Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why Building Roads Doesn't Ease Congestion

A quote from Gil Penelosa's keynote speech at the 2008 Carfree conference:

70% of the public space in Los Angeles is dedicated to car mobility… 20% of public space in Paris is dedicated to car mobility. In which city would you rather live?

I can't say it any better. Here's an article I lifted from the opposition to the Vancouver BC Gateway Project. This is pertinent because of own local stupidity, the Columbia River Crossing project. Enjoy.

Why building new roads doesn't ease congestion

An excerpt from Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream
by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck
North Point Press, 2000, pp. 88-94.

There is a much deeper problem than the way highways are placed and managed. It is the question of why we are still building highways at all.

The simple truth is that building more highways and widening existing roads, almost always motivated by concern over traffic, does nothing to reduce traffic. In the long run, in fact, it increases traffic. This revelation is so counterintuitive that it bears repeating: adding lanes makes traffic worse. This paradox was suspected as early as 1942 by Robert Moses, who noticed that the highways he had built around New York City in 1939 were somehow generating greater traffic problems than had existed previously. Since then, the phenomenon has been well documented, most notably in 1989, when the Southern California Association of Governments concluded that traffic-assistance measures, be they adding lanes, or even double-decking the roadways, would have no more than a cosmetic effect on Los Angeles' traffic problems. The best it could offer was to tell people to work closer to home, which is precisely what highway building mitigates against.

Across the Atlantic, the British government reached a similar conclusion. Its studies showed that increased traffic capacity causes people to drive more--a lot more--such that half of any driving-time savings generated by new roadways are lost in the short run. In the long run, potentially all savings are expected to be lost. In the words of the Transport Minister, "The fact of the matter is that we cannot tackle our traffic problems by building more roads."2 While the British have responded to this discovery by drastically cutting their road-building budgets, no such thing can be said about Americans.

There is no shortage of hard data. A recent University of California at Berkeley study covering thirty California counties between 1973 and 1990 found that, for every 10 percent increase in roadway capacity, traffic increased 9 percent within four years' time.3 For anecdotal evidence, one need only look at commuting patterns in those cities with expensive new highway systems. USA Today published the following report on Atlanta: "For years, Atlanta tried to ward off traffic problems by building more miles of highways per capita than any other urban area except Kansas City…As a result of the area's sprawl, Atlantans now drive an average of 35 miles a day, more than residents of any other city."· This phenomenon, which is now well known to those members of the transportation industry who wish to acknowledge it, has come to be called induced traffic.

The mechanism at work behind induced traffic is elegantly explained by an aphorism gaining popularity among traffic engineers: "Trying to cure traffic congestion by adding more capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt." Increased traffic capacity makes longer commutes less burdensome, and as a result, people are willing to live farther and farther from their workplace. As increasing numbers of people make similar decisions, the long-distance commute grows as crowded as the inner city, commuters clamor for additional lanes, and the cycle repeats itself. This problem is compounded by the hierarchical organization of the new roadways, which concentrate through traffic on as few streets as possible.

The phenomenon of induced traffic works in reverse as well. When New York's West Side Highway collapsed in 1973, an NYDOT study showed that 93 percent of the car trips lost did not reappear elsewhere; people simply stopped driving. A similar result accompanied the destruction of San Francisco's Embarcadero Freeway in the 1989 earthquake. Citizens voted to remove the freeway entirely despite the apocalyptic warnings of traffic engineers. Surprisingly, a recent British study found that downtown road removals tend to boost local economies, while new roads lead to higher urban unemployment. So much for road-building as a way to spur the economy.·

If traffic is to be discussed responsibly, it must first be made clear that the level of traffic which drivers experience daily, and which they bemoan so vehemently, is only as high as they are willing to countenance. If it were not, they would adjust their behavior and move, carpool, take transit, or just stay at home, as some choose to do. How crowded a roadway is at any given moment represents a condition of equilibrium between people's desire to drive and their reluctance to fight traffic. Because people are willing to suffer inordinately in traffic before seeking alternatives--other than clamoring for more highways--the state of equilibrium of all busy roads is to have stop-and-go traffic. The question is not how many lanes must be built to ease congestion but how many lanes of congestion would you want? Do you favor four lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic at rush hour, or sixteen?

