Friday, April 29, 2011

My Royal Family

In case you live in a cave, Prince William and Kate Middleton were declared man and wife at London's Westminster Abbey, in front of a congregation of around 1,900 and a worldwide television audience estimated at as many as 2 billion. I woke up this morning around 6:30 CDT, shortly after the Royal nuptials had taken place. It didn’t matter; I hadn’t missed a thing. Through facebook, I was able to get a blow-by-blow recap thanks to my Royal Family.

Where did I get my Royal Family? Let me explain.

About five years ago I became friends with a wonderful lady named “Bev” from Essex, England. Although her actual name is Beryl Cooper, I first knew her as Bev. Since then, I have discovered that she is known by many names, Doris, B and Bel to name only a few.

Through Bev, my Royal Family on facebook has grown exponentially. Here is the hierarchy:

Bev Cooper
Ben Cooper, Bev’s son
Louise Cooper, Bev’s daughter (a princess in her own right)
Debbie Lammas, Bev’s baby sister
Scott Lammas, Debbie’s husband
Sue Symes, Bev’s oldest sister (this blogs number one British fan)
Margaret Martin, Bev’s older sister
Emma Groves, Margaret’s daughter
Christine Tulley, Bev’s older sister
Carol Ostwald, Bev’s older sister
Keith Taylor, Bev’s younger brother
Mandy Taylor, Keith’s wife (became quite emotional during the event)
David Taylor, Bev’s youngest brother (sported a tuxedo on facebook for the event)

The banter on facebook amongst my Royal Family was truly unbelievable. It was far more insightful than anything I could get from Meredith Vieras and her cohorts on the Today show. I was able to get a true sense of what they were feeling during the course of events.

It brought to mind the massive amount of comments made on facebook during the Super Bowl. This was equally impressive. All of these comments and remarks made me wish that I had set my alarm clock and joined them.

Unfortunately I did not. However, thanks to my Royal Family, it was if I was right there with them. Again, I thank them for that.

Well it’s almost time for tea, so I had better get going. Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Perhaps I have been watching Survivor too long. Maybe 22 seasons is a bit much. Or, possibly I have become jaded with the award winning reality show. All I know is that for the past six weeks there has been absolutely no suspense at Tribal Council. Sure, Jeff Probst gets Special Agent Phil to act like a moronic buffoon and the Furry Farmer usually says something that is unrecognizable to most human beings, but in the end you know exactly who is being voted off and sent to Redemption Island. Things have become quite mundane and downright boring!

Even with the “twist” tonight, everyone knew that Steve was also going with the Furry Farmer to join Matt and Mike on Redemption Island. Was there ever a doubt? Not in my mind.

By the way Probst, your little trick isn’t working. No one is fooled when you first read all of the votes for the person that you want us to believe could possibly be voted off. Then the remainder of the votes are for the person that everyone knows is going home.

You have done this religiously the last four or five weeks. Boring!

Being a longtime Survivor Geek, I still feel compelled to continue watching, but enough is enough. Boston Rob and his gang of mindless zombies are getting the best of me. I swear that if I hear one of them say, “Boston Rob’s so smart” one more time, I will scream.

Rather than boring you even more by continuing to rant about how bored, I will do a quick recap of season 22. With eleven episodes in the book, there are only two more Wednesdays left before the big finale on Sunday, May 15.

Remaining on Redemption Island are Matt, Mike, Steve and the Furry Farmer. The only one out of this group to have a remote chance of getting back in the game is Mike. He has plenty of smarts and does very well in challenges.

It would be extremely interesting to see Matt do something, but he is totally spent emotionally. It’s a dirty shame, I think the thought of him returning tightens Boston Rob’s sphincter.

Then there are the six left from the old Ometepe tribe and it’s time for them to start slitting each other’s throats. Now that I think of it, that might just be interesting.

The only thing is they are so unlikeable; I have a real hard time rooting for any of them. Let’s see if I can come up with somebody to pull for.

