Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Regarding Stadium Cups


Regarding Stadium Cups

Bear with me.  There’s a point to all of this.  I promise to eventually get to that point, but I’m not in any hurry.

Back in 1975 or 1976, I obtained my very first Hokie Cup.  It was a solidly constructed orange cup with three maroon “Fightin’ Gobblers” decorating the side. I still have that cup. It’s valued and treasured, residing on a shelf in my cluttered garage.

Like many of you, I made it through my college Bill Dooley years drinking from repurposed Hokie cups gathered from Lane after drinking the Hokies to another win or loss.  Those cups were life-savers, hydrators; mixing companions.
After college, I took a small cup collection with me to my first apartment and used them as my primary beverage holders.  In fact, to this day, I rarely use glassware, choosing instead one of my trusted Hokie cups.

I’ve written about the souvenir-sized Hokie cups dispensed at VT games here several times in the past twenty years.  As I recall, back in the mid-late 1990’s the large white cups with HOKIES spelled out in block letters on the side were rugged, HUGE, and eminently serviceable. 

Enter the post-MV1 era.

In an attempt to milk cash from thirsting spectators, the athletic department ordered smaller, flimsier, candy-assed (my new favorite expression) cups.  Holding a full large cup in your hand after a few warm-up parking lot drinks immediately presented the real danger of serious spillage.  Gone were the solid cups of the magic years; replaced instead with an inferior product.

Either in 2003 or 2004, the athletic department decided it was time to beef up its souvenir cup.  Perhaps this was due to my daily email assault on Jim Weaver’s electronic and paper mailboxes.  Who knows? Regardless, a new cup was born.  Flexible, yet sturdy. Large, yet functional. “HOKIES RESPECT That’s what it’s all about” is what it said. Jim Weaver’s oft-discussed attempt to tame the rabble.  While the campaign fell flat, the cups were fantastic! They used these fabulous cups for a couple of years before moving on to a bigger, glitzier black cup featuring various stars from that year’s team.  While I liked those cups, too, they weren’t as auto-friendly.  Too big to fit an ordinary cup holder.  Fortunately, I had relatives that needed them.
 
But as a couple of years passed, I grew concerned that my stash of marvelous 2004 Hokies Respect cups was slowly diminishing.  The cups were not the problem. They weren’t disintegrating.  It was my fault entirely.  I’d misplace one or step on another. Let a friend use one without telling them how valuable they were to me.  It really was all my fault.  At one point, I was down to just two serviceable cups.

The Miracle in Salem.

On June 9, 2012 I found myself attending the Group A, Division 2 state baseball championship at Salem’s Kiwanis field where The Greene Dragons of William Monroe defeated Chilhowie 5-4 in extra innings. At one point, I wandered over to the concession stand to get a Coke.  To my utter shock and joy, the attendant served up my drink in an authentic, brand-new 2004 Hokies Respect cup.  In fact, situated in a corner of the shack, was the largest collection of Hokies Respect cups I’d ever seen.  There must have been hundreds of them.  So I bought drinks for all my friends and collected the cups.  I went around the bleachers after the game nabbing any left-behind cups.  All told, I ended up with about ten mint condition wonder cups. 

So for the past five years, I’ve kept the same four cups in rotation,  They are showing signs of wear and tear though.  The “Hokies Respect” is fading.  The cup now says, “That’s… it’s… -out.”  Fortunately, I still have four or five 2004 cups in reserve.

Which brings me to the point of this whole story.

When it comes to plastic stadium cups, I know what I’m talking about.  I may not know how to diagram a defensive alignment or why a defensive end can’t “gain the edge” on every play; I do understand cups.

At the Delaware game, I purchased my usual souvenir cup just before the opening kick-off.  I was looking forward to the new 2017 design.  Who would be on the cup?  Would it be “Hokies Respect II” or some clever design.  Would the cups be durable?
 
