Sunday, March 26, 2006

Local bus?

There's a survey out locally regarding the possibility of extending Metro Transit service into our town and a couple of neighboring towns. I think this is a good idea and filled out the survey in that vein.

It'll never happen. Local politicians running in spring elections already are falling all over themselves to be champions and protectors of the battered and beleaguered taxpayer. Bus service like that never makes any money, one said. The service will require a subsidy forever, said another.

One of the city council candidates on the panel Q&A session at least had the gumption to say he'd like to see the results of the survey before making too many comments. even with that, it's all about the cost to the taxpayer.


I pay taxes. Paying taxes isn't really fun, I know. But what the hell. There are costs associated with living in this country and taxes are the way we pay our dues to the many rights and privileges we enjoy. Taxes are how we take care of each other. Taxes are how we share the costs to spread the benefits of this great country to as many people as possible.

Before we see any survey results, I have no idea what the potential demand is for bus service out here. And it is true, users probably can't or won't pay the whole freight of operating bus service and yes, I have to assume service is going to need a subsidy from us taxpayers.

I'll pay whatever itty-bitty incremental tax there might arise from the addition of bus service to our commuter communities. Most people are going to keep driving their cars and they're not going to stop until they literally go broke. In the meantime, they'll bitch about a tax supporting a service they won't use.

But getting a bus line out here prepares for the future. Getting a bus line out here is going to take at least a few cars off the road every morning and night. I could go on about how that might be good but people are going to see a tax, God no not that, and whine and vote accordingly for the politician who makes the most noise about standing up for the poor, battered, overworked taxpayer.

Too bad, really. It's sad to watch the spirit of this country die one little community at a time because we can't figure out the value of a shared investment in public infrastructure. Much better we use our "tax savings" to buy a new car.

Season ends

The hockey season ended with the guys playing in the state Championship Tournament. Win three games in a row and your team is the state champ.

Didn't happen.
Hockey Boy goes to the boards
In game one, our guys walked onto the ice in a daze and ran into a buzz saw from Superior. The other team didn't travel the length of the state to dawdle around and they caught our U16 team napping. Final score 9-1.

That loss sent our team to the left side of the bracket. In game two later that afternoon our Vikings were awake and came to play. The results was a 1-0 win over Janesville.

Sunday, for the consolation round championship, our guys made it as exciting as they could by falling behind 4-0 in period one to Kenosha. In period two, they started to take over. Early in period three, Hockey Boy stepped up and tossed the puck in the net to tie the game at four. Two more goals and the game ended with a 6-4 win.

It wasn't the big prize but it was a heck of a nice way to end what was a very good season.

Hats off to the coaches, too. Coaching 15 and 16 year old boys is a real challenge. Boys that age have a lot on their minds: girlfriends, cars, jobs, and a few of 'em still think about school.

So now it's on with other things. Hockey Boy is going to try tennis and we have to buy some pigs. Some things shouldn't stop.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Rapid transit

Holy smoly! That bus ride out of town tonight was categorically "rapid transit." The bus driver must have just returned from the Matt Kenseth School For Bus Driving.

He gave meaning to the term "Express Route." I walk out of my building such that I usually wait between three and six minutes to catch the bus. Today, the bus was coming up the street as I exited the door and I had to hike it out to get to the stop. Even then, I boarded a moving bus and the guy never really stopped for the stop sign right there.

Then he floored it. And he kept the pedal to the metal as they say. This is what they call a "limited stop" route where they make a series of stops through the middle of town then go directly to a park and ride lot. Once this guy hit the main artery out of town he was cruising.

It bothered me really. Just because he took a fresh look at his Jeff Gordon Tips For Bus Drivers (VHS & DVD) didn't mean he had to hit it like he did. We were at our stop six minutes early and as I walked away he was sitting there waiting because he was so far ahead he had to kill time to get back on schedule.
Most bus drivers are great. And let's face it, it's a damn tough job. The passengers are assholes, traffic is threatening at all times, and it's tedious. In spite of that, most drivers are really nice and operate their machines safely and professionally.

So once in a while...

Link of note

Imagine my surprise as I looked through one of my all time favorite blogs to find a link back to this humble blog of mine. I think it's a first since I don't spend a lot of time promoting myself and I jot things on my blog mostly for my own amusement.

Maybe the link to One Pissed Off Veteran is one of those little techno mistakes where you sign onto something like Bloglines to assemble a few favorites and you get an auto list on your site like the one to the left.

At any rate, I'm humbled and honored and for anyone passing through here, click on over to OPOVET and have a read. I don't agree with everything said over there, only most of it, and I love the courage expressed by Farnsworth. Keep it up. It gives me hope.

BTW, there's a link available to OPOVET over on the side there and I think I'll move it up a notch or two on the odd chance I get site visitors and I have a chance to treat them to one of my favorites.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Bus stop

So a series of odd communications and a couple of decisions later, my friend and I are finally on our way into town. Aforementioned activities have us running late to get the 7:30 bus. As we approach the bus stop we can see that it's already there and people are boarding.

Pulse quickening decisions are made. "I'll drop you off. You get on and I'll park the car and run across the street to get the bus as it comes around. Tell 'em I'm on the way," I direct. Fumbling about, stopping in traffic, the plan begins.

He's out, I race to the parking lot and jump out for the run across rush hour traffic to the other side of the street. Today it's snowing and my old felt pack boot drag down feet none-to-nimble anyway. But I make it.

Return trip end of day. We're both on without drama and sitting there visiting away the time. This is an express bus making a few stops in town before heading out. We ride. The bus stops. I get off, my friend on my heals.

But wait. This isn't right I think, looking around. Huh? The people in the bus are looking out the windows at us laughing. I don't know why the bus stopped there but it wasn't the regular stop. I look at the driver. "You want to get back on?" he asks.

We reboard. Two blocks later we at the right stop. "We're like some kind of stand up comic routine," my friend says. Indeed, everyone on the bus had a chuckle for the day.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Raw reunion

By its nature, a reunion causes people to look back. That's a large part of the reason people have reunions. It's a time to reflect on the past; go over the "good times."

Sometimes the past has some raw edges. Those good times aren't universal. There were bad times, too. There are times you'd like to forget. Events that you're not proud of or even events best left where they are in the past.

I've got more than one raw edge in the old memory bank. The person I was in the past did some mean, stupid things. No finger pointing here. My folks were great and my "upbringing" was filled with love. There were many good times, many good times.

But those raw edges are there, too. So when I got together with my brother and two sisters for a little family reunion recently, a few of those raw edges had to get hauled out. They always do.

My sisters and brother are older than me by a lot. The three of them share some memories that don't include me. It also gives them the benefit of having watched me come along from a very different perspective than I have. They can say things about those raw spots from a place I'd like to not think about.

Nothing mean in their retrospection, just that oddly outside observation and intrusion people have when they think back on an incident involving someone else. It just brings that raw edge up and exposes the nerves.

I always find myself responding abruptly trying to redirect. Who the hell wants to drag those things up now? Well, it's a reunion. And my activities back then did have an affect on people, especially those people who love me. One way or the other.

Still, I wonder if I'm keeping demons buried I should deal with or if in fact my life is pretty well adjusted and those memories are best in their faded and near-forgotten place? Mean and/or stupid things we're talking about. They didn't make any sense then and they're just as indefensible today.

There's also my enduring interest in what may happen tomorrow. Some people love to reminisce. Me, I'm looking forward to the next thing, always have. Maybe that makes for more raw edges in the past, I don't know.