Judge Ye Not

In recent years I have developed what I refer to as hermit-like tendencies. I have stated…only partly in jest…that if I were to ever win the lottery or otherwise come into a princely sum of cash that I would love to fake my own death, move to some remote island,mansion and hole up in a mansion reminiscent of stately Wayne Manor complete with Batcave (minus the bats). I’d have my books, Internet access, radio & TV, and of course Rocco. There would certainly be a few family & friends…my Dad, my sister & nephews, The Owl, and Greg…that would know the truth, but for the most part I’d be completely off the grid and I’d be happy. The reason is simple…humanity too often aggravates me and the less I am forced to interact with people the better I feel.

It wasn’t always this way. While I’ve never been an extrovert I have been a “people person” and enjoyed meeting & talking with different folks. A confluence of factors has led to my semi-withdrawal, probably beginning in 2006 with the two years of my life that was spent in hospitals, “skilled” nursing facilities, and homebound with medical issues that I won’t bore you with now because that’s not my purpose at the moment. It is adequate enough for my purpose here to state that solitude changes a man…alter’s one’s perspective in a deeply profound way that is difficult to reverse. At any rate, there have been other events & observations before & after that carved this path, but that was the major detour from which I’ve never quite returned to the main road…and I’m not sure I’d want to even if I could. Things happen for a reason and I’m okay with that fact.

My general unease & antipathy was recently reinforced in a truly eye opening way. And that’s saying something because I had heretofore been under the delusion that my eyes were wide open. I suppose there is always room to learn & grow.

Eph 1-7I cannot & will not go into any detail here, but suffice to say that an acquaintance of mine found themselves in some trouble…some pretty serious trouble. The story became public. What this person is accused of doing is dreadfully tragic. However, in America aren’t we all “innocent until proven guilty”?? And even if a person is guilty didn’t Jesus teach us that “he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone”?? Doesn’t The Bible teach us about mercy, grace, & forgiveness?? Unfortunately modern American society doesn’t seem to believe in such principles…atleast when it comes to someone other than the person they see in the mirror each morning.

The story I am referring to was published on a website. Again the details are not important and not mine to divulge anyway. But I was truly saddened by the comments that dozens of readers left. I know Americans enjoy our blood sports, and I sincerely understand why the accusations involved evoked such passion & rage. Yet I couldn’t stop thinking…where is the mercy?? Folks were calling for this person to be shot, stabbed, beaten, burned, raped & murdered. And yes, some even suggested they be stoned, proving some familiarity with God’s Word but obviously not enough. This is all before a thorough investigation has been conducted and due process of law completely plays out. My my my…jump to conclusions much??

Look, I don’t know who did what in all this, but I do know a couple of things. I know that this person’s family is standing behind them and stepping up in ways that a month ago I am sure they never fathomed they’d be asked to do. This is a good, decent, close knit family. I am closer to the parents than the offspring and the little ones, and they are people with a deeply abiding faith, a strong moral center, and unquestionable love for one another. A few comments on the aforementioned article cast aspersions on the entire family rather than family_holding_handsjust the one person, which angered me tremendously since I know what kind of people they are. The fact that they are supporting their loved one is good enough for me and sufficient validation to doubt the veracity of the story as it is being portrayed in the media. Secondly, I know things that I have done in my life. No I have never killed anyone or committed any kind of violent act, but I have sinned in ways that I definitely wouldn’t want published in the local newspaper or discussed on television. I suspect many of you out there in the Manoverse might feel the same about your mistakes. As my relationship with God & our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ evolves & deepens I become more grieved by past errors and increasingly aware of when I choose the wrong path (which isn’t as often as it used to be but still far too much). I would hope that, if a wrong that I did ever grew into some kind of public spectacle, that others would grant me some level of mercy…but after these recent events I have my doubts.

What’s worse is that I can look back and see where I have been just as judgmental as the people who left those awful comments. I am far too quick to size up a person…assess their motives, assume their lack of moral fiber, and judge their actions. It is so easy to be reactionary in 21st century America. Social media gives us all an avenue to respond without thought, to opine without knowing all of the facts. Everyone is a critic, a pundit, and an expert. The mere fact that I can call myself a writer, publish The Manofesto, and dole out my viewpoint on anything I choose is proof of this. Who am I?? I am no better than you. I do sincerely believe that I don’t go off half-cocked and say anything too crazy in this forum, but in other situations I am easily angered and lack patience, understanding, wisdom, & compassion.

