Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Scary Koos Inc. Moment

Since my tales of Koos Inc. have become so popular, I have decided to bring them back on occasion when appropriate. This new feature will be called “From The Koos Inc. Vault”. So, in keeping with the season, this column is about a very scary moment at Koos.

Previously I have mentioned the infamous Jap Shack. This rundown building served two functions, those being an “employee lounge” and a storage shed. The contents of each section had little in common. In the storage portion there were rusty machine parts and piles of empty fertilizer packaging that had become obsolete. Housed in the “employee lounge” was a toilet complete with sink, a couple of beat-up lockers and two dilapidated picnic tables.

However, there was one obvious common denominator for the two areas. It was disgusting filth, and plenty of it. If it was humid, everything was covered with a slimy film of mud that made the simple act of walking adventurous. If there was no humidity, all you had to contend with was a cloud of toxic dust that filled your lungs.

Humidity or no humidity, there was always ample amounts of garbage spread throughout the Jap Shack. It was everywhere. The odiferous trash made the “employee lounge” a less than desirable place when lunchtime rolled around. Hell, it made using the toilet less than desirable.

Occasionally when the piles of garbage got too high and the conditions became intolerable, an employee was sent over to remove the crud and attempt to make it somewhat bearable. In 1975, on a steamy summer afternoon, it was my turn to take on the squalor that inhabited the Jap Shack.

With a half hour left in the shift I was told that someone would be over with the front-end loader in 15 minutes, so I should get my fat ass over there and clean it up. Mumbling under my breath, I grabbed a shovel and push broom and trudged down the flight of steps, making my way to the inevitable misery that awaited me.

I hope it didn’t get past you that a front-end loader was needed to remove the mounds of debris that occupied the Jap Shack.

Here is what the job entailed. Start in one corner with the broom and start shoving the garbage into piles. When the accumulation got too large, you shoveled it into the two garbage cans. When those were filled, you starting filling large plastic bags with the foul-smelling rubbish.

Once all of the garbage was collected, you had to drag it over to a large door located in the storage section. That’s where the front-end loader comes into play. First you emptied the garbage cans into the bucket. You then completed the job by tossing all of the bags on top so that the loose trash from the cans didn’t blow around as the driver hauled it away.

On that steamy summer afternoon in 1975, I never completed the job of cleaning the Jap Shack. Let me explain.

Oh, I almost finished it, but not quite. I had swept it all into enormous piles. I had shoveled the garbage into the garbage cans. After filling the cans, I shoveled the rest into the plastic bags. I did all of that. I dragged the first garbage can over to the door. All that was left was to get the other one and the bags so that they could be hauled away. Then the job would be done.

But it never happened. Something happened that prevented me from completing this horrible task.

The first garbage can that I dragged over was a large round barrel type made of rubber with a removable lid. The second one was metal with a domed top that featured a swinging door.

When I inserted my hand inside that damned swinging door. “It” happened! “It” had been hiding inside waiting to shock and send fear into my very soul. “It” was hideous and “It” was poised inside that can aching to terrorize me, its’ unknowing victim.

“It” was a large, ugly brown rat that jumped out of the garbage can, landed on my hand, proceeded to crawl up my arm all the way to my shoulder. At that point, the rabies-infested rodent stopped on my shoulder, barred its pointed yellow teeth and stared into my eyes.

I had visions of “It” springing for my jugular vein, but my thunderous scream startled the fur-covered 10” spawn of Satan and “It” jumped off me as I ran for the door. 

The driver of the front-end loader had just arrived and was laughing at me. He asked why I was so pale and where was the rest of the garbage. I told him, not so politely, to do something to himself that isn’t physically possible.

“It” is why I never finished cleaning the Jap Shack.

Personally, having to relive that moment, I am now going to lay on the floor of the shower in the fetal position as warm water sprays down on me.

Until next time…from the booth.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Survivor 23.7

Here’s your Official Survivor: South Pacific Recap Trilogy for week seven:

Each week when I sit down to put in my two cents I think, “I hardly know where to begin!” This week is no exception. In fact, I don't know what they can possibly do to top this week’s episode!

Let's start by recapping the Redemption Island challenge. It was a typical Survivor challenge – part physical, part mental. Christine versus Mikayla and both ladies were determined. Nothing to make one even more determined than to hear your former teammates cheering on your competition. I think that put fuel in Christine’s fire and she won that thing with ease. I'm kind of rooting for her. The more I see her, the more I like her.

There was one panoramic Technicolor glorious ego boosting moment of Coach doing his Coach/Tai chi thing in the ocean as he chanted “I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy” and it cut to a huge rainbow as the music swelled. Wow. That was Oscar-worthy!

Coach continues to both amuse and repulse me as he led his tribe in prayer asking God to help them find an immunity idol he knew they already had. Frankly, if I was standing there at that moment I would have taken a step or two away from him lest I be caught in the lightening God might send to strike him down for his hypocrisy. I don't think you're supposed to use God to outwit your tribe, I'm just sayin'!

When he came back with Tree Mail and announced he'd found the Idol, which he had all along, I thought Brandon was going to cry! I recall reacting that way once in my life. I was 9 and my Dad bought me a new bike. Did I mention I was 9? Yes…well.

Actually, Coach and Upolu are getting a wee bit Jim Jones and Guyana like over all. After they won the Immunity/Reward Challenge he ordered them to get down on their knees in thankful praise. Upolu members might want to pass on the Kool-Aid at the next beach party! Of course, all of this high holiness sent silly Brandon into fits of glory. I was expecting him to break into tongues at any minute but he'll probably save that for the next time he's at Tribal Council.

This brings me to Savaii. Oh wacky, wacky Savaii. First, they put Cochran on rope duty during the Immunity/Reward Challenge. Now, I'm no genius but I'm pretty sure Cochran was never a boy scout and knows very little about tying or untying knots. I mean, the man wears his collar up and he's on an island for crying out loud!

So, of course, he screwed it up and got flustered. But not to worry because the great and powerful Wizard of Oz hatched a plan to send himself to Redemption and give Cochran his idol. Ozzy's so sure he's invincible that he made them all vote him off so he could go and beat the evil Christine and return, triumphant, just in time for a merge.

