Feeds:
Posts
Comments
Let's be careful out there

Let’s be careful out there

Do you remember those films in driver’s training classes, the ones that are supposed to teach you about the hazards of the road? Inevitably, at some point, a child rushes out from behind a parked car and you have only a moment to avoid hitting him.

Tonight was one of those moments.

I had gotten off the #12 Santa Monica Bus at my usual corner, Palms and Sepulveda Blvds. Now, before I go any further, you have to understand this is a busy, dangerous intersection. It’s not Wilshire and Sepulveda, thank Heaven, but it’s heavily traveled, and I regularly see bad accidents and near misses there. People rush yellow and red lights, they turn after the lights have changed, the setting sun is often right in your eyes, pedestrians regularly do dumb things… the whole nine yards. (1)

So, just before 5PM, I’m waiting to cross Palms to go home, keeping my usual eye on traffic. Sure enough, there is a car with a couple of people in it (older, but not elderly I think, and I believe a woman was driving), next to me, waiting to turn right, across my path. And, of course, the driver is watching the oncoming traffic on her left, never once looking right to see anyone on her right, the direction in which she’s turning. I can’t tell you how often I curse under my breath at people who do that. (I was once nearly run down by a USPS driver doing just that. But, hey, he yelled “sorry,” so it was okay.)

So, I take note of her, but then I hear a man yell “STOP!!” and a little girl of around five goes zipping past me into the intersection trying to beat Daddy across the crosswalk, which was already flashing red.

Naturally, this was the moment the car, whose driver had never looked right, chose to start her turn.

And also the moment the little girl, in her pink outfit with a pink helmet on a pink bicycle (still had the training wheels on) heard her Daddy and stopped right in front of the moving car.

I of course, am standing there like a moron not believing what I’m seeing.

Thank God the driver must’ve heard the father or caught a glimpse of the girl, or both — she stopped in time so the child experienced only the barest tap (I heard her say “OW!”). The kid then rode to the other side, while the Dad stopped long enough to slam his fist on the hood of the car and yell a choice word or two (I’ll leave them to your imagination) and then catch up with his daughter, who I imagine was in a deserved bit of trouble.

The driver sat there in shock, and I walked home imagining the horror I’d just missed.

Naturally, the vast majority of the blame is on the driver. Too damn many people never look right when turning right, so focused they are on the oncoming traffic and looking for a chance to go. If the girl had been injured or, Heaven forbid, killed, I’d have gladly testified against them.

But the father bears a bit of blame, too. Let’s face it, little kids are often idiots, blissfully unaware of the dangers of the world. She’s out on her bike, riding with Daddy, the crossing signal goes red, and I can just imagine her saying “I’ll beat you!”

Now, such a moment is unpredictable, but what on Earth was he doing letting her ride along Palms at rush hour, with that intersection in their path,exposing her to foolish drivers? His own carelessness could have cost him his daughter.

Thankfully, no one got more than a fright this afternoon. I hope they all learned a needed lesson.

Footnote:
(1) The LA City Council deserves a lot of criticism for this. While they concentrate on tree-trimming regulations and more benefits for their union cronies in order to buy votes for reelection, an intersection like Palms and Sepulveda (and its twin Palms and Sawtelle) have inadequate traffic control: no turn signals, leading to all sorts of messy, hazardous situations. Daily. Their neglect of street maintenance and traffic signals is scandalous.

 

You’re sure to sleep well after looking at these:

"They're coming for you..."

“They’re coming for you…”

 

Here’s an excerpt from the Wired article:

It can be hard to take your eyes off a good GIF. Turns out, it can also be tough to take your eyes off a terrifying one.

In Oswra, a collection of GIFs by self-taught animator Hayden Zezula, we witness baby parts rearranged into all sorts of endlessly-looping abominations. A plaster-white baby head sits atop a churning cone of arms and hands. A dense cluster of legs marches nowhere at all, like a sea anemone with tiny feet instead of tentacles.

A couple of these convince me the artist is secretly a Yog-Sothoth cultist. And I bet the mutant babies work with the evil clowns.

Sweet dreams!

"For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee"

“For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee”

 

Jeez, what a way to go. You think you’re fixing a nice dinner of Indochinese Spitting Cobra for your customers, and then all of a sudden the snake decides he’s taking you with him:

A Chinese chef cooking a dish with cobra flesh was killed by the snake he had planned to eat — when the creature’s severed head chomped down on him first.

Peng Fan set the Indochinese spitting cobra’s head aside while chopping its body for a soup, the Mirror newspaper reported.

