January 25th, 2007

krazy koati

We're your responsibility in Philadephia

Now, the piece of the Passenger Ship Terminal that I think was intended for Pretend Security: like nearly every car made since Netscape 2.0 came out, my parents' cars have remote keyless entries. As we walked away from the car I noticed the door wasn't locked. I gave the lock button a couple extra presses, and tried the button for the other car too; neither worked.

I have a reputation at home as a car-breaker. Since I first went off to college too many of my visits home have corresponded to one or more cars breaking. Sometimes it's a little thing like the battery dying; sometimes it's a car completely out of operation. I had done well the last few trips, and the cars better, but last week in Dad's car a warning light came on that one of the headlights was burned out. Actually it's one of the running lights and the corresponding high-beam headlight, which I can do without, but the warning light was on the dashboard panel staring back at me. On the way into Manhattan the tire pressure light came on, but it went out again by pressing the dashboard button with the same icon and holding it for ten seconds. So I hoped we'd gotten out without any serious malfunctions.

So there we were in Manhattan with the car un-lockable. I know the city is safer than it used to be, but still ... It turned out the car could be locked -- and unlocked -- the old-fashioned way, with the key actually in the door. I suspected some moderately serious electrical system problem too since when I started the car again all the radio settings were wiped out and I had to dial back up from 530 AM to 880 AM.

It was temporary, though; the next time I turned the car off and on again the radio settings were restored, and the remote key was working again. I have to conclude it's something about the Ship Terminal, with some radio noise generator cleverly blocking keyless entry but not AM radio. I know my Mother strode off without discovering the car wasn't locked, and I'm sure other people who don't have the same compulsions I have to double-check locks that I have have done so too. But surely the cars left unlocked and unattended are a small price to pay for forcing the Terrorists to manually dial their favorite radio stations. I'm just relieved that I could show that the problems were not my fault, apart from the running light/high-beam issue.

Trivia: The first, 25 January 1940, road show of ask-the-audience pioneer program Vox Pop was at Rutgers University. Source: Quiz Craze, Thomas A DeLong.

Currently Reading: 1776, David McCullough. Dad asks if I bought it, because he has a copy in his library. I tell him I got it from his library. He says that's fine, but did I find it in his library? I suspect Dad reacts to the conversation he thinks he's in. He also wanted to know what I thought of the book, but at page ten it was hard to have a firm opinion. So far, it doesn't have as much singing as I expected.