They “think” a merge is coming. They're not 100% sure, mind you, so this whole cockamamie plan could backfire. The best thing that could happen, and I'm hoping against hope that it does, is for Ozzy to get to Redemption and get his ass handed back to him in a hat by Christine. He may have overlooked the kind of internal fire staying alone at Redemption Island can give someone. Please, Christine, take him out! On a side note, he did make a cute Pippi Longstockings at the Immunity Challenge with his piggy tails and all.

This season really is the story of two egos. But, I have a suspicion that Coach and Ozzy will implode sooner or later and, so far; only tough Christine and wimpy Cochran seem to have anything inside them that will make them push for a big move. The rest of them are lemmings and will get picked off one at a time. Can't wait till next week. Until then I will be keeping my fingers crossed and hoping Ozzy loses the Redemption challenge which would then make him the all-time biggest DOOFUS in Survivor history!

This week was the Ozzie show, complete with pigtails and yet another dramatic emotional breakdown. But more about that in a minute. Let’s talk about my man Coach. I’ve decided that Coach should throw his hat in the ring for a political office. This week he quickly ditched his “honor, loyalty, and integrity” mantra for “kill or be killed” in the opening few minutes of the show. Say what?

He lead yet another prayer service with his tribe in which he prayed to Jesus to find the immunity idol that he already had found, then flip flopped again and allowed the idol to be “discovered” so that the team could be united. Coach, Coach, Coach!! You’re all over the place again! I declared loyalty to you and you’re acting like a member of Congress!

On to the Reward Challenge, where two players were tied together and blindfolded, then had to navigate an obstacle course and retrieve mask puzzle pieces. Lots of falls and head injuries ensued.

It was neck and neck until Upolu gained a big lead because Cochran couldn’t figure out how to tie the ropes for his team. I guess those Harvard smarts don’t involve knot work. The Upolu tribe won and they promptly held another prayer service where they again thanked Jesus and their heavenly Father, and Brandon once again did the “thanks for having my back bro” point to heaven move. I’m a religious gal myself, but it just seemed out of place and over the top.

But not to be upstaged by the righteous Upolu, the even more righteous Ozzy quickly took stage front and center. Sporting a lovely pair of silken braids, the Wizard of Oz took on the appearance of an angry schoolgirl as he had this week’s fit of outrage complete with attacking a wall. I don’t blame him for being upset…his team has totally sucked! 

And what was this week’s big reward?  A sneak preview of the soon to be released Adam Sandler movie in which Sandler apparently plays the main character AND his own twin sister.  Not only was it shameless product promotion CBS, but the movie looks awful.  After seeing the trailer for the movie, my husband just shook his head and said, “I would lose on purpose rather than see that movie”.  I hope the hot dogs and popcorn at least were good.

Back at Savaii Ozzy continued to be whiney, self righteous, silly and obnoxious. After the Redemption Island duel between Christine and Mikayla, in which Christine easily won, Ozzy declared that someone would need to now go to Redemption to “take her out”! The would-be assassin? The Wizard of Oz himself. 

After his petulant meltdown over the lost Immunity Challenge he marched into Savaii with his immunity idol around his neck and announced that he must be sent to Redemption. Some of his teammates, particularly Jim and Keith, did not think it was a good idea and rightly so.

But at tribal council, Ozzy stuck to his plan and gave Cochran the idol, putting forth a convoluted villain double agent scheme involving Cochran that I didn’t really understand. Probst pointed out that if Ozzy loses, he would leave the show an even bigger loser than last time.

What if the merge doesn’t happen right away?  What if Christine kicks Ozzy’s ass?  What if Cochran refuses to give back the idol? The Wizard named Oz doesn’t seem too worried about it. He gleefully ran down the path after tribal council like a kid heading off to the playground. Ridiculous. I hope that Christine, who was clearly on the verge of losing her mind out there, takes him out!! I’ve had enough of Ozzy.

Let’s get the Redemption Island Duel result out of the way right away. “Mikayla, your adventure has come to an end.” That’s right, Christine won her fifth duel in a row and is undefeated. The significance of her victory would set the tone for the rest of the show.

As soon as Ozzy and Cochran came back from watching the duel, Ozzy was talking a game-changing strategy. Actually, it was a zany, bizarre, madcap, screwy and downright wacky scheme. It was insane, is what it was!

The plan would be for Ozzy to give his Hidden Immunity Idol to Cochran and then go to Redemption Island. The next part of the plan would be for him to defeat Christine in the duel. This would even the tribes at six each, which is crucial because EVERYONE knows the merge is going to happen instantly after the duel.

Being a bit assumptive don’t you think, Ozzy? Besides presuming the merge is next up on the Survivor agenda, hasn’t he considered the possibility that the person on Redemption Island won’t immediately be returned to the newly merged tribe?

Evidently not, because those yahoos from Savaii went ahead and voted Ozzy off to Redemption Island. This despite Cochran turning in a God-awful performance in the Immunity Challenge that cost them Immunity and a chance to see an Adam Sandler movie while eating popcorn.

Speaking of God, I think my friend, Patty 4-Names put it best on facebook when she left this comment, “Coach is gonna get struck by a great, big bolt o’ lightning!” She was referring to Coach’s incessant praying.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe strongly in prayer. Because of my belief that prayer is indeed powerful, I feel that it should be done with sincerity and conviction.

Not to judge, but this was hardly the case with Coach’s intercessions this evening.

He was praying before the challenge, during the challenge and directly after the challenge. He even took the opportunity to ask “the Father” to help his Upolu tribe find the Hidden Immunity Idol. An Idol he already possessed. Liar, liar pants are on fire.

Cue the great, big bolt o’ lightning.

At the end of the night I had no idea whom I was rooting for anymore. On the Savaii side we have Ozzy making knuckleheaded decisions. Cochran is useless, hopeless, worthless and any other –less word you can think of. Jim, the “legal” dope dealer is smarmy and Dawn is neurotic. I guess that leaves Keith and Whitney. Yippee.

