Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Survivor 27.11

Mary Beth’s 2Cents: I have to apologize in advance for the lackadaisical nature of my 2Cents tonight. Let me explain. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a holiday most noted for the sizeable feast enjoyed by my family. A feast, it should be noted, that I am partially (read half) responsible for supplying – fully cooked and on time. This means that I spend the day before running around town getting all the things I forgot to get earlier and cooking what can be cooked a day ahead. Most notably, the turkey. By the time I sat down to watch Survivor I was ready to relax and enjoy.

The thing is, I can't enjoy this season. I just can't. I don't care a fig about any one of these people. In fact, they annoy the crap outta me. I do not care about skinny Tyson who runs everything. I do not care for Gervase or his sidekicks who blindly do what Tyson tells them to do. I really don't care for any of the women on this season. Especially Tina. I became quite irate with Laura M. who insisted on helping pitiful Tina win the Redemption Island challenge thus sending Vytas packing off to the jury.

I found myself drifting, getting up to check on the turkey, coming back and actually dozing off a couple of times! I dozed off! Now that has never happened in any other season of this wonderful show so that is proof right there that this season…for lack of a better word…sucks.

By the time they got to Tribal, I was done. All the talk about who to take out, Tyson? Ciera? Blah, blah who cares! When it was Caleb who got the blindside I couldn't even get excited about witnessing a good blindside. I'm over this season. Blood vs. Water was the dumbest twist in Survivor history and next season, please, for the love of all that is holy, just bring back our show – two tribes of strangers, stranded, competing for a million bucks, no Redemption Island, no weird twists, just good challenges, little food and interesting personalities. Please. I'm begging here.

Oh one more thing. Another telling sign that I'm over this season? My 2Cents has been getting shorter and shorter each week! I am speechless!

Vag’s Evaluation: It has been no secret how I feel about season 27, Survivor: Blood vs. Water. The cast is less than stellar and the Redemption Island twist totally sucks. However, I have to admit, tonight’s episode picked up my spirits a little bit. At least there is a little hope that the season won’t be rotten from start to finish.

The only reason I give this season any chance at all is that there are finally some castaways that I can’t stand. At all. Let me clarify. It has been a struggle finding anyone likeable. I finally came up with Tina’s daughter, Katie. And I am sticking with her. She isn’t very annoying and is fairly fetching. I couldn’t care less about the rest of those characters. No great dislike, just a great deal of indifference.

But that has all changed. A lot.

After Caleb was “blindsided” and sent to Redemption Island, this is what we have left after eleven episodes:

Kasama – Tyson, Monica, Ciera, Gervase, Hayden and Katie

Redemption Island – Laura, Tina and Caleb

Jury – Aras and Vytas

While the jury doesn’t really enter into the equation at this point, I have formed definite opinions of the other nine that remain in the game. While I cannot stand the Redemption Island aspect of the game, I have to consider the three players that currently reside there.

Caleb is okay, but the buff around his neck and those cowboy boots sorta creep me out. I don’t give him much chance of winning his way back into the game. The same can be said for the miniscule Tina. The only reason she’s not on the jury right now is because Laura helped her finish second in the duel, completely screwing Vytas.

Speaking of Laura, the third resident of Redemption Island, what she did to Vytas came as no shock to me. She’s a rotten dirt bag. After all, she’s the “proud” mama of that good-for-nothing weasel, Ciera.

Dear little Ciera. The lovely girl who voted her mother to Redemption Island. When she finally gets to Redemption Island and loses, they should toss her into the fire along with her buff. I can’t stand that snake in the grass.

I have established that I have a growing fondness for Katie, so let’s deal with the rest of the Kasama tribe. Gervase and Monica both surprise me that they are still around. Gervase, because his old-ass can’t compete anymore and Monica because all she does is win Immunity Challenges. Doesn’t say anything, even at Tribal Council, just wins the challenges.

That leaves Hayden and Tyson. Like Katie, Hayden is growing on me, but not for the same reasons. Trust me! He’s fairly honest, decent in challenges and attempts to strategize. If he is around when my Katie is sent to the jury, I will be pulling for Hayden.

The same cannot be said for that jerk, Tyson. As much as I detest Ciera, I have greater disdain for Tyson and his turquoise boxer briefs. I was so hoping he would have choked on one of those huge steaks he was wolfing down during the Immunity Challenge. You know Ciera doesn’t know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver and Gervase was too busy scarfing those grilled sausages. Damn, they looked good, didn’t they?

