[Tweeters] Signs and Science

jeff gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sat Jun 22 08:26:41 PDT 2013

Last night was my last night doing guard duty at the Anchor Pub. Due to recent break-in's I've been sleeping down there on the couch with guard dog Max. But we weren't just lying around, we were multi-tasking. We were doing Science.

You probably have heard about the big Coal Train issue in the funny papers lately. In the words of Anchor regular Clam ('son of clam') Clemson: " that whole thing is a dumbass idea a couple thousand miles long!". I agree. Who needs it? Birds sure don't.

One issue, minor in the big picture, but still an issue , is the extra wear that the heavy coal cars will produce on the tracks, thus hampering our railroad system. Our great nation has been run, for most of it's life, by drunks and railroads - something that we here at the Anchor Couch Institute of Seismology consider ourselves expert in.

The drunk part is obvious, but the railroad part is because the Anchor is right on the tracks. The Anchor couch is only, and I'm not kidding, about 38 ft from the tracks. When the train goes by it shakes the whole building. A seasoned expert like myself can tell trains apart just by the vibration. If trains were classical music, I guess the Sounder and Amtrak would be like one of Mozart's airier numbers. Coal trains are like one of those heavy Beethoven deals. I guess that's more art than science.

Back to our Anchor scientific method. I said to Max "hey, I bet I can tell those coal cars just from the vibration". So, feeling the vibrations, I would wake up on the shaking couch and check the trains - every time I guessed right, based on couch seismology; those coal cars are way heavy. I have a weeks worth of data stored right here between my ears. Now you all know the facts.

Now that I'm done with the Anchor ,I hope to have more time to get out in the 'field'. I'd like to visit one of my favorite Signs of the times, and also the inspiration for another of my scientific experiments.

It's one of those highway signs that reads LITTER AND IT WILL HURT . I thought that was funny, so I tried littering. It didn't hurt a bit, so science proved that wrong, but I didn't like what I'd done so I picked up the stuff.

Science, while great, just doesn't cover everything. Can you prove you're in pain? No, but it hurts anyway. I sort of like things like truth, love, and beauty, which can be known and experienced but not really proven. Do we always need science to explain how we affect birds and other fellow creatures by our actions? Nope, not really.

One sign of change here at my house is the calling of the Collared Doves, who just arrived in my neighborhood last summer, and are here again now. Yesterday I was out in my backyard when I heard sort of an unusual version of their call. Checking the playground park just next door to my place I found the source of the call; a couple of kids doing a pretty passable dove imitation. About 8 years old, maybe these twerps will be tweeters one day. I wonder what my neighborhood is gonna sound like in 50 years when those kids are my age.

Jeff Gibson

former bar owner, in

Everett Wa

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