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 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


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


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”.


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.


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.


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.