Superfluous 7 – Dumbest Overreactions to the Confederate Battle Flag Controversy

As everyone that hasn’t been living under a rock knows, on June 17, 2015 a sick & twisted individual attended Bible Study at a predominantly black church in Charleston, SC and, after spending an hour studying God’s Word and praying with church members, shot & killed 9 people. The shooter was eventually captured and has been proven to be a mentally disturbed racist who was upset after being jilted by a woman (gee…I wonder why she dumped him??).

 

Those facts don’t seem to be in dispute. However, the aftermath has went in an odd & fascinating direction after a photo was discovered with the shooter holding a Confederate battle flag. Because the people in Charleston reacted to the tragedy with prayer & mercy rather than looting & chaos the media quickly grew bored with the story and had to fan the flames of controversy & outrage. What has followed in the weeks after the shooting is a concerted effort by leftists to eradicate the past of the American South. Even though The Civil War has been over for a century & a half and the Civil Rights Movement of over 50 years ago has proven to be successful, affording minorities opportunity & equality that they should have enjoyed all along, the shooting stirred up a storm that isn’t likely to calm anytime soon. South Carolina’s Governor began the snowball by asking for the Confederate battle flag to be taken down from the grounds of the state capitol. Unnecessary?? Meaningless?? Misguided?? Yes…all of the above, but also understandable. Those that say that this is The United States and that only our national flag and perhaps an individual state’s flag should fly on government property probably have a point. My only issue with it is that it didn’t seem to be a problem for years & years & years and for people to all the sudden be offended by that flag because of one photograph is disingenuous, reactionary, and ignores more legitimate concerns. Having said that, I didn’t have a huge problem with removing that flag from South Carolina’s capitol and whatever other government properties from which it was taken down.

 

However, after that things became really stupid and people have lost their freakin’ minds.

 

I think oftentimes the meanings of things can evolve and morph into something else over time. One can debate what the Confederate flag represented 150 years ago, and it is certainly a thought-provoking topic. However, I am more concerned with modern times, and it is undeniable that, for most folks in the past few decades, it has come to stand for southern pride, redneck culture, & the hillbilly lifestyle. To the vast majority of people who fly the flag, wear clothing emblazoned with it, or own any other associated knick-knacks and memorabilia it is not a “flag of hate”. It does not imply racism or a tacit fondness for slavery. It doesn’t even indicate a hatred for America or a desire for The South to literally rise again. It’s just a mascot, a logo, a harmless talisman with no sinister motives intended from most who display it. Southerners are generally some of the kindest, most genuine, eminently approachable, & good-hearted people one will ever encounter. As a whole they would not utilize a symbol inferring hatred of any kind. Most everyone seemed to understand this fact for decades…until now.

 

In his classic novel 1984 George Orwell wrote of the dystopian future that “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” We may be 30 years past Orwell’s vision, but we are beginning to fulfill his prophecies. Because of one whackjob who was upset about a woman a movement has built steam to remove all reminders of The Civil War, atleast one half of it. Why now?? Why were these monuments & statues & buildings bearing the names of Confederate generals erected many years ago and few have had any complaints until this summer?? One tragedy is enough to erase history?? I have to believe that there were legitimate reasons why these things were made or named in honor of certain people in the first place. What has changed?? Why were these things not offensive a month ago, a year ago, a decade ago, or beyond??

 

At any rate all that is a longwinded introduction to our intended purpose today, which is to recognize…..

 

 
from the home office in Appomattox, VA…..

