Hwy 580, Uncle Ted, and Josh Hancock

(above photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk)

It was usually pretty late at night when I traveled the Bay Bridge back to the Eastbay after a show. Every single time, I would read the first set of signs once I hit dry ground and the sign for 580 East would be on the left side of the free way, tired and usually reflecting on the evening’s concert, I would move to the lanes beneath the sign only to remember when the next sign came that I needed to merge back to a middle lane to follow 580 E. I’m sure by now you’ve heard ad nauseum about the tanker truck carrying gasoline that exploded and essentially heated the overpass above it to the point it melted and collapsed. When I first saw the headline Sunday morning I thought some tragedy occurred, but I’m glad no one was hurt other than the driver who sustained burns. The video is pretty insane. I was realizing today that there isn’t an equivalent to that major interchange up here in Anchorage. You might be thinking that I just made one of the more obvious statements in blogging history, but if traffic is different up here. If something happened in many places on the Glenn Hwy or the Seward Hwy, Anchorage would be cut off to all entry via car, (I guess ferry’s could shuttle cars from Whittier to Valdez or Seward, but what a pain) try that on for size California.

Speaking of highways, I heard an interesting perspective on longtime Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK). Many people outside of Alaska get quite a kick out of his rant about the internet because he sounded a bit like Dana Carvey’s SNL character “Grumpy Old Man.” He’s also been accused many times of finagling pork for Alaska with his seniority. The new perspective I heard was someone who said “yeah, but that’s why we call him Uncle Ted, he’s like a dirty uncle that gives you things he shouldn’t and you love him for it.” I guess I never thought of it that way. Alaska wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t for Uncle Ted…whether he receives his internets from his staff or whether they get stuck in the series of tubes.

Lastly I leave you with a sad note. You’ve probably heard about the untimely death of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock. He’s the second player that the Cardinals have lost in the last 6 years. He was a great ballplayer, teammate and friend to a lot of people. You might know that I’m a Cardinal fan, so the news took me by surprise and I have a heavy heart for his family and teammates. Watching the highlights of the game tonight, it is clear that the Cardinals have other things besides baseball on the minds. Albert Pujols even walked on 3 balls. I think Jeff Suppan, who played for St. Louis for the last few years and now plays for the Brewers and pitched against the Cardinals tonight, even showed signs of lack of concentration. It will be a while before baseball feels important to a lot of people. Josh will be missed.

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