From the East German judge, an 8.

I’ve written before about the terrifying conditions of a typical Detroit rush hour. I haven’t driven in every city in the U.S., but I’ve driven in a few, and the closest match I can think of is Chicago, where traffic flies along at an insane speed, bunched up so close you can smell the other drivers’ sweat, until it can’t anymore. Detroiters love driving, and driving fast. They bring a certain skill to the endeavor, but it only takes one jerkoff to make a mistake, and lo, there are many on the road on a typical rush-hour weekday.

My new job requires twice-weekly days in Lansing, and Thursday was one of them. I left extra-early, with the aim of getting to the office shortly after 8 a.m. I switched on the radio once I reached cruising speed, and the first traffic bulletin informed me westbound 696 was closed at Orchard Lake Road, after an accident involving a pedestrian. Poor bastard, I thought. And then: WAIT. CLOSED? I’LL BE PASSING THAT EXIT IN 10 MINUTES. Or rather, I wouldn’t be passing it, but would instead be neck-deep in stopped traffic, being shunted off at some surface street on the far west side, with no idea how the hell I’d ever find my way back to I-96. I’ve been a work-from-homer for so long the whole west side of the metro is terra incognita. What to do? What to do? The I-75 interchange was seconds away. I took it south and executed a move I’m christening the Davison evasion, hopping onto this little-traveled spur of a freeway, a mere five miles or so in length, that connects I-75, the Lodge and a little more in both directions, but mainly exists to remind old-timers that no one really needs to get from one side of Highland Park to the other in three minutes, unless they’re running from muggers. Maybe you old-timers know the use for the Davison, but it was certainly welcome Thursday morning.

A helpful illustration for you out-of-towners.

The guy who died was an Ann Arbor firefighter. That’s the worst thing about freeway commutes — it’s so unnerving and stressful that you remember a well-executed evasive maneuver rather than the fact a man died. It’s the chariot race, for sure.

At this spot, there’s a sign posted on one of the ramps that says, “Follow the signs, not your GPS.”

Lotsa ramps.


Picking on Rick “Dead Man Walking” Santorum seems a bit of a waste of time, but what the hell, Charles Pierce does it so well.

America loves Skrillex? Not according to my daughter.

And I’m so tired I’m off to bed. Enjoy the weekend, all.

Posted at 11:14 pm in Detroit life |

62 responses to “From the East German judge, an 8.”

  1. Deborah said on January 6, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Charles Pierce is my new main man.

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  2. Dexter said on January 6, 2012 at 2:27 am
    I have finally been utilizing Reddit to educate myself about the SOPA controversy, and since I am sick of Yahoo! News, which I am force-fed because my email account I prefer is Yahoo!.

    I remember a long time ago Albom mentioned that there are no traffic jams in Detroit anymore because of the way things are, and the YouTubes about bicycling in Detroit always champion the city because of very little auto traffic. Maybe it’s all north of 8 Mile. Anyway, I know the traffic in Macomb and Oakland Counties can be heavy, of course.
    I love listening to Joel Alexander’s traffic reports from the WJR helicopter he pilots. I almost never drive anywhere north of Toledo anymore but I still seem to have to know about the pileups on the side of the road in the greater Detroit Metro Area.

    I have driven in many cities. I never had any problems in Boston or New York, because I didn’t just expect to be able to bug around with impunity. Once in LA an irate bus driver wanted my lane and he laid on the horn and was gonna crush me but somehow I got out of the way. I was gawking around one night in San Francisco, very tired, and I blew a stop sign, luckily nothing happened, but that was all my fault.
    Yeah, so I have driven just about everywhere in America except Portland and Seattle.
    The worst traffic jam I was ever in: six hours from San Francisco to Monterey. It was a crazy combination of lane closures and wrecks on the Bayshore Freeway, Highway 101. A weird evening.
    The fastest racetrack traffic, no question, ever, was that circle around Atlanta, I-285. The fast lane was moving at 95 mph and I am not kidding. I found myself going 85 and barely keeping up.
    Best advice I am glad I ignored: “Keep your car out of the Old North End of Boston, the streets are so narrow you’ll be wedged in!”
    We had a blast taking our tiny Honda CVCC right into the thick of it. No problems. But really, really narrow streets.

