LOS ANGELES - The stern new security procedures at airports are not the only cause of travel traumas. There still is good old Mother Nature to compound the challenges. And she can be fiercely punishing.
I was the keynote speaker at a session of the annual convention of the National Association of Elementary School Principals in San Antonio, Texas. It was a huge gathering of about 9,000 people and my address had been well received. I must confess, I felt a smug sense of self-satisfaction with a job well done as I was driven back to the San Antonio airport. It had been showering lightly for the past two days but the highway was now starting to slowly dry off. I arrived more than two hours before my flight was scheduled to depart for Los Angeles so that I could comfortably navigate the strict new security checks. But security turned out to be a piece of cake. I sailed through without a glitch. The only bit of slowdown was when a couple of security attendants recognized me and I stopped to sign a few autographs.
I checked in, got my boarding passes to Dallas/Fort Worth connecting on to Los Angeles, and settled in with a copy of the New York Times. At 3 p.m., half an hour before the scheduled departure time, I gathered near the gate with others to await the boarding announcement. Nothing happened. 3:15 came and went with no boarding. The scheduled departure time came and we were still crowded around the gate. At 3:40, the announcement came. There was a storm headed our way and all flights had been temporarily grounded. However, airline officials assured us, as soon as we were cleared, the plane would be immediately available for boarding, and we would take off -- so we were told not to leave the gate area. The tension that swept through the crowd was palpable. I looked out the glass wall and saw that the sky was cloudy but spotty patches of blue could be seen. I speculated that they wouldn't keep us grounded for too long. I assumed that this delay was just precautionary.
At 4 o'clock, the public address system announced that we were still grounded but that there would be half-hour updates so do not leave the gate area. By this time the churning clouds had crowded out any patch of visible blue sky. Eyes began flashing alarmed looks at each other. But I had flown through storms before. This grizzled traveler didn't think there was any need for undue agitation. But I thought I should at least inform my business manager in Los Angeles that my arrival home would now most probably be delayed.
When I reached my manager on my cell phone, I could hear the alarm in his voice. He told me that his computer airline schedule was telling him that the Dallas/Fort Worth airport was also shut down because of the approaching storm. It looked bad. My connecting flight to Los Angeles had also been grounded.
I looked out the glass wall. Those churning clouds had turned much darker now. I began to feel uneasy about getting on that plane and barreling into those ominous-looking clouds. I'd better find another routing to get back home, I thought. I looked toward the gate clerk's counter and saw a long line forming of people with panic in their eyes. As an experienced traveler, I told myself, I'm not about to be stampeded by the hysteria. I knew how to avoid that crowd. With feigned self-assurance, I grabbed my rolling luggage and began striding for the main terminal ticket counter. It seemed, however, a good number of other people also had the same idea. Exactly what I was trying to avoid. Everybody was coming down the corridor right behind me. I blew whatever cool I had been faking. I began trotting with my luggage bouncing along behind me to stay ahead of the others. When I got to the main ticket desk, a horde of people were already there, yelling and demanding that they absolutely had to get home NOW! It is at times like this that I will be eternally grateful for First Class tickets. There were only two people waiting in the red-carpeted line.
When my turn came, the attendant in front of me seemed almost as frenzied looking as some of the passengers. He had thinning frizzy brown hair and he peered intensely at my flight itinerary through heavy, ringed Coke bottle spectacles. But, he was good. "Try Albuquerque as my connection -- or El Paso," I suggested desperately. "Or Las Vegas." His fingers clicked away at the keyboard like a woodpecker's beak. When they were no good, I spat out, "Try Salt Lake City?" No good. "What about San Francisco?" None worked. They were already all booked up. "But I've got to be back by tomorrow. I have a very important meeting," I pleaded. I could almost see him thinking, "So does everyone else." But he soldiered on silently intent, his eyes fixed on his computer screen. Suddenly, his eyes popped wide and his glasses almost jumped up. "How about through Phoenix at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning?" he asked. "I'll take it," I replied. "But it's on another airline," he warned. "I'd fly you guys because I like you," I assured him, "but your birds ain't flying. A bird in hand is better than a bird on the ground," I quipped now smug again. How quickly my desperation had faded. "But it doesn't go to LAX," he added. "It lands at Long Beach Airport." "That's close enough. I want that flight," I insisted. I had a way home now - but at 6 a.m. in the morning! That meant that I now had to get a hotel room near the airport. I had a new challenge. I know from anguished past experiences how quickly airport hotels can fill to capacity at times like this.
