2021 Sammy Awards: Part III

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

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

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

The Twitter Award for Favorite Water Cooler Topic

#FreeBritney

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

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

Masks

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

Bill Cosby

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

Jeopardy!

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

Big Tech

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

Ross & Rachel

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

GameStop

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

Bernie Sanders

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

#LetsGoBrandon

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

Bennifer 2.0

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

The Supply Chain

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

Squid Game

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

Harry & Meghan

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

Gabby Petito

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

Vaccine Passports/Mandates

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

Kimye Split

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

Alec Baldwin

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

Spacemen Bezos, Branson, & Shatner

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

and the Sammy goes to…..

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

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

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

Biggest News Story

COVID-19

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

President Biden

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

The “Insurrection”

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

Chauvin Trial

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

Inflation

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

Botched Afghanistan Withdrawal

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

The “Vaccine”

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

Rittenhouse Trial

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

Build Back Better

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

and the Sammy goes to…..

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

RIP

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

The Sammy Awards 2011 – Episode III: Revenge of the Phantom Fellowship

Welcome back to the exciting conclusion of the 2011 Sammy Awards. Thanks for reading and please don’t hesitate to leave comments on who you would have nominated, your thoughts on the winners & losers, and ideas you’d like to see incorporated into next year’s show.

 

To present our next award please welcome the 99th most followed celebrity on Twitter, Academy award winning actor Tom Hanks. And the nominees are:

The Twitter Award for Best Water Cooler Topic

Tablet Computers & iPhone4GS

First we had desktops. Then laptops became ubiquitous. Now it seems we are heading toward a society where everyone surfs The Net, listens to music, and watches movies on an iPad, Kindle Fire, or any of the other similar devices that flooded the market in 2011. The other big techie toy this year was the new iPhone, which doesn’t seem like that much of an upgrade from the previous model. No worries though…they’ll come out with something else in a few months.

 

The Return of Beavis & Butt-Head

When I was in college in the early 90’s one of our favorite shows was MTV’s animated ode to slackers, created by Mike Judge before he wrote the cult classic film Office Space. This year, after a 14 year absence, the boys returned to television and it’s as if they never left, only now instead of making fun of music videos (which MTV doesn’t even show anymore), our two favorite idiots critique drivel like Jersey Shore, 16 & Pregnant, and Teen Mom. And you know what?? It’s still really funny.

 

Death of Amy Winehouse

On July 23rd this lush keeled over & croaked due to alcohol poisoning. Shocker. I couldn’t identify one of her songs if my life depended on it because I have taste & class. But apparently she did have her following and they were sad for about 5 minutes until something else grabbed their short attention spans.

 

Jerry Lewis & MDA Part Ways

Jerry Lewis hadn’t been relevant as an entertainer since The Nixon Administration, but until 2011 he still continued to be welcomed into our living rooms every Labor Day as host for the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. Toward the end of 2010 MDA announced that the normally 21.5 hour show would be scaled back to just a 6 hour broadcast on Sunday night. Then in May of this year it was proclaimed by the organization that 2011 would be Jerry’s last as host but that he would remain as their national chairman and would continue to close each telethon with his signature tearjerker tune You’ll Never Walk Alone. But in August, just a few weeks before Labor Day, MDA announced that Lewis was finished as both host & chairman, effective immediately. It is still a mystery whether he was fired or quit for some reason. The local station in my hometown that had always carried the event in its entirety decided not to do so at all this year, so I didn’t even get to see the stripped down version. Oh sure I could have tuned in online, but that’s just not the same. And neither will future Labor Day Weekends be without Jerry Lewis. It’s a shame that a treasured piece of Americana had to end with such a whimper.

 

The End of Oprah

On May 25, 2011 Satan’s Minion ended her talk show of 25 years, leaving millions of bored housewives, gays & lesbians, and unemployed, unfulfilled losers of all shapes & sizes curled up in the fetal position wondering what they were going to do with their lives. Hey now…don’t cry…you’ve still got Dr. Phil!!

