Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Bus to Heaven

Seven people board a Bus to Heaven. But only six of them are deemed worthy of the trip. One guy should be on the Bus to Hell because he killed someone in his real life, but snuck onto the Bus to Heaven at the Eternity Depot.

The six good people try to convince the Bus to Heaven driver to turn the bus around and go back to the Eternity Depot. But the driver says it's too risky, that Eternity routes are one-way routes and there's a chance they would all end up in Hell.

So the six good people discuss what to do with the one bad guy. He tries to defend himself, confessing that while driving drunk one day he hit a young man riding a bicycle who had lots of promise. The bad guy explains that he stopped his vehicle but got so frightened he left the scene of the accident, only to be spotted by a passing motorist.

After the six good Bus to Heaven riders weigh their options for dealing with the one bad guy, they decide to kill him.

(A play I wrote. To read the script click on "VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE" at "ABOUT ME" (top right) under my picture. Then select my "The Bus to Heaven" blog.)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Talk About Energy Efficiency

You won’t see this logo on any of the 234 buses the Central Ohio Transit Authority operates in its Columbus service area with 53 routes and 4,255 stop locations covering 562 square miles.

Though it would be nice if a COTA bus shared power requirements with a COTA cassette player, the real product represented by the above trademark. It operates on 2AA batteries.

Trips For Those Who Don't Ride The Bus

I announced my planned return to Columbus in a letter Columbus Monthly magazine ran in its September 2007 issue. The letter was a response to unfavorable remarks Editor Ray Paprocki made about COTA in his column. Taking COTA’s side, I asked Paprocki three questions, the first two of which aren’t likely to motivate the magazine's mostly well-educated, well-off readers to take up bus travel.

I wondered if Paprocki could use the time he felt he’d waste riding the bus to catch up on reading or sleep, and wondered if he could use the extra several hundred dollars a month he’d realize from ditching his car.

While I can’t imagine the professional people in Columbus cuddling up on a bus seat with a book or dozing off, or imagine them getting rid of their automobiles just to improve their cash positions, my third question may encourage a few to take more mass transit trips.

I asked, "Wouldn’t he (Paprocki) be proud saying he’s no longer polluting the atmosphere?” which should provoke a few ego trips.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fill 'Er Up Buster

Today is National Dump the Pump Day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bus F-Stop

Who says waiting for the bus has to be boring? Get out that point-and-shoot and start shooting! Keep in mind that -- though it sounds dumb -- in some instances photogrpahing buses without permission is prohibited.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Curator of Public Transportation by John Reinier

Into the mandible
of inquisitive minds,
I drop exalted names
one predomination at a time.
Van Gogh is the first to go.
"Was he the best?" a lady
in a yellow dress wants to know.
She obviously expects a coronation,
right there on the ribbed black mat
rolled out for the famous Dutchman.
"As an artist, it's hard to say," I say.
"But as an arsonist he had no equal, ma'am.
You've never seen the sun lit
as brilliantly as he did it,
on a wheat field set afire.
Nor does the future hold much of a prospect,
that another artist will ever torch it
so thoroughly."
"But he does not detract from the others.
Edvard Munch, I have to mention...,"
"Did he have the munchies?" a small girl
-- with auburn hair and autumn landscape
for complexion -- interrupts.
"Imagine," I tell her, "a bird of prey
watching Chip and Dale at play,
at a game of tag around the barked barrel
of that tall tree right over there.
The dark bird swoops down, misses once,
but tries again, ending both chases forever.
In flight it gets disoriented by the light
reflecting from the front door of this bus,
coincidentally at the moment it opens.
With wings spread out, the bird alights
in the aisle up next to our driver,
still clutching the mortally-wounded pet,
now oozing what looks like red licorice,
a sight so twisted to your young eyes,
they twirl like pinwheel lollipops.
As you file out the back door of this bus
you let out a scream
heard around the metropolis."
"Marc Chagall never dealt
with such dreaded decorum.
His flights, instead, pure delights,
take place in an aquarium.
Figures float upward like jellyfish,
blue, or red, or green,
weightless in a welcoming sky."
"I like black-and-white pictures,"
a handmaid who's been shopping announces.
"Then you would appreciate the artistry
of the photographer, Ansel Adams.
He's the acknowledged aristocrat
of monochromatic color."
"De Kooning was an action painter."
"De Whooning was a what'd you call it?"
"Matisse blended color indiscriminately."
"My sister made a picture of me..."
"Barnett Newman was a fundamentalist.
Walker Evans, Edward Weston,
Wassily Kandinsky,
Jasper Johns, Marcel Duchamp,
Joan Miro, Paul Klee, Roy Lichtenstein,"
I list the rest in un-amalgamated order,
then listen to a small child whimper as I exit.

Reading, Riding and (do the) Arithmetic

With the outrageous price of gasoline people should consider giving up their cars. The status and independence that come with owning an automobile might seem indispensable. But these amenities have luxury price tags.

Gas is just one expense to be tallied. Car payments, insurance premiums, maintenance, license tags, parking and even fines and tickets if assessed, must also be included. All told, the cost of owning a car can easily run $500 monthly, or more. Do the arithmetic.

Without an automobile folks must find other ways to get around. Public transportation is one option that has both advantages and disadvantages. Low cost is the biggest advantage. A monthly pass offering unlimited rides within a major metropolitan area typically costs around $50.

Comfort is another advantage. Riding a bus is relatively relaxing, compared to driving a car, where the driver must stay alert and often has to fight traffic. A bus ride offers free time for reading, sightseeing, or dozing off.

An advantage that frequently gets overlooked is the health benefit that comes from the extra walking that’s required of the bus rider. The walking is often brisk, for example when the rider has to hurry to catch a departing bus.

On the downside, bus riding can substantially increase the time invested in commuting. Even so, if the bus time is used to catch up on reading, as noted above, or studying, it’s an investment that will pay off.

The fact that buses don’t go everywhere is another drawback. The rider who does not live on a bus line will have to walk or hitch a ride to and from the bus stop. Bus schedules may not accommodate early morning or late night transportation needs. Riding the bus raises concerns about personal safety, especially for the gals, who will have to venture onto streets and mingle with many different types of people, some of whom are undesirable.

Buses aren’t entirely reliable either. They can break down, get off schedule, and are subject to driver error, bad weather, road construction, and so forth. Some of these same problems afflict automobile travel as well.

What’s most likely to discourage folks from getting rid of their cars is no longer having the freedom to come and go as they wish. Again, there are alternatives. For younger riders using a parent’s car for a date or for weekend travel may be possible, especially for those who live at home.

Simply considering what an extra $500 a month could buy may tip the scales in favor of folks ditching their cars. The list includes major purchases to upgrade a wardrobe, computer, or sound system, all of which are tempting. If saved, a college student will amass $6,000 in a year’s time, which would provide many with welcomed help toward paying tuition.

Another benefit comes from doing one’s part to reduce carbon output that causes global warming.