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Saturday Top 5: Top 5

These are the top 5 Top 5’s of the past year by page view.

#5 Top 5 Funny Songs
#4 Top 5 Gun Cabinet
#3 Top 5 Rock and Roll Guitar Solos
#2 Top 5 Most Annoying Songs
#1 Top 5 Terriers

I will return with a fresh top 5 next week when my Saturday should be a lot less crazy.

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Saturday Top 5: Christmas Activities

For me, Christmas is a time to reflect on the previous year, to be with family, and to think about other people. It really is the most wonderful time of the year to me. I know that for many of you, it is the toughest time of the year because of hurt and loss. Just remember that the true meaning of Christmas is Jesus. He took on a robe of flesh and lived a life filled with temptations, rejection, and physical pain that we could live. These are the top 5 activities at Christmas time.

Honorable Mention
Listening to Music – Regardless of what you may think based on previous posts about bad Christmas songs, I enjoy Christmas music. I like everything from old tunes by Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole to soft Celtic Christmas to rockin Mannheim Steamroller and Trans Siberian Orchestra. I even like country Christmas songs.

#5. Christmas Dinner – We usually do a Thanksgiving redux at Christmas, but sometimes we have something different. The best part of Christmas dinner is just being with family at the table. My mom’s cornbread stuffing is pretty dern good too!

#4. Light Seeing – One of the Christmas traditions is to drive and look at Christmas lights. The Johnson family has several favorite spots that we have been visiting for years. We always take a thermos with spiced apple cider, hot chocolate, or some other tasty hot beverage. Unfortunately, getting cold weather at Christmas is like playing a slot machine. You pull the handle and just settle for whatever you get.

#3. Christmas Movies and TV Specials – 3 or 4 times a week for the past several weeks, Marcela and I will sit down to watch a Christmas movie. I don’t really prefer one style over another. I like the serious tear-jerkers, the silly love stories, the family specials, clay-mation or cartoon, and the goofy comedy Christmas movies. They’re all great!

#2. Christmas Plays – Dramatic Christmas presentations, Cantatas, and living Christmas tree type presentations are great fun. The plays by the kids are great as are the more professionally arranged church plays. A really well done Christmas play has a way of transporting you in mind to the birthplace and time of Jesus to view the representations of his humble birth, Mary’s obedience and faithfulness, and Joseph’s loyalty. I really love the nativity scenes best.

#1. Giving – I really do love to make Christmas a time to give both in service to others and in gift giving. It’s so neat to see the look on someone’s face when they receive something that they were not expecting.

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Saturday Top 5: The Gun Cabinet

As many of you know, I am a gun owner. I believe in responsible gun ownership, but I believe that responsibility and privilege rests solely on the individual and not the government. Violent criminals, mentally adjudicated, substance addicted, and certain felons are among those I believe who have forfeited their individual rights. I don’t believe in mandatory gun registration, micro stamping, frivolous lawsuits against the industry, caliber restrictions, mag capacity restrictions, mandatory gun locks, “safer guns and safer bullets”, “closing the gun show loophole”, banning so-called Saturday Night Specials, punitive excise taxes on guns, restrictions on cheap guns that are totally unfair to the poor, or any of the other ridiculous infringements of our 2nd Amendment protections.

There, now you have my disclaimer. When I was 8, my Grandpa Roberts gave me a 20 Gauge single shot. My dad and grandpa taught me responsible handling and firing of this powerful gun. Since then, I have had a few various long guns, revolvers, and semi automatic pistols. These are the top 5 guns that I believe every serious gun owner should consider owning. In other words, if money was no object and I could have only 5 guns (and I don’t really think 5 is enough), these would be the 5 calibers I would suggest.

