Nov 132016

So I have a note on my desk: “CREATE!”

Gosh, even I annoy me.

Let’s try this …

The Morning After—

He: “I can’t believe I won. I actually won.”

She: “Yes, you did.”

He: “I saw the support at the campaign stops, heard the cheers, but I didn’t think enough people would actually cast their votes for me.”

She: “You said a lot of things a lot of people wanted to hear.”

He: “Yes, but there were so many who didn’t want to hear what I had to say. This nation is more divided now than it ever has been in its history. So much open anger and hostility.”

She: “True.”

He: “And as seemingly an impossible a task as getting elected was, the real work is just getting started. I think I’m just beginning to understand what an impossibly huge task is in front of me. Such an … awesome responsibility.”

She: “I believe in you.”

He: “Thank you. In spite of everything that has been said about me, about you, about us, about my campaign, I’ve never doubted that.”

She: “I know you are up to this.”

He: “But what if I’m not? What if it all is too big for me? America has put its faith in me … what if I don’t succeed? What if I fail everyone? What will history say about me?”

She: “They’re going to say, ‘He was the greatest president we ever had.'”

He: “They’ll say, ‘He was the greatest fool we ever elected, and he destroyed this country.’ What was I thinking? How could I even dare to compare myself to the likes of George Washington or Thomas Jefferson?”

She: “They were flawed men. No one, not even you, is perfect.”

He: “I appreciate that you don’t let me forget that. The press also enjoys pointing it out on a daily basis.”

She: “They don’t know you like I do.”

He: “Good thing, or we might not be where we find ourselves today. I am now president of the United States of America.”

She: “It’s truly amazing.”

He: “It’s truly terrifying. So much to do, even before I take office. I need to get my cabinet in order, find the best advisers . . . .”

She: “Come up with a plan on how to redecorate the White House!”

He: “Ha! I’ll leave that to you, of course.”

She: “Your first decision as president!”

He: “President. Of the United States of America. I can’t believe it. We actually won.”

She: “You have overcome so much to get here, such long odds, so many hardships. You have gotten up every time you’ve been knocked down. Now this moment is at hand. You will show them all why you were chosen, why you are absolutely the best person to lead this great nation.”

He: “I hope you’re right.”

She: “I know I am, Abraham. I know I am.”

Feb 222014

Maybe like a number of you older folks, I can’t think of the Winter Olympics without this image going through my mind.


“… and the agony of defeat …”

Okay, I know Vinko Bogataj‘s ill-fated “agony of defeat” moment didn’t happen at the Olympics—it was actually at the 1970 Ski-Flying World Championships—but it was burned into our collective consciousness as part of the Olympic narrative because it became such a memorable part of the opening of ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” which was the U.S. broadcast outlet of the Olympic games for a loooong time. (By the way, Vinko only sustained a concussion in the crash and although he never became a ski-jumping superstar, has gone on to have a fairly pleasant life.)

I suppose there’s that other Winter Olympic moment might be one that some of you may recall …

I remember watching that live as a kid and actually jumping around the room when the U.S. won …. you know, completely unlike what happened this year.

Oh well, 1980 was just a special moment that inspired me . . . not to dedicate countless hours training in the hopes of possibly becoming an elite athlete who might compete at a chance to win a gold medal. No, that’s too much work, and if you couldn’t tell by my choice of writing for a living, I’m a bit “work-averse,” to put it politely. (“Lazy” is not inaccurate, either.)

No, this year’s Olympics have inspired me to create ….

6 New Events That Should Be in the Winter Olympics

1. Snow Removal Slalom – I have been the chief snow removal engineer for the domiciles I’ve lived in pretty much my entire life, so I know my way around a snow shovel, to say the least. In this event, there would be a long downhill driveway that competitors have to clear—but wait, there are challenges that may or may not be inspired by my current driveway (and by that I mean they have totally been inspired by my current driveway): large bumpy sections of broken pavement; a barrier on one side (like a house) forcing snow to be tossed only in one direction only; a section so wide that that each shovelful has to be carried a ways before it can be tossed; and bitter cold wind that always blows into your face.

As a matter of fact, if the potential U.S. team in this sport wanted to train in my driveway, they would be welcome with open arms and hot cocoa—heck, I’ll even spring for the mini marshmallows!

