Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Dirty Dozen

Due to the collapse of Russell the black-hearted last week, Galu was left without a leader. Without consulting the ladies of their tribe, the Galu men decided they wanted Shambo and her spectacular mullet as their new leader. Under Shambo’s leadership, Galu didn’t miss a beat, trouncing Foa Foa in both the Reward and the Immunity Challenges on tonight’s episode of Survivor Samoa.

Tonight’s elimination of Liz leaves Foa Foa with only four members to compete against the eight remaining for Galu.

With the odds heavily stacked against them, things don’t look very good for the scrappy Foa Foa crew. What does this do to the diabolical plans of Russell the evil sock burner? Jeff Probst had the quote of the evening when he closed Tribal Council by saying to Foa Foa, “You might not be very good at challenges, but you are getting real good at blindsiding.”

They have had enough practice, they better be good at it by now.

Fortunately for Foa Foa, it looks like that all might be changing next week. The coming attractions give all indications of, dare I say, a merge. Members from both tribes were shown eating together and celebrating while sporting brand new blue buffs.

The merge! Twelve remaining competitors. An even dozen. A dirty dozen.

This dirty dozen is made up of the following Survivor hopefuls:

1. Russell the evil sock burner and fiendish mastermind
2. Jaison, who doesn’t seem to want to play anymore
3. Mick, nicknamed “McDreamy”
4. Natalie, who I pray stays around as long as possible
5. Shambo, the dimwitted queen of all things mullet
6. Laura, the Harley riding, Starbuck drinking Christian lady
7. Monica, who makes me sick every time she opens her mouth
8. Kelly, who I haven’t seen open her mouth
9. Erik, the tree dweller who can’t believe how fortunate he is
10. John, who has thankfully quit wearing those bright blue Speedos
11. Brett, the pleasant T-shirt designer
12. David, the Mick Fleetwood wannabe

That’s whom we have left, the dirty dozen that will be competing for the $1,000,000 and title of “Sole Survivor”.

Here is a quick recap of those who have already left the game and don’t even get to be on the jury.

Episode 1 – Marisa, Foa Foa
Episode 2 – Mike, Foa Foa (medical) and Betsy, Foa Foa
Episode 3 – Ben, Foa Foa
Episode 4 – Yasmin, Galu
Episode 5 – Ashley, Foa Foa
Episode 6 – Russell the Black-hearted, Galu (medical)
Episode 7 - Liz, Foa Foa

That’s it for tonight, time for me to watch the World Series. However, before closing, I have to share with you this Russell the evil sock burner moment from tonight’s episode. Upon discovering that the visiting Laura studied theology, Russell broke into a villainous grin and told her, “I can spot a Christian a mile away.” Then he proceeded to lie to her about the Hidden Immunity Idol.

Do you think there might be a rotten egg or two in this dirty dozen? Until next time…from the booth.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Koos Damn It!

In my column, My First Labor Day, you were introduced to Koos Inc. Koos provided me with my first post high school job and I enjoyed it so much that I stayed there for nearly 17 years. I guess I am a glutton for punishment. Based on their requests for “more Koos”, evidently so are several readers of this blog. So, to keep with the season and at the same time honor these requests, this column is about a very scary moment at Koos.

In that first column I mentioned the infamous Jap Shack. This rundown building served two functions, those being an “employee lounge” and a storage shed. The contents of each section had little in common. In the storage portion there were rusty machine parts and piles of empty fertilizer packaging that had become obsolete. Housed in the “employee lounge” was a toilet complete with sink, a couple of beat-up lockers and two dilapidated picnic tables.

However, there was one obvious common denominator for the two areas. It was filth, and plenty of it! If it was humid, everything was covered with a slimy film of mud that made the simple act of walking adventurous. If there was no humidity, all you had to contend with was dust and lots of garbage.

