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 of 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 2020 Sammy Awards – Part III

Welcome to the exciting conclusion of The Sammy Awards. Please give a rousing ovation for the host of our show…legendary comedic actor Bill Murray!! And if you need to catch up on the proceedings thus far you may do so here & here.

 

We think The Manoverse could use a little more laughter, so let’s welcome an up & coming comedienne who y’all really need to check out. She hails from Knoxville, TN and the combination of a charming southern drawl and clean, relatable, slice-of-life comedy has made her a favorite of ours. Give a warm welcome to Leanne Morgan!!

 

 

To present our next award it is a true pleasure to welcome the star of soap operas like Days of Our Lives & General Hospital and a plethora of Hallmark movies. She’s got a smile that can light up the Vegas Strip…give it up for Jen Lilley!! And the nominees are:

 

 

Favorite TV/Radio Program

 

The World According to Jeff Goldblum

Jeff Goldblum is a national treasure. His filmography includes modern classics like The Big Chill & Independence Day, as well as a 1980 TV series called Ten Speed & Brown Shoe. In 2020 I discovered a program Goldblum hosted that had actually began on Disney+ in late 2019. Throughout the ten episodes Goldblum explores a variety of things like tattoos, coffee, & ice cream. We’ve seen similar shows on The History Channel, The Food Network, & Discovery, but Goldblum is such a unique personality that he is able to take a topic and make it fascinating with his quirky wit & singular cadence. So far Disney+ hasn’t produced a second season, but I’m confident we’ll get one in the near future.

 

NFL Redzone

I still don’t know whether it is a channel or a show unto itself, but I do know that there are few things more enjoyable than seven straight hours of commercial free football every Sunday afternoon in the autumn.

 

Cobra Kai

The Karate Kid ranked 7th on my list of favorite sports films five years ago, and unbeknownst to me a television show that catches up with Daniel LaRusso & Johnny Lawrence three+ decades later premiered on something called YouTube Red in 2018. Fortunately Netflix bought the show last summer, and it only took me two nights to catch up on the first two seasons. We find that Daniel has become a slightly cocky car salesman who capitalized on his karate exploits to succeed in business and become a local celebrity, while Johnny is down-on-his-luck, can’t hold a job, has an estranged son, and harbors no small amount of bitterness & resentment toward Daniel about all that happened between them back in high school. Reboots, remakes, sequels, etc. are dangerous ground to walk on, but Hollywood keeps on trying. Cobra Kai is well done. The writing is solid, the new characters we are introduced to are fun & interesting, and the juxtaposition in how we view Daniel & Johnny now versus back in the day is a nice twist. With the music & other nostalgia the show is a special treat for 80s kids, but it is accessible enough for anyone to enjoy.

 

WWE NXT

The pandemic has been tough on live music & sports, but pro wrestling has adapted well enough. I’m sure it isn’t intentional given WWE’s big money deal with Fox to air Smackdown and Raw’s standing as the company’s flagship program for nearly three decades, but for many die hard wrestling fans NXT has become the show to watch. It has the best product and the best athletes of any other wrestling show on television.

 

General Hospital

Yes, I still DVR “my stories”, but while The Young & The Restless has become a snoozefest and Days of Our Lives is just ridiculous at times, GH has maintained a consistent level of watchability.

 

The Rush Limbaugh Program

To be honest I have probably listened to Rush less in the past year than at any time since I discovered his brilliance back in the early 90’s. I’ve been laid up since May of last year and haven’t been driving my truck, which is usually when I’d listen. I’ve made no secret of my decreased interest in politics. Having said that, on the rare occasions that I do get to hear a little snippet of Rush’s insightful commentary I still find him to be compelling and smart. I am all too aware that I have many friends & family that might be horrified to find out that I am a Dittohead, but I find their political views just as disappointing, which is why it’s something I am very careful about discussing openly. I find it sad, but it really has come to that in America.

 

Jeopardy!

Unfortunately this might be the final time the show receives a Sammy nomination. I don’t think the format of the game will change, but so much depends on who is ultimately chosen to be the new host. Forgive me for not having a whole lot of confidence about that choice being a good one. I hope I am wrong.

 

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…

 

 

Cobra Kai. First, a shoutout to my friend Melanie who encouraged me to watch the show. Also, no disrespect to YouTube Red, but kudos to Netflix for giving it a much larger platform enabling so many more fans to discover it. Is Cobra Kai a perfect TV show?? No, it’s not. Perhaps only 80’s kids like me can really appreciate it. Younger folks may find it occasionally cheesy, but I’m okay with that. After all, how much respect do we owe generations that made boy bands, Twilight, and Taylor Swift successful?? It is still a little odd for me to binge an entire season in one night then have to wait several months for new episodes, but that’s just the way things work nowadays. Like most other programs that air on streaming services I don’t expect Cobra Kai to last any longer than 4 or 5 years, but that’s alright…nostalgia has a shelf life. I am one of those people who rails against the glut of sequels, remakes, reboots, et al indicating a lack of creativity in Hollywood, but I understand that view is hypocritical. When they revive something we love and do it well then it’s just dandy, right?? Such is the case with Cobra Kai.

 

 

To present our next award please welcome two of America’s most beloved game show hosts. First is a gentleman who has hosted Wheel of Fortune for nearly forty years. Please buy a vowel for Pat Sajak!! He is joined by an actor/comedian who has hosted Family Feud since 2010. Give it up for Steve Harvey!!

 

The Charles Barkley Role Model Award

 

Alex Trebek

 

I’ve told this story before elsewhere, but the day my mother ended up in a vegetative state that would lead to her death a few days later she fixed a good supper for me & my Dad. As a matter of fact, she had answered the bell, so to speak, for more than twenty years, getting up every day and taking care of her family even when she didn’t feel a bit good. So I have tremendous respect for Alex Trebek, who after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the spring of 2019, continued to show up for work for the next year & a half. Anyone watching Jeopardy! during that time never would have guessed what he was going thru because he did his job with the grace, class, & professionalism that he’d always shown since he’d began hosting in 1984. Jeopardy! is by far the greatest game show of all time, and even though Trebek was a low key guy who never wanted the focus on himself the fact is that we are about to find out just how important his silky delivery & subtle humor was to the show. Alex Trebek even loved Will Ferrell’s hilarious impression of him in Saturday Night Live sketches that were a pop culture phenomenon back in the late 1990s because he was a man who didn’t take himself too seriously. I like people who are comfortable enough to laugh at themselves. Soon I will be reading Mr. Trebek’s autobiography that was published less than five months before his death, and I’m really looking forward to learning more about a man that I’ve admired since I was a teenager. I’ll give a fair chance to whoever ends up being named the new host of Jeopardy!, but that person will have to be extremely good to even approach the awesomeness of their predecessor. My father always says that death is part of life, but just because it’s true doesn’t make it easy. Godspeed Alex Trebek, and thank you.

 

 

To present our next award it is a pleasure to welcome a man who we’ve thought about inviting to be part of the show for a long time, but usually he is busy this time of year. His spies have already told him who the winner is. Give a polite golf clap to the head coach of the New England Patriots…Bill Belichick!! And the nominees are:

 

 

The Agony of Defeat Award

 

Antonio Brown

What the hell happened to Antonio Brown?? He was an All-Pro wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers until he lost his damn mind and burned a ton of bridges. He bounced from the Steelers to the Raiders to the Patriots. He was suspended for the first half of the 2020 season before making his debut with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It makes me sick that he has been rewarded for all his foolishness by ending up on a team quarterbacked by Tom Brady that could actually wind up in the Super Bowl.

 

MLB Sign Stealing Scandal

I don’t know if the 2020 MLB season will be remembered half as much as the scandal that rocked the league in its offseason. It was discovered that in 2017 & ’18 the Houston Astros used a method involving video cameras in the outfield and players on the bench banging on trash cans to tip off their batters to what kind of pitch to expect. Whatever they were doing worked since the Astros won the World Series in 2017. Houston bench coach Alex Cora became manager of the Boston Red Sox the following season and they proceeded to win the World Series, and though they were absolved of cheating accusations by MLB there are those that say they did the same kind of thing the Astros had done, just not as much. At any rate, neither team was stripped of their championship, but both Cora and Astros’ skipper AJ Hinch lost their jobs. Cora has since been rehired, while Hinch has been named the new manager of the Detroit Tigers.

 

Kobe Bryant

On January 26, 2020 a helicopter crash claimed the life of 41 year old Bryant and eight others, including his 13 year old daughter Gigi. Bryant had retired from the Lakers in 2016.

 

March Sadness

Of the many COVID-related sports casualties last year perhaps the most significant was the NCAA Basketball Tournament. The Super Bowl had already taken place, and the World Series, Stanley Cup playoffs, and NBA playoffs all still happened. Other events like the Kentucky Derby, The Masters, & Indianapolis 500 were delayed but were held eventually. March Madness wasn’t so fortunate. That all went down way back at the beginning of the pandemic when everything was new and we were all just flying by the seat of our pants. Thankfully the sports world adapted and most everything else has gone on as scheduled, albeit without fans in attendance. I think the cancellation of the basketball tournament was one of the first indications that the whole virus situation is very real and quite serious.

 

Bubba’s “Noose”

My relationship with NASCAR has been a roller coaster for a number of years. I went from catching every race each Sunday to not watching at all for a couple of seasons to a happy medium where I watch occasionally, neither boycotting it altogether nor being all that invested as a fan. Bubba Wallace has won zero races in four years, and his entire existence in NASCAR revolves around identity politics. Last summer, as race riots rocked the nation, Bubba seized on the opportunity by claiming he’d found a noose in his garage at Talladega. As it turns out it wasn’t a noose at all…it was a garage door pulley that had been there for years. Of course if you present the media with a divisive narrative they will pounce and squeeze every ounce of drama out of it, and Bubba Wallace lost all credibility when he chose to perpetuate the lie instead admitting he was wrong.