I rushed to the airport hotel-listing wall with a bank of telephones. The first one I tried was already full. Anxiously, I called the next one. I lucked out with the second. I hurried out of the terminal to a now lightly raining airport landscape. The front of the storm was arriving. I dove into a taxi and rushed over. Thankfully, the hotel was only about five minutes from the airport. It looked like a glorified motel from the outside, but the atmosphere in the lobby was almost like the airport. Frantic people and a screaming baby surrounded the reception desk. The room I finally got was the last available at the hotel. I had to get up early to catch my 6 a.m. flight back so I asked for a 3:30 a.m. wake up call and went up to my room.
Once I laid down on the bed, hunger gripped my exhausted body. I was famished. But the hotel had no restaurant or room-service. Fortunately, I remembered that I'd saved the bag of peanuts and the bag of pretzels from my two flight legs on my way to San Antonio. Munching on pretzels, I turned on the television. "60 Minutes" was on. It's one of my favorite shows. I had written off catching the show because of the travel, but, thanks to this disaster, at least I wouldn't miss tonight's show. I was getting into the program when suddenly the screen was filled with the bold words, WEATHER WARNING.
An ominous voice intoned that a thunderstorm was headed toward Uvalde County with the possibility of tornadoes. Everyone was ordered to stay indoors in a safe part of the house. Then a map flashed on. Uvalde was just west of San Antonio and the storm was headed directly at us, east of Uvalde. "60 Minutes" then came back on but now, at the bottom of the screen, was a continuing scroll with weather updates. Trying to read the scroll and, at the same time, focus on the program, I tried getting back into the show. Suddenly, the WEATHER WARNING sign again broke in. The voice reported that hail the size of baseballs was now falling in Uvalde. The order to stay indoors was urgently repeated. It was getting bad, but I realized I had to get up at 3:30. I had better get some sleep. I muted the television so that I could read just the weather updates and turned out the lights. But I couldn't fall asleep. I kept tossing and turning. Suddenly, the entire room lit up electric white. I bolted up from bed. What was that? Then the room trembled with a horrendous crashing sound like the sky ripping apart. A beat later, a sheet of rain, almost like an ocean wave, slapped at the window. It was followed again by another slap with another flash of lightening. It was terrorizing. It was the same terror I felt as a child in the internment camp in Arkansas. Those Arkansas thunderstorms were the most frightening of my childhood experiences. The storm continued for most of the night. Just as it finally began to calm down and I started to doze, the phone rang. It was my automated 3:30 wake up call.
The hotel had promised that there would be a shuttle service to the airport at 15-minute intervals in the morning. The storm had passed but the street was glistening with rain. I waited under the canopy in front of the hotel entrance. A mini-bus, already filled with passengers and luggage, rolled up. There was just enough space for me to board. The driver announced, however, that there would be one more hotel stop where he had to pick up passengers before heading for the airport. There were about half a dozen sleepy looking people waiting there. Our bus could barely take only one or two more. The ones that forced themselves onboard were two out-of-shape women huffing and puffing with effort. The other waiting people would have to take the next bus. The cramped ride from there to the airport was the last ordeal. The check-in went unexpectedly smoothly. Although I was chosen for the special security check, where I had to take my shoes off, open my luggage, and be "wanded" all over, it seemed like nothing after the trauma I'd already endured. The take off was uneventful and landing in radiantly sunny Phoenix, Arizona, was a joy. But, the happiest was landing at Long Beach Airport. I was home! At last!
After a trip like that, I can't tell you how fervently I pray for the early invention of that Star Trek travel mode called "beaming."
Have you ever been reading a book, watching a movie, or even sitting down for a fantastical cartoon and began to salivate when the characters dig into some doozy of a made up food?
You're not alone.
Food is apparently fertile ground for creativity. Authors, movie directors, and animators all can't help but put a little extra time and effort into the process of making characters' tasty delights mouthwatering even for audiences on the other side of the screen.
