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Approaching the wrong side of 40

Dude, I’m tellin’ ya………

In about a week, I’ll be turning 40.

It hadn’t even dawned on me until the last few days. I have much greater things to worry about at this precise moment such as finding work and meeting the April 1 rent. But as I inch closer to that ceremonial mark—that is really the first big milestone since 21—it is finally creeping into my head.

Holy Mother of Mary…..I’m gonna be freakin’ 40 years old !!

It seems like I just registered with the Selective Service at the age of 18. It seems like I just turned 21 even though I’d been frequenting bars since I was about eighteen. It seems like I just turned 30 which was actually no big deal.

But now I’m going to be 40 and I have to start making plans for some kind of grandiose mid-life crisis. I’m not even sure what to do about that. Should I hook up with some 24 year old hottie? Should I buy a fancy sports car as soon as I land my next job?

I already live a lifestyle like Charlie Sheen’s character on 2  1/2 Men. So as far as boozing, gambling, carousing and bumbling around……I already do that. At the moment.

So how am I supposed to handle this “40″ thing ?

Well, I have me a little plan.

The last three decades, I’ve looked at my life in ten-year spans. From ages 10-20, those are easy to summarize. The first part of that decade, I was like any other kid. I still followed all the rules of my parents’ house. I went to school every day and I worried about getting good grades and all that. I discovered girls around 12, 13, or 14. All of that stuff. And then from 15-20, I discovered the easier ways to make a little money. I started testing my boundaries and seeing what I could get away with. Skipped school once every couple of weeks. Started partying…..first just a little boozing. Then a little harder and a little harder.

So that was the typical decade of exploration, discovery, and trying new things.

From 20-30, it was pure decadence. My buddies and I thought of ourselves as a little crew, so to speak. We had two dozen ways to make money without actually going to work. I still went to work and began my career as a pencil pusher. But it was that decade where you could go out every night until 2 in the morning and crawl into work the next day and still be productive. Then there was the extra money and the women and the good times that came with it. My first house. The first trips out to Vegas. The being “banned” from local bars for rowdiness, fighting, etc. The bachelor parties and the crazy weddings. Lots of court appearances and chemicals going on. Oh, did I mention the women ?  

At age 30, I made a very conscious decision to stop all of the under-the-table things I had going on and just work my job (before I got myself arrested) and work toward moving up to the next level in my life. Which I did. On my 30th birthday, I abandoned all of the ways I was making money except for my weekly paycheck. I got up, went to work, did my thing, and lived a much cleaner lifestyle….for a while. I reached the precipe of my life thus far by buying a 3 bedroom house with a yard and a basement. And nearly at the same time, I suffered my greatest loss. Which resulted in a downward spiral health-wise.

It took the rest of my 30s to overcome my loss, regain my health, and finish the last 4 years of the decade as a refocused, re-energized, upstanding member of society.

Which is where I find myself as birthday number 40 fast approaches. Yes, I’m out of work at the moment. But it had / has nothing to do with a sordid lifestyle. Or being unreliable. Nothing like that. It’s been all about the economy like 25 million other people. But my future plan is all set in my head.

I’m as healthy as I’ve been since about the age of 17. I’m surrounded by good, decent-valued, admirable people (versus the company I used to keep from about 22-36). I’m driven, focused, and have my sights set on what I want. As soon as I land my next job, I can see my 40s being the most productive, clean living, happy decade of my life.

I’m so totally ready. To travel. To be a good friend. To be someone that can be counted on. To advance my career thru achievement and reliability. To start saving for my old age—-which I never really figured to see in my 20s and 30s. To contribute to the community I live in. To get in better shape and become even healthier. Not just as a resolution per se……but just because I’m no longer poisoning myself and surrounded by like-minded people.

So that’s the sort of mid-life crisis I have planned.

Oh, there still may be a new truck and a closet full of nice suits and some of that. But I am just dead-set…..totally intent……not a doubt in my mind …….ready to make these next ten years the best ones of my life thus far. I am going to kick this decade’s ass !

There’s no granchildren on the cusp. There’s no celebrating twenty years with the same company. There’s no twentieth wedding anniversary around the bend. It’s what I do from next week forward. 

I’m ready. Put me in, Coach.

40 ain’t nuthin’ but a number !!

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Looking For Jobs the Worst Job of All

Dude, I’m tellin’ ya……….

So I’m still looking for work in this country after 14 months. Somehow when I turn on the TV and watch those six (and seven) figure newscasters spout off that the recession is over and the economy is on the upswing, I just don’t know what planet they’re really on. Of course the same goes for the entire White House and anyone associated with government. Out of all the people in the United States…….everyone from Hollywood actors and actresses…..to pro athletes……..to the homeless…….to doctors, nurses, lawyers, garbage men, teachers, and even high school kids………

it is those two factions (government officials and news media people) that seem to be the most clueless and out of touch with their own nation. And when I say government officials, I’m not talking about lower-end government employees like postal workers and the good, helpful folks at the DMV or the unemployment office. Those folks are just regular people like most of us.

I’m talking about Senators, Congressman, the Cabinet, chief advisors, the President, the VP, and those sort of people. You know…..the ones that believe they have the pulse of the nation, but are actually oblivious to what is going on with citizens on a daily basis. Like when Obama made that statement admitting, “We realized that the economy/recession was a lot worse than we even thought after the election and taking office.”

He had just completed a months-long tour of the nation making one speech after another in struggling regions and (allegedly) talking and listening hard to the constituents whose votes he desperately sought……..and he still couldn’t grasp what he was seeing and hearing.

I’ve heard it said numerous times now—-by media and the White House only—-that the recession is over. I myself always considered it another Great Depression. But whatever it should be called, according to these people, it is over.

So I guess like them…..Obama, Senator Bunning, the head of the Federal Reserve, newscasters and talkies like Brian Williams, Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, Bill O’Reilly, et al……….we can all go back to our mansions in our hired cars and have our nice hot dinner before climbing under our silk sheets for the night. All is well again.

Even those journalists who like to portray themselves as our friend; our “buddy”; someone who thinks they actually walk in our shoes and share similar daily problems…….they are not our buddies, they could care less about us really, and they are as out of touch as the competitors (in their field) that they mock and bash every night as not having a clue.

I say all of this because except for those two groups of people (government officials and media bigshots), no one I know thinks we are even close to being done with the recession. No one I know has any confidence whatsoever in the economy. Everyone I know is still scared shitless and wondering when their unemployment extension is going to run out. None of them are sitting back and enjoying “the handouts we’ve been getting” . Everyone I know has a similar work ethic to me and wants desperately to be back to work and regain their sense of worth. Yet, about 60% of the top 100 people in my life are still out of work.

