Sunday, June 29, 2008

Obama Worked Out at My Gym

On Friday.

Hell, he's a member.

But the staff didn't recognize him: "What's your first name, Mr. Obama?"

He's only been on the cover of every weekly magazine in the US three times. Reminds me of an Obama rally I was at in Henderson, Nevada. A woman driving by asks pulls over and asks me, "who's here?"

"Barack Obama," I reply.

"Who's that?" she says. She didn't look like she'd been living under a rock for the past four years. "Just some schmuck running for president," I said.

And he works out at my gym. I think I just got the incentive to work out more often that I needed.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

That Mid-Life Crisis Thang


UPDATE: Thanks for the suggestions to get rid of the beard, which I actually did not long after the photo here was taken. And the Monday morning surprise is: my boss likes it. I will, however, go back to being salt n peppa. But I will try to have more fun as a blonde in the meantime.

A new look...well, it's not like I left the LTR for a 20 year old and traded in the Jeep Liberty for a convertible. Still I'm not sure. And the LTR hates it.

Non-US Citizens and Constitutional Rights

Those opposed to the Supreme Court's ruling that the alleged terrorists held at Guantanamo are protected by the Constitution howl that we shouldn't be giving aliens constitutional rights. But this is nothing new:

In Chew v. Colding (1953), the Court ruled that those who have successfully entered the country are protected by First Amendment rights to free speech, Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, and Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of equal protection of the law. Outside of the United States, however, these protections do not apply.


The question in the recent was whether Camp X-Ray at Gitmo was part of the US. The Court said it was.

Family Values -- The Federal Marriage Amendment II: Attack of the Clowns

The FMA has been reintroduced. Two of its sponsors are those paragons of family values and marriage sanctity: David Vitter and Larry Craig (Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, call your offices). From the Carpetbagger:

Yes, two of the principal sponsors of a constitutional amendment to “protect” marriage include one far-right Republican who hired prostitutes and another far-right Republican who was arrested for soliciting gay sex an airport men’s room.


So is this the difference between Republicans and Democrats: When Democrats get caught in a hypocritical sex scandal, they resign (see Eliot Spitzer). When Republicans get caught with their pants down, they attack the rights of gays (see above).

Friday, June 27, 2008

Stupid Human Tricks

Friday Laugh

Guess what the dude in the screen is doing...


catchphrase blooper - Watch more free videos

My Pre-September 11 Mindset

Over at Malcontent there is a debate raging over the Supreme Court decision asserting that the "terrorists" held at Guantanamo Bay cannot be denied Habeas Corpus. To Matt, that's lefty thinking, favoring a pre-September 11 mindset.

Problem is, George Bush was trying to wield more power than King George III had over Americans back in the day. And they called him a tyrant, as I recall. So, yes, I do have a pre-September 11 mindset. It's a 1776 mindset. It's a mindset that says in a free society the King, er, President, doesn't have the ability to point his finger at anyone he pleases and lock them up, torture them and throw away the key.

The Court's decision doesn't free these so-called "enemy combatants." It just means the government has to charge them with something and show legal proof why they should be detained. If these men are so bad and so dangerous as the Administration claims why would this then be an insurmountable task?

And the people howling that this amounts to giving Osama Bin Laden "Constitutional Rights" -- well, you gotta catch him first. And the Administration's torturing, renditioning, lock em up and throw away the key let's invade Iraq approach hasn't managed that, has it?

Matt also sniffs at doubts that all these "enemy combatants" may not in fact be terrorists. After all, if George Bush says it, it has to be true, right? I mean, Bush has been so correct these last seven years on intelligence matters -- thank God we listened to him and destroyed all those WMDs we found in Iraq. He surely has a slam dunk case against these evil doers. You know, just like his classification of North Korea as part of the Axis of Evil.

