First the chicken, then the bike

Thanks to PeaceBang for pointing out a very hip-to-funny commercial website: ConferenceBike.com, which makes tandem bikes for seven.

It shares the spotlight with Omlet.co.uk, a purveyor of urban chicken hutches.

The sites are as specialized, hip, and creative as their products. They’re gobs of fun to visit, but useful for the serious consumer.

For that reason alone, I don’t deserve any notice from ChaliceChick for revising this site. I want my blog to be half as interesting — visually and thematically — as those sites. I’ve barely begun.

Fifteen meatballs

When your minister leaves this kind of note in your comments section, you must reply:

Right on IKEA! Somehow I didn’t realize that they sold meatballs…are they cooked?

Yes, they are cooked, and fifteen of them are served with boiled new potatoes, cream gravy, lingenberries, dinner roll, your choice of soup or salad greens, and a soft drink for $5.99. I always get soup; Hubby, salad. This is the Manager’s Special and it is the only thing we get. (There are seafood and vegetarian options, usually another special, plus a children’s menu and desserts. You can even get jarred baby food, or a very cheap breakfast in the morning.) Note: in the Swedish food section, you can get meatballs, gravy, and the lingenberries frozen and ready to go.

There is a theological tie-in. The Swedenborgian church I actually attend is — what I have heard — called “the church where angels serve meatballs”: an obvious pun on the Sweden- part of the name, and a reference to their rather aetherial theology.

The IKEA cafe and restaurant is, like other aspects of their business plan, a constant, so the following links to images of their restaurants in other countries might as well be the eatery in College Park, Maryland.

Thus:

Poland
Iceland
Singapore
United Arab Emirates
France
Near me

. . . and in 2005, Stoughton, Massachusetts.

To tell you the truth, I’m not sure if IKEA is very, very good, or very, very evil. But it is certainly uniform.

London's bus campaign for Washington

Bus-loving people will have already seen the London ‘My other car is a bus — new advertising campaign — I only wish I could get one of the bumper stickers!

That said: Washington’s buses could use some more practical help, especially with the capacity of the Metrorail system being stretched towards breaking.

We all know that rail is “sexier” than bus, but that’s were the room for growth is — affordable growth anyway — and buses are more convenient and practical for a large segment of the populus than the rails anyway. (Neither home nor work is less than a twenty-minute walk from a rail station, but there’s a bus that goes very close from one to the other. I would have to drive if it wasn’t for the bus.) Time to treat them with some respect.

We could be more like London: encourage pride in our strikingly extensive and relatively modern system and provide more information for potential users. WMATA buses are quite difficult to use if you don’t already use them. It took far too long to get free system maps printed (and as it is, you have to ask for them at subway stations). The experimental downtown route direction maps were printed too fine, without adequate direction, and are already outdated. Weekly bus passes are sold at too few many shops. Bus stops are inadequately marked. There are several problems, and they are all resolvable.

A good starting palce would be to adopt London-style “spider maps.” These combine realistic local neighborhood maps (centering on a rail station) with stylized radiating bus routes. The format is based on the famous London Underground map. Hubby and I found the concept invaluable in our visit last year, and once implemented the bare details can be printed at the individual stops — far more helpful than the truth-bending minute-by-minute, long-distance-train-style schedules currently posted.

Since a picture is worth more than my feeble description, here’s a link to get some spider maps to review.

Spider maps by borough