Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Survivor 25.7

Your Official Survivor: Philippines Recap Trilogy for week seven: 

Malcolm - Mary Beth's Favorite
Mary Beth’s 2Cents: Tonight's episode started out over at Kalabaw, where Denise was wondering if she is cursed. She's been to every single Tribal Council since the season opener. Yet, she's still here, so perhaps she's blessed instead! Penner wonders why Katie would vote for him to leave! He says he “forgets that people are lying” on this show but “feels good” about his alliance with Jeff – who just might be lying to him!

At Tandang, Mike is fondly remembering the anniversary of his fall into the fire and subsequent medivac when he last played when suddenly a boat arrives and they find out… drum roll please!… the tribes are now merging! They have ten minutes to gather their stuff. No one seems to notice Malcolm running off into the woods on his own to unearth his Hidden Immunity Idol. I had forgotten he had one! Sigh…

When the two tribes merge (now called Dangrayne), Jeff starts scopin' out Skupin (I like saying that!) because he really doesn't want Penner to win this thing and wants to keep a seasoned pro on his side. Mike Skupin, ever the strategist, spends his first moments waxing lyrical about how he never made it to a merge before.

Later, he and RC begin taking advantage of the merge to get to know the other tribe mates which kind of leaves Abi the Evil and Pete shaking in their shoes. They see that if they don't do something Mike and RC will make a larger, stronger alliance and, frankly, they haven't treated either of them very nicely for a while now. Which, by the way, gets keenly pointed out to Abi Dabbi by RC when Abi tells RC to go get some information on the others for her.

Apparently, RC had a set of balls in that double D zebra bra all this time because she looks Abi in the eye and tells her “we're not one big happy family and we haven't been for 17 days!” RC has some chutzpah!

Tonight's moment of the bizarre – While the others are setting up camp and building a shelter, Lisa takes it upon herself to get everyone's clothing out of their bags and hang them up to dry in the sun. She inadvertently finds Malcolm's Hidden Immunity Idol.

Okay… What???

Since when do the others allow anyone to go through their bags without some serious repercussions? I remember a season when someone searched a bag for beef jerky and all hell broke loose! Lisa just goes through all the bags and no one says a word! And when Malcolm finds out about it, he simply says he's thankful it was Lisa “the church lady” and takes her at her word that she won't tell anyone.


I don't know but this portion seemed a little too scripted. As if Lisa Whelchel wasn't getting enough airtime or something. Right after this she is seen swimming with Penner, the only person who recognizes her, and tells him how refreshing it is to just get to be her. Yeah… I dunno… seems scripted and I hate to think that way, but it did!

There was a lot of talk about getting Penner voted off. Pete wants RC out and offers her up as the second. Malcolm figures out that if the vote is split 4-4 it will force Penner to play his Idol, which Pete tells them he has. The weird thing about the merge was that for as close as Malcolm and Denise were on their old tribe, before they were split up, it never showed them taking time to talk to each other to re-establish their ties. Maybe they didn't have to? Weird.

The Immunity Challenge was a show of pure strength as each person had to hold a rod, wrapped with a rope, tied to a bucket that held 25% of their own body weight. The challenge proved to be difficult and they started dropping like flies. Skupin was out in a matter of seconds. The others soon followed. Denise held on to be the last woman standing and she won immunity. Carter and Jeff battled it out with Jeff finally giving up. Carter wins immunity. Carter? Is this guy some kind of dark horse here? He will be interesting to watch in future episodes.

Everyone continues to scramble until Tribal Council. This show is great at making me think I know what's going to happen but then, inevitably, what I think will happen, doesn't. The notes I jotted down during tribal look like this. “Abi needs to go – HATE HER!!” “When did Lisa get to be so smart?” “Penner feels the heat and is forced to play his idol.” And then… I heard a loud scream and some out of control sobbing and I knew exactly what happened…

Jeff Probst announced, ”Voted off and the first person of our jury… RC!”

The screaming and sobbing was coming from the direction of Paul's house. I'm sorry, Paulie. I liked her too and I was hoping she would be able to stick around for a while. Now go dry your eyes, blow your nose and get a drink of water so you can calm  down. It's really going to be okay, buddy. Trust me.

Denise - Jamie's Favorite
Jamie’s Prognosis: If tonight’s episode of Survivor was a Nancy Drew mystery it would be titled “Curse of the Mammoth Mounds.”  But more about that in a bit. This week I noticed that Paul Vagnoni became a fan of RC’s Facebook page. I pictured him getting a package in the mail including a fun fan key chain, cheetah patterned T-shirt and matching sun visor, not to mention a DVD of all the times she ran across the beach in slow motion.

This week’s show began with boats coming to each beach to take the two tribes to the merge. Lisa Whelchel was appropriately dressed in her mom jeans and a long sleeved shirt. Really. Lisa!! You are old school Hollywood girl. Quit acting like Aunt Bea!

As the two tribes came together and before the last drop of celebratory wine was drunken there was talking and scrambling and backstabbing and potential flip flopping going on. It was hard to keep it all straight.

Penner and Lisa took to the water to discuss their situation, and he is clearly smitten with her, being the only one who knows her big “Facts of Life” secret.  Lisa went into full on “mom” mode and decided to do everyone’s laundry, and in doing so discovered Malcolm’s Idol stuffed carelessly in his bag. Moms who do laundry everywhere were cheering “Yes… YES this is why we do laundry!!” To discover secrets. Its true.

For the Survivors first Individual Immunity Challenge, contestants had to hold onto a bucket suspended above their heads that contained 25% of their body weight. Shame on the men who were outlasted by Lisa and Abi!!

I KNEW that Denise would dominate this challenge because as I mentioned before, my fave player is buff and muscled! She easily won the women’s challenge. But the big surprise for me was Carter, who I had generally dismissed as worthless until tonight. His scrawny self outlasted all of the men including former MLB baseball player Jeff Kent. 

I also found it quite interesting that Jeff Probst let loose during the challenge that Penner was going to be in trouble at Tribal Council. Can we be a little less obvious with the subtle manipulation of the show there, Jeff?

Back at camp more scrambling ensued and Jeff and Carter became the swing votes, so to speak in an election year. Would they stick with their original alliance? Or would they flip to the side of Pete, Abi and Artis, none of whom I like very much. 

For Jeff Kent this was tempting. He doesn’t like the fact that Penner is still in the game and wanted to vote him out. But in doing so would he potentially become the next one to be picked off?

At Tribal Council more subtle Probst manipulation ensued. Clearly Penner was in trouble, and by now I have decided that I like Penner. Not just because of the Alan Alda thing, but because I think he’s a good player. 

Abi and RC aired their ridiculous non-existent grievances about each other. Abi is just mean and unlikeable. I really hope she doesn’t make it much farther. After the vote was taken Probst asked if anyone had the immunity idol and wanted to play it. For a second or two it looked like Penner was going to risk it, but he wisely played his hidden immunity idol. 

As the votes were read I could feel my friend Paul’s angst all the way from the North side. Yes indeed, his beloved cheetah print underwire clad beauty and new Facebook friend RC was eliminated.

Jonathan Penner was not a happy man after the vote. And let me tell you, he does NOT look good on the night camera’s (which, by the way freaks me out… I hope no one EVER films me with one of those cameras). 

I would say that Jeff Kent has a big target on his back, and Penner is going to put his fight into high gear. Next week should be interesting. And I am sorry to report that after tonight’s episode all of the big breasts have been systematically eliminated. Unless Lisa Whelchel decides to take off the granny clothes and show what she’s got.

RC - Paul's Favorite
The Booth’s Bits: Okay, time to put on my big boy pants (insert inappropriate jokes here) and write about the saddest episode of the season. I am sure that Mary Beth and Jamie have both described the devastating demise of the lovely RC. With precisely 20 minutes left in the show it became painfully evident to me that the time had come for my personal favorite.

Hopefully my talented friends have gone over the other details of tonight’s tragic episode, because I am far too melancholy to deal with the other insignificant particulars. Please, excuse me for a moment; I need to grab another Kleenex before I continue.

