Sunday, September 30, 2012

It’s The Real Thing

In 1952, the official slogan for Coca-Cola was “What you want is a Coke.” In 1982 the catch phrase was “Coke is it!” Today’s slogan for the world’s most popular soft drink is “Life begins here.” These are only a few of the sayings used by Coca-Cola since it was developed in 1886. However, the 1969 mantra, “It’s the real thing”, best described this refreshing beverage in an amusing Burger King incident that took place in 1974.

The majority of the work force at Burger King was made up of high school students wanting to make some money. And like most kids that age, they loved Coca-Cola; they just weren’t too keen on spending their hard-earned cash on it.

Fortunately, Burger King had a policy that allowed employees to drink for free while they were working. There were only two stipulations - you couldn’t be on the frontline and you had to use your personal plastic cup.

The reason for using a personal cup was that the paper Burger King cups actually cost more than the Coke itself. Swear to God. Not drinking on the frontline was just common sense.

Pretty sweet deal, huh? Needless to say we all took advantage of the King’s generosity. For some strange reason, it seemed like the young females seemed to partake of this benefit far more often than their male counterparts.

This fact was especially evident on a warm summer evening in 1974. I saw that every time I went into the back there were two or three girls enjoying a cold beverage.

When I mentioned this to our manager Tony, he said he had noticed the same thing. Suddenly there was a light bulb over my head. I asked Tony if he wanted to have some fun. He nodded vigorously as a wicked grin spread over his face.

I told him we would need a couple of bolts that were the same size. One had to be old and rusty, the other shiny and new. He went to look through the toolbox.

Moments later he returned from his office with the two bolts. I laid the rusty one on the shelf over the sink and told him to put the shiny one in his pocket and follow my lead.

Sure enough, as we walked over to the walk-in cooler there was Janet and Sherry taking a Coke break. Innocently, I said, “Jeez, you guys sure drink a lot of Coke.” Both ladies shrugged their shoulders and Janet said, “So what? It’s free.”

To which I replied, “Don’t you know what that stuff can do to your stomach?” Before they could say anything, Tony added, “Ya, the acid in Coke can take the rust off metal.”

By this time Debbie had joined the group and asked what was going on. Of course, she was gulping down a Coke. Sherry told her, “Paul and Tony are saying that Coke is bad for us and it can eat rust off of metal.” Debbie rolled her eyes and blurted out, “Ya, right!”

I quickly replied, “Oh, you don’t believe us? Go over by the sink and see if you can find any rusty nails or bolts.” Janet scampered over to the sink and quickly returned with the rusty old bolt that we had planted there.

Tony then told Debbie to go fill a small courtesy cup with Coca-Cola and bring it back to him. When she returned, he dropped the dirty old bolt into the small paper cup. He then carefully placed it on the table near the time clock.

Turning to the trio of skeptic females, he said, “Okay, it will take awhile to eat off all of that rust, let’s check back in an hour.” With that he told us all to get back to work.

The next sixty minutes seemed to last an eternity. By now the entire crew had heard about the “experiment”. Everyone was anxious to see if Coke would really eat the rust off of that old bolt.

It became increasingly difficult for Tony and I to keep a straight face but we knew we had to if our diabolical scheme was to be a success. Somehow we did it.

Just before the hour was up, Tony quietly went into the back and replaced the rusty bolt with the shiny new one. Now all we had to do was wait.

Tony had just returned to the front when Janet blurted out, “I can’t take it anymore! I have to know!” Glancing at his watch, Tony said that since it wasn’t very busy, they could go look.

Lead by Janet, Sherry and Debbie, the crew bolted into the back while Tony and I watched for customers. Luckily there were none because the loud shriek that came from the backroom would have scared them right out of the restaurant. Our plan had obviously worked.

The shaken crew returned to the front with a trembling Debbie holding the shiny bolt for us to see. Tony and I were fighting back laughter when Janet announced, “You guys were right. I’m never drinking Coke again!”

When the others began nodding in agreement, I had to get out of there and asked Tony if I could take a break. He told me to go ahead.

A few minutes later Tony joined me in the dining room. Making sure we were alone, we both busted out laughing. Wiping a tear from my eye, I asked him if we should tell them the truth. He said we had better. We agreed to come clean and tell them the truth after my break.

As you might have already guessed, our duped co-workers chastised the two of us most vehemently. We were called extremely bad names. Names that I don’t care to repeat at this time. But it was well worth it. For one hour, on a warm summer evening in 1974 at Burger King, Coke was the real thing.

The final chapter of the Burger King Trilogy is a real doozy. Check back tomorrow, you don’t want to miss it. Until next time…from the booth.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rhonda’s Panties

My junior year in high school was memorable for several reasons. First and foremost, I got my driver’s license, followed closely by discovering the wonderful world of alcohol. (Kids, please keep in mind that combination is never good.) The next significant happening was being hired at the Burger King on 75th street across from the Ace Hardware store.

Although it was 38 years ago it still brings back many memories, some good and others not so good. One of those recollections was of Rhonda’s panties.

Even though Burger King was your basic fast-food restaurant, it still had some corporate aspects. Like the management team. When I first started there, the people calling the shots were the manager, George, his assistant, Mike and swing managers, Tony and Rhonda.