This condition is best explained by what specialists call latent demand. Since the real constraint on driving is traffic, not cost, people are always ready to make more trips when the traffic goes away. The number of latent trips is huge--perhaps 30 percent of existing traffic. Because of latent demand, adding lanes is futile, since drivers are already poised to use them up.4

While the befuddling fact of induced traffic is well understood by sophisticated traffic engineers, it might as well be a secret, so poorly has it been disseminated. The computer models that transportation consultants use do not even consider it, and most local public works directors have never heard of it at all. As a result, from Maine to Hawaii, city, county, and even state engineering departments continue to build more roadways in anticipation of increased traffic, and, in doing, create that traffic. The most irksome aspect of this situation is that these road-builders are never proved wrong; in fact, they are always proved 'right': "You see," they say, "I told you that traffic was coming."

The ramifications are quite unsettling. Almost all of the billions of dollars spent on road-building over the past decades have accomplished only one thing, which is to increase the amount of time that we must spend in our cars each day. Americans now drive twice as many miles per year as they did just twenty years ago. Since 1969, the number of miles cars travel has grown at four times the population rate.· And we're just getting started: federal highway officials predict that over the next twenty years congestion will quadruple. Still, every congressman, it seems, wants a new highway to his credit.·

Thankfully, alternatives to road-building are being offered, but they are equally misguided. If, as is now clear beyond any reasonable doubt, people maintain an equilibrium of just-bearable traffic, then the traffic engineers are wasting their time--and our money--on a whole new set of stopgap measures that produce temporary results as best. These measures, which include HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes, congestion pricing, timed traffic lights, and "smart streets," serve only to increase highway capacity, which causes more people to drive until the equilibrium condition of crowding returns. While certainly less wasteful than new construction, these measures also do nothing to address the real cause of traffic congestion, which is that people choose to put up with it.

We must admit that, in an ideal world, we would be able to build our way out of traffic congestion. The new construction of 50 percent of more highways nationwide would most likely overcome all of the latent demand. However, to provide more than temporary relief, this huge investment would have to be undertaken hand in hand with a moratorium on suburban growth. Otherwise, the new subdivisions, shopping malls, and office parks made possible by the new roadways would eventually choke them as well. In the real world, such moratoriums are rarely possible, which is why road-building is typically a folly.

Those who are skeptical of the need for a fundamental reconsideration of transportation planning should take note of something we experienced a few years ago. In a large working session on the design of Playa Vista, an urban infill project in Los Angeles, the traffic engineer was presenting a report of current and projected congestion around the development. From our seat by the window, we had an unobstructed rush-hour view of a street he had diagnosed as highly congested and in need of widening. Why, then, was traffic flowing smoothly, with hardly any stacking at the traffic light? When we asked, the traffic engineer offered an answer that should be recorded permanently in the annals of the profession: "The computer model that we use does not necessarily bear any relationship to reality."

But the real question is why so many drivers choose to sit for hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic without seeking alternatives. Is it a manifestation of some deep-seated self-loathing, or are people just stupid? The answer is that people are actually quite smart, and their decision to submit themselves to the misery of suburban commuting is a sophisticated response to a set of circumstances that are as troubling as their result. Automobile use is the intelligent choice for most Americans because it is what economists refer to as a "free good": the consumer pays only a fraction of its true cost. The authors Stanley Hart and Alvin Spivak have explained that:

We learn in first-year economics what happens when products or services become "free" goods. The market functions chaotically; demand goes through the roof. In most American cities, parking spaces, roads and freeways are free goods. Local government services to the motorist and to the trucking industry--traffic engineering, traffic control, traffic lights, police and fire protection, street repair and maintenance--are all free goods.·

Read more on why building new roads doesn't ease congestion.


This article is an excerpt from Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck. Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream, North Point Press, 2000, 88-94.


Donald D.T. Chen. "If You Build It, They Will Come…Why We Can't Build Ourselves Our of Congestion." Surface Transportation Policy Project Progress VII.2 (March 1998): I, 4.


