Sunday, March 30, 2014

Walk the Wall

The Hunspergers visit Croatia 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I've been blogging over the last few weeks about our trip to Europe.  It was a great adventure, which included a cruise and several stops in countries I'll likely never visit again.  Our last stop was in Croatia and we spent part of the day in Dubrovnik.  

Checking out things
All I knew of Croatia was what I had heard in the news at they battled for independence in the early 1990's.  That was 10 years prior to our visit, so I never left like we were stopping in an unsafe area.  I was curious to see the country though and its rich history.  Our stop in Croatia was very brief, I think we were there about three or four hours before having to return to the ship and heading back home.

Little jailbirds 
Dubrovnik is a beautiful city.  It's surrounded by a giant wall, that you can buy a ticket for and walk around the city.  For just 16 bucks, (kids are free) the five of us took a closer look.  It was money well spent.  We got a birds eye view of the city.  As we walked, we came across little openings with bars that closed, so the kids got inside and looked like they were in jail.  

My kids were young at the time; 6, 5, and 1, so they weren't as impressed with the beautiful buildings and the amazing view out to the sea.  Their highlight was a woman who was hanging her clothes on a  line to dry.  It was one of those lines that come from the window and extend across to the next building.  They were in awe as they watched her hang stuff, pull the line and hang more clothes. 

Losing my head...
We had other photo ops along the way including Ethan pulling the rope as my head was in the guillotine.  Before we got back on the boat, we visited a woman selling trinkets to the tourists.  We bought each of the kids a set of Nesting Dolls to remember the historical country we had just visited.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Butts & Guts

Before the race!
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Just over a month ago I ran my first half marathon. I haven't done any competitive races since then, just my runs around the neighborhood. I recently got an invite from the American Cancer Society to do the Butts and Guts 5K for colon cancer awareness. The flier included the line wear your favorite pair of boxer shorts.

Earlier in the week, I picked up a pair of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle boxers.  I grabbed a TMNT mask from the kids collection and was ready to run.  However, when I arrived at the sign up, there was no one else in boxers.  There were a few female runners there with the boy shorts style underwear, so I chickened out.

I asked one of the race organizers if others would be wearing boxers, and he said probably.  A moment later, I noticed several racers wearing boxer shorts on top of their running shorts.  So, not to be a trend setter, I followed suit and put my boxers on over my shorts.  I felt more comfortable doing this.  I had read about the Undie 500 before, but folks here seemed a bit more conservative.  

We all got medals in our age group
I ran the 5K with a couple of people from work. They're much younger than me, and I actually think this helped me to run faster.  I don't know if this was a true 5K, as I finished in 24:15.  My best is somewhere around 28:00, so I don't know that I really ran it that much faster.  But I could tell I was moving quicker than usual, and while I couldn't keep up with my younger counterparts, I did feel inspired to at least try to.  

That philosophy worked, because I ended up finishing second in my age group and earning a medal.  This is the first time I've got a medal in a race where they weren't awarded to everyone who participates.  Granted, there were only four men in my age group, but I'm still taking it as a victory.  But what really matters is this event was a fundraiser for a great cause and a I had good time doing it.  I like when organizers spice up a usual 5K event. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Our Wrestlemania Experiences

Hogan & Piper at Wrestlemania 25
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

My brain isn't working in terms of coming up with something to actually write about.  I shared my thoughts about the Internet Wrestling Community's "dream" Wrestlemania matches on the YouTube channel today.  So c
heck that out, and in the meantime, I put together a few pics of our past Wrestlemania trips.  Next week will mark our eighth one.

Beth Phoenix at Wrestlemania 24 Axxess

Measuring up to Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania 22

The Heenan Family at Wrestlemania 27

Brawler, Rooster, Hitman at Wrestlemania 27

Fork tie at HOF for Abdullah the Butcher

Money Inc & Chris Hero at Wrestlemania 26

Model, Mouth, Akeem, Savage, Vince, & Jesse WM 28

Grand Wizard, Warrior, & Freddie Blassie at WM 29

I'm scanning the QR Code, I swear

Fans catching the Spirit Squad in action at WM 22

Lillian Garcia at Wrestlemania 24

Jesse Ventura: Movie critic at Wrestlemania 28

Outside WWE Headquarters WM 29

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Way Back WhensDay: Tuesday Night Titans

Tuesday Night Titans
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

Long before Monday Night Raw, the WWF had a weekly cable show called Tuesday Night Titans.  It was talk show meets wrestling, with all kinds of ridiculousness along the way.  I remember tuning in each week and watching on the USA Network as Vince McMahon (not knowing he owned the company at the time) and Lord Alfred Hayes would interview Superstars, managers, and audience members. (Eventually "Mean" Gene Okerlund would become host.)

