Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Survivor 25.11

 The Official Survivor: Philippines Recap Trilogy for week eleven:

Mary Beth’s 2Cents: I'm sort of sitting here in a stunned silence after tonight's episode. The only thing going through my mind right now, and it has been going through my mind all night, is - “ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?” Let me start at the beginning…

So, after last week's Tribal Council ol' Abi-boo-boo is sulking and feels that “they” all ganged up on her. Can she really be so self-unaware that she has absolutely no idea how she appears to other people? ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?

At the Food Auction, a staple feature of any Survivor season, people are bidding willy-nilly on whatever delectable treat Probst happens to present to them. Pancakes and bacon? $500 from Denise. Fried chicken? $100 from Penner. (He took one bite and gave Probst a very uncomfortable lurid look. I think it made Probst shudder a little.) Carter traded a baked potato for rice and beans for the entire tribe and later bought some veal shanks to share with them too.

Skupin? Oh he laid out his entire $500 on some cheese and wine. And he doesn't drink. ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME? There are two veteran players sitting there with cheese and chicken on their chins! Surely they must have known there is ALWAYS some kind of clue or advantage on the auction block every single time.

No, they sit there looking goofy when the dreaded Abi-monster bids her $500 and gets the advantage. Well played you complete dunderheads! (Sarcasm intended.) Abi's advantage? Oh she gets to skip the first two parts of the Immunity Challenge and goes right to the final round. A huge advantage to have and those other guys should have known better.

Meanwhile, back at camp, Abi-the whiner wants Penner to apologize for being a big meanie to her. ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME? Penner tries to point out, in his best Alan Alda impersonation, that this is the nature of the game.

Abi pouts some more so Penner gives her a half-hearted apology. When he asks for the same she stays true to her usual nasty self and doesn't give him one. They do hug though which makes Abi think that now everyone wants some kind of communication with you. Clearly, from all of the eye rolling from the others, this was not the case.

The next morning, Abi-babby-ding-dong, decides she will pretend the advantage she got was a 4th idol. She attempts to tell Malcolm this. Malcolm, by the way, was showing Abi a wee bit too much sympathy for my taste. I shall have to rethink our relationship if that continues. He does save it by referring to her as “a girlfriend who won't go away after you break up with her”. Abi-the lionhearted refers to herself as “a warrior”. Then they are all off to Immunity Challenge.

The challenge is a rope/obstacle course in three parts. First, Probst asks a question. If they get it wrong they have to carry 5% of their body weight. This immediately puts Denise and Lisa at a disadvantage when they miss the question. Denise is fierce though. I do love her!

The Challenge goes on whittling them down to the final three – Penner, Carter and Abi-warrior whiner. Of course, the absolute unthinkable happens. Abi wins! ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?

Everyone starts scrambling at camp. Malcolm (sigh… he's still a hottie) wisely realizes that since no one can vote out Abi, he can now make a play to get rid of Penner. Denise, Skupin, and Lisa are on board except Lisa loves her some Penner and feels really, really bad for what she is about to do so she just has to tell him about it.

Penner gets all pissy and tries to get some votes to sway either Denise or Malcolm off the island but, alas, Penner pranced his way, whistling, down the walk of shame. Then he came back. Then he left again. Then he popped back again. The look on Probst's face said, “ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?”

Jamie’s Prognosis: Field Research

This week I decided to do something never done before on this blog. I decided to go and do actual research on what it is like to be a Survivor. Since the show was taped months ago I was not able to join our current band of survivors in the Philippines, so I chose a small island in the West Indies. I chose a tribe and we flew to the island, disembarking to an almost uncomfortable 85° with a light breeze. I expected a refreshing rum drink to be waiting for me.

There was none. I knew this was going to be brutal.

For our first reward challenge, the tribe had to board a boat headed for the island of Prickly Pear. Upon arriving in the bay we were to don fins and mask and search for tropical fish in the sea. That seemed easy enough.

I spotted many fish, swam to shore and raced to spell out "piña colada" in shells on the beach. Although I was given odd looks, I am happy to report that I was rewarded with one. Yeah me!!!!

Back at camp there was a lot of drama and arguing about where we would go to eat, who would pick up the tab on the next round, blah blah blah… drama queens. I stayed out of it and did shots with the bartender.

Jeff Probst did not show up, but a concierge named Franco did. He was no Probst. It was time for the Immunity Challenge. Two drinks were placed at opposite ends of the pool. Tribe mates had to swim from end to end taking sips out of each margarita and the first to finish both drinks won.

Being the lazy lot they are, the rest of my tribe all chose to sit the challenge out and watch me struggle with it whilst lounging in hammocks. Fortunately for me I am a good swimmer and drinker. I easily finished the challenge with no problem. Franco looked bored by it all.

Things are looking good for me to win this entire thing, but folks the conditions are very rough out here. I have sand in my bathing suit, mild sunburn and I have not seen a cabana boy for at least an hour. I'm getting parched and weak. What will happen to me? We have another Tribal Council tonight with the disinterested Franco, who mumbled something about crazy Americans last time I wandered past him. I hope to survive… stay tuned next week to see if I did.

The Booth’s Bits: I’m not really sure where to start. The episode started with Mary Beth’s boyfr… oops, Malcolm consoling Scabby, the castaway from hell. I am beginning to wonder about Malcolm. Not just because he was listening to Scabby whine and cry, but lately he has been trying to be all intellectual and act like he’s a real deep thinker.

Quite frankly, it’s just not working for me. Nope. Not when he’s saying stuff like, “I feel bad for Abi. She is very un-self-aware.”  Huh? I’m pretty sure that un-self-aware isn’t even a word. I could be wrong, but I’m thinking Mary Beth’s… oops, Malcolm might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer.

The ubiquitous Survivor Auction took the place of the Reward Challenge. Each castaway had $500. Here’s what everyone won:

Denise - $500 for a Pancakes and Bacon Breakfast
Skupin - $500 for Wine and Cheese
Malcolm - $200 for Iced Coffee and Donuts
Penner - $100 a for Fried Chicken Dinner
Carter - $200 for a Baked Potato, which he promptly traded in for Rice and Beans for the Tribe.
Lisa - $320 for a Humongous Sub Sandwich
Scabby - $500 for a Secret Advantage in the Immunity Challenge
Carter - $200 for some Veal Shanks that he had to share with the Tribe. The twist was that they had only 60 seconds to eat it and had no utensils.

Prior to the Immunity Challenge it was business as usual. Scabby acted like a loathsome little brat. Penner sounded more and more like Alan Alda. Lisa alternately cried and smiled. Mary Beth’s boyfr… oops, Malcolm tried to be concerned and hunky at the same time. Denise continued to make very peculiar faces for no apparent reason. Skupin and Carter were just there not really contributing any entertainment value.

The Immunity Challenge was another rope/maze thingy that  I found rather nondescript. The only drama was that Scabby had the advantage of skipping the first two rounds and advancing directly to the finals. And of course she won. Oh ya, she lied about having another Hidden Immunity Idol. But I think that Mary Beth’s boyfr… oops, Malcolm was the only one listening.

Before Tribal Council it was pretty clear that Penner/Alda/Hawkeye was going to be the one going home. Oh, they tried to make it look as if it  might be facial contortionist Denise, but it was Penner who was sent packing. One other thing, kudos to Jeff Probst for keeping his streak alive for making someone cry. This week it was Lisa. Like that was hard.