Ibid., 6.

Carol Jouzatis. "39 Million People Work, Live Outside City Centers." USA Today, November 4, 1997: 1A-2A. As a result of its massive highway construction, the Atlanta area is "one of the nation's worst violators of Federal standards for ground-level ozone, with most of the problem caused by motor-vehicle emissions" (Kevin Sack. "Governor Proposes Remedy for Atlanta Sprawl." The New York Times, January 26, 1999: A14).

Jill Kruse. "Remove It and They Will Disappear: Why Building New Roads Isn't Always the Answer." Surface Transportation Policy Project Progress VII:2 (March 1998): 5, 7. This study, in analyzing sixty road closures worldwide, found that 20 percent to 60 percent of driving trips disappeared rather than materializing elsewhere.


Stanley Hart and Alvin Spivak. The Elephant in the Bedroom: Automobile Dependence and Denial; Impacts on the Economy and Environment. Pasadena, Calif.: New Paradigm Books, 1993, 122.

Jane Holtz Kay. Asphalt Nation: How the Automobile Took Over America, and How We Can Take It Back. New York: Crown, 1997, 15; and Peter Calthorpe. The Next American Metropolis: Ecology, Community, and the American Dream. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1993, 27. Since 1983, the number of miles cars travel has grown at eight time s the population rate (Urban Land Institute traffic study). The greatest increases in automobile use correspond to the greatest concentrations of sprawl. Annual gasoline consumption per person in Phoenix and Houston is over 50 percent higher than in Chicago or Washington, D.C., and over 500 percent higher than in London or Tokyo (Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy. Winning Back the Cities. Sydney: Photo Press, 1996, 9). Currently, almost 70 percent of urban freeways are clogged during rush hour (Jason Vest, Warren Cohen, and Mike Tharp. "Road Rage." U.S. News & World Report, June 2, 1997: 24-30). In Los Angeles, congestion has already reduced average freeway speeds to less than 31 mph; by the year 2010, they are projected to fall to 11 mph (James MacKenzie, Roger Dower, and Donald Chen. The Going Rate: What It Really Costs to Drive. Report by the World Resources Institute, 1992, 17).

Almost any situation seems acceptable to justify more highway spending, even the recent road rage epidemic. Representative Bud Schuster, the chairman of the U.S. Congressional Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, made this recommendation: "The construction of additional lanes, the widening of roads and the straightening of curves would decrease congestion and reduce the impatience and unsafe habits of some motorists" (Thomas Palmer. "Pacifying Road Warriors." The Boston Globe, July 25, 1997: A1, B5).

Stanley Hard and Alvin Spivak, The Elephant in the Bedroom: Automobile Dependence and Denial, 2. Much of the information here on the science and economics of traffic congestion comes from this book, which should be required reading for every professional planner, traffic engineer, and amateur highway activist.

The logic behind the desire to make use of free goods is suggested by an argument overheard at a recent planning conference: "Of course there's never enough parking! If you gave everyone free pizza, would there be enough pizza?"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Big Business and Automotive Ads

Copyright (c) Andy Singer; noncommercial use only
I watched an hour of prime time television last night. I'm not entirely TV-free; I probably watch about two hours a week. Last night the stars all fell into alignment and I watched an episode of House. (My daughter the actress says that Laurie's gift is timing; he delivers all of these deadpan lines with absolute perfection.) For the record, I enjoy the show; I just don't often stay up that late on Mondays.

Anyway, just for the fun of it, I counted the number of automobile (and related) commercials. In the space of one hour I saw six commercials. (I say related because one was a Les Schwab advertisement. Les Schwab is a great place, but it really has no goods or services to offer you unless you own or maintain an automobile.)

An aside: the basics of human memory...

In graduate school at Georgia Tech we extensively studied human intelligence as part of my artificial intelligence (AI) curriculum. There was (and still is) a huge gap between human intelligence and what we've been able to achieve with computers, but the hope still remains, even today, that as we understand human intelligence better we might be able to achieve some rough semblance thereof with computers.

