Dan Rattiner's Stories

Thoughts: Dan Considers Trump, Game of Thrones, Apollo 11 and More

If a Virginia ham waddles into Maryland, is he no longer a Virginia ham?

I was talking to a new physician who has just moved into the Hamptons. Every few sentences, he would excitedly use the word “perfect,” and as usual, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that at some point earlier in his life he had worked as a waiter.

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If Donald Trump gets charged, convicted by a jury, and then sentenced by a judge, we all know what he will say. “This proves I am innocent. What a witch hunt.”

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I saw a short video of an old woman being declared the oldest living person in the world by Guinness Book of World Records. She’s Japanese, seemed in good health and good spirits and was on this date 116 years and 72 days old. A reporter asked her, “What’s the nicest thing that ever happened in your life?” After a pause, she said, “This, right now,” which made everyone applaud and cheer. Later I thought she probably said this because that’s what that’s what the wise men tell people to focus on. Or maybe she said it because that’s all she remembers.

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We have a phone in our living room, and we don’t answer it when it rings because we know it’s robocalls. But there is a method to our madness. Not answering it makes the robocallers do extra work. I keep thinking, if everyone were to do this, given the cost of labor the robocall company would have to endure, we could drive the robocallers into bankruptcy.

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If a Virginia ham waddles into Maryland, is he no longer a Virginia ham? And if not, what is his new immigration status?

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I saw Apollo 11 at the movies the other day. It’s entirely footage from the actual event half a century ago, but with the film all scrubbed up, sharp, the colors restored, and presented in a dramatic new way. So it’s like a you-are-there-and-its-happening-now moon landing movie.

In the film, a hundred people sit anxiously, looking at computer consoles in the massive hall that was the Houston Mission Control Center. They monitor the flight and, working in tandem with the astronauts, count backwards from 10 to fire off tiny steering rockets, uncouple stage two or set the lander down on the moon’s surface.

Noticeably, all those working at Mission Control were men. They had crew cuts, white shirts and blue ties. It was 1969. There was only one exception to this, but it was not a woman. It was the mission controller. He wore a white turtleneck sweater. The token white turtleneck sweater guy. I kept thinking that because this was all men, American men, something would have to go wrong. But nothing ever did. Wow! See this for yourself.

The biggest job the restorers did with this movie was to dust off and scrub clean the moon itself. Amazing! What a job. Bravo, fellas.

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Amazon is apparently not going to reverse its decision to not make New York City its second major East Coast headquarters location. This is bad news for us out here on eastern Long Island, because now when we order something from Amazon, we will have to travel farther to get it than we might have otherwise.

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A new word has sprung onto the scene big time in recent weeks. The word is “trope.” I never heard it used before. Now it’s used all over the place. What in the world does “trope” mean?

“Trope” is defined as some recognizable element that helps to define something else. Got it? Here’s the dictionary definition: “A trope is an artful deviation from the ordinary or principal signification of something, using it in an unusual or unexpected way.” In other words, its use in this last sentence will help you understand this article better. I think.

Dan Rattiner sitting on the Iron Throne at the Game of Thrones set
Dan on the Iron Throne

The wildly successful HBO show Game of Thrones will be debuting new episodes on April 14. In anticipation of this, I watched the trailer. I also went back and looked at some of the early episodes in Season 1.

The trailer features epic battles, charging hordes of barbarians, 90-foot-long flying dragons and armadas of ships. Also, the familiar heroes and heroines who have been scheming and battling. This makes quite a contrast with the early seasons. In those days, good and bad characters would be presented and then in some cruel way get killed. Usually the killing was brutal, bloody and disgusting, so it was quite a shock. It was hard to root for anyone, but then you’d realize life was cheap back then.

Frankly, I have come to think the writers were just auditioning people in those early scenes, and their getting knocked off was a forceful indication they had failed the audition. That’s how they developed the final character group. So be it.

Finally, there were only a few epic events in those early days. Instead, most were up-close-and personal scenes. I think they were low-budget at first. Couldn’t afford epic war battles. Now they can. And so they do.

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