2021 Sammy Awards: Part III

If you have not seen Part 1 or Part 2 of the show please check them out now. We’ll  be here when you get back.

After a brief delay due to interruptions in the supply chain and, in an abundance of caution, following all health & safety protocols applicable to fake awards shows as recommended by the CDC, FDA, NASA, FCC, MADD, CNN, NRA, MCU, & NTSB it is time for the thrilling conclusion of the 2021 Sammy Awards. Please welcome back our host Dave Chappelle!!

We hope you enjoyed another hilarious comedy bit by Mr. Chappelle, and now it is time for our next award as we welcome a self-proclaimed “loud-mouthed New England Guido” whose social media fandom has grown exponentially in recent months. His unique perspective on current events provides the masses with some of the funniest yet caustic & insightful viral videos across all your favorite social media platforms. Please give it up for Bobby Sausalito!! And the nominees are:

The Twitter Award for Favorite Water Cooler Topic

#FreeBritney

Raise your hand if you knew what a conservatorship was a year ago.

Put your hands down liars!! In case you’re still a little behind the curve, a conservatorship is “a legal status to which a court appoints a person to manage the financial and personal affairs of a minor or incapacitated person”. In 2021 we learned that former pop princess Britney Spears’ life had been essentially controlled by helicopter Dad Jamie since 2008 when Britney faced some mental health issues. A decade later Daddy was still holding her hostage long after the conservatorship was supposed to have ended and Britney’s life had stabilized. A grass roots campaign involving fans & famous friends of the singer gained steam. In 2021 a documentary called Framing Britney Spears was released, and the movement reached a fever pitch, especially after Spears herself criticized the documentary and admitted that she felt the conservatorship had been a form of abuse by her family. By November 2021 a judge ended the conservatorship, freeing Britney Spears to live her life as she sees fit.

Masks

Are they useful?? Do they do all that much to prevent the spread of COVID?? Should schools, businesses, restaurants, sports arenas, concert venues, etc. mandate their use?? These questions were passionately debated in 2021. There aren’t really any bad people in the discussion no matter which side they fall on since we’re all just trying to muddle thru this pandemic as best we can by doing what we feel is right to protect ourselves & our families. Unfortunately, as with everything virus related, the messaging has been unclear and rife with self-interest, oftentimes causing the discussion to be more unpleasant than necessary.

Bill Cosby

On June 30, 2021 Cosby’s conviction on sexual assault charges was overturned. After spending three years in prison the 84-year-old comedian was released and can now enjoy as many Jello Pudding Pops as his heart desires.

Jeopardy!

Aaron Rodgers. Mayim Bialik. Dr. Oz. Anderson Cooper. Levar Burton. Ken Jennings. Joe Buck. Those are just some of the names that guest hosted during the process to find a successor to the late, great, irreplaceable Alex Trebek. At one point we thought the search was over, but stuff happened and that guy got “cancelled:” before he even started. The last time I checked a permanent host has yet to be decided upon, with Jennings & Bialik sharing the gig for the foreseeable future. Sadly, it just isn’t the same program without Trebek, and none of the temps have brought much to the table.

Big Tech

Social media is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it has become a significant part of our daily lives. On the other hand, I have become convinced that it may be one of the antichrists referred to in The Bible. It is a convenient way to stay in touch with old friends, former classmates & co-workers, and that gal you met once at a party eight years ago that now lives three states away. Taken at face value it is fairly innocuous entertainment. But is it really?? With the addition of “fact” checkers, community standards, data mining, alleged “misinformation”, & outright censorship of sociopolitical opinions the whole thing has become much more sinister that it was just a few years ago. When a platform has the power to silence the President of the United States perhaps it has turned into something we need less of in our lives.

Ross & Rachel

In May 2021 the cast of the iconic 90’s sitcom Friends reunited on HBO Max. The program itself was entertaining enough, but the headline was the revelation that Jennifer Aniston (aka Rachel Green) & David Schwimmer (aka Ross Geller) had been crushing on each other in real life back in the day, but never followed thru. However, a few months after the special aired rumors began to swirl that the two were now “hanging out” for real, which sounded kind of cool. Unfortunately, everyone involved threw water on the fire, so I guess Schwimmer is still Mayor of the Friend Zone.

GameStop

In January 2021 the stock price of the video game retailer inexplicably shot up 1500% in just three weeks. I am not a gamer, know very little about the stock market, and have never used Reddit, so I cannot intelligently opine about what happened, how it happened, or why it happened, but I guess a whole bunch of Wall Street types lost a ton of money.

Bernie Sanders

I’m never going to agree with much that the socialist Senator from Vermont says or does, but God bless him for saving the Presidential Inauguration. January 20, 2021 was, unsurprisingly, a chilly day in Washington DC. Sanders is 80 years old, so instead of dressing like a typical wealthy politician might he dressed for the weather and looked more like your spouse’s crazy grandfather preparing to do some ice fishing down at the local pond. Clad in a sensible yet drab coat that one might purchase from Eddie Bauer, the requisite face mask (even though he was outside), and hilarious mittens, Sen. Sanders looked like he couldn’t wait for the ceremony to end so he could get home, eat a hot bowl of soup, and watch old reruns of Bonanza on MeTV. His appearance at the Inauguration led to a wave of hilarious memes, making The Internet fun like it used to be for a few days.

#LetsGoBrandon

The mainstream American media has become an embarrassing enemy to the public it is supposed to serve. Perhaps Walter Cronkite was never as trustworthy as we imagined him to be back in the day, but atleast he was successful in selling that image. Nowadays the folks entrusted to report the news don’t even try to hide their agenda, and occasionally they blatantly lie to our faces, exposing just how stupid they really believe all of us to be. That was never clearer than on October 2, 2021 when a reporter was conducting a post-race interview with driver Brandon Brown. As had become the norm at sporting events the crowd began a quite audible chant of “Fuck Joe Biden” (you know…the Alzheimer’s patient who allegedly garnered a record 80 million votes in the last Presidential election). Instead of simply ignoring the situation the young lady tried to gaslight viewers into believing that the spectators were chanting “Let’s go Brandon”, but the joke is on her. “Let’s go Brandon” has become code, a more palatable way for folks to express how they feel about Sleepy Joe.

Bennifer 2.0

Nearly twenty years ago Ben Affleck & Jennifer Lopez had the kind of celebrity romance that fuels shows like Entertainment Tonight and tabloids like the National Enquirer, but eventually they broke up and married other people. However, 2021 found both single, so they have reunited. Good for them, I guess. Personally, I find Jennifer Garner a thousand times more attractive that J-Lo.

The Supply Chain

When the pandemic first began panic buying of toilet paper was a thing, but as we’ve settled in & adapted to the circumstances there has been less panicking. However, that doesn’t mean you’re going to find everything you want at the grocery store or retail outlet. Increased demand, labor shortages, reduced supply, and a whole lot of other things most of us will never understand have combined to make shopping much more adventurous than it was a couple of years ago. Fear not though…life may not be as convenient as it once was, but we’re not going to starve.

Squid Game

I don’t know…it’s some kind of television show. I have no idea.

Harry & Meghan

Seriously?? We’re still talking about these nimrods?? Damn you Oprah!!

Gabby Petito

Who needs fictional TV shows when real events are even more intriguing?? The disappearance of a young woman on a cross country vacation with her boyfriend captured the nation’s attention last summer. Sadly, her remains were found in a forest in Wyoming, and her boyfriend became an immediate suspect. A nationwide manhunt for him ended a few weeks later when his remains were discovered in Florida. He had strangled her, then when he was on the run from the cops shot himself. Personally, I find it odd & disturbing that these kinds o sad situations have become a form of entertainment to the masses.