#5. Tactical Long Gun or Carbine – I like the AR 15 which is manufactured by many companies, since that’s what I am familiar with carrying every day. The 223 caliber ammo is widely available due to this guns popularity worldwide. Ruger also makes a 223 that’s a little less tactical. The Mini 14 is a great gun that is accurate, long ranged, and “accessorizable”. Also, the AK 47 and Chinese version of the same gun is very affordable though it uses a slightly different and less available round. These are good guns to have if you live on a farm or a ranch and you are going to be out in the field for long periods of time. They make good varmint guns, personal self defense weapons, hunting rifles, and even target guns. They are also quite fun because of their high capacity, accuracy, speedy repeating and reloading, and low recoil. For the record, I do not currently own one and I don’t know if our newly elected president is going to ban them because they look so mean.

#4. Hunting Rifle – These are for small, medium, and large game, like squirrels, rabbit, hog, deer, elk, moose, and hippos. Haha. Seriously, there are so many calibers to choose from and your selection would be based on the object at the other end. 22 WM, 22 Hornet are fine for smaller game, while 7mm Magnum or 30-06 Rifle will bring down a very large game. 308 WM might be a better round since it’s more widely available. But smaller calibers like the 270 might be more appropriate for those of us in the sound, unless you’re hunting large alligators. Rifles in bolt action, lever action, semi automatic, or even single shot are good options.

#3. Handgun for personal defense/concealed carry – This is one that I had to make broad enough for my top 5, otherwise I would have too many to list. I prefer the 40 caliber or 9mm compact or subcompact Glock, while other “experts” would have nothing less than a 45 caliber semi auto. 9mm is preferable because of the price of ammunition combined with the adequacy of the stopping power. A steel framed 357 Magnum Revolver is an extremely versatile piece. You can shoot 38 special cartridges (which are much cheaper) out of the same gun for practice. The 357 generates a whole lot of energy which translates to “stopping power”, but nowhere close to the power of the 44 magnum (see Dirty Harry). Revolvers can be extremely slim and short for great concealment. The drawback is the number of rounds is restricted to 5 or six and reloading is more difficult. This brings be back to my Glock, which holds 15 rounds in the magazine, and spare mags can be carried. Another reason the handgun does not make the top of the list is that while it is highly portable and concealable, accuracy and control is more difficult since it has a shorter barrel which effects the sights and only two points of contact, your hands. It has an added benefit of being able to accurately and effectively be manipulated and fired with one hand.

#2. .22 LR Carbine or Rifle – This is a very affordable and necessary gun. I prefer the Ruger 10/22 as a semi auto repeater due to price, availability, and accessories. It’s under $300 and the rounds are about $15 for a box of 550. That will keep you shooting all day. It’s also a great gun to learn the fundamentals of the long gun and shooting. For target practice, field pests (snakes, rats, and such), and “plinking”, it’s a gun that every gun owner should have in their cabinet.

#1. 12 Gauge Repeating Shotgun – This is the most versatile gun and one of the most affordable. For home defense, there is nothing that comes close. Control is achieved through three contact points (two hands and one shoulder). Accuracy is not required if you are using shot since you will get a good spread at 10 yards. Just the sound of a 12 gauge being pumped is enough to strike fear in the heart of any rational intruder, but for the irrational or hopped up bad guy, this is one of the few guns that will put an adversary (bad guy) down with certainty every time. Pistols cannot come close to the stopping power of a 12 gauge shotgun. Also, this gun can be used for bird hunting, and larger game like deer and hog at closer range. I recommend a Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 as a great starter. For the ladies, a 410 or 20 gauge may be more appropriate since it has far less recoil. Both pumps and semi automatic are great, but the pump is more reliable if you are someone who does not keep a regular cleaning schedule. Cartridges show the versatility of this long gun. You can buy a rifled slug (one large bullet), buckshot (multiple large pellets with different sizes from which to choose), birdshot (a large number of BB pellets and smaller in led or steel, various sizes to choose depending on the game being hunted or target being shot), non lethal bean bags (they are lethal at close range, and I am not sure if these are legal for civilian use), and metal powder for door breaching.

