The 2018 Sammy Claus Wish List

In the 1974 Rankin/Bass stop motion classic The Year Without a Santa Claus the Jolly Old Elf isn’t feeling quite so jolly and decides that he’s going to take a vacation from delivering gifts. In much the same way Sammy Claus seriously pondered cancelling this year’s wish list, not due to any kind of illness or cynicism, but…well…for no real reason outside of a general malaise. Sammy Claus isn’t feeling ill nor particularly depressed, but does experience the occasional funk. Unfortunately there is no Mrs. Sammy Claus to broker a deal with the Miser Brothers, and neither is there access to elves to go out & drum up some Christmas spirit. Having said all of that, Sammy Claus has decided to power thru and deliver the Ninth Annual Wish List. As always, being Sammy Claus wields no special power. I will not be flying around the world in a sleigh pulled by reindeer on Christmas Eve. I will be spending the evening with family and then put in a bit of quality time with Ralphie Parker & George Bailey. However, my fervent hope is that a certain inhabitant of The North Pole reads The Manofesto on occasion and might see fit to…at some point in the future…bestow these gifts upon the entities named here. And of course my biggest & deepest wish is that everyone will step away from the gifts & the food & the movies & all of the wonderful merriment accompanying this most wonderful season to praise The One True Reason that we even celebrate Christmas to begin with:


And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men”! So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into Heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.  –  2nd Chapter of The Book of Luke





The State of Florida: Remedial Voting in Elections & Counting Ballots 101





CNN reporter Jim Acosta:       an ounce of class & professionalism

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:          an ounce of common sense




Valerie Jarrett:  all nine original seasons of Roseanne on DVD, and a Planet of the Apes boxed set



soon-to-be former Ohio St. football coach Urban Meyer:

improved health & a happy retirement



David Hogg:      a conceal carry permit & a 9mm




President Trump’s Border Wall:

proper funding and beginning of construction



Facebook:                   legit competition…we’ve had just about enough of their shenanigans



Harry & Meghan:        a healthy baby






James Shaw Jr.:        free waffles for life



soon-to-be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi:         a big bottle of skunk pee




Star Wars:                    a fitting conclusion, and once & for all an end to the franchise…leave the memories alone



Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

good health, but also the good sense to finally retire (it’s way past time)



SNL’s Pete Davidson:

improved mental health, maturity, & a better idea of what is actually funny




United States Unemployment:

a continued lowering trend (the current unemployment rate of 3.7% is the lowest in almost fifty years)




Dr. Christine Blasey Ford:

an adult voice, restraint is spending the huge amount of money she was undoubtedly paid to destroy Bret Kavanaugh, & a window to truth & honesty right beside that second front door on her house

Justice Brett Kavanaugh:

a voice of reason that opposes any attempt to destroy Constitutional rights and judicial restraint in deciding such cases



Michael Rotondo:      a job & a place to live…you’re 31 years old – time to grow up & be a man



Southern California:  deforestation




Stormy Daniels:                   dolla dolla bills y’all



#MeToo:   an end…it has outlived its usefulness & become a joke



former Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens:                 

much happiness & success with any opportunities that come his way



The Conners:    cancellation…ABC knows they made a mess out of the whole situation, so do the humane & intelligent thing and put the wounded bird out of its misery

The Big Bang Theory:        a fun & well-written conclusion to 12 wonderful seasons, and long life in syndication




Per established custom I shall end with the traditional quote from the Rankin-Bass animated classic Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town:


“Lots of unhappiness? Maybe so. But doesn’t Santa take a little bit of that unhappiness away? Doesn’t a smile on Christmas morning scratch out a tear cried on a sadder day? Not much maybe. But what would happen if we all tried to be like Santa and learned to give as only he can give…of ourselves, our talents, our love and our hearts? Maybe we could all learn Santa’s beautiful lesson and maybe there would finally be peace on Earth and good will toward men.”

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 7.18

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





I am not a person that breathlessly awaits autumn so that I can celebrate any & all pumpkin products. It’s not that I’m anti-pumpkin as much as I just really don’t care one way or another. Having said that, I must observe that a great byproduct of the fall pumpkin craze is that many such treats…pumpkin rolls, cakes, cookies…also include cream cheese frosting, and that’s a development I’m willing to enthusiastically support.