 

The “New” Facebook

A few months ago Facebook users by the millions flipped the hell out when the site implemented a number of pretty radical changes like a “ticker” and a revamped news feed. I’m a big fan of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, and Zuckerberg & his crew just seemed to be tinkering with something that didn’t need changed. However, eventually everyone got over their displeasure and continued to enjoy the site. Now Facebook is rolling out another new deal called Timeline. I took the opportunity to switch over to Timeline a couple of months ago and, unlike the previous changes, I rather like it and will be surprised if it incites much rage.

 

Hanks Williams Jr. Booted From Monday Night Football

A version of Hank Williams Jr.’s song All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight had been used as the theme song for Monday Night Football since 1991. That all changed after an October 3rd interview the singer gave on Fox News in which he likened President Obama playing golf with Speaker of the House John Boehner to Hitler playing with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The liberal drive by media…including the pantywaists at ESPN…predictably got their knickers in a twist because NO ONE is allowed to criticize their boy Barack Hussein Obama. ESPN made the decision to stop utilizing the tune altogether, and Bocephus called them out on their BS in his own inimitable way.

 

Kim Kardashian Marriage/Divorce

Do I really have to go into this?? I hate wasting even one iota of effort writing about this mind numbingly idiotic twit. We already know that she is a useless waste of space whose only redeeming quality is a fine caboose & a great rack and that her entire family is just as maddeningly unnecessary to humanity as she is. After years of toying with poor Dolphins RB Reggie Bush and leading Cowboys receiver Miles Austin on for about 5 minutes she moved on in 2011 to another semi-famous, quasi-rich athlete, New Jersey Nets bench warmer Kris Humphries. Within 6 months they were engaged and by August had a multimillion dollar wedding that, if my information is correct, she & her family were paid handsomely for so it could be broadcast on television. Unfortunately wedded bliss wasn’t in the cards and 72 days later Ms. Kardashian filed for divorce. And sadly, the tabloids, the entertainment TV shows, and the empty headed masses ate it up. Here’s an idea…go read a book, play with your kids (in the family sense, not in the Penn St. way), and get right with God. Quit paying any attention to this slut.

 

PA Teacher Writes Scathing Blog

30 year old  Natalie Munroe, a Doylestown, Pennsylvania (about 30 miles north of Philly) English teacher was suspended back in February after some parents discovered her blog. The issue stemmed from Ms. Munroe’s blatantly honest comments about what she’d really like to write on her students’ report cards for their parents’ perusal…things like “I hear the trash company is hiring”, “I called out sick a couple of days just to avoid your son”, “rude, belligerent, argumentative fuck”, “Just as bad as his sibling. Don’t you know how to raise kids?”, “Shy isn’t cute in 11th grade; it’s annoying. Must learn to advocate for himself instead of having Mommy do it.”, and “Am concerned that your kid is going to come in one day and open fire on the school. (Wish I was kidding.)”. Now I’m not a teacher, and maybe her opinions aren’t necessarily socially acceptable, but I’d be willing to be she was spot on in her observations. Munroe eventually got her job back, and I assume she’s just keeping her opinions to herself nowadays, helping the system to mass produce worker drones willing to work for minimum wage to supplement their Welfare.

 

Angry Birds

Apparently it’s some sort of game. I’ve heard it’s rather addictive. I’ve never played it and most likely never will.

 

 

The Homeless Guy with the Golden Voice

Right after New Year’s a newspaper reporter recorded an interview with a homeless man wandering the mean streets of Columbus, OH. That man, 54 year old Ted Williams, just so happened to have a deep, booming voice made for radio, which was in fact his career of choice before drug & alcohol abuse and legal problems derailed his life in the late 1980’s. A video of that interview was posted on YouTube and went viral, making Williams an overnight sensation. He appeared on talk shows and received a plethora of job offers, most notably from MSNBC, Kraft Foods, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Unfortunately the sudden fame caused Williams to fall off the wagon. Dr. Phil got involved and sent him to rehab, but he pulled a Lohan & left after less than 2 weeks. The job offers began to disappear. Fortunately though, Ted Williams eventually went back in to rehab and to my knowledge is now gainfully employed and off the streets. God speed to him in all his future endeavors.