Humidity or no humidity, there was always ample amounts of garbage spread throughout the Jap Shack. It was everywhere. The odiferous trash made the “employee lounge” a less than desirable place when lunchtime rolled around. Hell, it made using the toilet less than desirable.

Occasionally when the piles of garbage got too high and the conditions became intolerable, an employee was sent over to remove the crud and make it somewhat bearable. In 1975, on a warm, sultry summer afternoon, it was my turn to take on the squalor that inhabited the Jap Shack.

With a half hour left in the shift I was told that someone would be over with the front-end loader in 15 minutes, so I should get my fat ass over there. Mumbling under my breath, I grabbed a shovel and push broom and trudged down the flight of steps, making my way to the misery that awaited me.

I trust it didn’t get past you that a front-end loader was required to remove the mounds of debris that occupied the Jap Shack.

Here is what the job entailed. What you did was start in one corner with the broom and start shoving the garbage into piles. When the accumulation got too large, you shoveled it into the two garbage cans. When those were filled, you starting filling huge plastic bags with the foul-smelling mess.

Once all of the garbage was collected, you had to drag it over to a large door located in the storage section. That’s where the front-end loader comes into play. First you emptied the garbage cans into its’ bucket. You completed the job by tossing all of the bags on top so that the loose rubbish from the cans didn’t blow around as the driver hauled it away.

On that warm, sultry summer afternoon in 1975, I never completed the job of cleaning the Jap Shack. Let me explain.

Oh, I almost finished it, but not quite. I had swept it all into enormous piles. I had shoveled the garbage into the garbage cans. After filling the cans, I shoveled the rest into the huge plastic bags. I did all of that. I dragged the first garbage can over to the door.
All that was left was to get the other one and the bags so that they could be hauled away. Then the job would be done.

But it never happened. Here s what happened that prevented me from completing this miserable task.

The first garbage can that I dragged over was a large round barrel type made of rubber with a removable lid. The second one was metal with a domed top that featured a swinging door.

When I inserted my hand inside the damned swinging door. It happened! It had been hiding inside waiting to shock and send fear into my very soul. It was hideous and it was poised inside that can aching to terrorize me, its’ unknowing victim.

“It” was a large, ugly brown rat that jumped out of the garbage can, landed on my hand, proceeded to crawl up my arm all the way to my shoulder. At that point, the rabies-infested rodent stopped on my shoulder, barred its pointed yellow teeth and stared into my eyes. My thunderous scream must have startled this fur-covered 10” spawn of Satan, because it jumped off me as I ran to the door.


The driver of the front-end loader arrived shortly after, laughed and asked why I was so pale and where was the rest of the garbage. I then, not so politely, told him to do something to himself that isn’t physically possible. That’s why I never finished cleaning the Jap Shack.

Hopefully this will satisfy Judi and the others that were pining for “more Koos” stories. Personally, having to relive that moment, I am now going to lay on the floor of the shower in the fetal position as warm water sprays down on me. Until next time…from the booth.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

You Don’t Mess With The Mullet

Survivor Samoa continues to shine as one of the best in the nineteen-season history of the award-winning reality show. And tonight wasn’t any different. Episode 6 provided us with a unique challenge, more Survivor firsts and plenty of drama. It also presented us with an important life lesson.


The Reward Challenge tonight was unique because it incorporated a contraption from American Gladiators – the Atlasphere. Each tribe had one member inside what amounts to a giant hamster ball. Two blindfolded teammates then pushed the ball through a course to a giant maze where a ball had to be manipulated through it by the visionless members under the verbal direction of the person in the ball.

Emmy award winning Jeff Probst announced that the reward for finishing first was some piping hot pizza with the caveat that both teams would be going to Tribal Council, win or lose. As could be expected, this brought moaning and groaning from both the Galu and the Foa Foa tribes.

Probst quickly squelched the grumbling by explaining that although both tribes would be attending Tribal Council, only the losing tribe would be voting somebody off. The winners would be merely observing while enjoying their pizza dinner. This would surely make for interesting theater.

