Colorado’s Mile(high) 419.99

You may have wondered how “420” came to be code for marijuana consumption. It originated in 1971 with a group of high-school slackers in Marin County, California. (Side note: there’s a really good place to eat in San Rafael.) The term has become so pervasive that since Colorado legalized pot-for-fun in 2012, milepost 420 markers have been disappearing at an alarming rate from Interstate 70. As a remedy, the Department of Transportation has replaced the marker with milepost 419.99.

Although Idaho has not legalized marijuana, they’ve had the same problem on U.S. Highway 95, just south of Coeur d’Alene. Who knows why that’s happening in neo-Nazi country? Idaho can handle only one decimal place, though, so they marked the highway as milepost 419.9.

(Originally published 2016)

Picaresque San Francisco

If you’ve recently been walking along the sidewalks or strolling the scenic byways of San Francisco, you may have been nearly run over by one. If you’ve recently been driving on the streets of San Francisco, you may have nearly run one over. Two-wheel scooters are the latest thing. Remember the kind with a handlebar you powered with one foot and the other foot balanced on the skinny rail between the tiny wheels? This new generation of scooter has an electric motor so you can even climb a minor grade without any physical exertion.

You can rent one in San Francisco, paying with a credit card via your smartphone. Just find one – they’re scattered all over – pay and go. If you’re like many, you’ll ride while playing with your phone, while weaving in and out of traffic – foot and automobile. You could be the first to be maimed or killed on one; better hurry, though, the inevitable may happen soon. When you’re finished with it, just leave it – in the middle of the sidewalk, as many do – for the next rider.

Not everyone thinks they’re so cute. The city has received so many complaints, the Public Works department seized sixty-some of the two-wheelers it said were blocking sidewalks and fined the companies that own them. “The public has the right to use the sidewalks,” said Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru. The three scooter-rental companies said if they’d only been told, they would have dispatched their “Operations Teams.”

Video and more pictures from SFGate.

Picturesque San Francisco

Aquatic Park, near San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf is a favorite of hardy swimmers. They can be seen most any time of day, in any weather. The cove, formed by two curved piers, is usually placid. Strolling along the Aquatic Park Pier, you’ll have panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and The City. (Locals insist it’s capital “T” and capital “C”) Warning signs tell you, though that the pier may not hold up under your weight. You could be a sea lion’s tasty snack.

WTFJHT

A fair – and slightly unbalanced – news aggregator, WTFJHT will put a summary of the day’s (mostly political) news in your electronic mailbox every afternoon. Or you can check in for an update at any time. The JHT part of the name represents “Just Happened Today.” It’s free, but you can help support it with any amount you choose. (I did.)

Peanuts and Crackerjack and Seagulls

8th inning – AT&T Park

The seagull habitués of the China Basin corner of San Francisco Bay, where the Giants play, know how to read the scoreboard. When the game gets into the late innings, a few appear, circling McCovey Cove and the right-field bleachers. If a game goes long, they begin to show their annoyance by trespassing into the airspace over the playing field. Fans have been trained to clap and make noise, scaring them away. But only for a few minutes. Extra-inning games are especially infuriating and the birds show their displeasure at being delayed from scavenging leftover ballpark food by flying closer to the field and in greater numbers. When the game finally ends and the crowd finally disperses, the seagulls invade the stands and devour what they consider to be their entitlement.

10th inning – AT&T Park

What the World Needed

Are you embarrassed by the quality of the food photos you’ve posted to Facebook? The folks at the App Store want you to know they have solutions: new apps for your smart phone, specifically designed to help you improve pictures of what you are eating or drinking. Your couscous and beet salad not lit just right to impress your friends? There’s an app for that. The artistic design in the foam of your coffee beverage not highlighted just so? There are apps with filters to help you create your own style.

From the same folks who brought us Y2K.