As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
I was thinking about the engineering profession. For those who choose to pursue and continue as an engineer, there is the option of going for the title "Professional Engineer", or PE, which allows one to add that title to one's name on their business card and gives that engineer the qualifications to approve various engineering project decisions.
After college at some point, such an engineer would take an exam and, upon passing it, would be an "engineer-in-training" or EIT. Then that person would go off into the engineering profession to gain experience in the field and take another exam to become a "Professional Engineer" after some period of time.
Imagine...if we applied the same criteria for "drivers"...?
We could make the regular driving test to be the qualifier for the title of "Driver-in-Training" and this would allow the person to drive out in the field.
After several years, a driver could go for his "Qualified Driver" status by demonstrating good driving technique and good decision making.
Give them some incentive to go through this, like a break on their car insurance or perhaps the right to drive at certain hours, and I bet that most people will be more aware of their driving habits.
Back around 30 years ago, my dad and my uncle brought their other sister and her entire family over to settle in the United States. Finally, all of my relatives were on this side of the Pacific.
Today I spent most of the day attending the funeral of that aunt who's had a pretty tough life bringing up 7 kids in Hong Kong. I hadn't seen my cousins in a long time, probably back during the funeral for our grandparents, even though most of them are local (Yes, I'm a bad cousin).
Today, one of my cousins, with whom I hadn't spoken with back then because they didn't understand English and my Chinese was pretty much non-existent, told me that she remembered that I once held the elevator door open while everyone got on (I think I was about 13 at the time). Today she told me that, on that fateful day, 30 years ago, she learned all about being polite to people in this new country of hers.
One of the big differences between this band and others that play for swing dancers is that the O-Tones include *dancers*, people who know what they want to hear that will inspire them to dance. When they play, the dancers know that they have a band that is sympathetic to the dancers.
I'd like to welcome the O-Tones as the newest sponsors of this of this website.
I was driving over in Brighton the other day when this kid walked in front of my car. Of course, my car was moving at the time. In that situation, he walked out from between two cars, when it was dark, while wearing dark clothes, nowhere near a crosswalk or a traffic light, expecting me to see him. He didn't bother to wait for a break in the traffic; he just walked out and didn't even stop moving and I *barely* saw him in time. Then he gave me the weirdest look, like I had no right to be on *his* road.
I understand that pedestrians have the absolute right-of-way. At the same time, being a Boston driver, I'm also smart enough to know that when I have to cross the street, I'm not going to be stupid enough to assume that the drivers see me. I'm not going to put my body in front of a couple of tons of steel, confident in my right to be walking there that the car *will* stop, or that I'll be able to sue for damages if I get hit.
It reminds me of the time I was crossing a street at a light on my bike about 25 years ago. Some taxi driver anticipated a green light and was planning on speeding through the light until he saw me crossing the street in the crosswalk and hit me. As soon as he figured out I was still alive, he took off. You have to catch someone to sue them and it'd be pretty hard to sue someone if you're dead.
Meanwhile, after that harrowing experience, I was headed down that street from Brighton Center towards Western Avenue. At the light, there were about 4 lanes of cars waiting for the light. As soon as the light turned green for us, some 14-year-old decided that he wanted to cross the street on his Razor® scooter...in front of us...in front of 4 lanes of cars whose drivers were about to stomp on the gas.
At this point, I was starting to get frustrated with kids who think they're invulnerable. I think that the police should start enforcing the traffic laws for people on the street. Since the courts have said that it *is* legal to ask a pedestrian for their name and address, I think that a round of tickets for jaywalking might be effective; talking to them doesn't work. Impounding a kid's bicycle or scooter will get the message through; fining their parents...for *being bad parents*...might make them aware that they have a responsibility to teach their kids the difference between right and wrong.
Ah, there...that felt better.