Thursday, June 21, 2007

A few thoughts

Just a few things in the world at large I thought I'd comment on quickly this morning before I hit the road...

- In the local news here: Joe Kennedy's ex-wife is gloating, because she was able to get the annulment he had requested overturned by the Vatican on appeal. So this is a win for you how, Sheila? It just means that "legally" you can't move on with your life and get married again, either. So you're bitter that he divorced you. It was over 15 years ago - get over it, for Pete's sake! On another note, this annulment crap is yet another reason why I'm firmly convinced that religion in general is ludicrous.

- The Mass. Pike is thinking about implementing high-speed toll readers (good), and congestion pricing (bad). I like the readers, because it'll ease rush-hour traffic. That's a plus. However, despite my general preference of market-based solutions when possible, the idea of congestion pricing for roadways is one where I depart from most of my libertarian-leaning brethren. You see, driving isn't entirely market-based activity. Most people drive at a certain time of the day because they have to - not because they want to. Work and commuting aren't really discretionary, and the employment market has relatively little excess capacity for workers who want to change to save money commuting. Not to mention that virtually all employers don't really care what the toll prices are when they set work hours. They shouldn't - they don't pay that cost. So the burden of congestion pricing falls entirely on the workers, and they really can't do anything about it. Ergo, I'm against it.

The flip side of this is that on average traffic has vastly improved over the last decade or so - the Big Dig has made a huge impact here. There are still traffic hotspots outside of town (Route 3 southbound, Routes 93 and 1 northbound), but overall Boston itself is far easier than it was back in my commuting days - I drove through Boston as a commuter from 1992 to 1998, and I remember 45-minute delays on the Tobin Bridge and at the tunnel almost every rush hour. Those days are long gone.

- I'm kind of enjoying the last-minute hype boosts that Apple's orchestrating for iPhone. Monday they announced that the specs had been upgraded - the screen would be glass instead of plastic (a decision they must have made months ago, but held off on announcing until this week), and battery life was now 8 hours' talk time instead of 5. Then yesterday they announced that the "mystery" 12th application was YouTube on the phone. The hype has built to unprecedented levels, and there's still a week and a half to go - not to mention that they haven't even announced the service pricing for the darned thing yet! Cellphone industry, meet Apple. Enjoy the ride.

- This was our romantic "date night" last night: a nice dinner, followed by a trip to Home Depot where we bought a new grill (the old one had rusted out a couple of years ago) and some ant-killing supplies. I'm not sure if that means our priorities are different nowadays, or if we're just kinda sad!

(we were going to go to the movies, but we got too late a start last night to do that as well as dinner - hence the substitution)

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