This may be more interesting to the Bay Area locals, but I figured other people might find it neat as well. This is an old newsreel about the Bay Bridge opening up back in 1936. I love the style with which this news is presented. It’s exciting and sensational and for good reason.
Some fun facts about the Bay Bridge (via wikipedia)
* The Bay Bridge is 44,352 ft (8.40 miles) long.
* One of the busiest bridges in the US, carrying approximately 280,000 vehicles per day.
* The legal name of the bridge is The James “Sunny Jim” Rolph Bridge
* Construction began on July 9, 1933, with the bridge opening on November 12, 1936, causing one of the greatest SF traffic jams ever.
* The total cost came out to $79.5 million (equivalent to $1.07 billion in 2005 dollars).
* The toll started at 65 cents, dropped to it’s lowest of 25 cents.
* The current toll for autos is $4, collected only for westbound traffic. For comparison, the original $0.65 toll in 1936 would be $8.62 in 2005 dollars.
* The dirt excavated for the Yerba Buena tunnel (the largest diameter tunnel in the world) was used in part to build Treasure Island.
* Construction for a more earthquake-resistant replacement on the eastern span began in 2002, with an initial completion date slated for 2007. Now they’re looking at somewhere around 2012 or 2013.
Last Saturday was Bicycle Day. A great day had by all and a near-death experience for me and my very old bike tires. Pictures are here and favorites are below. A HUGE thank you to Ian and Nicole for organizing this, and an extra thanks to Ian for fixing up my bike both before the trip and during. The company was great, Marin county was beautiful, and the ferry ride back into San Francisco reminded me of how beautiful of a city I live in and how lucky I am to have the friends that I do. Here’s our route (thanks to Heather for mapping it out), and a quick rundown of the events:
– Waking up at 9am after getting home from Yuri’s Night at 6am to find that it is raining. We somehow get out of bed and catch the ferry on time.
– Last minute supplies at a bike store in Sausalito
– Bay Model
– Getting lost in suburbia. “I know everything about biking around here except for this exact one spot you are in.”
– Greenbrae Boardwalk (unfortunately noone took photos, but these will give you an idea of how unique of a place it is)
– Waiting for the ferry and watching the clouds grow in the distance over Katamari-esque hills
– A beautiful ferry ride south through the Bay into San Francisco
– A long BART ride back to the Fort where good food was made, fire was spun, and people hung out for hours
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with pop culture and advertising for quite some time. While I find quite a bit of it insulting and manipulative, I also find it incredibly intriguing at the same time. Hip-Hop Pop-Up is one of those sites that extracts and exposes the subtle advertising in mainstream hip-hop today. With a culture built around brand names, what’s hot now, and flashy possessions, it’s not too surprising to see how often inadvertant commercials are dropped in the lyrics. However most of us are so used to it that it doesn’t stand out. Hip-Hop Pop-Up will play a mainstream hip-hop song and launch pop-ups for each of the products/brand names that are mentioned in the lyrics. The current song on there is Kanye West’s “All Falls Down” which clocks in with 11 product placements and 10 companies, generating 12 pop-ups. You’ll want to turn off your pop-up blocker to get the full effect. Yes, kind of annoying, but so is the fact that we’re advertised to almost every second of our lives.
Monday, April 9, 2007 1 p.m. ET Post Magazine: Too Busy to Stop and Hear the Music
Can one of the nation’s greatest musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Gene Weingarten set out to discover if violinist Josh Bell — and his Stradivarius — could stop busy commuters in their tracks.
HE EMERGED FROM THE METRO AT THE L’ENFANT PLAZA STATION AND POSITIONED HIMSELF AGAINST A WALL BESIDE A TRASH BASKET. By most measures, he was nondescript: a youngish white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. From a small case, he removed a violin. Placing the open case at his feet, he shrewdly threw in a few dollars and pocket change as seed money, swiveled it to face pedestrian traffic, and began to play.
It was 7:51 a.m. on Friday, January 12, the middle of the morning rush hour. In the next 43 minutes, as the violinist performed six classical pieces, 1,097 people passed by. Almost all of them were on the way to work, which meant, for almost all of them, a government job. L’Enfant Plaza is at the nucleus of federal Washington, and these were mostly mid-level bureaucrats with those indeterminate, oddly fungible titles: policy analyst, project manager, budget officer, specialist, facilitator, consultant.
Each passerby had a quick choice to make, one familiar to commuters in any urban area where the occasional street performer is part of the cityscape: Do you stop and listen? Do you hurry past with a blend of guilt and irritation, aware of your cupidity but annoyed by the unbidden demand on your time and your wallet? Do you throw in a buck, just to be polite? Does your decision change if he’s really bad? What if he’s really good? Do you have time for beauty? Shouldn’t you? What’s the moral mathematics of the moment?
On that Friday in January, those private questions would be answered in an unusually public way. No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities — as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?