Liz Ray has Mad Throttle

Getting rear-ended and other misadventures...

Category: Center City

A Table For One

Last night, I headed over to Rittenhouse Square to people watch.  Actually, I had a $15 coupon for a restaurant, and the coupon was about to expire.  (Yes, I’m one of those people who believes I am “saving money” if I get $15 off a $30 entrée that I never would have gone out for in the first place, absent the coupon.  I did not major in economics.)  I walked up to the hostesses and I asked to be seated outside, at a table for one…

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In Vino Veritas

wine-101_fw_1Intellectual curiosity is important.  Alcohol is important.  Ergo, intellectual curiosity about alcohol is doubly important.  So, I signed up for a series of classes on wine, beer, and bourbon at The Philadelphia Wine School.  Yesterday, I rode the 170i over to Rittenhouse Square for the first class: Wine 101.  (Yes, I rode to a class that involved two hours of drinking wine on an empty stomach.  Then I had to figure out how to get home…) Continue reading

Bloodsport

Sometimes the disembodied voice of Mandy Patinkin appears in my head to tell me that a word “does not mean what [I] think it means.”  (Obviously, I’m talking about Princess Bride Mandy Patinkin, not Criminal Minds Mandy Patinkin, because that would be weird and creepy.)  When this happens I pull out my trusty dictionary and look things up:

“Highway Speed” (adj.) – a deceptively misdescriptive term that falsely suggests a momentum that would typically only be encountered on an interstate highway.

“Bloodsport” (noun) – a sport or game where the opponents are legally allowed to draw blood, severely injure, or kill one another as the objective of the sport, especially involving riding a scooter on Henry Avenue on Saturday night.

As Inigo Montoya would say, anyone trying to ride down Henry Avenue at night should “Prepare to die.”

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Can I Use My Invisibility Powers Elsewhere?

Based on empirical observations and anecdotal data collected over a period of several years, I have formulated the following scientific hypothesis: Every scooter and motorcycle comes with a standard-issue Romulan Cloaking Device.

The Case For:

Let us consider the evidence that supports the theory that all scooters and motorcycles come with cloaking devices.  First, there are countless unfortunate examples of cars hitting scooterists and motorcyclists, with drivers mysteriously claiming that they “never saw” the rider.  Second, there are even more countless-er examples of near misses, where cars pull into a rider’s path, cut a rider off, or apply squealing brakes just in time to avoid a collision.  Again, drivers claim that the rider was “invisible.”

Clearly, one scientifically plausible explanation for drivers’ repeated (and arguably constant) inability to see scooters and motorcycles is that the bikes are equipped with a device that bends the path of light as it curves around the bike, thus making the scooter or motorcycle undetectible to the human visual field.   An alternate hypothesis may be that scooters and motorcycles generate such a collosal gravitational pull, that the sheer magnitude of that force is sufficient to bend light’s path.  This second explanation seems less likely, as such a gravitational pull would be expected to disrupt tides and planetary alignments.  Thus, the presence of standard-issue cloaking devices seems more probable.

The Case Against:

While I like to believe that a cloaking device came standard on my scooters (drivers appear to be equally oblivious to both the 50cc and the 600, despite differences in size, power, and color), I fear that it is unlikely that my purported invisibility can be attributed to quantum mechanics or the temporarly disruption of the space-time continum.  As wonderful as my scooters are, I doubt that the Taiwanese or German engineers that created them figured out how to equip my scoots with the ability to manhandle photons.  (If it were possible, the feature would be better used as a theft-deterrant or to avoid parking tickets.)  I guess there is some small measure of comfort in my hypothesis being disproven, as it would be depressing to think that I own something as cool as not one, but TWO, Romulan Cloaking Devices, and all I seem to be able to do with them is make myself the invisible target of oncoming automobiles.

If Not Cloaking Devices, What Gives?

With the cloaking-device hypothesis on the cutting room floor, I needed to develop an alternative explanation.  So I asked myself again the fundamental question, “Why Don’t Cars See Scooters?”  If the natural path of photons is not affected, what other explanation could there be?  What could drivers be doing in there that completely negates their ability to see a two-wheeled object (and attendant human being) directly in their path?  Even if protecting the sanctity of human life and limb is not your cup of tea, what could be so important that it interferes with driver’s desire to protect the sanctity of their STUFF?  Why would drivers be willing to risk having their cars dented or scratched??

A proposed list of things that drivers might find sufficiently compelling to disrupt their natural desire to protect their cars (i.e., by avoiding hitting things or people) is below.  Mundane explanations (e.g., texting, talking on a cell phone, receiving and/or giving oral sex) have been omitted (because this blog eschews the Mundane).

1. All drivers simultaneously ran out of contact lenses and are on their way to get more.

2. Drivers decided to drive with their eyes closed, to heighten the acuity of their other senses.

3. Drivers are trying to reverse-engineer the code for Google’s page-ranking algorithm in their heads.

4. Drivers are thinking about what to have for dinner.

5.  They all have undiagnosed glaucoma.

6. Drivers are double-checking the equations that account for the planet Mercury’s perihelion orbit.

7. They lost their place while singing 100 bottles of beer on the wall and are trying to remember where they were.

8. They are driving with a brown paper bag over their head.

9.  They just came from staring into a solar eclipse.

10.  Retinas in both eyes detached and they are driving themselves to the ER.

The Last Word: If you drive a car, please look where the hell you are going.  Mercury’s perihelion orbit will still be there when you get home.  And if you ride a bike, remember to look where the hell drivers are going (because they probably aren’t).