Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, Ol’ Robbo is home from summah vac.

On the one hand, I’ve nothing much to blog about re said vac, it being pretty much as advertised in teh post below.

On teh other hand, I haven’t been near teh innertoobs, a teevee or a noozpaper in a week, so I haven’t the faintest idea what’s going on and therefore won’t offer my two cents on current events.   (I will, however, pass on this FWIW:  Coming around I-495 outside of Bahston yesterday,  I observed a young woman on an overpass holding up an “Impeach Obama” sign and waving at the traffic flowing by underneath.  Just sayin’.)

So my immediate post-vac blogging comes down to this:  I couldn’t help noticing on my travels the increasing prevalence of the electronic distance/time indicators.  You know, the signs that read something like, “Exit 18 – 15 miles/15 minutes.”

These signs are patently absurd.   I don’t know how their owners go about reaching these determinations, but I can tell you it shore ain’t got anything to do with actual observation.

Take the example above, a fairly typical one.  It’s obviously based on the assumption that traffic is flowing normally.  It’s also (even to an English major like me) based on a formula dictating  that normal traffic flows at 60 m.p.h.  Pfft!  All as I have to say to that is God help anyone fool enough to travel at 60 on I-95 and who cares about his rear bumper.   The average speed on that particular artery is something closer to 80.   (And even when I was doing 85, I was getting passed.  Goddam Murrland drivers!)

On the other hand, when there’s been an accident or especially bad congestion, such signs are even more useless.   Traffic sorts itself out not according to time and distance forumlae, but in fits and starts.   Again, as experience of the Mass Pike demonstrates, unless you’re staffed up with stopwatch-armed spotters, you’re basically only guessing.

My advice to the various state highway departments?  Chuck attempts at precision E.T.A.’s.  Instead, when programming your digital displays, ask yourselves:  What would Chico Marx do?

Normal Traffic:  Eh, At-sah pretty good.

Heavy Traffic:  Well, you gonna be late.

Serious Congestion:  Eh, at-sah no good.  You gonna be a-real late.

Gridlock:  At-sah mattah for you!  Ask me? Get out and walk!

Road closure?  A Harpo look-alike comes out, slashes your tires and sticks peanuts up your tailpipe.  Honk! Honk!

Hey, not only would it be more efficient or informative than the current useless system,  it would be good for a laugh, too.

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