Wife Swap? Hmmm…. Must Admit The Thought Is Tempting

This e-mail showed up in my in-box the other day.   It came from a reliable source who passed it along to me, so I know everything is completely legit.   Here, take a read:

“My name is Susan Perkins [name changed]; I am in the casting department at ABC Television. Currently we are actively and urgently casting Hunting families for our 3 rd season of Wife Swap. I have decided to do a very intensive Deer, Pheasant and other wildlife hunting outreach. My thought process behind this outreach is as follows; I would like to have a family that hunts together for sportsmanship or food. Hunting is such an incredible family bond; I figured I would find a very close nit family this way. I have attached the press release that our communications department put together to this email in reference to this casting. It is not my intention to solicit any of your member information, I am merely asking that if you know of anyone you would like to refer you can either contact me or have them contact me directly. Perhaps you could create a posting under the general information section of your website or you could distribute a mass email and have people contact me as they wish. Just in case you are not familiar with the show, allow me to give you the basics…

  • We air every Monday night at 8 pm on ABC. 
  • The main requirements for the show are- must be a two parent family with at least one child in the home between 7 and 17 years of age.
  • Wife Swap is a 10 to 11 day taping commitment. Mom will be gone for 7 or 8 days during this time.
  • The process involves filling out an application and making an audition tape. If we think you are a good family for Wife Swap, we will begin to look for a match for you and come to visit your family for an afternoon to make a tape that will be edited and presented to the network. 
  • Each family that participates in the program will receive a $20,000 honorarium upon airing of the episode and anyone who refers a family that makes it on to the show will receive a $1,000 finder’s reward. 
  • This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Thank you so much for your time and please do not hesitate to contact me for any reason. Enjoy your day.”

    So there you have it…a prime time TV show casting call, of sorts, seeking a hunting family.   I don’t claim to watch much TV so I’m not very familiar with the program in that sense, but the show’s concept involved is fairly self-descriptive.   Wife Swap is the kind of television show that likes to put people in unusual situations by virtue of swapping the matriarchs of the household, thus stirring up some excitement for the cameras.   Oh boy, one can only imagine where the scenario described above could ultimately lead into given the right swap.

    You know, at first I was going to be my usual skeptical self and figure that something negative will likely come from a show like this…at least to the extent of how it reflects on hunting and hunters (or their families).   Instead, I am going to withhold my judgment just to see what actually happens.   It might actually be quite funny.

    No…I did not apply.   Actually, my wife took one look at this e-mail and said NO WAY!!!   In fact, if after reading this you seriously think your family would be the perfect match for this upcoming episode…well, be my guest.   You can apply right online.   Just make sure I get credit for the $1,000 “finder’s reward,” okay. 

    © 2007 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction Allowed Without Prior Permission.

    National Hunting And Fishing Day Has Become A Joke

    Let me ask you this.   Can you name the Honorary Chairman and Spokesperson for the National Hunting And Fishing Day for the past several years?   Seriously…think about it for a moment.   During the last five years can you even name three of the folks who have served as the national cheerleader of sorts for this decades old event.   Heck, if you’re like me…can you even name a handful of personalities who have served in this celebrity role since way back in 1972 when this P.R. concept first got started?

    I’m sad to say this event just has never made much of an impact on my life…and I’m guessing that it gets largely overlooked by a good many sportsmen who may admit to hearing of the event, but surely don’t know much about it or get involved with it.   Actually it is quite sad, because this grassroots effort occurs every year on the fourth Saturday of September so there are no excuses, yet the only nationally recognized “holiday” of sorts, that celebrates being a sportsman in America is not embraced the way it should be.

    Maybe things will change this year.   I’m hoping so, anyway.   When I stated that NHF Day has become a joke I was actually stating that a bit tongue in cheek.   You see, this year’s spokesperson is none other than everybody’s favorite redneck comedian, Jeff Foxworthy.   Foxworthy will become the latest volunteer celebrity to promote not only the event, but also to help spread the message why hunting and fishing are vital activities in our modern world.Foxworthy

    I must say, however, that I am slightly troubled by Foxworthy’s appointment to this role.   First off, I love his unique comedic style and have most of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour DVD’s.   Not only that, I have gone to hear him perform in person.   Needless to say I am highly entertained by his antics on stage.

    On the flip side of the coin, however, Foxworthy’s hunting DVDs are very cute and yes, downright funny at times…but much of that humor pokes fun at the stereotypical hunter who often acts…well, shall we say not very sophisticated in the woods.   Don’t get me wrong, I understand that when you mix comedy and the outdoors that is the sort of result you will get.   Still, when I view these types of videos I can’t help but wonder if the antics doesn’t just help to perpetuate “common held beliefs” among the non-hunting public that we all must, in fact, actually behave this way.   Hunters are just a bunch of nimrods who can be described as dim-wits.

    That’s why I have some mixed feelings about Foxworthy after hearing he is now the national spokesman during 2007 for the sports I love.   It’s certainly an honor that he serves in this role and gives so generously of his time…but from a pure P.R. standpoint is he really the best celebrity that our sports could find to represent our national heritage?   Perhaps not that it really matters…my guess is he will do much the same as his predecessors and not make a real name for himself in that all-important role.

