Superfluous 7: Favorite Halloween Movies & TV Shows

It’s a psychological fact that some people enjoy…to a degree…fear. I’m not a scientist and won’t bore you with a bunch of jargon, but there are a couple of reasons for this phenomenon. First, fear triggers the pleasurable release of dopamine, the same thing that happens in our brain during sex. As one article I ran across put it…”Dopamine is love. Dopamine is lust. Dopamine is motivation. Dopamine is attention. Dopamine is addiction.” So adrenaline junkies, drug abusers, folks with a bit of a gambling problem, & nymphomaniacs all have a similar brain chemistry as those who are really into horror movies. I am sure that is an epic oversimplification, but it’s the best I can do. Secondly, there is something called “excitation transfer”, which essentially means that after one gets really scared they calm down, but it’s not just the average everyday calm. When the heart rate levels out, breathing normalizes, & muscles relax one feels an intense sense of relief that is exceedingly positive & enjoyable, and that pleasant feeling is what is remembered about the experience in the long run.

I tell you all of that as a preamble to saying that I am not one of those people. I don’t enjoy being scared. I don’t like horror movies. I couldn’t possibly care less about haunted houses. However, I am rather intrigued with Halloween. I’m a bit of a history buff and have developed somewhat of a fascination with cultural anthropology, folklore, & mythology. I might have explored career options in that general direction if I’d known such pathways existed as a kid. Halloween has a quirky, fun vibe and a peculiar backstory & evolution. I completely understand that many of my fellow Christians choose not to celebrate Halloween, and I respect those opinions. However, there are frivolous elements of the occasion that I rather enjoy. As much as I appreciate a big ol’ bag of candy I am a little too old to go out trick or treating, so instead I’ll keep the lights low in The Bachelor Palace, snuggle with Rocco, and delight in some fantastic Halloween themed entertainment. I’m a bookworm and cannot recommend highly enough Washington Irving’s 1820 short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Yes, I know there have been countless film & television adaptations, but trust me…read it. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novella The Hound of the Baskervilles could qualify as Halloween-ish, as could any number of stories written by the late great Ray Bradbury. Tastes vary, but there are worse ways to spend Halloween than curled up with a good book. However, this being the 21st century, many are predisposed to grab the remote and watch a movie or TV show. So sit back, relax, maybe drink a glass of cider & snack on some candy corn as I present…..




from the home office in Anoka, MN…..




The Superfluous 7 Favorite Halloween Movies & TV Shows:





7       Beetlejuice and Young Frankenstein

We begin with a tie!!

I was a little late in joining the Beetlejuice bandwagon, having first watched it several years after its 1988 release. However I have always been a fan of Michael Keaton’s work, and this is one of his most iconic roles. He stars as a long dead “freelance bio-exorcist” who is enlisted by a newly dead couple to scare a living family away from their house. Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, & Winona Ryder are in the cast as well, and the film is directed by Tim Burton with music by Danny Elfman…a most impressive crew indeed. It’s an odd amalgamation of comedy & horror that really works. A sequel has been rumored for awhile, but to my knowledge it’s all talk right now.

Did you know that a Halloween comedy inspired Aerosmith’s hit song Walk This Way?? Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein hit theaters in 1974 and is now regarded as a comedy masterpiece. It is a spoof of classic horror films, focusing on the grandson of Dr. Victor Frankenstein…an American named Frederick Frankenstein (which he hilariously pronounces “Fronk-en-steen”) who disavows his crazy family legacy until he inherits the estate in Transylvania. Once Frederick moves into the castle hilarity ensues as he decides to duplicate his grandfather’s infamous experiment. The terrific cast includes Gene Wilder, Teri Garr, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, & Cloris Leachman. Gene Hackman makes a brief but hysterical cameo. If, like me, you enjoy a well-written parody you can’t go wrong with Young Frankenstein at Halloween.



6       Hotel Transylvania

Adam Sandler has had a bad run, starring in mostly putrid affronts to good taste for most of the past 15 years. A rare exception is this animated 2012 offering in which Sandler voices Dracula as he tries (and fails) to keep his daughter away from humanity while hosting her 118th birthday party with many of his famous monster friends in attendance. Selena Gomez is even more beautiful animated than she is in real life (or maybe I’m just really lonely), and a bunch of Sandler’s buddies…Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Molly Shannon, Jon Lovitz, et al…add their voices to the fun. A sequel was released in 2015, and a third film is coming in 2018.



5       Halloween Documentaries on History

Nerd alert…I have decided to include an ode to the documentary. The History Channel may have gone in the crapper the past few years (Life After People?? Really??), but once upon a time it actually focused on…duh…history, and occasionally still does (even a broken clock is right twice a day). The original Haunted History of Halloween was first broadcast in 1997 and traces Halloween all the way back to its origins with the Celtic tribes of Medieval Ireland thru an American renaissance of the holiday in the 1950’s and the rise of horror films in the 1980’s. Whether you are determined to view Halloween as a pagan celebration of darkness & death or choose to look at it thru the eyes of innocent children dressing in fun costumes and asking for candy, every angle is presented, all narrated by the mellifluous cadence of newsman Harry Smith. In 2010 History produced an update called The Real History of Halloween, which covers a lot of the same territory, albeit with a more ominous tone and without Smith’s dulcet inflection, as he is replaced by the guy who seems to narrate everything on History (name unknown). Both documentaries are worth your time. Learning really is fun kids…I promise.



4       Frankenstein & Dracula

Bram Stoker published Dracula in 1897, while Mary Shelley (wife of poet Percy Shelley) wrote Frankenstein way back in 1818. Both are great novels that have frequently been adapted for the stage & screen. Most movie versions don’t hardly resemble the books at all, but that’s a discussion for another day. Universal Studios produced a collection of horror films in the 1930’s & 40’s with Dracula and Frankenstein featured prominently in many of them, and it all started in 1931 with Dracula starring Bela Lugosi and Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff. Lugosi’s performance as Count Dracula and Karloff’s interpretation of The Monster both set a standard for our pre-conceived notions of those characters. Neither film is all that scary thru the prism of what modern slasher flicks have become, and that’s just fine with me. There are several other creature features in the Universal canon of that particular era, including The Wolf Man, Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy, & The Invisible Man, that are worth watching if you are so inclined. However, I suggest starting with these two.



3       Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein

I grew up in the 1970’s & 80’s, and comedy team Abbott & Costello had their heyday in the 40’s & 50’s, so I’m not sure how I became a fan. Though it may be counterintuitive, it seems like their movies (along with classic stuff from The Three Stooges, Ma & Pa Kettle, The Marx Brothers, and Laurel & Hardy) were on TV with some frequency during my childhood long before there were hundreds of channels or streaming was invented. At any rate, at the height of their popularity Bud Abbott and Lou Costello teamed up with Universal to make a handful of films in which the humorous duo encounter classic monsters. This 1948 offering is the first & best, although later entries like Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, & Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy are perfectly delightful as well. Contrary to the title the twosome meet more than just Frankenstein’s Monster…Dracula & The Wolf Man are around too. It’s a seamless blend of absurd fun & fear, which is exactly what I like.



2       Halloween

It really is the only horror movie I like. To be clear, I am speaking of the 1978 original. A bunch of sequels were made, and remake(s) came out just a few years ago, but really, other than 1981’s Halloween II, I don’t care about any of them. The original was written, directed, & produced by John Carpenter (who even composed the legendary theme song) with a $300k budget, which was super low even back then. However, the film made $70 million so everything worked out alright. Actually I think forced frugality did the film (and audience) a favor. Instead of graphic blood & guts Halloween is more suspenseful than scary, perfectly capturing the mood of the titular holiday. I have come to appreciate minimalism in relation to many aspects of life, and with movies I respect directors who show restraint, whether it is an artistic or economic choice. I can count on my hands the number of horror films I have bothered to watch in my four & a half decades on the planet…they’re just not my thing. Among those I have seen Halloween is the only one that I keep coming back to. It’s an annual tradition.



1       It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip began in the fall of 1950. Fifteen years later Coca-Cola sponsored the first of what would eventually be over fifty Peanuts animated television specials…A Charlie Brown Christmas. After the enormous success of the Christmas program plans were formulated for a different holiday show. The Great Pumpkin first aired on October 27, 1966 and has been warming the cockles of children of all ages ever since. It makes complete sense if you think about it…kids are all about Santa Claus, right?? So why wouldn’t a youngster like Linus Van Pelt desire another mythical gift giver on what is…for most children…the second coolest holiday on the calendar?? Of course we all know that the magic of Santa Claus isn’t possible without agreeable participation from parents, therefore the absence of such adults in the Peanuts universe dictates that the Great Pumpkin mythos is logically doomed. Schultz seemed to have somewhat of a jaded worldview, and it shows up throughout Peanuts. These are some cynical little crumb crunchers!! At any rate, everything about The Great Pumpkin is perfect, from Charlie Brown getting nothing but rocks in his trick or treat bag in what has to be the cruelest neighborhood in history, to Snoopy going all Walter Mitty and battling The Red Baron on a flying dog house, to the charmingly vibrant animation & groovy jazz soundtrack. I might be “middle-aged”, but I never hesitate to wave my inner child flag and bask in the glorious glow of nostalgia. The Great Pumpkin is quintessential Halloween, and for that I am thankful.

2017 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 9

The first College Football Playoff rankings will be released next week, but we already have a pretty good idea about the teams…probably about a dozen at the moment…that are a legit part of the debate. And while all of that adds a layer of interest to the conversation I must admit that it creates an odd dynamic for these picks since I don’t really want to focus on just a handful of teams over & over again for the next several weeks. We have the same issue with the NFL because, while they are only at the mid-point of the season, the difference between contenders & pretenders is becoming clear. As fans it is expected that we pay more attention to good teams and competitive matchups, but on the other hand I don’t want to bore Zach, myself, & whoever else might be out there reading our silly little opinions. At any rate, we’ll do the best we can, and hopefully going forward that’ll mean being better than last week. I went 2-3, while Zach was 1-4 (a half point made the difference in the Jets-Dolphins game). Overall we are both still keeping our heads above water, but I think we need to wash the nasty taste of a subpar week out of our mouths with some bonus picks today. You’re welcome.

My Season:  25-22

Z’s Season:   24-23






Miami (FL) (-20.5)        at      North Carolina

Is The U back?? Possibly. Right now the ‘Canes are 6-0 and in the Top Ten, but they still have home games against Virginia Tech & Notre Dame, so we’ll see. The 1-7 Tar Heels can only hope that Miami is looking ahead to those two games and isn’t prepared for this one, which seems unlikely. I am typically uncomfortable with three touchdown point spreads, but I think I’m okay with it for this particular game. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Miami (FL)

Z’s Pick:     Miami (FL)



Wisconsin (-26.5)       at      Illinois

The Big Ten has Ohio St., Penn St., & Michigan, so up until now no one has paid much attention to the 7-0 Badgers. Well…except whoever votes in the polls since they are in the Top 5. Wisconsin has a very real chance to make it into the playoff, especially since Michigan isn’t living up to the hype and the other two previously mentioned teams aren’t on the schedule. Conversely, the 2-5 Illini have lost five straight after unimpressive victories over inferior opponents to begin the season. Wisconsin will win this game, but by how much?? I’m feeling frisky, so let’s roll the dice on another huge point spread. Zach isn’t sold on Wisconsin, but he believes they’ll win this game…just not by 26 points.