Here's what Major General Jay Hood, former commander at Guantanamo told the Wall Street Journal about that:

"[S]ometimes we just didn't get the right folks," but innocents remain at the base because "[n]obody want to be the one to sign the release papers...there's no muscle in the system."


No muscle other than the President, that is. And he is, after all, the Glorious Decider.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Giving George W. Bush Sh*t

That's what San Francisco may do, as voters may decide to rename their sewage treatment plant after the 43rd President.

At least then the president's name would be associated with something that takes foul material and makes it good, as opposed to the opposite, which is what he did to America.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

He IS a Jedi Knight

At least he knows how to do the Jedi Mind Trick

He'll Use the Force on the Terrorists

George Lucas says Obama is a Jedi Knight.

But wait. I thought: power and ambition -- a Jedi craves not these things.

Well, no one ever said the Star Wars Universe was internally consistent.

Gratuitous Power

No, I'm not talking about the office of the Vice President.

I just returned from Las Vegas. For someone who would never by choice visit Vegas, this is the third time I've been there this year.

It was 112 degrees.

I'm struck by one thought each time I visit: all the energy required, not just to light and cool the city, but just to get water there. And this city exists for one purpose: recreation.

Somehow, the whole idea of Las Vegas seems anachronistic.

I Want My Gay Ketchup

Unfortunately, Sullivan reports that angry Christians have forced Heinz to pull this ad:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

MIA

In case anyone's looking for me I'm being held a corporate captive in Norwalk, CT. Please notify Amnesty International.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tales of the Introvert at Work -- Continued

And so it was that I found myself attending a REALLY BIG MEETING at a highly visible and well-known lobbying firm in town yesterday afternoon.

How big was the meeting? I had to put on a SUIT with a tie and everything. And not one of those clip on dealies.

Attending the meeting were several lobbyists including one of the principles of the firm.

After the meeting was over, during which I did manage to speak a few sentences, I went to the men's room. Big mistake. While I'm standing there, in walks the head guy who had been in our meeting, Mr. Big Shot Lobbyist. Standing next to me, he says, "I'm glad Tiger won, but I feel kinda sorry for Rocco."

Me: Silence. My desire to flee squelched by the force of nature compelling me to stand at the urinal holding my dick as one of DC's power players attempts to engage me in small talk.

"Yeah, I know what you mean," I manage to croak out. Yes, I know the tiger he is talking about is Tiger Woods and I know he's a golfer. The only other thing I know about him is he's beefed up his physique and I saw an attractive picture of him in shorts and a tee shirt in Men's Health, but that didn't seem to be an appropriate comment to make in that particular moment.

I now know that Woods beat Rocco Mediate. Had Rocco won, he would have been the oldest player to win the US Open Championship. Why didn't I know that? Why can't there be some service for sports-challenged introverted queers that sends out little key facts and talking points to our blackberries? Even if I took the time to peruse the sports page I wouldn't know what's really important to look for (I stopped perusing the sports pages when the NBA went to those long baggy drapey shorts. Ugh). I can't be the only one caught, um, with my pants down trying to make small talk with Mr. Big Shot at the urinal.

And by the way, why do men feel a need to make small talk while pissing? Mr. Big Shot didn't need to say anything, and if he didn't want to be rude he could have just said, "Hey, thanks for coming," or "Nice to see you" as he or I left the bathroom. Even the LTR and I don't talk to each other if we're peeing together in a public place. Is this a straight thing?

Many years ago I got a promotion. My boss said we'd discuss the details about the raise later. Well, later turned out to be when he caught me at the urinal in the men's room. Standing next to me he said, "I know this isn't the most appropriate place, but how about X percent for your raise?" Today I would have said, "you're right, this is not an appropriate place." Back then I was still pretty green and felt trapped. I agreed to the figure as I shook the last drops out. How many businessmen have been hoodwinked into bad deals because they were too focused on not leaving a stain on the front of their pants?

Still, I need a strategy going forward. I will cultivate friends who have interests in the major sports. If the World Series is on, I'll call my basketball buddy to see what the talking points are. And go to the men's room without fear.