Read on for a perfect mixture of nostalgia and hunger.
AllWhammyNoMorals asked, "What's a fictional food you've always wanted to try?"
Some people were all about the magical foods eaten in the magical places. They couldn't help but wish they could bite into something with fantastical properties and unearthly deliciousness.
"Enchanted golden apple" -- DabbingIsSo2015
"The Minecraft eating sounds make me hungry" -- FishingHobo
"Gotta love that health regeneration" -- r2celjazz
"Pretty sure those are based off the golden apples that grant immortality. Norse mythology I think?" -- Raven_of_Blades
Take Your Pick
"Nearly any food from Charlie and the Chocolate factory" -- CrimsonFox100
"Came here to say snozzberries!" -- Utah_Writer
"Everlasting Gobstoppers #1, but also when they're free to roam near the chocolate river and the entire environment is edible." -- devo9er
"Lembas" -- Roxwords
"The one that fills you with just a bite? My fat a** would be making sandwiches with two lembas breads and putting bacon, avocado and cheese inside. Then probably go for some dessert afterwards. No wonder why those elves are all skinny, eating just one measly bite of this stuff." -- sushister
Some people got stuck on the foods they saw in the cartoons they watched growing up. The vibrant colors, the artistic sounds, and the exaggerated movements all come together to form some good-looking fake grub.
The One and Only
"Krabby patty 🍔" -- Cat_xox
"And a kelp shake" -- titsclitsntennerbits
"As a kid I always pretended burgers from McDonalds were Krabby Patties, heck from time to time I still do for the nostalgia of it all. Many of my friends did the same thing." -- Thisissuchadragtodo
"The pizza from an extremely goofy movie. The stringy cheese just looked magical lol" -- ES_Verified
"The pizza in the old TMNT cartoon as well." -- gate_of_steiner85
"Only bested by the pizza from All Dogs Go to Heaven." -- Purdaddy
Get a Big Old Chunk
"Those giant turkey drumsticks in old cartoons that characters would tear huge chunks out of. Those things looked amazing, turkey drumsticks in real life suck and are annoying to eat."
Slurp, Slurp, Slurp
"Every bowl of ramen on any anime, ever." -- Cat_xox
"Studio Ghibli eggs and bacon" -- DrManhattan_DDM
"Honestly, any food in anime. I swear to god half the budget no matter what the studio goes into making the food look absolutely delicious." -- Viridun
Finally, some highlighted the things that aren't quite so far-fetched, but still far enough away that it's nothing we'll be eating anytime soon.
That tease can be enough to make your mouth water.
What's In It??
"Butter beer" -- Damn_Dog_Inappropes
"came here to say this. i was pretty disappointed with the universal studio version which was over the top sweet. it was more of a butterscotch root beer. i imagine butter beer to be something more like butter and beer, which wouldn't be crazy sweet, but would have a very deep rich flavor" -- crazyskiingsloth
Slice of the Future
"The microwave pizzas in back to the future two" -- biggiemick91
"I've been fascinated with those for years! They just look so good!" -- skoros
As Sweet As They Had
"The Turkish Delight from Lion Witch & Wardrobe. The real ones I had weren't bad but nothing special." -- spoon_shaped_spoon
"Came here to say this. I know it's a real thing, but I always imagined that it must have been amazing to betray your siblings over." -- la_yes
"You're used to freely available too sweet sweets. For a WW2 era schoolkid, it would have represented all the sweets for an entire year." -- ResponsibleLimeade
Here's hoping you made it through the list without going into kitchen for some snack you didn't actually need.
When a movie rakes in a ton of cash at the box office, the studio that made it has only one thing on its mind: "How do we keep shaking this money tree?"
Unfortunately, that means they make sequels, sometimes sequels on sequels on sequels.
At times, the sequels are solid. They tie nicely into the first film, emphasizing the qualities that brought folks out to the first one, while immersing them into that world for another great couple of hours.
But sometimes, it's wildly clear that the longterm planning behind a sequel was minimal at best. These part two's are truly terrible experiences, made even more disappointing by the excitement created by everyone's love for the first.
Some Redditors shared the worst examples.
Sullivans97 asked, "What is the worst movie sequel ever?"