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…

 

 

Kobe Bryant. I wasn’t a huge Kobe fan when he was playing. As fans we choose who we cheer and who we boo for a variety of reasons, some of which aren’t necessarily rooted in logic. However, one of the fascinating things that occurs with sports fandom is that oftentimes, as a player ages, our opinion of them becomes a bit more conciliatory. We begrudgingly recognize their greatness and appreciate the fact that we were around to witness it. I remember watching Kobe’s final game in 2016. He dropped 60 points on the Utah Jazz, including the game winning shot. It was a meaningless game since the Lakers were terrible and not going to the playoffs, but as far as storybook endings in sports go it ranks near the top, and I was glad to see it. In retirement Kobe’s image had softened as he embraced the role of #GirlDad, and chances are Gigi was destined to become a college & WNBA superstar. Most if not all plane/helicopter crashes are tragic, but this one…this one might have been the most depressing in recent history. Children died…kids whose lives were just beginning. And Kobe?? He may have been retired and considered old within the realm of sports, but he was only 41 years old. 41! Who knows what his second act may have been. Broadcaster?? Coach?? Team owner or executive?? Perhaps he would have found success outside of basketball. Sadly we will never know what might have been.

 

 

Are you ready for the final award of the evening?? Well you better check yourself because our next presenter is for real and he’s prepared to go to war!! Don’t even think about messing with him!! He has spent more than two decades as a public school teacher in the inner city and he will not tolerate anyone being insubordinate or churlish. Please answer “Present!” as the roll is called by Mr. Garvey!!

 

 

Most Significant News Story

 

The Sickness

 

Should there be other nominees?? Perhaps. 2020 saw the President of the United States impeached, months of race riots, a significant change in the Supreme Court, and a Presidential Election. In a normal year any of those could justifiably win this award. But raise your hand if you ever thought you’d be alive to witness a global pandemic. Whether you call it Coronavirus, COVID-19, the China Virus, the Kung Fu Flu, or anything else, the fact is that nothing we have faced in my 40+ years on the planet has affected so many in such a variety of ways. Worldwide two million people have lost their lives, with almost 400k deaths here in America. It has devastated economies, shuttered businesses, and destroyed dreams. It has altered the way we live our daily lives. Masks, social distancing, working from home, distance learning, empty sports stadiums, online church services, curbside pickup at restaurants, and a variety of other things have become the norm as we adapt because that’s what human beings do…we find a way to move forward and live our lives. Whatever you may believe about the origin of the virus, how our leaders handled the crisis, the media’s role in propagating fear, or what the best path may be in the immediate future, the fact is it is real. Like many others I didn’t take it seriously at first, and to be honest I haven’t feared it all that much because I’ve been on the shelf…quarantined in my own odd way…since May 2020. That being said, I know people who have had the virus. I have heard about their battle, and it doesn’t seem fun at all. The good news (maybe) is that a vaccine has arrived, though I will take a raincheck on offering an opinion about that until there is more data. 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. When will that be?? I don’t know.

 

 

 

2020

2020

 

iconic TV host Regis Philbin…record setting test pilot Brigadier General Chuck Yeager…Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg…NBA Hall-of-Famers Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), Jerry Sloan (Utah Jazz), & Wes Unseld (Washington Bullets), & KC Jones (Boston Celtics)…actor (The Dick Van Dyke Show, History of the World Part 1, the Ocean’s trilogy) & director (Oh God!, The Jerk, Summer School) Carl Reiner…NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson…legendary soccer player Diego Maradona…National Lampoon publisher & film producer Matty Simmons (Animal House, the Vacation series)…acting coach & TV host James Lipton (Inside the Actors Studio)…former boxing champion Roger Mayweather…film director Joel Schumacher (St. Elmo’s Fire, Falling Down, Batman Forever, A Time to Kill, Batman & Robin) & producer Charles Gordon (Field of Dreams, Die Hard 2, October Sky)…controversial civil servant Linda Tripp…comedian Norm Crosby…former MLB managers Jim Frey (Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals) & John McNamara (Boston Red Sox)…authors Mary Higgins Clark, Elizabeth Wurtzel, Clive Cussler, John LeCarre, & Winston Groom…Reese Schonfeld (founder of The Food Network)…race car driver John Andretti…game show hosts Alex Trebek (Jeopardy!) & Tom Kennedy (Password Plus)…soap opera producer Lee Phillip Bell (The Young & the Restless, The Bold & the Beautiful)…Harlem Globetrotters legend Curly Neal…singers/musicians Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen), Kenny Rogers, Helen Reddy, Joe Diffie, Charlie Daniels, Neil Peart (Rush), Bill Withers, Ellis Marsalis Jr., Bonnie Pointer (The Pointer Sisters), Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne), John Prine, Little Richard, Jack Sherman (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Tommy DeVito (The Four Seasons), Mac Davis, Billy Joe Shaver, Nikki McKibbin (American Idol), Chad Stuart (Chad & Jeremy), KT Oslin, & Charley Pride…Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem & Belmont Stakes winner AP Indy…televangelist Jack Van Impe…football coaches Don Shula (Miami Dolphins), Johnny Majors (Pitt Panthers, Tennessee Volunteers), George Perles (Pittsburgh Steelers, Michigan St. Spartans), Sam Wyche (Cincinnati Bengals), Woody Widenhofer (Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions), Pat Dye (Auburn Tigers), & Ray Perkins (New York Giants)… businessman & former Presidential candidate Herman Cain… Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas & decathlon champion Rafer Johnson… former U.S. Attorney General & Governor of Pennsylvania Dick Thornburgh…actresses Olivia de Havilland (Gone with the Wind, The Adventures of Robin Hood), Dawn Wells (Gilligan’s Island), Marj Dusay (Guiding Light, Capitol, Santa Barbara), Paula Kelly (Night Court), Naya Rivera (Glee), Kelly Preston (Jerry Maguire), Conchata Ferrell, & Elsa Raven (Back to the Future, Titanic)… magician Roy Horn… journalists Jim Lehrer, Bob Ryder,  & Hugh Downs…Academy Award winning screenwriter Bruce Jay Friedman (Splash, Stir Crazy)…Hall of Fame college basketball coaches John Thompson (Georgetown Hoyas), Eddie Sutton (Kentucky Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks), Lute Olson (Arizona Wildcats), & Lou Henson (Illinois Fighting Illini), & Billy Tubbs (Oklahoma Sooners)… former FBI Director William Sessions & former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft…world renowned golf course designer Pete Dye… fashion designer Pierre Cardin… famed TV executive Fred Silverman…former MLB players Bob Gibson (St. Louis Cardinals), Tom Seaver (New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds), Joe Morgan (Cincinnati Reds), Phil Niekro (Atlanta Braves), Lou Brock (Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals), Don Larsen (New York Yankees), Tony Fernandez (Toronto Blue Jays), Claudell Washington (Atlanta Braves, Oakland Athletics), Whitey Ford (New York Yankees), & Dick Allen (Philadelphia Phillies)… Joe Clark (school principal depicted in the film Lean On Me)… songwriters Phil Phillips (Sea of Love), Kenny Young (Under the Boardwalk), & Johnny Nash (I Can See Clearly Now)…former NFL players Gale Sayers (Chicago Bears), Paul Hornung (Green Bay Packers), Chris Doleman (Minnesota Vikings), Willie Wood (Green Bay Packers), Tom Dempsey (New Orleans Saints), Bobby Mitchell (Washington Redskins), Tarvaris Jackson (Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings), Willie Davis (Green Bay Packers), Reche Caldwell (San Diego Chargers, Washington Redskins), Jim Kiick (Miami Dolphins), Carleton Haselrig (Pittsburgh Steelers), Fred Dean (San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers), Herb Adderley (Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys), Lorenzo Taliaferro (Baltimore Ravens), & Kevin Greene (Pittsburgh Steelers)… Rep. John Lewis (Georgia)…former NBA Commissioner David Stern…Mad magazine artist Mort Drucker… broadcasters & Miss Americas (1971) Phyllis George & (1993) Leanza Cornett… scandalous teacher Mary Kay Letourneau…actors Kirk Douglas (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Spartacus), Sean Connery (portrayed James Bond in seven films), Jerry Stiller (Seinfeld, King of Queens), Fred Willard (This Is Spinal Tap, Best in Show, Anchorman, American Wedding, Real People), Chadwick Boseman (Draft Day, 42, Black Panther), Buck Henry (Saturday Night Live, Grumpy Old Men), Jack Burns (The Andy Griffith Show), John Karlen (Cagney & Lacey), Terry Jones (Monty Python), Edd Byrnes (Grease), Orson Bean (Being John Malkovich, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman), Robert Conrad (The Wild Wild West), Roscoe Born (One Life to Live, Santa Barbara), Max Von Sydow (The Greatest Story Ever Told), Lyle Waggoner (Wonder Woman, The Carol Burnett Show), David Schramm (Wings), Brian Dennehy (First Blood, Tommy Boy, Presumed Innocent), Ken Osmond (Leave it to Beaver), Sir Ian Holm (Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit trilogies), Richard Herd (TJ Hooker, Seinfeld), Wilford Brimley (Cocoon, The Natural, Our House), Raymond Allen (Sanford & Son), Trini Lopez (The Dirty Dozen), Kevin Dobson (Knots Landing), Tiny Lister (No Holds Barred), & David Lander (Laverne & Shirley)…famed businessman Jack Welch (former Chairman & CEO of General Electric) & Sumner Redstone (Chairman Emeritus of Viacom)…former Chicago Bears executive Michael McCaskey…editor Christopher Tolkien (son of The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien)…pro wrestlers Pat Patterson, Road Warrior Animal, Kamala the Ugandan Giant, Rocky Johnson, Bullet Bob Armstrong, Rip Oliver, Shad Gaspard, Mr. Wrestling II, Killer Tim Brooks, Danny Hodge, Brodie Lee, Tracy Smothers, and ring announcers Howard Finkel & Joe Pedicino…New York Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner… former NY City Mayor David Dinkins… astrologer Jackie Stallone (mother of Sylvester & Frank)…former NBA players Tommy Heinsohn (Boston Celtics) & Clifford Robinson (Portland Trailblazers)

 

 

 

