Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement


Jesus Christ's iPhone

Apple iPhone 4 Black Smartphone 32GB (AT&T)"Problem with sin? Yeah, I got an app for that."

--Jesus Christ, in response to a question involving a problematic Apple product.

Apple iPhone 4 Black Smartphone 32GB (AT&T)

Political Trouble

The trouble with politics is the politicking.


If May 21 Was the End of the World, or the Rapture...

If May 21 was the end of the world, or the Rapture, what do you wish your last words on Earth were?


All good dogs go to Heaven

In case you were concerned, all good dogs go to Heaven.

With cats, their eternity is bleaker. They know why.

(Read Heaven by Randy Alcorn, which is a more serious look at the question.)


'Macho Man' Randy Savage Dies In Car Accident At Age 58

'Macho Man' Randy Savage Dies In Car Accident At Age 58.

Wow. I wasn't a huge WWF/WCW fan, but this guy was an icon.

Randall Mario Poffo (November 15, 1952 - May 20, 2011),[5] better known by his ring name "Macho Man" Randy Savage, was an American professional wrestler and actor best known for his time with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He also had a short run with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). Savage held twenty championships during his professional wrestling career and is a seven-time world champion: a two-time WWF Champion,[6] four-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion,[7] and one-time USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion.[8] Also a one-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, WWE has named Savage the greatest Intercontinental champion of all time and credited him for bringing "a higher level of credibility to the title through his amazing in-ring performances."[9] Aside from championships, Savage is the 1987 WWF King of the Ring and the 1995 WCW World War 3 winner. For much of his tenures in the WWF and WCW, he was managed by his real life wife, "Miss Elizabeth" Hulette.[5]

Savage was recognizable by wrestling fans for his distinctively deep and raspy voice, his ring attire (often comprising sunglasses, a bandana or head band, flashy robes, and a cowboy hat), intensity exhibited in and out of the ring, and his signature catch phrase ("Ooh yeah!").[5] WWE has said of Savage: "There has never been a Superstar more colorful than "Macho Man" Randy Savage. His style—perfectly punctuated by his entrance music, "Pomp and Circumstance"—has only been outshined by his performance in the ring."[1]

Contents [hide]
1 Personal life
1.1 Family
1.2 Death
2 Career
2.1 Early career
2.2 World Wrestling Federation (1985–1994)
2.2.1 Early heel push (1985)
2.2.2 Intercontinental Champion (1986–1987)
2.2.3 The Mega Powers (1987–1989)
2.2.4 Macho King and "retirement" (1989–1991)
2.2.5 Return and feud with Jake "The Snake" Roberts (1991–1992)
2.2.6 Feud with Ric Flair
2.2.7 Teaming with Ultimate Warrior
2.2.8 Color commentator, various feuds and departure (1993–1994)
2.3 World Championship Wrestling (1994–1999)
2.3.1 Sporadic feuds (1994–1996)
2.3.2 NWO member (1997–1998)
2.3.3 Feuds for the World Title and departure (1998–1999)
2.4 Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2004–2005)
2.4.1 In ring return and departure (2004-2005)
2.5 WWE DVD collection (2009)
2.6 WWE Defining Moments and WWE All Stars Video Game
2.7 Death
3 In wrestling
4 Championships and accomplishments
5 Career outside of wrestling
5.1 Acting career
5.1.1 Television
5.1.2 Film
5.1.3 Animated series/films
5.1.4 Music
6 References
7 Further reading
8 External links

[edit] Personal life[edit] FamilyPoffo was born in Columbus, Ohio to Angelo Poffo, an Italian American, and Judy, a Jewish American.[10] His father held the World Sit Up record at one point. Apparently, during World War II, he had German prisoners hold his feet down as he was breaking the record. His younger brother is former professional wrestler Lanny Poffo, better known by his ring names "The Genius" and "Leaping Lanny Poffo." He is a graduate of Downers Grove North High School in a suburb near Chicago, Illinois. He attended Southern Illinois University and graduated in 1971. He later moved to Lexington, Ky and lived there for many years.

Savage married Elizabeth Ann Hulette on December 30, 1984. She later became his valet in the WWF; however, they separated in the summer of 1992 and their divorce was finalized on September 18, 1992.

Elizabeth Hulette was found dead in the home of professional wrestler Lex Luger on May 1, 2003, from a drug overdose. According to a 2003 shoot interview with Savage's brother, Lanny Poffo, Savage has no animosity towards Luger, and feels that Elizabeth brought about her own death due to her drug use.

On May 10, 2010, Savage married his long time girlfriend, Lynn Payne, making it his second marriage.

[edit] DeathOn May 20, 2011, TMZ reported that Savage suffered a heart attack around 10AM on a highway in Tampa, Florida before losing control of the vehicle and crashing. It was later confirmed by Savage's brother, Lanny Poffo.[11] According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Savage was driving a 2009 Jeep Wrangler when he "veered across a concrete median ... through oncoming traffic ... and "collided head-on with a tree." His wife Lynn was a passenger but survived with "minor injuries". According to officials, both were wearing their seatbelts at the time. Police confirmed that alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

[edit] Career[edit] Early careerSavage was a second-generation professional wrestler; his father Angelo Poffo was a well-known wrestler in the 1950s and 1960s, who was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not! for his ability to do sit-ups for hours on end.[10] Randy's brother Lanny had a moderately successful career as a wrestler, too, most notably under the names "Leaping Lanny Poffo" and "The Genius."[10] After college, Randy was a minor league baseball outfielder[12] in the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, and Chicago White Sox farm systems.[2] He injured his natural (right) throwing shoulder at one point so he learned to throw with his left arm instead. The team was managed by Jimmy Piersall.[13] Randy's last season was 1974, when he played for the Tampa Tarpons.[12]

Savage first broke into the wrestling business in 1973 during the fall and winter of the baseball off season.[5] His first wrestling character, "The Spider Friend", was similar to Spider-Man.[5] He later took the ring name Randy Savage at the suggestion of Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW) booker Ole Anderson, who said that the name Poffo didn't fit someone who "wrestled like a savage".[5]

Savage eventually decided to end his baseball career and become a full time wrestler, working with his brother and father.[5] He wrestled his first match against Midwest territory wrestler the "Golden Boy" Paul Christy. Savage worked with his father and brother in Michigan, the Carolinas, Georgia, the Maritimes, and the eastern Tennessee territory run by Nick Gulas.[3]

After a while, his father felt that his sons were not getting the pushes they deserved so he started the "outlaw" International Championship Wrestling (ICW) promotion in the mid-American states.[2] Eventually, ICW disbanded and Randy and Lanny entered the Memphis scene, joining Jerry Lawler's Continental Wrestling Association (their former competitors). While there, Savage feuded with Lawler over the AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship. He also teamed with Lanny to battle The Rock 'n' Roll Express; this feud included one infamous match on June 25, 1984 in Memphis, where in the storyline, Savage injured Ricky Morton by piledriving him through the timekeeper's table, leading to the Express winning by disqualification. Later in 1984, Savage turned babyface and allied with Lawler against Jimmy Hart's First Family stable, only to turn heel on Lawler again in early 1985 and resume the feud with him over the title.[5] This ended when Lawler beat Savage in a Loser Leaves Town match on June 8 in Memphis, Tennessee.[5]

[edit] World Wrestling Federation (1985–1994)[edit] Early heel push (1985)In June 1985, Savage signed with Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation (WWF). One of Savage's first appearances was on Tuesday Night Titans, in which several established WWF managers (including Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart, and "Classy" Freddie Blassie) offered their services to Savage.[2] He eventually declined their offers and chose Miss Elizabeth as his new manager.[2][3] His gimmick was a crazed, egomaniacal bully who would mistreat Miss Elizabeth and threaten anyone who even looked at her. He made his pay-per-view (PPV) debut at The Wrestling Classic on November 7, 1985, participating in a sixteen man tournament. He defeated Ivan Putski,[14][15] Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat,[14] and the Dynamite Kid[14][15] before losing by a countout in the finals to Junkyard Dog.[14][15]

[edit] Intercontinental Champion (1986–1987)
Savage (right) in a wrestling match.In late 1985, Savage started a feud with Intercontinental Champion Tito Santana over that title. On the November 2, 1985 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, he unsuccessfully challenged Santana for the title (Savage won the match by countout but not the title because a title does not change hands by countout).[16] In a rematch on the February 24, 1986 (taped February 8) edition of Prime Time Wrestling, he won the WWF Intercontinental title at the Boston Garden by using an illegal steel object stashed in his tights to knock out Santana.[17][18] Early in his WWF career, Savage also won two countout victories in Madison Square Garden over his future tag team partner WWF Champion Hulk Hogan (although the belt did not change hands due to the countout) as well as engaging in historic feuds with Bruno Sammartino and George "The Animal" Steele.[3]

