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Presidential Pings: Who Put The W In Wi-Fi?

July 11th, 2013 · Tags:Arts · Cities · Politics · Wi-Fi

Tanzania Fashion Trend


In many cases, when we ping on-location, Wi-Fi is the whole story.  There are exceptions, such as The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.  At the BHOF we tested the hotspot quickly and then enthusiastically slid into the history and memorabilia, admittedly looking for one item specifically.


Ping The Hall of Fame

Yes, our visit confirmed that the ping book was there in the library collection – NOLAN RYAN: The Authorized Pictorial History. Ha … what do they call that?  A watershed moment? Much better than the woodshed moments to which we are more accustomed.  I digress …


Recently — you might have heard — another library, one of the most impressive libraries anywhere, opened in the PingWi-Fi backyard, across 360, over in Dallas at Southern Methodist University.


We have been in contact with the Bush camp since the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum was a mere artist’s rendering … but had not visited.  (Still waiting on that one-on-one interview with Mr. President, by the way …)



What a perfect assignment.  First it is a decent motorcycle ride to Dallas early  on the weekend before the crazies are back out on the road.

We had heard The Bush Library had everything, so “surely it must have Wi-Fi.”

And yes, we had enjoyed the previous watershed and wanted more.  Could it be that the Nolan Ryan book might also be in the presidential library? We thought so, and here is why.  In addition to the Ping writings in the book, there was an impressive roster of contributors, including George W. Bush, who at that time was part-owner of The Texas Rangers.  So … it made sense.  We had a strong hunch.


Well … there was no joy in Bushville.  Ping struck out.  The book was not among the other baseball memorabilia displayed to commemorate #43’s love of America’s pastime.  We were so “caught looking.”  I mean … even though we don’t understand it, Lord knows President Bush had his enemies.  So, if you have a friend in Nolan Ryan, why not put a memento on display? He’s a sacred cowboy.  Everyone loves Nolan, exceptin Robin Ventura of course (#headnoogies).

Born In The U.S.A.


Not there … but still cool baseball stuff, including a Little League photo of the president when he was seven years old.  There were lots of autographed baseballs, bats, photos, etc.  So, that one kiosk was pretty reminiscent of Cooperstown. (Baseball … a game played by all little boys who were born in the U.S.A.  …)


OH!  “Why did we choose this day to tour?” you ask. It was President Bush’s birthday, so we were hoping for an unannounced visit.  (Swing and a miss …)


But, we didn’t come to play ball.  Wi-Fi is our game.  YES!  The George W. had a great Wi-Fi hotspot.  We tweeted, updated our stati (plural of status? … or would it be statuseseses?), checked in, posted up and photo’d out to the free world.


And yes, the Wi-Fi network was free and it didn’t take a “White House security clearance” to get on.  To our amazement, it wasn’t even password protected.  But, I would wager, the administrators probably knew our every move.



This ain’t no bush league facility.  Great Wi-Fi, incredible electronic graphics, “the rest of the story” to overrule Bush bashers, interactive technology, artifacts, and yes t-shirts with the presidential seal.  Yes please! 7 pings, Mr. President.


Obviously baseball was but a fraction of the content.  One of the most impressive things visitors will notice is the scope and number of worldwide Bush initiatives.  For example, no other president approaches W’s record on helping the entire continent of Africa in the fight against AIDS.


Of course Mr. Bush also received non-partisan good marks for his “No Child Left Behind” law passed in 2002, and the program to help disadvantaged students is well represented in the library.


Behind the great man, or more accurately put, beside him is a great woman.  The universally loved First Lady Laura Bush also championed education, and her classy and graceful touch can be felt throughout the exhibits.


I particularly liked the portrait of her in a brilliant red dress, walking the first dogs on the lawn, the beloved Scottish Terriers. There’s also a bronze bust of Barney, I believe, and another Scotty.


There are gold blingy gifts on display, from leaders from all corners of the globe.