Over at camp Upolu there is the sacrilegious Coach and his ballistic altar boy Brandon Hantz running the prayer meetings. We also have Cowboy Rick and his bad porn mustache. Edna is just Edna and that isn’t a good thing. All you have left is Sophie and Albert. Wow.

 Christine over on Redemption Island is looking better and better all the time.

Until next time…from the booth.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Gracias, Pablo

We have all made fun of someone when we thought they weren’t aware that we were doing it. We catch someone doing something that isn’t “normal” and jump on the opportunity to poke fun at him or her before they are aware of what is going on. Not nice, but fairly innocent. I have done it and you have done it. Admit it. But, have you ever been so cowardly as to make fun of someone when they didn’t speak the same language? 

Once upon a time, a couple of guys at Koos Inc. did.

The Hayssen machine was humming that day. Those 10 pound bags of Safe Step ice melter were flying up that inclined conveyor belt nonstop.

Benny and I were standing at the top of the line, grabbing the plastic bags, alternately filling up larger brown paper bags. When there were six in the bag, we would slide them down the table to Willie and Russell. Their job was to tape the bags shut and stack them on a pallet. When there were forty bags on the pallet (2400 pounds), a forklift pulled it away and the routine would begin again.

And again. And again. And again.

The only time this tedious, mind-numbing and body-wearying process stopped is when the roll of plastic film on the Hayssen machine ran out. At that point, the operator of the machine would poke his head out of the small room that encased it and holler, “Clean it up!”

That’s right, when we finally got a break from the monotony; we were expected to clean up the area. We were supposed to sweep, shovel and pick up any ice melter, plastic and any other debris that littered our area.

With a collective groan, we pushed our brooms around half-heartedly before plopping down to rest. Well, at least that’s what Willie, Russell and myself did.

But not Benny.

Benny was cut from different cloth than most of us. He was a working machine that would never stop. Benny could easily outwork two men. That’s what he did. Today Benny was outworking three men – me, Willie and Russell.

Perhaps I should give you a quick background of this phenom. Benny was from Mexico and didn’t speak English. He came to America to provide for his wife and kids back in his home country. Now, before you go calling Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Benny was as legal as you or me. Not that it mattered, but Koos Inc. was pretty thorough about such things.

Back to Benny putting us to shame.

While we were “lounging”, Benny was working up a storm. He was sweeping and shoveling at 100 mph. When he finished cleaning our area, he made his way over to bagger #3. That’s when Willie lost it.

“Shit, look at that ignorant fool”, were the first words out of Willie’s mouth. He didn’t stop there. Stupid, asshole and a bunch of words with Ks in them were soon flying.

Before long, Russell joined Willie and soon both were brashly chiding Benny for his work ethic. The entire time the demeaning barrage went on, they were laughing and slapping their knees and pointing at him.

Finally I had enough and bellowed, “Give it a break you guys!” Thankfully, Willie and Russell responded and stopped taunting the seemingly clueless Benny. He stopped cleaning and looked on intently.

With a big grin on his face, Willie said to me, “Shit, Paul, we was just having some fun.” He continued, “Besides, the dummy didn’t understand a single word we was saying.” Then for good measure, Russell added, “Hell no, not a damn word!”

Shaking my head, I told Benny’s tormentors, “Are you kidding me? Just because he doesn’t understand the words, he knows when someone is badmouthing him.”

When I finished saying that, I noticed Benny nodding his head at me. Our eyes met and when I smiled, Benny’s face lit up at and he beamed, “Gracias, Pablo.”

See, Benny understood a lot of things.

Until next time…from the booth.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Survivor 23.6

Here’s your Official Survivor: South Pacific Recap Trilogy for week six:

Something came over me when watching tonight's episode. I started seeing everyone on the show as a character in a sitcom. There were so many good lines tonight; I hardly know where to start. I mean, what exactly is the “greyside of Christianity” that Coach was talking about? How does one become a “radical for God” as Brandon referred to himself at Tribal Council?

Did everyone else see the slapstick humor in Brandon running all over the island climbing up each tree with those short stubby legs of his while searching for an idol that's already been found?

And wasn't it nice of Christine to add that touch of heart felt drama when she had her moment just before kicking some ass in Puck Shuffle Board? And that was just after she flipped the Bird to Cowboy! I loved when Cowboy made the realization that “if she comes back to the tribe she's going to kill us all!”

By the time we got to Tribal Council, and Brandon raised his hand to add some more dimwitted wisdom to the mix, I had the theme song for this sitcom going through my head. Come on now, sing it with me!! All together now!!

(sing this to the tune of the theme song to The Brady Bunch!)
Here's the story,
of a guy named Ozzy,
who was missing his cuddle buddy boo!
He whined and yelled and said he had the idol,
He's a free agent too!

Here's the story of a crazy Coach,
who thinks he's in charge of his whole tribe.
Wants to keep Edna, and not Mikayla,
to try stay alive.

But there's trouble with that Cochran 'cause he's thinking!
Ozzy had to eat a little crow,
and Brandon can't shut up at Tribal Council
He really has to GO!

Redemption Isle… Redemption Isle
Christine’s breaking down on Redemption Isle!

Actually, I am wishing for one thing in this season and one season only. I want Brandon to stay on the island until they get to the episode where loved ones come to the island. And then, I hope beyond hope, that Brandon's loved one will be his Uncle Russell Hantz. I can see it now. Probst calls him out from behind a bush or tree and Russell steps up to his nephew who goes in for a hug and Uncle Russell smacks the pouty, confused look right off his face! Please let that happen! Please!

*  *  *  *  *

Well I waited all week for this episode. Last week’s preview showed Ozzy having a hissy fit about being blindsided with the Elyse vote by his tribe mates and I couldn’t wait to see it.

Having a hissy fit on Survivor is a bad idea. It’s a bad idea in the early days of the game. It’s a bad idea in the middle of the game. It’s a bad idea any time in the game. And yet there was veteran player Ozzy declaring himself a “free agent” in the middle of nowhere.