2019

 

businessman & former Presidential candidate Ross Perot…Vera Clemente (widow of baseball HOFer Roberto Clemente…TV producer Lee Mendelson (A Charlie Brown Christmas, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown)…radio shock jock Don Imus…comedian Rip Taylor…renowned auto executive Lee Iacocca…NASCAR team owners J. D. Gibbs (co-owner of Joe Gibbs Racing & son of legendary football coach Joe Gibbs), Junior Johnson, & Glen Wood (co-founder of Wood Brothers Racing)…Wild Kingdom co-host Jim Fowler…actresses Carol Channing (Hello Dolly), Valerie Harper (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, Valerie), Verna Bloom (Animal House), Julie Adams (The Andy Griffith Show), Carmen Duncan (Another World), Katherine Helmond (Soap, Who’s the Boss?), Diahann Carroll (Dynasty), Georgia Engel (The Mary Tyler Moore Show), & Peggy Lipton (The Mod Squad)…authors Herman Wouk (The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War), Jean Edward Smith (noted political biographer), W. E. B. Griffin (military fiction), & Toni Morrison (Beloved)…directors Stanley Donen (Singin’ in the Rain), John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood, 2 Fast 2 Furious), & Franco Zeffirelli (Romeo & Juliet)…former NFL players Bart Starr (Green Bay Packers), Wade Wilson (Oakland Raiders), Sam Davis (Pittsburgh Steelers), Bob Kuechenberg (Miami Dolphins), Turk Schonert (Cincinnati Bengals), Russell Gary (Philadelphia Eagles), Eric Moss (Minnesota Vikings), Forrest Gregg (Green Bay Packers), Willie Brown (Oakland Raiders), Charles Rogers (Detroit Lions), Reggie Cobb (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Gino Marchetti (Baltimore Colts), Jared Lorenzen (New York Giants), Cedric Benson (Chicago Bears), & Cliff Branch (Oakland Raiders)…consumer reporter David Horowitz…prominent business executives T. Boone Pickens & Barron Hilton…Oscar winning composer André Previn (Porgy & Bess, My Fair Lady)…former U.S. Surgeon General  Robert N. McClelland…pro sports team owners Larry Weinberg (Portland Trailblazers), Bill Bidwill (Arizona Cardinals), & Pat Bowlen (Denver Broncos)…infamous game show contestant Charles Van Doren…former public officials Senator & Governor of South Carolina Fritz Hollings, US Senator (Indiana) Richard Luger, Congressman John Dingell (Michigan), Congressman John Conyers (Michigan), Senator & Congressman Thad Cochran (Mississippi), Congressman Elijah Cummings (Maryland)…sportscasters Jack Whitaker, Rod Bramblett (Auburn Tigers), & Chet Coppock… actors Tim Conway (The Carol Burnett Show),  Bill Macy (Maude), Albert Finney (Scrooge [1970], Murder on the Orient Express, AnnieErin Brockovich, Ocean’s Twelve), John Witherspoon (Friday), Bob Einstein (aka Super Dave Osbourne), Kristoff St. John (The Young & The Restless), Rip Torn (The Larry Sanders Show, Dodgeball), Nathaniel Taylor (Rollo on Sanford & Son), Morgan Woodward (Dallas), Jan-Michael Vincent (Hooper, Airwolf), Luke Perry (Beverly Hills 90210), Jed Allan (Days of Our Lives, Santa Barbara), Ken Kercheval (Dallas), René Auberjonois (Benson, Deep Space Nine, Boston Legal), Flash Jenkins (Fletch, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), John Clarke (Days of Our Lives), Peter Mayhew (Star Wars’ Chewbacca), Max Wright (ALF), Arte Johnson (Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In), Eddie Jones (Lois & Clark), Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner), Danny Aiello (Do the Right Thing), Philip McKeon (Alice), Ron Leibman (Norma Rae, Friends), & Peter Fonda (Easy Rider)…NBA Hall-of-Famer John Havlicek (Boston Celtics)…political activist Lyndon LaRouche…football coaches Hayden Fry (Iowa Hawkeyes), George Welsh (Virginia Cavaliers, Navy Midshipmen), Herman Boone (portrayed by Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans), Dick Tomey (Arizona Wildcats), George Chaump (Marshall Thundering Herd, Navy Midshipmen), Gunther Cunningham (Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions), Walt Michaels (New York Jets), John Ralston (Denver Broncos), Pat Sullivan (Auburn Tigers), & Darryl Drake (Pittsburgh Steelers)…musicians Eddie Money, Ric Ocasek (The Cars), Daryl Dragon (Captain & Tennille), James Ingram, Mac Wiseman, Peter Tork (The Monkees), Dick Dale, Earl Thomas Conley, Leon Redbone, Dr. John, & Dave Bartholomew…baseball legends Frank Robinson (Baltimore Orioles), Bob Friend (Pittsburgh Pirates), Mel Stottlemyre (New York Yankees), Don Newcombe (Los Angeles Dodgers), Bill Buckner (Boston Red Sox), & Jim Bouton (New York Yankees)…journalists Jack Perkins & Cokie Roberts…Hall of Fame hockey player Ted Lindsay…Beth Chapman (wife of Dog The Bounty Hunter)…retired golfer Gene Littler…former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens…pro wrestling stars  “Mean” Gene Okerlund, Les Thornton, Pedro Morales, Salvatore Bellomo, King Kong Bundy, Silver King, Moondog Rex, Ashley Massaro, Max Muscle, Perro Aguayo, Rick Bogner, & Eddie Marlin…retired NFL referee Red Cashion…economist & former chairman of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker…infamous marathoner Rosie Ruiz… fashion designers Gloria Vanderbilt & Karl Lagerfeld…champion boxer Pernell Whitaker… James H. Shepherd (founder of Atlanta, GA’s Shepherd Center rehabilitation facility)…former NASA flight director Chris Craft…sportswriter Don Banks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 3.20

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I ran across this lil gem…

“Cynicism can actually be damaging to one’s heart, according to the National Institute of Health. A study previously published by the agency’s National Center for Biotechnology Information concluded that cynical, hostile attitudes toward others can be connected to cardiovascular disease”.

I’m so screwed 👀.

 

 

“Speak softly & carry a big stick”. That’s a philosophy famously promoted by President Theodore Roosevelt, and I believe it’s a good rule of thumb. Unfortunately, with social media nowadays it’s really easy for people to not speak softly. In The Godfather Michael Corleone instructs his younger brother Fredo to “never let anyone outside The Family know what you are thinking”, which is another excellent maxim we should follow, but of course we don’t because there are just so many ways to let everyone know exactly what we think about any subject imaginable. I mention all of this because I see some common themes pop up amongst several of my female friends out there in cyberspace. Many of them are divorced and have been screwed over in one way or another. They talk about “reclaiming their power”, being fierce, & “straightening each others’ crowns”. They use terms like “gaslighting”, “my truth”, “mansplaining”, “self care”, “empowerment”, “patriarchy”, “narcissist”, “toxic masculinity”, & “lovebombing”. They’re really into being independent, strong, no longer staying quiet or falling in line with societal expectations, and being bold & fearless. Most are really liberal and all about being “woke”. Look, I’m not saying any of that is necessarily bad, and to be honest I prefer strong, intelligent, independent women. I am simply opining that constantly talking in those terms feels a bit disingenuous, as if a scared child is trying to psych herself into facing a difficult situation but not really believing in themselves. It also seems like such women kind of hate men, and as a man why would I possibly want to become involved on any level with someone who hates me?? I think most of us can agree that the old-fashioned notion of women staying home, being barefoot & pregnant, doing all the housework & taking care of the kids 24/7, and being submissive to their man is no longer appropriate, if it ever was in the first place. I would love to find a wife, and I would like that person to be my equal, my helpmate, my partner, strong, intelligent, and even a badass. But I’m not sure I could deal with someone who expects me to “check my privilege” (whatever the hell that means) and walk on eggshells in fear of offending her at every turn. Many of the ladies I see embracing these ideas are beautiful, successful, & strong. They are great mothers and fantastic people. They already embody the passion, courage, & tenacity they seem to desire so badly. Why would such a lovely & valuable treasure intentionally present themselves as unapproachable & morose??

 

 

Earlier this year I started binge watching The Office. I loved it. I enjoyed the Jim & Pam romance and fixated on Jim as my favorite character. Then stuff happened. You don’t need to know the details, but suffice to say I cannot bring myself to finish watching the series, and I freakin’ despise Jim Halpert. I’d run over that sonofabitch with my truck. Life is funny. Maddening, frustrating, & depressing…but funny.

 

 

So…do I believe there was all sorts of chicanery involved in the 2020 Presidential Election?? Hell yes. I’m not much on conspiracy theories, but I have zero doubt that The Left’s virulent hatred for President Trump led them to hatch a nefarious plot a few years ago, a plan they executed well enough. How did the global pandemic play into it?? I’m not sure. Was it simply a convenient disaster that they were smart enough to take advantage of…or is the truth even more sinister?? Who knows?? We’ll probably never get the real story, and I’m not the kind of person who will lose sleep or drive myself mad focusing on the whole deal. I’m certainly not the protest/riot type. I will just continue to quietly go about my business and lead my boring little life, enjoying what I can when I am able to do so. I certainly have some thoughts about America’s future under a new administration. Perhaps I’ll express those opinions…or maybe I won’t. Let’s just say that I have some level of concern about what is going to happen, but I don’t feel like it would be wise or productive to dwell in a place of negativity. My faith is bigger than my politics, and I have learned to embrace a “one day at a time” mindset.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 1.20

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 2.19

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

 

 

 

You may have heard about Operation Varsity Blues, the cheating scandal that’s been in the news lately in which dozens of well-to-do parents are charged with bribing ostensibly prestigious universities to admit their children. Two relatively prominent names associated with the situation are actresses Lori Loughlin (most famous for her role as Aunt Becky on Full House) & Felicity Huffman (formerly on Desperate Housewives & wife of more accomplished actor William H. Macy). I saw a post on Twitter about it and couldn’t help but be mildly bemused. The Tweeter opined that “I don’t understand why everyone’s so appalled with Lori Loughlin & Felicity Huffman. If my child was average at best and I had $$ to throw at a brand name college to give her that advantage in life, I absolutely would. So would 95% of parents. Sure it was shady but who cares?? Maybe redirect your moral compass towards more pressing world issues.” A few thoughts. First, I am constantly flummoxed by liberal hypocrisy. They hate “rich people”…unless they’re liberal actors/athletes/singers. This kind of rampant cheating, in which wealthy & influential individuals used their affluence to screw more deserving students out of an earned spot, should be prime soap box fodder for self-righteous libs. You can damn sure bet that if the culprits were well-known Republicans the liberal crusaders would be apoplectic, but because the two most notable names (thus far) are actresses from well-regarded TV shows it isn’t a “pressing world issue”. Secondly, the most amusing thing to come from all of this (thus far) is the fact that one of Loughlin’s daughters is the worst kind of Millenial stereotype…a vapid “Instagram influencer” (whatever the hell that is) who has admitted that she has zero interest in higher education outside of partying & football games. Yeah Mom & Dad…money well spent there lol. I am also blown away by the idea that anyone would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their kid into any non-Ivy League college, because everyone one of a certain age knows that in the grand scheme of life it really doesn’t matter, and the youngsters involved in this thing don’t actually need a degree anyway, right?? If the family is that prosperous & well connected and the offspring are really pretty they’re all set…no need for a college degree, and it is certainly unnecessary to spend so much money or risk legal consequences. The whole thing is just stupid. But somehow…just as with the illegal immigration debate…those of us who believe in the rule of law & doing things the right way are the ones with a misguided “moral compass”. Uh-huh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone is familiar with the old axiom “you are what you eat”, but I think we can extend that logic further because there are much more influential things than food. Perhaps it would be more appropriately stated “you are what you consume”. What kind of books do you read?? What kind of movies & television programs do you watch?? What kind of music do you listen to?? What kinds of people do you associate with?? How do you spend your spare time?? No one is saying that watching the occasional silly movie or engaging in meaningless frivolity makes a person lazy or stupid, just as becoming knowledgeable about specific topics doesn’t mean that a person is wise, kind, or generous. However, in general think it is a good idea to understand how what we consume can impact…positively & negatively…our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of intellectually vacant liberals…