Macho Man & Mean Gene
Photo courtesy: WWE
The show started even before Prime Time Wrestling started airing on Mondays. The only WWF fix we'd get back then was Superstars on Sunday mornings and TNT on Tuesday nights.  MTV aired a couple of WWF specials, but this was before Saturday Night's Main Event or even pay per view matches.  TNT's format was like the Tonight Show, with silly skits and an occasional match or at least highlights from one to help keep ongoing storylines alive.

How now, brown cow.
I was 11 years old when I started watching, and for whatever reason the episode that sticks out in my mind the most was the night Captain Lou Albano and Vince McMahon visited a shock therapist to help "cure" George "The Animal" Steele.  This was right after Animal turned good and was being made into a lovable character and not the brutal beast he once was.

McMahon was on hand to document the treatment and what George was going through.  Captain Lou talked us through the procedure as Doctor Sigmund Ziff hooked up the Animal.  Finally to show us it was working, Steele uttered the following with a glazed look in his eyes, "How now, brown cow."  I can still hear him saying it and the "breakthrough" the Captain thought he'd reached, until Ziff turned up the juice and the Animal ran from the room.

Crocket & Tubbs? 
Other memorable moments was the introduction of the show "Fuji Vice" with Mr. Fuji and Don Muraco.  It was cheesy 80's fun, as the manager and Superstar spoofed the popular show Miami Vice.  The two did parodies of other 80's programming as well.  Roddy Piper had an experience with the Ghosts of Christmas and Kamala "ate" a live chicken on the air one week.  The show was crazy, but it was good fun.

I wonder now that the network is in full swing if the WWE will consider doing more programming like Tuesday Night Titans.  They certainly have the talent to pull it off.  They could also show the classic episodes, which I imagine is a real possibility.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Good Call on the Bad Guy

Razor Ramon
Photo Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Razor Ramon joins an already superb class of 2014 for the WWE Hall of Fame.  I like the choice, but I'm a bit surprised they're inducting him as Ramon and not Scott Hall.  Of course his biggest wave of success in the WWE and perhaps in his career was under the Razor Ramon moniker, so in that regard it makes sense.

I have followed Scott Hall pretty much his entire career.  I can remember when he was Starship Coyote along with Danny Spivey as team called American Starship.  I watched Coyote and Eagle team together at an NWA house show in St. Louis in 1985.  I was always impressed with his size and ability to get in the ring and wrestle.  When he went to the AWA and wrestled under his real name, I thought for sure he'd become the world champion there.

The Diamond Studd
Courtesy: WWE
Confession time: When Hall went to the NWA again and became The Diamond Studd, I had no idea it was him.  In my defense, he had lost the puffy brown hair and Tom Selleck mustache and looked more rugged, and was a bad ass.  He finally shed that goodie too shoes gimmick I felt he had in the AWA.  I was disappointed though that NWA didn't really do anything with him.

Wrestlemania X win
Photo courtesy: WWE
It wasn't until 1992 and his appearance in a vignette on WWF programming that I thought we'd finally see something good in Hall's future.  Now he was Razor Ramon, and he oozed machoism.  He feuded pretty instantly with former WWF champion Randy "Macho Man" Savage, beating him at a house show in attended while in college at Southeast Missouri State University.  He got a pretty good push, eventually facing, but losing to Bret Hart at the 1993 Royal Rumble.  Hart was the champ at the time, but Ramon had a good showing, but really shocked me when he beat Bob Backlund at Wrestlemania IX.

Long story short, Ramon shot up the ladder (literally) becoming the a good guy and winning the Intercontinental title.  He remains one of my favorites to hold that title. There was just something so cool about Razor Ramon.  His matches and feuds with Savage, Hart, Shawn Michaels, Jeff Jarrett, and Goldust all stick out to me. 