Anyway, one of the things we studied was the model of memory. Humans have three types of memory: short term, intermediate term, and long term. Short term memory is principally auditory, lasts up to about 30 seconds, and can hold about five to seven items. Imagine reading a telephone number and then punching it into your phone. Intermediate term lasts from 30 minutes to two hours, and long term is how your grandparents regale you with stories of walking barefoot in the snow uphill both ways to school when they were young.

We know (thanks again to the experimental psychologists) that memories are created and stored strictly in this pipeline, moving first in short term, some of the short term memories making it to intermediate term, and some of those making it to long term. I helped my son learn the state capitols one day in middle school by using my AI background, burning the knowledge into his intermediate term memory and then burning it repeatedly at one hour intervals through the evening. He still remembers them :-)

There are even aphasias where one of the three types of memory are disrupted. I have a personal experience with short term memory disruption. About three years ago I suffered a completely mysterious bicycle crash. I say mysterious because I was riding alone, though there were a couple of witnesses on the street when it happened. I say mysterious because when I replay my recollection of the event there is a profound...discontinuity...in the recollection; one moment I'm riding along the street, and the next I'm standing by the bicycle inspecting it for damage with people running up to me asking if I was all right. (Well, I wasn't, not really, but that's another story.) Short term memory disruption is not uncommon with mild concussions, and my AI background allows me to understand the mechanism, but it was still downright creepy to experience it.

Anyway, back to House.

By including advertisements for automobiles at such frequent intervals, Big Business is essentially pounding their messages into long-term memory. The messages are things like,
  • Cars are fun.
  • Cars are glamorous.
  • You need a car.
  • Everyone should have a car.
Jonathan Maus once wrote, "Cars are the new smoking." This blitz of advertising reminds me of growing up in the 1960's when television was rife with tobacco ads (oh, and liquor too). Society finally moved to limit this advertising, especially to youth and other vulnerable market segments. Nowadays we see the following kinds of labeling on cigarettes:

  • Caution: Cigarette Smoking May be Hazardous to Your Health (1966)
  • Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined that Cigarette Smoking is Dangerous to Your Health (1970)
  • SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy.
  • SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health.
  • SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Smoking By Pregnant Women May Result in Fetal Injury, Premature Birth, And Low Birth Weight.
  • SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Cigarette Smoke Contains Carbon Monoxide.
I say we should start adding warnings to automobile advertising. No, I'm entirely serious. If we can decide as a society that we need to add warnings because people are hurting themselves, shouldn't we be even more inclined to include warnings for behavior that hurts others? Here are a few suggestions for starters:
  • DEPT HOMELAND SECURITY WARNING: Foreign Oil Funds Anti-American Terrorism.
  • SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Automobile Use Causes Cancer in Children.
  • SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Automobile Use May Cause Obesity, Diabetes, and Heart Disease.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY WARNING: Automobile Use Destroys Farmland, Fisheries, and Wildlife Habitat.
  • US DEPT COMMERCE WARNING: Private Automobiles Have Made the US a Debtor Nation.
  • UNITED NATIONS WARNING: Private Automobiles Have Caused Global Warming.
Any others you can think of?

Copyright (c) Andy Singer; noncommercial use only

Monday, June 16, 2008

Store Cat

The middle of last week, my wife calls me. Evidently there was a lost kitten wandering around outside the shopping center where our bead shop is. Well, OK, so we'll take care of it for a while. We've searched for the owner, but there are no "lost cat" notices and no implanted chip. Our best guess is that it was abandoned; it's extremely sweet and well socialized to humans.

The little thing has adapted perfectly well to being at the bead shop. So much so that it rides to and from work every day and guards the beads for us while the shop is open.

(That's Steve from Sharon's Attic next door.) Yup, Martha's perfectly at home at the bead store, and the customers seem to just love it as well.

Look at the beads skitter!

What Can I Say?

I love Portland. I really do. With the mildest climate in the 48 states, plentiful clean water and air, and people who actually care that we have plentiful clean water and air, I'm glad to call this my home.

But...sometimes people are just weird here.

