Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I Like Big Bridges

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve had a fascination with bridges. So when I heard on the news last night that a bridge crossing Lake Michigan was proposed, I was intrigued. 

I live on the shore of Lake Michigan and I can tell you this – it’s BIG. 


So, I was intrigued by the prospect of a bridge crossing over it. Connecting the shores of Wisconsin with Michigan with a bridge would be mind-boggling.  It would keep me entertained for years.

Then I got to thinking about it and realized such an endeavor would be . . . 
well . . . 

First, let’s talk about the size of the bridge. The longest bridge I know of crosses Lake Ponchartrain in Louisiana and it’s 24 miles long. Lake Michigan is 90 miles across, so this thing would be over three times longer. 

But the real clincher is that Lake Ponchartrain is little more than a swamp; it’s probably about seven inches deep, so its 24-mile bridge is no big feat. 

Lake Michigan is 300 feet deep. You do the comparison. 

Let’s talk about the weather up here. Namely, winter. 

For three months of the year, Lake Michigan is inundated with wind-driven, thick ice and blizzards. Ships don’t even brave Lake Michigan in the winter. Would you want to drive an automobile 90 miles across that? 

What if you needed to stop for a bathroom break? What if you needed gas? Or worse – How would you stop for Starbucks?

If you still don’t think the weather would be a problem, I have two words for you:
Edmund Fitzgerald. 

Get the picture?

Now, let’s talk about practicality. Why would we need a bridge across Lake Michigan? One argument is so that people in Wisconsin and Michigan could cross over without having to go through Chicago. 

Would this be a likely scenario? Here’s a family in Grand Rapids, Michigan:

“Honey, let’s go to Chicago for the weekend. How about it?”

“Oh, but now that there’s a bridge across Lake Michigan, let’s go to Sheboygan instead!”

So, yes, a big bridge across the lake would be cool. I’d find it fascinating. 

But practically speaking, all I have to say to those proposing such an endeavor is: 
“Rub a lamp.”

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


A Public Service Announcement:
Having worked in homeless shelters, here is my public service announcement for everyone you know: PLEASE refrain from volunteering to serve meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas. 
STAY HOME. Shelters and food banks are totally inundated with well-wishers who want to serve turkey to the “less fortunate” on Thanksgiving and it requires lots of extra work for these shelters just to handle the volunteers. (Public officials are the worst offenders about this.) 
DO NOT bring your kids there on Thanksgiving, thinking it will do them good to see the less fortunate. A SHELTER IS NOT A ZOO. 
That being said, shelters DO need volunteers to show up regularly all year long. Have your teenager volunteer to unload the delivery truck in the back alley every Saturday morning. Better yet, send an anonymous donation, stay home, and give thanks for your bounty. 
Gobble Gobble.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Dark Side

About two weeks ago, my life completely and irrevocably changed.
No, I didn’t win the lottery or fall madly in love or find out I have a long-lost identical twin. 

I got my first smart phone. 

I had always derided these folks who ride the train or bus while continually engrossed in their smart phones. However, the moment I was able to snap a photo and text it to my niece in Korea, my endorphins went into overdrive and I became one of them. 

I cannot imagine leaving home without my Samsung Galaxy S3. What would I do on the bus? Engage in reflective thought? Out of the question!

Speaking of buses, I never have to wait for one anymore. Before leaving my apartment or work, I just look on my phone, see when the bus is coming, amble out at the right moment and here it comes. 

Carrying a book to read on the bus? No more. It’s on my phone. 

My alarm clock recently died and I didn’t have to buy a new one. Yep, the smart phone wakes me up now. 

Banking: I had a check to deposit and the smart phone took a photo of the check and voila – it was in my account. (That was really cool.)

But the thing that surprised me the most was finding a computer game that I enjoy am addicted to.  I’ve never played computer games. I’ve never played Pac Man or Space Invaders or any of them. But when a friend of mine turned me on to Trainyard, I was hooked. (You get to design all these tracks, get the trains to combine, switch apart, cross over, keep them from crashing, in order to get them all from one station to another.) 

Here's a cool little video about Trainyard:

So now, I don’t even read my good book on the smart phone while on the bus.
I’m playing with my trains. 

So, yes, I’ve gone over to the dark side. 

I really just hope I don’t begin playing Trainyard during the sermon at church. 

Pray for me.

Labels: ,