Here are my updated “How I Want Them To Finish” rankings:

1. Carter (Spicoli)
2. Malcolm (Mary Beth’s boyfr…)
3. Skupin (Needs to start bleeding again)
4. Denise (Sex Therapist to the Corn)
5. Lisa (Drama Mama)
6. Scabby (Castaway from Hell)

Only one or two Wednesdays left. Then it’s time for the big Sunday night finale and the big Reunion Show. I can’t wait for that. RC cleans up real nice. Until next time…from the booth.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Good Stuff

Yesterday afternoon I was bored waiting for the Packer game, so I decided to start a list of favorite things, preferences, fond memories, things I like, etc. You know, good stuff. Anyways, the Packer game pretty much sucked and I continued adding to the list. When I started at it again today I figured it was probably better to stop and post what I had. So far…

Kenosha Stuff
Kenosha Pizzeria – Pa’s Pizzeria
Kenosha Drive In – The Spot
Kenosha Bread – Cardinali’s
Kenosha Service Station – Aiello’s
Kenosha Restaurant – Timber Ridge
Kenosha Optometrist – Dr. Emer
Kenosha Bakery – Oliver’s
Kenosha Tavern – 400 Club
Kenosha Politician – Bob Wirch

School Stuff
Teacher (Grade School) – Sister Helene
Teacher (Junior High School) – Lorelei Allison
Teacher (High School) – Glen McCullough
Teacher (College) – Peter Pham
Priest – Father Oborny

Edible Stuff
Soft Drink – Diet Coke
Beer – Pabst Blue Ribbon
Eggs – Sunnyside Up (Grandma ‘Noni Style)
Pasta – Rigatoni
Steak – Rare
Homemade Meal – Parone Macaroni
Cheese – Mozzarella
Popsicle – Root Beer
Snack – Beef Jerky from Danny’s
Condiment – Ketchup
Pizza Topping – Sausage
Ice Cream – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Candy Bar – Dark Milky Way
Licorice – Black
Sausage – Italian
Hostess Treat – Suzy Qs
Pie - Peach

Sport Stuff
Baseball Player – Prince Fielder
Football Player – Paul Hornung
Hockey Player – Jaromir Jagr
Pro Wrestler – Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy
Pro Wrestling Tag Team – The Fabulous Freebirds
Pro Wrestling Manager – Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
College Basketball Coach – Al McGuire
Football Coach – Vince Lombardi
Baseball Manager – Harvey Kuenn
Football Team – Green Bay Packers
Baseball Team – Milwaukee Brewers
Soccer Team – Arsenal Gunners
College Football Team – Wisconsin Badgers
College Basketball Team – Marquette Warriors
Basketball Coach – Don Nelson
Softball Complex – Historic Finney’s West

Music Stuff
Band – The Who (Duh…)
Band (Runner-up) – R.E.M.
Band (Runner-up) – Dropkick Murphys
Band (Runner-up) – Queen
Band (Runner-up) - BoDeans
Album – The Who By Numbers
Song – Too Many Who Songs To Chose Just One
Christmas Song – Christmas Canon Rock by Trans Siberian Orchestra

Cinematic Stuff
Movie (Christmas) – We're No Angels
Movie (Sports) – Bang The Drum Slowly
Movie (Drama) – Cool Hand Luke
Movie (Comedy) – Slap Shot

Television Stuff
TV Show (Game) – Match Game
TV Show (Sitcom) – Leave It To Beaver
TV Show (Sitcom Runner-up) – Andy Griffin Show
TV Show (Sitcom Runner-up) – WKRP in Cincinnati
TV Show (Sitcom Runner-up) – News Radio
TV Show (Sitcom Runner-up) – Seinfeld
TV Show (Sitcom Runner-up) – Dick Van Dyke Show
TV Show (Sitcom Runner-up) – Cheers
TV Show (Sitcom Runner-up) – Bob Newhart Show
TV Show (Sitcom Runner-up) – That 70s Show
TV Show (Drama) – The Wire
TV Show (Drama Runner-Up) – The Sopranos
TV Show (Drama Runner-Up) – Northern Exposure
TV Show (Animated Show) – King of the Hill
TV Show (Reality) – Survivor
TV Show (Reality Runner-up) – Hardcore Pawn
TV Show (Reality Runner-up) – American Restoration
TV Show (Variety) – The Gong Show
TV Show (Soap Opera) – Young And The Restless
TV Show (BBC Sitcom) – Are You Being Served?
TV Show (BBC Sitcom Runner-up) – After You’ve Gone
Survivor Castaway (Male) – Russell Hantz
Survivor Castaway (Female) – Roberta “RC” Saint-Amour
Game Show Celebrity (Male) – Charles Nelson Reilly
Game Show Celebrity (Female) – Elaine Joyce
Game Show Host – Bob Eubanks
Game Show Model – Holly Hallstrom
Late Night TV Host – David Letterman
TV News Anchor (Male) – Vince Vitrano
TV News Anchor (Female) – Susan Kim
TV Meteorologist (Male) – Michael Fish
TV Meteorologist (Female) Jesse Ritka
TV News Reporter (Male) – Tom Murray
TV News Reporter (Female) – Melissa McCrady
TV Sports Anchor – Kevin Hunt  

Tuned In Stuff
Radio Personality (Morning Drive) – Bill Lawrence
Radio Personality (Late Night) – Nick Digilio
Radio Personality (Over Night) – Chicago Eddie Schwartz
Radio Personality (Sports) – Bill Johnson
Radio Personality (Friend) – Pat Hegewald
Radio Personality (Friend Runner-up) – Jim Selovich
Radio Personality (Play-by-Play) – Jim Irwin
Radio Show (Sports) – Instant Replay
Radio Show (Political) – Alan Colmes

Miscellaneous Stuff
Rosary Mysteries - Joyful
Wallet – Bifold
Computer – Mac
Job (Adult) – Lida Mfg.
Job (Teen) – Burger King
Vehicle – Dodge Ramcharger
Number – 73
Color - Blue
Season – Autumn
Time of Day – Morning
Day of the Week – Thursday

There you have it, a bunch of good stuff. At least to me it is. Until next time…from the booth.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rasslin’ Back In The Day

The Crusher and Dick the Bruiser
Last night on Facebook, Bill Lawrence, host of the WLIP Wake Up Call, was posting some old photographs of wrestling stars. Or do you say, rasslin’? The first photo was of Sodbuster Kenny Jay. He followed up with Kenosha’s own Tony Leone and then Yukon Moose Cholak. Finally, he changed his profile photo to legendary rasslin’ promoter Bob Luce. We chatted back and forth briefly, bringing up such notables as Pepper Gomez, Jimmy Valiant and Sgt. Jacques Goulet. All of this reminiscing brought back a fond memory of a great rasslin’ show I attended back in the day.

It was back in the ‘80s, a late winter day. The venue was the venerable Milwaukee Auditorium; it was a bright, sunny Sunday afternoon. The main event featured two classic tag teams – Dick the Bruiser and the Crusher vs. the Fabulous Freebirds.

The Bruiser and the Crusher were as old school as you could get. Growing up, I remember watching the Bruiser Sunday mornings on Bob Luce Wrestling (thanks, Bill) and the Crusher Saturday afternoons at 5:00 on channel 18’s AWA wrestling.

I first saw the Freebirds on WCCW out of Texas. They were easily my favorite tag team ever. I must have witnessed Michael P.S. Hayes, Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy and Buddy Jack Roberts do battle with the Von Erich family at least a hundred times. In my humble opinion, this is by far the greatest rasslin’ feud of all time.

Freebirds Terry Gordy, Michael Hayes and Buddy Roberts
While the Freebirds vs. Von Erichs feud was the granddaddy of them all; the match in Milwaukee was nothing to sneeze at. Gesundheit. Seriously, da Bruiser and da Crusher versus the boys from Badstreet, U.S.A.??? It doesn’t get much better than that.

In attendance with me were my friends, Doug, Glenn and Gary. Doug, while a casual fan at best, definitely enjoyed the live action. Glenn and I were more hardcore fans, but we were nowhere in the league of Gary. He lived and breathed pro wrestling. He was the biggest rasslin’ fan I ever knew.

