2021 Sammy Awards: Part 1

A dozen years ago we transformed a simple Year in Review into the world’s coolest fake awards show. There have been a couple of off years, making this presentation the Tenth Annual Sammys!! Because your humble Potentate of Profundity is a man ahead of his time this show was pandemic proof long before there was a pandemic. We have no live audience & no acceptance speeches. Everything is not only virtual, it is completely imaginary. Having said that, please feel free to mask up, sanitize your laptop, tablet, or mobile device, and even head to a local medical facility to get tested once the show is over. As always The Sammys are way more groovy than the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Golden Globes, or anything MTV produces. We have fun when appropriate but also pay proper respect to subjects that have earned it. Hope springs eternal, so we still believe that the show is worthy of some kind of television deal, although having an online presence might actually be just as valuable nowadays. So slip into your most comfortable sweats & rattiest old t-shirt, grab a beverage & enough snacks to last for awhile, make one final trip to the loo (that’s British), and hunker down as we enjoy one final reminiscence of the year that was while simultaneously praying for good things to come.

To host this year’s show we have called upon one of America’s most popular yet enigmatic comedians. He has won five Emmy Awards & three Grammys, but The Sammys are undoubtedly his career pinnacle. In October 2021 he came under fire for some jokes that hurt the feelings of certain special interest groups, people that are apparently unfamiliar with the history of stand-up comedy. Fortunately for us he stared cancel culture in the face and flipped it the bird, which makes it an immense pleasure to welcome Dave Chappelle!!

After a brief yet wickedly funny & edgy opening monologue it’s time for our first award, and we are thrilled to welcome a lady who wasn’t so successful in beating back cancel culture. Last Spring she was fired from daytime snoozefest The Talk after being one of the co-hosts for over a decade. No matter where you stand on that particular issue The Sammy Awards believes in both free speech & redemption, so please give a warm welcome to one of the most famous rock star wives in the world…Sharon Osborne!! And the nominees are:

Favorite TV Show

Cobra Kai

I’m not a binger. I am an 80’s kid used to television shows premiering in September, airing a couple dozen episodes, and concluding their seasons in May. Summertime was nothing but reruns. All those rules have changed though, and I find myself caught between adapting and eschewing television altogether. One program I am willing to adapt for is Cobra Kai, the continuation of The Karate Kid film trilogy that introduced us to Daniel LaRusso & Johnny Lawrence. Cobra Kai catches up with Daniel & Johnny three decades later and integrates a whole new generation of youngsters into their story. The show does a nice job of balancing nostalgia & teen angst, as well as juggling drama, action, romance, & humor.

WWE Raw/NXT/Smackdown

I’ve been a pro wrestling fan for probably four decades, and it tends to be rather cyclical. Stars come & go, promotions rise & fall, and the presentation evolves. To be honest the product seems to be in a bit of a lull right now, but I still watch, and despite its various issues & no shortage of competition WWE is still on top, mostly due to superior production value and the best television deals. One competitor…Impact Wrestling…has had a half dozen obscure television homes in the past 15 years and currently airs on something called AXS TV, a channel I have but forget that I do. Conversely, WWE Raw & NXT both air on USA Network, while Smackdown is on Fox. Wrestling isn’t “Must-See TV” as much as it used to be, and there are nights I doze off while watching, but it’s been a part of my life since I was a pre-teen and that’s probably not going to change.

General Hospital

When I was a kid there were about a dozen soap operas on television, and at one time or another I probably checked out most of them. Today though, only four remain, and only one has kept my interest. It’s not always compelling, but GH has retained a certain level of quality thanks to solid writing and good performances. Soaps receive their fair share of ridicule and deservedly so, but when you consider some of the names that got their start on daytime dramas…Meg Ryan, Kevin Bacon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alec Baldwin, Demi Moore, John Stamos, Marisa Tomei, Julianne Moore, David Hasselhoff, Robin Wright (just to name a few)…perhaps the genre deserves a bit more respect.

NFL Redzone

From September thru December there is nothing I enjoy more than hunkering down in my humble abode on Sunday afternoons and watching “seven hours of commercial free football”. It has spoiled me to the point that spending three hours at other times watching just one game feels odd. I wish someone would borrow the concept for college football, although there are probably too many moving parts & competing interests involved for that to work.

and the Sammy goes to…..

General Hospital. Here is the issue with Cobra Kai (as well as many other streaming shows): Netflix released Season 3 on New Year’s Day 2021, and then Season 4 didn’t come along until New Year’s Eve a year later. Conversely, General Hospital airs Monday thru Friday year-round. Sometimes I watch, sometimes I don’t. Occasionally I’ll DVR it, while oftentimes I don’t. More frequently than fans would prefer it gets pre-empted by breaking news. Sometimes the storylines are riveting, other times they are cringeworthy. Yet, despite all the inconsistency, the fact is GH is (almost) always there, which is the essence of soap operas. We literally watch these characters grow up over the course of many years. We invite them into our homes, and in return they share their dysfunctional families, wild adventures, illicit activities, forbidden affairs, rocky romances, and crazy (fictional) lives with us. Are there better ways to spend one’s time?? Of course, and if I had a more…consequential…life perhaps I wouldn’t waste my time on such tomfoolery, but sadly that’s not the case.

To present our next award we are intrigued to welcome a man who probably never thought of himself as a villain. Unfortunately for him the powers-that-be at ABC/Disney disagreed, and in March of last year he “departed” The Bachelor (and its spinoffs) after nearly two decades. His crime?? Suggesting mercy & grace be extended to a young woman who made the heinous mistake of attending a politically incorrect party when she was an 18 year old college student. While The Bachelor (and its spinoffs) might be the most mind-numbingly asinine franchise on television and has undoubtedly contributed to the decline & eventual fall of civilization, it is equally true that Harrison did absolutely nothing wrong. Therefore we are happy to extend mercy & grace to him, so please give an enthusiastic welcome to Chris Harrison!!  And the nominees are:

The Joker Award for Villain of the Year

Lebron James

Basketball fans can debate all they want about the greatest player of all time…is it King James or Michael Jordan??…and that’s fine. I will always choose Jordan for various reasons, and unfortunately one of them has little to do with basketball. Social media and the influence of ESPN has allowed & encouraged players to not “stick to sports”, which isn’t a good thing in my opinion, and Lebron James is one of the more vocal offenders. President Lincoln famously advised “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt”, but with Twitter, 24/7 sports & news channels, and various other technologies it is nearly impossible for fans not to know the thoughts & beliefs of sports stars, actors, musicians, and others who we simply want to entertain us with their transcendent talent & skill. Sadly it is a Pandora’s Box that cannot be closed.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi

I’ve never been to California, and don’t have any desire to visit after seeing the kind of garbage it produces. Pelosi has represented her district (mostly San Francisco) for nearly 35 years and has spent much of the past 15 years as the first & only female Speaker of the House of Representatives. Normally that’d be an accomplishment to be celebrated, but the problem is this woman is absolutely batshit crazy, which leaves me with the impression that her constituents are insane as well. Anyone can make a mistake. It’s easy for a politician to beguile voters, but one would think that once that elected official proves themselves to be completely off their rocker a change would be made. I am a proponent of term limits anyway, but without that safety net I just can’t help but wonder what kind of clueless sheep keeps voting for this lush?? And how in the hell does she keep getting re-elected Speaker??