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Saturday Top 5: Chocolate!

It’s one of the most delicious substances on the face of the earth, and it’s something I haven’t tasted in a long time. It’s chocolate! These are my top 5 ways to enjoy delicious chocolate.

Honorable Mention:
Chocolate Chip Cookie. Who could say no to a freshly baked warm and gooey chocolate chip cookie with a glass of cold milk?

The Top 5…

#5 Chocolate dipped strawberries. I prefer them dark red and slightly chilled with a thick chocolate shell.

#4 Chocolate Cream Pie. This is slightly less “chocolaty” and a bit sweeter than some of the other selections on this list. It’s perfect with a cup of hot coffee.

#3 Chocolate Milk/Milkshake. Since they are both beverages I decided to list them together, but I prefer a thick chocolate milkshake or malt. I haven’t had a chocolate milkshake since before the Summer.

#2 Brownies. One of the best treats ever is a warm homemade brownie with walnuts. You can dip it in milk or put a scoop of ice cream on top for good measure. The smell of brownies baking can fill a house from front to back and is very pleasant. The smell is one of those Christmas smells that takes you back to those days when family would gather to celebrate the holidays.

#1 Hot Fudge Cake (click the link for a picture). I would rate this treat as one of the all time greatest deserts. It’s two pieces of warm chocolate cake with cold vanilla ice cream sandwiched in between. You pour rich and thick hot fudge over it, top it with whipped cream and a cherry. This will explode your pancreas, but it’s probably worth it. It’s also worth trying to find a Shoney’s and driving out of your way to have it. There are numerous copycat recipes online that you can try, and there are restaurants that serve something similar, but the Shoney’s version is the best. For something similar, go to Chili’s and order their Molten Chocolate Cake. It’s a cake that has a runny fudge center with ice cream and a chocolate shell on top.

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Saturday Top 5: Reasons to Support Obama

This top 5 list will discuss the top 5 reasons to vote for Barack Obama for POTUS. Please read only if you can handle opinions and views with which you may or may not agree without getting too mad or hurt.

Honorable Mention:
The world hates us and with Obama as president, the world will love us. We want to know why the terrorists hate us so we can stop making them so mad. Besides, we saw how much the world loved us when Carter and Clinton were president. We had an attempt on the twin towers in 96, and multiple embassy attacks under Carter’s term. Besides, these poor brutal dictators just need us to sit down and talk to them and then they will come around. Who cares if it lends legitimacy to their evil regimes? Oops, did I say evil? I meant “misunderstood”.

#5 Health Care/Insurance is a right! Roughly 47 million people in America do not have health insurance. Under Barack Obama, those of us who have a job and pay for insurance will get to make sure that everyone who does not have health insurance (including rough 12-15 million illegal immigrants) gets to have it at our expense.

#4 Guns are evil. The only people that should carry a concealed weapon in public are police, retired police, and criminals. Obama has gone on record and will continue to be on record against permits for concealed carry of firearms with the exception of police and retired police. That makes anyone who would carry a weapon outside of police or retired police a criminal. We know that criminals already break the laws in place, so further restricting gun ownership and rights would give more control to criminals. Also, Barack Obama strongly supports legislation outlawing “assault guns”, cheap guns, and high capacity magazines. He also believes that all guns should be registered with the federal government, microstamped, and taxed $500 each time it changes hands. This would make gun ownership virtually impossible for low income and poor people, the very people he claims to help. Who gives a rip about the 2nd Amendment?

#3 Marriage should not be defined as it currently is, between one man and one woman. Barack Obama strongly opposes the Defense of Marriage Act. Even though Obama says he is not a supporter of “Gay Marriage”, his actions do not line up with his campaign words. While this is not a defining issue for me, it is for many Americans. We also know that Obama supports adding homosexuality to the mix concerning hate speech in church. Churches could possibly lose their tax exempt status for simply saying that homosexuality is a sin. Who cares about the 1st Amendment anyway?