Being such an avid fan, Gary was overjoyed when he found out that the tickets I had acquired were ringside in the fourth row. Our proximity put us literally within spitting distance of the wrestlers. And sweating distance. And bleeding distance…

Okay, nobody bled on us, but we were definitely introduced to the other bodily fluids of the combatants. In fact, in one of the preliminary bouts, Bob Backlund body slammed Larry Zybysko into our row. It was pretty cool. I think Gary might have had an orgasm. I’m not sure.

After all of the opening matches were complete, it was time for the match we were all waiting for. Since there were three Freebirds, Buddy Jack Roberts was not wrestling and was outside the ring. However, just because he wasn’t officially wrestling, it didn’t mean he wasn’t participating.

Early in the match, Hayes and the Crusher were locked up on the mat near the ropes. Seizing the opportunity, Roberts slipped off one of his cowboy boots and handed to Hayes.

Hayes grabbed the boot, stared at it for a moment as a demented smile came across his face and then began beating Milwaukee’s own, the Crusher with it. The enthusiastic blows caught the Crusher all over the head and upper body. It didn’t look good for the fan favorite.

A side note - For those of you not familiar with the Crusher and the Bruiser, you should be aware that they were a bit past their prime at this time. They were a little long in the tooth. They had to be at least twenty years older than the Freebirds. They were old.

Back to the match. As Hayes continued to pummel him, the veteran Crusher was staggering about the ring, his eyes rolling back in his head. It was at this moment that I felt compelled to stand up and bellow, “Knock his dentures out!” I was loud. Very loud.

Although my friends found this amusing and responded with laughter, the guy seated directly in front of me didn’t see anything humorous in my comment. He slowly turned around and scowled at me. After he finished shooting daggers at me, he turned around to the action in the ring.

Back in the ring, the tide had definitely turned. The Crusher had somehow taken the cowboy boot from Hayes and was now the one delivering the punishment. Before long he had the leader of the Freebirds on rubber-leg street, wobbling around the ring like a drunken sailor.

As the beat down continued, the “gentleman” that I had upset earlier, turned around and shouted at me, “Ha! How do you like it now?” Undaunted, I replied, “Come on, you know this is all fake.” Evidently that was the wrong thing to say.

Remember I said that my friend Gary was the biggest rasslin’ fan I knew? Well, that was until I ran into this guy.

Upon hearing my declaration that rasslin’ was fake, his head started quivering and turned a bright, crimson red. Then, his whole body started shaking as he pointed a trembling finger in my face and forcefully hissed, “F#ck You!”

No longer undaunted, I managed to tell my enraged adversary, okay, okay, never mind. Satisfied that I was no longer disparaging the “sport” he so loved, he steadily and deliberately turned away from me, still noticeably shaking and remaining a bright shade of red.

Fortunately for me he didn’t hear me mumble under my breath, “The next thing you’re gonna tell me is that Roller Derby is real.” I don’t think that would have went over well with him. Call it a hunch.

I’m not sure, but I believe the Bruiser and the Crusher won the match that day, most likely because the Freebirds did something to get disqualified. You know how rasslin’ goes. But real or fake, it doesn’t matter. Rasslin’ back in the day was good stuff.

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Survivor 25.10

The Official Survivor: Philippines Recap Trilogy for week ten:

Mary Beth’s 2Cents: I didn't take many notes tonight during this episode of Survivor. I'm in the middle of a raging cold, congestion and coughing, so it was better for me just sit quietly under my blanky and watch. Sick or not, I can tell you, my bullshit meter was on high! More about that later…

I found it both funny and odd that Lisa felt the need to “break up” with Abi. She made it official by having a heart to heart that ol' Mrs. Garrett would have approved of. She told her she simply couldn't align with anyone who didn't trust her. Abi pretty much shrugged her shoulders and that was that.

At the Reward Challenge, it was apparent that Abi had no clue on the rules of the game. A race between two people to overturn three large drums before the other person can turn your drums over. Abi ran out and just started hurling drums from both teams giving their opponents the point. I wanted to chalk that up to the fact that Abi has sat out of nearly all the other challenges but then Skupin did the same thing! And his mistake cost his team the win. Yay, Skupin.

After returning from the reward – massages, baths and loads of food – Abi proceeds to swoon over how wonderful it all was as the others eat their daily portion of rice. Just when I thought she couldn't possibly be more self-centered, she started in again talking about how her belly was so full and sticking out! Afterwards, for reasons I'm not sure of, she announces that she will no longer work around camp but will rather “enjoy” the rest of her time out there. Denise said it best. “Whiners are wieners!”

At Immunity Challenge, an obstacle course on land and in water whereby a buoy is run along a rope that is twisted and knotted, the competition got whittled down to Denise, Skupin and Carter. It wasn't a great challenge. Call me jaded, but Survivor has had some great challenges and this wasn't one of them.

Anyway, Carter wins and it's off to Tribal. Abi apparently forgot that Lisa broke up with her because she tried to “tell” Lisa which way to vote and Lisa had to kindly remind her that they were no longer dating. Pete did his best to get Skupin to take his side but Skupin is… well, he's Skupin… and there's no telling what that man might do at any given moment.

Meanwhile at Tribal...

This is where my bullshit meter went ballistic.

As Probst started his usual Q and A with the group, suddenly Abi was the perceived “target” of the hatred of the rest of the group! What?? Probst even suggested, more than once I might add, that it was her cultural difference that was making the others misunderstand her intentions.

Give me a break!

I get that English is her second language, but she knows, and has known all along full well what she's been doing. I live with someone who has English as his second language. He is fully aware of how to pick up social cues and knows how to recognize other people's intentions.

This pity party Probst was throwing for Abi wasn't cutting it with me. She's not a nice person. She's self-centered, paranoid and hateful. And the reason she was suddenly teary eyed and being the victim is because she knows she is the next person gone. Good riddance!

I'm going back under my blanky now. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Jamie’s Prognosis: The tides had turned after Artis was voted off last week, and Abi and Pete were feeling; humbled. Nervous. Ready to make new friends? NOT! Of course Abi was over the top with the abrasive and self-righteous as always. Lisa Whelchel, who I could see as a cat hoarder if she hadn’t gotten a major role on a TV show as a kid, was still trying to make nicey nice with Abi by just telling her straight out that she was leaving her alliance.

I have to give Lisa credit. As annoying as her sugar and spice and everything nice act is, it seems to be working for her so far. She told Abi she would be perfectly happy just to come in 6th, and then she said to the camera with a glow in her eyes that the game had radically changed her life. We shall see Lisa. I read somewhere that you had malaria. That’s a change.

The Reward challenge involved running around in circles and flipping some drums over. I’m a little unclear on the details because I was making mashed potatoes for our Thanksgiving dinner. But apparently I wasn’t the only one who didn’t understand.

Abi, who rarely participates in challenges, started running the wrong way but I couldn’t legitimately bash her because I didn’t get it either. In spite of her poor performance her team, also consisting of Malcolm, Carter, and Slippery Pete, won. So off the four of them went to have spa treatments and copious amounts of food and drink.

 Now those familiar with the game of Survivor know that when you return to camp with clean hair and a full stomach you downplay it. You make it sound like it wasn’t all that great… ”Yeah it was okay, I guess”.

Not Abi.

She regaled the other four with descriptions of all that they ate, her bloated belly, how beautiful and clean she felt, that she felt like “Cinderella”. Seriously, this girl has no social skills at all and is clearly afflicted by a major personality disorder.

Sensing the irritation of everyone else she decided to do damage control by going on strike from doing any cooking for the others. Nice. Hey Cinderella, now I’m judging: You couldn’t even figure out which way to run in the challenge. No one is LESS deserving of a bath and food than you. Denise said it best, quoting from some of Sigmund Freud’s seminal work I am sure; “whiners are wieners”.