Jesus asks “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” and cautions us to “first remove the plank from your own eye, and handsthen you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” I am not advocating free reign. I am not saying that criminals should not be punished or that people should not be criticized when they make bad choices. But The Bible teaches us that “as iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend”, countenance in this case meaning character. Unfortunately too many of us spend a lot of time tearing others down instead of trying to help them or lead them to become better people.

I don’t have any easy answers or quick fixes for this issue. However, I can confidently say that we would all benefit from taking a moment to think…to look in the mirror and reflect on the mistakes that we’ve made and the skeletons we have in our closet whether they are big or relatively benign…before we haughtily lash out at others. No one is perfect…not you and certainly not me. The world would certainly benefit from more empathy & kindness rather than judgment, contempt, and anger.

 

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 4.13

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

mcfYes I watched The Oscars. What can I say…I was curious and jlawthere was nothing else better to do. Host Seth McFarlane was far less profane than most anticipated, although I am not really sure how much vulgarity anyone expected him to get away with anyway. However, the whole show was kind of an odd & clunky mess. I liked the appearance by William Shatner’s Captain Kirk (although the skit went on far too long), wasn’t all that offended by that song about boobs, and reluctantly chuckled at McFarlane’s joke about John Wilkes Booth being the only actor who was ever really able to get inside President Lincoln’s head. Conversely there were jokes about Mel Gibson, Rihanna & Chris Brown, and George Clooney that probably sounded funny in rehearsal but fell flat live. I could have done without the appearance of Mee-shell Obama, who like her shatner-captaint-kirk-oscars-videohusband seems a bit too enamored with the idea of being a celebrity & schmoozing with celebrities instead of actually governing. First ladies are supposed to be classy. None of the ones that I am familiar with from my lifetime…Pat Nixon, Betty Ford, Rosalyn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Hilary Clinton, & Laura Bush…would have appeared at The Academy Awards because they had more important things to do and weren’t narcissistic. Both Daniel Day-Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence were more than deserving of their awards. I have yet to see Best Picture winner Argo, but I’ll get around to renting it soon. It weirds me out a bit that Ben Affleck has now won two Oscars. Meanwhile Matt Damon is performing voiceover work for TV commercials and doing bits on the Jimmy Kimmel late night show. Yikes. Overall I think that McFarlane was a lot better than previous hosts like Whoopi Goldberg, bcryAnn Hathaway & James Franco, and Chris Rock, but it seemed like he was trying very hard to capture that Billy Crystal vibe and failed in the same way that Coke Zero tries to convince us that it tastes exactly like Coca-Cola but just doesn’t. Here’s my idea. Crystal is only 64 years old. Give him a 10 year contract and make him the “permanent’ host of The Academy Awards. After 10 years we will be sick of even him and might be a little more receptive to a fresh face. Oh, and I would also seriously pare down the number of awards handed out during the televised ceremony. No one gives a damn about sound editing, visual effects, hair & makeup, or costume design. There is absolutely no reason why the entire show can’t easily be done in 3 hours.

 

 

