Posts Tagged 'public transit'

My Brush with Low-Level Religious Terrorism

Ok. For someone who has lived in Los Angeles for the better part of a decade, I have an odd confession. I hate driving. I’m not scared of cars, but I loathe being dependent on them. And the grinding tedium of stop and go traffic often leaves me more aggravated than a full eight hours on the job. So I take the bus a couple times a week.

The thing I like about the bus, aside from not lining Dick Cheney’s pocket with more of my hard-earned money, is that I get a half-hour or so of reading in before and after work. It’s a nice buffer between the bustle of the office and relative quiet of home. And this morning I was eager I dive into my new book, Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart. I’ve been wanting to read this puppy since I read an excerpt in the New Yorker some two or three years ago. Yet the moment I get a seat and open my book, some guy next to me who looked like a thinner version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and who was sporting an outfit that looked like a silken Mao suit opened his book, the Bible, and started spouting off a sermon. Using the bendy part of the bus as his pulpit, he delivered Biblical commandments in a booming, sonorous voice that was almost impossible to block out. Almost immediately, I pipe up saying, “Please don’t. This is a crowded bus…” but that didn’t even register. Between Western and Westwood, I don’t think the guy paused for more than five seconds. I realized with greater and greater frustration that there was no way I was going to be reading my book this morning. Nothing short of a kick to the teeth is going to shut him up.

He continued, “You work five days a week, six days a week. But then you send all of your money at clubs, the bars. You hook up with prostitutes. Go to crack houses?” Jesus, how does this guy spend a weekend? Once we rolled into Westwood, he shambled off and the whole bus said a collective, “Hallelujah.” Yes, I thought. This was my brush with low-level religious terrorism.

This week’s links 5/7/08

My weekly culling from the internets:

Some fan boys clearly have too much spare time. Behold The Empire Strike Barack.

Riding that fine line between the horrific and the funny, there’s this disturbing report of a seal raping a penguin. With pictures! And there’s something in there about penguin prostitutes too.

There seems to be a problem with incubi (incubuses?) in Washington State.

This is old, but man do I love it. The Day Today‘s coverage of 9/11.

Photobombing: the next great American past time.

If there’s one thing that captures my imagination more than proposals to fix LA’s anemic public transportation system, it’s maps of proposals to fix LA’s anemic public transportation system.

And if there’s one city that LA should aspire to, it’s Melbourne.

And this guy drew every single piece of art in MOMA

This book review by Daniel Mendelsohn in the New Yorker caught my eye. The latest translation of HerodotusHistories, while lacking perhaps in style more than makes up for in annotations. The reviewer notes that Herodotus’ famously (or in some circles notoriously) digressive narrative is really best suited for today’s hypertext style of reading. Being about a reckless, blustering leader of a great power who invades a small nation and meets disaster, the Histories is also a painfully current.


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