The Immunity Challenge involved pushing a buoy through a bunch of twisted rope. My girl Denise looked awesome. She is just fierce! She almost made it to the end, but Carter pulled away in the end and won.

Of course Pete and Abi were on the chopping block, but Abi has a Hidden Immunity Idol. So the plan would be to split the vote between Pete and Abi with the hope that Abi would play her idol.

Abi, sensing trouble, tried to work over Lisa who, like Abraham Lincoln cannot tell a lie and told her that she couldn’t promise she wouldn’t vote for her. Pete, also sensing trouble, set his sights on Malcolm trying to get Skupin to align with them and get him out. I could feel Mary Beth’s angst (in case you haven’t picked up on it, she digs Malcolm).

At Tribal Council all eyes were on Abi and she began to run her mouth. She tried to summon up some fake tears and then explained that some of her bad behavior is because English is a second language to her.

Really? English as a second language makes people become assholes? I think not.

She tried to act upset, but she is a terrible actress and something is SERIOUSLY wrong with her. No matter though. She played her Immunity Idol as expected and then Pete got voted off, just in time to pick up with the rest of One Direction on their North American tour.

I won’t miss Pete. And I look forward to Abi’s ouster. Soon please!!!

The Booth’s Bits: Since this is Thanksgiving Eve, my portion of the Trilogy will focus on the things that I am thankful for in season 25 of Survivor. Hopefully Mary Beth and Jamie did their usual stellar job of covering the details of tonight’s episode.

I am most thankful for Roberta Saint-Amour, better known as RC. Did you see the striking leopard print skirt she was rocking at Tribal Council tonight? I’m so thankful.

I am also thankful that the lame blindside of Malcolm that Scabby and Pete concocted fell through. I don’t think Mary Beth could have handled her boyfr…, er, Malcolm being voted off. It’s way too late in the season to find someone to fill the leadoff spot of the Trilogy.

Because of the failed blindside, I am thankful that Pete the narcissist was sent home. I almost vomited in my mouth after he had his Reward meal and basically said he was unbeatable. He proclaimed he was both athletic, smart and now he had fuel. I’m surprised he left out his roguish good looks.

I am very thankful to Executive Producer Mark Burnett for, not only casting RC this season, but for those stunning shots of her walking along the beach away from the camera in her leopard bikini. Cinematic gold…

Another thing I am thankful for is Jonathan Penner. Being a huge fan of both M*A*S*H and Russell Hantz, Penner satisfies my appreciation of both. He has not only embodied Alan Alda’s Hawkeye Pierce character, but he has sported a Hantz-like chapeau throughout the season.

After tonight’s Tribal Council, I was reminded to be thankful for Emmy award-winning host Jeff Probst. I have admired Probst’s work since season 1, but tonight could have been his finest moment. His relentless badgering of Scabby was inspired! He refused to let up until he reduced her to tears. It was a thing of beauty. Tomorrow I shall raise my drumstick to Jeff Probst.

I am also thankful for both Facebook and Twitter. These two social networks have provided me with additional methods to follow the jaw-dropping RC. Kudos to both of them for making this supplementary access possible.

Even though Scabby irritates the hell out of me and all the remaining castaways, I am thankful for at least one more week of her. Not only does she provide some necessary drama, she also has a respectable derrière. With RC relegated to the Jury, this aspect of the show was definitely lacking. Denise and Lisa just aren’t capable of filling this void.

Lastly, I am thankful that Survivor is still around for a 25th season. It allows me to be a part of the Official Survivor Recap Trilogy with Mary Beth and Jamie. Hopefully, between the three of us, we can provide some laughs for Fellow Survivor Geeks throughout the world.

Here are my updated “How I Want Them To Finish” rankings:

1. Penner (Hawkeye Pierce)
2. Malcolm (Mary Beth’s boyfr…)
3. Denise (Sex Therapist to the Corn)
4. Carter (Spicoli)
5. Skupin (Needs to start bleeding again)
6. Lisa (Drama Mama)
7. Scabby (Probst’s Biotch)

Happy Thanksgiving! Until next time…from the booth.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Koos Thanksgiving Tradition

It was a typical cold afternoon in late November at Koos Inc. All four of the production lines were humming, spitting out Safe Step Ice Melter® in packages ranging in size from 10-pound bags to 100-pound drums. All three of the forklift operators were flying around the plant, doing their collective best to keep up. They knew that if they didn’t, a line would stop and they would hear it from the Production Supervisor, namely me.

Okay, not all of the forklift operators were doing their best to keep up.

As I stood chatting with Will Meurer from the manufacturing department, veteran forklift operator Herb “Butch” Krienke screeched to a halt inches way from the two of us. Doing my best Arno Schubert impersonation, I bellowed, “What the f*ck is wrong with you, Butch?”

Most of the work force paused momentarily to see what had caused my reaction.

Krienke, without even batting an eye, yelled back, “Excuse me! I was just wondering if Danielson is picking up the stuff for Thanksgiving. You know it’s Monday already!”

This resulted in all of the crew in the immediate vicinity to cock an eye and wonder what was going to happen next.

Shooting a quick glance at Meurer, I replied in a firm, no-nonsense tone, telling Krienke that Danielson would be picking everything up on Wednesday afternoon so he can hand it out between shifts. Danielson was Arnie Danielson, the Plant Manager.

Noticing that I now had everyone’s attention, my voice increased in volume when I asked Krienke if he had let the ladies in the office know whether he wanted a turkey or a ham this year. He replied, “Hell ya, I told them I want the ham. They can keep those turkeys.


Meurer then told Krienke, “You’re nuts, give me the bird any day.”

As Krienke laughed and sped off on his forklift, I noticed that the rest of the employees had stopped staring and were now having “small group discussions”. I let them go for a bit before finally asking them why nobody was working.

After a short pause, a bagger whose nickname was Bonehead stepped forward saying, “Paul, most of us just started working here and we don’t know nothing about the turkey or ham thing. Hell, we didn’t even know we was getting anything for Thanksgiving!”

Remembering that the production at Koos was extremely seasonal and that over 50% of the laborers were indeed brand new; I ordered the lines to shut down and had an impromptu plant meeting.

When the machines quieted down and everyone had gathered, I asked the man they called Bull Dog to step forward. As he did, I asked him, “Dog, you’re a Union Steward, didn’t you tell the guys they had to make a choice between a turkey or a ham for Thanksgiving?”

Bull Dog looked perplexed for a moment, and then grinning slightly, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Oops, what was I thinking? Sorry Paul.” I told him not to worry, there was still time.

Catching the gaze of Krienke, Meurer, Bull Dog and several other Koos old-timers, I glanced at my watch before addressing the crew with my solution for this problem.

“Here’s what we are going to do”, I announced. “Since it is nearly 2:00 o’clock and break time, any of you who haven’t already made your choice, get over to the office and let Millie or Louise know what you want, a turkey or a ham.”

The word ham hadn’t left my lips when 15 or 20 dirty, dusty, hardhat wearing workers darted for the ramp, making a beeline out of the plant, across the parking lot and into the office to let the unknowing ladies know whether they wanted a turkey or a ham for Thanksgiving.

With all the novices over at the office placing their orders, Tyrone Walker, a veteran Koos employee of several seasons, walked past me and the other remaining veterans, shook his head and muttered, “You guys just ain’t right.”

As we burst into laughter, the phone in my office rang. Taking a moment to compose myself, I answered it. It was Millie, one of the secretaries from the office. Now Millie had a bit of a southern accent, so sometimes some of her words were hard to understand.

Not this time.