 

 
The Superfluous 7 Dumbest Overreactions to the Confederate Battle Flag Controversy:

 

 

 

7 NAACP Wants To Deface Stone Mountain
I rank this lowest on the list because it hasn’t actually occurred…but the subject has been broached. I’ve never been to Georgia, & stone mountainheretofore the only thing I knew about Stone Mountain is that it is where legendary WWE wrestler Jake “The Snake” Roberts was from. Apparently there is an actual mountain there (well, it’s actually more like a knob or a ridge), and on that mountain is a sizable carving of Generals Robert E. Lee & Stonewall Jackson as well as Jefferson Davis, along with their horses. The piece was begun in 1912 but not completed until 60 years later for various reasons. Anyway, now the NAACP (itself a divisive, race baiting organization) is pushing for the images to be sandblasted away. Now we could go down the road of debating the strengths/weaknesses, plusses/minuses, & positives/negatives of Davis, Lee, & Jackson on an individual basis, and I am sure that there are knowledgeable historians that have studied each man’s life. But the issue is this…folks didn’t know those facts and debate the issue a hundred years ago?? How about during the SIX decades it took to finish the thing?? If the carvings are so offensive how come no one…during all that time…said “Hey…let’s just forget it and start over. Maybe carve some pretty flowers or happy little trees instead.”?? But now…all the sudden…40 years after its completion…it is offensive?? May I humbly suggest that what has really changed is that our culture wasn’t so infested with politically correct, perpetually offended pansies back then.

 

6 Tom Petty & Bubba Watson Selling Out
pettyIt’s no surprise that Tom Petty is a wussified, angst-ridden, tookas kissing opportunist. Actually it’s more surprising that Tom Petty is alive and people are still paying to hear him sing. Who knew?? At any rate, in a pathetic attempt to remember what it was like to be relevant, Petty recently told Rolling Stone (that’s something called a magazine kids…we used to read them in the old days) that he regrets utilizing the Confederate battle flag as stage décor & album art…30 years ago. Really dude?? No one cares. I can’t remember what I had for dinner yesterday, let alone what some record had on its cover in the 80’s. Get over yourself…you’re not that important. And then there is Bubba Watson, a decent pro golfer and alleged fellow fan of The Dukes of Hazzard. In fact, Bubba was such a big fan that in 2012 he paid $110k for one of the show’s approximately 300 General Lee cars. Specifically he purchased one of the earliest General Lees, the one that is seen jumping over a police car in the opening credits (it’s a scene from the very first episode). But now…because of all the hoopla…Bubba says that he will paint over the rebel flag on top of the car, replacing it with the American flag. That’d be like owning an original Batmobile and painting it green, or replacing the gull-winged doors on a Back to the Future DeLorean with standard doors. There are less than 20 original General Lees left. Regardless of one’s bubbaopinion of the show it is indisputable that the car is a valuable piece of memorabilia, cherished by collectors all over the world. Maybe Watson is receiving heat from sponsors. I get it. But for the love of God if he is that weakminded then sell the vehicle…don’t destroy it & make it just another worthless car. To my knowledge he hasn’t followed thru with the paint job yet so there is still time to do the right thing. However, as things stand I must say that, though I’m not really a believer in karma, I smiled when Bubba Watson recently missed the cut at The British Open.

 

5 Amazon & Walmart No Longer Selling Flag Merchandise
amazonThis is what really got the crazy train rolling. Did, as one customer service rep reportedly told a customer, the federal government “encourage” Amazon to remove all Confederate flag related merchandise from its site?? We’ll probably never know. WalMart is based in Arkansas and for years has been the mothership of lowbrow redneck culture, so for them to fold like a cheap suit and remove flag related products was truly shocking. I’m not a boycotting kind of person because I just don’t believe that such movements are effective. Like so many big corporations these days Amazon & WalMart are so gargantuan that it would take a truly focused & united effort to negatively impact their bottom line, and the American people can rarely reach a consensus like that these days. I shop at both places regularly and am unlikely to stop doing so, but nonetheless I am extremely disappointed in their decision to remove clothing & other items adorned with the Confederate flag (even though I’ve never owed any walmartof those things anyway). It is the textbook definition of pandering, and from a business standpoint makes no sense at all. Sure there’ll be some that will applaud the decision which will earn both companies some PR brownie points, but that is a short term benefit. I wouldn’t be surprised if both entities quietly add flag merchandise back into their inventory in the future, once all this controversy simmers down.