My Pick:     Wisconsin

Z’s Pick:     Illinois



Georgia (-14)               vs.    Florida

For decades this rivalry was known as The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, but the PC Police nixed that moniker several years ago, atleast on an official basis. I’m sure fans & alumni of both schools still call it that. Anyway, it is a “neutral” site game played in Jacksonville, FL, which is about 71 miles from Gainesville, FL and over 300 miles from Athens, GA. I guess they define neutral differently in The South. The 7-0 Bulldogs are serious playoff contenders and seem to be headed toward a clash with Alabama in the SEC title game. The Gators are 3-3…far below expectations. I assume Florida will finish the season with 7 or 8 wins and play in some December bowl game that no one will watch, but let’s be honest…this is their championship game. They would love nothing more than to torpedo Georgia’s National Championship dreams. Do I think that’ll happen?? No, but they’ll give it a good try at home in The Swamp and probably keep it closer than two TDs. Zach isn’t totally sold on Georgia either and thinks they haven’t really been tested yet, but he doesn’t believe the Gators will be much competition either.

My Pick:     Florida

Z’s Pick:     Georgia



UCLA                            at      Washington (-17.5)

Who will emerge at the top of the Pac 12, and will that team be included in the playoff?? The answers…at this stage…are “Who knows??” and “It’s not looking good”. The Huskies are 6-1 and in a dog fight to win their division. The 4-3 Bruins have not bounced back from a putrid 2016 nearly as well as I thought they would, even though QB Josh Rosen has remained healthy. If this game were being played in Los Angeles I’d pick the underdogs in a heartbeat, but it’s not. I’m kind of ticked off that the game isn’t scheduled for prime time (late at night here on the East Coast) so I could have something to entertain me at work that night, but that’s life. I might regret it, but I’m going to go with my gut and believe in UCLA to keep it competitive. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     UCLA

Z’s Pick:     UCLA



Houston                       at      South Florida (-10.5)

According to NCAA post-season rules the highest ranked team from the five “lower” conferences gets thrown a bone…an opportunity to play in one of the bigtime New Year’s bowl games. It is the college football equivalent of affirmative action. What they really should do is split Division 1-A, aka the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) into two separate divisions, each with its own national title, but that’s a discussion for another day. Right now South Florida, Central Florida, & Memphis are contenders for that spot. The 7-0 Bulls have had one game cancelled and one rescheduled because of hurricanes, but the cancelled game was against a 1-AA/FCS opponent so it doesn’t really matter. Meanwhile, the 4-3 Cougars have fallen off just a bit under new head coach Major Applewhite. I suspect that’ll change in the future, but for now they’ll have to take their lumps. I ranked South Florida in my pre-season Top Ten, and I think they can still get there if they keep on winning, which I expect they’ll do. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     South Florida

Z’s Pick:     South Florida



Utah (-3.5)                    at      Oregon

I expect this game to be sneaky good. The Utes have lost three straight games after beginning the season with four wins. The 4-4 Ducks are also on a three game losing streak. Obviously neither team is going to win the conference, but they can play the spoiler role and also position themselves for a lovely tropical bowl location. I think 100+ points collectively will be scored, and I’m going to pick the underdogs to get the job done at home. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     Oregon

Z’s Pick:     Oregon



Penn State                   at      Ohio State (-6.5)

This is it. This is the big one. The greatest game ever…atleast for this week. The Nittany Lions are 7-0, ranked #2 in the country, a shoe-in to play in the Big Ten title game, and solidly in the college football playoff. However, all of that could change with a loss at The Horseshoe in Columbus. After an early season loss to Oklahoma the Buckeyes have rebounded and currently stand at 6-1, still have a shot to play in the conference championship game, and at #6 in the polls could easily vault back into playoff contention. I know Ohio St. has the home field, but I am still surprised that they are favored by a touchdown. That is either wicked awesome respect for the Buckeyes, or total disregard for Penn St. Perhaps it’s a little of both. In my pre-season poll I opined that if the Lions could split games against Ohio St. and Michigan they’d be national title contenders. That may have been too optimistic. They took care of the Wolverines last weekend, but a loss in this game would likely eliminate any playoff hopes. Conversely, I predicted that Ohio St.’s playoff aspirations would be crushed by either Penn St. or Michigan. I honestly didn’t think they’d lose to Oklahoma. So how will this game shake out?? The home field advantage is undeniable, and I’m not sure Penn St. can get “up” two weeks in a row. I’m not confident at all choosing either way, but I will ride the wave of my pre-season forecast. Zach’s disdain for Ohio St. is limitless and actually a bit tedious at this point lol.

My Pick:     Penn St.

Z’s Pick:     Penn St.



Oakland    at      Buffalo (-2.5)

These are two of the more surprising teams in the NFL…for completely different reasons. The Raiders are 3-4 and already way behind the proverbial eight ball in their division. Conversely, the 4-2 Bills are only a half-game behind the Patriots. I don’t think it’d be out of line to say that this is a battle for a wildcard spot in the playoffs. Is Buffalo for real?? Can Oakland battle back from an uneven start and prove they’re the legit contender many thought they’d be?? I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to such matters. If the Bills are really that good this is the time to prove it, but I still think the Raiders are the better team. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Oakland

Z’s Pick:     Oakland



Houston   at      Seattle (-6)

The 3-3 Texans are coming out of their bye week, and I think they are better than their record would indicate. That being said, the 4-2 Seahawks are pretty darn good too…especially at home. I love Houston QB Deshaun Watson, and I’ll be rooting for him in this game. However, I think it might be a little too much to ask a rookie to go into Seattle and win. Zach is a little suspicious of Seattle’s offensive line and thinks that might be enough for Houston’s defense to get the job done. I wouldn’t be mad if he’s right.

My Pick:     Seattle

Z’s Pick:     Houston

200 Questions: Very Personal Questions to Get to Know Someone

Greetings citizens. Welcome to the conclusion of this little Pinterest inspired trilogy. It has crossed my mind that no one other than myself is likely to be interested in my answers to these questions, but by the time that thought occurred to me I was in too deep to back out, so I figured I may as well see it through. Plus, as previously mentioned, this exercise has been quite therapeutic & entertaining for me, as much as those two things can intersect. I probably could say that for most everything available here at The Manofesto. For me there is a gratifying serenity in the writing process that I cannot find in any other activity. So to those who have read anything here over the past several years, and to anyone who comes here regularly for whatever reason, a robust “thank you” from the bottom of my heart, because I know my taste in subject matter can be rather eclectic. If you haven’t read the first two parts of this project you can do so here & here. Part 1 is lengthy but mostly lighthearted, while Part 2 is even more extensive and, in the immortal words of Marty McFly, is pretty heavy. This last entry is shorter and more esoteric.





How do you hope you’ll change as a person in the future?

I always hope to be a better person tomorrow than I was today. Learning doesn’t stop when we get out of school. I have become satisfied with my life & who I am, but that doesn’t mean I am unwilling to grow & evolve. I have tried to become more aware of how I present myself to others and how I may be perceived, and that has challenged me to change because it occurred to me that perhaps I am not always as nice & friendly as I think I am. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in some situations because oftentimes people will take advantage of kindness. There are times when one must stand up for what’s right & important. However, I want to be more…tranquil. I would love to be the type of calm, peaceful, gentle presence that examples Christ and attracts people like a magnet because they need that kind of serenity & wisdom in their life. I don’t want to argue & debate others about worldly concerns. I don’t want anyone to run in the other direction because of my insensitivity. I need to be known by the right fruits…the fruits of the spirit.



What keeps you up at night?

My sleep habits are totally insane. I don’t believe I suffer from insomnia. I’ve just always been a night owl, and in the past decade my work life has increased that tendency. So there isn’t any worry or concern or physical issue that keeps me up at night. It’s more of a lifestyle trend that I’ve been able to sustain for several years.



What’s the most surprising self-realization you’ve had?

Oh I’ve had a few of those. Don’t we all?? In my 20’s I began to see the world in a whole new light, shedding the sheltered perspective of youth. I developed my core socio-political principles and they happened to conflict with the beliefs of my parents & community. On a more personal level recognition of certain things has been more of a slow progression. I feel like I let the best years of my life slip by while others were out doing & achieving. One day it’s ‘Oh I’m in no hurry. I’ve got time.”, and the next it’s “Holy cow…I’m running out of time.” For example, I always thought those that got married in their early to mid 20’s were too young. Obviously there is plenty of evidence to back up that perception…divorce, despair, misery. However, I know plenty of couples who are still together, and they’ve watched their children grow up, graduate high school & college, and get married. Many people my age are grandparents. So now many of those that I thought got married too young have full-fledged families, terrific memories, & happy lives. Meanwhile I am 45 years old and alone.



What’s the most illegal thing you’ve done?

Let’s think about this logically. IF I have ever done anything illegal WHY would I admit it here?? Sure the legal statute of limitations may have run out, but there is no expiration date on perception, and I prefer to keep my good name & reputation intact. At this point you are probably more curious than ever about what awful thing I may have done. I assure you I’ve not done anything THAT bad. I haven’t killed, kidnapped, raped, or robbed anyone. My parents raised me better than that.



What lie do you tell most often?

I am not aware of any significant lies that I tell…certainly not on any kind of regular basis. I suppose I am guilty of telling the occasional “white lie”, like making an excuse for why I did or didn’t do something or saying that I did or didn’t do something when the opposite is true. And yes, I am aware that in the eyes of God a lie is a lie and that one should always be completely honest. It is not my goal to represent myself as flawless or innocent because I am far from it. But that is an issue to be hashed out between me and the Good Lord above. Meanwhile, all I can say is that, as a rule, I try to be an honest person.



What do you regret not doing?

I have previously mentioned my love/hate relationship with my home state of West Virginia. I deeply regret not relocating after college. Professionally & personally I believe that my life could have been so much better somewhere else. I’ve always justified the fear that caused me to stay by saying that “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side”, but I don’t really believe that. I don’t know for sure that my life would have been fantastic if I would have moved to Pittsburgh or Florida or Texas or The Carolinas…but I should have taken the chance. Unfortunately I’ll never know what might have been because I never had the courage to take that step, and I regret that every day of my life.



What gives your life meaning?

I suppose this is where I am supposed to say something deep & profound. However, I think the things that give my life meaning are the same as many other folks. Family. Faith. The simple pleasures of the daily grind. I think sometimes we get too caught up in visions of grandeur. We want to make a big splash in the world, receiving accolades and the admiration of the masses in the process. In reality though most people just get out of bed every day, go to work, provide as best they can for their family, maybe try to have a little fun every once in awhile, and occasionally try to make a contribution to society. And really, what’s wrong with that?? Life isn’t a movie or TV show. There is no dramatic music in the background as we face the ups & downs of our lives. Most of us are just doing the best we can and try to be a positive presence to others. Shouldn’t that be enough??



What do you most often look down on people for? What do you think other people look down on you for?

I have always valued education and have a solid moral code, despite my many flaws. I try not to look down on anyone, and don’t fault people for what they don’t know. However, there is a baseline level of decency, common sense, knowledge, & behavior that I’ve come to expect from most people, and I have little patience for willful ignorance, lack of modesty, arrogance, dishonesty, & hypocrisy. I’m not sure what people look down on me for. I’m sure health conscious folks are appalled by my weight, the wealthy might ridicule my lack of resources, highly educated people might belittle my relatively insignificant bachelor’s degree, and I know for sure there are leftists out there that are disgusted by my conservative beliefs. So be it. Some people will like you, some will dislike you. Sometimes there may be a legitimate reason for a person’s disdain…but not always. Either way, be who you are. If there is something you can do to improve and be a better person then do it…but do it for you. Do it because it’s the right thing to do. If more people like you because of the change that’s just an added benefit.