2_mindy_mccready_54271657-4_3_r536_c534I’ve been pondering this Mindy McCready story that has gotten so much media play the past few weeks. McCready of course is the erstwhile country singer that recently ended her own life, leaving behind two small children. There are just so many things involved…so many directions one can go in pontificating on the situation. I’m not a big country music fan, but I vaguely recall McCready’s brief time in the spotlight in the late 90’s. She had a decent song or two, dated the dude who played Superman on TV, and was a hot blonde. I won’t even pretend to understand either depression or drug addiction. I’ve known a couple of people who were addicted to alcohol and/or drugs, and I have a couple of friends with clinical depression who have attempted suicide. I get down in the dumps sometimes and wish my life was more interesting, that my love life was awesome, that I was more successful & financially secure…but I can honestly say that I have never seriously contemplated ending my own life. However, I will not criticize those who walk thru such valleys. Afterall, there but for the grace of God go I. Having said that though, there are a few things about the McCready case that are instructive. First of all, though she was little more than a flash in the pan on the music scene, McCready was still…in the loosest sense of the term…a celebrity. She had talent, beauty, fame, and atleast at some point money. Yet at the end of the day none of it mattered. Secondly, a common thing that I seem to read or hear when something like this happens is that she left behind two children which makes her suicide a selfish act. I certainly understand that point of view, but my (as usual) superficial research reveals an interesting perspective. Many people who commit suicide feel, in the depths of their despair, like their act is actually altruistic…that they are doing those left behind a favor, even if that includes small children. I may not be able to relate to that point of view, but I do understand it on some level. And speaking of loosely defined celebrities, McCready appeared on a “reality” show in 2010 called Celebrity Rehab, hosted by Dr. Drew ddrewPinsky. Citizens of the Manoverse know my aversion to reality television, but even within that pathetic genre this show really scrapes the bottom of the barrel. I think it is sad that such a show even exists to exploit the problems of semi-famous people who are obviously desperate for any outlet that will get them back in the spotlight and maybe reinvigorate their bank accounts. Dr. Drew is one of those celebrity doctors, like Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, & Dr. Ruth, who seems more interested in being a TV star than an actual doctor. Call me old-fashioned, but I think peoples’ problems & issues are in the same category with acts of charity & altruism…they should be on the down low and dealt with behind closed doors, not out in the open in some wretched attempt to gain notoriety. In five years of the show 5 former cast members have died, so whatever Dr. Drew is doing doesn’t seem to be working. And finally, before McCready offed herself she shot her dog. That’s right…she killed an innocent pet. I have to be honest…that’s the one thing about the whole story that I really have a hard time understanding on any level. I love my dog, and if anything would happen to me I know he’d be confused & sad, but someone somewhere would take him in and provide a good home for him. I cannot imagine being so sick in the head as to actually put a bullet thru an innocent animal. But of course as I’ve already stated, there is nothing about any of this is that I can really relate to.

 

 

pcHis Lordship the Imperial Mayor of NY City is at it again. Or maybe people are just now beginning to realize the full extent of his assclownery. It seems that it has become clear to restaurant & club owners in The Big Apple that, as a result of Mayor Bloomberg’s well documented ban on anything bigger than 16 oz containers of sugary drinks, pizza joints will no longer be allowed to deliver 2 liters of soda pop and families will no longer be able to share a pitcher of cola at a local restaurant. Of course that same family could still legally share a pitcher of beer, which seems a little odd.cola If my calculations are correct Bloomberg’s 3rd & final term (which he got only thru political chicanery) ends this November and it will be interesting to see if New Yorkers elect someone with the cahones to reverse all of Bloomberg’s stupidity and restore freedom to the people, or if they will be foolish enough to choose yet another dictator who will continue the silliness.

 

 

padeWe began with actors so we’ll finish with them. With his 3rd Best Actor Oscar Daniel Day-Lewis is now being lauded by some as the best actor in the history of jstewacting. I just can’t bring myself to go there quite yet, but it is an interesting debate. Other names I’ve seen thrown into the argument include Robert DeNiro, Jack Nicholson, Spencer Tracy, Dustin Hoffman, Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, and Sir Laurence Olivier. I’d also suggest the likes of Al Pacino, James Stewart, and Tom Hanks. I love discussions like this because there is no wrong answer. It all TOM-HANKS-NET-WORTH1comes down to personal taste and the kinds of movies these guys make. The reason I like DeNiro, Pacino, Stewart, and Hanks better than ddlewNicholson , Day-Lewis, & Burton is because I would rather watch The Godfather, It’s A Wonderful Life, Forrest Gump, & Meet the Parents than The Departed, There Will Be Blood, or Cleopatra. Your mileage may vary and that’s okay.

 

My 2013 Lenten Non-Sacrifice

Ash Wednesday completely snuck up on me this year…came & went. I knew Easter was early (March 31), but I still wasn’t quite in that mode yet. To me Easter signifies spring, and since we just had a fairly significant snowfall here lentin West Virginia a couple of weeks ago my brain is still in the midst of the winter doldrums. Unfortunately I did not make it to the always lovely Ash Wednesday service at church a few days ago due to some untimely mechanical difficulties, and I am a bit tardy in publishing the present discourse, but hey…it’s a long season so we’ll just go with it.

