When you travel away from home, you get a slightly different perspective on the world. For one thing, there's ... the traffic! It's not just rush hour, when you'd expect it. It's all day long. Doesn't anyone ever stay home anymore, even for a few minutes?
But what made me think of how the world looks different is reading USA Today -- the nation's second largest newspaper by circulation (behind the Wall Street Journal), even though it seems the only place you can get it is in an airport, a railway station, or for free in your hotel.
According to USA Today, the most noteworthy event that occurred in the past few days was Beyonce possibly lip synching the national anthem at the inauguration. The nerve! The outrage! Like no one ever lip synched in public before.
Golfer Phil Mickelson said he might leave California because state and local taxes are too high. Then he apologized profusely, because it was insensitive for him to say that, it was a dumb mistake . .. and, oh, right, it was politically incorrect. But how is he different from the thousands, perhaps millions of other people who have left California for lower tax, lower cost states like Arizona?
There was also an article detailing how states are looking for ways to increase revenues to fund their schools and build out their infrastructure. But just last week I saw a chart showing that state and local taxes as a percentage of GDP have been going up year after year, decade after decade, since at least World War II (while federal taxes outside of Medicare and Social Security have actually gone down.) I'm sure there are many explanations for this. But doesn't it seem like we're forever paying more, but getting less?
And then there's the headline: "Te'o is sorry but he insists he didn't lie." I'd like to know how many women out there know what, or who, Te'o is? (I confess, I did not.)
Speaking of women, USA Today reports that now women will be able to serve in front-line combat positions along with men. This is billed as a major step forward in women's rights. I have no objection to that, I guess. I just thought that women had more sense than that. I 'm puzzled why anyone would want to stand up there and get shot at, and I'd think if anyone enjoyed an exemption, they'd be happy for it. In my day, I knew quite a few people who went to great lengths to avoid being sent to Vietnam to get shot at. Two of our presidents had enough sense to avoid being sent to Vietnam to get shot at.
Les Miserables. A lot of people like it. Some people love it. But the critics hate it. It's one of those movies that audiences love, but critics hate. And the report sums up: "The only thing critics hate more than Les Mis? Being ignored."
One critic gave it the ultimate in negative response. He said the movie put him to sleep. Well, it so happens that I have some expertise in this area. I saw Les Mis. I, too, fell asleep for a few minutes. But I fall asleep at almost every movie I go to. In my book, the movie wasn't that bad at all.