“When it started in 1997, with an estimated budget of $1.8 billion, the earthquake retrofit of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was supposed to take six years. Seemingly plagued from the start, the project remains far from completion. Every setback — from an FBI investigation into weld safety to the rising cost of cement and steel — has contributed to the project’s ever-growing bottom line, which contractors now estimate at $6.3 billion. The Public Press has to ask: Why is the construction so over budget? Where did the money go? Are these kinds of cost overruns normal for government construction projects, and if so, why? This project is investigative reporting at its best: “follow the money.”—Spot.us - Pitch: Bay Bridge Explained
KEVIN DOLGIN TELLS YOU ABOUT PLACES YOU SHOULD GO IN EUROPE BY KEVIN DOLGIN
- - - - The World’s Smallest Country. - - - -
Vatican City is the crumb left over once the pope’s earthly domain was reduced to a couple of blocks in Rome following Italian unification. The pope at the time (Pius IX) was very unhappy about this abrogation of his temporal power (free access heaven is apparently no substitute for an earthly kingdom, despite what the gospels say) and until Paul VI, the popes, in a bout of ecclesiastical pouting that was to last for a century, considered themselves exiled in their own country, which is the size of a large bath towel.
Vatican City consists primarily of the basilica of Saint Peter, who was the first pope and is buried under a very impressive altar in the middle of the basilica. You can visit his grave (and the graves of most of the popes) by standing in a long line and shuffling through a series of marble hallways while guards say “shush”. There will be a traffic jam at the grave of John Paul II, where you can either be pushed along with the crowd or step behind the special contemplation ropes to contemplate and look way more devout than the tourists who get pushed past wondering what “Joannes Paulus PP. II” means.
IT’S DECORATIVE GOURD SEASON, MOTHERFUCKERS. BY COLIN NISSAN
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I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I’m about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There’s a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.
(more at the link - i love autumn but this amused me!)