Monday, November 30, 2009

Two Thanksgiving Treats

Last Thursday I was treated to a delicious Thanksgiving meal courteous of my mother slaving over a hot stove. The traditional feast was all there, the turkey, mom’s secret recipe stuffing, various veggies and a wonderful lemon meringue pie. It was quite a treat. Later that evening, before turning in, I decided to tune into Conan O’Brien and see who his guests were going to be. That is when I received my second Thanksgiving Day treat.

Pee-wee Herman.

Yes, that’s right, Pee-wee Herman, star of television, theatre and the silver screen, was going to make an appearance on The Tonight Show. I was overcome with joy, ecstatic that I had happened to check Conan O’Brien out and was rewarded with Pee-wee Herman. How lucky was that?

If you haven’t already figured it out, I am a big fan of the P-man. I have been ever since my good friend Leon Rosko loaned me his tape of the Pee-wee Herman Show at The Roxy Theatre in L.A., where HBO filmed and aired it as a special on September 11, 1981.

The show featured the writing and acting of Groundlings alumni Phil Hartman and John Paragon, who would both reprise their characters on Pee-wee's Playhouse. The Pee-wee Herman Show played for five sellout months at The Roxy. Here is the cast:

• Pee-wee Herman - Paul Reubens
• Mailman Mike - John Moody
• Jambi - John Paragon
• Hammy - Tito Larriva
• Mr. & Mrs. Jelly Donut - Brian Seff, Monica Ganas
• Captain Carl - Phil Hartman
• Miss Yvonne - Lynne Marie Stewart
• Joan - Joan Leizman
• Hermit Hattie - Edie McClurg

There are many memorable moments, such as Pee-wee hypnotizing Joan and making her take her dress off. Or when he performs a musical tribute to Sly Stone with his neighbors, the Jelly Donuts. Of course any of Pee-wee’s scenes with the late, great Phil Hartman were outstanding, with Hartman portraying the lovesick Captain Carl.

Today I own a much-treasured copy of this performance on DVD.

As the stage performance gained further popularity, Pee-wee took to the big screen with Pee-wee's Big Adventure in 1985, toning down the adult innuendo for the appeal of children. This paved the way for Pee-wee's Playhouse, an Emmy Award winning children's series that ran on CBS from 1986-1991. Another film, Big Top Pee-wee, was also released in 1988.

Pee-wee's Playhouse was a children's television program starring the child-like Pee-wee Herman. The show, developed from the popular stage show and HBO special, was similar in style but featured less "adult" humor. The 5 seasons ran from September 13, 1986 – November 10. 1990.

Jambi, Captain Carl, Miss Yvonne joined Pee-wee in his television “Playhouse”. A young Laurence Fishbourne added to the madness as the jheri-curlrd Cowboy Curtis. Jimmy Smits and Sandra Bernhard both made cameo appearance during the show’s run.

I have the first two seasons of Pee-wee’s Playhouse on DVD.

It was announced October 6th that “The Pee-wee Herman Show” will begin a limited engagement starting January 12, 2010, at a new venue— Club Nokia @ LA Live. This theatrical production is for grown-ups and is appropriate for ages 16 to 106.

Pee-Wee is back!

Please do yourself a favor and check out these YouTube links to Pee-wee. The one from The Tonight Show is 10 minutes long and stops and starts a bit at the beginning, but is well worth the early distraction. Especially when Pee-wee and Conan enact the very first Thanksgiving dinner.

Pee-Wee and Captain Carl

Pee-Wee and the Jelly Donuts

Pee-wee on The Tonight Show

If you do get a chance to check these out, please leave a comment and let me know what you think. Okay, I have to get this posted so I can get downstairs and see if I can find my Pee-wee Herman doll. I am serious. Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Koos Thanksgiving Tradition

It was typically cold late November afternoon at Koos Inc. All four of the production lines were humming, spitting out Safe Step Ice Melter in packages ranging in size from 10-pound bags to 100-pound drums. All three of the forklift operators were flying around the plant, doing their collective best to keep up. They knew if they if they didn’t, a line would stop and they would hear it from the Production Supervisor, namely yours truly.

