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california innovations

Now that I've been here for a while, I no longer think that everything is as different as it could be from New England--when it comes down to it, the US is still the US no matter where you are. However, Southern California has produced two notable innovations which I feel it is worthwhile to mention here.

The first is in the area of trash pickup: the City of Santa Monica, it seems, has issued every household with a large, lidded trash can (or perhaps required them to buy same). Since everyone thus has an identical trash receptical, the task of the garbage collectors is simplified considerable. In fact, the job can be done with one man (or woman, of course), because the garbage trucks are equipped with a lifting arm and claw which descends to grasp the trash can and tips it into the back of the truck, without requiring the operator to ever leave the cab. It's truly amazing to witness. I can't imagine why it hasn't caught on back east, unless it's the long-standing Yankee independent streak which for decades and even centuries has meant it is a point of pride for each individual to select his own rubbish bin (or bins) from the local Ace Hardware.

The second innovation is less amazing, but has wider implications. It is, all the parking enforcement personel in the city here--they're far too cool and confident looking, not to say militaristic, to be called meter maids--enjoy the use of small little three-wheeled cars, which they bravely take out on to the wilderness of the cities streets in order to more effeciently enforce their reign of ticketing terror. The increased mobility the karts affords them, combined with the sheer number of officers, means that you need only park illegally for an average of 47 seconds before they locate your car and issue you a citation. I've observed this in action myself, and today I had confirmation from a local Angeleno, so I am not making this ferocity up. It is truly impressive to behold.

Yeah, I know all that's not funny, but I had to write something. And both those things are true, and worth commenting on I think, so there you go.

[There are still a few oddities with the display of the archive pages on this blog here, which I will fix tomorrow.]

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