Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Perfect Day In 2011


Saturday is the first day of the year 2011. Traditionally, people make their New Year’s resolutions around this time. Don’t worry; this blog isn’t about the resolutions that I will be making for the upcoming year. Like most people I would only break them a short time later. Another tradition is to make lists of things that have happened in the past year. Well, I’m not going down that road either. In this blog I intend on starting a New Year tradition that is different and imaginative, one that hasn’t been done before. This blog contains the schedule of my perfect day in the year 2011.

Before I reveal my schedule, I need to explain a couple of things. This is MY perfect day and nobody else’s. Therefore, I am playing by MY rules. You will quickly see that the things that make up this perfect day of mine are idealistic and require a few things to be changed, one being very important.

My perfect day in 2011 would be a Thursday. This has always been my favorite day of the week for a variety of reasons. Most of these reasons are silly and significant only to me. But it’s MY perfect day, so it is Thursday.

My Perfect Day Schedule

6:00 AM – the first thing I would do is watch TMJ4’s Live At Daybreak show. The news anchors would be Susan Kim and Vince Vitrano. The weatherman would be Brian Gotter with Emily Vitrano reporting on the traffic conditions. Scott Steele and Caitlin Morrall would not be present. While watching the news I would be also catching up with the facebook world.

7:00 AM – pray the Rosary with my Dad.

8:00 AM – shower and shave. Then eat breakfast while listening to Lenny Palmer rant and rave on 1050 WLIP.

9:00 AM – watch the Match Game and the original Newlywed Game on the Game Show network. Elaine Joyce would be on Match Game and there would be no Gary Burghoff.

10:00 AM – listen to Jason Wilde and Bill Johnson on Green and Gold Today on 540ESPN.com. While doing this I would actually read some of the magazines that I subscribe to.

11:00 AM – listen to the D-List with Drew Olson and Dan Needles on 540 ESPN and continue reading. By the way, my D-List number would be called.

12 Noon – play games on Pogo while visiting with my friend Bev on Skype.

1:00 PM – while eating lunch, listen to Pat Hegewald’s Fantasy Lunch on Blog Talk Radio.

2:00 PM – more Pogo, visiting and “socializing” on facebook.

3:00 PM – read and make sure Mom wakes up from her nap in time for her to go play bingo.

4:00 PM – watch Judge Judy. I know, I know…

5:00 PM – watch the news on TMJ4 with Melissa McCrady and Diane Pathieu anchoring with Michael Fish doing the weather. After that I would watch Time Warner Cable 32 Roundtable. Dennis Krause’s guests would be Bill Johnson and Steve Haywood.

6:00 PM – enjoy dinner with my Dad. We would dine on pizza from any one of the many fine pizzerias in Kenosha.

7:00 PM – watch Survivor. Yes, it will be back on Thursday. It would also feature Russell Hantz, all of the time.

8:00 PM – write my Survivor blog while listening to The Who on iTunes.

9:00 PM – post my blog and welcome Mom home from bingo. Hopefully she won the big pot. If she doesn’t win, then one of her gang does, Maryann, Joe or one of the Richards.

10:00 PM – tell my Mom and Dad how much I love them and get ready for bed. I would listen to Nick Digilio on 720 WGN as I float off into dreamland…

I know that it doesn’t sound very spectacular, but it’s MY perfect day and if it could happen just once, I would be the happiest man in the world. Until next time…from the booth.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Koos Christmas Story

Back by popular demand, here is a another Koos Holiday Classic.

On a bitter cold Saturday night, late December in 1976, the men of Koos Inc. gathered in the backroom of Mario’s Red Arrow Club on Sheridan Road in Kenosha. The reason for this get-together was a Union Christmas party. UFCW Local 73A was good enough to sponsor the much-appreciated gathering for the workforce from Koos. This night was going to be an event to be remembered. This celebration would be a first. Never before had the Union workers at Koos Inc. had an official Christmas function. Tonight that would all change.

The year before, not only was there no party, the employees had to work until 11:00 o’clock on Christmas Eve morning. Of course the beer that was smuggled into the plant created a somewhat cheerful atmosphere, but it still wasn’t a party. Not even the numerous pints of blackberry brandy purchased from the nearby Beer Depot could do the trick. It just wasn’t a party.

The people in management always had a nice little soiree each year, but nothing for the guys in the Union. This year was going to be different. The guys in the plant were finally going to have a bash of their own.


And what a bash it was!


The backroom at Mario’s Red Arrow Club was dimly lit, long and narrow, with a chest-high wall at one end that separated a small kitchen from the rest of the hall. This might have been the back of a smoke filled neighborhood bar, but it was perfect for this inaugural event.


The good people from UFCW had provided the guys from Koos with enough money for the hall, food, a keg of beer and a couple of bottles of hard liquor. Several of us had even brought festive holiday deserts. What more was needed? Let the party begin!


Because we were new to this Christmas party thing, most of us had neglected to bring a date. The only females present for the event were Ziggy Gutowski’s wife and the aunt of Danny Fliess who brought her two daughters. Other than that the guest list was strictly male.


It was still going to be quite a shindig, trust me.


While the sloppy joes warmed in the crock-pot and the hot dogs simmered in a large pot of boiling water, we decided to start playing cards. While Ted Nugent blared through the speakers hung on the walls, the collection of partygoers broke into two separate games of cards, one at each end of the room.


Located at the east end was a boisterous group of Koos veterans, consisting of Danny Fliess, the legendary Arno Schubert, Jim Weber, Munk Ekern, Harry Leipzig, along with several others. They were playing poker for cash and the shots of Wild Turkey were flying.


Joining me at the other end of the hall, near the kitchen area, were Chuckie Haubrich, Chuck Huck and some of the newer employees. Rather than gamble, we had opted to play drinking games where the loser had to guzzle a beer. The card playing was sloppy, but the suds were cold.


The party was in full swing and everyone was having a high-spirited time. That is until our group spotted a humongous can of black olives.


As we were attempting to get the can of olives open, the group from the east end informed us that they wanted some of the olives. The diminutive Chuck Huck put a handful on a paper plate and brought it over to them.

Evidently this was not good enough for them.


Several members of their contingent made their way over to our table and demanded the whole can of olives. We would have no part of that and we all grabbed a big handful and told them that they were all ours!


Seeing that we were not giving up the olives peacefully, the “east-enders” grabbed the can and made off with it and the remaining olives. We were outraged and shouted, “You want all the olives?” With that the war was on. Olives were flying from one end of the hall to the other.


Unfortunately, the olives were only the beginning. Soon cups of beer were being flung across the room. Being near the kitchen area, our group decided to “escalate” the battle. Using cooking tongs, we began plucking hot dogs from the boiling water and used them as projectiles in our efforts during this now epic battle. The frankfurters were flying!


This melee resembled a scene from any Three Stooges film. At this point it was pure chaos.


Then something happened that momentarily brought the frantic food fight to an abrupt stop. For some unknown reason, Chuckie Haubrich grabbed a big handful of raw ground beef, wadded into a lump the size of a baseball and hurled it across the hall at Arno Schubert’s oddly shaped head.


Before I go on, for those of you who don’t know Chuckie Haubrich, he possessed an extremely strong throwing arm. The man could throw a ping-pong ball through a brick wall.


Now back to the story.


Splat!!!! The sphere of uncooked ground beef had found its’ target – the right side of Arno’s scarred face. Chuckie Haubrich would have made Nolan Ryan proud with that toss.


Seeing what happened, we started chuckling as Arno staggered while trying to regain his bearings. It didn’t take long before everyone in the room was roaring with laughter. Well, everyone except for Arno.


