Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

The other day on Pardon the Interruption sports talking head/jock sniffer/name dropper Michael Wilbon said that NFL teams are “like plantations.” Wilbon, who used to have some credibility but lost it when he started sucking up to professional athletes like Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson and others, now mostly defends athletes and brags about having dinner with them.

Anyway, he was trying to point out that owners don’t have the right to tell players what to say and how to feel just because they’re employed by them. While that’s partly true, the plantation comparison was terribly misguided.

Wilbon, let me give you a short history lesson, for they apparently didn’t teach it to you at Northwestern. See, plantations were places that were usually inhabited by slaves and the owners who held them against their will back in the not-so-good old days. Slaves were kidnapped, beaten and forced to work without pay. On the other hand, NFL teams are businesses with employees who are compensated quite handsomely to play a game once a week, and are free to work in the NFL or not work in the NFL as they please.

To conclude, NFL teams are in no way similar to a plantation.

Thank you. That is all.

Advertisements

We’ve all heard the arguments for and against the guys who are kneeling for the anthem – it’s unpatriotic, it’s not about the flag, it’s showing disrespect to our soldiers, it’s pointing out racial injustice, blah-blah-blah. Everyone knows where I stand on the issue (pun intended) because I posted a thread that got about 10-million freakin’ responses. Anywho, check out the jackass in the photo below with the “I Stand For The National Anthem” shirt and what he’s doing. This is blasphemy of the highest order, an ultimate sin and outrage to all true citizens of the United States of America. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that man is drinking beer through a straw.

 

How may of you knew the United States had a Flag Code? We do. I kid you not. Read on readers . . .

On June 14th, 1923, the National Flag Code was constructed by representatives of over 68 organizations, under the auspices of the National Americanism Commission of the American Legion. The code drafted by that conference was printed by the American Legion and given nationwide distribution. The United States Flag Code establishes advisory rules for display and care of the national flag of the United States of America, because damn straight it does.

We have a flag code that we all should follow and obey, being the good Americans that we surely all are. That said, we don’t always follow. I shall now give you some highlights of the code, along with some examples of how we blatantly disregard them. Let us begin . . .

All present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.

Take a look around you the next time you’re at a professional sporting event and the National Anthem is playing. What do you see? People going to the restrooms, guys and girls with hats on, concession workers doing a brisk business, people talking, couples with arms around each other, not to mention people yelling at the quietly kneeling players. And what about you folks at home? During the Super Bowl anthem, does your party stop as everyone stands respectfully with their hands over their heart? Just asking.

Factoid #1: In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Eichman that prohibiting burning of the U.S. flag conflicts with the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and is therefore unconstitutional.

Let’s move on . . .

No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations.

Did you read that? NO PART of the flag. Nobody EVER does that, right? And I’m pretty sure a football team doesn’t qualify as a “patriotic organization.” Still, check ’em out:

That’s just awful. Throw them out of America, man!

Factoid #2: Contrary to urban legend, the flag code does not state that a flag that touches the ground should be burned. Instead, it is considered disrespectful and the flag in question should be moved in such a manner that it is no longer touching the ground.

Huh. I did not know that. Anywho . . .

The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

Nobody would ever hold our flag horizontally, right? None of us have ever seen a giant American flag covering the entire football field held horizontally, have we? Sweet other of God! Sacrilege!

That’s a blatant disregard of the United States Flag Code, man. Just spitting in the face of America. Pa-thetic.

All men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.

Well, well. NO HEADGEAR, MAN. Somebody needs to tell this to Hank Williams, Jr. among others, amirite? Dude sang the anthem with a cowboy hat perched upon his noggin. And have you ever been to an NFL game and seen the unpatriotic shenanigans that take place? Hey! That Packer fan left the cheese on his head during the anthem! Un-American! Go back to Europe ya foreigner!

I sincerely hope they removed their headgear during the anthem.

The flag should remain in its original state and should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature. 

No way any good American would disfigure the flag, right? It has to stay in its original state! Wait . . .

Oh, and here’s a bonus photo of a red-blooded American patriot showing respect for our flag as some of his home team knelt during the anthem. That’s a real American right there, man. Respect like ya read about.

Dude, put your hand over your heart. Follow the protocol.

So, have you ever disrespected our flag? Unless you stand at attention with your hand over your heart every single time the anthem is played, whether you’re at the game or watching on TV, I don’t want to hear it.

During the anthem we have people wearing the flag as a shirt, pants and God knows what else. We have people downing beers, buying nachos, wearing weird hats and everything else during the anthem. Still, you’d better not kneel quietly and respectfully or you’ll be branded a communist and a outright traitor.

Let’s be honest. This isn’t about disrespecting the flag and never has been. It’s about racism and resentment towards millionaire athletes being uppity enough to use their position to take a stand.

God bless America. We need it.

So some bro created a cloud lamp that reacts in real time to the tweets of Donald Trump, because of course he did. This connected lamp is capable of reacting in real time to messages posted on Twitter, creating a thunderstorm every time a hilarious, self-congratulatory, delusional Trump tweet is posted. It’s the perfect gift for those of us who’d like a warning before a Trump Tweet slaps us in the Twitter Face, or for those who enjoy and approve of The Donald’s wacky, childlike antics. As for me, I’m going to purchase one and have the Looney Tunes theme song play with every Trump Tweet.

Photos and video below.

ggggggggg

So true.

So the Donald was absolutely eviscerated by those damn pansy-ass Hollywood liberals at the Emmy Awards last night, and the Trumpians are up in arms. How dare these people criticize our president publicly! Outrageous! Un-American! You can’t belittle the Leader of the Free World! First, let’s watch the video:

Damn you actors to Hell! The highest ranked official in the land of the free and home of the brave would never stoop to such a level! Our president would never be so petty, mean-spirited and undignified! Wait. Never mind.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

California – Controversy erupts at Vista Del Lago High School in Folsom over students chanting “USA.”