 

At any rate Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent which is usually 40 days (give or take) before Easter. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a reminder and celebration of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. Lent is a time of preparation that symbolizes Jesus’ time in the desert where he was bibletempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13), the forty days & nights Moses spent on Mount Sinai receiving The Ten Commandments from God (Exodus 19:1-25), the forty years the Jewish nation spent wandering in the desert, and the forty days & nights rains fell upon the Earth while Noah & his family were in The Ark with all the animals (Genesis Chapters 6-9). Forty is a very important number in The Bible, used by God to represent a period of testing or judgment. To that end it is traditional for Christians to make a sacrifice during Lent, which usually entails giving up a certain vice or bad habit that may be hindering our relationship with God.

 

For many years I did not fully embrace Lent. Sure I would go to church and participate in all the ceremonies & rituals, which since I am a Methodist doesn’t really involve all that much. But as with many other churchgoers who simply go thru the motions it really didn’t hold any type of significance outside the walls of the physical church building. However, citizens of The Manoverse will recall that I have mentioned on multiple occasions in the past few years my desire for a deeper, more genuine relationship with my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ and know that there has been an ebb & flow of growth, churchunderstanding, failure, and detours along the way. In 2010 I decided to make a true Lenten sacrifice, which meant giving up Facebook. And trust me…at the time it was a genuine hardship!! The following year I gave up fast food & chocolate. Again that may seem superficial to some, but honestly at that time those two things comprised the majority of my diet so it was difficult. In 2012 I was nearing the end of my year long sambatical from organized religion, a time that I regret but also appreciate because it was a necessary reset for many reasons. Since I wasn’t in church and still trying to sort some things out I didn’t choose any kind of sacrifice. I believe my running joke at the time was that I had given up church for Lent. Anyway, I returned to church right around Easter 2012  and have enjoyed the past 10 months or so.

 

In pondering potential sacrifices for 2013 God led me in a new direction. I am not exactly Mr. Excitement. My life is pretty basic and usually uneventful. That’s not a complaint because my lifestyle is a byproduct of my own choices, most of which I fully embrace or atleast no longer run away from. I didn’t want to make any kind of food sacrifice because I am already on a weight loss journey and have already lowered my intake of all those really good things that are bad for me. And there wasn’t really any other kind of sacrifice that seemed appropriate for a variety of reasons. As I pondered the issue I began to recall various things I have read and sermons I have heard wherein it was stated, in essence, that it is just as appropriate to add something for Lent as it is to give gregolsenup something. The whole idea behind Lent is to acknowledge that we fall short in our relationship with God and draw closer to him. I have done a lot of re-evaluating in the past few years and have stated my displeasure on multiple occasions with the superficial nature of the modern church, and it seems to me that Lent has become a perfect example of the problem. The Lenten sacrifice…for most folks anyway…has become nothing more than a sequel to meaningless New Year’s resolutions. If quitting smoking, giving up chocolate, or reducing your intake of booze & caffeine helps you develop a more meaningful relationship with God then by all means go for it & don’t let me stop you. However, I suspect that such removals are…most of the time…simply hollow acts of self-righteous vanity in which we all try to top one another with the level of our “suffering”. No thanks…not this kid. I want my relationship with God and my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ to have more depth. Your mileage may vary.

 

Having said all that what I have decided to do is refocus myself in a more dedicated effort to cultivate my relationship with The Lord. I feel like such an endeavor is a more positive way to approach Lent and something that won’t just last 40 days. Now lest you think that statement is too general…too “big picture”…I think there is a way that I can fit the task into the more rudimentary, more tangible paradigm most identify with Lent. One of the ways that I can palpably grow both my relationship with The Lord and my own depth of knowledge & understanding of things more profound than General Hospital, Double Whoppers with cheese, and Judd Apatow movies is by reading, studying, & writing. Sometimes I think that God really does have a sense of humor, and I have to smile sheepishly when I realize that after commenting at the beginning of the year that “I have an increasing hunger to write” and that “inspiration flows more steadily” the past 6 weeks have not been nearly as productive as they should have been. Sure I write superficial little ditties now & then, and that’s not always a bad thing. But The Manofesto is meant to be more than that. A year ago I promised a book-by-book look at writing-fountain-pen-400 (1)The Bible that I have yet to start. 31/2 years ago I started a series on The Fruits of the Spirit that is still incomplete. There are only nine of them for Pete’s sake…what is taking me so long?? Nearly three years ago I began a similar examination of The Sermon on the Mount that is still not finished. That is unacceptable. When I look at The Bookshelf section here and realize that I have only written 14 entries in four years I am ashamed. There was a time when I constantly had my head in a book. I don’t know what has happened as I have gotten older. There are dozens of books in The Bachelor Palace that I could write about and share my experience with The Manoverse. Therefore what I have decided to do for Lent is commit to adding atleast 6 entries each in both The Bookshelf and Values, Principles, & Truth sections here over the next 6 weeks. In practical terms that will naturally necessitate focusing my energy on reading & studying as opposed to wasting my time on more worthless pursuits. One of the  things I like about The Manofesto is that I feel a certain sense of accountability to the things that I publically proclaim, which is a good thing. I am not a disciplined person. I am single, which means I get up when I want, sleep when I want, eat what & when I want, and go where I want whenever I want to go. The only responsibilities I have are my job, my bills, & Rocco. While that freedom is kind of nice for the most part it also means that there is a tendency to become somewhat lazy & neglectful of other significant things. I want to use Lent as a launch pad to be more responsible to God, to the talents with which He has blessed me, and to the commitment I have made here at The Manofesto.