What bridges do you not regret burning?

As a general rule I’m not a fan of bridge burning. Unfortunately I am one of those people who would prefer that everybody like me, and I hate it when anyone is angry with me. In my younger days especially I would go out of my way to prevent conflict and repair any damage that may have occurred in a relationship. However, as I have gotten older I have come to understand that not everyone is going to like me for various reasons, and I’ve grown weary of falling on the sword if I know I’ve done nothing wrong. So, while I don’t make it a habit of burning bridges, neither will I go out of my way to cross them. My phone takes incoming calls just as easily as making outgoing calls.



What are you most insecure about?

I don’t think of myself as insecure, but neither am I overly confident. I suppose I retain some level of general apprehension in relation to my disability, unsure of how some may perceive me and not wanting to be a burden in any situation. And I have the same self-loathing in regard to my physical appearance that many others share. However, no matter what sort of doubts or anxieties one may have I find it best to minimize such thoughts as much as possible and not let them become overwhelming. In the classic baseball film Bull Durham one of the characters opines that “the world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness”, which reminds me of the old saying “ignorance is bliss”. The happiest people I’ve ever known weren’t insecure, oftentimes because they didn’t know any better. It is only when we get caught up in trying to impress others or caring too much about what people think of us that we begin to doubt ourselves and worry that we can’t measure up.



How do you get in the way of your own success?

Ha!! Have you got all day?? While I am one that believes that external factors can contribute to a person’s relative success or failure, the fact is that most of us get in our own way as much or more than anyone or anything else does. And I don’t believe it is usually any one thing. Maybe some days we are too cocky and think we know more than we actually do. Perhaps other days we are paralyzed by doubt & fear. Sometimes we just have bad information. Other times there are “fork in the road” situations where we choose the wrong path. I am sure there are psychologists or sociologists that could explain why some people are successful and others are not in concise, easy to understand terms, but I’m not that smart. Hindsight is 20/20, right?? I can look back and understand the mistakes that I’ve made, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I have the foresight not to screw up in the future.



What’s one thing you did that you really wish you could go back and undo?

I could probably come up with quite a few, but if I had to narrow it down to one thing I’d probably go back and make wiser decisions in my last year of college that would prepare me for the road ahead. That alone would undo most of the negative aspects of my adult life as I perceive them. I suppose it might also create a whole new set of problems, but nothing is perfect.

2017 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 8

I’m on the ball this week, and we aren’t even picking any Thursday games. This is what happens when I get the proper amount of sleep. At any rate, I was looking back at my NFL Preview, where I stated that “in light of all the absurdity happening in the world these days it’s good to know that we can curl up on the couch watching football and forget about life for awhile” and also opined that “football is a uniter, not a divider”. Well…it seemed like an appropriate thought process at the time lol. As far as last week goes, I was 4-4 while Zach was 4-5. I still can’t figure out LSU or the Atlanta Falcons, and Zach fell prey to his dislike for Ohio St. In the next few weeks Heisman hype will be heating up, and in my opinion Penn St. RB Saquon Barkley has to be the favorite, though he’ll need to perform well against Michigan, Ohio St., & Michigan St. in the next few weeks. QBs Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) & Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma St.) will face each other on November 4th, and Ohio St. signal caller JT Barrett could potentially play his way into an invitation to New York. 2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson looks unlikely to be a serious candidate this season. Okay, y’all came here for some picks, so let’s do it.

My Season:         23-19

Z’s Season:           23-19







Iowa State                    at      Texas Tech (-5.5)

The 4-2 Cyclones are riding a two game winning streak and are still in the Big 12 title conversation. It helps that they upset Oklahoma a few weeks ago. The 4-2 Red Raiders have lost 2 out of 3 after a hot start to the season and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against my WV Mountaineers last weekend. They’ve scored more than 40 points in every game but one, while Iowa St. is only slightly less prolific. If you are looking to…invest…in this game I would strongly suggest taking the over. I expect a high scoring track meet with little defensive impact, and The Vibes are telling me that the underdogs are going to overcome the odds. Conversely, although he believes they’ll be tested, Zach likes Tech to rebound from last week’s tough loss.

My Pick:     Iowa St.

Z’s Pick:     Texas Tech



Tennessee        at      Alabama (-34.5)

I consulted multiple sources to make sure that huge point spread was indeed accurate, and it is. I’m a bit stunned. Spreads like that aren’t unheard of in college football, but it usually involves a powerhouse going up against a significantly inferior 1-AA opponent, not two conference foes. Are the 3-3 Vols really THAT bad?? They were defeated 41-0 by Georgia a few weeks ago, but that is by far their worst loss. To be honest I’m kind of bored with Alabama. They’ve been so good for so long that there’s no drama. A bad season for them is one loss and losing in the national championship game. Sure it’s great for their fans, but outside of that state they are a team that everybody respects but no one really likes anymore. Anyway, I certainly don’t expect Tennessee to win the game (although stranger things have happened), but can they keep it closer than five TDs?? As a fan I sure hope so. Zach agrees, but for a different reason. He thinks ‘Bama coach Nick Saban will respectfully call off the dogs before the 34 point threshold is reached.

My Pick:     Tennessee

Z’s Pick:     Tennessee



USC                     at      Notre Dame (-3.5)

With all the conference realignment that’s been a part of upheaval in college football the past decade several traditional rivalries have been lost. The Backyard Brawl (Pitt/WV), Oklahoma vs. Nebraska, Texas vs. Texas A&M, & The Border War (Kansas/Missouri) have all gone away, and that’s a shame. Another rivalry that fell by the wayside a few years ago was Notre Dame vs. Michigan, but fortunately the Irish have kept USC on the schedule and both teams currently reside just outside the Top Ten. The Trojans were my pre-season #1, but a loss at Washington St. last month has taken them out of playoff contention for now. Notre Dame is a very quiet 5-1, with only a tight loss to Georgia besmirching their record. The Irish are getting the customary home field bump, but I think Southern Cal is the better team. Zach agrees and likes the Trojans by a touchdown.

My Pick:     USC

Z’s Pick:     USC



NY Jets               at      Miami (-3.5)

A few months ago this seemed like a totally unappealing matchup. I predicted the Jets to go 3-13, while I had the Dolphins at a respectable 8-8 but still finishing well behind the Patriots in the AFC East. Now here we are in mid-October. The Jets have already won three games and Miami is tied with New England…one game behind Buffalo in the division. So this game is actually meaningful. Some may not remember, but these two franchises have played in some of the most thrilling games in NFL history. Back in the 80’s & 90’s Jets-Dolphins was Must-See TV. Perhaps, sensing that New England may in fact be more vulnerable than anyone knew, this rivalry will kick it up a notch. One can dream, right?? I’m hoping for a high scoring contest that spills into overtime. If that happens then the likelihood of a field goal deciding things is high, meaning that the points might be too much. Zach also thinks it’ll be a close game, but he likes Miami to get the job done.

My Pick:     NY Jets

Z’s Pick:     Miami



Dallas (-6)           at      San Francisco

Maybe I’m just feeling nostalgic, because this also was a tremendous rivalry back in my youth. And while the Cowboys have consistently been good most of the time since then, the 49ers have had some rough patches, especially the past few years. Right now Dallas is struggling a bit at 2-3, and ‘Frisco is off to a terrible 0-6 start. To be fair though two of those games went into overtime and five losses have been by a total of 13 points, so they aren’t necessarily as horrible as it may seem. I have a feeling they’ll be choosing a quarterback with that Top 5 pick in next spring’s NFL Draft. Meanwhile, I’m not sure whether Cowboys’ running back Zeke Elliott will be playing or not. His legal battle with the NFL has dragged on longer than the aftermath of the 2000 Presidential Election. Armed with the information I have, The Vibes are telling me than an upset is in order. Zach disagrees and believes the Cowboys will win easily.

My Pick:     San Francisco

Z’s Pick:     Dallas

200 Questions: Somewhat Personal Questions to Get to Know Someone

I must admit that, though I always enjoy doing these types of exercises, this one is a) much longer & more involved than I anticipated, and b) probes much deeper than I expected. A few of these questions have dredged up thoughts & feelings that I’ve been pretty successful at burying for awhile. I’m not complaining though. It’s important to really find out what makes a person tick, and even moreso to understand yourself, so in that respect this is a really healthy & cathartic task. I apologize for the length of these entries, which are more extensive than what I normally prefer to post even after I broke the questionnaire down into parts. Also, though most of the questions are really interesting & provocative, some are head scratchers that I’ve admittedly not answered all that well, and for that I apologize. At any rate, if you haven’t perused Part 1 please take a few minutes to do so when you have some free time, and ponder what your answers to these questions might be.








What question can you ask to find out the most about a person?

Getting to know a person requires time. I don’t think it can be boiled down to just one question. It takes many questions, as well as observation.



When was the last time you changed your opinion / belief about something major?

I’m not sure to be honest. My core beliefs are pretty steadfast. That being said, I am a reasonable man and willing to listen to others & discuss issues. There is always the chance that someone or something could change my mind about one thing or another.


What was the best compliment you’ve received?

Back in college a group of fraternity brothers & I were going into a bar that had been converted from an old house, and the front entrance was not handicapped accessible. The guys forged ahead and I was just kind of sitting there. One of them turned back and suddenly realized the situation. He apologized and said “I honestly just forget that you are in a wheelchair”, which I thought was very cool.


As the only human left on Earth, what would you do?

Find food & shelter. And pray…alot.




Who inspires you to be better?

My faith inspires me to be better today than I was yesterday and do better tomorrow than I did today. I admire & respect many people, but they have their own lives to lead and I can’t live for them. However, God gave his only Son so that I should have eternal life and Jesus died for my sins, so I feel like I owe them that respect.



What do you want your epitaph to be?

I prefer not to think of such morbid things.




What did you think you would grow out of but haven’t?

I thought I might develop healthier eating habits someday, but it turns out I just really enjoy food.




In what situation or place would you feel the most out of place in?

It never ceases to amaze me that I tend to feel loneliest in a crowded room, usually surrounded by people that theoretically like me, but the truth is they are merely courteous & polite…they don’t really see me or know me.



What’s the dumbest thing you’ve done that actually turned out pretty well?

Well, I drank a lot in college and didn’t die, so I’ve got that going for me. Like everyone else I do my share of stupid things, but I’m the type of person who then imagines the worst case scenario and beats myself up worse than anybody, so then in reality things usually shake out better than I thought.



They say that everyone has a book in them. What would your book be about?

I have a few ideas.




What is something you will NEVER do again?

I ate escargot once, which was a bad idea. But generally…never say never.



What do you spend the most time thinking about?

I’m not sure there is one specific thing. My thoughts bounce around a lot depending on various stimuli. My friend The Owl calls it “living in your own head”.



What are some of the events in your life that made you who you are?

I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world that has had positive & negative events that have impacted my life. On the negative side I don’t think I’ve ever gotten past the death of my mother 17 years ago, and a car accident about 20 years ago has devastated me in ways that no one…not even my closest family…will ever understand. I have also had a few health issues that have significantly affected my lifestyle. On the positive side I have had tremendous familial relationships and friendships that have shaped & molded me. My collegiate experience was the best time of my life during which I learned much that I still carry with me.


What do you wish your brain was better at doing?

