I was in the blogosphere the other day when I stumbled upon a post describing a random act of kindness. The thread was interesting, and there was a person who explained he had been burned by panhandlers with sob stories, and that as a result, he "doesn't give anyone anything anymore." This commenter said this makes him feel bad, but implied he felt he had no other option. Living in San Francisco, which happens to be one of the more "panhandler-heavy" cities on planet Earth, I deal with this stuff all day and couldn't help but to think about it.
So, I was about sit down and write with a premeditated topic in mind: last week's sentiments on "evidence for God" as discussed last week at SI's. Problem was, I stopped by DaylightAtheism first, where I found the following interesting hypothesis: an inversely proportional relationship between religiosity and misogyny exists – at least – so suggests guest writer Sarah Braasch in her second essay there. I would've left it well alone, but she implied some things about San Francisco that I want to challenge from personal experience, and I feel any San Franciscan in their right mind would have to agree.
If you don't want to read her post first, it's basically a story about how some sailors took her on a cruise through the Neopolitan prostitution subculture, oddly juxtaposed against the religious beast that is Roman Catholicism. As I said, most of her post was easy to sympathize with. Sure, the moral indifference to the victims of prostitution she describes is deeply troubling, especially considering its close proximity to what is perhaps the world's leading religious superpower. Atheists aren't the only ones noting that the abject conditions of humanity ironically persist whether a culture is predominantly religious or not. Problem is, she starts to jump the gun and get a little bit preachy for atheism right about here if you ask me:
So I worked late the other night and was riding the bus home. It was cold, it was one of those times where there's a mild to severe "flu scare" in the general atmosphere. You know, that stage which usually happens to correlate with what they call "flu season" where the media or some other authority has pumped the idea of a "new and improved more virulent strain" into everyone's minds. It was cold, and it seemed everyone else on the bus had just gotten off work and was tired. They all had that post-work, spent, lifeless kind of stare, that stare where you just sort of gaze non-descriptly ahead while processing the random background noise, that stare too many people have seen and felt before. You ever notice that when a person is experiencing some kind of privation their patience tends to plummet? How many husbands might crack an ovulation-related joke here? Okay maybe that's a little too much, but the point is that if we're not careful, strong desires to remove privation can blind us to an objective view of reality.
The alternate title for this piece is, "Why I’m Quitting My Bicycle Commute."
So this morning I was on a ride, and for the most part it was a really enjoyable sunny-day ride until I met a complete and total moron. A classic, corporate, postmodern ignoramus hunched liked a doofus at the wheel of his pristine VW Jetta, complete with bluetooth technology to boot.
I’m on 17th eastbound a block or so before either Valencia or Mission; I got so pissed afterwards I actually can’t remember. Anyhow, I’m in the bike lane approaching the intersection with a good dozen cars backed up waiting for someone to make a left turn. Of course, this guy can’t wait, and goes to do the I’m an impatient little bitch so I’ll drive around the car in front of me move. Now I wouldn’t have a problem with this type of move and would even employ it myself, say, on some three or four-lane road like 101, Fell or Van Ness, but not a 1.2-lane road with a difficult-to-distinguish bike lane like 17th.
*from The Potrero View
"As a bird needs to fly… People need to walk,” Bogotá, Columbia’s former mayor Enrique Peñalosa is supposed to have said, in reference to that city’s weekly Ciclovia, during which 90 miles of roads are closed to automobiles. On Ciclovia, held on Sundays and holidays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., an estimated two million people take to the streets to recreate, dance and participate in cultural gatherings.
Ciclovia – “bike path” in Spanish – is a simple concept: create a car-free zone for people to use. Cyclists, skaters, skateboarders, joggers, strollers and recreational enthusiasts of all types are encouraged to participate, free of charge.
I understand that many people abuse public services. Lazy people who could otherwise contribute to society often devise elaborate and persuasive schemes for sucking off the social tit. So in that respect I understand the mindless, morbid, legalistic religiosity most social services are compelled to employ, and I further suspect the screening process disfavors inquisitive intellectuals. After all, a surefire way to ensure that rules are enforced unilaterally is to get blind followers who never question the rules to do the enforcing. The State of California’s EBT Food Assistance program operates exactly like this. If you fail to cross one T or dot even a single I, they’ll expel you from the program and force you to reapply from step one.
*recently appeared in the Potrero View.
Correction: As of 6-20, the proposed opening of the park is June 28th. I apologize for any confusion. July 4th was the ‘official’ date given when I inquired in May.
San Francisco’s second public skateboard facility is set to open July 4th at Potrero Del Sol Park, located at 25th and Utah streets in the southeast outskirts of the City’s historic Mission District. The skatepark will be a much-needed relief to local skaters tired of dodging traffic, thugs and broken glass at the usual street spots, while local food, gas and convenience item retailers can expect at least modest revenue spurts, especially in summertime and on weekends.