I’ve been quite fortunate that the drug epidemic hasn’t directly affected me. Neither I nor any close family or friends has gotten caught up in the scourge of drugs. My state and the town in which I live has been significantly impacted and I’ve heard about friends of friends and casual acquaintances that are addicted, but the problem didn’t have a noteworthy consequence my life at all until recently when a person in my orbit who had the potential to become a good friend reached a fork in the road. They had an opportunity to escape their situation and start over, but I guess it was just too hard. After a breakup that lasted about a week they chose the less challenging path, going back into a codependent relationship where the addiction is encouraged and even shared. Rather than doing the hard work of getting their life together and overcoming various obstacles they elected to return to a dysfunctional cocoon where they can sit around popping pills & smoking a bong while someone else pays the bills. The last conversation I had with this person is when they drunkenly messaged me asking if I had any narcotics. That’s not how I roll, so of course I said no and haven’t heard from them since. I am not angry…I’m just profoundly sad to see such potential wasted.






The 2017 Sammy Award for Most Entertaining Program (Radio or TV) went to This Is Us for the second consecutive year because it may be one of the most well-written & performed television shows I’ve ever watched, and so of course I tuned in to the recent season premiere. I like to peruse social media after each episode to see what others are saying about the latest plot twist or big reveal, but the reaction to Episode 1 of Season 3 had me befuddled. The show’s theme was about miracles & fate, how sometimes the ball bounces our way and sometimes it doesn’t. The Pearson family lives in Pittsburgh and are big Steeler fans, so the premiere used Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception as a framing device. I thought the premise was easily understood and made for a brilliant hour of television…until I saw no shortage of comments wondering who “that football player’ was and if he may be related to a character on the show. What?!?!?? Really?!?!?? My mind was blown! Am I really that old?? Are people actually that clueless & out of touch??



The last time we got together for an episode of PoP I opined that President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to The Supreme Court “isn’t as much of a home run as it is a ground rule double”. I believed the fact that Trump could’ve selected a more hardcore conservative meant the path for Kavanaugh would be fairly smooth. Obviously I was wrong. I’ve debated the idea of writing a standalone tirade about the farce that the Kavanaugh proceedings have become, their connection to the #MeToo rubbish, & the general disdain that America has developed for straight, white, Judeo-Christian men, but honestly I just don’t have the strength. I’ve done fairly well staying away from sociopolitical arguments in the past year or two, but have been somewhat disheartened to see the misguided support some of my friends (mostly women) have expressed on social media for Kavanaugh’s accuser, a person that doesn’t strike me as being particularly credible. There are just too many holes in her story…too many things that make no sense. Brett Kavanaugh has risen thru the ranks of the judiciary over a number of years. He has been subjected to multiple polygraph tests & background investigations, and none of this has come out until now?? Give me a damn break!! I think we need to get past this idea of automatically believing a woman when she makes such accusations simply because she is a woman. We also need to have a discussion about the specifics of what constitutes sexual “misconduct” and how much we are willing to destroy a person’s life and for what exactly. Are we going to punish a middle-aged man for being a drunken lecher when he was in high school or college?? Is it proper for women to become teary-eyed about someone slapping their ass or making a pass at them decades ago?? It is very important to point out that we are NOT talking about rape. That’s a whole other story. I also want to clarify that I’m not saying it’s okay for guys to act like jerks. However, I have a huge problem with an accuser coming forward with dubious allegations many years after the fact, especially when the accused is conveniently on the cusp of some sort of achievement. It is my belief that this whole Kavanaugh kerfuffle is a well-orchestrated political hit job, and not only may it cost the man a seat on The Supreme Court, but it is an insult & does a disservice to those who have legitimately suffered actual sexual assault.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 5.18

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





I don’t necessarily have a dog in the fight on this whole Roseanne Barr situation. I never watched the original incarnation of her sitcom, and wasn’t the least bit interested in the reboot. Her sense of humor just isn’t my cup o’ tea, and I was bemused by the support the new show received from my conservative friends. Roseanne Barr isn’t conservative…but of course I suppose the same thing can be said about President Trump, who has been all over the political map in his lifetime. I voted for Trump a) because I thought he was a better choice than Hillary Clinton, b) I’m all for “draining the swamp” and trying something new instead of the same ol’ out-of-touch politicians who aren’t the least bit interested in actually accomplishing anything meaningful, & c) I knew the hissy fit from the leftist elite in Hollywood, the media, & elsewhere would be delightfully entertaining. Having said all of that, it is undeniable that both manifestations of Roseanne were critically acclaimed & wildly popular, making ABC’s sudden decision to cancel based on a tweet from the titular star quite stunning. The cancellation doesn’t affect my life one way or another, but I am fascinated by the hypocrisy. Truly vile things are said daily on ABC’s daytime talk show The View, and that network’s own Jimmy Kimmel has been a huge contributor to making late night television unwatchable…but that’s okay because their politics toe the company line. In its statement about cancelling Roseanne ABC spouted off some kind of poppycock about her Twitter remarks not being consistent with their values. ABC & ESPN are both owned by Disney, and anyone who has been paying attention knows what those values are. The quick trigger finger displayed in this particular execution indicates that the powers-that-be were just looking for an excuse to cancel the show, just like the reasons given a year ago for axing Tim Allen’s conservative leaning sitcom Last Man Standing were weak at best. Another network probably won’t resuscitate Roseanne like they did Last Man Standing…especially since some of Roseanne Barr’s castmates have already thrown her under the bus…and I honestly couldn’t care less. I just think it’s sad that we’ve come to a point that everyone is so damn sensitive & phony.