#2 Taxation should be a means of redistributing wealth. Rich people need to pay more taxes. We know that the government does not create wealth, they only take it through taxation, fines, and fees. So how better to start this trickling up than to take the opportunity from those who are trying to earn more and give it to those who do not. Who cares if those at the bottom pay taxes or not, let’s call the government handouts a “tax cut”. About 65% of Americans pay income taxes. Obama said he will cut taxes on 95% of Americans and raise it on 5%. Where did he come up with the magical number of $250,000 per year income as being rich anyway? Abe Lincoln, who was strongly pro labor would be beyond angry at Obama for his big government power grab and attempted socialist/redistributionist tax policy.

#1 Abortion should be legal at any stage of pregnancy, minors should be able to have an abortion without consent of their parents, and the taxpayer should foot the bill for those abortions. Barack Obama told Planned Parenthood that his first act as POTUS would be to sign FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) which makes all abortion procedures legal at any stage of pregnancy (including “Partial Birth Abortion”), eliminates parental notification for minors, and specifically funds abortions for low income and poor with federal tax payer dollars. There is video of Obama’s speech to Planned Parenthood at the above link.

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Saturday Top 5: Phil Collins Tunes

These are my 5 favorite Phil Collins songs.

#5 You’ll Be In My Heart – This song made the Disney movie Tarzan a pretty good film.

#4 I Don’t Care Anymore – Every time I hear this tune, I think of a great episode of Miami Vice.

#3 In The Air Tonight – This has the most famous drum riff in rock music history, in my humble opinion.

#2 Take Me Home – It’s got smooth percussion and a lot of depth to the chord progression. I love listening to this tune.

#1 Tonight, Tonight – This is to me the most intense song that Phil Collins ever sang. I love the rhythm, percussion, and the edginess this song brings.

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Saturday Top 5: Mel Gibson Flicks

I would not consider myself a huge fan of Mel Gibson, but I do enjoy a good man movie. Mel is the king of guy flicks and these are my favorite 5 movies starring Mel Gibson.

A couple of movies worthy of mention that did not make my list:
Conspiracy Theory
Ransom
Hamlet
Forever Young – As a side note, this was the only true chick flick that I note on this page, but it was pretty good.

#5 Maverick – Comedy, action, and western rolled up into one, it was a pretty cool movie about a card shark, a chick trying to steal his cash, and the original Maverick who turns out to be Bret’s pop.

#4 The Patriot – It’s not exactly historically accurate, but in a couple of instances it tugs at your heart with regards to family and country.  Mel turns in a good performance and presents some good action and drama.  It was not the masterpiece that Mel envisioned, but it was a good American film about freedom.

#3 Signs – I like Sci-Fi/alien films, and this has some of the best jump scenes in it.  I think this is as good a performance as any of Mel Gibson’s films as far as his acting is concerned.  If you like movies that have a little mystery and thrill, this one is for you!

#2 Payback – It’s classic film noir with some 70’s style naration by Mel, gritty street crime, and a story that picks up somewhere in the middle.  The good guy is not exactly a good guy, but he is the best you are going to get.  And Mel has the right sarcastic and never give up attitude in this film to make it a winner.

#1 Braveheart – In my opinion, this is one of the top quality movies in American history, right up there with epics like Ben Hur, The Godfather, Sparticus, and Gladiator.  Some of the qualities that distinguish Braveheart from some of the others mentioned is that it carried some good humor with it, as well as the great struggles for freedom and the sacrifice to do the right thing in the face of tremendous odds.  None of it would have worked without Gibson’s acting talents.  He has a way of carrying the character and making him endearing, rather than just some brute warrior.  This is a great film, in my opinion.