Check out this news article from the weekend. Umm. Yeah. The thought of riding a bike without any clothes on kinda makes my hide twitch. A positive and health bicycling culture has a lot of great side effects. However, there are some things that happen here that I really don't get, like
shift2bikes, the Zoobombers, and Critical Mass, not to mention the really fringey things like Dykes on Bikes.

Honestly, this place is so weird even the UFO's don't land here any more. (No, I didn't make that up, but I do have it on good authority from the extraterrestrial I had over for dinner the other night.) Recall that King George the First termed this place Little Beirut because it was such a tribulation for the the secret service to keep him alive when he visited here?

I can't even presume that the Willamette Valley got this way since I moved here. Remember this bumper sticker?
(I'm distancing the population west of the Cascades from everyone else, because I think the folks in Bend, Pendleton, and LaGrande would prefer it that way .) Heck, I usually buy Nancy's yogurt at the store (I'm lactose intolerant), and--in case you weren't aware--this is a daily reminder in my life of the legacy of Ken Kesey. Yes, it's that Kesey family that owns it. And I buy Nancy's because they don't add nonfat milk solids (read: lactose) into their yogurt after they culture it, and they don't add gelatin (read: makes it hard to cook with). It's just plain better.

Want another example? We had our Gay Pride Parade here in Portland over the weekend, and who's prominently featured in a float?

Yup, Sam Adams. And in Portland that's not just the name of a nationally renowned (and revered even here in the land of microbrews) ale; Mr. Adams is none other than the mayor-elect of Portland.

Sam Adams is also an ardent advocate for bicyclists. He even wanted to relocate the Sauvie Island bridge to make a pedestrian overpass in the Pearl District, but that's another story.

So, anyway, that's the news from the Land of the Stumps of Mystery as of today.

Saturday was another epic bicycle
ride for the Oregon Randonneurs. You had your choice of a 200km and a 400km route. Those who opted for the 400km tended to finish around 2 AM Sunday, and...seeing as it was Father's Day, I didn't think that was politically correct. Yeah, that's the ticket. That's why I didn't do it.

The worst part about this ride for me was actually starting it. In order to afford the riders with the maximum amount of daylight, we were to start in Newburg at six in the morning, which meant rolling out of bed at four. I spent the entire trip to Newburg wondering how I was going to feel being on a bike. I like my sleep!

The upside is that the weather was absolutely fantastic. It started out just chilly enough to require a windbreaker, but we were down to arm & leg warmers by lunch and then we were out of those by the return trip.

Yes, we had to bypass the Road to Riches in order to stay on our route. So shoot me. (See how blue and clear the sky was!)

However, it was just after I took this photo that, heading southbound down a hill at 15 mph, I noticed that I was feeling absolutely no wind. Bad news, boys and girls. I told myself that the wind would probably die down before heading back north.

As the morning progressed we got our obligatory covered bridges. The last one ended up being blurry, sorry about that.

The descent to Shimanek Bridge was most notable. Even taking it easy I hit 42 mph dropping down to the bridge.

You have to wonder why there are covered bridges here in western Oregon. It's not as though we get that much snow or sleet in the winter. Must be something about the settlers who moved here. The 400Km folks got the other four bridges. Thanks, I'll do that some other year.

Lynne and I called this ride the Dies the Fire ride. At one point just north of Sublimity as we crested a roller, I said "Hey, Lynne, I keep expecting Clan MacKenzie to ride out from behind some trees; this is exactly like the terrain Sterling writes about." Lynne: "This is the terrain!" (Those are terrific books, by the way; check them out.) We kept speculating where the Lord Protector had put is fortresses, and we all agreed that the only way to tour Dies the Fire country is by foot, horseback, or bicycle (the way they travel in the books).

Cecil and the preride crew had warned us about Cole School Road, but it still has to be experienced to be believed. It consists of two climbs; the first one is 15% and perhaps 0.3 miles. It's pretty demanding, then you get a all-too-swift descent paycheck before starting a second climb of similar length. Let me tell you, that climb looks awful impressive at the bottom, and Cecil assures us that it measures 18%. What's the difference between 15% and 18%? Well, at least for me, visualize climbing, standing, in your lowest gear. On the 18% grade your foot gets absolutely no free ride as you shift your weight between the left and right foot; the bike snakes forward for the pedal stroke and is pretty much motionless as you pull the other foot around and then down.