I’m not quite sure why they were called swing managers. Maybe Rhonda’s panties had something to do with it.

George was a high-energy type, running around the restaurant worrying about everything. Passionate about his job, he lived and breathed Burger King to the point of being neurotic. George often confided in me. I liked George.

Mike was just the opposite of George and nothing seemed to rattle him. He cared about his job; it just wasn’t the most important thing in his life. It took a while to get to know Mike, but once you did he was very cool and had a dry sense of humor. I liked Mike.

Tony was one year older than me, a senior at Tremper. The most important thing to him about his job was acting suave while flirting with the female employees. He also loved to sit in the manager’s office and make sure the paper money didn’t have any corners that were folded over. Despite this peculiar idiosyncrasy, I liked Tony.

Then there was Rhonda. She was easily the bossiest of the management team. Maybe it was because she was the only female manager and was trying to prove a point. All I know is that many people didn’t look forward to being assigned to working on Rhonda’s shift. I can’t say I liked Rhonda, but I did like the challenge of working with her.

Back in 1973 the uniforms at Burger King consisted of a bright orange shirt with an even brighter yellow panel in the front. Girls had matching orange pants and guys were required to wear black trousers. Add to the equation that everything was double-knit polyester and I think you get the picture. It was classic.

Being somewhat corpulent, the uniform tops were usually a bit snug for me, so I always made sure to wear an undershirt. This prevented any nasty chafing.

One Saturday night I was assigned to work from 4 to 8 with Rhonda. On that particular evening, my undergarment of choice was a teal t-shirt with the number 39 printed on the front and back. That shirt proved to be the springboard for quite an interesting series of events.

Rhonda was in rare form that night, nitpicking at everyone’s performance, trying to find someone doing anything the least bit wrong. Despite her tenacious efforts, she came up empty; everyone was doing his or her job properly.

She was frustrated and just about ready to give up when she spotted me filling drinks. A devilish smile came across her face as she called out my name.

Loud enough for the whole restaurant to hear, she bellowed, “Hey Paul, I can see that 39 through your uniform top! Don’t you know better than that?” She then admonished me, letting me know that in no uncertain terms was I never to wear anything under my uniform that would show through.

She turned away with a huge grin on her face, proud that she had successfully emasculated me in front of the rest of the crew and several customers. Her night was now a triumph.

Or was it?

While she still had her back to me, I said, as humbly as possible, “You are right, I shouldn’t have worn this shirt and I will never do it again. I apologize.”

Then it happened.

I quickly added, rather boisterously, “Oh, by the way, Rhonda, you better not wear those panties anymore. Those flowers are real cute, but everyone can see them.”

It was true; you could see a lovely pattern of bright whimsical flowers through the orange uniform material that was stretched across her ample derrière.

Just like that Rhonda’s moment of glory was spoiled. Her jaw dropped as her face turned a lovely shade of red as the rest of the crew burst into laughter. Embarrassed, she had no choice but to feign a giggle and tell us all to get back to work.

That wouldn’t be the last of the confrontations between the feisty Rhonda and me. There were several more, to be sure. Nevertheless, to this day, I can’t get the memory of Rhonda’s panties out of my mind. I’m just not sure if it’s a good or a not so good memory.

If this blog looks familiar, it's because I am busy working on my book and didn't want to neglect my blog, so I thought that I would repost my "Burger King Trilogy" from last year. Come back tomorrow for chapter two. Until then…from the booth.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Survivor 25.2

Here is the Official Survivor: Philippines Recap Trilogy for week two:

 I'm going to start by saying that I have a good feeling about this season already. After just these two episodes I am eagerly awaiting to see what happens next, which I can honestly say, I rarely felt last season! So, it was with that sense of anticipation that I sat down to watch Survivor: Philippines tonight.

The night started with Russell Swan, realizing he was an asshat last week, stating that he has decided to “step back” and not take the spotlight. Then, of course, he proceeded to take the spotlight again. The man cannot help himself!

But, he was not the main focus of the night. No, the growing bitterness between Roxy and Angie with Malcolm in the middle took on that position early. Roxy got a bit jealous when she saw Angie and Malcolm cuddling. She cleverly called it Angie's “booby trap”! And she made no bones about making sure she told everyone else in Matsing that two people together was always a threat. This became the main theme of the night.

There were some goings on at the other tribes – Lisa feeling on the outs and not fitting in, Penner crashing around camp and finally finding the Hidden Immunity Idol he was looking for. I had to laugh at how he kept saying “right under my nose” about a thousand times before he finally realized what that meant.

Abi lost her mind a little on RC when her inner paranoia kicked in and she started to doubt her allegiance. She even threatened her a little! And then there was RC. I'm going to pause here for a moment while Paul composes himself. (She was wearing that leopard bikini to within an inch of its life tonight and I swear I could hear Paul panting all the way over here…)

The Immunity/Reward Challenge was a good one. There was a large sled that had to be dragged by two people to a pile of puzzle pieces which then had to be dragged back again – three times – before the puzzles could be completed.

Matsing struggled right from the get go. Once again, the people on the Matsing tribe proved they have no idea what this game is all about. Angie, to whom Russell Swan referred to as “that boob thing going on, they're poppin' up all over the place”, just flat out announced that she wasn't really into the challenge. Roxy followed suit by claiming “I didn't drink enough water today so it would be crazy to have me do this.” So, Russell Swan and Angie ended up having to run it twice.

