December 5th, 2013



So The Grand Rapids Press has released on Mlive an article on the most dangerous intersections in Kent and Ottawa Counties.
In Kent County, the intersections with the most crashes (through Oct. 10) are as follows:

28th at M-37 -- 40
28th at Breton -- 36
44th at Eastern -- 36
44th at Byron Center -- 35
28th at Eastern -- 35
Fuller at Michigan -- 33
28th at Division -- 32
Lake Michigan Drive at Wilson -- 32
28th at Burlingame -- 32
Most of these are in southeast Grand Rapids, where we rarely go. 28th at Burlingame used to be on my daily commute, but not in a long time. And yeah, I had some guy drive into me just west if there, merging from a cross street and crossing all the way into the far right lane.

Lake Michigan M-45 at Wison M-11, yeah I go through there every work day, unless I avoid it swinging north to I-96 or take the back roads at Linden. And yeah, I had an old guy pull a left turn after he had a red light and tried crossing all the way over to the far right lane, where I was turning right.

Hmm... I sense a theme here.

And Fuller at Michigan? That's near the hospital I was in, where Mrs. Dr. Phil has been happy that she didn't need to be there now that Winter Is Coming. (grin)
In Ottawa County, the top five intersections with the highest crashes (through Oct. 10) were in the Holland area and are as follows:

Douglas at River -- 33
East 16th at Waverly -- 25
Adams at I-196 ramp -- 20
120th at Lakewood -- 19
Lakewood at River -- 18
East 16th at Waverly/120th Avenue is the intersection by a big Meijers store -- much like M-45 and Wilson. Hmm... another pattern?

And Adams/16th Street at I-196 is a couple of miles east of that Meijers. And in between was the sub acute care and rehab facility in Holland I was in for three weeks before I ended up in the Holland Hospital ICU with a collapsed lung or something. So Mrs. Dr. Phil gets to dodge another bullet.

It's so nice to be home.
At some intersections, crash numbers have risen sharply since the state's October numbers were released. The intersection of 48th Street Avenue at Lake Michigan Drive, perennially high on the Ottawa County list, had 20 rear-end crashes of a total 23 crashes as of Dec. 1, Austin said.
Yeah. I've seen a lot of rear enders by GVSU. Including one where a #50 Campus Connector bus clearly won when rear ended by a brand new Dodge Ram pickup.

And yeah, Mrs. Dr. Phil got rear ended just south of there at West Campus Drive at 48th Avenue by a student who somehow thought Right Turn On Red didn't mean that the car ahead of him had to actually STOP at the light, so kept on going. Bent in the tailgate and bumper of the 1989 Blazer -- and broke the fuel tank. Insurance totalled the Blazer at its age, but we got it fixed for less than the settlement, had it inspected and recertified and reinsured. Oh, and the repair fixed a dent we got one winter in Calumet in the U.P. Came out from some play or concert and found someone had slid into the Blazer, putting a dent between the gas cap and the rear bumper. Nice. And no note. Double nice.

And so it goes.

Dr. Phil

By Your Command...

I've been working my way through the 75-odd episodes of the rebuilt Battlestar Galactica on Netflix streaming late at night and sometimes while working at home during the week. While I cringe at the thought of the finale, I can't help but admire what they managed to accomplish. Not science fiction? Puh-lease. Sure it's about people, but don't insult those of us who read and write SF with characters.

Series often go through a difficult life cycle. Some shows jump the shark and become unwatchable. Original Star Trek started with poor visuals and ended with some lame scripts. Star Trek: The Next Generation started weak, but picked up as they found their space legs, though it did border on the sanctimonious at time. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine bogged down in the middle with a war that they didn't know what to do with. Babylon 5 was confusing at first and, alas, I gave up on it early -- who knew that JHS actually had a multiyear arc envisioned and that odd bits even in the first episode were seeds which wouldn't bear fruit for two or three years.

Battlestar Galactica starts strong. I remembered many of the episodes, but had no idea so many showed up early on. "33", for example, is the first regular episode after the beginning -- the frightening need to jump every 33 minutes without sleep or real maintenance was truly nightmarish. And despite a propensity to drink to excess and brutality, the quality shows kept coming.

The rewatch is aided by two things. One, is that I can watch it in HD and it's gorgeous. Two, the lack of commercials -- I know why people are willing to devour series on DVD, streaming or for old folks, VHS. (grin)

Now I am a huge fan of Edward James Olmos, dating back to Blade Runner. But there is an impressive cast all around. And they bandied about plenty of technical slang, epithets (toasters) and, of course, the smeggin' awesome all-purpose frak, which bulldozed through the sensors as easily as WTF? did.

Finished Season 3 last night, which contained the New Caprica occupation and the end of the Battlestar Pegasus, which had showed up in the middle of Season 2. I had looked to see if the movie Razor was on Netflix, but didn't see it.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see that Season 4 begins with Razor. I had thought the movie had come in differently in the sequence, but this works fine. The best part of Razor, okay ONE of the best parts, is that we run across the old style Cylons. Only this time, the shiny chrome By-Your-Command Cylons can shoot straight. And of course, Admiral Cain, ably played by the troublesome Bajoran Ensign Ro Laren on ST:NG.

We used to have a joke about the old Cylon raiders -- Why do they have a crew of three? Because just as the pilot goes to shoot, the commander in the raised rear seat can kick the back of the pilot's seat in order to throw off his aim and make him miss.

I'll have more to say after the true nature of the Final Five is revealed. But I am still intrigued, even though I've seen the whole series before.

And that's the mark of a good series. And especially a good SCIENCE FICTION series.

Dr. Phil