Missoula updates crosswalk sign, pleasing local crank

The Midnight Special, on which the author hurtles around

The Midnight Special, on which your author hurtles around

What constitutes news is a tricky question, influenced heavily by personal experience. For me, the best news of the last month has been that the City of Missoula changed the sign on the crosswalk where the Milwaukee Trail intersects with Russell Street. It used to depict a pedestrian; now it depicts a pedestrian and a bicycle. That probably doesn’t mean much to you, but for me it means a potential reduction in the number of drivers who honk, scream, or get out of their cars when I ride across.

Montana law does not require cyclists to get off and walk in crosswalks. Fat dudes in lifted pickups sure seem do, though, and they often cite the vital importance of this (imagined) traffic law when they get out to threaten me. In this week’s column for the Missoula Independent, I consider why the appearance of a bicycle throws so many drivers into murderous rage. It’s a little self-righteous, but consider the dangers attendant on riding a bicycle and driving a car, respectively. Riding a bike is a great way to exercise and get from place to place without polluting an already tricky environment. Driving a car is a great way to kill all of us slowly and a few of us very quickly. It’s not as simple as that, of course, but consider that the worst thing a cyclist can do to you when you’re driving is make you do something terrible to him. Or just cut down on yelling at people from your car in general. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links.

Friday links! Gloom, doom edition


Just in time for the weekend, the temperatures of both Missoula and Roger Ebert have dropped precipitously. Did you ever notice that catastrophes come in twos? I’m just exploiting your cognitive bias—really, did you ever notice that when something bad happens, you can always think of something else to complain about? Gloom and doom go together like tomorrow and your inevitable death. Today is Friday, and the week has been full of pointed injustices with which to prod our self-pity glands. The self-pity glad is located just behind the soft palate and in front of the uvulua. Keep poking with your toothbrush—you’ll find it. In the meantime, won’t you lament our collective lot with me?

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Citing “job implications,” DA drops charges against money manager

A card from "Oligopoly," the board game which I personally invented with no outside input whatsoever

A Colorado district attorney has dropped felony charges against Martin Joel Erzinger, the money manager for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney who allegedly fled the scene after striking a bicyclist with his Mercedes in July. Props to Pete “Bones” Jones for the link. Also, for expedience, the reader should add “allegedly” to virtually every sentence in today’s blog post. I’m going to skip it from here on out, but I don’t want the alleged Erzinger’s lawyers to use their allegedly bottomless sack of money and influence to sue me for alleged slander—which they could easily do, since Erzinger is allegedly a law unto himself. Eagle County prosecutors essentially admitted as much when they explained that they had reduced charges so as not to jeopardize Erzinger’s ability to make even more money. As a securities dealer, he would be required by NASD regulations to reveal any felony conviction to his clients, and that simply would not do. “Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger’s profession,” said DA Mark Hurlbert, “and that entered into it.”

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