(Obviously, I have a sneaking suspicion that I would medal in this specially designed one as I’ve already competed in it 14 times this winter alone.)

2. Full Contact Figure Skating – Why leave figure skating up to the judge’s discretion? Just let every competitor skate at the same time in a giant battle royale, and whoever is left standing wins the gold. Easy, peasy, Yamagucheesy!

Insert your favorite Tonya Harding joke here, I suppose.

I would say that they may be on the right track with Snowboard Cross, which I have become smitten with. Of course, there are no video highlights from the current Olympics, which had 6 competitors going at once, but this clip from 2010 gives you the idea.

3. Snow Sculpture – Considering the trend is that more and more Olympic medals are being decided by inexact and subjective (and not objective) judges, why not add a completely artistic event? I mean, if you can “judge” ice dancing, snowboard halfpipe and that prancing around with the giant ribbons on a stick, why not make a contest of the making of snowmen (like the work of this random talented artist I Googled)?


“This is what happened to the East German judges who dared to give me a 4.8.”

And obviously, there would be individual and team competitions—I mean, who wouldn’t want to see what inspiration might spark up the Jamaican snow sculpture team?

4. Snow Diving – It’d be like the ski jump, but instead of a nicely inclined downhill landing zone, athletes would ski off a giant cliff, do all sorts of tricks and then just fall straight down into a “soft” cushion of snow. Picture a Wile E. Coyote sort of situation with points for style—just over and over again.

5. The Ultimate Snowball War – A combination of dodgeball, capture the flag and the Hunger Games (minus the gratuitous murder of children) this would be a unique event in that every team would compete at the same time! It’d be played over a snowy five-mile “field” on the side of a mountain or equally challenging landscape . . . officials would hide ONE flag somewhere, everyone would be sent in at the same time.

I’m thinking teams of five, at least. Get hit with a snowball, and you’re eliminated (or maybe just sent to a penalty box for an hour); if you’re holding the flag and get hit, you must relinquish the flag on the spot. Whoever can get in, find the flag and get out unscathed wins the gold medal! Points also might be awarded for finding the flag, number of “kills” or amount of time retaining the flag.

In order to succeed, there will have to be alliances and sacrifices; great stamina and athleticism will be needed to retrieve the flag, but strategy and guile would also be necessary. If done right, the game might go on for hours or even days! It’d make for great TV, sort of like “Survivor” meets “Knock Out” with a dash of “Ice Road Truckers.”

6. Killer Sled – My friends and I played this on the long downhill of Sassacus Drive, which often was not plowed because it was a dead end—essentially it’s The Road Warrior on sleds.

Simply: Each two-athlete team starts at the same time, the first one to the bottom wins and the rules are: there are no rules.

In our version, there was a “driver” and an “attacker.” Ideally, the driver went for the finish while the attacker went after other sleds to stop them by whatever means necessary (say like hopping aboard another sled to run it  into Mr. D’Aurelio’s parked Buick and abandoning ship just before impact). As you might imagine, the participants’ roles were often interchangeable during any run, and more than once, if you were fortunate enough to survive and limp across the finish line, it might not have been on the sled you started with. You also might end up with a frozen facial or slush down your back—it was snow-fueled anarchy!

And if the Olympics can’t get behind such glorious carnage, then I’m not sure we should participate any more! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!!

Mar 272013

So even though the Supreme Court is already making noise that it may take the cowardly route and not make a broad ruling on same-sex marriage, I’m hoping that once they get in chambers behind closed doors, the conversation goes something like this:

Justice Roberts: All right, we’ve heard the arguments, so let’s get to it. What do you all think?

Justice Kagan: Well, having been accused of being gay by the press, politicians, religious leaders, community leaders, lobbyists, attorneys, economists, doctors, lawyers, hobos, small children and even hyperactive spider monkeys—all essentially based on my haircut, love of softball and smoking cigars—I think it’s safe to say that even though it’s absolutely no one’s business but my own how I choose to love, I can identify with the homosexual community. As such, I’m all for ending this homophobic hate disguised as “morality.”

Justice Sotomayor: I am in complete agreement. I know from my own upbringing that people are people, and no one should be discriminated against in the eyes of the law because of inconsequential factors such as their family heritage, the color of their skin or whom they love.

