Bring on the Driver-less Cars. Now.

it can wait

You want to know why no one can get anywhere in Indianapolis in a reasonable time-frame safely? Because no one pays the slightest attention to their driving. I’m not talking about people weaving in and out of traffic or hurrying to the detriment of others. I’ve made my peace with those people because at least they are trying to actively drive.

Too many people now see driving as a secondary activity. Their primary focus? Reading texts at red lights. I swear, we are losing tens of thousands of hours to these jackasses who crawl to a stop six car lengths behind the car in front of them, only to get absorbed in hunting for a new kale recipe or a text asking what they’re doing. They then proceed to sit through a green light until someone honks, whereupon they floor it through the intersection, leaving everyone else to sit through another light.

This cannot stand.

Put your goddamn phone down and DRIVE. You’re in control of 3,000 pounds of hulking metal traveling at a rate of speed sufficient to kill you or someone else, so act like it. If you can’t be bothered to actually pilot your vehicle, then STAY HOME.

This isn’t just directed at the kids, either. Lately it seems Grandma Jackass can’t drive a half mile without checking for photos of her precious young’uns. My car was parked this this weekend when Grandma JA struggled to pilot her own car into her own space, phone in hand, and hit my car.

If you can’t pull into a parking space without hitting the stationary car next to you, I would like to encourage you also to STAY HOME.

We’re living in a society, people. You only have to pay attention for a few more years and then you can drink to excess, text your little heart out, read a magazine, or change clothes while Google autopilots you all over town. Until then, you still have to actually drive your own car.

To paraphrase Winston Wolfe: Pretty please, with sugar on top. Drive your fucking car.

Ali: The Greatest

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The greatest sports photograph of all time.

The Heavyweight Champion of the World used to be the most coveted title in sports. It’s hard to imagine now, considering how terrible the heavyweight division has been for the pass two decades.

I missed seeing Ali in his prime, although watching his old fights and several documentaries (especially When We Were Kings) has given me a singular appreciation of his genius. There simply has never been another athlete with his confidence, swagger, speed, intensity, and power.

Ali is a towering figure in the public consciousness. At some point, every child pretends to box. The phrase ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’ is somehow known by each one of them, even if they have never heard of Ali. Similarly, Rope-a-Dope is a phrase used by many who probably can’t explain the origin of the term. Ali is so ingrained in our collective memory, his personality and greatest moments seem to exist apart from him, as if we are born with the knowledge of his spirit.

Atlanta, 1996. I was at the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. This was before smartphone technology was rampant. As I remember it, the specific person to light the torch was kept an absolute secret. For weeks leading up to it, we debated who would get this incredible honor. Who is the athlete we would lift up to the world as most emblematic of America?

The moment came and with each subsequent athlete bringing the torch ever closer, possible choices were eliminated. As Janet Evans brought the torch to the final stage, Ali emerged and in the moment, it seemed the entire world lost its mind with joy. The stadium convulsed with emotion, each person desperate to let Ali know that he was the one. Not just a great choice to light the cauldron, in hindsight he was the only choice.

He was the greatest.

We’re living in a society, people: Animals on planes edition

turkey

NBC Chicago: There’s an increasing likelihood that your next seatmate could be a dog — or a cat — or a turtle — or a chicken or a pig or even a kangaroo – and there’s really not much you can do about it.

They’re called Emotional Support Animals – ESAs. Almost anybody can bring one, or two, or three — or even more – on board a plane, and virtually all species (other than snakes) are allowed. All you need is a letter from a licensed mental health professional, saying that you would benefit by having an ESA during plane travel. That allows your animal to sit with you for free, and you don’t have to pay the $125 fee that you’d otherwise likely be charged to bring your pet on board.

I was alerted to this story on a friend’s Facebook page after she mentioned the person next to her on a plane had her dog out of its carrier and on the floor. Let me be clear: we’re not talking about trained service animals. These ’emotional support animals’ are pets or other animals with no training whatsoever.

We’ve reached a point where everyone thinks they can do whatever they want, and screw anyone else who might be affected. This is wrong. We live in a society (for now) and that means a social contract exists in which you may not be able to do something just because you want to do so.

For instance, if you are terrified to fly, then get prescription medication to calm you down or endure being terrified for a little while. If you’re unwilling to do that and simply want your poodle or kangaroo or turtle to be with you, then you shouldn’t be able to fly. Period. Other people should have the right to travel without dealing with the petting zoo you brought with you in order to calm your nerves.

There is absolutely no room on planes as it is. The last thing anyone wants to put up with is your dumb dog barking and yapping for 3 hours or peeing on your seatmate’s laptop bag. Do everyone a favor and stay home. Pretty please. With sugar on top.