Okay, that’s better. Rather than discuss the heartbreaking trivialities that occurred during this evening’s tear-jerking program, I shall rank the ten remaining scoundrels. Please keep in mind that this is how I want them to finish, not how I think it will end up. Not that it really matters, they are all jerks…

10. Abi – hopefully this Rosie Perez-sounding little shrew will get eaten by a shark or something. I can’t stand her. She was mean to RC. The sooner she is gone, the better.

 9. Peter – this guy has to go because he said, and I quote, “I never liked RC.” The audacity of this creep! Maybe when he gets voted off he can go buy a personality.

 8. Lisa – I’ve had just about enough of Blair. I just wish that they had HD television during her Facts of Life days rather than now. The woman looks like she is perpetually crying.

 7. Carter – is this season’s Jeff Spicoli wannabe. Too bad Ray Walston isn’t around to reprise his role as Mr. Hand so he could tell this boob, “I think you know where the front office is.”

 6. Artis – okay, I know, you’re an angry old black man with two earrings in each ear. Blah, blah, blah. Listen, I remember Special Agent Phil from season 22 and you sir, are no Special Agent Phil.

 5. Skupin – should just get out of there before he hurts himself. He’s living on borrowed time. It’s blowing my mind that he has gone two consecutive episodes without opening a gash on his body.

 4. Denise – I could almost root for her. She is smart, extremely athletic and understands the social aspect of the game. Her only drawback is the way she contorts her face while she nods knowingly at Tribal Council.

 3. Penner – is another castaway that I am close to pulling for. He is the spitting image of Alan Alda and frequently sports a Russell Hantz style hat. However, that little scene in the ocean with the sack-eyed Lisa made me vomit in my mouth.

 2. Malcolm – this hunky oaf is a super-sized version of Ozzy. Sure he’s probably the best competitor on the island, I get that. But come on, Lisa “got any Visine?” Whelchel found his Hidden Immunity Idol while rummaging through his drawers.

1. Jeff – I started out not liking him because he was a red ass when he played for the Blue Jays, Mets, Indians, Giants, Astros and Dodgers. Then he began to grow on me, I liked the way he played. Then I recalled that he was a red ass when he played for the Blue Jays, Mets, Indians, Giants, Astros and Dodgers.

Full disclosure: I had decided to use the photos of our favorite castaways next to our sections before the show began. Good thing I did. Poor RC. Man, I need to blow my nose. Crap, I probably look like Lisa by now…

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Survivor 25.6

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

Mary Beth’s 2Cents: Ah, Kalabaw and Tandang. I can't decide which of these tribes is more screwed up. They seem to have equal parts warhorses and doofuses. Surprisingly, some of those I had almost written off began stepping up and making their presence known.

As the episode opened, Kalabaw was just returning from the last Tribal council adamantly vowing that they would never lose again. Because, well… because losing sucks and someone has to go home. Some of the women on the tribe start to realize that Penner might be a threat and speculate that he has the hidden idol. He does but they don't really know that yet. But like most of the women's strategizing on this show it is just idle chitchat. Get it? Idol… Idle… I crack myself up.

Now, I don't want that last statement to be taken in the wrong way. I really appreciate when women on Survivor bond together and use their noggins to make some big moves. Though, in this season I haven't seen that happen. I've only heard them “thinking” about how great it would be and in the end, they vote how the men tell them to vote and that's that. Lame! Very, very lame!

Speaking of lame, over at Tandang, Skupin is quickly depleting the tribes rice supply by continually snacking on handfuls of dry rice. Clearly, this perturbs others but no one actually tells him to knock it off, so they're in a precarious position of not having enough food to go around. As someone who just the other day blew a gasket because someone ate my last M&M off my desk, I can tell you I would not be taking his rice noshing lightly. Apparently, they feel a low grumble and a harsh whisper is the way to go here. Sheesh!

At Reward Challenge, a giant game of Wicker Ball Tackle Soccer, the reward was… Ta Dah! Food! A bunch of people have to try to push a huge wicker ball into a goal while the other opposing bunch have to stop them. And it's in the mud.

Lisa Whelchel, rocking that pink granny bathing suit, suddenly showed up to play! She really held her own by pinning the stronger, feistier Denise into the mud and keeping her there so she couldn't move. Carter spent much of his time being picked up and tossed into the air and into the mud by Pete. But he kept getting up and coming back for more. He did bring a spectacular aerial affect to the whole thing.

Penner and Skupin were stuck at the ball getting “intimate” as Probst mentioned. Penner thrust his meaty man hands between Skupin’s legs and then, for reasons only known to Penner, he thrust his meaty man meathead between his legs at which point Skupin just sat down on his face in the mud. I thought I heard Skupin say this was “just like heaven” but, to tell you the truth, I was afraid where this was all going so I looked away!

What happened next was the weirdest thing I've ever seen. Skupin and Penner make a deal. If they let Kalabaw win Reward they can have all the food if they give Tandang the rest of the rice they have at camp. So, everybody just gives up and they agree to this. Penner assures his tribe that he's the Babe Winkelman of the Philippines and he will bring them much fish so they go along with this idiotic agreement! So, Tandang gets the rice and Kalabaw gets a picnic lunch with dessert and… Ta Dah! Letters from home.

The day after gorging themselves on this feast, Carter apparently is starving to death. Penner tries to catch fish and he does! Two of the smallest fish I've ever seen in my life. They each get one tiny bite of raw fish. YUM! Artis is a crabby old passive aggressive ne'er do well and Abi just needs to get her whining complaining volatile rump gone!

At Immunity Challenge – ah, what can I say? It was all Malcolm, all the time. Lisa again proves herself to be a playah! She lobs balls into the air, past the other players and into the tanned, muscular waiting arms of sweet Malcolm. Sigh… Of course, they win! The best line? Probst says, after seeing Malcolm slamming Carter out of his way, “Malcolm is eating Carter's lunch!”

At Tribal, there's the usual shenanigans where the editing makes it seem like someone's about to make a big move but, guess what? They don't! So ineffectual Katie is booted off because she just can't do anything anyway and, unfortunately, Penner and his meat hands live to see another day. My biggest problem with this show is that there is no one willing to make the move, take the stand and change the game. Where's Russell Hantz when you need him?

Jamie’s Prognosis: Tonight’s episode started with Katie feeling weak and vulnerable after last weeks’ ouster of Dawson.  Being ever observant, I noticed this week that Katie is really beautiful… Oh duh! She is a former Miss Delaware. Hey. What did Miss Delaware? She wore a New Jersey… I digress. 

On the Tandang tribe Pete, Artis and Abi were being negative and mean. I call them the bitchy triad now. OK, OK they have a point. Michael Skupin is not only a danger to himself, he also likes to eat handfuls of raw rice with the belief that his internal body heat cooks said rice, which I don’t believe happens unless you drink equal parts of boiling water. Anyhow, he was pissing off his tribe mates by nibbling away at their food source all the day long and I would probably not be too happy with him either.  

This week’s Reward Challenge was sort of a mud wrestling with a giant twiney ball thing. Contestants had to try to get control of the ball while wrestling competing team members away from it.

I must say I chuckled at first when I saw that Lisa was going to try to take on lithe and sinewy sex therapist Denise. I thought it would be no contest, but I was wrong. Lisa Whelchel is a strong one! She basically immobilized athletic Denise the second she got to her and she held on to her for over an hour.

This left Penner and Skupin to skirmish over the ball in man on man action that was often uncomfortable not only for them but for the rest of us to watch.

The game quickly came to a standstill. An hour passed with everyone laying around in slimy mud. Finally Penner made a strategic move. He offered Skupin a deal. Anything from their camp in exchange for the delightful sandwich picnic that awaited the winners of the challenge. And what did Skupin want? Their rice. Dude likes rice. Some back and forth chatter ensued between the two tribes, who seemingly agreed and the deal was made. Tandang got a half eaten bag of rice and Kalabaw got a delicious meal as well as the ever-emotional letters from home, which caused muddy tears of love to flow.