Bears


We didn't need to go to Capital Pride to see bears. We saw two this weekend -- bear cubs, actually -- near the spring by the cabin. I tried to get a closeup of one in the tree.

The Mountain Laurel was in bloom and abundant.

We took a 10 mile hike Saturday which included a dip in a natural pool that was beautiful. The storm that was in DC in time for the Pride Parade caught us about 3 pm as we were hiking on the ridge. We got soaked but fortunately did not got hit by lightening that kept licking the mountains. Our cabin was good and dry and we had a great supper. Our cabin porch had a good view of the mountains to the West.




How was your weekend?

Friday, June 13, 2008

In the End it's About the Drag Queens

At least it's always the drag queens (or leather daddies) that get featured in pics or videos of Pride.

Here's today's photo gallery about Pride...and it's all about, yup, Drag Queens.

Is it 2008 or 1988?

Listen: I don't have a problem with either drag queens OR leather daddies. But our community is So Much More than that. Why are drag queens garnering additional attention...what about the ordinary gay heroes who are changing culture by bravely living their lives openly, as Sean Bugg writes about? Or the under 30 somethings the Blade focuses on?

Drag is not new. It's not at the forefront of what is exciting and new in our culture or community. Drag as a topic is tired and it's definitely not news.

One could fault the Post for resorting to cliche in covering Pride this way. But the Pride organizers did select a drag queen to emcee the main stage.

Mountains, here I come.

Breaking...Tim Russert Dies of a Heart Attack

according to a source at the Post.

Log Cabin Shows its Pride

This was one of two pictures in an email sent out by DC Log Cabin inviting people to drop by to say hello or march with them in the Pride Parade.

I'm waiting to see what the Gertrude Stein Club sends out to see who's got the better looking bare chested party bois Pride Enthusiasts. Who knows, maybe I'll cancel my mountain plans.

The other picture in the email, btw, was Carol Schwartz. That will make MattyDale happy.

If I Weren't a Gay Man

Will O'Bryan wonders aloud in this week's Metro Weekly if he could have chosen to be straight, would he have? This thought-provoking piece made me think about my life if I weren't gay.

The biggest change I wonder is if I would have had such a profound sense of otherness. I've always felt "different" -- how much of that is due to my sexuality can only be guessed at. Growing up, my lack of interest in sports always made it difficult for me to fit in, with peers or adults.

As an adult, I still find it difficult to naturally relate to groups of straight men. I simply don't have much to contribute in social gatherings where the banter is related to sports, cleavage and quips from Caddyshack and Animal House. I'm still an outsider to that fraternity.

I also wonder, if I were straight, if I would be as introspective as I am. From an early age, what I was taught about who and what I should be was in deep conflict with what I felt I was. Beyond contributing to my sense of otherness, this made me very thoughtful (in the sense of thinking, not in the sense of giving, as I am very selfish and inward-focused).

I also think, had I not been gay, I would have likely never questioned what I was taught about religion. I would likely still be dogmatically Christian (I used to teach Sunday School) and would probably be -- given my conservative tilt anyway -- a right-wing Christian fanatic. I know I'd be much more close-minded and may not have even ventured outside the rural area I grew up in.


Growing up, I used to think I'd be a veterinarian. So maybe if I weren't gay (and allergic to some animals) I'd be a small town vet, with wife and kids, a lay leader in my church and likely a GOP precinct Captain. Hell, I probably would have run for public office, been elected and enjoy some success as a Republican lawmaker, only to go down in some sex scandal when I hit middle age, get divorced and lose re-election and have to change churches.

So, come to think about it -- thank God I'm Gay.

UPDATE: Although, if I weren't Gay, there never would have been that unfortunate karaoke incident in Tampa with MattyDale. Just sayin.'

