Points of Ponderation…..Episode 8.15

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





Perhaps I spoke too soon about Donald Trump. The Donald has now taken to bashing former President George W. Bush about W9/11 and bragging that, had President Trump been in charge on that awful day 14 years ago, it wouldn’t have happened. Sorry dude…you’ve stepped over the line this time. Was W. a perfect President?? Of course not. But I’ve got some news for y’all: none of them have been perfect. Not even Washington, Lincoln, FDR, JFK, or Reagan. I have long opined that history will judge George W. Bush much more fairly than he has been evaluated in the short term by the horrendous drive-by media and the idiotic Hollywood elite. Trump is completely misinterpreting a mistrust of Jeb Bush and the underlying desire to step away from a been-there-done-that Bush Dynasty. Many Republicans like & respect George W. Bush despite his flaws and attacking him is not a strategery that Trump should embrace.



head-scratch2It isn’t unusual for me to feel lonely in a crowded room. What is sad is that one of the places that I feel that way most often is…well no…I’m not going there. Forgive them Lord…they know not what they do.



McDonald’s you are nothing but a bunch of liars!! They spent all this time hyping “All Day Breakfast” but failed to mcmmention that the menu is limited. I stopped by my friendly neighborhood drive thru recently during the early evening hours. I was craving a simple Egg McMuffin. Well too bad for me!! Hey McD’s…do you realize that the Egg McMuffin is your signature breakfast item?? Why in the H#^% is it not part of the All Day Breakfast?!?!?!?? That’s insane!! The McGriddle…an admittedly unhealthy yet undeniably tasty option…is not available either. Essentially they are pushing their biscuit based items. I assume this is partly due to the fact that during normal breakfast hours most people with any sense are heading to Hardees or Tudor’s for biscuits. Bob Evans if they have time for a sit down meal. So now McDonald’s is trying to trick people into buying something we usually have no interest in simply because it is available past 10:30am. Sorry folks…I don’t care. I’ll just make time to get my Egg McMuffin earlier in the day. Thanks for playing.



With the release of the final trailer for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens I expect that anticipation will crescendo over the next forceseveral weeks. Advanced ticket sales are already crashing websites. Some theaters will be showing a marathon of the entire series leading up to the release of the new film in mid-December. I might have been all over that idea two decades ago, but now spending 15 straight hours in a movie theater sounds like some sort of innovative sentence for a very serious misdemeanor. It is likely that I will take time to rewatch the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy in the days leading up to The Force Awakens launch, but I’ll do it in the comfort of my own home with a little help from Roku. Having said all that, the trailer looks good and does evoke certain emotions that take one back to childhood, when such trivial things as movies seemed so significant. I’m not sure I’ll be standing in line for the first midnight showing, but I’ll definitely hit the theater within a day or two of the film’s opening. I’m not going to analyze every frame of the trailer or parse every morsel of information out there about the production. I am not going to assume the movie will be terrible, but neither will I build it up in my mind to be the greatest thing EVER only to be disappointed. I’m just going to head to the local cineplex at some point when it is convenient, purchase a vat of cola & some popcorn, and enjoy a pleasant & entertaining experience. After all, isn’t that what movies are for??



I recently ate cooked spinach for the first time in…well, probably decades. And you know what?? I actually enjoyed it. I’ve heard spinachthat one’s palate changes every 7 years. I’m not sure that’s completely true, but maybe we all should be a bit more open to trying things that we didn’t used to like. One never knows how maturity & perspective may alter perception.



Rumor has it that a new Die Hard film is in the works. That, in & of itself, is fine by me even if mcclanethe last couple of sequels have been tepid & unworthy efforts. However, word on the street is that the latest installment will be a prequel, with just a cameo by Bruce Willis. That’s a terrible idea on so many levels. Willis’ Detective John McClane IS Die Hard. I can’t imagine how difficult it might be to find an actor up to the task of playing a young McClane. No one should have to endure the pressure of stepping into those shoes. The final Die Hard needs to be McClane’s retirement party…a perfect excuse to bring back all the supporting players from the previous films: Sgt. Al Powell, Capt. Lorenzo, Zeus Carver, Matt Ferrell, Argyle the limo driver, Det. Walter Cobb, and of course McClane’s wife Holly & his two grown children Lucy & Jack. Someone that McClane has ticked off in the past manages to hold his family & friends hostage and McClane has to save the day…again. That’s how Die Hard should end. A prequel will not work.

The 2014 Sammy Awards…Part III

SammyAwardWelcome back!! After a brief delay (to build suspense…yeah…that’s it…suspense) we have returned for the conclusion of the 2014 Sammy Awards. Please be sure to check out Parts I & II if you have not already done so.





After a moving tribute to the late Robin Williams by our host Billy Crystal as well as Whoopi Goldberg, Henry Winkler, Matt Damon, & Garry Marshall it is time to present our next award.






Please give a warm ovation to a young man who is able to join us because his team stubbornly refuses to revamp a horrendous defensive secondary and therefore bigbenhas been eliminated from the NFL playoffs. Welcome to the stage the two time Super Bowl winning quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers…Ben Roethlisberger!! And the nominees are:



Biggest Sports Sports Story



The Winter Olympics
When the most memorable thing to happen during an Olympics is Bob Costas’ pink eye I think it means they’re doing it wrong.



Seattle Wins The Super Bowl
The Seahawks defense dominated Peyton Manning & the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII (that’s 48 for those of you who might be here all night trying to utilize Common Core to figure it out…you’re welcome). Might we see a rematch in the near future?? It’s possible.



Derek Jeter Retires
I’ve never been much of a Yankees fan. Okay…I despise them for no apparent reason. However, Jeter has always seemed like a classy guy, and to my knowledge he was never accused of juicing unlike ¾ of MLB. He hung up the cleats last fall after two decades…all with the same team, which is a refreshing rarity, and got a game winning hit in his last at-bat, which was pretty cool even if the game itself was meaningless.



The World Cup
I’ve tried…I really have. But I just can’t get into soccer. Now the Quidditch World Cup…that I’d watch…maybe.



Lebron James Comes Home
Few have been harder on Lebron James than your humble Potentate of Profundity. The way he left the Cleveland Cavaliers a few years ago for the Miami Heat…with that idiotic television spectacle called The Decision…was asinine. However, I am a forgiving man and Lebron has apparently seen the error of his ways, especially in regard to The Decision. He has returned home to Cleveland, and even though things are a bit rough right now I have no doubt that he’ll have the Cavs in the playoffs this summer and in serious championship contention next year.



College Football Playoff
After decades of “mythical” national champions and BCS silliness college football finally got a 4 team playoff this season. The specifics & the methodology need some fine tuning, but I have to admit that the playoff committee ultimately chose the right four teams. The two semi-final games got monster TV ratings, and I am sure the title game will do so as well.




And the Sammy goes to…..

Lebron. Homecomings are always cool. I understand why he left even if I disagree with how he did it. He has grown up now and has different priorities. I hope there lebroncavsis a happy ending. The Cavaliers haven’t gotten off to the best start and have made some moves that seem kind of desperate. They aren’t winning a championship this season, and it looks like their current head coach probably shouldn’t be buying any property in Cleveland. I sincerely hope Lebron James doesn’t get frustrated & impatient and leave his hometown a second time. That would be horrible and might send me into the kind of rage that ends with a prison sentence even though I really couldn’t care less about the NBA. Until we get to that bridge though I will remain optimistic and believe that this will all turn out to be a really nice story.




The Charles Barkley Role Model Award

There isn’t a list of nominees for this award. There is only one nominee & winner. Lauren Hill is a 19 year old woman who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain praytumor a little over a year ago during her senior year in high school. The first thing Lauren wanted to know after her diagnosis was if she could still play basketball. She finished her senior year and set her sights on playing college ball. Lauren had already committed to Mt. St. Joseph University, a Division III program in Cincinnati, OH, before her diagnosis. In September 2014 a scan showed that Lauren’s tumor had grown and she was unlikely to make it to Christmas. Her dream was to play in one college basketball game, a goal that she achieved. Lauren got to play in 4 games before her health would not allow her to continue. She also utilized her growing notoriety to start a fundraising campaign for cancer research that has raised over $1 million. And oh by the way, the doctors were wrong…Lauren made it thru the holidays. She & her family are being assisted by hospice care, but she got to see one last Christmas & New Year’s. I don’t know Lauren Hill. I don’t know anything about her other than what I have read and seen on television. But one thing I do know is that Lauren chose life. She chose to battle this evil scourge called cancer to the bitter end. She achieved her goal and took time to do something helpful for others. Godspeed Lauren…I’ll keep you & your family in my prayers.





