Sunday, November 30, 2008


So, since moving to Colorado I must say the opportunity to capture idiots in cars and inane parking jobs is much more rare compared to the Southeast. I may have to pick up a new topic. I'm beginning to find humor in the activism I see here on a current basis. Not as much in Denver, but in Boulder, oh yeah. Just about every day I see great political bumper stickers or some sort of busy intersection signage and people displaying their beliefs and desires; everything from "Bush is a traitor" to "Cow poop is the energy of the future". I hope the last one doesn't catch on. Burning cow poop in a fireplace doesn't really set the same mood.

Anyhow, I simply have been re-assessing the peculiarities of my new area and will begin exploiting those soon, just like I did with the outrageous driving, parking and vehicle selection in the South.

Careful what you do in public. Someone may see you.
-Time's Passenger

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

White Lines? Where?

White Lines? Where?
Tim Long

Under urgings from overworked friends needing something to do in their offices while their bosses in their ill-fitting Belk Store suits drone on about office synergies and paper usage, I'm putting together this little collection of goodies...

To begin with the benign, here we have the apartment resident with out of state plates, after living here a year. He parks here numerous times a day/week/month, so you assume he would get it right eventually. I guess not, but he's from New York, so I'll cut him slack for not having it all upstairs to begin with. That, and his girlfriend (or whatever she is) always seems to get out of the passenger seat in her pajamas and a 40 oz malt liquor. Now I just feel sorry for him, and think he did a great job parking under the circumstances. heh, heh, heh.

Anyone who knows me knows what I think of people who drive Hummers. The great thing about Hummers is that I don't need to comment on them often because they are so ridiculous, that they sort of speak for themselves. I could never be friends with someone who owns one. I can barely talk to a Hummer owner and keep a straight face. So, when I saw this dope picking up laundry, parked on the cross-marks and halfway in a handi spot, I felt like walking up to him and telling him that I work for US News and World Report and I was doing a story on the gas prices in the US, and that my angle was the gluttony of tools like himself were the second leading cause of this crisis (mis-speculation being the first). Then I'd laugh, tell him I'm joking, and smack him in the forehead.

"Hey, Champ, don't mind that baby stroller on the sidewalk." This nice maneuver I found at my favorite watering hole. Looks like this guy watered his hole beforehand. Granted, this small lot is often full, but the sad part is that there's a full lot next to it (where I parked before snapping this shot). So, I surmise this person is stupid AND lazy.

Whoa Big Blue! Though I didn't see this driver, I imagine he is one of those 17 year olds who live in Myers Park (a wealthy neighborhood in Charlotte, NC). You know what I mean; the ones with mom and dad's old SUV and one of those comb down haircuts that make them look like penis heads (literally).

Yeah, not much to do with parking, but I thought I'd include it anyway. I had the fortune of finally going to an emergency medical center with a five day straight fever. It's the first time I've been to the Dr. since, well, over a decade, due mostly by my dislike and frustration with the US's health care system and insurance mafia. Sitting on the cracked plastic table awaiting my angel to write a prescription I was a bit surprized at the scarcity of supplies in the room. I think I saw a bug on the wall too. Wonder what he had.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Weird, Wild, and Just Plain Dense

Weird, Wild, and Just Plain Dense
Tim Long

It's been far too long since my last entry, and I've witnessed and captured so many good scenes of bad parking, ridiculous vehicles, and many other odd things that happen every day, that my phone was full of photos. Alas, when I sent them all to my email, only four made it to their destination. So, there are six or seven great, silly photos floating around in some data line, waiting to be found.

Luckily, the four that made it through are wonderful and leave me full-of-wonder.

I'm not sure where to begin, so we'll just start with the most common parking faux pas I see....
The "heavy nose" parking maneuver. A lot is going on in this photo that only a trained eye (and socially twisted mind) can appreciate. For starters, we have the "synchronized stop". This is seen most commonly in parking spaces and at red lights, where one challenged individual has pulled too far into a spot or over the crosswalk at a light, and an equally challenged car pilot forsakes rules, painted lines, and even pedestrians to pull even with the already offending vehicle. This guy gets bonus points for driving a 1981 Honda wagon, a rare and coveted vehicle (if you're a garage sale shopping hermit with 17 cats).

This next gem was given to me by my friend, Audra. I usually only use my own original images (since anyone could google search similar photos, but that's boring and shallow). However, this is good for numerous reasons with the main ones being that it's funny looking, and there's a good story behind it. It seems Aud and some girlfriends went to a very crowded restaurant/bar while traveling and were forced to park in this spot, which was surrounded by other vehicles in similar situations (or so I was told). Well, after ten cocktails and a couple hours of appetizers, the ladies walked out to an empty lot, save for their off-road chariot. Nice job!