There is a lot of chatter these days about Democrats pushing the ideas if a) eliminating the Electoral College, b) “packing” The Supreme Court with more than nine justices, & c) lowering the voting age to 16. Oh dear Lord…give me strength. Where shall I begin?? First of all, it is true that The Constitution does not specify the number of judges to be seated on The Supreme Court, and its size grew from six to ten at various times throughout the 19th century as the country expanded. However, since 1869 The Court has had nine justices. FDR attempted a “packing” maneuver in 1937, wanting the number of judges to grow to 15, but Congress shut him down (it all worked out okay for Roosevelt…he got his New Deal anyway). Isn’t it odd how nine justices has been just dandy for 150 years, but with The Court now leaning ever so slightly to the right & the very real possibility that a Republican President could have up to five more years to appoint another judge or two or three all the sudden Democrats think The Court needs to expand?? Secondly, the voting age was understandably lowered in the 1970’s from 21 to 18 because if folks were old enough to be drafted into military service then they should have the right to vote. However, a lot has changed in the ensuing years. For one thing, there is no draft anymore, so that logic isn’t applicable. My own personal opinion?? I would love to see the voting age raised back to 21…or maybe even 25. I don’t believe that young adults are…in general…nearly as mature or well-informed as they were fifty years ago. To be honest, I like the idea of passing a civics test as a requirement to earn the right to vote, but realize that’ll never fly so the best thing would be to keep the status quo. There is no way on God’s green Earth 16 year olds should ever be allowed to vote. I don’t even think they should be allowed to drive. I’d raise that age to 18 or 21 as well, but that’s a discussion for another day. And the big one…the Electoral College. This topic really gets me revved up. Unlike the size of The Supreme Court or a specific voting age, which aren’t detailed in The Constitution therefore opening windows for debate, the Electoral College is specifically written about. Why do Democrats despise The Constitution?? They’ve been hellbent on altering & eventually eliminating The Second Amendment for decades, and now, when a Presidential election doesn’t go their way they throw a temper tantrum. It’s like dealing with millions of apoplectic two year olds who haven’t had their naps. They need to get this thru their thick heads…the cultural elites in New York, Los Angeles, & Chicago do not speak for the rest of America. Just because you can pack a bunch of people into a few metropolitan areas doesn’t mean you make the rules. This isn’t grade school where a big mean kid can push around all the smaller children. I am reminded of a scene toward the end of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith when Anakin Skywalker turns to The Dark Side and murders a group of younglings. The United States is not a democracy, it is a republic, which means that we have a Constitution that guarantees inalienable rights that cannot be taken away by the government & protects the minority from being abused by the majority.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 1.19

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

 

 

 

 

I am willing to wait & see what happens in a few weeks when a temporary agreement to end the longest government shutdown in United States history reaches zero hour. There are some that believe that ending the shutdown at all without an agreement to fund border security is President Trump’s version of President George HW Bush’s “Read my lips…no new taxes” moment, and they may be right. Those folks feel like Trump caved, that he was outmaneuvered by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. On the flip side are those who are convinced that Trump has won the battle, that he has his political opponents right where he wants them. I must confess that I am having difficulty understanding that logic. Essentially what all of this seems to come down to is whether or not one believes that the last resort option that Trump has in his back pocket…declaring border security a national emergency and getting the money for his “big beautiful wall” by circumventing Congress altogether…is a good idea. Is it shortsighted?? Could setting such a precedent come back to bite us all in the tookas someday?? Could a future (presumably Democrat) President declare a similar national emergency and do something sinister like confiscate guns?? To be honest, I don’t feel intellectually equipped to tackle such big questions, but I’m not ready to push the panic button. Let’s see how this all plays out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have developed…well, it’s not a short fuse…let’s call it a higher standard for interaction. Whether it’s face-to-face communication or a phone conversation my threshold is about 15 minutes. After that my patience for tedious chatter or pointless babbling is essentially non-existent. There are people in my life who I talk to on a daily basis that tend to drone on & on & on for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, an hour…sometimes longer…and I just want to scream!! I can have intelligent conversations til the cows come home, but when faced with mindless blather I have started to become borderline rude, cutting people off, ending the conversation, or pretty much telling them they need to leave.

 

 

 

Liberals are people who, when confronted with facts & objective truth, will continue to push their misinformed agenda and false narrative. I wish I could just let that roll off my back and laugh, but I find it extremely irritating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spoiler alert…I am not thin, buff, or sexy. I know this about myself, and I’m okay with it. Would I love to shed some pounds?? Sure. Could I do a better job in an effort to accomplish that goal?? Yes. However, it is narrow-minded and completely wrong to assume that an overweight person is simply a lazy slob. I’m not going to make excuses, but there are multiple factors that determine a person’s particular body type. At any rate, whenever someone resorts to a fat joke or a comment about my weight during a…discussion of the issues…on social media I immediately know that I’ve won the debate because they haven’t got anything more cerebrally significant to add. On occasion I have been bothered by such insults to the point that I’ve changed my profile pic to a cartoon character or inanimate object, but mostly I’ve just learned to shrug off that kind of dumbassery. I recently ran across a Twitter thread in which a young lady laid out a clear & concise argument against President Trump’s wall & the whole idea that illegal immigration is even an issue. I might not agree with her conclusions, but I respect the fact that she presented a cogent case (complete with statistics) free of name-calling, foul language, & general nonsense.

The 2018 Sammy Awards – Part III

Greetings Manoverse, and welcome to the exciting conclusion of the 2018 Sammy Awards. If you haven’t already done so, please go back and check out parts 1 & 2, then we’ll meet back here.

 

 

 

All caught up?? Awesome. Please welcome back the host of our show, British comedian & talk show host Michael McIntyre!!

 

 

 

 

After some side-splitting comedy from our host it’s time to present our next award. It is a privilege for this show to reunite what ESPN never should have separated. For nearly two decades they made early morning weekday hours fun & informative for sports fans everywhere, and along the way they picked up five Sammys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award a year ago. They’re still on TV & radio, but the magic is gone, so it is wonderful to have them together again on our stage. Please welcome author, vociferous New York Jets fan, & the host of ESPN’s Get Up, Mike Greenberg, and former NFL defensive lineman & host of ESPN’s Golic & Wingo, Mike Golic!! And the nominees are:

 

 

Best Sports Story

 

The Tide Rolls Again

The 2017-18 Alabama Crimson Tide went 11-1 in the regular season and failed to even make it to the SEC title game…but it didn’t matter. The powers-that-be handed them a spot in the College Football Playoff anyway, and the Tide rolled to their 17th National Championship, their fifth in nine years with head coach Nick Saban at the helm.

 

Dr. Larry Nassar

Dr. Nassar was a physician at Michigan State University and for about 15 years served as the team doctor for USA Gymnastics. During that time he sexually abused over 200 young people, and after being sent to prison in 2017 for child pornography in 2018 he was convicted of sexual assault to minors, so he’ll be spending the rest of his life in jail and one can assume eternity in Hell.

 

Philly Wins The Super Bowl

The 2017-18 Philadelphia Eagles went 13-3 in the regular season, easily winning their division. They proceeded to cruise thru the playoffs and clash with the dastardly New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII (that’s 52 for all you non-Romans out there). What makes the story interesting is that starting quarterback Carson Wentz was lost to a torn ACL late in the season, so the Eagles ended their regular season and faced the playoffs with journeyman backup QB Nick Foles under center. Fortunately for Philly fans Foles was up to the task, and he even caught a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl.

 

The Olympics

There was a Winter Olympics in South Korea last February. Did anyone notice?? Does anyone remember a single solitary thing that happened?? I didn’t think so.

 

The Madness of a 16 Over a 1

Villanova beat Michigan to win the NCAA basketball tournament (aka March Madness), but that wasn’t the most interesting part of the event. Two other things stood out. Probably the most enduring image of the tournament is the 11th seeded Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, with their Gryffindor-esque scarves & 98 year old nun Sister Jean cheering them on, making it to the Final Four. But before that history was made in the first round when the 16th seed UMBC Retrievers upset the #1 seed Virginia Cavaliers…the first time a 16 has ever beat a 1.

 

Tiger Woods

Once upon a time Tiger Woods was not only the best golfer in the world, he was probably the top athlete overall. Of course we all know that health problems & personal issues knocked him off that perch nearly ten years ago, and it’s been a long road back. At one time it was a foregone conclusion that Woods would surpass Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships, but in the past several years most began to question whether he would ever win another major…or even a tournament. However, in 2018 Woods began to somewhat resemble his old self on the course, winning the Tour Championship in September, placing sixth at the British Open, & finishing as the runner up at the PGA Championship.

 

Ovechkin Wins The Cup

Alex Ovechkin has been considered one of the best hockey players in the world since debuting with the Washington Capitals more than a decade ago. However, his talent had not translated into post-season success, with the Caps being ousted early year after year. That all changed in 2018, as Ovechkin led his team to their first Stanley Cup.

 

The Warriors Beat Lebron…Again

The Golden State Warriors have faced the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals for four straight seasons. In 2015 & 2017 the Warriors won pretty easily. In 2016 Lebron James willed the Cavaliers to a Game 7 victory. What would happen in 2018?? Well…a sweep for Golden St. It wasn’t pretty, and really not that interesting.

