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.


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.


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.


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

Honorable Mention: All the rest!


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.


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!)


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

Honorable Mention: Infusino’s and DeRango’s.


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

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


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.


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

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


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.


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 РFabio. The likeable lug is starting to grow on me. Even though he has an occasional burner moment, there is an adorable naivet̩ about him. And anyone who can take crusty old Jane grinding all over him is a true Survivor!

Until next time…from the booth.