For this next genius, I could go on and on about manhood, insecurities, cranial capacity, IQ sufferings, and just plain bad taste, but I think the image speaks loud and clear...

This last (and best, in my opinion) photo was taken at our group run (our running club). Now, I witness handicap spaces being misused every day by people who don't appear to need them, other than being lazy and stupid. But this is classic. This one is definitely not lazy or stupid, but absent minded a little?...well, maybe. The irony, of course, is that she's healthy, active, and actually dressed and ready to go for a run (not to mention the handicap sign is as big as a highway billboard). I should work for National Geographic.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Parking Lot Bonanza

Parking Lot Bonanza
Tim Long

Just when my hope for catching some good photos of bad parking before this weekend was waning, I went out last night and found a gift (many, actually) from the bad parking gods all in one lot.

That's my little white truck parked next to this poor fella. For me to park within the white lines, I would have had to be within 1 centimeter of his car. He's either 1. drunk before he got to the bar. 2. chubby enough to need the extra room to get out of the driver's seat. 3. blind.

Whoa mama! She (I saw the driver, and, yes, she is female) squeezed that big boat into its spot, though not so straight, nor all the way in. There was about 5 feet between the megatundra and the back of the parking spot. The thing could seat a small island tribe, but she drove it there by herself. Hope she enjoyed her dinner, because it must have cost her $30 in gas to get there.

Hmm. While walking an acquaintance out of the restaurant, we approached her car. I planned to be polite and spare her the indignity of being on my blog, but she insisted I take this photo. I've notice that people seem proud of their lack of parking ability (and it's startling). Thank goodness there isn't much need for parallel parking in Charlotte. There wouldn't be enough server space to hold all the photos...

Here we have an incredibly rare image that I was able to capture after nearly dropping my phone in the excitement and rush of adrenaline at the opportunity of spotting such an amazing scene...the "Trifecta" (three mis-parked cars in a row). The guy in the SUV manages the skillful "equator" (splitting two spots down the middle). What goes through people's minds when they get out of their cars, look back at them, and keep walking? "Wow, I'm a really bad parker."

Now I can enjoy my weekend. I'll be heading up to VA, so maybe I'll catch some images of how "northerners" navigate parking lots.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

White Line Wonders

White Line Wonders
Tim Long

Thank goodness for digital cameras. If I had to develop all the shots I take of half-witted driving and parking maneuvers, I'd be poor. I would like to get a dash-mounted camera for the action shots of dopes driving. I quit road cycling for the sole reason that I'm scared of the way people drive now. Cell phones, texting, music selecting, taking photos, no one seems to drive as the primary function while in the car anymore. I saw a guy spin his truck off the highway entrance ramp and into the ditch the other day. There was not another car near him.

Here my theory of human herding instincts is captured. One guy parks ridiculously, so another guy pulls up next to him and manages the "quatro" by taking up four spots. Why? Maybe I'm odd (okay, I'm odd, that's established), but I couldn't imagine wanting to park my vehicle like this.

Here we have the rare night shot. this is one of those dudes who picked himself up an old Mercedes with 400 million miles on it, and thinks he's something special because he's driving a car that costs $60k....two decades ago. He buys his dress shirts at Walmart for $12, then spends $20 a month getting it dry cleaned.

"It's the shopping carts! Oh my god, the carts!" If you'll notice, there are plenty of spots open. Why would you 1. park next to stray shopping carts? and 2. pull a near quatro trying to avoid them? Is that his assigned spot? If I owned a tow truck, it would be a blast to move this car to another spot (parked correctly). Knowing which town this shot was taken, the owner would likely believe aliens moved it.

Unfortunately, I take all these shots with my phone, so the details in this photo will need narration to enable proper understanding, entertainment, and appreciation.

First, where are we going with those tires? I would guess he lives on a remote farm and has to navigate a long, rugged, muddy, mountainous driveway to get home, though, considering the vehicle is spotless, it's doubtful. As we move to the roof, there are the following items: A red emergency mountain shovel, an ice mountain climbing axe, and some other weird tools I've never seen before (and I have actually climbed mountains). Also on the roof are 5 billion watt spot lights, just in case his head lights both burn out at the same time.