Since January 1, 2010 I know of one friend who has found a new job. Just one. And he found it by working his contacts and network system to death—-same as myself and all my other out-of-work friends and acquaintances do. But he got lucky to have one of them work out and land a position. He took a $15 K  paycut and he’s clicking his heels about it.

On the flip-side, I know of six more friends/acquaintances that have lost their jobs since 1/1/2010.

The recession is over? The economy is rebounding? Give me a freakin’ break !!

So today I spent the entire day—-as I do almost everyday—-looking for work in this “recovering” economy. And it was another day of “fake jobs”, lowballing, and general deceit by those companies still in existence that have turned to any means they can to stay afloat.

I’ve actually been to a half-dozen interviews in the last 90 days. Sounds pretty encouraging, huh? Like there are opportunities to be had ?

On three of them, I “got” the job. They said they loved me. I was perfect for what they need. Great interview and outstanding resume/experience. Boy, they would take me on in a second……if only they really, actually had a job to give.

These places actually reached out to a personnel agency that I hooked up with and asked them to send them viable candidates. They had the agency waste time and money by weeding through their files and finding the best candidates to send over. They wasted my time by pulling me away from my own job searching and spending the gas money to go out and see them. Plus the costs of haircuts and dry cleaning my suits, etc. And finally, they wasted their own firm’s time and money by actually recieving these candidates in and interviewing them.

Just to call the agency back and say they absolutely loved me but unfortunately, they don’t have a job to offer me. They “thought the economy would have rebounded by now.”

They thought they “had a chance at landing a huge new client/account, but the firm pulled back due to the still poor economy”.

So they apologize profusely for stringing everyone involved along and going so far as to have an agency do all sorts of search work……for a phantom job.

This has happened to me three times since November 1, 2009.

Then there is the job that also loved me and felt I fit all of their requirements. And this time there really was a job. They wanted a college graduate with purchasing experience. They wanted someone very computer literate with SAP (business management software) experience. They wanted a seasoned person familiar with procurement, inventory, vendor relations, and more. And they found him in me.

And then they said that the position started at $8.00 per hour. No shit. That’s not a typo. Eight dollars per hour……aka White Castle wages. That is what a leading retailer in this country wants to pay someone with those credentials. And why? Because they know the economy is nowhere close to improving. They know the recession is FAR from over. They know that eventually someone that qualified will be hungry enough (by that I mean literally starving in their stomach area) and desperate enough to take their $8

Which is just about how every company in the US is operating right now. Ninety percent of the jobs posted on the internet do not tell you what the salary will be. Not even a loose range they can toy with the candidates on. They know that they simply don’t have to list a salary because they will have 1000 applicants for the position and can low-ball somebody into taking minimum wage. It’s sickening, really.

And then there’s the sales jobs where the company figures to get a free month of work and market penetration out of a person before they quit because they haven’t made a single sale or made a dime for their dinner tables. Nobody is buying a damn thing in this “recovering” economy. Sales jobs are available by the hundreds because you don’t make anything. That’s OK with the firm doing the hiring, though. They still get their territories covered….knowing nobody is buying anything……and they get a free month’s work out of some poor sap. And when he moves on, they simply turn to the next sucker who applies. They might not have to pay a commission all year—-but they still get the market saturation they aimed for !! They’d love some sales. But at least they accomplished one of the company goals.

Post a resume on careerbuilder or monster and you’ll get six emails from Aflac, two from Prudential, and maybe one from Liberty Mutual by morning. Plus all of the payment processing companies (use our credit card payment processing system !! ) out there. They’ll take on anyone who responds.

At least those places actually do respond to applicants. Nobody else does. Just the sales industry. Not the big, elite companies who pride themselves on communication and integrity. Probably because the job they posted is another one of those “phantom” positions. And they know it.

So please White House officials and million-dollar newscasters……quit acting like you empathize with us. Or know what we’re going thru. Or think you are even close to being “one of us”. You’re not. It isn’t even close. The truth is, you don’t have a clue what is going on in this nation.

After all…….you’re all working.

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Tribes Starting to Fracture on Survivor

Dude, I’m tellin’ ya……….

This past Thursday’s episode of Survivor was pretty good. They had a good reward/immunity challenge on the surface, but in the end, it wasn’t much of a challenge. And the tribes are really starting to identify the people they don’t exactly like within their own ranks.

The show started with JT offering up an apology to Fireman Tom for the way he voted out Stephanie (in the previous week’s show). JT had made an alliance with Tom and knew that it included Stephanie and Colby. But JT explained that when he saw the numbers stacking up against that small faction, he was afraid to show allignment with them and essentially put a target on his own back. Fireman Tom somewhat accepted his apology, but Tom is also a smart player who won’t put too much trust into JT again.

Gravedigger James also apologized for his recent outbursts to a small degree. He reiterated that he just wants to win and that he became frustrated, etc. Fireman Tom pulled him aside and in a fatherly way told him that he “just could have been a little more gentle” at the Tribal Council. With his nemesis Stephanie gone, James did seem to tone down his verbage around camp……although his will to win was pretty evident at the physical challenge.

When they jumped over to show how life was going at the villain camp, Boston Rob made one of the best observations I’ve ever heard about the game of Survivor. He told viewers that he was going to let them in on a little secret and that this is the absolute one sure way to know who was alligned and who was at odds. He said that at night, whoever is cuddling or spooning together to stay warm and be somewhat comfortable…..they are in a close allignment. It’s that simple. You aren’t going to spoon with someone that you hate or don’t like to be around. And in most cases, if there is a guy running his hand thru a woman’s hair or someone is getting a nice little massage…….more than likely they have befriended each other and are working on the same page.

Great observation that would seem to be pretty obvious. Sure, we have seen people get close and physical (Rob himself with Amber, Ozzy and Amanda). But I hadn’t heard anyone ever really point out the exactness of how to view the bedtime buddies. Makes a lot of sense.

Pot bellied Russell took offense to Coach and Boston Rob sort of building on that observation of Rob’s that alliances are obvious when there is too much cuddling going on. Which was kind of funny seeing as how Coach and Jerri seem to be getting close to bumping nasties. But they got on Russell’s case a little bit because of his playing around all the time with Parvati. Of course with his huge ego, Russell took offense to their warnings and decided he needed to stir things up a bit to show who was really in charge.

So he hid the camp’s machete later that night while they were all asleep. His aim is to screw with his tribemates’ heads and make them suffer a little bit opening up coconuts and trimming firewood, etc.