The Fake Razor
Photo courtesy: WWE
I HATED it when he left for WCW and formed the Outsiders (I know I'm in the minority).  Of all the personalities, including his own, Razor has always been my favorite.  I assume that it is the Scott Hall version of Ramon going in and not this guy --------->

We all know Scott Hall the man, has been battling lots of demons in the past.  I think with the help of Diamond Dallas Page he's on the road to recovery.  I look forward to hearing more from him on April 5 in New Orleans. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Manic Monday

Bomb squad on scene
Photo courtesy: Jared Roberts
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

March 24, 2014 started off like any other day.  I went in to work, prepped for and anchored the morning news, and was working on Tuesday's show when we got word that a "suspicious package" had been found in the mailbox.  I can't go into exact details, but the item prompted our staff to take the necessary precautions, which included calling the authorities. 

Evacuation time
Photo courtesy: Mandy Robertson
Police and firefighters were soon on the scene and escorted us out of the building and next door to River Radio.   The staff there was very inviting as more than a dozen of us gathered in their conference room.  We made small talk and drank coffee for the first 30 minutes or so.  Then people started getting antsy, wanting to get out and cover stories or get back to their desks and work.  I wanted to get back to the station to finish my usual preps for the next day.

Police kept us away though.  The two entrances to the station were blocked off. Unfortunately, I had left my wallet in my car and wasn't allowed to go back to the parking lot to get it.  By 11:30 I was starving and just wanted a snack from the vending machine, but that wasn't happening.  My stomach rumbled as I updated (or tried to) our website from my iPad.  I wasn't able to upload pics, but eventually that happened too.

No threat found
Photo courtesy: Jared Roberts
About 12:30 Monday afternoon we received word that the package had been secured by the bomb squad and no threat was found.  We were given the all-clear and returned to the building.  The FBI and police are still investigating.  It was strange seeing other TV stations and media covering something happening at our station.  

Waiting things out at River Radio
While the situation was less than ideal, I'm thankful for the quick response from all the agencies involved.  I don't want to name names because I'm afraid I'll overlook someone.  I'm also thankful for the friendly folks at River Radio who shared their space with us for 3-and-a-half hours.  Many of my friends texted, tweeted, and Facebooked their concerns, thanks for that too guys.  We're all safe, mostly just annoyed, although as you can see, we had some fun with it too.

To read more about the situation and to see a collection of pictures, click this link.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Greece is the Word

The Hunsperger family invades Greece
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I'm continuing my series of travel blogs with another one from our trip to Europe.  To catch you up, my in-laws took us all to France for my brother-in-law's wedding in 2006.  After the nuptials, the rest of us took a Mediterranean cruise.  If you missed the Italian ice cream incident, click here...

Let the games begin...
The ship made several stops, all were great for various reasons.  Our first stop in Greece was Olympia, site of the first Olympic games and one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  The historical aspect of course made it an awesome visit.  We weren't able to take pictures inside the museums, but I did pose with the kids at Olympia.  The boys and I ran the length of a field there too, as the Chariots of Fire song played in my head.

Donkey grande!
The next day we arrived in Santorini.  The highlight of that visit was the donkey ride up the mountain.  Because our kids were so small at the time, we had to partner up with them.  Lisa, with a backpack stroller carrying Brooke, rode her donkey with Ethan.  The man putting us on the donkeys said "Donkey grande for you!"  Mason and I rode together.  Basically we hoofed up the mountain and back down.  We stopped at one point and got a quick family shot over the edge with the sea in the background.

Windmills of Myknos
After getting back on the boat, we cruised the rest of the afternoon and made a night stop in Myknos.  I think this was my favorite stop in Greece.  We found some really neat windmills there, which made the backdrop for another Hunsperger family photo.  We dined on one of my favorite desserts, Baklava.  The kids had chocolate ice cream and we washed down the sweets with a Coca Cola. 

This stop was short and sweet as we headed back for the boat after a couple of hours.  It was fun and very memorable.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Your Thoughts, Your Health

Herman Louw, Jeff Rose, Kevin Hunsperger
2014 Southern Illinois Men's Health Conference
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I invite everyone to read my blog, but this particular post I'm hoping to reach men around southern Illinois.  Since 2009, I've been the co-chairman of the Southern Illinois Men's Health Conference.  The 2014 event just wrapped up, and I'm striking while the iron is hot for 2015.

