End of MMXVI

by admin on 2016/12/30

Jimbaux is seeing that both his and his country's chances for freedom have been diminished.

You Don’t Know

Calling It “Politics” Is ‘Politically Correct’

The first thing that I want to discuss, before we get to the pictures (which is the point, as I shall soon explain), is the subject of a ridiculous comment that was left on the last newsy article here.  I state plenty of opinions that I hold about subjects not related to railroad photography here, because, afterall, this is ultimately a personal blog, but very little of it is “politics”; much of what I discuss is more ideological, which is upstream from politics, and much of what I discuss is philosophical, cultural, societal, and humanitarian issues.

This site is set up so that if you’re here only for the pictures, you can just look at them, maybe read the captions by positioning your mouse arrow over the image to read the filename, and move on, but, even furthermore, the commentary that I make that isn’t related to the pictures is almost always in a separate section of the post. To whatever degree the things that I discuss are actually political, the stakes are now higher than they have been in my lifetime and probably yours too.

Furthermore, upon spending a brief amount of time and almost no effort investigating the readers who make such complaints about me talking about these subjects, it seems that most or all of them harbor the positions that I’m calling out as being problematic.  It’s funny that this is part of the crowd that is supposedly motivated by having problems with “political correctness” (which doesn’t exist) when they themselves are being politically correct in their complaints; they can’t or won’t say what they think is wrong with what I am saying, and, instead, they just criticize me for saying it.

So, when you come complain about what I say, and you harbor such beliefs in the first place, you’re proving my point and not proving yours.

Of course, ad hominmen is the nature of Trumpism.  That crowd isn’t motivated by being for or against certain ideas or positions; they are, sadly and tragically, for or against certain people.

If you don’t like my opinions and feel the need to say something, why not attempt to rebut them?

What good is served by telling me that you don’t like that I’m talking about these things? You’re almost proving my points when you do that?

And if you come here only for the train pictures, why not look only at the train pictures? If you voted for Trump, you voted for the erosion of bodily autonomy, and that is a threat to me and to everyone else – including you.

And it’s an even bigger threat to all of my non-white friends.

It’s psychological warfare on all of us, and it’s completely unjustified because, as I’ll explain later, it’s completely unnecessary.

The stakes are high.

The End Of A Bad And Worsening Year

I got out and got a few pictures today, but these are not even close to being my best, which is a fitting way to end a bad and worsening year.

These train pictures are barely presentable, taken in a common photo location for me by Terminal Junction, and, the last time that I photographed here, I got some decent pictures.

Uninspiring Train Pictures

You know that these aren’t my best, though, ten years ago today, I photographed the KCSdeMéxico yard in Monterrey under cloudy skies.  Here, today, with skies much worse, I got this lame set of Norfolk Southern Railway train 198 – just having been interchanged from Union Pacific and now with a rested NS Meridian crew – starting the block swap process.

That’s the Franklin Avenue overpass above him, and we’re right at the end of the NS Back Belt here.

I don’t even know where this train terminates.  My once up-to-date knowledge on operations of New Orleans area railroads has expired, and I haven’t the will to renew it.

I guess that there are other concerns to have.

As a person not big on pop-culture, I’m not big on celebrities, and as a person not big on celebrities, I’m not as moved by celebrity deaths as many people are, but, as a Star Wars fan in my earliest days, I was struck by Carrie Fisher’s death in ways that I wasn’t by the deaths of George Michael, David Bowie, the artist formerly known as Prince, Muhammad Ali, Leonard Cohen, and whomever I’m supposed to know but am forgetting.  (I was struck by John Glenn’s death, but, since he has real-world national accomplishments, I don’t consider him a “celebrity,” and, at his advanced age, his death was no shock.)

This being New Orleans, the Krewe of Chewbacchus held a memorial parade – a second line, of sorts – in honor of Fisher’s memory.  I went to it and got a few uninspiring pictures, but, before we get to that, we have one more train. I heard horns to the east, which would mean that a train was coming in off of the Chalmette Branch.  Florida Avenue here is still closed with this big project that is happening with the canal, meaning that all that I could do was get these two shots of the Arabi job coming in.

As it often does, it stopped at Florida Avenue, apparently because the yard wasn’t ready to take it.

I left and didn’t stick around to see what happened next, especially as I didn’t want to get blocked in by the 198 still doing its block swapping.

“I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This”

After doing a few other chores, I made my way to the Bywater to get set up for the Princess Leia parade. The Mid-City Marine tells me that I should say “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” because, usually, storm troopers will show up shortly thereafter, but, eventually, I started to have a bad feeling about this.

I got set up for the parade on Poland Avenue; I found a great tree stump on which to stand, and someone knowing of the parade came and sat next to me.

It looks like the lighting is good for photographing such a parade, doesn’t it?  Those pictures were taken just a few minutes before the scheduled roll time of the parade.  So, even if the parade is a little bit late, as these social functions often are, I should be good. Right? Here are some other people showing up for the parade that is any minute now.