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Look, I have tremendous respect for doctors. Having had more than my share of health issues thru the years I am grateful to the medical community for saving my life multiple times. I am sure that Dr. Fauci is a brilliant man, and I understand that we’ve all been flying by the seat of our pants in the midst of a global pandemic. That being said, from Day 1 Fauci’s messaging has been…to be kind…confusing & contradictory. I have gotten bad vibes from him for awhile. I don’t know who bought & paid for him, but at best he is a useful tool, and at worst he is in the thick of sinister machinations. Oftentimes a coach will be fired because he/she has “lost the team” and the organization needs “a new voice”. Such is the case with Fauci. A significant portion of the American public is not only really tired of dealing with virus related issues, they have lost trust in Dr. Fauci. It’s time for him to go.

Kamala Harris

Much like Pelosi, one would hope that the first female Vice President (a “woman of color” no less) would be an historic milestone to honor, and it would be…if she wasn’t a terrible person doing a horrible job. From the get go Harris’ only qualifications were her gender & race, which regrettably is enough for too many people. I think we need to aim higher when it comes to the most prominent public offices in the nation, but that seems to have been an issue for the past few decades. Kamala Harris is a cackling fool who shouldn’t be in charge of anything, and honestly that’s the nicest thing I can say about her.

Bill Gates

Credit where it is due…Gates has been at the forefront of computer technology for decades, and we salute him for that. However, I must have missed the part where he received his medical license. As with Fauci’s inconsistent & dubious communication on the virus front, the vaccine has suffered from bad PR, starting with Computer Guy being one of its chief proponents & leading spokesmen. It just seems odd. Let’s face it…we’ve all been on edge the past couple years, and when it feels like a billionaire is pushing something that is out of his wheelhouse because he has skin in the game the collective thought process that perhaps we’re all being played makes a lot of sense. You want to deal with the problem of “vaccine hesitancy”?? I’m not sure of the answer, but the genesis of the problem may have been Bill Gates.

Don Lemon

No one cares about his race, nor do people dislike him based on his sexual preference. Those are convenient excuses. No…a lot of people despise Lemon because he is a smug, angry, vile, divisive, deceitful douchenozzle masquerading as a “journalist”. Gone are the days when folks on the news tried to maintain the guise of impartiality. I can deal with that. But anyone who has ever watched The Food Network knows that presentation is important, and all you need to know about CNN is that they are okay with someone as disingenuous & loathsome as Don Lemon representing their brand.

The Cuomo Brothers

At the beginning of 2021 Andrew Cuomo had been the Governor of New York for a decade, while younger brother Chris was another face of CNN. By the end of the year both were unemployed. I was a big fan of their father Mario when I was a kid. He was Governor of New York in the 1980s and delivered a riveting keynote address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. 40-something year old Me may have different views than 12 year old me, but I am still somewhat surprised that Cuomo the Elder raised such twatwaffles. Andrew Cuomo resigned his office in August amid multiple sexual misconduct allegations, and if that wouldn’t have brought him down it would’ve been his gross mishandling of COVID in New York that was so egregious it makes Fauci look like a Boy Scout. A few months later CNN fired Chris Cuomo when it was discovered that he was using his job & his contacts to aide his brother’s defense. It was always an unusual situation…one brother in the media, the other holding a significant political office…but it worked until it didn’t. Perhaps if both men led their lives with honor & integrity instead of being the abhorrent human beings that they are both would still have their jobs.

and the Sammy goes to…..

All of Them. It’s a seven way tie. I cannot differentiate between them. A few simply need to stay in their lane, while we’d all be better off if the others would go away forever, never to be heard from again. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which is which.

Our next presenter knows a thing or two about excellence. He escaped the coal fields of southern West Virginia in the 1960s and went on to become an aerospace engineer at NASA, eventually seguing into a literary career. He has written multiple best-selling books, most notably 1998’s Rocket Boys, which was adapted into the film October Sky a year later. It is an honor to welcome distinguished military veteran & fellow West Virginian Homer Hickam Jr.!! And the nominees are:

The Bruce Wayne Award for Excellence

Governor Ron DeSantis

Rarely will I ever pat any politician on the back. Democrat. Republican. Independent. It doesn’t really matter, especially if they’ve enjoyed the spotlight a little too long. That being said, Gov. DeSantis seems like the kind of leader others should emulate. I’ve never been to Florida, so I am not familiar with that political scene or how DeSantis got to where he is right now. I do know that he has served as Governor since 2019 and is a former Navy SEAL who spent some time in Iraq. He has stepped onto the national stage by keeping Florida open during the pandemic and foregoing the scare tactics that have brought several other places to a virtual standstill the past couple of years. The numbers rise & fall almost daily, so I won’t bore y’all with statistics, but my understanding is that places like California & New York with quite stringent COVID restrictions aren’t better off than Florida, which returned to relative normalcy a long time ago. DeSantis could be a future Presidential candidate…one that promotes conservative policies that a lot of folks would support sans the kind of baggage & dysfunction that has been emblematic of recent years.

Tucker Carlson

Rush Limbaugh died nearly a year ago, leaving a void in the sociopolitical discourse. There are plenty of conservative voices out there willing to take up the mantle, but none will ever truly meet the standard. I am not suggesting that Carlson is the one to step into Rush’s shoes because I simply don’t believe that is possible, but of all the contenders he is the one I have enjoyed the most. I don’t watch his television show every night, and I don’t think I have ever seen the entire hour. I am just not the same political enthusiast that I was two decades ago. However, in small doses…perhaps an interview here & there or his opening monologue…Carlson is more than palatable.

Elon Musk

We are at a place in American history when we are encouraged to hate “rich people”, especially ultra-wealthy billionaires. However, is that the right mindset?? Perhaps, instead of jealousy & derision, we should show such individuals respect, striving to learn what makes them tick and why they are so successful. Elon Musk is the 50 year CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, which seems to have done more space exploration than NASA in recent years. He is allegedly worth $300 billion, making him the richest person in the world at the moment (maybe that’s why Bill Gates is hellbent & determined to profit from the pandemic). Musk is difficult to pigeonhole, having expressed a variety of opinions that would land him all over the political spectrum. I hope that he stays out of that arena in the future because his contributions in the private sector are much more valuable. We all know how that goes though, right?? If he’d decide to jump into the fray his name recognition & vast wealth would make him a legit force, especially since there is a blueprint for such a path. We’ll see.

and the Sammy goes to…..

None of Them. First of all, it saddens me that there are only three nominees for this award. Every effort will be made to focus more in 2022 on acknowledging those who make a positive impact on the world. As much fun as The Sammys have poking fun at absurdity and ridiculing outright foolishness, we don’t seek to be excessively negative. All of these nominees made a productive contribution in 2021, but none stand out or feel worthy of such recognition.

This feels like a good place to pause, but please stay tuned for Part 2 of The Sammy Awards…coming soon!!

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 1.20

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

 

 

 

 

By far one of my favorite traits in a human being is resilience. I dig the kind of people who have overcome obstacles and are able to put away their pain & sadness to show the world an irrepressible spirit with smiles & laughter. Sure they might be faking it much of the time, but they’re making an effort, and that’s beautiful. One of my favorite scenes is in the film Rocky Balboa when an aging Italian Stallion is talking to his son about such resilience. He makes the point that the world “will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it”, and that life “ain’t about how hard you hit…it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” I admire anyone that gets back up when they get knocked down. It shows courage, toughness, & humility. That’s the kind of person I’ll be glad to call friend any day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was amused a few weeks back when perusing social media after President Trump’s State of the Union address and ran across a comment from a friend of a friend who opined that it was “one of the most poorly written speeches I’ve ever heard” and “his speechwriters should find a new job”. Now I’m the first to admit that Trump isn’t a gifted public speaker, but I also believe that no matter what one’s political opinions might be that SotU was objectively a home run. Was it a little gimmicky?? Perhaps. But to call it “poorly written” is a bad take from someone who I assumed was much smarter. I’m pretty sure that person is a hardcore liberal, the kind who actually believes Bernie Sanders is a legit choice to be President of the United States. That’s fine…it’s a free country & we can agree to disagree. And speaking of the State of the Union, I wasn’t all that offended by Speaker Pelosi acting like a belligerent toddler throughout the evening and tearing up President Trump’s speech at the end. It exposed what kind of person she really is, though sadly I have no doubt that the people in her district in California will re-elect her to an 18th term and she’ll get four more chances to hear a Trump SotU.

