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As if having a professional clown for a president wasn't bad enough, it has recently been reported that Donald Trump might raise the price of comic books.
For years, DC Comics has been using Canadian companies to print their comics. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, US companies were able to import those comics duty free. Given the quality of most mainstream comics today, this has effectively become the equivalent of the US taking in Canada's toxic waste for free, so you can see why Trump would want to stop this in order to make America great again.
Trump's protectionist objectives call for rolling back NAFTA and raising tariffs of up to 10% on all imports, including presumably comic books. Because if there's anything that helps stimulate the economy, it's stifling imports.
Assuming DC continues their current practice of printing in Canada, they'd pay more to get them to consumers. Something tells me they'd just pass that cost increase on to us. In 2016, new comics already averaged $3.89 per issue. By 2018, a single book could cost more than a Big Mac. If Americans are forced to choose between comics and Big Macs, we might be looking at the end of an industry. Should that happen, we can be sure that Trump won't notice. He doesn't read.
But I guess I shouldn't complain. Who needs comic books when your president is a living caricature?
Footnotes follow (because in Trump's America everyone has to justify his own alternative facts):
1. Pruitt, Bill. "Exclusive: A Former Apprentice Producer Responds to Donald Trump Being Elected President" Vanityfair.com
2. Marston, George. "Could TRUMP's Trade Policy Plans Affect Comic Book Prices?" Newsarama.com
3. I just looked inside comics I have that are 10 years old, so it's been going on for at least a decade.
4. "North American Free Trade Agreement" wikipedia.org
5. Quicksilver, Chris. "10 Most Harmful Trends In Comics Today" whatculture.com
6. Walker, Kristen. "Trump to Sign Executive Order on Plan to Renegotiate NAFTA With Mexico, Canada" cnbc.com
7. King, Jon and Diamond, Jeremy. "Trump team floats a 10% tariff on imports" cnn.com
8. Murphy, John G. "Would a Tariff Wall Really Protect U.S. Jobs?" uschamber.com
9. Jacobson, Louis. "Donald Trump has floated big tariffs. What could the impact be?" politifact.com
10. Miller, John Jackson. "Average comic book ordered in 2016 cost $3.85, down 11 cents" comichron.com
11. Currently $4.15 in Georgia. fastfoodmenuprices.com
12. Saria Lauren. "Want to Know How Many Big Macs Are Sold in the U.S. Every Second? (Hint: It's More Than a Dozen)" phoenixnewtimes.com
13. Fisher, Marc. "Donald Trump doesn’t read much. Being president probably wouldn’t change that." washingtonpost.com
14. Giedre. "15+ Cartoonists Around The World Illustrate How They Feel About Trump Becoming President" boredpanda.com
15. Waldman, Katy. "Lies, Damned Lies, and Amazing New Euphemisms for Lying" boredpanda.com
The proletarian revolution of 2017 has begun. As reported by WGCL-TV of Atlanta:
Sales associates at the Nalley Lexus of Roswell received an unexpected visitor Monday afternoon. According to the company's Facebook page, the deer jumped through an open window before running around the office and sending patrons inside on high alert.
Video shows people dashing for cover as the vandal charged into the dealership and began a rampage that trashed furniture and glass doors. Eyewitnesses report that as the deer ran into the street, it shouted, "I'll be back."
And you know it's all true, because the news came from Facebook.
I have been accused of being overzealous in my crusade to save humanity from its cervidae would-be conquerors. To paraphrase a quote from America's inspirational president-elect, I would rather live one day as a lion than 100 years as a deer. It turns out that I'm not the only one.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a homeowners' association in neighboring Fayette County has a plan to deal with its "dangerous" deer problem. Instead of pussyfooting around with traps or sterilization, the Whitewater Creek Country Club Homeowners Association is planning to call in a team of federal sharpshooters. I assume they're talking about SEAL Team 6.
Naturally, any plan this bold will have its detractors. In this case, the bleeding heart residents have formed an opposition group they've named Concerned Citizens Against Deer Eradication. It's pretty clear they don't know what they're doing. CCADE is a terrible acronym.
The newspaper completely omits just how CCADE is planning to stop the WCCCHOA from executing its plan. It says they have hired "a Washington DC law firm," but I'm not sure how that's going to help. This is America. If there's anything we have more of than lawyers, it's bullets.
When will liberal, country club dwelling people learn? When it comes to remorseless deer marauding across your drought resistant Zoysia lawn or eating your organically fertilized, gluten free cucumbers, there's only one solution. Build a wall. And if you can get your neighbors to pay for it, all the better.
