Sunday, September 25, 2016

Cesaro NEEDS to win the Best of 7 series

Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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When the Best of 7 series between Sheamus and Cesaro was announced several weeks ago, I predicted Cesaro would win the series after starting off as the underdog. Tonight, in just about 90 minutes the, the finale happens on Clash of Champions. The series is tied up, three matches a piece.

It was originally stated the winner would get a shot at the WWE Universal Championship at some point. Not knocking Sheamus, but he's been the champ a few times before. While I don't dislike, I think it's time for some new faces in the title hunt. That's been the way it's been going since the "New Era" started in the weeks that followed WrestleMania 32.

Cesaro has toiled for years in WWE and much longer before even signing with the company. It's time for the company to finally go all-in on the guy. He's over with the fans. He has the talent. Cesaro not only needs to win this Best of 7 series, but also the Universal Championship. 

Courtesy: WWE
Win or lose, I'll still be a Cesaro guy. He's more than deserving to be on the top tier of either brand. If he's verbal skills are what's holding him back, fix that by bringing in a manager. Wooo! 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Clash of Champions picks

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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I'm trying to keep my blogging streak alive and am now experiencing no internet at home so I'm writing this on my phone. It'll be short and sweet. Here are my picks for Clash of Champions.

Kevin Owens will retain the Universal Championship. This is the only match I'll be happy with either man winning. 

Rusev should retain the U.S. Championship, but I won't be surprised if Roman Reigns wins. 

The New Day over The Club. 

TJ Perkins retains the Cruiserweight Championship against Brian Kendrick

Charlotte over Bayley and Sasha Banks 

Sami Zayn over Chris Jericho

Nia Jax will beat Alicia Fox 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Life in a small town

Pride of the Lions
Carterville, IL 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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More than 12  years ago my family relocated to Carterville, Illinois when I accepted a reporting job at WSIL TV. At the time it was just me and my wife and our two sons, ages four and two. Almost two years later our daughter was born and by then I'd been named the coanchor of News 3 This Morning. Our oldest was in kindergartner and I really felt for the first time since embarking on my journey into journalism that we'd found a place to call home.

The football team
(87 is a member of #TeamHunsperger)
Fast forward and we now have a junior, sophomore and 5th grader. All three kids are active in school which has meant making friends and developing what we hope are lifelong relationships with their peers. For those who don't live in southern Illinois, Carterville is a growing community of about 5,500 people. That's a thousand or so more than when we first moved here. It's a tight-knit environment with a lot of pride.

My daughter and her bestie in the parade
It's Homecoming week here at the high school and every day a different theme has been planned. Friday featured the big parade through downtown and the football game. Thousands of people will come out and cheer on the Lions as we battle the Anna-Jonesboro Wildcats. 

The Junior Class wrecks the parade
Earlier in the day moms, dads, grandparents and older and younger siblings, as well as grade school and junior high school students, lined the main street through downtown to watch the parade. Firefighters and police officers proudly lead the way. The homecoming queen court followed along with the Pride of the Lions Marching Band, cheerleaders, pom squad and football team. Each class worked hard on a float to fit the Disney theme and other sports teams including volleyball players, golfers and cross country runners participated.

I really love seeing all the support for these young people in our community. As a parent with kids in the parade, it was even more meaningful. Sometimes living in a small town can have its drawbacks, but overall I wouldn't trade the experience. I know if I miss something that one the members of #TeamHunsperger is doing, another parent is there to catch it on video or in a pic. It takes a village and I'm proud to call our's Carterville. This really has become our home.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Imitation is NOT the sincerest form of flattery

Courtesy: Disney
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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The latest Disney film hasn't even hit theaters yet and its merchandising wings have already been clipped. If you haven't heard by now, the company has pulled Halloween costumes, pajamas and shirts that feature the character Maui in the film Moana (due out in November). The full Associated Press article can be found here. When I first saw the article I thought it was something put out by the satrical site The Onion, but it's legit.

Quick history lesson: Maui is a revered figure in Polynesian history. Some Pacific Islanders view him as an ancestor. In the film, he's voiced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Wrestling fans know of The Rock's Samoan and African American heritage. So far Johnson hasn't said anything about this issue.


Some people are offended by the costume and the appearance of the character in the movie. One woman, Chelsie Haunani Fairchild said it's offputting to have a child wear the skin of another race.
"Polyface is Disney's new version of blackface. Let's call it like it is, people," Fairchild said in a video she posted on Facebook.
Disney was quick to respond. As I mentioned, not only did they pull the costumes and clothing, they added this statement. 
"The team behind Moana has taken great care to respect the cultures of the Pacific Islands that inspired the film, and we regret that the Maui costume has offended some. We sincerely apologize and are pulling the costume from our website and stores."
Fairchild says she accepts the apology, but is still offended and it doesn't change what Disney did. I'm obviously not Polynesian so what I have to say really doesn't matter. But I don't see how this costume is making fun of anyone. Some say the tattoos on the arms, legs and torso have a very significant meaning in the culture and that's what crossed the line. I respect that, maybe Disney should have used generic tattoos to illustrate that. But Fairchild clearly thinks it's because the skin color of Maui shouldn't be worn by people who don't match his.

WWE once sold a similar costume of its popular Superstar Rey Mysterio. Even if you're not a wrestling fan you can probably gather that Rey is Latino. I don't recall hearing any outrage over that costume from the Latino community, and it's still being sold online today. 