Savage's feud with Steele began on the January 4, 1986 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, when Steele developed a crush on Miss Elizabeth.[19] At WrestleMania 2, Savage defeated Steele in a match to retain his Intercontinental title.[20] Another major title challenger was Jake "The Snake" Roberts, with whom he battled to a double disqualification on the November 29, 1986 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event.[21] He resumed his feud with George Steele in early 1987, culminating in two Intercontinental title matches, both won by Savage.[22][23]

Savage wrestled in what is widely considered to be one of the greatest matches in North American wrestling history when he faced Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania III in the Pontiac Silverdome. The match was the culmination of a long and bitter feud (which saw Savage crush Steamboat's larynx), and featured tremendous athleticism and in-ring storytelling. After nineteen two-counts, Steamboat pinned Savage (with help from George Steele, who pushed Savage from the top rope seconds before he was pinned) to end his near 14 month reign as Intercontinental champion.[24][25] The match was extremely choreographed, as opposed to the "on the fly" nature of most wrestling matches at the time.[5] Savage was a stickler for detail, and he and Steamboat laid out and rehearsed every spot in the match prior to WrestleMania, at his home in Florida.[5] The highly influential match was considered an instant classic by both fans and critics and was named 1987's Match of the Year by both Pro Wrestling Illustrated and the Wrestling Observer. Steamboat and Randy Savage were seen cheering with and hugging other wrestlers after the match.[3][5]

[edit] The Mega Powers (1987–1989)Main article: The Mega Powers
Savage won the King of the Ring tournament later in 1987.[26][27] As the fans were drawn toward his charisma and in-ring ability, he began to turn face, becoming less hostile toward the fans and Miss Elizabeth. When The Honky Tonk Man declared himself "the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time", Savage began a feud with him to get the title back. On the October 3, 1987, edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, He got his shot at The Honky Tonk Man and the Intercontinental Championship, but lost out on the title when The Hart Foundation, who along with Honky were managed by Jimmy Hart, interrupted the match, getting Honky disqualified. In the ensuing beatdown, Miss Elizabeth got Hulk Hogan to save him, solidifying Savage's face turn and leading to the formation of "The Mega Powers."[28][29]

Savage reached the pinnacle of his career to date at WrestleMania IV, when he participated in the 14 man tournament for the vacant WWF Championship. He had successful matches against Butch Reed, Greg Valentine and One Man Gang, and then went on to the finals, in which he defeated "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, by pinning him with the help of Hulk Hogan.[30][31][32] Despite the WWF's disappointment in the "somber" crowd in Atlantic City, nothing like the one witnessed a year earlier in WrestleMania III in Pontiac, it was seen as a rejuvenation of a sport getting tired of the same champion.[5] Savage would retain the WWF title for over a year, defending it against the likes of One Man Gang[33] and André the Giant.[34] Savage would set a new trend, as during his face turn he would retain many fans who cheered for him as a heel.

The Mega Powers' main feuds were with The Mega Bucks (Ted DiBiase and André the Giant), whom they defeated in the main event of the first-ever SummerSlam pay-per-view event,[35][36] and The Twin Towers, a tag team composed of super-heavyweights Big Boss Man and Akeem. In the case of the latter feud, Savage frequently became involved in Hogan's matches involving one of the two villains (and vice versa); the two rival factions captained opposing teams in the main event of the 1988 Survivor Series, which was won by the Mega Powers.

Problems between Savage and Hogan developed, however, in early 1989 after Hogan also took Elizabeth as his manager.[29] At Royal Rumble 1989, Hogan accidentally eliminated Savage from the Royal Rumble match and they started to fight until Elizabeth separated them.[37] On the February 3, 1989 edition of The Main Event, Savage turned heel on Hogan, getting jealous over Miss Elizabeth and his self-perceived third wheel standing in the Mega Powers. He solidified his heel turn after abandoning Hogan during a tag team match against the Twin Towers, though Hogan picked up the win in the end.[38] (A feud that ran concurrently with the Mega Powers-Twin Towers feud was Savage's with Bad News Brown over the WWF Championship, started after Brown implied that WWF President Jack Tunney "doing favors" for Elizabeth in her effort to protect Savage from Brown. Savage successfully fought back Brown's challenge.)

At WrestleMania V, Savage dropped the WWF title to Hogan after a reign of 371 days, becoming the sixth longest reigning WWF Champion in history (no champion after Savage would hold the title for more than a year until John Cena nineteen years later).[39][40] He eventually replaced Elizabeth with Sensational Sherri. Savage would co-main event SummerSlam 1989, teaming with Zeus, a character from Hulk Hogan's movie, No Holds Barred, against The Mega-Maniacs (Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake). In this match, Hogan "no-sold" Savage's flying elbow by standing straight up after Savage hit him with it in the center of the ring.[41][42] Savage and Zeus faced Hogan and Beefcake in a rematch contested in a steel cage at No Holds Barred, and lost again.[43]

[edit] Macho King and "retirement" (1989–1991)Savage adopted the moniker "Macho King" after defeating Jim Duggan for King of the Ring title in September 1989 (Duggan in turn had won it from Haku)[44] On a later wrestling episode, he had a coronation as the new "King of the WWF" led by wrestler The Genius (actually Savage's brother, Lanny Poffo), in which Ted DiBiase gave him a sceptre as a gift. Savage would use that sceptre as a weapon numerous times.

The "Macho King" and Hulk Hogan met one last time (intended to end their ongoing year long feud), when Savage got a shot at Hulk Hogan's WWF Championship on the February 23, 1990 edition of The Main Event.[45] The pinfall was counted by new heavyweight boxing champion James Buster Douglas, who then punched Savage in the face after he slapped Douglas.

After "The Mega Powers Explode" angle finally ended Savage began feuding with the "Common Man" Dusty Rhodes, losing a mixed tag match (along with Sherri) to Rhodes and Sapphire at WrestleMania VI[46] but beating him in a singles match at SummerSlam 1990.[47]

In late 1990, Savage started a feud with then-WWF champion The Ultimate Warrior. The feud escalated at Royal Rumble 1991, when Warrior refused to promise Savage the right to challenge him for the title, should Warrior defend it successfully against Sgt. Slaughter (Slaughter had already granted Savage this opportunity, should he beat Warrior). Savage had sent Sensational Queen Sherri out before the match to try to persuade the Warrior to promise this in a face-to-face interview laced with sexual innuendos, but was unsuccessful. Outraged, Savage promised revenge, which he got during the Slaughter-Warrior title match. Before the match began, Randy "Macho King" Savage attacked the champion, resulting in the Ultimate Warrior having to crawl to the ring. Later, Savage ran out to the ring and smashed the sceptre over Warrior's head, (knocking him unconscious for Slaughter to pin), and then immediately sprinted back to the locker room. In the Royal Rumble match later that night, Savage was due to enter the ring as the 18th entrant, but failed to show.[48]

The events at the Royal Rumble led to a career-ending match at WrestleMania VII. Savage lost the match after delivering five consecutive elbow drops as the Warrior somehow managed to kick out and return to score the victory after several flying clotheslines and shoulder blocks.[49] After the match, Savage was attacked by Queen Sherri as he lay dejected in the ring.[5] This was too much for Miss Elizabeth who happened to be in the audience.[2] Elizabeth rushed to Savage's aid, fighting off Sherri and reuniting with her one-time love to huge crowd appreciation.[5] Some fans were spotted crying in the audience. Despite his retirement from active wrestling, Savage stayed in the WWF in an non-wrestling capacity while the Ultimate Warrior was fired by Vince McMahon after SummerSlam later that year.[5]

[edit] Return and feud with Jake "The Snake" Roberts (1991–1992)Savage returned to TV in a non-wrestling role as the "Macho Man" after WrestleMania VII as a broadcaster. Despite being for the most part a face announcer, he still regularly made potshots at his old rivals in wrestling, especially Hogan and Warrior. Meanwhile the angle with Miss Elizabeth continued, culminating with Savage proposing to her in the ring leading to an on-air wedding at SummerSlam 1991 dubbed The Match Made in Heaven. It was at this time that Savage was targeted by Jake "The Snake" Roberts, who was by now a heel. On an edition of Prime Time Wrestling prior to SummerSlam, the announcers and several other babyface wrestlers threw a "bachelor party" for Savage, with Roberts' arrival deemed unwelcome by the rest of the contingent due to his heel turn.[17]

