POINTS OF PONDERATION…..EPISODE 2.22 

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

What is it with admins of Facebook groups?!?!?? 90% of the groups I follow are perfectly fine. They hum along smoothly, allowing fans of a particular subject/person/show/entity to enjoy content related to the topic that page was created to promote. However, every once in awhile you’ll run across some whiny lil dictator wannabe who probably lives in their parents’ basement & has toiled in a series of low paying, dead end jobs for the duration of their adult life, but now they perceive themselves as having some level of power & control simply because they help run a relatively meaningless page on a social media platform. It’s equal parts hilarious, aggravating, & pathetic. Get over yourselves. Your life is even more empty & miserable than mine, and that’s difficult to pull off. Just stop. 

While The Sickness & related madness seems to be subsiding a bit (here in America anyway…Canada, China, & Australia are evil personified that I won’t tackle right now), it’s still a thing to a degree. I saw a post from a local establishment looking to hire part time help, and it was mentioned that employees must be vaccinated. I scoffed. Now, this place has tasty vittles, and I’ve tried to support them occasionally despite the fact that I really should be consuming veggies & fish rather than donuts, but I am against requiring vaccines for no logical reason. Not to beat a dead horse, but when the powers-that-be create a vaccine that actually prevents the malady it is purported to avert, then I will happily roll up my sleeve & take it. When fully vaxxed people stop dying, then perhaps I’ll hop onboard. In the meantime, why should some small town schlub like myself or any of my friends & neighbors have to get jabbed to prepare & sell delicious pastries or work at any other low paying service job?? It’s asinine. 

Look, I’m not a woman (in case you didn’t know), but I reject the notion that only women should have or express opinions about abortion. Both sides of the debate tend to present extreme scenarios to validate their viewpoints. If you believe all of my conservative friends then every case involves a lascivious 16 year old flippantly looking to escape the consequences of her poor decisions, or a selfish woman who is too busy with her career or carefree lifestyle to be bothered with a baby. If you believe my liberal friends then every case is a sob story situation involving a 13 year old rape victim, a mother who will die if they carry the baby to term, or a fetus that has so many deformities it’s basically a vegetable in utero with no hope for any quality of life. While I have no doubt that all of these things do happen, I’m not sure they are the majority of abortion cases. We tend to look for easy solutions to simple problems, but few things in life are that straightforward. I don’t have any answers, but I do think it’s a topic worthy of intelligent, thoughtful, gracious contemplation. Can we manage that?? Are we capable of such civility anymore??

The older I get the more I appreciate total silence. I have multiple people in my life who talk & talk & talk & talk and freakin’ talk some more, all the while saying absolutely nothing of value in any way, shape, or form. It’s maddening, and quite frankly I’m completely sick to death of it. I find these interactions legitimately depressing, as they are indications of how terribly awry my life has gone. I almost wish I could move to the woods like Walden or find a deserted island like Tom Hanks in Cast Away (sans the horrific plane crash), except for the fact that I enjoy modern conveniences like internet access, streaming TV channels, & two day shipping way too much. Y’all have no idea how many times a week I fake falling asleep or lie about having another call coming in simply to get rid of someone who is completely wasting my time & testing my patience. 

Speaking of social media…

I recently unfollowed a local bar/restaurant’s pages on Facebook & Instagram because the family that owns the place almost exclusively  posts pics & stories about their kids & their vacations. Look, I don’t give a damn about your child’s birthday party or how much fun y’all had at the beach. Put that stuff on your personal page(s). I follow a business page to get their hours of operation, view the menu, check for deals, & find out who the entertainment might be next weekend. If you want to be perceived as professional then act professional. 

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

SUPERFLUOUS 7 – More Things For Which I Am Thankful 

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.  – Charles Dickens

Eleven years ago in this space I presented a list of 7 Things I Am Thankful For, and before we proceed it must be understood that I am still grateful for all of them. I lost my Rocco a couple of years ago, but otherwise everything is status quo. That doesn’t preclude me from recognizing other blessings in my life though, right?? In looking back at that little ditty what I am struck by more than anything is the sense of melancholy in the intro. I would like to tell you that I feel differently about life now, but let’s face it…many of us have had a tough path the last couple of years. However, I believe it is that profound sense of loss & disaffection which makes it all the more important to acknowledge those things in life that bring us a little slice of occasional pleasure. So, as I wish The Manoverse a hearty & sincere Happy Thanksgiving, please enjoy…..

from the home office in Pilgrim, TX…..