The following awards were handed out last weekend at an abandoned Ramada Inn just outside Detroit:

Most Annoying Song
Happy by Pharrell Williams

Best Commercial
ESPNU’s “Blind Date” and Budweiser’s “Friends Are Waiting”

Idiot of the Year
“Daredevil Naturalist” Paul Rosolie (the guy who was “eaten alive” by an anaconda for a Discovery Channel special)

Most Disappointing Movie
Sex Tape

Funniest TV Moment
Frank Caliendo reads Lebron James’ “Letter to Cleveland” in the voice of Morgan Freeman on Mike & Mike in the Morning

Biggest Mystery
The appeal & continuing success of Taylor Swift

Best Game to Play on Your Phone
Trivia Crack

Biggest Ingrates
Those who had an issue with a free U2 album being added to their iTunes library





Our next presenter(s) come to us via satellite. Please give a slightly puzzled welcome to infamous Brat Pack actor Rob Lowe, along with his pals Super Creepy Rob Lowe, Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe, Far Less Attractive Rob Lowe, Scrawny Arms Rob Lowe, Meathead Rob Lowe, & Crazy Hairy Rob Lowe.









And the nominees are:

Favorite Movie

Muppets Most Wanted
This is a follow-up to The Muppet Movie, which won The Sammy for Favorite Movie in 2011. Unfortunately this one lacks the same magic. Neither Jason Segel nor Amy Adams return from the previous film, and instead we get Ricky Gervais as a sinister criminal and Tina Fey as a German prison guard, as well as cameos from Tony Bennett, Puff Daddy (or is it P. Diddy??), Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Josh Groban, & Ray Liotta. It’s not a bad way to spend a couple of hours, but just isn’t as charming as its predecessor.


God’s Not Dead
The premise is this…a college student decides to stand up to his atheist philosophy professor. It’s not a horrible film and is somewhat inspiring at times. Here’s the problem with this as well as other “Christian” films though…Christians will like it while non-believers will scoff (as non-believers are wont to do). So what exactly does it accomplish if it is “preaching to the choir”?? I don’t think this movie is going to convince anyone of anything as written. The idea is ripe with potential, but the execution is lacking. Nice try though.


Draft Day
Kevin Costner finally decided to do a sports film. Okay okay…I’m joking. We all know that Costner is the king of sports movies. This time he plays an NFL GM whose team (the Cleveland Browns) has the #1 overall pick in the upcoming draft (talk about realism!!). He’s not sure which player he wants to take, but we are introduced to three candidates: a cocky QB (sound familiar Browns fans??), a talented RB, & an underrated linebacker. The GM has some drama going on in his personal life too, but it’s really not that compelling. Draft Day is no threat to replace Field of Dreams, Bull Durham, or even Tin Cup as beloved Costner classics, but as a fictionalized behind the scenes look at the NFL Draft it is decently entertaining.


The critics are raving about this film. It is a coming-of-age story about a 6 year old boy and his slightly older sister being raised by their single mother in Texas. Their father (played by Ethan Hawke) pops in & out of their lives but is a good Dad. What is unique about Boyhood is that it was filmed over the course of 12 years, so we literally watch these two kids grow up in the space of a couple of hours. The same actors were used the entire dozen years. It is a fascinating & mesmerizing concept. However, there are a couple of issues. First of all the distinctive idea doesn’t have any kind of really interesting plot accompanying it. It is just about the ups & downs of everyday life…love, marriage, divorce, parenting, breakups, drinking, drugs, friendship, loss. It’s not that those things can’t be interesting, it’s just that I found myself asking “what is the point??” beyond the singular way the story is presented. The other issue is that the filmmakers and Hawke…an unabashed liberal…couldn’t resist taking a few political potshots along the way. These jabs were unnecessary and only distracted from my enjoyment of the film. Some things are better left unsaid.


A Merry Friggin’ Christmas
I love Christmas movies and I love Robin Williams. I had to check out one of his last projects. I’d be lying if I said that Williams’ demise didn’t have a negative impact on my perspective. The whole time I was watching I just kept thinking how worn down & disengaged he looked. This is not the enthusiastic, energetic, witty, full of life Robin Williams we all knew & loved. The story involves a somewhat alienated father & son taking a road trip back to the son’s house to fetch some misplaced Christmas presents for his children. It is funny in spots, but not nearly funny enough. This isn’t a movie the masses will be watching every Christmas in perpetuity like so many others.


Seth Rogan and his wife & kid move in next door to a fraternity house. Hilarity ensues. Mildly funny but mostly forgettable.


Million Dollar Arm
This is based on a real life story wherein a hotshot baseball agent mines the mean streets of India for untapped talent. It is somewhat charming but also mostly forgettable.


Adam Sandler & Drew Barrymore have teamed successfully before… in 1998’s The Wedding Singer and again in 2004’s 50 First Dates, both of which are the kind of solidly entertaining movies one is apt to watch multiple times, especially if it comes on some random TV channel on a lazy weekend. Will Blended become that kind of “modern classic”?? Ehhh…probably not. The duo portray two single parents whose initial blind date is disastrous, but then both inexplicably end up bumping into one another (with their respective children) during a vacation in Africa. We all know the inevitable conclusion, but we don’t care if the journey is satisfactory. I think there are just too many moving parts here that don’t allow us to focus on the central romance. Blended tries really hard and isn’t a terrible film by any means.


This Is Where I Leave You
Take the 1983 classic The Big Chill and cross breed it with 2005’s The Family Stone and you come up with this dramedy about a dysfunctional family forced to sit shiva for a week after their father’s death. I am usually a sucker for the dramedy format, but this one goes back & forth more than a ping pong ball. It can’t decide whether it wants to be funny or serious, and that uncertainty hurts the momentum. The cast (Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Dax Shepard, Katherine Hahn, and many others) is outstanding, but probably a bit bloated. Adam Driver may be on the verge of superstardom as the bad guy in the new Star Wars movie(s), but I think his true calling is following in the footsteps of Vince Vaughn as the always likable ne’er-do-well. TIWILY is, overall, kind of a downer, but it has its moments.


What If
I love a good rom-com, and this is a good rom-com. Originally released internationally in 2013 as The F Word (no…not that F word), it was finally released in North America in 2014 after the politically correct name change. Daniel Radcliffe sheds his Harry Potter persona quite nicely as a jaded young man who falls in love with a young woman he meets at a party. That young woman, portrayed by the enchanting Zoe Kazan (why she isn’t a bigger star is a mystery to me), has a boyfriend and immediately puts Radcliffe’s Wallace into “the friend zone”. Yes I know…we’ve seen this a thousand times and we all know how the story ends, but that’s okay as long as the script is well written and the cast is good. What If is kind of an updated riff on When Harry Met Sally, which is fine by me. Adam Driver shows up playing the same kind of aforementioned scalawag that seems to be his strength, and another captivating young actress named Mackenzie Davis that I am quickly developing an affinity for has a nice supporting role.


Heaven is for Real
This is a stronger effort in the Christian film genre than God’s Not Dead and is based on a true story. A 4 year old child becomes ill and has emergency surgery. After his recovery he begins to act strange and reveals to his family that he went to Heaven and saw God. His father is a minister in rural Nebraska and even he has doubts about his son’s claims. The small community doesn’t like the publicity that the story brings and ponders ousting the preacher. Greg Kinnear is an underrated actor and touchingly portrays the struggle of this minister and how his beliefs are shaken. Again, this is kind of “preaching to the choir” in that it’s the type of movie that will appeal mostly to believers, but unlike God’s Not Dead I think it has the potential to give fence sitters some food for thought.


