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Remember Yakov Smirnov, the Russian actor/comedian who was relinquished to the United States as a result of de'tente, then numbed our minds by appearing in every other movie and on television ad nauseum?

And, how his meteoric rise to recognizability was eclipsed by an instantaneous drop into the abyss of what morning radio personalities refer to as the "Where Are They Now?" file?

A short net search resulted in several facts: Yakov became an American citizen in 1986; he co-starred with the late, great Don Knotts in a short-lived sitcom during the early 1990s; you can find him headlining at the "Yakov Smirnov Theatre" in (where else) Branson; the current theme of his show is a celebration of his 20th Anniversary as a U.S. citizen - a status of which Mr. Smirnov is extremely proud.

What was his catch phrase, anyway? Oh, come on, unless you lived in a cave or on the lonesome prairie, there's no way to forget:
"Is this a great country or what?"

I don't wish to diminish Yakov's enthusiasm for his adopted country. After all, coming from Soviet Russia to the U.S.A. of Jimmy Carter, or even Saint Ronnie Reagan, had to have been like walking through the Pearly Gates (at least in terms in human freedoms).

The query that comes to my mind is, does Yakov still use that same catch phrase?

Really, it surely isn't as applicable as it was 20 or 30 years ago.

Then, considering the typical make-up of the Branson vacationer, it may be exactly what the audience wants, and likes, to hear.

At the risk of appearing close-minded, but feeling no impetus to put Branson on a travel itinerary anytime in the foreseeable (or unforeseeable) future, the chances I'll find out for myself are nil.

Unfortunately, the prevailing 3rd Millennium, 21st Century response to Yakov's rhetorical question "Is this a great country or what?" has to be a resounding:


We are a Nation in serious trouble, from sea to shining sea. Virtually every entity that holds us together is at odds within itself, or straddling the knife-edge of collapse and ruination.

King George has families arguing among themselves over his asinine policies and harebrained, outlaw schemes; friends can't converse without politics or religion creating rifts, even altercations.

Civility and all reasonableness have gone AWOL during this Regime's power mad reign, just as a certain Air National Guard Flight Lieutenant was AWOL during the VietNam quagmire.

All Attorney General Alberto Gonzales can do is hide behind perverted interpretations of The Constitution, bastardizing the greatest document man has ever written every time he defends the illegal activities of George Walker Bush.

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JERRY TENUTO Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

An erstwhile Philosopher and sometime Educator, Jerry Tenuto is a veteran of seven years service in the U.S. Army. He holds a BS and MA in Broadcast Communications from Southern (more...)
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