Oh well, that’s how I feel. Have a great Thanksgiving! Until next time…from the booth.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

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.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Casting the First Stone

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, “He that is without sin among you let him cast a stone at her.” ~ John 8:7

I don’t know about you, but I’m in no position to cast a stone at anyone. I’m not trying to pontificate or anything, it’s just not my style. I’m always afraid if I start judging others, they will return the “favor” with me, and I don’t want that. I’m no Charles Manson, but I have done things of which I am not overly proud. That’s probably true for most of us if we’re honest and don’t suffer from false moral superiority.

The reason for the biblical reference is the recent developments at St. Peter Catholic Church and the subsequent reactions. At last Saturday’s Mass, Rev. Bill Hayward from Holy Rosary read a prepared statement saying that Rev. Ireneusz Chodakowski was being replaced for three weeks. This was due to an ongoing investigation for Chodakowski’s alleged “lack of good judgment” regarding use of social media, namely Facebook.

On Wednesday of this week, the Kenosha News ran a front-page article by Bill Guida that was titled, “St. Peter priest removed amid investigation.” The article explained that an anonymous parishioner told the paper about the purported situation with Chodakowski. Imagine that, anonymous. The nameless informant’s account was chock full of the words allegedly and apparently.

Kenosha News Photo by Sean Krajacic
So, based on this unidentified person’s allegations, the Kenosha News ran a front-page column, complete with a photo. Please don’t think that I’m singling out the local print media. I’m not. The Milwaukee TV stations swooped in for the kill as well. TMJ4 even had the smarmy Jonah Kaplan sticking his microphone in parishioner’s faces as they exited Mass last week looking for their reactions. I have always felt this was a classless move.

Of course this “story” set off a firestorm of controversy. The blue-haired old ladies, that don’t know Facebook from Redbook, raced to their phones to spread their viewpoints. The haters of organized religion, particularly the Catholic faith, had new ammo for their guns. The vitriol and venom was flying because of what an anonymous parishioner perceived as some inappropriate photographs on Facebook.

Before I go on, I need to say something.


Give me a break. If alleged impropriety on a Facebook account was a crime, 75% of the people using it should be arrested. At the top of that list would be the fools that allow their 12-year old children to have an account on Facebook.

Again, COME ON!

Okay, back to my original diatribe.

The Kenosha News ran another front-page story on Father Chodakowski this morning. This piece is again authored by Bill Guida and comes after three days of nasty accusations and numerous judgments. The new column is titled, “Police probe clears priest.”


The first paragraph reads, “The pastor of St. Peter Catholic Church, 2224 30th Ave. – removed late last week amid allegations of impropriety with social media – was cleared Friday by Kenosha Police Department investigators of engaging in criminal activity.”

The article went on to say that Kenosha Police Department, Captain Eric Larsen said detectives, working with Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation investigators and conferring with the Kenosha County District Attorney’s office, determined that no crime occurred.

Again, nice.

Like I posted in Facebook earlier, I wonder if all the people that were “spreading the word” regarding the allegations of Father Chodakowski’s misuse of social media read this morning’s paper. I sure hope that they are just as eager to let everyone know how the investigation turned out. But I’ll bet not. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter. The damage is done.

I better stop here, lest I start judging others. My only advice is, regardless of your personal feelings or beliefs, get the whole story and do some critical thinking before rushing to judgment. People can get hurt when stones are cast.

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Survivor 27.10

I am flying solo tonight. I could lie and tell you that my usual partner, Mary Beth, is away on a special assignment, but I will not. Because of the strongly worded letter to Survivor Executive Producer Mark Burnett that she wrote on October 30, she has been suspended. But not by me, I was in total agreement with her. No, the powers that be at CBS came down hard on MB and have prohibited her from participating in the recap this week. So much for freedom of speech. Oh well…

Tonight’s episode is pretty much a no-brainer. It’s all about the beautiful bond between a mother and her daughter. And not much else. What makes it worse is that Ciera, the daughter, is a creepy little skank. It’s fairly obvious from the very beginning that she is willing to vote off her dear mother, Laura. The rest of the show is spent attempting to build suspense with the antics of what has become one of the most unlikeable group of castaways in recent memory.