Disney has done a great job diversifying the ethnicity of its characters over the last couple of decades. We've seen a Middle Eastern princess, an African American princess, a Native American princess, an Asian princess, etc. All of these princesses were marketed to children and Halloween costumes and other accessories followed. 
Is it because Disney didn't include skin tone in those dresses? Would it have been better if the Maui costume was just a leaf skirt and shark tooth necklace? Or what if Disney was donating a portion of the profits from the costumes to cause that supports the Polynesian culture? The cynic in me suspects there would be less offended people if they were profiting off the film and its merchandise too. 
Long story short, if you're offended by the costume, don't buy it. Don't go see the film. You have every right to be upset. I respectfully disagree with your point. Today's society spends more time looking for reasons to be offended than finding things to be grateful for. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Describe yourself in 3 fictional characters

Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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There's a new thing trending on Twitter and Instagram this week. Creating a collage of the three fictional characters that best describe you. I don't have the time to research how or why this is a thing, but I thought it was fun and did make the time to create one of my own.

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
I chose Pee-Wee Herman because I'm a big kid at heart. I still like watching cartoons and wearing footie pajamas. I've been captivated with this null since watching his big adventure on the big screen and the TV series that followed on Saturday mornings on CBS. The innuendoes he makes along with his naivete remind me of me sometimes, although I'm probably a bit more vulgar...  (insert your own Kevin/movie theater joke here)

I AM Oscar the Grouch
Which leads me to Oscar The Grouch. I debated between him and Grumpy of Disney Dwarf fame. Years ago when my family took our first trip to Disney as a massive unit, I was given a Grumpy tee shirt. However, I feel like Grumpy is grumpy ALL the time. At least Oscar has some tender moments. Plus I'm a pack rat and a bit of a slob (I think that's reflective of my creativity, at least that's what I tell myself) and many years ago I dressed up like Oscar, complete with the metal trashcan. It was pretty epic. 

I'm so vain...

I round out my trio with Vanity Smurf. The Smurfs were such a huge part of my childhood I wouldn't feel right about not picking one. I was going to go with Papa, but he's smarter than me. Brainy is a little too annoying for me and I'm nowhere near as strong as Hefty or helpful as Handy. While I don't spend as much time gazing at myself in the mirror I do take more than enough selfies. So Vanity makes sense. Plus on more than one occasion my sexuality has been called into question, just like people wonder about that vain little guy.

So who's on your list? How would you describe yourself with three fictional characters? And did I get my list right? Who would you have made my picks?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

New Day still rocks

Courtesy: WWE

Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion among some readers of this blog, but I hope The New Day retains the WWE Tag Team Titles this Sunday at Clash of Champions. For nearly 400 days Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods have held the bronze belts. Granted they don't need the titles anymore to "be over", but I've enjoyed the way New Day has changed the face of tag team wrestling.

What do I mean by that? New Day's blend of comedy and wrestling talent has put a new focus on tag team wrestling. Since winning the titles more than a year ago WWE has made it a point to make tag team wrestling matter. Over WrestleMania weekend, the trio's merchandise topped sales of every other WWE Superstar. That speaks volumes as I don't ever remember a tag team having that distinction. Now with the official sale of Booty O's cereal, the Funko Pop figures and next month champs get Pop Rocks named after them. It's a good time to be part of the New Day.

Gallows vs. Big E
Courtesy: WWE
Despite all the merch, New Day doesn't NEED the tag team titles to continue to be over with the fans. But having some stability in the championship department is something WWE has lacked over the last several years. I won't be surprised if Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows win the titles at Clash of Champions this weekend. I will be disappointed, in part because unlike many others, I haven't been swept away by The Club. I never followed them closely overseas and while I'm happy to have them in WWE, I'm not ready for New Day to drop the belts.

Can New Day carry on and eventually beat the REAL record for the tag team championship reign of Demolition? Only time will tell. The number to beat is 478.

Monday, September 19, 2016

If these balls could talk

Not my CEC, but you get the picture
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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First, take your mind out of the gutter. This post is not about those balls. This is a kid friendly post about Chuck E. Cheese's. I worked at the pizza place during most of my college years. I've written about a few experiences there and actually developed a following among CEC fans. So to throw them a shout out, I'm blogging about the mysterious ball crawl or ball pit. 

The ball crawl as you probably know is a large enclosure filled with hundreds (maybe thousands) of colored balls. Kids under a certain height take pleasure in playing in this pit. The balls are thrown about, swam through and jumped upon for hours on end. As you can imagine with hundreds of kids cycling through the pit each week germs and other gross things are sure to follow. Yes, kids pee in the ball pit. 

Having a ball
To fight the funk, the ball pit and the balls it held were cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. After closing some of us were left to collect each and every ball and put them into a net bag. The deformed or broken balls were tossed into the trash. Those bags were loaded onto a truck and taken to the car wash. The balls were then power washed and left to drip dry over night.

While the power washing was happening other employees stayed at the restaurant and scrubbed the insides of the empty pit. A bleach and water solution was used on the floor, slide and tubes that were a part of the attraction. During this process, we would find all sorts of things. The most frequent find was mismatched socks. There would be game tokens, coins, toys and candy as well. On a rare occasion, a dollar bill or two would be recovered. We employed the "finders keepers" mentality on these late nights. The next morning the crew coming in would refill the pit and take note if more balls needed to be ordered to maximize the young guests' experience. 

So now you know what goes in to making the ball pit a magical place for those who jumped into it. These attractions are becoming more rare in large part because of the sanitary issues involved.