Giant Ferris Wheel On Mars?

I’m not a thrill seeker.  Never much liked amusement park rides or elevators for that matter.  I do like the floor walking escalator at Chicago O’Hare (ORD) for short – what does ORD mean anyway?  Three years ago, I took the architectural boat tour of Chicago and remember gliding past the giant Ferris wheel at Navy Pier and thinking one would have to be absolutely mad to ride the thing.  Two years ago we went to Navy Pier and my daughters in fact did ride the 150 foot wheel and got a birdseye view of the city.  I only got a view of birds in the sky, actually giant supersonic F-16 fighter birds that left a trail of sonic booms that frightened unsuspecting tourists who must have thought Navy Pier was under attack.  In any case, I was not thrilled by the airshow.

This morning, I heard that New York City plans to build the world’s largest Ferris wheel on Staten Island.  At 625 feet, it will dwarf Chicago’s wheel.  And get this, it can hold 1,400 people.  Good grief.  Imagine getting stuck on a wheel 600 feet off the ground, hanging upside down with 1,400 screaming riders.  No thank you.  I would have to be in a drug induced catatonic state and strapped in with a canister of supplemental oxygen to go on the thing.  The view would be outstanding of course, but I’m ok with the slow moving view from the Staten Island Ferry.  I’m no thrill seeker.

P.S.  Idea for the future – put one of those things on Mars where we know there is intelligent life and evidence of water, and where there is water there is a waterfront.  Imagine riding it at night and seeing Mars’ two moons and for those prone to vertigo like me, four moons.

San Fran Bottled Water Ban

San Francisco is leading the fight against plastic bottled water.  Now they haven’t banned the stuff yet, but have drafted an ordinance that would require the owners of new and rehabbed buildings with water fountains to install bottle filling taps. The theory is that the taps would encourage people to refill BPA free bottles with water rather than reach for another plastic store bought bottled water.

You know, when I was a kid, I would have thought the idea of buying water to be positively preposterous.  Still do, but I do buy bottled water now and again, despite the fact that I have a Brita container and a BPA Free Camelbak bottle.  My beef with the Camelbak is that it’s a little too fat at the base to fit into my car’s cupholders; an annoying design flaw by both the auto and bottle maker. With climate change bringing about catastrophic droughts, and with the constant polluting of groundwater via the frackers, water truly is a much more precious commodity…but back in the day, and I’m talking some 40 odd years ago, I was drinking water from those porcelain fountains at school and garden houses.  And it was a real treat to visit the fancy places and drink water out of a glass bubbler in those funny paper cups that looked like tiny dunce hats.

Anyway, I do applaud San Francisco for their intentions.  Those non-biodegradable plastic bottles require too much energy to produce and recycle.  And all too often, they end up in landfills or floating around in the oceans causing harm to marine life.  And who ever heard of a message in a plastic bottle?

The tap proposal is a good thing really, but I, being predisposed to exaggeration, would go several steps further.  I would only allow the city to sell plastic bottled water to tourists who presented a valid tourist visa.  Canadians would only have to prove a Canadian accent by pronouncing the words out, house or about.

As I was writing this post about water, some great songs came to mind.  If you have a Spotify account, groove on; if not, give it a Spin.

Water of Love – Dire Straits.  After all, San Fran was once known as the city of free love with all the hippies.

Black Water – Doobie Brothers.  A California band.  I’ve always liked this song.

Slow Water – Brian Eno.  This is an ambient songs, but not cheesy like those relaxation tapes the old hippies now listen to while doing yoga and eating hemp cereal and free trade Trader Joe’s mushrooms.

Sound of Water – Pat Metheny/Brad Mehldau.  Just a very cool song by two master musicians.

Bottled Water

Bottled water.  Vitamin fortified water.  Reverse osmosis.  Bottled at the source.  Too many choices.  What’s wrong with tap water?  Is it really tTapping into bottled water concernshat bad?  Does anyone drink from a water fountain anymore?  When I was a kid in school, the water fountain was the only option for a drink. We had milk breaks, but water was the only thirst quencher.  I remember refusing to drink from the fountain when the water pressure was low for obvious reasons.

And how about the garden hose.  As a kid, I drank from the hose on a hot summer’s day.  It didn’t matter that it tasted warm and a little metallic with hints of 50' Garden Hose $50.00plastic when it first came out, it was still refreshing.  Back in the day, I don’t think you could even buy a 12 ounce bottle of water, and if you could, who would?

My tap water looks clear, smells and tastes clean.  It does not contain lead or other toxins, at least I don’t think it does – we had it tested 4 years ago, but who knows.  While I confess that a bottle of Poland Springs is conveneint to carry around, and a better choice than a soda or a coffee, is it really better than tap water?  Some waters are bottled at the source.  At the source of what?  A tap? And what exactly is reverse osmosis?  That sounds like one of those throw away answers on a multiple choice test.

Now I do have a Brita pitcher, but I get a little nervous when I see what appears to be poppy seeds floating around in the holding tank.  Speaking of filters, you can buy about 144 bottles of water for the price of a  Brita filter.  Or you could just pay your water bill and drink from the tap or the garden hose.