The reward/immunity challenge was one competition again. They were playing for the one luxury item that all contestants are allowed to bring along to the game. And even more importantly, immunity from that night’s Tribal Council. The challenge was a sumo-type of wrestling match with one-on-one matchups. Each person had a padded “shield” that they could use for ramming their opponent with and knocking them off the platform and into the mud. However, you had to keep both hands on the handles of the shield at all times.

The hero tribe really had their game faces on. They were bound and determined to win. Which they did……8 to ZERO. The villains did not win one matchup. There were two matches a little more humorous than the others. Coach faced off against the wookie Rupert. And Coach seemed to have a victory, but Pretty Boy Probst (PBP) negated the win by saying that Coach had taken one of his hands off of the shield. So they re-started the match. But not before Coach again took a hand off of the shield to flip off Probst for the penalty. PBP told Coach to “direct that anger to your opponent…..not me ! “

The wookie then went on to defeat Coach after the match was restarted.

And in the final matchup, Gravedigger James found himself up against the oldest player in the whole game—-Randy. First, James baited Randy a little bit encouraging him to bring it and that sort of thing. Then after quickly disposing of Randy and having him down in the mud, James threw his shield at Randy and walked away. The villain tribe admonished James for his “unheroic” and unclassy kind of behavior.

I found it all kind of funny.

So the villains had to vote someone off at Tribal Council and the discussion centered around old man Randy and the siren Parvati. Randy tried to convince them how dangerous Parvati is by having multiple friends over on the hero tribe. He said she must be ousted before the merge, and here was their chance. However, like me, the other guys on the tribe must like seeing her around because they voted Randy out at Tribal.

Which while I thought was the wrong move to make and kind of dumb by the villains……..I was happy that an old fart got voted out instead of another one of my girls. Or my precious “eye candy” as I’ve been told.

The last funny part of the show was Randy taking his bandana off and whipping it into the firepit when he was voted out. A sign of his disgust with the tribe and his own disappointment. But he whipped it like Ted Lilly of the Chicago Cubs threw his hat down after letting up a homerun in the playoffs. With authority.

Gave me one last chuckle for the night after yet another good and entertaining show.

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Asshole of the Month February 2010

Dude, I’m tellin’ ya……..

Being a short month as it is, and with me usually taking weekends off, there was only a tad over three weeks for this month’s Asshole of the Month to present theirself.

And I found myself a little short on candidates to be honest. In the end, it came down to three contenders.

The first is the entire body of corn-infested stools that make up the US Senate. And we could probably throw the House in there too. This collective group of do-nothing windbags can’t seem to agree that the sky is blue or that grass is green. The country is swirling around the bowl of the toilet on its way down the hole and these shit-for-brains have to argue every little point to death. One thing they did do this month was haul in one of the other candidates for one of their laughable little grill sessions that never results in anything. Just like they did with Major League Baseball and they do with crooked bankers, executives and all the rest.

These shit bags in suits brought in a few of the chief officials from Toyota to explain the hijinks going on over there. The boys from Toyota were the other runners-up this month for our prestigious award. This high-and-mighty company that has made oodles of cash over the years has apparently been doing it by putting us into virtual death machines. While it’s nice to see an industry giant get their come-uppance, it’s not so great to have it happen at the expense of people’s lives. Especially a lot of American lives since we buy so many of their electric chairs on wheels. But the only reason these Japanese jaggoffs didn’t win the award this month is for what it took a great man like Jimmy Kimmel to point out.

The comedian observed that it was the first time an automaker actually went before Congress and didn’t ask for 10 billion dollars.

So based on that, they were off the hook. Instead, I awarded this month’s prestigious honor to a really deserving jackass. The king turd of the titanium, if you will…..

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the February 2010 Asshole of the Month………Tiger Woods !!

At first I defended this douche bag of the dog-leg  Par 4. I thought that he was being overscrutinized for a guy that hadn’t done anything but cheat on his wife and family. I felt it was their issue to deal with. I felt that the media didn’t need to be all over him the way they were.

But then I saw how this pompous prick evaded authorities looking to get a statement out of him. For days and days. And the laughingstock that is law enforcement in the US let him get away with it. The usual special treatment that a person of privilege gets in this country. Even a self-centered, smug, tool of a pro golfer. But he still wouldn’t go away.

Now ever since that night that his pretty little wife slapped his sorry ass around and he wrapped his SUV around the tree, we’ve been subjected to week after week of more raw sewage from this shit receptacle. First there was the parade of sluts that he slipped it to coming forward for their ten minutes of fame. Then there was the various sightings of his wife out without her wedding ring on or buying a house back in her homeland. She must have starting seeing her man for the scrotum cheese that he is.

Then we had to deal with the rumors that he checked in to a sex addiction clinic. And finally, the coup de gras…….his bullshit, fake-ass press conference of remorse where he once again tried to play the rest of us off as imbeciles. 

First, this nut sac made the thing “invite-only” and was adamant about who could come and hear his half-assed apology in person. Then he made it clear that there would be no questions afterward so that he couldn’t be called out on his horseshit actions and insincere speech. And then toward the end of his self-serving propaganda, he finally raised his voice and showed his only trace of emotion when admonishing the media for allegedly hounding his wife and kids. And for making up stories of how his petite wife kicked his weak ass.

Up to that point in his pre-prepared speech written by one of his spin doctors, he didn’t show the tiniest trace of legitimate regret or remorse for destroying his family. He read the words in a robotic way that sounded like a kid giving an oral report in biology class. Nobody I have spoken with bought his unfeeling stream of verbal piss in the very least. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the kids he let down. Or the game of golf that he brought a black cloud over. Or the sponsors that subsidized his perverted lifestyle for all these years.

This prick of the putting green has thought he is superior to the rest of us for years. He phrased it that he believed he deserved to enjoy the spoils of working so hard all of these years. That he was entitled. It is obvious from this pathetic pecker that he isn’t sorry about a damn thing except that he got caught. If he hadn’t, he’d still be sticking his 9 iron into every skanky whore’s sandtrap that he could.

Tiger isn’t sure when he will return to golf. I’m actually starting to wish that it will be sooner than later. I heard less about this gonad of the greens when he was actually on the course as compared to now. Of course when he does return, we’ll be subjected to the biggest media frenzy yet in this sad story. But after that, hopefully it dies back down to the level before his woman whupped his ass. I think I speak for most people when I say we’re sick of hearing about this unfaithful, annoying bastard.

Go knock some balls into the proper holes already, you sick freak. Or just retire altogether and go away completely.

You’re just a good golfer. Nothing else. You’re a terrible husband, a rotten father, and the truth is buddy……….you ain’t better than any of us.

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Just some observations in this crazy world

Dude, I’m tellin’ ya………..

Thought it was time to take a quick look at the world around me lately and tell you what I see.