 

France Wins The World Cup

Look, I realize that soccer is the most popular sport in the world. I know we Americans march to the beat of a different drummer. I have tried to develop an interest in soccer, but I just can’t do it. At any rate, Russia hosted the 2018 World Cup, and France defeated Croatia in the final. The United States failed to even qualify for the tournament, so any infinitesimal interest some of us might have had pretty much died before the event even began.

 

LA-Bron

After another crushing defeat in the NBA Finals it became clear that Lebron James wouldn’t be spending the last few years of his basketball career wasting away in Cleveland. The fact that he ever returned in the first place is a miracle because it is obvious that James’ relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wasn’t great, and that Gilbert doesn’t really have the means or the alacrity to put together a championship caliber team. Thankfully James’ didn’t make the same mistakes he made back when he initially ditched the Cavs for the Miami Heat in 2010. There was no “Decision” on TV. Whether it is the glitz & glamor of Hollywood, the history of Showtime, Kareem, Magic, Kobe, et al, planning ahead for a future after basketball, or the allure of working with team President Magic Johnson, it came as no surprise when Lebron James joined the Los Angeles Lakers. After a shaky start the Lakers are in playoff contention, although they probably can’t be considered legit title contenders at the moment.

 

Urban Meyer

2018 was quite the roller coaster ride for Ohio State Buckeyes football coach Urban Meyer. He was suspended for the first three games of the season after mishandling domestic violence allegations against a former assistant coach. The team fared well without him and looked like solid playoff contenders, but an October loss to Purdue doomed the Buckeyes’ playoff hopes. Meyer announced that he’d retire following the team’s bowl game due to a cyst on his brain that he’s been battling for years. From what I understand the cyst is not life threatening and isn’t usually a big deal for those that have them, but Meyer’s situation seems to be a bit more than a minor annoyance. He ended his career (for now) with a big Rose Bowl victory, and since he’s only 54 years old who knows what the future may hold for him.

 

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

The Philadelphia Eagles. It’d be tempting to give Philly the award simply for beating the hated Patriots in the Super Bowl, but the fact that they did it with a backup quarterback (who was named Super Bowl MVP) and used a fun little trick play called The Philly Special to secure the victory just made the story even cooler. Can history repeat itself this year?? Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Before we hand out the final award of the evening it is our pleasure to welcome one of the most talented singers in the world. His wheelhouse is old jazz standards made popular by crooners like Frank Sinatra, Van Morrison, Dean Martin, & others, but he has produced some lovely original pop tunes and is a must listen during the Christmas season. To sing a medley of his hits & personal favorites please welcome Michael Bublè!!

 

 

Thank you Michael!! That was tremendous!!

 

 

To present our final award The Sammys are honored to welcome the oldest presenter in our brief history. At 96 years of age she is still making us laugh, as she has consistently done during a career that has spanned eight decades. She has starred in beloved television programs like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls, & Mama’s Family, made frequent appearances on game shows like Match Game, The $25,000 Pyramid, & Password, and is a reliably funny guest on talk shows for many years. It is a sincere honor to welcome Betty White to the Sammy Awards. And the nominees are:

 

 

 

Biggest News Story

 

North Korean Summit

Back in June President Trump traveled to Singapore to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It was the first ever summit between leaders of the two nations. The two men discussed Korean denuclearization and signed an agreement meant to lead to lasting peace between their countries.

 

Another Royal Wedding

In May Prince Harry, the younger son of Prince Charles & Princess Diana, married American actress Meghan Markle. I’ll give the Brits this much…they know how to make a spectacle out of just about anything.

 

Illegal Immigration, Border Security, & The Migrant Caravan

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost, to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”. So goes the poem that is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. It is true that the United States is a nation of immigrants. No one is disputing that. The issue is how & where such immigration takes place. There has to be a system. There have to be rules. There must be accountability. America is a melting pot, and when people come here we expect them to adhere to our laws, pay taxes, become productive members of society, and embrace our culture & way of life. You can’t just sneak in, live anonymously, & take take take take without contributing while breaking any rules you don’t feel like following. President Trump’s promise to build a “big beautiful wall” along the southern border was a cornerstone of his 2016 campaign, and now Democrats refuse to greenlight funding for the project. The majority of Americans are in favor of border security, but it sure seems like certain politicians in DC are putting their hatred of the President ahead of the will of the people, and for a very long time it has felt like those same bureaucrats have cared a lot more about folks from other countries…like the thousands in the “Migrant Caravan” that have been heading for the United States from Central America for several months…than they do about the Americans they allegedly represent.

 

Thai Cave Rescue

In June a team of teenage soccer players toured a cave in Thailand and became trapped when heavy rains flooded the cave, trapping the entire team inside. For more than two weeks the youngsters & their coach were in the cave while a massive rescue effort involving thousands of people took shape. The entire group was eventually rescued, although one diver…a former Thai Navy SEAL…died in the process.

 

Trump-Putin Meetings

Just a few weeks after his historic summit with Kim Jong-un President Trump went to Finland for a similar get-together with Russian President Vladimir Putin. I’m not sure what was accomplished except reigniting media accusations of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

 

Justice Kavanaugh

When Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his intention to retire at the end of July speculation immediately began about his possible replacement. After President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals it appeared that there would be the typical political posturing but a confirmation was assumed. However, what followed captured the attention of our entire nation for weeks. 52 year old professor & psychologist Christine Blasey Ford stepped forward and accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a high school party almost four decades ago. Though her recollections are fuzzy, the story has more holes than Sonny Corleone on the causeway in The Godfather, & she appears to be about as credible as Milli Vanilli, the news media treated Blasey Ford like the star witness at a mafia trial. What should have been a slam dunk confirmation turned into an edge-of-your-seat drama, all based on specious allegations of what Kavanaugh may or may not have done when he was a kid forty years ago. I don’t believe for a second that Kavanaugh did anything to Dr. Minnie Mouse, but even if he made a pass at her or got a bit handsy, a) how come such allegations hadn’t become a thing as he was ascending the professional ladder, & b) should we really focus that much attention on something that a person did in high school?? At the end of the day the United States Senate decided that either they didn’t believe the accusations or that it didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of life. Whatever their thought process may have been Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed and now sits on The Supreme Court.

 

Parkland High School & Pittsburgh Synagogue Shootings

On Valentine’s Day a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, killing 17 students & staff members and injuring 17 others. The gunman was a 19 year old former student who had made numerous threats in the past, but everyone from local law enforcement to the FBI completely dropped the ball. In October a mass shooting occurred at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. 11 people were killed, 7 were injured, and the gunman was a 46 year old man who had posted anti-Semitic rants on social media.

 

Hurricanes Florence & Michael

Hurricane Florence was a Category 4 storm that hammered The Carolinas in September. Flooding was a bigger issue than high winds. 55 deaths occurred and the hurricane caused atleast $15 billion in damage. Hurricane Michael was a Category 4 storm that hit the Florida Panhandle in early October. More than 50 deaths resulted, and more than $4 billion in damage was reported in Florida & Georgia.

 

Mid-Term Elections

The 2018 mid-term elections saw the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives and Republicans retain their majority in the Senate. Overall, considering the relentless pummeling President Trump has taken from the leftist media & Hollywood elite since the day he took office it is somewhat surprising that the Republicans fared as well as they did. The next couple of years should be loads of fun.

 

California Wildfires

The 2018 wildfire season is the deadliest & most destructive wildfire season on record in California, with a total of 8527 fires burning an area of 1,893,913 acres. The fires caused more than $3.5 billion in damages and over 100 people died.

 

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

Justice Kavanaugh. I have said from Day 1 that the biggest reason I voted for Donald Trump was because I trusted him to make Supreme Court nominations more than Hillary Clinton. Nearly everything else a President does can be changed with the stroke of a pen by Congress or the next President, but the Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment that can shape our country for decades. There are oftentimes arguments & battles over nominees, but I don’t know if we’ve ever seen anything like what happened to Brett Kavanaugh. Only two people know what exactly happened at that party back in 1982…if anything happened at all. I didn’t find Christine Blasey Ford to be the least bit believable, and I am convinced that the whole debacle was a political hit job designed to destroy Trump’s nominee. However, IF something did happen to Ms. Ford and Kavanaugh was involved, then questions have to be asked. Why wasn’t this made public many years ago?? How had Kavanaugh gotten this far in his career if he is really such a scoundrel?? Should a middle-aged person be punished for being a creep when they were a teenager?? These are discussions worth having, because we need to decide acceptable parameters for destroying peoples’ lives. The Senate decided…for whatever reason…that, whether or not Brett Kavanaugh did something wrong forty years ago, he deserved an opportunity, based on his professional track record of success, to sit on the highest Court in the land, and now we prepare for the next skirmish.

 

 

 

 

 

