By David Anderson
Hurry up and wait. We’ve all been there. Long lines and shorter fuses, places to go and the express-way is exasperatingly @ # $ % ^ slow. Snarled in traffic, stalled with temperatures rising (car, climate and complexion), are we there yet?
Over the span of our lives, someone estimated, we’ll spend six months at a stop light (longer if you live in Florida as you’ll read below), and five years waiting in line (except for creative, albeit deceptive, mothers in Disneyland).
Here are eight “trans-poor-tations,” as Douglas B. MacDonald writing for Crosscut calls Washington’s $8.4 billion pothole fixes, in which individuals, organizations and governments have found ways – from planes and trains to scooters and ice-cream trucks, and even hearses, — to short-cut the process while shafting the people.
8. Hire a disabled person to skip hours-long waits for rides at Disneyland.
Fox News reported May 14th, by way of The New York Post, that “some deep-pocketed New York City moms are hiring a motorized scooter-bound guide to pose as a family member so they and their kids can jump to the front of the lines.” In this “Happiest Place on Earth” – well-heeled post-Mother’s Day moms are happy to drop the $1,000/day fee for their little darlings to ‘do Disney’ thanks to the disabled.
Speaking of taking people for a ride, once leaving fantasy land . . .
7. Catch a ride on California’s bullet train.
The faster-than-a-speeding-bullet train isn’t built yet and may not be given the Reason Foundation’s assessment that the “financial assertions” of California’s high-speed rail system proponents are “virtual fantasy,” as in fantasy-land Disney-like, with upwards of $373 Million a year the predicted loss.
Losing money faster than the train can travel, across the country congress appears to have grown tired of high speed rail having – in high speed – failed to ever make a profit since the train left the station in 1971, over $40 billion and counting, $1.4 billion last year alone. What with Amtrak’s subsidized wheels coming off, thanks to congressional pressure for trains to pay their own freight, the May 2nd New York Times reports the railroading of states through which the choo-choo travels to pay for the privilege — or else. All local routes of less than 750 miles in a state must now be paid for by that state – the implication being if the states don’t fork over the train will pass them by creating ghost towns of some places no longer serviced.
Forking it over isn’t just for gourmet cuisine, much less intimidation by trains, as Floridians have discovered . . .
6. Bring your book because red lights are longer in Florida.
Well, actually, the stop lights are longer only because the yellow lights are shorter — by one-half second. The headline read “Florida quietly shortens yellow lights and increases revenue by millions.” Turns out a mere “half-second reduction in the interval can double the number of red light camera citations – and the revenue they create.”
Despite statistical evidence that with longer yellow lights severe crashes drop, state, county and city officials by increasing the flow of dollars through decreasing the time to stop have their budget in the black but drivers seeing red.
Reminds of an editorial complaining of how long was the red light at 196th and Aurora in Lynnwood, Washington. You could read a book, take up a hobby, or grow mushrooms the writer opined, adding that mushrooms grow best in the dark but by the time the light changed it would be.
Keeping people in the dark was the light-bulb idea at the airplane terminal . . .
5. Walk six times farther to wait in lines only somewhat shorter equals happiness in Houston.
Receiving many ‘we’re-not-gonna-stand-for-
The reason, says “M.I.T. operations researcher Richard Larson, widely considered to be the world’s foremost expert on lines: occupied time (walking to baggage claim) feels shorter than unoccupied time (standing at the carousel).”
Evidently what you don’t know can’t hurt you.
Besides, airport execs might have rationalized, think of the exercise you’re getting after riding so long in the airplane.
Exercising while walking is one thing but buy a bike and you’re likely to find it taxing . . .
4. Bike to save the planet and give some green to the government.
Washington’s transportation package during this last legislative session called for a tax of $25 on street-pedaler’s two-wheelers selling for $500 or more — an “entry level bicycle,” according to Angie Schmitt writing for Streets Blog.
So how ‘bout if the frame sold for $495? Would you like to accessorize your purchase with a child’s red-ball oogha horn for $200 and we’ll throw in a couple wheels for free?
“Hard-working small business owners of family-owned bike shops would face unfairly imposed red tape and costs while creating virtually no revenue,” complains Schmitt.
Boosting revenue, meanwhile, by baring bodies is increasing bucks from ice-cream trucks . . .
3. Salivate, like Pavlov’s Dog, next time you hear the “unofficial anthem of summer”because “the catchy 20-second hook that plays on infinite repeat from a music box and is piped through loudspeakers atop every truck” may herald the approach of the ice-cream van driven not by a man, but by a woman — in a bikini.
“Adult-friendly ice cream trucks,” they’re called, some selling – or at least promoting – the newest flavor: aphrodisiac ice cream. (You can ogle – er, Google – that one for yourself.)
It’s long been known that sex sells and recently Lakewood, Washington had a scare when a drive-thru coffee stand was rumored, in the process of changing hands, to become the city’s sexth, er sixth, bikini barista bar which would have made the city 2nd in the entire state for the number of such sex selling java joints per populace.
Taking more than half-off not only applies while selling coffee but here’s a great deal for a car, and not just any car, in what would be a possible ad given what happened in Mashantucket, Connecticut . . .
2. Put a $1 Million down and buy a car — which would be more than half-off.
For sale, cheap: Bugatti Vevron Super Sport. Purchased for $2.4M. Will let go for far less than that. Car purportedly will reach 267 mph (0-60 in 2.5 seconds) but only used to drive the quarter-mile from reservation farmhouse to Foxwoods Resorts Casino and MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Conn.
Reason for sale: “Tribe $2 billion in debt. Payments that once exceeded $100,000 annually for each adult have stopped. Foxwoods casino, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, that allowed members to live without concern for money, is $2 billion in debt.”
Also, looking for work. “While jobs are available, and many do not want to work,” skills include cheque cutting; can shuffle, pitch and deal cards like a pro; rack management; blackjack payout capable; interacts well with customers.
Said one of the tribal members, “Wish that the tribe had planned better for hard times.”
Dying is the hardest of hard times, a financial dead-end especially for poor people — transporting loved ones in caskets they can’t afford carried in those cost-inflating cursed hearses from the church to the cemetery they dread. And that’s before the mailman delivers the bill. That is until . . .
1. Bless the monks of St. Joseph Abbey in Covington, La. for the last ride for last rites.
If you’re thinking of dying soon go ahead, wait no longer to be dead because thanks to some frugal cost-conscious monks for whom money has always mattered, you can now rest in peace – pending court action — without your relatives going to financial pieces.
When their handmade wooden caskets grew in popularity for those for whose pockets were as empty as a hole in the ground, the monks of St. Joseph’s opened a woodworking shop and expanded production – that is until “a state cartel of funeral home owners and funeral directors saw unwanted competition,” writes Eric Boehm for today’s (May 17th) Watch Dog.
The monks appealed to the courts and the final decision of the final resting place, or at least the cost by which to be transported there, rests with the judge who is currently studying the body of evidence.
This last was saved for the least of us in this list of trans-poor-tation rip-offs, eight ways in which individuals, organizations and governments have found – from planes and trains to scooters and ice-cream trucks, and even hearses — to short-cut the wait, or in some cases make it longer, but in all cases sticking it to the people in the process.
Stay tuned – to the sound of the ice-cream truck or the funeral dirge – however, since chances are if you’ve got money, or even if you don’t, there are those willing to help separate you from it.