Okay, not all of the forklift operators were doing their best to keep up.

As I stood chatting with Will Meurer from the Manufacturing Department, veteran “forklifter” Butch Krienke screeched to a halt inches way from the two of us. Doing my best Arno Schubert impersonation, I bellowed, “What the f#@k is wrong with you Butch?”

Most of the work force paused momentarily to see what had caused my reaction.

Krienke, without batting an eye, yelled back,”Excuse me! I was just wondering if Danielson is picking up the stuff for Thanksgiving. You know it’s Monday already!”

This resulted in all of the crew in the immediate vicinity to cock an eye and wonder what was going to happen next.

Shooting a quick glance at Meurer, I replied in a firm, no-nonsense tone, telling Krienke that Danielson would be picking everything up Wednesday afternoon so he can hand it out between shifts. “Danielson” was Arnie Danielson, the Plant Manager.

Noticing that I now had everyone’s attention, my voice increased in volume when I asked Krienke if he had let the office know whether he wanted a turkey or a ham this year. He replied, “Hell ya, I told them I want the ham. They can keep those turkeys.”

Meurer then told Krienke, “You’re nuts, give me the bird any day.”

As Krienke laughed and sped off on his forklift, I noticed that the rest of the workers had stopped staring and were now having “small group discussions”. I left them go for a bit before finally asking them why nobody was working.

After a short pause, a bagger whose nickname was Bonehead stepped forward saying, “Paul, most of us just started working here and we didn’t know nothing about the turkey or ham thing. Hell, we didn’t even know we was getting anything for Thanksgiving!”

Remembering that the production at Koos was very seasonal and over 50% of the laborers were indeed brand new, I ordered the lines to shut down and had an impromptu plant meeting.

When machines had quieted and everyone had gathered, I asked the man they called Bull Dog to step forward. As he did, I asked him, “Dog, you’re a Union Steward, didn’t you tell the guys they had to make a choice between a turkey or a ham?”

Bull Dog looked bewildered for a moment, then grinning slightly, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Oops, my bad. Sorry Paul.” I told him not to worry, there was still time.

Catching the gaze of Krienke, Meurer, Bull Dog and several other Koos old-timers, I then looked at my watch before addressing the crew with my solution for this problem.

“Here’s what we are going to do”, I announced. “Since it is almost 2:00 o’clock and break time, any of you who haven’t already made your choice, get over to the office and let Millie or Louise know what you want, a turkey or a ham.”

The word ham hadn’t left my lips when 15 or 20 dirty, dusty, hardhat wearing workers darted for the ramp, making a beeline out of the plant, across the parking lot and into the office to let the unknowing ladies know whether they wanted a turkey or a ham for Thanksgiving.

With all the novices over at the office placing their orders, Tyrone Walker, a Koos employee of several seasons, walked past me and the other remaining veterans, shook his head and muttered, “You guys just ain’t right.”

As we burst into laughter, the phone in my office rang. Composing myself, I answered it. It was Millie, one of the secretaries from the office. Now Millie had a bit of a southern accent, so sometimes some of her words were hard to understand.

Not this time.

“You assholes did it again! A turkey or a ham! Happy Thanksgiving!” With that she hung up the phone rather firmly and I smiled to myself. The Koos Thanksgiving tradition had lived on.

Until next time…from the booth.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Battle Of The Runner-Ups

It seems that I missed quite a bit last night when I chose to watch the Eagles/Bears game rather than the American Music Awards. Evidently, last season’s American Idol silver medalist caused quite a stir on the award show by simulating a sex act and fervently kissing his male keyboardist. The night before, Susan Boyle, the second-place finisher from Britain’s Got Talent, performed a cover of the Rolling Stones' hit "Wild Horses" on British TV show X-Factor.

Subsequently, it comes as no great surprise that both performers have albums that debut this week.

British reality TV singing sensation Boyle's debut album went on sale Monday, having already become the most pre-ordered CD in the history of online retailer Amazon. Following her appearance on X-Factor, she then flew to New York where she performed at the city's Rockefeller Plaza and made media appearances.

