the Long of it ........

unintended consequences and other musings

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No Parking for the Disabled

wheelchair  Arizona Republic ran an article about the new disability signs; icon now shows a more ‘active’ wheelchair symbol.  Interesting statistics in this article caught my attention;  there is now 600,000 vehicles with disability status in the state – out of 4.2 million registered vehicles.   This is a staggering 14.2% of the vehicles – up from 11% in 2002.   I realize our state is a huge draw to older snowbirds but many of these keep their midwestern plates/disability status.  Doesn’t make sense but regardless –  the real question to ask is where are all these people parking?   In regular spots, because very few parking lots have 14% of their spots reserved for people with disabilities (with the possible exception of the Sun City Recreation Center).  I notice this while taking my father-in-law (Parkinson’s) to various locations in town – there is no spots available!   I must park illegally in front of the door, drop him off to wait alone while I go find a non-disability spot. So the government keeps handing out a permit that does not mean what it says – there is no room in the city for the disabled!

Just reviewed ADA standards – requirement for number of disabled parking spaces varies on lot size but runs from 5% on small lots to 2% on larger ones – definitely no where near 14%.

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Yes, you can build a House in three days!


There are a number of non-profits that help third world countries by building houses for people in need. With full disclosure, I am affiliated with one: 1Mission. We call the three day trip, ‘Vacation with a Purpose’ and every house I have built has truly been a vacation that I will not forget. Getting away from the daily career grind and working with your hands really takes you away for a few days – and culminates with an amazing experience; a grateful family taking the keys to a new house that was beyond their dreams just a few months ago. If you can participate in this without shedding a few tears, you need a checkup. While the house would qualify as a garden shed in the US/Canada, it is a very substantial house for many in the world.

Building a 11′ by 22′ foot house:

Day One, We pour the floor and build all of the walls
Day Two, We put the walls on the dry floor, build the roof sections, install plywood siding/roofing, install asphalt roofing, and finally put the first coat of stucco on
Day Three, Put the second coat of stucco on, install two windows and one door – and finally hand the keys to a grateful family.

If you are tired of the normal vacations, pack your hammer and join us in Puerto Penasco, Mexico and help a team build a house for a family – it is a travel experience that you will always remember and a family in Mexico will never forget your gift.

The picture above is (left to right) my Father (who was 84 and building a house!), My Wife Mary and myself.

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Violence in Mexico – where?

The media is doing a bang-up job telling us how dangerous Mexico is by publishing awful stories of the seemingly daily violence.  I am intrigued by it because I take frequent trips to Mexico (Sonoyta and Puerto Penasco) and do not experience it – what gives?  Most of the issues with the data is that it represents single data points with no comparison to what we are familiar with.
The stories often mention Mexican violence (which States?, Mexico is a large country), when most of it occurs in Chihuahua and Sinaloa – only two states out of 32.  So, is US violence high or is it just New York and Illinois?
Also, in usual fashion (because journalists never take math classes), we seldom see relative numbers.  Some analysts have said that violence in Chihuahua (highest level of violence in Mexico) is twice what Chicago is – bad but not as crazy as what the stories have portrayed….and, where are the stories on Chicago (or New Orleans) murder rate?
WSJ has a great interactive graphic that depicts the relative violence in Mexico by state (by drug family).  Note that this is drug violence only – this is what most of the media is reporting on.
Mexico has issues with drug violence and they are serious – but examine the facts to know where and relative safety by location within this beautiful country.

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The Observant Traveller

  • Why do Stewardesses get better seat belts than passengers?  Are they more important?  You may also believe that cop killers should get a harsher judgement because officers of the law are higher value?
  • Why do wheelchairs keep getting bigger and bigger…..?
  • When arriving late at night, why do airplanes park at the end of the terminal when all of the closer ones are empty?
  • Why is WIFI OK now when it used to be so dangerous?  Was it a big technology advance or the new $ charge?
  • Lee’s Unwritten Flying rule #1:  He who sits in the middle seat owns both armrests.
  • Southwest Airlines; where every passenger is equal unless of course you pay extra for Business select and get to board first.
  • Do you really trust those in the exit row to assist you in getting off the plane in an emergency?  The two minute training should adequately prepare them, right?
  • I don’t carry on luggage, laptop bag only.  Why don’t I get rewarded?
  • Lee’s Unwritten Flying rule #2:  If you can’t stow your own luggage overhead, check it.
  • Why do people in wheelchairs have a suitcase on their lap as they are helped through the concourse?  If anyone should check luggage….
  • Where did de-plane come from? – we don’t de-car,,,,de-boat…..
  • FAA just pulled all oxygen masks out of plane toilets…always wanted to die with my pants around my ankles, btw, what was the security risk?
  • Not allowed to line up in front of the loo anymore on planes…how do you queue now?  A new ‘NEXT’ button next to the attendant button?
  • Why do seatmates tell everything to a perfect stranger?  What about an airplane cabin forces this unusual behaviour?
  • Ever think that all US security changes have been reactive?  I always argue when someone in the security line tells me that they don’t like it but it is necessary and worth it.  All of the current procedures started AFTER the breach…. like the shoe bomb.  What happens if someone stows something up their rectum?
  • Stay Observant……it passes the time