🎰 Vegas and Race

Recently, I was in Las Vegas. While there, I visited my favorite hangout, the Pinball Hall of Fame.  While there, I couldn’t help but notice the back glass on my favorite games from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. All featured scantily clad teen-aged and college women, designed to titillate  the young men playing pinball in the arcades at the time (I’m looking at you, Music Odyssey in West LA). All of whom… were white. This wasn’t a surprise: despite the societal upheavals, there was still a lot of segregation and these games had to sell in the south.

Las Vegas was similarly segregated in the 1950s and 1960s. Black performers of the time couldn’t stay in the strip hotels. They either had to stay in separate trailers, or stay downtown, on the west side, in the industrial part of downtown, not even in glitter gulch. The one resort that welcomed them closed after 6 months, due to pressure from the big casinos.

Ah, but you would say times have changed. Look at the strip today. It is bustling with people of all colors, shapes, and sizes. Black, white, and brown are welcomed into casinos — all that matters is that their (virtual) money is green and their credit is good. But look deeper. What is seen cannot be unseen. Look at the people on the slot machines. White. Asian, but only from the Crazy Rich Asian franchise. Black? The closest you come is the genie from Aladdin. Look at the ads on all the big screen hotels marquees. It is all well-dressed white people enjoying themselves. The people dining in the fancy restaurants on those screens and in the ads. All white. The people shopping in all the fabulous stores? All white. The dancers in all the dance revues? All white? Based on the screens, Vegas is appealing to the rich white fantasy, not the people on the street. Even the cards for the strippers that they hand out? You see them littering the streets. All white.

It made me think that the Vegas of today isn’t all that different from the Vegas of yore. Hotels are advertising for the cliental they want. They may love the money they are making, but what does this say about the big corporations behind the operations. They aren’t seeing most minorities as the “whales” with the money they want to take.

This made me not want to patronize the big casinos (and I wasn’t staying in one — I was in a timeshare surrounded by one that was independent). I don’t gamble, and generally gave my dining dollar to local owed joints when I could. But I just kept seeing it, and it kept bothering me.


🍏🍯🍎🍯 L’Shanah Tovah – Happy New Year – 5782

Apple in Honeyuserpic=tallitRosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts at sundown tomorrow (Tuesday) night, September 7th. Thus, it’s time for my annual New Years message for my family, my real-life, Blog,  Dreamwidth, Google+, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook friends (including all the new ones I have made this year), and all other readers of my journal:

L’Shana Tovah. Happy New Year 5782. May you be written and inscribed for a very happy, sweet, and healthy new year.

For those curious about Jewish customs at this time: There are a number of things you will see. The first is an abundance of sweet foods. Apples dipped in honey. Honey cakes. The sweet foods remind us of the sweet year to come. Apples in honey, specifically, express our hopes for a sweet and fruitful year. Apples were selected because in ancient times they became a symbol of the Jewish people in relationship to God. In Song of Songs, we read, “As the apple is rare and unique among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved [Israel] amongst the maidens [nations] of the world.” In medieval times, writes Patti Shosteck in A Lexicon of Jewish Cooking, apples were considered so special that individuals would use a sharp utensil or their nails to hand-carve their personal hopes and prayers into the apple skins before they were eaten. And the Zohar, a 13th-century Jewish mystical text, states that beauty – represented by God – “diffuses itself in the world as an apple.” With respect to the honey: honey – whether from dates, figs, or apiaries – was the most prevalent sweetener in the Jewish world and was the most available “sweet” for dipping purposes. And as for the biblical description of Israel as a land flowing with “milk and honey,” the Torah is alluding to a paste made from overripe dates, not honey from beehives. Still, enjoying honey at Rosh HaShanah reminds us of our historic connection with the Holy Land. Although the tradition is not in the Torah or Talmud, even as early as the 7th century, it was customary to wish someone, “Shana Tova Umetukah” (A Good and Sweet Year).
(Source: Reform Judaism Website)

Rosh Hashanah ImagesAnother traditional food is a round challah. Some say they it represents a crown that reflects our coronating God as the Ruler of the world. Others suggest that the circular shape points to the cyclical nature of the year. The Hebrew word for year is “shana,” which comes from the Hebrew word “repeat.” Perhaps the circle illustrates how the years just go round and round. But Rosh Hashana challahs are not really circles; they are spirals… The word “shana” has a double meaning as well. In addition to “repeat,” it also means “change”. As the year goes go round and round, repeating the same seasons and holidays as the year before, we are presented with a choice: Do we want this shana (year) to be a repetition, or do we want to make a change (shinui)? Hopefully, each year we make choices for change that are positive, and each year we will climb higher and higher, creating a spiritual spiral. The shape of the Rosh Hashana challah reminds us that this is the time of year to make those decisions. This is the time to engage in the creative spiritual process that lifts us out of the repetitive cycle, and directs our energies toward a higher end.
(Source: Aish Ha’Torah)

There are also apologies, for during the ten days starting Tuesday evening, Jews examine their lives and see how they can do better. On Yom Kippur (starting the evening of September 15th), Jews apologize to G-d for their misdeeds during the past year. However, for an action against another person, one must apologize to that person.

So, in that spirit:

If I have offended any of you, in any way, shape, manner, or form, real or imagined, then I apologize and beg forgiveness. If I have done anything to hurt, demean, or otherwise injure you, I apologize and beg forgiveness. If I have done or said over the past year that has upset, or otherwise bothered you, I sincerely apologize, and will do my best to ensure it won’t happen again.