Ipod Random Ten

Haven't done this in a while so here goes:

  1. Dance on your Grave, from Naked Man, performed by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus
  2. Ghost Riders in the Sky, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson
  3. I Got You Babe, Sonny and Cher
  4. No Frontiers, the Corrs
  5. Finale B, Rent soundtrack
  6. Ashoken Farewell
  7. There is no Lonliness, Naked Man
  8. I Wish I Could Go Back to College, Avenue Q Soundtrack (thanks Drew!)
  9. One for My Baby, Bette Midler
  10. Walk Like an Egyptian, the Bangles

Thursday, June 12, 2008

PETA's Interns

Making copies, getting coffee and answering the phone doesn't look so bad now.

More on Pride

Mattydale gives a full-throated* defense of the fun of hanging with friends at Pride. As if hanging with friends needs defending, my friend.

I find it necessary to point out I'm not against the fun, partying and hanging with friends that happens at Pride. And in many ways, that's a part of pride rooted in history, as it was the police raid of the Stonewall Inn where gays were gathered to do exactly that that started it all.

But does that justify all the resources, money and importance we place on Pride?

Paul Varnell writing in Independent Gay Forum has some common-sense suggestions for making Pride serve the community in practical ways. They are:

The service organizations that depend on volunteers should strongly encourage their volunteers to march in the parade. For instance, the local community center claims "hundreds" of volunteers. If so, show us. And show the general public our level of community spirit. That might encourage others to volunteer as well.


A generation ago, it was difficult to get any politicians except the most liberal from the safest districts to participate in the parade. Not any longer. The number has now grown quite large as every office holder and political aspirant wants the publicity of being in the parade. So now, in order to qualify for admission to the parade, politicians should have to sign a statement saying they support domestic partner benefits in their office and civil unions or gay marriage. If they don't, what are they doing in OUR parade?


The large corporations that enter floats should have to disclose whether they have a non-discrimination clause, whether they offer domestic partner benefits for gay and lesbian employees, whether they have and support a gay employees organization. And they should be encouraged to indicate any corporate support they have given to gay organizations. That information could be noted in the program booklet for the parade.


So, have fun, everyone attending Pride this weekend. I'll raise my glass to you from the mountains...and to the queers who kicked open the closet doors for all of us 39 years ago at Stonewall.

*"full-throated" It's the other cliche emerging out of the 2008 election cycle.

The Supremes Rescue Habeas

Money Quote from today's 5-4 ruling:

"The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times."


And this:

Security subsists, too, in fidelity to freedom's first principles. Chief among these are freedom from arbitrary and unlawful restraint and the personal liberty that is secured by adherence to the separation of powers


Any police-state action can be justified as necessary for "our safety." What I take the Supremes to be saying is security, yes, but not at the cost of illegal suspension of civil liberties.

The DNC Goes to Chicago

Obama is moving the political operation of the DNC to Chicago. That's a slick move. I happened to be working at the RNC in the transition from Reagan to George H.W. Bush. There was always tension between the Committee and the Campaign and it seemed difficult to always be on the same page. Indeed it appears that problem is plaguing the RNC and McCain Campaign.

This will help solve that problem for Obama -- and it reinforces the "change" theme.

Brilliant.

Or as a commenter on the TPM story notes, "good to see that the campaign and the DNC will be in the loop."

Where I'll Be This Weekend

While y'all are watching stoned circuit party boys on floats and bidding for bachelor number one to celebrate Pride this weekend, I'll be here.



View Larger Map

What Happens When Politics and Relationships Don't Mix?

(hat tip: DCist).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Spock. An Introvert?

I was on my "it sucks to be an introvert in an extrovert world" kick with a friend and she said Spock was an introvert. Is he? I'm not so sure.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What's Lacking in Pride is a Movement

I shouldn't be so hard on Capital Pride.