Lambert's performance, two days before his debut album "For Your Entertainment" was released, has the Internet world buzzing.’s veteran American Idol reporter, Michael Slezak, had the following to say about Lambert:

“Talk about “No Boundaries”: Adam Lambert made his first big post-Idol splash tonight, closing the American Music Awards with a performance of his debut single “For Your Entertainment” that - to my surprise and disappointment - emphasized shock-and-awe imagery over his standard-operating vocal excellence.”

Honestly, I don’t plan on buying the 48-year-old Boyle’s "I Dreamed a Dream" CD or the 27-year-old Lambert’s "For Your Entertainment" CD. However, I will probably purchase a couple of Boyle’s songs, when they are available on iTunes.

That will not be the case with her American counterpart. Nothing about Lambert appeals to me.

I have seen both of the artists sing during on their respective reality shows. Boyle’s audition is now a legend on YouTube. The first time I saw it, I teared up. What can I say? I cry each time I watch the movie “Bang The Drum Slowly”.

Mr. Lambert’s music does not have the same effect on me. I went to YouTube to see why his AMA production was causing such a buzz. I will let you be the judge. It just conjured up past memories of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, causing me to vomit a little in my mouth.

Granted, I don’t, as a rule, watch American Idol. The last time I watched with any regularity, some girl by the name of Carrie Underwood was declared the winner. I guess I got out while the winners still amounted to something.

Now, because of my lovely friends “across the pond”, I see more clips of the aforementioned X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent than I watch American Idol. And for this, I would like to thank Bev, Debbie, Sue, Margaret, Christine and Mandy. Thank you!

Therefore, in my very unofficial “Battle Of The Reality Runner-Ups”, I must admit that I have a considerable British bias. Sorry, but I have to be honest. So, without further adieu, the winner is:

Apparently, because I prefer a dowdy Brit with a lovely voice to an edgy, androgynous glam-rocker, I have now officially become a curmudgeon. But you know what? I am okay with that.

Because Survivor Samoa is a “recap” episode this week, I will be treating all of my Koos fans (you know who you are) to a very special Thanksgiving installment. Until then…from the booth.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Hits Keep Coming

Oops he did it again! He couldn’t, could he? No…could he? Oh yes he did! Russell “Hall Of Famer” Hantz did indeed do it again. I don’t know who was the most exuberant at the conclusion of tonight’s episode of Survivor Samoa. The obvious choice would be the mullet-licious Shambo, although the Hall of Famer looked fairly pleased. And don’t overlook jury member Erik who could hardly contain his joy when Jeff Probst announced who the eleventh person to leave Samoa was. There were quite a few giddy people after the tribe had spoken tonight.

And I was one of them.

What a night! It started out predictably with Laura whining, bitching and moaning and Shambo acting like, well, you know…she was acting like Shambo does. Same old, same old. The action did pick up at the Reward Challenge.

Aiga was broken into two teams of five each. The team of Laura the whiner, Natalie the scrumptious, Brett the nondescript, Dave the gaunt and of course, the Hall Of Famer, beat out John the rocket scientist (honest, he is), Shambo the mullet queen, Monica the Laura-wannabe and the two guys who never win anything, McDreamy and Jaison.

The reward for their victory was a plane ride to a lovely little island, a Sprint camera for taking pictures and a lunch consisting of hot dogs, mac ‘n’ cheese, succulent fruit and several delicious pies.

Oh ya, and a clue to the new Hidden Immunity Idol back at camp.

Once the winners returned to camp Aiga, the race was on to find the Idol. For once the members of the old Galu tribe knew exactly what to do, follow the Hall Of Famer. Hell, he found the first two without the aid of a clue and this time he had a clue. All they had to do was let him lead them to the Idol.

They sent mean and vindictive Laura along with Dave, who is a fitness instructor to trail the Hall Of Famer. Well, I hope none of Dave’s clients watched tonight, because he couldn’t keep up with him. The Hall Of Famer left them both in his dust.

And, yes he did it again! Do you see why I called him an instant classic last week? He is, without question, the Survivor Hall Of Famer.

