Ronald Reagan Centennial – Bombing of Libya

As Bon Jovi said in a recent song – “The more things change, the more they stay the same”. As next week marks the 25th anniversary of the Bombing of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi is remarkably still in power, and fighting in Libya is once again the news of the day.

Before I continue, I would like to know – Am I the only one who is confused on how to spell this wackjob’s name? I’ve seen Gaddafi, Qaddafi, al-Qaddafi, and Khadafi – all in different publications. Uggh! For this article, I will just use “Gaddafi”.

Tensions Building

During the 1970s and ’80s, Gaddafi’s government financed a wide variety of Muslim and anti-U.S. and anti-British terrorist groups worldwide. In response, the U.S. imposed sanctions against Libya. So relations were never good. In 1981, Libya fired at a U.S. aircraft that passed into the Gulf of Sidra, which Gaddafi had claimed in 1973 as Libyan territorial waters. That year, the U.S. uncovered evidence of Libyan-sponsored terrorist plots against the United States, including planned assassination attempts against U.S. officials and the bombing of a U.S. embassy-sponsored dance in Khartoum, Sudan.

In December 1985, five American citizens were killed in simultaneous terrorist attacks at the Rome and Vienna airports. Libya was blamed, and President Ronald Reagan ordered expanded sanctions and froze Libyan assets in the United States. On March 24, 1986, U.S. and Libyan forces clashed in the Gulf of Sidra, and four Libyan attack boats were sunk.

Then on April 5, 1986 was the straw that broke the camel’s back. A West Berlin dance hall, the LaBelle discotheque, which was popular with U.S. servicemen was bombed by terrorists. One U.S. serviceman and a Turkish woman were killed, and more than 200 people were wounded, including 50 other U.S. servicemen. U.S. intelligence had intercepted radio messages sent from Libya to its diplomats in East Berlin ordering the attack on the dance hall.

He Counted On America To Be Passive. He Counted Wrong …

In response to all of this, on April 14, 1986 shortly before 7 p.m. EST (2 a.m., April 15 in Libya), The U.S. launched air strikes against Libya. Five military targets and “terrorism centers” were hit, including the headquarters of Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi was able to escape from being killed because he received a phone call from Italian politician Bettino Craxi warning him that aircraft were flying over Maltese airspace heading south towards Tripoli. However, his 15-month-old adopted daughter was killed in the attack on his residence, and two of his young sons were injured.

The United States was denied overflight rights by France, Spain and Italy as well as the use of European continental bases, forcing the Air Force portion of the operation to be flown around France, Spain and through the Straits of Gibraltar, adding 1,300 miles each way and requiring multiple aerial refuelings.
During the raid, the French Embassy was narrowly missed.

Even before the operation had ended, President Reagan went on national television to discuss the air strikes. “When our citizens are abused or attacked anywhere in the world,” he said, “we will respond in self-defense. Today we have done what we had to do. If necessary, we shall do it again.”

Parts of Reagan’s speech can be heard towards the end of Def Leppard’s “Gods of War”.

After the bombing, there was no other major terrorist attack linked to Libya until the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 passengers and crew of that flight were killed, and 11 people on the ground perished.

Gaddafi shocked the world when he became one of the first Muslim heads of state to denounce al-Qaida after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

In October 2008 Libya paid $1.5 billion to be used to compensate the relatives of the Lockerbie bombing victims, American victims of the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing, American victims of the 1989 UTA Flight 772 bombing, and Libyan victims of the 1986 US bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi.

Daily Trivia – 4/4/11

Question: What car company’s pitchman lied in TV commercials but claimed, “You have my word on it.”?


Last Question: What four artists recorded “That’s What Friends Are For” in 1985 to raise money to fight AIDS?

Answer: Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder

“That’s What Friends Are For” was written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager, and actually originally performed by Rod Stewart for the soundtrack of the movie Night Shift.