First off, the hard chargin’ band  West 34  is ready to jam out again this Saturday night at Rolling Lanes (bar) bowling alley in Countryside. If you missed them at this same venue last month, they rocked out big-time. My boy “Big Wave” Dave Johnson, the lead guitar virtuoso, was walking from tabletop to tabletop at one point like Eddie Van Halen in the Hot for Teacher video. Their version of Summertime Blues comes complete with the Pete Townsend windmill effect. And the drummer’s version of Moby Dick brings visions of John Bonham to mind.

Here’s the specifics:

WEST 34
Saturday, February 27, 2010    9PM
Rolling Lanes Bowling Alley (bar)
6301 Joliet Road   Countryside, Illinois

If you want a rollicking Saturday night out with your woman and hear some great rock and blues, this is your ticket.

Speaking of some of the boys kicking ass, I have to mention my old alma mater’s basketball team. And I’m not talking about Southern Illinois here. I’m talking about the Lyons Township High School (LaGrange, IL) boys basketball team. These guys are now 23-1 and ranked among the top 10 teams in the state in most polls. They started out 23-0 and just suffered their first loss this past Friday night to a talented team out of Oak Park-River Forest (18-5). The LT basketball team has had some occasional solid seasons and usually puts out a competitive team. But this year is the most successful so far in about 40 years. Keep it up guys…..and I’ll be watching you in the state tournament in a few weeks.

And then we have the US men’s hockey team in the Olympics. I’m not much of an Olympics guy. But hockey is one of my favorite sports and one of the few I will watch during the Games. And on Sunday evening, the US knocked off Canada for the first time in about 40 years. We did beat them in a World Championships tourney back in ’96 or so, but this was our first Olympics triumph over the Canadiens in about four decades. When the Miracle on Ice team won the gold medal in 1980, we didn’t have to face the Canadian team. So we are now in the quarterfinals on Wednesday and will face Switzerland. If we don’t beat them, I’ll be sorely disappointed.

So between the Chicago Blackhawks, my high school basketball team, and the US men’s hockey team……we have some good teams to root for until the baseball season starts. Which is in the first week of April–just about  five short weeks away !!

In my recent post { see Feb 16I’ll Give Ya a Hero } where I identified some of my heroes to match the overhype of people like Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller, and NBA players, I neglected to name a few due to space limitations. Besides the heroes I did mention like Lucky Luciano and Attila the Hun, I didn’t have room to give proper kudos to great men like Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Robert E. Lee, Carlo Gambino and Tony Accardo. I don’t know what it is…..I like ass kickers. I like guys who play by their own rules for the most part–since most of the rules we are forced to live by are mythological, utopian ideas. Notions that the average man is expected to follow and is penalized heavily (or incarcerated) if he doesn’t. But the people in authority who make up these rules never seem to abide by them theirselves. So I guess I tend to respect and like the people that say, ” This is a steaming pile of bullshit and I’m not going to play your little game. ”  

Just wanted to give a shout out to those deserving men of accomplishment.

There’s been some really good posts on my buddy’s website ShareMyShot.com recently. He had one named after Jimmy Conway from Goodfellas and just yesterday he paid tribute to the men’s figure skating team in the Olympics. Check it out when you have a chance. Funny stuff.

How about that little speech that Tiger Woods made last week? I have a feeling I’ll be writing about him in a little more detail in the next few days as we near the end of this month. He tried to say all the right things in his meticulously prepared statement written by someone else. Nice try, Tiger.

That’s what I don’t get about these fallen celebrities. They come out with a statement written by their publicist or a spin control firm and read it right off the page and want us to believe they are sincere and truly sorry for their behavior. If you can’t take the time to memorize the statement……or blow us all away and actually write one yourself obviously penned from the heart…….then don’t even bother. What does it take to write 1000-1500 words of sincere apology?

I write between 1000-1200 words on this blog every day in about 45 to 60 minutes. And I have to think of a topic every single day. These celebs know what their topic is; their own asinine behavior. So all they have to do is sit down for a few hours and write about being truly regretful and sincerely apologize to those people they have hurt. Maybe have someone proofread it and change a handful of words to make it sound polished. That’s it.

But when they read a pre-prepared statement verbatim and then raise their voice and admonish the media for trying to gather all of the actual details in the situation (like Tiger did), they often just dig themselves a bigger hole. If you want the media to back down and go find a new witch hunt, then come forward sooner and fill us in on why you acted like a jackass. The only reaction I have heard from friends about his little speech is some smirking and mostly dismissals of Tiger’s half-assed “apology”.

Finally, as I looked out the window yesterday, I saw yet more snow falling in my yard. And then this morning my driveway had another thin layer on it. I have to feel that I am that much closer to fulfilling another one of my Dirty Dozen prophecies with certainty. We received another 3-5 inches in my area from Sunday night into Monday. And now it has been falling again the past few days. And I’d be very surprised if this is the last snowfall we see. So the total accumulation records continue to add up for certain regions and my prophecy of it being a bastard of a winter are just about confirmed.

Hope you make it out to see the band on Saturday night. And check out my buddy’s blog:

www.sharemyshot.com

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2nd Episode of Survivor Gets Catty

Dude, I’m tellin’ ya……….

This past Thursday’s episode of Survivor really seemed to see the two tribes turn it up a notch as far as bickering and already targeting each other. And it was the heroes doing it more so than the villains.

The first key event was when Boston Rob went down due to what appeared to be exhaustion/dehydration. He was walking in the woods with Jerri and the next thing you know, he went down like a ton of bricks. He told Jerri to “get help” and the medical team and Pretty Boy Probst were on the scene quickly. The medical team hydrated him and checked his vitals and determined that he didn’t have to be removed from the game (unless he wanted to be). Of course, he elected to stay in the game.

He did shed a few tears and said something about feeling bad because he ” respects and loves the game so much and thus far it was getting the best ” of him. But then he did indicate to Probst that from there on, it would be no more “Mr. Nice Guy” and he was going to play the game the way he knew how—-more aggressively and deviously.

Well ol’ Rob must have gotten some decent rest and some water into him because in the challenge….which was both a reward and immunity challenge…..Rob carried the day for the villains. The prize was a tarp to keep the rain out of your shelter. The challenge was about using huge, heavy building blocks to not only make a staircase, but to also spell out either the word “heroes” or “villains”. Rob had apparently participated in this type of challenge before and his tribe designated him the foreman for their efforts.

The heroes elected to go with JT as their foreman for similar reasons.