The Superfluous 7 More Things For Which I Am Thankful:

7 Books 

Full disclosure…I am not as much of a reader as I once was. In the past a 500+ page book was child’s play, but sadly my attention span seems to have diminished. I purchase books with the best of intentions, but one of the more…uncomfortable…questions I get periodically is “How many of these books (in my apartment) have you read??”, with the honest answer being “Not as many as I would prefer”. There is actually a Japanese word for people like me. Tsundoku means “acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up without reading them”. Having said that, I am thankful for the books I have and the ones I will hoard in the future. I am happy that…theoretically…I am able to amuse myself with a well written book. Classic novels. Biographies. Books about sports, politics, food, history. It’s all good. Read to your children. Encourage them to appreciate books. They’ll never go out of style. 

6 Home Health 

In the past I have written about My Unfortunate Incarceration of 2006-08. What some may not know…because I prefer to keep things pretty low key…is that I have been going thru a similar experience since the spring of 2020, but it’s a lot different this time around. Social media is a big part of that (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram wasn’t a thing 15 years ago), along with a couple neighbors whose help is so appreciated it cannot be properly articulated. However, I want to give a shout out to home health nurses and others within such agencies. No one will ever know the depths of despair I have sporadically found myself in this past year & a half. People have their own problems and don’t want to hear someone else complain. But atleast I’ve been at home. Except for a couple of months spent in the hospital & another facility at the beginning of this arduous process I have been able to slowly heal in the peaceful comfort of my humble abode. I am not where I need to be yet. I’m not sure if/when I’ll be able to return to the work force. However, because of home health visits a few times per week I am able to eat my own food, watch my own television, sleep in my own bed, and even venture out on brief excursions (yes, they are aware I leave my apartment occasionally). The situation has been difficult as it is, but I believe if I’d been away from home this whole time it might’ve broken me. God bless the whole concept of home health and especially the men & women out on the road every day providing such amazing care to patients like me. 

5 People With Mechanical Skills 

I feel like there’s a better way to frame it, but my brain isn’t coming up with the right word. Y’all know what I mean though. Some folks are just…handy. They are the friends/neighbors/family you call to help install, repair, set up, & troubleshoot if that sort of thing just isn’t in your wheelhouse, or if you’re like me and have physical limitations that make certain scenarios challenging. A couple of years ago I bought a new television and hired someone to mount it on my living room wall. My neighbor Bernie has helped me put together new bookshelves a couple of times. In the past few years I’ve had to call roadside service twice when I busted a tire. Every once in awhile I’ve got to take the truck to a local garage for one thing or another (we’ve all been there). My wheelchair was in need of some repairs recently so I called the place where I bought it to set up a service call. If you are the type of person who can figure out just about anything and does everything yourself then congratulations…you can be thankful for that self-reliance, knowledge, & good old-fashioned know-how. However, I think we can safely assume that almost everyone needs help with something on occasion, and I am thankful that there is usually someone somewhere who knows a whole hell of a lot more than me. 

4 Technology

I realize that it is fashionable to wax nostalgic for the idyllic “old days” when life was simpler and our perception is that almost everything was “better”. It is also en vogue to rail against social media, television, The Internet, and all manner of technological advances. I am not here to vociferously defend any of those things. They’ve all done their part in destroying civilization (wow…that sounds pretty dramatic!!). Perhaps life was better and/or simpler 30, 50, or 100 years ago. However, since we have all that cool stuff available to us we may as well enjoy it. During this global pandemic we’ve all been living thru I have observed many friends reacquainting themselves with nature and enjoying all that the great outdoors has to offer. To borrow a phrase, it seems to renew their soul. However, as someone for whom that kind of thing has never been a viable option…especially in recent months…I am thankful for my big ol’ TV, smart phone, & laptop. I have a love/hate thing going with social media in that comparing the awesome lives of others to my own existence can drag me down, but on the the other hand I enjoy keeping up with friends, watching their kids grow up from afar, and staying in touch with the outside world. It’s a fascinating dichotomy, but today I am choosing to look at the glass as half full and embrace the positive aspects of modern technology. 