It’s a popular way to for students to show pride during sporting events and rallies, but school and district officials are now warning students that the chants could appear inappropriate and intolerant. The chants are now causing chatter campus-wide after school staff brought up the topic to a leadership class.

The school’s principal told students and parents that sometimes “We can communicate an unintended message.” She also said USA chanting is welcome, but it may be best to do it at what she says are appropriate times, like following the national anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance.

The district says there has never been a complaint about USA chants at the high school. Students say there’s likely to be a lot of chanting at this Friday’s football game, where the theme is USA pride.

Well for the love of all that is holy and good WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? We can’t be proud of out country? And who in the world is a USA chant going to offend? The three foreign exchange students from North Korea? The ISIS guy hiding under the bleachers? I’d say no to both because they’re not at the game and if they were we should do it anyway because WE’RE IN THE USA! Sweet Mother of God.

PS- The first person who blames this on wimpy liberals is going to get punched in the throat by this non-wimpy liberal.

Source – Liam Neeson left many of his fans disappointed after saying he’s done making thrillers. Neeson said in a new interview that he plans to stop even though it’s hard to turn down the lucrative offers he gets thanks to his box-office success in the three “Taken” films, as well as other thrillers. Neeson believes he’s simply getting too old to be an action hero.

“The thrillers, that was all a pure accident,” said Neeson. “They’re still throwing serious money at me to do that stuff. I’m like, ‘Guys I’m sixty-f–king-five.’ Audiences are eventually going to go, ‘Come on.’” Neeson still has two upcoming revenge thrillers he’s already shot, “Hard Powder,” in which he plays a snowplow driver who faces off with drug dealers, and “The Commuter,” with director Jaume Collet-Serra. But, Neeson said, those will be his last.

Well, if that’s not the worst damn news I’ve heard in years. How the hell can we live without Liam freakin’ Neeson doing action revenge films, man? In this genre Neeson makes Vin Diesel look like a 4th grade punk who gets his lunch money stolen daily. Hell, that description of his upcoming movie alone got me all worked up with anticipation. Liam Neeson as a snowplow driver who faces off with drug dealers? Sold man. Sold to the max. Nobody wants to see you playing some grandpa, Liam, so say it ain’t so man.

 

Since this summer is the 25th Anniversary of The 1992 Dream Team I thought I might share some memories from that summer in ’92 . . .

A lot of my younger readers may not know this, but the United States used to send amateurs to play hoops in the Olympics. However, we’d been beaten pretty handily in 1988 which sort of led to the decision to send our best. And a lot of people may not realize this, but most of the rest of the world was thrilled when that announcement came down. They understood that the only way they’d ever catch up with the United States talent-wise was to compete against our best. Incidentally, that’s what’s happened. International players have proven markedly since 1992.

I’ll never forget when the roster was announced. Basketball fans were stunned by the talent level – Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Chris Mullen, Clyde Drexler, and Scottie Pippin. The team added one college player, passing over Shaquille O’Neal to take Christian Laettner. The team was to be coached by Chuck Daly, the guy who’d just led the Detroit Pistons to back-to-back NBA titles.

We were stacked. So stacked that guys like Reggie Miller, Isiah Thomas, Dominique Wilkens, and Shaquille O’Neal didn’t even make the team.

The team was so iconic that some members could simply be identified by their nickname – The Mailman, The Admiral, Sir Charles, The Glide, The Hick from French Lick, Air, and yes, Magic.

Once in Barcelona, the Dream Team was relentlessly mobbed everywhere they went. Even our opponents admitted they were in awe. Perhaps the greatest international player of that time, Brazil’s phenomenal scorer Oscar Schmidt, said this was his goal for the tournament:

“I want all the American team’s autographs if possible.”

Believe it or not, some opposing players posed for photos with the players from the USA during games.

But here’s the thing a lot of people don’t mention when discussing the Dream Team – when guys like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippin, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, and Karl Malone wanted to shut you down defensively, there was absolutely nothing you were going to do about it.

For instance, Croatia had a great player by the name of Toni Kukoc and he had been drafted by the Chicago Bulls. In fact, Scottie Pippin’s contract was being held up because Chicago’s GM Jerry Krause was saving money to sign Kukoc. Scottie, as you might imagine, didn’t take this kindly and was determined to take it out on Kukoc on the court. Plus, his buddy Michael was going to help him. Simply put, Pippin and Jordan put the “Croatian Sensation” through four quarters of living hell. Kukoc was at the receiving end of the most tenacious and stifling defense possible at the hands of Jordan and Pippen. Later they recalled that they were probably playing against Krause as much as against Kukoc. Kukoc finished the game shooting 2-11 for just 4-points as the USA won 103-70.

Here are some fascinating facts about the greatest sports team ever assembled:

  • During the 8-game Olympic run, Head Coach Chuck Daly called a grand total of zero timeouts.
  • John Stockton was the only member of the team that could walk around Barcelona without being bothered, and he did so all the time with his wife and kids.
  • The Dream Team’s opponents shot 36% from the floor. The Dream Team shot 58%.
  • Michael Jordan had 37-steals in 8-games.
  • Karl Malone and, incredibly, Chris Mullen, led the team in rebounding.
  • Charles Barkley shot 71% from the floor and 88% from 3-point range.
  • Barkley led the team in scoring with 18.0 ppg, followed by Jordan at 14.9.
  • The closest anyone came to the Dream Team in the Olympics was 32-points. Their average margin of victory was 43.8 points.

My favorite quote from the entire tournament came from Charles Barkley before they played Angola:

Reporter: “What can you tell us about Angola?”

Charles: “I don’t know anything about Angola, but Angola’s in trouble.”

And they were. The US won by 68.

Bottom line, there has never been a team as good as the 1992 Dream Team, and there never will be. End of story.