Last week, the Athens Banner-Herald ran a news story about deer/vehicle collisions on state roads, including my favorite road, US Highway 29. The story ended with this line:
"In three instances, deputies had to shoot the badly injured deer."
Think about that. Imagine a scenario in which a police officer "had to" shoot a deer. What do you see? Does it look something like this?
It should. Those collisions weren't accidents. They were yet another offensive in deer's eternal war against humanity.
What if, instead of shooting them, the officers had given the "badly injured" deer medical attention and let them go free? How many days do you think would pass before that deer attacked another car? What if next time, it was your wife's car? Or your daughter's? Can you really afford to take that chance?
Deer. They'd do it to you.
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I have been watching, with some amusement, the current wave of clown hysteria that is sweeping the country. The news is overflowing with examples of clown-inspired chaos in Georgia alone. An 11-year-old Athens girl took a knife to school for self-defense in case of a clown outbreak. Troup County had to close schools after kids reported clowns abducting people in unmarked vans. Here in Newnan, a traveling carnival worker was arrested for scaring people in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Things have gotten so out of hand that the White House had to address the matter in a press briefing.
Apparently, waves of "creepy clown" sightings have washed across America off and on for the past 30 years, but they have historically been written off as hoaxes. However, things are changing in the Internet Age. In social media, fear spreads faster than reason.
[EDIT: Check out AtlasObscura.com's interactive map of "creepy clown" news items in America.]
This is all mass insanity. Killer Clowns From Outer Space isn't a real thing. Why are we wasting time clowning around when a much bigger threat is on the loose? No, I'm not talking about Donald Trump. (He's a different kind of clown.) What I am talking about is deer.
The Great Deer Uprising continues unabated. The United States National Park Service says that the deer have amassed armies "more than 10 times greater" than common around the battlefields of Monocacy, Manassas, and Antietam. Once again, the fate of the Union hangs in the balance. Rather than wait for the deer armies to make the next move, the NPS is deploying sharpshooters. The bloodiest battleground in American History is set to run red again.
Once the deer are back in their proper place, then we can worry about clowns or whatever else you've got. In the meantime, humanity has a war to win.
Six Flags Over Georgia has blown the doors off entertainment by announcing their new ride for 2017, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis! Riders will get to help Batman and the Justice League chase down and defeat an animatronic Joker.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution describes it thusly:
"Riders will travel in six-passenger vehicles on a track through rooms in the 'Hall of Justice,' but the motion of the vehicle allows them to enter into a 3-D and even 4-D world."
To be clear, the park isn't in Flatland. Any rider who can ride this ride exists in a 3D world with length, width, and depth. I would think that anyone writing for a major metropolitan newspaper would know that. Clark Kent sure does. (As for a "4-D world," if you can't figure out what a 3D world is, I don't think I care to hear your theory of either spacetime or Euclidean geometry.)
To give credit to Six Flags, that statement wasn't in the original press release. The press release was much more interested in promoting the ride as "debuting one of the world’s best innovative and interactive attractions" for the park's 50th anniversary.
That's an interesting use of the word "debut." Identical versions of the ride are already operational at Six Flags Great America and Six Flags Over Texas, with other copies planned for Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags Magic Mountain in 2017. What better way to celebrate 50 years in business than to providing the exact same shitty experience as you can get a half dozen other parks!
Last week, the Miami Dolphins held a star-studded public unveiling of the renovations to
Joe Robbie Stadium Pro Player Park Pro Player Stadium Dolphins Stadium Dolphin Stadium Landshark Stadium Sun Life Stadium New Miami Stadium Hard Rock Cafe Stadium. (That seems like a lot of names for a building built in 1987, but if it was in Atlanta, we'd have torn it down twice by now.) The newest name change came along with a new canopy roof and HD screens and, presumably, some over-cooked hamburgers.
The Dolphins got $250 million in exchange for 18 years of naming rights. That's an improvement over the $35 million the team made on the Sun Life name. That sounds like a lot of money until you realize that Ndamukong Suh's contract takes up half of it, and Ryan Tannehill's contract takes up most of what's left. Money well spent all around.
If the name sticks for the 18 year duration, it will be a record. Even "Joe Robbie" only lasted 12 years. Given that the stadium has a tendency to outlast most of its sponsors, I'd be worried if I was a Seminole Indian. (The tribe currently owns the Hard Rock brand. That's one of the tidbits you pick up when one of your friends drags you to the wasteland of downtown Cleveland, OH just to pick up collectible Hard Rock Cafe pins for his girlfriend. Which is, honestly, about as good a reason anyone has ever had for going to Cleveland. Blech.)