But when he tried to toss the reptile’s head in the trash 20 minutes later, it bit him, injecting him with its fast-acting venom.

Apparently a snake’s head can live for up to an hour separated from its body. I call that an “important safety tip.”

Best line goes to one of the customer’s, though, after hearing the chef’s screams:

After we heard that, we did not continue with our meal.

No, really?

PS: Yep, this poor neglected blog. Must pay more attention to it.

I pity anyone with Anatidaephobia*:

*(The fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you. With apologies to The Far Side)

 

fire fireman

First things first: I’m okay and so is my own apartment. No property loss, don’t have to relocate. I was lucky. Not so much the guy who started the blaze, however. We’ll get back to that.

About 7 PM last night, while I was fixing dinner, the alarm bells went off outside my front door. Didn’t think much of it at first, since there have been false alarms in the past, but then I heard noise in the hallway and popped my head out… and smelled smoke.

This one was for real.

I grabbed my laptop and USB drive (to access important papers I keep online and my bank account) and headed out to the street. It looked like a disaster movie outside: three full engine companies had showed up and were already attacking the fire. I could see smoke pouring from one apartment, and it billowed out the openings at the end of the hallway like smoke pouring form an old coal-burning engine, black and thick.

Like I said, I was lucky. Though only a few doors down the hall from me, there were two closed fire doors in between, keeping the smoke out. And LAFD responded so fast and put the fire out so quickly that it didn’t spread from the original unit, though the hallway is black with smoke stains, and the people below have water damage.

The moron who started the fire, however, paid a price. Apparently my guess was right. Per the LAFD, a fire started in the kitchen, a grease fire, and he tried to put it out by throwing water on it. It probably blew up in his face like this:

Hence he is now in the hospital with burns to his arms and head. And probably facing lawsuits. Idiot.

(In case you think I’m being callous, I do sympathize with him for his injuries, but he damn near burned me out, too. So sympathy is limited.)

I did feel sorry for the animals, too. I saw one woman desperately trying to get her cat into a carrier (It was probably thinking “We’re going to the Vet? NOW???”), and a poor border collie was just shaking with fear as its owner tried to calm it. All the noise and the smells were probably too much for it.

Some observations:

  • Fire doors are good things. I will never complain about them being closed and annoying again.
  • Everyone needs basic fire extinguisher training and have a fire extinguisher in their kitchen. I’ve been trained, but my extinguisher is overdue for replacement.
  • I also need a “go bag” ready for an emergency evacuation. I knew what I wanted to save, and I got out pretty quickly, but, had I been forced to relocate, I’d have had only the clothes I was wearing.
  • Whatever the favorite charity is for the Los Angeles Fire Department, it’s getting a donation from me.

So, let’s see. I get sick Friday and my building nearly burns down Saturday. I wonder what Sunday has in store?

Don’t answer that.

PS: The apartment where the fire started is locked up, naturally, but I’ll see if I can get some decent pictures of other parts..

PPS: Got some pictures.

Fire casa de vida apt door

That’s what’s left of the front door of the apartment.

fire casa de vida hallway

Black is not the original color for this hallway, trust me.

fire casa de vida fire door

The fire door did its job.

A dragon made from car parts. Love it!

His fate a reminder

His fate a reminder

There’s a wonderful article at the BBC about the traditions surrounding the Queen’s Speech in the House of Lords, which opens Parliament. The whole article is worth a read, but this in particular delighted me:

And here is the really cheeky move: parliament forces Her Majesty to consider her own mortality as she gets dressed for the occasion. For in the Robing Room of the House of Lords, where the Queen puts on her robe and imperial state crown, the authorities have chosen to display a facsimile of the death warrant of her ancestor, Charles I.

If ever there were a symbol to express the end of the divine right of kings and the limits of a constitutional monarchy, that document is it.

Who says the British don’t have a puckish sense of humor? :D

Of course, fair is fair. The Queen is allowed to keep a member of Parliament hostage during her speech, to guarantee her safety. This year’s designated fall guy will have to suffer by sitting in Buckingham Palace and drink tea, while watching the speech on TV.

Oh, cruel fate!

The author makes an excellent point at the end, though, about why the British maintain these seemingly silly rituals:

The point is this: as you watch the state opening of parliament, remember it is one of the strongest ceremonial demonstrations of our liberty that we have. Democracy is not just the freedom to vote out a government we dislike; it is also the freedom not to be ruled by an autocratic monarch chosen by God.

It is what our ancestors fought over in the civil war. And it is a right that we are reminded of every year.

I can appreciate that.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 225 other followers