Well it almost happened. I say almost because the challenge was never completed because Russell the black-hearted leader of Galu collapsed in a heap on top of the giant maze. The challenge was halted and medics rushed to his aid.

After comprehensive medical treatment and a second collapse, Russell the black-hearted was deemed unfit to continue. He was put on a stretcher and whisked off for further medical attention.

The second collapse was as graphic as anything that I have ever witnessed on Survivor. Later at Tribal Council, Jeff Probst would describe it as the scariest moment he has ever experienced in his 19 seasons on the show.

As his pulse dropped to 60 and his eyes slowly rolled back into his head, I was honestly concerned for the well being of Russell the black-hearted. It was then that I was reminded of that important life lesson.


Russell the black-hearted after messing with Mullet

Do you remember what I wrote at the end of last Thursday’s Survivor blog? Let me refresh your memory - “What goes around comes around, I guess. Hopefully Russell the black-hearted will soon get his comeuppance.”

What he did to the Magnifecenttly-Mulleted Shambo last week was inexcusable. What was he thinking? Did he think his heinous actions would go unpunished? Justice was indeed swift. Paybacks are a…well you know. I do have to say this one more time.


Because of the unusual circumstances, no winner was declared and nobody partook of the pizza. Both tribes were instructed that they still had to appear at Tribal Council so that each could vote off one of its members.

The thirteen contestants at Tribal Council was the largest assembly ever in Survivor history. Unfortunately, after Probst did a nice job of building animosity between the two tribes, he basically said, “Wasted you. Nobody I going home from either tribe.” What a let down. Until next time, remember…YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE MULLET!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Who’s Fooling Who?

Something occurred recently that caused me to wake up this morning that made feel the need to write about it. The incident was that someone that I had trusted lied to me. It was nothing major, just something that bothered me when it happened. I know people have cause to lie to one another for various reasons. The reason this lie irritated me so much was the type of lie that it was. This variety of lie really bothers me.

Maybe I should explain a few different sorts of lies that exist in my world.

Located on the right-hand side of my blog, right below my blog list is a section labeled Favorite Lyrics. These are lyrics from various songs, which for various reasons, mean something to me. Below the picture of Bruce Springsteen are two lines from his song, The River:

Is a dream a lie if it don't come true

Or is it something worse?

This sort of lie is probably the most innocent and least harmful. Usually the only person affected by this is the person creating the fabrication. It is fairly commonplace for people to want something so bad that it almost seems real to them. If not taken any further it shouldn’t affect others.

However, if it is taken to the next level, it can become something worse. This is when a person’s lie becomes acceptable to them and in their own mind it is reality. This has the potential to become a real problem. Perhaps this t-shirt will help illustrate what I am trying to say.

This may appear to be only a witty line from a Seinfeld episode, but stop and think about it for a minute. Don’t we all have people in our lives that actually believe their own bullshit? I know I do, and they will remain nameless in this particular column. Like George Costanza said, “Jerry, just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it.”

As bothersome as this form of story telling can be, it’s not the one that resulted in me being agitated enough to write about it. The title of Judge Judy Sheindlin’s book best describes this style of deception.

“Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining” says it quite succinctly.

As far as I am concerned, you can be as dishonest as you feel you have to be, but please don’t think that I am so stupid that I won’t eventually figure out what’s going on. Unfortunately that is what happened to me and it hurt because it came from a person that I thought was a friend. Sorry, Emil and Milly Vagnoni didn’t raise any dummies.

To borrow a line from another song, “Que Sera Sera, whatever will be, will be." Until next time…from the booth.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An Evil Russell

Each Thursday, at some point, I think to myself, “I sure hope that tonight’s Survivor is a good episode.” To date, I can honestly say that Survivor Samoa has provided me with five hours of stellar reality television. Despite this being its nineteenth season, the Emmy award-winning program has not only started out strong, but is actually gaining momentum as it goes. A key contributor to this is the personalities of the competitors. And the first personality that comes to mind is Russell.

