Talk about your good news/bad news scenarios. The good news is that, after an onscreen absence of many months, Ric Flair returns to WWE RAW tonight. As was almost always the case back in Flair's WCW days, WWE is using Charlotte, NC...the capital of Flair Country...as the staging ground for a Nature Boy re-launch. Ric's returns from his frequent hiatuses are always fun to watch because Flair so deftly walks the tightrope between putting over a storyline and his own "shoot" versions of events to explain his absences. Add a red-hot hometown crowd and you've got some must-see TV.
Now the bad news...Flair's return almost certainly means that his much-discussed and debated farewell/retirement storyline begins tonight. Originally, the storyline was supposed to culminate at next year's WrestleMania. Now, according to the wrestling dirt sheets, WWE wants the potential return of John Cena to be the big in-ring story of 'Mania while making Flair the centerpiece of the 2008 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony. So we can expect some disruption to Flair's big comeback speech tonight...and whoever does the disrupting will go a long way in determining the direction of Flair's last hurrah.
Even though he just started a program/feud with the returning Chris Jericho last week, I'd make "the legend killer" and current WWE champ Randy Orton tonight's designated party-pooper. Build a program with Flair directed toward a showdown for the WWE title at January's Royal Rumble. Flair gets pounded within an inch of his life, pulls a classic cheating move worthy of "the dirtiest player in the game," and rolls Orton up for the unexpected title win out of nowhere. Then, right there in the middle of the ring, he announces his retirement and gives up the belt. That way, you give Flair a proper send-off and set up a wild scramble for the WWE title a couple of months later at WrestleMania.
But...still...pro-wrestling without Ric Flair? It'll be hard to get used to.
I'm relieved and extremely proud to announce that the problems we've been having with Social Security described yesterday have been resolved. With extreme prejudice. My Mom (pictured with yours truly) and my sister-in-law, having had no luck getting anyone on the phone for well over a week, went to the office of her case worker and staged themselves an old-school, power-to-the-people sit-in. That's right. They got there first thing in the morning and announced they weren't leaving until they got some face time. When Mom was asked if she had an appointment, sis-in-law fired back with, "If she can't talk to anybody on the damn phone, how's she supposed to make a damn appointment?" Awesome. She's got dinner or a surprise gift coming next time we're up their way. Long story short, the case worker got on the phone and then on her computer...and within minutes, everything was taken care of. So you see, the system works. Sometimes you just have to go punch it in the throat to get its attention, that's all.
So, John McCain gets asked (in reference to Hillary), "How do we beat the bitch?" and, rather than remind the questioner about the importance of civility and common decency, he comes back with, "...that's an excellent question." Well, my respect for the guy went out the window a long time ago when he became Bush's lapdog and apologist...and now the sympathy I had for him as I watched him tremble and stutter while being eviscerated by Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" a few months ago is gone as well. What happened to the McCain I used to respect and enjoy listening to? The guy whose dignity would never allow him to pander to the red-meat crowd? I think that's a pretty freaking excellent question, too.
Rudy Giuliani can "dismiss" until he's blue in the face...but this Bernie Kerik stuff is going to blow up well before "Monster Tuesday" on February 5, the day Rudy is counting on all the big states to come through for him and blunt Mitt Romney's expected January success in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan. Kerik's pre-trial hearing is set for January 16, right in the middle of primary season...and his sleazy dance card has it all. Corruption, mob ties, and now, thanks to Judith Regan, influence-peddling and...wait for it...sex. Just as the impeachment story green-lit investigations into President Clinton's sex life, the Kerik scandals and his ties to Giuliani will free up the press to look into Bernie and Rudy's wild-and-crazy swinger days. Giulian's success in the national polls may mean that the Republican base actually will hold its nose and vote for a pro-choice candidate if they think he can beat Hillary, but I don't think they're going to tolerate having some sex-having hedonist at the top of the ballot. At least Romney has a child to show for each time he did the vile deed.