Plenty of contributions to the thread were noteworthy simply because the Redditors' deep hatred for a sequel spurred them to write a very entertaining review.
"Son of the Mask. Worst sequel. Worst movie. Worst piece of entertainment. Worst experience to sit through as a human being."
Oddly Specific Analogy
"Independence Day: Resurgence."
"What the fu** was that giant heap of steaming camel sh**?"
Two Key Elements
"The plot is mostly driven by Mushu acting like a real piece of sh**, and Shang gets turned into the butt monkey of the movie as a consequence."
"Vastly inferior to the first one."
Just Horrible Decisions Every Step of the Way
"Where is Speed 2?"
"Speeding cruise ship (Zzzzzzz)"
"WTF were they thinking?"
Other people chose to discuss the sequels that, for whatever reason, chose not to include the key attributes that made the first movie so good.
Whether it was the absence of character, actor, or overarching theme, the experience was as puzzling as it was frustrating.
Insert Muscle Here
"Kindergarten Cop 2. Yes it does exist and it is a bad as it sounds. Dolph Lundgren takes over the role of Schwarzenegger." -- TheBassMeister
"Bro, don't be such a jabroni. Imagine, a super ripped, super smart cop-in a mesh tank top-named officer Dolph Lundgren." -- why_not_fandy
"Ugh wtf the movie was great why make another one" -- c_girl_108
"American Psycho 2. It wasn't even originally intended to be a sequel, they just shoved the name on it and added loose references to Patrick Bateman. Awful." -- Mountain_Situation89
"Mila kunas who is in it was told it was a different name and was pissed when they ended up making it a 'sequel' " -- Imfrank123
"Yea, that's the thing. The movie would have been a decent film if it was just a serial killer film and not an AP sequel." -- JennyBean2000
"It had some okay parts, but what they did to Justin Long's character completely undercuts the meaning of the first movie. And no Ryan Reynolds."
Last, some people realized that any film franchise that goes beyond two installments is just asking for things to go downhill in a hurry.
Once you cross three--and even four--your just too far from the source.
What Even Is Home Alone 5?
"Home Alone 3, 4, and 5" -- theWet_Bandits
"I honestly enjoyed 3, sure it made no sense at all, but I can look past that and really enjoyed it. 4 and 5 on the other hand, I barely remember what 4 was about and had completely forgotten that 5 existed until just now." -- botbattler30
End of the Mummy Era
"The third Mummy movie." -- goshawkgirl
"Fun fact: The trailer for Mummy 3 has Brendan Fraser saying "here we go again" and Ben Stiller thought that line was ironically hilarious in terms of cranking out soulless sequels and it inspired the 'here we go again....again' line in the fake trailers at the beginning of Tropic Thunder." -- Call_Me_Koala
Part of the Reboot Frenzy
"Not to repeat others here (hopefully), but the 4th Indiana Jones movie should never have been made."
"For what it is worth, The odd numbers are great, the even numbers are terrible with the last one being one being Steven Segal bad."
So there you have it. A full list of movies to avoid at all costs no matter how bored you are flicking through Netflix lists.
Oftentimes I like to do my best Ghostface impression and aggressively ask people what their favorite scary movies are. Because I personally have a lot! At the same time, I'm also terrified that at any point, I could end up getting my head punched off by Jason Vorhees (Part 8 of the series--best one IMO).
Real life contains the scariest horrors you could ask for. So aren't we all living in a horror movie, in a way? At least, these people sure freakin' were.
In the words of the legendary Mary Vivian Pierce in the film Pink Flamingos, “Murder merely relieves tension”. I’m sure the following Redditors felt differently.
Nothing scarier than the woods at night.
Went into a real deep woods hike for only the second time in my life.
My gps broke and had to rely on my compass. Got turned around a few times because I couldn't remember the direction I came from, and it was getting dark. Lost the trail way.
But the woods are weirdly silent in the dark and alone.
It was around 2am by the time I found the trailhead.
Darn foxes.the simpsons react GIFGiphy
My friend and I got lost late on one foggy night in the Italian countryside. There were rats all over and every once in a while we heard someone scream.
I've never been more sure I was about to get murdered than I was that night.
Could've also been a lynx, but they are much rarer in Italy.
At least she wasn’t speaking in tongues.