Good information…..



What is the difference between a cookout, picnic, & barbeque?? Most of us use the terms interchangeably, but they do vary slightly. A picnic is a meal prepared or assembled in one place and enjoyed somewhere else…typically outdoors. Heck, sometimes one doesn’t even prepare the food themselves. Just hit the grocery store for some potato salad, baked beans, cole slaw, watermelon, & cold drinks, make a quick stop at KFC for a bucket of fried chicken, then head outside to your favorite spot…BOOM…picnic. Conversely, at a cookout the food is prepared on the spot and eaten right away. A cookout involves any kind of food that is cooked on a grill…burgers, hot dogs, chicken, veggies, steak, fish. It’s all good. A barbeque has a more narrow focus on food that is slow cooked…ribs, brisket, a whole pig or deer. At a picnic you’ll consume previously prepared chicken. At a cookout you might eat chicken breasts that have been grilled for 5 or 10 minutes. At a BBQ there’ll be a whole chicken that’s been smoked or roasted for hours.




Call it…validation…..

A couple of years ago I made a quiet promise to myself to refrain from sociopolitical “debates” on social media. It took me awhile to get the hang of it and for a time I still found myself engaging on occasion, with such “discussions” leaving me with nothing but elevated blood pressure & increased disdain for the human condition. However, this year I’ve been quite proud of myself, having passed on numerous opportunities to jump into the fray, and on the rare occasions when I do comment I keep my thoughts abbreviated & respectful. Last year…when I was still intermittently falling off the proverbial wagon…I “unfriended” & blocked someone who’d been a friend for over two decades. I realize that some may think of such an action as immature or silly, but for me it was a healthy choice. Unbeknownst to my old friend I unblocked him quite some time ago, and his privacy settings are such that I am able to lurk or troll. I recently ran across a lengthy thread on his page that confirmed to me that I had done the right thing. What this person does is purposely post inflammatory thoughts & opinions then sit back and enjoy the show. Inevitably there is atleast a person or two unable to stay within the lines of courteous & intelligent conversation, and that’s when the name calling, foul language, & even threats begin. And then my friend has the unmitigated gall to make a weak attempt at being the even-tempered, “can’t we all just get along” Voice of Reason. It’s a sick game that he’s been playing for years, deriving vile pleasure from all the attention he is receiving & the trouble he has stirred up, all the while trying to present himself as blameless & innocent. I look back at all the times that I fell into the trap, the instances when I was among those acting crazy & saying nasty things in the midst of the fray, and I am deeply ashamed. A person has the right to post what they want (within legal & decent parameters) on social media. That’s freedom of speech. That being said, others can choose if or how to react, and personally I have become more inclined to just keep scrolling. Your mileage may vary.



And that’s all I have to say about that.



Speaking of phony…..

I mentioned awhile back that I thought the “veracity of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement(s)” were “almost mortally wounded” after a really stupid story about comedian Aziz Ansari. And now surely the death knell has to be sounded after a provably false accusation was made against legendary actor Morgan Freeman by an insipidly idiotic “reporter” on CNN. Here’s a tip ladies: if you’re going to slander someone…especially a person who is respected & revered by millions…you might want to make sure there aren’t any video cameras around. I’ve thought almost from the beginning that for every legit claim of “sexual misconduct” there were probably five more that were absolute nonsense, but of course most of the accusations have been from many years ago and had no witnesses one way or another, so far too many people fell into the trap of just believing the allegations of a “poor innocent victim”, and thus careers have been destroyed. Billy Joel once sang “she’ll carelessly cut you and laugh while you’re bleeding”, while Ricky Nelson crooned “she’d play around and tease me with her carefree devil eyes…she’d hold me close and kiss me but her heart was full of lies”. Men are finally getting fed up with the garbage being hurled at them by women. Pack a lunch ladies…it’s on like Donkey Kong!! I hope Freeman sues CNN into oblivion.








Points of Ponderation…..Episode 1.18

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





There’s a rather cynical maxim that states something to the effect that most people don’t care about your problems and some are glad that you have them. While I can’t relate to the idea of being happy about other peoples’ difficulties I completely appreciate the first half of the statement. On one hand I’d like to think that anyone I know would feel comfortable asking for assistance or advice about a legit issue, but on the other hand the older I get the less patience I have with those for whom complaining is a daily sport. Life is one continuous drama for such individuals, and while I am sympathetic to a point one has to draw the line somewhere. We all have bad days, but some folks need to reexamine their life and make more of an effort not to be such a Debbie Downer to those in their orbit.



