“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated
than the man who reads nothing but newspapers”
State 31: Georgia - February 28, 2018
We woke up at a Walmart in Alpharetta, GA feeling rejuvenated and ready to start our day! Yesterday, we witnessed the birth of a Cabbage Patch baby boy named Jimmy Dean, and we could wait not to see what adventure lie head today! Our first task of the day was a 26 mile drive South to Atlanta to visit the Cross Country Couple's "Historic Location" for Georgia; Centennial Olympic Park. What once consisted of vacant lots and abandoned run-down industrial buildings was transformed into a 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park in preparation for Atlanta hosting the 1996 Summer Olympics. Constructed at a cost of $43 million, Centennial Olympic Park contained sponsor exhibits, hosted concerts and entertainment and served as the location for medal presentations during the Olympic games. As some may remember, Centennial Olympic Park was also the site of the 1996 Olympic bombing by domestic terrorist; Eric Robert Rudolph who killed 2 people and injured 111 others. Today, the park still hosts millions of visitors each year, and features events including: Summer Music Concert Series, and a 4th of July fireworks display. In addition, Centennial Olympic Park is surrounded by a plethora of iconic Atlanta Landmarks such as; Georgia World Congress Center, The College Football Hall of Fame, Philips Arena, the Mercedes Benz Stadium, The Georgia Aquarium, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, The CNN center, and World of Coca-Cola.
I was extremely excited to be visiting Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, and could not wait to see the Olympic Cauldron from the 1996 Summer Games! We parked Rosie in a very expensive parking lot in a seedy neighborhood, and we walked 8 blocks towards the park being aggressively stalked by panhandlers the entire way! Finally, we arrived at Centennial Olympic Park, and made our way to the Park Administrator's Building. The online reviews revealed headsets are offered there for self-guided tours of the park’s main features. We walked up to the front door to the building, and discovered it to be locked! After giving the door a few firm knocks, a big and burly construction worker complete with hard hat and tool belt answered the door. Either the park was featuring a concert by the “Village People”, or the Cross Country Couple was about to receive some very bad news. Since the Cop, Cowboy and Indian were nowhere to be found, I feared the latter to be more likely. The construction worker stated the park was undergoing a, “construction improvement project”, and would not be completed until 2019. Noooooo!!! Previously in our cross country journey, we were scheduled to visit another Olympic Park, but had to cancel due to a strange meteorological phenomenon. You can read about it by clicking here. I cannot believe we are missing out on an Olympic Park once again! We zoomed our camera in as much as it could zoom, and snapped the best pictures we could from outside of the fence surrounding the park.
When researching our “Made in the USA” tour for Georgia”, we were left with two options; CNN or Coke. Both of the aforementioned are iconic American companies, so choosing one over the other was no easy task. Complicating matters further, neither Lori nor I are fans of either brands. Coke, and all sodas for that matter, are strong contributing factors of America's obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemic, and as a nurse, I have had the misfortune of witnessing the tragic effects of these diseases in my patients first hand. Perhaps the most painful example was watching my father pass away from kidney cancer at 60 years old after a 40 Year 2 litter bottle-a-day addiction to Diet Coke. As a weight loss and wellness coach, Lori saw her patients struggle daily with weight gain and sugar addiction stemming from their soda intake. In addition, soda contributes to bone density loss especially in post-menopausal women, which is why Lori has long since given up soda. I've heard you can clean your engine with Coke, imagine what it does to your digestive system! If you like carbonated beverages, seltzer mixed a splash of your favorite 100% juice is a much healthier alternative. Neither Lori nor I could recall the last time we drank a Coke.