In the post-SummerSlam wedding reception, Roberts and his new ally, The Undertaker, made their presence known by hiding a live snake in one of the newly married couple's wedding presents; Elizabeth was frightened when she opened the gift box, and the Undertaker blindsided Savage by knocking him out with the urn. Sid Justice ran off both Roberts and The Undertaker. Savage, still unable to compete due to his WrestleMania VII loss to the Ultimate Warrior, immediately began a public campaign to have himself reinstated as an active wrestler to gain revenge on Roberts; however, WWF president Jack Tunney refused. Meanwhile, Roberts cut a series of promos berating Savage. The feud began to boil over during a television taping for WWF Superstars of Wrestling October 21 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, when Roberts cut an in-ring promo to goad Savage — who was providing TV commentary — into the ring. After he was lured into the ring, Roberts brutally attacked Savage, eventually tying Savage into the ropes before getting a live cobra to bite his arm. The snake was devenomized and, according to Roberts' DVD Pick Your Poison, he had trouble getting the cobra to release his bite. The segment went on longer than planned, and Savage's blood was clearly visible as it dripped from the puncture wounds. The footage of Savage suffering was censored with a large "X" on WWF Superstars of Wrestling when aired November 23, but the segment aired uncensored on cable television, The Snake Bite was originally supposed to be for Sid Justice, But due to Sid's biceps injury, The Snake bite was given to Savage.

Savage then urged fans to lobby Tunney to reinstate Savage, under the rallying cry "Reinstatement! That's the plan! Reinstate the Macho Man!" In response, Tunney reinstated Savage and announced a match between him and Roberts for the This Tuesday in Texas pay-per-view event. Savage won the match[50] and the two continued to brawl afterward; Roberts turned things up another level when he gained the upper hand, beat him down with three DDTs, then forced Elizabeth to beg for mercy for her husband; Roberts was dissatisfied with the result and slapped her across the face. The feud continued throughout the winter, ending after a match on the February 8, 1992 episode of Saturday Night's Main Event, which Savage won;[51] Roberts had planned a backstage ambush of Savage and Elizabeth after losing the match, but was stopped by The Undertaker.

[edit] Feud with Ric FlairSavage then began an on screen feud with WWF Champion "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. According to the storyline, Flair claimed that he had slept with Savage's wife Miss Elizabeth, going as far as presenting pictures of Elizabeth in which Flair had himself superimposed. This culminated in a title match at WrestleMania VIII; Savage won the match and his second WWF Championship.[52][53][54]

During this time, Savage and Elizabeth separated in real life, and Elizabeth made her final WWF appearance on April 19, 1992, during an overseas tour of England. However, the Savage-Flair feud continued, keeping the Flair-Elizabeth television storyline intact until Elizabeth's final WWF appearance (a match between Savage and Shawn Michaels) aired on WWF Prime Time Wrestling in June. About this same time, WWF Magazine published photos of Savage and Elizabeth, which were identical to those featuring Elizabeth and Flair; it was revealed that Flair had doctored the Savage-Elizabeth pictures.

The former couple were divorced on September 18, 1992. Afterward, Savage issued a statement that was printed in WWE Magazine, revealing the status of their relationship and thanking the fans for their support through the years. Savage's statement marked, at the time, a rare acknowledgement of the wrestlers' private lives for both the WWF and its flagship publication. Savage continued with the WWF for two more years, and except for the statement in WWF Magazine, his divorce from Elizabeth was neither referred to nor figured into any of Savage's future feuds.

[edit] Teaming with Ultimate WarriorFor the better part of 1992, Savage and his old nemesis Warrior (who returned to the WWF at Wrestlemania VIII), peacefully co-existed as faces. However, when it was announced that Warrior was the new Number One Contender for Savage's WWF Championship, old tensions resurfaced and they had several heated exchanges prior to the match. Savage defended the title against Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam 1992. Savage lost the match by countout, after having his knee injured by Flair and Perfect but retained the championship. After the match Warrior helped a badly injured Savage to the back.[55][56] On the September 14 episode of Prime Time Wrestling (taped September 1), Savage lost the WWF title to Flair after interference by Razor Ramon.[17] Savage and Flair later swapped the WCW World Heavyweight Championship during their 1995–96 feud, making them the only duo to win and lose both the WWF/E and WCW versions of the world title to each other.

He formed a tag team with The Ultimate Warrior known as the Ultimate Maniacs after both men were attacked by Flair and Mr. Perfect during their heated match at SummerSlam. After his title loss shortly after, an injured Savage backed Warrior to be the man to dethrone Flair. On the November 8, 1992 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, they took on Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster) for the WWF Tag Team Championship. Money. Inc. lost by countout but retained their titles.[57] Savage and Warrior were scheduled to face Flair and Ramon in a tag team match at Survivor Series 1992. Warrior was fired from the WWF weeks before the event, so Savage chose Mr. Perfect, executive consultant to Flair, as his partner to replace Warrior. Perfect initially laughed off the suggestion, but was angered by Bobby Heenan and his insinuations that he could never again wrestle at his previous level, and accepted the match. Despite initial distrust (an interview prior to the match had Savage admit to Perfect that he neither liked nor trusted him), the duo defeated Flair and Ramon via a disqualification.[58]

[edit] Color commentator, various feuds and departure (1993–1994)When Monday Night Raw began in January 1993, Savage served primarily as a color commentator, wrestling only occasionally against characters such as Doink, The Repo Man, Rick Martel, and Crush. However, he was the runner up in the Royal Rumble match at Royal Rumble 1993, where he was eliminated by Yokozuna.[59][60] He returned to pay-per-view at Survivor Series 1993 as a substitute for Mr. Perfect, and competed in the 1994 Royal Rumble match. His last WWF pay-per-view appearance as a competitor was a victory over Crush in a Falls Count Anywhere Match at WrestleMania X.[61] This came after Crush punctuated his heel turn by attacking Savage on Monday Night Raw, dropping him face-first on the guardrail, lacerating Savage's tongue. Savage also made periodic appearances in Jim Cornette's Smoky Mountain Wrestling promotion in fall 1994. Meanwhile, Savage was also a color commentator for the 1994 King of the Ring and made his final WWF pay-per-view appearance at the 1994 SummerSlam, where he served as the master of ceremonies. Behind the scenes, Savage was becoming increasingly unhappy with his diminishing role within the company, as he felt he could still perform as a top level star. At the end of October 1994, Savage's WWF contract expired and he abruptly left to sign with the competing WCW. Savage was given an on air farewell by Vince McMahon on the November 7, 1994 edition of Monday Night Raw.[62]

[edit] World Championship Wrestling (1994–1999)[edit] Sporadic feuds (1994–1996)Savage signed with WCW, and his first appearance was on the December 3, 1994 edition of WCW Saturday Night prior to Starrcade 1994. Savage made reference to the love/hate relationship he had with Hulk Hogan, then the WCW World Heavyweight Champion. For weeks TV announcers speculated whether Savage would arrive to "shake [Hogan's] hand or slap his face". Savage eventually saved Hogan from an attack by the 3 Faces of Fear, shaking hands with his friend and rival. His first WCW feud was against Avalanche. At SuperBrawl V, he teamed up with Sting and took on Avalanche and Big Bubba Rogers in a tag team match, which Sting and Savage won.[63] However, his encounter with Avalanche continued and ended at Uncensored 1995, with Savage getting the win by disqualification after a fan, who happened to be Ric Flair dressed in drag, attacked Savage.[64] This led to Savage and Flair resuming their earlier feud. At Halloween Havoc 95 he defeated The Zodiac to meet Lex Luger the very same night in a match where he defeated Luger as well.

He participated in the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship tournament (created when former champion Vader was stripped of the belt in April 1995 for attacking WCW on-air Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel) and went on to defeat The Butcher in the first round[65] and "Stunning" Steve Austin in the quarterfinals.[65] He interfered in Flair's match against Alex Wright, attacking Flair and causing Wright to get disqualified, which set up a tournament semifinal match in which the winner would face the winner of the Sting and Meng match for the United States Championship at the June 1995 Great American Bash. Savage and Flair's tournament semifinal match never took place however, due to Savage and Flair brawling in the backstage area prior to the match and being eliminated from the tournament.[65] They were instead given their own match in the main event, which Flair won with underhanded tactics.[66]

Savage defeated Flair in a later Lifeguard Lumberjack match at Bash at the Beach 1995.[67] Later that year, during part of the storyline in which Arn Anderson and Ric Flair turned on each other, Flair (looking for a partner to take on Anderson and Brian Pillman in a tag match) tried to recruit Savage to be his partner. Remembering the rivalry (and how Flair had attacked Savage's father, Angelo Poffo, which was the catalyst for their feud back in May), Savage refused, telling Flair point blank to "get the hell out of here!"