It certainly won’t be Natalie. She is too much of a whiney little snitch and often has that deer in the headlights look on her face, especially when Boston Rob is around.

Ashley is quite similar to Natalie, only not nearly as dim. Plus, she does fill out her bikini bottom quite nicely, but I guess that’s not enough. Heavy sigh…

Special Agent Phillip was entertaining for most of the season, however he just acts weird now and in a very bizarre, tiresome manner. I want him to go away and take his pink skivvies with him.

Boston Rob doesn’t need anyone pulling for him; the title of Sole Survivor is his too win. He’s just so damn cocky and that stupid accent of his…

That leaves only Andrea and Grant to choose from. Although she is from Wisconsin, Andrea is easily the most annoying, sickening competitors there is this season.

Someone should tell her that she is from Random Lake, Wisconsin not the San Fernando Valley in California. Like for sure, you know what I mean?

The only thing more irritating than the way she talks is her facial expressions. I don’t know which is worse, when she is nodding mindlessly in agreement with Boston Rob or when she scrunches up her nose and looks like she is annoyed for absolutely no reason at all.

I guess that leaves me with just Grant to support. He really hasn’t done anything obnoxious or stupid and he was the sole person with big enough cojones to eat the fish even though Boston Rob told all his disciples not to.

There you have it, I am officially a Grant backer. Let’s just hope that he can do something to make things a little less predictable. He has to, I can’t handle any more boring Survivor.

If you haven’t already done so, make sure that you vote in my new poll located on the right side of the blog. Until next time…from the booth.

Monday, April 25, 2011

You Can’t Judge A Book…

You can't judge a book by its cover is an adage that means before you can judge something; you need to take a deeper, closer look at it. The worth of something is not always evident from what we see on the surface, so we should save our judgments until we know more. You can't judge a book by its cover means that when you have only seen the surface of something, you cannot know what is on the inside.

How many times have you formed an opinion about something without giving it a chance? I am definitely guilty of doing this. Often times when you do this, you miss out on something enjoyable and maybe even exceptional or special. Just because you had a preconceived notion.

In the past I was at fault for doing this when it came to music. Unless it was some form of rock, I wasn’t going to listen to it; wouldn’t even give it a chance.

Country ‘n’ Western? It didn’t have a hope; I didn’t like either of those styles. Jazz, Rap, Techno, Bluegrass, Hip Hop or Opera? Forget about it, no way. The same for Grunge, Punk or Metal. None of these were my cup of tea.

So in my case, judging a book by its cover meant not listening to music simply based on its genre. With such a musical bias, it’s no wonder that I was constantly listening to the Who, Queen, R.E.M. or the BoDeans.

That is until recently.

In the past few months I have come across some music that is not only pleasurable to listen to, but also has words that have meaning. 

Consider these lyrics:

Now the battle hymns are playing
Report of shots not far ways
No prayer, no promise, no hand of God
Could save their souls that April day
Tell their wives that they fought bravely
As they lay them in their graves
Or these:

By a lonely harbor wall,
she watched the last star falling
As that prison ship sailed out against the sky
Sure she'll wait and hope and pray,
for her love in Botany Bay
It's so lonely 'round the fields of Athenry.
Whose music is this? Is it U2 or Dylan? No, think something a little more current. Could it possibly be Faith Hill, Eminem or even Jay-Z?

No, it’s these guys – 
They are Dropkick Murphys, an Irish-American Celtic punk band formed in Quincy, Massachusetts. Their influences include Stiff Little Fingers, The Pogues, The Clash, AC/DC, and the Swingin' Utters.

Dropkick Murphys have been known for supporting working class and union causes, and have a strong relationship with the AFL-CIO. On February 22, 2011, in support of Wisconsin workers’ rights, the band released their song “Take ‘Em Down” from the album “Going Out In Style” on their website along with creating a limited edition “Take ‘Em Down” t-shirt which will benefit the Workers’ Rights Emergency Response Fund.

