Thursday, August 02, 2007

London Bridge Has Fallen Down, My Fair Lady

An impassioned student recently pointed out the NASCO project -- a proposed North American Super-Corridor connecting Laredo, Texas, to Detroit and other international ports in the Midwest. It includes I-35, I-94, and I-29. (For the record, the student is alarmed at the plan for various reasons).

As for me, I'm more immediately alarmed at the collapse of the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis yesterday. For one thing, it was completed when I resided in neighboring St. Paul as a kid -- the Mississippi River was not that far from where I lived with my family in Mendota Heights (sudden rush of memories, Twilight Zone soundtrack. . .) To those poor people who were plunged into the river, my condolences -- but I'm also wondering about the Ambassador Bridge that connects Detroit with Windsor, Ontario -- over which something like 25% of all commercial traffic between the USA and Canada drives annually. The I-35W Bridge that collapsed was completed in 1967. The Ambassador Bridge was up and running in 1929 (soul-chilling shiver). Worse, the Minneapolis bridge was 64 feet above the Mississippi River. The Ambassador Bridge rises to 152 feet above the Detroit River. Now I'll pray to Mary that we'll make it across without incident (I do that already, come to think of it).

While we squander American monies in Iraq, let's enjoy our crumbling infrastructure and hope for the best.

Myrna Loy is cool! Smart, witty, charming, cosmopolitan, and vivacious.

Peter O'Toole is one of the many cool 1960s dudes hailing from the British Isles. Add Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Richard Burton, and others. Alcohol has taken its toll, but they're still hip (even if Richard Burton is inconveniently dead). I saw dapper Peter O'Toole in Philadelphia, at a book signing, in the early 1990s.

Myrna Loy made up to look "Oriental." It was quite a little while ago. Now we would better say Asian, or -- in this case -- Chinese.

Today's Rune: Signals.

Birthdays: Pierre Charles L'Enfant, Myrna Loy (Myrna Adele Williams), James Baldwin, Carroll O'Connor, Peter O'Toole, Wes Craven, Isabel Allende, Joanna Cassidy, James Fallows, Caleb Carr, Mojo Nixon (b. Neill Kirby McMillan, Jr., in Chapel Hill, N.C.), Apollonia Kotero, Mary-Louise Parker, Jacinda Barrett.


Charles Gramlich said...

That bridge collapse was horrible. Yes, on the crumbling infrastructure. But we continue to build more and more highways and bridges without maintaining the ones we have. Worrisome indeed.

Pythia3 said...

Hi Erik - thanks for the "cool" section, especially when the weather is getting so hot! Great choices too - I totally agree! Myrna is COOL! And as for Peter, well, I've had a crush on him since I was young.
The politically correctness you mentioned is right on . . . I once said (and was gently scolded) the word "Oriental" when referring to a person (not a rug - which I think is still ok???). I must have missed that memo.
It is terrible and scary about the bridge collapsing. We live in a world of false security. That's what I tell people who cringe in horror when they find out I live in Detroit. I tell them; Yes, I am aware and cautious of my surroundings because it is dangerous, but we all live with the threat of danger, we just don't all KNOW it and RESPECT it. Having a sense of false security is more dangerous than anything.
But there is a difference between living in fear (of death) versus living with a respect for the fragility of life.
ooooooh - "signals" uh?

the walking man said...

yes very sad about whatever caused the bridge to collapse in MN but I don't think you need have fear of anything but the US border Patrol when coming back from Canada or going to same; two completely different kinds of bridges...the one that collapsed (single self supporting span without pylons to hold it up) was built more like what you would see as an underpass type bridge going over the expressway while The Ambassador and the Big Mac are suspension type bridges. Both you will notice have an open style decking to allow for wind and air movement through them.

More people in this area have been hurt in the past ten years from concrete falling off the expressway underpasses than have been harmed (except for suicides) on both bridges combined in the past 50 years.

But I have to agree the collapsed bridge was a Federal Highway bridge and even though maintenance and inspection is tasked to the state Federal highway money is supposed to in part go for repairs.

This is America and we are the policemen of the world as they say; let the French do it or better yet the Dutch, seeing as how it was them who opened up the rest of the known world in the 14th century with their colonialism, but maybe it is time for us to take a more isolationist self protective stance, first by closing off our markets to places like China and second rebuilding not only our public infrastructure but our manufacturing base as well.

MacGuffin said...

I just wonder when the oligarchs that actually own this country are gonna realize they have to drive over these same bridges in their mercedes and limos.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I, too, have been wondering whether the bridge collapsed due to lack of federal funding. Could it be, our states are willing to risk public safety because of a lack of money? It sure seems that way with the Michigan prison system.

Danny Tagalog said...

These tragedies are certainly alarming and you can bet your bottom dollar that those up there do not care a jot. Time to uproot?

lulu palooza said...

Would love to know more about the North American Super-Corridor (NASCO) project that has many people freakin'.

My heart goes out to the 35W victims too. Thanks.