Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Day

Memorial Day falls on the last Monday of May and is a day to remember ancestors, family members, loved ones, friends, and neighbors who have given the ultimate sacrifice: dying in wars. Initially known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades.

Memorial Day is now celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. It is also customary for the president or vice-president to give a speech honoring the contributions of the dead and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. About 5,000 people attend the ceremony annually.

Now the battle hymns are playing, report of shots not far away

No prayer, no promise, no hand of God could save their souls that April day

Tell their wives that they fought bravely as they lay them in their graves

As the train pulled in the station and the families gathered ‘round

You could hear the first car echo with a loud triumphant sound

But the last car it was silent, they listened close but they couldn’t hear

It was laden down with coffins, that didn't speak and couldn’t cheer

~ Dropkick Murphys from  “Broken Hymns”

The reason we observe the Memorial Day holiday is to pay tribute to those who have passed on while preserving the peace for our nation, so that we can enjoy the blessings of freedom and liberty. Thank you, each and every one of you.

I would also like to take a moment to honor some of my family and friends that have passed on – people that I think of frequently.

I will miss the guys that I worked with at Koos – Larry, Cecil, Jesse, Ziggy and Gary. They were all part of a very special fraternity.

Kathy and Karen were two wonderful ladies that were taken from this world much too early. I was blessed to be have been their friend while they were still with us.

Uncle Dino and Uncle Jimmy were two of the kindest people that I ever had the honor of knowing. I will never forget sobbing outside of Holy Rosary Church after Uncle Jimmy’s funeral while hugging his son David. 

Dad and Uncle Dino

On the Matrisch side of my family, there is Grandma ‘Trisch, Uncle Eddie, Uncle Wayne and his son Davie. My cousin Davie was a kind soul that also left this earth tragically at a young age. They are gone but will never be forgotten.

Members of the Vagnoni clan that are no longer with us are Grandma and Grandma ‘Noni, Auntie Bay and my cousin John Dean. It’s hard to describe how closely knit the Vagnoni family is. It is a true blessing to be a part of it.

Growing up, John Dean was like my third brother. We played, fought and got in trouble together. Twice we unwittingly attempted to burn down the family “cottage” at Camp Lake. Fortunately, we were unsuccessful. Unfortunately he is no longer here to laugh about those days.

I have fond memories of all these precious people. They each played a role in my life, some more than others. They are all missed very dearly, but none quite as much as the most beautiful man I ever knew – my Dad. I can’t put into words how much I miss him. It hurts too much when I try. I love you so much, Dad.

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.

Have a happy and blessed Memorial Day and please remember why we celebrate this holiday. Until next time…from the booth.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Some Linebacker Talk Revisited

 This past week, free agent linebacker Brian Urlacher retired from the NFL. Because I’m not up to writing a new blog, I decided to repost one that I wrote back in March.

The 6’4”, 258 lb. Urlacher was a popular fan favorite and played for the Monsters of the Midway for 13 years. According to reports, the Bears offered Urlacher, who had earned $8 million in 2012, a one-year contract worth $2 million, with only $1 million of it guaranteed. Urlacher’s camp had been seeking a two-year contract worth $11.5 million. The Bears weren’t interested in paying the eight-time Pro Bowler and he tested the free agent market without much success. It was at this point the future hall-of famer decided to hang up his pads.

For those of you wondering what exactly is a linebacker, I offer this brief definition:

A linebacker is a position in American football that was invented by football coach Fielding H. Yost of the University of Michigan back in the early 1900s. Linebacker is, arguably, the glamor position on the defensive side of the ball. They typically line up in a “two-point stance” three to five yards from the line of scrimmage, behind the defensive linemen. The job of the linebacker is to thwart the opposition’s offense by stopping the run, providing pass coverage and pressuring the quarterback.

All of this recent linebacker talk got me wondering which ones are considered the best ever? I found many lists ranking the all-time greats, anywhere from the top 5 all the way to the top 50. 

Going over the numerous lists was fun. There was a general consensus about which players ranked as the top 10 or 15 linebackers of all time. However, one list made me wonder if the guy putting it together didn’t start watching football until Urlacher was drafted in 2001. Or maybe he just did a lot of crack.

