Scouring the news feeds that I have that keep me updated on the happenings and occurrences of the world, I came across this annual chestnut (this year’s offering comes courtesy of Forbes) nugget that documents the cities in the United States that have the highest traffic congestion.
Courtesy of the INRIX Traffic Scorecard, Honolulu, Hawaii, is the city that earns top honors (as of April 2012) as the metropolitan area with the most congestion on its highways and byways. Personally, two urban areas that I have called home were in the Top 10 as Los Angeles won the silver medal and the Washington, D.C., locale came in 6th.
Fascinating data, but another – and similar – news item caught my cyber-eye as I read about a place that is also experiencing congestion. That place, the highest spot on Earth, is Mount Everest. This story talks about how the number of climbers to this mountain has grown and is causing congestion.
At least, when I was stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-66, I could always listen to the radio. I don’t think you can do that on the Hillary Step.
All this news about congestion jams reminded me a ceditra entry I created on July 20 last year.
My random method of generating items to write about (rubbernecking not allowed) provided me this quote from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, which I found courtesy of the book Oxymoronica by Dr. Mardy Grothe…
“The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today.”
Lewis Carroll’s adventures concerning Alice is chock full of absurd characters and odd situations. This snippet is from the White Queen (I believe), but it might as well have come from the Mad Hatter or Twiddledee.
An oxymoronic rule of this type has a name that also comes from literature, the Catch-22, from the book of the same name by Joseph Heller.
Rules are made to be followed, but what happens when a set of instructions exist in such a way that they cannot be followed. The White Queen’s edict appears to suggest that jam can be enjoyed (which is good) but the logic of the rule means that jam can never be enjoyed (which is bad).
What other examples are there of a remark that appears to be benevolent but is in practice tyrannical? Henry Ford’s famous line about this cars – “Any customer can have a car painted in any color he wants so long as it is black.” – comes to mind.
I wonder if I do the same thing as a parent? Do I tell the kids stuff that appears on its face to be generous and benevolent but in practice is impracticable?
I probably do but I can’t think of those examples right now. I do tend to be blinded by own weaknesses.
I guess I have a bit of the White Queen in me. Perhaps we all do.
If that’s the case, I still would like my jam.
Back to Mt. Everest, I am curious to know if all the negative news about congestion and litter will keep people away. If that happens, it would prove that oxymoronic adage from Yogi Berra, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”