?)

right brace semicolon greater than tilde space bang

max
['Or semi;colon.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:38 AM
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you people are all evil and I hope you all have accidents and your insurance rates go up

On this score, checking at red lights is far less a problem than trying to text on the expressway, which I must confess to doing.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:02 AM
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61. Over here that's an arrestable offence, and quite right too.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:22 AM
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As someone who doesn't have a car or a license and has to walk everywhere past idiot drivers who aren't paying attention to the road, I thank you all for making it easier for me to die.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:29 AM
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As someone who doesn't have a car or a license and has to walk everywhere

That's no reason to want to die, stras. Billions of people all over the world don't have cars. Cheer up!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:12 AM
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That's why it's so hard; "but I could know this information right now!"

And when the cops pull your lifeless body from the car (or our lifeless bodies- hey, since I'm not driving, why don't you let me look it up?), they'll find the iPhone and say, huh, I didn't know that South Station was built in 1899.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:29 AM
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Christ, people. This isn't hard. Put down the damn phone when you're driving. You are still driving at red lights. You are going to be the butt of every joke in the afterlife if you died reading a blog.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:32 AM
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It actually is sort of fascinating that people (myself included) are relatively sanguine about this, since it can be fantastically dangerous. It's sort of like we had a thread where everybody was like "oh, well, I drive drunk, sure. I know I shouldn't but geez, the bar's a long ways to walk, and cabs are expensive!"

1899, though! Who woulda thunk.

Stras, don't you worry: I walk to work, so I would only ever really do this on the highway.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:44 AM
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I would only ever really do this on the highway.

Text transcript:
Blume: b careful news sez some moron is drvng wrong way on the interstate
Tweety: not just some moron like hundreds of them


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:54 AM
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69

66 is right.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:57 AM
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I was just searching for an image of a billboard that I frequently pass on I-95 with the slogan "dnt txt n drv", and I came adross a sad example of the creeping Dobsonization of our society.

Those of you in roughly my age co-hort may remember SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving), an organization devoted to changing the perceptions and behavior of young people with respect to DUI. Although it had a moralistic streak inherited from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, it was a classic harm-reduction model: students would sign a contract with their parents that they would never drive while impaired or get in a vehicle with an impaired driver, while parents pledged that they would provide the children with a safe ride home no questions asked.

Looking at the website of the organization today, it has become totally "Abstinence Only."

SADD does not support or condone the use of alcohol by underage young people. The purchase and public possession of alcoholic beverages by anyone under the age of 21 is illegal in all 50 states....SADD does not believe that it is possible to break the law responsibly. SADD and its chapters do not support or condone activities that encourage or enable the use of alcohol by underage young people, including the following activities:
- Designated Driver programs for underage young people
- Safe Rides programs
- Parties where alcohol is served under the supervision of or with the knowledge or consent of parents or other adults
- Drinking subject to passing a Breathalyzer test



Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:02 AM
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re: 70

!!! That is mind-bogglingly stupid.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:05 AM
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Hooray for ignorance!

Woohoo! *cracks open a can of PBR*

I do not text or look things up on the internet or anything when driving. I've read a text message but not sent one that I remember and I occasionally take a call when I think it's important but if Rah is in the car then I just hand him the phone. I do kind of hate pedestrians, though, and the bicyclists who ride in the lane instead of on the enormous and lovely bike trail that runs right beside NC 54, fuckers, so if I should start texting in order to even the score then somebody's going to need to let me know.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:08 AM
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71 gets it right.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:08 AM
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St. Peter gonna laugh at them in the afterlife, too.
"Why're you here, son?"
"I drove home drunk. Promised I wouldn't call my parents or take a cab if I drank."
"Dude."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:09 AM
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Also, 68 and 74 are the wins.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:11 AM
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44: Those of us who answer questions as a part of our job get really annoyed by questions that could just as easily be answered by the the first resource the internet offers up. If the answer is in the syllabus or on the college website, or in the first three sentences of a wikipedia entry, don't fucking ask me.