 

The End of Harry Potter

After 7 books and 8 films the Harry Potter phenomenon came to a close in 2011 with the release of the final movie. The great thing about books & movies though is that we can continue to enjoy them for many years to come, and new generations have the opportunity to do the same if they so choose. All great things must come to an end, but what a ride it was.

 

Cancellation of All My Children & One Life to Live

When I was a young lad in elementary school my sister & I had a babysitter that got us hooked on soap operas…specifically Days of Our Lives & General Hospital. As I grew older I got interested in other soaps like Guiding Light, Another World, & As the World Turns. Then a few years back I added One Life to Live to the rotation. AW was cancelled in 1999. GL got the axe in 2009 and ATWT ended in 2010. In 2011 ABC announced that it was cancelling 2 out of its 3 soaps…All My Children & One Life to Live. I never really got into AMC, but I realize it was extremely popular, mainly due to star Susan Lucci. That show left the air on September 23, 2011, with OLTL scheduled to end on January 13, 2012. Millions of fans have expressed outrage, but it’s just a different world nowadays. Women, the original target audience for soaps, are in the workforce and not home during the day to watch TV. The Internet draws peoples’ attention away from television as well. And unfortunately suits & bean counters have discovered that producing talk shows is cheaper than soap operas. Ah well…atleast I still have DOOL & GH…for now.

 

And the Sammy goes to…..

Ted Williams. I must admit that this choice is slanted in favor of my own personal interests. I refuse to honor that horrible piece of garbage Kim Kardashian, and neither will I bestow an award on Hell’s favorite talk show hostess. Williams’ story both touched me and brought out my usual cynicism. Oh sure he must shoulder the blame for his own failures like drug & alcohol abuse and his various arrests. However, I’m all for second chances. I think we all knew that the overnight notoriety & media attention was likely to cause a backslide, which it did. But it seems as if, once the spotlight dimmed a bit, Mr. Williams started making the right decisions to get his life back on the right path. Hopefully the turnaround will continue and 2012 will hold good things for him & his family.

 

 

 

Unlike Charles Barkley, the titular “honoree” for which this award is named will not be presenting it, because there is no way on God’s green Earth your humble Potentate of Profundity would let that disgusting cow sully these proceedings. Instead, we go in the opposite direction by welcoming three of the world’s most beautiful women: Jessica Alba, Eva Longoria, & Mandy Moore. And the nominees are:

The Rosie O’Donnell Memorial Just Go Away Award

The Entire Kardashian Family

These people disgust me. I truly believe it has gotten to the point that they are an actively negative force in American culture. My heart weeps for the millions of teenage girls who watch this hogwash and are in any way influenced by these evil, repulsive harlots. Even poor Bruce Jenner…a former Olympic hero for God’s sake…has been sucked into the void and just mindlessly does whatever his control freak of a wife commands. It’s sickening and needs to be stopped.

Lindsay Lohan

Okay, so she finally got naked for Playboy. But she even managed to screw that up by not showing us anything we hadn’t already seen. I just cannot stand even the mere mention of her name at this point. Only in Hollywood would a crack whore still receive endless opportunities to make millions of dollars and remain famous. It’s sort of disheartening for the masses in flyover country who rarely get a second chance if they make even one tiny mistake.

 

Michael Moore

What a revolting slob!! And he’s a liberal wackjob to boot. I don’t think he actually did anything noteworthy this year except make an appearance at the stupid Occupy Wall Street protest, which is ironic since he is a multimillionaire himself. At any rate, occasionally he’ll ruin a perfectly good late night show by showing up, spewing his uninformed hate, and making me want to vomit.

