Always: the collective folk wisdom

30% chance of rain

cdta_bus_10_downtown_albanyI was taking a bus home from my allergist, the second of two. Someone asked if I were waiting for a particular line, which I was. My CDTA Navigator app said the next bus was coming at 10:04; it was 9:58 at the time.

This person then launched into a tirade. “The buses are always late! They should do something about them!. The buses should come more often!”

The bus rolls up at 10:03, and I got on; there were about six people aboard. Ironically, the other party tried to wheedle their way onto the bus because they had no money for the fare. (N.b.: if they had asked me, I would have paid for them.)

This bugged me, just a little because it’s that unwarranted generalization that the System has failed. In fact, the four buses I took that day were all within four minutes of on-time.

Forecast

It’s like when people say in my presence, “The weather forecast is always wrong.” This is usually followed by “It must be great to get paid for being wrong all of the time.” Occasionally I’ve pushed back against the assertion, but I’ve found that to be not very fruitful. So I generally ignore it.

The accusation is addressed here by a meteorologist. ” Take, for instance, a day with a ’30 percent chance of rain.’ That’s tough to… show in a simple TV 7-day graphic. But it’s possible that a majority of the people stay dry and a small percentage see rain.”

I’ve experienced that quite often. I landed at the Albany airport, where it was sunny and dry. But when I got home, seven miles away, it had clearly rained. Or back in my FantaCo days, it was raining in Albany, but the owner came in from Averill Park, across the river, and he had snow on his roof.

Here’s a geeky article. It states, logically, that the shorter the outlook, say one to three days, the more likelihood, that it’ll be correct.

The COVID vaccine

Kelly noted that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers defended his “alternative” regimen as “immunization” equivalent to being fully vaccinated. But what ticked off the western New Yorker, understandably, is this: “Liberals hated vaccines when 45 was President but as soon as Biden took over they loved them.”

I know lots of liberals who spent months praying – some of them literally – for a vaccine. If it had been available in October 2020 and I were eligible, damn straight I would have gotten inoculated.

Rodgers is in this prism that suggests that liberals like me are always going to dispute whatever good things happened during 45’s term. What I disputed were what 45 seemed to do to minimize his own vaccine accomplishments by touting hydroxychloroquine or other unproven formulations.

A Tribute to Sister Rosa Parks

New exhibit at the Library of Congress

Rosa ParksI’m talking a wild guess you might have heard about Rosa Parks, who was born February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, AL and died October 24, 2005 in Detroit, MI.

The Wikipedia says, “Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott. The United States Congress has called her ‘the first lady of civil rights’ and ‘the mother of the freedom movement.'”

But I saw a story this past December about a NEW Rosa Parks exhibit at the Library of Congress. It contains a treasure trove of her letters. Some are written on backs on food labels. I hope to see it; the exhibit runs through September 2020. At about the same time, a new Rosa Parks statue was unveiled in Montgomery, AL.

The King Institute website has a lot of important information about her. Among the featured documents that have been chosen from the King Papers collection:

Arrest Report for Claudette Colvin. City of Montgomery Police Department. March 02, 1955. Who is she? She was a precursor to Rosa, as I noted a decade ago. Fred Gray, Alabama civil rights attorney said, “Claudette gave all of us moral courage. If she had not done what she did, I am not sure that we would have been able to mount the support for Mrs. Parks.”

Arrest Record For Rosa Parks. City of Montgomery Police Department. December 01, 1955.

Announcement, Another Negro Woman has been Arrested — Don’t Ride the Bus. Robinson, Jo Ann Gibson (Women’s Political Council (WPC)), December 02, 1955. “Don’t Ride the Bus”. Robinson, Jo Ann Gibson (Women’s Political Council (WPC)), December 02, 1955.

“Resolution” – Montgomery Improvement Association. December 08, 1955.

Music

There’s an album that came out some years ago, with snippets of dialogue from Rosa Parks between music tracks. This is my favorite song: Help Us Lord – The Chosen.

Here’s a track from the mighty Neville Brothers, Sister Rosa.

O is for being optimistic, in spite of myself

More women are running for office in the United States

I’m pretty much on the record that “being optimistic” and I are at an arm’s length relationship.

This past Friday, I was feeling particularly satisfied at work, as I got five reference questions and two or three blog posts done. I was really enjoying the eclectic music I was playing, which included Al Green, Willie Nelson, Joss Stone, Ella Fitzgerald, Iggy Pop, and Glen Campbell, all of whom have April birthday, plus latter Johnny Cash. What a rush.

So naturally, the ride home was EXTREMELY annoying. This woman was on her cell phone, screaming at her off- and on-again boyfriend “Rodney.” Not only did I hear her, ten rows away, the whole damn bus heard her imaginatively vulgar, eight-minute rant that I wished I had recorded, it was so memorably obscene. Well, everyone heard it except, apparently, the bus driver, who drove on obliviously.