Before you start to think that I am writing another column detailing the diabolical antics of Russell Hantz the evil sock burner, I had better explain something. Things aren’t always as they appear, especially in the ever-changing world of Survivor. I do indeed despise Russell. He is rapidly becoming one of the most loathsome characters in recent memory.

But it’s not Foa Foa’s Russell Hantz.

It is Russell Swan the black-hearted leader of the Galu tribe. Remember I said that he “rapidly” becoming one of the most loathsome characters. Russell Hantz was, is and will always be a despicable bastard. That being said, Russell Swan is doing his best to catch his namesake from Foa Foa as expeditiously as possible. Tonight he took great strides in accomplishing this feat.

Although he is an attorney, I initially gave Russell Swan the benefit of the doubt. Even when chosen to lead the Galu tribe, he seemed to be pretty levelheaded. But then he made the bone-headed move of choosing comfort items over a tarp and other functional articles. His reasoning? He had to keep “his ladies” happy. That my friends, is nothing compared to the move he pulled tonight.

This evening, Russell the black-hearted, committed such a heinous act after the Reward Challenge, that I blurted out an expletive deleted. Yes it is true, I audibly referred to a Survivor contestant as part of the anatomy that both men and women possess, and it wasn’t nose. It is located much lower on the body.

What he did was, without question, one of the most evil and heartless acts ever displayed toward another human being, even on Survivor. Let me give you the reprehensible details.

The Reward Challenge was the infamous Food Challenge, a Survivor staple. The “foods” used all had a Samoan flavor to them (pun intended). The two competing contestants would spin a wheel to see what goodies would make up their concoction. Then the ingredients were placed in a blender by Jeff Probst and whisked into a Samoan Smoothie. All the contestants had to do was to drink it.

The Reward for winning this gastronomic challenge was a barbeque complete with big juicy steaks, what appeared to be bratwursts and all the fixings. Additionally, the winning team’s leader would have to send one of his fellow tribe mates over to the other tribe to gather “valuable” information. The obvious rub was that this person did not get to partake in the scrumptious feast.

Because Galu had three more members than Foa Foa, they sat out Kelly, Laura and John. It was tied at four when Ashley couldn’t keep her smoothie down and Galu was victorious yet again, the meaty meal was theirs to enjoy. The only thing remaining was for Russell Swan to elect someone to go over to Foa Foa on the spy expedition and miss out on the reward.

That is when he did it. That is when he became Russell the black-hearted.

He had the audacity to select Shambo along with her glorious mullet to go to Foa Foa and miss out on this much-needed protein packed treat. He did this despite the fact that she did her part by slugging down a grotesque Samoan Smoothie consisting of giant clam, fly-covered octopus, sea snail and noni juice.

What was he thinking?!? Wouldn’t common decency indicate that you send one of the three that had not participated in the challenge? But no, even as Shambo pleaded for him to “show her some love”, Russell the black-hearted sent her away with out any dinner.

With this one cowardly, lowdown, abominable act, Russell the black-hearted had entered into the rarified air formerly occupied solely by Russell Hantz the evil sock burner.

The show concluded with Tribal Council, where Team Foa Foa was forced to regurgitate the lovely Ashley for having done so earlier during the Reward Challenge. What goes around comes around, I guess. Hopefully Russell the black-hearted will soon get his comeuppance. Until next time…from the booth.

Monday, October 12, 2009

“One Of Them”…Sort Of

It happened just before 8:00 am this morning. I did it. I finally did it. I had become “one of them”. Perhaps it would help if I explained just what “one of them” is. In July I wrote a blog titled, Another Addiction. That column dealt with people’s fascination with facebook, particularly those obsessed with updating their status with the specific details of their lives. Prior to today, I never felt the compulsion to do so. Until this morning.