Vaccine Passports/Mandates

First of all, I am not anti-vaccine, and I am fed up with the disdain shown toward alleged “anti-vaxxers”. I do have a lot of questions about a so-called vaccine that doesn’t seem to prevent the disease it was created to eliminate. I am distrustful of the moving goal posts, especially since the whole idea that “it won’t prevent you from getting COVID but it will prevent you from becoming really ill & dying” is also a lie. Fully vaccinated people are still ending up on ventilators and dying. Perfectly healthy people who believe they are doing the right thing are developing heart problems after receiving the vaccine & boosters. There’s just too much about all of this that doesn’t make much sense, and people in charge have done nothing to satisfactorily address those concerns. That being said, if you are more afraid of COVID than the vaccine and feel safer getting the shot, by all means please do. Go for it. God bless you. Unfortunately, the same kind of grace & understanding isn’t given to those on the other side of the discussion. People are losing their jobs for being unvaccinated. Performance venues, restaurants, sports arenas, & other businesses are requiring proof of vaccination. Do I believe the vaccine is the Biblical Mark of the Beast?? No, but I believe it is a pre-cursor…a test to see how easily people can be frightened & intimidated into submission and almost gladly surrender their rights & freedoms. Thankfully the populace is starting to catch on and the tide is turning. Perhaps one day a new & improved vaccine will be developed that actually prevents one from being infected with the virus and doesn’t cause otherwise healthy people to drop dead. When that time comes, I will happily get the shot.

Kimye Split

After seven years of marriage and producing four children Kim Kardashian & Kanye West ended their union. She has since taken up with Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson, who must have a gigantic schlong. That’s the only logical explanation.

Alec Baldwin

On October 21, 2021, Alec Baldwin shot & killed the cinematographer on a movie set. Yes, the shooting was accidental. No, I don’t believe Baldwin should go to prison. However, I am struck by the hypocrisy of a vocal anti-gun activist not only finding it acceptable to use weaponry in his job of playing make believe, but of now being responsible for more gun violence than 95% of the responsible gun owners whose Constitutional rights he’d gleefully take away in a nanosecond if he had the authority.

Spacemen Bezos, Branson, & Shatner

Rich & famous people get to do a lot more cool stuff than Average Joes, and I’m not going to whine & cry about that. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, business mogul Richard Branson, & Star Trek icon William Shatner all spent very brief amounts of time in outer space in 2021, and God bless them. I’d go up in a spaceship in a heartbeat if given the opportunity.

and the Sammy goes to…..

#LetsGoBrandon. I love a good rallying cry, especially when it happens organically and not as part of some kind of orchestrated marketing campaign. Your feelings about the slogan likely depend upon your political leanings, but I think it is undeniable that it’s about as mild & good-natured as any kind of non-violent protest you’ll come across. It certainly doesn’t compare with brandishing a person’s bloody, severed head or making a movie that fantasizes about someone being murdered.

If the pandemic has had any kind of positive effects one might be appreciation of live entertainment, especially music. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called music “the universal language of mankind”. In celebration of that ideal The Sammys are proud to introduce one of the most talented & creative groups to turn the entertainment world on its ear in recent years. Composer Scott Bradlee created Postmodern Jukebox a decade ago, and they have since amassed millions of fans and their videos have been viewed literally billions of times across multiple social media platforms. Their ability to take modern songs by artists like Guns n’ Roses, Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears, Bon Jovi, U2, Metallica, Bruce Springsteen, and many others and give them a fresh twist with covers using jazz, swing, and any other genre you can think of is unique & fun, and we’re thrilled to have them here to entertain us on our fake awards show.

After a delightful mini-concert from PMJ it is time to present the final award of the evening, and we can think of no better person for the task than one of America’s most beloved actors. He began his career in the 1970’s on the educational children’s program The Electric Company and has since gone on to star in films like The Shawshank Redemption, Deep Impact, Batman Begins, & Ted 2. He has been nominated for five Academy Awards, winning once, and has one of the most intoxicating voices in the world. Get up on your feet and give a rousing ovation to Morgan Freeman!! And the nominees are:

Biggest News Story

COVID-19

A year ago when COVID-19 was the winner (and sole nominee) of this award I never dreamed it would still be such a dominant force in our lives throughout 2021. At the time I opined “I am hopeful that the day will come when we can all break bread together at a restaurant, greet each other warmly with a handshake or a hug at church, enjoy live music in a crowded venue, and venture out without a mask.”. To be fair much of that has kinda sorta happened. We have pressed on. We have adapted. We have gathered & celebrated. Yet this virus still hangs over our head like a dark cloud. I dealt with it in March 2021 and was blessed to have had a fairly mild case. I never lost taste or smell…I just slept a lot & drank more Gatorade than I ever have in my life. I had a low-grade fever and coughed constantly for several days. But I recovered. Some aren’t so fortunate. A former high school classmate of mine just passed recently after spending a month on a ventilator, and before that a former co-worker died from COVID. Both were around my age, and I believe both were fully vaccinated. I have come to the conclusion that COVID-19 is completely random. There are those who will live life as normal, go wherever they want unmasked (if permitted), not get any kind of vaccine, and COVID may never touch them. Conversely, some will take every known precaution and still lose their lives. Despite politicization of the issue from all sides it’s a very real & quite sad state of affairs.

President Biden

I don’t want to dump on the guy too much because I sincerely believe he is suffering from some form of mental decline. It’s pretty obvious to anyone with common sense & critical thinking skills. I don’t know who’s really in charge, but good Lord it can’t be him. As much respect as I have for the Founding Fathers and as much as I am a strict constructionist when it comes to The Constitution, the one thing I wish they would have done is add a maximum age limit to run for President as a bookend to the minimum age (35). I simply do not believe that any 79 year old person should be in charge of much of anything, let alone be Leader of the Free World. That includes Donald Trump, who will be 78 by the next election. I think perhaps 70 or 75 should be the upper limit, and that’s being generous. At any rate, we are stuck with what we are stuck with for now, and if you agree with the socialist agenda he is pushing I don’t know what to tell you because we just see the world very differently. I have never & will never defend Trump as being a paragon of virtue, but I don’t believe he did a fraction of the damage in four years that the Biden Administration has done in only one. Your mileage may vary and that’s okay. We can still be friends and I’ll still appreciate the positive qualities you bring to the table. To paraphrase the wisest man I know (my father, who voted for Biden), we can disagree without being disagreeable.

The “Insurrection”

First things first, to call what happened on January 6, 2021 an insurrection is intellectually dishonest. It wasn’t that at all. To allow it into the same conversation as 9/11 or Pearl Harbor is an absolute sign of mental illness. Seriously…anyone who says that should be sterilized immediately, and if they’ve already procreated CPS needs to intervene because those children’s lives are in peril. Having said that, the situation that occurred at the United States Capitol that day should have never happened. While I don’t disagree that people have the right to (peacefully) protest the fact is that it’s usually an exercise in futility, and when a large group of disgruntled people are gathered the potential for things to go sideways is always present. No matter how one may feel about the 2020 election the hard truth is that, whatever machinations were involved to achieve the desired outcome, it was successful. They pulled it off. That rally wasn’t going to change anything, and in the long run it made things much worse. The Left has used the situation to justify sinister things in the past year, and it became a convenient excuse to squash First Amendment rights & open discussion of important issues. If you don’t agree with the people in charge you are considered an enemy of the state, a domestic terrorist. It will take decades to repair the damage done, if that is even possible. Was it worth it?? I think not. Anyone that knows anything about sports will tell you that sometimes it’s just not your day. Occasionally you just have to gut it out, take the L, and live to fight another day. If only more people would’ve understood that before “The Insurrection” perhaps life in America wouldn’t have changed so much in the past year.

Chauvin Trial

Derek Chauvin was one of the Minneapolis, MN police officers charged in the May 2020 death of career criminal George Floyd that led to an entire summer of race riots & civil unrest across the country. Last Spring Chauvin was found guilty on multiple manslaughter & murder charges and has been sentenced to 22 years in prison thus far, which could be increased. I am not going to defend Chauvin as a good guy, but neither will I deify Floyd. The fact that someone made a George Floyd statue is sickening. He is neither a hero nor a martyr. Should he have died in the manner that he did?? Obviously not. However, putting aside the particulars of this one case, I believe we need to strike a balance. Criminals need to be held accountable and treated like criminals, but they should not needlessly lose their lives. Law enforcement needs to be held accountable for excessive use of force and unnecessarily harming perpetrators, but they also need to be able to do their jobs. I don’t know why anyone would choose to become a police officer in today’s sociopolitical climate. It has always been a dangerous job, but now the threat comes not just from the suspects they are chasing down, but from other entities as well.

