Tuesday, July 3, 2012

10 Great Americans

We are one day away from when America officially broke away from Great Britain and became our own country!  To celebrate this momentous occasion which has mostly become yet another excellent excuse to barbecue, drink, have the day off work, and watch some fireworks, I decided to tell you about 10 great fictional and non-fictional (somewhat) Americans!  Unlike my lists for Fox programming, I will not be ranking these American heroes in order.  Each of these heroes stand out in their own way while they may have contributed something great towards our country, they may show the merits of a true American, or they’re just entertaining enough to make the list! Let’s get it started!

Hulk Hogan

If you know me personally, do you think I would make such a list like this and NOT include him?!?!? As a child in the 1980s and the early 1990s, I would say the Pledge of Allegiance every day at school and every time my dad would take me to a sporting event I would stand up for the National Anthem.  When I started to watch wrestling around age 7, the first person to stand out of course was Hulk Hogan! While it was definitely the WWE’s (WWF at the time) marketing muscles at work, I was sold that this man stood for everything a true American should be! He was a big dude, he took out opponents just like Superman (who didn’t make my list), he would wave the American flag, and he told all of us kids to say their prayers and take their vitamins! Who wouldn’t want to be like this guy?  Let’s also not forget while the Gulf War was going on, he was also helping America by taking on former American turned Iraqi Sgt. Slaughter!! Also, he happens to enjoy a true American dessert with apple pie! Or as he says it: YAPPA PIE!!!

Guile, also known as Colonel William F. Guile is one of three American characters on my list which from a Japanese creator!  He’s a member of the U.S. Airforce and has an awesome hair-do! In each adaptation of Street Fighter he is portrayed as a true soldier and a loyal comrade as he is always seeking out his lost friend Charlie.  This is one soldier you do NOT want to get in a fistfight with! In the USA Network cartoon, Britain Secret Service agent Cammy happens to have a crush on Guile and he is completely oblivious of it! She once made an obvious hint by saying “Hey we finished the mission really well! We should celebrate over dinner.” Guile replies, “I agree! Let’s treat the whole gang to dinner tonight!” Guile, are you serious?!?! This is one time you have to let your patriotic attitude go and form your own version of the Allied Powers! Also, Guile's theme goes well with everything.

Mitchell Gorō Tanabe
Technically he is part American and part Japanese.  He is in fact from an anime series called “The Ping Pong Club” one of the funniest yet most perverted non-hentai (though it pushes close) series.  He is definitely the ultimate American stereotype though!  He’s portrayed as dumb for when he does “USA” chants he shouts out with pride “Oosah! Oosah!!”  Another trait of his is that he is muscular jock and in association to being a jock he has the worst B.O. ever!  Despite being the smelliest and dumbest member of the Inachu Junior High Ping Pong Club, next to Takeda, he is likely the most sane, kind, and honorable member of the group.   He is a friend to the end as he offers help to all, will take the blame for a friend, and will make corny jokes in attempt to cheer others up (the last one kind of sounds like myself.)  In my mind, he is a true Samaritan; with his support towards USA (or as he says “Oosah”) he has the heart of a true American!

John Bradshaw Layfield
John Layfield started out as a cowboy, was brainwashed into being a worshipper of The Undertaker, went onto becoming an ass kicking redneck bounty hunter, and finally became the true man that he is today, a self-made stock market investor who went onto a 280-day WWE title reign.  This man has accomplished so many things that a lot of other fellow Americans wish they could have done.  Let’s forget his pro wrestling career (one that consists of 24 championship reigns.)  He started off as a college football player.  He was signed to the LA Raiders in 1990 but was released before the season even started.  He has made many successful stock market investments and even wrote a book about it.  He is entrepreneur as he owns his owns Layfield Energy (a company that makes an energy drink), he invested money into independent wrestling federation OVW when it was having financial troubles, and he regularly makes appearances on Fox News’s “The Cost of Freedom.”  In real life he pretty much encompasses the stereotypical showboating millionaire.  Going back to his wrestling career, he was actually credited as the man who helped started the annual "WWE Tribute to the Troops" show which originally would have the WWE superstars fly out to put a show on for the soldiers of the United States overseas.  It is still going on but the show remains within the U.S.  I’ll admit I wasn’t a big fan of his at first from some backstage stories I read of him being a jerk and I didn’t think he was that great of a wrestler, but with all of his accomplishments and charity work, I have grown great respect towards him.