It turns out that the new cup is black like last year’s cup, but it is decidedly taller and thinner, much like the cups at the Bristol game last year.  In fact, when I went back and compared the cups this year to last year, I noted that the capacity went from 32 ounces last year to 24 ounces this year.  But here’s the real kicker. The price for the souvenir beverage went from $5.00 to $5.50. While the cup design was great, the ruggedness was apparent, and the cup’s potential for fitting in an auto cup holder seemed promising, the change in size and price seemed downright miserly.  Last year, the large souvenir cup cost $0.16 an ounce.  Now the large beverage is up to $0.23 an ounce.  That’s almost a 44% increase in cost! Scandalous! This unconscionable greed-grab harkens back to the euphoric post-national championship daze when ticket prices sky-rocketed and flimsy cups became the norm. 

I’m not mad because of the cost spike.  I’m not even mad because the little girl sitting next to me kicked over my drink before I even had a second sip.  I’m just not mad at all, really.


Honestly, that’s what it’s all about.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

First Inaugural Address of Donald J. Trump (Draft)

I discovered the first draft of President Trump's first inaugural address in a location I'm not allowed to disclose.  I'm told that his handlers felt the need to tighten it up some and pare it down to keep it more manageable on the teleprompter. Here it is in it's raw form. I've noted in red areas that were stricken in the actual address. (Parody)