The Redemption Island duel pits Aras, Vytas and Tina against each other with the top two finishers staying and the loser being sent home. The competitors have to grab 3 bags containing balls with a grappling hook. When you have all 3, they then had to use one of the balls to complete a suspended table maze. After some tension that was created with clever editing, Vytas and Tina finish one-two and Aras has his buff burned. But not before he and his brother, Vytas cry some great big crocodile tears. Give me a break.

Because Vytas finished first, he is allowed to award a Hidden Immunity Clue to one of the eight Kasama tribe members. He promptly turns it over to Katie, who, in a rare moment of brilliance, keeps it.

Back at camp we learn that Tyson, who is looking more and more like Skeletor, has decided it is time to blindside Laura. Of course Caleb and Hayden both nod in agreement with brainless expressions on their faces. Surprise, surprise! The next 10 minutes or so are used in a feeble attempt to show the intimate relationship between the mother and daughter team of Laura and Ciera.

This attempt fails miserably. It only reinforces how dull-witted Laura is and what a trifling little wretch she raised. For me, the suspense ended right here. There was no doubt in my mind that Laura would be voted off to Redemption Island (again) with Ciera sticking a dagger in her back and twisting it for good measure.

And I was correct.

Oh, we got to see Katie search for the Hidden Immunity Idol with Laura shadowing her. There was also a lame Immunity Challenge that Monica won. I guess it’s significant that she gave her reward of jumbo hot dogs, juicy cheeseburgers and fries to the rest of the tribe in some sort of goodwill gesture. But it didn’t matter, it was painfully apparent that Laura was going back to Redemption Island. Sure, the producers tried to create the notion that there was a chance that it might be Katie, but I knew better.

At Tribal Council Probst basically outlined the entire situation for those that weren’t paying attention. I took it as an insult to my intelligence. He knew and I knew that Laura was getting voted off and there would be more crying. And she was and there was. More crying that is.

This season has become so bad that I am searching for anything that will make it more interesting. Anything. Tonight I came up with an outstanding quote from Emmy-award winning host, Jeff Probst. During the Immunity Challenge he came up with this gem, “You want Immunity tonight!” Wow! Talk about stating the obvious. Sheesh…

Another observation I made was how nice these people have it this season. Oh, I’m not just talking about the seemingly never-ending feasts they are rewarded. How about the endless change of wardrobes the castaways seem to have? They are always wearing something new. I don’t recall Richard, Sue or Rudy afforded such a luxury on Borneo in season one. But, what do I know? I’m just a mindless Survivor Geek.

Mary Beth’s suspension better be lifted soon; I can’t endure this torture by myself much longer. Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Survivor 27.9

Mary Beth’s 2Cents: Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah, here I am at, Camp Kasama!

Sorry, I digress, but whenever I hear Camp Kasama that song comes to mind. Anyway, tonight's episode starts with everyone milling around at camp after Aras is voted out. Then the silence is broken by Tina who announces, “I have to say something… Now, in my experience, anytime someone prefaces what they're going to say with “I have something to say…” they usually have nothing important to say and should just shut up. So it was with Tina who tried to make Tyson and Monica feel bad for voting out Aras. Just shut up, Tina.

Later, Tina, realizing she is on her way out, tells her daughter to do whatever it takes to save herself. Now for a normal person this would seem like an invitation to disengage from her but her daughter doesn't seem to get the drift and goes on wondering what do to. Suddenly, BAM – we were into the Immunity Challenge. This episode was going to go fast!

It did my heart good to see a real, old fashioned eating contest. The first round – worms! Everyone got a shot glass of disgusting, writhing mealworms. The first three to get them down and keep them down moved on to round two. Tyson, Monica, and Vytas all move on. Second round – pig intestines! Two who keep it down move on to round three. Monica and Gervase move on and they get to eat – drum roll please!! – Big, fat juicy grubs! Gervase was not able to get these down on his first season so he was the underdog here. Monica and her big horse teeth won this one easily. She even ran over to Probst to shove her choppers in his face to show that she ate them all.

Back at camp, Vytas immediately began looking for some validation that he was going to be the next one out. He started to beg for his life and happily announced that begging was not beneath him. He did manage to shake up the standing alliance a bit because Tyson felt the need to step in and do some damage control. At Tribal Council, Vytas stirred up a lot of dust. He openly pointed out the cracks in the alliance and made a lot of sense but, in the end, he was sent packing.