Sidebar: Although they somewhat set themselves up for the ridicule. My main reason for being disdainful is that Pride is a lack of purpose pretending to have a purpose. From the Cap Pride's Web Site:

June 6th will kick-off the 33rd annual Capital Pride celebration! This years theme of "History. Vision. Legacy." will allow attendees from near and far to be part of a celebration of what it means to be Proud in our Nation's capital.


The weeklong celebration of educational, civic and social events, will culminate with the landmark parade on Saturday, June 14th and the street festival Sunday, June 15th. (emphasis added).


But if you review the schedule of weeklong events, you find one forum, one interfaith service, and then happy hour, a bachelor auction, a bachelorette auction, a Miss Capitol Pride Pageant, a men's party, a woman's party, a parade and a street festival. Dancing shirtless, bidding on on beefcake and competing drag queens -- this is "what it means to be proud in our nation's capital?" Drop the pretense. It's a party with no purpose other than partying. It's a Mardi Gras.

End Sidebar.

Problem is, there is a vacuum in our community, one that Pride could help begin to fill by being a rallying point. What's missing in Pride is a national gay civil rights movement.

In California a volcano just erupted. Part of the fallout of that event is going to be a backlash at the ballot box this November. Winning there has ramifications for the entire community. It's the beginning of the collapse of legal and political discrimination against gays. If we win.

You couldn't tell that D-Day will be happening this November based on Capital Pride (and the gays in California acted like they've already one, according to this observer).

But, as I said, I'm expecting too much of Pride organizers. Their task is to throw a party, not galvanize a community into a national movement. Problem is, no one is doing this. One might think HRC would be such a vehicle, but HRC is fundamentally a fundraising organization not a civil rights grassroots organization. And it's too in bed with the Democratic Party to take the risks needed for a civil rights movement. Partisans don't like to rock the boat in favor of their incumbents and civil rights movements make waves.

Pride has its pleasures (as this fellow noted). It's just too bad that nearly 40 years after Stonewall our community hasn't been able to form a cohesive national civil rights movement.

Happy Pride.


Police Check Points

You're driving through town. You reach a certain neighborhood and come upon a police checkpoint. You're questioned. Why are you coming into this neighborhood? Do you have appropriate ID? If you don't have your ID, or fail to give a reason for being there that the police officer deems "legitimate" you are turned away.

Where is this? Baghdad? Moscow under the Commie Overlords? Try Washington, D.C. Capital of the free world.

The checkpoints were put in place around a DC neighborhood called Trinidad in Northeast where there was a violent outbreak of crime. DC Police Czar Chief Cathy Lanier justifies the measure as necessary to protect the citizens and, after all, she says, people have to go through checkpoints to get on a plane or go to an event.

The crime warrants an increased police presence in the neighborhood but not the police-state-like harassment of law abiding citizen who should be able to move freely around their home city. In Baltimore, they have reduced crime without resorting to Commie tactics (according to the WaPo):

Police in Baltimore, where there has been a 36 percent decrease in homicides and shootings this year, said they attribute that to targeting violent criminals and improving relationships with members of the community.

"You lock up the baddest of the bad in part by working with people in the neighborhood," Baltimore police spokesman Sterling Clifford said. "You look to people in the neighborhood to tell you who they are and where they are."


Which leads me to ask -- can you tell the difference between DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier and the Communist?




The Fall Campaign Shapes Up

And in some ways it seems like the primary campaign all over again, with McCain standing in for Hillary.

McCain, "maverick"image notwithstanding, is the "experience" candidate who is now trying to twist Obama's "change" message into his own slogan (change you can believe in). Remember Clinton's "fairy tale" meme? Her attempts to portray herself as having 35 years of experience making change? It didn't work for her, and I doubt it will work for McCain.

Like in the primary, where Obama was the underdog in delegate-rich states, Obama is the underdog in states with a lot of Electoral College votes. He will seek to make it up in other states to replicate what he did in the primary -- offset losses in big states with multiple victories in smaller ones. In fact, he has announced a "50-state" strategy. It will be interesting to see if he can push McCain to pour money into states that should be a "wash" for him, as he did to Hillary in Pennsylvania.