After studying these lists, I decided to come up with my own linebacker list. It wouldn’t necessarily be who I thought was the all-time best. Rather, my list would be my Favorite 5 Linebackers. A couple of them might shock you.

Before I get to my faves, here is a list of some all-time great linebackers that aren’t among my favorites: Andre Tippett, Bill George, Bobby Bell, Bryce Paup, Chuck Bednarik, Chuck Howley, Derrick Brooks, Derrick Thomas, Harry Carson, Joe Schmidt, Junior Seau, Karl Mecklenburg, Nick Buoniconti, Pat Swilling, Randy Gradishar, Rickey Jackson, Sam Huff, Sam Mills, Tom Jackson, Vaughn Johnson, Willie Lanier and Zach Thomas.

Those guys were all outstanding players; they just weren’t favorites of mine. Now this bunch never had a chance of making my faves list. Never: Brian Urlacher, Mike Singletary, Lance Briggs, Otis Wilson, Wilbur Marshall, Ray Lewis and Bill Romanowski.

If you need an explanation why the first five had no chance of being a favorite, you don’t really know me. I don’t care how good they were; they are way too “Beary” for me. As for the other two… I have a problem putting a thug who was an “alleged” accomplice to murder or a spittin’ cheap shot artist on my favorites list. But that’s just me.

Now for the guys that did make my favorites list. First, in order, the honorable mentions:

6. Dave Robinson, Green Bay Packers #89
7. Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers #52
8. Brian Noble, Green Bay Packers #91
9. Jack Ham, Pittsburgh Steelers #59
10. Ted Hendricks, Green Bay Packers #56
11. Doug Buffone, Chicago Bears #55
12. Mike Curtis, Baltimore Colts #32
13. Kevin Greene, Pittsburgh Steelers #91
14. Chris Spielman, Detroit Lions #54
15. Mike Lucci, Detroit Lions #53

Did any of those surprise you? I don’t care if Doug Buffone was a Bear or not, you have to love Uncle Fuzzy. Now, without further adieu, starting with number 5, here are my all-time favorite linebackers:

5. Lawrence Taylor, New York Giants #56. Not only was L.T. one of the greatest pass rushing linebackers of all time, he did a little acting. That’s right, to go along with 132.5 career sacks, he appeared in ten movies. My favorite was the prison flick, “In Hell” featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme. In it, Taylor portrays an inmate named 451, a person whom everyone tried to avoid. Give it a watch some time, but be warned, it’s not for the squeamish.

4. John Anderson, Green Bay Packers #59. Anderson was named to the NFL All-Decade Team and is a member of the Packer Hall of Fame. While he was a very good linebacker, I wouldn’t call classify him an all-time great. The reason he is such a favorite is that I got to know him personally. As rookie, he was a salesman for Mid-City Sporting Goods in Milwaukee and sold the 400 Club softball team their very first uniforms. Upon retirement, Anderson became a sportscaster for WITI in Milwaukee. Since 1998, he has taught middle school earth science.

3. Dick Butkus, Chicago Bears #51. Yep, another Bear has infiltrated my list. Truth be told, if I were to make a list of the greatest linebackers ever, Butkus would be number one. He has appeared on both TV and on the silver screen. For a while he also tried his hand as a celebrity endorser. I was particularly fond of the job he did pimping the “Qwik-Cook Grill”, a grill utilizing newspaper as its main fuel, on TV infomercials in the ‘90s. Butkus is a devout Catholic and attends Mass on regular basis, just like legendary Packer coach Vince Lombardi did.

2. Jack Lambert, Pittsburgh Steelers #58. I loved this guy. In fact, I still have my football-shaped record “Madman Jack” from 1981. My favorite Lambert moment was from the 1975 Super Bowl, between the Steelers and Cowboys. The Steelers’ Roy Gerela had just missed a 33-yard field goal and the Cowboys’ Cliff Harris tapped him on the head and said, “Way to go.” Lambert took umbrage with this and body-slammed Harris to the ground, standing over him glowering. No flag was thrown, but referee Norm Schachter was on the verge of throwing Lambert out of the game. Somehow, the Steeler linebacker persuaded him not to. Like I said, I love this guy. 