In 1995, Savage pushed for WCW to place his father, Angelo Poffo, in its Hall of Fame. Commentator and wrestling legend Gordon Solie opposed this decision, because he felt wrestlers (or in this case, family of wrestlers) should not be asking for spots in the Hall, in this case, especially, since Poffo did not have much of a career in WCW. Poffo's induction was granted, however, and Solie left the company shortly after. At World War 3 1995, Savage won his first WCW World Heavyweight Championship by winning the first-ever 60-man three-ring battle royal.[68][69] He lost the title to Flair a month later at Starrcade 1995: World Cup of Wrestling; earlier that night, he defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan.[70] Savage won his second WCW World Heavyweight Championship back from Flair on the January 22, 1996 edition of Nitro[71][72] but lost the title back to Flair the next month in a steel cage match at SuperBrawl VI.[73]

In January 1996, Savage brought Elizabeth with him into WCW as his valet once again, but she turned on Savage in his last title loss to Flair. Thereafter, Flair claimed that Elizabeth had given him a sizable amount of Savage's money, taken in their divorce settlement, which Flair used to set up a "VIP section" at Monday Nitro events. Flair and Savage continued to feud until June 1996. At Bash at the Beach 1996, the nWo was formed when Hulk Hogan turned on Savage, Sting, and Lex Luger and joined "The Outsiders", a tag team of former WWF wrestlers Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.[74] After their inception, one of their main enemies became Savage himself, who was one of the leaders of the WCW crusaders against the nWo before joining them a year later. At Halloween Havoc 1996, Savage faced Hogan for the WCW title but lost when the Giant interfered and chokeslammed him.[75]

Savage's initial WCW contract, which he had signed toward the end of 1994, expired shortly thereafter. He eventually signed a new contract with the company and returned to WCW on the January 20, 1997 edition of Nitro from Chicago's United Center. He made sporadic appearances for the next several weeks.

[edit] NWO member (1997–1998)After months of abuse from the nWo, Savage joined them at SuperBrawl VII, when he helped Hogan defeat Roddy Piper in a rematch of their Starrcade match the previous year. He also reunited with Elizabeth, who had joined the nWo several months earlier. He began feuding with Diamond Dallas Page and DDP's wife Kimberly. Their feud lasted almost eight months which included tag team matches,[76][77][78] a no disqualification match at Spring Stampede 1997,[79] a falls count anywhere match at The Great American Bash 1997: Savage/Page II,[80] and a Las Vegas Death match at Halloween Havoc.[81]

In early 1998, Savage started a feud with Lex Luger which culminated in a match at Souled Out, which Luger won.[82] Luger also won a rematch between the two at SuperBrawl VIII.[83] When Hogan failed to recapture his "nWo" Title from Sting, it was Savage's turn, and he got his shot at Spring Stampede 1998. Hogan tried to make sure that Savage would not win the title because Hogan felt that he was the only nWo member who should be World Champion, since he was the leader of the stable. With the help of Nash, however, Savage beat Sting for his third WCW World Heavyweight Championship, despite tearing the ACL in his knee during the match.[84][85] The following night on Nitro, Hogan faced Savage for the championship. For a while it looked like Hogan had Savage beat,[86] but for the second consecutive night, Nash came to Savage's aid, powerbombing Hogan.[86] Savage tried to capitalize on this, but an interfering Bret Hart attacked Savage and preserved the victory for Hogan.[86] This resulted in Savage turning babyface. He joined with Nash and others to form the nWo Wolfpac, a split from Hogan's group, which became known as nWo Black and Red (Wolfpac) and nWo Black and White (Hollywood).[87] Savage went on to feud with both Bret Hart and Roddy Piper.[88][89]

[edit] Feuds for the World Title and departure (1998–1999)Main article: Team Madness
After the June 15 edition of Nitro, Randy Savage took a hiatus from the company to recover from at least two major knee surgeries. He made only one more appearance in 1998, helping Ric Flair defeat Eric Bischoff for the Presidency of WCW on the December 28, 1998 edition of Monday Nitro.[90] When Savage returned, he debuted a new look and theme music, sporting a slicked back ponytail, earrings, and a new heel attitude, as well as introducing his then 22-year-old girlfriend Gorgeous George as his valet.[5] His first action was as the guest referee in the main event at Spring Stampede 1999, which was won by Diamond Dallas Page.[5] For a short time afterward, Randy interfered in DDP's matches to make sure that Page kept his World Title, but when Kevin Nash won it at Slamboree 1999, Savage went after the title himself.[2] It was around that time that Madusa and Miss Madness joined Macho Man as his other two valets; together they were known as Team Madness.[91]

At The Great American Bash 1999, Sid Vicious returned to WCW and helped Macho Man attack Kevin Nash.[5] This led to a tag team match at Bash at the Beach between Kevin Nash and Sting against Randy Savage and Sid Vicious, in which whoever scored the winning fall would win the WCW World Title. Savage won his fourth and final WCW World Heavyweight Championship when he pinned Nash.[92][93] The title was also Savage's sixth and final recognized world championship.

Savage's last reign as champion did not last long. The next night on Nitro, he lost the title to a returning Hollywood Hogan, when Nash interfered and powerbombed Macho Man (in a reversal of the situation from the previous year, in which Nash had attacked Hogan to help Savage keep his title, albeit unsuccessfully).[94] All of Savage's world title reigns (both WWF and WCW) ended with him losing the title to either Hulk Hogan or Ric Flair.[6][7]

Team Madness slowly started to disband, after Madusa and Miss Madness began fighting each other over who was responsible for Savage's title loss.[2] Savage soon fired both of them and started a feud with Dennis Rodman, defeating him at Road Wild.[95] By the end of the summer of 1999, Savage's WCW contract expired and he departed the company. Savage made an appearance on Thunder on May 3, 2000 where he participated in the 41-man battle royal for a title shot at The Great American Bash. Savage would not be seen by wrestling fans for five years.

[edit] Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2004–2005)[edit] In ring return and departure (2004-2005)Savage made his return at Victory Road by confronting Jeff Jarrett.[96] At Turning Point, he teamed up with Jeff Hardy and A.J. Styles to defeat the Kings of Wrestling (Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall).[97][98] The main event of Final Resolution 2005 was scheduled to be Jeff Jarrett and Randy Savage for the NWA Title.[5] Savage's plan was to win the belt and then drop it back to Jarrett at the next pay-per-view. In December, 2004, Savage left TNA over a disagreement on the finish of the next scheduled PPV.[5]

[edit] WWE DVD collection (2009)In February 2009, it was announced that WWE would produce a DVD collection based on Savage titled Macho Madness: The Randy Savage Ultimate Collection. Hosted by Maria Kanellis and Matt Striker, the three disc set contains over eight hours of matches and promos but no biography or documentary.

[edit] WWE Defining Moments and WWE All Stars Video GameIn July 2010, Mattel announced that they had signed a deal with Randy Savage to be a part of their "WWE Defining Moments" action figure line-up. To promote the figure a video-message was shown of Savage cutting a classic "Macho Man" promo while holding the figurine, which was dressed in the same outfit he wore at Wrestlemania VII, the first promo under his Macho Man character to be seen in years by fans. It is also worth noting that this will be the first Randy Savage action figure released under the WWE in over 15 years.

“Macho Man” Randy Savage is a part of the roster in THQ’s WWE video game WWE All-Stars, released on March 29, 2011 for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2 and PSP. This marked the first appearance by Savage in a video game since 2004's Showdown: Legends of Wrestling and his first appearance in a WWE game since the Game Gear version of 1994's WWF Raw.

[edit] DeathIt appears that on May 20,2011 at around 10am Macho Man had suffered a heart attack while driving. His car went all out of control and died of a car accident.