Inflation

I hated economics class in college, but I know just enough to understand how things work. I certainly realize that my groceries, the gasoline I put in my vehicle, and the cost of everything else has risen exponentially in the past several months. There are many reasons for that, and very few of them are accidental. If you think the politicians in DC or the folks out in Hollywood give a damn about you struggling to make ends meet you’re a fool. They are much more interested in virtue signaling about climate change, allowing illegal immigrants to flood our borders, and destroying what they view as the evils of capitalism. Rising gas prices?? 100% intentional so that buying an electric car starts to seem like a good idea (it’s not). Rising food prices?? They’re millionaires who couldn’t care less if a gallon of milk is $3.99 instead of $2.99. They do not care that inflation in 2021 was the highest since 1982, and it will get worse. The only way to reverse course is at the ballot box starting in 2022.

Botched Afghanistan Withdrawal

I’m not a military expert, but I know a fiasco when I see it. American troops had maintained a presence in Afghanistan for two decades, but in August 2021 the remaining troops were removed. Unfortunately The Taliban didn’t get the memo and approximately 1000 United States civilians were left behind, which is disgraceful & perhaps treasonous. Also left behind was billions of dollars in weaponry & equipment, which is inexcusable. The entire operation was amateur hour and a prime example of why the current administration should have never been put in charge of anything. But hey, atleast Sleepy Joe doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings on Twitter, right??

The “Vaccine”

Can we really call it a vaccine when it doesn’t actually prevent the disease it was created to eradicate?? I don’t think so. Of course now we’ve moved the goal posts, with leftists admitting that it doesn’t stop the spread of COVID-19, it just lessens the symptoms. Unfortunately, the fully vaccinated people who died anyway might disagree…if they were still alive. I had COVID in March 2021, and I am convinced that my symptoms were mild because I’d had a flu shot. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but isn’t COVID essentially the flu with a really bad attitude?? That’s probably an epic oversimplification, but I stand by my logic. And you know what?? I receive a flu shot once per year. The “vaccine” apparently requires boosters every five freakin’ minutes and causes heart problems to boot. No thanks. If it gives you a (false) sense of security and you swell up with pride by posting a photo of your vax card on social media by all means please go for it. I will not attempt to dissuade you in any way. That’s not what I’m about. In return all I ask is the same respect.

Rittenhouse Trial

During the summer of race riots in 2020 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse fatally shot two men & injured another in Kenosha, WI. The men were chasing Rittenhouse and assaulted him with a skateboard. It was a clear case of self-defense, and one didn’t need to be an attorney to understand that, but it is a sad commentary on the state of our nation that the outcome of the trial was legitimately in doubt. Even more curious is the fact that the situation was framed as a racial crime even though Rittenhouse and all the victims are white. I am proud to say that I didn’t watch one second of the trial but will point out that Rittenhouse was simply a useful tool. What was really on trial was every citizen’s right to defend ourselves against violent criminals. It was an attack on our freedom, as many things have become in the past fifteen years. Thankfully Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty, so our beleaguered Constitution lives to fight another day.

Build Back Better

Sleepy Joe and his socialist friends have tried mightily to destroy America as we know it, and they’ve had an alarming amount of success. They hide their sinister plans behind positive words like “infrastructure” & “child tax credits”, but the real purpose is a radical climate change, social justice, & socialized medicine agenda that costs over $2 billion dollars and would destroy the economy even further. It’s bad enough that the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Act (a separate bill) did pass, as it contains a lot of the same hidden motives. Sadly too many Americans are more interested in who got voted off American Idol or what Lady Gaga wore on the red carpet, which allows wealthy, out of touch, bought & paid for politicians who are mere puppets for powerful special interest groups & even Communist China to control what happens in our lives while we’re looking the other way.

and the Sammy goes to…..

The “Vaccine”. I think I speak for a great deal of people who are not “anti-vaccine”…we are anti THIS vaccine. If it doesn’t prevent COVID and does not (as propenents would have you believe) eliminate the chance of death, then what exactly is the point?? If you are vaccinated then why do you care whether someone else is?? None of it holds water or makes any sense.

RIP

actress, comedienne, & cultural touchstone Betty White…..NFL Hall of Famers John Madden (broadcaster, video game guru, & former Oakland Raiders head coach), Floyd Little (Denver Broncos), Sam Huff (NY Giants), Curley Culp (Kansas City Chiefs), & Claude Humphrey (Atlanta Falcons)…..composer Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd)…..controversial political pundit Rush Limbaugh…..actresses Betty Lynn (TAGS), Cloris Leachman (Young Frankenstein, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Facts of Life), Markie Post (Night Court, The Fall Guy, Hearts Afire), Arlene Golonka (TAGS, Mayberry RFD), Cicely Tyson (Roots, Fried Green Tomatoes), Tanya Roberts (Charlie’s Angels, A View to a Kill), Jessica Walter (TBBT, PCU), Gloria Henry (Dennis the Menace), Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck, Steel Magnolias), Tawny Kitaen (Bachelor Party, music videos), Philece Sampler (Days of Our Lives), Bergin Williams (General Hospital), Lisa Brown (Guiding Light, As the World Turns), & Jeanine Roose (Young Violet Bick in IAWL)…..historic astronaut Michael Collins (Apollo 11)…..legendary basketball coach John Chaney (Temple Owls)…..casting director Don Phillips (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Dazed & Confused)…..groundbreaking golfer Lee Elder…..children’s author Beverly Cleary…..film directors Richard Donner (Lethal Weapon series, Superman, Scrooged, The Goonies) & Robert Downey Sr.…..retired NFL referee Fred Wyant…..casino mogul Sheldon Adelson…..televangelist Ernest Angley…..musicians Dusty Hill (ZZ Top), BJ Thomas (Rain Drops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, Hooked on a Feeling, As Long As We Got Each Other), Chick Corea, Don Everly (The Everly Brothers),  Rusty Young (Poco), Lloyd Price (Stagger Lee), Bruce Conte (Tower of Power), Tom T. Hall, Charlie Watts (The Rolling Stones), Graeme Edge (The Moody Blues), Dave Frishberg (I’m Just a Bill), Billy Hinsche (The Beach Boys), & Michael Nesmith (The Monkees)…..infamous burglar, radio host, & former FBI agent G. Gordon Liddy…..former NFL coaches Marty Schottenheimer (Kansas City Chiefs), Jim Fassel (NY Giants), & Joe Walton (NY Jets)….. songwriter Jim Steinman (Total Eclipse of the Heart, Making Love Out of Nothing At All, I’d Do Anything for Love)…..former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Vice President & Presidential candidate Walter Mondale, former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and former Senate Majority Leaders Harry Reid & (also Presidential candidate) Bob Dole…..former MLB managers Joe Altobelli (San Francisco Giants), Ray Miller (Baltimore Orioles), & Bill Virdon (Houston Astros)….. journalists Roger Mudd & Lloyd Dobyns…..college football coaches Bobby Bowden (Florida State), Howard Schnellenberger (Miami (FL), & Terry Donahue (UCLA)…..novelist & Oscar winning screenwriter Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove, Terms of Endearment, The Last Picture Show) and author Anne Rice (Interview with the Vampire)…..NBA Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor (LA Lakers), Paul Westphal (Phoenix Suns), & Sam Jones (Boston Celtics)…..Nobel Peace Prize winning civil rights leader Bishop Desmond Tutu…..actors Gavin MacLeod (The Love Boat, TAGS, The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Stuart Damon (General Hospital), Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Elf), Peter Scolari (Bosom Buddies, Newhart), Hal Holbrook (All the President’s Men, North & South, The Firm), Charles Grodin (Seems Like Old Times, Midnight Run, My Summer Story), Ned Beatty (Deliverance, Stroker Ace, Rudy), Frank Bonner (WKRP in Cincinnati), John Reilly (General Hospital), Dustin Diamond (Saved by the Bell), Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music, The Thorn Birds), Gil Rogers (Guiding Light), Yaphet Kotto (Alien, Midnight Run), George Segal (Just Shoot Me), James Hampton (Teen Wolf, The Longest Yard, F Troop), Norman Lloyd (St, Elsewhere, Dead Poets Society), Clarence Williams III (The Mod Squad), John Gabriel (Ryan’s Hope), Charlie Robinson (Night Court), Michael Constantine (Room 222, My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Jackie Mason (Caddyshack II), Michael Nader (Dynasty, All My Children), Norm MacDonald (Saturday Night Live), Willie Garson (Sex & The City), Michael Tylo (Guiding Light), James Michael Tyler (Gunther on Friends), Peter Aykroyd (Saturday Night Live), Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap), Jerry Douglas (The Young & Restless), Art LaFleur (Field of Dreams, The Santa Clause Trilogy), Eddie Mekka (Laverne & Shirley), and prolific character actors Ernie Lively & Walter Olkewicz…..broadcasting legend Larry King…..rappers DMX & Biz Markie…..triathlete, marathon runner, & Super Dad Dick Hoyt…..former Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson…..marketing guru JD Power…..porn king Larry Flynt…..attorney & civil rights leader Vernon Jordan, attorney F. Lee Bailey, & Roe v. Wade attorney Sarah Weddington…..MLB Hall of Famers Hank Aaron (Atlanta Braves), Tommy Lasorda (LA Dodgers), & Don Sutton (LA Dodgers)…..Emmy winning TV producer Allan Burns (The Munsters, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, also created Cap’n Crunch)…..World Trade Center engineer Leslie Robertson…..boxing champions Leon Spinks & “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler…..infamous record producer Phil Spector…..former football players Tim Lester (Pittsburgh Steelers), Vincent Jackson (San Diego Chargers), Colt Brennan (Washington Redskins), David Patten (New England Patriots), Tunch Ilkin (Pittsburgh Steelers), Tom Matte (Baltimore Colts), & Demaryius Thomas (Denver Broncos)….. Britain’s Prince Philip…..pro wrestlers “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton, Butch Reed, Dominic DeNucci, Barry Orton, New Jack, Don Kernodle, “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, Jody Hamilton, Daffney Unger, Angelo Mosca, Jimmy Rave, Corporal Kirchner, and promoter Jim Crockett Jr……TV announcer Alan Kalter (Late Show w/David Letterman)…..former baseball players Rennie Stennett (Pittsburgh Pirates), Grant Jackson (Pittsburgh Pirates), Rheal Cormier (Philadelphia Phillies), Julio Lugo (Tampa Bay Rays), & LaMarr Hoyt (Chicago White Sox)…..notorious Wall Street trader Bernie Madoff….. labor leader Richard Trumka…..former basketball players Granville Waiters & Eric Mobley…..inventor & infomercial guru Ron Popeil …..auto racing legends Bobby Unser & Al Unser Sr……former President of South Africa FW de Klerk…..legendary weatherman & Ronald McDonald creator Willard Scott