This was also the point in the ride where my derailleur started acting hinky, which was a big worry for the remainder of the day; I kept adding tension to the cable and it kept acting like it was stretching out. I probably gave the adjust two full turns during the course of the day: a twist would make things behave for about an hour and then I'd start getting phantom shifts. Of course it has to happen when I'm literally hours from home.

In Scio we caught a huge herd of randonneurs who were fueling up, including Natalie "Sweetpea" Ramsland and Mr. Sweetpea (Austin). This was where the 200Km and 400Km riders parted ways. We saw a helmet there that had us scratching our head. I'm pretty sure it didn't belong to one of our crowd, but you can't quite be sure...

After stopping at the Sentry Market in Jefferson for the jo-jo's that Lynne raved about...well, that's when it got...grim. We were aimed northward for pretty much the remainder of the day, and no, the wind had not died down. Can you say "ride on the drops?" There, I knew you could! The sap-the-will-to-live moment came, at least for me, when we struck north on Howell Prairie Road. What part of "north", "eighteen miles", and "prairie" isn't clear?

By the time we got to Champoeg Park I could smell the barn. I'd never realized how close Champoeg is to Newberg. My bike rides always come in from the east and, of course, why would you go through Newberg when you have all of the rest of that beautiful scenery in Yamhill County you could be riding through instead?

Total for the day: 128 miles, 9:05 in-saddle, 11:10 elapsed. My HRM says I burned about 7100 Calories, so I "ate with impunity" that night and slept like a log.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Oregon is a Great Place to Live...

Check out this DJ's rant in Sioux Falls a couple of weeks ago, transcribed by The MinusCar Project with links to the DJ's voice.

We had a similar issue here in Portland a couple of years ago. Here in Portland, where the UFO's don't land any more because it's so weird, the DJ was excoriated, the radio station issued a public apology, and I believe that there was even a charitable donation by one or more of the offending parties.

Sometimes I forget what it must be like to live in the real world.

New Wearable Feedbags Let Americans Eat More, Move Less

Monday, June 2, 2008

Chinese Have Small and Limp You-Know-What's

In the last four days I have received approximately 600 e-mails that all look more or less of the form,

From Genuine Cialis/Viagra
To someone_random@verizon.net
Subject Client Privelaged: Reminder


Dear Valued Customer,

We have not been able to reach you.
We have sent the notice below several
times. This will be your last opportunity
to act upon the special offer being presented.

To take advantage of this savings offer, all
you need to do is renew your order through the
official authentic website. Customers using this
method are saving more. We now encourage all
customers to use this secure option for optimal
savings. Thank you.

Warm Regards,
Brian D. Meloche, Renewal Services
Corporate Offices, NY, NY, US


This will be good to discuss.Very safe encrypted Message is inbox.Normal Message has been approved.This message has been scanned and is approvedSpecial safety notice, OK.Very safe encrypted Message is inbox.Great opportunity Very safe encrypted Message is inbox.Special safety notice, OK.
With the cooperation of my ISP, I no longer get these messages (they're truncated at the mail server so that they no longer appear on my desktop). However, I got curious and did some research on the mentioned domain (data courtesy of whois.net):

The Data in Paycenter's WHOIS database is provided by Paycenter
for information purposes, and to assist persons in obtaining
information about or related to a domain name registration
Paycenter does not guarantee its accuracy. By submitting
a WHOIS query, you agree that you will use this Data only
for lawful purposes and that, under no circumstances will
you use this Data to:
(1) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission
of mass unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations
via e-mail (spam); or
(2) enable high volume, automated, electronic processes that
apply to Paycenter or its systems.
Paycenter reserves the right to modify these terms at any time.
By submitting this query, you agree to abide by this policy.