Now, here’s the thing, Angie may have been horrible but at least she openly admitted it! Russell Swan, on the other hand, puts on a good show at playing like he's athletic, but the truth is, he's a clumsy oaf who is as much responsible for their constant losses as the rest of them. He just puts on a good show afterwards as he blusters and cusses and make LOUD proclamations about how “these folks haven't decided they're unbeatable yet!” Oh, so that's what it takes… just decide you're unbeatable and you win! I wish I would have known that before!

Another thing to note at this challenge was just another reason for Paul to drool… RC decided to wear knee high leg warmers with her teeny bikini. Yes, leg warmers. I'm half sure that next week she'll be toddling around the islands in her high heels and fish net stockings. Sheesh!

At Tribal, Roxy did her level best to shine that “twosome is a bad thing” spotlight on Malcolm and Angie. I thought for a second that Angie sealed her own fate when Probst asked her “what one thing would you change on this tribe?” and she answered, “We'd get cookies??” Yes, she did. She said that. I wasn't sure if I should go “awwww how sweet” or “WTF??” Is she that stupid? Is she all booby trap and no brain? Could be.

But, in the end, it was Roxy who got the boot and, you know what? I'm kind of glad. She was getting on my nerves. See, that's how I would vote if I were on Survivor. Who is getting on my nerves… You? OUT!! Sometimes I wish I could do that in real life! Ah, dreams…

 I’m back from vaca and ready to dive into Survivor world. Some changes are afoot this season. First and foremost we now have 3 “mini-tribes” rather than two. That's a big twist! Is it just me or do things move mighty fast in the rain soaked islands off the Philippines? The start of the show focused heavily on Paul’s newest hot chick favorite, Investment Banker "RC".

I just sat back to watch the drama unfold as she figured out the clue was in the rice and then made the mistake of telling Abi-Maria, who looks cute and petite but has some gangsta swagger thing going on. She shared the clue with bestie Abi, who then immediately turned on her. The problem? RC apparently has a thing for older guys (take note PV) and was attempting to bond with accident-prone Michael, who will surely be medivac’d out again soon.

But the thing that jumped out at me is the fact that RC is already wearing her underwire bra. On day five!!  It is wayyyyy too early to be prancing around in your unders missie! And what is with the leopard print panties?  You are NOT going to be accepted back on Wall Street!

In other Tandang news we learned that former “Facts of Life” actress Lisa Whelchel is shy.  And lonely.  And tearful.  And was on the Mickey Mouse Club.  It’s day FIVE Lisa. It is too soon to become an outcast. Toughen up chick!!

Over on Kalabaw, Alan Alda doppelganger Jonathan built a still and started swilling homemade hootch. Oh no…wrong show. He was obsessed with finding that hidden idol. I don’t want to brag or anything but I seriously knew where it was the whole time. Ok, ok… the camera had lingered a bit too long on the top of the rice box a couple of times but STILL (pun).

Jonathan finally had his Oprah ah hahhh moment whilst bathing in the sea and found the idol. Way to go Jonathan. I kind of like him. Maybe because I keep thinking he’s an army trauma surgeon.

But the real action was taking place over on the beleaguered Matsing tribe where formerly faint Russell is holding court. Matsing is also the current home to MY favorite player thus far, sex therapist Denise. She is smart. She can analyze others. Love her.

It is also home to Malcolm and Angie, who is a very pretty girl but not useful and definitely ditzy. Over a five day period she and Malcolm became comfortable enough that they were spooning, cuddling and by some reports groping. Talk about speed dating. This behavior did not sit well with their teammates, especially righteous Roxy.

Russell had some awesome lines, including ”get your bang on somewhere else” and “wack that thing down real quick”. But either way, their early days cuddlefest put some big targets on their backs. Well the targets for Angie are on her front and they are big, but that's not the point…

At the Immunity Challenge once again Matsing sucked. Mostly because of Angie, her twins and Roxy, who is angry AND religious (a dangerous combination in my book). They lost again, which wasn’t surprising. Russell was angry!

Off to tribal council they all went yet again and lo and behold it appears that Jeff Probst has a trained pet snake that is now making a weekly TV appearance.

Roxy started off by throwing her indignation at the late night shenanigans going on around her in an attempt to throw Angie under the bus. I finally understood the term “boobie trap”. Roxy laid it out and it wasn’t hard to do because Angie basically lay down in the road with the best line of the night; when asked what is needed around camp, rather than talking about teamwork, cooperation, relationships or any of those other pesky issues she said she wanted cookies.


Then her would be lover Malcolm tried to stick up for her cookie desires, but it kind of fell flat. It’s day FIVE people!!!!! Ok no… now it’s day SIX. You do NOT need cookies. Or love! Or friends!! I was thinking Angie and her assets were a goner but I was wrong. Roxy is a troublemaker and annoying and her angry self got voted off.

Will Lisa find her mojo?  Will Michael get injured again? (yes) Will Malcolm and Angie engage in more nighttime highjinks in a bold act of defiance?  Or will they sneak off into the jungle to become the next Rob and Ambah?? This is better than my soap!