From their album, “The Warrior’s Code”, the song, "Last Letter Home", contains excerpts from personal letters between Sgt. Andrew Farrar, his mother and his wife. The following is taken from the album notes:
We had already finished this song that was based on general correspondences to and from the soldiers serving in Iraq, when we were contacted by the family of Sgt. Andrew Farrar who had recently died while serving there.
The family wanted to tell us he was a big supporter of the Dropkick Murphys. They also passed on a letter that he had written to his mother shortly before his death in which he thanks her for sending him a Dropkick Murphys CD and said that if anything should happen to him while in Iraq, he would like one of our songs played at his funeral.
He also left behind a wife, Melissa and two young boys Tyler and Liam. His tour of duty in Iraq was coming to an end and was due to come home and renew his wedding vows with Melissa to another song of ours, “Forever”. Sgt. Farrar died on January 28th, on his 31st birthday.
We were present at his funeral to grant his wish and played "Fields of Athenry" as his casket entered the church. This song was re-written to include excerpts from that letter.
The band released a single, with the family's permission, including the Andrew Farrar-dedicated “Fields Of Athenry” and “The Last Letter Home”. All proceeds went to the Farrar family.

Pretty good stuff for some loud “punks” from Boston. And to think, not so long ago I wouldn’t have given them the time of day based solely on their looks and musical genre.

Please remember, you can’t judge a book by its cover. You just might be missing something special. Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Special Agent My Ass

Typically my Survivor recap blogs are written with my tongue placed firmly in cheek, trying to get a laugh. That’s not the case tonight.  What took place on Survivor: Redemption Island really pissed me off. The episode started out in fairly standard fashion. Matt was praying on Redemption Island while the former members of Zapatera, Julie, Steve and the Furry Farmer, were lamenting their inevitable demise and Special Agent Phil was acting crazy. Oops, did I say crazy or did I mean the “N-word”?

Special Agent my ass.

Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of how a war over rice turned into a full-blown race war.

Due to the fact that there were only three left from the former Zapatera tribe, Julie, Steve and the Furry Farmer had an abundant supply of rice and were stuffing their faces with it. Why not?

This irritated Special Agent Phil greatly. So much so, that after throwing a bizarre tantrum, he announced that he was gonna steal Zapatera’s rice when they weren’t looking.

Special Agent my ass.

Before he could pull off his covert mission, one of Rob’s bimbos discovered that the former Ometepe tribe’s supply of rice had become contaminated with maggots. Survivor karma, perhaps?

After removing the maggots as best as they could, Special Agent Phil approached Steve and Julie to explain what was going on with the Ometepe rice. He then asked if it would be okay to put their rice in with the Zapatera rice.

After about 10 seconds of deliberation, Steve told him that he didn’t think it was a good idea. This refusal ignited yet another Special Agent outburst of temper.

After listening to all he could, Steve, with a look of amazement on his face told Special Agent Phil that he was crazy. That’s when all hell broke loose.

Long story short, Special Agent Phil equated Steve calling him crazy (which he is) with calling him the “N-word”. And he expressed this fact in a very demonstrative fashion. I’m surprised the Reverend Jesse Jackson wasn’t flown in. Even his own tribe was appalled with this disgusting exhibition.

Special Agent my ass.

This blatant playing of the race card compelled the usually stoic Julie to steal the Special Agent’s swimming shorts. She took them into the woods, dug a hole, buried them and covered them with a large rock. By doing so, he was left with only his pink panties to wear.

Despite the Special Agent’s stomach-churning display, I knew that Rob would not permit his faithful minions to vote to banish him to Redemption Island. I just knew it.

Rob’s trio of bimbos continued expressing their utter abhorrence for him and host Jeff Probst acted astonished as he forced us to relive every nauseating moment at Tribal Council.

Yes, Producer Mark Burnett did his very best to make you think that everyone had had enough of Special Agent Phil’s outlandish antics. They wanted us to believe he was going to be voted off to Redemption Island. But I knew better, there was no way.