I know there are some people who believe I left a few great Gibson flicks out of my list, but as always, my list is correct.  If you disagree with me, you are wrong. 🙂

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Saturday Top 5: Breakfast

It’s time for a massive breakfast! So what are the 5 “must have” items to consume at breakfast excluding beverage? Hey, all you oatmealers, cereal and milkers, danish and croissanters, and farina eaters, have a nice healthy breakfast of the following.

I’m sorry, sausage (links or patties), toast, and country ham almost made the cut. But I will gladly eat any of them any time.

#5. Pancakes – I was conflicted between pancakes and waffles making the cut, but then I started thinking about how people throw fruit and junk all over waffles. Then the thought of some soft, sweet, buttery pancakes hit me and it just makes sense. Waffles are good, but there’s nothing like a stack of flap jacks dripping with butter and maple syrup for breakfast. Of course, you gotta have some sausage or bacon with that!

#4. Grits – Bill had a great post on grits a few weeks back that really reaches to the essence of the question,”What are grits?”. It’s not just a breakfast food, but no southern breakfast is complete without it. And you better not put anything sweet on them! You might as well eat oatmeal or cream of wheat. For the record, grits can be eaten at any meal. That was what kept grits from making the top of the list. They are particularly good with fried fish and hushpuppies.

#3. Biscuits – Before I began my low carb existence, biscuits and gravy were regularly part of my unbalanced breakfast. Now, I only have some soy toast and butter as a treat that I can incorporate into my regular diet. Strawberry or fig preserves or grape jelly really goes great as long as you aren’t using your biscuits to sop your broken egg yolk. Sausage gravy rocks a biscuit like you wouldn’t believe.

#2. Bacon – This is quite possibly the most tasty creation man has come up with. Unfortunately, it combines the great health benefits of pork, fried fat, and an enormous quantity of sodium.

#1. The Incredible, Edible Egg – No good hot breakfast could be complete without eggs whether fried, scrambled, or boiled.

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Saturday Top 5: Excuses Given to Get out of a Ticket

This week is the first time I will have a top 5 that I didn’t judge and generate on my own.  The category is excuses given to get out of a ticket and here are the top 5 reasons.  The list of top 3 plus some honorable mention selections were from an article on autos.aol.com.  These were actual stories, but their voracity could not be confirmed.

#5 The result of this excuse was not known, but the answer given to the question “Why were you speeding?” was simple.  “Time is money.”

#4 “My sister-in-law was pulled over one day for speeding and she said to the passenger with her “O dear God don’t let him give me a ticket” the officer came up to her and as he was looking over her driver’s license the call came over the radio that the church down the road was on fire. He jumped in his car and told her it was her lucky day. My sister-in-law said “God you did not have to go to that extreme.”

#3  This was my personal favorite. “Vehicle pulled over for speeding at approximately 04:00. When approaching the vehicle the driver asked me if I knew Officer Westberg. I told him I did. He then went on to tell me how he was Officer Westberg’s buddy, and he (Westberg) wouldn’t be happy knowing I was giving one of his friends a ticket. I asked him how well he knew Westberg. He said that they have been close friends for years, and even showed me Westberg’s business card. I told the driver to wait in his car, and I would check to make sure his license was valid. It was, so I wrote him the ticket for speed. When I gave him the ticket, he asked me why I didn’t let him off with a warning, since he was Westberg’s friend. I told him Westberg doesn’t have any friends and that he should look at the name of the officer on the ticket. There neatly printed was WESTBERG. The driver stared at the officer’s name on the ticket for probably 15 seconds, then looked at my nametag, and saw it spelled out Officer Westberg. He told me that a buddy of his always dropped officer’s names, and since he had received my business card in the past during some type of event, he thought it was worth a try. He paid the ticket.”