Domain Name:myrenewremind.com

Shichun Wang
NO.47,hepinnanlu street,kunmin City,yunnan Province

Administrative Contact:
Shichun Wang
NO.47,hepinnanlu street,kunmin City,yunnan Province
kunming Yunnan 346892
tel: 871 3522632
fax: 871 3523779

Technical Contact:
Shichun Wang
NO.47,hepinnanlu street,kunmin City,yunnan Province
kunming Yunnan 346892
tel: 3522632
fax: 3523779

Billing Contact:
Shichun Wang
NO.47,hepinnanlu street,kunmin City,yunnan Province
kunming Yunnan 346892
tel: 3522632
fax: 3523779

Registration Date: 2008-05-30
Update Date: 2008-05-30
Expiration Date: 2009-05-30

Primary DNS: ns1.trieante.com
Secondary DNS: ns2.trieante.com

I have a message for you dorks in Yunnan Province:
  1. If you're getting paid by the number of delivered messages, your clients are getting ripped off. Verizon silently eats your messages and we customers never see them. You cannot use the fact that a mail message doesn't bounce as any sort of indication that your message has been successfully delivered.
  2. It's clear, due to your preoccupation with certain body parts, that you have an epidemic of limp and undersized ones in China, and my sympathy goes out to you.
  3. Your small and limp body parts have affected your brain if you think Americans will send money overseas to a web site that does not have HTTPS and a valid certificate authority when I need to proffer a credit card, especially when you used dishonest means to put your message in my inbox to begin with.
  4. It furthers my opinion that Chinese goods are only safe if they are not to be ingested or given to children, since they have obviously affected your virility and intelligence.
Get a clue, guys!

P.S. -- Your spell checking is as atrocious as your grammar and your ethics. "Privelaged"? Sheesh.

Praise for my Girlfriend

Here's an aside before writing on the topic of the day. My allergist's offices are located in a late-20th-century blah office park adjacent to the local hospital, at the top of the nearby hill. Ever since I went car-light at the beginning of November, I've been biking up there about every two weeks, where I willingly subject myself to subdermal injections of a poison personally designed to do me the most harm. After the nurses watch me for twenty minutes to root and cheer if I keel over from anaphalactic shock, I then bike to work...gently, so as not to spread the poison through my veins too quickly.

Well, there's a perfectly decent bike rack near the parking garage that I always use. (Note: property owners haven't quite figured out that bike racks work a lot better if there's access from both sides, but this one isn't as bad as most.) Anyway, for the last seven months I've always been the only bike in the bike rack. Until today.

So, about my girlfriend. My sweetie is so affectionate. She's always happy to see me, even if I have to accept her affection on her terms. She comes and snuggles up to me every night. I've never had a girlfriend like this. Just don't try to trim her nails!

Rita came to our family the summer after we were married. My mother-in-law tends after the feral cats in her neighborhood outside of Pittsburgh, PA. Rita's mother was feral (and was eventually neutered). Rita has always been a bit fierce, presumably because of the slight admixture of Maine Coon in her background. (Maine Coon evidently is a domestic breed which in itself includes a tiny bit of American Bobcat.)

Our very first Thanksgiving, our three pound cat attacked and landed the 25 pound Thanksgiving turkey, and growled at any of us who tried to get near it. The year after that, one morning I went to the pantry to get breakfast and saw my kitty totally on point, crouched, tail down and switching, head down, intensely focused on the floor of the pantry. I sensed something was up (hey, there's a reason humans are the most dangerous predators on the planet), so I started removing bins from the pantry and setting them outside. All of a sudden, Rita pounced and came up with a baby field mouse! (Of course, she promptly went into the girls' bedroom and promptly dropped it, causing no amount of terror and shrieking from said bedroom.)

Last summer, Rachel suggested that we get the cats trimmed for the summer. The groomer does this thing called a "lion cut", where they trim all the fur except around the head and paws. We took Rita and both calicoes in to have this done. When we got the kitties back, I had an extra bill for general anaesthesia--for Rita. Funny, calicoes have the reputation for "ripping your face off" as one veterinary assistant put it, but Rita was the one that caused all the trouble. The groomer even called the veterinarian in to help out, but even he ended up in fear of getting bitten.

My ferocious girlfriend. Of course, it's her bed that she lets me sleep on, but she doesn't begrudge me. I've never had a cat that's been this rewarding. She turns twelve years old this month, and she's showing her age. I'll really miss her when she passes away.