Back at Tandang there was indeed more rice, but not everyone was happy about it. Artis was pissed off, even though he agreed to the exchange. The bitchy triad looked like they were going to turn on Skupin.

RC quickly jumped in to defend her man Michael. She wisely donned her investment banker outfit for her on camera snippet, which really upped her credibility. Seriously, she hadn’t been on the beach for more than 15 minutes before she was in her leopard print underwear and NOW she wants to put back on her business suit?  It’s too late for the suit, honey. Learn to dress appropriately for the occasion.

The Immunity Challenge involved the catapulting of balls into nets and our first reaction was “Jeff Kent has GOT this in the bag… er… net”. Not so much. Malcolm blew him out of the water to win immunity for Tandang, and let me say that Lisa Whelchel was masterful at the catapulter position. Confident. Cool. Seemed like she could aim. Lisa’s got her groove back.

So Kalabaw went back to Tribal Council and it looked to be a choice between Penner and Delaware. Lots of talk about blindsiding ensued, which was clearly all for the cameras. Tribal Council was overly contrived this evening with Jeff Probst doing little to hide his manipulation of the contestants. I was on the edge of my seat. Not. Katie got voted off, as I knew she would be. It was the obvious and smart choice unless the others want to get picked off one by one in challenges.

As Katie’s torch was being extinguished my husband suddenly noticed what was going on with a loud “Not Miss Delaware!!! Now there are only one pair of big boobs left on the show, damn it!!” And he wasn’t talking about Penner and Skupin.  Paul V… are you feeling nervous??

The Booth’s Bits: Tonight’s episode featured something I love - two challenges. I bitch and moan when they combine the Reward and Immunity challenges, but, for the second week in a row, we are treated to two separate challenges.

Five minutes into the show there was a Reward Challenge. I was pumped! Too bad it sucked. A lot. Don’t get me wrong, it had potential – the tribes pushing a enormous medicine ball made of rattan in the mud! Unfortunately RC sat this one out and we had to watch Penner, Carter and Denise from Kalabaw grunt around in the slop with the Tandang trio of Skupin, Peter and Lisa.


The biggest highlight was when Penner decided to give Skupin and a proctology exam in an effort to get him off the giant ball. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. Anyways, when that didn’t work, the six contestants laid on each other and the ball for over an hour. Finally in an act of desperation (or perhaps apathy), Tandang forfeits the challenge and the reward with the understanding that Kalabaw must give them all of their remaining rice.

Wanna know what Kalabaw won? Sandwiches, chips, a bunch of brownies and some juice. Oh, ya. The got to read letters from their loved ones. Yawn. The only thing that would have made this segment more interesting was if the brownies were “special”, if you know what I mean.

Back at camp Tandang, most everyone was pissed at Skupin, blaming him for making the dopey rice deal. The only one who didn’t seem overly upset with him was the scintillating RC. In fact, she went as far as snitching out the way Artis was cursing him out during the challenge. Normally I don’t like a snitch, but RC was wearing this cream colored blazer and looked very hot. Too bad there was no Mark Burnett's Private Moment Especially for Paul Vagnoni tonight. The thought of RC strolling down the beach in that blazer and her leopard skin bikini…

The Immunity Challenge was much better. It was a jai alai played with giant slingshots. Once again Abi sat out and once again Probst chastised her for being a slacker. Manning the giant slingshots were Lisa and Denise and they both did a nice job. For a while it looked like Kalabaw was going to win, as former big leaguer Jeff Kent was dominating. Then, out of nowhere, Malcolm stole the show, snatching three straight balls to give Tandang a narrow 5-4 victory and the Immunity that went along with it. They have yet to lose an Immunity Challenge and therefore have never been to Tribal Council.

The same cannot be said for Kalabaw.

Tonight’s loss was their second consecutive trip to Tribal Council. Combined with Dana leaving sick last week, Kalabaw would be done three castaways to seven for Tandang. The only question was who would it be.

Actually it was pretty much a no-brainer. You know it was gonna be the lithesome beauty queen Katie. Sure, they tried to make us think there was a chance they would dump Alan Alda impersonator, Penner, but ant serious Survivor Geek knew it was Katie who would be told to hit the road.

And that’s exactly happened at Tribal Council – Katie was sent packing. About the only excitement was Probst being a stinker and trying to get Jeff Kent admit that he was a former baseball player. However, Kent played it cool and when Probst asked him if Survivor is like any other game that he has played, Kent replied, “No, Survivor sucks.” Ha! The look on Probst’s face was priceless.

Last day for the poll if you haven’t already jumped on it. Until next time…from the booth.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Good Bye Coach

Sadly, it has happened again. This past Thursday, Kenosha softball lost another one of its big personalities. Rich “Coach” Ehnow peacefully passed away at Froedtert Memorial Hospital at age 65. Coach is the fourth softball luminary to leave us this year. It started on February 19 when Fred “Doc” Tenuta passed on. Then on April 18, Denny DeLoria passed and again on June 8 when Scott Maki left us. Now it is Coach Ehnow who is no longer with us.

According to the obituary on the Bruch Funeral Home website, Coach entered the Air Force on June 22, 1966 to serve in Vietnam and was honorably discharged June 21, 1972. He worked at the KYF  from 1974 to 1999.

Coach umpired softball for 23 years and coached sports for 35 years. He enjoyed umpiring and attending the Rotary and City Tournament for many years. He was an avid fan of the Chicago Bears and Cubs, as well as the Wisconsin Badgers.

My first encounter with Coach was during my sophomore year at Tremper High School. I was attending a basketball game with a bunch of my friends when an enthusiastic little man was making his way up and down the bleachers. It was quite obvious that he was not a student, yet he seemed like he knew everyone and likewise, everyone seemed to know him. When I asked someone sitting behind us who this character was, I was informed that it was “Coach”.

In the years to come I never had to ask that question again.

If you were at a sporting event in Kenosha, chances are Coach was there, especially when it came to softball. His obituary mentioned how much he enjoyed the Rotary Tournament, most likely that’s how he acquired his other nickname, “The Mayor of Lincoln Park”.

You couldn’t drive down Sheridan Road without seeing him walking either to or from the KYF. A beep of your horn was always answered with a wave and a big smile. He never wanted a ride.

While Coach did not want a ride when he was on his way to or from work, it was different story when he wasn’t. Coach never turned down a ride after celebrating following a night of softball. In fact, the last line of his obituary reads, “The family would like to thank everyone who has ever given Coach a ride home.”

With the passing of Coach, Scott, Denny and Fred, many of us are reminded of our own mortality. I know that I am. Whatever your spiritual beliefs are, please keep in mind that our time on this earth doesn’t last forever. 

Whatever time we have left, we need to do what we can for others. Especially those that we love and care about. Pray for them. Bring them lunch. Pay them a visit. Give them a ride home. Do it while you still can…

Dear God, please remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again; may you bring them and all the departed into the light of your presence.

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Survivor 25.5

Yay! Jamie is back! So, here is the Official Survivor: Philippines Recap Trilogy for week five:

Mary Beth’s 2Cents: On day 11, it's still raining and miserable in the Philippines and the remnants of the Matsing tribe, Malcolm and Denise have turned their concerted efforts to wildly hunting for the Hidden Idol. Now that they're down to just the two of them they realized they needed something to make them valuable or at least somewhat protected in the event there was a merge. I have to admit I was wondering how they were going to handle the demise of a full tribe on this show so quickly. I can't recall another season where an entire tribe was picked off so early into the season.

After much thinking and searching, Malcolm and Denise found the idol. Malcolm, being both smart and cute, claimed it for his own. Denise realized she has some power by just knowing that Malcolm has the idol. Information can be a powerful thing in Survivor. Sure enough, before the challenge, both Malcolm and Denise chose new buffs and they were “immersed” into one of the other tribes. Malcolm went to Tandang. Denise went to Kalabaw.