[Slideshow and video below]

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(Source) — A former Los Altos High School student and baseball player is suing the school district and his former coach for hundreds of thousands of dollars because the coach repeatedly benched him. According to the suit, the school’s head varsity baseball coach, Gabriel Lopez, repeatedly refused to let 17-year-old Robbie Lopez, no relation, play throughout his senior year. The suit claims this constituted a pattern of “harassment and bullying.” The teenager and his parents are seeking $150,000 or more, according to the suit.

Sigh. And so it continues. If this is bullying, do you know how many of my former players could sue me? I’ll give you the answer – hundreds. Good God, man. Newsflash, Robbie Lopez – it’s your coach’s job to bench you if you’re not playing well. Hell, using this logic every kid on the bench could sue his coach. That’s just dumb, man.

PS- In the future every coach will be required to play every player an exact even number of minutes. Then nobody will get their feelings hurt. Awesome.

So ESPN’s “The Undefeated” released the list a couple days ago, and it is beyond incomprehensible. Are the people who put this together just young with no perspective? Are they misinformed? Are they stupid, imbecilic nitwits? The answer is yes to all of the above. Let’s take a highly judgmental look . . .

Listen, the best thing I can say about the Top 5 is that it’s not awful. Here ’tis:

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. Jackie Robinson
  3. Muhammad Ali
  4. Willie Mays
  5. Jesse Owens

Sure, Jordan was the best basketball player of all-time. Best athlete? No. Of those five alone, Jackie Robinson was better. So was Jesse Owens. Not even close. These list-makers are apparently a victim of the moment, unable to have a true historical perspective. For instance, Robinson was an amazing 4-sport player who lettered at UCLA in baseball, football basketball and track.

I’m not going to post the entire list, but rather point out the inaccuracies and outrageousness of some of the choices. To begin . . .

WILT CHAMBERLAIN AT NUMBER 26? You, sirs and madams, are out of your freaking gourds. In college at Kansas, Wilt did this:

  • Ran a 10.9 100-yard dash
  • Threw the shot 56-feet
  • Triple-Jumped over 50-feet
  • Won the Big 8 High Jump 3-years in a row

As an NBA player, the guy averaged 50.4 ppg in a season and once scored 100 in an NBA game. And get this – Wilt Chamberlain averaged 30.1 points and 22.9 rebounds for his career.

Here are some other facts about Wilt Chamberlain:

  • He  once challenged NFL legend Jim Brown to a 100-yard dash and beat him.
  • He is in the professional Volleyball Hall of Fame
  • He could bench press 500-pounds. Shaq’s best was 450-pounds.
  • He had a 48-inch vertical leap.
  • During an interview, someone once questioned his physical fitness claims. He then did 200-fingertip pushups in a suit and stood up without having broken a sweat.
  • A part of his workout routine was doing 100 sit-ups with a 50-pound weight on his chest.
  • Quote from former NBA player Johnny Kerr: “Once Wilt got upset and dunked on me so hard the ball went through the rim and broke my toe.”

One final story, as told by legendary coach Larry Brown:

“I was at a Lakers open gym in the mid-80’s. Wilt was approaching 50-years of age at this time. Wilt’s team was winning and Magic Johnson began calling chintzy fouls, even calling a goal tending on Wilt at one point. Finally, Wilt got angry and said, ‘There will be no more layups against my team.’ And guess what? There wasn’t.’ I was there. I saw it.”

So, Wilt at #26? Ridiculous.

Here are a few more examples of the list’s stupidity:

Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas at #8 and #9, respectively. For those who don’t know, they’re both gymnasts. Don’t get me wrong, great athletes. But ahead of Magic Johnson, Pele, Wilt and others? W-h-u-u-u-t?

Stephen Curry is at #28, one spot ahead of LeBron James at #29. Anyone who agrees with this is a fool, a jackass and should be pummeled about the head and shoulders with a crescent wrench.

Emmitt Smith sits at #19 and Jim Brown is at #30. Excuse me while I go lay down for a few minutes.

OK, I’m back.

David Robinson (#46) is 4-spots ahead of Tim Duncan (#50). This is wildly inaccurate, also ludicrous.

Before I write this next sentence I need to take a really deep breath, because it has to be a joke. It has to be. Ladies and gentlemen, Bill Russell is at #36, behind Herschel Walker. Sweet Jesus.

Shaquille O’Neal at #16? Negatory. Way too high. Remember kids, that’s 20-spots ahead of Bill Russell.

Larry Fitzgerald is at #42. Listen, Lars is a really good receiver, but he should not be in the Top 200 on a Greatest Black Athletes list. Just a mind-boggling choice.

Usain Bolt at #14 is too low. Bolt won the 100, 200 and 4 x 100 events in 3-straight Olympic Games. ‘Nuff said.

Tiger Woods is not listed in the top 50. As mentioned before, Larry Fitzgerald is at#46. This alone should render the list meaningless.

Barry Bonds, noted steroid abuser and he of the bulbous head, is on the list.

Jerry Rice at #10. Don’t think so.

So to review, the list is wildly inaccurate and apparently made by millennials who don’t understand sports, athletes or life in general.

Note: Can’t wait to see the Top 50 White Athletes of All-Time list!

A girls softball team from Virginia paid a steep price for a lesson about social media: After a victory, think twice about gloating over your opponent on their home turf — especially if the chosen method of gloating is posting a photo on social media of six teammates flipping the bird under the caption, “watch out host.”

The 12-to-14-year-olds who make up the Atlee junior league softball team from Mechanicsville, Va., were disqualified Saturday from the nationally televised championship game at the Junior League World Series in Kirkland, Wash., after one team member posted that photo on her Snapchat account before their game Friday. The team apologized Saturday, even asking for an investigation into the game, but it was too late to repair the damage the image had caused.

Little League spokesman Kevin Fountain called the post “inappropriate” in a statement to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, explaining that it violated the league’s “policies regarding unsportsmanlike conduct.”