With the glob of meat still stuck on his face, he picked up a pan up of orange Jell-O topped with whipped cream. Fuming, with the desert held at shoulder height, he unsteadily made his way over to our end of the room.


As he got closer, he spat out, “You think it’s funny?” Everyone continued to snicker, wondering if he would actually retaliate against Chuckie Haubrich. After all, he was the one who had tattooed him with the beefy missile. When he finally reached our cluster, Arno walked right by the 6’4” 250 pound Haubrich.


Instead, he turned to the 5’7” 150 pound Chuck Huck and hissed yet again, “You think it’s funny?” At that point you could have heard a pin drop.


Huck stared the irate German right in the eye and blurted out, “Hell ya it’s funny!”


You guessed it. Chuck Huck was now wearing the pan of orange Jell-O and whipped cream all over his head. Needless to say, the war was on again. Only, now cakes and various other creamy delights had been added to the arsenal.


When all was said and done, the backroom of Mario’s Red Arrow Club was declared a disaster area. Food was not only on the walls and floor, but on the ceiling as well. As we scraped our holiday meal off of our clothes, the manager of Mario’s kindly asked us to leave. Okay, maybe it wasn’t so kindly.


It should be noted that the Union didn’t get the deposit back for the hall. And there was never another UFCW sponsored Christmas party. That Christmas party was the first and last for the Union guys at Koos. It was the only Christmas Party. Ever.
But what a bash it was!

May you all have a Happy Holiday season and a very Merry and Blessed Christmas. Until next time…from the booth.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dude!

At 10:18 last night, Survivor: Nicaragua was quietly put to bed. And this is a good thing. Not that this was a horrible season, but if you have read my Survivor blogs with any regularity, you know that I had a hard time trying to wrap my head around it. It was difficult finding anyone to root for and when I finally did, they would do something to change my mind. It has been a veritable roller-coaster ride that started over three months ago, back on September 15. At least the finale gave me cause to shout YES! on several different occasions.

The first time was when Fabio came from way behind in the first Immunity Challenge to win. The Jeff Spicoli look-alike solved his puzzle, narrowly beating Sash while Holly, Chase and Dan were left scratching their heads. Dude!

Once again I went from believing Fabio wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer to thinking he just might be a little smarter than he lets on. He was now one step closer to making it to the final Tribal Council. Again, Dude!

The result of the first Tribal Council came as a bit of a relief when Dan was finally eliminated from contention. This was a long time coming. How he made it this far was beyond me. It was amazing how bitter he was after being voted off.

Now that the final four of Sash, Chase, Holly and Fabio was set, we were subjected to the painfully boring memorial ceremony. This is where the remaining four competitors pay “homage” to the those that were eliminated before them. They are forced to say something positive about even the most forgettable characters.

In the order they were eliminated, here are those names: Wendy Jo, Shannon, Jimmy Johnson, Jimmy T., Tyrone, Kelly B., Yve, Alina, Marty, Brenda, Nay, Purple Kelly, Benry, Jane and Dan.

I have long felt that the time wasted on this “right of passage” garbage could be better spent if it was added to the reunion show. But that’s just me.

The final Immunity Challenge is a good one. The contestants must balance a large sword tip down with one hand and with the other, stack coins on the butt end of the handle. Keep in mind that these were not normal coins. They were uneven, misshaped and made specifically for the challenge.

Holly and Chase were the first to have their pile of coins topple, once again leaving Sash and Fabio to battle for the guarantee of making it to the final Tribal Council. They went on for quite a while, with host Jeff Probst’s comments adding to the drama.

Finally, Sash’s considerable tower of coins fell and Fabio was victorious yet again. He was in the finals YES, Dude!

Back at camp, the alliance of Sash, Holly and Chase were scrambling. Now that Fabio had Immunity, they were being forced to eat one of their own. All three were freaking out as they attempted to get Fabio vote off one of the others.

It was particularly amusing watching Fabio smirk and giggle as the slimy Sash kissed up to him. He knew Sash was lying through his amazingly white teeth and couldn’t keep a straight face. He had him figured out from the beginning. Again, Dude!

At Tribal Council, it was the matronly Holly that was voted off, leaving an all male final. It appeared that Fabio made a wise choice going with Sash and Chase because Holly hadn’t done much to piss off anyone on the jury. She could have been the favorite to win the million dollars as the Sole Survivor.

The next order of business was the impassioned Final Tribal Council. After hearing Sash’s opening statement, I vowed not to watch season 22 if he won. He was so full of himself!

Several things were established with the questioning of the jury.

Brenda, being the dominating diva that she is, made Sash apologize to her. She then made him argue with Chase. I see being a dominatrix in the future of the former Miami Dolphin cheerleader.

Marty didn’t think much of Chase, calling him dumb. Very dumb. He didn’t seem to have a problem with the other two.

Holly, in keeping with her “Mom” persona, congratulated all three competitors. I think she would have given them all a great big hug if they would have let her.

Jane told Sash that his mother should be proud that she raised a New York City river rat and that he should slither back to New York. She told her North Carolina homeboy, Chase that she was mad at him, but would somehow find it in her heart to forgive him. For some inexplicable reason, Fabio blurted out that he wants to take care of his folks. Righteous, Dude!

Benry had nothing for Fabio or Chase, he focused on telling Sash how transparent he was. It was quite evident that Benry was none too fond of Sash.

Dan spewed venom at both Sash and Chase. He called Sash a liar and basically expressed that he hated him. He then told Chase that he was dumb. Hmm, heard that before.

Purple Kelly, one of the quitters, asked a forgettable, dumb question and seemed quite proud of it. All it did for me was reinforce what a dimwit she was.

Nay, the second quitter, asked Fabio if seeing his mother during one of the Reward Challenges gave him the energy needed to make it to the finals. He said of course it did and starting crying. Then Nay and everyone else started crying. Then I cried. Dude!

Alina said she didn’t want to give the million dollars to Fabio because he’s only 21, she wanted to “give it to a man.” After a few minutes, it became clear that she wanted to give more than the million dollars to Chase.

After the deliberation, it was time to vote. It was obvious to me that it would come down to Chase and Fabio, Sash didn’t have a chance. I was pretty sure I would be able to watch season 22.

In typical Jeff Probes fashion, the reading of the votes was quite climatic. After the first six votes, Chase led 4 to 2, it wasn’t looking good for Fabio. Fortunately, the next two votes went his way, tying it up at four with one vote left to be read.

After a dramatic pause, Probes announced the winner of Survivor: Nicaragua. I shouted out YES! a final time. 21-year-old Jud "Fabio" Birza was the Sole Survivor and recipient of $1,000,000. Dude!

All that was left was the reunion show. Here are some highlights:

In the “Cleans up well” category – Sash, Brenda, Holly and Marty. Did I mention Holly? Holly cleaned up real well.

In the “Not so much” category – Jane, Dan and Nay. Dan reminded me of Frank Sinatra at the end of a particularly draining concert. I can’t begin to describe what Nay was wearing.

Fabio’s dad looks like Ned Beatty.

Former Survivors in attendance: Coach Wade, Rupert, Cirie and Boston Rob.

Chase has more talent than just an ample “lunch box”. He is an aspiring country-western singer and sang a song. Although I am not a fan of the genre, he wasn’t bad.

Jane’s intensive daily training paid off when she won the Sprint Player of the Season award and $100,000. I still think that she’s a crazy old broad.

We learned that Survivor saved Jimmy Johnson’s life. A physical exam he took when trying to get on the show a few seasons ago showed he had 2 blocked arteries. He got healthy and made it to Survivor: Nicaragua. Then Terry Bradshaw showed up. Enough said.