My mom is quite the sleep talker, but it's usually pretty short and incoherent when it happens. One night as a teenager, I woke up to her scream-yelling the Hail Mary prayer (my bedroom was across the house and upstairs).
Difficult to get back to sleep after that one.
Sometimes scary sh*t ends up just being funny coincidences. Super funny. Right?
Don’t give them any ideas.
I was exploring an abandoned mental asylum and then got the scare of my life when a scary looking person inside one of the rooms was just staring at me without moving. Turns out some joker had left a cardboard cutout there.
Don’t you hate when that happens?Evil Dead Horror GIF by Coolidge Corner TheatreGiphy
I was driving home on backcountry roads at midnight in heavy fog. Like can't see 10 feet in front of you thick. Suddenly I see an all-white silhouette running in front of the car. Every hair on my body stood up. I immediately think "oh god, oh f*ck, it's a f*cking woman in white, I'm gonna f*cking die"
Nope just a drunk who dove into the ditch.
Gotta love paranoia.
When I was about 12, my parents went out for dinner leaving me home alone. We lived out in the country, on a private road with only three other houses, surrounded by cow fields and wooded areas.
I went into the the kitchen and glanced out the window towards the trees and there in the fading light I could see a person walking slowly through the woods. They were wearing all black, moving slowly and appeared to pause behind trees. My heart started pounding so hard in my ears I couldn't hear anything else and I was weak and shaky from fear. I froze and just watched them. Would they come to the house? Where were they going?
This was before cell phones but I suddenly remembered my mom had left the number of the restaurant by the living room phone. Slowly, I made my way towards the living room, trying to watch this stranger in the woods.
Just as I entered the living room, all the lights in the entire house went out. By this time it was nearly dark outside. I started openly sobbing and in the dark I heard a weird boom like noise. That was it, I ran to my parents room, hid under their bed and sobbed. That's where my mom found me hours later (it felt like).
Well, turns out the stranger in the woods was a stupid cow that had busted through a fence, the lights going out was from an accident a few miles away (hit the power line) and the boom was the pilot light in the gas stove. Man, I have never been that scared in my life though!
I have a lot of questions.
A naked man who was covered in blood chased me across a park at 2 in the morning. I was totally alone. He just wanted money for a bus (????) and luckily nothing bad happened but I thought I was going to die.
But of course, the genuine horrors do exist. And they aren’t scary in a fun horror movie way, they’re actually terrifying because they can happen to anyone.
A scary few seconds.car chase GIF by Mayans M.C.Giphy
I am a "baby" in a car seat in between cousins in backseat. Dad is driving. This is in the 80s and it is my aunt's insistence that I am in this seat even though I am like 5.
A sleeping semi driver is coming over into our lane and there is a cliff on other side. Basically my dad did some amazing driving but semi blew us up. I am uninjured sitting in the seat swinging my legs while everyone is unconscious. They all wake groaning. Dad doesnt wake up.
Long story short just minor scrapes and dad has broken leg. But the crunch of metal and those few seconds/minute of being the only "alive" person was quite fear inducing.
Glad they’re all ok now.
Two days after my now boyfriend told me he liked me he fell from a zip line and broke his back. Almost died. 6 months later he got into a car wreck from a drunk driver - almost died. 6 months after that, he passed out and had to have emergency brain surgery, again, almost died. I now have severe anxiety/separation anxiety/and ptsd. That whole year was a f*cking nightmare
Edit: we're both okay now, the brain injury was almost a year ago. But TBIs take a while to heal so he still has side effects. Thankfully our relationship is still strong; he's physically getting better and I'm healing emotionally too. Lucky for him, the trauma of the injuries has caused him to forget the majority of the pain and memories of those incidents.
ALWAYS wear a helmet.
Driving home from work at 23, listening to my favorite song.
I pull up to a red light, and see this guy on a motorcycle coming up next to me in the other lane. I rolled down my window to compliment his bike when he stops. He doesn't, and runs the red light. He hits a car going at least 55mph. His motorcycle shatters apart, he goes flying, hits the hood of another car, and lands on the ground and rolls into the curb (no helmet). The car he hit with his motorcycle was totaled. I had to step over his body to talk to the police. He was still alive when they got there. I regret not holding his hand. It was just a normal day, and all of a sudden it felt like the rug was pulled from out beneath me. He was only 18.