Connect or Disengage: Perspective on Social Media

By now most of us have developed a love/hate relationship with social media. What started out as a fun way to keep in touch with friends far & wide has somehow deteriorated into a dystopian experiment gone horribly awry, because that’s what humans too often do…we take something perfectly delightful and ruin it with greed, politics, envy, pettiness, & lack of self control. Some folks have the wherewithal to disengage completely, although oftentimes the people who leave are the ones with class, intelligence, good humor, & a moral compass. Isn’t it sad that the exact people who have something decent to offer to the medium, the ones who we really want to continue connecting with, are the ones we tend to run off??  Many that remain tread lightly because we sure don’t want to offend people who may disagree with our worldview, and God forbid we piss off the power behind the curtain that has suddenly become quite bold in censoring opposing views and using misguided algorithms to erroneously parse language deemed hurtful. 

Even considering all that, most of us choose to stay. Why?? Well, I think I may have the answer. I stumbled upon a post from an old high school acquaintance, and what she wrote pretty much hits the nail on the head, so much so that all I can do is second that emotion.

“Thank you for seeing me. I know people use Facebook for different things, and plenty of people might argue that the platform is unhealthy or biased or for ‘old people’.

I don’t love Facebook but I’d say the lot of you have provided more than half of my social need for human connection over the past decade, and moreso during this pandemic. So thank you for listening to my musings and sharing your majestic human stories with me. 

Thank you for the pictures and stories of your children, grandchildren, & dogs. Thank you for the videos of you roller skating, swimming in a river, twirling fire nunchucks, or jumping on a trampoline with your kid.  Thank you for sharing your moments of accomplishment, your railing rants, your art, your music, and your poetry. You guys are totally awesome as a digitally aggregated community that pretty much exists in my phone and my mind.” 

Can’t put it much better than that 🤷🏻‍♂️.

A few of you are friends, neighbors, & family that I see or talk to with some frequency, while many are former classmates or co-workers that I haven’t seen in person in decades. Some are acquaintances that I’ve met thru various social interactions and would enjoy getting to know better. Hell, there are atleast a half dozen people on my friends list who are dead, but it feels like as long as their Facebook page is still there they remain present in some intangibly tangible way. Regardless of how we met or how often we interact I hope you know that I’m glad for it. A year ago I expanded my social media presence to Instagram. All I do there is post memes. It’s less interactive than Facebook, but I find it oddly enjoyable. I peruse Twitter occasionally but it’s much less interesting. Ditto for Tik Tok. Sometimes I’ll run across a funny video or two, but overall it is overrated and God knows there’s little chance I will ever actually post a video myself. 

I suppose the point is that we have a choice when it comes to social media. Those that have left it in the dust have their reasons and I respect that. For those that remain, we can choose to get down into the muck and participate in meaningless arguments. We can choose to moan & whine about ‘FB Jail’, ‘fact’ checkers, community standards, and all the other associated negativity. Or, as my old classmate so eloquently states, we can be thankful for the connection, the stories, the photos, the music, the laughter, & the community. It’s up to you. 

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 4.21


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

 

 

 

 

Social media was quite delightful when it first began, but now it kind of makes me sad. Not only is it fertile soil for all sorts of misunderstandings & arguments, but too often it proves just how willfully ignorant some people can be. When that ignorance shows itself one is left with a choice…do I call someone out on their BS (thus igniting one of those unnecessary & frustrating squabbles), or do I take the high road and let someone wallow in their obliviousness?? Either way it is unavoidable that one thinks less of that person going forward and that’s too bad.

 

 

Am I the only one who misses former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany?? Biden’s spokesperson Jen Psaki is such a downgrade. It reminds me of when Prince Charles divorced Diana and married Camilla.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I rather enjoyed a thread in a Generation X group I’d recently joined on Facebook. The question revolved around fretting about whether or not we’d ever have a Gen X President. Quite frankly such things don’t matter all that much to me…I just want the best person for the job (something we Americans have struggled with in recent decades). Some mental giant gushed about the idea of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a possible Millenial President, and it took all my powers of restraint not to post a response that likely would’ve landed me back in FB Jail. I can’t even take fans of that woman seriously. If you cannot see that she’s a total imbecile there’s very little hope for you and I’d suggest sterilization. At any rate, what occurred to me as I responsibly interacted with more sane members of the group is that we Americans tend to prefer an older President (Joe Biden is the oldest person ever elected)…especially conservatives. Wherein there are exceptions…younger folks like JFK, Clinton, & Obama…they tend to be Democrats. One could probably do an in depth analysis of the reasons, but who has time for that?? It just seems like liberals are more slavish to the cult of personality, make decisions based on emotion, choose idealism over pragmatism, & value style over substance. They like political candidates who are charismatic and good public speakers. They probably couldn’t list ten legit things accomplished by Bill Clinton, but they’ll rhapsodize about him playing saxophone on Arsenio Hall. They will never admit that they voted for Obama almost exclusively because of the color of his skin and his oratory skills despite his total lack of meaningful experience. They probably can’t name many of his accomplishments while in The White House either. Joe Biden was elected (allegedly) almost entirely because of Trump Derangement Syndrome and not because of anything he’d ever done. Conversely, Republicans nominate/elect people like the Bushes, Richard Nixon, John McCain, & Mitt Romney. I’m not sure what to make of that.

 

Sometimes something is just funny. Simple as that. Nothing sinister. No deeper meaning…just humor. Parody, dark comedy, sarcasm, satire…it’s all good. Some things might be funnier than others, and what I find amusing may be different than whatever makes you laugh, but intent matters. One might not see the humor in what another finds funny, but they should atleast be smart enough to understand that the other person meant it in good fun. I find people who take themselves & everything else so damn seriously to be quite tedious.

The 2020 Sammy Awards – Part II

Annnnnddd we’re back!! The 2020 Sammy Awards continues with some amusing comments from our host Bill Murray, and if you missed Part 1 now would be the time to catch up.