1. Ray Nitschke, Green Bay Packers #66. As much as I love Lambert, Nitschke is far and away my all-time favorite linebacker. And it isn’t only because he was one of the most ferocious and intimidating linebackers in NFL history. I have many other fond recollections of this Packer great, not the least of which was his part in the 1974 classic, “The Longest Yard”. Nitschke’s role was a bit a bit of a stretch for him. He portrayed a prison guard named Bogdanski who played a (are you ready for this?) linebacker on semi-pro football team made up of prison guards.

My earliest non-football remembrance of Nitschke was in the early ‘70s. My Dad took my brother Mike and I to see a charity basketball game between the Packers and a local team which featured some St. Joe’s athletes and faculty. What a treat it was seeing the 13-time World Champions up close and personal with Nitschke starring as team clown and chief antagonist.

The highlight was when St. Joe’s vice-president and head football coach stood at the charity stripe during a relatively quiet moment in the game. He was about to shoot a free throw when Nitschke snuck in behind him and pulled his trunks down to his ankles. The packed gymnasium erupted in laughter as the St. Joe’s bigwig stood there red-faced, attempting to cover himself with the ball, clad only in a jockstrap from the waist down.

My final memory of my favorite linebacker was many years after he had retired, sometime in the mid ‘90s. Once again, it was with brother Mike. Nitschke was signing autographs at the grand opening of an Ace Hardware store in Round Lake, Illinois. He was supposed to start signing at 11:00am, so we got there a good 45 minutes early. However, even though we were on the other side of the Cheddar Curtain and were almost an hour early, there was already a considerable line to see this all-time great.

At last, when Nitschke began signing, the line started to move. Slowly. Very slowly. It seems the linebacker was signing anything and everything people brought. It was all free, unless you had your picture taken with him and then it was only $1. Naturally, people were taking advantage of this generous deal, but this was ridiculous. Mike had to get to work that afternoon and was beginning to get concerned.

Finally we neared the front of the line and we were beginning to get excited. That quickly changed when Nitschke began hollering at the guy at the front of the line. It seems the oaf was wearing a Bears jacket and Nitschke took exception to it. In fact, the star linebacker told the fool in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t signing anything for him until he, “took the Bear shit off and put it on the floor.”

At first the clod thought Nitschke was kidding, but he soon did as he was told when he saw the scowl number 66 had on his face. Eventually, when all was said and done, we got our autographs and had our pictures taken with the Packer legend. We were quite pleased. You have to admire a guy with high moral standards like Nitschke.

There you have it, my favorite and not so favorite all-time linebackers. Let the snarky and remarks and comments begin! Until next time…from the booth.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Survivor Finale and Reunion

Mary Beth’s 2Cents on the Finale: Night 36 and we are down to the final five – 3 Faves and 2 Fans. The remaining group consists of Erik, Cochran, Sherri, Eddie and Dawn. But wait! Immediately following Tribal Council Erik starts walking funny and saying he's dizzy and everything is spinning out of control. He lies down on the jungle floor and Probst calls in the medic. His blood pressure is dangerously low and he's severely malnourished and dehydrated. I don't understand how this can even be true because he just ate a ton of food the day before on the boat with his loved ones!

Anyway, they say he is, so the doc starts some IV fluids and declares that Erik's time has come and he can no longer play the game. So, hasta la vista Erik! Everyone gives him a fond farewell. Especially the always over emotional Dawn, who hugs him like he's her son and cries on his shoulder as they take him away. Man, I do not like her!

It doesn't take long for them all to get over his departure and they start getting down to the business of the game. Cochran knows that with Erik gone, Eddie has suddenly become someone to watch because he holds a swing vote. He makes the first move to talk with him and they make a deal for the final three, Cochran, Eddie and Sherri, and they shake on it.

Tree Mail announces a Reward Challenge and they're all hoping it's for something to eat but, instead, it's for an advantage in the upcoming Immunity Challenge. In the Reward Challenge, they have to hold a handle balancing a table while they build a house of cards on it with their other hand. If they drop it, they have to start over. Cochran takes an early lead but soon sends his cards flying. Sherri then gets the lead but her cards take off too. Dawn gets one card away from winning before her house blows down. The game goes back and forth like this for some time until, finally, Cochran wins the reward! This makes his third individual challenge win! He's a challenge beast this time around!

Back at camp, everyone takes a turn talking about Dawn. Sherri doesn't want her to go to the final three because she knows Dawn will play up her adopted family and how much the money will help them all. Cochran laments that he's seen Dawn have an almost daily break down and he's had to give her constant reassurance to ease her paranoia.