Justice Thomas: [*nods in agreement*]

Justice Breyer: Hey, I grew up in San Francisco, so all this “gay” stuff is old news to me. Put me down too for undoing what the haters in California did, and making the laws of the land equitable for everyone.

Justice Alito: Hey, where did all the marshmallow peeps go? That candy dish was full of them when we sat down.

Justice Thomas: [*tries to swallow something but just shrugs*]

Justice Alito: Well anyway, I was in the army, so I see this as an extension of don’t ask, don’t tell … because it’s no one’s freaking business. I vote for ending discrimination.

Justice Kennedy: To be honest, I’d prefer to kick this one back down to the states.

Justice Roberts: Instead of “Bend It Like Beckham,” it’s “Kick It Like Kennedy.” I don’t think we can do that this time around, though.

Justice Kennedy: Very funny, Johnny boy. But I do agree. I’m already on record repeatedly as pretty much for gay marriage, so no need to turn back now. It’d be like trying to eat just one Pringle. Can’t stop once you pop!

Justice Thomas: [*nods vigorously*]

Justice Scalia: Although I’m not a fan of it, what those people do in private ultimately doesn’t affect me. What I’m concerned about is the Constitution, and nowhere in that fine document does it say anything about denying rights based on sexual orientation. The first thing the Bill of Rights says is “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” so to protect intolerance and discrimination that seems to be religion-based isn’t going to fly with me. I say the bastards are legally entitled to be as miserable as the rest of us.

Justice Bader-Ginsburg: Funny, but the majority of the opposition include groups who carp about “protecting the family” and are fundamentally Christian, yet as a non-Christian, I was allowed to participate without any restriction in the institution they are so vociferously defending on the basis of their faith. So to deny anyone access to the same benefits on faith-based arguments don’t hold vaser, as they say.

Justice Roberts: So that’s eight for, which means how I vote really doesn’t matter. Although I’m personally with Tony on “the other team,” I have to put my prejudices aside. As I’ve been charged to do, I must abide by the Constitution and the law, which forces me to agree solely on the basis of the discrimination, as much as it sickens me to do. So that makes it unanimous! Not that that there’s anything wrong with it.

Justice Kagan: Of course not!

Justice Roberts: Okay now that that’s been decided, let’s dance**!



**Okay, the dancing *might* be too much to hope for, but hey, there are no laws against dreaming, right?


Jan 202013

On Sunday, January 20, 2013, Barack Obama takes the oath of office for his second term as President of the United States. During the inaugural celebration, which will stretch into Monday, he will address the entire nation to celebrate the event and lay out his vision for his second term in office.

Although I’m sure he’s got qualified professionals who might have more (read: any) experience writing such oratories, I thought that this time out he might need some help, especially since the majority of Americans probably won’t remember anything he said—unless he mentions something about giving away free pizza or having Honey Boo Boo and The Human Thumb, deported to Kazakhstan—ten minutes after the speech is over.

I guarantee that if he chooses to use this speech, people will remember it.

Here we go with

The Inaugural Address That I Can Only Hope President Obama Will Deliver This Time

My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the continuing challenges before us, deeply grateful for the trust you have bestowed upon me once again. Now that I’m safely entrenched in the second term that you have granted me, I no longer have to be as concerned about how my every word and action might be twisted by political opponents to sway or mislead the voting electorate. So with those challenges behind me, I’ve decided that I’m going to talk to you in a more direct manner.

Simply: I’m done with the bullshit and I’m going to give it to you all straight.

Oh, that’s right, the current President of the United States just uttered the word “bullshit,” and guess what? Not a damned thing happened. Oh sure, some people may have gasped, a few hearts may have skipped a beat here or there, but no one was physically hurt or died from my use of that word, nor did the world come to any sort of abrupt end. Heck, no one was even psychologically damaged by this, not even the youngest of our Americans, who have most likely already heard their own parents exclaim such words—or worse—in frustration. Often repeatedly.

Sticks and stones break bones last time I checked, not the occasional naughty word.

And you see, that illustrates two of the major challenges that lie before us. Not only are our energies constantly absorbed by focusing on meaningless controversies such as being offended by a mere word that we’ve all heard and most likely have used at numerous points in our lives, but more importantly, we’re also creating a nation of insulated, self-absorbed precious snowflakes who can never hear a bad word, can never be allowed to be sad, and can never be subjected to the slightest hardship or inconvenience.

