Category Archives: Travel

Traffic directions at their finest

In an urban area, you learn to pay attention to traffic signs. In fact, the constantly cautious scan for some clue about driving conditions, because you never know when a one-way street will turn and become one-way going the opposite direction, or the Grand Eminent Statesman Highway will turn into Paisley Plaid Place.

But this traffic sign in Bethesda, Maryland, is genuinely baffling. The glaring orange is telling you to Pay Attention! This is important! The upper arrow appears to be suggesting you bend your car around a couple of corners and continue in the same direction. The lower one emphatically insists that you turn to the left, immediately.

The correct course of action was unclear: the road was entirely blocked.

Emphatic traffic sign

This sign in Bethesda, Maryland, is insisting that the driver wiggle around two corners and proceed in the same direction and, at the same time, immediately turn left.

Advertisements

Seedlings tormenting me

When you arise at an early hour and head out to your freshly washed car, only to see it covered with seed pods intent on germinating in the car’s steel, glass, enamel and plastic, the only safe course of action is to go back inside and take more anti-allergy medications.

In biology, you learned about how seeds use natural forces to transport themselves over wide areas. Modern seeds use updated technology.

In biology, you learned about how seeds use natural forces to transport themselves over wide areas. Modern seeds use updated technology.

Early version of Google

This was the early version of Google. Using these humble wooden drawers, generations of scholars and researchers, desperate students and cunning spies, despairing parents and fanatical bibliophiles, and every other shape and size of reader delved into the depth and breadth of human understanding.

Something worth considering: Google contains only a fraction of the knowledge once cataloged by card catalogs. Technology has digitized and indexed only that which is easy to digitize and index; most journal articles, newspaper articles, books, scientific papers, notebooks and other written material are still confined to physical forms, and unknown to Internet search engines.

How I miss card catalogs.

The humble card catalog was the early version of Google. These wooden drawers held the wonder's of the world's past and the future of the universe.

The humble card catalog was the early version of Google. These wooden drawers held the wonder’s of the world’s past and the future of the universe.

Along the Louisville waterfront

Louisville is a seaport, of sorts. The Louisville, Kentucky, “seacoast” is the waterfront along the Ohio River, with that other coastal state, Indiana, just across the water. Barge traffic has moved up and down the river for a couple of centuries, winding its watery way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Most of the waterfront is industrial, or devoted to roads. There are a couple of parks. And a boat ramp, where this sign was found:

"Cars will be launched" could be frightening, unless you had a car that was also a launch, which is a particular type of boat.

“Cars will be launched” could be frightening, unless you had a car that was also a launch, which is a particular type of boat.

Less whimsical is this concrete obelisk, marked off in feet, showing the height of the river above “normal” elevation. At 26.5 feet is a note that this was the height of the 1997 flood. A mark at 29.2 feet shows the 1964 flood level. A mark at 30.1 feet shows the 1945 flood level. And the red arrow at the top points to the air above the 32 foot mark, noting the 1937 flood level, at 40 feet, would be somewhere up there.

Flood gauge along the Ohio River front in Louisville, Ohio, showing the heights of the 1997, 1964, and 1945 floods. A mark at the 32 foot level notes that the 1937 flood would have been up there somewhere, eight feet higher.

Flood gauge along the Ohio River front in Louisville, Ohio, showing the heights of the 1997, 1964, and 1945 floods. A mark at the 32 foot level notes that the 1937 flood would have been up there somewhere, eight feet higher.

Tudor’s biscuits?

One thing that separates the United States from England is the humble biscuit. We simply cannot agree on what a “biscuit” is, and this disagreement was one of the flash points of the American Revolution. (Possibly baking points rather than flash points?)

But apparently not all traces of British occupation were removed by the Revolution, as this bulwark of Britannia can be found in West Virginia. The Tudor dynastic linkage suggests that the establishment even predates the Revolution.

Tudor's Biscuit World, found in the wilds of West Virginia.

Tudor’s Biscuit World, found in the wilds of West Virginia.

Any curiosity about the biscuits were squelched by this sign:

Tudor biscuits, spaghetti and pizza, and a drive through.

Tudor biscuits, spaghetti and pizza, and a drive through.

Obscene traffic sign

And displayed on a public road, no less.

The meaning of this sign is not clear, but it probably would not mount a successful a First Amendment defense against a charge of obscenity.

The meaning of this sign is not clear, but it probably would not mount a successful a First Amendment defense against a charge of obscenity. On the other hand, it clearly is not a help to drivers; trying to quickly understand and act on this information in a few short seconds is probably beyond the average driver’s skill set.