Jack be nimble

If you became a double amputee from a work-related accident, would you go find a baboon and train him how to help you do your job? If you were a South African railroad worker in the late 1800s named Jumper Wide, of course you would. You would find a really smart baboon, convince his owner that you needed him more than he did, you would name the baboon Jack, you would train Jack to fetch keys and work the switches and signal levers, you guys would ride your own personal trolley in to work together, and everything would be great until some fancy lady riding the train saw you guys and got worried that a baboon couldn’t be responsible for the safety of her precious caboose.

And then you and Jack would have to prove that Jack could do the job great, and everybody would cheer, and you wouldn’t get fired and  Jack would get an official employee number and get paid, and everything would be great again.

That’s what you would do if you became a double amputee from a work-related accident and you were a South African railroad worker in the late 1800s named Jumper Wide.

Published in: on October 3, 2017 at 7:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Eccentric Daisyland

It seemed a little odd to me that anybody going to a place called Daisyland would be concerned about keeping on schedule, but to be fair to the father in this, the train doesn’t reach its destination by the first day of Summer even though it leaves before the first day of Spring. Maybe Daisyland is in Chile or something.

Everything from A to Z in the USA

Last Saturday I rode my bike around 40 miles in the San Gabriel Valley. Yes, it was about 100 degrees in that area last Saturday. Somewhere in Duarte, or maybe Bradbury or Azusa, I rode by this fantastic house. I had to take some photos to prove I hadn’t hallucinated it.

I’m not sure what style you call that – Post-Madonna Inn? I like it. Actually, there were two houses on the property.

And a train.

And a pyramid.

This isn’t the only pyramid in the area, either. Maybe I need to investigate this San Gabriel Valley pyramid thing further. Or maybe I need to stop riding my bike around in 100 degree weather.

Published in: on September 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm  Comments (3)  
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Etiquette & superstition: trains

When I see something labeled “spaghetti fight,” I have to watch it. Yesterday’s spaghetti fight on the subway in NYC wasn’t as full of spaghetti flinging as I might have hoped, as it was more of a fight involving some spaghetti. Of course, it’s still kind of interesting to watch if you don’t experience this sort of thing on your everyday commute. Spaghetti is not actually thrown until the 2:38 mark; if you are impatient, you may want to check out “2 Rats and a Baguette” while you’re waiting, as YouTube is suggesting.

ETIQUETTE: The comments section of gawker.com is quickly filling up with arguments about exceptions to Hamilton Nolan’s pronouncement that it is rude to eat on the subway. One comment in particular grabbed my attention: “What about a nice piece of fruit?” I couldn’t take offense at a nice little old piece of fruit, could I? Well yes, I could, and here is the reason why. The way this is phrased clearly indicates to me that the enquirant is going to take liberties with what constitutes a “nice piece of fruit” and pollute the atmosphere with a banana. So the answer is no. Do not eat your nice piece of fruit on the subway.

SUPERSTITION: Trains. Oh yes, this post is ostensibly about trains. Trains are a good thing to wish upon. Make a wish when you see a train backing up or when you see a smoke ring coming from the engine. If you see two smoke rings, you may make two wishes. It is doubly lucky if you see a train driven by two engines, but don’t stick around to view the end of the train, or your good luck will be transformed to bad.

Crack train

It’s time for me to go back to work, so I left Benny and the gang at their beach house and hopped on a train back home. There are several advantages to riding a train over taking a plane, but speed is not one of them. You’re going along, getting your nice crabcake dinner in the dining car, guzzling down a nice half bottle of pinot grigio while hearing about the last time your dinner companions took the train and got delayed five hours because the train killed some dope in Santa Barbara chasing after his dog across the station yard, when it happens – the train stops in Simi Valley while the conductor has to push a cow off the tracks. Brother. Isn’t that what those cowcatchers at the front of the train are for?

Published in: on August 22, 2009 at 9:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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