In short, we’re raising a generation of zombified wusses who live their days glued to video games and cell phones, and who are convinced that they can do no wrong. Trust me, I know this firsthand—I have two beautiful daughters of my own, Natasha and Malia, who can tell you in excruciating detail about how they can navigate a sandbox game like Minecraft, but yet are incapable of finding their way on their own to the local playground to play in a sandbox. We have allowed them to become more interested in keeping up with the Kardashians than keeping up with their algebra.

Epic fail, as they say.

Sure, my fellow parents, our intentions are noble, but by making it easier on our children now, we’re making it harder on everyone in the long run. In our zest to ensure every one of our children feels good about him or herself by giving them a trophy for just showing up, it means that often they never taste the bitter agony of defeat, and thus, have never gain a strong hunger for victory. Maybe if a child or two got left behind on occasion, they would work harder to keep up with the best and brightest.

Perhaps this is why the rest of the civilized world is kicking our collective butts in areas that are “hard” such as science, manufacturing and technology, and will continue to do so. Our kids just don’t give a damn because they know they’ll be rewarded, regardless of the outcome, as long as they—quote, unquote—try.

And that’s not how it works in the real world, is it? If you show up at work and try, that’s all fine and good, but if you don’t get the job done, you’re not going to stay employed for very long are you . . . unless of course you work in Congress.

[*wait for laughter to subside*]

All joking aside, we need to raise mentally tougher and thicker-skinned children, more rugged individuals who are not deterred at the first obstacle and will not throw up their hands when the going gets rough. No more waiting for Mommy to come along and make it all right—make it all right for yourself, or be left behind.

But before we can do that, my fellow Americans, the first step is looking at ourselves, and realizing that we need to step up our own game. That in addition to teaching our children how to make things all right for themselves, we need not only to teach ourselves how to make things all right for ourselves, but that each and every one of us is solely responsible for our own lives.

That’s right—it’s time to stop playing the blame game. It’s not the fault of big business, the government, the education system, your local planning and zoning board, the Illuminati or even the cast of the Jersey Shore that you’re living in a van down by the river. If you’re an adult and you’re not happy with where you are in your life, you have no one to blame but yourself. You—and you alone—can change it.

It’s called personal responsibility. Google it. Learn it. Live it.

And I don’t want to hear you say that you can’t do it. Despite what many may say, this is still the Land of Opportunity. Just ask my good friend from back in Kenya, Donald Trump, who on multiple opportunities squandered the fortune his father left him before finally making it bigger than his hair.

[*smile smugly and nod during the applause, then get serious again*]

Now many might suggest that the last four years in the United States have sucked—the economy has been down, retail prices are up, our political system appears to be frozen, and numerous heartbreaking tragedies have befallen our land.

But I say to each one of you, step back and compare your life here in the United States to the rest of the world.

Yes, there’s 8 percent unemployment here, but guess what? That means 92 percent employment—I guarantee you anyone in Greece or Spain, where 1 out of 4 people are jobless, would happily trade for that any day of the week. Tanks are not rumbling down Main Street America while they slaughter tens of thousands of innocent citizens, like in Syria. We’re not facing famine and disease such as in West Africa, where 150 of every 1,000 children will die before reaching age 5. You’re not eating the bark off trees to stay alive while the latest generation in a line of chubby, well-fed megalomaniacs are ranting about Best Korea and comparing the size of their rockets to everyone else.

First world problems, people.

Now that’s not to say we shouldn’t focus our energies on pushing this proud nation to reach its full potential. I think that we all agree that if we can get every American man and woman, boy and girl, to stop their whining and their bitching, to ignore the distractions that come with such negative activities, to put all our ridiculous partisan political bickering aside, and started working together, there would be no freaking  stopping us.

Sure, we have challenges, from economic woes and gun control to congressional constipation and our ever-growing national waistline, but I truly believe if we cut all the petty, self-serving crap and tried to find solutions that would help the silent majority rather than appease the obnoxiously loud few, we would once again be regarded by all as the greatest nation on Earth.

I think of the words of two young women who worked in a brewery in Milwaukee, who went from obscurity to prosperity. “Nothing’s gonna turn us back now. Straight ahead and on the track now. We’re gonna make our dreams come true. Doin’ it our way.” The American Way.