I wish I was more motivated & less of a procrastinator.





There are two types of people in this world. What are the two types?

Men & women…contrary to modern day interpretations of such things.




  What is the strangest thing you have come across?

I see strange things every day. Not much surprises me anymore.



What is something you are certain you’ll never experience?

Marriage. Being a father.





What dumb accomplishment are you most proud of?

I was a multiple time spelling bee champion in grade school & junior high. As an adult that’s pretty meaningless, but I’m still proud of those victories.



If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what rule would you make?

Everyone would be restricted to two marriages. If you get married & divorced twice you’re done…no third chance.





What are you addicted to?

Sadly, social media. Probably because much of the time there’s nothing else better to do. Oh, and chocolate…I can’t forget chocolate.




What stereotype do you completely live up to?

I don’t think I fit into any stereotypes, and God knows the circumstances of my life have provided ample opportunity to do so.




What is something you can never seem to finish?

I have a bad habit of getting into 4 or 5 books at once and it might take me months or even years to finish one.



As you get older, what are you becoming more and more afraid of?

I spent some time…6 months…in a “skilled” nursing facility at the age of 33. I know as I get older that the possibility of ending up in one of those places for the long haul becomes all too real, and I don’t even want to think about it.


What is one of your favorite smells?

I love the smell of my beautiful dog Rocco.



What would be the scariest monster you could imagine?

The love child of Hillary Clinton & Oprah Winfrey.




What song or artist do you like but rarely admit to liking?

I really like N’Sync and some of Justin Timberlake’s solo stuff.



What would you do if you knew you were going to die in one hour?

Call my Dad & sister.




What book impacted you the most?

Lots of books have had a positive impact on my life.




If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?

Vincent. Although I like my name just fine.




If life is a game, like some people say, what are some of the rules?

The Ten Commandments



Who is / was your most interesting friend?

My friend Greg & our friend The Owl are unique dudes.




Have you ever given to any charities?

Of course



What is something that your friends would consider “so you”?

I’m not sure…you’d need to ask them.




What risks are worth taking?

That’s a matter of personal opinion. Everyone has different things they consider important. Personally I am risk averse, which has probably been to my detriment.



What can you not get right, no matter how many times you try?

I can’t seem to get the whole meeting women & dating thing down. Of course I haven’t really tried all that hard.



If you could convince everyone in the world to do one thing at one point in time, what would that thing be?

Wow…that sounds like quite the undertaking. Heck, I can’t even get a couple of my buddies to go to Vegas with me, so I doubt I could get “everyone in the world” to do something. And I can’t even fathom what one thing I’d have everybody do.


What do you take for granted?

I try not to take anything for granted, although I am sure those who know me might be able to come up with a couple of things.


What would be some of the most annoying things about having yourself as a roommate?

My sleeping habits are horrible. I am a night owl, but then sometimes even when I don’t go to sleep til 4am I’m still up by 9am. And if that happens I’ll probably need to take an afternoon nap. Other than that I don’t believe I’d be a horrible roommate. I don’t drink, do drugs, or “party”. I’m not a neat freak but I’m not a slob either. I am fairly easy going & quiet.


What’s something you are self-conscious about?

My weight. I need to shed 75-100 lbs.




What personality trait do you value most and which do you dislike the most?

I like that I’m a good listener & mostly easy to get along with. I hate that I am a procrastinator & lean toward being lazy.



What small gesture from a stranger made a big impact on you?

Little things mean a lot. A smile. A friendly hello. A firm handshake. Saying “please” & “thank you”. It’s not hard to be a decent person, but it’s not as common as it should be.


What gets you fired up?

Politics. I have very strong opinions and can easily be sucked into a debate/argument, but it’s almost always a no-win situation no matter how right I know I am.



What challenging thing are you working through these days?

Nothing big. Not one particularly dominant thing. Just facing the little day to day annoyances that we all must overcome.




What irrational fear do you have?

I was in a car accident about 20 years ago. Because I need hand controls on a vehicle it took a couple of weeks to get a new car & new hand controls. In that time the whole idea that I could have died overcame me, and I developed a driving phobia that has gotten worse over time. I have a very limited comfort zone and do NOT travel outside of it. I have missed out on a number of events in the past two decades, and my social life is severely limited. To be honest I don’t even think I’d be living in WV and have the small little financially challenged life that I do if it weren’t for that accident and the resulting phobia. I probably would have moved out of state, had some level of professional success, maybe went back to school, and likely gotten married & had kids. You might think I am exaggerating, but I assure you…I am not.


What’s the best and worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?

My father used to tell me when I was a kid that even though people were nice to me, pat me on the head (cause people do that to handicapped children…seriously), & express sympathy for “the poor little crippled boy”, that they hadn’t walked ten feet before they’d forgotten all about me because they’ve got their own problems. It might sound harsh, but it’s 100% true and very humbling. The world doesn’t owe me anything and I don’t expect anything from anyone. Many people are polite and even nice, but very few actually take the time to get to know me or genuinely care beyond courteous social interaction. And that not only applies to me…it’s universally true. That doesn’t make anyone “bad”, it just means we’re all selfish & caught up in our own stuff. It is what it is and that’s okay. As far as bad advice, I feel like my advisors & professors in college failed to guide me in any meaningful way, and upon graduating I was just kind of left twisting in the wind without much direction, ill prepared for the realities of being a working adult.


If you had a clock that would countdown to any one event of your choosing, what event would you want it to countdown to?

I want to go to Vegas dangit!! Who’s coming with me??


What makes a good life?

Faith. Family. Friends. Professional fulfillment. A decent place to live. Financial stability. The occasional adventure.


What do you strongly suspect but have no proof of?

That George Soros is a puppetmaster on a scale that few realize.




What’s the last adventure you went on?

I’m not very adventurous. I wouldn’t mind changing that.




When do you feel truly “alive”?

Usually very late at night. I’m weird like that.




What was the most memorable gift you’ve received?

I’ve gotten lots of nice gifts for birthdays & Christmases over the years. I’m not sure there’s one that stands out above any other.



What chapters would you separate your autobiography into?

Interesting question.

  1. Childhood
  2. The Teen Years
  3. The College Years
  4. The Accident
  5. The Depression
  6. The Infocision Years
  7. Losing Mom
  8. My Unfortunate Incarceration
  9. The Rocco Chronicles
  10. The Hotline
  11. Middle Age


What do you like most about your family?

My family is fairly normal. My Mom passed away 17 years ago. My Dad is getting older so he’s not as strong & energetic as he once was, but he’s always been there for us. He’s easygoing & low key, just like me. He’s not extroverted by any means, but handles himself well in social situations…alot like me. He has given me lots of profound advice over the years. He doesn’t have a master’s degree or some fancy job, but he’s a heck of a Life 101 professor. My sister has had some rough times, but she’s there when we need her too. My two nephews are young men now and finding their own way. My grandparents are all gone but I have such fond memories of them. It’s difficult to pinpoint one specific thing I like most about my family. They’re my family…I love them, always have & always will. We’re not perfect but I don’t think we’ve ever been dysfunctional. I didn’t realize until I was an adult and had spent some time out in the world how fortunate I am to have the family that I do.


What do you hope your last words will be?

This is kind of like the epitaph thing…morbid. Let’s move on.




What stat for your life would you most like to see?

I’m not really into stats. Life isn’t a competition. It isn’t productive to keep score and compare yourself to others.




What are three of the most significant numbers in your life?

I used to keep track of how many surgeries I’d had, but I lost count. I think it’s 28.

6/9/95. That’s the day my life changed forever, and not in a good way. I’ll leave it at that.

795 is my fraternity roster number. The number itself is unimportant, but it symbolizes what I consider to be the best years of my life.


What could you do with two million dollars to impact the most amount of people?

I would certainly do my due diligence if I came into that kind of money. Admittedly I would keep a big chunk for myself, but there are family & friends that I’d like to help. And I suppose if I were to make some wise investments and grow the money I could help even more people.


If you were put into solitary confinement for six months, what would you do to stay sane?

I have actually had that experience…kind of. I call it My Unfortunate Incarceration. In 2006 I developed an ulcer on my tailbone. I spent a month in the hospital, six months in a “skilled” nursing facility, a year homebound except for doctor appointments, another stretch in a different hospital recovering from surgery, another month in a different “skilled” nursing facility, then a few more months recovering at home. All told I was laid up for about two years in my early 30’s. Someone actually asked me at the time how I was handling it because they would’ve been bashing their head against a wall. It was lonely to an extent, although I did have frequent visits from my father & sister and a few friends occasionally. I also had cable, internet, & lots of books to read.


What’s something horrible that everyone should try at least once?

It depends on what one defines as horrible. What I consider horrible you might think is just dandy. I think we should all try lots of different things. After all, how do we truly know something is horrible unless we’ve experienced it??


What fact are your resigned to?

The fact that I am unlikely to ever marry, have children, or own a home.




Have you ever saved someone’s life?

Not that I am aware of.




What were some of the turning points in your life?

June 9, 1995. That’s the day I left my college town of Huntington, WV and returned to my hometown. It is the worst decision I’ve ever made.

June 20, 1996. That’s the day I had the auto accident that negatively impacts me to this day.

February 23, 2000. The day my mother died.

April 9, 2006. The day I landed in the hospital with an ulcer on my tailbone. It was the beginning of a two year saga that my father referred to…even at the time…as a “life changing event”.


What would a mirror opposite of yourself be like?

Hmmm…that’s a great question. So I suppose the opposite of me would be…thin, good looking, charming, confident, energetic, ambitious, left-brained, a born salesman, liberal, a rulebreaker, an adrenaline junkie, into partying, an ailurophile, a country music fan, and prefer healthy fruits & veggies over chocolate.


What are you really good at, but kind of embarrassed that you are good at it?

I’m not sure I’m particularly good at anything, but if I was why would I be embarrassed??



What are three interesting facts about you?

Oh heck…why stop at three??


Which of your scars has the best story behind it?

I have many scars. They’re all from various surgeries. I don’t think any of those stories are particularly fascinating.



What’s the title of the current chapter of your life?

Middle Age



What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?

No one lives forever.



What mistake do you keep making again and again?

I’m not as healthy as I could be, largely because of poor eating & other habits. On an intellectual level I know the kind of improvements I need to make, but I just can’t seem to resist the beguiling siren call of chocolate…and pizza…and pancakes…and root beer…and pasta…and ice cream…and……………………………………………………..


What do people think is weird about you?

I’m not sure…you’d need to ask them.




When people look at you, what do you think they see / think?

On the surface I am sure that most people see a fat guy in a wheelchair. That’s fine…I long ago came to peace with that. However, I hope that anyone who takes the time to get to know me sees a decent yet flawed human being who tries to do the right thing most of the time and treats people with respect, is reasonably intelligent, has a fairly good sense of humor, and lives by a deeply ingrained moral code & faith.


What have you created that you are most proud of?

The Manofesto



If you could make a 20 second phone call to yourself at any point in your life present or future, when would you call and what would you say?

I’d call myself the morning of my car accident 20 years ago and say “Drive careful on your way home from work today. Take it slow.” Or maybe…maybe…I’d call myself all the way back in the spring/early summer of 1995 when I was making the decision to leave my college hometown and move back into my parents’ house and say “Don’t do it. Stay there. Ride it out. Don’t give up…it will influence the rest of your life.”


What annoys you most about the in-groups you are a part of?

If I am a part of any “in groups” I am certainly not aware of it lol.



