Monthly Archives: August 2010

Attention Travelers

As of Friday, August 13th, SFO offers free WiFi.  Whether you are traveling to this great city or just stopping by on a layover, now you can open your laptops at the airport and check your e-mail, check your Facebook, and even check this blog.

Enjoy!

—Mike

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Filed under San Francisco, San Francisco Tourist, Technology

We are all Immigrants.

Recently I was gazing over at Angel Island as I crossed the Bay Bridge, and I realized that this is probably where my great great grandfather entered America back in the 1800’s.  There is no record of his entry in Ellis Island, so he must have brought his family through the West Coast and the processing station at Angel Island.  However as I did a little research, I realized that Angel Island only started screening immigrants in 1910, and Ellis Island started doing that in 1892.  What happened before that time?  Did the ships just land on the shore and people went their own way?  No border control?  No medical tests?  Wow, how things have changed.  I have listed my thoughts below:

1.  We are all immigrants.  Unless you are Native American, we are all immigrants.  In fact, Native Americans immigrated here from other places as well.  So, why do we want to crack down on immigration so much?  Do we feel exempt because our ancestors came here earlier and we now have a feeling of entitlement?

2.  Official language.  If we want to have an official American language, shouldn’t it be Choctaw, Cherokee, or Sioux?  Christopher Columbus did not discover America.  Instead he and his invading adventurers after him discovered a land full of people with their own traditions, their own society, and their own rules.  This was the beginning of a very bleak period in American history filled with the European invaders using lies, guns, alcohol, and anything else they had to take over this country and force the people to speak English.  English is not the native language of America.  It was not the language of the society the early explorers discovered.

3.  Economy.  If you study the economic history of the United States, you will see that our economy has always been fueled by immigration.  Most families come over here and end up doing any job they can find, even if they were considered educated people back in their homeland.  They work hard and raise the next generation to be more successful and get better jobs.  It continued from there through the generations.  It may seem harsh to say, but we need that first generation to build railroads, work in meat packing plants, construct buildings, and pick crops.  Their kids and their kid’s kids will probably get better jobs, but we need that first generation.  Immigration does not take away from the United States economy, it adds to it.

4.  Christianity.  I’m just throwing this one in for the irony of it.  I love to see people who are supposedly so Christian spew hate and venom at immigrants from other countries.  Didn’t they just go to church and hear about how we are supposed to help our fellow man and give to those less fortunate?  I also think it is funny how people who are racist can still think of themselves as true Christians.  Really?

5. Living Conditions.  If I lived in some of these other countries, I would definitely try to enter the country to help my family have a different life.  It was only the random act of birth that one person is born in Mexico and another born in America.  It was nothing that either person did.  Why not try to improve your lot in life.  Isn’t that the American way?  I don’t blame people for trying to get in here because I would do the same thing.

Viva Immigration!

Mike

   

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That S.F. Feeling

What makes San Francisco such a great city?  I think it is the little things like the items I listed below:

  • Dance Your Cares Away.  I was driving by a construction site the other day, and the woman holding the “slow” sign was dancing.  This city worker was shaking her hips, waving her free hand and doing the Twist.  I went by the same intersection two hours later and she was still out there, holding her construction sign, and dancing her work hours away. 
  • Acceptance.  When I got to Panera today to get my weekly bagel fix, the guy ordering beside me was in semi-drag.  No one really cared, and in fact I saw the lady taking the order give coveting glances at his purse.  
  • Parades. There was a Mini-Cooper parade at 8:00 this morning.  Police blocked off intersections so that approximately 50 Mini-Coopers could glide through the streets in all their glory.  Every type of Cooper imaginable was represented.  
  • Friendly. A homeless person welcomed us to our new neighborhood.  
  • Surprises. While waiting on a bus, We met the “escape artist of Fisherman’s Wharf” and his “wonder” dog. They were on their way to do a show.
  • Charitable. I saw a local restaurant park their vans and set up food lines for the homeless in the United Nations Plaza.
  • True Religious Freedom. On mornings when I take the BART, I walk by a group of people in front of city hall who are sitting on their mats and meditating. I think they are there because of the giant Buddha sculpture which is on display nearby.    
  • Mild Climate. While the rest of the country is suffering in extreme heat, our average high at the moment in San Francisco is around 64 degrees.
  • Helpful. The woman behind me on the escalator giggled and told me very politely that my tags on my shirts were showing.  Yes, San Franciscans do talk to strangers.
  • Diversity.  Everywhere I go in S.F. I see people from different cultures speaking different languages.  This is definitely one of the things that makes this place so great.
  • Celebrities. John Waters calls the Nob Hill neighborhood home.  He is a little odd, but that is why he fits in so well here.     

Gotta go.  It’s time for me to experience more of this great city that I call home.

—-Mike

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New Toll Charges lead to Greener Living.

Please follow the link below to read the article:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/29/MN1R1EL9I0.DTL

It speaks for itself, but I wanted to note a couple of things.  First of all, since the toll charges were increased, 6,199 fewer drivers cross the Bay Bridge everyday.  This means that the traffic on the Bay Bridge moves twice as fast as it did last year.  Since I travel the Bay Bridge almost every weekday to work, this is something that I have definitely noticed.

Another interesting point is that 1,500 additional people are riding the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) each day.   This means less pollution and a greener way of life.  This is a win/win situation.  The transportation department gets their money because of the increased tolls, but there are less people crowding the roadways and more people taking public transportation.

San Francisco’s next fee hike may have a similar effect.  They are putting smart meters into Hayes Valley.  Basically, these meters judge how busy the street is and raise the fee or lowers it based on demand.  Also, they are attached to a phone application so people who are looking for a parking space can find one quicker.  There is some speculation that people may use public transportation or alternative forms of transportation that would be more environmentally friendly to get to their favorite restaurant in Hayes Valley.  Only time will tell.

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Filed under Environment, San Francisco, West Coast