So let’s get off our butts and get to work. To paraphrase the brilliant Americans who brought us South Park, The Book of Mormon and Team America: World Police: “America … FUCK YEAH!”

Thank you, and God bless.

Nov 302012

All right, I felt like I am still on a bit of a roll from the post the other day when I embraced the madness that is the holiday retail season.

In that spirit, I thought I might address the impending fiscal cliff facing the U.S. government that has been bandied about the news so much lately. For the record, I think that like a lot of political “issues,” this situation is probably being overhyped in yet another game of partisan political gamesmanship. Seriously, if you think these guys and gals care about doing right for the U.S. (“us,” ironically) over posturing in a way that’s best for their political careers, then I have a Bigfoot in Saskatchewan that I’d like to sell you! Wake up! These people don’t care a lick about you or I, only your vote, and will ultimately only do what’s best to get re-elected so they can continue to cash in. Period.

That all aside, there is apparently a somewhat major issue that needs to be addressed, and I like to think that I’m all about providing answers rather than just chirping away with the chorus about the problems.

Right now, the President has said “everything is on the table,” and there’s a talk about finding a compromise somewhere between raising taxes and cutting expenses. I’d like to suggest a third course that should be considered. Selling stuff!

Now, I know it’s ludicrous to suggest that the U.S. government starts selling off major assets and landmarks, although I’m betting there’s an entrepreneur or two out there who might be enticed to purchase Death Valley in order to make it a death-themed amusement park! Think about—dark tourism is all the rage, and what’s more macabre than an entire landscape named after death? Put in a museum of death or make it a haunted attraction, offer the opportunity for visitors to actually drop dead from the heat (which is regularly in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit), and I guarantee people will drop top dollar to get into a barren superheated desert!

Hmm… now that I think about it, the kids’ college money is just sitting there …

Anyway, so rather than outright putting up our national assets for sale, I suggest our government take a page out of the professional sports (and rayality) playbook, and offer lucrative sponsorship opportunities. There are thousands of landmarks and “marketing opportunities” out there, so I’m pretty sure we can raise enough funds to fix the debt thing without cutting or taxing.

In fact, to get us started, here are—

Five Potential Corporate Sponsorships for the United States

1. The Washington Monument, Presented by Viagra

Uh, yeah.

2. The Dirt Devil Tower

I can see the ad campaigns now: “Tower over dirt in your house!” or “The power of the devil compels you … to clean!” or “Avoid close encounters of the dirty kind!” [You can look it up here, kids.]

3. The Depends Hoover Dam  

Obviously, Pampers or Huggies could also be interested in this opportunity! I’d also suggest Tampax, but that might just be a bit tacky.

4. The Dr. Scholl’s Statue of Liberty

Hey, Lady Liberty is on her feet all day, so why shouldn’t she be gellin’ like Magellan?

On a side note, that may be simultaneously the worst and greatest tagline from any ad ever—I mean, what the hell does a 16th-century Portuguese explorer who was slaughtered by natives in the South Pacific have to do with podiatric comfort? Sure, it rhymes, and I guess it’s so bad that it’s memorable—like, “Where’s the beef?!”—but they could’ve just as easily gone with “Gellin’ like Sue Ellen” or “Gellin’ like blind Helen.”

5. Old Faithful, by Metamucil

Seriously people, this stuff writes itself! And if I can think of it, how come no one in an actual position of authority has thought of taking advantage of these opportunities yet?

Again, President Obama has said that he’s looking for ideas to resolve this looming crisis, so I suggest you do something for your country by getting off your lazy ass and contacting your local congressperson—or better yet, send them the link to this post—to tell them of this option to help avert a trip off the fiscal cliff.

Remember, as always, I’m here to help!

Nov 212012

Okay, I stole this from something I wrote for my daytime gig … it’s not plagiarism if I’m taking it from myself, right?

If you’re like me—and you darn well should be—you’re probably already sick to death hearing all about Black Friday, the “official” kickoff to the season of crass commercialism and retail excess that masquerades around  … well, I think it was some sort of notable holiday at some point.