CNN, and all news networks and programs, greatly contribute to the stress, anxiety and depression of the public. 24-hour news networks wage psychological havoc on us by unnecessarily stimulating our bodies fight or flight response by sending unfiltered messages directly into our brains. “BREAKING NEWS JUST IN!!! A GAS LEAK IN FRANCE CAUSED AN EXPLOSION INJURING 4 PEOPLE!!!”. Although tragic, I live in the US! Why do I need to know this? CNN, FNC, and MSNBC, I have a late breaking newsflash for you!!! Americans are already beyond stressed out! We all beg you to please give us a break! Moreover, the “news” highlights the absolute worst virtues of humanity such as war, murder, hate, and mostly disregards human’s greatest gifts such as kindness, compassion, and love. Since there is not enough horror going on the world to fill 24 hours of around the clock news, they repeat the same awful story over and over for days and days on end. If there is something going on in the world that I need to know, and I mean REALLY need to know, I have always heard about it by word of mouth. No, I don’t give a damn what Kim Kardashian's ass looked like in the dress she wore to the Grammy's last night. I have not watched the news or TV for that matter in years, and here I am getting stressed just by writing about it!!! Ohm! Ohm! Ohm! Ahhh! That’s better! Should we poison our bodies by drinking Coke, or pollute our minds by watching the “News”? In the end, we decided CNN was the lesser of two evils. After departing Olympic Centennial Park, we walked 4 blocks to the Cross Country Couple's “Made in the USA” tour for Georgia; CNN Center to learn how fake news is made! Oopsy, I meant to say, to learn how the “news” is broadcasted.
Founded in 1980 by Ted Turner, Cable News Network, more commonly known as CNN, is the first cable and satellite television channel in the US providing 24-hour news coverage. Although the CNN Center in Atlanta is officially the company’s World Headquarters, CNN primarily broadcasts from their studios in New York City, Washington D.C, and Los Angeles. CNN and its two dozen branded networks make news available to in excess of 2 billion people in over 200 countries and territories throughout the world! More specifically, CNN reaches 91 million households in the U.S, CNN International reaches more than 354 million households worldwide, and CNN Digital is the #1 online news destination across all platforms averaging nearly 200 million visitors every month! Furthermore, CNN Newsource is the most extensively utilized news service in the world with over 1,000 local and international news organizations around the world! That is a lot of power one single company possesses to influence the public’s perception of reality. Very Scary!!!
CNN offers a variety of tour types, but for our purposes we were left with two relevant options; The Behind the Scenes Tour and the VIP tour. The Behind the Scenes Tour consists of a 50-minute guided walking tour through the halls of the CNN Center to get an inside look at how a live broadcast is produced and sent to viewers all over the world. The cost of the “The Behind the Scenes Tour” was $15.00 per person. The VIP Tour consists of a 75 minute guided tour featuring the aforementioned, but with expanded access into live Newsrooms and HLN state of the art studio used daily. The price of the VIP tour is $33.00 per person. Although we were weary of patronizing a company whose products conflict with our beliefs, CNN was our “Made in the USA” tour for Georgia, and we wanted the most comprehensive experience to learn how the news was made. Therefore, we opted for the $33.00 per person VIP tour, and reserved our tickets online.
We entered the CNN Center, and were shocked by what we saw. There were three separate buildings connected and enclosed by a massive atrium, and beneath was a huge food court! We followed the signs to the location where the tour began, and were greeted by our guide soon thereafter. After scanning our tickets and passing through airport style security, an armed security guard led us up the world’s largest freely supported escalator into a room with theater style seating. Here we were told the rules of our visit, and one of which was no pictures! At least I was able to capture a few shots of the CNN Atrium and the seemingly endless escalator! Please see the pictures below.
In a brief summation, we visited an empty HLN studio, a CNN 24 hour newsroom where people were hard at work playing solitaire, watched control rooms operators eat lunch, and were unnecessarily stalked by an armed guard for the entire 45 minutes of what was should have been a 75 minute tour. Ascending the world’s largest free standing escalator was the highlight of our time at CNN! All of the aforementioned contributed to the CNN Tour being an expensive and disappointing experience. Worst of all, we left not having gained any understanding of how news is made. Clearly, CNN is using their tours as a revenue stream, instead of educating the public about what it is they do. Perhaps, we should have just opted for Coke, or better yet, we would have been better off leaving the “Made in the USA” category for Georgia blank. Today was a frustrating day to be a vagabond!
After departing Atlanta, GA, we drove 20 miles Northwest to Marietta, GA in the pouring rain where we found a Walmart to spend the night.