We also learned that some parents of the children that Nay teaches called in to request that she be removed. I guess the people of Los Angeles deserve some credit, after all.

After Nay spoke, Probst announced that because of Nay and fellow quitter, Purple Kelly, there will be a rules change. From this point on, if someone quits the show, the staff of Survivor will decide if you will be on the jury or not. YES! Oops, there was one more, I guess.

And finally, a few tidbits about the victorious Fabio. He said that people have been asking his mom why she had named him Fabio. He also admitted that he has been crazy for a while.

When asked where his “way of thinking” came from, he revealed that both of his parents are artists and all of his family is creative. In fact, his great-grandfather invented the folding legs that are used on Samsonite card tables. He went on to say that his grandmother invented the Color Wheel. Hmm…

Now, that season 21 has been put to bed, February 16 is the date that all Fellow Survivor Geeks have marked on their calendars. That is when Survivor: Redemption Island premiers! Until next time…from the booth. Dude!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Stocking Stuffer Solutions

WARNING: THIS BLOG FEATURES SHAMLESS SELF PROMOTION.

Christmas Eve is exactly one week away. Have you finished your Christmas shopping? Maybe you need something for a gift exchange at work or a last minute stocking stuffer. If you are faced with any of these dilemmas, don’t worry, you have come to the right blog. After reading it, I promise that your stress over what to buy will be alleviated. Trust me on this, your problems will be solved.

If you have a sports fan in your life, give them, “Some Kenosha Softball”. If you have a history buff on your list, give them, “Some Kenosha Softball”. If you know someone that wants to read about their hometown, give them, “Some Kenosha Softball”. If you have someone who is an avid reader, give him or her, “Some Kenosha Softball”.

See how easy that was? Now all you need to know is where to pick up this wonderful gift. There are two places in Kenosha. The first is at the Kenosha History Center, located at 220 51st Street. The second is Sister Act Painting and Creative Treasures at 3816 Roosevelt Road. If you scroll down a bit, you will see the phone numbers on the right side of the blog.

Although both are fine local venues and would appreciate your business, I would recommend Sister Act if your gift needs are more diverse. Not only do they offer books, but also featured are jewelry, purses, ornaments, American Girl clothes and home décor.

If that isn’t enough, Sister Act is now offering homemade chocolates just in time for Christmas. Stop by and check their sample tray of turtles, angel food, truffles, pretzel sticks, mint flavor, maple goodies and many more delights. Hurry and get your order in now.

If you can’t decide on what treasure to purchase, purchase a gift certificate. Right now if you buy a $25 gift certificate, it is magically worth $35.

Stop by Sister Act soon. They will be open today until 5:00. The Christmas hours:

Saturday – 10:00 to 4:00
Sunday – 11:00 to 3:00
Monday – 11:00 to 5:00
Tuesday – ???
Wednesday – 11:00 to 5:00
Thursday – 11:00 to 5:00
Christmas Eve – ???

When I asked owner/operator Sharon Buege when she would be there, she told me, “If the OPEN sign is out, come on in!” And when you do, make sure you tell her I sent you. And buy a copy of “Some Kenosha Softball”!

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

One Crazy Old Broad!

This has been one crazy season of Survivor. In the previous twenty seasons, some have been mediocre, others were good and several have been outstanding. Tonight’s episode sealed the deal for me. Survivor: Nicaragua was all of the above! At times it has been mediocre, bordering on nondescript. Then something would happen to make me think that it was pretty good. Never outstanding, mind you, but definitely good. Tonight season 21 finally became outstanding. And it was mainly because of one crazy old broad.

I can’t remember a season of Survivor with so many ups and downs, highs and lows. Looking back at my notes from the first dozen episodes, I see that my opinion of several of the competitors has changed numerous times.

Brenda, Holly, Fabio and Chase come to mind right away. But they can’t hold a candle to the enigmatic Jane. My opinion of the 56-year-old dog breeder from Jackson Springs, North Carolina has flip-flopped at least a dozen times. Three or four of those times occurred tonight.

I started out by thinking this crazy old broad doesn’t even care that her North Carolina “homeboy” Chase totally screwed her over by not taking her along on the reward feast.

Then back at camp, after discussing with Dan and Fabio what had just happened, she finally realized that Chase was a spineless jellyfish. It was at this point that I started to see her in a different light.

She really started to get me pulling for her when she confronted her alliance of Sash, Chase and Holly after the Immunity Challenge. She basically made the trio admit to her that they intended to vote her off at Tribal Council.

Her response? Jane did what any self-respecting crazy old broad would do. She flipped them off! It was great, way better than when Nay did it. A country “F-U” is much better than the urban version.

She kicked it up another notch or two by declaring, “The wrath of Jane will break out tonight!” She followed this up by completely drenching the campfire with two buckets of water.

I could barely wait to see what she would do at Tribal Council.

Initially she didn’t disappoint, calling Holly a no-good thief and Chase a rotten backstabber. I think that she said something about Sash’s mother. Then, with a little prodding from host Jeff Probst, she called on Dan and Jane to vote for Holly.

This made perfect sense because Sash and Chase had announced that they each had a Hidden Immunity Idol. This would mean three votes going to Jane and three to Holly, forcing a tiebreaker.

The plan looked even better when Sash and Chase both played their Hidden Immunity Idols. All that was left was for Probst to read the votes. The first vote – Jane. The second vote – Jane. The third vote – Jane. The tension mounted as Probst paused dramatically before reading the fourth vote.

He looked up and said, “The thirteenth person voted off and the seventh member of the journey is Jane.”

Huh? What happened to the perfect plan? I couldn’t wait to see who cast their vote for Jane, Dan or Fabio. Which one ruined the plan?

Well, it was sort of anticlimactic. Inexplicably, both of them had voted for Jane. Thing is, it wouldn’t have mattered if they had both gone along with Jane’s plan to vote off Holly. You see, Jane decided to vote for Sash.

She knew Sash had a Hidden Immunity Idol and that any votes cast for him would not count. Yet she voted for him anyway, spoiling any chance for her to avoid elimination.

I told you she was one crazy old broad.

This should make for a very interesting finale Sunday night. It could be epic. Fellow Survivor Geek Auntie Janet is pulling for Mafioso wannabe Dan. I am rooting for that gnarly dude, Fabio. Who do you like? Until next time…from the booth.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gift Giving Time

Having always enjoyed giving gifts, it should come as no surprise that my Christmas shopping is complete. All that is left is a little bit of wrapping. The thing is, I still have the desire to make someone smile with a thoughtful present. What can I do?

Every now and then I wonder what kind of gifts I would give if money was no object, if I was Donald Trump or Oprah Winfrey rich. So, in the spirit of this glorious holiday season, I have decided to distribute some “money is no object” gifts. Not only will I give gifts to friends and family, but also to a few “celebrities”.


“Celebrities”

To Chef Gordon Ramsay, I give a lifetime supply of Ambien® and Rolaids. I would hate to see this man develop an aneurism during an taping of Hell’s Kitchen. He probably already has an ulcer.

To TMJ4’s Scott Steele, I give a role in a low-budget Broadway play. I truly that he would better suited in this endeavor than with his current attempts at entertaining the masses while masquerading as a weatherman.

To Prince Fielder, I give an epiphany that causes him to realize that agent Scott Boras is an evil jackal. This will cause him to fire Boras and sign a long-term contract with the Milwaukee Brewers at a hometown discount.