The disqualification didn’t sit well with the Atlee team manager, Scott Currie, who found out about the photo Friday evening after the team’s 1-0 win. Currie immediately reprimanded the players who were involved, before demanding they delete the post and apologize in person to their rivals.
“It’s a travesty for these girls,” Currie told the Times-Dispatch on Saturday. “Yes, they screwed up, but I don’t think the punishment fit the crime.”

Yes, I have an opinion on this “controversy”, and it’s pretty straightforward – I agree with the decision to disqualify this team 100%. I’ve spoken at length about my feelings on running up the score and showing bad sportsmanship, and nothing has changed although it seems I’m becoming more and more in the minority.

If you research this story online, you’ll find that a lot of people upset about it, especially because the entire team was disqualified when only six girls were in the photo. Newsflash: In sports, you are a TEAM. Many times, when even one players makes a mistake, everybody pays for it.

And in its own way, that’s a beautiful thing. It’s a life lesson, something to use forever and hopefully pass on to your own children one day. Don’t simply think about yourself, think about your friends, your family, your team.

Hell, do you now what one of the worst punishments I can hand out as a coach is? It’s when one player makes a mistake, and I make him stand there and watch everybody else run. Is that fair? Perhaps not, but neither is life.

Oh, and again, it just might help you remember that your actions can affect everyone around you.

As anyone who’s ever played for me will tell you, I believe what these girls did was a bush league move. It was classless and wrong. And I don’t care what the other team was doing during the game to possibly provoke them either, that’s irrelevant. So is how many hours they put in or how hard they worked to get there. They threw all that away with one ignorant decision.

And hey, Coach Currie, you shouldn’t be upset. This was largely your fault. Coaching is much more than teaching how to hit, field, tackle or shoot free throws. It’s teaching what’s right and what’s wrong.

Had you done your job your team would’ve known better, and by defending them you’ve made the problem worse.

Coach, listen up. Back when I was in high school I was playing in a basketball game. I’d committed a dumb foul and followed it up by receiving a technical foul. That night after the game I went to my Uncle Myrl’s house, a man I had great respect for, to visit my cousins. As I walked by him in the kitchen where he was sitting reading  the newspaper, we had the following conversation:

“Dave, you know what’s worse than making an ass of yourself?”

“Uh, no.”

“Making an ass out of yourself twice.”

Still true today, coach.

 

So noted murderer Ray Lewis (allegedly) has stepped up to give his valuable life advice to Colin Kaepernick, the player who exercised his right as an American to not stand up during the National Anthem last football season and hence cannot find another job in the NFL. It seems that Ray-Ray took it upon himself to perform a video selfie directed at Kaepernick, and I must say it is gold, Jerry. GOLD! Here’s a link to the video if you’d like to watch it. However, if you’d rather not I’ll break it down for you . . .

0:00 – 0:11: “How crazy is I’m just leaving set at Fox and I’m getting all these texts and stuff about all this Colin Kaepernick stuff and all this stuff?”

As usual, Ray begins with questionable grammar, leaving out important prepositions like “at” and repeating simple terms such as “stuff.” Oh, and of course we can hear the ass-kisser in the car laughing hysterically at everything he’s saying.

0:11: “Let me explain something to you. I’m gonna keep it real simple with this.” 

This is right out of Ray’s playbook, treating his listeners like dummies, because in order to explain it so we can understand it he has to keep it simple. Wouldn’t want Ray-Ray talking over our heads, now would we?

0:30: “Kap, I pray for you more than you can ever imagine. Your name is in my Bible!”

Wait. What? I’ve read the Bible a few times, once for a class in college, and not once do I recall seeing the words, “Colin Kaepernick.” Then again, Ray is on such good terms with God (he/she allegedly got him out of a murder after all), that perhaps he/she let Ray make some modifications.

0:35: “My brother, everyone else can speak for you but until you speak for yourself and demand what you want to do with your life, it’s totally on you. It’s crazy that you always see people trying to respond.

Uh, OK? He lost me with that last part. And the only crazy person responding is Ray Lewis.

1:00: “I’ve made mistakes in my life. But I promise you if you look at my track record, I’ve never made the same mistake twice.”

Ah, now it’s all about Ray because we knew it would be. And the families of Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting might disagree with the whole “never made the same mistake twice” thing.

1:15: “I’m in the streets everyday. EVERYDAY. So while people talking ‘What’s with this?’ and ‘Why Ray say this?’ and ‘Why Ray say that?’ Ray ain’t saying nothing!”

Boom! Ray is now talking in the third person, another personal trademark. And what does he mean about being in the streets? Maybe he means his driveway, like this one in front of one of his houses:

However, I do agree with him when he says he isn’t saying anything.

1:30: “And that’s why I take each and every one of these kids. And that’s why I take them away from their environments and give them something else to see in life. And that’s why I played the way I played.”

Do the police know Ray Lewis has gone from killing people (allegedly) to stealing children? And what does all this have to do with the way he played?

1:50 – “What you do off the field, don’t let too many people know.”

Finally, Ray Lewis gives out some useful information based on his own personal experience and history. Good Lord.

Seriously, Ray Lewis has to be the most unself-aware human being on planet Earth. Dude lied his way out of a double-murder (allegedly), got a jury to believe he lost the blood-splattered suit he was wearing the night those two men were stabbed to death, has 6-kids by 4-women and still claims to be a Man of God and the counselor to all the poor souls who need his advice.

I can’t believe Fox Sports still employs this clown.

Note: If you need a refresher on the whole Ray Lewis murder thing, here ya go:

(Source) — Elementary school students in one Florida school district are going to find a welcome new – but controversial – policy when they return to school for the 2017-18 school year next month: no traditional homework. They are being asked to do one thing to help them academically: Read for 20 minutes a minute a night. Heidi Maier, the new superintendent of the 42,000-student Marion County public school district in Florida, said in an interview that she made the decision based on solid research about what works best in improving academic achievement in students.