Can’t wait until next week.

 Apparently it rains a lot in the Philippines. A lot. A whole lot. That point was emphasized quite a bit. Like for the entire first half of the show. Over and over again. Repeatedly. Okay, we get it. These people are miserable. The conditions are rotten. It’s cold and wet. But thirty straight minutes of it? We get it. Honest.

I suppose that there were a few other things happening during the beginning of the episode.

Over at the Matsing camp, it was so cold and rainy that Malcolm and Angie began snuggling at night to provide each other with warmth. Malcolm was determined to keep it platonic. He even told himself, “don’t get booty-blinded.” Ya, right. A 20-year-old blonde beauty queen with massive implants. Like Roxie said, “it’s a booby trap.”

Speaking of booty and boobies, at the Tandang camp the voluptuous RC found the clue for their Hidden Immunity Idol. She promptly let Abi know that she had it. I’m not sure if that was such a good move. After Abi saw RC talking to Mike, she pulled RC aside and told her, “if you f#ck with me you are dead!” I guess I can hope for a catfight…

At camp Kalabaw, Penner did RC one better. Not only did he have their Hidden Immunity Idol clue, he used it to find the Idol. He found it when the rest of his tribe were in a cave listening to Jeff tell the others about the three home runs he hit in the 2002 World Series for the Giants.

Oh ya, there was one other significant thing that happened right at the end of the first half of the show. When it finally stopped raining and the sun came out, Russell, Denise and Roxy were sitting on the beach enjoying the warmth. Roxy began praying in tongues. This confused Russell and pissed off Denise. She made it pretty clear that she didn’t need no stinkin’ prayers for help. Anything she accomplished would be of her own doing.

The Immunity/Reward Challenge finally brought some much-needed action to the show. Want to know what they were playing for? The tribe that finished first not only won Immunity, but also blankets, pillows and a tarp. Second place would win Immunity and a tarp. Third place would receive a severe tongue lashing from Jeff Probst at Tribal Council.

It was pretty much a forgone conclusion that Matsing would finish last. Before the challenge even began Angie and Roxy were both whining about not wanting to do it. Angie mumbled something about it being too hard (the challenge, not Malcolm) and Roxy said she didn’t drink enough water.

True to form, Matsing lost for the second time in as many weeks and were forced to vote one of their tribe off at Tribal Council. It was fairly obvious that it would come down to Angie or Roxie. Angie was an air-headed bimbo and Roxy was lazy and had the audacity to pray in tongues on the beach.

At Tribal Council it didn’t take much for Probst to get things going. He asked Roxy and Angie the same question – “if you could change one thing, what would it be?”

Roxy said she would like to see the tribe work less around camp. Probst seemed a little surprised. But not as surprised as when Angie answered with a big smile, “ we would get cookies!” Malcolm quickly agreed with his snuggle-buddy. A befuddled Probst gave them a “really?” look and basically told them they were idiots.

In the end wanting cookies won out over being lazy and praying in tongues. The vote was unanimous to send Roxy off the island. Evidently Denise and Russell didn’t mind the blooming romance between Malcolm and Angie. Like Russell said, “I can’t blame Malcolm wanting a little slap and tickle.”

Before you go, make sure you vote on whom you would have voted off this week. Until next time…from the booth.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Few Of My Favorite Things

While I watch the Brewers and various NFL games, I have decided to share some lists of my favorite things. I like to do this every once in a while. Please keep in mind that these are MY favorite things. I’m not saying they are necessarily the best. But, once you think about it, I’m sure that you will agree that most are. With that being said, here are a few of my favorite things:

1. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
2. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.
3. Brown paper packages tied up with strings.

Okay, I’m just messing with you. These aren’t really among my favorite things. However, these are:

Favorite Pasta
1. Rigatoni
2. Gnocchi
3. Linguine

Favorite Italian Bread
1. Cardinali’s
2. Gonnella
3. Paielli’s

Favorite Kenosha Pizza
1. Pa’s Pizzeria
2. Luigi’s
3. Jimano’s

Favorite Kenosha Drive-In
1.The Spot
2. Big Star
3. Fon Tan Blu

Favorite Sausage
1. Italian (Model Market was the all time best)
2. Hot Dog (all-beef, good quality)
3. Fresh Kielbasa

Favorite Band
1. The Who
2. R.E.M.
3. Dropkick Murphys

Favorite Christmas Song
1. Christmas Canon Rock, Trans-Siberian Orchestra
2. O Holy Night, Manheim Steamroller
3. Boots, The Killers

Favorite TV Drama
1. The Wire
2. The Sopranos
3. Northern Exposure

Favorite TV Sitcom
1. Leave It To Beaver
2. Seinfeld
3. The Bob Newhart Show

Favorite Reality Show
1. Survivor
2. Hard Core Pawn
3. Hell’s Kitchen

Favorite Cartoon Character
1. Bobby Hill, King of the Hill
2. Stewie Griffin, Family Guy
3. Riff Raff, Underdog

Favorite Game Show
1. Match Game
2. Password
3. Newlywed Game (classic version)

Favorite Match Game Celebrity
1. Charles Nelson Reilly
2. Elaine Joyce
3. Fannie Flagg

