Mass transit plea

Having been rather frustrated by the lack of much serious discussion of guiding any of the so-called stimulus money towards investment in much needed mass transit infrastructure upgrades, I decided to compose a letter to my two Senators and one local Representative asking them to work towards this agenda. I’ve attached my text below, and I implore registered USA voters to send a similar letter to their own congressional delegation, and to pass along a request to potentially interested registered voters you know. So few people actually write politicians on these issues that a surprisingly small number of contacts can, on occasion, spur them to take at least a mild stand on an issue. This is the first time in many years that Congress has even considered taking an interest in mass transit/rail investment and we mustn’t let it pass Continue reading Mass transit plea

Another Seattle anecdote from my notebook

March 10

Stop in a local cafe across from the Pike Street Market. Need some cash. As I use the exorbitantly overpriced transaction fee laden ATM a man sitting at a table located directly between the dor and the counter begins speaking. He is somewhat indistinct, but he is saying something like:

“I used to get three hundred dollars a day out of these cash machines. [[something about buying or selling cocaine, unclear]] and you could get out $300 a day without a transaction fee. You got a transaction fee on that one?”

Long white hair and beard, flannel shirt and jeans. 55-65 years age, long slightly pointed nails, with visible dirt underneath. From California originally, he has been in Seattle for 7 years. No matter how one responds, he continues his stream of consciousness elocutions, your own contribution affecting the flow of monologue barely more than a pebble tossed into an actual stream.

“Are you a local?”

“No, I’m visiting some friends here. From New Jersey.’

“Oh,  year Jersey- interesting state. My dad was from outside Toronto, little place near a farm seven miles outside of town.”


During the 3-5 minutes I am in the cafe, he tells me his favorite pie is key lime blackberry but recommends against carbanero-the hot pepper. I am unclear if this is somehow pie related, but if so I must admit it sounds like a terrible recipe. His favorite restaurant had some sort of meal platter involving a rosemary chicken breast for only $7.50, he sometimes eats two for 13 dollars. He offers to treat me to this lunch as I am already trying to pleasantly say goodbye and head out the door, which I am slowly inching towards. There is no recognition whatsoever of my attempts to politely break off conversation, so I walk out the door, words at my back.

The coconut chai is delicious.

Later, I meet my friend Brian for lunch as he takes his break from work a couple of blocks away. We eat at an Ethiopian/African restaurant which I notice has a dish involving rosemary chicken for $7.50, but I am more in a fish mood. For $8 is it excellent, with some sort of green sauce which looks like, but does not taste like pesto.

Some initial notes on Seattle

After spending five days visiting my grandparents in the retirement district of Florida-an area which I can definitively say is, out of all the locales in this world where I have spent even a single entire day, the least appealing in virtually every way-I find myself gradually approaching the tail end of a six day long visit to some friends from my years as an undergraduate at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey who have since graduation moved out to Seattle.

Here is a selection of brief notes on Seattle jotted down in my pocket notebook as I wandered around the city for a couple of days.

March 5

Flight to Seattle.

British stewardess, maybe 50 years old & doughty, shortish red curly hair and thick, thick black glasses-to young woman sitting in starboard aisle seat.  “Are you with them?” She is referring to the two persons sitting between the aisle seat and the window. “No,” is the reply. “Well then, why not sit over there?” says the stewardess referring to the entirely empty port-side half of the row. “Why look like a sardine when you can swim upstream like a salmon?”

March 6

In front of the Space Needle, homeless man in blue sweatshirt is silently gesturing to all passing vehicles that he will crush their bones, rend their fles, and devour them-in the “fee fi fo fum” style of the Jack and the Beanstalk giant.

Distressingly, the Science Fiction Museum is located down the street from the Space Needle, instead of inside of it, which I consider to be the obviously fitting location. In protest of this reckless and selfish offence against common sense, I enter neither of them.

Later in the day, somewhere in the downtown area not far from Pioneer Square, a girl (moderately hipster looking, ginormous sunglasses) waiting behind me in line to order at a Starbucks is shocked that “Tall” size is in fact rather short. She is from Alabama, were they do not have Starbucks. She promised her friends she would boycott it after moving to Seattle, but it’s right on her way to work.

March 7

Much like the apocryphal German spy unmasked in WW2-era Britain due to his habit of looking the wrong way before crossing the street, my most obvious “tell” as an out-of-towner in Seattle is easily my uncertain approach to traffic crossing. Never have I seen such a combination of pedestrians uniformly waiting for traffic lights and drivers uniformly yielding to pedestrians without pause. How is a New Jerseyan to react?

Back in high school I was friends with this girl who hated the taste of coffee, but thought she should be a coffee drinker for image purposes. To wean herself onto the vile drink, she drank mocha (coffee mixed with hot chocolate), gradually increasing the coffee to chocolate ratio. After I finished high school we lost tough and the last I heard she was a heroin addict living somewhere on the west coast.

As I write this, I am drinking hot chocolate. Not mixed with coffee. I hate the stuff. This is not a good town to be anti-coffee.