I can think back, with great embarrassment, of the many times in my life I have kicked, punched, cursed or otherwise visited violence upon an inanimate object that refused to work as expected. Once in a while the result would be positive--a car would start or a vending machine would give me my diet soda. Usually, though, this tactic resulted in utter failure and a feeling of hopelessness. Last night I was headed back home on my commuter railroad train. I saw a train conductor gently kicking the stop light on the train pictured here (the light on the left, as you view the photo). The stoplight was dark. I was laughing to myself about the futility of the situation as he firmly tapped it with his foot. Then, suddenly, the light went on and he calmly returned to his work. When I boarded the train and skimmed the NY Times headlines on my Blackberry, I wondered if the conductor could perhaps be convinced to give the economy a couple of exploratory kicks. You never know.