I was confused (as I always am) why there's a very heavy duty winch on the front of this lovely, and useful, vehicle. I could tell by the shiny hook on the end of the winch cable that it had never been deployed, and thus, never used. There's also a 12 ton gage steel battering ram protecting the grill. The whole package is topped off with a SCUBA diving sticker on the side window. When people put diving stickers on their vehicles, it tells me that they have the basic certification and have, at most, 3 dives under their weight belt. I can say this because I have numerous advanced SCUBA certifications with nearly 200 dives to my credit. I do not have a sticker on my car.

Fun little group of photos. I'm looking forward to warmer weather with sunny days and leafs on trees. These shots all seem to be taken on rainy days, and are a little gloomy, but funny non the less.

Please feel free to send me photos that you personally take of anything that illustrates that we have numerous rungs to go on the ladder of evolution as humans.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

End of March Parking Specials

End of March Parking Specials
Tim Long

With spring approaching it's difficult to pay attention to the white lines in parking lots. In my new hobby I've found it difficult to go one day without spotting a parking faux pas.
Here we have the, "My car is the most important thing in the world to me. My kids wear dirty, tattered clothes, but my (cheap) car is so important that I use four parking spaces to hold its hulking mass." This guy trims his nose hairs daily. I'm not even going to comment on the semi truck parked in the background taking up 28 spaces.

Here the multiple dents in the doors say it all. This lady's been in so many accidents that she backs WAY back into spots just to keep the front bumper from getting ripped off. Of course the back bumper was riddled with dents and pock marks worse than a greasy teenager's face.

This is a friend's vehicle. I snapped this hasty shot when I went over to her house. Her reply when I showed it to her? "Looks perfect to me." 'Wow', is about all I can say. Move to Florida.

Another little occurrence in the warming weeks, is the growing numbers of exotic cars. Ok, the Porsche isn't exactly exotic, but it is when it's owned by a guy who's annual salary won't cover the entire cost of the car. I've seen numerous Ferraris, a bunch of new Porsches, and even a couple of Lamborghinis. It seems that I always see them sitting in traffic on city streets burning more fuel in two blocks than most people use all week. It's always aging men wearing ugly (but expensive) sunglasses driving them.

Send in your photos to

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mental Anguish & More Parking

Mental Anguish & More Parking
Tim Long

We had a scary rain storm late yesterday afternoon. I swore after the last time I was caught in traffic on the way to a meeting when it started raining and the highway traffic slowed to (no shit) 25mph. But, alas, I was already on Park Rd. when the rain began. I think people here assume their tires are made out of glass, because they immediately...

...apply the brakes. I miss driving up north where you'd slow to 60mph if there were blizzard conditions with 12" of snow falling per hour.

This pic is blurry because everyone decided to SLAM on their brakes. No traffic lights, no intersection, no one turning, just brakes for the hell of it...

Oh, and here's another great parking job. I like to align people's parking habits with their personality traits. This lady's parking job screams, "I'm pushy and nosy, and I will pry into your personal life."

I'm having a great time snapping photos of morons with cars. It's so easy! People probably think I'm some sort of insurance adjuster.

Happy driving, and if you're scared of driving in the rain, please, by all means, stay off the roads.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Blind Parking

Blind Parking
Tim Long

I was inspired by another blog dedicated solely to bad parking (I forget the name of the blog). I just started taking photos of poorly parked vehicles and had two in the first two days.

This dope almost got it right. How much more effort would it have been to back up and pull in straight? I guess he figured he has a lot of open space in his brain, so why not a lot of space for his jeep.

This is at a Chinese Restaurant. This guy was in such a hurry to get at the egg rolls that he not only parks exactly in the middle of TWO spots, but forgets to put up his tail gate. This is the type of guy who walks around proudly with his pants' fly down 'cause he's too busy to be bothered with details.

This isn't really parking related, but, HOLLY SHIT! I couldn't help snapping a photo of this highway pile-up waiting to happen. Only in the South. A Massachusetts Statey would have you pulled over and in cuffs for this.

Please feel free to email me photos (that YOU take) of people doing stupid things car-related. Should be pretty easy.

Monday, March 10, 2008

`Redneck Shop' creates dispute in S.C.

Just when I feel like civilization and intelligence is creeping into the dark corners of the South, some sweaty, fat hillbilly redneck pokes his bug-eyed, toothless face out of the shadows and reminds me that we have a long way to go...

'Redneck Shop' creates dispute in S.C.
By KATRINA A. GOGGINS, Associated Press Writer

LAURENS, S.C. - A black civil rights activist is fighting to close a store that sells KKK robes and T-shirts emblazoned with racial slurs. David Kennedy is confident he can make it happen. After all, he says he owns the building.

Since 1996, the Redneck Shop has operated in an old movie theater that, according to court records, was transferred in 1997 to Kennedy and the Baptist church he leads.