[edit] In wrestlingFinishing moves
Diving elbow drop[1][5]
Signature moves
Alternating jabs to the opponent's chest and head[99]
Atomic drop[100]
Diving crossbody[99]
Diving double axe handle,[5] sometimes to an opponent outside the ring[5]
Hair-pull hangman[5]
High knee smash[99]
Jumping knee drop[5]
Lariat takedown[5]
Scoop slam[99]
Various elbow strikes[99]
Vertical suplex[99]
Angelo Poffo
Miss Elizabeth[100]
Jimmy Hart[101]
Sensational Sherri / Queen Sherri
Gorgeous George
Team Madness (Gorgeous George, Madusa, and Miss Madness)
Entrance themes
Savage's ring entrance music in ICW and CWA (as well as some house shows early in his WWF run) was Irene Cara's Fame; for a time in ICW, he also used "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer and "Macho Man" by The Village People.
In the WWF, Savage used Pomp and Circumstance. The song was originally used by legendary wrestler "Gorgeous George" (who is credited as being the first wrestler to use an entrance theme). Because the song was in the public domain and therefore could not be copyrighted by the WWF like most themes, Savage was able to bring it with him to WCW and used a rock version of the theme for much of his early to mid-WCW career. During his short TNA stint, Savage used a similar rock version as his theme.
"Rockhouse" by J.Hart and H.Helm (used while a part of the New World Order; 1997–1998)
"Wolfpac Theme" (used while a part of the nWo Wolfpac; 1998)
"What up Mach" (Team Madness entrance theme; 1999)
[edit] Championships and accomplishmentsContinental Wrestling Association
AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (2 times)[102]
CWA International Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[103]
NWA Mid-America Heavyweight Championship (3 times)[104]
Grand Prix Wrestling
GPW International Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[105]
Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling
NWA Gulf Coast Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Lanny Poffo[106]
International Championship Wrestling
ICW World Heavyweight Championship (3 times)[107]
Pro Wrestling Illustrated
PWI Comeback of the Year (1995)
PWI Feud of the Year (1997) vs. Diamond Dallas Page
PWI Match of the Year (1987) vs. Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania III
PWI Most Hated Wrestler of the Year (1989)
PWI Most Popular Wrestler of the Year (1988)
PWI Wrestler of the Year (1988)
PWI ranked him #2 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1992[108]
PWI ranked him #9 of the top 500 singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003[109]
PWI ranked him #57 of the Top 100 Tag Teams of the "PWI Years" with Hulk Hogan in 2003[110]
Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
Class of 2009
United States Wrestling Association
USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[8]
World Championship Wrestling
WCW World Heavyweight Championship (4 times)[7]
WCW World War 3 (1995)
King of Cable Tournament (1995)[111]
World Wrestling Council
WWC North American Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[112]
World Wrestling Federation
WWF Championship (2 times)[6]
WWF Intercontinental Championship (1 time)[113]
King of the Ring (1987)[27]
Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
Match of the Year (1987) vs. Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania III
Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (Class of 1996)
Worst Worked Match of the Year (1996) with Hulk Hogan vs. Arn Anderson, Meng, The Barbarian, Ric Flair, Kevin Sullivan, Z-Gangsta, and The Ultimate Solution in a Towers of Doom match at Uncensored
Best Pro Wrestling DVD (2009) Macho Madness: The Randy Savage Ultimate Collection
[edit] Career outside of wrestlingHe was the celebrity spokesman for Slim Jim snack foods in the mid-to-late 1990s and still is noted for this today. His catch phrase in the ads was "Snap into a Slim Jim, oooooh yeah!" In 1998, Savage accepted an award from Harvard University's humor society Harvard Lampoon as Man of the Year.

[edit] Acting career[edit] TelevisionThe Jeff Foxworthy Show - himself
Nikki - pro wrestler James "Pretty Boy" Carter, in episode "Fallback"
Walker, Texas Ranger - prison inmate, in episode "Fight or Die"
Mad About You - himself, in episode "Separated Beds"
The Weird Al Show
Arliss - himself (1 Episode)
Baywatch - himself (1 episode as well, along with *Hulk Hogan *Ric Flair *Big Van Vader)
[edit] FilmSavage was cast in the 2002 film Spider-Man as the wrestler Bonesaw McGraw, based on the comics character Crusher Hogan. He made an appearance as himself in the movie Ready to Rumble, and played character Jim Davies in Velcro Revolver. He also provided the voice of "the Thug," an agent in Disney's 2008 animated film Bolt.

[edit] Animated series/filmsDexter's Laboratory - Rasslor, in a Dial M For Monkey segment
College University - himself
Space Ghost Coast to Coast - Leonard "the Gray Ghost" Ghostal, a former professional wrestler (and Space Ghost's grandfather), in episode "Piledriver"
The X's - Sasquatch
King of the Hill - Gorilla, in episode, "Bill, Bulk and the Body Buddies"
Duck Dodgers - Master Sergeant Emily Dickinson Jones
Bolt - thug
Family Guy- Himself
[edit] MusicOn October 7, 2003, Savage released a rap album entitled Be a Man. It includes a tribute to "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig as well as a diss track aimed at Hulk Hogan.[114] While more a fan of hard rock, he chose rap due to his lack of singing ability. Savage promoted Be A Man with a concert tour featuring Brian Adams as his bodyguard and Ron Harris as touring manager. During this time, the development of a second album was already in progress with Savage exclaiming, "We are absolutely going to have more records."[115] However, no further albums were released.

Evangelist Billy Graham hospitalized for pneumonia

Evangelist Billy Graham hospitalized for pneumonia

As you may know, I wrote poetry for around a decade for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's Decision Magazine, a magazine with a circulation then at around 1.6 million.

Early life
Death and the Life AfterHe was born November 7, 1918 to William Franklin Graham I (1888–1962) and Morrow Coffey (1892–1981), on a dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina. Graham was raised in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church by his parents. In 1933, when Prohibition in the United States ended, Graham's father forced Graham and his sister Katherine to drink beer until they vomited, which created an aversion, in both of them, to alcohol and drugs.[6] According to the Billy Graham Center, Graham was converted in 1934 at age 16 during a series of revival meetings in Charlotte which were led by evangelist Mordecai Ham.[7] However, he was turned down for membership in a local youth group because he was "too worldly".[6] He was persuaded to go see Ham at the urging of one of the employees, Albert McMakin, on the Graham farm.[8]

Part of a series on the
Southern Baptist
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Baptist theology[show]
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After graduating from Sharon High School in May 1936, Graham attended Bob Jones College (now Bob Jones University), then located in Cleveland, Tennessee, for one semester but found it too legalistic in both coursework and rules.[6] At this time, he was influenced and inspired by Pastor Charley Young from Eastport Bible Church. He was almost expelled, but Bob Jones, Sr. warned him not to throw his life away: "At best, all you could amount to would be a poor country Baptist preacher somewhere out in the sticks.... You have a voice that pulls. God can use that voice of yours. He can use it mightily."[6] In 1937, Graham transferred to the Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College of Florida) on the site of today's Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. In his autobiography he writes that he "received [his] calling on the 18th green of the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club," which is immediately in front of today's Sutton Hall at Florida College in Temple Terrace. Reverend Billy Graham Memorial Park is today located on the Hillsborough River directly east of the 18th green and across from where Graham often paddled a canoe to a small island in the river, where he would preach to the birds, alligators, and cypress stumps. Graham eventually graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois with a degree in anthropology, in 1943. It was during his time at Wheaton that Graham decided to accept the Bible as the infallible word of God. Henrietta Mears of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood (Hollywood, California) was instrumental in helping Graham wrestle with the issue, which was settled at Forest Home Christian camp (now called Forest Home Ministries) southeast of the Big Bear area in Southern California. A memorial there marks the site of Graham's decision.

[edit] FamilyOn August 13, 1943, Graham married Wheaton classmate Ruth Bell (1920–2007), whose parents were Presbyterian missionaries in China, where her father, L. Nelson Bell, was a general surgeon. He met Ruth at Wheaton: "I saw her walking down the road towards me and I couldn't help but stare at her as she walked. She looked at me and our eyes met and I felt that she was definitely the woman I wanted to marry." Ruth thought that he "wanted to please God more than any man I'd ever met."[9] They married two months after graduation and later lived in a log cabin designed by Ruth in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Montreat, North Carolina.[6] Ruth died on June 14, 2007, at the age of 87.

They had five children together: Virginia Leftwich (Gigi) Graham Tchividjian (b. 1945); Anne Graham Lotz (b. 1948; runs AnGeL ministries); Ruth Graham (b. 1950; founder and president of Ruth Graham & Friends); Franklin Graham (b. 1952; administers an international relief organization called Samaritan's Purse and will be his father's successor at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association);[10] and Nelson "Ned" Graham (b.1958; a pastor who runs East Gates International,[11] which distributes Christian literature in China). Graham has 19 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren. Grandson Tullian Tchividjian is senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

As a guard against even the appearance of wrongdoing Graham had a policy that he would never be alone with a woman, other than his wife Ruth. This has come to be known as the Billy Graham Rule.[12]

[edit] Ministry[edit] BeginningGraham transferred in January 1937 from Bob Jones College to Florida Bible Institute, and then finally to Wheaton College in 1939. Graham attended Wheaton College from 1939 to 1943, when he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.[13] While attending college, he became pastor of the United Gospel Tabernacle and also had other preaching engagements.