 

God bless you all and may you utilize this Lenten season to draw closer to God and improve your life as well.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 3.13

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

Word on the street is that Harrison Ford is in for the Star Wars sequels. That’s good news. I can’t imagine that Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill wouldn’t be up for it as well. Surprisingly I’ve never read any of the dozens of Star Wars books but I can imagine that the new sequels will pick up three decades after Return of the Jedi and the focus would be on the offspring of our legendaryHarrison-Ford-e1352170502217 triumvirate. I assume Han Solo & Princess Leia got married, had a couple kids, and now hold elder statesmen roles within The New Republic. Luke Skywalker is a Jedi master…kind of the new Obi-wan Kenobi…got married, and had a few children as well. Darth Vader is obviously dead so we’ll see a new bad guy. The key question is which actors & actresses will be cast as the new generation. I hope director JJ Abrams goes for good actors versus movie stars…there is a difference. This new trilogy has to be a cut above the mindless action rubbish that the movie going public has become anesthetized by. Star Wars deserves better. I pray that Abrams stays away from people like Shia LaBeouf, Zac Efron, Channing Tatum, and…God help us…Justin Bieber & Selena Gomez. There are decent young performers out there that could bring a level of gravitas to the story…folks like Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, Jennifer Lawrence, Shailene Woodley, Emile Hirsch, Hunter Parrish, Josh Hutcherson, and Kate Mara. Abrams did an excellent job in casting the Star Trek reboot so I trust that he will do the same for Star Wars.

 

So I guess the new trend is to equate gay rights with civil rights and homosexuals with other minorities. I could go into a long diatribe about my particular feelings on the issue, but I will refrain. Suffice to say that I disagree ashamedwith the philosophy and think that women & blacks…who fought long & hard for equal rights and still must to a certain degree…should be immensely offended about the equivocation. That doesn’t mean that those who choose a particular lifestyle should be made to endure discrimination & abuse because at the end of the day we should all be about human rights and stop trying to divide & conquer, but it does mean that some people need to stop demanding to be celebrated or given special treatment for their choices.

 

I love Al Pacino. He is one of the finest actors to ever grace a stage, TV screen, or movie set. But what is the deal with him doing all these biopics of Al_Pacino (1)controversial dudes?? First he played “Dr. Death” Jack Kevorkian for HBO in 2010. Then came word that he will be playing Joe Paterno in a future film. And now he’s playing wildhaired music producer & convicted murderer Phil Spector…again for HBO. I don’t know…these kinds of roles just somehow seem beneath a performer the caliber of Pacino.

 

Conversely…..

I hear that Robin Williams is headed back to TV in a new sitcom. Now THAT is something to be excited about!!

 

Speaking of civil rights…..

I recently saw an ad on TV for a dating site called BlackPeopleMeet.com. I must admit that I was somewhat taken aback at first until I gave it some thought. Upon further ponderation I recalled that there is still an NAACP, a Congressional Black Caucus, and black colleges (well okay…now they say predominantly or historically black colleges) like Grambling, Howard, & Southern University, all of which were necessary at one time but seem dr-martin-luther-king-jrsomewhat anachronistic now. I was born way after the civil rights era of the 60’s with Rosa Parks refusing to sit in the back of the bus & Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. leading the fight for justice & freedom. However, it strikes me as odd that a group of folks whose forefathers fought so hard for and in some cases gave their lives for equality & integration continue to willingly segregate themselves on some level. If I started any kind of exclusive “whites only” organization in 2013 I would immediately be labeled a racist and be (rightly so) ostracized, belittled, & condemned. It seems like that’s a one way street though. Dr. King expressed faith that one day we would all be able to “work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together” and hope that “all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing”. I am not sure how BlackPeopleMeet.com helps achieve that goal.