"Our ownership puts an end to that history as far as violence and hatred, racism being practiced in that place and also the recruiting of the Klan," Kennedy said. "This is the same place that we had to go up into the balcony to go to the movies before the Klan took it. So there's a lot of history there."

But legal documents also indicate that the man who runs the store, 62-year-old John Howard, is entitled to operate his business in the building until he dies. Now the dispute may go to court.

Kennedy, 54, has led protests outside the store since it opened but said he's never been able to close it because of the agreement that Howard can run the shop for life.

The reverend envisions the building as a potential future home for his New Beginnings Missionary Baptist Church, which now meets in a double-wide trailer.

Kennedy claims he can't even visit his own property because Howard won't let him in when he appears in the door. But that didn't happen during a recent visit with an Associated Press reporter and photographer.

"Reverend Kennedy, where you been hiding?" Howard shouted when the door opened.

Inside the store, hooded Klan robes hang on the same rack as the racist T-shirts. Pictures of men, women and children in Klan clothing and pamphlets tell a partial history of the organization.

Howard used to own the whole building. When his store first opened, he said, people threw rocks at his windows, spit in his doorway and picketed. A month later, a man intentionally crashed his van through the front windows.

"If anything turns people off, they shouldn't come in here. It's not a thing in here that's against the law," Howard said, adding that he was once the KKK's grand dragon for South Carolina and North Carolina.

To blacks, Kennedy said, the store is a reminder of this region's painful past, which includes the lynching of his great, great uncle by a white mob.

The town of Laurens, about 30 miles southeast of Greenville, was named after 18th century slave trader Henry Laurens.

Some street addresses are still marked with the letter "C" that once designated black homes as "colored." Racial tension was heightened in recent years when two white female teachers were sentenced for having sex with male students — all of them black.

Kennedy has a long history of fighting racial injustice. He protested when a South Carolina county refused to observe the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and he helped lobby to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse dome.

When people in the region allege racism, he rallies attention to the cause. A walk through the neighborhood where he was born shows that he seems a stranger to no one.

"Hey Rev," one man says as he strolls by.

"Pump it up," Kennedy responds with the phrase he uses at his protests.

Mary Redd, who lives across from the house where Kennedy was born, said blacks know to contact the pastor with their problems.

"And he helps them out," added neighbor Deborah Cheeks.

Kennedy said progress has always been slow to come to Laurens.

"There are two powers in the world: the mind and the sword," he said. "In the long run, the sword is defeated by the mind. I want to destroy the concept of hatred."

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Courtesy - Part 1

Courtesy - Part 1
Tim Long

With the ease of use of email, texting, and cell phones, why is it so difficult for some people to respond to messages? Before you think it, I'm busy too, and receive a hundred (or more) emails a day. Last month I had 1200 text messages! I respond to every single legitimate note or message.

It's even more frustrating after sending a few emails to someone with no response, then see them somewhere and ask, "Did you get my emails?" And his response is, "Oh, yeah. I was going to respond to those later today." Rrriiiiggght.

Don't bother commenting on this post, because I won't respond.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Shark Attacks Rise As Their Population Plummets - What Gives?

Shark Attacks Rise As Their Population Plummets - What Gives?

Tim Long

I read this article yesterday (bottom of this post). Even though the title is somewhat of a dichotomy, the statement is true and makes sense. Anyone who knows me, knows that one of my fears for the world is over population of humans. I remember in October 1996 when we (the world) hit the six billion mark. It was a dark day for me and one that I had been dreading since I began to understand what population and over population meant when I was young.

So, you put more humans in the waters where sharks live, hunt, breed, and do whatever else they do and you're going to increase the chances of attacks. I don't abide by the word "attack". "Mistake" or "provoked defense" is more suitable. In the following photo you can see the shark (in its natural habitat) sharing the same space with eighteen humans. Accidents are bound to occur.But if the shark population is decreasing, why are the "attacks" increasing? One may ask.

Shallow waters are where sharks (the great sharks like Tigers, Whites, Bull, Reef, etc.) spend time, so even with diminished numbers, they are still congregating in the same proximity as humans.

It's really ironic. As the article points out, there was ONE human fatality in 2007 resulting from an encounter with a shark, which, I'm certain received ample press. This article states that 38 million sharks are killed by humans EVERY year. I believe the numbers to be about double that actually.

I realize not many people, at least who I know, care or think about the well being of sharks or marine life in general, but it leaves a lump in my throat and a sadness like a dull ache in my chest every time I think about it, which is often. One of my biggest regrets in life is not pursuing a marine biology degree. I've been enthralled by the ocean and sharks, especially, since the summer when I turned eight years old.