As Charley Monagan and others have noted, the ever-growing shopping frenzy set to kick off on Friday threatens to envelop Thanksgiving itself, which will be a sad, sad occurrence if—actually, make that *when*—it happens. Sigh.

Of course, I’m not foolish enough to think I can help hold off the zombie hordes of bargain seekers that will be shuffling into stores in about 36 hours or so, but what I can do is still cling to everything that’s still good and enjoyable about my favorite holiday before it’s all swept away.

As I sit here typing, it is the day before Thanksgiving, a day that has traditionally hasn’t been a special one on the calendar, although it is often erroneously described as the “busiest travel day of the year.” Although there will be many people on the road, it’s actually not even in the top 5 or 10, according to AAA—various days in the summer are worse. (Of course, this doesn’t actually ruin Planes, Trains and Automobiles in any way.)

When you consider it, in addition to the anticipation of the best holiday on the year (food, family, football, friends and no gifts—what’s better than that?), there’s a lot of special things about the Wednesday before Thanksgiving:

  • Normally, the house is full of great smells while many prepare for the feast, baking cakes, pies and other dishes. When I was a kid, we’d always go to my grandmother’s house for the holiday, and although she was one of the best cooks I’ve ever had the privilege to know, she would always start cooking the turkey on Wednesday. She said she needed her oven free to cook other dishes on Thursday, and didn’t want to tie it up for hours on the bird, which she would try to put back in the oven on Thanksgiving to “finish it.” As you might imagine, this occasionally did not work out well, although we never got botulism. One of my proudest moments was the first time she came to my house for Thanksgiving and she raved about my turkey and wanted to know the secret. (Just actually cooking it in one shot, Granny!)
  • It’s not officially a holiday, but it feels like something special. People are relaxed and generally in good moods, work is usually light and there’s a holiday spirit all around as altruistic souls go about gathering food for those less fortunate on the holiday.
  • Along those lines, it’s usually a half-day for most students, and usually an occasion for early dismissal from work, you know, if you work hard for kind, generous, good-hearted people (like I might). [*HINT HINT*]
  • All our clothes still fit comfortably at this point. After Thanksgiving and the subsequent meals of leftovers and extra helpings of desserts, this won’t be the case by Sunday night.
  • On Wednesday, we’re usually still happy to see family who have come from afar—no one has gotten on anyone’s nerve’s yet, and most of the family drama won’t come to a head until the holiday cheer starts flowing into wine glasses on Thursday. House guests haven’t outstayed their welcome yet, either.
  • Wednesday night is also a time where many friends who haven’t seen each other in a while get together. For my wife and her besties who grew up in Ansonia, it’s often referred to as “Happy Valley New Year,” a night of celebration in the local bars and restaurants met with a fair level of revelry. Usually** my wife will roll the car onto the front lawn at about 2 a.m., jump out of it, hop on the roof and boisterously shout “HAPPY VALLEY NEW YEAR!!!” to the entire neighborhood. (**By “usually” I mean I may have completely made this up—we’ll see how it goes tonight.)

Anyway, I think we need to have an official nickname for the day to recognize the optimism, happiness and good will of the day. I suggest White Wednesday as it sounds like the antithesis of Black Friday, but I’m certainly open to other suggestions. Kickoff Wednesday? Friendsday? You Don’t Have to Make Amends Day? Or do we just go with the simple Thanksgiving Eve?

Well, whatever you call the day, please enjoy it!

Jul 022012

Okay, as a True American, I will be busy this week celebrating the birth of the greatest nation on Earth by engaging in Constitutionally protected activities such as eating lots of greasy cheese-covered hamburgers, watching other people injure themselves while they try to blow stuff up and (if I had a gun) shooting things.

But before I fully engage in the revelry that is my birthright as a native of this fine nation, I thought I’d exercise another one of my basic freedoms—of speech—to share with you:

Ten Things I Love About America!

1. Last time I checked, this was still an option (crank it up and leave it on while you read!):

2. Freedom! I don’t take it for granted for one second that we have the right to say what we want, worship—or not—worship how we want, or generally live how we see fit as long as I don’t infringe upon the rights of others. Want to dress up and live your life like a vampire, fabulous! Want to worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Ramen!), feel free. Want to live in a (properly registered) van down by the river, fine. Want to blow things up, either on TV or at home this week? Bombs away! Want to have a blog where you regularly do and say stupid things? No problem, go right ahead! Yay!