Jeff Rose
2014 Conference
I'm appreciative of the 120 plus men who attended the event.  And I can't thank my co-chair Herman Louw (who also blogs), the committee members, and the Women for Health and Wellness board enough for all they do leading up to the conference.  It's a huge undertaking.  Our keynote speaker in 2014 is a friend of mine, Jeff Rose.  He has done just about everything under the sun and has done it successfully.  He's also a blogger, who inspired me to create My 1-2-3 Cents nearly four years ago.

Breakout session
This post is for the guys who didn't attend the conference this year, or those who have NEVER attended the Southern Illinois Men's Health Conference.  I want your feedback.  You don't have to post it here.  Click here to email me.  I want to know what we can do to make the event attractive to you.  I got some interesting comments during the course of the day, but that's from people who were there.  I want to hear from guys who haven't come to the conference.

Please take a few minutes and give me your thoughts.  Thanks!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Homer Simpson: The Real Mr. Wrestlemania

Homer vs. Andre
Wrestlemania III 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Two of my favorite things in the world are professional wrestling and The Simpsons.  Since Wrestlemania turns 30 this year and the Simpsons turn 25, I decided to have a little fun.  I took a Homer Simpson toy and had him stand in for a WWE Superstar from the past 29 Wrestlemanias.  I was somewhat limited in my wrestlers and even busted a few of them out of their packaging for this.  

You can see the results in the video below.  I did do a bonus one for Wrestlemania 20 because I thought the shot was funny.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Way Back WhensDay: The Muppets

The Muppets
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I'm old enough to remember when the Muppet Show came on TV once a week in prime time.  My family would gather around the television and sing the opening theme song along with the colorful cast of characters created by the genius, Jim Henson.  There was something magical about that 30 minutes of television each week and I was always sad when the show would come to an end.  

From the corny skits to the guest stars (human form) to the Muppets themselves, I was captivated each week.  The show spawned several great movies, that I remember watching in the theaters at the time each was released.  The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, and The Muppets Take Manhattan came out in the span of five years.  With them, a collection of drinking glasses, t-shirts, and other sundries.

Me & Rolf
As the films grew in popularity with me, I began collecting plush versions of my favorites characters.  The first and probably my favorite piece of the collection is Rolf.  He's an actual puppet too.  Through the years, I added Miss Piggy and Fozzie (also puppets) as well as stuffed versions of Kermit, Gonzo, and Scooter.  I could not get enough of them, and truth be told, my Muppets are still in a box in my attic, sometimes I break them out for blogging and vlogging purposes.

Muppets Most Wanted
Photo courtesy: Disney 
When Disney bought the company from the Henson family, I think many people feared the worst.  I think it was a great move and the legacy of Kermit, Miss Piggy, The Swedish Chef, and the gang will continue to live on.  In fact, there are new movies being released and a renewed interest in the 40 year old institution.  That doesn't include the undying love for Sesame Street and all the characters America has come to love through the decades.

So whether it's Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Kermit, or one of the Fraggles, the work that Jim Henson created so long ago has left a huge mark on pop culture.  I'm glad to say that I watched those movies with my parents, and now as the updated versions are coming out, I'm starting that tradition with my kids.  

For the worst impression of Fozzie Bear watch the video below...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Don't Pity Him, Fools

Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

WWE has announced Mr. T will be going into the Celebrity Wing of the Hall of Fame.  Obviously, this is a good choice in terms of celebrity inductions.  Mr. T was one of the big draws for Wrestlemania as his star power from the A-Team helped bring wrestling into the main stream or the main stream to wrestling.

Boxing at Wrestlemania II
Photo courtesy: WWE
At that first Wrestlemania, Mr. T and Hulk Hogan teamed up to beat Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff.  According to Piper, there is legit hard feelings between he and the actor, as Piper feels T didn't respect the business.  When the two met a year later in a boxing match at Wrestlemania II, the heat was still there.  

Mr. T made a few more appearances with the WWF in the late 80's.  I remember him serving as an enforcer referee during the Honky Tonk Man-Jake Roberts feud.  I believe he was even doing that on the house show circuit at a match in St. Louis.  He also went on to support Hogan when he moved to WCW and beat Ric Flair for the heavyweight title.