 

 

 

I don’t suffer from depression myself, but I do go thru the occasional valley, which can include feelings of loneliness & isolation. However, I think the point of this meme can be be expanded beyond all of that. It’s a tremendous dichotomy in our modern world where everyone is connected online and communication is easier than it ever has been that society is oftentimes non-communicative. It has been a source of frustration for me over the years that so many people who I’d really like to talk to & see more often rarely seem to reach out. My phone hardly rings. I spend most days & evenings alone when I’m not at work. Sometimes I don’t mind…but other times I do. I don’t feel like my ability to reach out has been muted…I’ve just made the conscious decision to not bother with those who don’t seem to notice my absence. 

 

 

 

I’m 47 years old & single, so my expertise about women is virtually nil, but I’d like to think I know a few things. An acquaintance of mine recently posted on social media that “I will never tell you my needs until I am desperate. You are expected to just know or you’re not the one for me because I want an intuitive man.” Okay…there’s a lot to unpack there. On one hand I do kinda sorta get it. When my sister was a teenager my mother used to become frustrated because she didn’t think she should have to tell my sister every little thing that needed done around the house or that she needed help with; Mom expected my sister to see what needed done & do it without being prodded. To some degree that is completely understandable. However, there is a thin line between intuitive & psychic. I’d like to think that I’d be the kind of attentive boyfriend/husband that would make a woman content and be able to anticipate her wants & needs. However, in the course of my life I have found direct communication to be…efficient. A person can’t always read your mind, no matter how well y’all know each other. I don’t care what kind of relationship is involved…romantic, professional, parental, friendship…forthright communication is best. I believe in most instances people are pleased by the result of such refreshing honesty. Certainly it seems like a better course of action than assumptions, guesswork, expectations, disappointment, & lingering bitterness based on misguided idealism.

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.”

The Inaugural Sammy Awards – 2010 Edition

Traditionally I do a Year In Review, a rundown of all the significant events of the past 12 months infused with my sardonic wit. However, I have decided to change things up a little. Every time one turns around there is an awards show on television, with insiders from all manner of industry patting themselves on the back, usually for maintaining the status quo level of mediocrity. So I got to thinking…why not me?? Why can’t I have my own awards?? And since this is my site and I can do pretty much anything I darn well please within the confines of decency and good taste that is exactly what I am going to do. Therefore, it is with pleasure that I present to you what I hope will become a long lasting annual staple here at The Manofesto. I present to you the inaugural edition of The Sammys.



Best Movie (That I’ve Actually Seen)



Hot Tub Time Machine

The powers-that-be wanted it to be the second coming of The Hangover, but it falls short of the mark. Still, it’s an entertaining movie with time travel and a fun cameo or two. I don’t feel like I wasted my time or money.



Shrek 4Ever After

Supposedly this was the final Shrek film. It has an It’s A Wonderful Life zeitgeist and isn’t a bad film, but at this point there’s just no juice left in the tank for the franchise and this fourth entry is nothing more than superfluous.



Grown-Ups

I have always been an unabashed Adam Sandler fan, even if his comedies are completely pointless and stupid. Unfortunately he (and an all star cast) attempt to have a point in this movie and it just fell flat. Or maybe it just wasn’t what I was expecting.



Toy Story 3

Now this is an example…hopefully…of a franchise ending on a high note. Don’t let the PR for 3D fool you…this movie doesn’t need gimmicks. These Toy Story movies are well written and have great performances, making the entire trilogy a cut above most animated fare.



The Social Network

I spend way too much time on Facebook, so I was excited to see a movie based on its origins. Even better, the script was written by Aaron Sorkin, the scribe behind TV gems like The West Wing and Sports Night.



And The Sammy goes to…..



The Social Network. Honestly, it was a close race, with Toy Story 3 a very very close 2nd. But I really enjoy Sorkin’s writing, and Jesse Eisenberg starring as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was mesmerizing. I even liked the performance of Justin Timberlake, who may want to consider giving up singing in favor of acting.




Assclown of the Year



Jay Leno

Leno should have walked away…it’s that simple. In the fall of 2009 Jay had handed over the reigns of The Tonight Show to Conan O’Brien and settled into his own 10pm show. Unfortunately the ratings for both shows were less than stellar so by January 2010 the suits at NBC panicked, wanting Leno back at 11:30 (for a half hour) and The Tonight Show at midnight. Conan, understandably, did not like this plan. Instead of ditching NBC and getting a late night gig somewhere else Leno played the “I just do what I’m told” card, going back to Tonight while Conan was unceremoniously dumped, albeit with a nice buyout. As of this moment Leno’s Tonight Show is going strong, while Conan’s new show…Monday-Thursday at 11pm on TBS…started out on fire but seems to be headed toward a downward spiral. Jay Leno, in my humble opinion, has shown his true colors, and he isn’t as nice of a guy as most thought a year ago.



Barack Hussein Obama, Nancy Pelosi, & Harry Reid

The three headed ultra liberal monster that has lead the Democrat Party the past couple of years cannot be separated. They work as one, in concert with one another, forcing upon an unsuspecting, easily distracted, sadly uninformed American public a quasi-Communist agenda that will have negative ramifications for decades. And besides all that they are just buffoons. Voters took a step in the right direction (pun unavoidable) last month by significantly altering the makeup of Congress, ensuring that Pelosi would not continue as Speaker of the House. But that is next year. In 2010 this unholy triple threat got a lot done, and most of it won’t be good for America in the long run. Your mileage may vary, and that’s okay.



Jim Joyce

On June 2, 2010 MLB umpire Joyce was working first base for a Detroit Tigers/Cleveland Indians game. Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga was one out away from a perfect game. A close play at first was ruled an infield hit by Joyce, costing Galarraga a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at perfection. Replays showed the runner should have been called out, and to his credit the umpire was deeply apologetic while the pitcher showed an unparalleled level of grace and class. Jim Joyce’s heartfelt remorse and frank honesty earned him a measure of redemption, but making such a critical mistake and screwing another individual out of a monumentally singular accomplishment, an opportunity Armando Galarraga will almost certainly never have again, dictates a nomination for this “honor”.



Ben Roethlisberger

Big Ben may be one of the top 5 quarterbacks in the NFL, but his off-the-field reputation took quite a hit in 2010. In March Ben was partying with college students at some dive bar in Georgia, which right off the bat seems below a 28 year old professional athlete. Even worse, he was accused of sexually assaulting a 20 year old co-ed in a bathroom. No charges were filed, but the district attorney, by the words he used in addressing the situation, seemed to strongly infer that it is likely something improper occurred but that it would be too difficult to secure a slam dunk conviction. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who doesn’t have to answer to anyone and has no problem doing whatever he wants, suspended Roethlisberger for the first 5 weeks of the season. Roethlisberger rebounded nicely and has the Steelers on a roll, but the public perception of him is undeniably altered forever. Only two people know what really happened in that bathroom, but I believe that where there is smoke there is almost always fire. My prayers are with that young girl, that she can move forward as easily as the man who may or may not have raped her.