    Nevertheless, 2007 is the year that Jeff Foxworthy champions the cause and will lead the nation in celebrating a rich heritage of being a sportsman.   In the end I’m sure he will do a stand-up job, much like those other fine individuals who have served before him.   I just can’t help the feeling by wondering if a very popular comedian who brands himself as a “redneck” is truly the best person to represent my beloved sports in such a high-profile manner.

    What are your thoughts on this?   First off, does the NHF Day get much play in your part of the country?   It really doesn’t as far as I can tell here in Minnesota.   Furthermore, do you have any qualms about Foxworthy serving in this honorary capacity?

    © 2007 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction Allowed Without Prior Permission.

    The 2nd Amendment — Can You Defend It?

    Let’s face it…there’s a few freedoms that us Americans hold quite near and dear to our hearts.   Free Speech, Search and Seizure protection, Speedy Trials, and so forth.   Yet without a doubt one of the most important rights guaranteed by our country’s forefathers is the 2nd Amendment — The Right To Bear Arms — an Amendment quite clear in language (and importance), but often conveniently misconstrued by the courts and the anti-gun detractors.

    So how well do you understand the 2nd Amendment — or shall I say, how well can you defend the interpretation of what those words mean to being a sportsman in America?   You say you’re not a lawyer…well, that may be true, but it could be easily argued that this all-important legal authorization is the very foundation of what allows us to enjoy many of the pastimes in which we participate.   Let’s face it…so often in life we take things for granted and we don’t begin to miss something until it is taken away.   This is particularly true when new gun laws impede our lives and the very way we want to go about enjoying the activity.   Have you forgotten the Clinton era when strict new gun laws temporarily changed what guns we could buy and how many bullets those guns could contain?

    So, the next time you find yourself going down that slippery slope falling into a heated debate around the water cooler about The Right To Bear Arms…how do you respond when the other person challenges you that this Amendment was only intended so that we should have a well-armed military AND NOT common citizens running around with guns.   It’s perhaps the most common stance the anti-gun crowd likes to take.   Yet, most of us fumble around and do not defend our position very convincingly or directly.   Well, that is until now.

    I discovered a newly released video that sportsman should be embracing and carefully taking to heart.   Put away those elk calling videos and those other instructional videos that are fun to watch.   This video is serious business…and I will tell you right now it is not necessarily fun to watch.   It’s serious information presented in the form of a documentary about a very important topic.


    Let’s face it…the media bias pollutes everyone’s mind so much that the line between fact and fiction is often difficult to distinguish for many people.   We are constantly bombarded by lawmakers chiseling away at our gun rights almost to the point where simply being a law-abiding citizen begins to make one feel uneasy about what we are doing.   It’s time for those of us who embrace the sporting life to step back and to take a refresher course on what it means to be a free American.   Seriously, if we allow the very laws promised by our forefathers guaranteeing us a free life to begin to erode…then our entire society ultimately loses.

    Enter David T. Hardy who for over 30 years has been a lawyer and noted scholar on the 2nd Amendment.   He’s gone to bat for gun owners against the likes of Michael Moore shooting down Moore’s poorly constructed argument that became popular in the movie Bowling For Columbine.   Hardy also has written numerous law review articles sometimes disputing what is commonly believed and oft misunderstood about the 2nd Amendment.   Now after four years of work he has just recently released this documentary called “In Search of the Second Amendment” which should be 111 minutes of required viewing for every hunter, every target shooter, in fact, every American who appreciates life in a democratic society where freedoms of all kinds are cherished.

    I purchased this video directly from Hardy’s website not only because I wanted to see it and learn from it, but also because after viewing it I wanted to donate it to my local public school for their library.   Seriously, I wanted the opportunity to view this documentary because I admit I have a lot to learn about the principle law that guarantees me the right to own guns.   But I also feel it’s important to spread this information in some small effort to bring about a better understanding to others, as well.   Quite honestly, there’s no better place than in our school system for information like this to exist.   The schools won’t buy it to put it there…so that means we have an obligation to see it is available.

    Hardy invested a lot into making this video.   He’s not making money on this project, in fact, he’s losing money.   Yet, that doesn’t matter.   He knows that we live in a video age and that is how most of us want to learn.   It’s pretty unlikely the common sportsman will pick up a book about Constitutional law matters and invest several hours reading the complex literature.   On the other hand, most of us are more likely to grab a bowl of popcorn and a soda to watch a well produced documentary even if the topic is quite intense and lacks the typical entertainment value of most videos.

    Here’s the deal.   The next time you find yourself in a debate over the 2nd Amendment you will do all of us a disservice if you can’t faithfully defend what some argue is perhaps the most important freedom granted by our Constitution.   You don’t have to be a legal scholar to understand this topic…and yes, I understand that not everyone enjoys learning about such things.   Still, with the Democrats now in power in Washington and in many state houses, there’s no better time than the present to educate yourself on this timely topic.   The only thing worse than not being able to defend your position on the Constitution is allowing someone else the opportunity to spread lies about it without their position being challenged.   Personally, after viewing this video, I no longer intend for that to continue happening.

    © 2007 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction Allowed Without Prior Permission.