However, in the challenge itself, the heroes were disorganized and uncooperative and weren’t listening to JT’s instructions. They were talking over each other and making little progress. On the other side, Rob was showing good leadership skills and the team listened to him. Then when they were on the final building blocks that literally had to be hoisted up above the others, Rob jumped up and used his back and leg muscles to push the damn things into place. Nobody else showed that sort of strength and determination. As a result of his direct efforts, the villains won the challenge and the tarp.

And the heroes had to go to Tribal Council and eliminate someone for the second time in a row.

After the challenge back at the heroes camp is where things started getting catty….and kind of funny. This is why I watch the show. For the petty squabbling and the insults people make in their little asides with the camera. Cutie pie Stephanie started harping about how nobody listened to JT and they worked very poorly as a team. Gravedigger James took exception and started barking back at her. He pointed out to everyone else in the tribe how she is the only one who was ever on a tribe that lost every challenge (some seasons ago when her tribe lost every challenge and she was the only one left—sleeping alone on the beach for a few days). And now she was on a tribe that had lost two in a row yet again. He said there’s no other conclusion to draw except that she is a poisonous, weak link. 

He also barked at the whole tribe that ” he’s been a winner his whole life and he’s not used to losing like this ! ”  

That’s when my boy Fireman Tom, with his thick NYC accent, told the camera in one of his asides that, “I think James really overreacted to the challenge loss today and his temper tantrum back at camp was uncalled for. He claims that he’s been a winner his whole life and he’s not used to losing. I seriously doubt that. I can show him what a true winner really is.”

Cracked me up good.

Stephanie’s comments also irritated Rupert to a degree. So she wasn’t making a lot of friends being as vocal as she was. She did kind of have an attitude that hadn’t been so apparent in her prior seasons. And she has been on the losing side of a ton of challenges. But she is still pretty hot though. She’s in pretty good shape. I’ll give her that.

Things really started brewing over at the actual Tribal Council. { It seems like the construction crew really enhanced the whole Tribal Council “fort” since the last season was played in Samoa. I remember Probst saying that they were 30 feet in the air on the first episode. The whole thing looks like the damn Ewok Village from Return of the Jedi for chrissakes. Which I guess is somewhat fitting since Rupert resembles Chewbaca a little bit }.

Anyway, Probst asked one of his pointed questions at James (obviously after reviewing videotape before the session the way he always does so as to stir the pot more effectively). James used some poor word choices and eventually singled out Stephanie as being a rabble rouser and somewhat of a weak link. Colby took exception to that and made a retort back at James. James responded in kind. So then my guy Tom piped up and said ” make it three ” people who don’t appreciate James’ comments and finger pointing. James claimed that despite calling Stephanie out by name, he hadn’t ” singled anybody out “.

Tom replied that he doesn’t know what world James is from but identifying someone by name is singling them out in his own world.

As my buddy said upon calling me immediately after the show, ” It looks like Gravedigger James is digging his own grave ! ”

I agree. Usually he’s much more likeable and low-key than what we have been seeing.

But in the end, Stephanie had indeed irritated enough people to seal her fate and she was the one voted out. On her way out, she mocked James throwing his use of the phrase ” y’all ” back at him and he told her to get lost. And again, Tom objected to his attitude.

So that makes two cute girls in a row already off the show. Sugar (last week’s ouster) isn’t near as hot as Stephanie, but she did go topless in the very first challenge. So she has to get some points for that display. And now a legitimately fine woman in Stephanie is gone. All I can say is that Parvati better not be next. Get some of the fat guys out of there like Rupert or Russell or Randy (on the villain side). Keep the cuties dammit !

Next week’s teaser coming attraction provided my last laugh of the night when they showed James being pretty aggressive in a challenge and Probst’s voiceover says, “Next week on Survivor…….a hero loses his cool.”

Then they show Tom talking to James and saying, “You could have been a bit more gentle out there.”

Looks pretty hilarious.

As long as Parvati doesn’t get voted out.

0

A few of the old man’s favorite things

Dude, I’m tellin’ ya………

I’ve been back from Nevada for a week now and it’s been almost two weeks since I lost my dad.

I have to say that I’ve been totally floored by the number of friends that have reached out, called, sent notes and messages. A few years ago, I was basically underground recovering from an illness of my own. I only spoke to my brother and a few other people. In order to stay out of trouble and stay healthy, I avoided almost all social gatherings and just focused on my job and my home. I avoided the people who were my friends for upwards of three years or more. Just to stay on track. But I came back around about 18 months ago and it was truly one of the best decisions I ever made. The outpouring of support from the people now back in my life has been a reaffirmation of what the Blues Brothers said——everybody needs somebody.

And within the messages and conversations that I’ve had with these friends, a lot of my dad’s passions and favorite things have been remembered. One girl that I still don’t see too often (or often enough? ) said she’ll always remember my dad’s “cool cars”. And he did have a bunch of them over the years. When I was out in NV with my mom, she recalled when she first met Dad. He had come over to visit his buddy who lived right next door to my mom’s family on Marshfield in Chicago. Turns out the buddy wasn’t home and my mom was sitting on her front steps letting her hair dry after having washed it. Dad apparently noticed her and waltzed on up and started a conversation while he waited for his buddy.

And when I asked what attracted her to him, one of the things mom said was that, “and he had a pretty cool car ! “.

Funny.

My dad always, always loved the 1950s and everything that came out of it. The cars, the music, the icons, everything.

He turned me on to Elvis, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Dion, and so many more of the big acts from back then. When I was out there, my family played a lot of his CDs and old record albums while we shared funny stories and memories of him. It was cool to hear Dion’s Runaround Sue and The Wanderer on vinyl. Or Wake Up Little Susie and Cathy’s Clown by those Everly Brothers. He still had a bunch of 78s and a phonograph player to play ‘em on.

He also had a love for Sherlock Holmes books and movies. He was always an avid reader and we shared a lot of books over the years. One of his all-time favorites was Studs Lonigan by James T. Farrell. Studs Lonigan was the subject of a trilogy of novels of Irish life on the South Side of Chicago. We’re Irish and my folks both grew up on the South Side. So you could see how the stories would appeal to Dad.

The Sherlock Holmes books were his favorites later in life, though. He loved how the detective would use the most minute details to solve the crimes. The master of observation. Dad would buy books with a collection of cases and devour them. He had to have five or six collections with over 250 cases in them.

He was a life-long WhiteSox fan who never forgot the thrills of the 1959 “Go-Go Sox” pennant team. He loved to reminisce about “Jungle” Jim Rivera, Luis Aparicio, Billy Pierce, and his favorite player of all time……Hall of Famer Nellie Fox. He and I went to a good 25-30 Sox games together over the years; both at old Comiskey Park and US Cellular. When he lived in Chicago, we made it a point to take the recreation department’s annual trip to the game together every year. 

