Friday, July 24, 2009

Fourier analysis for guitar players, courtesy the University of Nottingham, your instant brain expansion for the week.

Editorial: Common sense takes another hike

Once again the unnamed Courier editor trots out his expertise in traffic engineering, proving by mere assertion that he knows more about it than anyone actually involved and being paid to do it.

What's really interesting is the editor's emotional response to even having a proposal about bike lanes heard by Council. I doubt that anyone among the cycling advocates is even marginally hopeful that Council will approve this idea. But the editor is sputtering in anger that Council would even entertain it.

I wonder whether the editor ever noticed that we have bike lanes in regular use along MonteWhipple, a major artery carrying more traffic than east Gurley at higher speed through more complex terrain. We have lanes in use along Rosser, a much more complex and narrower roadway with entertaining obstacles and random parking. And we have a whole lot of streets narrow and wide all over town that serve bikes and cars at the same time with no separated lanes. Yet the Courier has apparently failed to cover all the blood in the streets that the editor so vehemently purports to fear.

Maybe the rest of us are just better drivers than the editor is.

Here's sometihing the editor hasn't read on bike-lane engineering.

Elks renovation contract up for approval

Surprise, surprise: hardly begun, the Elks project is overrunning its budget, and the City is tossing the object of the restoration over the side hoping to save the high-priced contract it failed to negotiate properly.

This is what comes of having people who know nothing about theatre operate one.

The City is trying to do a major renovation of an old but structurally sound specialized building with no money, no significant expertise, and no responsibility for the outcome. Every move it has made in the Elks has been wrong-footed and impeded the next. The socialites who are raising funds for it are good-hearted, but clueless about the actual cost of what they're proposing or how to make it work.

Mark me, this project will ultimately cost over five million clams, and at the end of it we'll have a pretty but essentially function-free white elephant. That will put the Elks in permanent danger of abandonment and demise.

Turning this around before it becomes completely hopeless will involve bringing in our community's theatre professionals and refocusing the project on creating a space that will serve real acts in a real economic context, not the cloud-cuckoo land that the foundationers imagine.

Finally, just to maintain my reputation for shouting at traffic: it is not, never has been and never could be an opera house. Gad, I wish people would stop calling it that, it's nothing but hick chic.

Reporter rates WYGC one of the top places to recover

This little celebrity piece points to something that I've always found interesting about Prescott: the healing and rehabilitation industry is huge here. From the Veterans' Hospital to the many alternative healers in private practice, we have healing going on everywhere. The rehab sector by itself is very big relative to the size of the town, attracting people statewide as well as out-of-staters, celebs included.

If this is something that Prescott is especially good at, I think we ought to do more to encourage it as an economic engine, which in turn will help mitigate the impact of the inevitable small percentage of failures on our streets, under our bridges and in our flophouses.

The rehab industry gets a bad rap for the people who fall through the cracks, but I think I'd rather have those impacts than the effects of more big-box retail, for example.