Followed by the equally foolish move of letting the cat out of the bag that he had found the immunity idol. As expected, none of this played well with Savaii. They seemed surprised and rightfully disgusted. When Keith threw out the comment “If you want to go to Redemption Island just let us know”, I thought that might end the ego trip to nowhere, but it did not.
Over at Upolu, Brandon attempted to continue the Hantz legacy by looking for the immunity idol that, unfortunately for him, Coach already has it. Coach began to wrestle with his conscience, which is always a bad sign and Albert had to reign him in.

On Redemption Island Christine took on Elyse to stay in the game. Christine has been living alone on the island for most of the game and if you thought she was cranky before, she is SUPER cranky now.

Former teammate Rick tried to cheer her on, and she not so subtly flipped him off. He was taken aback. I’m still trying to figure Rick out. All I know right now is that he does NOT look good with his shirt off. Best line of the episode? When Sophie remarked that Christine was “just so negative”. Ya think? I laughed out loud.

Meanwhile back at Upolu Edna continued to wear that weird hat/newspaper thing on her head. What is that? She began to pay fake attention to Coach, and of course Coach likes nothing more than any kind of attention even if it’s fake. It was a recipe for disaster in the making…

As for Ozzy, after a period of moping he began to regret his free agent status. Jim wisely pointed out that free agency on Survivor is not a good strategy and is basically a train to nowhere. I gained new respect for smarmy Jim when he revealed that keeping Ozzy around was a win win for him because not only does he help to win immunity challenges, but when the merge happens Ozzy will have a bigger target on his back. This guy didn’t become a licensed pot dealer for nothin’.

When the immunity challenge rolled around I was relieved to see that this week it didn’t involve any exchange of bodily fluids. This was a good challenge. It involved collecting coconuts and then shooting them with a big sling shot at targets. I mean who doesn’t love exploding coconuts?

Unfortunately for Upolu, Mikayla insisted on using a one handed sling shot maneuver that was not effective, in spite of Coach’s suggestion that she “sit it out”, and their team lost. 

Coach was distraught that Mikayla was not “Coachable”, and thus set his sights on her for elimination. At this point Albert began to step forward as a strong player for me. He realized that this was evolving in a bad direction and tried to put a stop to it in a rational, well thought out way. 

He tried to talk strategy with Brandon, but became frustrated and pointed out that more than five minutes of strategy talk causes Brandon to grab his head and cry.

It’s true. He does.

However, he is easily persuaded and without much prodding turned away from his vendetta on the “whore of Upolu” Mikayla and set his sights on Edna.

At tribal council it came down to a choice between physically and mentally strong Mikayla or useless and, well, useless Edna.  Coach continued to veer off path with his honor loyalty and integrity speech, causing Brandon to get confused. He too then rambled a bit and used big words that he doesn’t understand like lasciviousness. 

In the end Mikayla was voted off, Coach told Brandon that he loved him and I just said… huh?  Edna is one of those players who doesn’t bring much to the table but knows who to play to stay alive. Albert said it well:  Loyalty can be faked. Coach EAT SOME PROTEIN DUDE YOUR LOSING IT! AGAIN!!!!

*  *  *  *  *

MORONS! IDIOTS! FOOLS! Okay, now that I have gotten that out of the way, I will get to my recap. Ozzy starts out the episode by declaring himself a free agent and revealing to the rest of the Savaii tribe that he has a Hidden Immunity Idol in his possession. Huh? Two extremely boneheaded moves made within seconds of each other by a Survivor “veteran”.

Just whom are you offering your free agent services to? You just alienated yourself from the rest of the tribe. Then you took it up a notch by telling them you also have the Idol. C’mon, Ozzy!

Perhaps Cochran put it best when he said this about Ozzy’s little tirade, “He’s just behaving like a stupid bitch.”

In the Redemption Island Duel, Christine takes a moment to flip off her former Upolu tribe mates before sending Elyse home for good. This is Christine’s fourth Duel victory, but the tough broad from New York is fading fast. Too bad, I like her moxie.

Tonight’s Immunity Challenge comes with the added reward of an afternoon at a natural waterslide complete with a picnic lunch. The challenge itself is a dandy.

First, each tribe has to assemble a wheelbarrow and negotiate it through a twisting maze. Along the way they must release two separate loads of coconuts into their wheelbarrow.

Once across the cross the finish line, they must take the wheelbarrow apart and build the parts into a giant slingshot. When that is accomplished, they must launch the coconuts with the slingshot at giant targets. The first tribe to knock down six targets wins immunity and the reward.

I told you it was a dandy.

Despite digging a huge hole for themselves at the start, Savaii stages one of the most remarkable comebacks since Lazarus. A crestfallen Upolu tribe looks on as the jubilant gang from Savaii scampers off to enjoy their reward.

At the reward, Savaii not only gets to frolic on the natural waterslides and eat big-assed sandwiches, they also reunite as a tribe when Ozzy finally admits he acted like a stupid bitch. See, just like Cochran said.

While all that merriment is going on, Upolu is moping around their camp trying to decide who they should vote off to Redemption Island. Coach wants to send Mikayla, while Albert prefers to see Edna go.

Because basket case Brandon is with Coach and Sophie is siding with Albert it comes down to Rick the porn ‘stache cowboy as the swing vote. Here’s the criteria he must base this crucial vote on:

Mikayla is a beautiful Lingerie League Football player from Florida. She has a sparkling personality, is strong, works hard around camp and is a force in challenges. Did I mention that she was beautiful?

Then we have Edna the anesthesiologist from California. She keeps to herself, is quite diminutive and because she is so weak and frail, is almost always left out of challenges. Oh ya, I almost forgot, she has become Coach’s personal lap dog.

With that in mind, guess who got voted off to Redemption Island? That’s right, Mikayla. Like I said before, MORONS! IDIOTS! FOOLS! They should be slapped. Oh well, she will finish off Christine at next week’s duel.