 

Lady Gaga

Here’s the sad thing about this chic…she’s actually quite lovely and can really sing. But I guess one has to have a gimmick these days, do wacky stuff to grab attention, and sing songs filled with lewd & suggestive lyrics. Whatever happened to class??

 

Skip Bayless

I really dig my ESPN sports talk shows, but this pompous know-it-all has absolutely ruined First Take for me to the point where it’s not even watchable anymore. For some reason the powers-that-be retooled the show so that it pretty much revolves around Bayless arguing the stories du jour with a revolving cast of “opponents”. The folks in Bristol have totally beaten the formula to death, but atleast other shows like Mike & Mike, Around the Horn, & Pardon the Interruption pull it off in such a way that I am not immediately tempted to hurl an object at my TV screen. Not only is Bayless arrogant & self-absorbed, but he’s usually so wrong about his opinions that it’s laughable. And he is the absolute #1 offender in regard to shoving Tim Tebow down America’s throat. I would love to see the statistics, but I would bet anything that Bayless and his posse have talked about Tebow on every single show for the past 6 months. Give it a rest already!!

 

The “Ladies” of The View

Without a doubt one of the more torturous exercises in futility is watching these twits sit around a table and attempt to intelligently discuss the “hot topics” of the day. Whoopi, Joy, Barbara, & the short fat chic who is so superfluous that I don‘t even remember her name are clueless, spiteful, and arrogant. Honestly watching Full House reruns seems like Shakespeare in comparison. And as much as I dig token conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck she is just so overmatched against the 4 other big mouthed morons that the poor gal hasn’t got a chance. I beg of ABC…PLEASE cancel this drivel, or atleast sell it to Oprah’s “network”…same difference.

 

Justin Beiber

I couldn’t name one of his songs if I had two guns pointed at my head, but every soccer mom and 12 year old girl in America seems to love him. I’m sick & tired of hearing his name and seeing him on my TV. Plus he needs a haircut.

 

Reality TV

The ironic thing about reality television is that there is hardly anything real about it. Anyone who watches The Bachelor/Bachelorette and thinks it is an accurate representation of dating & falling in love needs to just hurl themselves off the nearest tall building immediately. The same criticism can be made of craptastic stupidity like The Real Housewives, Jersey Shore, Wife Swap, Teen Mom, and just about every reality show on TV. I know these shows are cheaper to produce, which is why they have grown exponentially in the past decade, but I miss the days when some talented writers would get together with some talented actors and make a fictional show that allowed people to e-s-c-a-p-e reality and be entertained for 30-60 minutes.

 

And the Sammy goes to…..

You saw this coming didn’t you?? Yes, I’m sure you did. For the 2nd straight year we have a tie!! This year it is an 8 way tie. ALL of these wastes-of-space need to stop taking up valuable oxygen & other resources immediately. I can think of no better way to immediately improve this great nation.

 

 

 

To present our final award of the evening, please welcome the melodious & soothing voice of TV new personality Harry Smith. And the nominees are:

Biggest U.S. News Story

Shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

On January 8 an assassination attempt on 3 term Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords captured the attention of the entire nation. Giffords was speaking to constituents outside a Safeway grocery store when some nutjob opened fire, injuring more than a dozen people and killing 6, including a nine year old little girl. Predictably liberals in Washington DC seized the opportunity to begin furthering their gun control agenda, but that poppycock fell on deaf ears and the tragedy became bigger than politics. Giffords continues to recover, but still has some communication issues and has lost some of her eyesight.

 

Race for the Republican Nomination

Incumbent President Obama is, unsurprisingly, going to be unopposed for his own party’s nomination in 2012. However, the fight for the right to face Obama in the general election got in to full swing in 2011, with nearly a dozen Republicans battling it out as we head into primary season early next year. No single candidate has really taken control of the contest, with several of the contestants having their turn in the spotlight, and a few have already fallen by the wayside. Unfortunately I don’t think the conservative base will be all that enamored with whoever ends up with the nomination because none of them seem to really be what we were hoping for.

