Things That Are Unremarkable

by admin on 2017/07/28

Jimbaux finds no comfort in this world, even though there so could be.

I got a few pictures this morning, the first train pictures that I taken since April 28.  The pictures that I got today are very mediocre and not even close to my best work.

So, to the people new to this publication, please do not judge my photography by what you see here in this particular essay; rather, see, for example, the April 2017 archive for what I took both in April of 2007 and in April of this year.

As usual, I have plenty to say in words in addition to pictures.  I don’t have much in the way of pictures today; I’ll address one recent railroad enthusiast community comment, then show the pictures, and then say more about bigger and broader topics.

It Has Happened Again

Once again, someone in the railroad enthusiast community has to accuse me of things that I didn’t do.  I’ve been over this already, guys.

In response to what I said at the beginning of the April 17 shrimp boat piece, the part about how railroad enthusiasts, being perceived as freaks and weirdos, should have more general empathy for the rest of society’s outcasts, someone wrote this.

I must disagree with your statement about people involved in the model railroad hobby as being weird and freakish. true there are a group of people in the hobby who are a bit odd and some are down right tyrants but on the whole I know and are friends with some that are highly intelligent caring ladies and gentlemen who are far from being freakish .Please don’t generalize and lump all into one group because of one or two people.

Of course, I did not say anything about model railroading, and I said nothing about anyone being weird and freakish, but go ahead and yet again twist my words.

And even if I actually had said that I think that about railroad enthusiasts or model railroaders, the schema of the argument would still have flowed the same, because it is irrelevant whether they are freaks or are perceived as freaks, because the calculation should be the same; whether you are a freak or perceived as a freak, you should have some empathy for the downtrodden.

Thanks for proving my point.

Pictures, Please

Except for occasional intention chases of the rare trains on the Abbeville Branch, like I last did in April (yeah, that’s the fifth of five hyperlinks in this article that leads back to April on this site), I hardly seek out trains anymore (but don’t worry, as I have plenty of decennial retrospective blog articles to make for years to come), but I made a quick run this morning by the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad’s France Yard, partly because my interest was rekindled with the news that the branch north of here would get more life thanks to TCI’s river facilities being relocated here.

I found the NOPB 2008 shoving a cut of cars, drilling on the southern end of the yard.

I like that, but, unfortunately, it’s probably the best picture of the day; it goes downhill from here.

However, here are some new shots.  He shoved into the spur coming out of the yard, and I got this view that I have never before done.

Do you see the trainman flagging the street in the above image?

Man, it looks like he’s about to derail some boxcars, but that’s just the way that the track is.

After that, I made my way north to the CSX to get a few images of the parked CSX transfer run from the Canadian National Railway returning home, parked at Louisa Street.

I’m almost certain that that septet of hopper cars starting from the third car on back is carrying refined sugar from Colonial Sugars (or whatever it is called now) in Gramercy.

That carload of lumber likely comes from the Weyerhouser mill on at Holden on CN’s Hammond Subdivsion.

I love the palm trees here on Almonaster Boulevard.

I love that this train also had one locomotive, whereas I am so accustomed to seeing it with two locomotives.

I just didn’t love it so much that I stuck around long enough to wait for it to move, as there was a train on each track on the drawbridge ahead, one of them the CSX-NOPB-KCS transfer and the other a yard job using the mainline as a switch lead.

So, I left, as I had business to address, and that’s all for the not-really-that-great pictures today.  I should stick to taking pictures in the cooler times of year.

White Fragility

My last new (i.e., not anniversarial retrospective) blog article was my “A Memorial For The USA” piece, and, apparently, it drew the ire of a couple of persons whom I didn’t even think read this publication and with whom I have practically no interaction anymore.

In that piece, which was a photo essay that centered around a Memorial-Day-weekend trip to a national cemetery, I lamented what has become of my country, the United States of America, and I analyzed what signs there were in the past of what was to come today.  I analyzed what signs there were in my own life and even with me.

I shared a couple of personal anecdotes, one of them being something that one of my since-deceased grandmothers said to me 10 years ago, something that reflected a troubling-but-very-common thought about racism.

That people would freak out about that proves my point.  The fact that a white woman born in the first half of the 1920s in Louisiana would harbor such sentiments is, like the insipid set of pictures that I took today, completely unremarkable.  My grandmother was a person who met the demographic profile described in the previous sentence; it would be remarkable if she had not harbored such racist sentiments.

The freakout about my anecdote about my grandmother telling me to not “go teach the blacks” would make sense if that sentiment was somehow uncommon, but it was not at all uncommon; it was the norm, and that was the point, along with the fact that it’s up to us today to change that.  It’s not like I accused my grandparents of running a child-trafficking ring or revealed that they did; now, that would be shocking and scandalous, and it would be untrue!

If you had to bet money on whether a white person of that time and place harbored such sentiments, you’d bet that they did harbor them, because, if you had to bet money on it, you’d have to be honest, and, certainly, almost any black person knows this.  That is why there is nothing wrong with me sharing that story, and the freakout about me sharing that story shows that the problem still exists.

We’re at a point at which if you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem; there is no neutrality.

And the problem still exists because we don’t face it.  And we don’t face it because, worse than anything except for explicitly embracing the bigotry, we are too uncurious to care.

At least some people who have been part of the problem are now honestly addressing the problem.