But most of us know the song by Dionne Warwick and Friends. It was recorded as a benefit for American Foundation for AIDS Research, and raised over $3 million for that cause. The song peaked at number one for three weeks on the soul chart and for four weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. The Dionne and Friends version of the song won the performers the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, as well as Song of the Year for its writers, Bacharach and Bayer Sager. It also was ranked by Billboard magazine as the most popular song of 1986.

Wrestling of the ’80s

Hey Returnies, I am finally back, and feeling much better now. It took a lot longer to recover from surgery than I expected. But I guess the older you get, then longer it takes to recover. Who knew?!?

Unfortunately, I was set back a week longer than I expected, so I was unable to get an article out in time for a topic I was looking forward to discuss – Wrestling of the ’80s (And of course I’m talking about Professional Wrestling. Not High School, College, or Olympic Wrestling). Wrestlemania was held yesterday, so better late than never. I haven’t watched wrestling in about 10-15 years, but I was very much into it 30 years ago.

First, let me get this out of the way – WE ALL KNOW WRESTLING IS FAKE!!!!! So is Pretty Woman, Days of Our Lives, even my beloved Star Wars, as well as all Awards Shows! Good God, get over it! Sorry, but it’s a pet peeve of mine. As soon as somebody says the word “wrestling”, somebody always has to pipe in right away saying “wrestling is fake, you know”. It is entertainment, and there are actual writers. Admittedly, it’s not always the most intelligent entertainment – but it’s entertainment nonetheless. OK, rant’s over.

When I started watching wrestling, growing up in the Northeast, the Connecticut based WWF was basically the only wrestling on television until we got cable tv. Bob Backlund was the champion. But other popular wrestlers at the time were Greg “the Hammer” Valentine, “Mr. USA” Tony Atlas, Jesse “the Body” Ventura, and the tag team of Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito.

Then there was an explosion on February 18, 1985, called The War to Settle the Score. This was when the WWF aired an event on MTV that featured a huge grudge match between Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper. The entertainment and wrestling worlds collided when, during the match, Mr. T (who had conveniently been sitting ringside) came into the ring to help Hogan.

Oh yeah, we have it here:

This set up the main event for the inaugural Wrestlemania which took place on March 31, 1985. Hogan and Mr. T faced the team of Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff.

The WWF never looked back after that. In my opinion, the pinacle of pro wrestling was Wrestlemania III. It was held before a record attendance of 93,173 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan.

The main event was Hulk Hogan against his former friend, the undefeated Andre the Giant. Hulk Hogan not only won the match to hand Andre his first loss, but he also body slammed the Giant, which had never been done before.

But the match that stole the show was the Intercontinental Title match between Ricky Steamboat and champion “Macho Man” Randy Savage. There was non-stop action in this exciting match, which ended with Steamboat winning the championship.

Here is a list of some of my favorite wrestlers from the ’80s:

Jake “the Snake” Roberts

Jake “the Snake” was one of the most intimidating wrestlers I had seen. His finishing move was the DDT, which would knock his opponent out cold. Oh, but he easn’t done yet. After winning the match, he would take his live Burmese Python, Damien, out of his canvas bag, and put him all over the poor opponent.


Curt Hennig

I liked Hennig when he was in the AWA, and was the AWA champion for a while. The AWA aired on cable for us in the Northeast, and was a nice alternative to the WWF. But, as many other promising-yet-underexposed AWA stars had before him (including Hulk Hogan, Rick Martel, and Bobby Heenan), he left the AWA for the World Wrestling Federation.

And he played a great character upon his arrival – Mr. Perfect. He had great skits such as getting a hole-in-one golf shot, hitting three-pointers with ease on the basketball court, and he remained undefeated in the ring for a long time.

Unfortunately, he had some demons, and on February 10, 2003, Hennig was found dead in a Florida hotel room. The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office declared acute cocaine intoxication to be the cause of his death.


Ric Flair

Woooooo!!! “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair was a long time champion in the NWA. He didn’t seem to be as big as some of his opponents, but he always managed to hold on to the title (usually by cheating, and eventually getting his figure-four leglock on). He was basically the opposite of Hulk Hogan. His matches were always very entertaining, but his interviews were even better.