 

Unemployment

Nearly ¾ of the way thru President Obama’s first (and hopefully only) term the unemployment rate still hovers around 9%. In comparison unemployment under George W. Bush was below 8%, Reagan, Clinton, & Bush ‘41 just above 7%, and even Jimmy Carter…usually considered one of the 20th Centuries worst Presidents…only 7.5%. Obama can no longer realistically blame W. for the poor economy, and the American people know it.

 

End of the Space Shuttle Program

The three decades old space shuttle program came to a close with the final mission of Atlantis in July. Now if an American wants to go to space they have to catch a ride with the Russians. Somewhere JFK is rolling over in his grave (if he is really dead that is). I guess NASA has some new ideas in the hopper, which is fine. Until those plans materialize though the lack of an active space exploration program further diminishes the concept of American exceptionalism, which I’m sure puts a smile on the faces of the current occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

 

Fast & Furious

A 2001 film starring Vin Diesel & Paul Walker. No…wait…that’s not it. Apparently this was some sort of gun running operation by the U.S. ATF. I don’t know. The movie never interested me so when this story was dubbed with that name I pretty much decided not to pay attention right from the very beginning.

 

NY Legalizes Gay Marriage

On July 24 New York passed legislation allowing same sex marriage. My Bible tells me that this behavior is vile, against nature, and an abomination. Your mileage may vary, and we will just have to agree to disagree.

 

Death of Steve Jobs

Nerds nationwide mourned the untimely passing of the founder of Apple Computers on October 5th (my birthday) due to pancreatic cancer. I am not all that technologically savvy, but I know enough to realize that Jobs belongs on the Mount Rushmore of the modern computer age.

 

Hurricane Irene

Near the end of August Irene made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Its path of destruction, mostly from flooding, extended clear up into the New York/New Jersey area, causing 56 deaths and $7 billion in damage.

 

10th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks

America marked the decade anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks with modest ceremonies in New York, DC, and Shanksville, PA, as well as the requisite reflective coverage on television. So much has been said & written about that horrible day 10 years ago that I cannot add anything new. Just know that, for the victims & their families, we will n-e-v-e-r forget.

 

Deadly Tornado Hits Joplin, MO

On May 22 the small town of Joplin, about 70 miles west of Springfield, was hit with an F5 tornado that killed 160 people, injured nearly 1000, and did nearly $3 billion in damage. It was the costliest tornado in the history of the United States.

 

Occupy Wall St. Movement

Class warfare has been an effective tool for liberals in this country for centuries. Some people hate anyone who has more than them. That hatred reached a new peak in the fall of 2011 when a group of protesters decided to stage a massive sit-in at a park near New York City’s Wall Street, the financial epicenter of the nation. To my knowledge the protests…which have spawned numerous similar demonstrations nationwide…continue to this day. This kind of crap is the direct result of media & pop culture romanticization of the 1960’s. Instead of trying to learn from the wealthy and duplicate their success there is a whole new generation of dirty hippies that just want to sit around whining, bitching, and moaning about “big business” while they ignore the real problem, which is “big government”.

 

End of the War in Iraq

The nearly decade long Iraq conflict that began on the heels of 9/11 and the War on Terrorism came to an official close on December 5, 2011. I happen to believe that at one time there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and that Saddam Hussein had some connection to Al Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the 9/11 attacks. However, I also would have preferred a much shorter American involvement. The objectives seemed unclear at times and the lack of an effective exit strategy was troubling. The Middle East will always be a hot spot for strife, and I do not believe any amount of military involvement or attempts to spread democracy will ever bring total peace.