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  3. ROGirl said on January 6, 2012 at 5:44 am

    It took me an hour and 15 minutes to get to work yesterday morning, a drive that normally takes under 20 minutes, and I don’t drive on the expressway, but all the traffic that had been diverted off 696 was on my normal route to work. 696 was closed until around 12:30. At least there wasn’t any snow.

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  4. Connie said on January 6, 2012 at 6:34 am

    One of my co-workers was caught up in all that. I,m not that far off the left end of your map. Word is the guy tried to change a tire and got hit twice. My vote for worst rush hour goes to Minneapolis.

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  5. David C. said on January 6, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Moving into the city and only three miles from work was the smartest thing I’ve ever done. Good lord I hated commuting that hour a day. Now I have an extra 45 minutes a day to do whateverthehell I want.

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  6. Deborah said on January 6, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Worst rush hour traffic for me was in Houston. Hated that place.

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  7. nancy said on January 6, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Good lord, another one. Take Frederick Forrest’s advice: Never get out of the boat.

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  8. ROGirl said on January 6, 2012 at 8:20 am

    The only reason I have a cell phone is in case my car breaks down or I’m in an accident. Stay in your car, folks.

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  9. Peter said on January 6, 2012 at 9:13 am

    No place in the US, with the possible exception of LA, can compare to Sao Paolo. I got caught in a traffic jam there once – AT 1:00 AM. It isn’t only the crime that makes the 1%ters down there take to the air.

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  10. brian stouder said on January 6, 2012 at 9:16 am

    A few summers back, when we were finished visiting the Henry Ford Museum and Dearborn (a wonderful couple of days, which we will have to do again, and this time including the Rouge plant), it was time to bug out and go west to Holland, Michigan (and the lake and the tulips and so on and so forth).

    We were seemingly right in the middle of everything, and people were moving along at a rapid pace, and it began to rain, and then it began to really pour. I was hanging onto the steering wheel quite tightly as we moved (or hurtled) west, through (or over) metro Detroit.

    And then – poof – the deluge ended and we were beyond Motown, and the drive became quite boring (which was OK with me).

    And have I mentioned how much I enjoyed the book about Detroit’s car companies, and the people who saved them, titled Once Upon a Car, by Bill Vlasic?

    Good stuff, Maynard!

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  11. coozledad said on January 6, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Santorum is running for a spot as a Fox News scold. Once more people get a load of the house he built with his take from the Abramoff Marianas child slavery ring, he’ll be back at the fringes of public discourse, groping dead things and excommunicating queers.
    There’s always Opus Dei, Richard.

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  12. Julie Robinson said on January 6, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I dunno, I’ve driven around Chicago all my life, but the worst traffic I’ve seen was in LA, where it always seemed to be rush hour. At 1:30 am, there was a traffic jam getting to the airport. In the middle of the night!

    If you don’t have time to read the Charles Pierce column on Santorum, here’s a summary: “full of sh*t”.

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  13. MarkH said on January 6, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I’m sure paddyo’ will agree with me that Denver ain’t no picnic when it comes to traffic volume, patterns. I visit my sisters there twice a year and amamazed at the 24/7 high speed/high volume. They have an interchange at I-25 and I-70 called the Moustrap, and when it snarls at either rush hour, well, nuff said.

    Nancy, I am envious of Alan (and you) now that you have this access to all things automotive in Detroit. That would have been a dream job were I still newspapering. Alfa Romeo will be back in the USA in 2013. PLEASE go by their booth and post some photos; they’ve got some exciting stuff coming.

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  14. Bitter Scribe said on January 6, 2012 at 10:07 am

    On the way in to work this morning, a bad accident totally blocked the intersection between the interstate and my office. I had to remind myself that those ambulances were there for a reason (the front of an SUV was crushed like a beverage can) and that there was something going on that was more important than my momentary annoyance.

    “Follow the signs, not your GPS”? Never heard of that before. Since I have a severe directional deficiency anyway, that would really intimidate me.

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  15. Dorothy said on January 6, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Some more Santorum info courtesy of the city where he lived before he moved to Virginia:

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  16. Scout said on January 6, 2012 at 10:21 am

    If you go to the Pierce article linked above, be sure to also scroll down and read about Santorum’s speech at the Medicare facility. Richard is mind blowingly sleazy. I am looking forward to the scrutiny he will now face as the front runner Not-Romney of the week.

    Put me down for a vote for LA as the worst driving city,if only because I know first hand how badly it sucks.