Tiger Woods

The self destruction of Tiger Woods actually began right around Thanksgiving of 2009, but by January 2010 the situation had spiraled completely out of control. For awhile it seemed like every day a different woman came out of the woodwork admitting to an affair with the very married golfer. To Tiger’s credit he didn’t try to deny the allegations, although how could he?? If one woman says she has slept with a married guy he can deny it, but when more than a dozen tell similar stories there is just no way out of the mess. Tiger’s indiscretions cost him his wife and tore apart his family. The situation also effectively destroyed his career, atleast in the short term. For over a decade Tiger Woods was unquestionably the world’s #1 golfer, mowing down the competition like no one since the classic Jack Nicklaus-Arnold Palmer rivalry years. That all changed in 2010, as for the first time in his professional life he did not win a single tournament, let alone one of the coveted “majors”. Before this scandal it seemed inevitable that Tiger would breaks Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships, but now the possibility of that record being broken is much more in doubt. Woods lost a ton of money off the course too, as sponsors scurried away from him like roaches from sunlight. Some folks may never look at Tiger Woods the same, some have already moved on and anxiously await the day he re-ascends the throne as the much feared king of the links. We shall see what 2011 brings, but nothing can erase the horror that was the past 12 months.



Lebron James

Speaking of kings, we must nominate basketball’s King James, the modern NBA’s biggest star. Up until 2010 Lebron seemed like an excellent role model for the league. He comes across as intelligent, thoughtful, well spoken, and likeable. I always thought he was reminiscent of Magic Johnson, with the amiable smile dialed down and replaced with Michael Jordan’s competitive intensity. The exclamation point was that, after deciding to come straight out of high school in 2003 the Akron born & bred Lebron was drafted by his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. All that was lacking was a storybook ending, i.e. the kid leading the team of his childhood from the cellar to an NBA Championship. Unfortunately that was not how the story ended. Instead Lebron decided to go into full diva mode, stringing the Cavaliers and several other teams along during a long, self aggrandizing process at the end of which King James ditched the small market Cavaliers and “took his talents to South Beach”, aka the glitz & glamor of Miami. I have no issue with a free agent deciding to go to another team where he thinks the chances of long term success are more solid. This is America, and Lebron James simply took advantage of the opportunities afforded to him within the system by which the NBA runs. That is fine. What I and many others took exception to was the arrogant way the situation was handled, culminating in a TV special on ESPN called The Decision, during which James took a full hour to tell us what he could have said via Twitter or a normal news conference in about 30 seconds. There is a way to conduct business and a way not to conduct business, and it’s a lesson Lebron James has yet to learn. When I look at him now I don’t see intelligence, thoughtfulness, or likeability…I see a spoiled child whose amazing, God given athletic talent has provided for him a lifetime of being coddled to and put up on a pedestal. Funny thing about pedestals though…they are really fragile and easily come crashing down.



And The Sammy goes to…..



Tiger Woods. A huge part of me would love to give the award to James, but at the end of the day what he did was within the rules and probably a smart business decision, even if the process was gone about awkwardly. Tiger, on the other hand, committed adultery…over & over & over again. I am not trying to be judgmental, just honest. What Tiger Woods did destroyed his personal life AND his professional life, and completely changed the public perception of him as a human being. I am quite sure he will get his game back and win more tournaments, but I doubt if he ever completely recovers from a series of monumentally stupid decisions that were obviously made with the wrong head.



Best TV Show



The Big Bang Theory

The adventures of two super intelligent but socially awkward nerds and their gorgeous, blonde, airheaded next door neighbor. It’s an old fashioned sitcom with rapier sharp wit, excellent writing, and a talented cast.



Mike & Mike in the Morning

If shows like this would have been around 30 years ago the course of my life would have been so much different. I mean really…two guys getting paid to sit around talking about sports for four hours every day??What a great gig!! It’s a radio show that is simulcast on television’s ESPN2 each morning from 6-10am, starring an Odd Couple-esque pairing of ubernerd sportscaster Greeny and former journeyman NFL lineman Golic. I am not generally a morning person, but this is appointment TV for me.



Entourage

Male bonding at its best. HBO’s series have been hit & miss in my opinion. I never watched The Sopranos or Oz and unlike the werewolf/vampire enamored masses I have no interest in True Blood, though I did enjoy Sex & the City and Six Feet Under, and have occasionally watched Hung, Curb Your Enthusiasm, & Big Love. But from the moment it hit the air in 2004 I have been enamored with Entourage. It is the ongoing adventures of popular young actor Vincent Chase and his posse of friends, including an older brother who is also an actor but not a very good or sought after one, his manager who also happens to be his best childhood friend, and another buddy from the old neighborhood in Queens named Turtle who doesn’t seem to serve any useful purpose. Then there is Ari, an agent…a manic, foul mouthed, hyper, over-the-top, ultra Type A personality whose antics are mesmerizingly hilarious. HBO doesn’t really adhere to what we tend to think of as a normal television season (usually a couple dozen episodes beginning in the fall and ending in the spring, with summertime being a bunch of reruns). Entourage runs in the summer and has somewhere around a dozen episodes per season, and it is literally almost an entire year between seasons. I think this has the effect of “absence makes the heart grow fonder”, because I get excited when I know a new season is on the horizon. Sadly 2011 will mark the 8th and final go round for a great show, but there is talk of a potential film franchise. When that happens I am SO there.



How I Met Your Mother

Anyone who still thinks of Neil Patrick Harris as early 90’s wunderkind doctor Doogie Howser hasn’t watched this show. Is it kind of a Friends ripoff?? Maybe kinda sorta. But it has a vibe all its own and is a completely fresh take on the NY City apartment dweller posse genre. There is even an element of The Wonder Years, as the entire show is framed as a flashback wherein a narrator (Bob Saget) is showing his children thru supposed flashbacks how…well…how he met their mother. It doesn’t seem like a show that’s been on the air five years, which is a testament to the writers and actors who keep things crisp and funny. Harris is a revelation as a vain womanizer that doesn’t resemble Doogie one bit. It’s a show that doesn’t necessarily cover new territory, but does a type of familiar, comfortable comedy in ways that keep the viewer interested.



Pawn Stars

I must give a shout out to my friend The Owl for introducing me to The History Channel’s documentary show about a family owned Vegas pawn shop. On the surface it would seem like a limited concept, but I find it fascinating. The family dynamic between the three generations of men who own & operate the shop is real and amusing, and each episode is like a mini history lesson since the stuff folks bring in to pawn/sell isn’t your usual junk, or at least the producers are intelligent enough not to show the mundane, pedestrian items on TV. Instead we see things like Civil War memorabilia, early 19th Century firearms, and rare coins. I don’t feel like I’ve completely wasted my time after spending 60 minutes with this program, and with all the crap on our televisions these days that’s saying something.



Hawaii-Five-0

Remakes are generally cause for a healthy dose of skepticism and railing against lack of creativity or imagination. I have to admit I was a little hesitant to check out this “reimagining” of the legendary 1970’s show, of which I have a vague childhood recollection. This apprehension was not only because it is a remake but also because cop shows are a dime a dozen and I’ve never really been a big fan of any of them. However, I was wrong and this is a good show on all fronts. Once again no new ground is broken, but I think what I have realized is that is a good thing. I like my comedies formulaic and my dramas to fit a certain mold. Hollywood seems to royally screw things up when they take a proven formula and try to make it unique and modern. This applies to both movies and television. I guess I am just an old fashioned kind of guy. I can usually guess who the real villain is about 10 minutes into the show, but that’s okay. The acting is solid and the writing is above average even if the plots are a bit predictable.