 

Casey Anthony Trial

Caylee Anthony, the 2 year old daughter of Casey, went missing in the summer of 2008 and was found dead a few months later. This past summer the mother went on trial for killing her child. Casey appears to be a mentally unstable woman who got knocked up before she was ready and, as the theory goes, murdered her daughter so she’d have the freedom to go back to being a drunken party girl ho. Unfortunately for the millions who became emotionally invested in the trial like it was OJ Part 2, the prosecutors were inept and Anthony’s defense team used annoying little techniques like lack of evidence, burden of proof, and reasonable doubt to get her acquitted. Soccer Moms everywhere were so outraged that they…they…they put their porch lights on!! As if that was going to help anything.

 

 

And the Sammy goes to…..

 

The Republicans. I choose this story because, unlike other stories that have come & gone, this one has been a constant for most of the year and has been woven into the fabric of our daily lives. It is also significant because all the ups & downs, missteps, debates, and speechifying that has occurred over all these months will…eventually…lead to someone being nominated to run for President in 2012. That election may be one of the most important turning points in our nation’s history. 2011 has seen folks like Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Mitt Romey, Ron Paul, & Rick Perry become household names, even if each has had their weaknesses & foibles exposed for the entire world to pass judgment on. That’s American politics. It’s not perfect, but it’s still the best system in the world.

 

 

 

 

actresses Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Russell, Betty Garrett (Laverne & Shirley), Anne Francis (Forbidden Planet), Peggy Rea (The Dukes of Hazzard, Grace Under Fire)…former Secretary of State Warren Christopher…Apple Computers founder Steve Jobs…director Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, Network)…George Ballas (inventor of the Weed Eater)…“Dr. Death” Jack Kevorkian…Frank Buckles (the last surviving WW1 veteran)…fitness guru Jack Lalanne…Indy 500 Champion Dan Wheldon…golf legend Seve Ballesteros…saxophonist Clarence Clemons…boxer Joe Frazier…former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Chuck Tanner…former Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro…blues musician Pinetop Perkins…alleged singer Amy Winehouse…producers Sherwood Schwartz (The Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island) & Gil Cates (Academy Awards Show)…former First Lady Betty Ford…retired MLB pitcher Mike Flanagan…Jimmy Kimmel’s Uncle Frank Potenza…baseball broadcaster Ernie Johnson…former NY Governor Hugh Carey…Dolores Hope (widow of Bob Hope)…Big East Conference founder Dave Gavitt…singer Dobie Gray (Drift Away)…Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis…pollster George Gallup…cartoonist Bil Keane (The Family Circus)…journalists Andy Rooney & Christopher Hitchins…retired football players Orlando Brown, Bubba Smith, Mike Heimerdinger, Kent Hull, and Chester McGlockton…actors Michael Gough (Batman), Jeff Conaway (Taxi), Edward Hardwicke (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes), Jackie Cooper (Our Gang, Superman), Peter Falk (Columbo), James Arness (Gunsmoke), GD Spradlin (The Godfather Part II, One on One, North Dallas Forty, Apocalypse Now), Roberts Blossom (Home Alone, Doc Hollywood), Cliff Robertson (PT109, Spider-Man), Charles Napier (The Blues Brothers), and Harry Morgan (M*A*S*H, The Glenn Miller Story)…wrestling legends Sir Oliver Humperdink & “Macho Man” Randy Savage…baseball Hall of Famers Duke Snider, Ron Santo, and Harmon Killebrew…retired NBA players Robert “Tractor” Traylor, Lorenzo Charles, and Walt Hazzard…NFL Hall of Famers Andy Robustelli, John Henry Johnson, John Mackey, and Lee Roy Selmon

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


Random Thoughts 19

Congratulations to my West Virginia Mountaineers, who are headed to The Final Four after an improbable defeat of the mighty Kentucky Wildcats. And to all my Marshall peeps out there, please understand…I grew up in the shadow of WVU, less than an hour from Morgantown, and have been a loyal fan all my life. Just as some Mountaineer fans have delusions of grandeur, thinking the football team will ever be on the same level as USC, Ohio State, or Texas, so do many of my fellow Herd supporters have an irrational dislike for the Old Gold & Blue. To some degree I understand it, but on many levels I find it rather frustrating. There is a hierarchy in college sports, whether we like it or not…and sometimes we just need to understand our place in that pecking order and learn to embrace the rare occasions when our teams overachieve.