And I was right. Rob’s mob kept the Special Agent and sent Julie packing off to Redemption Island to join Matt and Mike. However, before leaving, she left him with a parting shot. Leaning down, she told Phil, “Guess you’re never gonna find your shorts.”

Special Agent my ass.

Time is running out on my Leave It To Beaver poll, so vote if you haven’t already done so. Until next time…from the booth.

Friday, April 15, 2011

He’s Back!

Last Saturday afternoon I caught the last few minutes of Shakin’ Up Kenosha hosted by Dennis Shook on cable access channel 14. Much to my surprise he was doing a phone interview with a former teacher of mine, Michael Feldman. They were discussing his popular radio show, “Whad’Ya Know”, which will be broadcast live from Kenosha’s Reuther Auditorium Saturday.

On Tuesday I received an email from Mary, a former classmate who has recently became a follower of my blog. She now lives in Ohio, but she had heard about Feldman doing his show in Kenosha. She emailed me, suggesting that I write about him, that perhaps people might be interested in hearing a story about him.

I remembered him quite well. He was my English teacher for my Junior year at Tremper High School. At that point he was easily the most unorthodox teacher that I ever had the pleasure of gaining knowledge from.

You see, Michael Feldman was different.

Back in the ‘70s, he was definitely classified as a hippy. He had a goatee, long hair and sported John Lennon type glasses. I don’t recall ever seeing him wearing a tie – at least, not around his neck.

The first day in class, rather than go over a syllabus, he had us move all of the desks out into the hallway. As we sat on the chairs, somewhat bewildered, we were informed that the chairs would also be gone as soon as we provided new furniture.

In the days to come, the room began to look nothing like a traditional classroom. Instead of the customary desks and chairs, it was filled with a large overstuffed sofa, several pieces of lawn furniture and a variety of beanbag chairs. I believe Mr. Feldman’s theory was that we would learn better in an environment that we were more comfortable in.

Another thing I remember is that he told us that if we ever had something more important to do, we didn’t have to attend his class that day. All we had to do was stop by and tell him that we wouldn’t be there. That’s mighty tempting stuff for a teenager, especially considering that our class was the last of the day.

Thing is, I don’t recollect anyone really abusing this unusual policy. The only time I ever took advantage of this privilege was on a Friday, because I was attending a weekend retreat for our church youth group.

Besides being different, Michael Feldman was also cool.

His unconventional methods definitely taught me many things. Not only did I learn about English, but I also discovered a lot about myself. 

Unbelievable as it may sound, Mr. Feldman actually gave us assignments. One in particular stands out in my mind. We had to write a paper on how we viewed the social structure of our class. We were encouraged to explain the different roles that individuals had and how we felt about them.

This paper opened my eyes to the fact that I enjoyed playing the part of the class clown. I loved making people laugh and come to think of it, still do.

The assignment also made me aware that I developed a dislike for a certain classmate that I had known since sixth grade. It wasn’t until we were in this class that I started to have this dislike for him. And it was because he was also a comic and I felt threatened by him. That paper made realize that.

Evidently, besides being different and cool, Michael Feldman also knew how to get people to think.

Those are some of my memories of him. When I asked Mary if she had any, she replied that she didn’t have him for a teacher at Tremper. However, while in college she had a job as a secretary in the main office at Reuther where Feldman was now teaching. 

She remembered that he chaired the first ever prom at Reuther and he officially dubbed it the “Un-Prom”, a clever homage to 7-Up’s “Un-Cola” campaign. The event was very successful and was the antithesis of what a traditional high school prom was at the time.  

More than thirty years later, things have come full circle for Michael Feldman. On Saturday, April 16th, he returns to Reuther with his successful “Whad’Ya Know?”  radio show.

The show is at 10:00 AM and people are asked to arrive early so they can be seated by 9:30 AM.  Feldman’s guests include State Representative Peter Barca, Diane Giles, reporter for the Kenosha News and musical guest will be Semi-Twang.

