February 18, 2007

Dirt Wanted

Odds and ends from several days travelling and driving in the US:

The Woodley Park Metro station in Washington has a remarkably long escalator (actually one of three you take to get down to the level of the trains). One of the times I went there, I decided to walk down the escalator instead of just standing and waiting. I counted 82 steps I made.

Now let's say I reached the bottom in half the time I would have taken had I been standing still. Is that enough information to deduce how many steps the escalator has (i.e. if it was still)?

When I returned from dinner that night, I walked up the escalator, this time counting 94 steps. Does that help answer the question?

(I don't know the answers, I'm just asking. Seems like an interesting question, though I'm willing to be corrected on that).


On Route 221 west of tiny Floyd in southern Virginia, these four prominent signs in quick succession: "Love is of God"; "CHRISTmas Gift of God"; "Fill and Dirt Wanted"; "Are You Prepared to Meet God?"

Well, I don't know that I'm prepared. Especially because on Route 29 earlier in the day, I had passed this: "The Most Important Question: JESUS? The Tomb Is Empty."

Sounds ominous.

Then I passed one more sign: "Love is the best de-icer."

Ah. I could have used some, then. 'Nuff said.


Speaking of God and empty tombs: driving through Virginia, finding something sensible to listen to on the radio is a constant struggle. (And, of course, who wants silence?).

First, there are the innumerable country music stations. Why does every male country singer have that deep, slightly nasal twang when he sings? Is that like a required course in Country Music University, where the diligent young student learns about belts with huge buckles, stetsons, and the deep twang? And, of course, lyrics like "I was stuck on the highway/jus' me and my cellphone."

Second, there are innumerable religious stations. I lost track of all the exhortations and expressions of good Christian outrage. "I think homosexuality is against God's word." "I can't believe I have to make a case for chastity to young Christian women! I was horrified when this girl told me she was sleeping with her boyfriend!"

Third, on a Saturday the previous two get some serious competition from college basketball broadcasts. These are always fun to listen to: the voices, the tempo, the lingo, they're all the same. You'll hear words like "transition" and "trey" and "Cavs" and "Noles" and "personal foul" plenty of times. At least twice, you'll hear about a team that they're "moving from right to left across your radio dial", leaving you to imagine tiny characters racing across the face of your car radio.

So on a long drive today, I listened to two men's games: Virginia (the Cavs) beat Florida State (the Seminoles) and West Virginia beat Seton Hall. And one women's game: Catawba Valley was leading Lenoir Rhyne. Got here before the game ended, but while Catawba was still moving right to left.

And I also learned today that some Seton Hall player is, I swear, like a "panther on the plains of the Serengeti."


I'm going to miss it, but the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburgh is going to have Dr Ergun Caner speaking tomorrow (that's Sunday February 18) morning at 11. The ad in the Roanoke Times says he converted from Islam in his teens.

And what will Dr Caner speak on? "Love, Lies and Landmines: Building the Perfect Wife."

Just what you needed to know.


Not that I'm boasting or anything, but I have helped the environment conserve vast numbers of gallons of water a year. Not just once, but twice.

You can do the same. Just visit Virginia's highway rest area bathrooms. Designed by Falcon WaterFree, the urinals don't use water, and have a neat sign above them saying:
    By using this hygienic and touch-free urinal, you are helping the environment conserve 40,000 gallons of water per urinal per year.
Proud of yourself, aren't you?


Anonymous said...

if he had not converted Dr Caner would be talking of "Loves, Lies, and Landmines: Building the perfect virgins"? Except for the plural (and some domestic trouble), I dont see much difference due to conversion.

Anonymous said...

we can say two things about the steps: you were walking up slower after dinner, and there were at least 95 steps.
Two many extra variables, I think. Even if you had ran up 94 steps on the escalator that was rolling down (you should try running up the escalator going down, if you have not done it already!) you cannot estimate the total number of steps.
A way to count the number of steps is to time your descent and then measure time it takes for, say, three steps to roll under. Or wait at an end, mark a person starting at the other end and patiently count the steps that roll over.

Santhosh said...

The escalator problem is quite intriguing...on an average if you walked 90 steps and if it takes half-the time for you to walk as compared to standing still (which assumes that speed of the escalator is same as the speed of climbing normal stairs), then there must on an average 180 steps.

How would you compare the Subway in NY vs. the Subway in DC?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Glad to see the step "problem" has got at least two others thinking a bit. Anonymous, I have done several escalators the wrong way, up and down. It's a delightful experience.

Santhosh, is it really 180? I'm not sure. DC Metro is quieter, cleaner and nicer in appearance. NYC has more frequent trains in general, perhaps wider reach. But both are good systems. Delhi Metro is most reminscent of DC. I also think Delhi Metro is the best one I've ever been in.