Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is a wonderful movie and a must see at Thanksgiving time. It also offers viewers some of the worst that can happen when you have to travel by either method while showing how a great attitude can make a bad situation not so bad.
Unless you are drunk while reading this, I think it is safe to say we all agree nothing good comes from getting behind the wheel of a car while drunk. However, I generally believe nothing good comes from getting into a plane or train while drunk, even if you are not behind the controls.
If you have not seen the video of a drunken young woman berating a group of German tourists and yelling out racist comments, save yourself the trouble. It would have been better had it ended with her losing her cookies all over herself. Instead, she got what she really deserved, canceled. Not even her boyfriend, now ex-boyfriend, could keep her from destroying a life, even if it was just her own.
The woman in question also lost her job, friends, and probably her train pass in the process and will get to spend the remainder of her life wondering if each day is one where someone will ask her about her drunken and racist rant toward a bunch of Germans who remain surprisingly uninterested in anything she had to say to them.
Here is what baffles me the most about this incident. It is not that an American laid into some tourists with racist remarks or that it took being drunk for her to work up the courage to show the world her true self. No, it’s that she is surprised when her boyfriend tells her he is also an immigrant. I would have thought she required a boyfriend to have a swastika tattoo or kept a hood and cape in his closet.
Fifty to sixty years to live with this seems to be a fair consequence for the woman who is probably wishing there was some sort of racist idiot protection program she can enter. She is going to need more than a new identity for a while.
Speaking of rail travel, I was recently invited to join five wonderful women who were high school classmates of mine on one of their annual get togethers. The five, Sharon, Laurie, Janet, Debbie, and Heather included me on their afternoon adventure of pedaling railbikes from Santa Paula to Fillmore and back. Other than Sharon, it had been over forty years since I had tormented the others as a knucklehead teen.
Women are much smarter than men. Besides making us think we are superior, they outlive us primarily because once men work themselves to the bone, they retire and find themselves with few close friendships. Women, on the other hand, are far more social than men and their friendships last a lifetime which comes in handy when they have to weather life’s challenges.
I remember how my mom continued to write letters to her childhood friends and meet for lunch with the other moms from our old neighborhood well into her eighties. I know many other women who have done the same over the course of their lives. It was easy to see the strong bond between the five I spent an afternoon with and envied how they have all been there for one another over the course of their adult lives and all the challenges they have faced. They will remain that way for years to come.
Our culture has both an aging and mental health crisis on its hands and much of it doesn’t have to be that way. My generation of men were raised to swallow their feelings and let them eat them up alive. Younger kids today live in a virtual world where human contact is made to seem unnecessary. However, it is that direct human contact that makes all the difference. A hug and a voice cannot be replaced by an emoji. I will be long gone before we know the results, but I can’t help wondering what happens when today’s young become old. Will women fall by the wayside faster like men do because of a lack of human contact?
I will admit, the past six months have been the most challenging months of my life. Healing requires feeling and when you were raised to bottle yours up, it results in wave after wave of emotions, thoughts, and worries that are only magnified when left unshared. I often have to remind myself of the words to one of my favorite songs to make myself more mindful. “In silence, the lonely make all of their mistakes.” It’s nice to have a sounding board who can listen to you and remind you of what you have a difficult time convincing yourself of; all pain is temporary.
My friend Craig enjoys tormenting me on Facebook as much as I enjoy tormenting him. However, sometimes things backfire. He recently tagged me with a video from a young woman who goes by Emmymade. Now, I am totally captivated by her videos of her preparing her unique recipes or sampling products from dollar stores or Japanese products. If you can watch one of her videos and not find her as captivating as she is cute and enthusiastic as I do, then you have no soul.
RFK Jr. has announced he is going to run for president as an independent candidate. If ever there was a presidential election where the voters needed more choices than who the two primary parties offer up, next year’s is as good as any. In fact, don’t be surprised to see another independent candidate run. If Trump wins the GOP nomination, we might well see a moderate republican run and if the GOP tires of Trump and goes with someone else, expect Trump to run as an independent.