Until next time…from the booth.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thank You

Last night the Milwaukee Brewers’ season ended with a thud as they lost, 12-6, to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS. It was a sad ending to an otherwise wonderful season. When you think about it, they played longer than the Angels, Astros, Athletics, Blue Jays, Braves, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Indians, Mariners, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Rays, Red Sox, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Twins, White Sox and Yankees did. Fourteen of these teams had higher payrolls than the Brewers, while only five drew more fans.

Since last night, I have heard a myriad of meatball fans spewing their vitriol regarding the loss. When the ranting and raving started about who was to blame, I turned off the radio.

I was glad I wasn’t one of those guys. Choosing to remain upbeat, I decided to write a positive letter to my favorite baseball team.

Dear Milwaukee Brewers,

Thank you for the tremendous season. It provided many wonderful and magnificent memories, which I will treasure forever.  They included Corey Hart, Casey McGehee and Prince Fielder all hitting 3 home runs in a single game, Prince winning the All Star game MVP in Arizona, the unbelievable streak the team went on after the break, clinching the Division title against Florida and finally that amazing 10-inning win against the Diamondbacks to advance to the National League Championship Series.

These are only a few recollections that immediately come to mind, I am sure that many more will come to mind as I reflect on this record setting season. Again, I thank you.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Brewers provided so many incredible memories. After all, they have been supplying me with so many for the past four decades.

It started with getting the autographs from George “Boomer” Scott and Johnny Briggs at the Kenosha Burger Chef in 1972.

Or the time I skipped school my senior year to attend Opening Day in 1975. What made this so special was not the case of Pabst Blue Ribbon we drank on the way driving to the game, but that I was able to witness Hank Aaron’s first hit as a Brewer.

Next were all of those games in the mezzanine during the 1982 and 1983 seasons. I was fortunate enough to take my folks to several games in those choice seats. One memorable game was taking my nephew, “Little” Mike to his first baseball game. I can still see his wide-eyed look as he took it all in.

There was also the time I took Grandma ‘Trisch to a matinee game in the mezzanine. The game was secondary to Grandma; she was more concerned in getting one of those Doobie-Q hot dogs. After a while, I finally figured out she wanted a Dubuque hot dog. She loved it.

Going to the ALCS game in 1982 when Mark Brouhard became an instant hero is something I will never forget. Especially sitting in the cold rain with my buddies, Jimmy Gentile, Will Meurer and Kevin Hoff.

Of course, watching the heartbreaking 1982 World Series is etched in my mind forever. Seeing Robin Yount circling the warning track on his motorcycle during the post Series celebration quickly made the sting of the game seven loss go away.

Another unforgettable Robin Yount moment was being in attendance when his number 19 was retired on May 29, 1994 against the Seattle Mariners. The 9-8 win was the last Brewer game I saw in person.

The last game ever at County Stadium was on September 28, 2000. Elmer Dessens of the Reds got Mark Loretta to ground out to shortstop to end the game. The Brewers lost that game 8-1 and I was crying. It wasn’t the loss that brought me to tears; it was the closing ceremony that followed the game.

Legendary announcer Bob Uecker emceed the event, introducing greats from the Milwaukee Braves and Green Bay Packers. Familiar faces like Warren Spahn, Hank Aaron, Willie Wood, Fuzzy Thurston, Paul Molitor and Jim Gantner were there to salute the fans and the stadium.

When Uecker made his final player introduction, he began with, “his name is synonymous with the Brewers…” Robin Yount appeared from behind the left field fence and rode in on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. The 56,354 fans in attendance erupted in delight. I shouted, “Yes!”

When the player introductions were finished, Uecker did a brief reading dedicated to the old park as the lights were slowly turned off, standard by standard. He closed with a version of his trademark broadcast sign-off, “…so long old friend, and goodnight everybody.”

That’s when I lost it and started bawling like a baby.

Another cherished memory is June 25, 2005. On that Saturday night Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder both hit their first career big league home run. Weeks’ came off of Johan Santana in the first inning and Prince’s was off of Jesse Crain in the sixth. The pure unadulterated joy shared in the dugout with teammate J.J. Hardy is something I will never forget.

The next fond recollection is when the team made the playoffs in 2008. It was the first time Milwaukee had made the playoffs since 1982, obviously making this a very notable happening.

Prior to this season, the last Brewer memory that sticks out in my mind is Prince winning the 2009 Home Run Derby in St. Louis. Usually I am a casual observer of the Home Run Derby but this one was special because of Prince. What made it even more special was that Dad watched it with me. It would be the last time that happened.

That brings me back to the 2011 season. Sure the Brewers came up short in their quest to return the World Series, but I’m not going to dwell on the negative. I’m not that guy. Instead, I choose to relish all of the beautiful memories the Brewers gave me. For that, I give you a final thank you.

Until next time…from the booth.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Survivor 23.5

Here’s your Official Survivor: South Pacific Recap Trilogy for week five:
Tonight’s episode was nauseating. Seriously. I was nauseated. And I’m a NURSE who thinks she’s seen just about everything. But I’ll get to that in a moment. It all started out with Stacey and Christine talking trash about Coach on Redemption Island.

Stacey lost the challenge and was sent home, but before she left she gave me my favorite line of the week; wishing that her newbie enemies on Upolu would “Go to hell with gasoline drawers on”. I loved that and hope I can find a way to work it into casual conversation tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, back at camp in the morning Brandon was STILL crying about insults to the Hantz family name. Let me say it again. Hantz’s are freaks! 

When Coach found out that Christine and Stacy were calling him by his given name of Benjamin out of disrespect rather than his preferred title, he became enraged. Anyone remember the “Maestro” episode from Seinfeld? “Jerry he’s a CONDUCTOR”!! 

Stacey, he’s a coach!!

Now on to the nausea. The meat spitting immunity challenge was just gross. I was eating a late supper as I watched the show, and what did I get to see? The weirdest competition ever. There was pork and gristle flying, spit flowing, sweat dripping, not to mention audio enhanced slurping and grunting. 

Did I mention the picking of meat out of other people’s teeth with ones mouth? And then (here’s the kicker) the winners of the challenge took the saliva-drenched meat back to camp and fried it up and ate it.  Whoever came up with that challenge is a real sicko. I put my fork down in disgust and joined PETA!