Hogan, Snuka, & Mr. T
Photo courtesy: WWE
Mr. T then faded away not just from wrestling, but it seemed the main stream too.  I know he had some health issues at one point.  There's also the rumor that he refused to be inducted in the Hall of Fame earlier because he wasn't happy with the payday.  I'm glad those issues (if they exist) have been resolved.

I've talked about it before, I'm not a huge fan of the celebrity wing, but it obviously serves a purpose.  The WWE is about sports entertainment, and the men so far inducted have proven they're not making a mockery of wrestling.  I do think that Cyndi Lauper needs to be the next (and first woman) inducted into that celebrity wing.  But for now, props to Mr. T, a well deserved honor for the 80's icon.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Okay, I'm in My Forties

Happy 41
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

Turning 40 was not hard for me.  I embraced it.  I blogged about it in a series of posts called "Facing 40."  In fact, turning 30 was harder for me.  I don't know why that is, but I suspect it has something to do with being 10 years wiser; blah, blah, blah.  

When I turned 40, I convinced myself that I was not yet in my forties.  I viewed 40 as its own age group.  It was partly tongue and cheek, partly me being serious.  

After my half marathon
Now here I am, age 41.  I accomplished several things during age 40.  I finished my goal of running 500 miles.  I actually clocked 503 by the end of 2013.  A month ago I ran my first half-marathon.  I hope to do another one before the end of the year.  I think the running may be a part of wanting to become more fit, but also part of a midlife crisis.  I'm trying to turn back or at least slow down the hands of time.

Not really me...
I've also declared 2014 "Operation Find My Abs", which is a quest to actually reveal a six-pack under the keg I've built up.  I know this is totally narcissistic of me to say, but I'm just being honest here.  I've lost sight of that goal recently, snacking on Girl Scout cookies, candy, and other sweet treats.  I've cut the sugar from my coffee and given up cereal for Lent (even though I'm not Catholic) in my attempts to lose some weight and tone up.  I'm learning it's much more than exercising, but eating right is key to this.

I want my 40's to be more fit than my 30's.  I've already run more in the first year than I did in that decade.  Thanks for reading and not judging me, or at least to my face.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Caribbean King

Carlos Colon
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

WWE announced on Friday Night SmackDown! that legendary Puerto Rican star Carlos Colon is joining the Ultimate Warrior, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Lita, and Paul Bearer in the Hall of Fame Class of 2014.  Colon is a deserving inductee, who is still considered a wrestling god on his native island.

Brody gnaws away
Growing up in the midwest, we didn't get Colon's World Wrestling Council program.  But I remember reading about him in all the wrestling magazines I could get my hands on.  There would be full color spreads of him battling Abdullah the Butcher, Bruiser Brody, and Ric Flair.  Each time, Carlos was bleeding like a stuck pig.  One magazine photo still burned in my brain featured Colon vs. Abdullah with barbed wire ropes.  I can't find it online and my magazine collection is way to large to go through and find today.  The guy was tough as a two dollar steak (thanks JR) and had dozens of scars to prove it.  By the looks of his forehead his scars even have scars.

Action figures
In the mid 80s, the AWA came up with a line of action figures to compete with the WWF's line of LJN figures.  Their guys were smaller, but poseable.  They reminded me of the Masters of the Universe toys, only smaller.  The company behind the wrestlers released a two pack of Abdullah and Carlos.  I remember using a tube of fake blood to smear across both their heads when they'd wrestle.  The cloth ring cover was soaked in that blood as it looked like real wars happened there.

1993 Royal Rumble
Photo courtesy: WWE
I remember him doing some work in the AWA, at least I think it was.  Then there was also the 1993 Royal Rumble. I believe that was the one and only time Carlos wrestled for the WWF/E.  He was one of the surprise entrants (at least I think he was unannounced).  It was nice to see someone I had read so much about and only actually wrestle a few times, appear on the big stage of the WWF.  

Now of course, Carlos' two sons Carlito and Primo are household names in the wrestling world, having held the WWE tag team titles.  Rumor has it Carlito will be one of the inductors for his father next month in New Orleans. It'll be good to see him again and hear more about the legendary career of Carlos Colon.