Then, they are off… off to take that long walk for the Survivor Right of Passage – remembering all of their fallen comrades. I hate this part of the show. It's clear that none of these people are remembering any of the others in the sentimental, mushy way that the producers are looking for. For most of the fallen names they can't even think of one thing to say. Still, they do this every season. Sheesh! I suppose some fans like this part but to me it's just plain silly!

The Final Immunity Challenge is a good one. Each person must run up three flights in a tower to untie and retrieve three bags of puzzle pieces. When they get each bag they slide down and then go back up for the next one. Cochran won an advantage in this challenge which was he didn't have to untie his bags! That gave him a huge lead and he was up and down three times before some of the others even had their first bag! But then Cochran couldn't figure out that the puzzle was supposed to look like fire.

He struggled and suddenly both Dawn and Sherri were taking off ahead of him. For a while it looked like Dawn was going to win it but finally Cochran got it and put that sucker together like… well, like it was on fire. Cochran won Immunity! He was now in the driver's seat right up to the finale! So awesome! He even gets a wee bit cocky when he says, “It's lonely at the top!” Ha ha!

Right away, Dawn and Eddie start scrambling. Dawn goes for a walk with Cochran and, of course, bursts into tears. She fully trusts Cochran and doesn't know that Cochran is considering getting rid of her.

Eddie bends Cochran's ear too. He tries to convince him that he's the best person to take to the finale because, in his words, he's “an idiot” and no one will vote for him. You gotta give the jerk kudos for trying. But Eddie's right. He is an idiot! He actually explained that if he won a million dollars he was going to open up a dog kennel with a bar because he loves dogs and bars. I'm not making that up. And, yes, he was serious. So off they go to another tribal.

At Tribal, when answering Probst questions, Dawn and Eddie do their best to point out the flaws in each other’s game. Sherri just sits there comfortably knowing she's completely safe from elimination. Cochran, of course, has Immunity. In the end, Cochran stays true to Dawn and Eddie takes the walk of shame. He actually hung around a long time for someone who never did anything strategic or won anything. He was just there! Probst tells them all to go get some rest. They have one more night at camp and then the Final Tribal Council… and it's gonna be a good one!

The Booth’s Bits on the Final Tribal Council: It was a good one, indeed! Award-winning host Jeff Probst first introduced the jury – Michael, Phil, Malcolm, Reynold, Andrea, Brenda, Erik and Eddie. He then allowed the three remaining castaways to make their opening statements. As usual, there was nothing earthshattering.

Dawn made some strange contorted faces while attempting to convince the jury that she was humbled to be before them. The only thing her disingenuous prattle accomplished was a shot of Malcolm rolling his dreamy eyes. I’m sure Mary Beth appreciated this.

Sherri’s opening wasn’t much better. She revealed that she owned a small business with 75 employees and her plan was to play Survivor the same way she operated this business. She then started freaking out, speaking gibberish and couldn’t put together a coherent sentence. She must have one hell of a business.

Cochran admitted he was nervous and that being in the finals, while being somewhat surreal for him, it was an honor. He then admitted he was a nerd, something all of America had been aware of the first time the pasty ginger appeared on Survivor. However, it was refreshing to hear him say he was cool with it.

Hunky Malcolm was the first member of the jury to interrogate the three finalists. He had nothing for Sherri, probably because she was still trying to compose herself. He congratulated Dawn before telling her she should have fought harder trying to be a cold-hearted bitch. He then asked Cochran what was the one quality he possessed that made him so good. Cochran responded, “Because I’m insecure.” Hmm…

Fireman Eddie was up next and asked Sherri if she was “carried” to the finals. When she said no, he laughed hysterically. He then told Dawn she was a phony and that she was fragile and weak. When he got to Cochran, he more or less said after you win this thing, would you go have a beer with the Three Amigos – himself, Malcolm and Reynold. Cochran said he most definitely would belly up with the boys!

After Phil, the Specialist, congratulated all three, he promptly kicked Sherri out of Stealth R Us. Wow, didn’t see that one coming! After that shocker, he attacked Dawn and her daily emotional breakdowns. Phil said it made each day unpleasant. On the other hand, he stated he thoroughly enjoyed playing the game with Cochran.