Next up was the Immunity Challenge. It was paramount for the old Foa Foa members that Shambo’s nemesis, Laura not be victorious in the challenge. Laura not having immunity would all but guarantee her elimination.

She did not win Immunity when the unthinkable happened and McDreamy finally won a challenge. It now looked like her fate was sealed and she would be excused from further competition.

Not so quick! In another unprecedented Survivor season 19 moment, the former Galu tribe decided to develop a strategy. Their well thought-out plot appeared to have worked when the vote at Tribal Council ended in a tie; with Laura and Natalie each receiving five votes each.

The next step was a second vote with Laura and Natalie not participating. If this vote ended in another tie, the eight people that voted would draw stones with one person drawing the “bad stone” and be sent home.

Okay, I said it was a well thought-out plot, I didn’t say it was very clever.

Unfortunately for Laura, John the rocket scientist flip-flopped on her in the second vote and she was sent packing. I guess she wasn’t around when John said, “It’s becoming impressive and bordering on annoying, how pathetic the analytical skills of the Galu tribe are.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself John, but then again, I’m not a rocket scientist.

Laura the Disgruntled

That being said, let’s sum up the result of Laura being voted off. Natalie is happy. Jaison is happy. McDreamy is happy. The Hall Of Famer is very happy. Shambo is extremely happy. I’m not too sure about John, but I am pretty sure that Dave, Monica and Brett are less than thrilled. I am positive that Laura is pissed. But what else is new?

And I am ecstatic. Until next week…from the booth.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Intervention Update

Back on Tuesday, September 22nd, I wrote a column titled “Intervention Needed”. Basically it was my way of telling myself to incorporate a few books into my steady diet of sports talk radio, the Internet and television. Having forced myself to close the MacBook and turn off 540 ESPN, I was actually able to start reading the pile of books that had been staring at me for so long.

Okay, the TV was on with the sound turned off and I was listening to iTunes, but there was honest-to-goodness reading going on.

I started off by finishing “Boys Will Be Boys” by Jeff Pearlman. This book chronicles the Dallas Cowboys rise to their glory days during the ‘90s.

It also describes in great detail all the drinking, drug abusing and whoring that “America’s Team” did during that same period. Just the stories involving Charles Haley are well worth the $25.95 that I paid for this book.

The next book that I sunk my teeth into was “Gladiator - A True Story Of ‘Roids, Rage and Redemption”. This was written by Dan Clark aka Nitro from the original American Gladiators television show.

It wasn’t a bad read; I wanted a little more behind the scenes type stuff. What it did have was a detailed account of Clark’s addiction to steroids. It was fairly evident that this was the ex-Gladiators attempt at some sort of cathartic healing.

Looking for something a bit “lighter”, my choice following Gladiator was “Bobby The Brain – Wrestling’s Bad Boy Tells All”. The 2002 autobiography of Bobby Heenan brought back many memories along with countless laugh out loud moments.

The man the fans called “Weasel” was just as funny in print form as he was when he was doing his thing on television. I am just glad the book ended when it did. The epilogue dealt with Heenan discovering that he has throat cancer. After the first two books, I had had enough grizzly reality.

Having said that, for some reason, I next chose to read “My Dirty Little Secrets (Steroids, Alcohol and God) the Tony Mandarich Story”. I began reading my autographed copy last night. I am almost halfway through, but I needed to take a break from it.

The book is very intense. It deals with the Green Bay Packers first-round draft pick in 1989 and his rampant steroid use. More importantly, it also reveals his addiction to alcohol and painkillers and his subsequent battle to overcome them.

Knowing a little bit about Mandarich, I am aware that his story does eventually result in an uplifting conclusion. It’s just very tough getting to that point. I can’t begin to imagine what it was like actually living it.

Needing to decompress when I finish Mandarich’s book, I will have two books left to select from, “Pistol - The Life of Pete Maravich” by Mark Kriegel and “Slap Shot Original” by Dave Hanson. Based on my knowledge of Pistol Pete’s life, I am leaning toward first delving into the world of one of the Hanson Brothers.