 

 

It’s time for our next award, and to do the honors it is a pleasure to welcome a jack-of-all trades. He’s best known as a rapper, but he’s also tried his hand at pro wrestling, acting, cooking tasty vittles with his pal Martha Stewart, sports commentating, and pitching all sorts of products in commercials. Please welcome to the hizhouse Snoop Dogg!! And the nominees are:

 

The Twitter Award for Best Water Cooler Topic

 

Harry & Meaghan

America’s fascination with the British Royal Family endures, except she’s not British and apparently neither are royal anymore. I have no idea how any of that works. Anyway, the younger son of Prince Charles and the late & nearly deified Princess Diana married marginally famous American actress Meaghan Markle in 2018. In 2019 they had a son. In 2020 they ditched the whole royal thing and moved to Canada then California. I don’t know. I don’t care. Whatever.

 

Hamilton

I’ve never been to New York, but if I ever make it there I’ll be sure to catch a Broadway show or two. Fortunately with technology & a plethora of entertainment options many of the best plays & musicals can be viewed from the comfort of our own living room nowadays. Hamilton has been a sensation ever since it opened in 2015, and in July 2020 a filmed performance was made available on Disney+. I watched it and found the show quite entertaining, with a plethora of catchy tunes.

 

Jeopardy GOAT

Back in January 2020 Jeopardy aired a week long battle between its three greatest champions: Ken Jennings (appeared initially in 2004, winning 74 games & $2.5 million…both are still records), Brad Rutter (after his first appearance in 2000 he came back for multiple Tournament of Champions events and ultimately won over $4 million), and James Holzhauer (won over $2.4 million in 33 games in 2019 then won that year’s Tournament of Champions). The GOAT tournament was won easily by Jennings, with Holzhauer winning just one game and Rutter being practically invisible.

 

Toilet Paper Shortage

No one knew what to expect at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were told that if we simply self-quarantined for a couple of weeks everything would be fine. That, of course, was a big fat lie, and one of the byproducts was a toilet paper shortage that is still kind of a thing 9 months later. We encounter this issue almost every winter when the local meteorologist announces a big snowstorm is coming. People rush to the grocery store and panic buy as if they’re going to be trapped in their house for weeks, and toilet paper is always at the top of the shopping list.

 

J-Lo & Shakira

2020 can be divided into two eras…pre-pandemic and mid-pandemic, with the former feeling like it belongs in a previous decade. The Super Bowl took place pre-pandemic, and the halftime show featured Jennifer Lopez & Shakira in a provocative performance that had Boomers longing for the good ol’ days of folk music & The Rat Pack. Churchy types immediately condemned the two women to the fiery pits of Hell and doused themselves in holy water just for watching it on TV. Their music isn’t really my cup o’ tea, but I wasn’t especially offended by it.

 

Murder Hornets

2020 was such a terrible year that people began wondering what might befall us next. Like the plagues described in the Biblical book of Exodus we were prepared for anything from frogs to locusts to the killing of our firstborn children. It is my understanding that murder hornets are actually real, but fortunately they didn’t swarm the United States like some sort of cheesy 70’s horror movie…yet.

 

The Last Dance

Full disclosure…I haven’t seen the 10 part documentary about the end of Michael Jordan’s dynasty with the Chicago Bulls. I have no excuse. I’ve had plenty of time to watch it but just haven’t. Someday I will though…I hear it is quite good.

 

State of the Union

On February 4, 2020 President Trump gave what we now know was his final State of the Union address. I don’t usually watch, but that night I did and, objectively speaking, thought it was a good speech. Trump isn’t the best public speaker in the world, but I thought he was quite effective. He probably introduced too many special guests during the nearly hour & a half speech and it felt a bit gimmicky, but it’s a small nit to pick. I was especially touched when he presented Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom because Rush had just announced his lung cancer diagnosis the day before. I know a lot of people had an issue with it, but since previous recipients include Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, blues legend BB King, cellist Yo Yo Ma, college basketball coach Dean Smith, actor Robert Redford, and Satan’s favorite talk show host Oprah Winfrey I see no problem with giving it to Rush Limbaugh. After the speech was over Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi famously tore up her paper copy on national television, and whether you cheered her on or thought it was a childish act showing no class likely depends on your political leanings.

 

Tiger King

Yeah, I haven’t seen it either. I guess it was on Netflix, and it spawned Halloween costumes & landed one of the people featured a gig on Dancing with the Stars. I briefly thought about checking it out, but I’m not usually one to follow the crowd.

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

Toilet Paper. Oh the memes!! One of the few silver linings in the early days of the pandemic were the parody songs & memes. Okay, I get it…toilet paper is important. But is it that important?? Why were people hoarding it?? If you run out can’t you use paper towels or notebook paper or leaves off the tree in your backyard?? Is toilet paper more valuable than food?? And why the panic buying?? Did people honestly believe that the grocery stores were ever going to shut down?? Restaurants can close. We can live without retail shops, movie theaters, & bars for a bit. But people have to eat, so there was never any reason to go crazy over toilet paper, yet people did and it was kind of hilarious.

 

To present our next award we are pleased to welcome the nation’s unlikeliest Governor. Straight from the hills of West Virginia you better follow the f#*&(@g guidelines for Gov. Jim Justice!! And the nominees are:

 

 

 

App of the Year

 

Twitter

At the moment The Manofesto hasn’t been banned, but stay tuned.

 

Facebook

It seems like more & more social media platforms are popping up, but as much as people keep threatening to ditch Facebook the truth is most haven’t and won’t until something better comes along, which hasn’t happened…yet.

 

Words with Friends

It’s like an old friend you may not talk to for awhile but you know will always be there. I might go days without playing a game…or I may have five games going at once.

 

Zoom

Seriously…had anyone even heard of Zoom before 2020?? It has apparently been a thing since 2011, but really hit its stride this past year, making working from home much easier. Just make sure you’re dressed appropriately and not doing anything naughty on camera.

 

Amazon Music

I’ve always loved music, but this past year it has really been a vital part of everyday life. No matter what kind of sadness or chaos surrounds us, no matter how lost we may feel at a particular moment in time, music can always soothe a troubled soul.

 

Instagram

I finally joined the Instagram party in August 2020. I use it strictly for funny or thought provoking memes, though I am aware there are other ways one can utilize it. There are those who use the platform quite effectively, and I envy the proficiency they display.

 

Spades Royale

I’m still playing Spades. I was especially thankful for it in 2020 when the game provided brief intervals of relaxation and centered me during a rather stressful & lonely stretch of time.

 

TikTok

Like Zoom this is something that burst on the scene in the absence of normalcy. I’ve never used it and likely never will, but any technology that can provide amusement in an increasingly unamusing world deserves kudos.

 

Pinterest

Social media has become a landmine where relationships can be destroyed & lives negatively impacted by one provocative post, but the most controversial thing you’ll find on Pinterest might be a list of banned books or a recipe that doesn’t seem particularly appetizing. It isn’t really a place I can waste hours of time, but it’s good for an occasional brief distraction.

 

FB Messenger

I actually use Messenger more than Facebook now. I’d much rather interact with people on Messenger than on the phone or even thru text.

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

Zoom. I haven’t had the pleasure of using it because my job isn’t important like that, but I am aware that it has become a valuable tool and may permanently alter how business is conducted, even post-pandemic.

 

 

We couldn’t think of a better person to present the next award than Buzz Lightyear himself. He has been tickling our funny bones for decades on TV shows like Home Improvement & Last Man Standing, and has starred in memorable movies like the Toy Story series, Galaxy Quest, and the Santa Clause trilogy. Please grunt in appreciation for Tim Allen!! And the nominees are:

 

 

 

Buzzword of the Year

 

Social Distancing

Hopefully it’s something we can stop doing in the near future, but staying home and keeping six feet apart when forced to be out in public was a defining characteristic of 2020.

 

“With an abundance of caution…”

When you hear that phrase you know some event is about to be cancelled and something you’ve been looking forward to isn’t going to happen.

 

The New Normal

I don’t like the “new normal”. I want my old normal back!!

 

Hydrochloroquine Phosphate

Did I spell it correctly?? I hope so. Apparently it’s a medication that’s been around for awhile treating other conditions and showed some promise in minimizing COVID-19, but as soon as President Trump sang its praises the media and all their leftist buddies started hating on it. After all, we wouldn’t want to screw poor Bill Gates out of the billions he’s probably going to make from a government approved vaccine.

 

Contact Tracing

I’m not sure exactly what it is or how it works, but the whole idea seems a bit creepy.