To Russell Hantz, I give a gift certificate good for a spot on season 22 of the hit reality show Survivor. If necessary, the gift certificate could also be redeemed for season 23. Or season 24. Or season 25…

To certain members of Kenosha’s City Common Council, I give a clue. They definitely are in need of one. Sometimes it seems as if they are on a reality show.

Friends

To Jamie, I give 4 front row tickets to the Bon Jovi concert of her choice. The only caveat is that she will be required to use the limo service that will also be provided. There will be no running to catch a cab.

To Pat, I give a two-hour weekday sports talk show on the radio station of his choosing. He will also be able to determine what time of day the show will be aired.

To Jim, I give a starring role in a Hollywood blockbuster hit. The popularity of this movie will lead to regular appearances on all of the late night talk shows. Except Leno’s. He sucks. A lot.

To Mary Kay and Penny, I give them both an equal piece of Pee Wee Herman’s infamous wiener. Don’t even ask.

To Sharon B., I give a store full of customers, enough to cause her to expand store hours and hire more staff. A significant portion of her new wealth of customers will be made up of family and friends.

To Sharon C., I give the position of Quality Director of the soon to be announced sixth season of HBO’s hit show, The Wire. This will allow her to take an extended leave of absence from the business she currently operates.

To Mike, I give an established publisher and talented author to help write his memoirs. “The Life and Times of an Ornery Curmudgeon” is guaranteed to be on the best sellers list for years to come.

To Julie, I give the time and resources necessary to showcase her outstanding talents. All I ask is that when she becomes famous the world over, she doesn’t forget all the little people.

To Mary Beth, I give unlimited round trip airfare to Sweden, available for her to use whenever the spirit moves her.

To Peter, I give an endless supply of Home Run Inn pizza. This will ensure he never has to eat another Tombstone pizza, no matter how much it would amuse his family.

To Leon, I give any job that he wants. No matter what job he chooses or how many hours he works, it will always provide him with exactly what he needs. He deserves this.

To all my friends that are Cub Fans, I give an ownership and management team that understands what it takes to finally put together a championship organization. Although I can’t stand the thought of the Cubs winning, enough is enough.

British Friends

To David, I give one years worth of vouchers good at any restaurant in England. Not only will this keep him well fed, but it will also save his sisters from having to hear him moan about having beans on toast for dinner all the time.

To Christine, I give a nice, cushy job where she will never be cold again. It will always be warm in the wintertime.

To Margaret, I give a tutor to provide humming lessons. Hopefully this will help her to win the humming game at Christmas time.

To Sue, I give her several invitations to events where her notorious see-through tops won’t cause a scandal. They might even be considered appropriate.

To Debbie, I give a personal chauffer to help transport her rambunctious son Jake to all of his sporting events. This includes, but is not limited to: football, rugby, judo and swimming.

To Bev, I give unlimited Internet access and the ability to see her grandson James whenever she wants to. Also included is a lot of tissues, because I know that she will be doing a lot of crying.

Family

I almost started to list gifts on an individual basis for my family members before realizing that would be silly. We have so much already.

Brother Mike and his wife Amy finally have their two adorable sons. Sister Teri and her husband Mike not only have a couple of great kids, but a pair of wonderful grandchildren. Brother Joey has another brand new hip and his wife Nancy has a blossoming career as a hair stylist and nail tech.

And we all have the greatest Mom anyone could ask for. She has been blessed with four children, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren who all love her dearly.

We are all so fortunate to a part of the wonderful Vagnoni family. Uncle John and Auntie Janet, Uncle Joe and Auntie Joanne and Uncle David and Aunt Bonnie have provided the Vagnoni clan with nine cousins to go along with me and my two brothers and sister.

Yes, as the magnificent Vagnoni family continues to expand, I am aware that we need no gifts. With Grandpa and Grandma ‘Noni, Aunt Bay, cousin John Dean and now my Dad looking down on us, we have the greatest gift there is. We have each other.

Please enjoy your gifts. I am. Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

And Then There Were Six

I’m not going to beat around the bush tonight. I was a bit bummed when it was revealed during the coming attractions that there are only two episodes remaining. Even though this season has been less than stellar, I have become attached to a couple of these knuckleheads. I had even become accustomed to watching Survivor on Wednesday nights. And now it’s almost over. Heavy sigh.

Rather than recap all the activity of the twelfth episode of Survivor: Nicaragua, I will let you know right away that Benry was voted off at Tribal Council. I don’t know who was more disappointed, Benry or the members of the jury.

With the departure of Benry, we are left with six contestants and two episodes to decide the sole Survivor and winner of $1,000,000. Here is how I rank the final six competitors. Please keep in mind that the rankings are a combination of who I want to win and whom I think will win.

6. Dan Lembo. Would someone please let me know what Dan has done to merit a place in the final six? Why this man is still around is beyond me. I wrote his name down on my note pad followed by question marks at least six different times. Most of the time of the time it was, “What about Dan?”

5. Jane Bright. My opinion of this lunatic has flip-flopped numerous times. While I have to give her credit for being a tough old broad, she is just too creepy. Remember when she climbed on Fabio and dry humped him after they won individual immunity? Then tonight she is whooping it up as she gawks at Holly stripping to take a shower. I won’t even get into the dead chicken thing. Freaky.

4. Matt Lehahan. You are probably asking yourself, “Who the hell is that?” That is Sash’s actual name. Tonight I was reminded what an unlikable blowhard he can become when things are going his way. I believe my eyes rolled when he said he has been holding back during challenges, only giving 75%. Ya, right.

3. Chase Rice. This guy has nearly every quality necessary to succeed in Survivor. He is young, athletic, good-looking, personable and even possesses a “lunch box”. The one thing he is lacking is BRAINS! This was made evident when he chose Jane to accompany him on his reward rather than Sash. He wouldn’t know strategy if it smacked him in the head. Maybe he never watched Survivor before.

2. Judson Birza. Another, who the hell? It’s none other than Fabio. I am probably ranking him a little bit too high, but I can’t help liking him due to his naiveté. He is like a more charming version of Jeff Spicoli. He dodged a real bullet tonight.

1. Holly Hoffman. This lady has game. It was evidenced last week when she turned down reward so that the tribe could have a new tarp and a supply of rice. Other than her meltdown back on day five, she has been a solid player. She never cried over a dead chicken and I do believe that she has seen a season of Survivor or two. It will be tough, but I am pulling for her to be the sole Survivor.

There are only 2 more episodes. A mere 180 minutes remain. That’s a measly 10,800 seconds. Luckily we have the reunion show to look forward to after the finale one week from Sunday. Until next time…from the booth.

Monday, December 6, 2010

An NFL Fashion Statement

Yesterday there were five NFL football games available for my viewing pleasure. The games were: Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys vs. Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers. I watched all of the Packer game and portions of the other four.

Please don’t panic; I wasn’t watching football nonstop from noon and 10:30 pm – I took an hour off to watch the season finale of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.

By watching all those games and seeing a multitude of highlights, I saw a plethora of different uniforms. And some were plain awful. A case in point, the Baltimore Ravens. Between the purple jerseys and black leotards masquerading as pants, I almost vomited in my mouth.

That bad taste inspired me to write about NFL fashion.

But because I have already chronicled my feelings on NFL uniforms in my 2009 blog, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, I had to go in a different direction, perhaps something more specific.

Today’s blog deals with the helmets the players wear. I have ranked all 32 team’s headgear along with a short comment. They are listed from worse to first. Note, whether I like or loath a team wasn’t a factor in my rankings. Well maybe just a little.


