Even in dire economic and political times, Americans have an enormous amount to be thankful for. But as South Floridians think over all that is good and hopeful this week, there probably won't be nearly enough gratitude for Rob Van Winkle -- the man you know as Vanilla Ice.
It used to be cool to rip on him, but how easy is that? Oh yes, there have been many ups and downs in the 20 years he's been lodged in America's consciousness -- far too many to list in detail here: the silly utterances, psycho rampages, reality shows, and, of course, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II.
In a cover story from a year ago, we chronicle his meteoric rise and catastrophic fall and the understandable psychological damage that ensued. So, as he prepares for his annual Vanilla Ice Block Party -- which benefits Toys for Tots -- we put together a quick list of reasons why everyone should give thanks for the Ice Man.
1) "Ice Ice Baby"
Yep, the song samples Queen and David Bowie without permission. And that's why Rob paid them $4 million. And you can try denying the catchiness or popularity of this song, but it's still the highest-selling rap record of all time, and if it comes on in a club, you will still see a lot of adult asses shaking to the beat.
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2) He really knows real estate
If you haven't seen his new reality show, about flipping a mansion in Wellington, you'll be surprised to learn just how knowledgeable he is when it comes to home renovation, landscaping, and all things real estate. Seriously, he can list 20 kinds of palm tree before you can say, "Flow like a harpoon."
3) Bucky the Wallaroo
Yes, Vanilla Ice owns a wallaroo -- a cross between a wallaby and a kangaroo. Full name: Bucky Buckaroo Van Winkle. Bucky is prone to violence and made headlines a few years ago when he escaped and hopped through the neighborhood for a few days, but if not for Vanilla Ice, most people would never know wallaroos even exist.
4) He's a pretty regular guy, all things considered
Aside from owning a wallaroo and some mansions and at one point being one of the most famous people in the world, Vanilla Ice is a pretty regular dude. He's a devoted husband and father, and he's fiercely loyal to his close circle of friends. On his show, he'll get his hands dirty fixing a pipe or cleaning a pool just to save a few hundred bucks.
5) The Vanilla Ice Block Party
Every year, Ice gets together with his friends at Rocco's Tacos and Feelgoods in downtown West Palm Beach and throws a giant bash. Mix in some random celebrities, a few hours of music, some Marines and bikers, and lots of toys and it's definitely one of the biggest events of the year. The entire thing is done to raise funds and collect toys for unfortunate children before Christmas.