At Savaii, post-challenge, Cochran worried aloud about possibly contracting herpes from the challenge. This is a legitimate health concern, but it only served to annoy his tribe mates. I still like Cochran.  He reminds me of a young Bill Gates. He’s going places bikini girls, WAKE UP. 

As "on the train" to nowhere, Ozzy was spooning in the hammock with his chosen beauty Elyse, his team mates began to see a Boston Rob and Ambah in the making and planned a blindside. 

At Tribal Council, as Ozzy confidently massaged his sore meat chomping jaw muscles, his chick was ousted. He looked stunned. The preview for next week shows an indignant Ozzy declaring himself a free agent. I can’t WAIT to see how that works out for him. Maybe he will just take to the trees and only come down for challenges! Fun stuff!
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Tonight's episode started promising what with Brandon Hantz crying in the first five minutes. He was so upset that Mikayla said she didn't like that he was a Hantz at Tribal Council. Boo hoo, Brandon's widdle feelwings got all hurted by that and he had a widdle crybaby time to himself.

Then there was the Redemption Challenge where Stacey outted Coach to the other tribe for the scoundrel he is. She refused to call him Coach, instead referring to him by his given name – Benjamin – which, when he heard that, made him very angry. I was thinking about writing something clever about men who have nicknames, but then it happened.

It being quite possibly the most disgusting, foulest, stomach sickening, throw up in my mouth challenge I have ever seen.

There they were, hands behind their backs, chomping off ginormous mouthfuls of what looked to be cold, coagulated barbecue pig and spitting them into a general basket to see which tribe could get more in their basket when the time was up.

OMG – the grinding, grunting sounds. OMG – the nasty camera angles showing them hocking up pork and spittle and goobers into the basket. Did they really have to have a “basket cam” that showed them spitting crap in there from inside the basket!!

OMG – the pieces of hanging pork fat and skin getting stuck in their teeth and their teammates coming to the rescue to pick it out using their own mouth. OMG!! I gagged. Seriously. And what was worse was the winning tribe got to keep their basket of wretched, spit covered, botulism! And they cheered!! Like it was a good thing!!! EW EW EW with a capitol EW!!!

I have seen Survivors eat a lot of gross and disgusting things. Usually those things were considered real food products in whatever part of the world they were stuck. None of those things ever made me feel as grossed out as this pork thing! And then they all got injured with broken teeth, dislocated jaws, cut up lips and cheeks. Yikes!

Afterwards, Cochran commented that they all just probably gave each other herpes. Ha-ha! He was right, but the rest of his tribe didn't appreciate the comment.

That challenge was so disturbing I almost couldn't concentrate for the rest of the show. But, there was a great blindside tonight. Cochran and Jim somehow managed to get some of Ozzy's alliance to help them vote off Elyse, his little snuggle bunny! She never saw it coming and neither did Ozzy.

I'm sure he will not be a happy island dweller next week. Albert and Whitney stayed true to Ozzy (sort of) by throwing in a couple of useless votes for Dawn. I guess technically they were being true to Ozzy by NOT voting for Elyse but not so true to Ozzy because they didn't vote for Cochran as he told them to.

So, Cochran lives to see another day and, somehow, as annoying as he is, he is just savvy enough to maybe, just maybe get a few more people off before his ultimate demise. Maybe he'll sneak one in on Ozzy and Ozzy will be leaving? I hope, I hope, I hope…

In the meantime, I don't think I'll be making ham for Christmas… EW!!!

*  *  *  *  *

That was classic Survivor! It had it all, bizarreness, romance, a gross Immunity Challenge, memorable quotes and backstabbing, which ultimately lead to the first blindside of season 23. It was awesome!

First the bizarreness – Coach is slowly morphing back into the crazy demented Dragon Slayer we grew to love in his two previous appearances on Survivor. When he heard that Christine and Stacey were referring to him as Benjamin at the Redemption Island duel, his reaction was priceless. We quickly learned that even his parents have called him Coach since her turned eighteen.

For romance we had the icky sweet relationship between hammock buddies, Ozzy and his concubine, Elyse. I was waiting for them to start saying, “No, I love you more!” but they refrained. As nauseating as she acts, I must admit that Elyse makes a mighty cute lapdog.

The gross Immunity Challenge was epic! Each tribe had their very own roasted pig on a spit. The challenge consisted of chewing and ripping as much flesh of the swine off the carcass using only their mouths and then transporting it to a box and spitting it in. The competitors had ten minutes and were gnawing like maniacs.

Apparently, there were no Muslims, Jews or Seventh-day Adventists competing.

More than once the meat would get caught in their teeth and a teammate would have to pull it out. In the end, Upolu was victorious with a grand total of 22 pounds and 12 ounces, beating Savaii by a scant 2 ounces. For their efforts, Upolu not only won immunity but they got to bring all the chewed up nasty, partially macerated pork back to camp to dine on. Pretty gross, huh?

Here are a few of the more memorable quotes from last night’s episode:

While ranting about being called Benjamin, a red-faced Coach blurted, “If anyone calls me Benjamin to my face, I will explode!”

As Ozzy gazed fondly into Elyse’s eyes while rocking side-by-side in their hammock, he uttered this gem, “You’re like my little omen.” Huh?

Later in the show Cochran stated that Ozzy was no longer the superhero he used to be, that he had become middle-aged Ozzy. He summed things up with, “He is a lazy ass.”

Evidently Cochran wasn’t the only member of Savaii that felt this way. Jim and Dawn, also fed up with the Ozzy/Elyse love fest, were backstabbing the couple and plotting their demise.

Jim finally masterminded a plan to hit Ozzy where it would hurt most. With the help of Cochran, Dawn, Whitney and Keith, Jim orchestrated the first blindside of the season and sent Elyse to Redemption Island.

Quick Wrap up: Christine won the Redemption Island duel which made lady mortician Stacey the third person eliminated. Blindside victim Elyse will square off with Christine in next week’s duel.