Erik took his time as an opportunity to call Dawn a turncoat. Although Dawn didn’t like the comment, she took it much better than Sherri did when Erik called her a coattail rider and nothing more than a seashell on the beach. She immediately started spazzing out and arguing with Erik. It quickly degenerated into a “You sit down!” - “No, you sit down!” match. It made me feel uneasy…

Michael came up there wearing his smart girl glasses and basically said nothing. I really don’t see what Corinne saw in this guy. Okay, he’s gay, but there has to be more than that.

Next, Reynold told Dawn he didn’t like her from the get-go. He then went on to say that NOBODY liked Dawn, that she was so fake. Then, he busted into uncontrollable laughter. The rest of the jury must have felt the same way, because they were chuckling as well. I believe Malcolm enjoyed it so much he even did a knee slap.

After the snickering finally died down it was Andrea’s turn. Andrea confuses me. I thought she was from Wisconsin, not California. If she said “AWESOME!” one more time I was gonna through something at the TV. Fortunately for my Toshiba she told Dawn she was “neat”. Sheesh…

And then it was time for Brenda. The lovely, demure fragile little flower that Dawn had turned her back on and betrayed only days ago. This was the pièce de résistance.

With tears streaming down her dimpled cheeks, it was obvious that Brenda took the earlier blindside very personal. She glossed over Sherri and asked Cochran why he turned on her and seemed satisfied when he told her it was him or her.

She wasn’t so easy on Dawn. She brought up how she was there for her when Dawn was at her most vulnerable, threatening to quit the game because of her lost dentures. She sobbed as she told Dawn how much pain she had caused her. Brenda said the pain was so great that Dawn needed to feel a little heartbreak. This was good.

And it got better.

Brenda then shouted at Dawn to take her teeth out in front of everyone! The very teeth she had recovered for her. Initially, Dawn was shocked at the request and refused. Brenda would have none of it. Again she shouted, “Take your teeth out!” This time Dawn when shook her head, she was trembling. She did not want to be humiliated.

But Brenda would not be denied. No longer crying, she stared straight through Dawn and hissed, “Do it!” A quivering and defeated Dawn finally complied and removed her lower dentures in front of Brenda and millions of viewers all over the world. Looking like a rotting jack-o'-lantern left over from Halloween, Dawn said, “There! Are you happy?”

I know I was! That was AWESOME! Sorry Andrea, I had to. Man I love this show! And we still don’t know who would crowned the Sole Survivor and receive the giant check for $1,000,000…

Jamie’s Prognosis on the Reunion Show: He walks by the light of the moon, clutching his bamboo container. His panther like swagger is timeless and seamless as he morphs from jungle campfire to Hollywood studio… oh Probst!!! You had me at hello all those years ago and I still love you so… oh wait. Sorry. That was supposed to stay in my head. Ah hem…

The Reunion show began like it always does with cleaned up and fattened up versions of our three finalists; the ridiculous Sherry, totally not deserving of ANY votes, weepy and phony Dawn (even her pristine white teeth are apparently fake). And MY MAN COCHRAN looking like a million bucks with a dapper tie loosened at the neck and all traces of sunburn and chafing gone from his milky white skin.

Oh how our little Survivor has grown up! So if you’re reading this blog you probably know that my man COCHRAN won. Not to brag or anything PV and MB but THAT’S MY GUY!!!! Let me just say this. If anyone deserved to win this season it is Cochran. He is the ultimate Survivor geek. Not only is he smart but also he is also funny, self deprecating and sincere. He has blossomed from Survivor Zero to HERO. I loved to hear him say that he has learned to embrace who he is. Be proud of who you are Cochran!! Forget going back to Harvard, America loves you!!

Mary Beth, your Malcolm looks to be heading towards a career in modeling and/or acting, what with the goatee and flowing mane and all. But I have to say that my favorite Malcolm moments tonight came earlier at tribal council when he was wearing one of my daughter’s headbands and giving what appeared to be “come hither” looks into the camera.


I have to say that Malcolm became my number two this season and I am very happy that he won the fan favorite vote. And coming in at number three? Eddie! Yes siree… any man whose ultimate goal is to open a bar with an attached dog park is my personal hero. I can think of nothing that I would like to do better than take my dog to a bar.