Graham served briefly as pastor of the Village Church in Western Springs, Illinois, not far from Wheaton, in 1943-44. While there, his friend Torrey Johnson, pastor of the Midwest Bible Church in Chicago, told Graham that his radio program "Songs in the Night" was about to be canceled for lack of funding. Consulting with the members of his church in Western Springs, Graham decided to take over Johnson's program with financial support from his parishioners. Launching the new radio program on January 2, 1944, still called Songs in the Night, Graham recruited the baritone George Beverly Shea as his director of radio ministry. While the radio ministry continued for many years, Graham decided to move on in early 1945, and in 1947, at age 30, he became the youngest person to serve as a sitting college president during his tenure at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Graham served as the president of Northwestern College from 1948 to 1952.

Initially, Graham intended to become a chaplain in the armed forces, but shortly after applying for a commission contracted mumps. After a period of recuperation in Florida, Graham was hired as the first full time evangelist of the new Youth for Christ International (YFCI) which was co-founded by Torrey Johnson and evangelist Charles Templeton. He traveled throughout the United States and Europe as an evangelist for YFCI. Unlike many evangelists then and now, Graham had little formal theological training; when his friend Chuck Templeton urged him to join him in applying to Princeton Theological Seminary, Graham declined to do so.[6]

[edit] Hearst interventionGraham scheduled a series of revival meetings in Los Angeles in 1949, for which he erected circus tents in a parking lot.[5] The Los Angeles revival is considered to be the time when Graham became a national religious figure.[14] Graham's rise to national prominence is partly because of the assistance he received from news mogul William Randolph Hearst, whose interest in Graham was that he respected Graham for being his own person and following what he believed, though the two never met.[15] Most observers believe that Hearst appreciated Graham's patriotism and appeals to youth and thought that Graham would be helpful in promoting Hearst's conservative anti-communist views.[15][16] Hearst sent a telegram to his newspaper editors reading "Puff Graham" during Billy Graham's late 1949 Los Angeles crusade.[6][17]

The increased media exposure from Hearst's newspaper chain and national magazines[15] caused the crusade event to run for eight weeks—five weeks longer than planned. Henry Luce put him on the cover of TIME in 1954. At the Los Angeles revival, a fellow evangelist accused Graham of setting religion back 100 years. Graham replied, "I did indeed want to set religion back, not just 100 years but 1,900 years, to the Book of Acts, when first century followers of Christ were accused of turning the Roman Empire upside down."[8]

[edit] CrusadesBilly Graham has conducted many evangelistic crusades since 1948. He began this form of ministry in 1947 and continued until recently. He would rent a large venue, such as a stadium, park, or street. He arranged a group of up to 5,000 people to sing in a choir and then preached the gospel and invited people to come forward (a practice begun by Dwight L. Moody). These people, called inquirers, were then given the opportunity to speak one-on-one with a counselor who clarified any questions the inquirer may have had and would pray with that person. The inquirers were often given resources, such as a copy of the Gospel of John or a Bible study booklet. In Moscow in 1992, one-quarter of the 155,000 people in his audience came forward upon his request.[6]

Graham was offered a five-year, $5 million contract from NBC to appear on television opposite Arthur Godfrey, but he turned it down in favor of continuing his touring revivals because of his pre-arranged commitments.[9] Graham had missions in London, which lasted 12 weeks, and a New York City mission in Madison Square Garden, in 1957, which ran nightly for 16 weeks. In 1959, he led his first crusade, which was in London.

[edit] Billy Graham Evangelistic AssociationIn 1950, Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association with its headquarters in Minneapolis. The association later relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina. BGEA Ministries have included:

Hour of Decision, a weekly radio program broadcast around the world for more than 50 years
Mission television specials that have been regularly broadcast in prime time in almost every market in the U.S. and Canada
A syndicated newspaper column, My Answer, carried by newspapers across the United States and distributed by Tribune Media Services
Decision magazine, the official publication of the Association
Christianity Today was started in 1956 with Carl F. H. Henry as its first editor
Passageway.org, the website for a children's program created by BGEA
World Wide Pictures, which has produced and distributed more than 130 films
[edit] Civil Rights Movement and Anti-SegregationGraham's stance on civil rights and segregation was inconsistent in his early years. He had shown no concern for segregation until the civil rights movement began to take off in the early 1950s, and many of his early crusades were segregated. In response to the civil rights movement, he "zig-zagged" for some years. Refusing to speak to some segregated auditoriums, while speaking to others. His memoirs disclose that in 1953 he dramatically tore down the ropes that organizers had erected to separate the audience. But he later retreated on the issue in Dallas, Texas and Asheville, North Carolina. Prior to Brown v. Board of Education, Graham assured audiences that the Bible had nothing to say about segregation. Subsequently, he emerged as an opponent of segregation and racism, reminding audiences of Christanity's pact with the marginalised and oppressed. (Michael G Long, ed., The Legacy of Billy Graham: Critical Reflections on America's Greatest Evangelist, Westminster/John Knox Press, 2008, pp. 150–1) He also got in a fight with a southern KKK member about why integration of the blacks into the Southern society was important.[8][18] Graham said, "There is no scriptural basis for segregation… The ground at the foot of the cross is level, and it touches my heart when I see whites standing shoulder to shoulder with blacks at the cross."[8] Graham paid bail money to secure the release of Martin Luther King, Jr. from jail during the 1960s civil rights movement; he invited King to join him in the pulpit at his 16-week revival in New York City in 1957.[18] During that 16-week stint, Graham was heard by 2.3 million listeners, who gathered to hear him at Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, and Times Square.[5] However, due to his anxieties about addressing the politics of racism and being seen to publicly cooperate with the civil rights leader, he never invited King to appear with him again. (Michael G Long, ed., The Legacy of Billy Graham: Critical Reflections on America's Greatest Evangelist, Westminster/John Knox Press, 2008, p. 150)

[edit] Later years
Graham with his son, Franklin, at Cleveland Stadium, June 1994Graham's visibility and popularity extended into the secular world. He created his own pavilion for the 1964 New York World's Fair.[19] He appeared as a guest on a 1969 Woody Allen television special, where he joined the comedian in a witty exchange on theological matters.[20] During the Cold War, Graham became the first evangelist of note to speak behind the Iron Curtain, addressing large crowds in countries throughout Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union, calling for peace.[21] During the Apartheid era, Graham consistently refused to visit South Africa until its government allowed attending audiences to sit desegregated. His first crusade there was in 1973, during which he openly denounced apartheid.

Billy Graham at the Feyenoord-stadion in Rotterdam, The Netherlands (30 June 1955)In 1984, he led a series of summer meetings in the United Kingdom, called Mission England, using outdoor football grounds as venues.

Graham was interested in fostering evangelism around the world. In 1983, 1986 and 2000 he sponsored, organized and paid for massive training conferences for Christian evangelists from around the world; with the largest representations of nations ever held until that time. Over 157 nations were gathered in 2000 at the RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

At one revival in Seoul, South Korea, Graham attracted more than one million people to a single service.[9] He appeared in China in 1988—for Ruth, this was a homecoming, since she had been born in China to missionary parents. He appeared in North Korea in 1992.[8]

On September 22, 1991 Graham held the largest event he ever led in North America on The Great Lawn of New York City's Central Park. City officials estimated over 250,000 in attendance. In 1998, Graham spoke at TED (conference) to a crowd of scientists and philosophers.

On September 14, 2001, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Graham led a prayer and remembrance service at Washington National Cathedral, which was attended by President George W. Bush and past and present leaders. He also spoke at the memorial service following the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.[8] On June 24–26, 2005, Billy Graham began what he has said would be his last North American crusade, three days at the Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in New York City. But on the weekend of March 11–12, 2006, Billy Graham held the "Festival of Hope" with his son, Franklin Graham. The festival was held in New Orleans, which was recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

Graham said that his planned retirement was because of his failing health. He has suffered from Parkinson's disease for about 15 years, has had hydrocephalus, pneumonia, broken hips, and prostate cancer. In August 2005, a frail Graham appeared at the groundbreaking for his library in Charlotte, North Carolina. Then 86, Reverend Graham used a walker to assist with mobility during the ceremony. On July 9, 2006, Graham spoke at the Metro Maryland Franklin Graham Festival, held in Baltimore, Maryland, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

There had been controversy over where the burial place would be until a press release on June 13, 2007, saying that he and his wife would be buried alongside each other at the Billy Graham Library in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Graham's younger son Ned had argued with older son Franklin about whether burial at a library would be appropriate. Ruth Graham had said that she wanted to be buried not in Charlotte but in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina, where she had lived for many years; Ned supported his mother's choice.[22] Novelist Patricia Cornwell, a family friend, also opposed burial at the library, calling it a tourist attraction. Franklin wanted his parents to be buried at the library site.[22] At the time of Ruth Graham's death, it was announced that they would be buried at the library site.