And The Sammy goes to…..


Mike & Mike. I love this show. It has no offseason and no reruns. Both Greeny & Golic seem to take copious amounts of time off, but even when one or both are gone the regular lineup of guest hosts adequately fills the chairs. Sports lends itself to this format because there is always always always something going on and more than enough topics to discuss. The guests and experts that call into the show add depth, and various subject matter is examined from all angles. The show can be irreverent and fun, but also serious and thoughtful when necessary. Mike & Mike may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for the serious, hardcore, die hard sports fan there is nothing better.





Best Water Cooler Topic



Twilight

I’ve never read the books or seen the movies. I most likely never will. However, I do realize I am in the minority.



The Late Night Wars

During the first few months of 2010 a dominant subject of conversation was the controversy surrounding NBC’s bungling of its late night lineup, Leno’s return to The Tonight Show, and the unfair ouster of Conan O’Brien. Things were made all the more hilarious by late night hosts David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel, who didn’t hesitate to use their shows as a forum to jump into the fray and show support for Conan. It was definitely a fun ride while it lasted.



The End of Lost

Yet another subject on which I am not really qualified to comment. I never watched the show even though I had numerous friends tell me they thought I’d love it. I suppose by the time I considered giving it a whirl I just knew it was too late. This was a show one had to have been in on since the beginning, and for those that were the end came too soon.



World Cup Soccer

Well…it is the world’s most popular sport, so I am sure people were buzzing about it somewhere…probably outside of The United States. All I know is…speaking of buzzing…I learned what a vuvuzela is and think it may be something a lot of folks will encounter again in the fiery pits of Hell.



Sandra Bullock/Jesse James Split

America’s Sweetheart (now that Meg Ryan is all Botoxed up) found out her tattooed biker husband was cheating on her with an even more tattooed biker chic. Shocker. But hey, atleast Bullock won an Oscar.


Apple’s iPhone 4 & iPad

I’d love to have an iPad, but I’m not paying $800 for one. I do have an iPhone, but have not upgraded to the 4 because it seemed superfluous and unnecessary. Still, I have to give Apple credit for getting folks excited about these items, even if it is just tricky marketing of products that don’t really do anything new or special.



True Blood

Yet another show I have never watched and never will. I really don’t get America’s fascination with werewolves and vampires.



Oprah’s Final Season

Faithful citizens of The Manoverse will recall my deeply held belief that Oprah Winfrey is a minion in Satan’s Army. It does my heart good to know that we are now in the midst of her final season. Yes, I am aware that she is going on to helm her own network, but hopefully she will remain behind the scenes and it will be a channel I can completely ignore, like Lifetime, QVC, or MSNBC. Farewell Oprah, and good riddance you obnoxious shrew.



Bristol Palin on DWTS

Surprisingly enough Dancing with the Stars is a show I do watch. I find it fascinating, and appreciate the talents of the professional dancers. Scantily clad hot women may have something to do with it too I suppose. Anyway, when it was announced that former Alaska Governor, former VP candidate, future Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s eldest was to be a contestant on the latest season of the show it got some attention. Sarah Palin is a lightning rod that people either adore or despise, so the hype was predictable. It turns out that poor Bristol dances about as well as Jar Jar Binks on acid and has the personality of stale rice cakes, but somehow she still made it to the finals of the competition. This brought about a myriad of conspiracy theories, but in essence it just exposed DWTS for the popularity contest it really is and validated Sarah Palin’s level of popularity, despite her shortcomings.



And The Sammy goes to…..


The Late Night Wars. Admittedly this is a very personal, biased choice, because as noted some of 2010’s hottest topics were things in which I just had no interest whatsoever. But late night television has long been a favorite of mine, so the real life soap opera that viewers saw play out each night on TV for several weeks was extremely entertaining in my world.




Biggest News Story



The Haiti Earthquake

2010 got off to a rough start in Haiti, the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit on January 12, killing nearly a quarter million people (roughly the population of Birmingham, AL) and affecting atleast a million. American citizens of all ilks offered humanitarian aid, spearheaded by former Presidents George W. Bush & Bill Clinton, and singer Wyclef Jean.



Unemployment

Despite President Obama’s plucky enthusiasm about the economy finally being in recovery mode, unemployment has still lagged around the 10% mark all year. I’m no economics guru, but I don’t think it is accurate to say the economy has recovered if nearly 10% of the population can’t find a job.



The Gulf Oil Spill

On April 20, 2010 an explosion on an offshore oil rig 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana set off what would become the biggest disaster in the history of the petroleum industry. It took three months for the well to be capped and the oil to stop flowing. In those three months over 200 million gallons of oil spilled into The Gulf of Mexico, causing extensive damage to wildlife and marine life, the delicate ecosystem, the fishing and tourism industries, and the general economy of an area covering 68,000 square miles. The U.S. Government and British Petroleum engaged in a battle of wills over responsibility and cleanup efforts, with neither party coming out looking all that impressive. The effects of this spill continue to this day.



Obamacare/National Health Care Reform

In March of 2010 President Obama and a Congress controlled by liberals passed a nationalized health care bill. This was a topic that had been hotly debated for years and successfully defeated at first, but eventually resistance was futile. I like to refer to an old Ronald Reagan quote that says “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” Conversely, a growing majority of Americans seem to be perfectly comfortable with The Nanny State, wanting Big Brother to take care of their every need from birth thru death. Any law that takes free choice away and fines a person who chooses not to be insured scares the hell out of me. Any law that enacts anything resembling end of life counseling, making whether an ill person will or will not be treated an economic decision makes my skin crawl. Any law that rations how much health care folks may receive is troublesome. I fear that this massive expansion of governmental power will lead down a lot of other even more frightening roads, and that the masses will not truly understand what havoc they have opened the door to until it is much too late.



The Death of Senator Robert C. Byrd

West Virginia’s senior Senator was 92 and had been a fixture in Washington DC for well over 50 years when he died back in June. Byrd served three terms in the House of Representatives and nine terms in the Senate, impressive considering the fact that his role as a public servant was preceded by serving as a leader in a local Ku Klux Klan unit, once writing The Grand Wizard and saying “The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia and in every state in the nation.” Boy we sure can pick ’em here in The Mountain State, huh?? Byrd later renounced his membership and appeared to have a change of heart, but one can easily assume that was just the politically expedient thing to do. During his decades in Washington Senator Byrd became an extremely powerful figure and was able to funnel a lot of much appreciated pork back home to WV, which is obviously why he kept getting re-elected. Anyway, it is not my intention to kick a person when they’re down…or dead. So let me just say that Byrd’s death may not have been that big of a deal elsewhere, but here in West Virginia it was huge news.



The Tea Party

A year ago no one would have believed that the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat would be filled by a Republican, but in January 2010 that is exactly what happened when Tea Party backed Scott Brown won an election in Massachusetts. The Tea Party is not an officially recognized political party, but more of an energetic movement based on conservative core principles of reduced government spending, lower taxes, strict interpretation of The Constitution, and debt/deficit reduction. It sprang up in 2007, really hit its stride in 2009, and in 2010 had an impact of everything from the midterm elections to Dancing with the Stars. The de facto leaders seem to be former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, among others. The Tea Party was instrumental in costing several RHINOs (Republicans in Name Only) victories in primary elections in atleast a dozen states, and helped Republicans take back control of The House of Representatives. Liberals and their fluffers in the drive-by media have been predictably derisive of the movement, calling followers Tea Baggers. However, sticks & stones may break bones but name calling has thus far done no good in slowing down the momentum of this unofficial yet powerful organization.