Junior might have the backing of fed-up voters, but don’t expect to see him get much support from the rest of the Kennedy clan. He is to them what Prince Harry and Megan Markle are to the Royal family.
Poor Kevin McCarthy. It looks like Matt Gaetz was successful in ousting Kevin from his leadership duties. Now we get to see if McCarthy and his backers succeed in booting Gaetz from Congress. Remember folks, family values, strong leadership, and love for the nation are not to be confused with who makes up the GOP.
American gymnast Simone Biles had another gymnastics movement named after her recently. I guess they get named after the first person who performs it and Biles has about 847 movements no one else has done. Anyway, it got me thinking about how I believe the person who accomplishes the movement first should be able to name it whatever he or she chooses. So, I am going to kick start a movement (puns are free) for each of us to name something they do after someone else. For instance, every day, I go to the bathroom and take a Trump.
I’m not sure what the goal of Hamas is with their recent attack on innocent Israelis. I am not surprised to read that Iran looks to be behind it in some form. I am also not surprised to see an Israeli declaration of war. However, I will be surprised to see this play out in any way that helps the Palestinian cause. When you randomly gun down innocent people at a music festival and parade their dead bodies for the world to see, you should not expect the rest of the world to view you as victims.
When a nation elects a hot head like Benjamin Netanyahu as their leader, they should not be shocked that their enemy feels threatened and moves to take him down. Hamas cannot win a war with Israel, but they can hope their actions cause the downfall of a man they see as their biggest threat to a peaceful future. In this sense, Hamas looks at their actions as necessary much like the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11.
Hamas will be happy if an Arab/Israeli war breaks out on a large scale. In their eyes, it is their best shot at gaining their own independence. It does not matter if it results in another world war that requires superpowers like the United States and China to become involved. They won’t lose sleep over the potential loss of millions of lives. It won’t even matter if it results in the use of nuclear weapons. They only know the way their life is now is no longer acceptable. To them, it is time the rest of the world woke up rather than look the other way.
There are only two ways to bring peace to that region. One requires leaders who are willing to give and take knowing negotiating is better than war. The other is to bring your enemy to their knees so they have no other choice but to accept your peace terms. Hamas wants to bring Israel to their knees, as do other nations in the region. However, Israel is not a nation whose history is going to allow them to hand over what they feel is rightfully theirs.
Russia, or more likely Vladimir Putin, must feel giddy about all of this. There is only so much military support the western world can provide to other nations. The more they give to support Israel means less for Ukraine. You better believe Putin will use this dilemma to his advantage.
If you are not happy with our economy, just wait and see what happens when more of our money has to be diverted to wars to two parts of the world. As a nation, are we even capable of comprehending the long-term fallout if we choose isolation over greater involvement abroad? Do we understand there is only so much money our government has to support or fight two major wars without our economy tanking? Do we think for one second the wealthiest in this nation are willing to pay more taxes because the rest of us are maxed out?
Don’t forget, U.S. senator Tommy Tuberville is as much an enemy of our nation as he is to other free nations. He continues to hold up any and all military confirmations based on his homophobic beliefs. You can also bet that the only people of color he has had tolerance for were those who could help him win football games when he was a coach. If you think this far right “Christian Conservative” cares about the people of Israel or Palestine, you are mistaken.
The simple truth to all of this is there is no simple truth and there sure isn’t any simple solution. Are we too selfish to care about the freedom of others in the world? Can we even be bothered by problems that can’t be solved with a Google search? Does this nation even know what real sacrifice is and that it has nothing to do with how much we have to spend on disposable crap? This is precisely why it is more important that our schools require a greater understanding of history. No one cares how many math equations you can solve if you do not understand fact from fiction as it unfolds in real time.
Ignorance isn’t bliss nearly as much as it is a tool used to manipulate us.
Until next time, Toodeloo.
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.