If you have done something in the above categories, don’t worry. I know it wasn’t intentional, and I would accept any apology you would make.

May all my blog readers and all my friends have a very happy, healthy, and meaningful new year. May you find in this year what you need to find in life.


🛣 Changes to the California Highway Website covering June-August 2021

Blah blah blah introduction. Perhaps I should go with that.

Seriously, though. We’re at the end of Summer 2021, and the best thing I can say is that we’re not having to deal with a Presidential campaign again. COVID is still here, however, impacting travel. I did get some travel in over my summer, with drives to Los Osos, Scottsdale, and Las Vegas, and exploration of the Route 166 corridor and the Route 58 corridor between I-15 and Route 14. I got to see the construction they are doing S of Mojave on Route 14, and got to kill off a load of podcasts. Hopefully you’ve had a safe summer. As always: Please make sure you are vaccinated, and please continue to wear masks. Neither complete eliminates risk, but they are both key factors in reducing risk to an acceptable level. As someone who has been working in Cybersecurity for over 35 years, I understand how being risk adverse can blind you to the importance of doing the simple things to reduce risk. Just as with our highways, our goals should be to reduce the risks whereever we can.

On to the updates.

Updates were made to the following highways, based on my reading of the papers from the last week of May 2021 through xxxx 2021 (which are posted to the roadgeeking category at the “Observations Along The Road” and to the CaliforniaHighways Facebook group) as well as any backed up email changes. I also reviewed the the AAroads forum (Ꜳ). This resulted in changes on the following routes, with credit as indicated [my research(ℱ), contributions of information or leads (via direct mail or ꜲRoads) from Anthony R. Brooks(1), Tom Fearer(2), Brian Nordon(3),  Tony Ortega(4), Scott Parker(5), Joe Rouse(6), Chris Sampang(7), Carol Stephens(8): Route 1(ℱ,2), Route 4(ℱ), Marine Route 5 (M-5)(ℱ), I-5(ℱ,2), Route 11(ℱ), Route 16(2), Route 17(ℱ), Route 18(ℱ),  Route 25(ℱ), Route 29(ℱ), Route 33(2), Route 35(ℱ), Route 36(ℱ), Route 37(ℱ), Route 41(ℱ,2), Route 46(ℱ,2), US 50(ℱ,2), Route 58(6,5), Route 71(ℱ), Route 74(ℱ),  Route 77(ℱ,1), I-80(ℱ,2), Route 88(ℱ), Route 91(ℱ,1,4), Route 99(ℱ,2), US 101(ℱ,2), Route 110(ℱ), Route 113(2), Route 121(ℱ), Route 132(ℱ), Route 135(ℱ), Route 136(3),  Route 140(ℱ), LRN 148(ℱ), Route 152(ℱ), Route 156(ℱ), Route 166(ℱ), Route 174(ℱ), Route 176(ℱ), Route 187(ℱ), Route 207(ℱ), Route 247(ℱ), Route 249(8), Route 273(ℱ), Route 275(2), Former US 399(2),  US 395(ℱ), I-405(ℱ), I-580(ℱ),  Marine Route 580(ℱ), I-680(ℱ), I-710(ℱ), County Sign Route A13(ℱ), County Sign Route 66(7).
(Source: private email, Highway headline posts through August 2021 as indicated, AARoads through 09/05/2021)

Updated the links to the Cal-NexUS pages and the highway exits, because Caltrans went and moved things again(ℱ). Updated the El Camino Real Bells page to reflect the removal of the El Camino Real bell from downtown Santa Cruz, and the rationale therefore(ℱ). Updated the Statistics page to better reflect the shortness of Route 77(1).

Marine Highway SystemAdded information on the National Marine Highway System(ℱ):
(Source: CleanTechnica, 6/22/2021US DOT Maritime Administration: National Marine Highways, 6/2021)

In California waters, there are two routes: Route 5 (M-5) and Route 580 (M-580). The US Department of Transportation has a special webpage all about this system of marine highways, complete with a map of the system. The system’s highways are numbered the same as nearby Interstate Highways from which they could relieve congestion. The DOT Maritime Administration (MARAD)’s Marine Highway Program has one major goal: expand the use of America’s navigable waters. They closely with public and private organizations to:

  • Develop and expand marine highway service options and facilitate their further integration into the current U.S. surface transportation system, especially where water-based transport is the most efficient, effective and sustainable option
  • Highlight the benefits, increase public awareness and promote waterways as a viable (in some cases a superior) alternative to “landside” shipping and transportation options

The Marine Highway system currently includes 26 “Marine Highway Routes” that serve as extensions of the surface transportation system. Each all-water route is designated by the Secretary and offers relief to landside corridors suffering from traffic congestion, excessive air emissions or other environmental challenges. For the highways in California, a section was added to the appropriate route page providing information on the Marine highway route.

Reviewed the Pending Legislation page, based on the California Legislature site. As usual, I recommend to every Californian that they visit the legislative website regularly and see what their legis-critters are doing. As many people are unfamiliar with how the legislature operates (and why there are so many “non-substantive changes” and “gut and amend” bills), I’ve added the legislative calendar to the end of the Pending Legislation page. Noted the passage of the following:

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