Listen, I don’t claim to know the research but it might surprise you to find out I don’t hate this. I know times have changed, but I never gave out much homework when I taught, and when I did I tried to leave time during class so I could help the students out myself. I think some of you parents will agree that there’s nothing worse than trying to help your kid with something you don’t understand yourself. That’s brutal, man. Back in my early years of teaching I knew teachers who would absolutely bury kids with 2-3 hours of homework every night. Made no sense to me. Anyway, that’s how I feel and I’m sticking to it. So there.

PS- After doing some research on this subject I found that this has been a growing trend in education for awhile now. Once again I was a man ahead of his time.

PPS- I’m also pretty sure I was one of the first to use rock music in the classroom during tests and stuff back in 1985. Now John Hopkins University is publishing articles about it. Boom.

Before we begin, let us simply recall the iconic opening to every episode of one of the most amazing TV shows of all-time, The Twilight Zone . . .

Yes, there were variations of the same opening, but you get the gist.

I recorded the Twilight Zone Marathon recently, and I just finished watching nearly 70-episodes. There were 156 total, but these were deemed some of the best. I learned a few things while watching, and the most striking of these was that Rod Serling got away with a lot of crazy and outrageous stuff.  More on that later.

I also learned that lots of stars and future stars were on the show. People like Mickey Rooney, William Shatner, Ron Howard, Burt Reynolds, Carol Burnett, Buster Keaton, Robert Redford, Dennis Hopper, Leonard Nimoy, Lee Marvin, and Don Rickles all guest starred. The décor – early 60’s Mad Men style.

Another aspect that stood out was the introductions and closing remarks by Serling. Just incredible writing. Here’s a sample:

Nobody else, and I mean nobody, could pull that off like Serling. Love it. Here’s a sample of one of his closing monologues:

Again, so well done.

It was also amazing how Serling touched on political issues of the day. Some episodes even touched on World War II and the treatment of Jews.  This was just 15-18 years after the war, and the scenes were brutal. They spoke of the experiments done on prisoners and everything. Pretty incredible for such a conservative era.

That said, I’ll now give you my 12 favorite Twilight Zone episodes. Let us commence . . .

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

William Shatner (later to become Captain Kirk in Star Trek) stars in what might be the most famous and revered of all Twilight Zone episodes. He plays a man traveling aboard a commercial flight with his wife. He spots a monster on the wing, trying to damage it. He tries to alert the crew and other passengers to the potential danger lurking just outside his window seat. However, the clever being makes sure to fly out of view every time someone else peers through the glass, leaving Shatner to look foolish and delusional. In typical Twilight Zone fashion, the final shot is the killer. As Shatner is taken away on a stretcher, the camera pans away showing actual damage the monster has done to the wing. Awesome. On a related note, the shot where Shatner has closed the window, only to open it to see the monster’s face pressed against the window scared the bejesus out of me.

Note- Watching it now, the “monster” appears to have been created by a 5th grade art class. Still a classic episode.

Living Doll

This episode is always referred to as “Talking Tina” and it was the single scariest thing I’d ever seen in my life. Trust me, as a 6-year old this was just petrifying and life-altering to witness. I still hate dolls to this day because of this show. In this one Telly Savalas plays a man who isn’t a fan of his stepdaughter’s new “Talky Tina” doll, especially after the doll starts telling him she’s going to kill him. What follows is a twisted domestic drama powered by the actions of an evil toy. There have been dozens of TV shows and movies that have told stories about talking dolls since, but Rod Serling’s take is still the best by far. Believe me, I haven’t looked at a doll the same since.

The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street

Ah, another great one that asks the viewers to decide who the real monsters are, the alien invaders or their very own friends and neighbors? “Monsters” finds the residents of an unnamed town in a panic when they conclude an alien invasion is afoot, and it began because of a loud noise and a power outage. Rather than team up to combat the terror from beyond the stars, they succumb to paranoia and vigilante-like behavior, leading their invaders to conclude that the best way to destroy mankind is to let us do the deed ourselves. Rod Serling, who wrote the episode, summed it up best in the closing narration, making a social point as he often did:

“The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, and prejudices — to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill. And suspicion can destroy. And a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own – for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is, that these things cannot be confined . . . to the Twilight Zone.”

Wow.

The Invaders

In this one, a poor impoverished woman (Agnes Moorehead, who went on to play the mother on Bewitched) lives alone in a rustic cabin. She is dressed shabbily, and there are no modern conveniences in evidence. After hearing a strange noise above her kitchen roof, she is attacked by small intruders that come from a miniature flying saucer that has landed on her rooftop. Two tiny figures about 6-inches high, which may be robots or beings wearing pressure suits, emerge from the craft. As a kid this was creepy as hell. Anyway, the small figures attack the woman, using small, pistol-like weapons that leave radiation burns on her skin, and, after following her into her cabin, slashing her ankle and hand with her own kitchen knife. The suspense builds as the woman searches for the invaders. She eventually destroys one, wrapping it in a blanket and beating it until it is still, then throwing it into the burning fireplace. She follows the other to the saucer-ship on her roof, which she proceeds to attack with a hatchet. From within the craft, she hears a voice speaking in English. These are the first words we’ve heard the whole episode, and the intruder knows he’s about to die. He then proceeds to frantically warn other potential visitors that the planet is inhabited by giants and they are impossible to defeat. Then comes the kicker. The camera pans slowly away to reveal the markings on the side of the ship, which reads U.S. Air Force Space Probe No. 1. You see, the invaders were human astronauts from Earth, and the woman in the small farmhouse belongs to a race of giant humanoids native to another planet. Another shocking ending.