At the Reward Challenge, the first this season that wasn't tied to the Immunity Challenge, each person had to hold a statue on a tray-like thing and attempt to knock their opponents statue out of their hands. For Survivor, this was a boring challenge! So simple! Winners would get coffee, muffins and cookies. Each duo stalked each other for a few minutes until one or the other would make a bold move and someone's statue would tumble.

In the end, Tandang won which made Malcolm giggle in the cutest way. He was fairly dancing with happiness and sugar after eating muffins and cookies. He's so dreamy!

Best move – Mike Skupin tossed his statue into the air with a dramatic flair that took his opponent off guard and allowed him to reach over and knock the other statue down. Best line of the night – Abi, who got her hair touched in the challenge by Katie, says, “She went for my hair! She went for my hair! Play like a man, don't play like a bitch!” WOW, I really dislike Abi.

And now we pause for what can only be called, Mark Burnett's Private Moment Especially for Paul Vagnoni: Poor RC… in her bikini… all alone and feeling blue… wistfully strolling into the sea for a lonely swim as she speaks in a voice over of how alone she has always been and how people have always bullied her. Then she rises up out of the blue water, skin glistening in the sun, her long black hair shining and strolls, bikini-clad, back to camp…

We now return to our regularly scheduled blog spot.

At Tandang, Pete, for reasons known only to Pete, reveals to Malcolm that he and Abi have the idol. He's known Malcolm for ten minutes and he gives up that info. Pete's not too bright. Katie (a former Miss Delaware in a bikini whom I can't believe Paul hasn't mentioned yet) welcomed Denise with open arms and thinks she might be an asset to the all women alliance. But she never tells Denise that.

Meanwhile, Dana is getting sicker by the minute, throwing up and doubled over in pain. Probst shows up with Medical and after an examination the doc gives his professional opinion. He says, “Her tummy is irritated.” I kid you not. That's exactly what he said! After Probst asked him outright if she could on he added that he thought she could last 12 more hours if she had a lot of fluids. All the time Dana is writhing in pain on the ground. In the end, since it wasn't a life/death situation the choice to leave was hers. So she left.

This left Kalabaw already short one person at the Immunity Challenge which was an enormous obstacle course ending with, you guessed it, a puzzle. (Format, much? Sheesh!) Katie couldn't get her keister over the obstacles and Dawson couldn't keep her hands off the puzzle pieces. Tandang won by just a few seconds. Kalabaw would be off to tribal.

Katie apologized to everyone for sucking so badly at the challenge. Dawson tried to reassure her by agreeing she sucked. Both talked about getting the “new girl” Denise off the tribe but neither one had the sense to actually talk to anyone about that or even talk to Denise. The men got Denise on their side and it was bub bye Dawson at Tribal.

Awkward moment of the night – Dawson, a self described Jeff Probst groupie, goes in for the kiss and hug when her torch is snuffed out. It took Probst totally by surprise! The look on his face was priceless. And it's a darn good thing she's gone because everyone knows Probst is Jamie C's man! Hands off, sistah!! 

Jamie’s Prognosis: So first things first. Who is Carter? I seriously never saw this Spicoli looking guy before. All of a sudden he was all over the place… Where did he come from?

OK, so there was a problem with Malcolm and Denise. Their team Matsing sucked and was decimated and they were left alone. It was inevitable that the others would absorb them. But first, the Immunity Idol? Right under their noses. I was really hoping my fave Denise would figure it out, but alas pretty boy Malcolm got to it first. Seems to me as if someone pointed them to it, but I do not want to join the ranks of the Survivor conspirorists. 

So, off to the first challenge they went. And divvied up they were… Malcolm to Tandang and Denise to the Mash unit with Alan Alda aka Kalabaw.

In this first challenge they needed to knock an idol off an opposing team members plate and Abi continued to demonstrate her lack of class by accusing Kate of pulling her hair and playing like a bitch. Her tough girl swagger is really kind of stupid and annoying.

Tandang won, which caused Jonathon, aka Alan Alda to lament that he wished they had gotten Malcolm on their team. Really? Dude, Denise won her part of the challenge. YOU got scooped by Skupin!

Back at Tandang the ladies were loving Malcolm, especially Lisa Whelchel. Go easy there Cougar… he is pretty.
But there were bigger problems on Kalabaw. One of their stronger females, Dana had a stomachache. Penner tried to be helpful by suggesting that she get naked? Not sure how that helps…

He then had her put her head in his lap for comfort, which made me nervous. Thank GOD that right at that moment Dr. Jeff Probst and his entourage arrived.

They quickly determined that Dana was not that sick and could stay, but after being sequestered in Penner’s crotch, she wanted out. During the medical drama, fellow team mate Dawson noted that on a regular day she would totally jump on Probst but the timing was not good. Way to be a classy team player girl.

Next up was the Immunity Challenge. Once again Abi sat out demonstrating yet again how absolutely useless she is. As the teams took off, Kalabaw was lagging behind because of Miss Delaware Katie. She had a hard time getting her lady parts over a couple of the obstacles, but you know what I was thinking? At least she tried.

Tandang took the lead but Kalabaw quickly caught up in part because my fave player Denise was awesome yet again. At the end the players needed to chop a piece of wood with a hatchet. Jeff Kent went first for Kalabaw and let me say this; He may know how to swing the wood but he sure can't chop it! They lost and off they went to Tribal Council.

I was happy that Denise seemed safe. It was between Dawson and Miss Delaware. Before they went to council, Dawson was messing with Jeff Kent by talking about baseball players. She knows his BIG SECRET about being a former major leaguer.

It was kind of fun to watch. However, at tribal council Katie's assets saved her and Dawson was voted off, but not before she gave Jeff Probst an uncomfortably long hug. Groupie! 
We wondered if she would rat Jeff out by revealing who he is on her way out but she did not because of some ill thought out reverse blackmail scheme that involves a motorcycle and a pink gun. Crazy stuff, I still love this season.

The Booth’s Bits: Before I start, I just wanted to let our devoted readers know that I do not read what Mary Beth or Jamie have submitted before I write my portion. While we might seem to be going over the same stuff other at times, it fascinates me how often our opinions are similar. Or diametrically opposed. So, with that being said…

At long last Matsing doesn’t lose! Yes! Well, as you have already probably read, Matsing didn’t lose this week because it was disbanded. Predictably, the two remaining members were assigned to the other tribes. Hunky Malcolm to Tandang and Denise the sex therapist joined the Kalabaw gang.

It should be noted that Malcolm (finally) found the Hidden Immunity Idol at the Matsing camp before he and Denise parted company to go to their new tribes. Is it just me, but doesn’t it seem like he was somehow tipped of to the whereabouts of the idol? All of a sudden it’s like, voilĂ , there it is! I thought the same thing when Penner found his and again when Peter and Abi found the one at the Tandang camp. Maybe I have just been watching this show too long…

Anyways, before you could blink we had a Reward Challenge. Want to know what they were playing for? Coffee, tea, muffins, biscuits and cookies. The challenge was kind of lame. I’m sure Mary Beth or Jamie has already described it, so I won’t go into details. Tandang won and Malcolm almost broke into tears he was so happy. I’m not sure if it was winning for the first time or if he really liked muffins. Hey! Muffins are good.

While they were getting their sugar buzz on, several members of Tandang were eager to show Malcolm how much they liked him. First Lisa and then the voluptuous RC. When Peter started to eye him up while revealing he had a Hidden Immunity Idol, I think I actually heard Mary Beth screaming all the way over here on the north side of town. Everyone knows Malcolm is Mary Beth’s boy toy!

Over at Kalabaw, Dana woke up feeling kind of icky and knocked everyone out of the way so she could go puke her guts out in the jungle. Tribe mate Jonathan Penner once again channeled his inner Alan Alda, this time as Dr. Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H. He made the diagnosis that Dana was shutting down and needed immediate medical attention.

Probst showed up with a physician sporting a jaunty accent to check out Dana. The doc said she could stick around 12 more hours, but she didn’t feel she could. Probst, in a gallant gesture, gave Dana his jacket and let her say good bye to the tribe. Katie, the former beauty queen was visibly shaken and remarked, “Oh great! Now who’s gonna take care of me?”