Favorite Movie
1. Bang The Drum Slowly
2. We’re No Angels
3. Slap Shot

Favorite Milwaukee Brewer
1. Prince Fielder
2. Robin Yount
3. Mark Brouhard

Favorite Green Bay Packer
1. Paul Hornung
2. Fuzzy Thurston
3. John Anderson

Favorite Chicago Cub
1. Randy Hundley
2. Ron Santo
3. Fergie Jenkins

Favorite Mullet
1. Jaromir Jagr
2. Duane “Dog” Chapman
3. Shannon “Shambo” Waters (Survivor)

Favorite Job
1. Softball Announcer at Finney’s West
2. Supervisor at Lida Mfg.
3. Burger Maker at Burger King

Okay, when I start talking about favorite jobs it is time to call it quits. Feel free to leave comments about your favor things for these categories. It will be interesting to see what you like. I better get back to the Brewer game, the Nats just tied it up. Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Survivor 25.1

Here is the Official Survivor: Philippines Recap Trilogy for week one:

Jamie is currently taking a well-deserved vacation in New Mexico. She was kind enough to check in through an email before the show began tonight. Because I didn’t want to call this week’s blog the Official Survivor: Philippines Recap “Duology” as Fellow Survivor Geek Patty 4-Names suggested, I have decided to include Jamie’s message.

“Hi. I won’t be able to watch from where I am tonight so I defer to you and Mary Beth. However, I do predict that the sex therapist wins it all, that Michael is still annoying and that Lisa Whelchel takes Angie under her wing as a Young Blair and that they are both attacked by a wild pig in the jungle and only one blonde survives.”

Here we go! I have to admit that after last season I was put off by how blah and boring the show had gotten. But, the Survivor Geek inside me came alive this afternoon when I felt that familiar twinge of anticipation! And then it was on! Oh, how I love that opening theme song!

So, Survivor: The Philippines - First thing to notice is there are three tribes which had already been decided upon before the people even got on the boat. The first twist? Three previous players from past seasons return to try again. All three left their seasons for reasons of injury and they were all three ready to take on a new beginning.

Jonathon – got airlifted off his season when an open wound became dangerously infected.

Russell – had possible the scariest moment in Survivor history when he simply passed out during a challenge, eyes rolling back in his head and became unresponsive.

Mike – fell in the fire on his season and had shards of skin melting off his hands.

I happened to really like all three of these guys during their original seasons. This time? Not so sure! The three of them were assigned one of the three tribes and off they went.

It will be interesting to watch how they progress throughout the season because as I recall none of them were the best of their tribes originally. Now they're the seasoned veterans who usually comes with a target on your back but I don't think the others know too much about them except for their injuries!

The tribes – Matsing, Kalabaw and Tandang – were given ten minutes to take as much supplies and food off the boat as they could get onto a raft and it was game on. Like last season, there was A LOT of food available right off the bat.

At Kalabaw, the younger members of the tribe began plotting against Jonathon pretty much right away. Of course, he didn't do anything to even try to include himself in their group but rather spent much of his time alone searching for the hidden immunity idol. He did find a clue in the rice box but no idol was found yet.

Over at Matsing, Russell spent a lot of his time telling everyone how he didn't want to be a leader and that they were all equal and then proceeded to direct them in how to do absolutely everything. He's not making any friends, that’s for sure.

But he wasn't the real issue tonight. The real issue was a nut head named Zane who, in spite of having most of the tribe really like him, managed to throw himself under the bus in what he thought was a brilliant move to get Russell ousted at Tribal Council. I'm going to be thinking about that move all night just trying to figure out his weird logic!

At Tandang, Mike fit right in and it seems age doesn't mean a thing there. No age line was drawn and younger folks even sought him out to start alliances. They may think twice, however, when they see what a klutz he is! He cut himself three times already!

Moment that made me just scratch my head in wonder: How is it only one person knows that Lisa Whelchel was Blair on the Facts of Life? Where have these people been, under a rock all these years?

Best line of the night: RC says to the camera, “They have no idea what it takes to be a good investment banker! I mean, hailing cabs, in the rain, in six inch heels!”

First money is on: So far, Malcolm looks like he could go the whole nine yards but it's early so it's hard to tell who might step up to be a front runner.

The Emmy Award-winning reality series kicked off season 25. Survivor: Philippines began with iconic host Jeff Probst welcoming eighteen new castaways as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime. This season the castaways are divided into three tribes, each of which features a veteran player that was forced to leave their previous season via a medical evacuation. Here are the tribes:

Kalabaw Tribe (Red)
Jonathan Penner*
Dana Lambert
Jeff Kent
Katie Hanson
Carter Williams
Sarah Dawson

Matsing Tribe (Blue)
Russell Swan*
Angie Layton
Malcolm Freberg
Zane Knight
Denise Stapley
Roxanne Morris

Tandang Tribe (Yellow)
Michael Skupin*
Lisa Whelchel
Abi-Maria Gomes
Peter Yurkowski
Roberta “RC” Saint-Amour
Artis Sylvester

* - Returning veteran player

Tonight’s episode was 90 minutes long. As much as I love this show, one hour would have been sufficient. The show began with Probst acting like he didn’t know that the “guy in the purple shirt” was former MLB star Jeff Kent. Come on! He played for the Mets, Blue Jays, Indians, Giants, Astros and Dodgers. Even Dawson knew who he was.