Finally, we'll let George Will have the last word. He says current polls are meaningless because Obama has shattered their turnout models.

Reason Number Nine Why I'm Not Going to Capital Pride

I actually tried to visit the Capital Pride Web site because there was actually something POSITIVE I wanted to say about Pride this year and I needed to get the info...but their Web site was down.

Anyway, I'll give another reason for not going to Pride instead:

Last Year.

Last year sucked. From the parade marshals who screamed and pushed us the entire length of the Pride Parade to the announcers at the reviewing stand whose sole purpose was to denigrate the participants OF the parade, I simply had a lousy time.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Cliche of the 2008 Campaign

The 2006 campaign gave us "at the end of the day." It was the most commonly used phrase by newscasters, politicians and pundits when making a point.

In 08, the word is "pivot." Notice how often this word is creeping into public discourse about the campaign. As in, "the long primary campaign now over, Obama will pivot to focus on the fall campaign against John McCain."

Or, "after remarking on the historic nature of her own candidacy, Clinton pivoted to tout her support for the historic campaign of Barack Obama."

It's even made it as a Wall Street Journal headline:

After Mixed Primary Performance, Pollsters Pivot Toward November

Clearly, for 2008, this word is, well, pivotal.

Way Out There in the Blue

Riding on a smile and a shoeshine*.

Sales call today...and I look absolutely spiff in a brown suit, lavender shirt and tasteful purple tie. And, my new brown dress shoes I bought yesterday for the occasion.

Other than that, I have nothing to say for once.

*know the source for this quote? Anyone?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Reason Number Seven Why I'm Not Going To Capital Pride This Year

The Pride Parade's Grand Marshall: Bruce Villanch.

Now, I mean no disrespect to Mr. Villanch. But with all that's happened historically for our movement in the past year, he is the best person to lead off the Pride Parade in the Nation's Capital? Really?

By the way, the theme of this year's Pride (did you know Pride had a "theme?"):

History, Vision, Legacy.

Yes, Villanch represents that theme very well, doesn't he.

Her Speech

One thing that stuck out, to me, was that she clearly didn't want to be president. She wanted to be the First Woman President. That someone else is getting the nomination when she was supposed to have been inevitable AND that person will claim the mantle of being the First Black President, thus beating Hillary in two ways, had to deeply rankle.

Yet, it was a stunning speech. Brava.

Friday, June 06, 2008

What's in a Speech

That sure was an exciting speech John McSame McCain gave Tuesday night, no? You know, the endless repetition of "that's not change we can believe in" followed by the creepy smile that looks like he just said something sexually inappropriate to an underage female relative.

Question to McCain staff: Why would you put your candidate -- not the best orator -- up against a victorious candidate who is a gifted one?

Drudge today carried a link to an article with the headline, "McCain says substance matters more than style." Funny -- that's what Democrats used to say about Ronald Reagan.

Anyway, all of this got me thinking -- is speechifying that important for a President?

I would argue, yes. If you look at most of our greatest presidents they were all great orators.

Lincoln gave good speech
Kennedy gave good speech
Reagan gave good speech (I know not all of you will agree with me that he was a "great" president)


And Obama gives good speech.

With a vast majority of Americans saying our country is on the wrong track, we need a president who can not only unify us but inspire us to a new direction.

That president will not be John McCain

Stuck

The Hidden Ceiling: Introverts at Work

Once again, I am an introvert.

I've no doubt this has hurt my career. A former boss used to get really mad at me after meetings. "Speak up!" she would say. "You're too deferential!" Actually, I was processing what all the idiot extros were saying.

My hunch is that if i were competing against someone else with the same age and background, but who is more extroverted, I would lose.