 

4 #NoFlaggingChallenge
Someone is going to get hurt. There is just no way around it. Apparently some mental giant started this idea on Twitter, daring people twitterto invade others’ private property and remove Confederate flags from vehicles, homes, etc. Thankfully it doesn’t seem to have caught fire like the Ice Bucket Challenge or The Macarena, but I have seen a few videos where folks have actually done this. Most adults know that two wrongs don’t make a right, so no matter how much a person might hate the Confederate flag (probably because the media told you to) it is absolutely insane to think it is okay to violate someone else’s property, committing theft or vandalism in the process. Anyone doing so is a misguided punk, and I sincerely hope as many as possible are arrested. That is atleast a better option than getting beaten into a bloody pulp.

 

3 Man Calls Cops On Antique Store
A typical 21st century American male (that is to say wussified & emasculated…probably a fan of One Direction and an avid viewer of fleaThe Bachelor) was recently shopping at a flea market in Connecticut. That flea market happened to have for sale both Confederate flag & Nazi memorabilia. I will not defend Nazi merchandise. That’s a bit much even for me. However, had most people with an ounce of sense encountered the same situation we would have likely done one of three things: a) ignore the items, b) complain to whoever is in charge of the flea market, or c) leave & take our business elsewhere. This idiot chose Option D…he called the police. Now folks, I know law enforcement has taken it on the chin a bit lately for various reasons, but I still hold most cops in the highest regard. I’m not sure what kind of thuggery & delinquency occurs most often in Connecticut, but I feel confident in saying that their ladies & gentlemen in blue probably have more important matters to deal with than a moron at a flea market offended by items he is under no duress to buy. Needless to say no charges were filed because, as the United States is still a free country (for now), the flea market can sell whatever legal items it wants, no matter who might be upset by them. As a matter of fact what should have happened is the prompt incarceration of the shopper himself (who was apparently so distraught he was shaking & almost vomited…seriously) for wasting the taxpayers’ money & the police’s time.

 

2 Taking The Dukes of Hazzard Off TV
dukes3I thought for sure this would take the top spot because it is the one that has angered me the most. I am from West Virginia, and my feelings for my home state are ambivalent at best. The economic & entertainment environment here is bleak to say the least, and if I had been wiser & more brave I would have escaped this Appalachian abyss two decades ago. To that end I have never embraced the whole redneck/hillbilly thing because I am a little embarrassed by it. I get tired of the jokes & preconceived notions. Everyone I know wears shoes & has indoor plumbing. I am not only literate but college educated. We don’t all sit around drinking moonshine and I have never met anyone that has been intimate with their cousin or any other close family member. Having said all that, there are a few southern conceits that I happily embrace. When I was a kid I LOVED The Dukes of Hazzard. I faithfully watched it every Friday night. As an adult I realize that the show was a bit hokey and the production values not great, but I also appreciate even more the homespun southern morals it espoused. The Dukes of Hazzard wasn’t violent, the good guys always won, it was sexually tame (Daisy Duke’s short shorts are nothing compared to the filth we see on TV now), there were no drugs, & even the villains (Boss Hogg & Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane) weren’t all that bad. The show was good clean fun. Like many other television shows I grew up watching, The Dukes, along with other beloved classics like The Andy Griffith Show, The Golden Girls, The Brady Bunch, & Cheers, have continued to entertain us decades after their first run airing thanks to syndicated reruns, and I would still rather watch an episode of The Dukes any day than most of the crap that is currently popular. Unfortunately, as of a few weeks ago, that isn’t as easy as it used to be. Why?? Because one of the main “characters” on the show is a really cool car called The General Lee that happens to have a Confederate battle flag painted on its top. This is suddenly, three decades after the show ended its original run as one of the most popular shows in the country, considered offensive. Lunacy!! glYou want to take the flag down from a government building?? Okay, fine. But to somehow catch a TELEVISION SHOW in the web of politically correct fascism is beyond stupid. The Dukes of Hazzard is undeniably one of the least offensive programs of all time, yet TV Land & other channels have bent over and kissed the…feet…of the perpetually offended leftist minority that is ruining the America I knew & loved. Anyone who ever watch The Dukes of Hazzard would have to honestly say that it wasn’t at all bigoted or racist. It was a spaghetti western with fast cars instead of horses. Good triumphed over evil…always. Family, community, respect, friendship, helping out your neighbors, doing the right thing…that’s what the show was about. Yet because a few people have become upset about a vehicle’s paint job the powers-that-be have taken the program off the air. Seriously people…that’s messed up.