So there you have it, 3 1⁄2 books in less than two months and I am still going strong. Not bad, eh? As soon as I post this, I plan on getting back to the Mandarich book. Obviously there no longer exists a need for the aforementioned intervention to get me to read.

However, if there is something I can do about my obsession with Survivor, please let me know. Until next time…from the booth.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

An Instant Classic

Okay Fellow Survivor Geeks, after this evening’s Tribal Council, ten of the original twenty contestants of Survivor Samoa have been eliminated. By my calculations, that is exactly 50% and time for a Survivor Geek 101 review. Let’s begin with a little history lesson. Here is a list of the first eighteen Survivor winners.

• Season 1: Richard Hatch
• Season 2: Tina Wesson
• Season 3: Ethan Zohn
• Season 4: Vecepia Towery
• Season 5: Brian Heidik
• Season 6: Jenna Morasca
• Season 7: Sandra Diaz-Twine
• Season 8: Amber Brkich
• Season 9: Chris Daugherty
• Season 10: Tom Westman
• Season 11: Danni Boatwright
• Season 12: Aras Baskauskas
• Season 13: Yul Kwon
• Season 14: Earl Cole
• Season 15: Todd Herzog
• Season 16: Parvati Shallow
• Season 17: Bob Crowley
• Season 18: J.T. Thomas Jr.

What do all of these individuals have in common?

Each has Out Witted, Out Played and Out Lasted their way to $1,000,000. For this accomplishment, they are all stars, with several having competed in Survivor: All Stars and Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites.

Although they are all champions and therefore stars, it could be argued that they aren’t all Survivor legends. For clarification, let me offer this dictionary definition of legend.

Legend |ˈlejənd|
An extremely famous or notorious person, esp. in a particular field: the man was a living legend

Obviously, based on this definition, all eighteen of the previous winners are not legends, not by a long shot. Conversely, there are several past competitors that, although they never won it all, deserve to be considered a Survivor legend.

With all that in mind, if I were to start a Survivor Hall of Fame, not only would several of the champions be members, but also the likes of Rupert Boneham, Jonny Fairplay and Wisconsin’s own Sue Hawk, would have to be taken into consideration.

The one thing all members of my Survivor Hall of Fame will have in common is that they have stood the proverbial test of time. The only qualification being is that they need to have competed in a completed season of Survivor.

Except for one man.

After tonight’s episode, I would have to give Russell Hantz special dispensation. The man is an instant classic. He is a first ballot Hall of Famer, hands down! There couldn’t be a Survivor Hall of Fame without Russell Hantz.

The Hall of Famer

Tonight he found a Hidden Immunity Idol for the second time with nary a clue. He also engineered the blindside elimination of yet another member of the old Galu tribe. Legendary stuff. I am beginning to tear up as I write this.

I used to call him the evil sock burner. I have described him as an evil genius. I have called him diabolical, sinister and fiendish, among other things. No more. From this point on, Russell Hantz will be simply referred to as the Hall of Famer.

With a huge target on his back, I don’t know how much time the Hall of Famer has left in Samoa. Hopefully he can continue his remarkable run and make it to the finals. It will be tough. But rest assured, I will treasure every single moment that he is still around. Until next time…from the booth.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Arno: A Koos Legend

When I wrote “More Koos Damn It” on October 27th, I received numerous comments clamoring for more of my tales about Koos Inc. At that time I promised my cousin Sues another Koos-themed blog at Thanksgiving time. Well evidently that wasn’t good enough. I have received several emails requesting more Koos stories, saying they couldn’t wait until Thanksgiving. They wanted more, and they wanted it NOW!

Okay Karen, Judi and Sues, here you go, another fractured Koos fable. But be careful of what you wish for, stories about Koos aren’t for the faint of heart.

My first account of Koos was in the blog “My First Labor Day”. In it, I mentioned that the storybook world of Koos included a veritable plethora of intriguing characters. Fellows with names like Virgil Tucker, Dead Man, Bone Head, Stretch Babic, Munk Ekern, Tyrone Walker and Ziggy Gutowski. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

To be sure, there were many more, but none like the legendary Arno Schubert. He weighed in at about 230 pounds, stood 6’2” and had a thick reddish-brown mop of hair. He sported a scraggly, unkept moustache and more often than not, an equally ill-groomed beard.