Behold! There was a second Immunity Challenge tonight. This time they had to balance coins on the end of a sword. Monica had to give up her Immunity Idol and it was anyone's game. Well, turned out it was Katie's game – she won immunity. Back at camp, Monica's paranoia kicked into high gear and she started talking to everyone who was within earshot. This, naturally, put her alliance off because they can never be sure where she's standing at any given moment. At Tribal Council, Tina – looking like a slightly younger version of Granny Clampet – suddenly grew a spine and called Monica out casting a lot of doubt her way. But, she also talked just a wee bit too long and loud and it was bye bye Tina after Probst tallied the votes.

Best line of the night – Monica Culpepper, getting her undies in a bundle after Tina says some disparaging remarks about her – she says, “I AM the best player here…” Oh really? The other players' raised eyebrows tell me they don't all quite agree with you, Monica, darling!

Side note: Earlier today, Paul shared a shirtless photo of Jeff Probst on Facebook and intimated that I and some of the other female Survivor Geeks would find that attractive. I did not. However, during the broadcast tonight, there was a commercial for Two and A Half Men, on which the shirtless Probst is appearing. In the promo, he's wearing nothing but a towel and he's holding…a platter of bacon!!! Well now, he is a whole lot more attractive with the bacon!!! Yee haw!!!!!

Vag’s Evaluation:
Well, after bitching and moaning the past few weeks, I have to give Survivor: Blood vs. Water its props. Tonight’s episode went old school and I couldn’t be happier. We were treated to two Immunity Challenges, two Tribal Councils, eating gross things and plenty of bickering and nastiness. Plus, there was very little Redemption Island, no reward feasts and NO friggin’ puzzles! Like I said, old school Survivor.

The first Immunity Challenge was the one that consisted of eating gross things. The first round was divided into two heats of six. On the menu was a shot glass of 40 mealworms. Survivors of those heats were Tyson, Monica, Vytas, Hayden, Gervase, and Caleb. Vytas was impressive as he puked up several of his mealworms and scooped them up and ate them. Tina, in defeat, was comical because she kept pulling on her ears as she attempted to get the gross delicacy down. Even daughter, Katie was amused.

The six victors then had to scarf down 3 ounces of pig intestines. Evidently none of the competitors were Orthodox Jews. The first two to finish would move on to the finals. While the others were gagging, Monica had absolutely no problem swallowing the swine innards. Surprisingly, Gervase finished second.

In the finals Monica made short work of 2 rather large grubs that were still alive and quite squirmy. She slid them down her gullet one right after the other like she had been doing it all her life. Gervase didn’t have a chance and immunity belonged to Monica.

Back at camp Kasama, it was quite apparent that it was Vytas, Tina and Katie against the rest. Vytas, sensing that he was next in line to be voted off, was very pleasant and pleaded with the alliance to be sparred for a few more days.

At Tribal Council, Vytas wasn’t quite so polite. He let the F-bombs fly. At one point he announced, “F*ck you, you voted off my little bother!” His diatribe was then directed at Monica, basically calling her an idiot. Although he had a good point, it didn’t matter, he was sent to be with his brother Aras on Redemption Island.

The second Immunity Challenge involved holding a sword on top of an inverted shield with one hand while you piled coins of various sizes on the handle of the sword with your other hand. It was Monica, Ciera, Tina Gervase, Laura and Caleb spilling their piles first, leaving Tyson, Hayden and Katie to battle it out for immunity. Remarkably, the coins of Tyson and Hayden fell almost simultaneously and young Katie had earned immunity.

It was pretty clear that Tina would be the next to go. Oh, don’t get me wrong, they tried to create the notion that there was an outside shot that Monica might be the next to be sent to Redemption Island. But I knew better, I have been watching Survivor too long to fall for that ploy. So, just as I had suspected, Tina was sent to Redemption Island to join Vytas and Aras.

Now that Survivor: Blood vs. Water has somewhat peaked my interest again, I actually have opinions of the remaining castaways. Currently, I can’t stand Tyson, Monica and Laura at all. I am indifferent with Tina, Ciera, Gervase and Hayden. I am sort of pulling for the Baskauskas brothers, Aras and Vytas. The way they interact intrigues me.

That leaves young Katie. Initially, I could take her or leave her. Especially when they fixated on how messed up her toes were. However, every since she first sported her giant nerd glasses, I have become kind of fond of her. And now that she has taken to wearing her buff like a mini skirt, well…she is my personal favorite for season 27.