 

I have discovered a new hobby. Events like The Super Bowl & The Grammys…among others…are much more entertaining if I utilize Twitter to express my smartass thoughts the entire time. I am actually looking forward to The Oscars for the first time in…well…ever.

 

I didn’t watch Obama’s State of the Union because I would rather stick my head in a pizza oven for an hour than hear that man spew his nonsense, but I hear that he wants to raise the minimum wage. That’s a nice idea in theory, but I wonder about the unintended negative consequences. What good does raising wages do when prices seem to rise correspondingly?? How many moneypeople would lose jobs and how many small businesses would go under?? Why are we concentrating on artificially raising the lowest standard instead of increasing opportunities for better jobs?? Will more people just end up on government assistance?? What about the people already making $10-15/hr….will their wages increase?? I am not an economist and I’m not really in the mood to get into anything in depth at the moment, but these are questions that need to be addressed & answered.

 

 

 

 

Winning & Musing…..Volume 4.13

Today we bid a fond farewell to the football season and touch on a couple of other subjects.

 

 

Congratulations…I suppose…to the Baltimore Ravens, who just won one of the more memorable Super Bowls in recent memory. It wasn’t the result I would have preferred for a variety of reasons, but atleast it was an entertaining & competitive game. The 49ers have to be kicking themselves for not really showing up until after the blackout. I’m not sure what happened but I’d be willing to bet it won’t happen again if they are fortunate enough to get back to the Super Bowl. But of course ravens_preview_flattherein lies the rub. History tells us that the chances of either of these teams being as successful as they were this season next year are slim. The Ravens have a built in excuse. Not only are they losing their emotional leader Ray Lewis to retirement, but as with every other Super Bowl Champion they will become victims of their own success by losing several players who’ll seize the moment and cash in with big money contracts from other teams. Conversely the 49ers are young & shouldn’t see much turnover, plus they should be super motivated to prove that first half was just a fluke. But I’d still hesitate to bet on them making it back next season.

 

The extracurriculars surrounding the Super Bowl were predictablybr underwhelming. There wasn’t a single commercial that really burnt itself into my memory. Beyonce’s halftime show was okay I guess. I am in the minority by having the opinion that using the kiddie choir from Sandy Hook Elementary to help Jennifer Hudson sing America the Beautiful was shameless pandering.

 

warren-sapp-1668ddd46de92f78I’m still in a little bit of shock that Warren Sapp was voted intobus the Pro Football Hall of Fame ahead of Jerome Bettis & Michael Strahan. Maybe I am missing something, but to me Sapp was just another loudmouthed thug from “The U”, i.e. the Miami Hurricanes, but unlike other Miami thugs like Ray Lewis & Michael Irvin didn’t seem to have all that much of a noteworthy career. I guess the Hall of Fame voters disagree with that assessment.

 

I don’t usually pay much attention to the NBA until the playoffs begin, but the much talked about issues surrounding the LA Lakers have been difficult to ignore and highlight why I have come to dislike that team immensely. Back in the 80’s heyday of Showtime I really liked Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, and their lakersteammates, but the 21st century version of the Lakers just aren’t likeable at all. It all started with Shaquille O’Neal several years ago. Shaq was and still is an illiterate assclown. I have no idea how mushmouths like he & football talking head Shannon Sharpe get TV gigs. Surely these shows can find more articulate talent. Anyway, then of course we have Kobe Bryant, who was one of the first guys to jump directly from high school to the NBA back when that was allowed. Kobe is very talented, but he’s also selfish & arrogant. Then this year the Lakers brought in Dwight Howard, who is 27 going on 12. I am simply sick & tired of hearing about all the conflict & struggle going on with the Lakers. Grow up & shut up.

 

Oh…speaking of the NBA…..

