Saturday, July 29, 2017

Trump's Pattern

To be honest, until 2015, I never paid that much attention to Donald John Trump.

I mean, I knew he was famous and I saw him on TV even though I never watch "The Apprentice".  I'm not much on reality game shows.

I knew he was rich, too. The kind of rich where people are sort of interested in your life but they don't know why. The kind of rich where you trade in wives. The kind of rich where you write books teaching schlubs like me how to get rich. The only problem with these books is the advice always reads like Steve Martin's "How to Make a Million Dollars and Never Pay Taxes ("First: Make a million dollars").

I heard Trump several times on Imus In The Morning.  This was back when he was a Democrat.

Sometimes he sounded like he knew what he was talking about and other times he didn't  Talk about foreshadowing.

Frankly, I didn't get Trump and didn't see why everybody found him fascinating.

Then, as political stories always mention, he rode down the escalator and began his run for the Presidency as a  Republican. I started paying attention.

Now after two years, in which saw Trump basically train wreck himself  into not only the Republican nomination  but into The White House itself, I can't say I understand Trump, but I've basically figured out his pattern.

First:  Trump says something outrageous or stupid or both.

Second:  Most of the news media reports Trump said something  outrageous or stupid or both.

Third:  Officials from The Trump Administration explain what Trump meant. ("What the President said should be taken figuratively and not literally".)

Fourth:  Trump gives an exclusive interview to a news personality and explains he literally said exactly what he meant.

Fifth:  Mike Pence starts measuring drapes in The Oval Office.

Sixth: Somebody on Twitter announces his/her hatred of  Trump and Ben Affleck as Batman.

Seventh:  Joe and Mika discontinue a heavy petting make-out session to condemn Trump.

Eighth:  Trump says "Mika is, at best, a six if you are wearing beer goggles, let's be honest".

Ninth:  Trump gives a speech or does something that makes actual sense.

Tenth:  You think, "Hmm, he just might be getting the hang of this Presidency business."

Eleventh:  Trump says something outrageous or stupid or both.

Trump is currently stuck in his Trump-mode in which nobody understands what  he is thinking or what his point might be because he doesn't make any sense.

He is currently treating Attorney General Jeff Sessions like a red headed step-child. He is going on Twitter bashing his Attorney General-the man he nominated and the man that works at the pleasure of the President. Trump wants Sessions to resign even though Trump could fire Sessions at any time.  It is almost like Trump thinks he going to owe Sessions unemployment compensation if he fires him.

It has gotten so bad that even Democrats are saying nice things about Sessions even though a couple of months ago you would have sworn they thought Sessions was The Grand Buffalo of The Nasty White Man's Club.

Sessions was one of the first elected Republicans to endorse Trump.

Last week, Trump hired Anthony "The Mooch" Scarmucci.   We quickly learn the "The Mooch" loves Trump even more than Trump loves Trump, which is something. He's got a Harvard degree and was a Wolf of Wall Street.   I listened to Scarmucci's press conference last week and he seemed like he was a sharp guy.

That was last week. This week,  Mr. Harvard Degree called a reporter for The New Yorker and  went on an obscenity saturated rant that would have made a sailor blush. He said something about Steve Bannon which A) I didn't think was possible  and B) made Bannon a sympathetic character (which I didn't think was possible either.)

Mr. Harvard Degree believes the entire problem in The Trump White House was Reince Priebus, The White House Chief of Staff.  Here is a transcript of a conversation Scarmucci had with the President.

Scarmucci:  "You know, this grease ball from Wisconsin, Richard, Wence, Wrench, Reebes whatever his name is?   He's the source of all of the leaks in The White House. Capiche?  I love you."

Trump:  "I was thinking the same beautiful thing!  What kind of name is Reince any way? Pfffft!  It's such a loser name and he smells like cheese!  Fire him!  No, wait. Have him resign. I don't want to pay him unemployment."

Scarmucci: "Great idea, Mr. President. I love you more now than I did a minute ago."

Priebus has now resigned and will be replaced by General John Kelly. General Kelly maybe the only person in the world that could tell Trump to shut his yap and focus on his job instead of Twitter. If he does, maybe Trump will stay at the tenth part of his pattern and get the hang of this Presidency business.

Friday, July 21, 2017

SunTrust Park: Questions and Answers

We finally did it!

We finally took in an Atlanta Braves baseball game at the brand spanking new SunTrust Park.

I have compiled answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the new stadium.

Who was Suntrust Park named after?   The new home of The Braves was named after a former President of South Korea, Suntrust Park.

Where is SunTrust Park at?   It is in the Vinings section of the city of Smyrna, Georgia that has an Atlanta mailing address.

How Do I Get There?  I am going to answer this as a 60-ish-year-old native of Cobb County. Go down the Four Lane and rat afore you git to Cumberlyn Mahl, thake a left. (Translation:  It is in the old Circle 75 area. Go south on Cobb Parkway and turn left. You are bound to hit an official Braves parking lot or a semi-official Braves gypsy parking lot.)  

Where do I park?   Glad you ask. There are about 14,000 parking spaces near SunTrust Park, depending on your definition of the word "near".  You can pay $21.00 to park at "Battery Red" which is right next door to the stadium. Or you can pay $1.00 and walk from Chattanooga.

What Is The Battery Atlanta?  It is a bunch of stores and restaurants to make you feel like you are in a quaint little neighborhood that just happens to have a Major League baseball stadium in it. The stores include Baseballism (features baseball related apparel)  and Sugarboo ("Dealer in Whimsy").   The restaurants include Wahlburgers (named after the famous Boston brothers who are famous for some reason) and Haagen Dazs (ice cream shop named after the first Dutch player in major league baseball.)

How Long Is The Wait At The Restaurants?   Three hours.