Yes indeed, today I had “become one of them”…sort of.

I say sort of because I chose not to bore all those on facebook with the exact type of status update that annoys me the most, the “I am going to workout” status update.

A few examples to illustrate this variety:

• Lenny is up and going to the gym and hit the weights.

• Mike was on the elliptical at Cardinal Fitness this morning,

• Ralph is up and at the gym getting in a much-needed workout!

I can understand updating your facebook status to let others know that you are going to be out of town or that little Johnny or Mary won their game. That’s fine, I understand that. Those make sense. You are letting others know something that might actually matter to them.

Telling facebook nation that you are going to the gym serves one purpose and one purpose only. It strokes your ego. At best, it’s a self-affirmation. But most likely, you are just letting everyone know that you are doing something good for yourself.

So this morning, after I did something good for myself, I decided that I would do it. I would become “one of them” and write a facebook status update to let everyone know that I had done something beneficial for myself. I fired up the MacBook, went to facebook and entered the following status update:

Paul Vagnoni prayed and said the Rosary with dad this morning. Great way to start the day.

After you finish rolling your eyes, please let me explain. Like I said earlier, I had now become “one of them”…sort of. People have no problem blowing their own horn about doing something to improve their physical well-being. But let them even mention something about praying or spirituality and they are a zealot or a bible thumper.

I am afraid that I will never fall into the category of those going to work out. And in a way that is unfortunate, because God only knows I wish that I had the basis to make such a boast. Not that I would, but I don’t.

With that in mind, I do have the ability to do something that is rewarding for another part of my being. That is to pray, care about others and make God a part of my life.

I don’t mean to preach, because I am sure that it turns you off as much as it does me. But for heaven’s sake (pun intended), I pray that all of you have some sort of spirituality in your lives. It doesn’t matter whether you are Catholic, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Muslim or non-denominational, it’s vital to have God in in some shape or form in your life. Personally, I can’t go to sleep at night wondering “what if?”.

Okay, I will now step down from my makeshift pulpit. Without a doubt, Survivor Samoa will be the topic for my next column. However, I had to get this off my considerable chest. After all, this morning I became “one of them”. Until next time…from the booth.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Night Of Firsts

Tonight’s Survivor Samoa contained several “firsts”. This was a good thing; otherwise tonight would have been mediocre at best. Another element present this evening that will keep this season’s episodes from ever being run-of-the-mill was the splendor of Shambo’s mullet. This ex-marine possesses the most spectacular coif ever witnessed on Survivor and it grows in magnitude each week. It is truly a sight to behold.

Shambo and Her Magnificent Mullet

Now about those Survivor “firsts” that took place on tonight’s program. There were three that jumped out at me. The first occurred at the Reward Challenge.

Following the instructions laid out in their tree mail, Galu and Foa Foa both sent a trio of tribe mates to the beach for the challenge. When the arrived they found a wooden crate, a cage full of live chickens and a large circle marked in the sand.

What they didn’t find was Jeff Probst!

This was definitely a Survivor “first”. Over the nineteen seasons I have witnessed every challenge, whether it was for Reward, for Immunity or a combination of the two. And each and every one of them featured the Emmy award winning Probst supervising the activities. But not tonight.

Despite Mr. Probst’s absence, the tribes figured out the challenge and true to form, Galu won again. It was the heroic efforts of Dave the fitness trainer that sealed the victory and gave his tribe the privilege of taking the chickens back to their camp.

The next “first” was probably the most unlikely. Team Galu lost the Immunity Challenge! They were victorious in their first three attempts, so this was totally unexpected. Initially I was worried that the Galu loss would make for a ho-hum episode. There would be no focus on the freaks from Foa Foa and I needed my weekly fix of Hantz the sock burner!

Fortunately the gang from Galu possesses an ample share of people that don’t know how to play nicely with others. It’s funny how losing for the first time can make the most congenial group start to bicker and backstab.