You have probably heard about the great, techy/poli sci, interactive portion of the library.  There is a room where visitors are invited to attend “a briefing,” assess a mock crisis, weigh the available facts and make a virtual “presidential decision.” … oh the virtual stress …


And for the ultimate twitter/FB profile photo upload, visitors can take or have a professional photographer shoot them in the power position, behind the desk, of a lifesize duplicate of The Oval Office.  (So, yes, for a moment, I was so the leader of the free world.)


One of our favorite things … the reading material displayed which will warrant another more leisurely visit to peruse paperwork.  There are several actual Top Secret documents on display, original pages of presidential speeches complete with presidential underlines of the points to emphasize, inter-office memos and more.

Bush Presidential Library


But the crowd favorite, where the lines of people seemed to linger longest was the video display featuring what is probably President George W. Bush’s finest hour.  There is a great video presentation of The President at ground zero addressing New York and the first responders after 9-11.  (Someone even had the forethought to grab and save the famous megaphone used to tell the world that Americans would not tolerate such behavior, to borrow a phrase from another cowboy …) As if to add exclamation, there are actually twisted, misshapen steel beams salvaged from the Twin Towers standing by.


You can see pride fill the chests and tears swell in the eyes of the visitors as President Bush stands in the rubble, addressing the firemen and the world. No other president in the history of our country has been faced with such a crisis, and yes, whether you like it or not … stepped up to the plate.


President Bush was the perfect leader for the time, no matter what any of his critics claim.  Everyone … and I mean EVERYONE, for a brief time united behind this strong leader during the darkest time in our history.  No other president faced such an attack on our homeland, (which was followed closely by unprecedented natural disasters) …  and these occurred early in his tenure.


Of course, bi-partisan that we are, once the fear for their own skin subsided, the detractors and drama queens came out of the woodworks to heckle and denounce this President. (They are not worthy …)  But for a moment, a great presidential moment, we all took comfort knowing W was in the House.


Enough of that.  This blog is not going to reverse anyone’s brainwashed bias. History is on Bush’s side, and we’ll leave it at that.


On the topic of Republicans and Democrats, I have to assume there was a mixed bag among the visitors to the Library.  If so, it must have been the best from each camp.  It was so refreshing to see people who actually conducted themselves with reverence and respect for one another in a public setting.  Sadly, so rare today, especially any time lines are involved.


Quickly … the great hall outside the library is fantastic.  Go out there.  Look up. You will see the most crystal-clear large-screen projection units ever.  The screens work as pixellated portions of huge moving video graphics — gymnasts preening in red, white and blue … aerial flyovers of the U.S. Capitol, myriad faces … very cool.


Other than the book missing from the library, only one point of contention from the visit … the parking. The tiny lot’s automatic gate let people enter the paid lot, well after the lot was full.  And to complicate matters, no one could exit without parking and going inside the center to pay for the parking ticket.


Several cars, SUVs and one Triumph Speedmaster did several laps, hoping someone would leave a spot, to no avail.  Keep in mind I was the guy on the bike and it was 90-some-odd degrees.  So I chanced it and parked in an open area adjacent to a sidewalk.  A big move on my park.  (You may remember from a previous blog that my SUV was sideswiped innocently parked on a residential street just days before.)


Now, let’s talk just a little more baseball, and our favorite “platform” – serendipity.


Tally the stats.  No Bush sighting.  No Nolan Ryan book.


John Blake


… And yet, there was one of those crazy coincidental things, as I entered the gift shop to plunk down 25 bucks for the W-shirt. (I’ll be back for the presidential coffee mug.) There guarding and greeting at the revolving door into the gift shop, as I exited the main library lobby was a familiar face.  Ha … could it be?


Yes, it was John Blake, executive vice president of communications for baseball”s Texas Rangers.  Blake and I shook hands as he told me he volunteers at this great facility.  Pretty cool place to spend your weekends away from the diamond.  And the rest of the story?  Blake was one of the sports information guys I worked with — from  Nolan Ryan’s four major league teams (Mets, Angels, Astros, Rangers) — who helped me to assemble information for the book.  Maybe we can put our heads together to get the book inducted into this Bush hall of fame.


That’s a closer, and a check in the W column.


Know what I sayin?

Yo-Yo Ma, Condi Gig