That Awkward Moment
Three 20-something dudes suffering from a severe case of arrested development agree to stay single in solidarity with one another. Of course immediately thereafter they all find themselves in relationships. Complications arise…some of them funny, some of them not-so-much. I haven’t decided if I like Zac Efron or not, but I do know that if he wants to ever be taken seriously as an actor he has to grow beyond these juvenile frat boy parts. I do like up n’ comer Miles Teller, and the aforementioned Mackenzie Davis has a supporting role.


Jersey Boys
This is a well-executed biopic about the legendary 1960’s band Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons and is based on a Tony Award winning play. The actors are all Broadway vets and do their own singing, which is impressive. I learned a lot about Valli and his pals, which isn’t saying much since the only thing I knew before was the music. It is amazing to ponder what heights The Four Seasons could have achieved if everyone would have stayed on the same page and maintained a laser focus on their collective success. Alas life has a way of interfering and stuff happens. As it is though the foursome ended up with five #1 hits, sold over 100 million albums, and were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hal of Fame in 1990. Not bad, right??


Saving Christmas
IMDB users have quickly crowned this the worst movie of all time, which I think is rather harsh, especially considering competition like From Justin to Kelly, Glitter, & Gigli. Look, I realize that Kirk Cameron is a polarizing figure. Even some Christians don’t like the guy. But I have to give him credit for making this effort. I’m not sure I completely agree with all of the theology, but there is some decent food for thought here. Santa was a badass?? Who knew?? Saving Christmas wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, and I think the same points could have been made in a more acceptable format, but this is far from the worst film ever made. Haters are just gonna hate I guess.




And the Sammy goes to…..




What If. I have to be honest…I didn’t go to the movies as often as I would have liked in 2014 and there were several films I didn’t get a chance to see. In a relatively whatifweak field What If stood out. Is it a bit derivative?? Sure. But that can be said about a lot of things. The fact is that the masses enjoy this kind of story and that’s why filmmakers keep churning them out. Many crash & burn, while some are just distinctive enough to carve out their own spot in the crowd. This is the latter. Don’t worry Harry Potter fans…Daniel Radcliffe is going to do just fine as a muggle.





To present our final award of the evening The Manofesto is honored to bring back a man that had so much fun presenting in 2012 that he called and asked if he gwbcould participate again. His presence has the added benefit of annoying liberals which is always fun. Please give a warm welcome to the former President of the United States…George W. Bush!! And the nominees are:





Biggest News Story

WV Water Crisis
In the early days of January 2014 there was a chemical spill into the Elk River in the capitol city of Charleston, WV. Nearly 300k residents in 9 counties were without drinkable water for several days. The owner of the plant where the spill occurred, Freedom Industries, filed for bankruptcy within a week of the incident.


Malaysian Airliner Mystery
2014 was a tough year for Malaysia Airlines. In March a plane carrying over 200 passengers disappeared mysteriously somewhere in the Indian Ocean. No debris was ever found and conspiracy theories popped up, mostly from people who had been a little too into that TV show Lost. Was the plane hijacked by terrorists?? Was North Korea somehow involved?? Are the passengers alive somewhere on an island hanging out with Gilligan, The Professor, and the dude from Cast Away?? We’ll probably never know. To make matters worse another Malaysia Airlines flight crashed in July, killing nearly 300 passengers. But atleast we know that plane was shot down by a Russian missile. The moral of the story is don’t ever fly Malaysia Airlines…like ever.


Ebola in America
Ebola is the kind of deadly Third World virus that we usually read about in National Geographic, but in 2014 it hit very close to home. About 10 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with ebola. Two people died. Most of those contracted the disease outside of America and a couple were nurses that contracted it while treating ebola stricken patients. Some say the concern was overblown, but it is human nature to fear what we do not know.


Ferguson, MO Race Riots
Back in August an 18 year old black man was shot & killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis. Some say Michael Brown was a nice kid who was gunned down by a racist cop. Others believe that Brown was a thug and that Officer Darren Wilson was just doing his job after Brown had robbed a convenience store then resisted arrest and assaulted the officer. Unfortunately the former opinion touched off violent protests, vandalism, & looting that lasted for weeks. Ultimately Officer Wilson was not indicted by a grand jury but understandably resigned from the Ferguson PD.


Same Sex Marriage Spreads
Same sex marriage became legal in an additional 19 states in 2014, meaning that it is now legal in about 35 states. And that’s all I have to say about that.


Secret Service Ineptitude
Look, I’m no fan of President Obama, but that doesn’t mean I want to see him get kidnapped or murdered. The Secret Service is supposed to protect the President 24/7/365, but in 2014 there were…issues. There were atleast two incidents of unauthorized, ordinary people just waltzing into The White House unnoticed, while an unauthorized and armed security guard for the Centers for Disease Control somehow gained access to an elevator and took a little ride with the President while he was visiting Atlanta. Come on folks…get your stuff together.


Robin Williams’ Suicide
I have been a huge Robin Williams fan since I was a kid. He was a brilliant comedian and an even better actor that could do dramatic and funny roles with equal aplomb. I knew he had battled substance addictions in the past, but I wasn’t aware that he also suffered from severe depression. On 8/11/14 that vibrant, talented, complicated life came to an abrupt & all too premature conclusion when Williams ended his own life. I am usually not that invested in any actor/comedian/singer/celebrity. They come, they go. Their stardom shines bright for a short time and then it fades. But I have to say that I was rocked by this tragedy. Oh sure…not all of his movies were winners, but so many of them were and we assumed that there’d be more. I am not an expert on clinical depression, but I find it profoundly sad that someone who seemed to have it all didn’t feel his life was worth continuing. I am sad for his fans who will never be able to look forward to another awesome performance or even a funny appearance on a late night talk show, and I am sad for a family that has lost a husband & father.


ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. They are a group of Muslim terrorists that have a penchant for kidnapping people and then cutting off their heads. In 2014 ISIS beheaded atleast a couple dozen people, including a few Americans. I am sure the videos are available somewhere online, although I am not sure why anyone would want to see that. But don’t worry folks…Islam is a religion of peace. They mean no harm and there is nothing to be concerned about. And also I have some lovely beachfront property in South Dakota that I am willing to sell for three Hershey Bars and a tricycle. Call me!!


Mid-Term Election Republican Sweep
In November 2014 the Republicans gained control of the U.S. Senate, increased their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, and gained an additional two governorships. Even here in WV Republicans took control of the legislature for the first time in…forever (I think). Unfortunately controlling the U.S. Congress won’t mean a thing as long as Rep. John “Tears” Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell are in charge and willing to bend over to kiss Obama’s…ring.


Veterans Administration Scandal
My father is a veteran and has received acceptable care with various issues from the local VA Hospital, but I guess not everyone has been so lucky. Apparently dozens of patients have died while trying to wade thru weeks & months of red tape & waiting lists in the past several years. Investigations are ongoing.


Terrorists Kidnap School Girls in Nigeria
In April 2014 nearly 300 teenage female students at a school in Nigeria were kidnapped by a Muslim terrorist group (them again) called Boko Haram. Months later only a few of the girls had been rescued. A couple escaped. A few were killed. Supposedly many of them have been taken to various other countries and sold into slavery. The inept Nigerian government has done basically nothing, and the only U.S. response was to express anger on Twitter (#BringBackOurGirls), as if that’ll accomplish anything.




And the Sammy goes to…..

