Monday, December 5, 2016

Why Elf on the Shelf still appears in our house

Nick and the leg lamp

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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It seems this time of year there are two types of people. Those who hate Elf on the Shelf and those who love Elf on the Shelf. I am in the category of love. While I don't understand the hate, I certainly respect those of you who do not enjoy this Christmas-time tradition.

Our family was introduced to the Elf in 2007. St. Nick brought the book and my three kids voted and named our elf Nick. By now you probably know how it works, but just in case you don't... the Elf magically transports to the North Pole each night while everyone is sleeping to report to Santa Claus. The original idea was to encourage kids to behave this time of year. Yes, there are memes of belts saying that's how they were made to behave back in the day, but I digress.

Nick likes craft beer (2016)
For our family, Nick was never meant to be something to "make them be good." Let's face it, I've heard plenty of parents threaten their kids long before the Elf on the Shelf craze that Santa Claus wasn't coming if they didn't straighten up. But I've never once seen a parent follow through on that threat. No kid that I know of has never awoken on Christmas morning to a stocking full of coal or no presents under the tree because of how they behaved.

Minonizing the bananas (2015)
The last few years it's become more fun for me to see what exactly Nick is going to do each night. There are plenty of websites with good ideas. Last year after Christmas when our youngest daughter wanted to know the truth about Santa, I decided the Elf tradition was going to stay. 

Nick battles Harry Potter
So here we are in a house of non-believers in Santa or the Elf, but Nick still makes his evening trek to the North Pole. It's fun. The kids still like seeing what silliness will ensue. No one is getting hurt in the process and it's created a tradition for our family. If you don't like it, go elf yourself. :) 

"Stone Cold" Stunner
Sure the Elf industry is booming and I applaud the authors Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell. Every time I see the display in the story with all the new accessories for the Elf, I wonder "why didn't I think of that." Merry Christmas and take a minute to enjoy the Elf. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

TLC 2016 Predictions

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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In all honesty, I'd forgotten tonight is the annual TLC pay per view. SmackDown Live Superstars will be battling it out on this event. I have not kept up with the blue brand (or Raw for that matter) like I should be. The last couple of weeks have been chaotic and I've not made the time to watch the DVR. I blame the Simpsons marathon on FXX for part of this. But anyway I digress. Here are my quick picks for the TLC.

AJ Styles will retain the WWE Championship in the Tables Ladders and Chairs match against Dean Ambrose. This will be a crazy match, I have no doubt. I just hope no one is seriously hurt.

Alexa Bliss will win the SDL Women's Championship from Becky Lynch in a tables match. This will be like the first time Sheamus beat John Cena for the gold. Simply going through a table protects Becky.

The Miz will retain the Intercontinental Championship in a ladder match against Dolph Ziggler. I see no point in putting it back on Dolph just weeks after having him lose it. But this is the one match I'm not 100% certain of.

Kalisto will beat Baron Corbin in a chair match. This will be the match I leave my chair for and go do something else.

Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton will win the SDL Tag Team Championships from Rhyno and Heath Slater. I like the pairing of Wyatt and Orton and having them win the gold would be an interesting dynamic to this partnership. As of this writing, that match is the only one without a gimmicky.

Carmella will beat Nikki Bella in a no DQ match. I usually never bet against John Cena or his female counterpart, but I am this time. Natalaya will help Carmella win, revealing she's the Survivor Series attacker. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Will run for food

Yellow Donkeys "run for hunger"
Courtesy: Tom Harness
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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A couple of years ago I joined a running group here in southern Illinois called the Yellow Donkeys. Not only is this a supportive group of runners, but also many are my friends. Earlier this year the Yellow Donkeys became a non-profit group and is set on helping members of the community.

Some Donkeys in action
Courtesy: Brian Flath
The group wrapped up the unofficial week of giving with a Run for Hunger. Members and folks in the area were invited to run or walk with the Donkeys and bring some non-perishable food items or cash. The food and money were evenly divided and distributed to the Good Samaritan House in Carbondale and Saluki Food Pantry on the SIU campus.

Just a fraction of the food collected
After all the items were collected we headed out for a brisk run in the 30 something degree weather. Yes, it was chilly, but the Donkeys were on an important mission. I felt a sense of proud that warmed my heart as I ran the course. It was great seeing so many friends out supporting the cause. 

Today's event reminds me it doesn't take much to make a difference in your community. You may not be able to organize a food drive or donate a mountain of cash, but that's okay. Dropping off a few things at the food pantry in your community or some spare change in the Salvation Army's Red Kettle will make someone's holiday season a little brighter. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Elf diet is no laughing matter

The Elf diet 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Time for another accountability post, this will be the last of 2016. I had set big goals at the start of the year and unfortunately I did not keep up with those. My time at the gym dwindled after the first few months of 2016 as did my healthier eating habits.

My running is still going strong. The streak stands at 216 as of this posting. Last month I blogged about my new protein powder. It's a plant-based product called Vega. I mix it with spinach, milk and blueberries and it makes a great meal replacement.

Thanksgiving grub
Thanksgiving weekend didn't go well either. I ate enough to feed a small village in a third world country. But by the Monday after the holiday I was back on track and at least not eating as much junk. Now that it is December my concern this month is elf diet: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup. I'm not so worried about most of those because I'm not a fan of candy canes, candy corns or syrup. But Christmas cookies are one of my favorites this time of year.