evangelist Billy Graham…former President & First Lady George HW Bush & Barbara Bush…physicist Stephen Hawking…legendary sportscaster Keith Jackson… The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin…Hall of Fame pro wrestler Bruno Sammartino…comic book creator Stan Lee (Spider-Man, The X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man)…actress (Laverne & Shirley) and director (Big, Awakenings, A League of Their Own) Penny Marshall… TV chef Anthony Bourdain… retired NBA coaches Jack McKinney (LA Lakers, Indiana Pacers) & Tex Winter (Chicago Bulls) and players Hal Greer (Philadelphia 76ers), Jo Jo White (Boston Celtics), Clifford Rozier (Golden St. Warriors), & Lonnie Shelton (NY Knicks)…TV host Robin Leach (Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous)…retired NFL players Jim Taylor (Green Bay Packers), Bennie Cunningham (Pittsburgh Steelers), Tommy McDonald (Philadelphia Eagles), Dwight Clark (San Francisco 49ers), Wes Hopkins (Philadelphia Eagles), Gabe Rivera (Pittsburgh Steelers), Billy Cannon (Houston Oilers), Bill Fralic (Atlanta Falcons), & Ron Johnson (Pittsburgh Steelers)…former New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne…Pittsburgh, PA meteorologist Joe DeNardo & sportscaster Sam Nover….actors Burt Reynolds (Smokey & The Bandit, Hooper, The Longest Yard, The Cannonball Run), Jerry Van Dyke (Coach, My Mother the Car), John Mahoney (Frasier, Say Anything, Striking Distance), Harry Anderson (Night Court), Bill Daily (I Dream of Jeannie, The Bob Newhart Show), Donnelly Rhodes (Soap, Double Trouble), Louis Zorich (Mad About You), Frank Parker (Days of Our Lives), Mickey Jones (National Lampoon’s Vacation, Tin Cup, Home Improvement), David Ogden Stiers (MASH), Chuck McCann (mostly know for TV commercials), R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket), Verne Troyer (the Austin Powers series), Donald Moffett (The Right Stuff , The Bonfire of the Vanities, Trapped in Paradise), Herb Ellis (The Andy Griffith Show), Tab Hunter (Grease 2), Daniel Pilon (Dallas, Guiding Light), Robert Mandan (Soap, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Three’s a Crowd), Joseph Campanella (Days of Our Lives), & Ken Berry (Mayberry RFD, F-Troop, Mama’s Family) …authors Tom Wolfe (The Right Stuff, The Bonfire of the Vanities), William Goldman  (The Princess Bride, screenwriter of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men), Harlan Ellison (Star Trek’s “City on the Edge of Forever”), & Philip Roth (American Pastoral, Portnoy’s Complaint)…retired MLB umpire Doug Harvey…Hugh Wilson (creator of WKRP in Cincinnati)…infamous gangster Whitey Bulger…Weather Channel co-founder John Coleman…NFL player Edwin Jackson (Indianapolis Colts)…actresses Margot Kidder (Superman), Charlotte Rae (Diff’rent Strokes, Facts of Life), Peggie McCay (Days of Our Lives, The Andy Griffith Show), Connie Sawyer (When Harry Met Sally, Dumb & Dumber), Lari White (Cast Away), Nanette Fabray (One Day at a Time), Katherine MacGregor (Little House on the Prairie), Sondra Locke (The Outlaw Josey Wales, Sudden Impact)….former MLB general manager Kevin Towers (San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks)…cartoonist Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey, Hi & Lois)…retired pro golfers Bruce Lietzke & Hubert Green…musicians/singers Michael White (Thompson Twins), Vic Damone, Dean Webb (The Dillards aka The Darlings on The Andy Griffith Show), DJ Fontana, Vinnie Paul (Pantera), Daryle Singletary, Roy Clark (Hee Haw), Otis Rush, Matt “Guitar” Murphy (The Blues Brothers)…retired NFL coach Chuck Knox (Seattle Seahawks)…Steve Ditko (co-creator of Spider-Man)…former MLB players Willie McCovey San Francisco Giants), Ken Howell (LA Dodgers), Red Schoendienst (St. Louis Cardinals), Tony Bartirome (Pittsburgh Pirates), Tito Francona (Cleveland Indians), Bruce Kison (Pittsburgh Pirates), & Rusty Staub (NY Mets)…fashion designer Kate Spade…British distance runner Sir Roger Bannister (ran the first sub-4-minute mile)…disc jockey Adrian Cronauer (the inspiration for Good Morning Vietnam)…UNC Tar Heels basketball announcer Woody Durham…Pulitzer Prize winning political pundit Charles Krauthammer…professional sports franchise owners Tom Benson (New Orleans Saints & Pelicans), Paul Allen (Portland Trailblazers, Seattle Seahawks, also co-founder of Microsoft), Bob McNair (Houston Texans), Wayne Huizenga (Miami Dolphins, Florida Panthers, & Miami Marlins, also the founder of Blockbuster Video), & Alex Spanos (Los Angeles Chargers)… former U.S. Senator & Governor of Georgia Zell Miller and U.S. Senator & former Presidential candidate John McCain… television producers Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue, Doogie Howser MD), John Conboy (Capitol, Guiding Light), & Paul Junger Witt (The Golden Girls, Soap, Benson, Empty Nest, Blossom)…retired pro wrestlers/managers Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, “Luscious” Johnny Valiant, The Dynamite Kid, Big Van Vader, Nikolai Volkoff, Paul Jones, Brickhouse Brown, Brian Christopher, Matt Cappotelli, Chris Champion, Jose Lothario, Larry “The Ax” Hennig, & Big Bully Busick…comedy club entrepreneur Mitzi Shore…Pulitzer Prize winning sportswriter Dave Anderson…talk radio host Art Bell…Oscar winning director Milos Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Man on the Moon)…retired college football coaches Earle Bruce (Ohio St.) & Billy Brewer (Ole Miss) and basketball coach/AD CM Newton (Kentucky)…political commentator Ed Schultz…NFL coach Tony Sparano (Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins)…Tony Award winning playwright & screenwriter Neil Simon…former Marshall Thundering Herd QB Michael Payton…brewery executive William Coors (grandson of company founder Adolph Coors)…renowned sportswriter Paul Zimmerman (Sports Illustrated, The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football)… Audrey Geisel (widow of “Dr. Seuss” Theodore Geisel)…NASCAR Hall-of-Famer David Pearson… infamous brothel owner Dennis Hof (Las Vegas’ Bunny Ranch)… former WV Mountaineers assistant basketball coach Gary McPherson

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 6.18

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

 

 

 

 

I’ve really been trying to be better for the past year or so, but so much of the sociopolitical discourse lately has me frustrated with just how uninformed many people are and disappointed that critical thinking is in such short supply these days. I’m no expert on any of these topics and y’all know I’m not one to do a ton of research, but common sense doesn’t require much effort.

 

 

 

 

As mentioned previously I have no dog in the fight when it comes to Roseanne Barr and her TV show. I didn’t particularly like the original incarnation and had zero interest in the reboot. Having said that, I do feel like it was a classic knee jerk overreaction to cancel the reboot seemingly within hours of her allegedly “racist” tweet several weeks ago. And now, facing a hole on their schedule and financial repercussions from their hasty decision ABC has greenlit a spinoff of the reboot without the titular star, simply to be called The Conners. The remaining cast is undoubtedly talented (I’ve enjoyed most everything John Goodman has ever done), but my vibe is that the show is doomed to fail. The powers-that-be will never admit it, but a huge part of the success of the reboot last season was due to Roseanne Barr “coming out” as a Trump supporter. Much to my bewilderment conservatives suddenly became Roseanne fans, even though the show had never shown any legit signs of promoting actual conservative values. I guess in a world where almost every news & entertainment entity has spent the last few years attacking President Trump with a verve that even soccer hooligans would envy it was enough to have a celebrity publically be in his corner, so conservatives decided to back the show. Will those great ratings continue without Roseanne Barr?? Will conservatives have any reason to continue watching?? My guess is no. I think the first couple of episodes will do monster numbers as people tune in to find out how Barr’s departure is written into the story, but after that I predict steadily declining ratings. ABC will probably keep The Conners going for two or three years just to prove a point, but the truth…that the magic died in the brief few seconds it takes to type “Planet of the Apes”…will be self-evident.

 

 

 

During my childhood Little House on the Prairie was a regular part of our family’s television viewing routine on Monday nights. It was precisely the kind of wholesome entertainment that is largely missing from today’s more cynical pop culture landscape. The show was based on an early 20th century series of books by author Laura Ingalls Wilder about her childhood in the late 1800’s. I’ve never read the books myself, but their popularity & impact are undeniable. In 1954 the American Library Association created a lifetime achievement award for children’s writers & illustrators that they named in honor of Wilder. However, the ALA recently made the decision to remove Wilder’s name from the prize because of “problematic” language said to be offensive to Native Americans & African Americans. Allegedly “the Little House series depicts the difficulties faced by white settlers but completely disregards and often belittles the harsh realities faced by ‘indigenous people’ and black people living in Reconstruction era America”. That is basically a fancy way of saying “WAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!”. People defending the award’s name change say things like “just because something was common or popular at a certain time does not make it okay…mocking and murdering marginalized people has never been okay…it’s actually far from okay even though white supremacy and racism made it socially acceptable”. Yeah…right…whatever. Personally I think the whole thing is stupid. It shouldn’t be breaking news that societal norms evolve over the course of time, oftentimes for the better. The lives of women & black folks (because they’re not from Africa) have certainly improved in the past century, and that’s a good thing. However, I have a real issue with smug, self-righteous social justice warriors going around trying to erase history and diminishing the legacy of people decades or even centuries later. Laura Ingalls Wilder has been dead since 1957. Her books are even older than that. No one seemed to have an issue with them until now. Many would opine that our nation is now “woke” and that “it is important to reshape the narrative of what is acceptable because not everything that white America celebrates as a tenet of history is actually worth celebrating”, but I say that’s a flawed thought process caused by perpetual victimhood. Any minority children’s author given the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award should accept it with pride and respect the legacy of a writer whose cultural impact is undeniable.

 

 

 

The hissy fit thrown by liberals after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement was totally predictable…hysterically funny yet kind of sad. I have made no secret of the fact that The Court was my primary reason for voting for Donald Trump in 2016. With several of the Justices being rather elderly I knew that the winner of that election would get one or two and maybe even three or four opportunities to choose replacements that could transform The Court…one way or another…for the remainder of my life. I decided that I trusted Trump a whole lot more than Hillary Clinton with that kind of power. Last year President Trump seemingly hit a home run with Justice Neil Gorsuch, and now he has made another pick. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…as much as I’d like to see Roe v. Wade overturned I don’t believe that will ever happen, and the same sex marriage debate is probably too far gone now as well because I don’t see any way that Pandora’s Box can be closed without a huge hassle. However, I do think that any judge and especially a Supreme Court Justice should respect & abide by The Constitution, and I’m especially curious about their attitudes toward religious freedom and our Second Amendment right to keep & bear arms. At this point it isn’t about getting back what we’ve lost because of an activist judiciary…it’s about making sure we don’t suffer any more losses. I still believe President Trump will get atleast one more chance to choose a Justice in the next couple of years, and if he is re-elected in 2020 he will surely get a couple more, but for now let the debate about The Honorable Brett Kavanaugh begin. I’ve read a couple of things that concern me, but unlike my left leaning friends will reserve judgment until I have more information. For now let’s just say that my vibe is that this choice isn’t as much of a home run as it is a ground rule double.

 

 

 

I think I have finally figured out why Hollywood types are such radical Leftists. Their art & livelihood is totally dependent upon emotion. Folks who make movies, music, TV shows, etc. seek to stir the emotions of consumers thru that which they produce. Emotion is their currency. They are right-brained people who view life thru the prism of imagination, creativity, sensitivity, & feelings. Logic & reason isn’t really part of the equation for them. Most of what has caused upheaval in the past year or two comes down to decisions made based on cold hard facts, numbers, & rational results oriented thought processes, and they just can’t handle it. Not only do they not understand the rationale used in the decision making process, but they double down by reacting to outcomes with which they disagree with more pointless emotion. Look, I’m a right-brained kinda cat myself. In school I always did better in history, English, social studies, & music than math & science…or atleast I enjoyed studying the former more than the latter, which is precisely why I would never prosper in a position of tremendous power & authority. Such leaders have to make choices based on facts, probabilities, & objective goals…not feelings. This is the reason people scoff at actors, athletes, & musicians spouting off about serious issues. It isn’t that they are stupid…they just don’t know what they’re talking about.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 5.18

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Good information…..