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  17. adrianne said on January 6, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Best summary of Rick Santorum’s many crimes against the People of Pennsylvania is from Philly Daily News blogger Will Bunch. Here’s the link:

    Finally, after an earlier suck-up article about the death of Rick’s child and how it changed him, the New York Times fires back today with a front-page expose of his life as a fully-bought-and-paid-for corporate shill:

    And if you haven’t seen it, Ricky’s exchange Thursday with jeering college students over gay marriage is something to see.

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  18. Chris in Iowa said on January 6, 2012 at 11:00 am

    There is something to be said about life in a relatively small Iowa town, where my house is five blocks from the office and I walk or bike to work every day. It takes about five minutes.

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  19. Julie Robinson said on January 6, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Chris, you have perfectly described the commute of my cousin in Waverly, IA. Of course, he’s stuck in a small town in Iowa, but it seems to work for their family. Hope it does for you too.

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  20. MichaelG said on January 6, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Can’t read the Charles Pierce piece. That site is blocked on my work computer.

    Traffic jams are bad everywhere. I don’t know that it profits anyone to try and name the worst. They’re all bad. We even have some tough ones here in Sacto. However, Sacramento doesn’t have the sheer numbers of people and cars to build a jam the likes of which you can see in a major city like L.A. or Chicago. That seems to me to be the key. You need to have the population to stage a truly horrific jam. We’ll get a good one here but it won’t last any near as long as one you’ll see down south. I suspect that’s the case anywhere.

    One morning last fall, I had a flat in a rental on the Ten about eleven miles west of Ontario airport (ONT). I managed to get the thing over and stopped in a gore point by the Garey Ave onramp. I went to get out of the van and climbed right back into it. The traffic was terrifying. After only a minute or two a CHP officer pulled up behind me. He shepherded me across the on ramp to a spot up against the wall. After another two minutes or so the freeway patrol truck showed up and the guy changed my tire. No charge. I gave him a $10 tip. The whole thing from when the tire blew to when I was on my way again probably took twenty minutes.

    I can certainly see how easy it would be to get killed trying to change a tire by the side of the freeway. That spot is dangerous beyond belief and extremely frightening. One thing nobody seems to mention is the sound. Five lanes of traffic each way, thousands of cars blasting by on the Ten at that point. One has to shout to be heard. The sound is a physical thing beating on you and certainly adds to the terror. You’re simply sitting in the middle of pure violence. I don’t know what I would have done if that freeway guy hadn’t come. I probably would have called Enterprise and told them to bring me a new car and let them worry about the flat. Fifty or sixty MPH doesn’t seem fast but when you’re standing four or five feet from a steady procession of big rigs traveling at that speed . . .

    Now that I live near downtown Sactown, I take surface streets during my, ahem, fifteen minute ride to work. Twenty minutes if I’m going to the airport and that’s on the freeway. No traffic there at 0500.

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  21. rfs said on January 6, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Try taking 75 north to Flint, then 69 down to Lansing. It’s 20 miles more, but an easier, more consistent drive.

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  22. alex said on January 6, 2012 at 11:46 am

    I always thought Detroit’s freeways were scarier than Chicago’s expressways. (And I always wondered why, in two relatively close midwestern cities, urban stretches of interstate highway would be called freeways in one and expressways in the other.)

    I remember when I got my first cell phone many years ago. It was right after I had to change a flat tire on I-80/90 in Gary, Indiana, on a lengthy stretch of elevated road with no exits for many miles. I was up against a guardrail overlooking a sheer drop down into an abandoned industrial wasteland. State troopers passed by without stopping to help. Semis were blowing by at 90 MPH and practically shaking the car off the jack. I had already driven on the rim for a fair distance and had to beat the damn thing with a crowbar to free it from the car. All in all it was one of the most harrowing experiences of my life.

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  23. Sue said on January 6, 2012 at 11:58 am

    alex, my guess on the freeway/expressway thing is that Chicago’s expressways are tollroads, therefor not ‘free’? I got funny looks when I moved to WI and called the area roads expressways, no one referred to them by anything than their number names.
    What always annoyed me about the Chicago area expressways was the free interchange of number and name; unless I knew the road I frequently mixed them all up. Let’s see, you can call what is now the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway the Northwest tollway or I-90 too, and most locals will understand what you are talking about although technically NW tollway is wrong. That’s stupid and annoying plus for some reason giving Jane Addams a commemorative suburban tollway strikes me as silly.