Man, I've sure neglected HYH for the past week or so. It's been a real confluence of events (yes...that's a euphemism for "clusterf*ck")...There's the booster club stuff. Keeping that blog updated and prepping for another edition of the newsletter. I've also been playing phone tag with the Gwinnett County DFACS and the freaking Social Security Administration, who are trying to screw my Mom out of paying the premiums on her prescriptions. Yes, it's because she missed a deadline on some stupid-ass paperwork by a couple of days....but it's ridiculous how this agency that was set up for the express purpose of helping people in my Mom's situation seemingly goes out of their way to find any excuse to dump people from coverage. Where's the follow-up? Isn't sorting out these little brushfires the reason she has an individual case worker? A case worker who...oh, by the effing way...hasn't returned a call to me or to my Mom, my suffering-from-depression, living-on-an-incredibly-fixed-income Mom, in over a week.
But when I look back, it's pretty obvious that the turning point for my regular blogging was Gabe starting to walk. Taking care of the kids becomes a whole different ballgame once they can disappear when your back is turned for only a second. So, since mornings are pretty much off the table, I'm going to try and get into a regular groove of updating this blog late at night. There'll still be stretches of days around booster club newsletter deadline time when I'll have to let HYH slide...but, for anyone who was wondering...no, this blog isn't quite dead yet and I haven't fallen into a manhole or anything. And thanks so much for the couple of nice messages I got letting me know that somebody out there actually is reading this thing.
And that's quite enough self-indulgent navel gazing...
In matters of more cosmic importance, Bruce and the band are coming! April 25 to (dammit) Philips Arena. I was hoping for Gwinnett Arena, where the guys played last time. It's a helluva schlep for us Athens-area folks to get to downtown Atlanta. You pretty much have to clear the whole day for it. But, for Bruce? You clear a day. Now here's hoping that there are actually tickets available this weekend and we don't have some Hannah Montana-type fiasco where the tickets are gone in less than five minutes but nobody can find a single living real person who has them. [Bruce/Steve pic courtesy of NY Daily News]
For everyone pissing and moaning about SpaceyG's contributions to Peach Pundit: Boy, wouldn't it be nice if there was something signifying who contributed what? So you could skip over any contributors you may not personally care for? Maybe something right under the post heading? Dudes...didn't anybody tell you that you're supposed to see a doctor if it lasts more than four hours? Rock on, Spacey.
My pal and Winterville neighbor Ryan Hybl has made it to the second stage of PGA Q-School, where the top finishers after three stages get their PGA Tour memberships. When I went back to school at UGA as an old geezer, I was lucky enough to have several classes with Ryan and get to know him a little bit. I just hope he's ready to deal with what an incredible pest I'm going to become once he's a PGA star.
The First Lady of Professional Wrestling, Lillian Ellison...known worldwide as the Fabulous Moolah, has passed away at the age of 84. Though she wrestled primarily as a heel, I'm glad to have found a picture of her with a smile on her face...because that's how I'll always remember Moolah. Lauren and I were attending one of the early "In Your House" pay-per-views in Florence, SC back in 1996 when I had the pleasure of briefly meeting the greatest female pro-wrestler of all time. Lauren had taken her seat and I was wandering the concourse in search of a good-looking Undertaker shirt. I spotted Moolah holding court with about a half-dozen fans near a pay phone. I wandered over and nervously awaited my chance to say hello. I don't meet new people very well...and, celebrities? Forget it. So I probably said something insipid and totally mark-ish...but I'm sure that I tried to convey that I was a fan from way back, not someone who only knew her from her recent WWE (then WWF) return to prominence.
Let me tell you...The freaking Fabulous Moolah hugged my neck and loved on me like a long-lost grandbaby. And she had the same big hug and "Bless your heart, darlin' " for everyone who approached her. She graciously signed autograph after autograph and posed for pictures until she finally begged off, explaining that she needed to be in her seat so she could be introduced to the crowd as part of the pre-show festivities. When the show finally did start, longtime WWF/WWE ring announcer Howard Finkel did his thing, introducing Moolah as one of the "dignitaries" in the crowd. She stood up, glowering and shaking her fist at the cheering crowd...and then busted back into that radiant smile you see in the picture.
Rest easy, Moolah...and thanks for that minute of your time. I'll never forget it.