2010 Midterm Election

Tuesday 11/2/10 was a day when, if I may borrow a phrase, chickens came home to roost for liberals in our nation’s capitol and elsewhere. Republicans gained 6 seats in the Senate, took control of the House with a swing of 63 seats, won an additional 6 Governorships, and gained 680 seats in statehouses nationwide. No matter how the media tries to spin it the election was a total rejection of liberal policies championed by President Obama, outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (who inexplicably won re-election). However, the work for conservatives has only just begun, with the next vital step being to find a viable Presidential candidate for 2012 (i.e. NOT Sarah Palin).



The Ground Zero Mosque

Back in the spring of 2010 plans were made public for what became known as The Ground Zero Mosque. The building is actually going to be a community center two blocks from Ground Zero, but it will have a Muslim “prayer center”, so the controversy aroused by having such a facility that close to where thousands of Americans were massacred by Muslim extremists/terrorists is understandable. I can see both sides. On one hand it is a free country and folks can build what they want where they want within the boundaries of the law. On the flip side I get how the idea can be perceived as offensive and distasteful. It just amazes me how the masses seem to bend over backward to make provision for Islam while even hinting at anything related to Jesus brings forth scorn and mockery.



End of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell

In 1993 The Clinton Administration signed into law a policy prohibiting the military from inquiring about a person’s sexual orientation since being openly gay was considered just cause for discharge. At the end of the 2010 Congressional session this law was repealed and the military ban on being openly gay lifted completely. I have made my faith based beliefs about homosexuality and issues like same sex marriage quite clear over the years, but if someone is willing to serve their country and put their life at risk in the defense of freedom then that’s fine with me.



The Arizona Immigration Law

I am still blown away by the fact that anyone would have an issue with laws being enforced, which is all this law does – make sure existing laws are followed. Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free?? Okay…fine. But if you are going to come into is country and take advantage of all the freedom, liberty, and other benefits then I don’t think being required to jump through a few hoops and following a legal process is too much to ask. Predictably it’s been the whiny, bleeding heart ultra libs who’ve cried about this bill the most. These are the same people who are ready to fine me if I choose not to buy health insurance, yet they have no problem with undocumented illegal aliens running rampant, eating our food, enjoying our public services, and utilizing our resources all while thumbing their noses at our laws and receiving a free ride because if they aren’t legal then they darn sure aren’t paying taxes. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. To my knowledge this law is still languishing under red tape, with various legal protests preventing it from being put into effect. I hope 2011 brings about an end to these silly court proceedings and sees laws like this spread nationwide.



TSA Groping Controversy

The Transportation Safety Administration, specializing specifically in airport security, is part of the Department of Homeland Security, created after the events of 9/11. Not a bad idea. However, in November of 2010, new screening procedures went into effect, including x-ray scans that display images of passengers’ bodies to TSA officers and pat-downs in which TSA officers fondle passengers’ breasts, buttocks, and genitals. Sounds like every pervert’s dream job. Predictably travelers haven’t been too keen on these procedures, as many feel like it’s just a bit too invasive. A lot of crazy incidents have been reported, including folks being forced to remove prostheses, small children being patted down, and hot babes claiming they’ve receive some…extra attention (if you know what I’m sayin’). TSA agents fired back whining about how awful their jobs are because they have to touch fat people. The ACLU has gotten involved. Lawsuits have been filed. It’s a big mess. Shocking, considering it’s a government run program. “Don’t touch my junk” indeed.



And The Sammy goes to…..



The Oil Spill. Not that the other nominees weren’t worthy, but let’s face it…when we look back in hindsight at 2010 two words will automatically pop into our brains: oil spill. It was almost as big of a story as 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, with many similarities including slow response from the federal government, who’d rather take over our health care, hate rich people, and try to eliminate Jesus from the world altogether rather than doing things they actually should be doing. As for BP, I understand that it was an accident and accidents happen, but their response…or lack thereof…was even more painfully slow than the government’s, and when (now former) CEO Tony Hayward called the spill “relatively tiny”, stated that he wanted “his life back”, and was then spotted at a yacht race while oil was still spilling into the Gulf the American public had its whipping boy. My prayers are with the people of the Gulf Coast, many of whom hadn’t even recovered from Katrina yet and now they’ve had to endure the ramifications of this situation.




The Rosie O’Donnell Memorial Just Go Away Award



Justin Bieber

I’ve honestly never listened to one of his songs, but the tastes of 12 year old girls are notoriously bad and the kid needs a haircut. If rumors about Bieber starring in a remakes of Grease and Back to the Future come true I may finally decide humanity is beyond redemption.



Glee

I watched this idiotic show once. It might be the gayest thing I’ve ever seen on television, no disrespect to alternate lifestyles intended. The acting was bad, the singing was not much better, and the overt sexuality was troubling. Honest to God Glee makes Dawson’s Creek look like freakin’ Shakespeare.



Kim Kardashian

Is she hot?? Yes. But what other redeeming qualities does this bimbo have?? Atleast Britney Spears can kind of sing and Lindsay Lohan can act when she stays sober. Kardashian and her entire clan add nothing of substance to the human race.



Jersey Shore

Reality shows, as a general rule, are awful. So a reality show about a bunch of clichéd Guidos just can’t be good. I have watched a few times and was completely unimpressed and not entertained in the least. People that are entertained by such garbage make me sad.



Lady Gaga

I saw Gaga on an episode of Saturday Night Live several months ago, and you want to know something interesting?? She can sing. The gal has some pipes. So why does she have to hide behind the stupid name & outrageous outfits and sing crappy songs about sex with lyrics like “bluffin’ with my muffin’”?? Take off the stupid clothes, use that great voice to sing quality songs, and use your real name (Stephanie something-or-other) and maybe I’ll be interested.



Stephen Colbert

I just don’t find him funny. It has nothing to do with politics, as Bill Maher is also a raging lib yet I find him rather amusing.



Brett Favre

If there has been a sadder public figure in 2010 I’m not sure who it would be. Favre has annoyed football fans for the past few years with his on again/off again retirement/comeback act. Last year he had what was arguably the best year of his career yet fell short of leading the Minnesota Vikings to the Super Bowl. Favre is to football what Mario Andretti was to the Indy 500…so close so many times but always felled by bad luck, karma, timing, or whatever other negative forces in which one may believe. After playing his annual “Will he or won’t he??” game again last summer he was predictably cajoled into “one last season”, only this time I think Bret Favre really is finished. The Vikings, beset by injuries, poor leadership, a midseason coaching change, and other calamities, have been horrible. Favre’s 41 year old body has finally let him down, and his consecutive games streak was broken at 297. On top of that the aging quarterback has been mired in an embarrassing scandal in which he is accused of sending naughty text messages…complete with pics of himself au naturel…to a female reporter a couple years back when he was playing for the NY Jets. You’ve heard of sports stars who “went out on top”?? This is the direct opposite.



Katy Perry

Is she hot?? Yes. But come on…put on some clothes for pete’s sake. No one gives a damn about Katy Perry, it’s Katy Perry’s breasts that have had the successful career.



Twilight

As noted previously I have never read the books or seen the movies. And I find people who are just a bit too obsessed by the whole thing really annoying.