But it was the cars that he loved the most. He was the first one in his family to own a car—-a fact I only learned from my aunt a few weeks ago. One of his favorite stories to tell was when he rolled over one of his cars three times and escaped uninjured. He had pictures of old cars like a ’57 Chevy or a ’55 Thunderbird on the walls of the game room where we played pool. He loved to go to the Chicago Auto Show every single year and really missed it when he retired out-of-state.

He used to go to an old-fashioned “burger-and fries” joint on Harlem Avenue called Duke’s. It was a gathering spot for muscle car lovers and owners of classic cars from the 50s and 60s. Dad didn’t go out to bars or hang out with a group of pals too much when I was growing up. But anytime he was heading out on a Friday or Saturday night and you asked him where he was going, inevitably he’d say, “I’m gonna go on up to Duke’s. Wanna come with? ”

One pal he did visit with alot was a guy he knew since grade school nicknamed Ace. When he first brought me and my brother over to meet Ace, he was building a kit-car roadster in his garage. They remained friends until Dad’s death connected by their love of cool cars.

Everyone from the neighborhood I grew up in remembers my father’s baby-blue ’75 convertible. He would drive it up to our Little League games and when we won, all of our teammates wanted to ride in his car up to the Tasty Freeze for the celebratory ice cream that was traditional back then. He could be found every single Saturday afternoon washing and waxing that sweet ride. I don’t know how many times I helped him put the freshly cleaned, bone-white “boot” back on that car.

He positively loved it.

{One time I recall that my mom, my sister, and my brother and I went up to the Tasty Freeze for shakes one summer night in the convertible and a shake got spilled on the floor of the car. After a massive clean-up operation, we were all sworn to secrecy……a secret that was never revealed to him the rest of his life ! }

And that was just one of the number of cars he had when I was growing up. He’d exchange the one he had for another he liked about every four years or so. And they were all fast and sporty. Lots of horsepower. He was always quoting how much horsepower the damn cars had.

So those were some of dad’s favorite things that have been the root of several stories being bandied about the last few weeks. We’ve been remembering the joy he got out of all of these things and more…….a good, gory horror flick, a funny-ass dirty joke, all of the Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies, the Abbot & Costello routine Who’s On First, Laurel and Hardy, George Carlin, Ledo’s pizza, the old Riverview amusement park, and of course his beloved Chicago Bears (especially Walter Payton and Dick Butkus).

Thanks to my friends and family members for sharing their anecdotes and helping to celebrate the happy, good times we all had with Dad.

There sure were a million of ‘em.

0

My Dirty Dozen Prophecies Revisited

Dude, I’m tellin’ ya…………

Well, it’s been another 7 or 8 weeks since I last reviewed my Dirty Dozen prophecies that I made on 11/5/09.

I last checked on them 12/23/09 and a couple had already come true. And I know that another one came awfully close since then—but failed—so I thought perhaps I’d take another look and see what the scorecard is.

Again, I won’t list the prophecies in detail as you can just refer to either post from 11/5 or 12/23. Instead, I will just see if they came true or not since then, or are they still in-limbo:

1)  The Chicago Bears finished the season at 7-9. My prophecy, made when they had a winning record at 4-3, was that they would finish at .500 at the very best. I said that this could mean they finish 8-8, or 7-9, or even a God-awful 6-10. They won their last two games to finish at that 7-9 mark and this one is definately, 100% a successful prediction in my book.

2)  The Chicago Blackhawks continue to be well on their way to making the conference finals in the NHL. They are 41-15-5 for one of the three best records in all of hockey. The league is on break right now for the Olympics and the Hawks have six players representing their countries. They sit at the top of their division and entered the break having won four in a row. Everyone is basically healthy at this point and I have the utmost confidence that this prophecy will be fulfilled.

3)  I said that the Chicago Bulls would finish 43-39 at the very best. I then went on to get a little more specific by stating that I really envisioned a 42-40 record when it is all said and done. At the moment, the Bulls are 26-26 after thumping the New York Knicks last night. They are exactly at the .500 mark. So this one looks really, really good too. If they go 16-14 in their remaining 30 games, they will hit my number on the button. And going 16-14 over the next 30 contests isn’t exactly shooting for the moon. Feeling confident on this one.

4)  My baseball prediction is only half-determined right now. I predicted that WhiteSox ace pitcher Jake Peavy will win 16-19 games for the team this year and we obviously won’t know if that is true until later this summer. On the other hand, I predicted that with the sale of the Cubs to the Ricketts family, the team would acquire a big name either thru trade or free agency. They didn’t. The team reports to spring training in just a few days and they have basically the same lineup as last year. Rich Harden and Milton Bradley are both gone as I suggested they would be……but the team didn’t add anyone of consequence in their place. So I count half of this prophecy as off the mark already. Hopefully Peavy can help me save face here.

5)  I predicted the Indianapolis Colts would win the Super Bowl in early November when the NFL season still had several weeks to go. Well, the Colts did indeed make it all the way to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately (for me), they lost to the New Orleans Saints. Many people were glad to see the Saints and the resilient city of N.O. win it all. I wasn’t. But only because I wanted my prophecy to come true. I came very, very close on this one with the game coming down to the final 6 minutes before being completely decided. But in the end, this one is a loser for me.

6)  I’m running out of time on my prediction that the next serious terrorist attack on US soil would happen in the next 3-5 months. I made the prediction in early November 2009, so five months from that point takes us thru the end of March in my book. In the final days of November, that dickhead in Ft. Hood down in Texas shot down a bunch of people. And on Christmas Day, a serious disaster was averted when the guy on the Detroit-bound plane could not ignite his explosive. So there have been a couple of close calls. But thankfully, there hasn’t been an attack of the scale that I foresaw. I still hope that this one does not come true and it goes down in the loss column for me. But there is still about 6 weeks before my timeframe expires.

7)  I prophecized that between 11/1/09 and 11/1/10 that a major force in popular music under the age of 45 would perish. Thus far, thankfully it hasn’t happened either. We did lose a B-list actress in Brittany Murphy. But that doesn’t come close to the music megastar I am foreseeing. Again, this is a prediction I am not too keen on seeing come true. But it happens and I still think a major player will pass away by 11/1/10. This one is still to be determined.

8)  In the same timeframe, I predicted a major celebrity divorce. I’m thinking that Tiger Woods could be my meal ticket here. Charlie Sheen is up to some of his old tricks, but his wife isn’t as big as former spouse Denise Richards. My best bet looks to be the Woods debacle. So far, the prophecy hasn’t come true. But it seems like the groundwork is set on this one. You occasionally even hear rumors of dissension in the Brangelina marriage. And Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes are often in the tabloids being portrayed as unhappy. So we’ll see how this one turns out.