My Official NFL Helmet Rankings

32. Tennessee Titans – logo looks like it was drawn a by a sixth grader.
31. Buffalo Bills – give me the old standing buffalo any day.
30. Baltimore Ravens – is that Heckle or Jeckle with a “B” on its head?
29. Carolina Panthers – logo’s okay, but what’s with the stripes?
28. Jacksonville Jaguars – the logo doesn’t stand out at all.
27. Philadelphia Eagles – bad “wings”. Old helmet was much better.
26. Detroit Lions – an example of team messing up a once great helmet.
25. San Francisco 49ers – great if they hadn’t changed the logo.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – one word. Pewter.
23. New England Patriots – give me the old helmet, it was a classic.
22. Denver Broncos – the stripe bothers me.
21. Seattle Seahawks – Mike Holmgren messed these up.
20. Cincinnati Bengals – sadly they are the best part of their uniforms.
19. Minnesota Vikings – why didn’t they leave the horn alone?
18. Atlanta Falcons – okay, but could use more contrast.
17. Miami Dolphins – didn’t need to add black to the design.
16. Washington Redskins – reverse the stripes and it's a classic.
15. Houston Texans – not bad for a newer team.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers – where’s the other logo? Symmetry, please.
13. New Orleans Saints – the first of the classics.
12. New York Jets – looks good whether it’s on Sanchez or Namath.
11. Oakland Raiders – one thing that Al Davis hasn’t screwed up. Yet.
10. St. Louis Rams – I prefer the “mustard” yellow to the gold, but hey…
9. San Diego Chargers – you got to love the bolts!
8. Cleveland Browns – understated, elegant and a great colors.
7. Arizona Cardinals – another example of less being more.
6. Chicago Bears – hurts to put the Bears in the top 10, but it’s a classic.
5. Kansas City Chiefs – great colors with a rugged arrowhead.
4. Indianapolis Colts – beautiful in its simplicity.
3. New York Giants – numbers on the front, the red, white and blue.
2. Dallas Cowboys – they don’t get much better than this one.
1. Green Bay Packers – Ever a doubt who would be number one?

By looking at this list you can probably tell that I am an old-school type of guy. I cringe every time a team (Lions, Vikings, Patriots, etc. please take note) “modernizes” a great looking helmet. I wish they would leave the classics alone.

Until next time…from the booth.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Getting It

Yesterday my dreaming was abruptly interrupted by Mannheim Steamroller’s lovely version of The Holly and the Ivy. I can’t remember the last it was necessary for my “alarm” to wake me, but it was pleasant and for the most part, painless.

The next thing I heard wasn’t so pleasant. At least not initially.

After the last notes of the beautiful song ended, I switched on the radio just in time to hear WLIP’s Bill Lawrence doing the sports. The first thing he reported was that Ron Santo, legendary Chicago Cubs player and broadcaster had passed away at age 70.

I was immediately saddened. A great man was gone. Although I am no longer a Cubs fan, I have always admired Mr. Santo. Not because he was an outstanding ballplayer, having appeared in nine All-Star games and receiving six Gold Glove awards. It wasn’t for his twenty years of “enthusiastic” color commentary of Cub games on WGN radio.

The reason that I held number 10 in high esteem was that he was a special human being. Despite battling type 1 diabetes, which resulted in the amputation of his legs and bladder cancer, he continued to work Cubs games and enjoy life. I don’t ever recall having heard him complain about his problems.

Not only did Santo continue celebrating his life, he made a difference in the lives of others.

Starting in 1974, Santo established the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's annual Ron Santo Walk to Cure Diabetes. To date, this event has raised over $60 million for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Ron Santo understood what was important. He knew what to do and just did it, without looking for accolades. Sure he was an unabashed homer for the Cubs, but more importantly he was a homer for the right thing.

He got it.

One of the nicest compliments I ever received came from a good friend of mine. After reading my blog, “One Of Them”…Sort Of, he sent me an email and simply said, “Way to go. You get it.”

Please don’t think for a second that I am comparing myself to what Ron Santo has done. I’m not.

But it was nice to hear that for that brief moment, I got it. Those words have stuck with me ever since. When I see how people handle different situations in their lives, I sometimes think to myself, “They get it.”

Doing the right thing without ever thinking about it is one of the most wonderful things that anyone can do. I am fortunate to have several people in my life that get it and I thank God for that. It is a true blessing.

We all have people in our lives that get it. They deserve some sort of recognition. Mind you they aren’t expecting anything, that’s not why they do what they do. They just get it.

Keep in mind that none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow. My Dad got it. Ron Santo got it. They are no longer with us. Please do something to show those in your life that get it that you appreciate them. Show them you get it.

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Finally Someone With Balls

Throughout the 21st season of Survivor I have been struggling to find somebody to root for. Early on I found Brenda very fetching, but it was only my hormones talking. Once her air of superiority started oozing out, I was no longer a fan, despite how good she looked in that bikini. While Fabio possessed a charming naiveté, his uncanny resemblance to Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High wouldn’t allow me to pull for him to win it all. I was left with no one to root for.

Tonight on Survivor: Nicaragua that all changed. And I didn’t even see it coming.

The beginning of the show was basically Nay and Purple Kelly whining and bellyaching how they couldn’t take it anymore. Their bitching and moaning was incessant. It was at this point that I became resigned to the fact that this was going to be yet another episode centered on unlikable people acting badly.

Finally the complaining stopped when it became time for the Reward Challenge to take place.

The tribe was divided into two teams of four for the challenge, with neither team picking the inept Dan. Since he was without a team, he had to pick which team he thought would win. If correct, he would also receive reward.

Want to know what they were playing for?

The winners were whisked away to the “Survivor Cinema” where they would be entertained by a private screening of Jack Black’s new movie, “Gulliver’s Travels”. They would also be treated to all the movie theater food they cared to eat.

The challenge consisted of each team lugging a giant 8-foot Gulliver dummy through an obstacle course without dropping it. The blue team of Benry, Holly, Chase and Nay won, barely beating the yellow team made up of Sash, Jane, Fabio and Purple Kelly across the finish line.

Dan was grinning from ear to ear because he had picked the right team. I guess he can do something.

Probst had barely declared the blue team victorious when Nay announced to that she was quitting. The startled Probst then sarcastically asked if anyone else wanted to quit. His jaw nearly hit the beach when Purple Kelly said that she also wanted to quit.

After getting over his initial shock, Probst told them both to think it over and let him know at Tribal Council what their final decision would be. He then made a startling announcement of his own.

He offered the winning team the chance to earn a brand new tarp and a huge can of rice for the tribe; all it would take is for one of the winners to forgo the reward and return to camp with the losing team.

One would assume that since Nay said she was quitting at the end of the day, she would be the one to give up the reward so that everyone could benefit from the tarp and rice. It made perfect sense, didn’t it?

I guess not, because she didn’t say a word. But someone else did.

Barely batting an eye, Holly, the 44-year-old rancher from South Dakota stepped forward and said that she would do it. She said that she could watch movies and eat hot dogs the rest of her life, right now her tribe needed that tarp and rice!

Finally someone with balls! Finally someone to root for!

My opinion of Holly had done a complete 180 from when she had her infamous meltdown on day 5. If possible, my fondness for her increased even more when she gave Purple Kelly a heartfelt “don’t quit” speech.

Tribal Council was almost anticlimactic. Despite some impassioned words from Holly and Jane, Nay and Purple Kelly quit and had their torches snuffed. Unfortunately, they both will be allowed to part of the jury that decides who becomes the sole Survivor and wins $1,000,000.

I know who I will be rooting for. Holly. She has balls.