The Bewitchin’ Pool

In my mind, one of most unforgettable of all the Twilight Zone episodes. A young girl and her little brother live in a beautiful suburban home, complete with a large swimming pool. Their parents are cold, short tempered, and forever fighting in front of their children. One day, a boy pops up from the deep end of their pool and invites them to follow him. Wait. What? The children then follow by diving underwater and surface in a beautiful countryside. It is simple and plain, and unlike their spectacular home. There are no adults except for a kindly woman who bakes desserts and offers kind words. The children go back home through the swimming pool because they’re worried that their parents have missed them. They break through the water to find that their neglectful parents haven’t even noticed that they were gone. The children return again to the idyllic countryside by diving through the pool, and this time, they stay. Their parents search for them in the pool, but never find them. The children remain happily ever after, cared for and loved, in this paradise. It wasn’t until I watched this episode as an adult that I saw that it could be perceived as legitimizing childhood suicide in response to bad parenting, and a child’s simple wish to get the hell away. No way this would be broadcast today.

The Hitch-Hiker

Another terrifying example of the plot twists Twilight Zone was known for. We begin with a young woman traveling alone cross country trip. She blows a tire and when she takes her car in for repairs, we get a hint that something is amiss when the mechanic tells her she should have called a hearse, not a car repair service. She drives on, but keeps seeing a man hitchhiking no matter how far she drives. Shaken, she finally stops and calls her mother, only to be told that her mother had a nervous breakdown when her daughter was killed in a car accident 6-days ago. She is in disbelief, but returns to her car, where the hitchhiker awaits her. She ultimately realizes that the hitchhiker is death, patiently waiting for her. What I see now that I didn’t see then is that you can’t outrun fate. In the unforgettable final scene, Nan returns to the car and looks in the vanity mirror on the visor. Instead of her reflection, she sees the hitchhiker. He looks at her and asks, “I believe you’re going my way?” Jeebus.

After Hours

There is another episode I can directly blame for one of my phobias and that is my fear of mannequins. In a department store, there is a 9th floor for no one else but the store’s mannequins. Once a month, they take turns living as humans in the real world. When their time is up, they return to the 9th floor, except for the day that Mannequin Marcy decides she likes being human too much and is not going back. My older and wiser take on it now? Serling was telling us that, sometimes, a small taste of honey is worse than none at all.

Time Enough at Last

What a great, great episode that is often ranked as the best Twilight Zone ever. Burgess Meredith stars as Henry Bemis — a man who just wants to get away from the everyday world and bury his nose in a good book. Henry gets his wish one day when the rest of humanity is wiped out in a nuclear attack. He soon discovers an untouched library — a place where he can read in peace for the rest of his existence. Thrilled with his discovery, Bemis settles in. As he gets ready to crack open his first book, the worst happens – he breaks his glasses. Virtually blind, Bemis is now stuck in a world with all the time and books he could ever want and no way to enjoy them. Damn you Rod Serling!

To Serve Man

Another classic. In this episode, mankind has seemingly found a kindly alien savior in the form of the Kanamits — a race of towering space travelers who are all too willing to help Earth get rid of the problems of hunger and war. But their personal manifesto, a book entitled To Serve Man, isn’t the guide for peace that everyone thought it to be. As the woman who figured it all out yells at the end of the episode, “It’s a cookbook! IT’S A COOKBOOK!” Ah, to serve man. It all made chilling sense in the end.

It’s a Good Life

Bill Mumy was absolutely terrifying as the 6-year-old Anthony Freemont, a boy with incredible psychic powers who holds everyone around him under his power. Little Anthony could simply think you out of existence for displeasing him. He was some sort of godlike child with the ability to read minds, make people disappear, mutate other living beings, and control the weather. The adults obviously tiptoe around the temperamental kid, but it never really matters, because he’s six, and six-year-olds aren’t particularly rational in the first place, amirite? Here’s Serling closing quote:

No comment here, no comment at all. We only wanted to introduce you to one of our very special citizens, little Anthony Fremont, age 6, who lives in a village called Peaksville in a place that used to be Ohio. And if by some strange chance you should run across him, you had best think only good thoughts. Anything less than that is handled at your own risk, because if you do meet Anthony, you can be sure of one thing – You have entered The Twilight Zone.”

The Eye of the Beholder

I watched this as a kid and it terrified me for weeks. A young woman undergoes surgery to improve her appearance and look like everyone else. She spends most of the episode swathed in head bandages as shadowy doctors and nurses talk around her. She’s terrified they won’t be able to make her beautiful. When the wraps are removed, the doctors proclaim the procedure a complete failure — but the audience sees the lovely Donna Douglas and wonders what the holy hell they’re talking about. It all becomes clear when the doctors and nurses are revealed. In one of the most memorable Twilight Zone endings of all time, the docs and nurses all look like some sort of mutant pigs. “Eye of the Beholder” indeed.

Long Distance Call

This episode frightened me so much that I promised myself I would never see it again. I lied. After his grandmother dies, a little boy is mysteriously given a phone. On this phone, only calls from his deceased grandmother can come through. Grandma then tries to convince Little Billy to kill himself to join her. And so he tries, several times in several ways. I can say without a doubt that today, this storyline encouraging childhood suicide would never be allowed to be aired. Just normal prime time entertainment for the Twilight Zone, though.

So there ya go, my personal favorite Twilight Zone episodes. What are yours? Let’s hear it!

So every summer I hear the same comments, albeit from different people regarding different vacation spots:

“So good to be back home! This is our spot!”  

Keep in mind people could be talking about the Dominican Republic, Myrtle Beach, Oak Island, Virginia Beach, the Outer Banks, or several locations on the coast of Florida, Georgia, Texas or God-knows-where.

Listen, I understand that people grow fond of a location. After all, they spend a week there doing nothing but relaxing, swimming and going out to eat at seafood restaurants, what’s not to like? It’s perfect. For a week or more they get to sleep in, eat like a pig, and do nothing but live the dream. Hey, you get attached to a place. What’s not to like?

Still, I find it interesting that people like to claim a vacation spot as their own. It’s as if they feel a need to lay claim to a place, and are almost protective of it. And I guess, in a way, I do the same thing.