We're weeks away from 2017. I'll be back in the gym and get on track. Better food choices are on the menu in the new year too. Merry Christmas and thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Let's help a young wrestling fan's wish come true

Kevin Hunsperger

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Regular readers of this blog know I'm a morning news anchor at a TV station in southern Illinois. Earlier this morning I took a phone call that has weighed on my mind ever since. The woman on the other end was a viewer and we have a few mutual friends. She's on the board for a group called Granted. Their mission is to grant once in a lifetime wishes to children in southern Indiana, southeastern Illinois and western Kentucky who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening or terminal illness.

The woman told me the story of Dalton. (His family has a GoFund Me page where you can learn more about him.) He just turned 11 and is fighting for his life. Dalton has Adrenoleukodystrophy or ALD, which is a deadly genetic disease. He's a big wrestling fan and his wish was to attend WrestleMania 33 in Orlando in April. However, Dalton's time is precious and the trip is not likely to happen. 

So that's where I come in. Through my work with different wrestling groups and my podcast and blog, I've made a lot of friends in the business. Already many of those friends are working to get autographed photos, action figures and other memorabilia to Dalton. I'm also trying to organize a visit by indy wrestlers, legends and perhaps even a WWE Superstar. 

That phone call has changed my outlook. If you know a wrestler who is willing to donate an item or if you have something you'd be willing to give, please let me know. My email is or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter (@kevinhunsperger). If there happens to be someone within the WWE reading this, please consider sending a Superstar Evansville, Indiana and making this young man's last wish come true. 

Thank you to everyone who has already committed. In a short amount of time, I've seen the kindness of strangers shine through like never before.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Shock and ow! My experience with a taser

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Thanks to TimeHop and Facebook Memories I was reminded that on November 30, 2010, I had the most shocking experience of my lifetime. I was tased live on News 3 This Morning on WSIL-TV. To this day I still get asked questions about the experience and told by people who saw it, they laugh every time they rewatch it.

So let's start at the beginning. Producer Weston White (Dub Dub) had approached my co-anchor Emily Eddington and I about doing a segment on tasers to explain how and why police use the devices. Some of our colleagues had done taped segments on tasers, but this would be a much more detailed account of the use because we were live and could take as much time as we wanted. The segment would end with me on the receiving end of the jolt. 

I agreed and we contacted Chuck Doan who is a police training specialist. After meeting with Chuck prior to the segment, my trust in him grew and I knew that I'd be in good hands. That morning Emily interviewed Chuck as I laid on a mat on the floor. He attached several clips to me and soon had the taser to Emily. Watch the video, you can tell she is not wanting to pull the trigger and my shouts of agony didn't help her anxiety during the segment.

Close up of the taser
Before the zapping started, I was reminded it would last five seconds, no matter if Emily released the trigger. Five seconds does not sound like a long time, but when that much electricity is coursing through veins, it seems like an eternity. I was fearful of two things that day, peeing in my pants and cussing on live TV. I'm proud to say I did neither.

I've been asked if it hurt. I don't know that painful is the right word to use. It's still hard for me to articulate the feeling it was. Imagine putting your tongue on a 9-volt battery or touching an electric fence. It's like that only much more intense and you don't get any relief like you do when you pull away immediately. After the experience, I was helped up and continued on with the rest of the newscast, which was only a few minutes. We did have a plan in place if I was not able to continue, but I'm thankful that was not the case.

I'm proud of what our team did that day. We gave some really important information about tasers and we also entertained people in the process. To my knowledge, we're also the first (and only) station in this market to do a tasering live on the air. Most are recorded and the curse words bleeped out.

So if you're ever in a situation where police ask you to stop what you're doing or they'll use a taser, my advice is simple. Listen. Stop what you're doing. In the real world, you'll likely be hit by a couple of barbs and the jolt will drop you to the ground.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

3 Reasons Owens vs. Reigns shouldn't have happened on Raw

Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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I admit this post is probably going to have a negative tone, but I am really frustrated watching WWE champions lose in the name of declaring a number one contender. Yes, I know this is all predetermined, but I'm old school and still believe in the value of the championship no matter how many times it's treated like a hot potato (I'm looking at you Raw Women's division). 

On Raw this week Roman Reigns was tasked with facing WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens. If Reigns won, he would be named number one contender at the next pay per view Road Block: End of the Road. Long story short (and despite an accidental spoiler by WWE) Reigns won and will be going for the gold in December. I don't have a problem with Reigns in this position, but the match shouldn't have happened on Raw.

Courtesy: WWE
  1. I know things are different from when WWF only had a handful of pay per views and no weekly live programming. But I miss the days of keeping opponents away from each other prior to big matches, especially title bouts. Look back at the buildup between "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan in 1989. Other than the initial Mega Powers Meltdown on the Main Event in February the two didn't touch each other until their match at WrestleMania V on April 2. Now Owens and Reigns wrestled on "free" TV this week, I'm not anticipating their encounter on December 18.
  2. General Manager Mick Foley could have come up with a number of reasons to name Reigns as number one contender. He's the United States Champion. He has an impressive overall record this year. And he was the last member of the Raw team to be eliminated at the Survivor Series a few weeks ago. Any one of these reasons alone is believable enough that Reigns would be next in line for a title shot.
  3. WWE had apparently accidentally spoiled the outcome of the match by saying the championship match for Road Block had already been set. Chatter on social media took the intrigue out of the Raw match for me. 
Courtesy: WWE
I'll close the same way I always do when I'm not happy with the current situation. It's a marathon, not a sprint. I'll stay the course and wait to see what happens. My bitterness over Daniel Bryan losing to Randy Orton at SummerSlam 2013 developed into one of my all-time favorite angles, so I'm not going anyway with my fandom.