Biggest surprise of the night? Brenda phoning it in from home because she is super pregnant. So many questions left unanswered.  Is she married? When did that happen?  When the heck did they tape this thing?  Is Eddie or Erik the daddy?

Special Agent Phillip always provides entertainment.  Tonight he be-knighted Jeff Probst with a “Stealth R Us” moniker and I LOVED it: “The piercing eagle”. YES! I will say nothing more.

Phil’s love of Boston Rob lead to a guest appearance of the Hall of Famer himself, always a pleasure for me but I am sure NOT for Paul. Flashback… “GO BOSTON!!”

The producers finally realized that it is best to limit those on stage to the final 10. We really don’t care about or even really remember any of the others at this juncture so it is a good plan to have them sitting out in the audience.

There was another “special” appearance of season one favorites Rudy and Richard Hatch. Rudy proves the point that when you are super old and a former Navy Seal you can get away with saying pretty much anything you want on TV. And I do not wish to see Richard Hatch naked anymore, even if his man parts are all blurry. Go away Hatch.

So that was the Reunion Show in a nutshell. At the end of the show Jeff (I like to think of us on a first name basis) gave us clues about next season’s twist and it looks as if Dexter will be a contestant. Stay tuned for Season 864 coming in the fall of 2013! And thanks to Mary Beth and Paul for another great season of blogging.

Until next season… from the booth.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Survivor 26.13

Here is the Official Bodacious Baldies Survivor: Caramoan Recap for week 13:

Mary Beth's 2Cents - Day 35 – Probst starts the show off by running down the line up of people who are now missing from the island, each one meticulously voted off one by one. But there is someone else missing from tonight's recap and that's… Peever! Due to circumstances beyond his control, Peever was not able to join us for tonight's recap so I will write on in his stead. (And he better get well soon!)

At the start, Eddie laments that he feels like a sitting duck. He's been the luckiest person on Survivor thus far, somehow managing to survive each Tribal Council without really having to try. No one is more surprised about this than Eddie!

Meanwhile, Erik is having a full on melt down. He's hungry and threatening to climb coconut trees of immense height to get something to eat. He even breaks down and cries. But very soon a tree mail arrives, with some clever product placement by the EVO LTE by Spring which lets all the castaways know their loved ones are near. They get to watch video taped messages from them on the EVO LTE by Sprint. Brenda's Dad, Dawn's husband, Sherri's husband, Cochran's mom, Eddie's dad, and Erik's brother are all there.

At the subsequent reward challenge, we get to meet all of these loved ones in person. But first, Probst asks them all how they liked getting the EVO LTE by Sprint in the tree mail. Sheesh! Product placement overload.

Once the loved ones start coming out the tears start rolling. Brenda has such a heart felt reunion with her Dad it even makes crusty Jeff Probst cry! Dawn was crying for everyone. A full on “ugly” cry too. Almost to the point of needing a straight jacket. By the time her husband came out I thought she was going to need a medic! I'm over Dawn. She annoys the bejesus out of me with her wishy-washy “I need to play my own game” mantra while she sways any way the wind blows! I wish she would go!

The Reward Challenge was simple but tiring. The two (survivor and loved one) had to spin around and around to unscrew a long stick, which released a bolo. When they got all three they started tossing them on a ladder-type thingy and the first team to get all three hanging on there wins! The Reward was a floating back yard barbecue and time with their loved ones.

It really came down to three teams of two duking it out. Sherri and her husband, Eddie and his Dad and Brenda and her Dad. Cochran and his poor mom got silly/dizzy on the first try and then spent the time chatting for the rest of the time while just going through the motions of competing.

In the end, Brenda and her Dad won. She got to choose one other person to take with her and she chose Dawn. But then there was a horrible twist. Probst told her she could either choose one more person to take with her and Dawn or she could give the entire reward to the other four people AND in addition to the original loved ones, their second choice loved ones were also there!

Dun-Duh-Duuummmm! (Dramatic music) And… cut to a EVO LTE from Sprint commercial. No kidding! When they came back to the show, Brenda selflessly gave up the reward to the others, which sent Dawn into a downward spiral of mass proportion.

On the Barbecue Party Boat, Cochran was getting a kick out of his Dad (his second loved one) who had seemingly gone “Hollywood” by wearing sunglasses and flipping the burgers on the grill.

