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While Volkswagen cars have always sold in large numbers throughout America, it’s a surprising fact that Europe’s largest car manufacturer hasn’t actually had a manufacturing presence in the country since the first Back to the Future movie was in cinemas. However, it seems that all that is in the past now; because Volkswagen have recently opened up a brand-new state of the art production plant in Tennessee.

Although it’s just newly built, this plant is already churning out thousands of their new Passat and Jetta ranges. And whats more, it’s all part of a master plan for the German auto-makers to oust Toyota and GM as the largest car makers the world.

Back in the 70s, with the Middle East Oil Crisis in full swing, VW was the go-to brand for people looking for fuel-efficiency and reliability in their cars. After all, who didn’t want to save money on their gas bills? At the same time, their profile was raised by a certain Love Bug called Herbie – star of a series of Disney movies that really helped to reinforce the VW brand in America. So, just what went wrong that caused Herbie to lose out and become a minor player in the car market of the frugal American? Well, the answer is simple; Japan is what happened.

Before VW could even cash in on its reputation as the go to car for fuel impoverished American drivers, Toyota appeared with its cheap, gas-sipping imports. Since Toyota’s cars were a lot cheaper than VW (in build as well as in price it has to be said), they were also more frugal so, naturally people switched to the Japanese imports and left VW high and dry. Now, Volkswagen wasn’t known for its attention to quality at the time either so, as soon as the oil crisis receded at the end of the 70s, Toyota swiftly moved its focus to adding high-quality build specs to the mix. VW had nothing left to answer back with and to make things worse, they had trouble with labor relations and the American factory workers unions. It wasn’t long before they shut down their plants altogether in America.Ever since the 80s, any VW sold in America has either had to be imported from Germany or from Mexico. You can’t really blame American drivers for not choosing VW cars since the 80’s because the cars that VW tried to sell in America were basically the same ones that were designed for Europe.

However, all that has changed now for, with its new US factories, VW is finally beginning to push out versions of its famous Passat and Jetta models that are specifically designed for America. The Jetta, which is already in dealerships, has actually shown good sales but it isn’t time yet for buyers to rejoice. You see, the reason that demand is so strong is that they’ve been forced to price the car several thousand dollars lower than what last year’s imported Jetta used to sell for. It might take buyers a while to realize that this isn’t the Jetta of last year. VW didn’t just take thousands of dollars off the price of the model; they took away lots of important value-adding stuff from the car as well.

Cost cutting has also found its way into the now-legendary VW build quality. For example, the rear brakes are now cheap drum brakes and not discs. Looking all around, it’s very clear that they’ve cut just about everything from the car. The interior is a sea of bland plastic; the in-car information display is visibly inferior to anything you’ve seen on competing models from Chevrolet, Ford or Toyota. And the moment you see the trunk hinges that are likely to crush your luggage, you’ll weep.

The last decade has been witness to a comedy revival of sorts in Hollywood. A new batch of comedic superstars has hit the scene. Instead of simply being actors who say funny lines, this talented group is heavily involved in the writing and production stages of their movies and television shows.

One of the mainstay comedic actors working today is Will Ferrell. He started his career on “Saturday Night Live” in the 1990s and is well known for his portrayals of George W. Bush, Harry Caray, and James Lipton. During his enormously popular seven-year career at “SNL,” he had roles in the “Austin Powers” movies and played fashion designer Mugatu in “Zoolander.” He landed his first starring role in “Old School,” and his movie career and popularity skyrocketed. He has starred in such films as “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” and “Step Brothers.” In 2007, Ferrell launched the “Funny or Die” website, which is a streaming video site dedicated to comedic short films. Ferrell also produces the HBO comedy “Eastbound and Down.” Although Ferrell has been relatively quiet on the recent movie scene, 2013’s “Anchorman: The Legend Continues” should see him return to the top of the box-office charts.

Another very funny actor who has been around for a number of years is Zach Galifianakis. Active in standup comedy for years, his first acting role was as a recurring character on NBC’s “Boston Commons” in 1996. Over the next few years, he had parts in the movies “Out Cold” and “Corky Romano,” and he had a Comedy Central special that started with a comedy routine and finished with his playing piano. In 2002, Galifianakis had a talk show on VH1 titled “Late World with Zach.” He was able to bring in many of his friends from the Los Angeles comedy and music scenes, and this helped build his credibility in Hollywood. He then stayed busy with various acting jobs on “The Sarah Silverman Program” and “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job.” In 2009, Galifianakis had his breakout role as Alan Garner in “The Hangover.” His hilarious portrayal of mentally unstable Alan led to his being cast in such movies as “Dinner for Schmucks,” “Due Date” with Robert Downey, Jr., and “The Campaign” with Will Ferrell. He reprised his role as awkward Alan in the second and third “Hangover” movies, is a recurring contributor to “Funny or Die,” and continues to do standup across the country.