What do you have doubts about?

I have doubts about whether or not I am living up to God’s standards and truly exampling Christ. The fact that I even question myself about it tells me that I need to do better.


What do you want to be remembered for?

On a personal level I hope I am remembered as a good & decent person who treated everyone with respect. On a grander yet more superficial level I think it would be cool to write a great book and/or screenplay that people would still be enjoying long after I’m gone, and maybe win an award or two for my work.


What are some of your personal “rules” that you never break?

I try to follow God’s commands and the teachings of Jesus Christ. I can’t say that I never break those “rules”, but I try to do better each day.



What do you regret not doing or starting when you were younger?

A few things. I regret not continuing my education past college. I regret not being more financially responsible so that I could have more flexibility to do things I’d like to do. I regret not relocating out of my home state of West Virginia because as beautiful as it is in a number of ways there are no opportunities or future here. I regret not taking a chance with some ladies that might have been fantastic wives & mothers.


If you could have a never-ending candle that smelled like anything you wanted, what fragrance would you want it to be?

That’s a tough one. I have a few scented wax warmers in my apartment. I lean toward the food-ish smells like baked bread, apple pie, chocolate chip cookies, blueberry muffins, etc. I suppose if I had to narrow it down to one specific scent I’d go with vanilla. One can’t go wrong with vanilla.


What’s the best thing about you?

I always lean toward my sense of humor.



What bends your mind every time you think about it?

Bends my mind…..hmmmmm. Nothing really comes to mind. What an esoteric question!!




What’s the best thing you got from your parents?

My parents are/were awesome!! It’s hard to narrow this down to one thing. However, I think the most important thing my parents taught me is that the world doesn’t owe me anything because of my disability, that life can be cruel & unfair but one has to roll with the punches & overcome. They had another child…my older sister…that they had to be fair to, so I didn’t get any special treatment or receive a break just because I was disabled. There was discipline in our house!! That really helped me as I grew into adulthood. Now, it occurs to me that the intent of this question may mean what did you get from your parents genetically. In that regard I think I am a good blend of my father’s affable strength & my mother’s discreet yet fierce ethical decency.


What’s one responsibility you really wish you didn’t have?

A couple of things pop into my head. First, I wouldn’t mind having someone else handle my finances and pay my bills. I guess that’s what a financial planner and/or a spouse is for, and I have neither. Secondly, for the past two decades I have said that the first thing I would do if I ever came into a large sum of money would be to buy a limo and hire a driver. No more driving for this guy…let someone else deal with that craziness.


What is the “holy grail” of your life?

Jesus Christ



If your childhood had a smell, what would it be?

The smell of our kitchen as Mom made a home cooked meal. Baked steak & mashed potatoes w/gravy, spaghetti & meatballs, mac & cheese, and meatloaf were some of my favorites.



What are the top three things you want to accomplish before you die? How close are you to accomplishing them?

I’m past the point of being ambitious, and worldly accomplishments aren’t that important to me, but I suppose if I had to come up with three things I’d say a) write a book and/or screenplay, b) travel to Vegas, & c) see the ocean. They are all doable, but probably aren’t happening anytime soon.



What do you wish you could tell yourself 10 years ago? What do you think you’ll want to tell your current self 10 years from now?

Ten years ago I was homebound with an ulcer on my tailbone. If I could talk to myself from that time I would just convey the message that “this too shall pass” and reassure myself that I will come thru on the other side and resume my life. As for the other part of the equation, let’s just live one day at a time.


In your group of friends, what role do you play?

I have different groups that I am part of. I’m not really the leader of the pack in any scenario, but I can take charge and be the decision maker if necessary. Most usually I am The Voice of Reason, offering advice & suggestions from a rational & empathetic point of view.


Among your friends or family, what are you famous for?

I’m not sure I am famous for anything lol.




What is the biggest lesson you never learned?

I learn new things every day. Life is constant learning. If I were aware of a big lesson that I hadn’t learned I’d do my best to learn it.



What’s the most immature thing that you do?




If your life was a book, what would its title be?

Two Strikes. It emulates from something my father has always told me, that because of my health issues I always have two strikes against me.



What’s the best and worst thing about getting older?

The best thing is that most of the stupid stuff I did as a young man is behind me. I’ve learned and know better how to navigate the world. The worst thing(s) are physical. Getting older means moving a little slower, battling more issues, taking more medication, & not having quite as much pep as one may have had 10 or 20 years ago.


What’s something that happened or something that someone said that changed how you view the world?

When I was in college my friend Greg gave me a copy of Rush Limbaugh’s first book The Way Things Ought to Be, and it changed my perspective on many things.



What are you most likely very wrong about?

When I’m wrong I admit I am wrong. At the moment nothing comes to mind though.




If you had a personal flag, what would be on it?

I think it’d be neat to have a crest or coat of arms. Mine would have an eagle with a fountain pen with the words “wisdom”, “honor”, & “integrity” written below.



What lifestyle change have you been meaning to make for a while now?

I really need to lose a significant chunk of weight. Atleast 50, and more like 100 pounds. Easier said than done though.




What would be your spirit animal?




What incredibly strong opinion or belief do you have that is completely unimportant in the grand scheme of things?

I am a hardcore pro-life advocate. I believe that if someone doesn’t want to raise their child for whatever reason then there are tons of folks looking to adopt and provide that child a good life. The issue is certainly important, however since I am a man and unlikely to ever have a baby be a part of the equation in my life my personal opinion doesn’t really matter in any practical way. Also, I have come to the realization that Roe v. Wade has remained thru multiple Presidential administrations and various incarnations of the Supreme Court so it is unlikely to ever be overturned despite my objection to the ruling.


What chance encounter changed your life forever?

During my first few days on the campus of Marshall University I happened to run into a guy that had been a year ahead of me in high school. He & I weren’t good friends or anything, but had a passing acquaintance and I was happy to see a familiar face in a town where I knew absolutely nobody. He invited me to dinner at his fraternity house. I ended up rushing and joining that fraternity. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I had a fantastic college experience and made lifelong friendships.



If you could have a video of any one event in your life, what event would you choose?

I would love to have a highlight video of my entire 4+ years in college. Kids these days take pics & videos of everything they do and share them on social media. They will truly appreciate having those memories recorded in the decades that follow. Unfortunately I went to school way before any of that stuff was even a thing, so very few photos or videos of all those good times exist, which makes me sad.



If you were forced to relive one 10-minute block of your life again and again for all eternity, what 10 minutes of your life would you choose?

I don’t think it would be possible for anyone…no matter how mundane their life may have been…to reduce any good memory down to a ten minute span of time. A year…yes. A day…maybe. But 10 minutes?? Not possible.





Okay, let’s take another breather. I’ll be back with the exciting conclusion in the near future.

2017 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 7

Ohhhhhh…it’s Friday the 13th!! Are you scared?? Do you need to be held gently and reassured that everything is going to be alright?? Well, if that’s the case you’ve come to the wrong place. Having said that though, we are feeling a little frisky so y’all are getting some bonus picks this week. As far as last week goes, Zach was an impressive 4-1, while I didn’t do so well with a 2-3 record.

My Season:        19-15

Z’s Season:        19-14








TCU (-4.5)                    at      Kansas State
The Horned Frogs got a little help from the zebras while defeating my WV Mountaineers last weekend, so they come into this game 5-0 and hovering on the fringes of playoff contention. The Wildcats were getting some pre-season love but limp into this game at 3-2 after a double overtime loss to Texas. I never really bought into the hype anyway, and for that I am gad. From what I’ve seen…referees be damned…TCU is the real deal. I don’t expect them to get into the playoff, but I do think they’ll win this game easily. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     TCU

Z’s Pick:     TCU 



Auburn (-6.5)               at      LSU

What a roller coaster ride it’s been in Baton Rouge. A week after a shocking loss to Troy the Bayou Bengals got to 3-2 by upsetting Florida in The Swamp, so the questions about head coach Ed Orgeron’s job security are quelled…for now. Conversely, Auburn has gotten to 5-1 relatively unscathed…only a loss to defending national champion Clemson stains their record, and there’s no shame in that. So which LSU team will show up…the team that lost to the clearly inferior Troy, or the team that went into one of the most hostile environments in college football and scored a victory?? I’m going to assume it’ll be someplace in the middle, and that’s probably not going to be enough to win this one. Zach thinks it might be close, but Auburn will do just enough to cover.

My Pick:     Auburn

Z’s Pick:     Auburn



Northwestern (-3)       at      Maryland

I still sometimes forget that Maryland is in the Big Ten. The Terps come into this game 3-2 and appear to be a really inconsistent team. Northwestern is 2-3 and has also been inconsistent. If this game were taking place in Evanston, IL I might be tempted to pick the Wildcats, but since Maryland has the home field advantage it seems like a pretty clear choice to me, though the oddsmakers disagree for some reason. Zach doesn’t believe in Maryland at all and is siding with the folks in Vegas.

My Pick:     Maryland

Z’s Pick:     Northwestern



Ohio State          (-24)            at      Nebraska

The Buckeyes’ record stands at 5-1, with the only mark against them being a loss to Oklahoma, which is nothing for which they should hang their heads. Looking at the polls, one can see a definite pathway for Ohio St. to sneak back into the playoff picture. In my pre-season poll I opined “It is unlikely that any team gets thru their season unbeaten, and it’s entirely possible that a team with 2 or 3 losses sneaks into the playoff”. In retrospect that “2 or 3 losses” part might have been a bit overzealous, but certainly a couple of one loss teams could be in the four team field. The problem Ohio St. has is that there are about eight teams ahead of them right now, although atleast three of them will lose a game due to playing each other. At any rate, the present mountain to climb is the Cornhuskers, who are currently a rather mediocre 3-3. Could Nebraska pull the upset at home?? Sure. Will they?? I don’t know. Either way, the points give one pause. Because our total games are uneven since Zach forgot to pick a game a few weeks ago I’m going to let him fly solo on this one to catch up. He has an irrational disdain for Ohio St. and is picking the upset.

My Pick:     n/a

Z’s Pick:     Nebraska



Oklahoma          (-7.5)           vs.    Texas

I still call this the Red River Shootout because I’m politically incorrect and get amusement out of ruffling feathers. Will this game be worthy of its moniker? The 4-1 Sooners are probably still stunned that Iowa St. beat them last week, but I wasn’t that surprised. Because of lack of respect for the Big 12 they are most likely out of the playoff conversation unless a lot of dominoes fall just right , but that doesn’t matter when it comes to this game. The Longhorns have shown signs of life, though a mediocre 3-2 record might not fully indicate that. Let us not forget that they lost a heartbreaker in double overtime at USC a few weeks back. This is a neutral site game being played at the old Cotton Bowl in Dallas, which is just shy of 200 miles away from both Austin, TX & Norman, OK. This series has remained fairly even thru the years, with each team occasionally winning 4 or 5 in a row only to see the other come back and do the same thing, so it is a somewhat unpredictable game. Essentially one either has to believe that Oklahoma is down and that last week’s loss was a harbinger of doom, or that the loss was merely an unlucky hiccup that’ll just have them fired up. Most seem to be on the same page with Texas…they’re headed in the right direction but probably aren’t where they need to be quite yet. Having said all of that, I like Texas to keep it very close, and if they lose it’ll be by less than a touchdown. Zach also likes the Longhorns and believes they’ll win outright.