Until next time…from the booth.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Good And Better

This blog is a list of things that I like and things that I like even more. I didn't feel like writing this weekend, so I decided to offer my opinion in a more visual manner. I hope that you don't mind.

Category: Football Teams

Category: Sausages

Category: Sports Movies

Category: Pizza

Category: Musical Groups

Category: Kenosha Drive Ins

Category - TV Dramas


There you have it, what I think is good and I what think is even better. Do you agree or disagree? What things do like more than others? Let me know. Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Holiday Tradition – A Rerun

Since it is the night before Thanksgiving, Survivor will be observing its longtime holiday tradition of showing a rerun. Sure, they bill it as “new scenes”, but these “new scenes” are about old stuff. So, with all due respect to producer Mark Burnett, it’s officially a RERUN!

Therefore, in place of my usual Wednesday night Survivor blog, I will be posting a rerun as well. However, it isn’t a Survivor rerun. Instead, I am posting the holiday classic, “A Koos Thanksgiving Tradition”. Enjoy.

A Koos Holiday Tradition


It was a typical cold afternoon in late November 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 that if they didn’t, a line would stop and they would hear it from the Production Supervisor, namely me.



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 forklift operator Herb “Butch” Krienke screeched to a halt inches way from the two of us. Doing my best Arno Schubert impersonation, I bellowed, “What the f*ck 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 on 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 let 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 don’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 the 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, and 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, Paul!” With that she hung up the phone rather firmly and I smiled to myself, knowing that the Koos Thanksgiving tradition had lived on for another year.



Until next time…from the booth.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What Happens At Sister Act…

Perhaps you have heard, but in case you haven’t, I will tell you – yesterday there was an event at Sister Act Painting and Creative Treasures. The event started when 400 Club great Mark Montague showed up sometime before 11:00 o’clock. It ended when Jimmy Gentile and Bruce Edmark left shortly before 1:30.

I can’t go into too many details, because what happens at Sister Act stays at Sister Act. The only detail that I will let out is that there was a Mayor and a Wizard in attendance.

Shortly after I got home, I uploaded a few pictures from the event on facebook. I had barely finished when I started to receive comments. Two really stood out; one making smile, the other making me think.

The one that made me smile was from Patty 4-Names. She simply said, “Wow, it's the book come to life!” Not only did this make me smile, but also it sort of blew my mind. It was a very cool comment.

The comment that made me think was compliments of Bev, my friend from England. She presented me with this conundrum, “Was it worth it?”

Yikes, what a loaded question!

Keep in mind that Bev and I talk on a daily basis, so she knows me pretty well. She was aware that for this event, I did the following things:

Bought an ad that ran for two weeks in Happenings magazine.
Contacted the Kenosha Visitors and Convention Bureau.
Sent information to the Kenosha News.
Put it on the WLIP Community Calendar.
Wrote several blogs concerning it.
Created a “facebook event” and sent invitations to over 200 friends.
Placed an ad on my blog and on facebook.
Made many phone calls trying to publicize it.
Plugged it on various radio shows and in several online sport chat rooms.

Being aware of all of these things, Bev was fully qualified to pose that tough question, “was it worth it?” However, in order to answer her, I had to explain what I was expecting to accomplish with this event.

That meant breaking it down into three parts.

Number one, I wanted to sell and sign copies of “Some Kenosha Softball”. To this part, I would have to answer no. I signed a few books that had already been purchased, but the new sales didn’t quite cover the ads in Happenings and my half of the cookies from Paielli’s bakery.

Number two, I hoped to gather information and photos for my next book, “More Kenosha Softball”. To this point, I would have to say that it was somewhat worth it. I received some photos and information from another team. Several other people promised that they would get me back to me with something. Time will tell.

The final thing that I hoped to accomplish was to put together a softball reunion and reminisce about days gone by. This part made the whole thing worthwhile. Sure, it would have been nice if a few more of the people that said they were going to be there would have shown up, but the ones that did made for a wonderful day.

I said wasn’t going to reveal anything that happened at Sister Act yesterday, but I feel compelled to share this picture:

Kenosha Mayor Keith Bosman and former owner/operator of historic Finney’s West, Leon Rosko pause to have their picture taken.

Now that I have done this a second time, I have discovered a few important things. Learning which things are worth spending time on, comes to mind right away. More importantly, I have learned that despite what people might tell you, don’t let your expectations get too high.

That being said, will I do it again? Of course I will! I will undoubtedly do some things different, but I can see doing something like this again when “More Kenosha Softball” comes out.

One last note: While preparing this blog, I received several inquiries asking if the book is still available. The answer is a resounding YES! The event may have passed, but the book is definitely still available. It makes a great Christmas gift. Stop by Sister Act and pick one up.

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Long Live The Queen

Tonight, Survivor: Nicaragua was chock-full of memorable quotes. There were so many quotable moments, I could have written down a dozen. The top five made it to my note pad, but there was one that stood head and shoulders above the rest. And it was epic!

The opening credits had yet to be shown and smug little Brenda was busy pontificating on how she and Sash held the most power and controlled the game. Then she said it. “Sash and I are looked at as King and Queen, but he is more of a Queen and I am the King!”

Please keep that quotation in mind as I present the other four gems.

Chase, Fabio, Purple Kelly, Nay and Jane easily won the Reward Challenge and were swept away in a helicopter for an afternoon of “volcano-surfing”, pizza, brownies and soft drinks.

Standing at the top of a huge pile of volcanic ash, Fabio blurted out, “When they said volcano-surfing, wow. That blew my mind, dude!” He then proceeded to slide down the volcano on a makeshift surfboard. Jeff Spicoli would have been proud.

That was quote number two. Number three came moments later. It was sort of a combo-quote.

As they were sitting around enjoying their pizza feast, Chase made this observation to Purple Kelly, “You know, you never talk.” To which she replied, “Ya, I know it’s weird, huh?” Can you say space cadet?

The fourth quote also involved the hunky Chase. Upon returning to camp after the reward, Chase made a beeline to Brenda, filling her in on the others plan to vote her off.

Noticing Chase’s namby-pamby actions, Benry simply shook his head in disbelief and said, “Hopefully Chase will grow a pair and vote Brenda out.” Only time would tell.

King Brenda herself made the fifth and final noteworthy remark.

When it finally sunk in that there was indeed an uprising among her minions, she tossed her raven locks back and declared, “It looks as if operation takeout Brenda is in place and it really annoys me!” I think she may have stamped her foot as well, but I’m not quite sure.

At Tribal Council, King Brenda wasted no time in confronting Nay about being the leader of the insurrection. Nay, stammered for a bit until Jeff Probst pressured her for an answer. She promptly put the blame on Chase, who made a feeble attempt to pledge his undying allegiance to King Brenda. More bickering and lying ensued.

It finally came time to vote.

After everyone had placed their vote, Probst made the required announcement that now is the time if anyone has a Hidden Immunity Idol and wants to use it should do so.

Having earlier discussed with Sash the possibility of him giving her his Hidden Immunity Idol, King Brenda stared into his eyes, almost pleading. He peered back and said nothing. Probst then read the votes.

One vote for Benry and another for Nay. The other eight ALL went to King Brenda. The King was dead. Long live the Queen.

It should be noted that during the closing credits it is revealed how everyone voted. Of course Brenda had voted for Nay, but it was the air-headed Purple Kelly who cast the vote for Benry. Chase the windsock and Queen Sash has both voted against the King.

The coming attractions showed Nay acting up again, so I can’t wait for next week. Until next time…from the booth.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Second Chance!