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  24. elaine said on January 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Though Cincinnati traffic is tame by Chicago and Detroit standards, we still have our moments:

    Not to mention that people go completely apesh*t on slippery roads around here. I have to admit, having been stuck in black ice traffic twice in the past year, they have some cause to go off:

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  25. Buffalo Savage said on January 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I’m from Melvindale and learned to drive in Motown. I’ve been away, though, since 1974, before the Reuther 696 became the nightmare it is today – a Moloch that has transformed Michiganders from the ordinary fast drivers of yesteryear into the lawless speeding desperadoes that they are in 2012. As for 96 and 275 nowadays, I think about driving them and I stop breathing and my heart skips a beat. Now I live in staid Western New York. True, they are very sloppy about stop signs, but they signal and nearly stop before they turn right. Getting off at greens, they take about 30 seconds to go from zero to 35. They are good Samaritans, letting other drivers in and leaving me to get caught by the next frickin’ red light. The Michigander in me, of course, growls and snorts in rage and impatience at these kind-hearted practices. So driving in Michigan I feel like a rabbit and driving in WNY I feel like a Michigan brute.

    PS: Toronto and Atlanta are pretty bad – too fast, no signals, no pity.

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  26. Jolene said on January 6, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Here in our nation’s capital, the worst traffic jams seem to occur when we have what passes for bad weather, and tens of thousands of federal employees are sent home early–only to spend several hours in their cars. When there is actual bad weather, it’s worse.

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  27. Suzanne said on January 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Love it when the interstate is closed and you have to exit but have no clue where you are or how to get back on the interstate. GPS doesn’t do you much good because it keeps trying to get you back to the spot where you had to exit.

    I’m still bummed that Our Man Mitch didn’t run for pres because all this “interesting” press would be pointing out some of his known only to us Hoosiers faults.

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  28. basset said on January 6, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Wherever you want to go in Atlanta is behind you on the other side of the median and there’s no place to park once you find it.

    Went down there last summer for the first time in twenty or so years and will wait at least that long before I go back – some of what we wanted to see we could never get to because of traffic and crowding, the zoo and the aquarium are nothing special, I have now had a Varsity hot dog (not bad actually) and been to Stone Mountain so I can’t think of another reason to go there except IKEA… and there’s one of those in Cincinnati, about the same distance and a lot friendlier and more comfortable city.

    Mrs. B. and I thought about doing a weekend trip to the nearest city with both IKEA and Cabela’s, turns out that’s Chicago though and they are in widely separated suburbs.

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  29. Sherri said on January 6, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Pittsburgh’s geography makes its traffic challenging – lots of bridges and tunnels. The geography also makes it difficult to find alternatives to your route, and I found Pittsburgh an especially confusing city to learn to get around in. About the time I left (after 5 years), I finally felt like I could get around without getting lost.

    Seattle suffers from some of Pittsburgh’s geography problems – less confusing, but still hard to find alternate routes. It feels like Seattle traffic at rush hour is always right at the edge, and almost anything can put the whole area into gridlock.

    Atlanta has the craziest drivers I’ve seen.

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  30. Dorothy said on January 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Agreed, Sherri. I lived in Pittsburgh for 44 years and only had problems if I went into areas of the suburbs I was not familiar with. But a former sister-in-law from Chicago hated when they came to visit. She loved the N-S-E-W lay out of the city.

    I found Cincinnati to be kind of harrowing when I worked at an industrial office building in the St. Bernard area. I didn’t mind the extra time spent going the “back way” home to Liberty Township if it helped me avoid I-75. Columbus OH is a breeze compared to those other two cities, and we are there only once or twice a month. I’m spoiled by this small town where the most aggravating thing is the farmers who can’t read the speed limit signs as well as I do. They’re always subtracting 10-15 mph from the posted speed.

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  31. basset said on January 6, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I don’t have a whole lot of experience with either Atlanta or Cincinnati,and the last time I was in Pittsburgh an Iron City at the ballpark cost a dollar – all I know is that I don’t tense up approaching Cincy and on the way to Atlanta I do… usually I transition into a fight or flight frame of mind somewhere around Dalton.

    We have an IKEA delivery service here in Nashville which will go to the retail store and bring your stuff back for a fee; last time I talked to them they were about to start going to the Cincinnati location, even though it’s a little further, just because Atlanta traffic is so bad.