Steve Carell makes audiences laugh across almost every platform imaginable. He got his start on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” where he spent five years as a correspondent. He found great popularity playing aloof boss Michael Scott on “The Office” in the late 2000s. After the release of 2005’s “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” which Carell cowrote, he appeared in “Anchorman” and had starring roles in “Evan Almighty” and the movie remake of “Get Smart.” Carell is also a fantastic voice actor and has been featured in “Over the Hedge,” “Horton Hears a Who,” and “Despicable Me.” With his upcoming roles in “Anchorman 2” and “The Way, Way Back,” Carell will continue to be considered one of the funniest actors working today.

The always outrageous Kenny Powers is played to perfection by Danny McBride on HBO’s “Eastbound and Down.” McBride writes, produces, and acts in this comedy about a down-on-his-luck baseball pitcher whose crude behavior makes him somehow loveable. McBride’s trademark mullet and rapid-fire delivery have landed him some unforgettable roles in “Tropic Thunder,” “Pineapple Express,” and “This Is the End,” in which he plays an exaggerated version of himself. McBride’s distinctive southern accent made him ideal to do voice work in the animated hits “Despicable Me” and “Kung Fu Panda 2.” McBride’s popularity makes him a frequent guest of the late-night television circuit, and he appears in cameos too numerous to count.

A practicing physician in California, Ken Jeong was a regular performer at The Improv and Laugh Factory in Los Angeles when he played the role of Dr. Juni in “Knocked Up.” This role allowed him to quit medicine and devote all of his time to comedy. He quickly received roles in “Pineapple Express” and “Role Models,” and then he pulled off his biggest role as Mr. Chow in “The Hangover” and its sequels. During this time, Jeong also played the role of Ben Chang on NBCs “Community.” Jeong is busy with voice work as well and can be heard in the upcoming “Despicable Me 2” and “Turbo.” Jeong has several writing and producing projects in various stages of development.

Gone are the days when a handsome actor simply recited lines and was considered a comedic success. The current top-tier comedic actors prefer to be involved in all phases of their projects. They also have no problem switching mediums, as most of them are involved in television, movies, and the Internet. With their years of experience and seemingly endless talents, you can expect these actors to keep you laughing for years to come.

If you go with what most people are saying about the NIV Life Application Study Bible you can’t really go wrong if you ever decide buying it. It’s without a doubt the most popular study Bible you can find on the market today. But one good translation you might consider that is also popular is the NLT (the New Living Translation). Those who have it, really love it. And it is not coming too far behind the NIV. You have also the KJ, the NKJ and the NASB. But the NIV and the NLT remain the most popular versions.

You can have the NIV Life Application Study Bible in different formats like hard copy and leather-bound, as well as in normal or larger print. The hard copy is published by Tyndale and the leather-bound mostly by Zondervan.

As for why this type of Bible is so popular I think that by taking a peek inside it is pretty obvious.

If you open the book on the Old Testament you will find – if you are familiar with the Bible – the first book called Genesis along with statistics about who wrote it, to whom it is addressed essentially, as well as where and in what time it was written. And you are also introduced to whom are the most important characters in that particular book and in what period of times they lived.

Introductions to each book is common to almost all study Bible. But what is unique to that Bible is the personality profiles it has on the major characters you will find with their strengths and their weaknesses. You have also a blueprint of the different stories with references to what chapters and verses you can find them in the book in question to make your research easier.

You have a map of the regions to where those events took place as well as notes along with it. Then you have the usual Bible text with cross references on the right margin and notes underneath.

That’s only an example of what you can find in this particular study Bible.

If you go almost to the back-end of it you will find the index to the notes in alphabetic order, as well as maps and charts.

One thing that I like is the harmony of the Gospels incorporated in this Bible. It really puts the life and story of the main and most important personality of the Bible – Jesus Christ – into better perspective.

So there you have it. Of course this is only a pale view of what you can find inside, but you have a small idea. The NIV Life Application Study Bible is found either in local Christian bookstores or with well-known online retailers like at a fair price.

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