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March 20th, 2012

Eight years later...

The Minnesota Twins not long ago managed to bamboozle politicians into helping them with stadium financing - including bypassing a law requiring a referendum on such things in the to-be-afflicted area. Now the Vikings want a similar screw-the-people deal for themselves. As anyone who know me at all has figured out, I am against this. If the "investment" is so good, sell shares in the form of bonds and get financing. Since that is not happening, the logical conclusion is that the investment line is so much hogwash - after having been used to wash some rather filthy hogs.

Other sports structures have similar issues. In 2004 the Olympics returned to Greece and the Greeks built some then-shiny new things just for them. Here are a couple pictures of how they look now.[source]. Some investment that was! Only 8 years later, just more ruins - and not ones likely to attract people or generate a desire for preservation.

Different times, different worlds.

Sometime in the 1970s (before the Transformers toys and associated cartoon) my father acquired a few 15,000 volt transformers used for "neon" signs. They look something like this:


These are the things that not only light up neon (and other gas) tubes, including old fluorescents that won't ignite on 120 V any more, but also make the Jacob's Ladder or be part of the power supply for high voltage equipment such as a CO2 laser. This is one of the "dangerous" things I grew up with, but as it was explained, "There are no really dangerous things, just dangerous people." If you think first and are careful, there is no problem. I 'played' with high voltage, but I wasn't reckless with it. Chances are the most dangerous part to me - or anyone else - was not the easily averted shock risk, but the build-up of ozone when there was arcing.

We found it sort of sadly amusing when one day in the 1980s a young neighborhood kid pointed at row of the things and asked what they were...

Kid: What are those?
Pa: Transformers.
Kid: *stares at them for a bit* What do they turn in to?

I never followed that cartoon and am utterly uninterested in it. I still think of the electrical device when I see or hear the word transformer.

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