Back on July 17th, I had a book signing for “Some Kenosha Softball” at Sister Act Painting Creative Treasures. Initially, I was very nervous, not knowing who would show up or for that matter, what kind of turnout there would be. Thankfully, my apprehensions were unfounded. There was a respectable showing with at least a dozen Kenosha softball luminaries gracing the event with an appearance.

Among those in attendance were Pat Hegewald, Rick Flocker, Greg Czarnecki, Lionel Llanas, John Schwarz, Jimmy Gentile, Bruce Meyers, Kris Ray, Mike Matusek, Rich Salisbury, Dave Meier and Larry Rightler. It was a true A-List of people connected with the Kenosha softball scene.

Although I hadn’t seen many of these people in more than ten years, it didn’t take long before the reminiscing began and stories were being told. What had started as a book signing had quickly morphed into a softball reunion. Soon it was 1 o’clock and it was time to wrap things up.

With many of the old memories being tossed around, I often heard, “this should have been in the book!” or “why wasn’t that in the book?” These comments caused something very scary to happen. I started thinking, what about doing another book?

It was sometime before I left that day that I decided to write “More Kenosha Softball”.

All I had to do was to gather the information for this second book. It should be known that in putting together the first book, this part of the process took nearly three years. However, with facebook and the network established by writing “Some Kenosha Softball”, I hope to get enough information to put out its sequel in time for the 2011 Rotary Club Tournament.

In an effort to facilitate this endeavor, I am having a second book signing/softball reunion on Saturday November 20th at Sister Act on Roosevelt Road from 11:00 to 1:00. This will give people a chance to submit information and photos for my next book. That is why, even if you were at the first signing, you are encouraged to show up for the second one.

There will be forms available for your information, making it a virtually painless process. Plus, Sharon is going to make sure there will be more “softball cookies” from Paielli’s bakery to munch on. It has all the makings of a great time.

A number of Kenosha softball dignitaries have already indicated they will be showing up. Names like Leon Rosko, Craig Stewart, Jimmy Stevens, Bruce Edmark and Chris Wade have all hinted at making an appearance. On top of that, Pat Hegewald, Jimmy Gentile and John Schwarz could be making return performances.

You don’t want to miss out on this event, it’s your second chance! Stop by, get your book signed, have a cookie, reminisce about the good old days and make sure you get your information in so that you and tour team are a part of “More Kenosha Softball”.

The fun starts at 11:00 Saturday at Sister Act located at 3816 Roosevelt Road. You know, over by Clay’s Tap. (The best way to tell someone from Kenosha how to find a place is to tell them what bar is nearby) Don’t miss your second chance!

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Teacher? Really?!?

Tonight’s episode of Survivor: Nicaragua was interesting, Very interesting and at the same time, sad. I will do things backwards tonight and let you know right away that Marty was the tenth person voted off. He now joins Alina and is the second member of the jury. I can’t wait to see his performance at the final Tribal Council. The man can talk, often way too much. It was probably his chronic case of diarrhea of the mouth that helped earn him his exit.

That was somewhat interesting, but it wasn’t sad. I will get to that in a bit.

Another interesting aspect of tonight’s show was that I was able to place the remaining ten competitors into four separate categories. Figuring these people out was something that I struggled with earlier this season.

Not any more.

Fabio and Benry are the only two that qualify as LIKEABLE. They are both decent fellows and play the game hard. The interesting thing about Fabio is that he isn’t as dumb as he appears.

At one point, while discussing strategy with Benry, he said “I hate to play stupid so much, but it’s the smartest thing to do right now.” The dude is crazy like a fox.

Purple Kelly, Dan and Chase fall into the WHO CARES group. Chase proved that he wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer when he chose to back the women’s team during the Reward Challenge and missed out on the reward.

Dan is just useless. I don’t think he even wants to be there anymore. And am I the only one that thinks that he may have soiled himself going down that second zip line during the reward?

Purple Kelly is just another pretty face who isn’t quite snotty enough to be moved into the next group. That bunch is special.

The UNLIKEABLE classification is made up of Sash, Brenda, Holly and Jane. Holly and Jane are in this group for basically the same reason – they are a couple of bitter old ladies. They only difference is that Jane has Holly by twelve years. And she don’t shut up.

Sash and Brenda deserve this rank because they are both power mad. They are more concerned with being in charge than they are in winning the game. If they don’t watch out they will be a part of the jury sooner than they would like. That would be fine with me.

If you recall, I said that there were ten remaining competitors that I put into four categories. I also said that I found something very interesting and at the same time sad. I can satisfy all those statements with three letters.

Nay.

She is in a group all by herself. It’s titled – DESPICABLE. This woman is a foul-mouthed, nasty human being. Or should I say, “Humanitarian” as she so eloquently butchered the English language during Tribal Council.

After a particularly profane tirade during Tribal Council, veteran host Jeff Probst marveled that she was still alive in the game. She simply justified talking the way she does and being a rotten thief by saying, “This is what I am.”

Nay Stealing From Her Own Tribe

Nice. That makes it all okay.

Pretty interesting, huh? Oh ya, the sad part. Nay is a Physical Education Teacher in Los Angeles. That’s right, this poor excuse for a “Humanitarian” is someone who teaches children. I’ll say it again. A teacher? Really?!?

I’m going to be sad until next time…from the booth.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Got to Get You into My Life

I don’t think that I am alone in the fact that certain songs make me think. It can be the title, the lyrics or both, but certain songs make me think. At times they make me think a lot. Once such song is “Got to Get You Into My Life” by The Beatles. It was first released in 1966 on the album Revolver. Paul McCartney wrote it.

Here are the lyrics from that song:

I was alone, I took a ride, 

I didn't know what I would find there

Another road where maybe I could see another kind of mind there



Ooh, then I suddenly see you,

Ooh, did I tell you I need you 

Every single day of my life



You didn't run, you didn't lie

You knew I wanted just to hold you

Had you gone, you knew in time, we'd meet again

For I had told you



Ooh, you were meant to be near me

Ooh, and I want you hear me

Say we'll be together every day



Got to get you into my life


What can I do, what can I be,

When I'm with you I want to stay there

If I'm true I'll never leave

And if I do I know the way there



Ooh, then I suddenly see you,

Ooh, did I tell you I need you 

Every single day of my life



Got to get you into my life

Got to get you into my life



I was alone, I took a ride, 

I didn't know what I would find there

Another road where maybe I could see another kind of mind there



Then suddenly I see you,

Did I tell you I need you

Every single day...

Okay, what do you think this song makes me think about? A past relationship? Perhaps. No, it’s not an old girlfriend or a close friend.

What this song makes me think about is God. Normally I am not one to be “preachy”. Maybe I should be, because this song reminds me just how important it is to have God in your life.

It boggles my mind that people can go through life without having God in their lives. With all the challenges, hardships and dilemmas in our everyday lives, how can someone choose not to have God as a part of their life?

What troubles me is when people that I am close to and care about, do not have God in their life. I often pray that God somehow touches them and becomes a part of their lives. Perhaps I need to do so more often.

One last thing while I’m being “preachy”. Please don’t get hung up on specific religions or labels. I am Catholic, but have friends of many faiths - Lutherans, Protestants, Jews, non-denominational Christians and (gasp!) even Muslims to name a few.

It’s not that important to me what their specific ideology is. It really isn’t. I’m not so arrogant to think that the only people God chooses to enter heaven will be Catholic.

What is important to me is that they have God in their lives in one form or another. To my friends that don’t have God in their lives, I will continue to pray that God touches you.

