By Kathleen Bangs, CNN, Updated 12:46 PM EDT, Tue September 12, 2023
It’s one thing standing in line to watch the blockbuster film “Oppenheimer.”
It’s another thing entirely queuing up in a remote desert to experience the location of the film’s most pivotal scene.
But if you’re a fan of atomic history and can swing central New Mexico this October, your pilgrimage through the Jornada del Muerto (Dead Man’s Journey) will be so worth the effort.
Saturday, October 21, presents a rare opportunity to visit not just one but two scientifically significant and movie-famous destinations on the same day – each occupying opposite ends of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Editor’s Note: One part of my screenplay-in-progress is set at the Trinity Site in New Mexico…
The first person I met at the Bar & Chill was a bald guy in a black T-shirt, black drawstring shorts, and flip-flops, with a Harley-Davidson tattoo on his right arm and a claddagh ring on his left hand. He was drinking and laughing with a few friends. He gestured to the empty stool next to him and said, “We don’t bite.”
I offered an expression of if-you-insist, and he said, “Bring it.” His tone was cheerful, as you might expect at the Bar & Chill, the principal drinking-and-dining establishment that looks out on the town center of Latitude Margaritaville, an active-living community for Jimmy Buffett enthusiasts, aged “55 and better,” in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The Bar & Chill was open to the evening. A gentle breeze fanned the lanai. On a flat-screen, the Providence Friars led the Vermont Catamounts by a few buckets. A bartender brought a Perfect Margarita in a plastic cup.
The bald man, drinking a vodka soda, said his name was Phil. Phil Murphy, from Arlington, Massachusetts, aged sixty-four. Formerly a research director at Forrester, retired since 2015. “I was in the air for twenty years,” he said. He looked and sounded less like my idea of a Parrothead, as Jimmy Buffett’s diehard fans are called, than like Mike Ehrmantraut, the melancholic fixer in “Breaking Bad.”
Standing off his left shoulder, his wife, Betty, red hair cut short, added a dash of urbanity, a spritz of Allison Janney. Phil and Betty had organized an emergency fund for the restaurant’s staff during its Covid shutdown. One of their friends declared them “the king and queen of the Bar & Chill.”
Crews are still fighting fires on the Hawaiian island of Maui. At least 36 people are known dead and more than 270 buildings damaged or destroyed across a blackened landscape. It’s the nation’s deadliest fire disaster in five years.
Amna Nawaz discussed the fires with KITV meteorologist Malika Dudley.
If you’ve taken the Amtrak recently, you might have no idea that the United States used to have the largest and wealthiest rail system in the world. How did the US go from having luxurious, widely used passenger trains to the Amtrak system we have today?
Video producer Dean Peterson makes a 72-hour journey on Amtrak from LA to NYC to show its current state of operation. From getting kicked in the head by his sleeping seatmate to taking in sweeping views of the desert at sunset, Dean shows the highs and lows of being stuck on Amtrak for days on end.
Along the way, he explains the history of passenger rail in the US — starting in the problematic robber baron era to the US government’s takeover of passenger rail. Will the United States ever catch up to the rest of the world when it comes to train travel, or are Americans stuck with an underfunded, inefficient rail network forever? Join Dean on his journey as he sets out to find the answers to these questions and more.