My Pick:     Texas

Z’s Pick:     Texas



Miami                        at          Atlanta (-11)

People may have forgotten that the Falcons were in the Super Bowl back in February. Sure they blew a huge lead and choked on the big stage…but they were there. They had picked up right where they left off until a couple of weeks ago then were upended by the surprising Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins are 2-2, which is right about where most expected them to be. Atlanta has the home field in their shiny new stadium, but the question is whether or not they can cover a double digit spread. I think they can, unless the entire Dolphins team snorts blow during pre-game warm-ups. Zach is picking Atlanta to roll to an easy victory.

My Pick:     Atlanta

Z’s Pick:     Atlanta



Chicago                  at           Baltimore (-6.5)

This should be called the Gun Control Bowl. They definitely cannot take a page out of the Oklahoma-Texas playbook…people in these two cities might have an actual shootout. At any rate, the 1-4 Bears got their only win a few weeks back over my Pittsburgh Steelers, and are already giving up on QB Mike Glennon. Enter rookie signal caller Mitch Trubisky, who has demonstrated some talent in limited playing time. This opportunity comes a little sooner for him than most expected, but it’s a smart move in my opinion. Meanwhile, the Ravens are 3-2, which sadly is good enough to have them tied atop the AFC North. Baltimore is getting a really generous home field advantage, but I’m not buying it. I watched Trubisky a little bit in the pre-season and it was immediately evident to me that the young man has…it. I don’t know if he’ll be able to spin that talent into anything tangible, and I’m not sure if a great team will ever be assembled around him, but I think he’ll flash that potential for all to see and get his first win. Zach likes Trubisky well enough but thinks that right now Baltimore is the better team.

My Pick:     Chicago

Z’s Pick:     Baltimore



Tampa Bay (-2.5)        at      Arizona

It is telling that the Bucs are favored by the oddsmakers despite being on the road, especially since they are a rather pedestrian 2-2. That would lead me to believe that the 2-3 Cardinals are even worse than the record indicates. I do know that Arizona was desperate enough to trade for RB Adrian Peterson, which would’ve been a brilliant move…four years ago. Now?? I can’t imagine he has much left in the tank. Who knows though…maybe he can flip a switch ;-). The Vibes are telling me that this won’t be very close or competitive, that the favorites will win handily. Zach likes Peterson to have a big game with his new team, but believes Tampa will cruise to an easy win.

My Pick:     Tampa Bay

Z’s Pick:     Tampa Bay



Indianapolis                at      Tennessee (-5)

This is the Monday night game, but the folks at ESPN have to be a little disappointed. No Andrew Luck. Marcus Mariota might be out as well. Both teams are 2-3 and trail Jacksonville…yes, Jacksonville…in the AFC South. In my season preview I had Tennessee with 11 wins and they still might get there, but it’s going to be tough. I had Indy going 7-9 WITH a healthy starting quarterback, so without him they are…well…out of Luck. Anyway, if Mariota plays the Titans should win easily, but even if he doesn’t I think they’ll grind out a low scoring, tedious victory and cover the points. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Tennessee

Z’s Pick:     Tennessee


Points of Ponderation…..Episode 13.17

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






I have a comfortable detachment from the idiocy that happens in the Hollywood community. Entertain me and I am generally willing to overlook whatever kind of stupidity they spew, which is why I’ve stopped watching late night television…they stopped being entertaining & crossed the line with their propaganda. Anyway, I’ve listened with some bemusement to all this Harvey Weinstein hullabaloo. I’m not sure why anyone is so surprised. We’ve all heard about the “casting couch” for decades, but somehow it’s supposed to shock me that the CEO of a movie studio was engaging in such activities instead of some low level producer or director?? I’m not the least bit astonished. What is funny…in an aggravating sort of way…is watching all of these morally bankrupt celebrities feign surprise and try to cover their ass. Come on folks…you play dress up & pretend for a living, yet you’re such terrible liars. I’m not really sure about fate, kismet, & all that jazz, but the irony that all of this is coming to light after so many folks out in Hollywood have aggressively condemned President Trump for his faults the past couple of years exposes their total hypocrisy.



So we just “celebrated” Columbus Day recently. The term celebration is used hesitantly because all it means in reality is that government offices are closed, so I’m glad the friendly neighborhood mail carrier atleast got to enjoy a day off. The United States first recognized the holiday in 1937, and it is actually celebrated in other places like Argentina, Venezuela, The Bahamas, Spain, & even Italy. The states of Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, South Dakota, & Vermont don’t recognize Columbus Day, although a couple of those states celebrate an alternative called Discoverer’s Day, and a growing number of localities in wussified blue state America are promoting Indigenous People’s Day. This all stems from folks being all bent out of shape because Christopher Columbus was allegedly mean to peaceful & friendly Indians. Oops…I’m sorry…Native Americans. At any rate, this “controversy” got me to thinking. If we are going to rebrand holidays in an effort not to offend anyone by diminishing the accomplishments of imperfect people with a few skeletons in their closet why not go all in?? Since I am a solutions oriented guy allow me to offer some suggestions:


Dick Clark Appreciation Day. New Year’s Eve/Day is insulting to the old year that may have done nothing wrong.



#BlackLivesMatter Day. Sorry Martin Luther King, Jr…time to add some zest to this holiday.




We’re Sick of Winter Day. It is unfair to celebrate the groundhog above any other rodents. Plus, the supposed power to predict the weather is offensive to meteorologists.



Public Servants Day. Some of those mean Presidents owned slaves, raised taxes, & cheated on their wives. Abraham Lincoln was tall & lanky, which might offend fat people. Plus…Donald Trump!! Besides, why should Presidents get all the glory?? Big Government has a lot of moving parts that demand respect.


Candy & Flowers Day. Saint Valentine was…shhhh…a Christian. We can’t have that.





Bunnies & Eggs Day. Risen Savior?? Oh no…we can’t celebrate that!!




Irish Heritage Day. The same thought process applied to Saint Valentine must be used for Saint Patrick.




Stars Wars Day. Disney agrees to pay for President Trump’s Big Beautiful Wall, and in exchange Cinco de Mayo fades away into the sunset. May the Fourth be with you.




Decoration Day. Actually this was the original name for Memorial Day, and we’re going back to it because decorations are fun!!



Parents’ Day. Mother’s Day & Father’s Day may offend the transgender community.




July 4th. I suppose we kind of have this one covered already, don’t we?? We don’t want to offend the British, we just want to get drunk & blow stuff up.




Union Strong Day. Labor Omnia Vincit!!




Pumpkin Spice Day. Hey, it already dominates everything in the autumn. Besides, Halloween has pagan origins and it’s scary.



Santa Claus Day. We can rid ourselves of the pretense and stop offending non-Christians. Everybody wins. Well…almost everybody.





Since it’s not really a sports story, allow me to use this space to comment on Vice President Pence’s recent attendance at an Indianapolis Colts football game. Pence is a native of Indiana and a lifelong Colts fan, and I assume that part of the plan…in theory…was to be present as former quarterback Peyton Manning got inducted into the Colts Wall of Honor or whatever they call it there. At any rate, after several members of the San Francisco 49ers kneeled during the national anthem the Vice President and his entourage made a big show of leaving the stadium immediately in disagreement with the protest. I respect Pence and, like many people who voted for that particular duo in the election, count on him to provide political experience and a voice of reason to balance out Donald Trump’s…occasionally inappropriate instincts. However, this thing was nothing but a publicity stunt. He had to know that there would be kneeling. Surely he has been paying attention as the uproar over these anthem protests reached a fever pitch not long ago. And even though the furor has calmed just a bit it is an ongoing issue. I feel the same about the situation as I do about most everything else…if it doesn’t affect me I don’t pay too much attention. But just like those late night shows that began infringing on my relaxation time with their political venom, this little photo op by VP Pence involved me (and y’all) by using taxpayer money for a completely unnecessary temper tantrum. I’ve seen some pretty big dollar figures thrown around as far as how much the stop in Indiana cost, and I would have rather seen that money used in just about any other way.



There are approximately 30,000 gun related deaths per year in the United States. Our population is about 300 million. So about .0001% die as a result of guns. But let’s break it down even further: 65% of that 30,000 are suicides. 15% are self-defense/in the line of duty situations by law enforcement. 3% are accidental discharge deaths. That leaves 17%, or 5100 deaths due to “gun violence”…criminal activity, gang wars, drug activity, & mentally ill people committing murder. Of those 5100 deaths from gun violence about 25% occur in four major metro areas: Chicago, Baltimore, Washington DC, & Detroit…all of which already have strict gun control laws since the powers-that-be have mostly been leftists. Oh, speaking of which…23% of gun violence occurs in the state of California. Now I grant you…it’s a big state. But one cannot deny that it too…like those other areas…is run by liberals and has super tough gun laws. So essentially half of true gun violence in America happens in four big cities and one large state, all of which share similar political ideology and already have the most strident gun laws. Let’s also look at the fact that, in comparison to the 5100 deaths due to actual gun violence there are 40,000 drug overdoses, 36,000 people die from the flu, & there are 34,000 traffic fatalities annually. And in case you’re wondering…heart disease is responsible for over 700,000 deaths each year, yet no one is suggesting we ban fast food restaurants. Remember these numbers the next time you hear a politician or “journalist” say gun control is about saving lives, and understand that the truth is hiding in plain sight…it’s the word “control”.





200 Questions: Casual Questions to Get to Know Someone

Not long ago an acquaintance of mine (could’ve been more if it weren’t for the fact that this person’s relationship with reality is…somewhat fluid) opined that I lacked self-reflection…or something to that effect. It was an unkind allegation, not to mention false. I dig self-assessment. I’ve never run into a personality test or IQ test that I didn’t give a whirl. Though I know they are specious at best I love taking those stupid Facebook quizzes. Oftentimes such evaluations (the real ones…not the ones on Facebook) can provide meaningful insight into one’s life, or atleast confirm things you already suspect. At any rate, I recently ran across this fairly comprehensive exam on Pinterest. Obviously it is meant to help one get acquainted with someone else, but I thought it’d be fun to answer the questions myself. It’s not a multiple choice type of thing…these are essentially essay questions, and they’re rather thought-provoking. Take a gander at my answers if you happen to have some free time, and ponder what your answers might be. The assessment itself is broken down into a few different sections, and for the sake of readability I think it best if I retain that format.




If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

I would get a lot more reading & writing done, and probably binge watch more movies & TV shows. Those things probably sound mundane & unproductive, but if I was an ambitious individual who had goals like curing diseases, building a business empire, or procuring tremendous political influence I would have been working on such plans even while sleeping as normal. At this point in my life attaining what I consider to be “pleasurable knowledge” and writing The Manofesto are what I define as productive, while chilling out with a good show or movie is my relaxation.


What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own / owned?

I can’t think of one specific piece of clothing, but in general I’m a t-shirt & shorts/sweatpants kind of guy. I kick it up a notch when I go out in public because I’m not a slob, but I enjoy just hanging out at home in my old, beat up, super comfy clothes.



What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?

Traveling. If I had the resources I would see the country and definitely visit some interesting locations across the globe.


What would your perfect room look like?

I’ve always wanted a classy den/study with lots of books and fancy leather furniture. I would probably spruce it up a bit with a nice sound system and a big screen TV. Think “man cave”, but not a Joe Sixpack man cave…more of a Joseph Humidor man cave. Sophisticated & elegant, but still comfortable & friendly.



How often do you play sports?

I am paralyzed and use a wheelchair, so I don’t play sports. However, I am a huge sports fan and watch ballgames all the time. I do play fantasy football, but I’m sure that’s not the intent of the question.