Weirdly, the latest stadium name change was announced by Pitbull (the rapper, not the dog). I have no idea what a hip hop star has to do with either football or hard rock, but Dolphins' management isn't the sort to get hung up on details. (Or winning, for that matter.) Back when the stadium took on the Landshark name, Jimmy Buffet was present for the announcement because he owned the brand. Since when did Pitbull become a Seminole Indian?
The first Dolphins' game to be played in the renovated venue will be on Sunday, September 25, 2016. Their opponent will be the Cleveland Browns. I have to give them credit there: when you're the Miami Dolphins looking for a doormat team you can walk over for a symbolic victory in your new home, it's hard to schedule a team worse than you. The Browns fit that bill. (Blech.) Go Fins!
"Am I interrupting you? What are you doing right now?" my father asked when I answered the telephone.
"Nothing important. I was just reading an article from Ezra Klein about why Hillary Clinton's private reputation is so good but the American public hates her," I said. "He calls it The Gap."
Dad laughed. "Of course they'd publish that now. They just can't believe that the American public could be right about something."
I said, "Your response indicates that you believe there's no point in ever investigating this reputation gap. Don't you think there's value in examining the difference in someone's public and private personas?"
"I'm open-minded, but it's just election year spin. If they really wanted to investigate that gap, they'd do it next year."
I shook my head, though dad couldn't see this through the phone. "This is the ideal time, from the news industry's point-of-view. Capitalize on everyone talking about her during the Democratic National Convention."
"Have you been watching? There's been open revolt from the Sanders supporters. This party is tearing itself apart. I haven't seen anything like this since McGovern in 1972."
"What about last week? A week ago today, delegates at the RNC tried to pass a resolution to end-run Trump. Is this so different?"
"That's not the same thing," Dad harrumphed. "These people are angry at a party leadership that openly schemed to give their preferred candidate the nomination."
"What's new about that? Isn't that what the Republicans did in 2012 with Romney? That's what parties do, manipulate things to get their choice candidates elected."
"It's not fair! It's against the rules!"
I remained unswayed. "What rules? American political parties can do whatever they want with their candidates."
Dad practically growled. "Well, since we're not talking about facts, and I can see I interrupted you, I'll just let you go." Click.
I admit that I edited that conversation from my memory of the telephone call, but I think both Dad and I come out looking better in my version than reality. (He refuses to admit his own bias — he wants to Make America Great Again® — and I'm intentionally argumentative. About everything.) Frankly, we behave better when we don't talk about politics. Or government. Or sports. Come to think of it, maybe we never behave better.
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Tomorrow will be the 70th anniversary of my grandparents' wedding. (Happy anniversary, Dink and Buddy!) They're both dead now, but that doesn't stop anniversaries. Time keeps marching on whether we do or not.
I can't say as I regularly read wedding announcements. In 2016, do they still report on what type of flower the bride wore with her alligator accessories?
(And for the record, yes, "J.W." stood for "James Walter." I think it's a pretty good name.)
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Ahem. From a press release by the University of Leicester:
Seven years of student-led research into superheroes between 2009-2016 suggests Superman could be the best-equipped superhero of all, with a number of abilities including the 'Super Flare' attack and possession of high density muscle tissue
It took seven years to determine that the Man of Tomorrow is the most powerful of all super heroes? Damn. The University of Leicester has a pretty good reputation as a research university, but seven years to figure out that an invulnerable man with the powers of flight, heat vision, x-ray vision, telescopic vision, microscopic vision, super hearing, freeze breath, super intelligence, and a perfect moral compass makes him better equipped than all other super heroes? I figured that out in one afternoon in a comic book shop.
To be fair, this wasn't really a study. The press release goes on to point out that the conclusions presented were the result of seven years of essays written as part of a class teaching students to follow the scientific method and develop critical thinking skills. (The press release itself is a bit of marketing aimed squarely at kids who might consider enrolling in the university. Come and study super heroes!) Taken from that angle, I can wholeheartedly endorse this project, especially when it provides conclusions like this:
Though his cape proves to be a vital utility when gliding in comic and media depictions, the student-led research suggests that when gliding Batman reaches velocities of around 80km/hr — which could be fatal upon landing.
Any research that supports The Incredibles ("No capes!"), now that's some research I can get behind.
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