Until next time…from the booth.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Coming Soon…

For my forthcoming book "More Kenosha Softball” I took a look at some of the top speed merchants, shortstops, pitchers, etc. in Kenosha. I focused on one individual in each category and provided an “all-time” list of the others. In this excerpt, I interviewed Tim Georno and discussed what made managing Tirabassi’s so special.

While Georno enjoyed playing in tournaments outside of Kenosha in places like Watertown and Manitowoc, he said that there was nothing better than playing in the Final 8 at Simmons Field. He said nothing compared to that atmosphere, “It was the best!” With that in mind, it is a given that his fondest memory occurred when his Tirabassi team not only played in the Final 8, but in the City Championship at Simmons Field.

And to think, Tirabassi’s nearly didn’t make it that far.

That’s right. After winning their first two games of the tournament, Tirabassi’s was knocked into the losers’ bracket when tournament favorite Stanich Realty crushed them by the slaughter rule, 13-1. That occurred the first weekend of the tournament! Because there were 60 teams entered in the tournament, it had to be played over a two-weekend period. Losing so early in a tournament of that size meant that Georno and the rest of Tirabassi’s had a very daunting task ahead of them.

Remarkably, with some unforeseen inspiration, they were up to the task.

On the Saturday night of the first weekend of the tournament, members of the Tirabassi team had assembled at the Sunnyside Club, a popular Kenosha watering hole. Among those discussing the team’s future with Georno were Rocky Tirabassi, Larry Carbone and Carmen Pillizzi. Having won all of their games since being destroyed by Stanich, the group was cautiously optimistic. They realized that it wasn’t going to be easy, but they were determined to get to Simmons Field.

Overhearing the Tirabassi group, a local Kenosha News sportswriter decided to join in the discussion. No shrinking violet, the writer brazenly announced that he didn’t know why they were so fired up, they didn’t have a chance to win it. Evidently he didn’t think it was likely that Tirabassi’s was going to be able to continue winning. Tirabassi outfielder Larry Carbone thought otherwise. He challenged the Kenosha News scribe boldly with, “What the hell do you know?”

Carbone was right. After that little exchange at the Sunnyside Club, Tirabassi’s turned it up a notch. Or, as Georno put it, “T’s got hotter than hell!”

The next day, Tirabassi’s stayed alive, winning its games. They had made it to the second weekend; their quest to get to Simmons Field was still within their grasp. The following Saturday they fulfilled that mission. At Lincoln Park, Tirabassi edged out Finney’s Snowblind Oasis 1-0 on a controversial home run in the 6th inning by Rich Salisbury. They had secured that trip to the Final 8 at Simmons Field. And, when they got there later that evening, they kept the train rolling by knocking off Sorensen Mfg.

The next day, Tirabassi’s beat Matador Lounge 6-3, fourth-place Oriental Inn 13-4 and third-place Finney’s Lounge 2-0. For their efforts, Tirabassi’s earned the privilege of battling their nemesis, Stanich in the finals for the City Championship. Stanich, the defending champions, roared into the finals by demoralizing a strong Finney’s Lounge team 22-7 in the undefeated game. All they had to do to repeat was win one game against Tirabassi’s.

Tirabassi’s, although on an inspired mission, still had to do the unthinkable and knock off Stanich twice. To a man, they knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Maybe that’s why sponsor Domenick Tirabassi did something that Georno doesn’t remember him ever doing before. He spoke to the team. This caught the young Tirabassi manager totally by surprise.

Georno said that Domenick Tirabassi was the best sponsor you could ever ask for. He never intervened and would always show up for the finals of big tournaments. That’s why it was so unexpected when he spoke to the team between games of the City Tournament finals. It wasn’t a fire and brimstone sermon. That wasn’t his style. With his team gathered around him, Domenick Tirabassi simply said, “I don’t care what happens in this game. Win or lose, I just want you to know that I’m so proud of you guys.”

Evidently, those two heartfelt sentences from the sponsor must have hit home with Georno’s squad, because they proceeded to do the unimaginable. Tirabassi’s, before a huge crowd at Simmons Field, upset the defending champ Stanich Realty in two championship games, 7-4 and 6-5 in 12 innings to win the 1982 Men’s City Slowpitch Championship.

I anticipate “More Kenosha Softball” being available for Holiday gift giving. If you are interested in picking up a copy of my first book, “Some Kenosha Softball”, it is currently available only at the Kenosha History Center located at 220 51st Place down by the harbor. Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Survivor 27.8

Mary Beth’s 2Cents: Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty – everyone's talking about loyalty. I'm not sure they quite know the meaning of the word but they sure do like to toss it around on Survivor.