Ferguson. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I do know a few things. I know that Michael Brown wasn’t an innocent kid. It’s simple…don’t commit robbery or ferg1any other kind of crime and the police won’t have the opportunity to shoot you. I know that the reaction was way way way over-the-top. I don’t get looting. People need to mind their own business. If a guy down the street from me gets beaten or shot by the cops…right or wrong…why in the world is that a reason for me to walk downtown, set fires & bust out windows, and steal a TV from the local electronics store?? It’s idiotic. As far as we’ve come with race relations in America in the previous 3 or 4 decades it feels as though we’ve gone backward in the past few years. I am sure that there are bad law enforcement officers out there, but I think the vast majority do a damn fine job. It’s not their fault that black males are about 6% of the American population but are almost half of the prison population in the U.S. ferg2That’s not racism…it’s fact. Yet we have whackjobs like pretty much the entire lineup of MSNBC talking heads that see racism in e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, and people like “Rev.” Jesse Jackson & “Rev.” Al Sharpton (aka The Justice Brothers) that make a living out of stirring the pot. It’s pathetic and insulting. And while it is tragic that a young man lost his life in Ferguson it is also sad that a lot of other people lost businesses & property because people decided to use that tragedy as an excuse to act like animals and compound the issue exponentially. Can’t we all just get along??






actor/comedy legend Robin Williams…retired Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll…actor/writer/director Harold Ramis (Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Groundhog Day, Animal House, Analyze This)…radio personality (and voice of Scooby Doo’s pal Shaggy) Casey Kasem…baseball Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn…SNL announcer Don Pardo…retired boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter…comedians Sid Caesar, Tim Wilson, Joan Rivers, & David Brenner…NBA Hall of Fame coach Jack Ramsay…former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon…entertainment columnist Marilyn Beck…pro wrestlers Nelson Frazier Jr. (aka Mable, Viscera, Big Daddy V) & Sean O’Haire…S. Truett Cathy (founder of Chick-fil-A)…sportswriter Bill Conlin & Bryan Burwell…actresses Lauren Bacall (Key Largo, The Shootist, All I Want for Christmas), Shirley Temple, Carmen Zapata (Santa Barbara, Sister Act), Ruby Dee, Ann B. Davis (Alice on The Brady Bunch), Polly Bergen, Elaine Stritch, Marcia Strassman (Welcome Back Kotter), Elizabeth Pena (La Bamba), Jan Hooks (Saturday Night Live), Carol Ann Susi (The Big Bang Theory), & Mary Ann Mobley (Diff’rent Strokes)…baseball Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner…author Gabriel García Márquez (100 Years of Solitude)…singers Phil Everly (1/2 of The Everly Brothers), Jerry Vale, Jimmy C. Newman, Pete Seeger, Jimi Jamison (Survivor), & Joe Cocker…former Haitian President Jen-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier…WV businessman & philanthropist “Buck” Harless…former mayor of Pittsburgh, PA Sophie Masloff…actors James Garner (The Rockford Files), Mickey Rooney, Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Scent of a Woman, The Big Lebowski, Almost Famous), James Rebhorn (Scent of a Woman, Meet the Parents), Bob Hastings (General Hospital, McHale’s Navy), Russell Johnson (The Professor on Gilligan’s Island), Dave Madden (Reuben on The Partridge Family), Maximilian Schell (Judgment at Nuremberg, Deep Impact), Ralph Waite (The Waltons), Richard Bull (Little House on the Prairie), Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Hook), Meshach Taylor (Designing Women), Eli Wallach (The Godfather Part III, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), Charles Keating (Another World), Sir Richard Attenborough (Jurassic Park, Miracle on 34th Street remake), Ed Nelson (Peyton Place, Capitol), Ken Weatherwax (Pugsley on The Addams Family), & Edward Herrmann (Gilmore Girls, narrator for History Channel)…retired MLB players & managers Don Zimmer & Jim Fregosi…former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee…producer/writer Arthur Rankin Jr. (Rankin/Bass Productions)…retired U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords & Congressman James Traficant…musicians Tommy Ramone, Paul Revere, & Johnny Winter…Hall of Fame pro wrestlers Ultimate Warrior, Ox Baker, & Mae Young…journalist Garrick Utley…NFL owners Ralph Wilson (Buffalo Bills) & William Clay Ford (Detroit Lions)…former White House press secretary Jim Brady…Ken Forsse (creator of Teddy Ruxpin)…retired race car driver Gary Bettenhausen…poet Maya Angelou…MLB player Oscar Taveras…game show hosts Jim Lange (Name That Tune, The Dating Game) & Geoff Edwards (Chain Reaction)…retired pro wrestlers Billy Robinson & Jimmy Del Ray…TV sports director Sandy Grossman…Watergate conspirator Jeb Stuart Magruder…retired NFL players Earl Morrall, Rob Bironas, Orlando Thomas, & Robert Newhouse…voice actor (Tony the Tiger) & pro wrestling announcer Lee Marshall…songwriter Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith (Dueling Banjos)…former Cy Young Award winning pitcher Bob Welch…former Senate Majority Leader & White House Chief of Staff Howard Baker…former Baltimore Orioles GM Frank Cashen…fashion designer Oscar de la Renta…retired tennis player & instructor Vic Braden…Marshall University President Stephen Copp…crackhead & mayor of Washington, DC Marion Barry…director Mike Nichols (The Graduate, Biloxi Blues, The Birdcage)

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 4.14

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

coffeeThere was a recent controversy involving President Obama saluting a marine while holding a coffee cup in his right hand. Not surprisingly idiotic liberals (which is a redundancy) rushed to Obama’s defense like they’d run toward their child if heavy traffic was bearing down upon them. Their whiny little defense?? “But look…George W. Bush did the same thing!!”. The problem with that?? They are wrong (as usual)…Bush did NOT do the same thing. The photo liberals showed was of President Bush holding his dog in his left hand while saluting a soldier with his right. Sorry folks, but it’s just not the same. If you are one of the morons who posted that comparison somewhere online please don’t procreate because you’re retarded. First of all, Bush still saluted with his empty right hand as is the proper custom. It doesn’t matter what he was holding in his left hand. Secondly, what Bush was holding in his left hand was his dog. To equate a living breathing thing like a pet to a cup of coffee is just ignorant. One comment I saw comparing Bush to Obama summed it up perfectly: “One juggles a heavy dog in order to not disrespect the soldiers greeting his arrival on the tarmac and the other can’t be bothered to shift his coffee to the other hand in order to do the same. One made eye contact and smiled whenever possible when bushgreeting the troops, the other struts by them as if they don’t exist.” Exactly. Debates about this issue predictably disintegrated into accusations of racism, the automatic fallback option for liberals when they don’t have logic or truth on their side (so basically they use it all the time). Eventually I had to force myself to step away from these arguments to keep my sanity and because, to be honest, I’m not very nice when I get angry about these issues. You want to know why America is going to Hell in a handbasket?? Look no further than Washington DC and the 51% of Americans who voted this pathetic evil dirtbag into office. I just hope that we elect someone in 2016 who doesn’t hate everything our nation once stood for and that can undo all the damage that’s been done in the previous 8 years.

More Pickup Lines:
I wish I was your derivative so I could lie tangent to your curves.laugh

Girl, are you wi-fi? Cause I’m feeling the connection.

If you were a steak you would be well done.

Are your parents retarded? ‘Cause you sure are special.

I’ve had quite a bit to drink, and you’re beginning to look pretty good.

Can I follow you home? My parents always told me to follow my dreams.

If I could be anything, I’d love to be your bathwater.

You smell like trash. May I take you out?

If I were a gardener, I’d put your tulips and my tulips together.

There’s this movie I wanted to see and my mom said I couldn’t go by myself.

If I was a Jedi, would you be my force?

iphone6_2988853bI haven’t upgraded my iPhone from the 5 to the 6 just yet, mainly due to economic considerations but also because I’m not all that sure it is necessary. Okay the new one is bigger…so what?? Is that it?? I might just wait until the 7 comes out, which I am assuming will be atleast two more years. Come on Apple…wow me.

Only a couple of episodes have aired, but I’m hooked on the new TV show Gotham. The show focuses on the early years of James Gordon’s career as gothama cop in gritty & menacing Gotham City and introduces us to fledgling & decidedly un-cartoonish incarnations of some of Batman’s infamous foes. Batman fans definitely need to check out the show, but I think it can be enjoyed even by those who aren’t dedicated diehards of The Caped Crusader. Donal Logue is particularly enthralling in his portrayal of Harvey Bullock, a hardscrabble, ethically challenged cop that hasn’t been depicted in any of the big screen Batman movies. Gotham may share traits with your typical dime-a-dozen police procedural, but its well-known backstory and distinct style set it apart from all the CSIs, Law & Orders, & NCISs. The show airs on Monday nights on Fox, which makes me a little nervous. Fox is known to pull the plug pretty quickly on underperforming programs, and the competition (The Big Bang Theory, WWE Raw, Monday Night Football, The Voice) is fierce. I know my DVR is getting a workout. I am confident though that the ratings will be strong enough for Gotham to survive and be a solid show that entertains me for many years to come.

judgeNormally I am a strict constructionist when it comes to The Constitution. However, I think maybe we should ponder the idea of age limits for the legislative & judicial branches of government. Would you trust your 90 year old grandparents to make significant decisions that affect an entire nation??