3 My Local Coffee Shop(s)

I am not a coffee person. I do not require a cup o’ joe every morning to wake up. Hot tea is my jam at home, and I cannot remember the last time I even fixed a cup of coffee. Once upon a time (three ministers ago) I used to enjoy a cup or two before Sunday school or at Wednesday evening Bible study. If you told me I’d never be allowed to consume coffee ever again my life wouldn’t change at all. However, something happened during the Quarantine of 2020. Restaurants began offering curbside service. One can call them up or order online and when you arrive they’ll bring it out to your vehicle. It’s a dream come true for fat guys in wheelchairs everywhere!! Since I do enjoy a little variety I began (before I ended up in the hospital) visiting a lovely coffee shop (not Starbucks 👀) not too far from here. I order a sandwich or pastry and a cup of coffee online, pick it up, park somewhere, and enjoy my food & beverage. This past summer, when I regained the ability to be out for short periods of time, I restarted the practice. I can’t afford to do it often, but it’s a nice option every once in awhile, and eventually I had a revelation: it isn’t about the coffee. It’s about taking a drive, listening to music in the truck, watching traffic, & observing the energy in the town as I drink my warm cup of serenity. Going out for coffee feels less consequential & more casual than lunch or dinner. The coffee is a classic MacGuffin. It is simply an excuse…motivation to get out & about and enjoy some sunshine & fresh air. Some people go hiking or fishing…I go out for coffee. There’s a new coffee shop opening even closer to me very soon and I can’t wait to check it out. 

2 The Robinson Grand 

Living in a small town is a doubled-edged sword. I love the slow pace, (mostly) friendly people, familiarity, solid family values, relative safety, & reasonably low cost of living. However, I have complained for decades about the dearth of job opportunities & total lack of entertainment options. There’s not much I can do about the former, but the latter was alleviated to some degree a few years ago with the re-opening of the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center just a mile from my lair. I’m sure similar venues dot the landscape of hamlets like Clarksburg across the nation, but the RGPAC is ours and I’m going to brag on it. Originally built in 1913, it was the local movie theater when I was a kid in the late 1970’s & 80’s, but then a shopping mall came along & killed downtown. The Robinson Grand sat deserted & in disrepair for a very long time, but was restored to its former glory in 2018 (coincidentally by an old high school classmate of mine). Since then I have spent as much time there as circumstances, health, & financial considerations allow. I have enjoyed all kinds of cool stuff, from old movies like Beetlejuice & White Christmas to concerts with Travis Tritt, The Guess Who, & Chris Janson, to stage productions like Tony Award winning Once & community theater presentations of Annie and The Addams Family. The theater is accessible, the staff friendly & accommodating, and the entertainment top notch. I am reminded of a line in The Eagles’ song The Sad Cafe: “Oh it seemed like a holy place protected by amazing grace, and we would sing right out loud the things we could not say”.

1 Music 

When I was in school I played trombone in the band from 6th grade thru my senior year of high school. I’d originally intended to play trumpet, but since I am sitting down all the time and trumpet requires a lot of air it proved difficult and my teacher suggested the trombone. Anyway, I wasn’t that good & sold the instrument right after graduation. I never perceived trombone as being all that cool and harbored a secret desire to become a badass guitar player or learn the piano. A college friend attempted to teach me some guitar basics, but dexterity just isn’t my thing. I also enjoyed brief stretches in my church choir a couple of times, but as awesome as it’d be to be the lead vocalist of a sweet cover band the truth is I can’t sing either. At any rate, I am glad that I have felt a deep connection to music throughout my life. Novelist Aldous Huxley once opined that “after silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music”, and God knows music has been a good friend to me in good times & especially in not so good times. My preferences are eclectic, and I am extremely thankful for that. I don’t think I really developed decent taste until college, but in the ensuing years music has been such a blessing. I feel special kinship with the rock n’ roll of my youth, but also have an appreciation for classical, jazz, & blues and seek to become more knowledgeable about those genres. I may not listen to show tunes on a regular basis but delight in a good musical and marvel at the talent on stage. With the holidays approaching I will be immersing myself in Christmas carols & associated tunes. Thanks to my father I learned to admire crooners like Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin at an early age. Pretty much the only stuff I’m really not into is country & rap, although I find even some of that pleasurable. In the past couple of years I’ve spent more time than ever before listening to music and only wish that opportunities to enjoy live music were more convenient & accessible (that small town thing again). Henry David Thoreau said “When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest of times, and to the latest.”, which is quite profound yet understandable.