9)  I prophecized that Xmas sales would really suck this year providing NO optimism for the economy for the year 2010. To be honest, I didn’t hear any hardcore statistics on how the Christmas retail season went. I do know that it didn’t exactly flourish. And I do know this….the economy still sucks. The only people I hear saying there are signs of improvement are the millionaires in the TV news media and the people in the White House desperately trying to get the American public to believe it. I do know that at least 4 more of my friends have lost their jobs in 2010 while only one has returned to work. I know that everyone I know is hurting as much financially as ever. So I’m going to call this one a wash. I can’t name 5 people who are optimistic about the economy or think things are improving. I know a few dozen people who are getting awfully desperate. So I think it is fair to say that this one is a draw….at the very least.  

10)  There has not been a really, really aggressive move made yet by one of the planet’s most hostile nations against one of their neighbors. Thank God for that. But there is a ton of tension in a lot of different places and this prophecy is just in the early stages. My timeframe was from 12/1/09 thru 12/31/10. So there is a long time to go on this one and some pots seem ready to boil over. This one is definately still in the “wait-and-see” category.

11)  I predicted that this winter would be a real bastard across the US. I am calling this one a successful prophecy. If anyone disagrees, please call anyone you know on the East Coast. They have been battered mercilessly. They had back-to-back poundings with over a foot of snow each time. And winter is not yet even over. I’ve seen statistics on the news that one of the storms was in the Top 6 of the “worst ever” list. And I see statistics that the cumulative totals are at record levels for many areas. And like I said, winter is not yet over and there could still be more substantial snowfall yet to come. This one is a winner in my book.

12)  Finally, neither Fidel Castro or Kim Jong-il has passed away yet since my initial prophecy. But Castro could go any day. He was born in 1926, so he is about 84 years old and has had ill health for years. While definately another “wait-and-see” prophecy, I think this one has a really good chance of coming true. We’ll see.

So that means I have been successful on the Chicago Bears (#1) and the terrible winter (#11).

The dismal 2009 holiday shopping season and the low optimism for the 2010 economy is considered a draw (#9).

And I blew the one about the Indianapolis Colts winning the Super Bowl (#5). But I came really close !

I feel really good about the Hawks and the Bulls  (#2 & #3).

I’ll check back again around April 1 and we’ll see where I stand then. By that time, the timeframe will have run out on the big terrorist attack on US soil and I hope to be able to chalk that one up as a loss.

Just be sure to be aware of the people and things around you between now and March 31.

Please.

0

I’ll Give Ya A Hero

Dude, I’m tellin’ ya………

As I see a couple of the biggest back-patting pageants on full display lately, it reminds me of how much we over-glorify those that don’t deserve it. People who have no business being celebrated in the overblown manner in which these shows do it. They are not deities. A good deal of them are not even respectable members of the community.

I’m talking about shows like the Grammy awards, the NBA All-Star game, and the Olympics. These are simply people who excel in singing and songwriting or a particular sport. While both of those talents are admirable to a degree, it makes me sick to see how much of a pedastel the gushing hosts / presenters /announcers place these people on. The kudos and the compliments and the fawning over them never ends.

It is this sort of reverance that has eroded my love for baseball and football little-by-little over the years. A second baseman that hits .240 every season and makes the news every winter for committing crimes in his Dominican Republic homeland is honored the way George Washington used to be. A wide reciever who catches 40 passes a year and is charged with battery on his wife is exalted the way Martin Luther King used to be.

It’s freakin’ ridiculous.

You want a couple of heroes? If this is how society catapults people into Mt. Olympus these days, I’ve admired a number of people in my life that I’d like to mention here. In the past, I may not have brought them up to others as people to be held in high esteem. But since nowadays all you need to do is be a successful speedskater or grab 12 rebounds per game, I think these heroes of mine deserve some mention:

Hannibal :  I always figured to name my son Hannibal if I ever have one. I’m not talking about the movie character that Anthony Hopkins played in Silence of the Lambs. I’m talking about one of the few men who ever brought the fear of God to the Roman Empire. He brought them to their knees. One of the world’s greatest and most unorthodox generals. And I always thought the name itself was pretty cool too.

Attila the Hun :  This would be the name of my second boy if I had children—Attila. In the same vein, this military leader known as the Scourge of the Planet was one of history’s greatest tacticians and leaders. He too scared the piss out of the Roman Empire. And seeing as how the US considers itself to be the modern-day Roman Empire, I just like those people who are able to slap things back into reality. The US could stand to come up against someone like Attila with our holier-than-thou self image and decadent government.

Ted Williams : My favorite baseball player of all time. He hated the media which is a trait I share wholeheartedly with The Splendid Splinter. This guy was a true hero. A fighter pilot in World War 2 and the Korean conflict. The last man to hit .400 in the major leagues. And he didn’t take any crap from anybody. He once turned down a contract raise in one of his final seasons citing that he didn’t really earn what they had paid him the prior season when his numbers dropped. So he didn’t deserve a raise for the upcoming season. Probably the one and only time in the history of organized sports that someone said that.

Robert DeNiro :  Yes, an actor. But to me, the greatest actor in the history of the movie business. The roll call of his movies……Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, Awakenings, Godfather II, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Raging Bull, Men of Honor, Casino, etc. etc.   The list goes on and on. He has integrity and has done a ton of philanthropic work for both New York City and the craft of making movies. He keeps a low profile mostly shunning the media (which I always like).

Erwin Rommel :  Another of the world’s greatest generals. I put him lower on the list because he was a Nazi. But the Allies should thank their lucky stars that this man worked for a mad man. If he were simply supplied adequately with men and basic supplies like fuel, the whole course of WW2 would be different. The only reason he was stopped in Northern Africa was because he had advanced so far that there wasn’t any fuel left to advance farther. If he received the supplies he pleaded for to defend the Normandy coast (rather than see much of it go to the futile Russian campaign), then D-Day probably wouldn’t have succeeded. And after all he did for his own country, they killed him. He was an ass-kicker.

Archie Bunker :  While a fictional character that I have celebrated a little bit in prior posts, in the end, this guy had a huge heart and usually did the right thing. He said racist things and had controversial views, but he went to work every day and paid his bills and raised a family. He put his son-in-law thru college and eventually opened up his own saloon. He had a heart and a personality warm enough to win a wife like Edith Bunker. And he raised a free-thinking, independent daughter like Gloria. Despite his racist outlook, he was friends with Lionel Jefferson, and to a degree….both Louise and George Jefferson. And to this day, he makes me laugh my ass off on reruns.