Another recent debate, although lower key and pretty much confined to online “conversations”, was about an intellectually confusionvacant waitress in Texas who says that Rush Limbaugh once tipped her $2000 and that since she considered it “blood money” and Rush “evil incarnate” she donated the cash to a pro-abortion charity (that she coincidentally worked for as well). This is all happened several years ago but is coming out now because the woman (who I will not name…no sense in giving an imbecile free publicity) has written her first novel. Well good for her. Congratulations. But let us consider the irony of a person rejecting “blood money” only to give it to an organization that funds abortions. Really?? It has always intrigued me the extent that liberals are willing to go to protect “a woman’s right to choose” what she does “with her own body”. My question has always been “What about the child’s body??”. There are millions of couples out there desperate to adopt a baby. If a person doesn’t want their child…for whatever reason…then why not give that baby the gift of life and those folks unable to biologically conceive a child the opportunity they desire to be parents?? It’s a win-win for everyone. The almost pathological need for pro-“choice” advocates to murder innocent babies is disturbing and quite frankly I’m sick of trying to be polite about it.

Heroes & Heels…..February 2013

Oops I did it again. Ah well…I won’t bore you with my lame excuses except to say that hopefully the snow stops soon, the sun shines more brightly in March, and I awaken from my hibernation in time to get the next edition of H&H published on the final day of the month which is the way this is supposed to work. Anyway, these are the people & stories that either dominated the news or for some reason caught my eye during the short month of February and earned either my praise or my scorn. Enjoy!!



Douglas MacArthur Elementary School

The school in question is in Alexandria, VA and recently had a 10 year old boy arrested after he brought a TOY gun to school. Actually I’ve seen a few of these types of stories lately and it really frustrates the living daylights out of me. I understand the sensitivity to guns frowny-faceafter the tragedy in Newtown, CT, but for goodness sake children aren’t even allowed to use their imaginations and play anymore. When I was a kid we played Cops & Robbers, Cowboys & Indians, and all kinds of other games that were sure as heck a lot healthier than most of the idiotic video games little ones play nowadays, but apparently the lunatic fringe on the left doesn’t agree.


Dr. Ben Carson

Dr. Carson is Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. In 1998 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest civilian award in the United States) by President George W. Bush. A few weeks ago at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, with President Obama just a few feet away, Carson gave a fantastic Thumbs_upspeech that became a viral sensation. He was highly critical of political correctness and floated his ideas about health care, making it quite obvious that he isn’t exactly a fan of Obamacare. Dr. Carson…who just happens to be black…is proof that critics of President Obama don’t dislike him because we’re racists…we dislike him because of his policies & beliefs. I have long said that I have no problem with a black person being President but that we simply elected the wrong black person (twice). Dr. Ben Carson is exactly the kind of person around whom conservatives can rally.


Chris Rock & Amanda Peet

Liberal celebrities using their fame to advance leftist causes is nothing new. Last month these two mental giants got together with a bunch of other gun haters and said a bunch of frowny-faceidiotic things about gun control. It is certainly their right to say whatever they want, but it is also my right to chastise them for their intellectual shortcomings. Rock in particular was in rare form, calling President Obama “our boss” and equating the President & First Lady with “our Mom & Dad”. No Mr. Rock. I have my own parents and I have a boss. The occupants of The White House are neither. We fought a Revolutionary War for a reason…maybe you should read up on that a bit.


The Groundhog(s)

As I write this I am looking out of one of the windows in The Bachelor Palace at a rather frowny-facerobust spate of snow. Odd, since back on Groundhog Day both the nationally recognized Punxsutawney Phil and our local harbinger of weather French Creek Freddie both were said to have seen their shadows indicating an early spring. Evidently groundhogs are liars and not to be trusted.


Aaron Klein

I am not sure exactly when this occurred, but I saw the story at the beginning of February. Mr. Klein is the owner of a bakery in Oregon and is currently under investigation by that Thumbs_upstate’s attorney general. Why?? Well, because Klein is a Christian and recently declined to make a “wedding” cake for a gay couple who were getting “married”. Klein faces a possible $50,000 fine and flat out said that his faith is more important than politically correct legalities and is willing to lose his business rather than violate his principles. Kudos.


Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Everyone knows that Mayor Bloomberg has been successful in getting sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces banned in NY City. What folks are just now beginning to understand is just how wide of a net that ban entails. Apparently pizza places will no longer be allowed to frowny-facedeliver 2 liter bottles of soda with customers’ food, and families can no longer share one big pitcher of pop. On top of this stupidity Bloomberg is now targeting Styrofoam, which he is actually kind of behind the times on since McDonald’s stopped using that more than two decades ago. This guy is a real piece of work. He’s just a political whore (he’s been a member of both parties and is now an independent) who abuses his power to restrict the freedoms of citizens. I don’t care how awesome The Big Apple is…I have no interest in ever going there until this idiot is long gone and his draconian laws have been reversed.  


Self-Evident Truths, Yearning Masses, & Domestic Tranquility

The time has arrived. After what has seemed like an endless election cycle Americans will go to the polls tomorrow and cast their vote for President of the United States (among other things). I have tossed around ideas in my own mind about what to write in regard to this occasion and originally intended to publish multiple missives in the months leading up to the Election Day. But since I am A) a procrastinator, and B) probably a bit too passionate about this kind of thing and that tends to offend people & get me in trouble, The Voices have persuaded me to wait until the last minute. Don’t worry…I won’t keep you long. I know you have more important things to worry about than the future of our country…stuff like seeing who will get sent home from Dancing with the Stars and checking out that Honey Boo Boo crap on TLC.


First of all, let me urge you to do one thing above all else: vote. The United States isn’t perfect. We have problems too numerous to fathom, especially since we are the greatest, wealthiest, most powerful nation in the world and some of the hardships we face are kind of silly, pretty easily handled, and mostly of our own collective doing. However, with that being said, it must also be understood that this whole freedom & democracy thing we have going on here is pretty cool. Sure we don’t always agree with our elected officials, but atleast they are e-l-e-c-t-e-d. We have the opportunity every 2 or 4 years to voice our opinion with a ballot, and it’s a right that I think we take for granted. Voter turnout should never ever ever be below 90% in my humble opinion, yet it has become surprising when it is above 50%. Do we not comprehend that there are people in other parts of the world who have literally given their lives in exchange for expressing their beliefs or trying to provoke change?? There are places where people have fought battles…you know, with guns & bombs…to gain the right to elect their leaders rather than have a dictator rule over them with an iron fist. We can just waltz right into our local polling location and, with proper identification, freely choose who we think will be the most effective leaders for our city, state, & nation, yet a great many decide to stay home and play Angry Birds or pin something on Pinterest (whatever the hell that is). Please do me a favor: put down the adult beverage, DVR your soaps or talk shows, get in your car, and drive to the polls. Take advantage of one of the freedoms that comes with living in this great nation.


Now, if you follow my advice the next question becomes who you should vote for. Well, you’re an adult and can cast your vote for anyone you choose. I can’t make you do anything. But I can tell you who I have voted for (early voting rocks!!) and why I made the decision.


Citizens of The Manoverse, anyone who follows me on Twitter, and my Facebook friends all know that I am a hardcore, dyed-in-the-wool conservative. I have written about what conservatism means to me, and I have never tried to hide my beliefs & opinions. So it won’t shock the world when I say that I am praying that Willard Mitt Romney becomes the 45th President of the United States. Admittedly Governor Romney isn’t the ideal candidate, but I am not sure such a thing exists anymore. True statesmen like Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Lincoln, & Madison seem to be a relic of the distant past. All we have now are politicians. And since that is the case the best choice has to be the one who’ll do the least damage and atleast attempt to steer things in the right direction.


I believe there are three key elements that need to be considered in relation to this election.


