Blue Dress FTW
23 hours ago
The American notion of the open road is something we don't want to think about the details of.. we don't want to think about the real costs of it. We want to pretend that our gas taxes pay for our roads in full and that they should never have tolls on them and that raising the gas tax is unnecessary. But we haven't raised the gas tax since 1991 or 2 and it wasn't pegged to inflation or the price of gas, it was just a certain number of pennies per gallon. That money has become worth less even as the cost of construction has gone up and even as our roads are aging and the maintenance costs are going up so we're in a real pickle. The roads never paid for themselves really, because of the external costs, but we're in a position now where the notion that I can get in our car and drive wherever I want for free needs to go away...."They are discussing Matt's new book, Interstate 69.
...I did get to interview the guy who was the head of Cintra operations in America, his name is Jose Maria Lopez Defuentes, and... he's coming from Europe, where there are tons of privatized toll roads, its normal there and nobody fights them. And he is trying to build them in Canada and the US, and I said "what were you surprised about as far as our culture and the way we see our infrastructure?', and he says: "You are all riding around, you're living in a house your grandparents built and you think it is free, but now the roof is leaking, and now you have to fix the floors and there's all this maintenance that you weren't really expecting.." and its a real culture shock. We're not in the frame of mind to build anything or even fix anything on a big scale...
-Matt Dellinger, on JH Kunstler's latest podcast
...A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it's like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I've done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:
• attend a sleepover,• have a playdate• be in a school play• complain about not being in a school play• watch TV or play computer games• choose their own extracurricular activities• get any grade less than an A• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama• play any instrument other than the piano or violin• not play the piano or violin.
... when Western parents think they're being strict, they usually don't come close to being Chinese mothers. For example, my Western friends who consider themselves strict make their children practice their instruments 30 minutes every day. An hour at most. For a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It's hours two and three that get tough.
.... rote repetition is underrated in America.
...I once (called my daughter) garbage ... when she acted extremely disrespectfully toward me. When I mentioned that I had done this at a dinner party, I was immediately ostracized. One guest named Marcy got so upset she broke down in tears and had to leave early....
...Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight As. Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best. Chinese parents can say, "You're lazy. All your classmates are getting ahead of you." ...
...Chinese parents demand perfect grades because they believe that their child can get them. If their child doesn't get them, the Chinese parent assumes it's because the child didn't work hard enough. That's why the solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish and shame the child....
... the understanding is that Chinese children must spend their lives repaying their parents by obeying them and making them proud.
-This essay is excerpted from "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua
....My parents... were very low pressure. There were few mandates to do homework, get As, or practice our instruments for my brother, sister and me. ...we were in school plays, were allowed to watch TV until we “were blue in the face,” my mom jokes, and we attended plenty of sleepovers and playdates. Our kitchen was so stocked with junk food (and our TV had so many cable channels) that some of our friends preferred to hang out in our basement as we were considered a “fun house.”
So how did my parents’ laissez-faire parenting style turn out? My brother, sister and I all enjoyed school, got top grades and went to Harvard or Yale. Although I was never great at music, my brother and sister became top-notch musicians, and my sister even sings professionally. The three of us are doing just fine career-wise in financial services, journalism, education and music....
Toronto’s first automated public toilet is now a top tourist photo destination.
The $400,000 Harbourfront street potty proved so popular since May, “we’ll soon pick the next three locations,” said Kyp Perikleous, manager of the street furniture division of the city’s transportation department.
“It’s quite an attraction,” he said. “There are people standing in front having their photos taken ... some on the inside.”
As of Dec. 17, with 8,200 door-openings — some for diaper-equipped families — Perikleous said the three-metre-square stainless steel bunker-like biffy “exceeds” customer expectations.
It was built 35% larger than those in U.S. and European cities to provide wheelchair access.
“It’s the best I’ve seen,” Leaside resident Dave Darnell said recently.
“And it doesn’t smell,” the 60-year-old globe-trotter said, comparing the Rees Ave.-Queen’s Quay facility to ones in New York, Rome, Paris and Germany.
The 25¢ fee wasn’t intended to leave the supplier flush with cash, Perikleous said.
Instead, the deal with Montreal-based Astral Out-of-Home for up to 20 over 20 years lets it advertise on transit shelters plus 120 city information pillars.
The lone loo was part of a $1-billion contract that includes the former Astral Media Outdoor firm providing waste bins, transit shelters, benches and bike posts.
After 2017, the city will own all 25,000 pieces of street furniture and will consider more pay-to-pee permanent potties.
Sensors keep officials privy to the potty’s popularity.
The coin slot will accept anything up to a Twonie, but doesn’t make change.
The door operates automatically, Perikleous said, toilet paper supplies remain constant, air is vented in summer, warmed in winter, and patrons receive audible warnings. Lights flash before the door pops opens after 20 minutes.
There is even soft music and an emergency escape hatch.
When vacated at the push of a button, the toilet seat retracts for heat mist cleaning, and after three uses, water sluices the interior, draining through the porous, non-slip floor.
It malfunctioned once, when the retractor failed in July, Perikleous said.
That “minor glitch” lasted 40 minutes, until repairs were completed.