1/5/07

Placeholder. It looks kinda like a coaster.

This is a first -- I'm writing a blog entry and I must confess that the Tanqueray has been very good to me so far this evening. I have a few minutes before "You, Me & Dupree" starts. If it sucks, I blame you all for not warning me. I'll let you know.

I had to pick up the cat at the vet after work today, so I asked my wife to call me close to the time I leave to remind me. I have a tendency to get on the highway and start listening to music, which usually results in a lot of terrible singing, and ends with me arriving at my house with no actual recollection of how I got there. So she called to remind me to pick up the cat. Then she said, "Do you want me to call you while you're driving, to remind you again?" I told her I was forgetful, not retarded. Although I did almost miss my turn on the way home so maybe I shouldn't be drinking because I am apparently pretty adept at killing the brain cells that I actually use instead of the ones that are just lying around doing nothing.

At any rate, as I was driving home at roughly 20 miles over the speed limit, I passed a cop. Luckily, everyone around me was also going the same speed, and there occurred a simultaneous mashing of brakes that stopped the forward momentum of about 50 tons of steel in 3 seconds flat. This is generally not a good thing, and it results in lots of finger waving and swerving.

That got me thinking. What's up with this whole cat and mouse game, anyway? It started with the cops getting radar guns. The next thing you know, someone invents a very useful object that detects the microwave radiation that the guns put out. They call this a "radar detector" and sell a zillion of them. So after this, the cops aren't catching many speeders, so they have to invent craftier radar like "instant on" and Ka band and even go so far as to create something that uses lasers, which I assume is called a laser gun. That's pretty cool even though they don't actually slice moving cars in half as the name would make you think.

The detector companies come up with ways to counter all of these, which results in the cops not catching many speeders once again. What do they do? Pass laws to outlaw radar detectors, and then invent something called a radar detector detector. This little bit of high-tech can actually tell whether a car has a detector in it, in which case the cop can hand out a ticket if detectors are illegal in that state.

The detector companies decide that they can actually detect the method that the police are using to detect the detector, and they make their detector actually sense when it is about to be detected, and temporarily shut itself off. They call this "stealth mode" which is, essentially, a radar detector detector detector. About 2 minutes of research on the web reveals that there is also a radar detector detector which claims that "its anti-cloaking system defeats radar detectors with this feature" -- which actually makes this radar detector detector a radar detector detector detector detector. Are you following this because I'm barely hanging on here.

I guess my point is that the whole thing is just a game to amuse the cops and make money for the manufacturers of the various and sundry detectors. This really strikes me funny when you're talking about a toll road, like 87 south or I90. At least once a week I drive on these roads. I get a little ticket when I get on, and I surrender my ticket and pay my toll when I get off. The thing has a frigging time stamp on it. All they have to do is figure out the minimum time it can possibly take you to get from exit to exit while going the speed limit, then when you surrender your ticket, they can tell if you've been speeding. They could just issue a summons right there.

See, I think they like to play, because if you do it the smart way, it's no fun for anyone. OK, my movie is starting and I have more drinks to prepare so you guys are on your own. Rest well, and dream of large women.

15 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:02 PM

    Well "You, Me & Dupree" didn't hold my attention. I got bored and ended up doing something else while I was half-ass watching it, which really means I tuned out the rest of the movie. Then again, I wasn't drinkin' Tanqueray. It might actually be a funny movie after drinking a few of those.

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  2. but kate hudson is hot.

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  3. Anonymous1:20 AM

    Our nice officers here plant unoccupied patrol cars on the shoulder of the highway...so people freak out & slow down...but then you get up next to them & they are empty. Doh!

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  4. Upstate Broad1:25 PM

    As it happens, Johnny, I used to work for the Thruway Authority. The reaon they don't use the time stamp on the ticket for enforcement purposes is that they would have to perfectly and uniformly calibrate the time stamps on all machines at all toll barriers. And they're not willing to make the effort. Considering how closely they must work together, they are surprisingly uncooperative with the State Police, including one incident in Rockland County a few years back when a Trooper was nearly killed by someone who then sped through an EZ Pass lane without a pass. The T-way wouldn't give up the video without a court order. Unbelievable.

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  5. I'm thinking they only have to be close, say within 5 minutes of each other. I think they've got to be at least that accurate now. If you're going fast enough to shave 15 minutes off the calculated time, no matter how effed up the time stamps are, you were obviously speeding. I'm not a proponent of that, I'm just saying.

    Also, I have a headache and you're making me think. Stop that.

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  6. Sheila3:56 PM

    In Japan they do use the time stamp to assess speed and give tickets. Now the drivers stop just before the second barrier, drinking their coffee and reading their paper until a few minutes pass and they can go through. There's always a work around.

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  7. If I'm a large woman does this mean I get to dream of myself? Or are all your readers just dreaming of me?

    No, I haven't been drinking. Why do you ask?

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  8. I thought the movie sucked. Sorry.

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  9. Nes - Oh it sucked so bad. I want to punch owen wilson in the face and straighten out his nose. I'll admit I laughed a few times, tho.

    WCG - It's a quote from a movie. A great one.

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  10. Upstate Broad6:17 PM

    I know it seems like they only have to be close, but remember this is NY, home of the most incredibly effed up judicial system to be found. If some asshole can go into court and prove that there was even the smallest doubt as the the accuracy, it will result in the dismissal of thousands of tickets across the state.

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  11. Oh man! Why have I never heard that quote from Princess Bride? And I thought I knew them all.

    Large women rock, btw.

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  12. One of my Dad's friends got such a time-stamp based ticket on the PA turnpike in the 60s, back when lawyers didn't outnumber rats in the big cities. But his average speed was 90.

    Driving home in grad school I lived in fear of that, given that I take the speed limit as a suggestion, but they never got me using the time stamps. I guess PA has the same judicial problems as NY.

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  13. Anonymous10:44 AM

    two thoughts; do you mix anything with your tanq?

    and i think the credit card/junk mailers are in cohoots with the paper shredder makers. that's the game of cat and mouse in my house.

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