The First Inaugural Address
of
Donald J. Trump
First Draft
Chief Justice Roberts, fellow Americans and people of Russia and the world, thank you.
Here I am presented with an opportunity of speaking before a huge audience. I am now able to confirm what I had felt, namely, that I have a talent for public speaking. My voice has become- so much better that I could be well understood, at least in all parts of the giant halls where my friends are assembled. No deal could have been more pleasing to me than this one; for now, I am in a position to save to a place which had been very special to my heart: America.
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country from its desolate ruins and restore its golden glory for all of our people.
Together, we will determine the course of our America and our world for all eternity. We will face challenges, we will confront hardships, but we will get the job done.
Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama decided to step aside throughout this transition.  Now for the first time I learned to know men and I learned to distinguish between empty appearances or brutal manners and the outward appearance of real inner nature of the insiders.
Today's ceremony, however, has very special meaning because today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people, so you could bestow it upon me. You conferred upon me a huge mandate to scrub and disinfect the walls of Washington.
For too long, a corrupt group of lobbyists and lawmakers in our nation's capital have reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. Their wealth is not your wealth. And while they celebrated in our nation's capital at parties with balloons and tiny cone-shaped party hats, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment, it belongs to you; tens and tens of millions of you.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today on the white way and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is my country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people who cede authority to the ultimate savior.
January 20th, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people crowned the new ruler of this nation.
The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
Everyone is listening to you now. You came here today by the tens of millions, flooding this Mall with cheering, smiling faces; supporting me and to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before. Idealism does not represent a superfluous expression of emotion, but in truth it has been, is, and will be, the premise for what we designate as human culture...Without his idealistic attitude all, even the most dazzling faculties of the intellect, would remain mere intellect just like
outward appearance without inner value, and never creative force. The purest idealism is unconsciously equivalent to the deepest knowledge.
At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction, that a nation exists to serve its loyal citizens. Americans want great exclusive schools for their children, safe neighborhoods free of undue distractions for their families, and good, hard-working jobs for themselves. These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people, servants, and a righteous public.
There are certain truths which stand out so openly on the roadsides of life that every passer-by may see them. Yet, because of their obviousness, the general run of people disregard such truths or at least they do not make them the object of any conscious knowledge. People are so blind to some of the simplest facts in everyday life that they are highly surprised when somebody calls attention to what everybody ought to know.
For too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; starving waifs scuttling from filthy corner to filthy corner pan-handling for scraps; rusted out factories scattered like abandoned tombstones across the landscape of our nation; rancid water spewing from toilets across the soiled floors of squalid apartments and homes; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; unrepentant scorching fires consuming whole villages; unwavering quakes engulfing innocent businesses; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized working potential.
This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
We are one nation and their pain is our pain. Their tragedy is our tragedy. Their dreams are our dreams. Their debts are our debts. And their success will be our success. We share one heart, one lung, one home, and one glorious manifest destiny. The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance by all Americans.
For many decades, we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We've defended other nations' borders while refusing to defend our own. The former president increasingly used his influence to create conflicts, intensify existing conflicts, and, above all, keep conflicts from being resolved peacefully. For eight years this man looked for a dispute anywhere in the world that he could use to create political entanglements with American economic obligations to one of the contending sides, which would then steadily involve America in the conflict and thus divert attention from his own confused domestic economic policies. 
And he spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We've made the wealthy wealthier, other countries rich, while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon like the setting sun at the approaching night in a dimming world.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind. The wealth of our business class has been impeded by inconvenient and irksome taxes and regulations. The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.
But that is the past. And now, we are looking only to the future.  For the future is the past plus the present one day more at a time.
We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land, that all men are created equal. From this day forward, it's going to be only America first, America first. From this day forward, all will bow to the ultimate authority.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit those who employ American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our clothing, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.
Protection will lead to a great wall of prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body and I will never ever let you down easily.
America will start winning again, winning like never before. We’ll make deals, winning deals.  Deals that no one could ever believe possible.
We will bring back our jobs, good hard-working jobs. We will bring back our borders and take back our country from the illegals and squatters.  We will bring back our wealth from those who take from the hands of the job creators. And we will bring back our dreams, dreams of a time of purity and righteous morality.
We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways and golf courses all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor and serving the job creators in every way.
We will follow two simple rules; buy American and hire American. We’ll eat our corn from the windswept plains of Nebraska and our orange juice from Florida and our apples from New York. We’ll buy our cars from Ford and our gas from Exxon.
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.
We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth. Truly, this earth is a trophy cup for the industrious man. And this rightly so, in the service of natural selection. He who does not possess the force to secure his Lebensraum in this world, and, if necessary, to enlarge it, does not deserve to possess the necessities of life. He must step aside and allow stronger peoples to pass him by. 
At the bedrock of our politics will be a blind allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity.  Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith . . . We need believing people.  When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.
There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. The application of force alone, without support based on a spiritual concept, can never bring about the destruction of an idea or arrest the propagation of it, unless one is ready and able to ruthlessly to exterminate the last upholders of that idea even to a man, and also wipe out any tradition which it may tend to leave behind.
Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is still starving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining, but never doing anything about it. Instead, we demand huge, transforming ideas implemented without wasteful debate or idol [sic] conversations.
The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action, and my first action will make you forget the failures of the past eight years.  Uncertainty cripples any serious and firm resolve and results in opinions swaying from one side to the other, leaving any decision that is made weak and half done, even when it comes to the most essential measures of self-preservation.
Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again. We will demand unity.
We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease, to embrace the golden host, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow. To the Christian doctrine of the infinite significance of the individual human soul and of personal responsibility, I oppose with icy clarity the saving doctrine of the nothingness and insignificance of the individual human being, and of his continued existence in the visible immortality of the nation.
A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions. Unity only comes when minds are turned to the power of the nation.
It's time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots. 
We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms and we all salute the same great American flag. We know that the more we work, the more we get. Those who have no understanding of the world around them have no right to criticize or complain.
And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl and squalor of Detroit or the wind-swept, barren plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same flaming night sky, they will their hearts with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty creator.
So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again.
Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way. You can fight only for something you love. You can love only what you respect. You can respect only what you know.
Together, we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. We will make America the most feared nation in the world again. And yes, together we will make America great again. We sing with the clarity of proud voice the words of that modern country spiritual, “There ain’t no doubt I love this land. God bless the U.S.A.”
Thank you. God bless you. God bless me.  And God bless America.
Thank you.
God bless America.

Note to KellyAnne: Want to sneak in this quote from AH but can’t firgue out where to stick it.
 Few teachers realize that the purpose of teaching history is not the memorizing of some dates and facts, that the student is not interested in knowing the exact date of a battle or the birthday of some marshal or other, and not at all—or at least only very insignificantly—interested in knowing when the crown of his fathers was placed on the brow of some monarch. These are certainly not looked upon as important matters. To study history means to search for and discover the forces that are the causes of those results which appear before our eyes as historical events.