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  32. basset said on January 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    (double posting removed)

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  33. caliban said on January 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Funny thing in that Charlie Pierce Santorum takedown: Little Ricky says the Schiavo judge “snubbed his nose” at the inane posturing of Santorum and Frist. (Those risible aholes actually sent a Congressional subpoena to the brain-dead Terri.) I bet her husband appreciated that. Could you explain how that is done Rick? What a maroon. What an ignoranimus.

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  34. Peter said on January 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Check out for a Koch Brothers take on the Rail Splitter.

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  35. Jolene said on January 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    This morning, Santorum claimed that today’s drop in unemployment (hooray for that!) is due to optimism that Republicans would soon take over the White House. Pretty amazing reasoning.

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  36. caliban said on January 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Santorum and entitlements.

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  37. Dan B said on January 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    I’ve moved around enough in the past several years that I’ve had the chance to compare a bunch of different area’s roads and drivers. It seems to me that each area seems to breed its own combination of the two things that make driving bad:
    -Bizarre, what-were-they-thinking layouts
    -Bad drivers, usually with a regionally specific kind of bad driving

    Add in a high volume, and you’ve got a bad commute. If you don’t have part of that recipe, things aren’t so bad.

    Even though I grew up in suburban Chicago, I really learned to do highway driving in San Diego, where the highway layouts are mostly good (with only a few scary on- and off-ramps) and the drivers are aggressive, but predictable. So traffic could get backed up sometimes, but the only time I genuinely felt scared was when it rained.

    Contrast that with DC which had the scariest drivers I’ve encountered, in part because they didn’t have a predictable way of being scary. They all drove fast (except in the middle lane, which I never understood), but you didn’t know how they were going to act. I felt lucky that I only had to deal with them when we wanted to drive into DC for a special occasion, otherwise I could walk to work.

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  38. Julie Robinson said on January 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Santorum was booed last night in New Hampshire when he bizarrely compared same-sex marriage to bigamy.

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  39. Jeff Borden said on January 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    I’ve driven in some of the craziest of American cities including several jaunts through New York City, including back in the bad old days when the berms of the BQE were lined with stripped and burned out cars, and Boston, which would give anyone pause. But I think the scariest urban driving experience I had was on the Schuykill Expressway in Philly, which my pal said is dubbed the SureKill. The road was in terrible repair. . .the lanes seemed extremely narrow even to a guy in a 1980 Accord. . .and the speeding and tailgating were the equal of anyplace I’ve ever driven.

    Rick Santorum is an asshole, impure and simple. He’d have been a real riot back in the days of Cotton Mather and the witch burnings.

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  40. Jolene said on January 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Boston is a terrible place to drive, not so much because of the traffic and other drivers, which are bad enough, but because the roads are largely paved cow paths and follow no logic that I could figure out. More than twenty years after my two-year stay there, I stil remember the aggravation of getting massively, repeatedly lost.

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  41. Sue said on January 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    So, no one has noticed that the second graphic is actually a cross-section of a heart?

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  42. paddyo' said on January 6, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    I’m with Deborah @ 1: Referee stops fight — Charles Pierce knocks out Frothy Rick.

    Also LOVE that road sign about ignoring one’s GPS at that Detroit-area Medusa’s head of freeway ramps . . . if only!

    En route home last night from work, the guy in the Caddy ahead of me was continually late to answer the left-turn-on-green-arrow light at a couple of intersections. He seemed to be looking down a lot.
    First thought: M-F’ing TEXTer.

    Half-speed turn, then a little farther on, he was starting to weave. We stayed back a bit. Then I saw him reach up toward his rear-view mirror. It looked like he was hanging his iPhone from it. Up closer and driving past, I realized it was a GPS unit, equipped with a suction cup. He had stuck it to the windshield, up near the mirror.

    Still clearly befuddled, he sped ahead on our left. A couple of blocks later, we approached the on-ramp for the eastbound Sixth Avenue Freeway to Denver. (I work in Green Mountain, a foothills-of-the-Rockies part of suburban Lakewood, 13 miles from home.) GPS Bozo had slowed again to half-speed — and then he SUDDENLY swung across three lanes from the left to join us.

    In other words, a slavish devotee of GPS. He just couldn’t or wouldn’t look at the signs leading to the freeway (it was sunset but still plenty light out). Getting onto the freeway, I gave the widest possible berth to this worse-than-the-worst-distracted-cell-phone-yakker driver. My fervent wish is that one day soon, his dunderheaded blind fealty will lead to this destination . . .

