signs

Posted by Ellen

Today, Philadelphia is a town of winners, at least to the extent that Eagle-ness rubs off on regular people. But this room in center city Philly was filled recently with a bunch of losers.

The girls, mostly about twelve years old, were guests at a birthday party held in an escape room. If they had managed to solve all the riddles and puzzles within a set time, they could have escaped the room and been deemed winners. But they failed.  So it goes.

Posted by Ellen

Area of Refuge is a technical term associated with the Americans for Disabilities Act, identifying places where people in wheelchairs can wait for extra assistance during an emergency.

For example, say there's a fire in a multi-story elevator building. In response to the fire alarm, the  elevators stop operating normally, and able-bodied people have to exit via stairwells or outside fire escapes. People in wheelchairs are supposed to follow illuminated signs to an Area of Refuge on each floor, usually near the elevator or stairwell, where extra fire resistance has been built into the walls and extra communication equipment is available. Once comunication is established, first responders can locate people in the refuge and rescue them, by overriding the elevator stoppage if possible or by carrying people down the stairs if necessary.

It makes sense, but for reasons unknown to me, Area of Refuge signs are seen very rarely; they're either not there at all in most buildings, or they're so inconspicuous I never notice them.

In fact, this sign in the Double T Diner in Annapolis, Maryland, is the first I've ever seen, which is why I took the picture. I had no idea what it meant and speculated that the worried look on the face of the guy in this picture might suggest he is desperately seeking his own personal place of refuge.

Now that I've studied up on this stuff, I'm still a little confused. The Double T Diner is a one-story, ground-level-only restaurant. What's the need for a Disability-Act area of refuge in a one-story building?

Posted by Ellen

I've done my due diligence on this; "Richie's photo is 100% legit," says Michele, the photographer's wife. No Photoshop.

The signs were posted at the corner of Madison Avenue and 81st Street in Manhattan, one block east of the Met. "Only in New York," observes Richie, the photographer–but I beg to differ. Traffic is all screwed up everywhere nowadays, as is politics and the economy, and if you know which way to go, don't even bother trying to tell me because I can't believe anybody any more.

Posted by Ellen

From my sister's collection of Kathmandu signs and posters:The political poster reflects Nepal's very recent revolution, in which the king was overthrown for a parliamentary democracy. The leading party in parliament is the Maoists, but they didn't quite win a majority of seats; to govern, the Maoists had to form a coalition with the Marxist-Leninists. From what we heard, parliament wasn't doing much of anything and had repeatedly failed to write a constitution.

Nepal's official communism does not seem to stop Nepalis from operating clearly capitalistic businesses, and the country is currently experiencing a heated real estate boom.

 

Posted by Ellen

WWBD? (What would Buddha do, in his tattoo studio?)

Most Nepalis are Hindu, but we're told that their understanding of Hinduism is expansive enough to include the Buddha and his spiritual ways. Up and down the streets of Kathmandu are ornate, pagoda-style Hindu temples, little curbside chapels associated with one or several deities, modest "resting places" for the spirits of the departed, and big, bold Buddhist stupas like this one.

It is against the law to kill a cow, and cows do wander around town, especially out near the airport. But Nepalis have other cowlike animals--water buffalo and yak--that provide them with meat, milk, fiber, leather, and, um, horsepower, thus facilitating the religious exclusion of cows from these sorts of roles. Buffalo and yak look well-fed; the religiously venerated cows appear to be starving.

A substantial number of Nepali men, especially among the many who ride motorcycles, show a certain veneration for Western-style leather jackets, presumably made of cow leather. The tattoos, body piercings, and dreadlocks, however, are for tourists.