Here’s an example. Back in 1978, my sister, her husband and I first began going to a little out of the way (then at least) place called Oak Island, NC. Hey, back then I didn’t know anyone else who went there on vacation. Now, not so much. Tons of people I know go there, and some of them have declared it “their” second home. And you know what? That’s fine. I know exactly how they feel, because I’ve felt the same way for years. I feel the exact same way about the Outer Banks, because I spent my summers there from 1992-2011. Does it seem like a second home? It does. It also feels that way to thousands of other people who vacation there, and for good reason.

I’m not 100% sure what I’m trying to say here, other than it’s sort of dumb to try and declare a piece of land as “yours.” It’s not possible. No matter how much you love it, unless you own the whole shebang, it belongs to everybody.

Sorry kids, but it’s the truth.

This sort of reminds me of the way people lay claim to certain rock bands. “That’s my band! I listened to them when nobody had heard of them!” Then, when everyone else discovers them, you feel as if you’ve been cheated on. You wish you could go back to the days when nobody else knew their music, just like that one special beach you thought was all yours.

Sadly, it isn’t. And honestly, in reality it never was.

Listen, I know what everyone is saying. McGregor’s not a boxer, he won’t lay a glove on Mayweather, this fight is a joke, that anyone who buys it is a sucker and a fool. Well, call me a fool because I’m fascinated as hell by it. Here’s my take . . .

First of all, I know there’s a chance the fight will go 12-rounds, Mayweather will dominate (he never knocks anyone out anyway), McGregor won’t touch him, and it will all be a disgusting borefest.

However, just imagine with me for a minute. What if maybe, just maybe, one of the following developments occur?

  • What if McGregor sneaks a punch in and “breaks Mayweather’s face” like he says he will? Mayweather is a punk. He’s hit women and is unapologetic about it. How satisfying would that be to witness? The answer is very.
  • What if, and this is much more likely according to the “experts”, Mayweather destroys McGregor, just toying with him before eventually knocking him out? That would be pretty cool as well, since McGregor has about the biggest mouth since Chad Ochocinco. Wouldn’t love it, wouldn’t hate it.
  • Here’s my favorite possibility, and may I just say God please let this happen. Imagine if you will that it’s the 5th or 6th round, McGregor is just getting his shit handed to him as Mayweather taunts and toys with him. And then it happens – McGregor suddenly goes all MMA on his ass, connecting with a roundhouse kick and taking Mayweather down in a Rear Naked Choke or Reverse Armbar as the world watches in a combination of horror and unadulterated joy. Listen, I know there’s a miniscule chance it will happen and there will be a stipulation in the contract that if he does he’ll forfeit his earnings, but wouldn’t he more than make it back through publicity and future endorsements? Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

So I ask you. Wouldn’t it be worth the price of the fight to see one of these things happen? Yes. Yes it would.

I’m in, baby.

Sometimes people just want to change because they believe change is good. Or perhaps, in this case, they want to sell more college sports hats and sweatshirts and whatnot. Anywho, UNLV, who heretofore had a perfectly good logo, decided to commission a new one. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Here’s the old logo:

Pretty straightforward, amirite? Nice bold letters and a bro with a hat and really big mustache underneath. They’ve replaced that logo with this. Behold, the new logo:

I swear to God I had to look at that for 10-minutes before I saw the guy with the mustache. And once I saw it I could’ve sworn his ear was exploding. And is his chin on a pillow? Or a bobsled? Oh, and a lot of people are saying they see a space frog. I’m so confused. Change? Not necessarily good.

Listen, there is NO WAY this kid wasn’t messing around up there on that ride. How fast was that Gondola going, like a mile per hour? She had to be goofing off, amirite? Unsnapped her seatbelt and was showing off or something? Maybe breakdancing, doing a handstand or something of that nature? The press is covering this as a feel-good story, and it was cool that the crowd caught her, but nobody is pointing out the obvious, that the kid was either incredibly stupid, reckless, or both. I want the truth, people!

Here’s The Donald just committing the cardinal sin of cruising across a golf course green like a boss, which incidentally he is because he owns the course. Then he tops it off by cruising over to a couple bros and bragging about the security on his course because it’s blanketed by the secret service: “Best security in the history of golf.” That’s gold. But the best part is when he casually gives them a knuckle-bump and rolls away. I tell ya, on some level you gotta respect the man’s brashness. Dude doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks.

PS- You’d be amazed how many people get offended by posts like this. I’ll get all sorts of threats for this one. But I’m actually sort of admiring this move, right? Trumpians are way too thin-skinned, man.

PPS- Somebody said he’s just in front of the green. Damn, I hope not. That would ruin everything.

From time-to-time my crack staff here at Shoe: Untied likes to post some of the latest fashion trends and throw in our 2¢. Don’t believe me? Just type in the word “fashion” in that search box over there and have a look-see. Anywho, our head Fashion Consultant Yuki Fukumodo brought in some photos of some of the hottest trends out there today, and I must say they beg for our attention and commentary. Let us commence with the festivities . . .

Remember the fake muddy pants I showed you a few weeks ago? Same concept here. And guess what? Still dumb.

These are called Ugg Sandals. Don’t you wear boots to keep your feet warm and dry? Aren’t open-toed boots defeating the actual purpose of boots? I’m so confused.

Man, these things have to be a nightmare for ladies with love handles, amirite? Stuff be poppin’ out all over the place up in here. Seriously, that’s not a good look, man.

Oh for the love of God. Now they’re just messing with us. “Hey, let’s cut up some old sweats, attach them with clamps and see if people will buy them.” Guess what? People will.

Perfect for people who want to ride their horse to the beach and sink their toes in the sand. Geesh. On a related note, the tan lines would be outrageous.

Perfect for the woman who has an extra 10-minutes to buckle-up her Elbow Purse.

Honestly, were out of ideas so we’re just reaching now, right? Just making stuff up right and left and expecting people to eat it up. The sad part is, some people will.