The Psychology 101 Web site says:

Since North American culture promotes teamwork and communication, introverts at work may struggle professionally. Extroverts at work enjoy attention, network well, and are good at marketing themselves. These qualities make them appear to be better at their jobs than introverts at work, but appearances are often deceiving.


Recently, as I've shared, my current boss said, "you're not the most outgoing person." It was not a compliment. Another co-worker recently semi-jokingly referred to me as "aloof."

So I've decided to launch a Scott Outreach campaign. Each day I'm sticking my head in a co-worker's office to banter. The campaign is having some immediate results -- co-workers are now poking their heads into my office with greater frequency.

It's interrupted my work and slowed my productivity down...but hey, at least I'm "coming out of my shell."

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Reuters Says Not So Fast...

At this point, what possible interest does she serve by denying Obama his victory lap?

Is it Over?

AP says so.

And how Clintonesque. It's not a concession but an acknowledgment that he has the delegates to get the nomination.

Why Republicans Are Good at Winning

From the Illinois state finance committee's letter urging Clinton supporters to stay firm:

We also know she is the Democratic candidate best able to beat John McCain in the fall. One thing we are certain of is that the Republicans are good at winning elections. We, as Democrats, allowed them to win the last two contests, and we cannot afford to let that happen again.
(via Politico).

Well, yes. It's much easier for Republicans to win elections when the Democrats are so good at tearing each other apart. Claims that voters in two states were wrongly "disenfranchised" and constant attacks on Obama's electability, claims that she is denied the nomination somehow because she is a woman, all that will leave Democrats embittered and fractured. As a Republican president understood so well, houses divided don't stand.

And that's why Republicans are "good at winning elections."

Oh -- this just in: Hillary is ahead in the popular vote in states ending in vowels that were founded in an odd-numbered year.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Spanish Lessons

Since "retiring" from conducting the band I've been mulling over what to tackle next.

One thought is to take Spanish lessons. I've always wanted to learn and I can get by to some degree on what little I remember from my high school Spanish classes.

I'm looking into getting a tutor. I'd rather someone come to my home than have to rush somewhere for a class.

But then it occurs to me: I'm an introvert. I really don't like to talk that much.

So now I'm not going to talk to people in two languages?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Speed Limit on the Capitol Crescent Trail

Park officials have decided to impose a 15 mph speed limit on cyclists on the Capitol Crescent Trail, one of the most popular trails in the DC region. It was an arbitrary decision made without an opportunity for hearing or public comment.

And one that will have little impact on public safety -- if any.

Yes, there are unsafe cyclists. But as someone who is one these trails every day, it's the pedestrians who pose the greatest safety hazards to cyclists and to themselves.

Each day I see:

Peds wearing Ipods oblivious to traffic around them.
Ditto peds talking on cell phones
Dog walkers with their dogs unleashed
Dog walkers with their dogs on long leashes with the dog darting back and forth across the trail
Peds walking two or three abreast blocking the trail in both directions and who fail to heed to passing warnings
And, in my book, the worst: walking the wrong way on the path.

Cyclists have the Washington Area Bicyclists Association which promotes trail sharing and safety.

If there is a pedestrian equivalent I've not heard of it.

And why 15 mph? How did they arrive at that magic number. While the average cycling speed varies greatly, some have pegged it around 12.5 mph. So will 15 mph encourage the average cyclists to speed up and improve their speed?

A safe cyclist will slow down on a crowded trail and be as predictable as possible in his or her movements, warning those they pass. Most cyclists are aware of the rules of the road and adhere to them. It seems to me many pedestrians are not aware and act as if the trails belong to them. Recently I gave a warning -- as required -- as I passed a pedestrian on the GW trail. She raised her hands at me in indignation as if to say I was being rude to her and that she wasn't doing anything wrong.

At night I am shocked by the number of peds on the trails with dark clothing, no reflective material and no light. Do they have a death wish?

The move to enact the speed limit is being portrayed as "educational." Fine. But focusing just on the cyclists on the trails misses the bulk of the problem.