Tonight's episode begins with poor Laura B. feeling completely hornswoggled that she has been sent packing to Redemption Island. Her depression is short lived, however, when she reads to John and Laura M. that the winner of the next Redemption challenge will re-enter the game. The losers will just go home. I was briefly excited when I saw the challenge. I wondered if my strongly worded letter from last week had anything to do with the fact that tonight's Redemption challenge was a simple test of strength. The three competitors had to hang on a pole as long as they could. This was the kind of challenge I love and was hoping for!

The competition, however, was quite underwhelming. Anticlimactic, if you know what I mean. First John struggled his way out of his shoes and slid off the pole. Next Laura B. lost her footing and hit the dirt. Laura M. won, much to her daughter, Ciera's chagrin and I thought, “Meh…who really cares about any of these people?” I, for one, do not. Ciera was apparently afraid her mother returning was going to mess up her game.

I say, let the mess begin because then maybe something interesting will happen. Then Probst announced the tribes were now merging and he gave them all new buffs. Laura M. received the clue to the hidden Immunity Idol, which, like those before her, she promptly tossed into the fire. The symbolism of that particular gesture is lost on me now. If you're given a head's up, take it. Sheesh!

Back at camp, Ciera quickly takes her mom aside to let her in on the “plan” and to tell her to not play so hard or she'll get the axe. Laura M. somehow takes this to mean she is now in a “power position” in the game. Delusional much? Tyson goes off to find the Hidden Immunity Idol, which he does, in record time. At this point, the producers might as well put up neon arrows pointing to the thing. That's how easy it is to find it. Tyson actually stepped on it while he was looking for it.

Aras and Vytas have a brotherly moment where Aras lets Vytas in on the “plan” and Vytas tells his “plan” to Aras. Tyson tries to let Monica in on the “plan” but the woman wouldn't shut up long enough to hear it prompting Tyson to think of ways to kill her. She is very annoying and if he did kill her, THAT would be interesting. She has her dirty bikini bottom in a bunch because Tina tactfully let her know that she was #5 and that should make her happy. Oh that silly Tina!

The Immunity Challenge was a glorified game of Memory. Such a lame challenge! One by one they lost leaving the brothers, Vytas and Aras, to duke it out at the end. Oh the drama! But Vytas wins and off they go to Tribal Council.

At Tribal Council, I got totally distracted by Tyson's topknot Librarian bun hairdo! What was up with that?? He looked like a skinny, white Sumo wrestler who's top know was a wee bit too tight. Probst tried to raise some interest by poking at the old “which is stronger – blood or water” shtick but it was just more chatter and, in the end, Aras was blindsided and voted off to – Redemption Island? Oh dear lord, I thought we were finally done with that pretense tonight but NO…he gets another chance to come back to the game. Sheesh!!!

Vag’s Evaluation:
Tonight’s episode started with Tina returning from Tribal Council and doing her best Laura B. impersonation. She immediately informs Monica that, while she is till in their alliance of six, the best she can finish is number five. Huh? I guess Survivor has Power Ratings now. I missed that in my Sporting News. What a dope.

At Redemption Island we are treated with Laura M., John (Candice’s wife) and Laura B. wrapped around totems poles. Whoever hangs on the longest wins and is back in the game. The other two smucks go home for good. John and Laura B. slide off first and are sent packing to be with their respective mates. Of course Laura burns the Hidden Immunity Idol clue. Great twist, Burnett.

After the duel, Probst announces that the tribes are now one. With the merge, the eleven remaining castaways are presented with lovely new purple buffs. And…you guessed it, another feast. The new tribe eagerly scarfed down sandwiches, salami, cheese and wine. Burp…

Before the Immunity Challenge, Tyson wandered off in search of a Hidden Immunity Idol. As they showed him strolling into the woods, I promptly vomited in my mouth. Am I the only one that is creeped out by those turquoise boxer briefs? Come on dude, but some pants on. Who do you think you are, Special Agent Phil?

Oh ya, he finds an Idol. At least he is smart enough not to let anyone else know that he has it. Those briefs must not be that tight.

Basically, the Immunity Challenge is a game of concentration. And Monica, Caleb, Katie, Tyson, Tina, and Hayden are quickly eliminated in the first round. In round two, Ciera, Laura M. and Gervase make a hasty exit leaving brothers, Vytas and Aras to battle it out for Immunity. Vytas wins proving that those drugs didn’t kill all of his brain cells.