At the Immunity Challenge Probst called out Abi for once again sitting. When he asked her how many challenges she has actually participated in, she proudly declared, “Two!” I don’t like that girl…

Kalabaw lost the challenge because Katie couldn’t climb over the hill and Dawson was dumb as a box of rocks when it came to solving the puzzle. It was obvious that it would be one of them that would be voted off at Tribal Council. But which one? Hmm…

Jeff Kent, Carter, Penner and the newly acquired Denise mulled it over in a meeting on the beach. During the meeting, Jeff Kent spit a major league looking loogie, Penner continued to act like Alan Alda, Carter appeared confused and Denise nodded a lot while making strange, contorted faces.

After much consternation, they reached a consensus and voted out the dopey Dawson at Tribal Council. Obviously befuddled by the decision to send her home, she muttered, “Wow” a couple of times. But not before embracing and grinding on a startled Probst.

During the end credits, Dawson mentioned that she knew Jeff Kent had played Major League Baseball and concluded that he must already be a millionaire. She also decided that if he should win, he owes her big time and she wants a motorbike, helmet and a pink gun from him. Kalabaw clearly made the correct choice sending this whack job packing.

Until next time…from the booth.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Arno Was On Fire!

On what looks to be a rainy and rather dank day, I will pull a classic from the Koos vault. This one is about everyone’s favorite, Arno Schubert. To help jog your memory, here’s the quick thumbnail sketch of Mr. Schubert. As I wrote previously in “Arno: A Koos Legend”, he was a cantankerous old German who weighed in at about 230 pounds and stood 6’2”. His unkept hair was reddish-brown and, as was his scraggly beard and uneven moustache.

The man was a phenomenon at Koos and the stories about this unbelievable fellow have become quite popular on this blog. His seemingly unbelievable escapades are the things legends are made of. In fact, tales about Arno are so hot; I thought I would share one where he was on fire.

In the blog, “My First Labor Day”, I mentioned that Koos Inc. featured no running water. Most guys simply stepped to the nearest open dock door to relieve themselves. If you wanted to use an actual restroom you had to maneuver through the entire plant, walk down a long flight of stairs and go outside across the yard to the “Jap Shack”.

The reason there was no running water in the antiquated structure was because at that time there was, for the most part, no heat. There were only two areas in the old building that had any heat – the shipping dock office and a small room that housed a Hayssen packaging machine.

Unless you were operating the Hayssen machine or were going through orders in the shipping dock office, you had to deal with the temperature. If it was 10° outside, it wasn’t any warmer inside, so you dressed accordingly. The “layered look” was the fashion statement of the day - coveralls, heavy sweatshirts, flannels, parkas, long underwear, heavy boots… Anything to stay warm.

Needless to say, the crew at Koos Inc. was a sight to behold during the winter of 1975. But no individual was more colorful than that crusty Kraut, Arno Schubert. Topping a multitude of layers was his trademark bulky, cream-colored turtleneck sweater that had weird brown stains all over it. Completing the resplendent ensemble was a bright orange snowmobile suit that had seen better days.

Due to the lack of heat in the rest of the plant, the shipping dock office and Hayssen machine room were very desirable places to be. On especially bitter days, guys would find any excuse they could to spend time in either place.

Because it was slightly larger, the shipping dock office was the popular place to go to get warm, particularly at break time. The body heat generated by six or seven people jammed in the small office during a ten-minute break often made it feel hot. In fact, one time it was so hot that Arno was on fire.


Perhaps I should explain what led to this combustible situation. On this particular afternoon, the temperature was below 0°, so there was a mad dash to the shipping dock office for the two o’clock break.

Included were such Koos luminaries as Munk Ekern, Jim Weber, Danny Fliess, Chuck Huck, Harry Leipzig, Butch Krienke, myself and of course, the irascible Arno. Except for Huck, we were all rather large men so the quarters were more cramped than usual and therefore very warm.

But that wasn’t why Arno was on fire.

Because it got so cold inside Koos, often times the forklifts were difficult to get started. It was common practice to spray starting fluid into the forklift’s carburetor, especially in the morning. A few squirts and the forklift would typically start right up.

That starting fluid was some very flammable stuff and with good reason - it had ether in it. Did I mention that the cans of starting fluid were stored in the shipping dock office? Well they were.

So on this bitterly cold day there were eight large bundled up human beings, five of whom were puffing on cigarettes, crammed in a six-foot by twelve-foot room when Arno decided to have some fun with the starting fluid.

Hey, I never said Arno was a rocket scientist.

To entertain himself, the foul-mouthed German sprayed a small amount of starting fluid on the arm of Chuck Huck’s jacket and lit it with his cigarette lighter, producing a small blue flame. Chuck slapped the flame out and asked Arno if he was out of his mind.

Stupid question, Chuck.

Arno continued playing his little game of pyrotechnics getting similar responses. While most of us were getting annoyed with Arno’s moronic antics, Danny Fliess was up to some shenanigans of his own. As Emeril Lagasse used to say, Danny “kicked it up a notch”.

Danny was soaking the leg of Arno’s bright orange snowmobile suit. When I say soaking, I mean he was marinating it. Everybody except Arno was aware of what was going on. He was oblivious to Danny’s incendiary chicanery.

When he had sufficiently saturated Arno with the combustible liquid, he signaled to the rest of us to head for the door of the office. As we scrambled to get out of harm’s way, Danny tossed a match onto Arno.

The startled Arno’s snowmobile suit burst into brilliant flames. Arno was on fire!

The rest of us stood outside of the shipping dock office with our mouths wide open, not quite believing what was happening. I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or just get the hell out of there. But I wasn’t leaving until I saw what the fiery Arno was going to do next.

A normal person would have rushed out of the office, dropped to the warehouse floor and rolled in an attempt to extinguish the blaze. Not Arno. Nobody ever accused him of being normal. What took place next was arguably the idiotic thing I had witnessed in my eighteen years of existence.

Rather than try to put out the flames that were engulfing him, Arno ran after Danny with a can of starting fluid while cursing at the top of his lungs. Using his lighter to ignite it, he was using the can like a small flamethrower. Remember, Arno was still immersed in a fireball while doing this psychotic, not to mention dangerous, act.

Arno never caught Danny and eventually the flame on his snowmobile suit went out. Remember I mentioned that I never said Arno was a rocket scientist? Well, he obviously wasn’t, but that’s what makes reminiscing about him so much fun. This really did happen, it honestly did.

I hope that you enjoyed this Arno Anecdote. If you would like to read more about Arno Schubert and his hijinks, click on either Arno or Schubert in the Labels section below this blog.

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Survivor 25.4

Because Jamie had to go out of town unexpectedly tonight, our Survivor blogging triumvirate has been reduced to two. Therefore, here is the Official Survivor: Philippines Recap Duologue for week four:

 Ah, the Philippines – land of blue lagoons, lush green forest and what seems like almost constant rain. The people on this season of Survivor look miserable, wet and cold. There also seem to be no end to the wide variety of enormous bugs there as evidenced by the many close up shots of creepy green mantis thingies and hideous clown-like spiders. I, for one, am glad I am not there.

The Philippines is also host to one of the more astoundingly bad showings that any tribe has had in the history of Survivor. In just nine days on the island, Matsing is down to three people. It's been amazing watching this tribe lose person after person to become the skeleton that they are now.

Remaining on Matsing at the start of the show – Malcolm (doesn't he remind anyone else of Orlando Bloom? Sigh…), Denise (three reasons to like her – she is from the Midwest, she used the word bamboozled tonight, and she's a damn good player!) and Russell (“I'm designed as God's perfect creation of excellence!”) Swann.

Over at Kalabaw, Jonathon Penner started making some moves to keep himself moving forward. He was making alliances with Jeff Kent who previously wanted to get rid of Penner because he was a veteran and didn't think a veteran should win. Now that he's spent some time with the younger, more brainless people on Kalabaw, he's changed his mind.

