29 February 2008


Yes, I did get got for driving 85 mph on a 70 mph freeway on the high desert highway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. I was guilty. The several SUVs and two Mercedes that had swiftly passed me just a minute or two before I was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol, had nothing to do with it. It was just my tough luck that his radar got me, rather than them.

So I spent a day last week in online traffic school, where I didn't learn a whole lot that I didn't already know. One thing, however, became quite clear. The single major road hazard, the one thing that is most distracting, dangerous, even deadly, is children. Nary a screen went by that didn't include some sort of caution about kids. They're noisy and disruptive in the car and unpredictable, quirky, quick and at times suicidal on the streets.

Sure, booze seems to be implicated in more traffic accidents than any other single factor, but near as I could tell from traffic school, children are running a close second.

I always knew they were trying to kill us. Gang way for the new generation. Biology is merciless and it is now evidently using technology to do its dirty work.

This is a matter of some immediate concern as I am once more about to hit the road. This morning I am off to Arizona, en route to Denver for Left Coast Crime. I'll stop for a night in Phoenix where my cousin Robert and I intend to find some minor trouble to get into. (It's the Sadie Hawkins Day Dance at The Rhythm Room. That could be fun.) Then down to Tucson to take in some spring training baseball with my father. (I'm trying to decide if I should take my mitt, but I never can find anyone to play catch, much less real baseball, with these days.) Then it's a drive through New Mexico, fueled by as many meals involving green chilies as I can squeeze into it.

Then, finally, Denver. I'll be there for four days, which is three days longer than I've spent there before. I enjoyed Left Coast Crime in Seattle last year, we'll see how it shakes out this year. I'm on a panel on Friday about sex and violence, so that can't be too bad.

And finally, speaking of sex and violence, I sure as hell want this stupid primary season to be over. When is someone going to wise up and pass a law restricting presidential campaigns to no more than four months, or something like that? The stupidity just keeps growing. Even if you start out sort of kind of liking a candidate, by the time they've finished - or even just got halfway through - pandering to voters and special interests, you've learned to loathe them. No wonder it's always a matter of voting for the lesser of two evils. The whole process tears down anything or anybody who goes into it with good, honest, intelligent intentions. (Although I must admit to cynical doubts that anyone ever does go into politics with "good, honest, intelligent intentions.")

Oh yeah, one more thing, I forgot:

I have gone modern. The other day, looking over the cabinet from which spilled my collection of CDs, I decided I was tired of them. Tired of trying to find ones that had been put back into the wrong case whenever a certain friend comes over and plays music, tired of shuffling through them to find what I want, tired of messing around with them, of the space they took up. So I bought a big (in capacity) small (in size) external hard drive and downloaded all 638 of them onto it. I then boxed them up, took them to Amoeba on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood and sold them for a mere fraction of what they had cost me over the years, but still, more than enough for my purposes. With that money I bought a new 160 GB IPod Classic and a Bose stereo thingy to plug it into and an adapter for my car and still had money left over and still have all my music - which I downloaded into the IPod from the hard drive. Only now, rather than spilling out of a cabinet in my house, my entire CD collection fits in my pocket. I'm taking it with me to Denver. I wonder how long I can impose my collection of Cambodian cassette tapes (recorded onto CDs) on my cousin during the drive?

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