Is it really scandalous to point out that a deceased loved one wasn’t 100% right about 100% of things? especially when such sentiments were completely normal of someone of her time and age?  I really don’t think so.  The story that I shared was quite universal, which is to say that it’s quite banal and normal; the vast majority of white persons my age from Louisiana have similar stories of comments made from their own grandparents.  That’s why it didn’t matter which grandmother it was (and, apparently, someone was mad that I didn’t specify which one it was, as if that matters.)  It’s completely normal; our grandparents were, just like we today are, and just like our grandparents’ grandparents were, complex, flawed people who were raised the way that we were raised.

I shared that story to demonstrate that we as a society have some big problems and that we must acknowledge them; the freakout about me sharing a completely unshocking anecdote proves my point.  Were I to have read a similar anecdote about my beloved grandparents coming from someone else, my response – if any, and, by response, I mean, to myself – would be that they were people of their time, that was normal back then, and it’s on us today to do something about it for the future.

“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”

- Marcus Aurelius

I loved and will always love my grandparents, I miss them, who I am is influenced very heavily by who they were, and I think about them every day.

I just accept the fact that they are gone, and I accept the fact that my generation is responsible for the world that it builds for the future, regardless of what came before; I also accept that we need to do better than they did, and they did plenty of good in this world.  Thus, the “comments about my grandmother” were not really about my grandmother.

Furthermore, if you’re not trying to stop this awfulness every day, then you don’t care what your American ancestors did in World War II.

And while we’re on the subject of what some still-living persons think about all of this, I’m not sure why I should care what someone who wants to needlessly allow me to die thinks of me, and I’m not sure why I should care what someone who is okay with needlessly allowing my and others’ destitution in a world of such abundance thinks of me.

If you spend years antagonizing people, the result is that they are antagonized.

I, Too

No, it’s not “about [my] grandmother”; it’s about all of us, including myself.  Even after that 2007 “don’t go teach the blacks” admonition from my grandmother, I myself still held some racist views, and I probably still hold some now.  That’s the point.

So, then, let me come clean.  More than a year later, as Barack Obama got elected President, I wrote the following passage – which contains some thoughts of which I am not proud – to a friend.

Yes, I still didn’t know what “racist” meant at the time; it’s not synonymous with “prejudice.”  Also, I didn’t appreciate the problems of blackness, as my suggestion that “excuses won’t be so easy to make anymore” demonstrates.

So, I was, a year after my grandmother told me to not “go teach the blacks,” still thinking much the same way.  Again, it’s not about her; it’s about me, it’s about us, and it’s about what we do about it.

The worst thing about what I wrote above is that I am seeming to suggest that a white backlash would somehow be the fault of anyone but the white folks engaging in that backlash.  Today, I see how painfully wrong that idea is, every time I see someone say that Barack Obama – or Mitch Landrieu – divided us racially or created division or such, as if the majority isn’t responsible for that!

So, maybe all of this just had to happen, regardless of Obama?  I think so.

Oh my gosh!  I was a prophet, and I didn’t realize it until I reread this old message a few nights ago!  ”This might inevitably cause a backlash among whites, and it will be all too easy for white supremacists to take advantage of the discontent.”  I can’t believe I wrote that!  Not because it isn’t true or because it is shameful but because it was so damned prophetic!

Here’s what I wrote to that same friend that same night after what you saw above.

No, I didn’t care for Obama at first.  He’s a politician, I am a skeptic, and I was very put off by that aura crap at the Democrats’ convention that year, so much so that I had to turn off the television because it was so disgusting that they were treating Obama like he was Jesus.  It seems so trite now that Cult45 is so alarming, but Obama’s following at the time seemed like a cult.

Nearly nine years later, even though it is surely pricey, I can now afford to purchase health insurance without having to be on some local plantation, giving up my identity.  Thanks to Obama, we are now a little bit more free (though I could damn sure do without forcing employers to pay for stuff for which they do not want to pay), and his 2008 general election opponent just voted in the wee hours of this morning to maintain that increased level of freedom.

He gets it.  What’s your excuse?

End This Madness

Every day that the GOP leaders do not impeach Donald Trump, they are complicit in all of his awfulness.

So many of us just can’t take this anymore.

I am (still) a registered Republican, and I wholeheartedly object to all of this.

McMullin knows that he’s an American first and that Trumpism is anti-American.

And it always has been anti-American, and it always has been awful.

I could see who Trump was when I was old enough to know who he was.

End this.  Now.  Every current GOP member of Congress should have “SUPPORTED TRUMP” chiseled into his headstone.  There is no excuse for this degradation to continue, and there was never an excuse to support it in the first place.

Okay, now I will end this.  I have plenty more to say, but I’ll save it for later.



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tex Collins July 28, 2017 at 20:46

The problems are not racism, self absorption, etc. The root problem is a lack of the Lord God in our lives. People are NOT inherantly good: they are evil. For me, the starting point was to ask the Lord God to take over my life. (I did not like my self very much. I kept fleeing from my self into drugs, alcohol, and stupid actions.) I have not yet become perfect. Nor, do I know whether that will ever come. But, I do know that I do not hate myself anymore. So, I can like others, help others, care about others. My life has improved. I get to indulge my pleasures: trains, airplanes, boats, computers, and the wonderful wife that the Lord God dropped into my life. I have been given the opportunity to have a book published: “A Man Who Made Things Happen” available on Amazon. And I have been able to improve my education.
Jim, I do not have to agree with you an everything to be your friend.


2 EDITOR - Jimbaux July 28, 2017 at 20:51

There are plenty of interesting and personal things that you shared here about which I’d like to ask perhaps privately, but are you saying that racism somehow is not a problem?

And could it be that people are BOTH inherently good AND inherently bad?


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