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Two Totally Unrelated Things

Stuck in traffic on the Major Deegan Expressway, nearing Yankee Stadium in New York City today, I was at once mesmerized and horrified at the belch of black smoke that comes out of an apartment house chimney when the furnace in the building goes on. It seemed that everyone was cold that day (although my vehicle's outdoor thermometer, when consulted, read a balmy 62 degrees).

It brought back to my memory the days when every building with a certain number of floors (I think more than ten) in New York had a trash incinerator. Instead of garbage pails stinking to high heavens, we had "ashcans;" filled with the ashes from the buildings' incinerators. We also, in those days, had to dust constantly, and were used to keeping windows closed lest the painfully visible coating of ashes on the ledge outside the sash were to appear somewhere inside the apartment.

The radio was howling about the Yankees' opener and folks were talking about "play ball" and the spectacle of it all. And hot dogs. Covered in the soot from the belching smokestacks.

Now, far be it from me to be an XP whore, but I have second thoughts about the bonus one earns when one uses up all ones votes. Yanking it and not throwing us a bone, methinks, ain't altogether fair. My answer to the whole thing came to me later after a long phone conversation with a fellow noder, who happened to call up out of the blue and ask how I'm doing and do his best to re-assure me that he's doing as alright as he can, although burdened with a monkey on his back.

I'm new here, but not so new as to chuckle a bit when a totally wet-behind-the-ears newbie proposes a change to the very structure we've all come to know and love. But here goes, shaogo's "n00b's proposal for E2 that'll make it totally, utterly, cool:"

Slightly reduce the Cream of the Cool area of the front page and somehow expose a sentence or two from the lede from each "New Writeup" on the list. This would accomplish two things: a) streamline node titles, so as to make them more to the point; and b) eliminate any problems with what folks choose to read and why. Who knows, it'd probably also hone noders' abilities to write a good lede (a skill I have yet to master).

Let it be known that I'm on the side of the raising the bar proponents. I'm also delighted to see the "New Writeups" column humming along in a fashion that I've not seen since my arrival shortly over a year ago.

On the opposite side of the raising the bar coin, my kudos to mauler and SharQ for PirateQuest 2007. It's the natural "blowing off steam" for those who'd still be steamed that the bar's been raised. So far, the participants are writing with an insane creative mastery I can only dream of rivaling. Not since this have I seen something similar. Certainly not lately. Say, I take back the part about "dreaming to rival" the Quest writeups. I'm just gonna find out where the party is and have a little of the punch. The one with the hallucinogens in it. And write while tripping.