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Hopefully, A Wake-Up Call …

This video is making its way through the net community like wildfire: Woman Falls into Mall Fountain While Texting

For those of you who have not seen this, a woman is “texting” on her cell phone as she walks through the Berkshire Mall in Reading, PA, when she takes a nose dive into a fountain.  Of course, it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to realize why: her focus was on the cell phone instead of what was in front of her.  The woman got exactly what she deserved for her stupidity and, thankfully, no one else was injured.

I hope this video continues to spread like an out of control wildfire.  Why?  Because this may finally be the wake up call society and, more importantly, lawmakers need to make cell texting (and the use of cell phones in general) while driving a primary offense.  This would allow law enforcement officers to pull over drivers for that offense which is as dangerous, if not moreso, than driving while intoxicated (a primary offense).

Can you imagine if this woman were driving a vehicle down a city street and plowed into stopped traffic and/or pedestrians because her focus was on the cell phone?  There would be public outrage.  Yet, despite laws that prohibit  “texting” while driving, drivers still do it because they are full aware they can’t be pulled over just for that.

I truly hope every lawmaker in America sees this video every day and will take it to task.

And the kicker?  The woman who fell in the fountain is suing the mall because her stupidity is becoming a national sensation.  Dumb followed by dumber.

Priorities While Driving

I’m sure some will call me “old school” on this but I’d much prefer being alive with my “old school” priorities when it comes to getting behind the wheel.

When I went through the driver’s education courses offered through the Fairfax County School System, the first thing to do when getting behind the wheel is to buckle up.  Once you start the engine, there is and always shall be only one focus: driving the vehicle.  One hundred percent of my attention must be focused on that one task.

Nowadays, I watch people get into their cars and the first thing they do is open up the cell phone and start talking with someone.  People coming into shopping center parking lots, a sure sign to have pedestrian traffic, are oblivious to this because they continue to yap on their cell phones.

Earlier this afternoon, I drove Route 28 northbound from Westfields Boulevard to Route 7 (in Loudoun County).  I took note of the cars that I passed to my immediate left (and one to the immediate right).  While I did not keep track of the specific number, it felt like at least 80 percent of those drivers were using a cell phone.

A couple of specific instances … one made a lane change without signaling: talking on the cell phone.  He was getting around a woman who, in the right lane doing 55-60 as we went over US-50, was looking DOWN to program what appeared to be her MP-3 player (she was wearing ear buds).

I realize that, in times of emergency, the use of a cell phone cannot be avoided.  But if anyone tries to sell me that eight people out of 10 all have emergencies during a 15 minute period, I’ll tell him/her to take a flying leap off the Grand Canyon.

Unfortunately, the current law structure does not provide for penalties unless drivers are stopped for something else first.  Sure, cell texting is banned in all three areas (DC/MD/VA) and the use of hand held phones is banned in DC and Maryland.  But until law enforcement officers are permitted to make that a primary citation, there won’t be much of an improvement on our streets and highways.  For as often as I drive to Maryland (FedEx Field, association office), drivers still use hand held devices.

Unfortunately, we seem to live in a REACTIVE society where change does not come until a tragic event occurs.  It’s clear that cell phone and mobile device usage while 0perating a motor vehicle is as dangerous, if not moreso, than driving under the influence.  DUI is a primary offense and the penalties are harsh; it’s time cell phone/mobile device usage become included as well.

Miracle in the Meadowlands III

For those who did not have the fortune of watching this unfold on the Red Zone Channel Sunday, NFL-N is re-airing the entire game tonight.  It’s interesting, though, that the media is dubbing this one “Miracle in the Meadowlands II”, the original being in 1978, when in fact number II came 10 years and one day after the original.

Most of us are familiar with the original “Miracle in the Meadowlands” in 1978 when Joe Pisarcek fumbled the handoff, Herman Edwards took the ball and ran it into the endzone to steal a 19-17 victory.  The Eagles made the playoffs that year as a wild card team and the Giants started cleaning house.