 

1 Desecrating the Grave of Nathan Bedford Forrest
I am a huge fan of the 1994 Oscar winning film Forrest Gump. In that movie the dimwitted main character mentions that he was forrestnamed after Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Forrest was also a lieutenant general in the Confederate army. A few weeks ago the city council in Memphis, TN voted to DIG UP THE REMAINS of Forrest & his wife from a park in the city. Full disclosure…the remains have been dug up before, relocated from their original cemetery lots and moved to the park in 1904, which at the time had been named in Forrest’s honor. However, I am not a fan of desecrating graves, especially for reasons involving idiotic political correctness. Look, no one is defending The Klan. Well, I’m not anyway. There might be some that would. But I think it is so wrong to be digging up graves, no matter who the person is or what they might have done. And here is the kicker. Forrest condemned The Klan a decade before his death and called for its disbandment. This is particularly interesting to West Virginians like myself, who constantly hear so many defending the late Senator Robert C. Byrd, himself a former Klansman who had called black folks “mongrels”. “But but but…Byrd “evolved” on the issue and regretted his Klan history!!” Well…apparently so did Nathan Bedford Forrest. Let’s be clear…I am not saying that Forrest was a good guy. I am simply pointing out an obvious double standard and opining that desecrating a grave for almost any reason is disrespectful & wrong. You’re mileage may vary and that’s okay.

The Inaugural Sammy Awards – 2010 Edition

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



Best Movie (That I’ve Actually Seen)



Hot Tub Time Machine

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



Shrek 4Ever After

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



Grown-Ups

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



Toy Story 3

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



The Social Network

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



And The Sammy goes to…..



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




Assclown of the Year



Jay Leno

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



Barack Hussein Obama, Nancy Pelosi, & Harry Reid

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



Jim Joyce

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



Ben Roethlisberger

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



Tiger Woods

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



Lebron James

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



And The Sammy goes to…..



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



Best TV Show



The Big Bang Theory

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



Mike & Mike in the Morning

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



Entourage

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



How I Met Your Mother

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



Pawn Stars

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



Hawaii-Five-0

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



And The Sammy goes to…..


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





Best Water Cooler Topic



Twilight

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



The Late Night Wars

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



The End of Lost

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



World Cup Soccer

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



Sandra Bullock/Jesse James Split

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


Apple’s iPhone 4 & iPad

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



True Blood

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



Oprah’s Final Season

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



Bristol Palin on DWTS

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



And The Sammy goes to…..


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




Biggest News Story



The Haiti Earthquake

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



Unemployment

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



The Gulf Oil Spill

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



Obamacare/National Health Care Reform

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



The Death of Senator Robert C. Byrd

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



The Tea Party

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



2010 Midterm Election

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



The Ground Zero Mosque

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



End of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell

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



The Arizona Immigration Law

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



TSA Groping Controversy

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



And The Sammy goes to…..



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




The Rosie O’Donnell Memorial Just Go Away Award



Justin Bieber

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



Glee

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



Kim Kardashian

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



Jersey Shore

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



Lady Gaga

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



Stephen Colbert

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



Brett Favre

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



Katy Perry

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



Twilight

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



Heidi & Spencer

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


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

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



Miley Cyrus

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


Lindsay Lohan

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



And The Sammy goes to…..



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



Moment of the Year



The Rescue of 33 Chilean Miners

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



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

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



Betty White’s Career Renaissance

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



Phil Mickelson Wins The Masters

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



The 2010 Winter Olympics

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



The Conservative Uprising

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



Zuckerberg Donates $100 Million To NJ Schools

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



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

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



3 Day, 11 Hour Wimbledon Match

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



The New Orleans Saints Win The Super Bowl

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



Glen Beck’s “Rally To Restore Honor”

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



And The Sammy goes to…..



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





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