“You assholes did it again! A turkey or a ham! Happy Thanksgiving, Paul!” With that, she hung up the phone rather firmly. I smiled to myself, knowing that the Koos Thanksgiving tradition had carried on for another year.

I hoped you enjoyed this holiday classic from the Koos Inc. vault. Next month you will be treated to those masterpieces, “Christmas Eve At Koos?” and “A Koos Christmas Story”. Make sure you don’t miss them!

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Survivor 25.9

The Official Survivor: Philippines Recap Trilogy for week nine:

Mary Beth’s 2Cents: I decided to forego my usual blow-by-blow recap of tonight's episode and, instead, concentrated on taking some notes on each of the remaining players. This has been a very intense, very good season of Survivor. Last season, I was a little worried that the gild was off the proverbial Survivor lily. In short, I hated last season. This season I'm into it all the way and I'm über-surprised at which players have been the most intriguing!

Lisa – This former kid actor has quickly become one of my favorite players and her ability to make almost everyone love her while she makes some bold moves is a new twist on Survivor characters. We've seen people “act” sweet to get what they want but Lisa is genuinely sweet. The most telling clue of this was after she made an attempt to shield her alliance and outed Malcolm for having the hidden idol. A move that kept her alliance strong for one more episode.

The people she stood up against all came to her to make sure she was okay and that she knew they weren't mad at her at all. They congratulated her for being bold! They hugged her! Her own alliance didn't seem to care but those she was working against appreciated her! Amazing! Because she is so well liked it might be hard for her to get into the final two. No one wants to sit next to a saint at the end of this show.

Denise – Denise is a muscle packed powerhouse of a woman! She has proven herself to be a valuable asset in challenges and has helped her teams to win time and time again since the merge. She's well liked by her alliance. But so far, she hasn't really made any moves of her own and sooner or later, she is going to have to start doing some strategizing. Her strength and good judgment will take her far but I'm not sure it can take her to the end. 

Carter – I still haven't figured this guy out at all. He seems to do whatever Penner tells him. He seems like a team player though I haven't seen him do anything extraordinary in the challenges. He talked on camera tonight for, I think, the first time. I'm not sure what he said but he was standing there – talking. He's unmemorable. It would take a miracle for him to get to the end of this game. He's like a piece of the set. He's just there.

Pete – You know, he's another piece of Survivor furniture, as far as I'm concerned. Oh, he makes a little mischief and got Abi all mad at RC and probably orchestrated RC's too early demise. But that was done because he didn't like her and not for any real strategic reason. He and Abi talk a lot about the game but it all seems to be smoke and mirrors and the vote usually comes down to him just picking a name and telling his alliance who to vote for. There's no rhyme or reason to his game. He needs to go.

Malcolm – Well… you know. I think I made it pretty clear that I absolutely love Malcolm. Then, when I think I cannot love him more, he says he used to be a schoolteacher in Micronesia and how this has made him realize what his life should be all about. I think I melted a little. I admit it. I'd probably faint if I ever met him in real life. No kidding. And I'm a grown up and I know how creepy that sounds but that's just how immature I really am! SIGH…

Penner – When this season started I hated Penner. I hated him the last time he was on this show too. But he has really grown on me! He's smart. Way smart. Watching him work his Psychology 101 on Lisa tonight was like watching a master. As long as he uses that mind-bending power for good, I'm okay with it. Otherwise his ability to get people to do what he wants could be really scary. I was glad to see him not get voted out tonight. This season is better with him around.

Skupin – Mike Skupin is like everyone's big, dumb, clumsy Uncle Bill. If he's not hurting himself, other things are happening to cause him harm. Tonight Abi accidentally hit him in the head with a flying coconut. He was just lying there and got beaned! But I don't count him out either. Who knew this klutz would have the balance skills to win Immunity? He may be just smart enough to stay around for a little while.

Abi – Dear lord I hate this paranoid woman. Watching her is like being at work. I work with some people who have paranoid delusions and she, though maybe not officially diagnosed, sure has some of those same traits. So much so that she just can't help spouting off! She is a know it all and a bully.

Why she is still there is beyond me. If she were in my alliance and no one would get rid of her I might have to take her out in the jungle and lose her somewhere. Just to get some peace and quiet. Case in point, they talk about handling Lisa gently so she'll stay loyal and Abi immediately calls Lisa “gullible” and is mean to her. She's gotta go. Preferably by med vac.

Artis – Another piece of driftwood. What the heck is his roll in this alliance or any alliance? He brings nothing to the table except a vote. He stinks in challenges and he always has an asshat opinion. Thankfully, Penner worked some who-do/voo-doo and Artis got the old blind side. I would have preferred that it was Abi, but do agree that this dead weight had to go. Bye bye Artis! Welcome to the jury!

Jamie’s Prognosis: Tonight’s episode was all about Lisa Whelchel again. But first, am I the only person who thinks that Dangrayne is the worst survivor tribe name in history? I cringe every time it is said.  It sounds like a bad infection. “Oh my GOD, did you hear that he died of Dangrayne? His whole leg fell off because of it!” WHO comes up with this stuff?

 So here is the truth about Lisa. She is either a very cunning player and manipulative woman who channels her former “Facts of Life” character Blair, OR, she really is just a sweet, kind soul who survived the ravages of teenage stardom to become a truly naïve mom jean, granny swimsuit sporting kind of a gal.

 Here is another true fact. Jonathan Penner is super smitten with her, and on tonight’s episode he played her like a fiddle. His psychological game was grade A; sympathizing with her lot in life as a young starlet who had to play a role and please everyone else, feeling her pain…

He even told her he loved her. 

I thought she would laugh at him but she actually got tears in her eyes and said, “Thank GOD someone finally understands me”. Wow. Way to hit the G spot Penner. Impressive. And as for Lisa? Girl, you are wayyyy too easy to please when a desperate dude on a beach can touch your soul like that. Take OFF the mom jeans and put on those savvy Blair jeans, Lisa your being played!!

The Reward Challenge was great. I love the “give back” rewards where the smelly Americans bring gifts to the natives. I’m not being crass. I really do think that after invading their lands with puzzles and mazes and fire pits and camera’s and stupid stuff like that they really should give back. 

In this challenge two teams had to go through an obstacle course and dig up some bags of balls from a sand pit. The first group to get all their balls in a metal tube won the challenge. Penner was first out of the gate and he wisely dug up all of the bags of balls for the rest of the team to easily grab on their way through.

Carter, Denise, Malcolm and Penner easily won the reward and I was once again high on Penner! As I said last week, he is playing a great game. Most touching moment of the reward?  When Mary Beth’s boyf… I mean Malcolm said that giving school supplies and treats to a needy village was way more rewarding than pouring drinks for chicks in a bar. Truth!!

Back at camp gangrene, I mean Dangrayne, Abi was still an asshole!!! This woman is so detestable. Why hasn’t anyone voted her off for spite yet? Icky human being.

The Immunity Challenge was a tricky one. It reminded me of a game my brother and I used to play when we were kids. It involved balancing balls on a hand held paddle. And who was the most skilled at this fine motor task? Michael Skupin, who can’t seem to walk 10 feet without injuring himself. Not whom I thought would have the gentle touch, but immunity was his.

So tonight’s choice for ouster was once again my man J. Penner and… Artis. Finally someone realized how important it was to break of the evil three!

But wait.

Lisa was conflicted. Lisa is loyal. Lisa never breaks her word, even when the evil three treat her like garbage and insult her. She must stay true to her original alliance at all cost. Penner tried yet again to work his soothing magic on her pre-council. But… she is super loyal. If you are a serial killer and need someone to vouch for your character at trial, Lisa Whelchel is your girl!