What fictional place would you most like to go?

A few places come to mind: Mayberry. The Shire from The Hobbit. The North Pole. 221B Baker St., the abode of Sherlock Holmes. The Batcave. Bedford Falls as depicted in It’s A Wonderful Life. Star Trek’s Enterprise.



What job would you be terrible at?

Anything requiring mathematics…accountant, engineer, banker. Math just isn’t my thing.




When was the last time you climbed a tree?

Never lol




If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?




What is the most annoying habit that other people have?

Oh wow…I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one.



What job do you think you’d be really good at?




What skill would you like to master?

A few spring to mind. I would love to be a capable chef. I wouldn’t mind learning a few foreign languages. I’d like to be more comfortable with public speaking. As silly as it sounds I wish I was a better, braver driver. It might be helpful if I was more skillful at charming the ladies ;-).



What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

I always thought it’d be cool to be one of those people who spend a summer traipsing across Europe.




If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?

I have actually given this considerable ponderation over the years. I wouldn’t want anything too conspicuous…I’m not out to impress passersby. I think I would like to re-create the living room of my parents’ house, my childhood home…especially the 70’s era wood paneling. I would have a huge kitchen with all the bells & whistles, including super modern stainless steel appliances, practically any gadget you can think of, and plenty of workspace. Of course I’d have the tasteful den/study/library that I eluded to previously. And here is where it gets weird. In that study I’d have a Shakespeare bust that, when lifted up, would have a hidden button leading to an elevator that would take me down to a replica of The Batcave from the campy 60’s TV show. In that cave/bunker would be a garage, a music room, a bedroom where I could sleep, & a TV lounge where I could read or watch movies, ballgames, etc. This would be designed so that I could hide from the world and no one would know that I was home. The “garage door” would be hidden and lead to a private access road that would eventually meet with the public road(s), but would otherwise be a secret entrance/exit.


What’s your favorite drink?

Iced tea or milk…just depends on my mood.





What state or country do you never want to go back to?

I haven’t traveled enough to strike anywhere off my list thus far.





What songs have you completely memorized?

Too many to mention. I appreciate many genres of music and love a plethora of songs.





What game or movie universe would you most like to live in?

I’m not a gamer at all. As far as movies, I could see myself settling down in the idyllic Shire from the Lord of the Rings & Hobbit trilogies.


What do you consider to be your best find?

I’m not really sure how to answer…the question is rather ambiguous.




Are you usually early or late?

I’m almost always early. I can’t stand being late myself and get annoyed with others who are always running late.



What pets did you have while you were growing up?

We had a mutt named Rags that I vaguely recall. He was an outside dog while I was an inside kid, so we weren’t that close. I also had a frog for a brief time, but he escaped his bowl and was never heard from again.



When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?

All people generally want from me is a sympathetic ear. I’m a good listener. I may offer some friendly advice, but I’m smart enough to know that most folks are bad at taking advice.


What takes up too much of your time?

I spend too much time watching television & waste too much time online. Due to my job my sleep schedule is totally wacky, so I spend too much valuable time…especially on weekends…sleeping.


What do you wish you knew more about?

Many things. That’s always been one of my problems…too many things interest me to the point that I never focused on anything specific.



What would be your first question after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100 years?

Wow. I imagine I’d be a bit disoriented and want to know where I was, what year it was, etc. Beyond that I suppose I’d be curious about the fates of family & friends after I went into the deep freeze.


What are some small things that make your day better?

Little things that make me smile: Snuggling with my puppy…he’s so soft, warm, and cuddly. A glass of iced tea & a gentle breeze on a warm summer day. A big win by my favorite teams – Pittsburgh Steelers, Marshall Thundering Herd, & WV Mountaineers. The aroma of Italian food. A really restful night’s sleep, even if I have my usual Wacky Dreams. Puns. Getting really into a fun & interesting book. People who do funny spot-on impressions. Deep philosophical discussions with my brother The Owl. Anything with BBQ sauce. Nascar night races. What my pal Marc called “sippin’ music”, i.e simple, stripped down jazz or blues without a lot of extra effects. When it’s still daylight at 8pm. Trivia. Laughter, whether it is my own or someone else’s. Dessert. Taking a really good picture. A woman with a beautiful smile, regardless of whether or not she knows I exist (she usually doesn’t). Watching golf on TV, especially the final round of a major. Getting a haircut. Popcorn & chocolate covered peanuts while watching a movie in the theater. When a really kickass song comes on the radio while I’m driving.


Who’s your go to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?

Billy Joel. Van Halen. Bon Jovi. Journey. There are probably others that I’m not thinking of at the moment.



What shows are you into?

I watch reruns of The Andy Griffith Show almost daily. Ditto with Frasier. I love The Big Bang Theory. This Is Us and Designated Survivor are new favorites. I like a few ESPN shows…Mike & Mike, Highly Questionable, Pardon the Interruption. Monday nights are wrasslin’ nights, so WWE Raw.


What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?

I can’t imagine that there is any need for additional television channels…I think we’ve got it covered. I suppose it’d be cool to create my own station…SamTV…and program it exclusively with shows past & present that I love as well as all of my favorite movies.


Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?

I respect the accomplishments of many people. However, professional success, fame, & financial gain don’t matter as much as a person’s character, how they live their life, & how they treat people.


What age do you wish you could permanently be?

Interesting question. Looking back I’d have to say 19 was a great age for me. Of course anything in the single digits…say the 5-9 age range…would be fun.


What TV show or movie do you refuse to watch?

Lately that has become a rather big list. I’ve tuned out all of the late night “comedy” shows now, and I used to LOVE late night television. Pretty much any kind of reality show is a turnoff for me. I detest The View and don’t get how it’s even still on the air.


What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?

I love fall weekends with wall to wall football. Otherwise, generally I’d be okay with chilling out at home with Rocco, reading a lot, & vegging out with some good movies. I’m not exactly Mr. Excitement.


What is something that is considered a luxury, but you don’t think you could live without?

Is air conditioning still a luxury?? It was when I was a kid, but now it’s a must have. Cable & internet are technically luxuries I suppose, although I suspect most people have them nowadays.


What’s your claim to fame?

Nothing that I am aware of.



What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?

I still prefer an actual book to an e-reader. Otherwise I’m pretty open to new technologies.




What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?

I really like biographies. And with movies I prefer to laugh, so a good old-fashioned comedy is usually my preference.


How often do you people watch?

Not often. I prefer to keep to myself.


What have you only recently formed an opinion about?

I’m pretty opinionated, so I’ve had strong views about most hot button issues for quite awhile.


What’s the best single day on the calendar?

I’m partial to my birthday. I also like Christmas & Independence Day. The kickoff of the football season is always lots of fun.


What are you interested in that most people haven’t heard of?

I don’t think my interests are that unusual. I’m not into anything that others haven’t atleast heard of. Now whether or not they share my fascination is a whole other thing.


How do you relax after a hard day of work?

Snuggle with Rocco. Watch a ball game. Catch up with my friends online.



What was the best book or series that you’ve ever read?

Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter are great series. As far as individual books, there are just too many to fairly narrow it down.


What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?

Sadly I haven’t ventured out all that much or all that far. Everywhere I have been is within driving distance. I’ve never even been on an airplane.



What is the most heartwarming thing you’ve ever seen?

Again, such a vague question. I’ve seen many heartwarming moments, in person & thru the magic of technology. Most of the time little babies and/or cute puppies are involved.


What is the most annoying question that people ask you?

“Can I help you??” I am in a wheelchair, so especially when I am out & about, getting in & out of my vehicle, inevitably someone wants to “help” me, but honestly those people are usually just slowing me down and getting in my way.


What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

Holy smokes…I’m not sure I could give a 40 minute presentation about anything. I could probably engage in a good conversation on many topics, but a presentation is kind of one sided.


If you were dictator of a small island nation, what crazy dictator stuff would you do?

I would probably banish everyone from the island so I could have it all to myself lol.


What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?

Oh there are so many directions one could go with this, but The Manofesto is family friendly so…

I’m going to go off the beaten path and say attend the symphony.


Would you rather go hang gliding or whitewater rafting?

Hang gliding. I’m afraid of heights, but I think I’d be more scared of drowning.




What’s your dream car?

a free one



What’s worth spending more on to get the best?

Lots of things. Brand names are brand names for a reason, especially when it comes to food & electronics.




What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with but you just don’t get the point of?

The Walking Dead. Scandal. Game of Thrones. The Kardashians in any form. Country & rap music.




What are you most looking forward to in the next 10 years?

I prefer to take things one day at a time.




Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?

I haven’t traveled nearly as much as I’d like, so I don’t think anywhere I’ve been really stands out.




What’s something you’ve been meaning to try but just haven’t gotten around to it?





What’s the best thing that happened to you last week?

My birthday was last week and I had a nice dinner with my family.




What piece of entertainment do you wish you could erase from your mind so that you could experience for the first time again?

I’m just going to leave this one alone.




If all jobs had the same pay and hours, what job would you like to have?




What amazing thing did you do that no one was around to see?

I honestly don’t consider anything I’ve done amazing.




How different was your life one year ago?

Not that different lol.




What’s the best way to start the day?

With kisses from Rocco, listening to some gentle music, & reading. I am not a morning person and I need to ease into the day. I definitely don’t hit the ground running.


What quirks do you have?

Oh wow. Well, I have an irrational dislike of the number 3 and its multiples. That’s pretty quirky, right??



What would you rate 10 / 10?

Probably nothing. My standards are pretty high, plus I always think there’s room for improvement.




What fad or trend do you hope comes back?

Does anyone remember Jams shorts from the 80’s?? I thought they were cool.




What’s the most interesting piece of art you’ve seen?

Though it may sound silly, I have an affinity for Dogs Playing Poker.



What kind of art do you enjoy most?

I’m not really into paintings or sculpture. I prefer the performing arts, and within that realm I really enjoy people who can do accurate & funny impressions.


What do you hope never changes?

Change is inevitable. So much has changed in my lifetime…some of it good, some of it not. I just roll with the punches.



What city would you most like to live in?

I would prefer to visit a few places before I’d commit to living anywhere. For instance, I think it’d be a lot of fun to spend a week or two in NY City, Chicago, Vegas, or anywhere near a beach…but I’m not sure I’d want to live in any of those places on a permanent basis.


What movie title best describes your life?

I have no idea lol.




Why did you decide to do the work you are doing now?

I needed a job. The job was available. It is work that I am physically able to do.



What’s the best way a person can spend their time?

I believe that depends on the person and varies on a day to day basis.



If you suddenly became a master at woodworking, what would you make? 

I suppose I could whittle some “knickie knackies” as my Dad calls them and sell things at the flea market. Unfortunately I’m not skilled like that.


Where is the most relaxing place you’ve ever been?

my apartment




What is the luckiest thing that has happened to you?

I’m not sure I believe in luck, and if it is actually a thing my life has trended toward bad luck. However, when I take the time to actually look at things objectively and reflect on my life I can see the blessings of God throughout.


Where would you rather be from?

I have a love/hate relationship with my home state of West Virginia. I appreciate its tranquil beauty and the solid values that were instilled in me from childhood, but I also recognize & lament the dearth of opportunity, limited worldview, and absence of exposure to better prospects in many areas of life. I have pondered what I as an individual and my life would have been like if I’d have grown up somewhere like Texas or Florida or California. Maybe I’d be more “successful” by the world’s definition of success, but would my personality be different?? Would my family life have been better or worse?? Would I actually be happier?? I don’t think it’s even possible to fathom the answers to those hypotheticals.