This is not the place to dive too deeply into the topic of nationalized health care, but suffice to say that I believe dark days are ahead for our nation. I just cannot fathom why otherwise intelligent people are unable to grasp how dangerous Barack Hussein Obama is or refuse to see how he is systematically tearing down our country.

Both Lost and 24 are ending in a few weeks. There hasn’t been this much grief in parents’ basements since the inventor of Dungeons & Dragons died two years ago.

I want to be very very clear about this: I am not being flippant, I am not joking. I am calling on ESPN to do the right thing and fire college basketball analyst Digger Phelps. The man is an embarrassment. He has no business doing prognostications on anything. Atleast Dick Vitale’s schtick is entertaining and he seems to be genuinely passionate about his job and the sport he loves. Digger is just smug, arrogant, and most of the time way way way off base on what he says. The man has ZERO credibility and as long as ESPN continues to give him a forum neither do they.

Changing of seasons, from cold to warm or vice versa, seems to really mess with my body. Two times a year…when summer segues into autumn and when winter makes way for spring…there is about a 3 week adjustment period when I just don’t feel right.

Speaking of my Marshall peeps – Ok, not really…but let’s talk about my adopted hometown and home of Marshall University, Huntington WV. The town is apparently The Unhealthiest City In America, and ABC has decided to use that for a reality show starring Food Network chef Jamie Oliver. As you may know, I dig The Food Network. I can’t say I have ever been a huge fan of Englishman Oliver, but he’s okay in my book…a little manic but atleast more genuine and less forced than Emeril Lagasse. Anyway, in his Food Revolution, Oliver is attempting to teach old dogs in Huntington new eating tricks. The show just premiered, so it’s way too early to really give it a thorough examination, but I am intrigued to see where things are headed. So far the usual West Virginia stereotypes have been avoided and the producers don’t seem to be going out of their way to reinforce that erroneous hillbilly image. The sad part is that the folks featured have not needed any help to make themselves look like uneducated assclowns. The lunch ladies at the elementary school are particularly grating. Pizza for breakfast?? I will admit that as a bachelor I have succumbed all too often to such bad choices, but it is embarrassing to think that our tax dollars are paying for an official government program that provides such a meal to children and no one in the chain seems to see anything wrong with the situation.

As a fan and as a rather cynical person who sincerely thinks it is always…always…about the money, I do not truly believe that Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger sexually assaulted anyone. However, it seems obvious that Ben is missing something in his life that money and fame aren’t providing, and he is trying to fill that void with booze, women, and a party boy lifestyle. Friends and family need to get ahold of Big Ben and get him to church. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the only way to get rid of the emptiness.

If atleast 50% of incumbents in House and Senate races are not defeated this November I will have absolutely no faith left in the American voting public.

Speaking of ESPN and Hussein Obama – I DON’T CARE what his March Madness bracket looks like!! SHUT UP!! For God’s sake when is the “mainstream” media in this country going to stop embarrassing themselves by constantly fellatiating this ghetto thug??

Movies should not be remade or “reimagined” for atleast 40 years after the original and even then only if the original has fallen out of vogue. For example, why were Halloween and…coming soon to a theater near you…A Nightmare On Elm Street, Red Dawn, Footloose, and The Karate Kid needlessly redone so soon??

Dammit!! Just when we were on the cusp of getting rid of Oprah (who, as some of you may know, I sincerely believe is an agent of Satan), there is word that freakin’ Rosie O’Donnell is coming back to television. We need to find the bastards who thought that was a good idea and beat them into unconsciousness.