Back at camp, Dawn alternated between crying and wanting to spit on the others for not being able to take part. She was hungry and angry and sad and snotty all at the same time. Brenda reminded her they were only 4 days away from the end and advised her to hold it together. Once everyone came back, Cochran realized that Brenda's kind gesture made her someone to be watched. He said it best with “Likeability is a liability if I have anything to do with it!” Gotta love how he thinks!

The Immunity Challenge was a good, old-fashioned challenge of strength and will power. They had to hold onto a handle attached to a winch, which was lowered at times intervals. Last one standing won. There were no food bribes, no negotiations – just pure force of will.

Cochran fell first, followed by Eddie, Erik, and Sherri leaving Dawn and Brenda to the end. Dawn tried to get Brenda to quit but she wouldn't give it up that easily. Still, Brenda fell next making Dawn the winner. It was the first time Dawn won anything in all of her time on Survivor. Afterwards, Brenda intimated that she might have let Dawn win and that she could have held on much longer than she did. She alluded to Dawn's paranoia as the deciding factor in her letting her win.

Cochran starts thinking that Brenda should be the next to go though the easy vote, and the one they are all counting on, is Eddie. Cochran isn't sure how to approach his alliance about voting Brenda off but it turns out he doesn't have to because Sherri mentions it to him first! They then get Dawn on board though I have to admit it's hard to tell with Dawn. She is so confused as always! At Tribal, Cochran gives a sharp hint when he says, “The easy vote is not always the smartest vote!”

The votes are tallied and it becomes clear that little Brenda is getting blindsided. Even my Malcolm can see it coming as he jokingly holds the rest of the jury back. No one is more surprised than Brenda and she actually whimpers “I was honest with you. I was genuine. It hurts…” as she went off sobbing into the forest.

I have to admit I did kind of feel bad for her. I mean she gave up her time with her Dad for them and then they do this to her? But, as a true Survivor geek, I love a good blindside and she'll get over it! But then, I know how much Peever liked Brenda and now she's gone. I'm sure I heard a groan of despair coming from his direction. But he'll get over it too! I just have two last words for this 2Cents-


I would like to thank Mary Beth for going solo for week 13. Great stuff as usual! I will be commenting on tonight’s finale and reunion show. Because that recap will be so very special, it might not be up right away. But rest assured, the wait will be well worth it – I have a special treat in store for everyone! Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Survivor 26.12

Here is the Official Bodacious Baldies Survivor: Caramoan Recap for week twelve:

Mary Beth’s 2Cents: The most noticeable thing about tonight's episode of Survivor, besides the fact that my sweet Malcolm was no longer playing the game, was the decided change in Cochran over not just the past month, but since the last time he played this game. Although he still looks like a drowning, albino, ginger rat most days, he's using his head way more and has a new confidence in himself that is growing on me. He said it best when, in stating that he will show no remorse for the taking over this game, he said, “I've changed into something that would scared my mother!”

Everyone was hoping for some nice juicy food reward but it wasn't to be. Instead, Tree Mail announced that they would be heading right into an Immunity Challenge. Reynold, who knows he has a huge target on his back, pretty much has to win every single Immunity Challenge from now until the end if he has any hope of staying alive.

Cochran's transformation did not go unnoticed by Probst who pointed out that Cochran was not wearing a shirt! I'm not sure if this was a good thing, but it was different for the mensch who normally strolled the beach in long sleeve, button up dress shirts. Probst also let them know that there would be a reward attached to this Immunity Challenge. Whoever won would get some secret information that would help them in the game.

So, for the Challenge they had to balance on triangular platform that was floating in the water. The whole thing was very precarious and at timed intervals they had to move their feet up one rung until they were at the top. Through it all, Probst was bribing them with food.

I was stunned when Eddie, whose position in the game is as tentative as Reynold's, gave up after a few minutes for a plate of donuts and a glass of milk. Cochran was struggling when Probst popped up with a plate of hot dogs and a cold soda. He asked the others if he could give up and not one person said anything to him! That was telling. But he gave up anyway and it looked like he was enjoying those wieners.

There was a shot of Sherri bending over in her leopard bikini, which was a little more revealing than I needed to see! I kept thinking that Sherri is no RC when it comes to leopard bikinis. It was so ugly a shot that I'm sure not even Paul would have enjoyed it! YIKES!!