This cantankerous old Kraut was well known in every watering hole from downtown Kenosha all the way to Paddock Lake. The only time he didn’t have a cigarette in his mouth is when he removed it long enough to quaff a beer or spew an obscenity, both of which he did with a great frequency. His beer of choice was Pabst Blue Ribbon and his favorite expletive rhymed with rock-tucker.

Physically, Arno was a wreck. He had more scars on his body than teeth in his mouth. His lack of incisors and molars made his constant barrage of profanity somewhat humorous, while at the same time, a bit “damp”.

His most prominent scar was about a half inch wide and started between his shoulder blades, zigzagged down the length of his back, and disappeared somewhere in his pants. When asked how he acquired the massive scar, he uttered a few four-letter words and said he was run over by a tractor when he worked for a construction company.

Adding to the list of distinguishable features of Arno’s dilapidated body were his little fingers. They both went in a different direction, each at about a 45º angle. His explanation; they were broken by mobsters when he couldn’t pay a gambling debt. Not wanting to go to a Doctor, he set the fingers himself using Popsicle sticks.

Obviously I would have questioned the validity of these stories had anyone else told them to me. However, knowing Arno Schubert, they both seemed plausible, even to the point of being perfectly reasonable.

Over the years, Arno’s poor, mangled body continued to take more of a beating.

He lost a chunk out of one of his ears when he was struck in the back of the head by an outboard motor that had been in the rear of his station wagon. This occurred when he hit a concrete barrier while heading home on highway 50 after enjoying a few too many ice-cold PBRs.

He injured his head again at Koos in an accident where he fell off of a material hopper onto the concrete floor below with enough force to crack his protective hard hat. To his credit, he worked an hour or two before asking to go home with a “headache”.

Another notable incident that resulted in Arno gaining a new scar is when he was helping his father cut up fallen trees with a chainsaw. Let’s just say that when he pulled the jammed chainsaw out of the log, he had no “eye-dea” it would start running again. Ouch! Unfortunately, that is an entire story all by itself. And it is a dandy.

Besides the chainsaw story, there was the time he cooked a frozen TV dinner on top of a salamander, which is a kerosene heater used on construction sites.

Another Arno gem that could turn into an interesting blog is when he talked his good friend Kurt Plaisted into letting him play in a city league basketball game.

So, Karen, Judi and Sues, did this satisfy your cravings for more Koos? I sure hope so. Making you wait until Thanksgiving would be cruel. Rest assured, I will be providing another fix again soon, maybe even more Arno Schubert. Until next time…from the booth.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New Tribe, Same Result

As predicted, the four members of Foa Foa and the eight of Galu have merged into one tribe this week. The new tribe has been dubbed Aiga, a Samoan term for “extended family”. The last time I saw a program with a family like this, it aired on HBO and was called The Sopranos. Mind you though, Tony Soprano hasn’t got anything on Russell Hantz, the evil sock burner.

Hantz is just as ruthless as the mob boss from New Jersey ever was. He has his faithful minions just like Soprano did. Remain faithful and you are okay, and you stick around.

Similar to when Soprano couldn’t trust Adriana anymore and she was "eliminated", Russell figured he could no longer trust Liz last week…Poof she was gone!

Tonight, prior to the merge, Russell told us that he had to make sure that, “My seed is planted in all the dumb asses’ heads.” That was five minutes into the show!

Ten minutes later, when the tribes had officially merged into one, they celebrated with a big feast. By the end of the feast Russell had Monica from the old Galu tribe feeding him grapes. His take – “I can already see that I am ruler of this kingdom! Who do you feed grapes to? The King, that’s who!”