Heidi & Spencer

He’s a tool, her body has more plastic than a Tupperware factory.


Hey Soul Sista/Train & I’m Yours/Jason Mraz

Every freakin’ time I’ve gotten in my truck the past several months and turned on the radio I have heard one or both of these songs. I sort of liked them at first, but that mild affection ended after about the 400th listening. Let’s move forward. Or maybe I will just listen to more talk radio.



Miley Cyrus

A role model she is not. I am not sure when it became mandated that all female singers & actresses had to be airheaded sluts to succeed, but if that’s the rule Miley is following it to the tee. And let’s be honest…she’s not a very talented actress or singer.


Lindsay Lohan

Is Lindsay still in rehab?? I don’t know and I don’t care. Lohan is the poster child for wasted potential. Unlike the average Hollywood tart this gal has skills. It was apparent from childhood that she had all the makings of a fantastic actress, one that might someday be thought of in the same vein as well respected performers like Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster, Holly Hunter, or Sally Field. Instead Lindsay has pissed away nearly all that potential.



And The Sammy goes to…..



Ladies and gentlemen, you are a witness to history. For the first time in the storied annals of awards shows we have a 13 way tie – they all win…or lose (depending on one’s perspective).



Moment of the Year



The Rescue of 33 Chilean Miners

I am born & bred in the great state of West Virginia and my grandfather lost a leg in the coal mines, so I am familiar with mining disasters. In August of 2010 a different sort of mine accident occurred in Chile. A cave in at a copper mine left 33 miners trapped underground but, thankfully, still alive and mostly unhurt. Rescuers quickly figured out that the men could be retrieved from their prison 2300 feet underground…but it would take months. Not hours, not days, not weeks…months. Suddenly hope turned to fear. However…miraculously…all 33 men were able to survive 69 days in a spot built for such situations. Rescuing the men took a lot of effort on the part of many many individuals from all walks of life, but on 10/13/10 all 33 men were safely retrieved from what could have been their graves. The story was an inspiring one of hope, faith, effort, and teamwork.



WV’s DaSean Butler & Coach Bob Huggins At The Final Four

It is likely that no one outside the state of West Virginia considered this much of a story. The West Virginia Mountaineer men’s basketball team won the Big East tournament and entered the NCAA Championship as a #2 seed, making it all the way to The Final Four. In the second half of the semifinal contest against Duke, Butler, the Mountaineers key player and leader in every way, went down with what looked like a very painful knee injury. As he lay on the court crying in agony Coach Bob Huggins, a man who has been much maligned for most of his career, went to his senior captain and cradled him in his arms, reassuring and comforting the fallen young man. It was a rare glimpse inside the heart of an otherwise tough as nails coach, and it was a moment that reinforced the reason many of us are sports fans.



Betty White’s Career Renaissance

Hollywood always has and always will cater to The Pretty People. Stars put their bodies through hell and have more elective surgery than anyone in their right minds should just to please a shallow industry and remain relevant and employed. Usually by the time a performer, especially a female, turns the corner past 50 she’s done. In 2010 Betty White went against the grain and was the exception to the rule, at the age of 88 having as big a year as anyone. It all started with a hilarious Snickers commercial during the Super Bowl, which for some reason spawned a viral campaign on Facebook to have the octogenarian host Saturday Night Live, which she finally did on May 8. That guest host spot even got her an Emmy nomination. White went on to do guest spots on sitcoms Community, The Middle, Hot in Cleveland, and 30 Rock. Betty White is proof that true talent overrides superficial indicators like age and breast size.



Phil Mickelson Wins The Masters

While the golf world was busy kvetching over Tiger Woods’ sex life Phil Mickelson offered a touching counterpoint. Both Phil’s wife Amy and his Mom had been battling cancer, and Phil had steadfastly stood by them. When Mickelson won his third Green Jacket in April and embraced his recovering wife on the 18th green one couldn’t help but think “Now THERE’S a role model”.



The 2010 Winter Olympics

Honestly I am giving a nod to the 21st Winter Olympiad more out of politeness than anything. Did it have some fun stuff going on?? Sure. The U.S./Canada battle for hockey gold was compelling, some of the ice skating was entertaining, and curling is always awesome. But really, if a Russian luger hadn’t been tragically killed then there would be virtually nothing memorable about these Olympics.



The Conservative Uprising

We’ve already covered the Tea Party movement and the results of November’s mid-term elections. Those two things combined with President Obama’s low approval numbers are all the proof anyone should need that this country leans right and that conservative values and principles are alive & well.



Zuckerberg Donates $100 Million To NJ Schools

Most wealthy people get a bad rap. They are perceived as selfish, haughty, and only concerned with money. However, back in September Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is portrayed in a rather negative light in the movie The Social Network, donated a huge amount of money to the Newark, NJ school system for education reform. I am not privy to the details of what they are attempting to accomplish in Newark or how they are utilizing the funds, but that big of a chunk of change should have a significant impact. Zuckerberg wanted to make the donation anonymously but was coaxed into making it public by both the mayor of Newark and the Governor of New Jersey. And while it may be true that $100 million dollars is pocket change to a man reportedly worth over $7 billion it is equally as true that such a donation cannot be overlooked and must be respected and appreciated.



The Theatrical Release of Part 1 of the Final Harry Potter Film

In November the 7th installment of the highest grossing film series of all time, one that has made over $6 billion, was released. It is the first of two films that cover the last Harry Potter novel, The Deathly Hallows. Personally I have enjoyed the books far more than the movies, but the release of these final two films marks the conclusion of a 14 year love affair between an adoring public and its boy wizard. Both the books and the movies become darker and more sinister as they progress, and at some point the story really evolved from a childrens’ tale to something much more mature and literary.



3 Day, 11 Hour Wimbledon Match

I’m not a huge tennis fan, not at all. I will watch a match occasionally if I am really bored and if the circumstances are compelling for some reason. In the first round of tennis; crown jewel, Wimbledon, in June, such circumstances arose. American John Isner was pitted against Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, with Isner the favorite. The two men proceeded to engage in the longest match in the history of tennis. It was suspended twice due to darkness and played out over 3 days, equally over 11 hours of playing time. The two men broke all kinds of records, with Isner eventually coming out as the victor. By the time the third day rolled around the attention of the masses had been captured and even lukewarm fans like myself were mesmerized.



The New Orleans Saints Win The Super Bowl

Most people are familiar with what the city of New Orleans has had to endure since being hit with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. And while sports is a relatively unimportant cog in the societal machine it can provide a unique sense of inspiration, motivation, and validation. When the Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 on February 7, 2010 to hoist their first ever Lombardi Trophy, it was a triumph not just for the team, but for an entire city. It seemed to signify that New Orleans was indeed back. Super Bowl XLIV was watched by over 106 million people, making it not only the highest rated Super Bowl in its 44 year history but also the highest rated television program of any sort ever, besting the legendary 1983 farewell episode of MASH. Just a few months later New Orleans would be hit with disaster once again due to the aforementioned Gulf Oil Spill, but for one night its citizens were able to put all their troubles on the backburner and celebrate like only they can, and it was a pretty darn nice story for the rest of us too.