If you would like to learn more about Michael Feldman and his radio show, “Whad’Ya Know?", go to:

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Drinking The Kool-Aid

“Drinking the Kool-Aid” is an expression or metaphor that means to become a firm believer in something, to accept an argument or philosophy wholeheartedly and blindly without any critical examination. This term originated with the November 1978 Jonestown Massacre, where members of the Peoples Temple were said to have committed suicide by drinking Kool-Aid laced with cyanide distributed by Jim Jones.

Drinking the Kool-Aid was exactly what was happening on Survivor: Redemption Island this evening. But it wasn’t Jim Jones dispensing the Kool-Aid. No, none other than Boston Rob doled out this Kool-Aid.

Grant, Special Agent Phil, Ashley, Andrea and Natalie mindlessly adopted the dogma of their fearless leader without fully understanding the ramifications or implications of what he was doing.

Tonight Boston Rob instituted the “Buddy System” and these blockheads wouldn’t even go to the bathroom without holding each other’s hand. These halfwits have completely bought into his scheme not really knowing whether it will benefit them or not.

When you think about, Boston Rob is beginning to morph into the diabolical Peoples Temple leader, Jim Jones. And he is thoroughly enjoying the Svengali-like control he has over his former Ometepe tribe mates. It is as if he has a mesmeric influence over them.

This was evidenced when the Furry Farmer told Ashley and Natalie that if they helped him out, when it came to the million-dollars, he would vote for them rather than Boston Rob. 
When Ashley told Natalie that it wasn’t necessary to tell Boston Rob about the discussion, Natalie promptly told him about Ashley’s unabashed insolence.

While expressing his displeasure at Ashley’s blatant lack of respect, Boston Rob was glowing on the inside. He proudly announced that Natalie would be rewarded by going to the finals with him. I guess being a slimy little squealer has its benefits.

The final confirmation that the Bad Boy from Beantown had a stranglehold on what was left of the minds of Grant, Special Agent Phil, Ashley, Andrea and Natalie occurred shortly before the last Tribal Council.

On a hunch, the Furry Farmer checked the fishing nets. Much to his surprise he found an abundance of fish. He and the rest of the Zapatera tribe were ecstatic. Boston Rob, in an attempt to squelch their joy, quickly told them they shouldn’t eat the fish because they were dead.

The Furry Farmer told him he was crazy and proceeded to cook up his catch. While enjoying the feast, the Zapatera group offered some to the gang from Ometepe. Boston Rob immediately forbade them from joining in.

Only Grant had big enough cojones to eat some of the fish. The other four just stared forward with a collective blank look on their faces. Grant had better watch his step. I don’t think Jim Jones, oops, I mean Boston Rob, was very happy by this act of defiance.

Both the Immunity Challenges and the pair of Tribal Councils were anticlimactic due largely to Boston Rob’s complete dominance of his five mindless zombies. Predictably, former Zapatera tribe members, Mike and David were sent to Redemption Island to join the pious Matt.

I suppose you have to admire the way Boston Rob has his people marching in lockstep. After all, the title of Sole Survivor and the million-dollar check that goes along with it are his for the taking. All that’s left is for him to keep them drinking the Kool-Aid.

Make sure you vote on the new poll before leaving. Until next time…from the booth.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sports Czar – Part 3

This is the final installment chronicling my glorious reign as Sports Czar. Today I work my magic with the National Football League. It was somewhat problematic because the NFL is easily the most popular of the four major sport leagues in North America. Although I did make drastic changes with the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball, the alterations that I have made with the NFL could have me charged with heresy. Hopefully, people will realize that as Sports Czar, there are no sacred cows. Not even the NFL.

After considerable deliberation, I decided not to shrink the size of the league. The current amount of teams, 32, is too ideal to mess with. Even as Sports Czar.

