Bicycling: Heights to Montrose

I frequently cycle between the Heights and Montrose. Often taking the most obvious Heights/Waugh corridor.  The stretch of road from Washington south over Buffalo Bayou, then continuing on Waugh past Dallas to W. Gray is a bit harrowing for some. I don’t have issues with it, and have taken the route both day and night.

But there’s another route I take that’s a bit east of that – closer to town.  Close and parallel to Studewood/Montrose.  It’s a bit less harrowing for those who are timid about Waugh and doesn’t add distance if your endpoints are on the eastern peripheries of these neighborhoods.

map of route

Heights-Montrose Bike Route (click to embiggen)

Going from the North to South, from the Heights, first take the MKT path south past I-10.  Immediately take a right after passing under I-10 on the sidewalk before approaching the Target shopping area.  This will lead you along the sidewalk on the south side of I-10, up to Studemont. Continue reading

The Drugs I’m On

I’m still suffering some lingering effects of a virus that seemed itself to only last for a few days, though it’s been nine since they symptoms first started. These are the drugs I’m on:

the anti-flegm active ingredient in Mucinex - C10H14O4

guaifenesin chemical structure

guaifenesin

everyone’s favorite sign-your-name-here the-government-is-watching behind-the-counter methamphetamine precursor - C10H15NO Continue reading

The Pixies Superabound

I just finished watching the latest episode of Covert Affairs on Hulu (they really should make it available on Apple TV devices – i have to stream it on my computer, redirected to my TV).  Hang Wire.  All the episodes this season have been named after Pixies song titles.  (Previous seasons were Led Zeppelin, R.E.M., and David Bowie.)

That man is a liar / The day is like a warm night / Salt rusts the cold line Continue reading

Mantle of Leadership

Yesterday Texas Governor Rick Perry announced he is not running for reelection.

It was an announcement he was expecting to make after the legislative season, but was forced to make in this second special session because the Republicans tripped on their hubris trying to pass oppressive abortion laws at the last second of the first special session.

Magic The Gathering: Mantle Of LeadershipHe needed to get this announcement made because all the other Republicans in Texas politics need to start shuffling for their job upgrades and needed to know his plans so they could make theirs.

Last week Perry announced he had something to announce. Since then, people have been speculating. Most Texas watchers supposed he would be doing as he did. It humored me that CNN reported in the other direction. Continue reading

Spring’s a Sprung

Despite some of our late spring cool blasts that have dropped our weather into the 50s at points through April, spring has arrived in Houston.  It was a fabulously beautiful day today, and this weekend is packed to the brim with events.

Saturday

There was one major event on saturday that I’ll be missing.  It’s a crawfish boil at a friend’s house in the Northern Heights (above 20th street). I love crawfish, and it’s an easy bike, but my social calendar was already booked when it showed up.  Also being missed, there’s a Day of Derby going on at Houston Indoor Sports. Continue reading

One Unwanted Gun Gone is a Good Thing

The back and forth on gun safety regulation is going strong and I expect it to continue earnestly through January if not longer. I hope something come’s of it.

Today in an NBC article there was a 2008 quote from a representative of the New Speak named Independent Institute. NBC News describes them as “conservative”, which seem reasonable given the quote.  The Institute itself claims to be non-partisan and says it “sponsors in-depth studies of critical social and economic issues”.

So, if the studies are in-depth, the quotes coming from their Research Director are a bit hyperbolic if not all out lies.

“It’s like trying to drain the Pacific with a bucket,” Alex Tabarrock of the conservative Independent Institute told USA Today in 2008There are an estimated 310 million guns in the U.S. – about one for every U.S. resident.

I would certainly not accuse Mr. Tabarrock of being a scientist.

There are legitimate questions as to whether gun buy-backs are useful or successful.  It depends greatly on how you would measure the success.  It seems the same people that would say “if we get one criminal off the streets, we’re doing good” aren’t willing to extend that tenuous logic to “if we get one weapon of possible death off the street, we’re doing good.”

If we even accept the sisyphian challenge false dichotomy Mr. Tabarrock presents us with, one intimating that unless we remove every gun from circulation that gun crimes will not be diminished, we should look at the numbers he is trying to scare us with.

In the last week I’ve read newspaper articles that totaled over 5,000 guns purchased back from citizens. With 310M guns at large, we would have to have 61,000 such weeks, or less than 1200 years.  Those are all rough numbers, but 1200 years is still a long time, and if that’s the point you’re trying to make, make it on that merit.

Now, the Pacific Ocean has 6.6 x 10^20 liters of water (1.7 x 10^20 gallons).  If we’re equating buckets with the guns, and not one buy-back event, and we stipulate that a bucket is about a gallon. That would leave us with 3.4 x 10^16 weeks or 653,846,153,846,153 years to empty the Pacific Ocean. That’s 544,871,794,871 times longer than slowly, in an unorganized manner, buying back guns.

That’s a ridiculous comparison.

But the implied point is equally ridiculous.  Buy back plans are not about appreciably reducing crime numbers.  The point is, if there is any unwanted gun, we should get it out of circulation.  All guns should be owned by responsible adults that handle and store them properly.  In the same way that if you have used motor oil, we need to provide a safe place for you to dump it, if you no longer want to be responsible for maintaining your gun, we should make it easy for you to get rid of it.  Responsibly.

Continue reading

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