 

 

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

 

 

 

Call it…validation…..

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

 

 

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

 

 

Speaking of phony…..

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2017 Sammy Awards – Part 3

Don’t you just hate when real life interferes with your faux awards show?? To refresh your memory please go back and check out Part 1 & Part 2!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At any rate, welcome back to the much anticipated conclusion of the 2017 Sammy Awards!! Our host Andy Cohen is rested & ready with some lame jokes and ample complaints about the cold weather.

 

 

 

To present our next award please welcome a former Sammys host and the straw that stirs the drink on the long running syndicated game show Family Feud…Steve Harvey!! And the nominees are:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Movie

 

The Founder

Michael Keaton stars in a biopic about McDonald’s “founder” Ray Kroc. However, the thing is…Ray Kroc wasn’t truly the founder of America’s most beloved fast food chain. The Founder details how Dick & Mac McDonald were running a popular & efficient burger joint in California when Kroc, an ineffective but ambitious traveling salesman, inserted himself into the mix. The McDonald brothers were happy with the status quo and had little ambition to grow the business. They had very rigid standards for running their restaurant and were unwilling to sacrifice their ideals. Kroc had a vision of McDonald’s franchises in every corner of America and was willing to do whatever became necessary to make it happen, including eventually freezing out the McDonald brothers from the very business they created. Watch this movie and you’ll never look at a Big Mac the same.

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Some people love it, a lot of people hate it. I’m somewhere in the middle. There are two overriding themes in The Last Jedi…”out with the old & in with the new”, and subverting expectations. While the cherished original Star Wars trilogy had three different directors just like the sequel trilogy will have, creator George Lucas seemed to have a unifying vision, whereas this new trilogy feels like it lacks any kind of cohesive guidance. The whole point of The Last Jedi is to toss aside decades of lore and destroy everything we always thought we knew about Star Wars. We live in an age of fan theories, online debates, spoiler alerts, & paralysis by analysis when it comes to entertainment, and in an effort to thumb their nose at all of that the filmmakers make a lot of questionable decisions. There’s an old 70’s R&B tune called Give the People What They Want, but the powers-that-be seemingly have no interest in doing that with this trilogy. Having said all of that, I don’t hate The Last Jedi. It is better than The Force Awakens, but that’s about as complimentary as I can be.

 

Sing

Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, & John C. Reilly lend their voices to an animated tale about an anthropomorphic singing competition. Essentially it is American Idol for animals. Cute but forgettable.

 

The Boss Baby

Alec Baldwin voices a baby with the mind of an adult who has been sent undercover by a corporation to figure out why people love puppies more than babies, or something like that. Animated films are tricky. Some…like the Toy Story trilogy…are written on a level that appeals to all ages, while others are the children’s film they appear to be. The Boss Baby is the latter.

 

A Dog’s Purpose

Based on a 2010 novel, A Dog’s Purpose uses doggie reincarnation as the jumping off point for a story in which a retriever named Bailey goes thru several lives and has an impact on multiple owners before eventually (spoiler alert) landing back in the life of Ethan, who had Bailey as a kid but is now an aging & lonely man. If you’re a dog lover you’ll enjoy the film and maybe even get a little misty.

 

Going in Style

Three elderly & financially challenged pals played by Morgan Freeman, Michael Caines, & Alan Arkin decide to fight back when a bank screws them out of their pensions. How?? Well, by robbing it of course, and you’ll find yourself rooting for them to get away with it despite the unscrupulous nature of armed robbery. There are some funny moments, and the charm of the three leads is undeniable, but the movie just doesn’t stand out from the crowd.

 

The House

Will Ferrell & Amy Poehler star as suburban parents of an intelligent college-bound daughter who’s headed for The Ivy League. But when the municipal scholarship they’re counting on to pay the bill is pulled by the town’s crooked mayor the couple & their goofy best buddy hatch an absurd plot to raise the money by turning his house into a neighborhood casino. The plan goes hilariously awry, or atleast it’s supposed to be hilarious. I had higher expectations.

 

Baywatch

You may remember the 1990’s TV show that became a syndicated phenomenon. At one time Baywatch was one of the most popular dramas in the world, despite corny scripts & bad acting, and made Pam Anderson into an international superstar. The film adaptation subs in The Rock for David Hasselhoff, and borrows a few characters from the original television program. The plot is completely inconsequential, but the result isn’t as terrible as one might expect.

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming

I’ve not watched any of the Marvel films. Iron Man. Captain America. The Avengers. Guardians of the Galaxy. I haven’t watched one single second of any of them and have zero interest. I wasn’t a comic book kid and feel like I’m a little old to start with all of that now. However, like any red-blooded American I am familiar with the Big Three superheroes…Batman, Superman, & Spider-Man. Batman is my favorite…I love me some Batman. The other two I can take or leave, but I did enjoy the Tobey Maguire Spiderman movies a decade ago. I thought it was stupid when the franchise was “rebooted” with Andrew Garfield just a few years later, so I skipped those movies. But I was feeling a little frisky and decided to give this latest reboot a whirl. The story doesn’t cover any new territory, but the tone is light enough and Michael Keaton is great as the conflicted & relatable villain. The film is entertaining though not remarkable.

 

The Big Sick

Based on a true story, The Big Sick is an unconventional yet charming rom-com about a cross-cultural romance that hits a pretty big snag when the young lady falls into a coma. Holly Hunter & Ray Romano are really solid as the woman’s concerned parents.

 

 

 

 

And The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

 

None. Yep, you read that right. It’s not that any of these are bad films. They are all pleasantly entertaining. But none of them are epic. None are sublime. None are unforgettable. None are deserving of an award. We won’t be watching any of them on a lazy, rainy weekend two decades from now. Hollywood needs to stop being social justice warriors and put their deviant & divisive agendas aside. When a person pays their hard earned money for a ticket and sits down in a darkened theater with their popcorn, candy, & vat of soda they don’t give a damn about inclusiveness, tolerance, awareness, diversity, carbon footprints, empowerment, gender fluidity, safe spaces, or white privilege. Everyone may not agree on what makes a film great, but the desire for a quality, fun, outstanding moviegoing experience is universal amongst all sexes, races, political party lines, economic & educational levels, religious affiliations, & ethnicities. There are talented people out there on The Left Coast…brilliant actors, gifted writers, creative directors. We’ve all witnessed them produce splendid & treasured classics that we watch year after year, decade after decade, thru multiple generations. 2017 wasn’t a good year for them or us.

 

 

To present our penultimate award we are pleased to welcome to the stage an actor best remembered for his role as Chachi Arcola in the fabled 70’s & 80’s sitcom Happy Days as well as a 2008 reality show that lasted an epic eight episodes. Please give a delightful round of applause to Scott Baio!! And the nominees are:

 

 

 

 

 

Biggest News Story

 

Vehicular Terrorism in NYC & Britain

On Halloween Day in Manhattan a 29 year old immigrant & ISIS sympathizer from Uzbekistan driving a rented pickup truck ran down almost 20 people who were jogging & cycling on a bike path. Eight people were killed. A few months earlier, on March 22, another Islamist nutjob had run down about 50 pedestrians in London, killing four people, and in June a van containing three Muslims killed eight people and injured nearly 50 on London Bridge. Anyone see a common thread here??

 

California Wildfires

The 2017 California wildfire season was the most destructive in history, abolishing a million & a half acres of land and doing over $10 BILLION in damage.

 

Congressional Baseball Shooting

Since 1909 members of the United States Congress have played a charity baseball game every summer. In 2017, while practicing for the annual game, four people were shot by a leftist Bernie Sanders supporter with a history of domestic violence. Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise was shot in the hip and endured multiple surgeries, spending several weeks in the hospital.

 

Health Care

The battle over government-run healthcare rages on. In 2017 the House & Senate voted to repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate, meaning that by 2019 American citizens will no longer be forced to purchase health insurance if they don’t want to. So basically President Trump restored the freedom that is the bedrock of American liberty that President Obama arrogantly thought he had the right to take away.

 

Justice Gorsuch

Last spring Neil Gorsuch was chosen to fill the year-long void on The Supreme Court left after the untimely demise of Antonin Scalia. All indications are that Gorsuch actually respects The Constitution and has no plans to further a radical progressive agenda. Perhaps we can get 2 or 3 more just like him on The Court in the next few years.

 

Terror in Virginia

In August Charlottesville, VA hosted a rally protesting the removal of a General Robert E. Lee statue. Counter-protesters…aka Antifa…inserted themselves into the combustible situation and…to the surprise of no one with a brain…violence ensued. A 20 year old Nazi enthusiast from Ohio drove his vehicle thru a crowd of people, killing one person and injuring 19. But that’s not the end of the story. A statement about the situation from President Trump caused a collective hissy fit in the media because he didn’t say exactly what they wanted him to say in the poetic way that their deity Lord Obama may have said it, so Trump was forced to make further statements, none of which were ever deemed good enough.

 

Immigration

Immigration continued to be a hot topic in 2017. Some folks are still stuck on the romantic notion that anyone & everyone should be able to come to the United States seeking a better life, doing whatever they want however they choose while taking advantage of the bounty of opportunities available in America but not being held to any kind of pesky legal standards. Conversely, people with critical thinking skills understand that it’s not 1492 or 1620 or even the early 20th century. The world is very different than it was when Columbus or the pilgrims sailed here, and it’s changed dramatically since many of our great grandparents passed thru Ellis Island. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t still welcome tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, just that there needs to be a process executed properly in order to protect our nation from those that might intend to do us harm. It seems like we’ve done a rather poor job of that the past few decades, and I’m not sure why there is such resistance to tightening the proverbial ship just a bit.

 

Harvey, Irma, & Jose

Hurricane Harvey decimated Houston, TX in August, causing 91 fatalities and over $125 billion in damage, making it the costliest tropical cyclone ever. Hot on its heels was Irma, which caused catastrophic damage in Bermuda, The Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas, Cuba, & the Florida Keys. Right after that came Jose, which tore thru The Bahamas & Bermuda, weakened a bit, then did some damage in Canada & the northeast United States.