As the votes were read, it was between Penner and Artis. I was getting nervous because… I like Penner! I'm rooting for him now. And Denise, of course. I am loyal too Lisa!!  But holy BLINDSIDE… Artis was voted out. I was thinking to myself “way to go Lisa… you figured it out”. Good choice. Only one problem. As the credits rolled it showed that Lisa voted for Penner. It was SKUPIN who changed teams tonight and voted out his old Tandang-mate.

So the question remains. Is Lisa savvy and playing a good game? Or is she really that good, pure and loyal? Either way, she could go far with the jury in this game if she stays in. I just have a few words of wisdom for her. Hey Lisa!! You take the good. You take the bad. You take them all and there you have. The facts of life.

Learn these words, Lisa Whelchel; it only gets tougher from here.

The Booth’s Bits: They got me! I was blindsided! I thought for sure it was Penner, but instead it was the Artis formerly known as “Who the hell is that guy?” who went home tonight. I was so convinced that it was Penner, but I think that little Rat-Girl Abi annoyed everyone so much that they voted off Artis. Huh? That doesn’t really make any sense, but it made me happy because it pissed off Rat-Girl.

Let’s review how we got to this satisfying conclusion…

The show started off with Penner telling Rat-Girl off. That was good. Then Lisa whined and cried for a while. That was to be expected, after all, she is the Drama Mama.

In the blink of an eye it was time for a Reward Challenge. They picked teams and since there were 9 castaways, there would be one extra. That turned out to be Rat-Girl. Neither team wanted her. Can’t say as I blame them. She is quite the snotty little biotch.

The team of Penner, Denise, Carter and Malcolm totally dominated the squad made up of Skupin, Lisa, Artis and Pete. It was the great strategy of Penner that gave his team the big advantage. I think he was channeling his inner Alan Alda. It was quite brilliant on his part.

The Reward was really very nice. The four winners brought a big crate of school supplies and toys to a small village where they were treated to lunch. The interaction between the children of the village and the castaways was both happy and charming.

It was here that Malcolm revealed that he had taught small children on Micronesia for a year. He said that he missed it and was considering giving up bartending to return to teaching. He really let his hair down. Literally. And when he did, I was reminded of how much he resembles a supersized Ozzy. Sorry, MB.

Meanwhile back at camp, Rat-Girl continued to be annoying and almost made Lisa cry. Some more. Rat-Girl is so irritating that even her evil counterpart Rat-Boy Pete finds her aggravating. That’s pretty bad because he’s pretty nasty himself.

The Immunity Challenge was rather anticlimactic. It was a giant paddle game where the competitors had to balance balls in six holes on the paddle. Skupin was the only one who could do it, so it lasted about three minutes. Big yawn.

After the challenge it looked like Penner was the guy to go. At least that’s what Artis declared. When they got back to camp, it was more of Rat-Girl yapping and pissing people off. Although she did come up with the quote of the night.

While Denise and Penner were attempting to convince Skupin and Lisa to vote their way, Rat-Girl came prancing out of the ocean and proudly shouted, “I’ve got a clam!” I immediately busted out laughing. For those of you not as sophomoric as me, look up “clam” in the Urban Dictionary and see what the first definition is. I’m still giggling…

By the time Tribal Council came around I thought they were trying so hard to make it look like it wouldn’t be Penner that it had to be him. But they blindsided me and sent Artis packing. And I loved it.

What a Tribal Council! Not only the blindside, but we got to see RC come out on the jury! She came out in a flowered frock that came down slightly above the knee. Be still my heart! Also, it looked like Rat-Girl was about to attack Lisa at any given moment and start scratching her tear-filled eyes out. Such tension! It was great. I can’t wait for next week.

Here are my new “How I Want Them To Finish” rankings:

1. Penner (Alan Alda)
2. Malcolm (Supersized Ozzy)

3. Skupin (Capt. Accident)
4. Denise (Queen of the Quizzical Look)
5. Carter (Spicoli)

6. Lisa (Drama Mama)
7. Pete (Rat-Boy)
8. Abi (Rat-Girl)

Until next time…from the booth.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Special Boob Time

Normally I don’t write blogs on back-to-back days, but recent events have inspired me to do so tonight. This evening I am launching the first Special Boob Award. Depending how the spirit moves me, this might develop into a semi-regular feature. We shall see. Tonight’s award winner comes from the list of Stupid Boobs in the column located to the right of this blog. Sorry Donald Trump, Dick Morris and Ted Nugent, but the first Special Boob is John Schnatter, CEO of Papa John’s Pizza.

In the past few days there have been several reports of Schnatter saying that he plans on passing the costs of health care reform for his business onto his workers. According to a report from the Naples News, Schnatter said that he would likely reduce workers’ hours as a result of President Obama being reelected.

You might recall that he made headlines back in August when he told shareholders that the cost of a Papa John’s pizza will likely increase between 11 and 14 cents due to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Schnatter did made a point to say that he is neither in support of, nor against “Obamacare” and admitted, “The good news is 100 percent of the population is going to have health insurance.”

Unfortunately, the bad news is that “Obamacare” mandates that only employees that work more than 30 hours per week are covered under their employers health insurance plan. That is why humanitarians such as Schnatter will cut their employees’ hours.

Please understand that I understand the concern over the unknown effect “Obamacare” might have with small business owners, the mom and pop type places. This isn’t the case with Papa John’s. Don’t be fooled by the name, Schnatter’s company is the furthest thing from a mom and pop business.

Consider these facts:

  • In 2011, Papa John’s earned $1.22 billion in revenue and had an income of $451.13 million.
  • Schnatter alone made a salary of $2.75 million in 2011 and is estimated to be worth over $260 million given the stock he owns in his company.

Like I said, hardly a mom and pop small business.

Schnatter estimated that “Obamacare” would cost Papa John’s $5 million to $8 million annually. Rather than pay for those costs by cutting the profit margin or reducing the executive salaries at his company, or even raising pizza prices 15 cents, Schnatter will attempt to bypass the law by cutting the hours of the lowest paid workers at his company.

Additionally, it should not be overlooked that at the beginning of the 2012 NFL season, Schnatter revealed that Papa John’s will give away 2 million large one-topping pizzas to members of its Papa Rewards online loyalty program throughout the season – double the number Papa John’s gave away during the 2011 season. What a generous human being.

Peyton Manning and Special Boob John Schnatter
Papa John’s is in the third year of a multi-year sponsorship with the NFL and is the official pizza of the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins.

I’m glad to see that the 13-time World Champion Green Bay Packers didn’t jump onto the compassionate philanthropist’s bandwagon. In fact, kudos to the other 17 teams that also didn’t. Even da Bears.

Hey Schnatter, here’s an idea – raise the price of your disgusting death discs 15 cents so you don’t have to screw your hard working employees. Hell, kick the price up a quarter if it means they will get insurance. I don’t care. I don’t eat that crap. I would rather heat up a Tombstone in the oven.

By the way, I’m not alone in the way I feel about Papa John’s pizza. In the poll I ran for Kenosha’s favorite pizzerias, there were 445 votes cast. You want to know how many votes Papa John’s garnered? A measly two. That’s right, two. Let’s face it Schnatter, your pizza sucks and so do you.

There you have it, my inaugural Special Boob – John Schnatter, CEO of Papa John’s Pizza and all-around rotten bastard. Until next time…from the booth.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bob Cobb or Maestro?

I am sure that most of you remember the Seinfeld character Bob Cobb from Season Seven. He was a conductor for the Police Orchestra. Bob preferred to be called Maestro and took great exception when people called him otherwise. Although he hit off romantically with Elaine, she was still reluctant to call him Maestro. Jerry had a major problem with it.

So, where do you stand on the Bob Cobb or Maestro controversy?

The recent political barrage we were forced to endure got me to thinking about the whole title/name thing. Mitt Romney served as the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and he is still called Governor Romney. I can understand former Presidents retaining the title “President”, but Governors?