    And hey, MarkH @ 13: I was actually going to say that compared to most other places, Denver is pretty mild, traffic-wise. But it’s all relative, right? Jackson Hole, Denver, Houston, NYC, New Delhi, Beijing, Sao Paulo. Denver still has its moments, but I still think of SF Bay Area (born), L.A. (raised) and DC (lived there in the ’80s) as the worst I’ve encountered. And the drivers? Man, they’re all crazy, and I’m told I’m probably one of them . . .

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  43. moe99 said on January 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I’d have to say LA was the scariest driving I’ve ever encountered, but I haven’t driven much on the eastern seaboard.

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  44. caliban said on January 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Well, Jolene, Boston has wonderful public transportation that stretches almost from PTown to Neh Hampsha, and west almost to Worcester. Boston drivers? It is no exageration to call them, as a class, psychotic. I haven’t driven in Boston since Romney spent all that money on the Big Dig, for which I imagine he is still collecting kickbacks. The one expressway in Boston was always known as the Southeast Distressway, and used to back up routinely for hours on end.

    What is UP,whackjob Canadians?

    Ever heard of Tyler Brule? What a jerk. I think William Gibson actually invented this hipster jerkoff a few years ago when he wrote Pattern Recognition and Spook Country, but in those novels, he is called Hubertus Bigend. I’m pretty sure Tyler drives a Maybach.

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  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Alex, I’ve felt terrified enough driving on the Borman over the years, let alone stopping to change a tire on it. Boxed in by semis front, back, and sides, debris flipping up regularly from the vehicle in front, and the whole thing as you note elevated for what seems like forever. It’s surreal.

    We often debated, especially in the Russian front winters off the southern tip of Lake Michigan, whether it was named for local boy Frank “Apollo 8” Borman, or Martin Bormann of the Third Reich.

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  46. LAMary said on January 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I’ve commuted in NYC and in LA and LA wins for suckiest traffic. The thing is, in LA there is bad traffic in all directions. There really isn’t a center with suburbs. I’m lucky I have a 20 minute commute unless there is something catastrophic going on.

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  47. brian stouder said on January 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    A digression; if you paw through this AP story, there are several little puns…

    NEW YORK (AP) — A New York federal judge says the Clorox Pet Products Co. must stop airing a cat litter commercial that unfairly seeks supremacy over a competitor. The Clorox ad was aimed at Church & Dwight Co. Inc.’s Arm & Hammer brands of cat litter. It claimed a smell test involving a jar proves Clorox’s Fresh Step cat litter outperforms Church & Dwight’s products. The judge found it “highly implausible” 11 panelists would “stick their noses in jars of excrement and report 44 independent times that they smelled nothing unpleasant.” He found the claims “literally false.”* Oakland, Calif.-based Clorox says it’s disappointed in Tuesday’s ruling. It says it defends the ad’s truthfulness.

    *I think I would like this judge!

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  48. caliban said on January 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I had to change a tire on the Cross-Bronx Xpressway once. Lived through it somehow. Two different cop cars stopped, presumably to see if I was stripping the car. Left when they saw white face.

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  49. caliban said on January 6, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Montana Supreme Court sayscorporations are not people, no matter what that activist Justice Scalia may think.

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  50. Joe Kobiela said on January 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Just chilling with the mouse down Orlando way. Running the Disney marathon Sunday. Weather is great. Have been battleling a sore hamstring all fall so I am not looking for a PR just want to finish. Will report Monday.
    Pilot Joe

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  51. caliban said on January 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Newt doesn’t think he’s rich. Bonus: Truly horrifying photo of Newtlista.

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  52. Jolene said on January 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    That Montana Supreme Court decision is really interesting, Caliban. It’s in clear conflict w/ the Citizens United decision; if the plaintiffs persist in trying to overturn the Issue may well come before the court again.

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  53. ROGirl said on January 6, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Now the local papers are saying the guy killed on the expressway yesterday wasn’t changing his tire. The jack was in the trunk and the tire wasn’t flat. He was seen lying in the right lane when he was hit and his wife was in the hospital after she reported him for domestic assault on the 1st.

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  54. MarkH said on January 6, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Calista looks like she’s ready to do a demon morph like the babes that terrorized Charlize Theron in Pacino’s (Keanu’s) The Devil’s Advocate.