3. Rednecks!

Obviously, I’m not down with the hate, racism and bigotry aspects of the stereotype, but the fact that the U.S. is a place tolerant of all groups, cultures and proclivities makes it awesome. Besides, there’s plenty of qualities of Deep South that help make us a more diverse nation and that I find to be entertaining, you know, like Jeff Foxworthy, NASCAR, “Hillbilly Handfishin‘,” and my good ol’ boy, Shelby Stanga. Also, lots of the food—such as real barbecue and fried chicken. Now if we could work on that obesity problem (say swap in the occasional non-deep-fried salad)—oh, and the rampant prejudice—it’d all be good to go!

4. Despite a few well-documented, high-profiles misses, in general, our judicial system works. Now, I’m not saying it’s perfect—far from it in some cases (although even this one works out)—and it could certainly be more efficient, but at least we have a system that despite the charges, guarantees that you will get a day in court to have your say, as opposed to many other places on Earth where you can be accused of imaginary crimes, tried without actual evidence, testimony or logic and summarily executed on the spot.

5. Unlimited access to the internet. Sure, that may not seem like a big deal to some, but better than half the Earth has some sort of restriction—sometimes significant—when it comes to trying to access everything from Facebook and Fark to TheBlogess and Damned Connecticut or even watching ankle sprain fetish videos. (I’m not going looking for any as examples, I just remember them from the ridiculously entertaining “International Sexy Ladies Show” on G4.)

6. Kaitlin Olson.

Kaitlin, Kerri Kenney, Tina Fey, Zooey Deschannel and other smart, quirky, all-American comedian/actresses just remind me that we’re a country that constantly encourage our female population to be whatever they want to be, not what we tell them to be.

We also treat our women like the equal human beings they are. Sadly, again, much of the world can’t make this claim.

7. Despite the media-generated sensationalism and terror-inducing headlines, the United States is among the safest places to live on the planet. Our crime rates are currently at historical lows—seriously, the violent crime rate is below where it was half a century ago—and our police forces are the model for much of the planet in that they actually serve and protect the citizens rather than exist as hired guns to do some tyrant’s bidding as we’ve seen in many countries during the Arab Spring.

Yes, there are bad spots in the country and occasional random acts of violence, but in general, we go about our lives in a peaceful, fear-free manner. No one drives tanks down our streets, throws molotov cocktails through our windows or randomly abducts our family members to never be seen again or be held as a slave on a Thai fishing boat for years.

8. Having choices!

From places to eat to things to do to stuff to buy, America is the Land of Plenty, and as long as you can pay, it’s yours. Think about it: Not only do we have dozens of different supermarket chains and food stores from which to choose, but in each store, there are hundreds of unique brands and products—can you imagine someone from a destitute country like Zimbabwe, North Korea or Afghanistan walking into the local ShopRite just looking for a box of cookies? Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Fig Newtons, Lorna Doones, SnackWells, Pepperidge Farm, Little Debbie, Famous Amos—their brains would a-splode from the options.

And the dizzying array of choices doesn’t just stop at commercial products: hospitals, nursery schools, private schools, colleges, clown colleges, TV channels, movies, music, museums, banks, lawyers, proctologists, phlebotomists, botanists, dentists, construction companies, plumbers, exterminators, nursing homes, funeral homes, crematoriums, cemeteries …

From cradle to grave, the average American enjoys a never-ending smorgasbord of choices. And it is good.

9. Turducken!

Just another example of American ingenuity, which has helped to make this country the capitalist dream that it is. If you have an idea or invention, be it great (like electricity) or not, like wall-mounted singing fish, you can pursue it here and either profit greatly or fail miserably from it. Or in the case of the aforementioned turducken, both succeed (in creating something unique) and fail (at creating something even remotely healthy) in the same fell swoop.

10. Again, freedom of speech. Sure, narrow-minded people who think they know better try to censor others from time to time, but where else (aside from maybe Canada), would people like Matt Stone and Trey Parker be able to mock and celebrate (but mostly mock, and that’s okay) the good ol’ U.S. of A?

Enjoy, but not the original video because of copyright laws, which we respect (when we have lawyers) here in America—

[Not Safe For Work language, of course]

Enjoy the holiday, muthafrakkers!