Heavens, Rob, obviously I wasn't talking about that sort of situation.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:24 AM
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Blume: b careful news sez some moron is drvng wrong way on the interstate
Tweety: not just some moron like hundreds of them

Not so long ago, I briefed a case involving a drunk driver going the wrong way on the interstate. Not pretty.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:01 AM
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I'm still radio-only when driving, but I do so little driving these days that I actually tend to pay attention. (I only put 400 miles on my car in 2007. Why do I still own it?). My heavy driving days predated cell phones, so I haven't had an opportunity to develop any new bad habits.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:01 AM
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My heavy driving days predated cell phones, so I haven't had an opportunity to develop any new bad habits.

I totally misread that as "heavy drinking days".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:03 AM
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You people terrify me. Now I want to get a cell phone jammer and point it at every car around me.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:09 AM
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No, my drinking habits have actually tracked the rise of cell phones pretty well. Risk of drunk driving, low; risk of drunk dialing, high.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:09 AM
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Man, Safe Rides was both very useful and kind of fun to volunteer for once and a while. I can't believe SADD now opposes it, and am curious how recent a change that is.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:13 AM
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80
You people terrify me. Now I want to get a cell phone jammer and point it at every car around me.

Explain this to me. You think dialing the number repeatedly and stopping and restarting conversations will make someone drive more safely? Or would you just be doing it out of spite?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:17 AM
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83: I'd do it partly out of spite, and partly to increase the chances of getting you idiots to kill each other off before you kill me.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:20 AM
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am curious how recent a change that is

Students Against Destructive Decisions [...] was founded as "Students Against Driving Drunk" at Wayland High School in Wayland, Massachusetts, in 1981 after two Wayland High School hockey players were killed in separate car crashes. The students were motivated to challenge the culture in which drinking and driving was accepted.

Originally, SADD's mission was to help young people say "No" to drinking and driving, and to alcohol consumption. In 1997, SADD expanded its mission from preventing intoxicated driving to preventing the consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs and other problems and adopted a new name, "Students Against Destructive Decisions." SADD now highlights prevention of all destructive behaviors and attitudes that are harmful to young people, including underage drinking, substance abuse, impaired driving, violence, and suicide.

Sounds like a fun bunch.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:22 AM
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You are still driving at red lights.

This is the kind of absolutism that makes people feel like they're bucking the nanny state when they do other dangerous things. Texting, etc., while driving is stupid and dangerous, but at a red light, meh.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:23 AM
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Nobody ever blames the zoning laws that prevent neighborhood pubs.

Does applying makeup while driving count as an offense?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:24 AM
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I totally blame those zoning laws. Heck, I've even made housing decisions based on the presence of pubs in walking distance. (And ruled out entire towns, like Arlington MA, on that basis)


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:28 AM
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Does applying makeup while driving count as an offense?

Once, driving in a contra-flow on the M11 I watched the woman driving immediately behind me putting on make-up. I could glance in the rear-view mirror and see her fishing around in some bag. This wasn't some quick touch-up in the mirror while the car was paused in traffic. It was a full beauty routine, driving at 30 miles an hour, through lanes of cones, with oncoming traffic about 4 ft away.

Several times she came within a foot or so of the back of our car as she was completely failing to pay any attention.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:28 AM
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Does applying makeup while driving count as an offense?

It's fine as long as you're wearing a safety helmet.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:28 AM
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You have laws that prevent pubs being built where people live?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:28 AM
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Not just pubs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:29 AM
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We should take up a collection to fund a trip across America for ttaM.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:31 AM
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re: 93

That would be amusing. There's probably a book in it. Or at least a pretentious article for a broadsheet newspaper.

"Across America with a brogue" or something.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:35 AM
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There are a couple of kinds. One is stupid zoning laws that aim to keep residential, commercial, and industrial uses of land separate, so no, you can't have a pub in your shiny new suburb. Drive to the strip mall (zoned commercial/retail) and go to Applebee's like a real American. Those are less of an issue here, and in most older cities with lots of pre-zoning mixed use. Arlington suffers from the other kind, which is a restriction on having pubs at all (though they do now allow restaurants to get licenses to serve alcohol; neighboring Belmont doesn't even allow that).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:36 AM
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Arlington suffers from the other kind, which is a restriction on having pubs at all

See, that's just bloody uncivilised.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:38 AM
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Tweety checks his email. (Okay, it's kind of a stretch; I was hoping to find just the Long Beach Freeway part of this, which starts at about 8:15. But watch the whole thing! It's possibly the greatest car chase in cinema, and kind of a love poem to LA.)