#2 “I was driving along one day minding what I thought was my own business, and kind of daydreaming. I must have gone a little faster than I should have and was pulled over and stopped by a state police officer. My husband is a former police officer and told me how he always let someone go if they could tell him a reason for speeding that he hadn’t heard before. I knew I had to think quickly because he was now approaching my door. He advised me that the reason he was stopping me was I had exceeded the posted limit by 15 miles over. I looked him in the eye and asked him sternly “Do you have any idea what I did to the last cop who stopped me for speeding?” He looked a little shocked and began feeling more cautious. I said, “I married him.” I believe he is still laughing, he just walked away and said slow down, have a nice day. I was so pleased that for once my husband told me something that would really work.”

#1 The best excuse used to get out of a ticket is an excuse that really stinks! “I am a funeral director, the law does not bother a hearse on the highway at any speed. But this one time I had a time to be at an out of town crematory, and I was in a van, taking an unembalmed body to be cremated and he got me at 90 mph on the Interstate, when he stopped me and asked what was my hurry, I said, ‘Brother, I have to be at a crematory in an hour or I’ll miss my appointment time and they will be closing for the weekend.’ He said, ‘So …’ I said, ‘Take a whiff in the back, he stuck he head in the side window and jerked it back out and said sir hurry along and be careful.'”

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Saturday Top 5: Movie Remakes

The Bottom 3 from yesterday featured the worst remade movies. Today, I will be looking at my 5 favorite remade movies.

Honorable Mention:

Shaft 2000 – I can’t say that when it comes to “Blacksploitation”, I am a purist. Shaft took a pretty good action film from 1971 with some great music and modernized it a bit. But, it was a good thing they left the music in it! It was definitely worth the time and effort needed to make a movie.

#5. Dawn of the Dead 2004 – I enjoy a good zombie flick occasionally. This movie took a classic horror film from 1978, modernized it a bit, and brought a little life and action. Either version is watchable, but in this case, the remake is actually a better film and stands on its own.

#4. The Man Who Knew too Much 1956 – In 1934 Alfred Hitchcock directed “The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)”. Though it was not a bad film, it suffered from budget issues, writing, and a lack of talent on the acting side. In 1956, Al got a second chance at this movie and turned it from a good movie (1934) to a classic gem. The biggest differences were Hitchcock’s experience and expanded knowledge base, but most importantly, the talent. Doris Day and James Stewart brought this movie and the story to life. The 1956 version is still very watchable.

#3. The Wizard of Oz 1939 – This classic movie was remade from the 1925 version which had some plot differences and was actually a remake from a 1910 encarnation which was a silent film version of a stage musical from 1902. Of course, nobody really knows much about the silent film, but at the time it was apparently pretty big. The classic we all know was very expensive to film, the largest budget of its time. It was huge. To this day, it is watchable. But, there is something about it. When you watch it, it comes across as a little dark and mysterious.

#2 King Kong 2005 – This remake, I believe, was actually needed. The sound and visual CGI effects have advanced to the point where it’s actually difficult to tell the difference between what is real and what is computer generated. Ignoring the 76 remake which make the bottom 3, this movie improved on the original in bringing Kong to a more personable and almost human quality. You actually start to like this creature. Also, the added comedic elements were enjoyable. The action scenes, for the most part, were well thought out and thrilling. As for the dramatic points, you definitely had time to get to know the characters including the heroine and the villain, so the movie was more than a visual experience.

#1. The Dark Knight (Batman) – This total reworking of the Batman movie from 1989 starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson was excellent. It had a couple snags, but overall it accomplished what it set out to accomplish. The movie was dark, the acting was superb and it transformed the characters from cartoonish to gritty and human. It had some very heavy moments that were not in the 1989 film, and the Joker was cast in a more evil, cold-hearted, and murderous role than the 1989 version. Of course, the Joker stole the show this time around. The effects and action far surpassed the movie from less than 20 years ago. Also, due to Batman Begins, and the amount of time spent on character development, you really came to know all the characters involved. As an action movie, it was almost perfect. As a comic hero movie, it WAS perfect. As a remake, it took a good movie and made it great.

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