How Much Do Tickets Cost?   Tickets start at $9.00 if you want to watch the game from the roof of  SunTrust Park.  The tickets go up in price based on how close you are to the field. Those people you see on TV in the stands behind home plate: all are millionaires and are better than you.  Just a joke. Seriously, for a Wednesday night game on August 2, the best seats you can get cost $91.00 a ticket.

What is there to do when you get inside of the stadium?  You could do something wild like watch a baseball game.  If that's not your speed, you can go to wait in line to get into The Braves Clubhouse Store where you can buy official plastic Braves Clubhouse stuff, if you actually get in.  Or you can wait in line to get into the New Era cap store, which sells nothing but the various caps that are "official" Braves caps. Or you can go and look at the exhibits in Monument Garden, which is really neat. You can see Sid Bream's knee brace and marvel at the last century's pathetic attempt at health care.

What type of food is sold at the stadium?  Basic stadium grub. Nobody goes to a ball game to get braised leeks with Mozzarella and a fried egg. Good old fashion over priced artery clogging food.  You may be surprised to know they sell beer at the stadium. The cost:  what a good used car cost in 1986.  They also sell wine. No joke. Mom can zone out with a plastic cup of pinot noir white while you try to remember how to keep a box score.

Do They Sell Dippin' Dots, the ice cream of the future and did you buy some?  Yes. Of course.

Do They Do Anything Cool Between Innings?  Yes. This year the Braves have something called "Beat The Freeze" where a former track star (The Freeze) spots a fan a sizable lead in a race and then beats the fan by a sizable margin.  When I saw "Beat The Freeze", a young man turned to me and said: "That (bad word) is fasser than hale" (translation: "That gentleman is very fast"). The Freeze could be me in a race even if I was riding a horse.

How Much Would It Cost A Family of Four To Go To A Game?    A family of four could easily drop forty thousand dollars at a ball game. Loan officers are standing by to help you finance your evening at the ballpark.

Okay, you've been around a long time old man. Can you compare the parks?  Sure, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was dank. It smelled like beer. But it was where I saw Hank Aaron patrol in right field and Joe Torre catch.   Turner Field was like the new girl in school everybody said was hot, but was not. The field always seemed far, far away at Turner.  SunTrust actually looks and feels like a baseball stadium. There really isn't a bad seat in the place.

What Do You Like Best About SunTrust Park?   It is about 20 minutes, in traffic, from my house. Plus, The Dipping Dots, the ice cream of the future.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Fake History

I ran across some "fake history" the other day.

On the Fourth of July, I was breezing through my Facebook feed when I ran across a post about "the inspiring story about the writing of The Star Spangled Banner".

I clicked on the post because I am an American History nerd and I've seen the actual flag that inspired the song.

Back in 1998, I took my then seven-year-old son to Washington, D.C. for vacation. We went to The White House, The Jefferson Memorial, The Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetary, Ford's Theater, Capitol Hill, and The Smithsonian Museums.  If you have never been to D.C., you really have to go even though it is a city (to quote President Kennedy) of  "Northern hospitality and Southern efficiency."

At The Smithsonian National Museum of American History, we saw the flag that flew over Fort McHenry.

Wow.  That's the only word that came to my mind. I was looking at the flag which caused Francis Scott Key to say: "And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there".

The Facebook post linked to a Youtube clip which had an Evangelical pastor giving a sermon about "The Star Spangled Banner".

The only problem? Most of it wasn't true.

To be fair, he did correctly name Francis Scott Key as the writer of "The Star Spangled Banner".


The preacher confused The War of 1812 with The Revolutionary War. He referred to The United States as "colonies", which they were not. He called Fort McHenry, "Fort Henry".  He said the British wanted to destroy the fort (wrong).  He said the British had hundreds of ships in the harbor (they had eight or nine).

An article from the Patheos website says:

"One part of .... (the) account almost seems to confuse the bombing of Fort McHenry with the U.S. Marines' attack on Iwo Jima during World War II. He described soldiers trying to hold up the American flag in the midst of the British bombardment with "patriots' bodies" piled up around the flagpole. This makes for a great image, but in reality only about five soldiers died in the attack and we have no evidence of such a flag-raising."

After the YouTube clip was over, I told my wife that almost none of this was true and I even whipped out my Kennesaw State University degree to prove it. However, a LOT of people who commented on it bought it hook, line, and sinker.

Here's some more history. This YouTube clip was made in 2011. Almost immediately, there was controversy about it and the pastor apologized for the story and admitted he used the story without checking the accuracy. And people are still sharing it.

Here's my handy guide for dealing with Fake History. This can be used with "Fake News", too.

*While it is true, to an extent, that "history is written by the winners", there are certain facts in history.  History says Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of United States. It is not an "opinion". It is a fact.  If someone misstates a fact, chances are a lot of what else will be said will not be right. For example, if someone doesn't know the difference between The Revolutionary War and The War of 1812, well, he might not know what he is talking about.

*Understand everybody has an agenda. Historians, news people, Presidents-everybody has an agenda.  Today, on social media, the most important thing are  "clicks" (i.e.: how many people "clicked" on a post). The more clicks, the better for the website.   Sometimes the search for truth loses out to the search for clicks. When this particular YouTube clip was released in 2011, it had 1.7 million clicks.

*Research it yourself. Learn which sites are reliable and which are not. I can tell you anything associated with Info Wars should be looked at suspiciously. The same goes for Vox and a bunch of other sites.

*Always be willing to admit when you were wrong. This YouTube clip was made six years ago and people are still playing it. The Pastor has admitted his mistake. Most people nowadays won't do this.

*Finally, admit that the dummies who majored in History come in handy sometimes.  Okay, you don't have to do that, but it would be nice. Francis Scott Key thinks so too.