When everyone returns to camp we learn two things. First, with no real explanation, the merged tribe will be called Kasmas. The other thing is that there are at least four or five alliances. Let me clarify that. Four or five “supposed” or “imagined” alliances. There is a two-word term for this. The first word is cluster. My mother doesn’t allow me to say the other word.

Tribal Council is pretty boring. If Probst wasn’t such a sneaky instigator, I think I would have fell asleep. Honestly. They blindside Aras and then Probst says something that totally pisses me off. “Aras, the tribe has spoken. But you’re not out of the game; you will now go to Redemption Island.” What the… I thought we were done with that failed twist. Man, how many more weeks are left of this train wreck?

Until next time…from the booth.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

More Flyers. Sorta…

I know that I had promised to write about the time Joe Rosko beat up a referee between periods of a Kenosha Flyers game. But after seeing what the Philadelphia Flyers did to the Washington Capitals on Friday night, I cannot do so in good conscience. In fact, it makes me wonder why I got such a thrill out of seeing Rosko kick the crap out of that game official back in the ‘70s. What was I thinking? Allow me to tell you why I had a change of heart.

Facebook friend, Herb Lawrence posted this comment Friday night: “All fighting in sports is dumb. What did this prove? Fighting should be punished by suspensions and fines.” Along with that comment, he provided a link to the incident in the Flyers/Capitals game that motivated him to make that comment. Herb is a producer at 670 the Score in Chicago. While I don’t always agree with his take on things, I always enjoy hearing how he feels about issues; and not just sports. He is an intelligent young man.

Ray Emery pummeling Braden Holtby
Okay, back to the incident that caused me to question my feelings. You can click right here if you would like to see it what went down. If you don’t care to, I will give you my account of what happened.

The Flyers were getting destroyed; the Capitals went up 7-0 in the third period. This ignited a “line brawl.” A hockey term for when all the morons on the ice square off in an attempt to prove their manhood.

This is when Flyers goalie Ray Emery, who was torched for four goals in relief of starter Steve Mason, skated the length of the ice to punch Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. Referee Francois St. Laurent chose not to break it up. In fact, he shooed away anyone who was thinking about protecting Holtby, who wanted no part of Emery.

At this point, I was having a hard time deciding who was a bigger asshole – Emery or St. Laurent. But wait; there were plenty of individuals to choose from for this not-so prestigious title. Like his teammate and even the Philadelphia radio broadcasters who tried to justify the melee because the “Flyers were frustrated.” I guess it’s acceptable to take out your frustrations on some other human being’s face.

Perhaps these jerks had a basis for their bizarre reasoning. Here’s what Emery had to say, rather matter-of-factly, to reporters after the game: “Holtby didn’t want to fight, but I basically said, protect yourself.” When asked why he and his teammates did it, he explained that they were frustrated that they were getting worked, and at home, no less. “As a group, I think it’s a frustrating night,” Emery said. “Fans are frustrated, and we don’t accept that. I think frustration sometimes shows that way.”

Okay, let me see if I have this straight. You suck at your job; you’re a total failure. Your lack of success causes the people that care about you to be disappointed in you. The way you remedy this situation is to physically assault the people competing with you in your chosen profession. Brilliant! I challenge any of you to try this at the office or plant where you work. And, please, let me know how it goes. I promise to come visit you.

A few remaining items on the lunacy that occurred Friday night. The referees handed out 114 minutes in penalties, with Emery receiving 29 of them. The Flyers goaltender was given two minutes for instigating, two for leaving the crease, five for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct to go along with a game misconduct. Four other players received the distinction of receiving game misconduct penalties.

Ironically, Emery was voted the third star of the game. Nice sport. Way to reward thug mentality. Oh ya, unfortunately Herb’s wish that fighting should be punished by suspensions and fines was not realized. For all of his nefarious actions, Emery did NOT receive any additional suspensions or fines. I guess it’s just a “part of the sport.”

The final reason that made it impossible for me to write a blog glorifying the moronic violence connected with hockey is in the graphic at the top of this blog. Scroll up and check out the young boy in the Flyers jersey using his smartphone to record the action on the ice. I wonder which is his hero – Ray Emery or Francois St. Laurent. I am willing to bet it’s not Braden Holtby.

Thanks for providing the incentive, Herb. Until Next time…from the booth.