For anyone who's interested in gaining a better insight into the ocean, its health, and management of it, I recommend Carl Safina's book Song For The Blue Ocean It is one of the most beautifully written books on the topic that I've come across. Content aside, it was very enjoyable. Carl Safina's heart and feelings surge throughout every page.

Now for the article:

Shark attacks increase worldwide

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- The number of worldwide shark attacks overall increased from 63 in 2006 to 71 in 2007, continuing a gradual upswing over the past four years, according to figures released by LiveScience on Wednesday.

Because the global population of humans is growing fast, so more people go to the beach, said George Burgess, curator of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

And nowadays, beach-goers do not just go for a dunk. They hang out in shallow water (home for many sharks) for long periods of time to surf, windsurf, boogie-board, kayak and dive, he said while explaining the cause for the rise in shark attacks.

"There are more people in the water than there ever have been," Burgess told LiveScience. "We can pretty much predict that next year there will be even more attacks. Even if shark populations are declining, which we know they are, even in a local situation if populations have been depleted, there is still a probability of getting an attack."

Sharks are disappearing from the world's oceans due to over fishing, says Julia Baum, a researcher at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, California.

Humans killed an estimated 38 million sharks for their fins each year, Baum said. That's as many sharks as the entire human populations of the 35 largest cities in the United States. Other estimates are nearly double that.

Some nations have banned shark fishing, but the bans are hard to enforce. And it is a free-for-all in international waters, Baum said.

A study conducted by Baum showed all great shark species in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean have declined by more than 50 percent since the early 1970s.

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service is proposing to effectively close down much of the coastal large shark fisheries, Baum said.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Runaway Thaw of Greenland's Ice Sheet

This is turning into a doomsday blog.....or just a place for me to whine a bit.

Any moron who thinks global warming is a myth or overstated, needs to get his face out of the potato chip bag and start reading some.

Here's an article I came across today. I try not to search these things out because it just makes me feel sadder.

OSLO (Reuters) - Global warming this century could trigger a runaway thaw of Greenland's ice sheet and other abrupt shifts such as a dieback of the Amazon rainforest, scientists said on Monday.

They urged governments to be more aware of "tipping points" in nature, tiny shifts that can bring big and almost always damaging changes such as a melt of Arctic summer sea ice or a collapse of the Indian monsoon.

"Society may be lulled into a false sense of security by smooth projections of global change," the scientists at British, German and U.S. institutes wrote in a report saying there were many little-understood thresholds in nature.

"The greatest and clearest threat is to the Arctic with summer sea ice loss likely to occur long before, and potentially contribute to, Greenland ice sheet melt," they wrote in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Tipping elements in the tropics, the boreal zone, and west Antarctica are surrounded by large uncertainty," they wrote, pointing to more potential abrupt shifts than seen in a 2007 report by the U.N. Climate Panel.

A projected drying of the Amazon basin, linked both to logging and to global warming, could set off a dieback of the rainforest.

"Many of these tipping points could be closer than we thought," lead author Timothy Lenton, of the University of East Anglia in England, told Reuters of the study.

Other sudden changes linked to climate change, stoked by human use of fossil fuels, included a dieback of northern pine forests, or a stronger warming of the Pacific under El Nino weather events that can disrupt weather worldwide, they wrote.

A possible greening of parts of the Sahel and the Sahara, if monsoon rains in West Africa were disrupted, was one of the few positive abrupt shifts identified by the scientists.


Even a moderate warming could set off a thaw of Greenland's ice sheet that could then vanish in 300 years -- raising sea levels by 6 meters (20 ft), or 2 meters a century and threatening coasts, Pacific islands and cities from Bangkok to Buenos Aires.

The U.N. Climate Panel foresees a rise in world sea levels ranging up to about 80 cms this century and reckons that a thaw of Greenland would take hundreds of years longer.

The new study said a disappearance of Arctic sea ice in summertime could happen in coming decades -- earlier than projected by the U.N. panel. That could stoke further global warming as dark water soaks up more heat than ice and snow.

The report also identified risks such as damage to northern pine forests -- widely exploited by the pulp industry -- because of factors such as more frequent fires and vulnerability to pests in warmer, drier conditions.

But it played down some other fears, such as of a runaway melt of Siberian permafrost, releasing stores of methane which is a powerful greenhouse gas.

And it said a shutdown of the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean that brings warm water north to Europe "appears to be a less immediate threat."

-- For Reuters latest environment blogs click on:

(Editing by Janet Lawrence)