atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#2405: "Censure", yeah, that's REAL tough.

The House Ethics Committee recommends "censure" for Charlie Rangel.

Oooo, sounds like they're making an example out of him!

In case you're wondering, getting censured by the House of Representatives is like getting a green jelly bean when you wanted a yellow one: it doesn't matter. It's not going to have any effect on Rangel's career whatsoever. Certainly it's not going to result in him changing his behavior one whit, except maybe he'll be a bit more careful about getting caught next time.

Censure is the House of Representatives saying, "What you did there was not nice. Now you make sure never to do it again, or we'll be really mad!" An actual slap on the wrist would be a stronger punishment.

* * *

Breda has thought of the perfect mascot for the TSA.

* * *

Indiana residents: please replace Dick Lugar in 2012.

* * *

This Hyperbole and a Half post made me laugh until tears came.

You know, I hear about people with weird, stupid, or otherwise defective dogs, but I have yet to meet such a dog. Limbaugh made a comment, once--years ago--about a friend who had the prototypical defective dog: "It jumps off second-story balconies and is afraid of toast!"

Yeah: afraid of toast. That's why it's the prototype: what dog is afraid of food? ...in any form whatsoever?

* * *

...so I was thinking, Thursday morning, about having a cell phone which would let me use WAV files (or some equivalent) as a ringtone, and I imagined using this as a ringtone for someone.

Problem is, I don't know who I'd use it for. All the people in my life who it might fit, I no longer associate with.

Maybe when I get a job, I can associate that ringtone with the work number. Ehh, maybe that's not such a good idea.

Anyway, just the thought of being somewhere (like in a store) and all of the sudden my phone begins emitting that moronic noise--I laughed at the mental image.

* * *

Also on Thursday morning, I got stopped by a train. This would ordinarily not be worthy of comment here, except that the train consisted of six locomotives. And that's all.

The railroad line that runs through town here used to be the Missouri Pacific main line from Chicago to Danville and points south. It's double track, which is apparently less than common even these days. (Hell, the IC line in University Park was double track for years, but dropped to one track just north of Monee years ago.) UP bought MP, so now it's UP; but it's still double track and there's no sign of them tearing out one track. With the volume of trains we get through here (even in this economy) they need it.

Let's see--besides UP, CSX and BNSF use these tracks, so UP is making money on trackage rights with this line. I even saw an Amtrack train go through last week, which is really unusual.

In all the time I've lived here, I have never seen six locomotives running light. One; maybe two, in all the time I've lived here. (Figure 27 years, since I didn't care much about real trains before I was 10 and I lived in Cedar Rapids for six years.) But not six.

Why is UP moving six locomotives without a train attached to them? I can assure you that no railroad will ever move anything without a train attached if they can possibly help it, because moving trains means making money; moving locomotives only is a cost. When you consider how much an engineer and fireman make combined--coupled with the cost of having six locomotives doing nothing in the wrong place--it adds up to quite a tidy sum.

Usually, if a railroad needs locomotives moved somewhere, it can just add them to a train which is going that way. The problem comes when there isn't a train going that way.

And that's what worries me.

This is a major rail corridor, yet UP didn't have a train they could attach those locomotives to?

Couple that with the two strings of empty well cars I saw in August or September. That's why this worries me: I'm seeing a lot of wasted motion going on, stuff that doesn't pay to do unless you have no other choice. Like that string of empty auto racks I saw about the same time as the empty well cars. Where are the loads for those cars? In the case of the well cars even empty containers would be better than nothing at all, because even empty containers need to be taken places to be refilled with stuff. If the empties aren't moving, then full ones aren't moving either...and that spells "bad economy".

*sigh*

* * *

So there are 17 volumes of Lovely Complex and I've read 10 of them. And as of volume 10, the story has advanced to perhaps ep 20 of the anime, out of 24. So there's got to be a ton of stuff that was left out of the anime, and that's nice. (I almost wrote "that's shiny". Guess I should watch some Firefly.)

* * *

My desk lamp--an "architect's lamp", the kind on a hinged arm with springs--broke. Actually, it broke more, as it was already broken and I'd been meaning to get over to the hardware store to see about buying some fiddlybits that I might use to repair it. The pivot for the actual lamp head had broken, and I figured I could fix it with a bolt and a couple of other bits; but Thursday morning, when I was trying to figure out WTF was wrong with my computer, I pulled it down too far and snapped the main pivot off--the part that fits into the base you clamp to your desk--thus utterly ruining the thing. It's in the trash now. *sigh*

So I'll need to go shopping for a new desk lamp one of these days. At least it wasn't a particularly expensive lamp. It's still annoying.

Oh well.
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