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:39 AM
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There's probably a book in it. Or at least a pretentious article for a broadsheet newspaper.

Surely you could get an Arts Council grant to do this, what with your photography and all. You could mendicate at the homes of unfogged commenters, thus stretching your grant money and ensuring that your view of America will be as distorted as possible.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:42 AM
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bloody uncivilised
Yes, and exactly why I ruled it out as a place to live.

At this point it's less fond nostalgia for the glory days of the temperance movement, and more local political squabbling. You have to figure that the owners of liquor stores and pubs that are just across the border would oppose liberalising the rules that bring more customers to them.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:43 AM
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Texting, etc., while driving is stupid and dangerous, but at a red light, meh.

You're still in traffic at a red light. You're still operating a car at a red light. You need to still be paying attention to what's going on and to be able to react to what's happening around you. If you're on the phone or browsing the fucking internet you are not paying attention and shouldn't be allowed to operate a car, which is, in case you hadn't noticed, a giant fucking piece of metal and machinery that can easily injure, maim, and kill people, and does so on a regular basis.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:45 AM
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This is the kind of absolutism that makes people feel like they're bucking the nanny state when they do other dangerous things. Texting, etc., while driving is stupid and dangerous, but at a red light, meh.

Except that you're not paying attention to the rest of traffic, because you're pre-occupied, and dollars to donuts says the number of people who only text at the ten seconds of red light are quite small.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:45 AM
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102

You could mendicate at the homes of unfogged commenters

This is totally true, actually. I was sort of wondering how much it would cost, and considering that he could hit all the major metro areas without paying for lodging (and ttaM's skill for subsisting on cheap food), it wouldn't be much at all.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:45 AM
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I really don't understand the objection to doing something else at red lights. What am I supposed to be paying attention to? I notice when the light changes and I'll hear an ambulance. What else?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:47 AM
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What's going on around you, whether there's a bicyclist weaving through, the cars behind you. (And dollars to donuts again says you don't notice when the light changes if it's a particularly choice cock joke.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:49 AM
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Arlington suffers from the other kind, which is a restriction on having pubs at all

See, that's just bloody uncivilised.

Curious about all the ways in which Arlington sucks? Why, there is blog devoted to this very topic! Take the virtual suck tour of Arlington.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:49 AM
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103: Ogged, if you can't be bothered to pay attention when you're behind the wheel of a car, then take the fucking train.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:51 AM
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83 & 84 both make compelling points.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:52 AM
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80: they're hard to buy assembled, for obvious reasons, but here's detailed instructions you can follow.

Unfortunately, it's fairly complicated to assemble. You could probably pay somebody to do it for you, if you kept things under-the-table.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:53 AM
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97: I love that car chase. They go right by my old neighborhood!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:54 AM
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It's a total pain in the ass to browse the web while walking.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:54 AM
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What's going on around you, whether there's a bicyclist weaving through, the cars behind you.

My car is stopped. The bicyclist can do whatever he wants.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:56 AM
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The Wang Chung soundtrack to To Live and Die in L.A. is also awesome.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:59 AM
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Arlington doesn't have liquor stores, but there are two right at the border in Lexington. I didn't know that Belmont was a dry town.

Cambridge is obviously not dry, but getting a license can be tricky.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:01 AM
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111: I think the idea is that your attention is not so easily stop-started as you might hope. Some people think multi-tasking is incredibly productive, and some people think it's really unproductive.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:01 AM
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and ttaM's skill for subsisting on cheap food

Actually, I could look at it as an extreme weight loss program. Just me, a nice camera, a big fat cheque from the Scottish Council for Arty Stuff.

Perhaps they could stump up so I could hire an E-type Jag or something for the cross-country trip. I could claim it was an homage to the swinging-sixties heyday of British photography.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:02 AM
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And so you pull out to make your right turn, not seeing the bicyclist (remember 600 million fit in your blind spot), and not having seen him come up behind you... "He came out of nowhere!"

In all seriousness, ogged, the danger is in having a distracted driver. It's true of cell phones, too, even if people have hands-free sets. Now maybe you can go from texting to concentrating on the road effortlessly, but the odds say bullshit you can.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:02 AM
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My car is stopped.

