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What's with all the rollovers?

OK, Mitch. This one is for you.

Avid TC.com reader and commenter Mitch posed a question through my e-mail:

I’m from Santa Cruz – You know, Highway 1, Big Sur, 1,000 foot cliffs straight down to the waters edge.

My question is: How come we never have any “rollovers” in our news?

Yet, I’ve been (in Tucson) five years and every day there is a rollover.

He also noted many of the rollovers happen on Interstate 10:

There’s one road, its wide, paved AND a straight shot from here to Phoenix, How do Tucsonans do it?

The thing was constructed so a 747 could land on it for Pete’s sake. (Who IS Pete by the way)?

To answer Mitch’s inquiries:

1. Why aren’t there rollovers in Big Sur?

There are few, if any, rollovers in places that have highways abutting sheer cliffs that drop to the sea, such as your former Highway 1 in Big Sur and my former Highway 101 in southern Oregon, for a simple reason.

The vehicles don’t have time to roll over when they lose control. They simply smash, crash and then dash through the guardrail right down with a splash into the water.

No room to roll/Photo by Ryn Gargulinski
No room to roll/Photo by Ryn Gargulinski

2. Who is Pete?

The “Pete” from the term “for Pete’s sake” goes back to the Bible, according to Phrases.org.uk, which offers this explanation:

“For Pete’s Sake” – The phrase is simply a polite version of a common and profane expression involving the name of Christ. We’d surmise that the original ‘Pete’ was St. Peter.” From “Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins” by William and Mary Morris.

The explanation is kind of boring, as I was hoping Pete was a tad more mysterious. But it also falls into line with a phrase I used to think I heard as a kid in church. When congregation members said en masse, “Thanks Be To God,” I actually thought they were saying “Thanks Peter God.” I thought it cute God had such an earthy name like Peter.

Any other rollover theories out there?

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Unemployment and death are such ugly words

Every other day another traditional term gets rewritten into something politically correct. Not only is it silly, but it takes the reality out of situations by masking them with flowery language.

People are no longer unemployed, as pointed out by former TC staffer Renee Schafer Horton in the previous post, they are “dislocated workers.”

Folks don’t die, they “pass away,” “proceed to eternal rest,” or “go sit in the palm of Jesus’s hand with angels singing in their ears and flowers strewn beneath their feet.”

No one is short, chunky or ugly, they are “height challenged,” “blessed with ampleness,” or “uniquely featured.” I’m convinced Sears played a big part in the PC movement by calling its jeans for fat kids “husky.”

Black is African American, American Indians are Native Americans, white folk are Caucasian or, as found in some of the most recent questionnaires that include ethnicity, “none of the above.” It makes me laugh every time I have to pick “none of the above.”

Even the term manic depression, which gave rise to a kick-butt Jimi Hendrix tune, has been toned down to be known as “bipolar.”

Some of the terms are wimpy, others are downright annoying.

Or should we say some are “soft-spoken in strength” and “perky with peskiness.”

What PC term makes you cringe when you see it and why?
Has political correctness gone overboard?

"Resting eternally"/Illustration Ryn Gargulinski
"Resting eternally"/Illustration Ryn Gargulinski


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Grand Canyon: Beauty or a beast?

Anyone who has been to the Grand Canyon – or even seen photos of it – knows what an awesome and intriguing wonder it is.

But it can also be a “terrible beauty, ” to coin a phrase used by poet William Butler Yeats.

Even folks using common sense can fall prey to the sheer drops, unrelenting conditions and potential death that lurks just beyond every rock.

Please note: this is not to scare people from taking in the grandness of the Canyon, just a reminder in any hiking situation to watch your step, travel in pairs and steer very clear of the edge.

Two incidents this week, one fall and one death, illustrate the dangers:

NPS Photo by Shannon Miller
NPS Photo by Shannon Miller

Woman Rescued After Fall at Grand Canyon National Park, National Park Service news release
Grand Canyon, Ariz. – Late Thursday afternoon, park rangers rescued a 38-year-old woman who had fallen approximately 50 feet near a popular view point in Grand Canyon National Park.
At about 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 4, the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received two separate 9-1-1 calls from park visitors who reported seeing a woman slip and fall over the edge at Mather Point.
Upon arriving at the scene, park rangers found the woman about three-quarters of a mile west of Mather Point. She was approximately 50 feet below the rim.
Rescue personnel rappelled down to the woman and secured her so that they could assess her injuries. Once she was stable enough to move, the woman was packaged in a litter, and park staff used a rope haul system to pull her up to the rim.  She was back on the rim by 6:30 p.m.
The woman was transported by Classic Lifeguard Aeromedical Service to the Flagstaff Medical Center where she is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Body of Missing Hiker Found in Grand Canyon National Park, National Park Service news release
Grand Canyon, Ariz. – A body, presumptively identified as 69-year-old Robert (Bob) A. Williams, was found June 1 by park search and rescue personnel in the Hermit Basin area of Grand Canyon National Park.
On May 26, park rangers received a report that Williams was overdue from his Memorial Day weekend plans which had included hiking in Grand Canyon National Park.
On May 27, after finding Williams’ vehicle on the South Rim, park rangers began searching a broad area-from Hermit Basin to the South Kaibab area-that could easily be accessed on foot or via shuttle from the point where Williams’ vehicle was found.
On May 29, park rangers were able to narrow their search to the Hermit Basin area based on information received after issuing a public request for assistance to anyone who had hiked in the park’s backcountry during the Memorial Day weekend.
On Monday, June 1, search personnel were once again in the Hermit Basin, using a spotting scope to check difficult to access scree slopes and cliff areas. Based on information received from the spotters, search crews investigated an area _ mile south of Santa Maria springs. At approximately 10 a.m., searchers found Williams’ body located approximately 200 feet below the Hermit Trail.
The remains were transported by helicopter to the South Rim helibase where they were transferred to the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

My only Grand Canyon experience was when I was about 2 and my mom tells me all I did was try to get candy from the vending machines.

One of my friend’s dogs went leaping over a sheer cliff, landing dozens of feet below. The dog survived but always acted kind of strange, like it had brain damage, after that one.

Have you ever had a hiking tragedy, in the Grand Canyon or elsewhere?

Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon?

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