Let the games begin. Topics of discussion were Monica sucking during the challenge, Yasmin’s general laziness around camp and Mullet Master Shambo letting a chicken escape. It was wonderful.

The only question was which one was going to be voted off at Tribal Council, which is where the final “first” took place.

It was business as usual at first. Thanks to Probst’s instigating, It had the usual amount of petty arguments and finger pointing, nothing that Fellow Survivor Geeks hadn’t seen before.

Then it happened.

While being called to task by several of her tribe mates, the demure Yasmin announced that she didn’t really care what the others thought about her. Then she went so far as to say that if she got voted off, so be it, that’s why she wore her heels! That’s right she was sporting a pair of high heels that would have made Heidi Klum proud. Another Survivor “first” had transpired.

Unfortunately for Yasmin the heels made her walk down the stairs difficult as Probst announced that she had to leave because the tribe had spoken. That brought this night of "firsts" to a close. Galu still holds a nine to six manpower advantage over Foa Foa, not to mention Shambo’s glorious mullet for inspiration. Until next time…from the booth.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Times They Are A-Changin’

It should be fairly obvious that I am a compulsive sports zealot. I’ve had this affliction since 1962. As the years have passed my passion for anything sports related has grown in magnitude. To be sure there have been peaks and valleys, but there has always been a steady increase in my obsession. The main sports that I have fixated on are football, baseball, hockey and basketball. My infatuation for these four sports has been a huge part of my life. But, as Bob Dylan once sang, the times they are a-changin’.

I have always had an abnormal interest in hockey. This is evidenced by the hundreds and hundreds of hockey cards stored in boxes in my closet…and the thousands and thousands on the shelves in the basement. My collection of 500 Jaromir Jagr alone stands at over five hundred. But alas, my enthusiasm for hockey has inexplicably waned considerably over the past few years.

My interest in basketball has diminished on a larger scale. Although I have never purchased a basketball card, I once was a big fan of the NBA and the Milwaukee Bucks. Today. I couldn’t care less about either. I still enjoy college hoops, but the NBA is irrelevant to me.

That leaves my two favorites, football and baseball. Being a man of size, I have always been partial to football, with baseball a close second. The first sport cards I bought were football. It was much later before I became a baseball card fanatic. Now I collect neither and baseball has passed football as my sport of choice.

Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s that I perceive that the NFL has changed, but I now prefer the game played with the ball made of horsehide over the one played with the ball made of the skin of the pig.

This became blatantly obvious to me on Sunday when the 2009 Major League Baseball regular season came to an end. No more Brewers, no more fantasy baseball lineups to ponder over. Normally I would be fired up for the Pack and NFL, but that wasn’t the case.

I know, I know, you are thinking that the reason I don’t enjoy football as much anymore is because of the Packers recent struggles. That’s not why. Last night I watched the game, cheering for the Green and Gold to triumph over #4 and his Viking cohorts. But when they lost, it didn’t bother me nearly as much as it would of in the past. It honestly upsets me more when the Brewers lose to the Cubs or the Cardinals.

The last piece of evidence illustrating how my passion for sports has changed is what I still collect. As I stated previously, I no longer collect sports cards. In fact, last month I sold the two #4 Rookie Cards that I owned. I would love to get rid most of the rest that I have accumulated over the decades. The only ones I intend on hanging on to are a handful of Prince Fielder cards and my Packer Rookie Cards from the Lombardi era.

Speaking of the Lombardi era Packers, they are the focal point of what sports memorabilia I do continue to collect. The crown jewel is my collection of 22 autographed Green Bay Packer mini helmets.

Players included in the collection are the following: Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Don Chandler, Zeke Bratkowski, Jerry Kramer, Forrest Gregg, Fuzzy Thurston, Bob Skoronski, Ken Bowman, Gale Gillingham, Boyd Dowler, Ron Kramer, Carroll Dale, Marv Fleming, Willie Davis, Dave Robinson, Willie Wood, Herb Adderley, Bob Jeter, Doug Hart, Tom Moore and my pride and joy, Paul Horning and the late Max McGee on the same helmet.