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  55. caliban said on January 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    The great thing about the Montana court ruling is how insulting one of the dissenting judges was to the Supremes. He went all Scalia on their ass.

    Santorum screwed up on ballot access in Virginia and the District. What is wrong with these Bozos? Is Rick still trying to claim Pennsylvania should pay for his kids’school?

    Just when it seems the Republicans can’t possibly get more bizarre, Herman Cainanator is back.

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  56. Deborah said on January 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Tomorrow is our last full day in Abiquiu, then Sunday is a travel day back to Chicago. It has been very relaxing and I’m ready to face whatever I have to at work on Monday knowing I only have 9 months left there.

    That little side wispy thing that Calista has going on with her hairdo is interesting, it has to be way longer than the rest of her hair to loop around like that. How does she get it to stay in place? It must take massive amounts of spray. Wonder what she looks like when she gets out of bed in the morning, with one long straggly strand hanging down. Ugh, I just had a horrible vision of that, with Newt beside her on the bed. Horrors.

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  57. Jolene said on January 6, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Is Rick still trying to claim Pennsylvania should pay for his kids’school?

    No, since he lost in 2006, he has made lots of money doing the things that ex-politicos do–consulting, hanging out at think tanks and such.

    See articles in today’s WaPo and NYT on his newfound affluence. NYT also has a photo gallery of the candidates’ homes, all of which look lovely and expensive.

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  58. Kirk said on January 6, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Part of the problem with Boston traffic is the mentality of the drivers. We were visiting a friend in Cambridge years ago, and he was taking us to a neighborhood-type place for cheap lobster. He turned the wrong way onto a one-way street, which I pointed out. “Oh, this is a shortcut. It’s only a couple of miles,” he said.

    Atlanta traffic is pretty frightful, too.

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  59. Brandon said on January 6, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    “America loves Skrillex? Not according to my daughter.”-Nancy

    Nancy, does your daughter listen to much electronica? I think the music scene is fragmented, so Skrillex is unknown to most people, and probably overhyped among the tastemakers. But I like “First of the Year” (which I also first heard on Beavis and Butt-Head).

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  60. Dexter said on January 7, 2012 at 2:07 am

    A couple traffic memories: coming south into Atlanta, following a box truck on I-75, I noticed two kids, 12, 13 maybe, sitting on top of a canvas cover, way up high. It quickly became apparent this truck was stacked full of old newspapers and magazine fliers, and the papers were just streaming out of the back and from huge gaps in the canvas. The entire roadway was littered as was the side of the road. This was before we had cell phones, but someone probably did. It was sickening to see that. A couple papers sort of hit my windshield, which could have been fatal had they blocked my vision.

    As you drive eastbound on the Penna Turnpike, you’ll see an exit for a little town oddly named Jersey Shore. Right around that exit there is a long downhill exit. A school bus full of Mexican immigrants took that exit and while coming to the stop at the bottom of the exit ramp…no brakes. When I went through that area I saw many ambulances and fire engines and cops…all I remember is that the radio said “many fatalities”. So sad.

    And the most free I ever felt in my life was when I was barrelling down Lake Shore Drive in the summer of 1969, just days before army conscription , cranking up “Honky Tonk Women” on the AM radio. Another fan favorite ( I was hanging out in the Wrigley Field bleachers with the Bleacher Bums those few weeks before I left) was the most-played song on Ray’s Bleachers’ (a bar) juke box, the anthem of the Bums, “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash.

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  61. coozledad said on January 7, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Kirk; That reminds me of some friends of mine who were driving around Greensboro when they shouldn’t oughtta. A car passed them going in the opposite direction and it sounded to them like the driver yelled “Get wasted!”. They hooted in appreciation.
    Shortly after that when they saw the traffic coming at them they realized the guy’d been yelling “One way street!”

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  62. Julie Robinson said on January 7, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Good luck on your marathon, Pilot Joe.

    Basset, I just caught your comment about wanting to visit both Cabela’s and IKEA, but they were too far apart in the Chicago area. There are two IKEAs, and the one in Schaumburg is only 10 miles from the Cabela’s in Hoffman Estates. You might have been looking at the Bolingbrook location farther to the south, but that store is much smaller than Schaumburg and far inferior, IMHO. Schaumburg also has the added attraction of a Lands End outlet. I can spend several happy days in Schaumburg and blow my budget for the year.

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