On August 18, 2007, Graham, 88, was in fair condition in Mission Health & Hospitals of Asheville after undergoing treatment for intestinal bleeding, but his condition was not life-threatening.[23]

In April, 2010, Graham, at 91 and with substantial vision and hearing loss,[24] made a rare public appearance at the re-dedication of the renovated Billy Graham Library. Graham's grandson, Will Graham told reporters that his grandfather has "got a lot more energy and he's talking about preaching one more time,"[25] stating that it would probably be a televised event rather than a stadium crusade.[25]

Billy Graham has preached Christianity to live audiences of nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories through various meetings, including BMS World Mission and Global Mission. Graham has also reached hundreds of millions more through television, video, film, and webcasts.[26]

On May 11, 2011, Billy Graham was admitted to Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, for treatment of pneumonia.[1][2]

[edit] PoliticsPolitically, Graham is a registered member of the Democratic Party.[27] He leaned Republican during the presidency of Richard Nixon.[15] He did not completely ally himself with the religious right, saying that Jesus did not have a political party.[6] He did not openly endorse political candidates, but he gave his support to some over the years.[15]

He refused to join Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority in 1979, saying: "I'm for morality, but morality goes beyond sex to human freedom and social justice. We as clergy know so very little to speak with authority on the Panama Canal or superiority of armaments. Evangelists cannot be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle in order to preach to all people, right and left. I haven't been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will be in the future."[8]

According to a 2006 Newsweek interview, "For Graham, politics is a secondary to the Gospel.... When Newsweek asked Graham whether ministers—whether they think of themselves as evangelists, pastors or a bit of both—should spend time engaged with politics, he replied: 'You know, I think in a way that has to be up to the individual as he feels led of the Lord. A lot of things that I commented on years ago would not have been of the Lord, I'm sure, but I think you have some—like communism, or segregation, on which I think you have a responsibility to speak out.'".[28]

[edit] Pastor to presidents
President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan greet Graham at the National Prayer Breakfast of 1981Graham has had a personal audience with many sitting US Presidents from Harry S Truman to Barack Obama. He visited in the Oval Office with Truman in 1950, urging him to counter communism in North Korea. However, Graham and his accompanying pastors were not aware of Washington protocol; they appeased the press corps waiting outside with details of the visit, with the three pastors even acquiescing to the calls of the press to kneel on the White House lawn, as if praying.[15] Truman wrote about Graham in his autobiography Plain Speaking:

But now we've got just this one evangelist, this Billy Graham, and he's gone off the beam. He's...well, I hadn’t ought to say this, but he’s one of those counterfeits I was telling you about. He claims he's a friend of all the Presidents, but he was never a friend of mine when I was President. I just don’t go for people like that. All he's interested in is getting his name in the paper.[29]

This led to Truman calling Graham a "counterfeit" publicity seeker, and Truman did not speak to Graham for years afterward.[6][15] Graham has often told the story, usually as a warning that he would not reveal his conversations with world leaders.[15]

Graham became a regular in the Oval Office during the tenure of Dwight D. Eisenhower, whom he urged to intervene with federal troops in the case of the Little Rock Nine,[6] and it was at that time, on a Washington golf course, that he met and became close friends with Vice President Richard Nixon.[15] Graham was invited by Eisenhower to visit with him when the former president was on his deathbed.[30] Graham also counseled Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and the Bush family.[14]

The single notable exception among modern presidents is John F. Kennedy, with whom Graham played golf, but Kennedy was Roman Catholic;[31] Graham enjoyed a friendship with Nixon and prominently supported him over Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election.[6] Nixon wrote to Graham after that election: "I have often told friends that when you went into the ministry, politics lost one of its potentially greatest practitioners."[6] Graham spent the last night of Johnson's presidency in the White House, and he stayed for the first night of Nixon's.[30]

Billy Graham meeting with President Barack Obama in Montreat, 2010After Nixon's victorious 1968 presidential campaign, Graham was an adviser, visiting the White House and leading some of the private church services that the President organized there.[15] Nixon offered Graham the ambassadorship to Israel in a meeting they had with Golda Meir, but Graham turned down Nixon's offer.[6] Nixon appeared at one of Graham's revivals in East Tennessee in 1970; the event drew one of the largest crowds to ever gather in Tennessee.[15] Nixon became the first President to give a speech from an evangelist's platform.[15] However, their friendship became strained when Graham rebuked Nixon for his post-Watergate behavior and the profanity heard on the Watergate tapes; they eventually reconciled after Nixon's resignation.[15] Graham announced at that time, "I'm out of politics."[8]

After a special law was passed on his behalf, Graham was allowed to conduct the first religious service on the steps of the Capitol building in 1952.[6] When Graham was hospitalized briefly in 1976, three Presidents called in one day to wish him well: former President Nixon, current President Ford and President-elect Carter.[30]

He was one of Reagan's personal guests at his inauguration and gave the benediction at George H. W. Bush's inauguration.[30] He stayed at the White House the night before George H. W. Bush (who called Graham "America's pastor") launched the Persian Gulf War.[14] Two days before the 2000 presidential election, Graham spoke at a prayer breakfast in Florida with George W. Bush in attendance. At a New York revival in 2005, Bill Clinton recalled how he had attended Graham's revival as a boy in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1959.[8]

1966Graham has officiated at one presidential burial and one presidential funeral. He presided over the graveside services of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1973 and took part in eulogizing the former president. Graham officiated at the funeral service of former First Lady Pat Nixon in 1993[6] and the funeral of Richard Nixon in 1994. He was unable to officiate at the state funeral of Ronald Reagan on June 11, 2004, because of recent double hip replacement surgery, which former President George H. W. Bush acknowledged during his eulogy. Graham had been Reagan's first choice. Because of Graham's hospitalization, the Reverend John Danforth, a Missouri Republican Senator during Reagan's tenure, officiated at the funeral. Failing health prevented Graham from officiating at the state funeral of Gerald R. Ford on January 2, 2007, as well as the funeral of former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson in July 2007.

On April 25, 2010, President Barack Obama visited Rev. Graham at his home in Montreat, North Carolina where they “had a private prayer.”[32]

As with other presidents in the past, Graham met with former President George W. Bush during December 2010, for a tour of his library.[33][34]

[edit] Foreign policy viewsGraham has been outspoken against communism and supportive of U.S. Cold War policy, including the Vietnam War. However, in a 1999 speech, Graham discussed his relationship with the late North Korean dictator Kim Il-sung, praising him as a "different kind of communist" and "one of the great fighters for freedom in his country against the Japanese." Graham went on to note that although he had never met Kim's son and current North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, he had "exchanged gifts with him."[35] Graham has given a globe surmounted with doves to the North Korean Friendship Museum.

