Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Waste of Money

Fort Smith seems totally enamored by Flashing Yellow Arrow signals. This past Summer, they converted more of the traditional left signals (Red-Yellow-Green-Yellow Arrow-Green Arrow) to flashing yellow arrow. How much money is this costing? 

At several intersections, the city didn't simply erect new signal heads, but replaced existing signals and signal posts. Now that is definitely a waste of money. They can't simply replace the signal heads, but have to put in fancy decorative signal poles?

One intersection, US 271 at Business 71, received new signal poles and new signals, but NO flashing yellow arrow.  So what's up with this? 

The economy is in the crapper, but the city still spends lots of money on new signals. I'd like to know where this money came from and why it's not spent on fixing streets?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bloody 64

Last Fall, AHTD opened the long-awaited US 64 bypass at Vilonia. The bypass is a 4 Lane expressway-style (4-Lanes, divided, partially-controlled access) roadway running just over 9 1/2 miles around the south side of town. 

It's a good, smooth road, I'll give it that much, but driving it, I found several potential problems.

For one, all the roadway intersections are at-grade (NO highway interchanges).  All the county roads cross 64 at ground level. Add to this a 65 mph speed limit on the bypass itself an one could be asking for serious problems.

Another problem is about halfway around at AR 107, there's a traffic signal. 65 mph non-stop traffic and suddenly there's a traffic signal? Oh, but the speed limit drops to 60 mph about 1/2 a mile before the intersection and there are some spiffy light-up signs that say "STOP AHEAD" when the light is red. That's another disaster waiting to happen.

At the east end of the bypass, traffic is slowed down to around 55mph as the road merges with it's old alignment near Business 64 becoming a 2-lane roadway and continuing towards Beebe. 

The west end is slightly more complicated: instead of merely merging with its old alignment and becoming a 4-lane highway towards Conway, it stops at a traffic signal at Business 64. Then half a mile west, there's another signal at AR 36.

To me, this bypass wasn't well thought out. 65mph? OK.  At-grade intersections? Not a real good idea. A traffic signal in the middle of nowhere? BAD idea. 

AHTD: what were you thinking? 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Still Searching

My search continues for the "perfect pizza"  Today I stopped at The Pizza Place in Alma, AR. They've been open for a couple months, but I never had a chance to check them out before today. In a word: disappointing.

The place is tiny compared to a lot of pizza places: it's almost like a hole in the wall. The buffet is U shaped, hidden in a back corner with about a dozen tables in the dining area.

There was a small salad bar with shredded lettuce a few veggies and a small selection of salad dressings. I really didn't get a good look at it, but it reminded me of a "token" salad bar you see at a lot of pizza places.

I counted 7 pizzas on the buffet, not counting the repeats. There was a "Supreme", sausage, pepperoni, cheese, triple meat (sausage, pepperoni, ham) and a couple others, including a Buffalo Chicken. There was, of course, the requisite "DANGER TABLE IS HOT" sign, but the hot table was cool to the touch (someone forget to turn it on?). The pizzas themselves didn't look that appetizing: they had an odd sheen about them. Also, the heat lamps above the pizzas weren't on (were there heat lamps?).

The crust was nice and crisp, but not very flavorful. Didn't really have a cracker-like flavor, but more like "baked dough". The "sheen" on the pizza was from the cheese: not a lot of flavor and kind of greasy. The toppings weren't very flavorful, either. I could sort of taste some of the seasoning in the sausage or I would have thought it was beef. The ham/Canadian Bacon had a bit of a pork flavor, but the pepperoni was more like dried red grease patches.

Honestly? I'd rather have a pizza from Kum & Go. The Pizza Place was simply not very good, IMO: I found it cold, bland, and greasy. 

I guess I should say something about the service: It was "OK". I came in the door and there was no one to greet me or any signs saying "Please Wait to be Seated"  or "Please Seat Yourself", so I went ahead and grabbed a booth. I waited a few minutes, but no one came by so I wandered over to try the pizza. The server finally came out and asked if I was having the buffet and what I wanted to drink.  Then she asked where I was sitting and had my drink waiting when I sat down.

She was good on asking if I needed a refill and was also good on removing the dirty plates from my table. She asked if I found everything OK, but never asked what I thought of the food itself. Just as well.

I guess tomorrow I hit Golden Corral and have a big salad as penance for having pizza for lunch today.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

5 Minutes of Fame


You know me: I don't like bragging about myself. That's not my way. Well, looks like I'm about to break that rule. 

I've been cleaning my apartment the last few months, sorting stuff and getting rid of stuff I don't need in hopes of moving to a better apartment this Fall (more likely next Spring).

Well, in the process of cleaning, I found an old newspaper interview I had forgotten about. 

Took up almost 1/4 page not counting the advertising. The date on this was 10-31-2005. You may have to click on this to blow it up to a more readable size. If that doesn't work, I'll re-upload it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Detour Ahead

Last year, my dad planted a small tomato garden at the residential center he and my mom had moved to back that previous December. After he died, my mom all but ignored the plants since she didn't like tomatoes as much as my dad did. In October, I pulled out what was left of the tomato plants after the weather turned cold.
This Spring, the tomatoes came back again from the seeds of last year's leftovers. My mom still won't mess with them, but the residential center has been kind enough to mulch the plants and water them twice a week.
So what happens to all the tomatoes? My mom gives them to the maintenance man who keeps them watered.

Leave it to my dad to not push up daisies, but to push up tomatoes.

Thursday, August 02, 2012


So is Oklahoma the only state to use extra bold lettering on their STOP signs?
I've never understood the reasoning, unless it's simply to get your attention after you've been driving a long stretch of rural roadway with no traffic signals or stop signs. 
To me this all but screams "STOP DAMMIT" .  Something I'll have to ask ODOT about someday.

Oh, for the record, this at the US 59/ US 271/OK 9 junction near Spiro.