Please please please stop with the debate about who is the greatest basketball player jordanever – Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or LeBron James. This is the kind of silly crap that ESPN pontificates about when there is nothing else going on in the world of sports, but to me there’s absolutely no question. Jordan is undoubtedly the greatest player to ever grace a basketball court. Kobe & LeBron are great players and have had some success, but any argument that tries to equate them with Jordan is simply manufactured, embellished poppycock.

 

I only pay slightly more attention to college basketball than I do the NBA at this bbpoint in the year. March Madness is awesome but in the 3 or 4 months prior I primarily focus on my Marshall Thundering Herd & WV Mountaineers. However, I must say that this season has been rather interesting. Every time a team reaches #1 they get upset. There doesn’t seem to be one dominant team or even a few dominant teams. That should make for a wide open NCAA Tournament with lots of twists & turns. Sounds good to me.

 

It is rare that I find myself in the position of saying anything positive about anyone associated with the evil empire known as the New England Patriots, but in the case of Rob Gronkowski I have to make an exception. I have been amused by all the old, curmudgeonly, fuddy duddy talking heads getting their knickers in a snit because Rob Gronkowski, Jerrell Freemanof Gronkowski’s partying caught on tape. This is a young 20-something who is rich, famous, (I assume) good looking, & popular. The world is his oyster. Why are a bunch of stuffed shirts so agitated by the guy dancing (badly) with his shirt off and acting like a goofball?? Yes the Patriots pay him a lot of money. Yes his wrist is currently in a cast. Yes he was most likely intoxicated both times he has been filmed partying like it’s 1999. But the last time I checked this was a free country and employees still have the right to engage in whatever legal activities they choose when they are “off duty”, which for professional athletes is the offseason. These out of touch sports “journalists” make it sound like Gronk was caught snorting lines of coke off the naked, dead carcass of Whitney Houston. Chill the hell out people!!

 

Poll: What Is Your Favorite Comfort Food??

spagh Your humble Potentate of Profundity has been on a weight  chocolate-chip-cookie-and-milkloss journey that I’ll write more bout at some other time, but one of the things that I have realized is that I am an emotional eater…something that I am sure is not uncommon. I have also discovered that winter, for various reasons, is a season that lends itself to a certain level of weakness for we folks who tend to overindulge. So my icquestion for The Manoverse today is simply…what are your go to foods?? What do you tend to treat PotChili1yourself to when you are some combination of hungry, lonely, bored, sad, angry, frustrated, etc?? Please select up to three choices and leave me a comment about  your particular treats & temptations.

Heroes & Heels…..January 2013

Back when I used to do a Person of the Month at the old site on MySpace I had…for some strange reason…a real issue with getting the darn thing published on time, which in a perfect world would be on the last day of the month. When I decided to revive the idea here in 2013 I promised myself I would do better, but I guess old habits die hard. The truth is that I have been in a little funk the past several days and got lazy. I believe that atleast part of it is weather induced as I do not like this cold, icy, snowy time of year and tend to go into a self-induced hibernation. At any rate I am doing my best to push thru which in part means fulfilling my own self-imposed promises here at The Manofesto.

Our new feature is called Heroes & Heels. These are the people & stories that either dominated the news or for some reason caught my eye during the past 30 days. They are presented in no particular order and I am sure my dear citizens of The Manoverse will be able to tell the bad guys from the good. Enjoy.

 

 

JJ Abrams

Yes yes yes…I am well aware that Abrams…currently helming the Star Trek revival…was chosenThumbs_up recently to direct a new Star Wars trilogy. I have already expressed my ambivalence about that. But Abrams deserves kudos for another reason. Early in January Abrams found out about a terminally ill New York man’s dying wish to see the new Trek film before he died. The director is notoriously secretive about his work, preferring to keep spoilers to a minimum. However, he made an exception in this case and sent a DVD of the unfinished film to the house of 41 year old Daniel Craft, who apparently watched it with his wife and some popcorn. A few days later Craft passed away. It may seem like a small thing in the grand scheme of life, but JJ Abrams’ gesture was classy & fundamentally decent…something we’re not used to seeing out of Hollywood types. Kudos Mr. Abrams.