Lisa Whelchel started out hoping that nobody would recognize her from the ‘80s sitcom, The Facts of Life. Ten minutes later she was bummed because only Michael recognized her as Blair. And that’s because he’s 50 years old.

The first half of the show was dedicated to introducing us to the castaways. A lot of blah, blah, blah. All I got out of it was that I already don’t Jeff Kent, Russell Swan and Zane Knight. Let me explain.

I never liked Jeff Kent as a baseball player. He was a red-assed hillbilly from Texas who thought he was the only one allowed to play hard. From what I saw tonight, I don’t think he has changed any.

Swan falls into the same category. I didn’t like him the first time he was on Survivor and still don’t. He talks way too much. You might have noticed that I called him Swan. There is only one Russell and his name was Hantz.

Speaking of Hantz, this Zane Knight character is strictly a Hantz-wannabe. Only a lot freakier. His first of stroke of genius was to make alliances with everybody on the Matsing tribe. Okay…

Please don’t get the impression that I didn’t like anybody from this year’s cast. That’s not true. There were several competitors that caught my eye. However, one in particular really stood out. The curvaceous Roberta “RC” Saint-Amour. I am quite fond of RC. Very fond. I hope she sticks around deep into the season.

Michael Skupin was doing everything he could to medically evacuated again. He hacked his fingers and his hands in several places, opened a big gash on his foot and had a nice slice across his ample forehead. His apparent path of self-destruction caused Pete to comment, “Let’s see what happens when we get fire.”

The Immunity Challenge saw the Kalabaw tribe barely edge out Tandang. For finishing first, they not only avoided Tribal Council, but also received a complete fire starting kit. Tandang had to settle for flint, but the also received immunity. That meant Matsing would have to vote someone off.

Back at their camp, Swan was trying to rally his tribe’s spirits after their disheartening loss. Before he could finish, Zane interrupted and basically told them that he sucked in the challenge and should be voted off. Honest, he did.

Afterward, he revealed that this was a diabolical plan of his. That this was somehow going to make everyone vote Swan off instead of him. It was like he thought he was an evil genius. Only without the genius part.

At Tribal Council Probst made Swan sweat by getting the rest of the Matsing tribe to agree that he acted like a dictator at camp. Fortunately, Zane admitted that he told everyone he should be sent home because he wasn’t up to the physical part of the game. Something to do with smoking four packs of cigarettes a day.

Apparently the tribe believed Zane because they all voted him off. Even though I thought he was a freak and didn’t like him, a part of me is going to miss him. He made for interesting TV. But not as interesting as RC. Did I mention that I am fond of RC?

Before you click away from the blog, cast your vote on my poll. I’m trying a new feature – I wanna see who you would have voted off. Until next time…from the booth.

Until next time…from the booth.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Here’s to 62!

Happy Anniversary number 62 to Alfie and Elsie Taylor! They are the parents of my good friend, Bev. In honor of this special couple, I am reposting the blog I wrote two years ago for their 60th.

Happy Anniversary Alfie and Elsie

Today a very special dinner took place around noontime in England. The dinner was to honor Alfie and Elsie Taylor’s Wedding Anniversary. Among those in attendance were their children; Sue, Hazel, Christine, Margaret, Beryl, Carol, Debbie, Barry, David, Don and Keith. That’s right – eleven children! That alone should indicate that this was no ordinary anniversary celebration. This gathering marked the 60th Anniversary of this charming couple.

Because Great Britain is six hours ahead of us, the historic event had already taken place when I went on facebook at 7:00 this morning. However it didn’t take long to be reminded of the event.

Granddaughter Louise Cooper wrote “Celebrating my Nan and Granddads 60th wedding anniversary today with a surprise meal. Can't wait to see the look on their faces when a quiet meal for 4 turns into the usual Taylor madness! xxx”

To which daughter Margaret replied “Housework done, garden done, showered hair washed. Already for Mum and Dads 60th anniversary surprise meal, and yes Louise they will be shocked when a quiet meal for 4 turns into a Taylor outing ha ha…”

Another daughter, Sue chimed in with “Looking forward to seeing Mum and Dad for their surprise 60th Anniversary lunch and to seeing ALL my sisters and brothers. Roll call in the restaurant before Mum and Dad arrive !”

Here is a picture of the guests of honor:

As Husband and Wife, after 60 years

you still say "I love you" in many different ways.

May your lovely family remind you,

you share a special happiness life gives to very few.

It was evident by these facebook remarks that the event was a success.

Louise said “Safe to say Nan and Granddad were very well surprised; wasn't a dry eye in the room! Happy 60th anniversary Nan and Granddad!

Daughter Beryl added, “They cried, so shocked.”

Brother David commented ”7 daughters and 4 sons all together for the first time in 9 years.”

Saying “May God bless you” would seem redundant, because it is obvious that Alfie and Elsie Taylor already have been; with eleven loving children and many adoring grandchildren. And those children and grandchildren have been blessed with two incredible parents and grandparents. Happy Anniversary Alfie and Elsie Taylor.

