$5,000+ These Fuckers Didn’t Get From Me

April 22, 2008

I’m sure all of you saw this motley crew of oil execs assembled before Congress a few weeks ago, mainly so legislatewhores could posture and put on an impotent display of righteous indignation in lieu of actually doing anything to push real alternative energy solutions. While most of you out there have been grumbling but continuing to line the pockets of these oilmen (and their multi-wifed brethren in the Middle East) I have been taking the bus to work, in tandem with my bicycle (and yes, winter doesn’t stop me).

It was two years ago this month (April) that I began this daily ritual, and in the process lost 30 pounds, increased my muscle tone and improved lung capacity, heart health, metabolism, blood pressure, circulation, digestion and so on—not to mention notching piles of unread books on the 20-mile journey each way.

Oh yes, there’s much to be recommended about the complete lack of stress resulting from letting someone else do the driving, not having to swerve and avoid maniacs and playing stop and go with my feet on a gas-guzzling pedal. I can sleep, read, dream, whatever. And I’m inside a vehicle bigger than a tank, so it’s pretty safe.

And it costs $29 a month. See how much gas that gets you–and how far you can get on it.

AS for me, I ride for free because one of my perks of employment is free unlimited TARC rides with an employee ID.

But the most satisfying thing of all is that the oil industry and the profit-gluttonous CEOs who are sucking up all that cash from you got no more than $6 from me over the last two years. (Had to fill up my lawn mower a few times; otherwise most weeks I use a gasless Scott’s reel-mower, just like my grandparents did.)

So adding that up, that’s about $5,000 or so that Big Oil didn’t get from me in the past two years.

And although I know this is an overused picture on the Internet, there is just no better F-YOU! photo ever taken than this one of Johnny Cash. So Big Oil, let Johnny Cash send my message to you loud and clear.


(Dumb Bus Sign) “It’s the Law!”; or, Whatever the Hell, ‘It’s’ Is; or, The Law According to TARC

June 1, 2007

You’re an underpaid bureaucrat. You’ve just been given an assignment for which you are woefully inadequate.

And you accept it. Why? Because, what the hell else are you gonna do with your time except surf clandestinely for porn on the computer?

100_0576-10.jpg“Write me a sign for posting inside the buses,” says your super. You accept the assignment.

“Now,” continues your super, “We want to write this sign so that we don’t frighten the patrons. We need a sign telling people that they are safe on the bus, but the sign can’t say what they are protected from. Can you manage that?”

Of course you can. You are a bureaucrat. You know double-speak.

So, maybe you are qualified for this job after all.

Thanks to you, anonymous sign writer, your ambiguously comforting message greets me every morning as I step aboard a Transit Authority of River City (TARC) bus, in good ole Louisville, Ky.

And here’s what it says:

“Chapter # 70.50 of the Louisville Metro, Kentucky Code of Ordinances protects bus drivers, passengers, and property of the public transportation system by providing for prosecution of any person convicted of violating this law.”

I asked a fellow passenger, a lawyer, to read this sign and interpret it for me.

He could only smile, nod his head in confusion and offer no explanation.

In the grand tradition of government agency doublespeak, this tortured sentence coils around like a snake eating itself, nealty circling upon itself and devouring itself into oblivion.

It’s the law … but what is “it“?

Or more precisely, what is the law protecting me from? Just what has to occur on the bus before a perpetrator can be prosecuted for violating this law? What would he or she have to perpetrate?

The sign offers no clue.

Does it encompass vandalism, assault, bad breath? What?

And, aren’t there already plenty of laws on the books saying that assault, vandalism and the like are verboten, regardless of where you are? Why does there need to be a special one just for the bus?

That’s assuming, of course, that these crimes are what the law is about.

On top of that, check out the last part of the sentence. The sign seems to say that perpetrators of the undefined deed or deeds will be prosecuted after they’re “convicted” of violating the law. Huh? Sounds a little like a George Bush “Patriot Act/Guantanamo” sort of understanding of how the law works.

But you can’t blame the bureaucrat for doing his job; only the dimwit supervisor who approved this goofy sign.

its-man.jpgSeeking answers from my city government, I consulted the Louisville Metro government web site and came up emptyhanded trying to find out what the ordinance actually says. A phone call yielded a friendly, “I don’t know” and the promise of a classic runaround in the form of the phone number of another bureaucrat who had left for the day.

So, I still don’t know exactly what Ordinance number 70.50 actually says.

Maybe I need to ask Bill Clinton. He once pondered the question of semantics during the Monika Lewinsky scandal, wondering aloud what the meaning of “it” is; or was it what ‘is” is? Oh, that’s so long ago now.

Or maybe I’ll call the “It’s” Man from Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Maybe he’ll know what “it’s” means.

But I won’t get my hopes up. He’d probably just huff out an exasperating “it’s…” before collapsing to the ground—leaving the mystery tantalizingly unsolved.

Whatever the case, I can feel comforted to know that the magic bus sign on TARC, with it’s forceful message, will keep me safe from harm.

Whatever that may be.