While the number did not change, I did feel it necessary to add, eliminate, relocate and adjust the divisions and conferences. Here is the new alignment:

National Football Conference

Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins

Green Bay Packers
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings

Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers
Miami Dolphins
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Los Angeles Rams
Oakland Raiders
San Diego Chargers
San Francisco 49ers

American Football Conference

Baltimore Colts
Buffalo Bills
New England Patriots
New York Jets

Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers
St. Louis Cardinals

Houston Oilers
Indianapolis Racers
Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans

Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs
New Orleans Saints
Seattle Seahawks

With the addition of the Racers and the Oilers, there will no longer be teams named Ravens or Texans. Putting a team back in Los Angeles meant the demise of the Arizona franchise. Sorry, Bill Bidwell.

Another obvious revision is the moving of several teams into different divisions or conferences or, in some cases, both.  All of these adjustments were made in the best interest of the NFL and it’s fans.

The regular season will remain at 16 games and will continue to use the current scheduling formula. The only minor change will be that all bye weeks will take place during weeks 7, 8, 9 and 10.

While the regular season design is basically unchanged, the same cannot be said for the playoffs.

As Sports Czar, only the eight divisional winners will qualify for the playoffs. This format does away with four wild card teams and the need for any byes. It also eliminates an entire round of playoffs.

There will still be a “media” week prior to the Super Bowl. During this time the Pro Bowl teams will be officially announced, but no actual Pro Bowl game will be played. In it’s place there will be an Hawaii Five O marathon featuring Jack Lord and James MacArthur.

There will only be a couple of other significant changes. No domed stadiums. None. Indianapolis, Detroit, Atlanta, New Orleans, Minnesota and St. Louis will have three years to make the necessary “modifications” to comply with this rule.

In accordance with the No-Dome rule, crappy artificial playing surfaces are a thing of the past. All teams will have three years to resurface their fields with the Kentucky bluegrass reinforced with DD GrassMater system used at historic Lambeau Field. This includes the extremely frugal McCaskey family.

The only other immediate change would be the method used when regular season games are tied at the end of regulation.

It will be simple and straightforward. The game will continue with a fifteen-minute overtime period played to its entirety. No Sudden Death. All regular fourth quarter rules will be used with each team receiving an additional timeout.

The score at the end of the extra session will be the final score. If the score is still tied, the game is officially declared a tie and hopefully your sister is good looking.

That’s it. My work with the NFL is done. A committee made up of Dick Butkus, Conrad Dobler and Bill Romanowski will be established to administer all other necessary rule changes.

Fortunately the Brewers have an off day, this Sports Czar stuff has worn me out. Until next time…from the booth.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sports Czar – Part 2

This is day two of being Sports Czar, as I continue my control of the four major sports leagues in North America. In Sports Czar – Part 1, I made some fairly comprehensive changes to the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association. Both saw a dramatic reduction in the number of teams participating in their respective leagues. Also, much to the chagrin of FSG Karen, I changed the manner in which the NHL decides their regular season games. Playoff formats were altered in both leagues, reducing the number of teams participating and therefore the number of rounds necessary to determine a champion.

In the second day of my reign as Sports Czar, I tackle Major League Baseball. Because of MLB’s storied history, the “improvements” I make will seem shocking and scandalous to some. Nonetheless, as Sports Czar, I cannot be concerned with public reaction.

As with the NHL and NBA, it is also necessary to pare the amount of teams in baseball. Six teams were eradicated, leaving 24 that are divided into two conferences featuring two divisions each.

The Sports Czar’s new MLB alignment:

Frick Conference

Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
New York Mets
New York Yankees
Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates

Atlanta Braves
Cincinnati Reds
Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals
St. Louis Cardinals
Texas Rangers

Kuhn Conference

Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins

California Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers
Oakland Athletics
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Seattle Mariners

Pretty wild having the Mets and Yankees and the Cubs and White Sox in the same divisions, huh? I realize these are drastic changes, but they had to be made. However, contraction and realignment is only the beginning of the draconian adjustments that I have made.

The amount of games played will be greatly reduced, lopping thirty games off of the current schedule for a new total of 132. No more starting the season in March and ending it in early November. That sort of tomfoolery is a thing of the past.

Teams will play the teams in their own division twelve times, the other conference teams six times and the teams outside of their conference 3 times.