Obviously the first & foremost issue is the economy. I am not a financial scholar, but I think I have a firm grasp on the basics. One of the most heinous acts committed during the past 4 years has been the passing of nationalized health care, better known as Obamacare. Look…I get it…free health care sounds awesome. I have had various health issues my entire life. I have had 27 operations!! Do you think I enjoy spending a healthy chunk of my paycheck to pay a doctor or hospital?? Would I rather spend that money on a new car or a trip to Vegas?? Of course. But I wholeheartedly agree with the late President Ronald Reagan, who said that the nine most dangerous words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”. If people think our health care system is screwed up now, wait until it is run by the government. I find the prospect frightening. And then we have taxes. Conservatives believe in lower taxes…liberals think everyone needs to pay more, more, more. But my humble Potentate of Profundity you say…if we lower taxes where will Uncle Sam find the revenue to build roads & bridges, fund a strong military, and educate our young’uns?? Well, the obvious answer is to slash spending…dramatically. And therein lies the rub. No one wants to do that because no one wants to piss in anyone’s Cheerios. All those people sitting on their butts, collecting checks, receiving free phones & other goodies, and excited about getting free health care are what politicians like to refer to as voters. I understand the conundrum, I really do. But I also know that I am paying about $3.50/gallon (give or take 20 cents) for gasoline now versus less than $2 four years ago. I know that the national debt has more than doubled in the past four years, meaning that all that “free” stuff people are so excited about is actually being paid for by money borrowed from China. And I know that our GDP has gone down 2% during the past four years, meaning that the value of the goods & services we do produce (there are still a few) has decreased, which reflects extremely poorly on our nation on multiple levels. I could go on & on, but you understand what I’m saying. And yes…bad economic times began during the administration of President George W. Bush. I concede that fact. However, no one ever seems to recall that the infamous housing bubble that began the precipitous descent began under the Clinton regime. Contrary to popular liberal belief there is no such thing as a free lunch, and “providing access” to homes for people who couldn’t afford them was a disastrous mistake. Also, this isn’t the first time we have had a bad economy. But it does seem to be the first time we have taken so long to fight out of the abyss. Reagan inherited a bad economy from Jimmy Carter in 1980. The difference between Reagan & Obama?? Reagan turned things around within a couple of years, while Obama continues to blame Bush.


The second factor we must ponder is unemployment. It has hovered at or near 8% for a while now. Obama & his minions in the media love to puff their chests when a few thousand jobs are added here & there, but let’s not lose sight of the big picture. The overall rate is still way too high. And one thing no one ever seems to talk about is wages. I don’t really give a rat’s petoot if 100k jobs were added last month if all those jobs pay $7 or 8/hr. That is not a living wage!! Who can really blame people that choose to sit at home and collect welfare when it’s more than what they’d earn if they actually worked for a living?? American citizens deserve the opportunity to thrive, not just survive. We must take the shackles off the business community and allow entrepreneurs to create real jobs. That means lowering taxes and easing up on crippling regulation, especially in relation to the environmental movement. Do you think all those jobs have moved overseas because companies only have to pay workers there a fraction of what they would here?? Sure that’s part of it, but there is also the fact that there are far less environmental restrictions in places like China. We have become a nation crippled by a politically correct obsession to eliminate all risk & danger in all aspects of life. Look at the NFL for God’s sake. Pretty soon they are going to be playing flag football. Anyway, I don’t think our country was doing too bad back when I was growing up and there was a plethora of decent jobs to be had in a variety of factories & plants. Yes our world has moved into a more high tech realm and away from the old industrial ways, but we still need manufacturing, and it’d be nice if more things were made in the USA instead of everywhere else. President Obama has proven that he does not know how to achieve this goal…or maybe he just doesn’t want to. Afterall, the more people that rely on the government, the more people who will vote for him & all his liberal friends.


The third & final point to seriously consider is the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s something that we don’t discuss nearly enough, but the one thing that can have a lasting effect beyond just about anything else. What is the one Court case people argue about more than any other?? Roe v. Wade. Now I honestly don’t believe that particular decision will ever be reversed, and quite honestly I don’t care all that much. I know what I believe, and I know the Godly principles that guide my life. I wish there weren’t so many selfish people out there yammering on about “a woman’s right to choose” what happens to her body as if the child shouldn’t even be factored into the equation, but it is what it is. If you murder a child you will someday have to answer for the crime. My point though is the fact that Roe v. Wade happened nearly 40 years ago and it is still being debated. The Supreme Court, in the past half century, has gone far beyond what The Founding Fathers intended and become an activist court that shapes public policy. The decisions they make fundamentally change this country even more than what a President or Congress does. Right now there are four justices age 74 or above, which means that there is a tremendous chance that who we elect President on Tuesday will have an opportunity to alter the American way of life…for better or worse…for decades to come. The prospect of President Obama wielding that power shakes me to my core. I trust Romney with the responsibility far more than I would ever trust a man who I sincerely believe has a deep disdain for traditional American values.


I could go all night, but I’ve got a life and so do you. Let me just conclude by cutting thru all the poppycock. This election isn’t about race. Contrary to what assclowns like Chris Matthews try to say on a daily basis, not all conservatives are racists, and the reason we don’t like President Obama has nothing to do with his color. This election isn’t about class envy. Conservatives want everyone to do well, which means that we don’t begrudge anyone who has found a legal way to become wealthy but also that we don’t think that continuous government handouts really help the poor in the long run. And this election isn’t even really about religion. Now I happen to believe that Obama, while not an actual Muslim, grew up with enough Muslim influence that it affects his thought process in subtle ways, and that goes against what I as a Christian stand for. But Romney is a Mormon, which means that he & I would likely disagree on a few things too. It is a non-negotiable fact to me that God is in control no matter who occupies The Oval Office, so at the end of the day it’s all good anyway. But we are to be stewards of what God has provided for us, and part of that duty means putting people in positions of leadership & authority that will do the right thing and move our country in the right direction. Barack Obama had his chance and I don’t think any objective assessment would give him a passing grade. If you or I fail to perform our job duties at a proficient level our boss will dismiss us and give someone else the opportunity to do better. I don’t know if Mitt Romney will be successful or not, but if he isn’t we can make another change in 2016. For now though I feel like he is the better choice.



9/11/2001 Ten Years Later…”There Are No Words”


I seem to recall it was a rather lovely late summer/early autumn day. Sun shining. Temperate. Clear skies. What the meteorologist on the local news would call a “Wow Day”.


At the time I worked four tens…Noon-11pm…as a supervisor at a telemarketing company. On that particular Tuesday I had to go in at 9am for our monthly Employee of the Month ceremony, a big dog & pony show where the suits from our corporate office in Akron came down to make boring & repetitive speeches and give out meaningless awards.


For some reason I never turned on my TV that morning. I just got up and got ready for the big meeting. I only lived a mile from the office so I left my apartment between 8:30 & 8:45. During my short commute I heard on the radio that an airplane had flown into one of the World Trade Center towers. At first there was some confusion and reports seemed to indicate that it may have been a small plane that an inexperienced recreational pilot had somehow steered way off course. I have never been to New York City and I thought maybe that kind of thing wasn’t a completely unheard of scenario. It was an interesting story but I had other things on my mind and just shook it off.


That didn’t last long. As I got to the parking lot at the office a couple of my co-workers were outside. They asked me if I’d heard the news. From there the sequence of events is a bit of a blur. There was a television on in our conference room where we watched it all unfold. We soon found out that it was a commercial airliner that had crashed into the tower. Then television cameras actually caught the second plane crashing into the other tower. I’m no expert, but it immediately became clear to me that this was no accident…it was very much intentional. Soon we heard that the bosses from Akron had not even left Ohio yet on their company jet. Then we heard that all air travel in the United States had been suspended…all flights grounded. That really grabbed my attention. A clearly concerned President Bush tersely addressed the nation. News emerged that a plane had also crashed into the Pentagon, and that another had been hijacked and was presumably headed for Washington DC to dive-bomb into the U.S. Capitol before mysteriously crashing into a field in Pennsylvania less than 3 hours from my home here in West Virginia. Terrorism, which all my life had been associated with faraway places like Libya and Iran, had come to America. Oh there had been a few small incidents previously (the World Trade Center itself had been bombed by a truck in its garage in 1993, killing 6 people), but nothing on this scale. What was unfolding before my eyes was unimaginable.