Connect or Disengage: Perspective on Social Media

By now most of us have developed a love/hate relationship with social media. What started out as a fun way to keep in touch with friends far & wide has somehow deteriorated into a dystopian experiment gone horribly awry, because that’s what humans too often do…we take something perfectly delightful and ruin it with greed, politics, envy, pettiness, & lack of self control. Some folks have the wherewithal to disengage completely, although oftentimes the people who leave are the ones with class, intelligence, good humor, & a moral compass. Isn’t it sad that the exact people who have something decent to offer to the medium, the ones who we really want to continue connecting with, are the ones we tend to run off??  Many that remain tread lightly because we sure don’t want to offend people who may disagree with our worldview, and God forbid we piss off the power behind the curtain that has suddenly become quite bold in censoring opposing views and using misguided algorithms to erroneously parse language deemed hurtful. 

Even considering all that, most of us choose to stay. Why?? Well, I think I may have the answer. I stumbled upon a post from an old high school acquaintance, and what she wrote pretty much hits the nail on the head, so much so that all I can do is second that emotion.

“Thank you for seeing me. I know people use Facebook for different things, and plenty of people might argue that the platform is unhealthy or biased or for ‘old people’.

I don’t love Facebook but I’d say the lot of you have provided more than half of my social need for human connection over the past decade, and moreso during this pandemic. So thank you for listening to my musings and sharing your majestic human stories with me. 

Thank you for the pictures and stories of your children, grandchildren, & dogs. Thank you for the videos of you roller skating, swimming in a river, twirling fire nunchucks, or jumping on a trampoline with your kid.  Thank you for sharing your moments of accomplishment, your railing rants, your art, your music, and your poetry. You guys are totally awesome as a digitally aggregated community that pretty much exists in my phone and my mind.” 

Can’t put it much better than that 🤷🏻‍♂️.

A few of you are friends, neighbors, & family that I see or talk to with some frequency, while many are former classmates or co-workers that I haven’t seen in person in decades. Some are acquaintances that I’ve met thru various social interactions and would enjoy getting to know better. Hell, there are atleast a half dozen people on my friends list who are dead, but it feels like as long as their Facebook page is still there they remain present in some intangibly tangible way. Regardless of how we met or how often we interact I hope you know that I’m glad for it. A year ago I expanded my social media presence to Instagram. All I do there is post memes. It’s less interactive than Facebook, but I find it oddly enjoyable. I peruse Twitter occasionally but it’s much less interesting. Ditto for Tik Tok. Sometimes I’ll run across a funny video or two, but overall it is overrated and God knows there’s little chance I will ever actually post a video myself. 

I suppose the point is that we have a choice when it comes to social media. Those that have left it in the dust have their reasons and I respect that. For those that remain, we can choose to get down into the muck and participate in meaningless arguments. We can choose to moan & whine about ‘FB Jail’, ‘fact’ checkers, community standards, and all the other associated negativity. Or, as my old classmate so eloquently states, we can be thankful for the connection, the stories, the photos, the music, the laughter, & the community. It’s up to you. 

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 4.21


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

 

 

 

 

Social media was quite delightful when it first began, but now it kind of makes me sad. Not only is it fertile soil for all sorts of misunderstandings & arguments, but too often it proves just how willfully ignorant some people can be. When that ignorance shows itself one is left with a choice…do I call someone out on their BS (thus igniting one of those unnecessary & frustrating squabbles), or do I take the high road and let someone wallow in their obliviousness?? Either way it is unavoidable that one thinks less of that person going forward and that’s too bad.