 

Essential Employees

Is it better to be considered essential and have to put your health at risk going to work, or be classified as non-essential meaning you can hole up in the safety of your home but you lose the ability to provide for yourself & your family?? Whatever one’s thoughts might be on the subject there is no denying that 2020 made it clear what is really important and who is truly responsible for making our lives better.

 

Defund the Police

It’s a stupid idea no matter how you present it. Are there bad cops out there?? Sure. But you don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. If someone wants to talk about police reform I’m all ears. Nothing is perfect and it’s a great idea to implement positive changes. However, I’m sick & tired of the hatred that has been shown toward law enforcement.

 

Flatten the Curve

When all of the craziness began last spring the goal was allegedly to calm things to the point that hospitals weren’t overwhelmed. That has been proven to be a lie, as hospitals in most places have been more than capable of handling COVID-related spikes.

 

Asymptomatic

So even if you’re not sick you may still be sick. Alrighty then.

 

PPE

Personal protective equipment. Masks, face shields, etc. Hey, if it helps that’s awesome, but Good Lord…I feel so bad for folks that have to wear that stuff for 8-12 hours every time they go to work.

 

“These unprecedented times…”

Yeah, yeah…we know. We got it. You can quit saying it everytime you want to sound self-important and reflective. None of us expected to be living thru a global pandemic.

 

Quarantine

Human beings need interaction. We are social creatures. We crave contact, whether it be a handshake, hug, high five, or the communal experience of sitting in a crowded restaurant or attending a show at a packed theater. Sure it’s nice to sit at home reading a book or mindlessly scrolling thru our phone, but someday it’s going to be glorious to be out & about again enjoying life as it is meant to be.

 

Herd Immunity

I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV, so I will refrain from offering an uninformed medical opinion. But it is interesting to ponder the idea of how things may have turned out if we’d skipped all of this panic and just let things play out like we usually do with the latest dangerous illness. Would the death toll have been much worse?? Have all of the steps we’ve taken (destroying the economy & people’s lives in the process) actually helped?? We’ll never know, will we??

 

Panic Buying

We’ve already talked about toilet paper. I remember going to the grocery store back in May of last year before I encountered my own health issues, and the bare shelves really struck me. Yes, there have been some shortages and some interruptions in the supply chain, but anyone who thought grocery stores were going to shut down and we wouldn’t have access to food or other necessities has probably watched Red Dawn too many times.

 

Distance Learning

More than ever this past year I have been confronted with the loneliness that comes with being single & childless, but I must admit that I’m glad not to have kids in school in the midst of all of this, and even happier not to be a schoolkid myself. Kudos to the parents, teachers, & students who have somehow kept things going. I know it can’t be easy.

 

Contactless Delivery

My father has been kind enough to pick up groceries that I order online while I’ve been laid up, and he commented that I spend more buying stuff than he does. It dawned on me that it is because I’m not eating out like I usually do. Having said that, I do occasionally order Chinese or a pizza, and most places offer the option of paying online and having the delivery person just leave the food at your door. It is a sign of the times…both resourceful & sad.

 

Super Spreader

As time has dragged on people have become weary of everything that has happened. They just want their lives back. So folks have begun to rebel, whether it be college students gathering for a keg party, churches ignoring protocols to worship together, or families having a birthday party or celebrating Thanksgiving. Unfortunately it only takes one contagious person to spread The Sickness to everyone they may have encountered at such an event.

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

Social Distancing. It seems like an oxymoron, and I suppose it kind of is. Last St. Patrick’s Day I went to a local restaurant for some tasty Irish vittles, and they had a popular local band there doing an acoustic set. It had been announced that the next day all bars, restaurants, & various other businesses would be closing for awhile. At the time no one knew what we might be facing, but there was a vibe there that night. I was by myself but struck up a conversation with a couple sitting next to me. I enjoy live music and became a bit verklempt because I had a feeling I might not be able to have that experience again for a bit. I enjoyed the energy in the room even if I didn’t personally know anyone. In a strange way I have felt almost lucky these past several months because I haven’t been missing anything. I’ve been laid up & unable to go anywhere, but there hasn’t been anywhere to go anyway. Someday in the not-too-distant future I will be healed and able to get back out & about, and I hope soon thereafter normalcy will return. I don’t want to stay six feet away from people. I want handshakes & hugs. I want to go to a crowded bar or the local theater just up the street and enjoy live music. I want to feel good vibes again. And when that day comes I just might weep.

 

 

 

 

Let’s take another break. Please stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of The Sammy Awards…coming soon!!

 

 

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 1.21

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

 

 

 

Facebook sure has changed in the last several months. I distinctly recall being savagely attacked by friends of a friend (well, he’s not my friend anymore…his loss) during a sociopolitical…discussion…a few years ago. I was called fat, stupid, a Nazi, and various other things by people who didn’t even know me. Where were Facebook’s “community standards” back then?? Apparently they didn’t exist. But you know what…that’s okay. I’m a grown ass man. I took a licking and kept on ticking. Flash forward to the present and I’ve been in “Facebook Jail” twice in the past few weeks, the first time for 24 hours & the second for three days. I deserved the first one and I’ll admit it, but I don’t even know what I did the second time. I’m not usually the paranoid conspiracy theory type, but I feel like I’m being targeted since my beliefs tend to lean to the right and I espouse conservative Christian values (most of the time…I’m not perfect). I am convinced that Facebook & other social media platforms are limiting free speech and exhibiting unprecedented control over the populace. They are silencing perspectives with which they do not agree, and sadly it is working. I am the administrator for two pages other than my personal page, and I don’t want those organizations to lose their platform. I stay in contact with friends & family across the country and beyond as well as utilize Facebook as an online photo album and a place to promote my blog, and I don’t want to lose those options either. So you know what?? You win Facebook. You have (mostly) silenced me. Going forward I will be even more selective about what I post and extremely careful about threads I comment on. I’ll stick to clicking the “like” button or replying with a funny GIF. It’s just not worth the hassle to go beyond that. Isn’t it ironic that a social media site is so arbitrary in the way it administers “justice” (to adults who should be able to post anything we want) that it actually persuades people to be less interactive 🤔.

 

 

I utilize my Instagram as a Meme Zone. Nothing but memes. All memes all the time (sadly even those have been “fact checked” a couple of times). Most are funny, while some are meant to make one stop & think. I ran across this one that someone else had posted, but it gave me pause. It’s a nice idea and a pleasant thought, but I don’t believe it to be true. My father told me often as a child that even though people would stop, pat me on the head, & be briefly concerned about the “poor little crippled boy”, the fact is that ten seconds later they’d forgotten all about me because everyone has their own lives and their own problems. Dad has imparted much wisdom thru the years, but that particularly sage counsel has always stuck with me more than anything else. So forgive me if I don’t believe that coworkers, classmates, random little kids & old women, or the waitstaff at my favorite restaurant love me. I don’t even think it is true in regard to my extended family. I’ve been laid up for nine months (hospital, “skilled” nursing facility, homebound), and trust me…I rarely receive phone calls, texts, emails, or instant messages from anyone outside of a select few (and damn do I appreciate those folks). I have been quite lonely & distraught. Some evenings I have simply laid here & wept. I would never take the ultimate drastic action because I cannot fathom devastating my father & sister in that way and my faith, though shaky at times, is deeply rooted. But make no mistake…certain things have run across my mind in moments of despair. Obviously I don’t feel particularly loved or lovable. I think a more accurate word would be likable. I know people like me. I have a few good qualities…a decent sense of humor, fairly intelligent, a good listener, polite (most of the time), reliable, generally honest. But lovable?? Nah. It may seem silly to some, but one of the more devastating things that has happened in the past several months is a lovely gal that I have admired from afar for awhile was briefly single but has now apparently found the love of her life, all while I was immobile & otherwise distracted. It was a pipe dream anyway…she’s completely out of my league. However, what the situation made clear to me is that I have absolutely nothing to offer a potential mate, and at a time in my life when I have way too much time to spend in my own head that realization has been heartbreaking. At any rate, I will continue to be a “nice guy” to friends, neighbors, the drive thru people at Burger King, customer service reps at local retail outlets, and anyone else I encounter…but I labor under no delusion that they love me or that I am worthy of that level of admiration.

