Monday, September 13, 2010

My Town Monday: Rough, indeed

Financially, things are a little tight in the state that catered to the Auto Industry for decades.  One of the areas that has suffered is roads.  There just isn't money to maintain them (not counting the millions of mispent money.)  This is also a state that LOVES to salt the roads all winter.  As if the normal freeze-thaw cycle isn't hell enough of roads, adding salt exascerbates the problem.

So we get roads that look like this:

Yes, this section of road is merely a collection of hot patch asphalt.

This is the solution, apparently. 


Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Town Monday: Canadian Quarters

Canadian quarters-- and other coins, but mainly the quarters-- have been a recurring frustration in my life.  Canada is a mere 2 hour drive from my house.  But that's not much consolation when I'm standing at the vending machine with a damned Canadian quarter... effectively 25cents short of what I need because Canadian money isn't accepted in U.S. vending machines.

Back when exchanges rates were far more favorable for the U.S., I'd heard rumors of unscrupulous shop owners crossing the border to get rolls of Canadian quarters.  This ultimately would lead to profits for them on conversion.  I don't doubt that a few vending machine operators employed this tactic too, given the frequency with which change machines and vending machines would spew the same little coins that they refused to accept.

I always figured this was a greater problem in states like Michigan, where the foreign land is so near.  Does it happen much in other states?  And do Canadians have problems getting U.S. quarters?

Though, I do think the dollar and two dollar coins that Canada uses are awesome.  Especially for vending machine use, they totally trump crumpled bills.  I am saddened that the dollar coin, which seemed to start taking hold a few years back with that Sacajawea coin, again faded in favor of the paper dollar.