They brought Carter (Who?) along for good measure, but now they have created a rift between the men and women. The women expressed their disdain for being “written off” because they are women. I swear at this point in the show I could hear that old Helen Reddy song playing in the background. “I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore…”

Over at Tandang, the guy I never knew existed until last week, Pete, placed the hidden idol clue back in RC's bag in full view of her supposed gal pal Abi. The others saw it and so now all know what the clue says. They don't know that Abi has the idol already, nor does RC but that didn't stop Abi, who shall now be called Polly Paranoia, from blowing a gasket and proclaiming RC dead to her.

RC tried to get her other ally, Sneaky Pete, to explain what happened but he backed out stating, “This is between you two…” Pete, who was off the radar until last week, may have pulled a move evil enough to start me making comparisons to something Russell Hantz might have done. Nah… Not yet… It was evil, but not that evil and certainly not as great as something Hantz would have done.

Meanwhile, at the ever dwindling Matsing, Russell Swann was talking. And talking and talking and talking and his voice was so grating that I wanted to reach into my television and punch him in the head. He was starting to wear on Malcolm Orlando Bloom (sigh…). Russell Swann decided to try to find the idol since he had the clue. He was looking all over the place without much luck or finesse and Denise saw him and, being a smarty pants, put two and two together and realized he either had the idol or was looking for it.

At Immunity/Reward challenge, Kalabaw and Tandang had to sit three players out because Matsing only had three players total. They had to carry heavy rice pots through an obstacle course, set the pots on poles and then smash them with a wrecking ball.

Malcolm, my Malcolm, started off like gangbusters giving Matsing an early lead but they weren't able to hold onto it and, once again, Matsing lost and was off to Tribal Council. But, not before Russell Swann broke into loud plaintive cries of “why God! WHY!???” He told Probst he was a “perfect creation” and expected excellence.

Funny, because I can't for the life of me understand why everyone thinks Russell Swann is such a great athletic player. Sure, he's got muscles but he is never doing very much to help them win. And he's a really bad loser!

Russell explained to Denise that it all stems from getting beaten up when he was a kid and standing up to the kid that beat him up and how punching that kid made him know he would never “cower to anyone”. It's a great story but I still don't know what the heck he was talking about.

In the end, neither did Malcolm Cutie-pie or Denise and they blindsided ol' Russell Swann right off the show. That kind of made me happy. He was annoying and I couldn't take his googly eyes and high pitched voice much longer.

I hope that there's a merge pretty soon because I really like Denise and I think I made it clear how much I like Malcolm. But if they are only two against many… Neither one will last long!

 Okay, I’m not pulling any punches. I’m going to really tell you how I feel. So far the Silver Anniversary season of the greatest reality show has been promising. Very promising. So much so, that I was looking forward to with great anticipation. I had my pad and pencil ready and the popcorn was popped. All that was needed was to hear the haunting and melodious “OY LULI-LULI-LULI” that starts every episode of Survivor.

Then it happened. We got a big steaming pile of crap. And, adding insult to injury, they insulted our intelligence.

The show began with us being reminded that it rains all the time in the Philippines and the castaways are miserable. Okay, we get it already! How about a second challenge each week like the old days?!? Oh wait, you can’t do that because Matsing sucks and barely has enough people to compete in one challenge, let alone two.

Before we got to the Immunity/Reward Combo Challenge, we got to see Rosie Perez wannabe Abi continue to be a bitch to the adorable RC. She now has a toady – Pete “the chaos creator”. He planted the Hidden Immunity clue in RC’s bag so everyone could see it.

When the rest of Tandang saw it, chaos was indeed created. Abi said something like, “Maybe the rats put it there” and the enchanting RC visibly feared for her own well-being.

Man, I loathe Abi and Pete.

When we finally got to the Immunity/Reward Combo Challenge, Survivor violated a rule that has been in place since Sue Hawk was calling Richard Hatch a snake in season one.

Let me explain.

Because Matsing is so very dreadful, they only have three people left. This forced Kalabaw and Tandang to sit out three of their members. Okay, that is fine. However, it’s not fine that they let the same people sit out that didn’t participate in last week’s Immunity/Reward Combo Challenge! That is the rule! Sack-eyed Lisa and that little hyena Abi sat out consecutive challenges! There may have been more. What gives? I do believe I am going to send a strongly worded letter to Standards and Practices!

Of course Kalabaw and Tandang won Immunity, Matsing lost and Russell Swan got all spastic. Real spastic. So much so, Probst the host had to chastise him most vehemently in front of everyone. It was at this point, I think it was 7:35 pm Central Time, that it was quite obvious that Russell Swan was going to be sent backing. There was no point in even going to Tribal Council to discuss it.

But no, producer Mark Burnett decides to make us believe there is some sort of long shot that Denise and Malcolm DON’T vote Swan off. Puh-leze! You didn’t have to have seen all 337 episodes like me to realize what was going to happen. Even the great host Probst struggled to make things exciting at Tribal Council.

Of course, as I knew twenty minutes earlier, Swan had his flame snuffed and was kicked off the island. The only one who was surprised by the vote was Swan himself. When he said, “I was totally blindsided”, he was immortalized as one of the worst players ever.

As I wrap up this week’s recap, I feel obligated to try and leave you with at least a couple of positive things. Let’s see… Mike Skupin didn’t injure himself or even bleed. And, there was that shot of RC walking down the beach in her leopard print bikini AWAY from the camera.

That’s all I got. Until next time…from the booth.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

How Did I Do?

Back in March I wrote “My Fearless Forecast”. I thought that I would try my hand at forecasting where each of the 30 MLB teams will finish. Going carefully, division by division, I even predicted the two wild cards for each league. Now that the regular season is complete, let’s see how I did, beginning with the American League:

East - Prediction
1. New York Yankees
2. Tampa Bay Rays*
3. Toronto Blue Jays
4. Boston Red Sox
5. Baltimore Orioles

East – Outcome
1. New York Yankees
2. Baltimore Orioles*
3. Tampa Bay Rays
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Boston Red Sox

Central - Prediction
1. Detroit Tigers
2. Chicago White Sox
3. Kansas City Royals
4. Cleveland Indians
5. Minnesota Twins

Central - Outcome
1. Detroit Tigers
2. Chicago White Sox
3. Kansas City Royals
4. Cleveland Indians
5. Minnesota Twins

West - Prediction
1. Texas Rangers
2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim*
3. Oakland Athletics
4. Seattle Mariners

West - Outcome
1. Oakland Athletics
2. Texas Rangers*
3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
4. Seattle Mariners

* - Wild Card team

Not horrible, I hit 50% of the teams exactly right – 7 out of 14. My playoff predicting was even better. I had 3 out of 5 correct. The only two I missed were the Athletics and Orioles. The most remarkable piece of AL prognostication was getting all five of the Central division teams in the exact order they actually finished. Now for the National League: 

East - Prediction
1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. Atlanta Braves*
3. Washington Nationals*
4. Miami Marlins
5. New York Mets

East - Outcome
1. Washington Nationals
2. Atlanta Braves*
3. Philadelphia Phillies
4. New York Mets
5. Miami Marlins

Central - Prediction
1. Milwaukee Brewers
2. Cincinnati Reds
3. Pittsburgh Pirates
4. St. Louis Cardinals
5. Chicago Cubs
6. Houston Astros

Central - Outcome
1. Cincinnati Reds
2. St. Louis Cardinals*
3. Milwaukee Brewers
4. Pittsburgh Pirates
5. Chicago Cubs
6. Houston Astros

West - Prediction
1. San Francisco Giants
2. Arizona Diamondbacks
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Colorado Rockies
5. San Diego Padres

West - Outcome
1. San Francisco Giants
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
4. San Diego Padres
5. Colorado Rockies

* - Wild Card team

Not so good in the senior circuit. Once again I correctly prophesied 3 of the 5 teams that would qualify for postseason play. Unfortunately, my regular season mark was 4 out of 16, a paltry 25%. My downfall was picking with my heart and choosing the Brewers to win the Central division. The Reds and Cardinals both finished above the Crew and were also the two playoff teams that I missed.