Martin Luther King Jr.
So we finally arrived at the first non-fictional person on this list. Yes, Martin Luther King Jr. is a phenomenal man! A phenomenal American!  If you went to school you know who he is but I’ll give you a quick summary.  MLK Jr. was a civil rights activist who in 1963 led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  It was a rally in Washington D.C. which encouraged fellow African Americans to rise up and speak out for equal rights in society for many things that were once restricted from minorities.  During this march, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his widely famous “I Have a Dream “ speech that was a key peace in ending a lot of racial discrimination and helping many individuals who were once considered unworthy of opportunities that were restricted only to white Americans.  It’s quite possible that without MLK Jr. many celebrities, political figures, and even president Barack Obama wouldn’t be at where they are today.  I am forever thankful for his contributions as I have many great friends of different races, religions, and walks of life.

Benjamin Franklin
Think about this. What device are you using right now to read this article? Computer? PlayStation 3 or Wii? Cell phone? Tablet?  What controls these devices? Well besides the Internet… Electricity!!!  That’s right, the first discoverer of electricity very well happens to be an American! America F*** Yeah!

Anyway, in addition to being the inventor of electricity, Ben Franklin was a jack-of-all-trades.  He played music, he was awesome chess player, he helped form the Declaration of Independence, was the 6th president of Pennsylvania, and had many more accomplishments! Are you one of those saying he’s just a show off? Well if you are, you should at least be happy to see him when cash comes your way, he is on the one hundred dollar bill. I can’t complain.

Lt. Surge “The Lightning American”
What do you know? Here is another character of a Japanese franchise that happens to be an American.  Lt. Surge is a former military who has become a Pokémon gym leader.  Truth be told, I have only played the Pokémon Red and Blue games but I happened to enjoy this character.  His appearance comes off somewhat similar to that of Guile’s and uses the electric Pokémon of Pikachu, Raichu, and Voltorb to help him do his battles.  He is a strict man and respects trainers with a lot of heart.  He is a loyal soldier and a faithful trainer to his Pokémon. In one of the games, he is quoted as saying “"I tell you, kid, electric Pokémon saved me during the war!"  I wonder what war he is speaking of? Pokémon was first released in Japan in 1996 so I presume it was the Gulf War.  Can you picture Saddam Hussein trying to stab or shoot Lt. Surge and Pikachu just electrocutes him or perhaps he becomes surrounded by several Iraqis and he throws his Voltorb at them and it explodes for him to escape to safety? Sounds like one hell of a war.

Captain America

Steve Rogers, a man once not seen as suited to join the United States Army underwent the Super Soldier project that made him into the hero known as Captain America.  Marvel’s creation of Captain America was a very popular comic book hero during World War 2 and remains a popular hero to this day.  Just like Superman and Batman, comic book writers and artists are able to adapt the character of Captain America into each decade (usually by having him frozen in ice and being defrosted.) What I find very unique about Captain America in opposition to other superheroes is that he actually carries a shield with him both as a defensive and offensive weapon.  He uses it as a disc to throw at enemies and has many different versions of the shield.  Whether he is fighting Nazis, the Red Skull, or fighting alongside his fellow Avengers teammates, he is always wearing the red, white, and blue.  You really can’t get any more American than him.

Amelia Earhart
I don’t know about you guys, but I felt that this list needed at least one female American represented.  Why not use a real one?  I appreciate Amelia Earhart for being a strong willed woman who decided to fulfill her dreams.  At age 10 she received an airplane ride from a pilot and decided it was her goal to fly airplanes.  She was the first female aviator (known at the time as an aviatrix) to fly across the Atlantic Ocean by herself.  She has made many other conquests but was reported missing at age 39 in 1937 when flying over the Pacific Ocean towards Howland Island.  In my personal opinion, for someone to grow up wanting to do something as early as his or her pre-teens and actually accomplish such a goal, that is living a successful life.  This woman is an inspiration for any American.

Rocky Balboa
The final American on our list is an American character played by Sylvester Stallone.  The Rocky series has grown to be one of my favorite movie series as it is one of the biggest underdog stories.  Rocky Balboa was a debt collector for a loan shark who would train at night to pursue his dreams as a boxer.  Rocky didn’t graduate high school and he only made enough to just get by.  He trained hard in his boxing career to get noticed by the mainstream.  He would have his first big match against World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Apollo Creed.  Throughout the movie series, you will see Rocky grow from rags to riches.  The man may not be the brightest around, but he has a very good spirit and a lot of heart!  I think that the character of Rocky Balboa really symbolizes that even if you aren’t the smartest or the richest, if you set your mind to it, you can make it in America!  “Yo Adrian! I did it!” Also, you have to love the training scenes in the Rocky movies. Personally, it makes me want to step it up more in my routine. Here is the training sequence from Rocky 3, my favorite Rocky of the series.

That is it for my Ten Great Americans article. I really hope you enjoyed it whether you found some of these guys inspirational or just got a good laugh out of them.  If you want to share your thoughts please do.  Fan me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Be Sure to Subscribe to me on YouTube if you enjoyed this piece or even if you just wish to comment. Have a Happy 4th of July and Remember, wherever you’re from, be proud of it!

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