Edit: The song was Sunny by Boney M., for those curious
What did we learn today, kids? Foxes scream like humans, shadowy figures are usually cows or drunken rednecks, and once again, PLEASE WEAR A HELMET WHEN YOU RIDE ANY KIND OF BIKE.
Scary sh*t surrounds us. But where there is horror, there are heroes. So next time you think you see a scary figure in the woods, know that Bruce Campbell is probably right around the corner
I hate hypocrites. They are the bane of my existence. All you have to do is stand behind your words. How hard is that? You said them. I especially get peeved when people bloviate on a topic and condemn and holler but then when it comes to them doing it... silence.Redditor u/ErrForceOnes wanted to know about the moments people chose to curiously "pay no mind" by asking... What is a GIANT hypocrisy that no one seems to mind?
Hypocrisy is everywhere; it's like a disease. And sadly everyone does it. Some of us indulge in smaller doses than others. But some people live their life by it. Like how can you support civil servants, like police, firefighters, etc... yet try to find ways to hide money in order to not pay taxes? Tell me... I'll wait.
Manga...Hungry Night Court GIF by LaffGiphy
Italian moms that say you're too fat then say I'm making grandma cry by not finishing my pasta.
Celebrities positioning themselves as champions for social justice while launching a clothing line with no comment on the labor conditions their garments are made in.
The Porn Industry
Why is prostitution considered a crime, but it becomes perfectly legal once a camera is put beside them?
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...
You can get away with WAY more crap, in general, when you're attractive.
But we all kind of aspire to attractiveness and it's not like it's attractive people's fault, exactly. So what is there to be done?
So true. Money and beauty are treated like virtues and they aren't. They're luck of the draw. It probably helps you to be a better person if people assume that you are gentle and clever just by looking at your face or wallet.
KIDSGIF by MOODMANGiphy
People screaming at you if you don't want Kids and Kids are the greatest thing in the World and then turn around and whine how expensive they are and how annoying yadda yadda.
Yeah see... humans are a mess. And too often then not, personal conviction and dignity are just a myth, or a punchline. Double standards have always been a way of life. And many of us have begrudgingly learned to navigate.
FashionFashion Model GIF by NYFW: The ShowsGiphy
If a skinny person wears something out of the ordinary, it's a fashion statement and awesome. It can even just be something like a crop top or overalls.
But God forbid a fat person wear the same thing.
The hypocrisy hypocrisy. People love to call it out but rarely notice it on themselves and if they notice it then it's something completely different or a distraction.
That's the worst. I hate that I have to hate that. But if I don't hate it, then the hate will just continue. So, really, my hate comes from my love of an end to hate. So anyone who hates my hate hates love. And we must hate anyone who hates love!
My own personal hypocrisy; When I was a lot less well off financially, delivering pizzas trying to get through college, I kept a cup of coins in my car. When a homeless person would approach me for spare change, I gave them the cup. Most of the time it was nearly full, so there was probably 20-30 dollars in there.
Now that I have a good salaried job, even if I've got a few bucks in my wallet, I tend to not even make eye contact anymore. I know it's awful, I know it makes me crappy, but the last 4-5 years have made me a jaded craphead towards people in general. I used to be so hopeful and I wanted to help everyone, and tried to live a life that reflected that.
Now, while my general and political morality is pretty much the same, my personal morality has gotten more grey. I'd jaded, I hate people, I assume the worst of people I used to assume the best of. I don't really care about the strangers around me like I used to, but I still expect everyone else to.
It's so freaking frustrating when it becomes entrenched. "You did this, it's your fault" "you should've known to do x, its your fault" Yeah bro your problems aren't my problems and if all you do is make excuses and blame me for them, it's not going to be my fault when you don't develop as a person and accomplish your dreams. I'm sure they'll find someone to blame though.
In D.C.Donald Trump Reaction GIF by Election 2016Giphy
Politicians work part time, are given free housing, education, and health care, and exempt from the everyday violence we experience, but refuse to lift a finger to help us.
Just speak a truth and live it. Yes, it maybe hard. But what part of life isn't? Hypocrisy is just lying. Plain and simple. And it's a sin to lie.