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the latest waddle:

good morning, wordpress - 10:36 a.m. , 2009-07-03

elaborate murder attempt - 2:56 p.m. , 2009-07-01

building a tractor in the basement - 10:42 a.m. , 2009-06-19

ask no questions tell just a few lies - 3:17 p.m. , 2009-06-09

my long lasting flavor really lasts long - 1:10 p.m. , 2009-06-04

2003-02-07 ... 10:45 p.m.


It was not enough for Chicago to go and order these dumb new buses with weird seat configurations that actually result in LESS seating and besides that are positioned too high up for some of us vertically challenged people to put our feet all the way on the floor, so we sit there with our legs dangling and swinging back and forth like a puppet's bumping over every pothole, or else we sit way forward and end up with Crampy Spine and are not able to concentrate on or books, and then when we arrive at our bars of choice we are extra crabby and need to suck down that first life-giving two-dollar craptacular beer in near-total silence. No. That is not enough for Chicago, or for the Marquis de Sade wannabe who is in charge of the CTA's Bus Division.

Now this nefarious person or persons has to go one step further and retrofit the old buses to make them TALK. For NO REASON. Chicago, have you been on the talking buses yet? They are so pointless. The talking buses only say two things.

1. When the talking bus stops and opens its doors, it tells you what sort of bus it is and where it ends up. For instance, "Route. 11. Destination: Clark. At. North." It is a female voice and it sounds all pleased with itself, like some bitchy girl in a tiny denim jacket and a white vinyl belt drinking PBR and telling you some pointless story about how she used to be rockabilly but isn't anymore.

(And by the way: Who are the knights to say that someone cannot wear a white belt. What? What is this guy talking about?) (Found by Googling "white belt," for no reason at all.)

I just don't see the point of this bus information. Even if you are blind, you are presumably not stupid (if you are blind AND stupid, maybe you should get a sighted and/or smarter friend to ride the bus with you), and you know where you are. You know that if you are standing on Lincoln you are probably going to catch the Lincoln bus. However, just as I typed this I realized that there are lots of bus stops where multiple bus routes stop, like on Michigan Avenue, but Mimi Smartypants does not edit this thing because editing is what she does all day, and also because she is drinking right now and can't be bothered, so never mind. I guess the route number etc. is moderately useful for the visually impaired. But it is ever so annoying to hear it every time the doors open, and what would be lots cooler (if a lot more complicated) would be some sort of talking bus STOP, that would somehow through the magic of wireless or whatnot recognize which bus is right then pulling up. Because presumably even a visually impaired person only needs to know what bus he or she is on ONCE.

2. The exponentially-more-dumbshit thing is that the bus ALSO mentions, every time someone pulls the string to request a stop, that a stop has been requested. Seriously. Pull the string, there is a nice little bell sound, and then that smug bitch says "Stop. Requested." So the little dingy bell that MEANS "stop requested," that has meant "stop requested" for all my years and years of bus-riding, now has a buddy. An additional signifier.

Imagine I am a ticket seller at a movie theater, and you walk up to me and you say, "One for Moulin Splooge, please" (yes, it's that kind of movie theater) and I say, "You also need to say 'I would like a single ticket for the film Moulin Splooge,' even though I understood your previous unit of syntactical discourse perfectly." And every time you returned to see Moulin Splooge again (because you know, it stands up well to repeated viewing, even if your splattered trenchcoat does not), you had to say both those things. Wouldn't that be annoying? That is kind of how I feel about the "stop requested" voice, except without the deep creepiness of selling you a ticket to a porn theater---what, don't you have a computer or a VCR at home? Anyway, what was wrong with the little bell? The little bell was fine.

3. But. This takes the cake in the world of Things That Drive Me Insane. Today (yesterday, whenever---I can't be too concerned with temporal accuracy right now because I am running on Beer Time) was the first time I took one of the talking buses home, from the El stop to my house, and I was HORRIFIED when I heard it say:

"Route 155. Destination: Devon. At. Kedzie."

And the talking bus pronounced "Devon," which everyone in Chicago knows rhymes with "shove on," to rhyme with "Kevin." This floored me. I remember when the El switched over from a conductor intercom to a recording, and they made a much smaller error with ClyBURN when really everyone here says ClyBORNE, but this Devon thing is really just too much. It is not a smallish quibble in pronunciation. It is wrong. And it makes me wonder: Was the recording for the talking buses just completely outsourced, with a printed list of all the street names in Chicago? And does no one on the CTA have the balls to complain that the smug-bitch talking-bus voice is pronouncing it wrong?

I fear that people will just gradually start to accept this mispronunciation of "Devon." And I hate arbitrary fascist crammed-down-our-throats shit like that, I really do. I am not some sort of purist Grammar Nun---I don't mind linguistic evolution over time, in fact I find it fascinating. And while I do not want grammar and pronunciation and language to be completely controlled by a common-usage paradigm, I am starting to be almost comfortable with things like "their" being the plural for certain singular collective nouns (but not for non-collective nouns: for instance, "Everyone must lick their spatula" = edging toward acceptable; "make sure your child licks their spatula" = just plain incorrect.) But this. Some bus-recording company makes an error and the whole name of the street changes? No fucking way. RESIST!


A microphone? (Scroll down.) (And truncate the URL if you really want to know what these user comments are about, but I think it is fairly self-explanatory, and also I think it is a lot more fun with no context BECAUSE I'M ALL POSTMODERN LIKE THAT.)

---mimi smartypants knows there is more beer in the refrigerator.


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