Doing a little unscientific research, I came up with quite a few occupations/positions that definitely merit “title retention”. Included on this list are President, Governor, Senator, Doctor, Judge, Chef and a slew that are related to the military – Admiral, General, Commodore, Major, etc.

Think about it.

We still address Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter as President. And like I said before, Mitt Romney is still called Governor Romney. Heck, I have even heard Sarah Palin being referred to as Governor Palin and she quit.

To the best of my recollection, Doctors have always kept their title even after they have retired. A case in point is Julius Erving. He ended his career in 1987 and yet he is still respectively called Dr. J.

As far as Judges go, I am pretty sure that Judith Sheindlin, Joe Brown, Joe Wapner and even Greg Mathis will be referred to as Judge long after they hang up their robes. No telling when that might be with Judge Judy, though. The sharp-tongued arbiter just turned 70 last month and her show is now in its seventeenth season.

The title Chef is another one that seems to carry a lot of weight. Being a big fan of Gordon Ramsay and his shows, “Hell’s Kitchen”, “Kitchen Nightmares” and “MasterChef”, I should know. He is always addressed as Chef. Although, with Ramsay it might the fearing of being berated and cursed at more than a respect thing.

With military titles, my only question is how far down do you go in rank before this honor is no longer required. I don’t think that Privates merit this distinction, but I’m not sure with Sergeants. I kind of think they do. I have never heard Sergeant Slaughter or Sergeant Schultz addressed by anything other than Sergeant, so it probably stops there.

Getting back to Bob Cobb, or Maestro, where does this title thing end? Why aren’t other occupations paid the same respect? What about Trash Collectors, Quarterbacks, Hair Stylists, Nurses, Dishwashers, Bakers or Mechanics?

What makes some guy conducting the Police Orchestra any more distinguished than the person who keeps your vehicle running or your hair looking good? I’m not so sure there is anything to warrant a conductor such esteem and notoriety.

In fact, from now on I am going to call the guy who repairs my truck, Mechanic instead of Pete and the lady who cuts my hair won’t be called Corrina anymore. No, instead she shall be Hair Stylist.

I like this, I really do. Now I just have to come up with a title for myself. I’m not so presumptuous to think I should be called Author. No, not by a long shot. Let’s see, what are my other options? Hmm, Stacker, Bagger, Sealer, Group Leader, Supervisor, Human Resource Director, Telemarketer or Pre Press Operator are all possibilities.

I know, Entertainer! Yes! That would be great title. Oh wait; Cedric Kyles already grabbed Cedric the Entertainer as his moniker. Rats. Back to the drawing board. I welcome any and all suggestions.

Damn that Bob Cobb. Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Survivor 25.8

 The Official Survivor: Philippines Recap Trilogy for week eight:

Mary Beth’s 2Cents: I guess it's no secret that I love this show and normally I would think of all kinds of clever things to say as I recapped the entire episode, but there are some things I want to get to, so here's the recap. Hope you can decipher it!

1. Penner is peeved that people plotted to vote him off.
2. Denise is honest and tells Penner she was one of them.
3. Skupin decides he could stay on longer if there is a crack in the social armor.
4. Lisa and Jeff start conniving to take out Abi, Artis, and/or Pete.
5. The Reward Challenge involves diving for fish traps full of a puzzle flag thing and Lisa swims very, very slowly.
6. Yellow Team wins – Lisa Penner, Malcolm, Denise, and Jeff – and they get to have some food! Like we didn't know that was going to happen.
7. Abi starts leaking alliance information because she has a mind like a steel colander. Nothing much can stay in there!
8. I'm still not sure why Artis is around.
9. It's cute that Lisa thinks she can win this thing.
10. Immunity Challenge is an obstacle course where the first three over the finish line go on to Round 2 and they complete a puzzle.
11. Of course, Penner wins it! He said he would and looks and sounds like Alan Alda and Alan Alda is a man of his word, therefore, he won.

Okay, now… on to the two things that I feel I must address.

First, Lisa Whelchel is a shrew. She's evil. She wears my grandmother's bathing suit. She has a nasally voice. And she has the audacity to go after my boyfr… I mean… to go after Malcolm. After “innocently” finding his Immunity Idol when she was being “helpful” by digging through his personal belongings, she then cannot keep her mouth shut and just had to spill the beans to Skupin.

Lisa Whelchel is a witch. If that wasn't bad enough, she then turns around and tells Pete the same information. I will not have this. I will not stand idly by whilst she throw my boy… I mean, throws Malcolm to the dogs. He was being nice to her. He was trying to include her. He could have taken her far. But nooooooo… Lisa has to choose to be with Pete and Abi. Abi, of all people! ABI!! Lisa Whelchel is on my list now. Not the good list either. And, for the record, I always liked Jo in the Facts of Life better than Blair.

Second, what the heck happened at Tribal Council?? Before they even leave the camp, they're all scrambling like eggs on a Sunday morning. Some want Jeff off, some are targeting my… targeting Malcolm, and Skupin is just shaking in his shorts because he's almost convinced himself that he's next.

Then, after just a question or two from Probst, whom I now believe to be some kind of Master Hypnotist Mind Control Freak, Immunity Idols start popping out all over! Malcolm, sensing that he can't fight a tidal wave, freely gives up and shows them all he had it. Then, for reasons known only to her, suddenly Abi pops her Idol out too.

Penner realizes he has a shot to get this bunch of loose coconuts to band together and do something. To tell you the truth, by this point I was so confused as to which plan was the THE plan that I had no idea who he was alluding to when he urged the 6 to vote together.

Probst asks whoever has an idol to play it now and, amazingly, neither Abi nor Malcolm play it! What? Okay… that was weird. Then, just when I thought I knew what was happening it turns out I didn't and Jeff gets voted off! WHAT. THE. HECK.

I need a drink.

Jamie’s Prognosis: There was plenty of drama and mayhem this evening, and even a bit of politics. I almost thought I was reliving YESTERDAY. But first things first.

Jonathan Penner was truly distressed after he was almost ousted and flushed of his Immunity Idol last week. He showed an array of emotions including lonely isolation, chagrin, outrage, despair and mostly righteous indignation. He became a lone wolf. A man without a country, without a tribe.

The drama was heavy and into it jumped… Lisa Whelchel. That’s right. Our Facts of Life alum became a major game player this week as she tried to form new alliances and or reconfigure her own alliance and or reconvene with her former alliance. I’m not sure really what was going on, but let’s just say that I give Lisa some good old fashioned kudos for trying to get her game on.

 At the reward challenge, two teams were formed. The reward? A river cruise followed by a rib feast. The teams were a) Skupin, Pete, Artis, Abi and Carter and b) Jeff, Malcolm, Denise, Penner and Lisa. Teams had to swim out into the sea and dive down to release puzzle pieces, then be pulled to shore. 

I was thinking to myself that the Kent-Penner team was STACKED and the odds favorite to win. I even went to get a glass of water as it all started. I was that confident. They took off like bats out of you know where, but then Lisa took to the water and let’s just say that swimming is not her fantasy sport.  Luckily for her Skupin is also not adept in the water and her team rebounded to win reward.

Next up was the immunity challenge. Penner knew he was in trouble and vowed to win the challenge. It was standard Survivor fare… untying knots, going over and under barricades, and putting together a snake puzzle. Pete and Jeff looked like the leaders with Skupin and Penner not far behind. It wasn’t looking too good for Penner but then he just put it into high gear and pulled off an unlikely win.

This threw a wrench into the plans of the rest of the Survivors, who had seemed pretty united in voting him off. Pete, who reminds me of a wayward member of a boy band, started to weave his charms on the others by saying stuff like “hey girl what you thinkin’?” It would have been so cool if he had broken into song and let this be registered as an official suggestion to Mark Burnett. Musical Survivor!!  ‘Nuff said.