 

 

I’m sure y’all read stories recently about Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) finishing a closing prayer on the first day of the new Congress with “amen & awoman”. Actually what he said was “And dare I ask, oh Lord, peace even in this chamber now and evermore. We ask it in the name of the monotheistic god, Brahma, and god known by many names by many different faiths. Amen and awoman.”  Okay…this is so stupid I don’t even know where to start. The word “amen”  is an Abrahamic declaration of affirmation used in Jewish, Christian, & Islamic worship as a response to a prayer. It means verily, truly, or so be it. In other words, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with gender!! Congressman Cleaver was so hellbent & determined to prove his wokeness, but instead he exposed his own mental illness. Also, in case you are wondering, Brahma is the Hindu god. Folks, I don’t have an issue with inclusiveness & all that jazz. I am a Christian, but I have friends who are Jewish and others that range from “spiritual” to “questioning”. I am not personally acquainted with any atheists or Muslims and certainly have my opinions about each, but hey, if you respect my faith I’ll respect yours. Having said that, I think there are common sense parameters, and recognizing the Hindu god in a prayer in the United States Congress or any other public arena simply isn’t normal. I’ve always known that politicians in general are corrupt, greedy, & morally ambiguous, but I’m starting to get a real sense of evil emanating from Washington DC. There’s so much more I could say, but I’m trying to remain positive and not elevate my blood pressure.

Points of Ponderation…Episode 7.17

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

 

 

 

 

Seriously…does ANYONE prefer “Top Stories” over “Most Recent” in their Facebook feed?? Anyone?? Bueller?? Bueller??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve come to the conclusion that, while I believe in the general idea of altruism, I am not very altruistic. Altruism, for those that may be unaware, is “unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others” and/or “behavior that is not beneficial to self but that benefits others”. Now, this does not mean that I am selfish…atleast I don’t think it does. I am reminded of a scene from the 1999 movie Office Space when the main character tells a couple of guys that he works with that “it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care”, only in my case I am lazy and I do theoretically care…just not enough to actually do anything. My growing perception over the past decade is that most folks don’t care at all. This has created a situation in which I am generally happiest hanging out at home with Rocco and not bothering with or being bothered by the outside world. I really love the idea, if I were wealthy enough, of faking my own death and moving to some secluded location with Rocco…just me, him, internet access, cable TV, plenty of books, & grocery delivery. In the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas Lucy tells a depressed Charlie Brown that he needs involvement, which is terrible advice. When I was a kid I didn’t dream of becoming a doctor or firefighter or even a singer or an actor, but I did ponder the idea of going into politics. To paraphrase The Godfather, I could have been Senator Mano or Governor Mano or even President Mano, holding the strings that make everybody else dance. Obviously that never happened, and for that I thank God because power & authority don’t interest me at all these days. I’ve even lost my stomach for friendly debates about politics. I was a supervisor for almost seven years at an old job that I left over a decade ago, and have no desire to be anyone’s boss ever again. I’ve spent the last four years serving as President on the board of directors of a local non-profit organization. My term is up in a couple of months and I couldn’t be more excited. I remember running for class President back in high school and losing. Perhaps that is when things began to change. I realized that so many things are just a popularity contest, and in adulthood I began to understand that a lot of situations come down to people who are a little too eager to be helpful not being able to say “no” as others con them into doing jobs no one else wants to do. No thanks. I’m content…just me, Rocco, a good book, old movies that I’ve seen a hundred times, & whatever ballgame is on. Altruism is beautiful…it’s just not my thing.

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of Ferris Bueller…..

I’m not a big fan of commercials. I typically mute the TV when they’re on. However, I really like current Domino’s ads that parody the 1986 John Hughes classic. Kudos.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 11.16

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

 

 

 

As predicted, my late night habits have changed significantly in the past year & a half. Upon David Letterman’s retirement and offthe final piece of late night television’s transformation into something I barely recognize I opined that “it is just as likely that, at long last, I will begin my own transformation into a cantankerous old geezer and be in bed way before 11:30pm. more & more often.” Now I must admit that I am rarely in bed that early. However, if I am at home and not working it has become the norm for me to enjoy the late local news and then either watch a movie or turn the TV off altogether and read a bit or do some writing. The current late night lineup is oftentimes too political for my taste or just outright tedious. Either way I’ve got better things to do with my time. Your mileage may vary and that’s okay.

 

 

facebook-147Dear Facebook: What exactly are “top” stories?? Who decides that?? More importantly, why…when a person makes it perfectly clear that they prefer the most recent stories…do you KEEP SWITCHING IT BACK?!?!?!?? I realize that using the site is free, but that doesn’t give you the right to just do whatever you feel like and ignore your customers’ wishes on even the most insignificant of issues. Get your stuff together.

 

 

I wonder if it has dawned on the GOP & its voters yet that if almost ANYONE other than trump2Donald Trump had received the nomination they’d likely be beating Hillary Clinton by a comfortable margin??

 

 

I’m onto you delivery guys…..

deliveryI’m single, live alone, & can be lazy. Therefore I probably eat out way too much, to the detriment of both my economic well-being and overall health. Drive-thrus & delivery are a godsend for guys like me. However, I have noticed a trend. Let’s say your pizza, salad, sandwich, orange chicken, or whatever kind of vittles you’ve ordered is going to cost $12-15. You hand the delivery person a $20 bill. Protocol would normally dictate that he/she begins to count out your change, at which time you either say “keep it” or return what you feel to be an appropriate tip. But I’ve run into a couple of sneaky ones who, upon being handed $20 for that $12-15 order simply ask “do you need change??”. Now I am perfectly aware that it is well within my rights to say yes and get my change back, but one of my weaknesses is that I am too nice, so the couple of times that this has occurred I’ve been caught off guard and simply say “no, that’s okay”. It is only afterward that it’s dawned on me that I’ve just given someone a freakin’ $5-8 tip for food that didn’t cost much more than that. Hey, I’m not naïve…from the delivery person’s perspective this is an ingenious ploy, and I can’t really blame them, especially when it works on suckers like me. There’s an old saying though…say it with me…”fool me once, shame on you…fool me twice, shame on me”. The sequel to that adage should be “there won’t be a third time”. Now that I’ve figured out the scam I’ll be sure to have exact change if at all possible from now on, and sadly I am likely to become far less generous with my tips. Sorry folks…I’m crazy, not stupid.

 

 

I may not watch very much late night television anymore, and most prime time shows are so tedious that I don’t even bother, but kmanallow me to recommend one newcomer. I never watched a single second of Kiefer Sutherland’s popular 24, but I have quickly become hooked on his new show Designated Survivor. Sutherland portrays a milquetoast HUD Secretary who ascends to the Oval Office after the President, Vice President, and pretty much every other high ranking government official dies when the Capitol is bombed during the State of the Union speech. I see vague traces of The West Wing, a show I loved, with added elements of intrigue & action. Who committed the heinous act of terrorism?? Why?? Who can the new President really trust?? How in the world can he rebuild the federal government from nothing?? It’s not a perfect show. There have been some missteps, like the surprising reveal of a second designated survivor as well as a Congressman who survived the explosion and a little too much preachy emphasis on anti-Muslim sentiment. Much like The West Wing the show unmistakably leans left and paints conservatism with a disdainful broad brush, but thus far it continues to build layers of conspiratorial drama. I’m not sure we’ll be talking about Designated Survivor a decade from now or even in a couple of years, but it has my attention for now.

Points of Ponderation…Episode 7.16

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

 

 

 

 

I don’t know enough to offer a solid, knowledgeable opinion about Great Britain’s exit from the European Union. My vibe is that England was once one of the world’suk superpowers for centuries before the EU ever existed and it will be just fine going forward. Europe is a continent comprised of different countries. I’m not quite sure what the particular benefits or disadvantages are of membership in the collective. To my knowledge there isn’t any such joint association in South America or Asia. The nations of North America…The United States, Canada, & Mexico…certainly run their nations independently of one another. That’s not to say that there isn’t cooperation amongst different countries on various levels, but I don’t know what the benefit is of giving up some level of sovereignty to be part of a larger community. At face value this looks like a good move by Britain. I’m not an international affairs scholar though so I could be wrong.

 

 

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It always makes me uncomfortable when guys refer to females as thick and/or juicy. She’s a woman, not a steak.

