Thursday, October 14, 2010

Beauty in the Beast

Driving south today in my Miata, top down of course (and heater on hot), I saw a C5A military cargo aircraft circling Stewart Airport on a training run. Indirectly this is a machine of war, of destruction, supplying the troupes who are charged with prosecuting the absurd, un-winnable wars in the middle east. I was struck by the beauty of this impossibly huge machine slowly circling the field like a raptor lazily riding thermals as it searches for food.

The irony of a monster like that stirring images of the natural world in my aging brain, makes me wonder if those of us on either side of this ever-widening ideological chasm that is the USA could ever look across and see the beauty on the other side. Maybe, if we could, we'd begin to see the middle, the in-between where the realistic answers to our problems lie.

As old Will S. said, "'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished." Just sayin'.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hygiene Behind the Wheel

In my many years and many miles of driving, I have observed some bizarre activities from drivers, primarily traveling at speed on limited access highways.  Some of them are: reading a newspaper, leafing through a sheaf of papers (rehearsing some presentation?), shaving, putting on lipstick (visor down so vanity mirror can be used, and brushing/combing one's hair, to name a few.

The common ground has always been the super highway, where traffic is at least moving in the same direction although at lethal speeds.  Today I saw something unique: a woman executing a left turn onto Main Street in downtown New Paltz while brushing her teeth!  

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wherefore Oregon?

While in Baltimore this weekend visiting our youngest grand kids, we journeyed to Oregon Ridge Nature Center for a short hike. On the way Carol and I puzzled about the frequency and locations of the name Oregon: there is the state, the park we were driving to, the inlet spanned by the Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks, and I believe there's an exit off I-78 to an Oregon, Pennsylvania. There are probably others but it just seemed odd enough to me that I began to wonder where the name originated. A cursory internet search yielded speculation that it was either Native American or French, but nothing definitive. I'm not, I think, going to engage in an exhaustive search - unless my curiosity forces me.

Also worth mentioning in the "Myth of American Equality" area, is that the road leading to the park, Beaver Dam Road, has a stretch of 1.2 miles marked "No Stopping or Standing." Now I've seen signs around prisons warning folks not to stop, but this was an area of mansions and thoroughbred horse farms. I wonder if I could get my street so marked?