Russell the Evil Sock Burner

Back at camp, after the feast, Russell started working his diabolical magic on the members of the old Galu tribe. When he saw that Laura couldn’t be trusted, her fate was sealed. Before going to the Individual Immunity Challenge, it looked as if he had convinced enough of Galu to do away with Laura. Of course the members of the old Foa Foa mob, oops, make that tribe, would be steadfast in their loyalty to their leader.

Unfortunately, the producers of Survivor threw a wrench into the plans when they went all politically correct and declared that there would be a male and a female Individual Immunity awarded tonight. Of course the annoying Laura won Immunity and sent Russell back to the drawing board.

The portion of the show right before Tribal Council is usually Reality Television gold. This is when longtime Survivor Geeks can usually get a rough idea of whose heads might be on the chopping block.

Tonight was no exception, but who would it be?

To make things even more interesting, Erik the tree dweller finally grew a set and decided he would be the one choosing who would be sent packing. What happened to the guy who was just happy to see a rainbow?

With this new development in the equation, the plot thickened.

Would it be Shambo and her glorious mullet? Would Laura’s equally annoying sidekick, Monica, be the next to go? Had Erik turned into Phil Leotardo (another Sopranos reference) and organized a revolt against Russell?

While with the Sopranos, you didn’t mess with Tony Soprano, likewise in Survivor Samoa you don’t mess with Russell Hantz. When Phil Leotardo foolishly went after Tony Soprano, he was rewarded by having his head ran over and crushed by an SUV carrying his own grandchild. Erik’s fate for going after Russell Hantz wasn’t quite as gruesome, but Jeff Probst did tell him that the Tribe had spoken.

Tonight’s episode was very satisfying for me. New tribe, same result. However, Fellow Survivor Geek Auntie Janet couldn’t disagree more. She hates Russell. So much so, that she actually is pulling for the annoying Laura based solely on the fact that Laura is out to get Russell. I tried to explain to her that it’s only business. Until next time…from the booth.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Go With The “Flo”

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, Halloween has come and gone with little fanfare. Unless you count the “controversy” created when Mayor Bosman and the Common Council switched the day for Trick or Treating from Sunday, October 25th to Saturday, October 31st. Not having any children, I am not a big fan of this holiday. I fully understand the appeal for young children, but cannot honestly comprehend the fascination for some adults.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing ladies dressed up in revealing outfits pretending to be Elvira or a naughty nurse. But for every scantily clad lass, there is some dude in drag sporting a full beard to bring you back to reality. It just seems like an excuse to dress up and pretend like you are something that you are not, but might want to be. I just don’t get it.

And then it hit me. A Halloween costume that I could totally understand ladies wanting to wear. In this costume they would be portraying someone that while being a media icon, is both highly respected and at the same time, the desire of every red-blooded American male.

Who is this person who that the Boston Herald reported as being the subject for one of the most popular Halloween costumes this year?

Her name is Flo.

She is the Progressive Auto Insurance chick, lighting up televisions in a series of commercials as a perky cashier that pitches the money saving merits of Progressive to customers. She's a bundle of energetic contradictions, bursting here, retracting there. Her expressions blink and change like a neon sign. Her eyes are popping globes. And she just sold you a bunch of car insurance.

She works in a sterile, all-white big-box store, and her rosy-cheeked makeup stands out like paint, with her 'tricked-out name tag' and her '60s style eye makeup and her kissable red lips.

She is played by 38-year-old actress and comedienne Stephanie Courtney and has been cited in news articles as having a sizable fan base on social networks like facebook. After years of doing improv theatre, commercials and small roles on TV and in movies, Courtney hit it big as the delightfully quirky Flo.

You can’t turn on TV without seeing one of her wonderful Progressive commercials. A favorite of mine is the one where she accuses the man she is waiting on to be psychic. Her facial impression is priceless!

Another memorable ad that I really enjoy is the one where she encounters an Elvis impersonator in the store. When she hears, “Thank you, thank you very much” from the imitator, the unflappable Flo fires back, “You’re welcome, welcome very much.” Hilarious!

Obviously, in my humble opinion, Flo is the perfect person to portray on Halloween. I can now understand why any honorable woman would choose to go as her, if they really feel the need to dress up. Until next time…from the booth.