Road Warriors

They are may favorite tag team of all time. Hawk and Animal popularized the use of face paint. They were huge, and beat the crap out of everybody. They were involved in one of wrestlings greatest feuds when they moved to the NWA, as they teamed with Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff to feud with the Four Horsemen – Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, and Ole Anderson (and later Lex Luger after Ole retired).


“Rowdy” Roddy Piper

I loved Piper when he turned good, but he was even more entertaining when he was bad! He had a segment called Piper’s Pit where he interviewed fellow wrestlers. If he was interviewing a good guy, a fight would usually break out. The most notorious interview was with “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka. Piper started insulting Snuka’s Polynesian heritage by bringing out pineapples, bananas, and dropping coconuts onto the table. Then Piper ttacked Snuka by smashing him over the head with a coconut and shoving a banana in his face. This started a bitter rivalry.

In 1986, Piper took a leave of absence, and when he came back, the fans loved him. He had a retirement match in Wrestlemania II where he beat Adrian Adonis in a “hair-vs-hair” match. Then he went into acting. He starred in he 1988 John Carpenter cult classic, They Live. Piper eventually got back into wrestling.

So, who are your favorite wrestlers. Do you have any favorite matches/feuds? And I didn’t even get into the wrestling announcers! I loved Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon. Jim Ross was also great before his stroke. Who are your favorites?

Daily Trivia – 4/4/11

Question: What four artists recorded “That’s What Friends Are For” in 1985 to raise money to fight AIDS?


Last Question: What toy asked, “Can you and I be friends?”

Answer: Teddy Ruxpin

Sure, that bear looks cute and cuddly. That is until he starts talking and his mouth and eyes move. This evil bear made his debut in 1985, and was produced by Worlds Of Wonder. You stuck a cassette tape in his back and play it. Then Teddy Ruxpin’s mouth would move. The company produced books on tape that the bear would read.

The Worlds of Wonder company went bankrupt in 1990, and this toy line was picked up by Hasbro, which produced him under their Playskool line until 1996. They changed the cassette size to be special cartridges instead of standard cassette tape size.

In 1998, Yes! Entertainment brought Teddy Ruxpin back to stores for a third time. They went back to the original cassette size. In 2005 Backpack Toys announced a fourth version of Teddy Ruxpin, which replaced the audio tapes with digital cartridges. The doll is no longer produced.

Here is an early commercial:

The Teddy Ruxpin doll was so popular when it was first released that a cartoon was created for it: The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin. The show ran from 1987-1988. Teddy Ruxpin leaves his homeland in Rillonia with his friend Grubby in search of adventure.

I hope everybody enjoyed Teddy Ruxpin! Because, when Skynet takes over and destroys the world, we can all look back and see that the creation of Teddy Ruxpin started it all.

Do you think Teddy Ruxpin was creepy, or am I freaking out over nothing? Here is a poll. If you know of any other doll that is more creepy, please leave a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Dan Quayle Quotes of the Week – 4/1/11

I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy – but that could change.
Dan Quayle, 5/22/89

We’re going to have the best-educated American people in the world.
Dan Quayle, 9/21/88

I stand by all the misstatements that I’ve made.
Dan Quayle, to Sam Donaldson, 8/17/89

Public speaking is very easy.
Dan Quayle, to reporters in 10/88

Happy April Fool’s Day!!

Daily Trivia – 4/1/11

Question: What toy asked, “Can you and I be friends?”


Last Question: On Night Court, what singer did “Judge Harry Stone” adore?

Answer: Mel Tormé

Judge Harold “Harry” T. Stone, played by Harry Anderson, loved movies and fashions from the 1940s, hated modern music (especially Barry Manilow), and idolized crooner Mel Tormé (a.k.a. “The Velvet Frog”).

I remember that Mel Tormé did have a cameo on the show, but I can’t find any clips.

I’m sure Harry went into mourning on June 5, 1999, when Mel Tormé died from a stroke at the age of 73.