Awww!  Isn’t that cute?  There are Star Wars fans of many generations.

This is devotion; this is passion; this is love.

My hope is that we can have a new hope; God knows we need it in this stupid times.

Oh, and speaking of lost hope, it’s now 16:29, there’s no sign of a parade coming, and we’re rapidly losing light.

What in the heck is happening here?

Yep, Luke, I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

Now what?

See, What Had Happened Was

I was then told that the permit for the parade had 17:00 on it as start time, even though the crew advertised to the public that the parade would roll at 16:00.  This meant that, despite the parade being more or less ready at 16:00, it couldn’t move until the police escort showed up.

Well, isn’t that special?  Had I known that, I wouldn’t have bothered to come out here at all, but since I was already standing on this tree stump, now with my feet very much hurting, I’ll at least pop off this shot of the beginning of the parade before I get out of here.

Had the parade rolled an hour earlier, I’d have been fine without my flash, but, if I was going to use the thing at all, I needed to head back to the truck where it was.  Still, I knew that I wouldn’t succeed in getting good flash shots here, since I’m not good at that and lack the will or the way to learn how to be better at it.

I might as well try some weird cell phone shots with the lighting from the lightsabers.

I guess that that’s kind of cool.

So, back by the truck, with flash attached to the camera, I got a few shots before I got out of here.

I’m far too damned introverted to participate in something like that.

Actually, maybe it’s less introversion and more a general impatience with costuming, and my explanation for not costuming is that it’s not worth the effort to do it for just a few minutes, but doing it all evening is like standing on the stage for a comedy routine and telling the same joke over and over again; after about a minute, it gets old!

But, I can appreciate that these people do it, are into it, and that it’s fun for them and gives them meaning.

And, at least some others got some good pictures of the event.

Doug MacCash has a good article on the event.

That’s all.  Thanks for checking this out.

Epilogue

Values, Morality, and Necessity

I have to now talk about values and morality, and how a sense of necessity – or necessariness – motivates my morality.  Scroll down past a bunch of these Tweets that I have included to read what I mean, please.  Thank you.

Don’t you ever “but Hillary” me or anyone else ever again, especially with those allegations of “pay to play.”

The one problem with the below Tweet is that Bill Clinton was President when bin Laden planned the 9/11 attack (which took years to plan), but, that detail aside, the warning about Trump is ominous.

We don’t really have a republic anymore.

Skooks made the below Tweet at the beginning of the year.  Perhaps we now know why 2015 didn’t issue an apology.  It didn’t need to issue an apology.

I want to say some things about values and about the reviewing of past events.

In my own morality, in my own system of values (perhaps I’m using the terms “morals” and values” interchangeably), the question of whether an action or proposed action is right or wrong is a function of whether it is necessary.  The “is this necessary” question is the first thing that I ask before making a judgment as to whether something is right or wrong.

For example, the loud talker is doing something wrong not because the excess of sound volume is bothersome but because the excess of sound volume is unnecessary.  That person is being selfish and inconsiderate not because of the high volume of his speech but because of the lack of necessity for that high volume.  If the annoyingly loud speaking comes from someone who is speaking to 50 people and just happens to be closer to you than to the 49 other people, then that person isn’t really doing anything wrong, and you just suck up the noise, because you know that it is necessary.

Longtime readers know another example for me: headlights.  I’ve told you once and told you twice that you should have your headlights on on your automobile at any time that you’re driving it on any public road.  I’ve touted the safety benefits, but I wish to point out here that it’s simply not necessary – it accomplishes nothing – for you to have them off!  It’s unnecessary to have them off simply because it requires nothing of you to have them on!  Just turn them on after you turn your ignition, and that’s all that there is to it.

The same is true with motorists who so rudely hog the passing lane.  It’s not necessary for you to be there, and getting out of the way requires nothing from you.

I became a proponent of unconditional basic income once I realized that, especially given productivity levels rising while labor market participation is declining, it’s simply no longer necessary for every “able bodied” and “working age” adult to have a full-time job!  It costs us basically nothing to have basic income!

You live in a modern market economy. You’re not subsistence farming, and you couldn’t have the modern standard of living if you were subsistence farming. So, you already are dependent.

This focus on “bringing back” or “creating” jobs is so stupid, destructive, and myopic!

“But that has to be paid for by being taken out of my paycheck in the form of taxes!!” Yeah, and how do you think that that money gets into your paycheck in the first place?

But you just want entertainment from your leader, which is highly destructive.

No, basic income would not cause a harmful level of inflation.

We now live in a world of incredible abundance and technological convenience.  All of this strife is unnecessary.  Trump’s bullying is unnecessary.  Trumpism is unnecessary.

And, yet, here we are, and, as we’ve learned from the folly of Skooks’s expectation of an apology from 2015, it will get worse – in 2017, and, perhaps, beyond – before it gets better.

The empire has, sadly, struck back. May the force be with you.

JBX

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