The playoff picture under my leadership would be as follows: in each conference, the top two teams in each division are in. There will be a best of seven series, with the one vs. four and two vs. three format being used. The winners will go on to play for the conference championships, with conference winners playing in the World Series.

The rule changes are simple. No designated hitters and no instant replays. Plain and simple, neither have a place in Major League Baseball.

There is one other thing I would do away with. The mythological “unwritten rules” of baseball would also be a thing of the past. If it isn’t in the rulebook, don’t piss and moan about it. Take that, Tony LaRussa and Cardinal nation, you bunch of red asses.

Those are the enhancements that I, as Sports Czar, have made to Major League Baseball. I am submitting this blog early to give myself plenty of time to work on the NFL. That one will be a tough nut to crack.

Until next time…from the booth.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sports Czar – Part 1

Sports are on fire right now. At the moment, you have Major League Baseball underway with both the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association regular seasons winding down as teams jockey for playoff spots. If that’s not enough for you, the Masters Golf Tournament is going on and the National Football League is in court attempting to get it’s Collective Bargaining Agreement problems settled. So, with a veritable cornucopia of sports to feast upon, you would think that I would be satisfied. But I’m not, there is something lacking.

I want to be the Sports Czar.

That’s right, I want to be the Sports Czar. I want to control all of sports. I want sports to be the way I want them to be.

Well, not all sports, just the four major sports in North America. I’m not that power hungry.

My first act as Sports Czar would be to contract and move teams in each of the four sports. Next, I would adjust the number of regular season games played along with the playoff setup. Finally, I would change some rules and procedures currently in place.

A lot of my moves wouldn’t be popular among the unwashed masses, but what do care? After all, I am the Sports Czar.

The first league that I will “improve” is the National Hockey League. Eighteen teams would be immediately contracted, leaving a total of 12.

Here is the new NHL:

Boston Bruins
Montreal Canadiens
New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Toronto Maple Leafs

Chicago Blackhawks
Colorado Avalanche
Detroit Red Wings
Los Angeles Kings
Minnesota North Stars
St. Louis Blues

The season will be shortened to a total of 54 games. Teams will play the five teams in their own division six times and the six in the other division four times.

The playoffs will consist of the top four teams in each division playing best of seven series; one vs. four and two vs. three. The winners will play for the divisional championships. The divisional champs will square off in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Initially, the only other thing I will change is the way regular season games are decided. When a game is tied at the end of regulation, there will be a 5-minute sudden death overtime period. If the score is still tied at the end of the overtime, the game is a tie. No shootouts.

Wins, whether in regulation or overtime, will be worth 2 points to a team in the standings. Teams that tie will receive 1 point. Overtime losses get teams nothing.

That’s how my NHL will look. Here is how my National Basketball Association will shape up.

Once again, there will be a major contraction of teams. Fourteen teams will be eliminated, making the NBA a sixteen-team league under my tutelage.

Here is what it will look like:

Eastern Conference

East Coast
Boston Celtics
New York Knickerbockers
Philadelphia 76ers
Washington Bullets

Chicago Bulls
Detroit Pistons
Milwaukee Bucks
Indiana Pacers

Western Conference

Houston Rockets
Atlanta Hawks
San Antonio Spurs
Phoenix Suns

West Coast
Golden State Warriors
Portland Trail Blazers
Seattle Super Sonics
Los Angeles Lakers

The number of games in my NBA will be greatly reduced, because I really don’t like pro basketball anymore.

Teams will play teams in their division six times, the other teams in their conference four times and the teams outside of their division twice. This makes a total of 50 games.

Playoffs would be similar to the setup I have for my NHL. In each conference, the top two teams in each division will be in. Again, the one vs. four and two vs. three format will be used with the winners playing for the conference championships. Conference winners will vie for the NBA Championship.

I can’t think of any other changes that I would make right away. Like I said, I really don’t care for the NBA.

Take 24 hours to digest these somewhat radical changes. Tomorrow, in Sports Czar – Part 2, I will present what I have done to Major League Baseball.