 

Texas & Vegas Mass Shootings

On November 5 a mentally ill Texas man walked into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX (not far from San Antonio) and shot 46 worshipers, killing 26 of them. The shooter had been court martialed for domestic violence while serving in the Air Force several years ago and was therefore legally prohibited from owning firearms, but a clerical error caused this not to show up in the background check. On October 1 a 64 year old former mailman went postal and shot over 600 people…SIX HUNDRED…at an outdoor country music concert from his room at the Mandalay Bay hotel. 58 people were killed, and there are still a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the tragedy. Predictably arguments about gun control ensued in the aftermath of these sad atrocities, but we all know there are more meaningful discussions that need to be had about our violent culture.

 

Sexual Harassment in Hollywood & Elsewhere

It all began with studio executive Harvey Weinstein back in October. A story broke in which multiple women accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and even rape. Then other women spoke out against Weinstein. Within weeks he was fired from his job and essentially banned from everything in Hollywood. And then the floodgates opened, with a plethora of famous men…actor Kevin Spacey, Today host Matt Lauer, Senator Al Franken, journalist Charlie Rose, comedian Louis CK, TV chef Mario Batali, radio legend Garrison Keillor, talk show host Tavis Smiley, Congressman John Conyers, just to name a few…suffering swift & harsh consequences after being accused of “inappropriate conduct”. How we are defining misconduct, what exactly the burden of proof should be, and whether or not there should be some kind of reasonable statute of limitations on accusations are all ongoing & fluid conversations. Everyone agrees that sexual harassment in a professional environment is wrong, but what I can’t seem to wrap my mind around is why so many people obviously knew about the alleged behavior of these creeps for so long but never said a word. There is no shortage of video & photos out there that prove that the Hollywood elite treated Weinstein like he was a swell guy for many years, so why now?? Did all of these people suddenly grow a conscience, or did it just become really easy to pile on when the alleged perpetrator was no longer in a position to put money in their pockets??

 

 

 

And The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

 

Harvey, Irma, & Jose. It comes down to numbers. Of all the big stories in 2017 these three storms combined to do so much damage, cost so much money, & affect so many people that they simply cannot be overlooked. It is important to remember that just because the news cycle moves on to other stories and these disasters are no longer in the headlines that doesn’t mean that it’s over. Entire lives are destroyed…houses gone, businesses lost, & memories washed away forever. It takes many folks months or even years to get back to any semblance of normalcy. So keep the citizen of Houston, Puerto Rico, Cuba, et al in your prayers, and if you have a few charitable dollars burning a hole in your pocket I’m pretty sure there are still entities taking donations.

 

 

 

To present our final award please welcome the First Daughter of the United States and a lively & bellicose former White House press secretary. Give a cordial yet pensive welcome to Ivanka Trump and Sean Spicer!! This is a special first time ever award and there is only one nominee & recipient.

 

 

 

 

 

Person of the Year

 

President Donald Trump

 

Some people voted for him, some people didn’t. A good many people really like him, while just as many seem to despise him with every ounce of their being. There have always been political divisions in America. Just in my lifetime Republicans have insulted, differed with, & opposed the accomplishments of Carter, Clinton, & Obama, while Democrats have belittled, thwarted, & disputed the ideas & principles of Nixon, Ford, Reagan, & two Bushes. But never have I seen a President treated with such malice by everyone from political opponents to actors & athletes to the not-even-pretending-to-be-impartial-anymore news media. Does he bring a lot of it on himself?? Probably. Donald Trump has never been a shrinking violet. He’s politically incorrect & not afraid to stand up & fight. That kind of take-no-prisoners attitude & his abrasive personality are both his greatest strength & his biggest flaw. Whether you love him or hate him, one cannot deny that President Trump was the center of attention in 2017. Entities from all walks of life were intent on derailing him from the moment he announced his candidacy a couple of years ago, but few thought of him as a serious candidate at the time. Then he went out and won the Republican nomination. Suddenly things got real very quickly, but even then the prevailing assumption was that he could not defeat Hillary Clinton in the election…until he did. Then finally he was inaugurated & took office in January 2017, and as the kids used to say, it was on like Donkey Kong. Even the inauguration was controversial, with various singers refusing to perform and disputes over the size of the crowd, as if that’s what matters to anyone with a brain. Right after the inauguration there was a Women’s March in DC where actress Ashley Judd and several others put their mental & emotional problems front & center for the world to see. There’s been an ongoing investigation trying to link Trump to alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, with no legitimate results…just the continued inane ramblings of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and others of her ilk. Then of course there was President Trump’s attempt at a “travel ban”, something that has been done before by other Presidents but was clumsily executed by his administration and predictably mocked by the media. I stopped paying attention but I’m pretty sure repeated attempts to put the ban in place have failed. Trump is criticized for almost everything he does, and his social media presence doesn’t help. A President being able to bypass the press and take his message directly to the people on a daily basis is fairly new for everybody, and the fact that he has no filter (and apparently no one in the White House to gently steer him away from trouble) has been entertaining, though not always in a good way. I’ve also never seen so much turnover in an administration in its first year. I’m sure it’s not unprecedented for a person to accept a job at the White House or in the cabinet and then resign within a few months, but it happened A LOT in 2017. At any rate, whether you love him or hate him it is indisputable that Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States, dominated the news cycle in 2017, and for that he has earned our first ever award for Person of the Year.

 

 

 

 

 

actor/comedian/telethon host Jerry Lewis…Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney…legendary comedian Don Rickles…pro wrestling manager & commentator Bobby “The Brain” Heenan…sportswriter Frank DeFord…actresses Mary Tyler Moore (Ordinary People, The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Erin Moran (Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi), Barbara Hale (Perry Mason), Darlene Cates (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?), Dina Merrill, Rose Marie (The Dick Van Dyke Show), Glenne Headly (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Dick Tracy, Mr. Holland’s Opus), & Ann Wedgeworth (Three’s Company)…sportscaster Dick Enberg…director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia)…game show hosts Chuck Barris (The Gong Show) & Monty Hall (Let’s Make A Deal)…pro wrestlers “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka, Chavo Guerrero Sr., George “The Animal” Steele, Nicole Bass, Ivan Koloff, “Outlaw” Ron Bass, Dennis Stamp, Matthew Anoai, Larry Sharpe, Doug Somers, Tom Zenk, & Smith Hart…actors Adam West (Batman), Bill Paxton (Weird Science, Twister, Titanic, Apollo 13), Jim Nabors (The Andy Griffith Show, Gomer Pyle USMC), Stephen Furst (Animal House, St. Elsewhere), Bernie Casey (Revenge of the Nerds, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), Richard Anderson (The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Forbidden Planet), Sir Roger Moore (James Bond), Miguel Ferrer (RoboCop), Harry Dean Stanton (Cool Hand Luke, The Godfather Part II, Pretty in Pink), Rance Howard (The Andy Griffith Show, Cool Hand Luke, Chinatown, Apollo 13), Earle Hyman (The Cosby Show), Mike Connors (Mannix), Richard Hatch (The Streets of San Francisco, Battlestar Galactica), Michael Parks (From Dusk til Dawn, Kill Bill), Powers Boothe (Red Dawn), Sheldon Berman (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Meet the Fockers), Jared Martin (Dallas), Peter Hansen (General Hospital), Don Pedro Colley (The Dukes of Hazzard), Joseph Bologna (My Favorite Year, Big Daddy), Jay Thomas (Cheers), John Hillerman (Magnum P.I.), Sam Shepard (The Right Stuff), John Heard (Big, Home Alone), Robert Guillaume (Benson), & Martin Landau (Ed Wood, Mission: Impossible)…basketball players Charles Shackleford (NC State) & Fab Melo (Syracuse), …musicians/singers Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Glen Campbell, Greg Allman, Mel Tillis, David Cassidy, Keely Smith, Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave), Al Jarreau, Lonnie Brooks, John Geils (The J Geils Band), Malcolm Young (AC/DC), Don Williams, Robert Walker, Walter Becker (Steely Dan), & Chester Bennington (Linkin Park, Stone Temple Pilots)…football players Y.A. Tittle (Baltimore Colts), Quentin Moses (Miami Dolphins), Michael Jackson (Baltimore Ravens), Terry Glenn (New England Patriots), John Thierry (Chicago Bears), & Cortez Kennedy (Seattle Seahawks), …political commentator Alan Colmes…famed boxing cornerman Dr. Ferdie Pacheco…Judge Joseph Wapner (The People’s Court)…TV announcer John Harlan (Name That Tune)…legendary college basketball coaches Rollie Massimino (Villanova) & Judd Heathcote (Michigan St.)…film historian & TCM host Robert Osborne…boxing trainer Lou Duva…writers Robert Pirsig (Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), Jimmy Breslin, & Sue Grafton…pro sports executive Jerry Krause (Chicago Bulls)…former baseball players & managers Dallas Green, Don Baylor, Gene Michael, & Ruben Amaro Sr.…NBA referee Jess Kersey…radio personality & wrestling announcer Rhubarb Jones…retired football coaches Spike Dykes (Texas Tech), Frank Broyles (Arkansas), Dick MacPherson (Syracuse), Frank Kush (Arizona St.), Sonny Randle (Marshall), Babe Parilli (Pittsburgh Steelers), Joe Tiller (Purdue),  Ron Meyer (New England Patriots), & Ara Parseghian (Notre Dame)…Roger Ailes (Chairman & CEO of Fox News)…Hall of Fame pitcher & former U.S. Senator Jim Bunning…former Nicaraguan dictator Manuel Noriega…retired golfer Roberto DiVincenzo…retired baseball player & broadcaster Jimmy Piersall…Playboy founder & publisher Hugh Hefner…NASCAR team owner Robert Yates…stand-up comedian Ralphie May…former NBA analyst Snapper Jones…former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl…Barbara Sinatra (wife of Frank Sinatra)…legendary horror filmmakers George Romero (Night of the Living Dead) & Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)…Augusta National Golf Club chairman Hootie Johnson…baseball players Lee May, Roy Halladay, Bobby Doerr, & Darren Daulton…gossip columnist Liz Smith…comedian & civil rights activist Dick Gregory…NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer…retired boxer Jake LaMotta (on whose life Raging Bull was based)…pro wrestling announcer Lance Russell…former tennis player Jana Novotná