Packer Mini Helmets and Brewer Baseballs

A baseball autographed by James “Tony Soprano” Gandolfini and a Pittsburgh Steeler mini helmet autographed by the “Mean” Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Dwight White and Ernie Holmes of the famed Steel Curtain are other notables that I have displayed in my bedroom that doubles as a museum.

Another highlight are the five Brewer mini-batting helmets autographed by Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Jim Gantner, Cecil Cooper and Ted Simmons. I plan on adding more players from the ’82 World Series team.

The only pieces that I treasure from athletes that are still active are three baseballs that are autographed by Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Yovani Gallardo. This collection also has the potential to expand. I guess that alone is indication enough, that indeed, the times they are a-changin’. Until next time…from the booth.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Good One Kiddo

Being a creature of habit, I love routines. Doing specific things at specific times make me happy. That’s just the way I am. For me, Thursday is Survivor. Each Thursday, the first time I go on facebook, I change my profile picture to the adorable one you see at the left, then in Pogo I change my mini to the “Survivor Mode” avatar. Dinner must be done by 6:30 pm so that I have plenty of time to get my notepads and pencils ready. At 7:00 pm it’s time to watch the show and take copious notes. Once the final credits have rolled, it’s time to start writing. But not before one crucial thing has taken place.

The phone call to Fellow Survivor Geek Auntie Janet.

It is a must! It’s been a part of my Survivor routine for the last three seasons. As soon as Jeff Probst has finished tallying the votes, announced who has been ousted and dismisses the losing tribe back to their camp, I call FSG Auntie Janet. I have to.

The call is usually a short one and is finished before the next week’s coming attractions are shown. But it is a vital part of my Survivor routine. Not only is her opinion valued, but also many times the conversation gives me the theme for my column. Tonight was one of those times.

When I made the ubiquitous phone call and asked what she thought of the episode, her response said it all very succinctly.

“Good One Kiddo.”

And you know what? She was right. It may not have been the flashiest or most exciting Survivor that I have ever seen, but it was a good one. Good enough to make me roar, “All right!” when Probst told the repugnant Ben that the tribe had spoken and he should hit the bricks. Usually such exuberance is saved for Prince Fielder home runs.

What made tonight’s program first-rate was that it featured the classic good vs. evil paradigm, with evil being sent home. It was good to see Jaison stand up for what was right and convince the rest of the Fao Fao bunch to get rid of that vile redneck Ben. Heck, Jaison even persuaded Hantz the sock burner to see things his way.

The confrontation between Ben and Jaison at Tribal council was as contentious as any in recent memory. Poor Natalie had genuine terror in her eyes as she squirmed, wedged in between the two combatants as they angrily spouted their opinions. Survivor veteran Susan Hawk would have been proud.

Jaison, easily the more eloquent of the two, made Ben look foolish. And if possible, Ben was more loathsome with each sentence he attempted to put together. It was most encouraging to see that the vote was unanimous. Jaison did good.

That being said, if next week’s coming attractions are any indication, Jaison’s days in the limelight are probably numbered. What can I say, it’s Survivor.

Random Observations: Dr. Mick and Jaison are both two feet taller than Hantz the sock burner… Each episode Shambo’s mullet grows in magnificence…The Galu tribe, although undefeated in challenges, are a bunch of idiots…Despite being issued more “conservative” swimwear for the challenge, Natalie still had to be gelled…Shambo provided the quote of the evening when she exclaimed, “I’m not in the 90210 clique!”

Next week should be interesting. Hopefully Fao Fao can win the Immunity Challenge and send Galu to Tribal Council. Perhaps a little adversity for Galu would make FSG Auntie Janet say, “Good one kiddo” again. Until next time…from the booth.