July 28th, 2005

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Chuzzled Out

Just had the weirdest experience. Went to PopCap Games to just do a couple short games, the noticed there was a new game up. "Why not try it?" I figured it would be over in 30 seconds and then I'd maybe play it a couple more times to get the hang of it.

I just played my FIRST game of Chuzzle. It lasted 1 1/2 hours and I scored 268,000 points. I dunno, but it seemed waaaaay easy to me. Whether I can replicate this or if it was just a fluke, I don't know. I'm not going to find out right now though, as I'm about to fall asleep.
  • Current Mood
    sleepy sleepy
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An oldie but a goodie, other CD memories

I'm now listening to the first CD I ever owned, Schubert's Pianot Quintet in A Major ("Trout"). Mom and Dad gave it to me when they gave me my first CD player, for my 15th birthday. Love this CD! My favorite part is the actual rondo, which reminds me of Mozart in the way it "sounds" like math. I suck at math but I love the mathmatical sound of certain pieces.

Meanwhile the second or third CD I ever owned: Pump by Aerosmith. Naturally this was a present from my friend Dee. I regret to say I sold this CD in college when I needed money and was feeling pressured by friends to disavow my interest in "that kind of thing." I truly loved that album.

First CD I ever bought for myself: Flood, They Might Be Giants. I got it because, of all the nerdy things, I heard a review of it on NPR's All Things Considered. I remember buying it at a store in Ithaca and being tormented between it and I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. Then I brought it home to my sister's, where I was staying, and realized they didn't have a CD player, so I had to wait two weeks to listen to it. Loved it, of course, and still have it. (Later that year I got Sinead's album, which in the long run I loved way more than TMBG.)
  • Current Music
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A Big Lie

Tonight Caleb invited Daniel and I over to watch a movie I'd heard a lot about, called Taken For A Ride. It's not so much a movie as an hour-long documentary. Anyway, even though I'd heard many of the basic facts of the subject (the conspiracy engineered by GM to do away with mass transit), I found myself once again staring with jaw-dropping awe as archival footage, interviews, vintage propaganda, news footage, etc. showed the evidence.

Here is the main thrust of the thing:

In the early 20s, General Motors looked at America and said, "Only 1 in 10 people have a car. Everybody else rides trains. That's 9 in 10 people we need to sell cars to. If things stay like this, though, with people happy riding trolleys, it's going to make our job a lot harder."

So what did GM do? Well, being GM and having a hell of a lot of cash, lots of connections, and a ton of cunning, they launched a pretty massive operation, nationwide, to destroy the nation's streetcar system. One major step in this was to go and buy up streetcar companies (all private at the time) and then quickly destroy them. They'd come in, start reducing service, which would reduce ridership, which reduces service, then cut routes, and then say, "Oh, this doesn't work anymore! Let's replace all the trolleys with buses!" Which worked great because GM also set up a big dummy corporatoin that ran bus lines. People didn't like the buses nearly as much as the streetcars (they get caught in traffic, aren't on time, smell, and pollute), but once GM & its friends had got rid of the streetcars, people either 1) had to get cars or 2) deal with it. It wound up most people got cars, except poor people who wound up with lousy bus service.

Nobody wanted to get rid of public transit -- nobody except these mega corporations who were looking out for number one. They systematically destroyed a nationwide public utility system, available even in small towns, that had been designed for the most efficient, cost-effective, democratic movement of people, basically to eliminate their competition. And once people were in cars and transit had been attacked like that, it was hard to get people back because the systems weren't what they used to be. Plus by then people had moved to the suburbs (supported by cars), where transit doesn't work. Mass transit has been making a comeback since the 70s and in some American cities there are even streetcars (nowadays called "light rail"), but the blow General Motors struck in the 20s-50s was crippling. And they never got punished.

A couple additional interesting notes on this documentary:

1) After WWII the US was at a crossroads: Repair and expand streetcar systems that got worn out from heavy ridership in the war years, or ditch them and build highways. Guess what happened? Meanwhile Japan and Europe opted for building streetcar and other mass transit systems, many of which are happily running today.

2) All three of us noticed how in the movie's clips of the Men of Power, i.e. politicians in the pocket of the auto industry and GM shills, all reminded us of Dubya. I think the tie in is the fact that they could make ridiculous statements with a straight face and/or outright lie without twitching.
  • Current Mood
    angry angry