One last thing that I neglected to mention, Brandon is still a whiny little bitch. Until next time…from the booth.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Last night Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals clobbered the Brewers. Watching the Crew lose to such a nefarious group of ne'er-do-wells was quite disheartening, but I can handle it. The NLCS is even at one game apiece as the action moves to the Gateway City. Or, it’s level pegging as my British friend Bev would say. She would also remind me that, “you can’t win them all.” 

Fortunately, I had a nice diversion to fall back on after last night’s discouraging result. And it involves a Milwaukee Brewer championship game.

On Saturday, October 9, 1982, I was sitting in the leftfield bleachers of Milwaukee County Stadium with Jimmy Gentile, Will Meurer and Kevin Hoff. The four of us were shivering in the rain as we patiently awaited the start of game four of the ALCS between the Brewers and California Angels.

While we were lucky to even have tickets for the game, the weather was miserable and we were suffering. Remember, County Stadium wasn’t blessed with a retractable roof like Miller Park.

To make things worse, due to the incessant rain, the start of the game was delayed. As we waited, we looked for diversions to take our minds off of how wretched the conditions were.

One such diversion was watching Angel outfielder Reggie Jackson slowly stroll through the warning track in ankle deep water. The future Hall of Fame player chose to trudge through the murky slop rather than on the outfield grass is because he was a petulant diva. He wanted to irritate the Milwaukee faithful and he was successful.

At least it furnished us with a diversion from our complaining about the foul circumstances we were enduring. Another diversion that was provided was the group seated directly in front of us.

The group was made up of a pair of females and a couple of males. I hesitate calling them couples because the women paid more attention to us than the guys they were seated with. They seemed totally disinterested in them. Plus there was the fact the guys didn’t speak a word of English. I think they were from India or Iran or Iraq…

My buddy, Will was especially flirtatious with the young ladies. Perhaps it was that he was the only one in our group that smoked, while their entire group smoked like chimneys. Or maybe it was because Will enjoyed flirting more than me, Jimmy and Kevin.

To Will’s credit, he was the only one of us to actually speak to one of the guys in that group. He wanted a light for his cigarette. I believe the conversation went something like, “Hey, Hadji, you got a light?” The rain-soaked foreigner just nodded and smiled as he handed over his Zippo. Will was always quite the diplomat.

Finally the game started and we were able to forgot about the cold temperatures and steady drizzle. The game was outstanding and provided me with a new hero – Mark Brouhard.

The seldom-used outfielder was called upon to fill in for Ben Oglivie who was nursing bad ribs. And he did so admirably. Brouhard’s final line: three hits in four at-bats, including a home run, three runs batted in and four runs scored, an ALCS record. Pretty good for a guy that wasn’t expecting to play that day.

The Crew won the game 9-5, then won game five to capture the ALCS and moved on to play the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

Under full disclosure: Jimmy, Will and myself left early while Kevin stayed and met a friend that he was going to the Rush concert with later that night. After dropping Jimmy and Will off, I stopped at Big Star before going home to dry off.

After that game, Brouhard would return to his familiar spot on the bench and finish his career playing 304 games in six seasons for Milwaukee, with 25 home runs, 104 RBI with a .259 batting average.

By comparison, Prince Fielder had 38 home runs, 120 RBI with a .299 batting average - this season! Nonetheless, on that cold, damp afternoon in 1982 Brouhard became my hero and was one of many necessary diversions.

Writing this blog has proved extremely cathartic and provided me a much-needed diversion from last night’s disappointing Brewer game. I am much better now and look forward to Wednesday night’s game against the repugnant St. Louis Cardinals.

Programming note: due to the magnitude of the Brewer game, the official Survivor: South Pacific Recap Trilogy will not be posted until Thursday. Thank you for your understanding. Until next time…from the booth.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Relevance Of Being Relevant

As I type this, I am watching the MLB network reporting on the NLDS games from last night. Prince Fielder, while being interviewed by Harold Reynolds and Dan Plesac, is being doused with water by his young sons, Jadyn and Haden. They are helping their dad celebrate the Brewer’s dramatic 10 inning 3-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

Prince with his sons after winning the All Star MVP award
As I look up, MLB is showing Nyjer “T-Plush” Morgan knocking in Carlos Gomez with the winning run. I think I have now seen that hit 128 times. And it’s not getting old. Not even close.

That hit sparked another series of celebrations at Miller Park and all across Wisconsin. Here are a few photos of the ensuing celebrations.

Prince showering T-Plush with champagne
Confetti rains on 44,028 Brewer fans
More champagne showers
 There is one more photo that I would like to share with you. It is Sulley from Monster Inc. Sulley is a favorite of Prince’s boys and is the inspiration for “Beast Mode”. Appropriately enough, Sulley wears a Prince Fielder jersey.

Sulley before getting doused with champagne
ESPN’s lead baseball analyst, Buster Olney, made the following tweet last night: “Nominate the Brewers home crowd for No.1 in the majors. Great atmosphere. Phillies No.2… Other nominations, please…”

It is obviously a good time to be a sports fan in Wisconsin. The year started with the Packers running off a 6-game winning streak that culminated with a 31-25 Super Bowl championship over the Steelers.

Next we have the Crew winning the NL Central and moving onto the NLCS against their bitter rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Let’s see, first we got relevant football in FEBRUARY and now relevant baseball in OCTOBER. The Crew is featured all over ESPN and the MLB network. A guy could get used to this!

It sure is fun having your teams being relevant. The relevance of being relevant.

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Survivor 23.4

Here’s your official Survivor: South Pacific Recap Trilogy.

Can I get a whoop whoop for women of a certain age? Let's hear it for Dawn who held up 140 pounds with sheer brute strength. She was afraid her age was a detriment. Phooey! I say! Phooey! That woman rocked that challenge and I, being a woman of a certain age, was never prouder!

As I said, Dawn started out lamenting the age difference in her tribe which was a point pressed home even further because of the new bikinis they were all parading around in. Since when do they get new bikinis? I don't remember Sue Hawk ever getting a new bikini. Actually, that might be a blessing…

Ozzie was laying low this week. Good. I'm over him.