Eventually, it got down to just Andrea and Brenda balancing their little hearts out. Here's the kicker! Neither one would negotiate or give up! They did strike a deal to share the info and Andrea tried like heck to get Brenda to quit but she just wouldn't do it. They balanced up there for three hours! Finally, Probst let them make  up a rule – balance on one leg – and that was it. Brenda was down and weaselly Andrea was the winner of both Immunity and the information. BOO!

The struggle, however, made Andrea painfully aware that Brenda is a contender and not someone to be taken lightly in challenges. They all go off to find the Hidden Idol (that's the info Andrea received) and Erik, simpleton that he is, finds it but then just hands it over to Andrea! Cochran just shook his head at how blissfully stupid Erik really is. At Tribal, it comes as no surprised that Reynold's is voted off. He really was on his own for far too long and had no one to back him up. I might also add that at Tribal, Malcolm looked particularly gorgeous with his long hair shining in the moonlight. * sigh *

Just when they thought it was over they were off to another Immunity Challenge the very next day. This time they had to maneuver a buoy through some rope and get a key to unlock some planks to make a ladder that they climb to fly a flag. Erik took a very early lead but started to lose it when he got to the ladder rungs. Brenda was right on his heels as a very close second. Andrea struggled with her rungs and never really caught up. Erik got a second wind and whizzed past everyone to win Immunity.

Back at camp, Andrea continues to target Brenda and Cochran realizes that she wants to take Eddie to the finals! Cochran masterminds a plan to make Andrea think she is very safe so she won't play her hidden idol. Once others hear how Andrea's been playing them they're all on board and the result is a blindside that Andrea never saw coming! Those blindsides are a beautiful thing. And I'm liking Cochran more and more. I just hope he can keep up the momentum and that the others don't get any shady ideas now.

Vag’s Evaluation: Thank goodness for the last 13 minutes of this episode. It wasn’t until right before the second Tribal Council that anything entertained me. At all. There were very little notes on my pad. The few that I did have were “Erik wins Immunity. Now what?” “Blah, blah, blah…” and “This episode sucks.”

And it did. For the first 47 minutes.

At least for me it did. For an episode that had two Immunity Challenges and two corresponding Tribal Council, I was bored to tears. I spent most of the show kibitzing with Fellow Survivor Geek Patty on Facebook and checking up on my fantasy baseball team. The only thing holding my interest was the lovely Brenda and growing dislike for Wisconsin’s very own Andrea.

It was this aversion to the cute little Cheesehead that made the last 13 minutes so very enjoyable. She wanted plotting a blindside on the delectable Brenda and that got my blood boiling. How dare she! Fortunately, everyone’s favorite nerd and Survivor savant, Cochran wasn’t onboard with Andrea’s diabolical double-cross and had plans of his own.

When they finally got to the second Tribal Council, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I honestly felt that dope Erik would side with Andrea and eliminate Brenda. Besides, Andrea possessed a Hidden Immunity Idol that Erik the dimwit found for her. After award-winning host Jeff Probst finished putting words into everyone’s mouth, Andrea announced that she had the Hidden Immunity Idol and would only play it if she “ever felt like she was paranoid.”


I guess she should have felt paranoid and played it because her cute little Wisconsin ass got voted off. When she received her second vote she let out a little yelp of amazement. When the third and deciding vote was announced, she shook her pretty head in disbelief. Cochran had a shit-eating grin on his face and I shouted out, “YES!” Episode twelve was saved.

Next week is the final Wednesday of season 26. All that remains after that is the Finale and Reunion Show on Sunday May 12th. With only six competitors left and such limited viewing left, I would like to share with you how I would like to see the final six finish. I will give a one or two word description of how I feel toward each castaway. Here is my list, starting with the first that I want to see eliminated and finishing with who I would like to see win the $1,000,000.

6. Erik – Dimwitted Imbecile
5. Dawn – Basket Case
4. Sherri – Skeletor
3. Eddie – Likeable Goof
2. Cochran – Genius Nerd-Boy
1. Brenda – Coquettish Minx

That’s all I got. I hope Mary Beth provided you with more of the details. Like I said, the show tonight really sucked for the first 47 minutes. I’ll try to do better next week. Until next time…from the booth.