Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Something's Fishy

I commute by Metrolink train every weekday. On Monday morning, Aug 14, 2006, we were delayed 2 hours. Our destination of Union Station in Los Angeles was visible from the window. The conductor repeatedly apologized, but gave no explanation as to what was going on. That afternoon, I saw a news bulletin from It stated the following:


Many Metrolink trains bound for Los Angeles today encountered delays of between 30 and 75 minutes this morning due to a signal system malfunction at the entrance to Union Station. This malfunction prevented switches on the lead tracks at the entrance to the depot from being operated properly and greatly limited the number of trains that could enter and depart the station at any one time. In addition, the malfunction caused the cancellation of 7 other trains this morning.

An investigation into the situation has revealed that metal clips used during the installation of a new crossover switch at Union Station this weekend caused an electrical short in the signal system at that location as trains began to pass over early this morning. These clips help hold the metal rails to the ties underneath. The clips have been removed and the installation of replacement clips will take place shortly.

When I read this, it occurred to me that maybe this talk of metal clips causing problems with the switches was perhaps, not just a mere accident. Something seemed to have happened to the clips over the weekend. Was it vandalism or even terrorism? I didn't give my own conspiracy theory too much credit until the next day.

On Tuesday, I wanted to look at the news bulletin again. I went to and found that the bulletin I had read a day earlier was gone! Instead, a new bulletin, titled with the same name, had taken the other one's place.


Metrolink would like to apologize again for the delayed and cancelled trains on the morning of August 14. The signal system malfunction that occurred at Union Station was resolved later that morning and trains operated on schedule into the depot today. Our staff is reviewing our procedures and will make any changes necessary to insure our passengers are not inconvenienced again.

Updated on 8/15/06

Now I really wonder if my little theory was right. Did someone perhaps, try to get some trains to collide coming into L.A. that morning? I doubt it would be anything like Al Queda, but I can definitely see some local degenerate behind such an action. I'll probably never know.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

This is Why They Fail

I am still shaking my head over the recent Dodger trade. I shouldn't really because this has just become an annual event. Dodger management, which lately has turned over almost as often as the roster, decides it has to trade some key personnel for some rent-a-star. This year, it was Cesar Izturis for Greg Maddux. As a Dodger fan, this just makes no sense. Izturis is as good a defensive infielder in the game as anyone. He proved himself the past few years as a premier shortstop. This year, he showed he was equally amazing as a 3'rd baseman. His hitting improves every year. He is dedicated ballplayer who takes extra practice and prides himself on his defense. He is all upside.

I've been a fan of Greg Maddux for years. He has been the most consistently good pitcher in baseball for the past 20 years. While other hurlers make more press with no-hitters and lots of strikeouts, Maddux just wins and wins. But even great ones like Greg Maddux decline. His 9-11 record and 4.69 ERA are strong indications that he is not what he once was.

Are the Dodgers better now? It seems very doubtful to me. Maddux may win, what? 4 games between now and the end of the year? That's about as optimistic as I can get about this. Is that going to put the Dodgers in the playoffs? Right now, they are 51-55, in 3'rd place and 4 games out of the wild-card. I just don't see Maddux getting us over the hump. I haven't given up on this season, but if the Dodgers should get hot and overcome their deficit, I don't think anybody is going to see this trade as that turning point.

What really kills me, though, is what about next year? and the year after that? Maddux will likely be gone, and unfortunately, so is Izturis. General Manager Colletti should have done the brave thing and just said "no". Instead he did this trade so he can explain at the end of the season when the Dodgers have failed, yet again, that he tried.

Drunk Driving is Okay - Just Don't Be an Anti-Semite

I am going to talk about the recent Mel Gibson incident. First of all, I am not going to defend Mr. Gibson's actions in the slightest way. Drunk driving is despicable. There is no excuse for it. If you are an alcoholic, then at least be responsible enough to know you can't drive. This is a crime that I believe should have severe consequences, even for your first offense. I'll embellish that statement in an upcoming blog entry. I understand he had a blood-alcohol level around .25% That's 3 times the legal limit and its not his first offense. If someone goes out and drinks the 10 drinks or so it takes to get that much alcohol in his/her bloodstream, getting behind the wheel is the equivalent of taking a rifle and shooting it repeatedly in random directions. Someone might get injured or killed, maybe not. Gibson should be in prison for life.

I guess celebrity drunk driving just isn't a big issue. Patrick Kennedy got caught last month. It seems to be a fairly regular occurrence. It's apparently, not a very big deal. However, it is a big deal when Gibson goes on an anti-Semitic tirade. I'm not going to defend Gibson at all. On television, his remarks are everywhere. The drunk driving part of the story is just used as a framework around the focal point of his statements.

In his drunken state, Gibson's car was a deadly weapon. He could have killed or injured one or more people. Gibson's words are going to hurt him more than anyone in the Jewish community. Gibson threw the proverbial stone from his glass house. He works in Hollywood where rumor has it that there are a few Jews with a great deal of power there. Gibson is going to be subjected to boycotts and refusals by studios. In fact, I understand that ABC has already cancelled the work on his holocaust mini-series.

Gibson was compelled to apologize to the Jewish community for his remarks. I say Gibson should also apologize to the city of Malibu for putting its citizens in mortal danger.