Lucky Luciano :   The man that was the backbone of bringing the mafia into a working, cohesive unit by forming the Commission with his buddy Meyer Lansky. He built a “corporation” that lasted a good 80 years in this country and still has some tentacles today. Yes, the mafia was in full swing before he came along. But he organized the various factions in a similar way that Attila the Hun united the various feuding clans centuries earlier. And like Hannibal, he has a pretty cool name too.

–So those are just a few heroes of mine. Do you think some of them are far-fetched? Undeserving? Criminals? Butchers?

Well, who are some of the alleged heroes of modern pop culture? We have Michael Jordan….the gambling, carousing, basketball icon who puffs fat cigars, does any damn thing he pleases, had his first child out-of-wedlock, cheated on his wife endlessly, etc etc.

We have Tiger Woods. You could mostly just re-read the description for Michael Jordan. Cheats on his wife, does any damn thing he wants, carouses all over the world, etc. etc.

We have people like 50 Cent and Kanye West, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Terrell Owens, Alex Rodriguez, Jon Gosselin, Octomom, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Bernie Madoff, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, Michael Phelps, and Kobe Bryant.

So I think my heroes are as good as anybody out there to choose from today. Sure, my guys may have slaughtered some people or run crime families.

But that’s what most pro athletes and world leaders are doing today anyways.

Right?

0

Survivor All Stars Opens With a Bang !

Dude, I’m tellin’ ya………

I had to take a short hiatus the last 8-10 days as I attended to some family business out in Nevada.

Unfortunately, my father passed away on Super Bowl Sunday. He was a great man and a great father and I’ll be sharing some memories of him in the coming days as I get back into a groove here. My whole family (mom, brother, sis, an aunt & uncle who live in NV) were together out there and we told a lot of funny stories and celebrated a ton of the good times we had with dear old dad. A lot of toasts were made in his honor. So some of those recollections will be coming soon.

But after leaving you with a celebration of my brother, today I wanted to cover the premier episode of Survivor All Stars that aired this past Thursday night. It’s the 20th edition of the show and the second collection of All Stars. I previously listed who all of the participants were in a January post { See: Here’s The List of Survivor All Stars 1/6/10}. So I won’t be listing them again here in full detail. I’ll only bring up those players that had an influential role in Thursday’s show.

It started off with a Q & A session between the contestants and Pretty Boy Probst after the players were dropped off on the beach in helicopters. He asked them if they felt they were on the right or wrong side of the Heroes/Villains team assignments. Just about all of them seemed proud to be designated what they were, especially the hero squad.

Then right away, they had the first reward challenge for the prize of fire (a flint). It was a pretty simple challenge in that players just had to run down the sand and dig up a bag. They then had to run it back to their team’s mat lying in the sand at the starting line. The tougher part was that there were two players from each side for every round and you could physically prevent your opponents from getting the bag back onto the mats.

This made for quite an entertaining start to the season. I was fearful that they—-meaning Probst and Survivor in general—-would “wimp out” and not allow more aggressive play like they have done in similar challenges. But I have to admit that they let these people go at it and there were no lame disqualifications. In this first challenge alone, hottie Stephanie suffered a dislocated shoulder which the medical team popped back into place like they do in the NFL. The girl is tougher than Brian Urlacher. Although who isn’t? She not only stayed in the overall game, but also the challenge. Cute and tough !! But we kind of already knew that about her from prior seasons.

Then big, bearded Rupert broke one of his toes in another heat. This time the medical team taped a few of his toes together for stability like we all do with broken fingers and toes. Obviously, he stayed in with a somewhat minor injury like that…..although he did bitch in a later “aside” with the camera that he was in great pain.

One of the funnier parts of the challenge was when pot-bellied Russell was a giving Fireman Tom a step-over leg twist like you see in pro wrestling on Monday Night Raw. Tom was screaming in pain and Probst was yelling, “Play fair ! Play fair ! ”

In the end, the heroes won and were rewarded with the flint. It turned out that the villains didn’t even need the flint as they made fire without it back at their camp. Boston Rob got some flames going the old fashioned way by rubbing some sticks together. I’m sure that a female friend of mine who thinks Rob is the cat’s meow was very impressed with that little trick.

After that there was the usual posturing by some players and the construction of shelters. One great moment was when a rooster and a couple of hens walked right out of the woods near Fireman Tom at the hero camp. He and his teammates threw a net over them and already have had a fine meal of chicken soup.

Sugar made herself a bit of a nuisance around the hero camp by keeping everyone up all night talking and trying to cuddle up with Colby. He wasn’t having it. Then at the immunity challenge, she was part of a small group for the heroes that couldn’t complete a puzzle at the end of the challenge and blew a huge lead for the heroes. They lost the challenge and faced Tribal Council where one of them would be voted out.

In the end, it was Sugar. Her patented crying routine at the end of the immunity challenge didn’t help her cause either. She looked weak and defeated.

One element of the show that was very interesting to me and the friends that I watched it with was how some of the players spoke as if they were very familiar with pot-bellied Russell and how he played last season. There is absolutely no way they could have solid knowledge of his game-play as this All Star season started filming in August…..just a mere three weeks after Russell’s first campaign in Samoa ended.

According to USA Today, it is obviously an especially grueling ordeal for Russell Hantz because the show went right back to filming instead of taking their customary few months off between seasons. So how could these people know anything about Russell back in August 2009? Other than his endless boasting of how great he is? Yet a few of the people said things like,

“Russell is one of the most dominant players to ever play Survivor and he is a very strategic player”……blah, blah, blah.

or

“Russell is definately a good player to align yourself with based on how he played the game before and ….”  blah, blah, blah.

All indications are that nobody could possibly know how Russell played or how good or bad he is at the game. Just because you are on a show called “All Stars” doesn’t necessarily mean you were a great player. The ornery pain-in-the-ass Randy wasn’t that great of a player and he’s an alleged All Star. If Russell has recited his Survivor resume to everyone already, he is pretty stupid. He needs to learn how to lay just a little bit low and let people overlook him.

USA Today also said that the show tried to get Richard Hatch again and he wanted to play. However, he was still serving time on his tax evasion sentence when filming was scheduled to start. Apparently Colleen Haskell and Elisabeth (Filarski) Hasselbeck declined invitations to play.

Finally, they ran a teaser for next week where it appears Boston Rob has some health trouble. He either falls and injures himself or seems to have hydration problems. But from past experience, I doubt very seriously that he will be removed for injury or leave the game this week. When they tease like that, you can almost bank that the struggling player will end up just fine on the next episode. Otherwise, why would we bother to tune in if they reveal results that obviously?

So I think ol’ Boston Rob will be OK. Although my friend is probably a bit concerned for her New England boy toy.

Wooot !!

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