A weekly column of eclectic commentary featuring the wit and wisdom of a garrulous geezer. A brand new column every Saturday. "We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine." -H.L. Mencken " ~~~~~~~~~~ "As I can, not as I would." -Flemish saying
This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids —the Stickies— to advise them and haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.
Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens— A Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. Viewing on a decently sized computer monitor recommended for maximum enjoyment.
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"Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery."
Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),
According to Merriam-Webster...
Boondoggle: a wasteful or impractical project or activity often involving graft.
California's train to nowhere — full disclosure, the preceding and following italicized phrases have been used by all sorts of writers in the know whose articles have preceded this one — is the very definition of a boondoggle.
The nation that built a transcontinental railroad (6 years) and landed a man (twelve of 'em in fact) on the moon (8 years) can't build a railroad from here to there in California.
What follows is the Crank's Digest version of the story. The full story would require a column of at least 10,000 words. I'm a rabid reader and current events freak but even I wouldn't be interested in reading such a column, much less writing one.
I suspect the only thing it would be good for is as a sleep aid.
[Wait-wait-wait. Why are you writing about the train to nowhere at all? Is that still a thing? If I remember correctly Governor Moonbeam was the one that got the ball, if not an actual train rolling, back in, lemme think, musta been...]
It's still a thing. Apparently, it's harder to kill than Covid in a New York nursing home.
Jerry Brown, who ran California for two consecutive terms, twice, and an extremely fortunate man in that he was romantically linked to Linda Ronstadt back in the day — ironically considered to be a fiscal conservative at the time — signed legislation authorizing the money to study building a high-speed rail system in the Sunshine State in 1982.
California's been trying to build a local railroad for 38 years.
They've been at it for so long there's a Wikipedia entry entitled History of California High-Speed Rail. It's a very long entry.
[You're using the word entitled incorrectly, it should be titled. I would've thought that...]
I'm fully aware of that but I'm invoking my poetic license. If I were king and/or the Earth was less hostile to gentlepersons...
[Gimme a break.]
If the Peoples Republic of California should actually manage to complete the latest drastically dumb downed-version of The Never-Ending Public Works Project (currently scheduled for 2029) I propose it should be called the Jerry Brown Sorta/Kinda High-Speed Railroad.
Here's hoping Mr. Brown, who would be 91 years old, is still around and gets to pound in the last (gold foil-wrapped) spike at the opening ceremony — assuming he could lift a sledgehammer).
[Perhaps they could use a Nerf-spike and a Nerfhammer. Um, listen, you've been at this for a while now, and, well, what happened to a Cranky's Digest version of this dispiriting tale of American wussification.]
Having just reread the Wikipedia entry referenced above and reviewed my other exhaustive research I'm so dispirited I've decided to wrap this baby up and inventory the liquor cabinet.
[You don't have a liquor cabinet...]
Yes, but I do have a poetic license, remember?
It depends on who you ask but as best as I can tell The Fedrl Gummit and the gummit of California have, so far, spent more than $6,000,000,000.
Former President Obama pledged to contribute $3,500,000,000 of other people's money as part of his efforts to blunt the effects of the Great Recession, but the Donald issued a stop payment order on the last billion or so and has asked for a 2.5 billion refund given that no track has actually been laid.
California's legislature has gone to war with the state gummit agency that refuses to stop spending other people's money on a railroad that has laid no track.
While there's no use crying over spent money, I'd like to propose that The Fedrl Gummit hold a lottery and give away the billion bucks. Print the name of each state on a ping-pong ball, put 'em all in a big red, white, and blue sack and have Miss Ms. America...
[Do we still have a Miss Ms. America?]
And have him/her/them reach in and pull out a winner. The winning state will divvy up the money equally among its citizens in lieu of the stimulus checks that we've been mentally spending for months now that have yet to leave the Swamp.
"The checks are in the mail! Or at least they will be if Orange Hitler stops screwing around and gets out of my our way." Nancy Pelosi
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