We’ve had another fatality on PCH — this time, a car struck a cyclist somewhere in the vicinity of Busch Drive. We haven’t yet confirmed the specifics of this accident, but what absolutely mystifies me is the number of bicyclists who ride on the highway without any lights or reflectors that can be easily seen. A cyclist riding on the edge of the highway — particularly at dawn or dusk — often blends into the darker, grayer areas along the road, and I suspect many, if not most of us, have had close calls with bikes we didn’t see until we were on top of them.
At 50 mph, a car is moving at about 75 feet per second — about four to five car lengths in one second, which is about as long as it takes to say “one Mississippi,” which is the way we used to count seconds. If I were a cyclist, which I am not, I certainly would want to have several small lights on the bike just for my own safety.
At sea on a ship or even a small boat, there are lights on the mast and on the stern (the back), as well as running lights on the side — green on one side red on the other. It not only makes them visible, but it also tells you where they are, relative to you, and where they may be headed. It’s not perfect, but it’s a major advantage over typical bike lights or reflectors.
* * * * * *
This weekend, Karen and I took our two-year-old granddaughter to the sand pile and swings in the middle of the Malibu Country Mart. It’s a lovely, well-maintained space, and it really hasn’t changed that much since we first took our boys there when we moved to Malibu in 1976. It originally had been the vision of Fred Segal, who bought an old, run-down motel many years ago and converted it into a retail center and a park. What has changed is the stores. I walked around the center and the adjacent center, and I couldn’t help but feel that the primary business in Malibu is women’s clothing stores and accessories. I would estimate that the overwhelming majority of the retail stores are national women’s clothing chains, which I guess are the only ones that can afford the rentals. It’s a sad commentary on what passes for local retail.
* * * * * *
A lot of retail that we see is made in China, and made very cheaply in China, which is how they can afford to spend most of their revenue on marketing and advertising in slick women’s magazines. But that could be changing. This week, the air began to go out of the Chinese balloon, and, suddenly, the entire world was very, very nervous.
Understand that I’ve personally been out of the market for a long time after coming to the conclusion that in the market, there are only two teams: the players and the suckers, and I certainly didn’t have the time, the inclination or the capital to be a player, so that didn’t seem to leave much room for anything but an exit.
So I’m watching China and the global financial markets with a kind of detached interest, figuring that it really doesn’t much affect me personally.
Today (Tuesday) I thought the worst was over because Wall Street seemed to be stabilizing after a few white-knuckle days and a very major drop in stock prices. China had taken aggressive steps to fix the situation, pumped money into their economy from their giant cash reserves and, by midday, the Dow was up several hundred, and then boom — in the late afternoon, someone must have screamed “panic,” and everyone rushed to get out, and, in minutes, the Dow closed down 200 plus points. The realization is that this thing could blow up any which way — and it really doesn’t matter if you are in the market or not — if China, the No. 2 economy in the world, really hits the skids. If it blows, it’s going to impact everyone, including us, in everything from our home prices to what we pay for goods to employment to commodity prices, etc., etc. It’s apparent that there are no innocent bystanders in a globalized world, particularly when one of the big boys gets into trouble.