Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Built Environment, Part 2 - The Errata Sheet

A couple of things happened in the week since my last post. First, there was a snowstorm that proved just what neophytes drivers in Washington, DC, are. On Wednesday afternoon, a squall line blew through, bringing thunder and sleet, followed by driving snow. At just that moment, every car in the metropolitan region descended on the highway system, determined to beat the weather. They lost. In what may be described as the epic fail of the century (admittedly this century has only had 11 years to it so far), drivers got stranded on the freeways and on some of the crucial side roads. Half hour commutes became four and five hour nightmares. Drivers ran out of gas waiting on the roads and proceeded to abandon their vehicles - which in turn congested the roads even more thoroughly and made it impossible to plow them.

I did the only prudent thing I could do, which is to spend the night in my office. Later, I found out that it was possible to get around town by using the lesser known thoroughfares. Nobody was traveling on them; they were all in that parking lot known as the Beltway. When I did get home, I discovered I was one of half a million customers in DC with no electricity. So no computer. The power outage also zapped my router, denying Internet service to all the computers in the house.

But I digress.  In the interim, I learned from Tim Wilson that New House had six entries, not five. I was going to say six, but a map of the MIT campus led me astray by failing to identify the sixth.

My absence from the campus may have also contributed to a couple of cartoon fails on my part. In 1980, I had heard that one of the new dorms was going to be given the name Ballard House, which led to this strip...
But, as it turned out, there was never a Ballard House. New House retained its name and was joined by Next House just to the west. And in place of the Cains sign, there arose Simmons Hall, better known as The Wheel of Fortune Puzzle Board ("I'd like to buy a freshman double, Pat").  Ballard House appears nowhere in Google. I have no idea where the name came from.

Then there was this cartoon.
Turns out that's the Johnson Athletic Center. Steinbrenner's name is on the track and outdoor stadium next to it. I think at one time, Steinbrenner was supposed to get his name on the building, but there were some controversies that caused a rethink, so another facility bears the name of Steinbrenner - Henry Steinbrenner. As for the price tag, in those days, Dave Winfield was considered to be the most expensive baseball player ever obtained by the Yankees, when he left San Diego for New York. These days, Alex Rodriguez would be the gold standard. And the Texas Rangers, who unloaded A-Rod on the Yanks, seem to have gotten the last laugh...and the upper hand last year.

No comments:

Post a Comment