During a March 12, 1991, CBS broadcast of Billy Graham's Long Island, New York crusade, Graham said in reference to the Persian Gulf War, "As our President, President Bush, has said, it is not the people of Iraq we are at war with. It is some of the people in that regime. Pray for peace in the Middle East, a just peace."[36] Graham had earlier said that "there come times when we have to fight for peace." He went on to say that out of the war in the Gulf may "come a new peace and, as suggested by the President, a new world order."[37]

[edit] Controversy[edit] Discussion of Jews with NixonIn 2002, declassified "Richard Nixon tapes" confirmed remarks made by Graham to President Nixon three decades earlier. Captured on the tapes, Graham agreed with Nixon that Jews control the American media, calling it a "stranglehold" during a 1972 conversation with Nixon.[38] These remarks were characterized as anti-Semitic by Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League[18] and evangelical author Richard Land.[39]

When the tapes were publicly released, Graham stated, "[A]lthough I have no memory of the occasion, I deeply regret comments I apparently made... They do not reflect my views, and I sincerely apologize for any offense caused by the remarks,"[40] and "If it wasn't on tape, I would not have believed it. I guess I was trying to please... I went to a meeting with Jewish leaders and I told them I would crawl to them to ask their forgiveness."[41] According to Newsweek magazine, "[T]he shock of the revelation was magnified because of Graham's longtime support of Israel and his refusal to join in calls for conversion of the Jews."[41]

In 2009, new tapes were released, in which Graham is heard in conversation with Nixon referring to Jews and "the synagogue of Satan." A spokesman for Graham said that Graham has never been an anti-Semite and that the comparison (in accord with the context of the quotation in the Book of Revelation) was directed specifically at those claiming to be Jews, but not observing Jewish law.[42]

[edit] Awards and honorsGraham has frequently been honored by surveys, including "Greatest Living American" and has consistently ranked among the most admired persons in the United States and the world.[9] Between 1950 and 1990, he appeared most frequently on Gallup's list of most admired people. The United States Postal Service has said that Graham is one of the few Americans, along with the current President, who can be delivered mail that simply reads his name and the country: "Billy Graham, America."[43]

In 1967, he was the first Protestant to receive an honorary degree from Belmont Abbey College, a Roman Catholic school.[44]

In 1971, Graham received an award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews. After the Nixon tapes were released, Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League called for Graham to return the award. He was honored by the American Jewish Committee with its National Interreligious Award for his efforts on behalf of Jewish-Christian relations; the committee called him one of the century's greatest Christian friends of Jews.[18] In the same year, Graham's hometown of Charlotte held "Billy Graham Day" at which President Nixon made an appearance.[15]

He has received the Congressional Gold Medal from the United States Congress and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Reagan, America's highest civilian honors.[43]

In 1986, Graham was given North Carolina's highest honor, the North Carolina Award, for public service.[45]

President Bill Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole awarded Graham the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in 1996.[46]

On May 30, 1999, Graham was invited to give the pre-race invocation at the Indianapolis 500.

In December 2001, he was presented with an honorary knighthood, Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE), for his international contributions to civic and religious life over 60 years.

On May 31, 2007, the $27 million Billy Graham Library was officially dedicated in Charlotte. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton appeared to celebrate with Graham.[47][48] A highway in Charlotte bears Graham's name,[22] as does I-240 near Graham's home in Asheville.

For providing a platform during his events for many Christian musical artists, Graham was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1999 by the Gospel Music Association. Several songs by various artists have dedicated songs to or about Graham during his lifetime.[49] Singer Michael W. Smith is active in Billy Graham Crusades as well as Samaritan's Purse.[50]

In 2000, former First Lady Nancy Reagan presented the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award to Graham. Graham has been a friend of the Reagans for years.[51]

Graham received the Big Brother of the Year Award for his work on behalf of children. He has been cited by the George Washington Carver Memorial Institute for his contributions to race relations. He has received the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion and the Sylvanus Thayer Award for his commitment to "Duty, Honor, Country". The "Billy Graham Children's Health Center" in Asheville is named after and funded by Graham.[46]

A professorial chair is named after him at the Alabama Baptist-affiliated Samford University, the Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth.[18] His alma mater Wheaton College has an archive of his papers at the Billy Graham Center.[5] The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth. Graham has received 20 honorary degrees and refused at least that many more.[9] In San Francisco, CA, the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, has often erroneously been called the Billy Graham Civic Auditorium and falsely considered to be named in his honor, but is actually named after the rock & roll promoter Bill Graham.

The movie Billy: The Early Years premiered in theaters officially on October 10, 2008, less than one month before Graham's 90th birthday.[52] Graham has yet to comment on the film, but his son, Franklin released a critical statement on August 18, 2008, noting that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association "has not collaborated with nor does it endorse the movie."[53] Graham's eldest daughter Gigi, however, has praised the movie and has also been hired as a consultant to help promote the film.[54]

[edit] Books authored
Graham has authored the following books:[55]
Calling Youth to Christ (1947)
America's Hour of Decision (1951)
I Saw Your Sons at War (1953)
Peace with God (1953, 1984)
Freedom from the Seven Deadly Sins (1955)
The Secret of Happiness (1955, 1985)
Billy Graham Talks to Teenagers (1958)
My Answer (1960)
Billy Graham Answers Your Questions (1960)
World Aflame (1965)
The Challenge (1969)
The Jesus Generation (1971)
Angels: God's Secret Agents (1975, 1985)
How to Be Born Again (1977)
The Holy Spirit (1978)
Till Armageddon (1981)
Approaching Hoofbeats (1983)
A Biblical Standard for Evangelists (1984)
Unto the Hills (1986)
Facing Death and the Life After (1987)
Answers to Life's Problems (1988)
Hope for the Troubled Heart (1991)
Storm Warning (1992)
Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham (1997, 2007)
Hope for Each Day (2002)
The Key to Personal Peace (2003)
Living in God's Love: The New York Crusade (2005)
The Journey: How to Live by Faith in an Uncertain World (2006)

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Graham

End of the World and Today

Scoffers on all sides of the theological continuum are enjoying play on the prediction by one group that the world will end May 21.

However, no matter where you are on that theological continuum, from animist deist to theist to atheist to whatever other variations exist -- the world will end.

The Christian (Catholics, Anglicans, Fundamentalist, evangelicals, etc.) will agree Jesus Christ is coming back. The when part, and the part where we Christians are when that happens is disputed, but all will agree, per the Book of Revelations, the world will end as we know. There will be a New Earth, and, again, what that looks like breeds much disagreement, but that it is going to happen we all concur.

Meanwhile, the atheist and his kin know that all planets have a life cycle. Where is Earth on the timeline? I don't know, but someday, the sun will exhaust itself, the inner parts of the Earth may blow up in an explosive volcano, or the atmosphere may disintegrate. We humans might do something too, from pollution to massive bombs to some new method of self-destruction.

So what if we are here May 22? At some point, the predictors of our May 21 demise are more on top of reality than those who ignore the imminent end. How imminent is yet to be seen, whether tomorrow or in a billion years.

Will you be ready? Will your life matter? No matter what you believe about a diety and his and/or her role in any of this, you have a view about what your best life could look like. Are you living it out?

Search Amazon.com for End of the World


Bluster County Blues: Why Four Sheep Had Their Hooves on Backwards

"Glorious Tales That Probably Didn't Happen Quite The Way I Tell It"
Something very strange happened to the sheep at the local children's farm.

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Oprah's Last Show: Rumors We Will Not Hear

  • Cousin Oliver (Robbie Rist) from the Brady Bunch (to announce his big comeback in Las Vegas)
  • Professional racist and one of the Ku Klux Klan leaders Thomas Robb (to admit he is a loser with a special secret)
  • Paul "Pee-wee Herman" Reubens (to announce his enduring love for Robb)
  • Liberace (to announce he is not dead, and for Reubens to back off from Robb)
  • Martha Stewart (to acknowledge she hates crafts, cooking and gardening)
  • Rosie O'Donnell (to sincerely say something nice about someone she disagrees with)
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger (to admit he is, in fact, Democrat)

  • Oprah Winfrey to say Stedman was the brains behind the show
  • Oprah Winfrey to give away nothing, and say, "I'm not buying your love this time!"
  • Oprah Winfrey to say "Gee, we signed another contract."

Special Musical Guests
picture source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oprah_Winfrey

More Oprah kitsch than you can imagine: Search Amazon.com for Oprah_Winfrey

51 Wasteful Words: Agony for Editors

Grafco Snellen Type Plastic Eye Chart, Non-Reflective Matte Finish With Green and Red Color Bar51 Wasteful Words: Agony for Editors

Saying the briefest thing in as few of words as possible is not only charitable toward the reader, but belabors the writer’s fingers less, uses less ink, requires fewer trees and, allows him to please his mind with other things in the space in which only one thing would previously fit.


Marathoner Samuel Wanjiru Has Died

As I reported in my running blog, Marathoner Samuel Wanjiru Has Died. Looks like it might be foul play, or suicide. In either case, a tragedy.

This comes in the wake of losing another great marathoner, Grete Waitz, who had cancer. Waitz died in April.


Bluster County Blues: Mountain Cat Charlie Runs Again

Taking the universe by storm is Bluster County Blues. Full of half-truths, at best, this tongue-in-cheek column pokes fun at the world around us.

Take a look. Feeel free to comment (please) at the bottom of either story. My editor loves that (and, come on, so do I!)
  1. Mountain Cat Charlie Runs Again
  2. The Sound and Fury of An Elephant's Graveyard

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  • Read Casey at the Bat, the classic 1888 poem which influenced my most recent tale greatly.