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Finally! Survivor: Redemption Island has picked up some much-needed momentum. After several weeks of mediocre episodes, things finally got interesting again. What shocked me was the manner in which it regained it’d mojo. New people were actually thinking. Beauty queens were winning Immunity Challenges. Boston Rob was sweating a bit. Something occurred at Tribal Council that I couldn’t remember ever happening in the last ten seasons.

Oh, I almost forgot, Matt was left feeling forsaken.

Things started out with a bang with Matt winning his sixth straight duel at Redemption Island against a rather nippy Sarita. This meant he was back in the game and she was going home for good.

Award-winning host Jeff Probst made two significant announcements following the duel.

First, as expected, the tribes were merging. That wasn’t exactly breaking news. I think even the Furry Farmer saw that one coming.

The second bombshell was, that even though Matt was returning to the newly merged tribe, Redemption Island was back in play. Everyone’s face dropped, especially Matt’s.

When the new tribe found it’s way to its new beach they faced the daunting task of constructing a new camp. But not before they enjoyed yet another sumptuous feast. This one was complete with prosciutto, chicken and nuts.

After the feast, Boston Rob tricked the new tribe into naming itself, “Murlonio”. It was a goofy name that he and his lovely wife, Ambah had made up years ago.

Now for the surprising stuff I promised you.

The merge forced somebody from Zapatera, besides Dave, to think. It was so nice to see lunkheads like Mike and Steve finally strategizing. It was almost as if they had a clue.

The next stunner was when prissy diva, Natalie won the Individual Immunity Challenge which consisted of standing on a log while balancing some balls on a plate.

The other highlight of the challenge was when the leather-faced Julie pointed out in a not-so quiet whisper that, “There’s a fly on Mike’s Ball.”

Returning to camp after the challenge, the tribe congratulated Natalie and broke into small groups. One was a prayer group dubbed the “Christian Coalition” by Boston Rob.

Of course Matt was right in the middle talking about how he was put on Survivor to honor “his” God. Boston Rob’s comments made it quite clear that he wanted no part of this gathering and would just as soon see it broken up.

Shortly after the Kumbaya session ended, Matt decided to have a sit-down with Boston Rob. He passionately explained that “his” God told him to stick with the original Ometepe tribe, despite Mike trying to get him and Andrea to flip to the old Zapateras.

As soon as this meeting was over, Boston Rob made it clear that he thought Matt was a fool and was offended that he had snitched out Mike. It was at that point that he decided that Matt was going back to Redemption Island.

It was good to see the bad boy from Bean Town finally getting pissed. He was also a little concerned.

Tribal Council started out in typical fashion with Probst getting Special Agent Phillip to say something ridiculous. This only caused the members of his old tribe to laugh at him. When things finally got serious, it looked like Matt’s God might have told him to flip at the last minute. There were a lot of nervous glances being exchanged.

Then something occurred that I have trouble remembering ever happening before. When the individual tribe members were writing down their votes, they didn’t give us the usual tease.

They always reveal a couple of votes to set the table for when Probst reads them officially. Tonight there was none of that.

Before Probst read the votes, the Furry Farmer presented him with a Hidden Immunity Idol to protect Mike. Probst declared it authentic and read the votes.

The first five were for Grant and you could sense the collective sphincter of the old Ometepe tribe tightening. A vote for Steve was read before Probst revealed that the next five votes were for Matt.

This gave five to both Grant and Matt, while Steve had one. The last vote would decide who was being sent to Redemption Island. You could hear a pin drop.

After pausing dramatically for effect, Probst announced that Matt was going back to Redemption Island. Boston Rob had pulled it off in grand fashion, leaving Dave shaking his head and muttering, “Genius is what that was.”

Matt was understandably devastated. In his mind he had been forsaken. He said as much during the close at the end of the show. He said “his” God’s will was contradictory to what he wanted to happen. Duh.

Make sure you vote on the Survivor poll located to the right of the blog if you haven’t already done so. Until next time…from the booth.