I asked that somebody remind me in October to make my playoff prognosis. Well, it’s October and nobody reminded me, but I will make my picks anyways. Again I ask you to remember that these predictions are for entertainment purposes only.

On the American League side of the tournament, the Orioles and Tigers will advance to the ALCS. This is based on the fact that JJ Hardy plays for the O’s and Prince Fielder for Detroit, both former Brewers. And, because Prince is still my favorite player, the Tigers will emerge victorious and becoming the AL representative in the 2012 World Series.

Over in the National League, I couldn’t care less who makes it to the World Series as long as it isn’t St. Louis. The Cardinals still have that Tony LaRussa stank about them and I can’t stand them. Forced to choose a team, I guess I will go with the Reds. But the Tigers will destroy them in the Series, become World Champions and Prince will be named MVP. Oops, I just picked with my heart again rather than my head didn’t I? Oh well.

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Survivor 25.3

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

Mary Beth’s 2Cents: I've watched Survivor ever since it debuted and haven't missed more than one or two episodes in all that time. I'm very familiar with the usual set up of each episode. They show what's been happening in each tribe. They show some conflict between tribe mates or some strategizing or some funny mishap or two. Then there is a challenge, which quickly gets us to the “meat” of the show – Tribal Council. It's an award winning formula and one that I really enjoy!

So tonight, no exception - we get brief scenes of RC and Abi lying around in their bikinis talking about the idol. Abi lets her paranoia get the best of her and she begins fighting with RC even though she's supposed to be her friend and ally.

She then turns around and shares the idol clue with Pete. (Who? Yes, that's what I thought… didn't even know there was a Pete on this show!) And then she proceeds to actually find the idol without her ally RC. Pete decides it would be best to get Lisa on their side, which is good news for the former “Facts of Life” star because she was on her way off the island prior to this. No one seemed to like her much or even need her around.

Side note: I really dislike Abi. There is just something about her that irritates me to no end and RC would do well to shake her free as soon as possible. She is dangerously strange.

Over at Kalabaw, someone finally noticed the rice box was missing a piece and they surmised (correctly) that Penner had the idol. Penner realized this and took Jeff under his more experienced wing. Jeff sealed the deal with a “four fingered” handshake, which he says, is not a “manly handshake” so it doesn't count!

The real action was happening over at Matsing. They probably should have known it was going to be a bad day when they woke up to find their raft had floated out into the middle of the ocean the night before.

At the challenge, tribes had to dive for puzzle pieces one at a time and get them back to the dock. Once they had them all, they had to solve the puzzle. Two tribes would win immunity and reward and one would be going to Tribal Council.

Matsing was already suffering with having only 4 people left. Angie, though blessed with a stellar built in personal flotation device (hee hee), couldn't even get the first puzzle piece, which was only submerged about two feet under. Her lack of strength and athletic prowess set Matsing back immediately.

She was followed by Russell Swan who, in spite of insisting he's a “strong player”, couldn't manage to climb a ladder out of the water setting Matsing even further back. Malcolm and Denise played their asses off in a futile attempt to get their tribe a fighting chance. Angie only took one turn but Russell tried again and, once again, he was unable to deliver. This time he didn't even get the puzzle piece! So, off to Tribal Council it was for poor old Matsing.

In the end it was a knock down, drag out between Angie and Russell with Angie trying to make them see that she “never gives up” while Russell, likening his Survivor struggles with that of his ancestors. (Really? He referenced the Jim Crow laws and thinks this is the same struggle? REALLY?) And he angrily challenged Angie by saying, “I was willing to die for this game last time! Are you willing to lay down your life, little girl?” Ooh, he's intense… At the end of the day, his intensity kept him around for another round and Angie was sent packing.

Just some personal observations:

Malcolm had the best line with “This is the goon squad of a tribe I get stuck with!”
Mike started bleeding from his face during the challenge from diving into the water while wearing a mask. If Mike makes it to the end without some serious injury it will be a miracle!
Philippine Fashion Alert: Lisa is rocking that Mom jeans/overly supportive lingerie top outfit. In orange and lime green, no less!
And Malcolm sure looks cute in those plaid board shorts (sigh...), just sayin'…

Jamie’s Prognosis: I was a little distracted by POLITICS tonight, but I digress. SO over on Survivor the scuttlebutt continued over the snuggling behaviors of Malcolm and Angie, who expressed both remorse for their PDA’s and restraint in their sleeping positions. They slept next to each other but not ON each other, so that was good.

Over at Tandang, RC was trying to have girl bonding time with her newly proclaimed BFF Abi, who is self centered, difficult, whiney, and doesn’t seem to like her back. In spite of this, RC and her underwire bikini top were sticking to their story! But there was a bigger problem going on in camp, and that is the fact that Lisa Whelchel possesses none of her “Facts of Life” character’s Blaire-moxie. She seems to have not an ounce of strength or leadership and can easily be persuaded.

And in Kalabaw news, Jeff Kent noticed that something was amiss… as in the decorative carving on the top of their rice container. He realized (gasp) that it MUST HAVE BEEN THE IDOL! Drats!

At the immunity challenge, teams needed to dive for puzzle pieces and right away, Matsing was at a disadvantage by sending out poor Angie, whose built in floaties prevented her from being at all submersible. They quickly fell behind. The best (worst) part of the challenge was watching accident prone Michael put on a pair of goggles and diving head first into the water. When he emerged from the water his face was all bloody again. Really? Michael spewing blood is really getting old.

Matsing lost the challenge and had to go back to tribal council, but I just want to say that Denise ROCKS! She is both a sex therapist AND a great swimmer. Go Denise!

Going into tribal council Russell had a big target on his back. He sucked at the challenge and he is really annoying. He knew he was in trouble and even threw out a Jim Crow reference. As they were sitting around the pseudo campfire he came out swinging at poor Angie, who looked like a bullied schoolgirl. She even sported a frownie face at one point. Malcolm tried to be protective, but their late night hijinks ultimately doomed Angie and she was voted off.

Tonight’s episode wasn’t the most exciting. There was little drama or suspense. If there isn’t a merge or shake up next week… geeee I wonder who will lose again?

The Booth’s Bits: This is only the third week of season 25 of the greatest reality show ever and something has been firmly established. Trust me, I have never missed a single episode of Survivor and have seen every twist and surprise Mark Burnett has thrown at us there. So believe me when I tell you that, like clockwork, each and every week three things will assuredly happen.

First, Mike will bleed. Just as the sun rises in the east, Mike finds a way to unwittingly do harm to his 50-year old body and therefore will start to bleed. This week he did it when he dove into the ocean and the mask he was wearing shattered, causing his face to become a crimson mask.

And one other thing about Mike. His last name is Skupin and host Jeff Probst chooses to call him Skupin when referring to him. Now, is it just me or does it sound like he is saying “Stupid” rather than “Skupin”? Maybe Probst is subconsciously commenting on Mike’s propensity to hurt himself.

The second thing that will occur each week is that RC will make me swell with pride. Okay, Mary Beth and Jamie, get your minds out of the gutter! Not only does she do an outstanding job of filling out her leopard print bikini, she is also a skilled player and a phenomenal athlete.

This was evidenced tonight when she boldly dove three times into the depths of the ocean to release puzzle pieces. I know, you are probably saying, what’s the big deal, so did Malcolm and Denise. And you would be correct. But, did either of them do two consecutive dives without a break? Hmm? No they did not!!! And neither of them looked so titillating doing it.

The third thing that invariably takes place every episode is the Matsing tribe losing the Immunity/Reward Challenge, and, I might add, they always look quite bad doing it. Tonight, of course, was no different. Matsing did not receive a fishing kit, they did not earn Immunity, they did not cross Go and collect $200. No, instead, they went to Tribal Council. Again. For the third time in as many shows.