Eventually the EOM ceremony was cancelled, and at some point, to my utter shock & amazement, all operations shut down for the day. Still we stayed. We sat in the conference room watching the TV as the first tower fell, then the second tower. In the blink of an eye the well-known landscape of NY City was irrevocably changed. I came home and continued to watch the coverage on television. The world had stopped.


I was not directly affected by the events of September 11, 2001. I had no friends or family members killed, injured, or even present. I didn’t even tangentially know of anyone involved. I never had any fear that my town may come under attack. Little ol’ West Virginia isn’t that important. But the images of that day will stay with me forever. The second plane crashing into the tower. The buildings falling to the ground. The smoke billowing like some sort of sci-fi monster, covering lower Manhattan with soot and debris. The stunned look on people as they wandered through the greatest city in the nation. As one news anchor put it that day “Good Lord…there are no words.”


The ensuing years have seen the tragic events of 9/11 become a political football, marginalizing the loss of life and trivializing the decisions made in its aftermath. That is not my intention here. However, I must say that one thing that will always stick with me was the strong leadership exhibited by President George W. Bush and Mayor Rudy Giuliani. No matter what party one may be registered to or what views one may have about economics, social issues, and foreign policy I defy anyone to deny with a straight face that those two men showed incredible resolve, decisiveness, and composure in a time of madness, anger, confusion, and anguish.


For a brief period after 9/11 our nation stood united and embraced our heritage of faith, charity, and love. Even when those feelings gave way to anger as we began to grasp what exactly had occurred and understood who exactly had perpetrated this heinous act of cowardice we were united in that rage. And while that unity and prayerful attitude was all too short-lived it was uplifting & encouraging at a time when the masses needed uplifted and encouraged. If only it didn’t take a disaster to produce that outlook. If only it would last for more than a couple of weeks. If only.


One thing that has lasted in the decade since 9/11 is a newfound respect for law enforcement, firefighters, and the military. I think society had gotten complacent and began to take those folks for granted. But as we sat in our comfortable homes watching the ultimate, saddest, most heart wrenching reality show in history a healthy reverence emerged for those who put their lives on the line to protect & serve others every single day. They run into burning buildings when everyone else is running away, and nothing ever illustrated that fact more than the events of September 11, 2001.


For some odd reason I have been touched more than anything by the stories of those that miraculously survived that day. The people who missed their flights on the four planes that crashed. Those that called in sick or were running 10 minutes late to work and therefore weren’t in the towers when they were hit. Those stories, while haunting, illustrate, atleast to me, the presence of God and His grace. I don’t know why this person died but that person survived. I’m not that smart. But I believe that those kind of small miracles happen every single day whether we know it or not.


I wish I could come up with something poetic and profound to say about 9/11 on its 10th Anniversary. Every generation seems to have its historic watershed moment of heartbreak. Pearl Harbor. The assassination of JFK. The explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. Hurricane Katrina. There are no logical explanations for why these things happen or why good people die under such horrific circumstances. We know that hatred exists. Hatred for freedom. Hatred for God. Hatred for humanity. It would be nice if we could obliterate the hate, but that is unrealistic. However, we also know that the vast majority of the population has a tremendous capacity for love, compassion, kindness, patience, and empathy. That does not mean that we are willing to be weak. It has been well demonstrated in the past decade that America will open up a can of whoopass on those that threaten our way of life.


Countless lessons were learned on that terrible day ten years ago, both on a grand scale and in the course of everyday small town life. I hope we never forget the event or what we learned from it. We owe it to the 3000 innocent people whose lives were taken to honor their memory, to appreciate every day of life given to us by God, and to defend the principles of freedom & liberty that are the bedrock of our nation. We owe it to the first responders who sacrificed their lives in an effort to save others and military personnel who have perished in the war on terror that was birthed on 9/11 to always appreciate the fantastic job that those individuals do and the danger they voluntarily put themselves in each & every day. However, we also know that life moves on. We cannot wallow in heartbreak or live in fear. I can’t even imagine the sadness and pain the families & friends of those murdered that day have endured…the spouses suddenly left alone and the countless children who lost a parent. But even those folks have had to get on with their lives. I am sure many have remarried. The children have grown up. Some of the rules may have changed, but we continue…we love, we laugh, we work, we live. We move forward. Hopefully we take time to call a friend or visit a neighbor, and never ever pass up an opportunity to tell someone “Thanks” or “I love you”. We should have always done those things, but sometimes we get too lazy, too busy, or too caught up in our own perceived self-importance. Regardless of politics we should understand that we live in the greatest nation on earth and enjoy advantages that are the envy of the world. Evildoers knocked us down on September 11, 2001, but we got back up. We will always get back up.


God Bless America, and may God continue to guide & direct the loved ones of the thousands lost on that terrible day a decade ago.


Random Thoughts 20

No one can deny that if the big oil spill that has dominated the news lately would have occurred under the watch of the Bush Administration George W. would have been crucified in the media and probably threatened with impeachment. I continue to be amazed at the free pass Barack Hussein Obama gets from just about everyone. And let me take this opportunity to point out that a disaster like this is exactly why we should be drilling for oil in Alaska’s ANWR.

Although I was never a faithful viewer of iconic 80’s TV show The A-Team I am strangely looking forward to the upcoming big screen adaptation.

Lebron James and Kobe Bryant are talented basketball players, but can we cease putting them on the same pedestal as legends like Magic, Bird, & Jordan?? Give me a break.

I am a bookworm and love biographies. I have one basic rule though. If you’re life isn’t interesting enough to produce a book of atleast 300 pages then it isn’t worth my time to read.

What is the deal with the obsession to be tan?? And why are women under the delusion that they are even remotely attractive with an orange hue to their skin??

Congratulations to the voters in Pennsylvania who threw Senator Arlen Specter out on his keister. Politicians need to remember that they serve at the pleasure of the voters, and you cannot become so flippant as to switch parties just to save your own job.

I find it sad the number of people I run into well past their youth who still find it entertaining to “go out” and “get their drink on”.

Hardee’s is no longer serving roast beef. Interesting decision. I don’t care how much better “thickburgers” are than the run-of-the-mill burgers they served 10 years ago, the fact is that Hardee’s will never surpass McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s in that market, so why take away the one signature item on the menu that made the place stand out?? Oh well…thank God for Arby’s.

I am really tired of hearing about Sandra Bullock and her cheating husband Jesse James. Enough already.

Why does every photo album I see on Facebook have atleast one pic of someone doing that silly two fingered “gangsta” sign and another pic (usually of a female) doing some sort of over-the-top puckering thing?? It’s obnoxious. Stop it.

So now, in addition to The Food Network, we have something new on our television lineup called The Cooking Channel. I have no doubt I will quickly become addicted to it as well.

As a lifelong diehard football fan I am not completely opposed to a cold weather Super Bowl in New York, but I do hope it is something that’s not done often.

I was sucked into watching this season’s Dancing With the Stars because of my massive man crush on ESPN’s Erin Andrews. The final result was a huge disappointment, with Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger taking home the Mirror Ball Trophy. Nicole is, for all intents & purposes, a professional dancer in her own right and should have never been allowed in the competition.

Whenever possible I like to use this public forum to give proper attention to the good news in the world. I want to give some love to something called The Innocence Project, a non-profit legal foundation that uses DNA testing to overturn convictions of wrongly accused people. I have read atleast 3 stories in the past few months about gentlemen being released from prison due to the efforts of this organization. It breaks my heart that anyone would spend decades being locked up for a crime they did not commit, but atleast now we have the technology to right these wrongs.


Random Thoughts 18

Congratulations to the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints. The game did not play out like most expected, as Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning looked quite average instead of like one of the greatest field generals of all time. The victory is good for the beleaguered city of New Orleans and I sincerely hope many benefits are reaped.

The re-entry sequence near the end of Apollo 13 deserves to be ranked right up there with the baptism scene from The Godfather and the “Dad” scene at the end of Field of Dreams as among the greatest movies moments of all time.

