Congratulations to Matt Grady for publishing his April Fool’s Article in Martlet, the independent newspaper for the University of Victoria. His piece, George Bush recruits Superman to the War on Terror is a fun read. It’s a good feeling, being published, innit Matt?
Erin Noteboom’s poetry consistently exceeds expectations and stretches beyond its own limitations in this awe-inspiring collection. The poetry featured here is not religious per se, but is inspired by the Bible and focussed on the language and stories of Christian scripture. Traditional metaphors and tropes come into play here: stones on tongues, milk and honey, salt, wounds, blood. Yet Noteboom also employs a fresh, contemporary set of images: “grey and greased dishwater,” “Queen of morphine drips,” “the light that loves the bowl of spoons,” “My God of the ragbag/ with the needle in your mouth.” Some individual poems are simply superb: “Delilah, on contradictions,” “O Wisdom, this world,” “The sparrow child,” and “How even the holy cover their faces.”
Fear and Loathing at 55 mph
This is worth your attention. This video shows a group of college students trying to illustrate the stupidity of local freeway speedlimits by actually driving at the speed limit. It’s been called a cross between “Jackass” and a civics lesson. So they send out a convoy to drive in all the lanes of their local freeway (possibly the I-75 through Atlanta, Georgia) at 55 miles per hour. The results are precisely what you’d expect, and the shots of angry and aggressive drivers and one minor accident make for compelling viewing.
It’s a time-honoured and effective political maneouver: the college students sought to highlight the stupidity of a law by obeying it. Indeed, this is a direct quote: “we won’t break any laws.”
Problem is, they did break the law.
Here’s the Georgia statute
(a) Upon all roadways of sufficient width, a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows:
(1) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement;
(2) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway, provided that any person so doing shall yield the right of way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such a distance as to constitute an immediate hazard;
(3) Upon a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon; or
(4) Upon a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.
(b) Upon all roadways, any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
(c) Upon any roadway having four or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for two-way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the center of the roadway except when authorized by official traffic-control devices designating certain lanes to the left of the center of the roadway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use such lanes or except as permitted under paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section. However, this subsection shall not be construed as prohibiting the crossing of the center of the roadway in making a left turn into or from an alley, private road, or driveway.
(d) No two vehicles shall impede the normal flow of traffic by traveling side by side at the same time while in adjacent lanes, provided that this Code section shall not be construed to prevent vehicles traveling side by side in adjacent lanes because of congested traffic conditions.
In other words, you are not supposed to drive in the passing lane, and you are certainly not supposed to drive in a fashion that obstructs the people behind you. And if these guys had been in front of Dave Simmer while he was acting out the thoughts in his head, I’d cringe at the results.
And I know that I have driven the speed limit on Highway 401. Suicidal, you say? But I didn’t present an obstruction. I picked the right lane, and I stayed there (moving into the centre or left lanes to allow other cars to merge), allowing other cars to pass. And the strange thing was, when I did this, I would hit pockets where there was no traffic around me. I had open road several car lengths ahead and behind me were the lights of the next approaching pack. For some reason, cars travel in herds. Breaking away from the herds by travelling slightly below the prevailing speed of the highway allowed me to enter areas which were, by far, the safest parts of the highway.
Whatever the case, though: this experiment is flawed, since these folks tried to highlight the stupidity of one law by obeying it to the letter, and they failed to obey another law that went with it. To properly illustrate their point, they should redo this test, but only drive in a convoy in the right-hand lane (moving into the next lane to allow other cars to pass). I think the results, however, would be quite different, such that the law wouldn’t seem half as stupid.
It sort of damages their credibility that they ended up breaking another law to prove their point on the first law.