Cochran was as Cochranny as ever. He was also worried he would be on the outs. I know he's right. They will only keep him around for so long before they pounce on him. He's wise to be thinking ahead and looking to spring a fast one on Ozzie. Man, I hope he does. That will be a classic moment.

But now I have to talk about Brandon Hantz. When he ran over to “warn” Coach that their alliance was not what it seemed based on one word from Stacey, I feared that at one point Coach was about to backhand him! What a goof nut that kid is! And his breakdown into tears at Tribal Council…sheesh!

You know what Brandon, you're right. You are too good a person to be playing this game. So go, already! And I'm sure Uncle Russell has a few words for you. Speaking of Brandon's preoccupation with making the Hantz name right again. Does this chucklehead really not realize how many fans his Uncle has and how great a player he really was? Again, I say, SHEESH!

Some things to note –

What was with Coach's magic moments? You know what I mean, those smile, nod, wink and salute moments he does right to the camera. He did it twice at Tribal, once when he put his vote in the urn and then when they were leaving Tribal Council. How does he manage to find the camera each time?

Also, I forgot there was someone named Ralph on this season. At least I think his name was Ralph. Probst called on him first at Tribal and asked him to name one bad thing about Albert. Ralph? Harry? Bernard? You know, the guy with the HUGE mustache? Yeah, him. I forgot all about him!! 
*  *  *  *  * 

So tonight I am going to tell you why the X Factor stinks. I wanted to say sucks but it sounded rude. Crap, I said sucks so I might as well say it…the X Factor sucks. 

First of all it’s oddly familiar. There’s Simon. And seated to his right is Paula. And there is singing, but wait, something is missing. Where is Randy? Where is Ryan Seacrest?  Where is Sharon Osborn and Piers Morgan?? Oh wait, I got confused, that's "America's Got Talent", but don't they have big giant "X's"?

See, this is one reason why I don’t like the show. Simon seems watered down. Paula is still high. It’s just all been done before. I think it’s all getting a little old and stale.  I’m overwhelmed by singing competitions now, aren’t you? 

So that’s part of the reason that the X Factor you know…sucks. But want to know why I really hate the X Factor?  BECAUSE MY HUSBAND RULES THE REMOTE AND TAPED IT INSTEAD OF SURVIVOR!

Yeah! That’s right!! And you want to know why, even though he won’t admit it? Even though he has retreated to our bedroom right now to avoid my angst?  He likes the X Factor because of the hot chick from the Pussycat Dolls! Pathetic!! Let’s face it, she is a seat warmer and she is half his age! I am disgusted.

So yeah. I didn’t get to see Survivor. Well actually, I was able to catch the last 22 minutes of it. I got to see Brandon refer to himself as a good judge of character, which made me chuckle.

 Thankfully I was able to catch the part where Brandon broke down in tears defending the Hantz family name. I pictured Russell fan Paul Vagnoni shedding a tear or two in front of his TV during that part.

In the end Stacey got voted off. I didn’t really understand why. She seemed like a stronger player than Edna, who is an anesthesiologist (they put people to sleep, you know, which isn’t really that useful to the tribe out there).

I thought it was nice that the Dragon Slayer tried to show Stacey a little love as she exited Tribal Council, but she was really ticked off and kind of rude about it all. It looks like she and Christine are going to do some Coach bashing out on the Island.  

Yup. That’s all I’ve got. It’s really quite sad. Guess we’re going to watch the X Factor now. By the way, I have a husband for sale or rent. Remote control included. Slightly used and abused. Is house trained but doesn’t listen. Any bidders give me a call. 

*  *  *  *  *

Some random observations:

Overall I thought it was a pretty solid episode tonight. We were teased with the unlikely duo of legal dope dealer Jim and nebbish Cochran plotting against Ozzy. Cochran even discusses their scheme with the tightly wound Dawn. This could prove quite interesting.

Of course we were served an extra large helping of Brandon Hantz. Must we experience every thought and emotion that runs through that unbalanced brain of his? Good lord!

What’s with the tribes being given bathing suits? Coffee, donuts, cream, blankets, a hammock… What’s next? I swear, if Marriott were a sponsor of Survivor we would see hotel suites popping up on the beaches.

It was good to see Christine eliminate Papa Bear in the Redemption Island duel. She is much tougher than him and stands a better chance of hanging around for a while. Besides, who goes by the name, Papa Bear? Oh ya, George Halas. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like this guy.

Our resident nerd, Cochran came up with the quote of the night. It happened in the very first segment of the show. He was talking joining forces with Jim against Ozzy. He admitted there was something about Jim that made him uneasy though, “He has suspiciously white teeth.” Classic stuff.

The Immunity Challenge brought back the classic, “How Much Weight Can You Hold On A Long Pole Across Your Shoulders Test”. Two men, legal dope dealer Jim and loose cannon Brandon set a new Survivor record by holding up 240 pounds. Unfortunately they each have a testicle that hangs a full nine inches lower than the other.

After all the men had dropped their weights and were on the ground and whimpering in high pitched tones, it came down to neurotic 40 year old Dawn and Stacey the mortician. Remarkably, Dawn outlasted her younger opponent, giving Savaii the victory and a rooster and two hens. Honest. You think I make this stuff up?

By losing the Immunity Challenge, Upolu was forced to vote for someone to be sent to Redemption Island. Everyone knew it was going to be Stacey or Edna and Tribal Council began kind of slow.

Luckily, host Jeff Probst played the role of instigator and started some shit. He forced people to reveal what they found most annoying about their tribe mates.

This accomplished a couple of things. One, it made Rick, the cowboy with the porn mustache, speak. His first words were, “Albert snores too much.” Deep stuff, Rick.

The second thing that Probst’s muckraking did, was to make Brandon Hantz break down and cry. It was epic, he had Russell’s nephew blubbering like a little girl. Just another reason why Jeff Probst is a multiple award winner.

After all of the drama, Stacey was sent packing. Coach and the rest of her Upolu tribe tried to give her a farewell hug, but she would have no part of it. I think she wanted to get to Redemption Island so she could use her crazy mortician skills on an unsuspecting Christine.

Until next week…from the booth.