Despite the fact that many consider me to be the epitome of an individual with absolutely too much time on his hands, my proclivity for somber reflection on the absurdities of life often reaps its own rewards. For instance, sitting thoughtfully by my kitchen window during our recent snowstorm, I could not help but wonder why parking meters always stay in effect when alternate side regulations are suspended for snow removal. Like many of us, the first thought that crossed my suspicious mind was the obvious one: money, but I figured I would call DOT and get the straight scoop from the horse's mouth. DOT informed me that the suspension of alternate side parking regulations is a means of making sure us regular folk can leave our vehicles safely in a parking space on narrow residential streets, instead of moving and possibly stranding them on the actual roadway, which would then obstruct the movement of snow plows along that residential street. On the other hand, DOT assured me that my "fattening the city treasury" conspiracy theory was all wet, and that meter regulations actually remain in effect to ensure that sanitation can plow snow from curb sides in front of commercial businesses, which serves to help those shops return to normal operation after the storm. I am still not quite sure how plowing the parking spaces in front of commercial establishments does the businesses any good, when everyone's car remains plowed in under feet of snow and ice on residential streets, and are unable to travel to and park in the shop's nicely cleared curbside. Nevertheless, despite my cynicism regarding any governmental explanations, I had to admit that this one actually made some sense, and so in my X-File compendium of unexplained municipal anomalies, I marked this mystery as solved! I thanked the DOT representative for her assistance in this matter, but before hanging up, I asked if she could perhaps shed some light on the long-time confusion stemming from why we park on driveways and drive on parkways. Without missing a beat the DOT rep answered, “You can blame that one on Robert Moses!” Who knew DOT had a sense of humor?
The day after the snowstorm, I was going through my email when I spotted an "Amber Alert" having been issued for a missing child in upstate New York. I started to think to myself, (remember: "too much time on my hands") that a missing or abducted child is a pretty serious matter so why would they term it as "Amber," an innocuous color used to let you know that the street light is about to turn red, or a fossilized piece of resin used to clone dinosaurs in Jurassic Park? Why not just term it a "Red Alert?" As it turns out, an Amber Alert, although officially an acronym for "America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response" is in fact, named after Amber Hagerman, a young 9-year-old girl abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas, in 1996. Sadly, yet another mystery explained.
After coming out in impressive numbers to march in Washington and throughout the world, there is now much talk about the Women's March group’s next "novel" idea - women should go on strike for a day. The organizers of the Women's March on Washington have set the date for their general strike, dubbed "A Day Without A Woman," for March 8, which is International Women's Day. What some women may not know is that a women's strike is not really a novel idea nor is it an entirely female-centric one. “Lysistrata” is a bawdy anti-war play by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes, first staged in 411 BC. It is the account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War, as Lysistrata convinces the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands as a means of forcing the men to negotiate a peace. Of course due diligence also requires that I advise you to keep in mind that it was also Aristophanes who said: "These impossible women! How they do get around us! The poet was right: Can't live with them, or without them."
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