“Miracle II” occurred 10 years and one day after the first when the Eagles field goal attempt in overtime was blocked by the Giants, but Clyde Simmons of the Eagles grabbed the ball and ran it in 15 yards for the touchdown that ended the game.  Both the Eagles and Giants finished 10-6 that year; the Eagles won the East on the sweep while the Giants watched the playoffs from their homes.

On Sunday, the Eagles found themselves down 21 points with half a quarter remaining but managed to tie the game just after the two-minute warning; an onside kick after the first of the three scores helped.  With the Giants going three and out and not able to run the clock out completely to force overtime, everyone expected a punt to go out of bounds or well covered to have the Eagles call for a fair catch and go to overtime.

The Eagles’ DeSean Jackson took the punt, did not call for a fair catch, lost the ball for a split second then ran into the NFL history books.  I watched it unfold live on Red Zone Channel and needed a few seconds to realize that it actually happened, much the same way as those who watched the original “Miracle” unfold in 1978.

And history may very well repeat itself.  With the win, the Eagles are one win (or a Giants loss) away from clinching the East.  Next weekend, the Eagles host the Vikings (without Favre, it would appear) while the Giants play at the Packers.  The Vikings are out of the playoffs while the Packers are still fighting for a playoff spot.  A Packer victory gives them the tiebreaker over the Giants and with at least two playoff teams coming from the NFC South, the Giants may very well miss the playoffs because of another Eagles “Miracle”.

The Importance of the Summer Meeting

Every year, the start of the new season is preceded by an organizational meeting two weeks before the first night to adopt the rules.  League rules can be as abrupt or as detailed as a league chooses; ours covers a lot of details with the hope that there is no confusion on things that USBC allows leagues to set while the national rulebook covers things that are common to all certified leagues.

Included in our rules (as most leagues do) is the schedule that reflects weeks off for holidays and such.  Being a Thursday league, Thanksgiving is automatic; the previous two seasons (2008-2009 and 2009-2010), we had to take an additional two weeks off for Christmas and New Years Days, then Eves.  As we are contracted for 35 weeks regardless of what dates we do/don’t bowl, we finish later in the Spring with the more weeks we take off.

We have always gotten the jump on the season by starting in late August to get two weeks in the books prior to Labor Day weekend.  Last year was an exception: we got in three sessions.  It wound up a brilliant decision for 2009-2010 as we had to postpone a week due to one of the major snow storms so our end date was in the middle of May instead of the first week of May … (and I remain thankful that it was JUST one week – we were up to our knees in snow last year)

This year, Christmas and New Years Days fall on Saturday so the small group of 15-20 members who showed up for the organizational meeting in August approved bowling straight through December as long as we had no position rounds in late December in case individual teams needed to pre/post bowl for those weeks and could work that out with their opponents.  No problem; position round schedule adjusted and we are good to go.

On the first night, every team captain gets a folder with (among other things) a copy of the rules that details this.  And these same rules are on the league’s web site.  I’m guessing teams don’t read them because the questions of bowling in late December did not come up until the first week of December.  The team captain even asked to change the schedule to NOT bowl the 23rd and 30th.  As the schedule is part of the rules, it would take 100 percent written consent of the team captains and I told this team captain that it likely won’t happen … (and we got the one verbal dissent needed to end that in a hurry).  Meanwhile, my own team had already made arrangements with our opponents from the 23rd as everyone else will be away.

Let’s put things in perspective.  Had the league voted to take these next two weeks off and yesterday’s snow storm was strong enough to postpone the entire league session, our end date jumps from the last week of April to a week before the start of the Memorial Day weekend.  When would you prefer the season end?

Summer organizational meetings are when things are decided and rules adopted, not in the middle of the season.  Hopefully, this will get more people to attend the summer meeting because 17 percent attendance (20 out of 120) is not a strong showing.

WordPress Wackiness

I went to make a comment about a story on PFT (Pro Football Talk) and the next thing I realized, I was subscribing to WordPress in order to make said comment.

As I poke around, I realize this could be a very interesting tool so this is a quick entry to test how well it plays with Facebook.

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