During the Challenge, we learned that Angie is absolutely useless. Completely. Totally. Quite utterly and without question. Thing is, Russell isn’t much better. He possesses very little upper body strength and was of no help either. If it weren’t for the aquatic prowess of Denise and Malcolm, Matsing would have looked even more pathetic in the Challenge.

At camp, before Tribal Council, Denise stated, “It would be a ridiculous choice to keep Angie.” Then, Angie began to whine incessantly. Malcolm tried to console her, but she wouldn’t stop. This caused me to write on legal pad, “Angie is nauseating. SHUT THE HELL UP!” The next thing I wrote was “I wanna see Angie cry. So much. Is that wrong???” Well, is it?

Tribal Council was fairly predictable and, much to my delight, Russell did make Angie cry and then they voted her off. And that’s a good thing.

The only other thing I got from Tribal Council was the extremely annoying way Denise would turn her head very deliberately, make an almost grimacing smile and nod in agreement with the other’s comments. It must be from 10 years of being a mental health therapist in Iowa. I can see her doing the same condescending nod as she listens to some bumpkin telling her their farmyard fantasies.

Man, I love this show. I can’t wait for next week. Mike will injure himself somehow and bleed. RC will continue to make me swell with pride as she dominates the game and look remarkable doing it. And Matsing will lose again. And look pitiful doing it.

Before you go, make sure you vote on the Kenosha Pizzeria Poll. Don’t cost nuthin’. Until next time…from the booth.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Rhonda’s Revenge

This is the final chapter of the Burger King Trilogy. If you have not read the first two installments, “Rhonda’s Panties” and “It’s The Real Thing”, I would recommend doing so before reading this one. It would help you know why Rhonda is getting revenge. I suppose you can do the whole Star Wars thing and enjoy the trio of blogs in whatever order you like.

Whichever manner you choose, the trilogy concludes with Rhonda’s Revenge.

As with all jobs, my time working at Burger King was marked with numerous changes. Not only did I see a multitude of people come and go; even the management team changed. When Mike was rather unceremoniously “relieved” of his assistant manager job, Rhonda swooped in and gobbled it up.

That’s right, my nemesis Rhonda became assistant manager and was an even bigger thorn in my side. The increase in her authority and power didn’t bode well for those of us that had dared to challenge her in the past. From that point on, Rhonda was the bane of my existence.

Things were never quite the same after she became the assistant manager. It didn’t take long for the wrath of Rhonda to wreak havoc on my idyllic Burger King world.

Her reign of terror was legendary. Under her jurisdiction, nobody did their job well enough to meet her stringent standards. What was good enough in the past, no longer was. There was a new sheriff in town and her name was Rhonda.

If you wanted to work at Burger King you did things her way. Your days were numbered if you didn’t march in lockstep with her new regime or if you were foolish enough to question her supremacy.

Some employees embraced Rhonda’s new “system” and kowtowed to the oppressive dictator. They did whatever she said, no matter how senseless or pointless it was. The faithfulness of this throng of mindless minions greatly delighted her.

Then there was the other group who had a problem accepting Rhonda’s demented style of management and often challenged her demands. Life at the home of the Whopper wasn’t particularly pleasant for those who chose that path.

If you read “Rhonda’s Panties”, you can probably figure out which faction I belonged to. It wasn’t long after Rhonda was promoted to assistant manager when that little incident would come back to haunt me.

Big time.

It wasn’t unusual for us to hang out at Burger King when we weren’t working, especially if Rhonda wasn’t there. It was fun to socialize with co-workers, many of which had become friends. We would sit around talking while enjoying a soft drink.

That’s what I had planned to do on a late Sunday afternoon. Having closed the night before, I decided to stop in, get a Coke and see who was working. That was the beginning of the end.

When I walked up to the cash register, Janet looked at me uncomfortably and said, “You better go look at the bulletin board, Paul.”  Noting the uneasiness in her demeanor, I quickly made my way to the backroom to see what she was talking about.

The bullet board, located next to the time clock in the backroom had the usual things posted on it. You know, things like the work schedule, company policies and any upcoming announcements. That was usually all it ever had on it.

But on that fateful day there was one more item pinned to the bulletin board. It was a note written by Rhonda on the back of a page from an order pad. Although it was addressed to me, it did not start out with “Dear Paul”.

No, the purpose of the note was to blast me for the job that Marty and I had done while closing the night before. And she wanted everyone that worked at Burger King to see it.

The note was spiteful and malicious, pointing out any small detail that we might have overlooked the previous evening when cleaning up. While she was mean and vindictive in the critique of the job I had done, she actually took it fairly easy on Marty.

Thinking back, that shouldn’t have surprised me. You see, Marty was an ass-kisser, one of Rhonda’s faithful suck-ups. Plus, he had never made the grievous error of mentioning her flowered panties in front of everyone.

After carefully reading her nasty public evaluation of my performance, I decided that it was in my best interest to respond in kind. Borrowing a pen from Janet, I proceeded to write a rebuttal to her review.

My reply was factual while being concise. It might have been a bit sarcastic. Okay, it oozed sarcasm, bordering on being sardonic. But I was careful to avoid being contemptuous. After all, she was the assistant manager.

Satisfied with what I had written, I proudly signed and pinned my note right next to Rhonda’s on the bulletin board. At age 17, I figured what was good for the goose was good for the gander. With a content look on my face, I returned the pen to Janet and left. Take that Rhonda!

Well, she took it alright. The next day during lunch at school, Hayes, a fellow Burger King employee, found me and related some rather alarming news. During his free period he had gone over to Burger King to check the new work schedule. He found his hours for the upcoming week, what he didn’t find were mine.

Evidently, Rhonda didn’t appreciate my response to her public assessment of the job I did on Saturday. In fact, it enraged her enough for her to cross my name completely off of the schedule. I guess she didn’t want me making Whoppers anymore.

After school, I drove over to Burger King to see what was going on. Upon arriving, I discovered that Rhonda had indeed put a big blue line through my name on the schedule. She had fired me.

As I turned from the schedule, there stood Rhonda, the antithesis of all that is good and fair, smiling her diabolical grin. I brushed by her as I went to talk to George in the manager’s office.

George was head manager and I wanted to get his take on the situation. I knocked on his door and he called out weakly, “Come in, Paul.” He was obviously expecting me. When I entered, he was sitting at his desk with his head in his hands. He was distraught and looked more disheveled than usual.

“Paul, why did you have to write that note?” was the first thing out of the troubled manager’s mouth. When I replied that she shouldn’t have posted her note on the bulletin board, he agreed, saying, “I know, I know.” But he was wasn’t happy.

He explained that he was in a tough predicament. While what Rhonda did was unprofessional, she was the assistant manager and he couldn’t undermine her authority. On the other hand, he valued me as an employee and didn’t want to lose me.

While this was going on, a small group had gathered outside of the office. The walls were paper-thin and didn’t quite reach the ceiling. The people out there had a good idea what was happening. I am sure Rhonda filled them in on anything they may have missed.

Finally, George cleared his throat and told me he had a solution. If I would apologize to Rhonda, everything would be forgotten and I wouldn’t lose my job. It would be like none of this had ever happened.

After pausing ever so briefly, I said to George, “You mean all I have to do is apologize to Rhonda and I keep my job?” For the first time that afternoon, George smiled, nodding his head and saying yes.

That smile left his face just as fast as it had appeared when I grabbed his hand, shook it firmly and told him, “Thanks for everything, George, it was nice working for you.” His face went colorless as he slumped back into his chair.

Greeting me as I left the office was a smirking Rhonda and her witless cohorts. They were waiting for my apology, like I was a puppy with his tail between his legs. I spoiled their feel-good moment when I lied and said, “It was nice working with you, Rhonda.” As their jaws dropped in unison, I left the backroom at Burger King for the final time.

The Burger King Trilogy is now complete. I have many fond memories of that place. However, there might have been more it wasn’t for Rhonda and her damn panties.

Wednesday will feature a brand new Official Survivor: Philippines Recap Trilogy.  Until next time…from the booth.