Just because your car is stopped doesn't mean that you can stop paying attention to all the various moving and potentially-moving vehicles in the area that you might have to respond to. I can't believe you're actually defending this position on the merits. Let me guess, when you drink it actually lets you focus on the road better?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:02 AM
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and does so on a regular basis

Exactly, man! Knowing you're missing out on all the fun explains a lot.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:03 AM
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Let me guess, when you drink it actually lets you focus on the road better?

You're aware that you should be concentrating more.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:05 AM
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So the argument is that I can't shift my attention from gadget to road quickly enough when I start moving? That's plausible. I still think that the speeds are low enough even in that situation that there's very little danger, but I grant the plausibility of your claim!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:05 AM
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I'm arguing that at the red light, I'm noticing the moron texting and going 'gotta watch out for that dude because he's probably going to pull over into my lane without signaling.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:07 AM
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Man, I've already claimed self-righteous cyclist and iPhone-obsessed driver; I wonder if there's anything any other behaviors I can admit to so as to claim the mantle of Ultimate Worst Commenter To Share the Road With?

I know! I jaywalk! All the time! Even when I don't need to!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:07 AM
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Actually, Arlington has two wine and beer (not hard liquor) stores, new in the last year. A friend of mine worked at one of them for a while. They're trying very hard to be "respectable" stores and not packies.

And yeah, it is hard to get a new license in Cambridge, or in most cities in MA, since the number of licenses is capped by law (a wacky population-based formula, with occasional state legislature overrides), so you have to wait for a place to close and buy up the license from them.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:08 AM
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I read books and articles while walking. Occasionally I walk into a sign post while doing so, but that just adds amusement value for passersby--not on the level of Apo and Rapper's Delight, but who can compete with that?


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:08 AM
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I keep wanting to say "really I'm a very safe driver/bicyclist/pedestrian", but that just shows I don't have the courage of my trolling convictions.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:09 AM
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not seeing the bicyclist (remember 600 million fit in your blind spot), and not having seen him come up behind you

Cala gets it exactly right. Good thing you don't live up here, man. You'd jeopardize our best-in-the-nation rating.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:09 AM
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So the argument is that I can't shift my attention from gadget to road quickly enough when I start moving? That's plausible. I still think that the speeds are low enough even in that situation that there's very little danger, but I grant the plausibility of your claim!

You are liable to start moving the instant the light turns red without noticing whether the traffic situation has changed since you started texting. Maybe someone is walking in front of you. Or in theory, a bike, though I have never lived in a place where bikes were present in such numbers that they were not terrified of cars at all times and expected all car drivers to be maniacs who would totally ignore them.

I think it's very dangerous. I never do it in actual traffic. On a deserted highway, maybe.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:12 AM
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Actually, Arlington has two wine and beer (not hard liquor) stores, new in the last year....And yeah, it is hard to get a new license in Cambridge, or in most cities in MA, since the number of licenses is capped by law

Heh.

Checking google maps for the upmarket (and very pretty) part of Glasgow where I used to live, there were 153 pubs and 94 liquor stores within 10 minutes walk.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:14 AM
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I can't imagine doing anything at a red light besides staring at it waiting for it to change so I can go go go go go!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:16 AM
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I confess that I've changed the radio station while stopped at a red light; also while driving.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:16 AM
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there were 153 pubs and 94 liquor stores within 10 minutes walk

!? How do you even fit that many shops in such a small space? Or do you walk at 30mph?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:17 AM
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re: 131

That's 'within 1 mile' of the flat. Realistically, that's more like a 10 - 15 minute walk.

We're talking about a city here. Dense land useage, etc. Lots of brownstone/tenement type housing with high population density and a lot of shops/pubs catering for them.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:20 AM
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ttaM should totally apply for this grant. Maybe the Royal Oak foundation would pony up too, though they're more in love with clubby London stuff.

Just write something like "Notes from a Large Continental Nation" and don't try to recreate Tocqueville.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:29 AM
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I wonder if there's anything any other behaviors I can admit to so as to claim the mantle of Ultimate Worst Commenter To Share the Road With?

"No, really, I drive better when I'm stoned!"


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:31 AM
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134: nice! I totally do.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:34 AM
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No, really, I drive better pretty much exactly the same when I'm stoned!"