                                   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Check back Wednesday for the first installment of the Official Survivor: Philippines Recap Trilogy! Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Round 185

Tomorrow night at historic Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears will square off for the 185th time. The rivalry began in 1921 and is the league’s longest. The two teams have won a combined 22 NFL championships (5 Super Bowls) and have 48 members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Chicago currently leads the series 92-86-6.

Being a Packer fan since age 5, I have countless memories of the Packers and Bears. Some fond, like 2011 when the Pack defeated the Bears a total of four times. Some not so fond, like 1980 when the Bears annihilated the Green ‘n’ Gold 61-7. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, there many more.

Believe it or not, of all those recollections, one game stands out head and shoulders above the rest.

It was a Sunday night contest in 1993. 36° at game time was chilly for October 10th, even by Green Bay standards. The game was being broadcast on TNT and featured the Packers and the Denver Broncos.

You are probably wondering what a game between Green Bay and Denver has to do with the legendary Packer/Bear rivalry.

Patience. You will see.

With Gary Bender and Pat Hayden calling the action for TNT, Green Bay found early success. Behind two rushing touchdowns, a Brett Favre to Jackie Harris TD bomb and three Chris Jacke field goals, the Pack jumped out to a 30-7 halftime lead.

Unfortunately for the hometown crowd that was all the scoring their team would do. The second half was all Denver. Two touchdowns and a pair of Jason Elam field goals made it 30-27.

With less than three minutes left in the game, the Broncos had the ball and were threatening to score. Denver quarterback John Elway, with 367 yards and a TD toss to his credit was determined to complete the comeback and drop the Packer’s record to 1-4.

Alas, there was a large man wearing number 92 for Green Bay that had other plans.

On that night, Reggie White would have the final say. The Prime Minister of Defense sacked Elway on third and fourth downs with 1:56 and 1:27 left in the fourth quarter to preserve the Packer’s 30-27 victory over the Broncos.

You are probably still wondering what all of this has to do with the Packer/Bear feud.

As I said before, patience. You soon will see.

After the game, TNT’s studio host, Ernie Johnson, was recapping the game on a stage along the Lambeau Field sidelines. Detroit Lion middle linebacker, Chris Spielman, joined him. The Lions had a bye that week and he was Johnson’s guest analyst.

Because Sunday Night Football was relatively new and still a big deal for TNT, the post game show was a bit lengthy. About 15 minutes into the spectacle, Johnson was having Spielman analyze White’s dramatic performance at the end of the game.

That’s when it happened.

It was barely audible at first, but you could hear the remaining Packer fans chanting something in the background. As Spielman continued to scrutinize the game with Johnson, the chant became louder. What exactly were the Green ‘n’ Gold faithful shouting?

Could it be?

Do you think?

Why yes, yes it was.


The rallying cry of Packer fans all over America rang out repeatedly. As the mantra steadily increased in volume, a smirk began to spread across Spielman’s face. By the time the chant had reached its crescendo, Spielman could no longer contain himself and began to laugh. It was great.

I will never forget that moment.

Okay, I know. The Bears had absolutely nothing to do with the Packer/Bronco game that evening. It made no sense at all. But don’t you see? There in lies the beauty of it. Call it knuckle-dragging, Neanderthal or mouth breathing, I don’t care, it was a beautiful thing.

May the best team win tomorrow night. After all, it is the 185th meeting in this historic rivalry and the better team should win. But remember, win, lose or draw… THE BEARS STILL SUCK!

Until next time…from the booth.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pigskin Predictions

First things first. You should keep in mind that this forecast is by no means fearless. Also, you should be aware that this is for entertainment purposes only. If you wager any of your hard earned money based on my prognostications, you do so at your own risk and deserve to lose. Okay, that being said, here we go:


EAST – The Patriots will run away with this division. They have the third best quarterback in the NFL in Tom Brady and evil genius Bill Belichick has even added a new target for him. The Bills will surprise and vie for a wild card spot. The Jets and Dolphins won’t surprise when they vie for the bottom spot.

NORTH – Look for the Ravens to edge out the Steelers. It will be decided when they play each other on November 18 in Pittsburgh and then again, two weeks later in Baltimore. The Steelers will make the playoffs via the wild card route. The Bengals don’t have enough defense and the Browns don’t have enough of anything.

SOUTH -  Texans, Texans and more Texans. Even with Andre Johnson’s annual injuries, there is nothing in the this division to prevent then them from winning it going away. Not the Titans, not the Colts and definitely not the Jaguars.

WEST- The Chiefs will win the division with the Broncos and Raiders battling it out for a wild card spot. I look for all three teams finishing right around 9-7. It will be interesting to see if Eli’s big brother can stay healthy in Denver. The only time the Chargers will be appealing is when they sport their baby blue jerseys.


EAST – I don’t know why, but I just can’t count out the New York football Giants. Payton’s kid brother isn’t very flashy, but he sure knows how to win. The Cowboys and Eagles are somewhat enigmatic to me. While they both possess plenty of offensive weapons, neither team does it for me. That being said, one of these teams will qualify as a wild card team. The Redskins just aren’t good and have now screwed up their classic uniforms this season. Snyder is a tool.