 

 

 

 

 

flood1I live in the northcentral part of West Virginia and was unaffected by recent storms and flooding. However, just flood2a couple of hours down the road it’s a whole different story. There has been a ton of property damage…roads washed out, buildings destroyed, landscapes altered. Devastating loss of life…possibly into triple digits, including small children. Folks up this way are doing what we can…donating food & supplies and sending it down to the affected areas. In the midst of a bad day one certainly doesn’t have to look far to see those that are in much worse shape.

 

 

 

Stuff I don’t care about: Taylor Swift’s latest “relationship”, what happened on Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, any “music” video by Kanye West, Shark Week, sleep2what some vacuous celebrity thinks about gun control, Johnny Football’s substance abuse issues, what any of the Kardashian/Jenners are up to, who will be the next sadomasochist to emasculate themselves daily alongside Kelly Ripa, The Olympics, The Bachelorette or any of the Real Housewives, whatever JK Rowling babbles about nowadays, Carpool Karaoke with James Corden, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even among trivialities I have standards.

 

 

 

facebook-147Consider this. From 2005-08 MySpace was the largest social media site on the interwebs. In 2006 it surpassed Google as the most visited website in America. By 2008 Facebook gained traction and left MySpace in the dust. Eight years later other sites…Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat…have come along and carved out their niche, but Facebook & Twitter aren’t going anywhere. I have no profound insight to offer on the subject, I just think it is an interesting topic to ponder.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 5.16

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

Dear Facebook…

I appreciate the “People You May Know” suggestions, but there are issues. Just because I have one or two friends in common facebook-147with someone doesn’t mean that I know that person. Perhaps we should set the bar a little higher…like maybe 10 friends in common?? Of course the flip side of that is that if I have 50 friends in common with someone the odds are that I do know them and there is a reason I’m not friends with them on Facebook. Perhaps we went to high school together and they were a popular kid that didn’t know I existed. Or maybe they were in a fraternity or sorority that I interacted with in college but I thought they were a jackass back then and have no interest in catching up two decades later. I understand that it is a complicated algorithm to perfect, but I think a billion dollar company that revolutionized social media can do better.

head-scratch2So the History Channel, A&E, and Lifetime (Television for Women) have teamed up for a remake of Roots. Seriously?? Can’t we just leave the classics alone??

I’m just gonna leave this right here…

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Speaking of social media, I have a pet peeve…

screenCitizens of The Manoverse will recall that as part of the annual Sammy Awards I do an RIP section dedicated to notable individuals who have passed on during the year. It began as a parody of the In Memoriam segment of the Academy Awards but has evolved into a responsibility that I take rather seriously. Because of this I am usually able to vaguely recall when a person died. Therefore it annoys me tremendously when someone on Facebook posts an article about a celebrity death as if it just occurred recently when in reality the person passed away several years ago. Come on folks…read the articles. Don’t just blindly post something and make yourself look uninformed & oblivious.

 

 

Yep…exactly…..

MTV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been refraining from too much sociopolitical commentary lately, a) because it’s a pointless endeavor in a world that’s gone toh Hell in a handbasket, and b) I’m already on a low dosage of high blood pressure meds so I’m trying to be prudent. However, let me just say this about Harambe, a 17 year old silverback that was recently shot to death by staff at the Cincinnati Zoo. Is it sad that Harambe is dead?? Of course. Nevertheless, the powers-that-be at the zoo made the right call. A toddler had gotten into the enclosure and was in danger. Anyone with a brain would choose human life over an animal any day…or atleast I’d hope so. I know there are a bunch of animal lovers out there claiming that Harambe was actually trying to be protective of the child, and video seems to support that notion. I also know that gorillas are said to be very intelligent. However, gorillas possess strength atleast 10x that of a healthy adult human male but not the means to understand that fact. The animal may not have had any intention of harming the child but likely would have if swift action had not been taken. The shocked crowd certainly had no intention of spooking Harambe and making the situation worse yet they undoubtedly did. The choice made was the only logical choice. As far as the parents of the child are concerned, I cannot be overly critical because I am not a parent myself and also because I was not there. Word on the street is that these might not be the most stellar caregivers in the world. Dad has a pretty long rap sheet and some say that Mom was being inattentive to the child. That being said, we all know that things happen. Kids can be sneaky quick. Hopefully the parents learn a valuable lesson from all of this, and the folks in charge at the zoo will likely re-examine safety measures and try to tighten things up a bit on their end. It is a tragic end for Harambe, but it could have been so much more horrific all the way around.

 

 

Because I am here not just to entertain but to educate…

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For a person trying to refrain from sociopolitical commentary I suppose I’m doing a lot of it today, but something must be addressed…

obama_dr_evilI think it was bad form for President Hussein Obama to do yet another apology tour…this time in Hiroshima, Japan…right before our Memorial Day here in the United States. And people wonder why so many hate this man?? To be honest I don’t understand why anyone with better than a grade school education respects him. He’s disgusting.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 6.15

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

PopeI’m not Catholic, so I don’t get the whole Pope thing. He’s just a guy. Okay okay…he’s a preacher. I like preachers. I respect preachers. I believe that they are called into ministry and serve an important function in God’s Kingdom. However, it seems silly to me to weep in the dude’s presence or to think that touching his robe will somehow bring about a miracle. The Pope isn’t necessary for a miracle. Jesus is present anywhere & everywhere His presence is welcomed and He can make miracles happen. I won’t get into my personal opinions about the current Pope in particular, but I will say that I find the hero worship…especially by politicians & “journalists” who routinely advocate killing innocent babies, propagate racial & economic rancor, promote deviant & sinful lifestyles, and consistently ridicule The Bible & its teachings…to be more than a little bit disingenuous.

 

 

I think I would like autumn a lot more if it were followed by spring. Pumpkins, falling leaves, bonfires, flannel, hot soup, ghost fallstories, candy corn, hayrides, & apple cider are all undeniably quaint & enchanting, but the fact that they are a gateway to long, cold, snowy winter is depressing and sort of kills the mood.

 

 

Facepalm computerYou know that thing on Facebook where you “like” or “comment” on someone’s crazy status and then they message you basically saying it was a trick and now you have to post some kind of crazy status or do something wacky?? Yeah…I don’t play those kind of games because…well, I’m an adult. Your mileage may vary and that’s okay.

 

 

The resignation of John Boehner is a step in the right direction for Congress, but it’s a bit bonerlate in the game. He should have never been re-elected Speaker of the House after the last election. And I am justifiably concerned that another RINO will be chosen as his successor, which will just bring us back to the same predicament we’ve been in all along.

 

 

Oh…speaking of Facebook…..
For the love of God people…PLEASE stop posting statuses saying that “Channel 13 News” has said that we’re all going to be charged $5.99 to keep our stuff private but one can avoid the charge by copying & pasting a big paragraph full of legal mumbo jumbo. First of all, this hoax has been perpetrated a few times before. I can’t believe that people facebook-147are still dumb enough to fall for it. Secondly, Facebook’s business model has always been to make all their money from advertisers and the last time I checked Mark Zuckerberg was a billionaire so it must be working. And lastly, if/when this business model changes I am confident that we’d all be told about it well in advance thru proper channels, and one would either pay the money or leave Facebook. Do you honestly believe that simply posting a status would give you a free pass on any kind of user fee?? That’s idiotic. It’d be like going to McDonald’s and being given the choice to either pay for your meal or dance a jig on the roof of the restaurant. When you copy & paste this faux status you look like an uneducated, illiterate, ill-informed fool with absolutely zero common sense. Everyone is laughing at you. Just stop it.

 

 

I’m not scientifically inclined enough to fully understand the potential significance of water being present on Mars, but it sounds marsrather cool. Once upon a time in America we were excited about space exploration…eager to find out “what’s out there”. We walked on the moon. We sent shuttles up frequently. And then over time the populace started to get bored. People began to whine & complain about all the money being spent on the space program, in part because they were afraid of losing their free ride from the government, and also because the powers-that-be did a poor job of focusing on objectives & defining the mission to the public. Just a few decades ago this latest news from Mars would have been the lead story and cause for much buzz & excitement. America’s love for sci-fi…franchises like Star Trek & Star Wars, writers like Ray Bradbury & Robert Heinlein…was built on the foundation of a fascination with space and its mysteries. It is probably true that our nation has collectively gotten lazier & less curious, more interested in The Bachelor than The Enterprise. However, let’s not sell ourselves short. We should continue going boldly where no one has gone before & exploring strange new worlds. America needs to lead the charge…not be mildly interested spectators.