Tag Archives: car culture

One way to keep kids safe in traffic

From The New York Times (via: Bus Nerd):

HUANGPING, China — All the students at Luolang Elementary School, a yellow-and-orange concrete structure off a winding mountain road in southern China, know the key rules: Do not run in the halls. Take your seat before the bell rings. Raise your hand to ask a question.

And oh, yes: Salute every passing car on your way to and from school.
Education officials promoted the saluting edict to reduce traffic accidents and teach children courtesy.

Good thing they don’t have that law here. Given the traffic in our neighborhood, poor Chicklet would never make it to school.

Greetings from the Motor City

Day 1 in the D:

Hotel lobby
Our hotel lobby
Detroit Historical Museum
Detroit Historical Museum
More from DHM
Winter blast skating rink
Cars on display in front of the Winter Blast skating rink
Ice sculpture
One of the many car-themed ice sculptures
Lots o' cars
Lots o’ parking

Now, even a bus chick can appreciate a sexy set of wheels, but dang. I am not surprised that cars are important here; it’s the reverence that’s throwing me. And trust me, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Speaking of ice…nope, not even going there.

Despite the cars and the cold, Detroit is great fun as always. The best part so far: the live music at the Blast. We haven’t ridden the bus yet on this trip (more about why later), but we will tomorrow for sure. We did ride the People Mover, which is like Seattle’s Monorail, except much cheaper and somewhat more useful.

And now, I’m off to rest. I will leave you with a tribute to one of my very favorite Detroiters, spotted this afternoon at the Detroit Historical Museum.

Original Bus Chick

How to make a bus chick angry

It took me a full minute to get around this considerately parked vehicle, which I encountered on my way from the 48 stop at 23rd & Spring. When I got to the other side, I spent another minute trying to figure out how someone with a wheelchair would have managed it.

Bad car!

Perhaps it was too much trouble to pull forward a few feet into that empty driveway…

Ah ha, hush that fuss

The automotive industry is the largest advertiser in the world. Auto makers spend billions upon billions of dollars to convince us that cars (and trucks) are the keys to happiness, freedom, success, and an unlimited supply of hot chicks. Apparently, they’re also responsible for the Civil Rights Movement.

Or something.

You see, GM is now using Rosa Parks in an ad for a Chevy pick-up. Seth Stevenson reviewed the ad for Slate.

The spot: Singer John Mellencamp leans on the fender of a Chevy pickup, strumming an acoustic guitar. He sings, among other things, “This is our country.” Meanwhile, a montage of American moments flies by: Rosa Parks on a bus. Martin Luther King preaching to a crowd. Soldiers in Vietnam. Richard Nixon waving from his helicopter. And then modern moments: New Orleans buried by Katrina floodwaters. The two towers of light commemorating 9/11. As a big, shiny pickup rolls through an open field of wheat and then slows to a carefully posed stop, the off-screen announcer says, “This is our country. This is our truck. The all-new Chevy Silverado.”

This ad makes me–and, judging by my e-mail, some of you–very angry. It’s not OK to use images of Rosa Parks, MLK, the Vietnam War, the Katrina disaster, and 9/11 to sell pickup trucks. It’s wrong. These images demand a little reverence and quiet contemplation. They are not meant to be backed with a crappy music track and then mushed together in a glib swirl of emotion tied to a product launch. Please, Chevy, have a modicum of shame next time.


Rosa Parks Bus (source: Montgomery Transit)


I say, if you’re going to exploit the image of a woman who is no longer alive to defend herself, at least have the decency to do it in an ad for the vehicle she is associated with. It was, after all, a GM bus she was riding on the day of her historic arrest.

And speaking of car culture…

My new second-favorite cartoonist (Aaron McGruder remains unchallenged at number one) is Andy Singer, author of the syndicated comic No Exit and of the (cleverly named) book, CARtoons. CARtoons addresses the negative impact of cars on American society (a subject that, despite its importance, has not heretofore resulted in many page-turners) in a humorous and easily digestible way. Interspersed with the (short) essays and facts and figures are anecdotes, interesting quotes, and lots and lots of Andy’s car-culture-critiquing cartoons. I posted one of them several weeks ago. Here’s another I really like:

I'll take door number two.

Speaking of vintage vehicles…

Detroit recently hosted its 12th annual Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise, “the world’s largest one-day celebration of car culture.”


I have to admit, the cars are fun to watch (yes, this bus chick has been known to admire shiny, pimped-out rides), and–judging by the million plus people who turned out to salivate over them–I’m not the only one who thinks so.

The good news is, despite all that car love, at least a handful of folks felt the need to take the bus. (I couldn’t publish the picture here because of copyright laws, so you have to click to see it.)

If a yoga studio can’t get you out of your car…

Maybe this will:

Last night I took my dad, known to his disrespectful children and their friends as ‘Romie (short for Jerome), out to dinner. We were celebrating his 67th birthday (albeit two weeks late), so I took him to my favorite restaurant, which, coincidentally, is owned by the very same Donna who is responsible for introducing me to 8 Limbs.

Because it was a “date,” ‘Romie insisted on driving, and because the restaurant was in Belltown, there was no street parking. We finally settled on a lot on 1st, between Bell and Battery. The lot didn’t have hourly parking, so everyone was charged the same, flat, “barhopper” rate. Any guesses on how much we paid to park for an hour and a half, on a Thursday?

Give up? Twelve dollars. Twelve!

That’s eight peak-hour bus rides, not including transfers.