I have come to a spiritual crossroads. My faith and belief in God and in my Savior Jesus Christ is still there, but my patience with superficial Christian clichés has run out. I no longer desire church to be a shallow social gathering. At the same time, I see no value in being a humorless Bible thumper who can’t loosen up and have fun…others too easily disregard that person as an uptight, unhappy killjoy. I am on a journey seeking an authentic & devout relationship and I am not sure it is available in the places one would normally assume it can be found. Something inside me has either broken or been awakened (I’m not sure which) in the past few months, and my BS meter when it comes to religion is on high alert.

Even as a diehard conservative I am not really sold on Sarah Palin as a legit Presidential candidate, but the outright vitriol aimed in her direction by histrionic shit stirrers on the left is puzzling. Palin and former President George W. Bush have their flaws for sure, but how some can so completely eviscerate them almost daily while at the same time putting Barack Hussein Obama on the largest pedestal mankind has ever known is completely beyond all logical comprehension.

I would like to nominate ESPN’s Skip Bayless as the worst sports journalist in history. His arrogant and condescending attitude is off the charts, and his opinions are so often dead wrong that he has become a joke. I recently saw him trying to justify the possibility of 13-11 North Carolina being chosen as an at-large team for the NCAA tournament. He was dead serious about the Tar Heels being selected merely due to their history and pedigree over lesser known teams with better records. Not only did the debate prove him to be a complete fool, but it highlighted what can be very wrong with collegiate athletics when so much credit is given to a reputation and a perception instead of actual performance. Call it The Notre Dame Fallacy.

Valentine’s Day has to be the worst holiday on the calendar.

I love it when people act like they understand something when in reality they have absolutely no clue. It really makes them look silly. Mark Twain famously said it is “better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt”. More people should follow that advice. And yes, I see the irony in a guy who writes a VERY opinionated blog espousing that philosophy.

Can we please dispense with the term “pro-choice”?? People who are pro-choice only believe in a woman’s right to choose if she ultimately chooses to have an abortion.

Speaking of BS…..

I accepted long ago the fact that it is very possible that I may someday be one of those people who is dead for several days and whose body is only discovered because the neighbor’s begin to notice a stench. This is because at some point it became very clear to me that very few people legitimately give a damn whether I live or die, which does not in any way make me special or unique…..it’s just the way we human beings treat each other nowadays.  So armed with this awareness, I have very little patience for petulant, bratty adults who act like whiny children in a desperate attempt to have their ego validated. Encounters with so-called adults make me ever more determined to fade into the background in a concerted effort to not draw attention to myself.

I like Nascar and I’m not ashamed to admit it.


Random Thoughts 13

The funeral of Senator Ted Kennedy cost the city of Boston over $400k. Somehow that seems like a fitting tribute to his liberal tax & spend legacy.

I’ve just never been able to get into Canadian football…I don’t know why.

Is anyone really shocked that Iran is adding to their nuclear arsenal (besides The Obama Administration of course)??

Awhile back I wrote about my satisfaction with the current late night lineup. With all the pieces now finally in place, let’s take a quick look at the hits & misses. I’m not sure Conan has found his stride on The Tonight Show quite yet, but give him time…it took a few years for him to get into the proper comfort zone at 12:30, so the current situation isn’t a surprise. Leno at 10pm is okay. There are some kinks to work out, but if one found him funny on The Tonight Show he’s pretty much the same now. For those that find his humor too vanilla and crave the edgy stuff, you won’t like him any better earlier. Jay is built for comfort, not controversy. I honestly haven’t watched Letterman, Kimmel, or Ferguson all that much lately. Letterman turned me off with the whole Sarah Palin thing and it just left a bad taste in my mouth. Ferguson is occasionally a bit too…manic…and I have to be in the right mood. Kimmel hasn’t done anything wrong, but his odd timeslot and lack of promotion make him forgettable, which is unfortunate. The emerging star in my eyes is Jimmy Fallon. I know he annoys alot of people, mostly folks my Dad’s age or older. But I find him to be the best compromise amongst the group. He’s got Leno’s affability, Conan’s wackiness, some of Letterman’s subversive humor and is just edgy enough without coming across curmudgeonly and bitter like Dave. He connects with the audience and seems to genuinely be having fun, which is remiscent of Kimmel. If I owned Fox I’d throw a boatload of cash at Kimmel for an 11:30 show and then move heaven & earth to get Fallon at 12:30. It could be The Jimmy Late Night Connection.

So let me get this straight about the proposed government health care fiasco – If I choose not to buy it there is a $1900 fine, and if I don’t pay that I could get a year in jail?? When did I involuntarily move to Cuba or Russia??

Rachel’s Adult Night Club in Casselberry (FL) is giving out free flu shots to city residents.It is the sixth year in a row the club has held the promotion.Residents get free vaccines from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and senior citizens get free lunch.Non-Casselberry residents can also get flu shots, but they’ll have to pay $30.” – Needles at a strip club…..now there’s a good idea…*lol*.

One of the biggest problems in our world today is incompetence. People don’t care enough to even head in the direction of excellence.

Filmmaker Michael Moore is an embarrasment and a moron. This isn’t a new revelation, just something I like to reiterate as often as possible.

It’s “supposedly”, not “supposibly”. That drives me nuts.

Gadhafi was allowed an audience with The U.N.?? Are you kidding me?? And Ahmadinejad?? It really is like the cantina scene from Star Wars.

I’m okay with Ellen Degeneres taking Paula Abdul’s spot as a judge on American Idol. She’s not a music industry insider, so she can kind of be the voice of the fans. Plus she’ll be just as amusing as Abdul but the humor will be intentional and ostensibly not pharmaceutically enhanced.

Recent legit terror threats leave no doubt as to the brilliance of former President Bush and the bumbling ineptitude of the current buffoon residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We’ve gotten complacent in the years after 9/11, but GW and a few others always realized how foolish it would be to let off the throttle.

I can’t believe there are still people in America who willingly pay $50+ for boxing pay-per-views.

Random Thoughts 6

C.S. Lewis was a brilliant writer. If only I could be half as gifted I’d be thrilled.


As a night owl I am really liking the state of late night television these days. When I was a kid there was really only one choice…The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Oh a few pretenders came along to challenge him, but they were all subpar and didn’t last long. I loved Carson, but I also like choices. Now we have Conan O’Brien doing The Tonight Show and also David Letterman, who’s still brilliant after all these years, at 11:30. At 12:30 we have Jimmy Fallon and Craig Ferguson. Jimmy Kimmel follows Nightline (a show that has never been my cup of tea) at midnight. And Jay Leno, who some criticize as being lackluster, a milquetoast compared to Letterman’s acerbic smartass, moves to 10pm. I’ve always enjoyed Leno immensely myself. I find him pleasantly enjoyable, and he is no doubt taking the spot of five uninspired, banal dramas (atleast 3 of them probably being some form of Law & Order) that I wouldn’t watch anyway. I am glad he’s not disappearing from my TV screen permanently. I sincerely like all these hosts and their shows. Overall, the late night landscape has never been better.


Psalm 188:24 says “this is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it”. I hear a lot of church folk quoting this scripture, but only on warm and sunny days, as if God doesn’t take responsibility for rain or snow or cold. Interesting.


That alarm Susan Boyle hears is the sound of her 15 minutes of fame ending. Or maybe it’s chow time at the nut house.


So…recently, there was an incident. The details aren’t important. The incident itself was insignificant to everyone but me and I am fully aware of that fact. Suffice to say that I was screwed over and got upset. Even as it was happening I said to myself “no one really understands how I feel and I have to be cautious not to say too much because it will get turned around on me and it’ll be MY fault.” Sure enough, later that evening my prediction came true and the whole situation somehow ended up being my fault because I “should have said something” when the truth is I should have never have had to speak up and ask for what I didn’t get. People…people who have known me my entire life, people who are RELATED to me…are inconsiderate to me yet it’s my fault. Unbelievable.


It’s amazing how the bought and paid for drive-by media is now going out of their way to put a positive spin on an economy that’s still just as bad if not worse than it was 6 months ago. The difference between then and now?? 6 months ago the reviled George W. Bush was President, and now it’s the so-revered-its-nauseating Barack Hussein Obama. I mean seriously…every time I hear a reporter on TV talking about Obama I feel like I’ve just accidentally spied on two people making tender yet passionate love to one another.