Glen Beck’s “Rally To Restore Honor”

Glen Beck seems to have surpassed Sean Hannity and even The Godfather of Talk Radio himself Rush Limbaugh as the conservative raging libs seem to despise the most. Admittedly Beck is a bit too histrionic for my tastes, but if one is able to put aside the theatrics and listen to what he says Glen Beck makes a lot of sense most of the time. On 8/28/10 ol’ Glen really peed in the Cheerios of a lot of his critics by holding a rally where he and guest speakers weren’t shy about emphasizing faith, character, values, and conservative principles as much needed things our nation needs to fall back on. Not coincidentally (no matter what Mr. Beck says) this shindig was held at The Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr’s memorable “I Have A Dream” speech. It was bad enough Glen Beck was openly talking about God, but the fact that he was co-opting liberals’ self-righteous “we’re the only ones who give a damn about black people” vibe really had a lot of folks on the left foaming at the mouth. The event was attended by anywhere from 80k to over 1 million people, depending on what source one believes. I watched it on television and saw absolutely nothing that anyone of any political persuasion should have been offended by. The speeches were uplifting and invigorating, tribute was repeatedly paid to our military, and there was really not a lot of political rhetoric. It is sad that we have come to a point in history when openly talking about God raises the ire of a not insignificant portion of the populace. A few months later TV personalities Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held their own event that basically mocked Beck and all things conservative, and it was predictably obnoxious, offensive, and sophomoric.



And The Sammy goes to…..



The Rescue of the Chilean Miners. The fact that all 33 survived the initial cave in was a miracle. Then to have them endure that long underground was a testament to the efforts of countless people and the spirit & fortitude of the men themselves. And on top of that what was an extremely delicate rescue went off without a hitch and no one sustained any injuries. I don’t know what is in store for the lives of these 33 individuals, but God was certainly in the midst of this situation and I pray that all involved appreciate the blessings bestowed upon them and do extraordinary things with the second chance they were given.





NFL lineman Gaines Adams…wrestling legends General Skandor Akbar, Angelo Poffo (father of Randy “Macho Man” Savage & Leapin’ Lanny Poffo), & Jack Brisco…Hall of Fame baseball manager Sparky Anderson…former Pirates pitcher Jimmy Bibby…NFL Hall of Famers George Blanda, Jack Tatum, and Don Meredith…former NBA standouts Manute Bol, Lorenzen Wright, and Melvin Turpin…pro wrestlers Trent Acid, Bastion Booger, Chris Kanyon, & Lance Cade…legendary Pittsburgh Pirates executive Joe L. Brown…Senator Robert C. Byrd…uber-producers David L. Wolper (Roots, The Thorn Birds, North & South, L.A. Confidential, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles) and Stephen J. Cannell (The A-Team, Riptide, The Rockford Files)…actresses Barbara Billingsley (Leave It to Beaver), Lynn Redgrave, Frances Reid (Days of Our Lives), Dixie Carter (Designing Women), Rue McClanahan (Golden Girls), Helen Wagner (As the World Turns), and Jill Clayburgh…actors Tom Bosley (Happy Days), Pernell Roberts (Trapper John, M.D.), Gary Coleman (Different Strokes), Tony Curtis, Kevin McCarthy, Steve Landesberg (Barney Miller), Andrew Koenig (Growing Pains), Robert Culp, Dennis Hopper, Leslie Nielsen, Corey Haim, Peter Graves, & John Forsythe (Charlie’s Angels, Dynasty)…musician and sausage king Jimmy Dean…musician Ronnie James Dio…directors Blake Edwards (The Pink Panther) and Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back)…Elizabeth Edwards…Penthouse founder Bob Guccione…former Secretary of State General Alexander Haig…voice of the Detroit Tigers Ernie Harwell…singers Teena Marie, Teddy Pendergrass, and Lena Horne…former Major Leaguers Jose Lima and Bobby Thompson (The Shot Heard ‘Round the World)…Art Linkletter…NBA legend Maurice Lucas…actor, NFL lineman, and commentator Merlin Olsen…authors Robert B. Parker Erich Segal, and JD Salinger…former Congressman Dan Rostenkowski…Olympic organizer Juan Antonio Samaranch…former NBA player and collegiate athletic director Fred Schaus…former head of NBC Sports, Commissioner of the USFL, and President of ESPN Chet Simmons…gym teacher and inspiration for southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd Leonard Skinner…NY Yankees owner George Steinbrenner…fabled college basketball coach John Wooden


The Sammy Claus Wish List

Being Sammy Claus is kind of like being Frank Sinatra Jr. or the Vice-President…it’s a nice name that wields no real authority. However, in hopes that the real Santa may take a break from supervising the elves and doing important flight prep by surfing The Internet and being a faithful reader of The Manofesto, I have prepared my own list. Go ahead Big Guy…check it twice, verify who has been naughty or nice. But I am pretty sure my own reconnaissance has been thorough and you’ll find everything here in order. And since it is better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35) I am not asking for anything myself…well, atleast not much. My focus here is on the needs and desires of others.

 

The Marshall Thundering Herd…..a new football coach that will lead my alma mater’s gladiators of the gridiron back to the success we had in the 1990’s. I grant you there was some good fortune back then with future NFL players Chad Pennington, Troy Brown, Randy Moss, and Byron Leftwich…and there may have even been some minor cheating. But there’s nothing that says that level of achievement cannot be attained again and more future pro caliber players can’t make a stop in Huntington.


John & Kate and Heidi & Spencer…..sterility and a complete lack of media coverage


The Economy…..tax cuts & job growth. I know it’s a long shot with a socialist President and a liberal Congress, but we’ll deal with those issues in the coming years.


Kanye West…..the most spectacular career crash and burn of all time!!


The WV Mountaineers…..a new special teams coach. I have softened my stance on canning head coach Bill Stewart, but Stew doubles as the special teams coach and it hasn’t worked. A 9-3 finish was surprisingly decent given the lack of energy, skill, and discipline shown at times this season, but a few special teams plays probably cost the Eers atleast 1, possibly 2 additional victories.


The Republican Party…..a triumphant return to conservative values and the emergence of a formidable group of candidates for the 2012 Presidential campaign. Unfortunately I am not talking about Sarah Palin, who is damaged goods and I believe unelectable.


Adam Lambert…..irrelevance. Really dude, get the hell off my TV.


Myself, The Owl, Greg, Sealey, and Slack…..a memorable and dare I say legen…wait for it…wait for it…dary trip to Vegas this summer. This is the year gentlemen. Seriously…I mean it this time!!


Ford Motor Company…..continued success as a non-government run business


Michael Jackson’s children…..a happy, healthy, normal life while enjoying the boatload of cash your freak of a father left you


Carrie Underwood…..the love of a good man…a man that is single, has his own blog, and lives in northcentral WV. Call me. Please.


Algore…..complete , irrefutable, 100% proof that global warming is poppycock


Susan Boyle…..a musical repertoire that goes beyond I Dreamed A Dream


Coach Rich Fraudriguez…..continued ineptitude and complete failure not only at Michigan but wherever you go and in whatever you do professionally and personally. You are the lowest form of excrement the human race has ever produced and not worthy of sharing the same oxygen as even the most vile and wicked piece of dung imaginable.


Universal Health Care…..complete and total defeat


Tiger Woods…..a case of condoms, a good lawyer, and a full time chauffeur


David Letterman…..cancellation


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi…..facial movement. Seriously lady, lay off the botox.


Tim Tebow, soon-to-be former Florida Gators QB…..a case of tissues, because the crying will likely continue at the NFL Draft and on into your rookie season there when you figure out you’re really not THAT good (as if Alabama didn’t drive that point home already)


Jay Leno…..better ratings


Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, & Glen Beck…..continued success teaching the masses about conservatism


Phil Mickelson…..success in overtaking that dirtbag Tiger Woods as the worlds #1 golfer