We all need God in our lives. Every single day…

Okay, I will stop being “preachy” now. I am going to listen to some music. Maybe “Faith in Something Bigger” by The Who or “God on My Side” by World Party.

Until next time…from the booth.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Top 5 Lists

Being a long time fan of lists, I have decided to do a rare Friday afternoon blog made up of with lists. There are ten lists, with categories ranging from my favorite movies to my favorite pasta. Each list features my top 5 favorites with several honorable mentions. As always, I encourage feedback. Feel free to let me know what your favorites are in the different categories. Also, don’t hold back from telling me how whacked you think my choices are. I will be anxious to hear what you think.

FAVORITE MOVIES

1. Bang The Drum Slowly
2. We’re No Angels
3. Slap Shot
4. My Cousin Vinny
5. Breakfast Club

Honorable Mention: Untamed Heart, My Bodyguard, The Jerk, A League Of Their Own and Roadhouse.

FAVORITE PASTA

1. Rigatoni
2. Gnocchi
3. Ravioli
4. Lasagna
5. Linguine

Honorable Mention: All the rest!

FAVORITE WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAYS? PERFORMERS (BBC)

1. Tony Slattery
2. Ryan Stiles
3. Colin Mochrie
4. Greg Proops
5. Michael McShane

Honorable Mention: Brad Sherwood, Chip Esten, Josie Lawrence and Clive Anderson.

FAVORITE NFL UNIFORMS

1. Green Bay Packers
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. Dallas Cowboys
4. Indianapolis Colts
5. Chicago Bears

Honorable Mention: Pittsburgh Steelers (The Condensed Futura font has to go!)

KENOSHA PIZZA

1. Luigi’s
2. Jimano’s
3. Villa De Carlo
4. Ruffolo’s
5. Pa’s Pizzeria

Honorable Mention: Infusino’s and DeRango’s.

FAVORITE BANDS

1. The Who
2. R.E.M.
3. Queen
4. BoDeans
5. Alice Cooper

Honorable Mention: World Party, U2 and The Rolling Stones.

FAVORITE TV SHOWS OF ALL TIME

1. The Wire
2. The Sopranos
3. Northern Exposure
4. Survivor
5. Monk

Honorable Mention: Leave It To Beaver, Seinfeld, Are You Being Served?, Hell’s Kitchen, After You’ve Gone, The Match Game, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Wings, The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP In Cincinnati and The Andy Griffith Show.

FAVORITE TMJ4 “CHICKS”

1. Diane Pathieu
2. Susan Kim
3. Melissa McCrady
4. Lauren Leamancyzk
5. Melanie Stout

Honorable Mention: Courtny Gerrish, Heather Shannon and Carole Meekins.

FAVORITE ATHLETES

1. Paul Hornung – Packers
2. Prince Fielder – Brewers
3. Robin Yount – Brewers
4. John Anderson – Packers
5. Gino Cavallini – Admirals

Honorable Mention: Randy Hundley – Cubs, Mark Brouhard – Brewers, Ray Nitschke – Packers, Bart Starr – Packers, Dorothy Hamill – Skater and Jaromir Jagr – Penguins.

FAVORITE SITCOM CHARACTERS

1. Dr. Bob Hartley – The Bob Newhart Show
2. Eddie Haskell – Leave It To Beaver
3. Barney Fife – The Andy Griffith Show
4. “Coach” Ernie Pantuso – Cheers
5. Lowell Mather – Wings

Honorable Mention: Lou Grant – The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Louie DePalma – Taxi, Dan Fielding – Night Court, Buddy Sorrell – The Dick Van Dyke Show, Larry Mundello – Leave It To Beaver, Granny Clampett – The Beverly Hillbillies, George Owens – Mr. Belvedere and many, many more.

There you have it! Top five lists of ten of my favorite things. You can leave your feedback in the comments section of this blog or on facebook. Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WARNING! Merging Morons!

Tonight was the eighth episode of the 21st season of Survivor and it was day 19 in Nicaragua. The show immediately started with both tribes receiving tree mail. La Flor received a key and was told to gather their belongings and make their way over to the Espada camp. When they got there, the Espada tribe and a huge treasure chest greeted them. Everyone was giddy, knowing that the long awaited merge was finally here.

The chest was opened, revealing a feast that included salami, bread, fresh fruit, flour and other many other items to cook with. It also contained bright red buffs for the newly formed tribe. All that was left was to decide upon a new name.

Marty quickly came up with “Libertad” and said that it meant liberty. When Fabio said, “Cool!” it was official. Libertad was the name of the new tribe. Then the fun began.

Remember I said that the treasure chest was chock full of cooking items? Well, the nefarious Nay opted to steal the flour, a frying plan and a bunch of fruit.

When she was noshing on a juicy piece of fruit, she declared, “It tastes better when you’re stealing it!” I guess you can take the girl out of the ghetto but you can’t take the ghetto out of the girl.

The challenge tonight was for dual Individual Immunity – one for the ladies and another for the guys. The challenge consisted of holding up a steel rod using two strange looking handles. The two winners came as a bit of a surprise to me.

The ladies Immunity went to the cantankerous Jane, while the slightly fried Fabio garnered the prize for the guys. They were both safe from being voted out at Tribal Council.

The only question left was which one of the ten remaining morons would get voted off and become the first member of the jury.

Okay, we know it couldn’t be Jane or Fabio.

Benry, Purple Kelly, Holly and Chase hadn’t been very obnoxious lately, so they should see another week. Besides, we must remember that Chase still has the “lunch box” factor going for him.

Brenda and Sash are calling the shots, so barring a humongous blind side; they will continue to call Nicaragua home for the foreseeable future.

For some inexplicable reason, Dan is still around. Don’t ask me how or why. In the Immunity Challenge he held the steel rod up for an amazing three seconds. Yet he wasn’t being considered for elimination. He must have compromising pictures of producer Mark Burnett.

Although Nay is a foul-mouthed, mean-spirited, thieving scumbag, she has an alliance with Brenda. So the dirty rotten snake was safe. I have to admit, she does make for good television.

That leaves Marty and Alina. Nobody seems to like either one of these people, so it was anyone’s guess who the morons would choose. Despite Marty developing a bad case of diarrhea of the mouth at Tribal Council, Alina is the one chosen to leave Nicaragua.

I told you these people are morons. It’s as if they have never seen Survivor before.

A few parting observations:

The quote of the night was Purple Kelly saying, “We need to get all the girls together…and Sash, to vote off Marty.” There was need for her to say “and Sash”. We knew what she meant.

The creepiest moment of the night was after the Immunity Challenge. As soon as the Individual Immunity necklaces were awarded, Jane immediately jumped onto a shocked Fabio, wrapping her legs around his midsection, vigorously dry humping him.

That sealed the deal for me. I finally have someone to root for – Fabio. The likeable lug is starting to grow on me. Even though he has an occasional burner moment, there is an adorable naiveté about him. And anyone who can take crusty old Jane grinding all over him is a true Survivor!

Until next time…from the booth.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Very Special Visitors

This afternoon I was fortunate enough to be paid a visit by two celebrities. Straight from the 1995 box office hit Toy Story, Woody and Buzz Lightyear were kind enough to stop by. They were on the way to a Halloween event at the Milwaukee Zoo when they decided to stop in Kenosha. Don’t believe me? Check out these photos.


Woody and Buzz

Buzz, Up Close and Personal

Woody, Being Very Introspective

See, they were really here! After a snack of Halloween cookies on a stick and juice boxes, they were back on the road. Don’t worry; they took a couple of boxes of Dots for the trip north. This will always be a special Halloween for me. Man, Woody and Buzz…

Until next time…from the booth.