NORTH – This division is no longer the “Black ‘n’ Blue” division, it’s all about the offense. It will be the unenviable task of the Lions and Bears to keep up with the Packers’ vaunted aerial attack. Good luck with that. If the Lions defense can avoid be suspended at a record breaking pace, they will earn a wild card. The Bears defense is getting old real fast. (See Brian Urlacher) The Vikings aren’t even in the discussion.

SOUTH – The Saints and Falcons both boast explosive offensives. The difference is New Orleans is lead by Drew Brees and “Matty Ice” is the guy calling the shots for Atlanta. Enough said. With the suspension situation currently reversed, the Saints will take the divisional crown and the Falcons will procure a wild card spot. Cam Newton and the Panthers will make it interesting for a while, but fade in the end. The Buccaneers’ uniforms make me vomit in my mouth.

WEST -  The 49ers features the top defensive squad in the NFL. It is good enough to make up for the inadequacies of Alex Smith and all the time Frank Gore will miss due to his inevitable injuries. Early in the season, with Russell Wilson at the helm, the Seahawks will give the 49ers a fight for the top spot with the Niners emerging on top. The Rams will slide into the third spot with a listless Cardinals team finishing a distant fourth.


I won’t bore you with the Wild Card and Divisional games, let’s go straight to the Conference Championship games.


The Texans knock off Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots, 37-28 in Houston’s Reliant Stadium. Matt Schaub hooks up with Kevin Walter late in the game to put the game out of reach. Schaub’s performance earns him MVP honors and puts the Texans in the Super Bowl.


On an unusually warm January day, the Packers destroy the 49ers, 42-17 on the not-so frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. Jordy Nelson, with three touchdown receptions is the MVP. Clay Matthews and B. J. Raji lead a stubborn defense and Green Bay is headed to New Orleans in February.


What was supposed to be an offensive shootout, turns out to be a defensive struggle with the Packers scoring a hard-fought 17-14 victory over the Texans on the synthetic turf of the Superdome. The Vince Lombardi trophy returns to Titletown. Charles Woodson becomes only the eighth defensive player to garner an MVP award. The defensive back picked off two Schaub passes, returning one for the game-winning TD.

There ya go, my not-so fearless pigskin predictions for the 2012 NFL season. Before you race off to call your bookie and put a few shekels on the Pack going all the way, make sure you cast a vote on my new poll question.

Until next time…from the booth.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Getting Old

Yesterday was the first Saturday of college football. With the Fighting Irish playing Navy over in Ireland, you could start watching games at 8:00 am. Sometime after 10:30 pm, USC finished trouncing Hawaii. In between, there were games on at least a dozen channels. I took a look ahead and saw that there is a minimum of 31 games on the tube next Saturday. You are probably thinking that I am in my glory. 

Well you would be wrong. I am not. I have come to the brutal realization that I really don’t care about college football anymore. I’m reluctant to admit it, but I think I am getting old.

It’s true, it has dawned on me that I no longer possess the rabid enthusiasm for most sports that I once had. After a bit of reflection, I was able to come up with a list of the sports that I am still passionate about. Here it is:

1. Major League Baseball
2. NFL Football

That’s it, and in that order.

Last season I did not watch one complete NHL game, not even during the Stanley Cup playoffs. I’m not really sure why hockey no longer captures my interest. As far as the NBA goes, I doubt that I watched more than 5 minutes of any one game this past season. That’s basically because the NBA sucks.

As far as other sports go, I still have a mild interest in them, but not like before. I still enjoy March Madness and will tune into the major tennis and golf tournaments, but not 24/7 like in the past.

I am sure that my time spent listening to sport talk radio will diminish considerably over the next few months. When the talk turns to college football or the NBA, I will simply turn the dial. The impending work stoppage makes the NHL a moot point.

Maybe I should have seen this manifestation of apathy coming. Looking back, I noticed that I didn’t have the same infatuation with many of the superstar athletes as most people do.

Despite their greatness, I never liked John Elway, Cal Ripken Jr., Michael Jordan, Ben Roethisberger or Serena Williams. In the past, it wasn’t a matter of just disliking these jocks, I actively rooted against them. Now, it’s more a case of not being able to care less.

Now my indifference also extends into my hatred of specific teams. In the past, my loathing of the Cubs, Bears, Bulls, Vikings and Cardinals was all consuming. As hard as I pulled for the Packers, Brewers and Bucks to win, I rooted just as hard for those teams from Chicago, Minnesota and St. Louis to lose. I had such strong contempt for those teams, it was ridiculous.

But not anymore.

Sure, it still bothers me if the Cubs beat the Brewers or if the Bears should knock off the Packers. However, it doesn’t gnaw at my gut like it used to. As my friend Bev has told me on more than one occasion, it’s only a game. And she’s right, a game isn’t worth getting all melodramatic and emotional over.

Now granted, there are Cub and Bear fans that still get under my skin with their moronic, knuckle-dragger remarks, but not to the point where I want to squeeze their heads until they pop like a pubescent zit. That’s in the past.

But not anymore.

It amazes me that it took Saturday’s glut of college football games to make me aware that I am no longer as obsessed with sports as I once was. Don’t even suggest that I am more mature and have finally grown up. No way. I am as childish as ever. I prefer to think that I am just getting older.

I’m gonna watch the Tigers/Sox game now. Or maybe I will read a book. Have a safe Labor Day holiday. Until next time…from the booth.