 

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo

I am sure you’ve heard about this idiot recently. He’s the mental giant who perpetrated the hoax on Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o, making him believe that he was in a 2 year long phone/cyberfrowny-face “relationship” with a girl that never actually existed. I am not willing to absolve Te’o of all responsibility yet because it still isn’t clear exactly when he found out the truth and how long he continued to perpetuate the fraud for his own purposes, and at the very least he is an extremely naïve & gullible young man who could probably use a good dose of therapy. However, it has become clear that Tuiasosopo is the one who came up with the sick joke in the first place. I don’t watch Dr. Phil, who I consider to be only slightly less of a charlatan than Oprah, but from what I read Tuiasosopo is now saying that he was molested as a child and he may be gay & in love with Te’o. Isn’t that convenient?? There’s always an excuse.

 

Terry Lee & George Burnett

Terry Lee is the owner of a forensics firm in Cedar City, UT. George Burnett owns a juice bar in Salt Thumbs_upLake City. Both decided to handle the new costs of Obamacare in a unique…and perfectly legal…way. Lee had to trim the fat a bit so he decided to “downsize” two liberal employees who had openly supported Obama, saying that “They wanted the idiot in the White House, they reap the benefits.” Burnett’s actions were a little less dramatic and more…dare I say…democratic. He simply charges libs a dollar more for a smoothie. I am not sure how effective his honor system is, but it’s the thought that counts. Now I realize that some may think that these actions are wrong, but personally I find them absolutely hilarious. Your mileage may vary.

 

Bob Schieffer

I have a feeling media types will find themselves on the bad end of the deal a lot here. Schieffer’sfrowny-face particular brand of stupidity recently was equating the reinvigorated mission of liberals to crap all over our 2nd Amendment right to keep & bear arms to the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the WWII effort to defeat Nazis. Yes friends…that is exactly what the publicity wing of the Democrat Party thinks of you, and they aren’t even making much of an effort to hide it any more.

 

Sheriff Denny Peyman

Sheriff Peyman of Kentucky is just one of several law enforcement types that have publicly stated their intention to not enforce any non-Constitutional gun laws that Congress & Obama may try to Thumbs_upram thru in the wake of recent tragedies in Connecticut & Colorado. Normally I am a law & order guy who believes in upholding the rule of law no matter what, so at first this story made me cringe a little bit. I expect the police to do their job. But upon further review Sheriff Peyman & others are clear that they will not enforce any new laws that violate our rights. That doesn’t mean that they will allow folks to go around waving guns willy nilly in their towns…it is just an indicator that if the time ever does come when the federal government takes things a bit too far they are likely to have a heck of a fight on their hands, which is kind of the point anyway.

 

Lance Armstrong

Do I really have to explain this one?? I will assume you haven’t been completely oblivious to the frowny-faceworld around you the past few weeks and know about recent events involving Armstrong. Needless to say he’s just not a very good person.

 

SMUG

Which stands for Sexual Minorities Uganda. I guess their reach extends far beyond frowny-facethe land of Kamala’s birth though, as they are suing a Massachusetts pastor. Rev. Scott Lively actually preached from The Bible (Gasp!! The horror!!) during a mission trip to Uganda in 2009, and The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is an abomination. Evidently this didn’t please everyone. Not surprisingly SMUG’s legal battle is being funded by liberal kingpin George Soros. This type of lawsuit is potentially very dangerous because if it is successful it essentially limits the Constitutional rights of Christians to freely worship how they choose & speak feely about their beliefs.

 

Red Robin

Red Robin is a Colorado based “gourmet burger” chain that is unfortunately not in my local area. Thumbs_upHowever, a franchise in North Carolina did a good deed recently that deserves recognition. A couple was dining at the restaurant with their two year old son. Mom was very pregnant. When the family got their bill the price of Mom’s meal had been deducted by the manager, with a simple note wishing her good luck. Evidently Red Robin employees nationwide are given the latitude to do such things at their discretion, which is awesome and makes me want to give them my business if I ever get the opportunity.

 

Professor James Tracy

You’ve heard of 9/11 “truthers”…the wackjobs that believe that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were a government conspiracy?? Well this moron is a communications professor at Florida frowny-faceAtlantic University in Boca Raton and is not only one of those but is also a Sandy Hook ‘truther”. He believes that the tragic events in Connecticut that led to the deaths of over two dozen people…many of them 6 & 7 year old children…may have been a drill involving actors. Really dude?? This guy is a college professor?? If I had a kid at Florida Atlantic University I’d seriously be making them transfer. Afterall, if this guy is employed there it is hard to tell just how many other insane nuts may be there indoctrinating students.