Tuesday, November 27, 2007

trains and spotting

I remember an entry earlier this year about the bus girls checking out each other’s fashion every time the 401 stopped and some gal the walked up the aisle towards an exit: heads swiveling, eyes glaring. It seemed a combination of both fashion grading and fashion idea theft. In order to present both sides of the sexual agenda I need to rat out the guys – at least the Metro train drivers. I suspect that the bird watching occurs primarily during the morning and evening rush hours as the flocks move in heel-tottering, well coiffed formation. I also believe that the actual Metro station has a lot to do with the view – those stations with the exits/escalators toward the head of the train provide the greatest cinematic pleasure. For those beyond the Metro confederacy, here’s how trains manage passenger exit (first) and entry (second). The train doors open upon arrival at the station and herds of folks pile out as new herds pile into the oft-packed cars. The drivers, after a few seconds in the station, open the platform-side window of their cockpits and stick their heads out in order to look down the platform so they have a basic idea of when the crowd has managed to complete boarding. Once everyone seems on board they trigger some switch in the cab, while still looking out the window, and signal a warning before the doors close and the train begins to pull out of the station. I know that’s a long description but it’ll come in handy. Any number of drivers during the morning rush spend a little extra time looking down the platform because they’ve spied hottie who’s exited three cars down and is waggling her little self towards the escalators located near the front of the train. I can tell you with absolute certainty that those long(er) stops in some stations can be confirmed by verifying the escalator location. If you happen to be getting off a train and heading towards the front you could simply catch a glance at the driver and you’ll easily find who he’s looking at – and he’ll look until he gets a walk-by, full view and all. Of course, he doesn’t have carte blanche on girl watching – anyone beyond three train cars isn’t get the eye…he doesn’t have that much time. I can’t really blame the drivers. If I spend a good part of my day in and out of the tunnels under D.C. and the greater metro area I’d need some fresh air and scenery. I’m just saying.

The Minnesota Vikings head coach says he’s going to continue using two running backs even as super rookie Adrian Peterson returns from injury this week. There are some good reasons to share the workload, and I don’t disagree in theory, but the excuse he’s giving is this – they don’t want to risk him getting injured again. Right. This brings to mind a great book / great problem called Fermet’s Last Theorem. The book, about the problem, is a grand yarn involving a mathematical theorem that us normal folk can actually understand. Fermet, an amateur math genius from back yon, put forth the following: for a3 + b3 = c3 (those are cubes) there are no whole numbers to make the equation true. Same idea as Pythagoras but with the mysterious threes included – “it’s a magic number.” As later mathletes attempted to prove this theorem they ante up the idea that the variables couldn’t be odd numbers (or even numbers, I can’t remember) so they could basically eliminate the search by half…all the odds (or evens). Of course they realized shortly thereafter (probably within minutes) that since we believe in infinity there was, in actuality, no reduction in possible numbers to test: infinite odds and infinite evens. I love that story. Anyhow, back to football. Since most injuries - particularly knee injuries - occur on freak plays and poor footing during a violent sport, cutting a players actions from 40 to 20 doesn’t really change the odds of him getting hurt. Are we assuming that freakish plays and injuries only happen on odd or even downs? Just wondering.

I’ll leave everyone alone.


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