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:37 AM
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136: yeah you can tell people that but they won't believe you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:41 AM
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137: Even after you smoke them up! So little faith left in this jaded, jaded world.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:42 AM
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136: I like the idea of progressively approaching reality. If only economics and analytic philosophy would adopt that approach.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:46 AM
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138: even if you googled it for them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:50 AM
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140: That would be even if you googled it for them while smoking them up and driving, I take it.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:52 AM
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the danger is in having a distracted driver.

When I'm cycling I assume that every driver on the road is either stupid, drunk, or texting. It's much safer that way.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:58 AM
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142: So do I, and it hasn't kept me from getting hit twice.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:00 AM
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#143. Hasn't kept me from getting hit, either, but it's probably kept me out of the grave hospital on several occasions.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:05 AM
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141: when else would it come up?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:06 AM
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When I'm driving I assume that every other driver is either stupid, etc.

Actually commuting is just a hazard in its own right. People simply do space out, drive on autopilot, and so on. You know exactly where every pothole and every slowdown is, having driven the route so many times. It's not as though a driver who's not on the phone is necessarily any more attentive, though it obviously shifts the odds.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:07 AM
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drive on autopilot

Responsible for so many problems. Arguably for the ugliness of so much of exurban America; why make buildings attractive if they're to be ignored?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:12 AM
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How do accident rates for stick vs. automatic compare? Does the (presumably) greater level of engagement required when driving a stick lead to less distracted driving, or is the need a shift just another distraction that leads to higher accident rates?

I find driving to be terribly boring for the most part. I will def. cop to being a below-average driver. Fortunately for everyone I don't do it much.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:23 AM
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When I'm cycling I assume that every driver on the road is either stupid, drunk, or texting. It's much safer that way.

That's why stoned drivers are safer -- they're naturally paranoid that everybody else is about to screw up, which is of course safer than assuming that they're going to do the right thing.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:31 AM
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I find driving to be terribly boring for the most part.

I think this plays a larger role in driving safety than people generally acknowledge. I find driving to be fairly compelling, as long as I'm not literally stopped.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:34 AM
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greater level of engagement required

If you're used to driving a stick, it's as automatic as steering or pressing the brake.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:37 AM
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If you're used to driving a stick, it's as automatic as steering or pressing the brake.

Also, you"re less likely to be the sort of moral miscreant who evaluates the risk of hitting someone differently because you place a relatively low value on other people's lives.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:43 AM
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Responsible for so many problems. Arguably for the ugliness of so much of exurban America; why make buildings attractive if they're to be ignored?

Even the attentive driver can't spend more than half a second looking at a building if she is going by at 60 mph.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:45 AM
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I have a friend who says of automatics: 'That's not driving, that's steering.'


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 1:19 PM
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re: 154

I do feel a little nervous in automatics. It does feel a little bit like piloting a dodgem or something. Vaguely disconnected.

I expect I'd get used to it, but when you are used to driving a manual transmission car it does feel odd.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 1:20 PM
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150: Gammas make good drivers because they're easily amused.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 1:21 PM
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Commenting from the car right now as a test; seems perfectly saf


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 1:37 PM
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I wonder if there's anything any other behaviors I can admit to so as to claim the mantle of Ultimate Worst Commenter To Share the Road With?

"No, really, I drive better when I'm stoned!"

One moment for the "how are we still alive?!" files:

So my friend was driving his pick-up truck down the road, when I noticed his knee was on the wheel. This seemed weird to me, until I looked over and saw that one of his hands was busy pulling his glass pipe out of his pocket and the other was unbuttoning his shirt pocket to pull out the bag of weed. The furthest my self-preservation/vehicle-safety senses got was to offer to grab the wheel for him while he packed the pipe until he could spare one hand for it (he still needed one for the lighter, you see).

The one time I was in a car that went off the road was actually because the driver got a text and looked down for a second to check it. That soy field was not very happy, but on the bright side, we missed the telephone pole.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 1:49 PM
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saf
r u ok :)?