Isn’t it always the way? When I’m feeling good, something has to come along and ruin it? But just as I was looking at this as a bummer of an event, harshing my mellow, I discovered something else. There was this odd camaraderie among the passengers, at least the ones within my line of vision.

And we analyzed aloud, since she couldn’t hear us over the sound of her own voice, the nature of her relationship with Rodney. She kept saying – no exaggeration, at least a dozen times – that she didn’t care about him. But that were the case, why not just hang up on the jerk?

About four stops after she got off, some guy comes on the bus and announces, to no one in particular, that passengers on a bus represent a “microcosm of society.” Several of us laughed and said, “You have no idea!”

Earlier that day, I happened to run into a woman I’d met in a bookstore, a friend of a friend. I told her that I needed to write something for my blog by Tuesday, that usually I’ve written SOMETHING long before then. But she said she was optimistic that I would get it done.

Initially, I was going to write about things that make me feel optimistic, such as the healing, and persistent, power of kindness or how Great Britain is now a Fox News-free zone or how more women are running for office in the United States.

But I was optimistic that I could get to 300 words without describing those sentiments at great length. And I did.

For ABC Wednesday

I should have been in a CDTA ad

I could visualize that someone watching this might think I was a paid shill, but no.

Our local area bus transit company, the Capital District Transportation Authority, or CDTA, has been making some significant changes in the way people pay to ride. The standard fare remains $1.50 per ride.

It used to be that they sold this whole array of magnetic-striped paper card products. There was, among them an every-day card-for-31 days for $65, an every-weekday card for $55, and a 10-ride card for $13. One could also buy a day card for $4, which makes sense if one were taking three or more buses in a day.

CDTA stopped selling all of those at the end of December 2017 in favor of something called the Navigator smartcard and mobile ticketing system.

If one has any old magnetic passes with a balance, they need to be used by April 1, 2018. After April 1, all magnetic strip passes will expire. Any balances on the cards after that date cannot be transferred to the new Navigator Card and no credits will be issued.

As it turns out, I’ve been using the Navigator since May 2017 and I must admit that I love it. CDTA offers Frequent Rider card, which makes sense if one rides twice a day or more nearly daily. But for me, the Pay as You Go option works better. I might ride my bicycle to work, put the bike on the bus up the hill, then ride the bike the rest of the way home.

Oh, yeah, the ad: the bus driver is explaining to a departing passenger that if one takes more than three buses in one day on the Pay as You Go model, the fourth and additional rides are free. As I was walking off the bus behind her, I continued that what the driver said was correct. I could visualize that someone watching this might think I was a paid shill, but no.

In the winter, i.e., non-bike weather, I sometimes take two buses to my allergist, one bus from the allergist to my office downtown, and a bus home. Each of the first three rides cost $1.30 – or 65 cents each for the half-fare riders – but the fourth and subsequent trips are free.

The one disadvantage of the new system is that CDTA no longer offers magnetic change cards for the $1.50 fare. I’ve seen a few people just put in two one-dollar bills. Some creative folks team up with a friend and put in three ones for two folks.

T is for transportation: bus, bike

At least a couple times a week, I see a guy bearing right at me.

Early in October, I needed to get back from my hometown of Binghamton, NY back to my home in Albany in order to see The Color Purple at Proctors Theatre in nearby Schenectady. I stopped at the nice newish transportation hub in Binghamton, which had been spruced up a whole lot since I last took a bus out of Binghamton.

Unfortunately, it closed at 9:45 p.m., and I was there at 10:30. Worse, when I got online, I discovered that the bus I wanted, which leaves at 4:15 a.m.(!), was sold out.

Still, my friend got up at 3:15 to take me to the bus station; now THAT is a true pal. A bus heading for Syracuse, north, but a couple hours west of Albany, shows up around 4:15. The last time I needed to buy a ticket when the station was closed I would buy it from the driver.

Apparently, the procedure now is that he holds my ID, drives me to Syracuse, and THEN I buy a ticket for the trip I’ve already taken, and get my ID back. Then I buy a ticket for the bus from Syracuse to Albany, which was showing up at 6:30, only a half hour after I arrived; cool.

Syracuse has an even nicer transportation hub. I could have caught the train from there, if necessary.

I liked this: a young woman was heading back to college in western Massachusetts from Rochester, west of Syracuse. Unfortunately, she overslept and missed her bus. Fortunately, her father drove her the nearly 90 miles from Rochester to Syracuse in the middle of the night. She was very appreciative.
***
When I ride my bike, I ride along the right side of the road, the way I am supposed to. At least a couple times a week, I see a guy bearing right at me, because he’s going on the left side, usually going the wrong way on a one-way street to boot.

Almost every time this happens, he yells, “You’re on the wrong side!” To which I yell back, “You are incorrect.” Short of throwing page 91 of the New York State driver’s manual, which reads, “Where there is [no bicycle lane, bicyclists] must remain near the right curb or edge of the road or on a right shoulder of the road, to prevent interference with other traffic,” there’s not much I can do.

For ABC Wednesday

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