Flat!

…being a slightly decorated listing of unfortunate events.

It was threatening rain yesterday (Saturday) so I postponed my shopping trip until today. Probably just as well, as there was a demonstration downtown yesterday around the issue of the recent killing of a black man in Minneapolis. I have not seen the video.

This morning some people – volunteers I guess – were trying to clean off the spray paint left by a few out-ethics “demonstrators” on the Supreme Court Building (and legal library) across from the Capitol building.

volunteers try to remove paint defacing the Supreme Court Building in Sacramento

I had been in Folsom doing my shopping when I found I had run over something (looked like broken ceramic) that had punctured my front tire. So I came back home on the train, then got on my other bike to take a second try at a bike ride.

flat tire
Flat tire!

The demonstrators had walked across the “tower bridge” to visit West Sacramento. I thought I’d ride over that way, too. Someone defaced some utility boxes with their message. It’s a valid message, but not good to deface public property with it. Makes your “cause” look questionable, doesn’t it?

black lives matter

And another box near Macy’s:

defaced utility box near Macy's downtown.

Macy’s is one of many department store chains having problems competing with online shopping sites. And the pandemic lockdown doesn’t help. This quite large store hasn’t closed for good yet, but it very well might.

Government and Corporate

Governments and business have been intertwined for a long, long time. When something goes wrong in a society, where can you find the causes for it? The answer, of course, is the criminal. It might be a criminal in government, or one in corporate, or one not much connected with either.

Governments are usually expected by businesses and the public to capture and punish street criminals, such as the ones who defaced those utility boxes. However, punishment has not been found to be effective in reducing such crime. In places like the U.S., governments have also been leaned on by the public to capture and punish “white collar” criminals, usually ones thought to exist in business. But governments and businesses have always been so intermingled, that such actions are seldom very thorough.

Businesses, for their part, often don’t have definite methods for keeping their employees honest. They may choose to fire someone who is not performing satisfactorily. But what about someone who appears to making the company more money by engaging in questionable activities? The business may choose to try to hide such people from outside scrutiny or protect them in other ways. This is a long tradition in both business and government.

Thus, when a police officer acts like a criminal, most people expect him to be treated like one. But government (and business) would prefer to handle such matters more quietly. And so, the public are likely to perceive that an injustice has occurred in such a case.

My ride down Capitol Mall took me past the Wells Fargo Center. This is an old American bank with a colorful tradition.

Wells Fargo Center front plaza

Inside is a restored stage coach – one of their favorite things to display.

stage coach inside

This company made it’s wealth, we can suppose, by providing valuable services to its customers, like package and letter transport before the transcontinental trains went in. Those actions can be respected.

But those coach routes were being “made safe” by the U.S. Army’s program of rounding up and killing or encamping all the disgruntled native Americans who saw their lands being given away and destroyed. In like fashion, the British Navy used to protect East India Company merchant ships. And later the Company itself, with its own private army, took over much of India in order to protect is ports and other assets.

West Sacramento

I rode across the bridge, stopping for a minute to watch the boats on the river.

boats on Sacramento River

Across from downtown Sacramento, where the waterfront is set up as a tourist destination, is the West Sacramento waterfront – a decidedly corporate creation.

West Sacramento waterfront

There is a “nice” walkway and park along that side of the river, but a man found a bench there a convenient place to indulge in a somewhat fitful sleep.

Man sleeps on bench at entry to West Sac riverfront walk

What could he possibly be worried about? From a corporate perspective, everything is going fine, “we’re all in this together,” and we’ll all get through it somehow. Corporate, however, owns large and expensive assets, while this man probably doesn’t even own a bed.

We can see that an intention existed at one time to make this area a nice place. But how firm was that intention? How much did it include the local government and nearby residents?

West Sac waterfront walk

While this part of the waterfront remains tidy, the area is not in really good condition.

At the north end of the walk is an old railroad-and-car bridge (built 1911). The bridge can swing sideways to let bigger boats through, but I’ve never seen it do that. There are plans afoot to move the vehicle traffic to a new bridge. A much higher bridge to the south carries freeway traffic.

The view across to downtown Sacramento gives us a look at the steam locomotive they have parked in Old Sac with newer, higher buildings behind.

view of downtown from West Sac

I judge the Sacramento side to be in better shape, probably because of all the foot traffic in Old Sac.

I return to the vicinity of Tower Bridge to explore in the opposite direction.

donuts in an intersection

Someone has been using this intersection to make “donuts!” There are reports from many places that “car nuts” are taking advantage of the not-so-busy streets in many cities to do show-off stunts like this.

Just to the right of this location is Raley Field (for Raley’s a local grocery chain) which recently became Sutter Health Park. It is a successful minor league baseball park.

Beyond the ballpark is a lot of undeveloped land. Just before the I-80 bridge, several apartment complexes have been built, with some still in-progress.

apartments being built

The older building is called The Foundry.

the Foundry apartment building

The newer buildings are called 980Central.

980 Central

There is a cute little park in the middle…

new west sac mini park

Both were developed by the same company. They rent apartments to singles, young couples, and small families, starting at $1500/month.

Across the street is the beer garden/pizza restaurant and play field.

the Barn from the playfield

Beer is big in this area. But the pandemic lockdown has made this empty on what would normally be one of its busiest days.

the Barn

YOLO!

I have previously addressed the issue of YOLO here: https://lecox.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/notes-from-the-wild-side-and-yolo/

YOLO!

Perhaps YOLO is part of the problem we’re having. It’s…not true, of course. But what happens to a person if he totally believes it? On the one hand, its sentiment might entice you to throw caution to the wind and feed your hunger for new experiences, the supposed original intention of the phrase.

On the other hand, it could lead someone to be much more averse to experiencing “bad” or “unsafe” things that could cut one’s “only life” short! This could be related to the expression “I’m good” which had one boost in popularity in 1980 and another around 2000 (according to Google’s N-Gram Viewer, which I like to use on all unfamiliar expressions). It really means “please don’t bother me with that because it’s beyond my comfort level.”

It’s easier to go ahead and wear a mask than to wonder why someone supposedly representing the medical establishment told us that we need to all wear masks and be six feet apart to “stay safe.” There is actually no study demonstrating that these precautions, applied the way we have applied them, would slow a pandemic. It’s just a guess. But when YOLO crashes into “I’m good” your result is an economic crash of unprecedented proportions.

Next, I found this sign next to an art installation on the river. No one wants to wipe the bird turd off. Not even me!

A few interesting things

This well-known flowering plant (this one at Folsom Winco) is called agapanthus.

agapanthus flowers

However, these ones, planted near the new apartment buildings, aren’t fully identified:

pink liliaceous flower

And out in back of the Barn, beyond where the paved trail ends, I saw a pair of jackrabbits playing around in the weeds. They were chasing each other, but I was too slow for that with my camera.

jackrabbit
jackrabbit
jackrabbit running

On my way back home, I took this shot of my other bicycle, with a pretty girl riding a bike in the background, among other things.

girl riding bike, etc.

At the foot of the bridge stands this sycamore tree. I think it is the largest sycamore I have ever seen.

rhododenron and

Beside it grows a little rhododendron bush. How did it get there?

Oh – and the lizard with its tail broken off. I almost forgot this one. From Folsom.

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