The veracity of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement(s) is almost mortally wounded after the recent accusations toward actor & comedian Aziz Ansari. I am only vaguely familiar with Ansari’s work, which includes being a member of the cast of NBC’s Parks and Recreation (which I never watched) a few years ago, as well as small roles in a handful of inconsequential movies. At any rate, Ansari was recently accused of “sexual misconduct” by a woman who willingly went to his place and “fooled around”, only to later claim that he didn’t pick up on her “non-verbal cues”. The woman did an interview for some magazine no one has ever heard of in which she said that during the date the two had drinks but “I didn’t get to choose and I prefer red, but it was white wine”, a statement that immediately makes one question the intelligence of the alleged victim and/or the writer. She says that he performed oral sex on her and she reciprocated, “but not for long…it was really quick”. She says that he kept asking her where she wanted him to…well, you know (I’m trying to keep this as family friendly as possible)…and she “found the question tough to answer because she says she didn’t want to at all”. And you know what?? Long story short…they didn’t have sex. He eventually got the message and even called the woman an Uber. Look, I’m not going to full on defend Aziz Ansari. He sounds like a 19 year old frat boy, but is in fact a 30-something man with a relatively successful career. Surely he should aim higher in his…recreational activities. That being said, he isn’t a mind reader. I don’t want to hear this “non-verbal cues” crap, especially when the woman actually gave him a Lewinsky. Back in the 80’s First Lady Nancy Reagan promoted “Just Say No” as an anti-drug program, but it works just as well when it comes to sex. What the alleged victim describes sounds like hundreds of drunken hook-ups that happen every weekend across the globe, and when she finally made it clear that she didn’t want to take things any further (it’s amazing how much easier it became to communicate when her mouth wasn’t full) he backed off. She apparently told him “you guys are all the same”, which would seem to indicate that this wasn’t her first rodeo. One article I read sums up the situation perfectly: “Assault is not a feeling. Discomfort is a feeling. Embarrassment, hurt, and anger are all feelings…but assault has to have an objective definition because of the legal and social ramifications that come with it. When we act as though disrespect, harassment, assault, and rape are all different words for the same thing, the conversation starts to lose its legitimacy.” Men can be horny creeps…no one is denying that. But when we start to lump in every circumstance where a guy was being a jackass & a woman did things but felt bad about them afterward together with actual rape & assault then we’ve crossed over to the wrong side of a slippery slope.













It doesn’t take much talent or effort to half-ass everything you do. One might not have the energy or inclination to go full throttle on some days, and that’s okay. However, as a general rule I believe in doing what needs to be done, doing it right the first time, & doing whatever it is to the best of your ability. There are those that talk a good game, that like to boast about how hard they work & how much they do for others, but the proof is in the pudding and the truth is that some of those people seem to talk a whole lot more than they work.



























The world can be divided along many lines…Democrats/Republicans, gay/straight, black/white, male/female…and one such distinction is TV People vs. Non-TV People. Nons like to act like they’re too cool, smart, & sophisticated for television. They are allegedly too busy with more meaningful pursuits and find nothing on “the idiot box” worthy of their valuable time and erudite brain cells. Conversely, TVPs are unabashed pop culture enthusiasts that set aside time to watch their favorite shows and make copious use of their DVRs when they can’t be home. Nons are totally oblivious about big events like season finales and naively call friends or visit neighbors just when that person’s show is on and a huge reveal is about to occur or a long simmering mystery is on the verge of being solved. TVPs engage in social media discussions about their favorite shows and know a slightly disturbing amount of trivia about actors, characters, & storylines. Nons don’t understand how TVPs can get so caught up in such frivolous entertainment that does nothing to help them improve their station in life, while TVPs are shocked to find out that Nons don’t even own a television and have never heard of many of the most popular sitcoms, police procedurals, or trashy soap operas. I don’t believe that either are bad people, and think that balance is important. Television is a perfectly valid source of entertainment, but look at it like an investment portfolio where putting all of your eggs into one basket is rarely a good idea. Develop varied interests. Pursue other hobbies. Read books. Listen to music. Go outside occasionally. If you’re a Non don’t be too judgmental of TVPs, and think about dropping a few bucks on a nice television. The world can be a pretty tough place sometimes. There’s nothing wrong with a little escapism. Laugh. Get caught up in a fictional story to the point that it stirs your emotions. Stimulate your imagination. It’s okay to loosen up & have some fun.