CBS – For several minutes, Ryan Hamilton watched as a blind man tried to hail a cab while Chicago Cubs fans poured out of Wrigley Field. The Chicago resident was on a rooftop across the street when he noticed thousands of people passing the man, who was holding a walking stick and waving his hand in an attempt to stop a taxi. Not one car stopped — but luckily, a pedestrian did.Casey Spelman, of Indianapolis, was visiting friends in the area and spotted the blind man, who was identified as Yusef Dale, an assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago, as she walked out of a Wrigleyville restaurant. Without a word, Spelman split from her friends, walked over to Dale and tapped him on the shoulder.

The 26-year-old didn’t think anything of her encounter with Dale. But Hamilton, who was watching from above, was so touched by the kind gesture he posted pictures of the pair on Facebook, praising the woman for lending a helping hand.”There was a blind Cubs fan trying to hail a cab for several minutes until the lady came up and asked him if he needed help hailing a cab. She stood there with him until one pulled up,” Hamilton wrote in the post that has since gone viral with nearly 8,000 shares. “Awesome to see such kindness in a world.”

Spelman is glad her post is inspiring others and hopes others will step outside of their comfort zones if they encounter a similar situation.”It’s OK if you are unsure of how to interact with someone, but do your best, be brave, and just be willing to help,” she said. “I think if you treat someone with respect it will always be appreciated.”

So this is where we are. You’re a hero if you help a blind man cross the street. For the love of God, shouldn’t this be expected? What’s next, being called a hero for giving a bottle of cold water to your garbage man on a hot day? Isn’t there a difference between an act of kindness and an act of courage, something that requires you to put your life on the line? Back in the day you had to take a bullet to be a hero. Now? Help a blind dude across the street. The hero bar has been lowered, man.

Good Lord.

 

NYT – President Trump announced Thursday afternoon that he is withdrawing the United States from the landmark Paris climate agreement, an extraordinary move that dismayed America’s allies and set back the global effort to address the warming planet.

Trump’s decision set off alarms worldwide, drawing swift and sharp condemnation from foreign leaders as well as top environmentalists and corporate titans, who decried the U.S. exit from the Paris accord as an irresponsible abdication of American leadership in the face of irrefutable scientific evidence. Trump has described climate change “a hoax.”

The U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement cannot actually be finalized until near the end of Trump’s term because of the accord’s legal structure and language.

The Donald, man. Gotta give him credit to sticking to his guns on this one I guess? Our children and their children and their children can go to hell, man. We’ll all be gone by then anyway, amirite? But hey, at least we have two other stable, level-headed governments who see things the way we do – Nicaragua and Syria. Thank God for that. I guess all us weenies who believe in the climate change “hoax” can take solace in the fact that our withdrawal from the pact can’t take place for a couple years. The odds of Trump surviving that long are about 9%.

PS- One positive about a Trump administration? Endless source of blogging material.

PPS- Another positive? Wildly entertaining messages from Trump supporters.

PPS- For those who care, and I don’t think many do, here’s climate change explained pretty simply (and spare me the climate change is a hoax videos, please).

On a related note, I never thought I’d miss this guy so much:

bush-doing-the-happy-dance

ZimbabweA pastor has been killed after he was eaten by three crocodiles while trying to walk on water, it has been claimed. Jonathan Mthethwa was trying to show his congregation how Jesus walked on water by crossing what is locally known as Crocodile River on foot, according to local reports.

However, he did not make it across the river in Zimbabwe.

The pastor, from the Saint of the Last Days church, managed to get around 90-ft into the river, the paper reported, before trying to climb onto the surface of the river.

Eyewitness Deacon Nkosi told Zimbabwe Today: ‘The pastor taught us about faith on Sunday last week. He promised he would demonstrate his faith to us today, but he unfortunately ended up drowning and getting eaten by three large crocodiles in front of us. We still don’t understand how this happened because he fasted and prayed the whole week. They finished him in a couple of minutes. All that was left of him when they finished eating him is a pair of sandals and his underwear floating above the water.”

First off, I’m trying hard as hell not to laugh at the fact that the gators passed on eating the underwear, I really am. But can you believe the gators passed on eating the underwear? Gators, man. Even they have their limits. But seriously, Pastor Jonathan Mthethwa, I’ve always questioned this line of thinking where faith is concerned. “Hey, let’s really push God to the limit! I’m going to grab this rattlesnake to prove I have faith! The Lord will save me!” Well, maybe he won’t. Maybe he’ll just wonder why you didn’t use the common sense he gave you as he watches you die a painful death from internal hemorrhaging. I mean, God helps those who help themselves, amirite?

Note: This reminds me of the old story about the man who was in his house as flood waters rose outside his door. A guy in a boat came by and offered to help, but the man said, “No thanks, God will provide help for me.” As the water rose, two more men in boats came by and were told the same thing. Eventually the man drowned, and when he stood at the pearly gates  he had this conversation with God:

Man: “I believed in you and had faith you would help me. Why did you forsake me?”

God: “I sent three boats for you. What else did you expect, man?”

He’s coming for you, Donald.

GQ- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the highest paid movie star on the planet and a committed dad, told GQ that he’s thinking about running for president of the United States.

“I think that it’s a real possibility,” the “Baywatch” actor confessed. “A year ago, it started coming up more and more. There was a real sense of earnestness, which made me go home and think, ‘Let me really rethink my answer and make sure I am giving an answer that is truthful and also respectful.’”

You know, years ago I would have laughed at this notion. A professional fake wrestler running for leader of the free world? No way he could win, right? Nowadays though, well, things have changed a little haven’t they? I used to think that Arnold being elected Governor of California and Jesse “The Body” Ventura running the show in Minnesota were anomalies, but no more. Not after this whole Donald thing. And hey, The Rock is qualified. After all, he’s a movie star and committed dad. Anyway, I’m going to get in on the ground floor of this “Rock for President” thing, baby.

PS- Seriously, can you imagine Trump vs The Rock in 2020? That would be stellar.