All of a sudden things started to look bad for Jeff Kent. But wait… Lisa decided to tell smooth Pete about the Idol that Malcolm had, which made him go right to Malcolm who was able to convince Pete that he didn’t have the idol, which made Malcolm angry at Lisa. And let’s not forget Pete’s beeeotchy alliance consisting of Abi and Artis. A trio of negative Nellie’s, maybe they should be broken up?  Maybe Pete should go.

They all headed off to a very interesting Tribal Council. Well first of all, Jury member #1 RC showed up all tan and leggy in a tight mini dress and I could hear the woot wooting from the North side. But what happened next was interesting. 

It’s like they all took a shot of truth serum or something. They all just started speaking their minds and telling it like it is. It was like being at a support group meeting. There were no secrets at this tribal council, and Lisa lead the charge of truth telling. Everyone just laid out what they were thinking and then Malcolm pulled out his Immunity Idol to show everyone and (why the heck not) Abi pulled out hers for no good reason. Jeff Probst gleefully proclaimed “this is pretty fun”.

The voting began and tonight it was Jeff Kent’s turn to be blindsided as he was voted off. Let me tell you he was one unhappy millionaire. In fact, at the post show comment part he said “You know what pissed me off? I think I've made about $60 million playing baseball, and I want this frickin' million dollars in this game and it's not even a million bucks! It's 600 grand by the time Obama takes it!”

Gasp!! Poor loser!!!!! Really Jeff Kent? Now you’ve got my attention, you poor rich formerly famous baseball player now turned alleged Texas rancher who pays less taxes percentage wise than I do. I thought we were all over that, but nooooo you had to go there. The Bush era tax cuts are still in play dude, so lighten up! I lost any and all sympathy I might have had for Jeff Kent. Buh Bye. I would like someone else to win that money, sir. 

 Still rooting for Denise but I also like one Jonathan Penner. Yes. You heard me. With his Alan Alda voice and his funky hat, scruffy facial hair and glasses that makes him look like he escaped from the Florida Keys… I dig it! He is playing good Survivor!

The Booth’s Bits: Wow, I really needed this! After the unceremonious dismissal of the scrumptious RC last week, I was afraid my interest might begin to fade. Not after tonight! What a great episode! I honestly cannot wait to see what happens next week. Oh wait, I’m supposed to write that at the end of the blog. I had better talk about this week first…

By now Mary Beth and Jamie have filled you in on the details of the Reward Challenge. Penner, Jeff, Malcolm and Denise win in spite of Lisa, earning a nice reward – a river cruise complete with ribs, cornbread and apple pie. The losers, Abi, Skupin, Artis, Carter and Pete are sent back to camp with nothing.

On the cruise we learn that the general consensus is that Abi, Artis and Pete are considered the “Evil Three”. They are bullies and nobody likes them. I think Lisa even said they were “icky”.

Meanwhile, back at camp rat–girl Abi was flapping her gums, telling everyone exactly how all the alliances were set up and who would be going home when. Later she annoyed Pete while the two of them were laying out their nefarious plan. This was pretty funny, because Pete is almost as big an asshole as Abi is.

Before the Immunity Challenge, it was decided that Penner was going to be the next one voted off. The only thing that could mess this plan up would be if Penner won the challenge.

So he did.

Then the hilarity ensued. Before Tribal Council, as Malcolm called it, a “baby scramble” took place. Initially, Skupin was chosen to replace Penner as the sacrificial lamb. That was until ratchet-jaw Lisa started telling everyone that Malcolm had a Hidden Immunity Idol. She started with Pete and it went on from there. Word has it she’d going to be on The View tomorrow in case anyone missed it.

Needless to say this caused all kinds of turmoil. So much so, Pete declared, “Playing the mastermind isn’t very easy. It’s hard work!” I can honestly say I wasn’t sure who would be getting the ax this week. It was very confusing, even for a veteran Survivor Geek like me.

At Tribal Council it would get even more confusing.

Especially when RC, the first member of the jury, came out. With the tight black dress she was wearing, I can understand why everyone was a bit discombobulated and distracted. Well, except for rat-girl Abi. She just glared at RC. Meanwhile, Pete, Jeff, Penner, Malcolm, Artis and Carter all looked something like this:

After everyone put their eyes and tongues back in their heads, ratchet-jaw Lisa started blabbering. Then Malcolm got pissed off and whipped out his Hidden Immunity Idol. Not to be out done, rat-girl Abi whipped hers out. I guess she figured, since he showed his, she was going to show hers.

A flabbergasted Jeff Probst called it “the most complicated and entertaining” Tribal Council ever. In the end, Jeff was received 5 votes and he was sent home. He cursed a lot, mentioned that he had made $60 million playing baseball and even took a shot at President Obama. And then cursed some more. I told you he was a red-ass.

Here are my “How I Want Them To Finish” rankings for this week:

1. Penner (Alan Alda)
2. Denise (Sex therapist from Iowa)
3. Malcolm (Mary Beth’s boyfr…)
4. Skupin (The bleeder)
5. Carter (Spicoli wannabe)
6. Artis (Who is this guy?)
7. Lisa (Ratchet-jaw)
8. Pete (Jerk-face)
9. Abi (Rat-girl)

As I said before, I can’t wait for next week. Until next time…from the booth.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hi, I’m Me

Back on August 5, 2008 I wrote a blog titled, “Prejudice On A Large Scale”. It was about the way our society treats “people of size”. If you want to read it, you can find it in the Archives section on the right side of this site. Yesterday I did just that and read it again myself. It got me to thinking about myself.

Well, actually there was something else that also got me thinking about myself. While doing a little straightening out in the basement, I came across some old photographs. Some were vintage pictures of my siblings, cousins and I acting goofy when we were kids. But those weren’t the ones that put me in a reflective mood. The photos that had the audacity to make me think range from the late ‘80s to the late ‘90s.

Some of the photos were from when I was of “normal” proportions. My weight hadn’t been this low since junior high school. Early junior high school. As a child, Ma always shopped in the “husky” section for my clothes. I was “normal” for approximately 2 years of my adult life, with transitional periods on either side.

The earliest photos were from a get-together at The Express tavern with some of the old 400 Club gang. Jimmy G, Munk, Bigs and Merf were among the luminaries attending the soirée. From the looks of the pics, I had not started morphing toward “normalcy”, but I looked like I was having a good time.

The next group of pictures was from after I had gone through my personal metamorphism. I had lost more than half of what I used to way. I was “normal”. These photos featured the two ladies I went out with during this period, Denise and Michelle. I have a big smile on my face in all of these pics.

The final batch was from my cousin Melissa’s wedding and a going-away party for a guy I worked with at Lida Manufacturing. I was no longer “normal” in these photos, but still looked very happy.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention one other photo. It was from July 1992. It was after my relationship had ended with Denise and before I had become involved with Michelle. It was at taken at Pickles Pub in Baltimore. I was attending a seminar for Koos Inc. at the time. Well, not when the picture was taken. Here, see for yourself:

Those were the Bud Dry Girls. I think if I would have smiled anymore my face would have exploded. Ya, I was definitely in good spirits that evening.

Every one of those 17 photos made me think. A lot. It made me realize that I was never “normal”, no matter how much I weighed. I was always just me, the fat jolly guy who wanted everyone to be happy. And for the most part, I am happy.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not always fun being super-sized, and as I grow older it limits me from doing some things that I would like to do. But I choose not to dwell on what I can’t do and try to make the most out of what I can do.

After doing all of this thinking, I have decided that I will always be me and will never be “normal”. Okay, no more thinking. After I post this blog, I plan on posting the other 16 photographs on Facebook. Take a look at them and check out how happy I am being me.

Until next time…from the booth.