 

 

Am I the only one who misses former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany?? Biden’s spokesperson Jen Psaki is such a downgrade. It reminds me of when Prince Charles divorced Diana and married Camilla.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I rather enjoyed a thread in a Generation X group I’d recently joined on Facebook. The question revolved around fretting about whether or not we’d ever have a Gen X President. Quite frankly such things don’t matter all that much to me…I just want the best person for the job (something we Americans have struggled with in recent decades). Some mental giant gushed about the idea of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a possible Millenial President, and it took all my powers of restraint not to post a response that likely would’ve landed me back in FB Jail. I can’t even take fans of that woman seriously. If you cannot see that she’s a total imbecile there’s very little hope for you and I’d suggest sterilization. At any rate, what occurred to me as I responsibly interacted with more sane members of the group is that we Americans tend to prefer an older President (Joe Biden is the oldest person ever elected)…especially conservatives. Wherein there are exceptions…younger folks like JFK, Clinton, & Obama…they tend to be Democrats. One could probably do an in depth analysis of the reasons, but who has time for that?? It just seems like liberals are more slavish to the cult of personality, make decisions based on emotion, choose idealism over pragmatism, & value style over substance. They like political candidates who are charismatic and good public speakers. They probably couldn’t list ten legit things accomplished by Bill Clinton, but they’ll rhapsodize about him playing saxophone on Arsenio Hall. They will never admit that they voted for Obama almost exclusively because of the color of his skin and his oratory skills despite his total lack of meaningful experience. They probably can’t name many of his accomplishments while in The White House either. Joe Biden was elected (allegedly) almost entirely because of Trump Derangement Syndrome and not because of anything he’d ever done. Conversely, Republicans nominate/elect people like the Bushes, Richard Nixon, John McCain, & Mitt Romney. I’m not sure what to make of that.

 

Sometimes something is just funny. Simple as that. Nothing sinister. No deeper meaning…just humor. Parody, dark comedy, sarcasm, satire…it’s all good. Some things might be funnier than others, and what I find amusing may be different than whatever makes you laugh, but intent matters. One might not see the humor in what another finds funny, but they should atleast be smart enough to understand that the other person meant it in good fun. I find people who take themselves & everything else so damn seriously to be quite tedious.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 13.16

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

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s be honest…

If Barack Obama would’ve stepped in and convinced Carrier not to move some of its operations overseas and saved 1000 jobs in Indiana he trump2would have been hailed by the media as a conquering hero. President-elect Trump does the same thing and the story is flippantly treated with suspicion & thinly veiled derision. That kind of double standard is EXACTLY what led to Trump’s election, yet talking heads & other “journalists” don’t get it at all and just keep on doing what they do.

 

 

The older I get the more selfish I become, which I’m pretty sure is the opposite of how things are supposed to work. I guess I’m just tired of being taken advantage of & used.

 

 

quietRecently posted status on Facebook:   “How do you not have a boyfriend? I hear that repeatedly. Because men suck and I’m too sexy that’s why fucktard.” I resisted the urge to opine that you don’t have a boyfriend because why in the blue hell would any self-respecting man date a woman who has such a poor opinion of men. It’s not them…it’s you. Generally speaking I am opposed to using social media as a forum to whine & cry about everything that’s going wrong in life. I have not been blameless in the past and still occasionally have moments that poorly reflect on my character, but I have really made an effort in the last year or two to make most of what I post online be informative, entertaining, uplifting, or some combination of all of those things.

 

 

Have you ever watched someone do something and thought to yourself “Yeah…I’m just going to redo this whole deal later”??

 

 

fhI am much more saddened by the recent death of Florence Henderson, aka Carol Brady from The Brady Bunch, than I am by castrothe departure from this mortal coil of dictator Fidel Castro.

 

 

I have zero patience for people with no sense of humor. Lighten up Francis.

 

 

Jesus Christ deserves our devotion & respect, especially for Luke 23:34, when He pleads with God “Father, forgive them, for they do not know jesuslmbwhat they do” as He is hanging on the cross. I get annoyed when, despite numerous gentle admonitions, my well-intentioned but dim-witted neighbor knocks on my door EVERY Saturday afternoon and seems surprised that he’s awakened me when he KNOWS I work midnight shifts and sleep most of the day. I cannot fathom how I would feel or act toward someone who was KILLING me. Think about that.