What are some things you’ve had to unlearn?

I’m not sure I’ve ever had to “unlearn” anything. I’m sure I possess plenty of knowledge that might be considered useless, but that’s alright with me.


What are you looking forward to in the coming months?

This isn’t my favorite time of year. I’m not a fan of cold weather & snow. But I do look forward to Christmas and as long as it’s football season I can look forward to the weekends.


What website do you visit most often?

Facebook. My blog ;-). ESPN. My fantasy football leagues.



What one thing do you really want but can’t afford?

A vacation in Italy.




Where do you usually go when you when you have time off?

I’m a homebody.



Where would you spend all your time if you could?

I’m not sure about ALL of my time, but I wouldn’t mind spending more time traveling & seeing the world.



What is special about the place you grew up?

The people. The slow, quiet pace. The solid values that are taught.




What age do you want to live to?

That’s not my call. It’s in God’s hands.




What are you most likely to become famous for?

It is unlikely that I become famous for anything, but I do harbor a desire to write a book and/or screenplay, so if that actually happens maybe I’ll stumble blindly into notoriety.



What are you absolutely determined to do?

I’m not sure I’m all that determined to do anything. I’m just living my life & doing my thing. I try to treat people well and hope they return the favor. If good things come from living like that I’d be glad for it, but I’m smart enough to know that driven, determined go-getters are more likely to attain success.


What is the most impressive thing you know how to do?

Did I mention this is a family friendly site?? 😉



What do you wish you knew more about?

Lots of things. I am intellectually curious about a whole host of topics. Sadly I am also lazy, cynical, & apathetic…not a great combination.



What question would you most like to know the answer to?

Why am I here?? What is my purpose??

Wow…that’s pretty deep ;-).



Whew!! That’s it for Part 1. I’ll get around to the next section when I have time. Until then, have a great day!!

2017 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 6

Time flies when you’re having fun, and we’ve already reached the quarter pole in the NFL and are almost to the halfway point in the NCAA. At this point some trends are emerging and we should have enough information to make smarter picks…but no promises. Last week was good for both of us, as I went 4-1 and Zach was 3-2. We both still have our head above water, which is nice. Oh, and the Patriots lost again, and it’s always a glorious weekend when the Patriots lose. I’ve decided not to let certain off the field issues affect my enjoyment of football, so I feel better about things than I had the past couple of weeks.

My Season:        17-12

Z’s Season:        15-13






Boise State (-8)           at      BYU

I think we may have unconsciously started a new tradition. Since my job is a) not usually full of excitement, & b) allows me access to a television, I have begun to look at west coast games that kick off around 10:30pm EST on Friday & Saturday night and think seriously about including them here if the matchup is intriguing. This is a Friday night kickoff on ESPN that features two teams that are oftentimes ranked in my pre-season poll. The shine has worn off Boise St. just a bit from when they were a shiny new curiosity several years ago that kept winning big bowl games and compiling 11 & 12 win seasons, but they’re still a pretty solid program. BYU is more inconsistent. Sometimes they have a really nice season, other years they aren’t good at all. It might help if they were to join a conference…like maybe the Big 12 (which has 10 teams). Thus far in 2017 the Broncos are 2-2, with a heartbreaking three OT loss to Washington St. in the mix, while the Cougars are 1-4 against a rather tough schedule. BYU has the home field, which piques my interest. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that a field goal will decide this game one way or another. Zach believes Boise is plainly the better team and will win easily.

My Pick:     BYU

Z’s Pick:     Boise St.



Georgia (-17.5)            at      Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt is the Chuck Cunningham of the SEC, hidden away in the basement where no one ever talks about them…except that people are talking about them a little bit this season. The Commodores are 3-2, but upset Kansas St. and played respectably in a loss to Florida. Is it too soon to be thinking of possible bowl destinations?? Probably. The Bulldogs are 5-0 and could find themselves in the playoff discussion when the first rankings come out soon. I think this will be a competitive game for awhile, and the points do give me pause, but I believe Georgia will cover. Zach is on board the Bulldog playoff train and thinks they’ll win big.

My Pick:     Georgia

Z’s Pick:     Georgia



Miami (FL) (-3)              at      Florida State

This game was originally scheduled for a few weeks ago but had to be postponed when Hurricane Irma hit the Sunshine State. The Seminoles are 1-2 and trying to right the ship after losing their starting QB to injury in the season opener. The Hurricanes are rolling at 3-0, though they haven’t been tested yet. For Florida St. this is a must-win for obvious reasons. For Miami a victory would prove they are the real deal. I’m really not sure what to think to be honest, but The Vibes are telling me Florida St. isn’t as bad as they’ve looked so far. Conversely, Zach is all in on the Seminoles truly being horrible and thinks they’ll lose this game by four TDs.

My Pick:     Florida St.

Z’s Pick:     Miami



Buffalo                at      Cincinnati (-3)

I’m not a gambler and I don’t know what kind of crazy prop bets are available in Vegas, but if anyone would have put any kind of significant money on the Bills being in 1st Place in the AFC East four games into the season I’m guessing their bank account would be quite impressive right now. Obviously most people don’t expect it to last, but just how long can they keep it going?? Meanwhile, the Bengals are 1-3, though they did take Green Bay to overtime before losing a couple of weeks ago. I’m a little surprised that Cincinnati is favored. Sure they have the home field, but Buffalo has clearly been the better team. The Bills have to keep winning to keep up with the Patriots, who will surely get back on track soon enough. Zach likes Buffalo’s defense and believes the firing of former coach Rex Ryan was addition by subtraction.

My Pick:     Buffalo

Z’s Pick:     Buffalo



Green Bay                   at      Dallas (-2.5)

I might not get quite the level of enjoyment out of Dallas losing that I experience when New England gets beat, but it’s pretty darn close. America’s Team my foot lol!! Anyway, the Cowboys are 2-2 while the Packers are 3-1. Dallas gets the home field bump, but clearly the oddsmakers aren’t totally convinced. Neither am I, and Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Green Bay

Z’s Pick:     Green Bay

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 12.17

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





I was never really a fan of the CBS series King of Queens, which originally aired from 1998 to 2007. However in the ensuing years I have watched it occasionally in syndication, and star Kevin James has gone on to a mildly amusing film career. So last year when James returned to television in a new series called Kevin Can Wait I watched a few episodes before quickly losing interest. I guess former King of Queens co-star Leah Remini did a guest spot on a couple of episodes of Kevin Can Wait near the end of Season 1, and the ratings spiked a bit…enough for the powers-that-be to offer Remini a permanent role. Okay, fair enough. But in order to accomplish this “retooling” of the series the producers decided to fire James’ new TV wife and kill off her character. I tuned into the Season 2 premier of Kevin Can Wait and have two observations. First of all, the once beautiful Remini has now apparently been frequenting the same type of Botox provider that ruined the formerly lovely face of Meg Ryan. Either that or she had a stroke that I didn’t hear about. Secondly, the way the departure of the wife was written…with a time jump and barely mentioning her “death”…was awkward, badly conceived & executed, and disrespectful to the actress. I had already become disinterested in the show because it was boring, but now I am actively cheering for its demise. Shame on you Kevin James, and shame on everyone involved in the debacle.



This is Liz Soeiro, a librarian at Cambridgeport Elementary School in Massachusetts. Ms. Soeiro recently rejected a book donation by First Lady Melania Trump, referring to works by Dr. Seuss as “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes”. Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) died in 1991, so if he was a racist surely someone would have figured it out long ago. I’m not sure when this photo was taken, but Ms. Soeiro didn’t appear to have a problem with Dr. Seuss at the time. Perhaps it would be more accurate to surmise that her issue isn’t with Dr. Seuss at all, but rather with President Trump. Maybe the next time someone wants to donate books to the Cambridgeport school library they should send copies of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. They might be a little heavy for the children, but I have a feeling the librarian would enjoy them immensely.



Ten years ago I wrote a bucket list of sorts called 45 Things to Do Before the Age of 45. Then on my 40th birthday I did an assessment, at that point looking back on my intentions with a blend of bemusement & melancholy. And now, as I am on the verge of actually turning 45 years old, all I can think is how fast a decade has flown by. Goals change. Life happens. I’m glad I made the list. There are still things that I want to accomplish, but I realize that some of the stuff I wrote down while lying in a hospital bed all those years ago (though it seems like just last week) are largely unattainable for various reasons, and I think I am okay with that. God has blessed me. Oftentimes I am too stubborn to understand that, to my detriment. Some aspects of my life haven’t turned out the way I hoped they might back when I was in college, but that’s mostly on me. I kind of feel like Rocky Balboa in the first film. I might not achieve victory in the traditional sense, but I keep getting back up and have thus far remained in the battle. To paraphrase 2 Timothy, I have fought the good fight. The race isn’t finished, but I am determined to keep the faith.



One of my bucket list items…one that I have been fixated on for many years…is to visit Las Vegas. In light of recent events one might assume that those plans have changed…but they have not. Let’s be honest…ever since September 11, 2001 most of us have looked at the world a little differently. We exercise a bit more caution and maybe hesitate to put ourselves in certain situations. In some cases it might be excessive fear & paranoia, but mostly I think it is simply judicious restraint. That being said, we still have to live our lives. Take that vacation. Go to the concert or ballgame or wherever else large crowds gather for merriment. Have fun. Be smart, but don’t hide. Artistic types like the Hollywood folks you see on TV & in movies tend to be right brain dominant, meaning they react emotionally. They are the ones that want to spit all over our Constitutional rights every time something tragic happens, and are precisely the kind of keyboard tough guys for which Twitter was tailor made. More logical thinkers understand that evildoers like this guy that shot up a country music concert in Vegas are…duh…breaking existing law and would do so no matter how many additional laws were on the books. I don’t want to dive into conspiracy theories or break down details of the tragedy…this is not the time or place and I am not the right person to do that sort of thing. Neither am I suggesting that we sweep the situation under the rug, throw our hands up, & say “ah well…c’est la vie”. However, I do hope that all the facts come out, mature adults can have necessary discussions, and reasonable decisions are made based on logic & wisdom…not emotion.



Speaking of television…

A colleague & I were having a discussion about TV shows…specifically the recent trend of remaking/rebooting/reviving shows like Dallas, Full House/Fuller House, Will & Grace, American Idol, Gilmore Girls, Boy/Girl Meets World, & MacGyver. As we were talking we both stumbled upon a revelation about the sly brilliance of the Netflix business model. I had just binged watched the first half of Season 3 of Fuller House, and I was reminded of Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, who once opined that “starting to watch a television show that might run for years isn’t a decision to take lightly”. Now I grant you, with DVR & other technologies things are a bit easier than when I was a kid. Back then if you forgot to set the VCR you had to wait for summer reruns to catch a missed episode. But the thought process is still accurate. Though television seasons seem to be somewhat shorter now than a couple of decades ago the fact remains that once one becomes interested in a show you are going to be watching it once a week every week for several months, and I’m not sure our collective attention span is capable of that these days. Netflix skips all of the hassle by releasing an entire season (or atleast a half season) all at once. I asked myself if I would have stuck with corny nonsense like Fuller House if it would have required a long term commitment, and I think the answer (based in part on how fast I lost interest in Girl Meets World a few years ago) is no. But binge watching a whole season during a sleepless night or rainy weekend…yes, I am glad for the short term distraction. Well played Netflix…well played indeed.