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 1:54 PM
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Don't cry, Read, there are lots more Sifus. We'll pick you up a nice one tomorrow at the pound.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 1:56 PM
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Nooooo!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 1:59 PM
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Don't cry, Blume, we'll get one for you too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:02 PM
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Sifu is one and only
though i never cry, well, once in a yr and from acute physical pain mostly, like when i dropped a saucepan on my big toe
what's pound? money or something else


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:03 PM
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The pound in this usage is short for "dog pound", where stray dogs are kept.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:04 PM
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The dog pound, where stray Sifus are kept until they get a new home. Sifus have such adorable brown eyes and cute whiskers.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:05 PM
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The idea is that you can adopt a stray dog from "the pound", and save it from being killed.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:05 PM
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But you can't train them to shit in a box.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:06 PM
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But Sifus are always adopted out! Always! They're so cute!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:06 PM
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And they just stare up at you imploringly, until finally you're like, Alright already, you can come home with me!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:07 PM
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A truly loving owner is not upset by small accidents, Apo. Some people just aren't good enough to deserve a Sifu.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:08 PM
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And they just stare up at you imploringly, until finally you're like, Alright already, you can come home with me!

Yeah, dating's just crazy, isn't it?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:08 PM
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And then they want to sleep in the bed, instead of on the rug.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:09 PM
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"Oh, look what my Sifu left for me in my shoe! He really loves me!"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:10 PM
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small accidents

You've seen Sifu up close. You think any of those "accidents" are small?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:10 PM
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A truly loving owner is not upset by small accidents, Apo. Some people just aren't good enough to deserve a Sifu.

Other people are simply very, very good Sifu trainers.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:12 PM
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172: Okay, now I have this image of Tweety curled up on a rug like a dog which is hilarious.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:12 PM
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And then they want to sleep in the bed, instead of on the rug.

60% of high school girls have jerked off the family Sifu, Ogged tells me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:13 PM
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aan, ok, i got it
well, but it's better for me to adopt something like vegetation, you just water it once a week, that's all
i have two greens, one is that, a spoon flower - jade, another one looks like a small palm-tree, an italian thing they said, but i don't know how it is called, should look into its name tag
pets are demanding and scary a lot of responsibilities
169 is cute


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:15 PM
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my stop-watch is calling


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:17 PM
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Okay, now I have this image of Tweety curled up on a rug park bench like a dog drunk which is hilarious largely accurate.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:18 PM
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Largely accurate and hilarious!

(Totally in the car again.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:29 PM
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Pets are troublesome (well, fish and a giant snake to catch rats are OK), but there's always
www.cuteoverload.com. Just hold your iphone up by the steering wheel to look at a cute animal.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:30 PM
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Anacondas are also fun for practical jokes.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:43 PM
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178: well, but it's better for me to adopt something like vegetation, you just water it once a week, that's all

OK, ... and that's different than adopting a Sifu because why?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:52 PM
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Now that I'm back on dry land I'm ready to argue that talking on a cell phone is much worse than the other listed distractions because it allows you to pretend you're paying attention when you really aren't. Also, that jackass in the Probe who cut me off in the middle of an intersection, leaving me stuck blocking cross traffic, who then immediately merged back into his original lane? Hang up so I can punch you, sir.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:59 PM
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185: Also, that jackass in the Probe who cut me off in the middle of an intersection, leaving me stuck blocking cross traffic, who then immediately merged back into his original lane? Hang up so I can punch you, sir.

Great to see the theoretical aspects of the Sifu Tweety School of Driver Mind Meld* being put to practice. Not like those analytic philosphers who never really do anything.

*... the better you can understand the motivations of the drivers around you, the better you can anticipate what they are likely to do that will negatively impact you, and stop them from doing it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:13 PM
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178: well, but it's better for me to adopt something like vegetation, you just water it once a week, that's all

OK, ... and that's different than adopting a Sifu because why?

Sifus drink a LOT more than that.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:57 PM
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eh, sounds like as if i was some kind of cold emotionless being
i can not afford pets b/c i'm not cold and emotionless being, like bpl's cat my pets'd be left for the extended periods of time and when i leave after a yr or two, there'd be one more homeless pet left, i can't stand imagining it
otherwise it could be so much fun to have a pet waiting you when you come home
but even if i could afford pets, they die before you and it's too much pain
about watering, i don't know i have all like desert plants or what, when i try to water more frequently they get yellowish and start to die


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:22 PM
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187: Sifus drink a LOT more than that.

Didn't say how long the once a week watering session was.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:35 PM
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