Sunday, May 31, 2015

10 Best Things Written in My Yearbook

Class of '91
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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My kids came home this week with their yearbooks, which instantly makes me think of the good ol' days when I was in junior high and high school.  Back then, I was always excited to get classmates to sign my book.  Most of the time the blurbs were generic "you're a nice guy" and "glad we had 'such and such' class together" and  "keep in touch."  

Looking back, I realize I was a nice, funny and sweet guy.  Never quite made a love connection in those days.  And despite requests to KIT I did not do a good job at that until Facebook was created.  Here are ten of my favorites, some are funny and others just make me feel good reading again nearly 25+ years later.



10.  "I just wanted to be the first to sign your crack!" - written on the inner hinge of the book Freshman year

9.  "You're an extremely sweet person.  I'm glad we were friends this year.  I admire you for your chipper moods and your great sense of humor.  I hope you can look back at NHS with many fond memories, because it will have many of you.  Best of luck." - Senior year

8.  "Well sweetie I have to hand it to you, you are surely one terrific guy.  I'll never forget you or all of your funny jokes.  We've had a lot of fun together.  Kev, I just want to thank you for being you.   You're the best."  - Senior year

7.  "Wow, 13 years in the making and we've finally made it!!!  Yeah!  Kev, your personality and sense of humor are great!  I will miss you so much next year!  You are a terrific guy and I know you will find that perfect someone at SEMO!  Best of luck in all your future endeavors.  You deserve the best, so don't settle for less.  I love ya Kev!" - Senior year.  She was right.  I met my wife less than a year later at SEMO.

6.  "Knowing you has been quite an experience.  We have both gone through so many ups and downs together (especially with women) I'm glad to hear you and Jim are going to be roomies at SEMO.  I know you will have a blast down there, I'll have to come down sometime so you can show me all the new hot babes you're going to be meeting.  I hope we will keep in contact for the rest of our lives.  You will always be a true and honest friend." - Senior year

5.  "... I hope you get the best out of life!  I know if anyone will succeed you will.  You are a great guy Kev and I love you dearly.  Let's always stay friends.  I'm gonna cry if I don't stop here.  Good luck in the fall!" - Senior year




4.  "Much success in all you attempt, esp. spelling." - C. Dickinson (8th grade English teacher)

3.  "... You've got a terrific sense of humor!  You're always so nice to me.  Don't forget me Kevin.  I know you'll do wonderful next year at college.  You're special to me.  Take care of yourself!" - Senior year  



2.  "Well I never got to know you this year, but everyone seems to know you like me (Even though I have no idea how you know me or why you like me.)  One of these days you're gonna introduce yourself to me.  I've heard a lot about you.  People say you're a sweet guy, so I guess you are.  Good luck in whatever you do.  Have a fun summer, I know will.  Love ya (protecting girl's identity) P.S. Always remember: Always follow your dreams and shoot for the stars.  May all your days be as bright as a rainbow and as lucky as the pot of gold underneath!" - I shared a slow dance with this girl during sophomore year and didn't say anything to her during it, that's how awkward and shy I was.  

1.  "Good luck and keep wishing to get a piece of (protecting girl's identity)." [Then a sarcastic friend added to this] "Even if it's only her middle finger."  - 8th grade 


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Thank You Tri C Elementary School

First day of Pre-K
August 2004
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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It's the end of an era for the Hunsperger family.  Our youngest child, Brooke, has completed the third grade and with that her time at Tri C Elementary School is over.  Our journey started there more than 11 years ago when we moved to southern Illinois and our two oldest boys attended Pre-K at Tri C.


Ethan starts kindergarten
August 2005
During our oldest son's kindergarten year, I became the president of the Parent Teacher Association.  I had a good time with the group and I hope we made some positive changes.  In that position, I had the chance to work with and know many of the educators at Tri C.  It gave me a better appreciation for what everyone in that building does from the cafeteria staff, custodial crew, secretaries, teachers and administrators.

Besides being on the PTO, one of my favorite memories came when my oldest son was in third grade and had to write a report about a hero.  He chose me and embellished his paper, by writing that his dad served in Iraq and killed three bad guys.  I never served our country... I think Mrs. Talley figured that out too.  


Mason's kindergarten field trip
September 2006
Thank you to everyone who made the last 11 years so memorable.  Special shout outs to all the kids teachers who my wife and I worked with directly.  I have nothing but positive things to say about our experience.  Mrs. Forby (twice), Mrs. Funk, Mrs. Sparks, Mrs. Talley, Mrs. Baker, Mrs. Webb, Mrs. Dixon, Mrs. Mills (twice), Ms. Kendall, Mr. Capie, Mrs. Mason, Ms. Cacioppo, Mrs. Horning, Mrs. Spencer, Mrs. Haas, Mr. Clouser, Mr. Jeralds, Mrs. Barnstable and Dr. Harris you've all made a huge difference in our kids' lives with your wisdom and patience. 


Brooke's last day at Tri C
May 2015
There's plenty of support staff who made an impact too including Mrs. Stanton, Mrs. Heise, Mrs. Puckett, Mrs. Stanley, Mrs. Waugh, Nurse Crystal and Nurse Stephanie.  There were lots of fun field trips, class parties and other adventures over the last decade. There were some sad times too and the staff always made sure the kids came first.  Thank you for the memories and the fun times for our kids.  The foundation for a great education has been created at Tri C and we'll be forever grateful.  

Friday, May 29, 2015

Flashback Friday: Let's Get Extreme

Extreme 1995
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

First off, since this website is most commonly associated with professional wrestling, I must issue the disclaimer that the subject of this blog has nothing to do with ECW. Though I will admit the implication of such did make me go with that title. 

I had intended to write this back on May 7 when I realized the milestone of that day. For sports historians, May 7, 1995 is the day Reggie Miller scored eight points in 11 seconds to lead the Indiana Pacers in an upset victory over the New York Knicks in the NBA Eastern Conference semi-finals to take a 3-2 lead in the series.  I remember that game not because I cared about the game but because of a conversation I had with tour manager Bob Dallas while walking down a hotel hallway in St. Louis minutes before Reggie’s “Miller Time” spectacle. 

Why was I in a hotel hallway discussing basketball with a tour manager? At the time, I was a student at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Instead of spending time in a classroom, I spent more time in what was essentially a giant walk-in closet on the fourth floor of the Student Center. That “closet” was the operating facilities of Student Programming Council – Television, or SPC-TV.  A completely student run TV station that broadcast exclusively to the residence halls. 

One of the productions I was involved with was, Planet Boom, an hour-long music video show dedicated to the rock scene of the ‘80s. Keep in mind; this was 1995 so Pearl Jam and the grunge movement had pretty much obliterated the mainstream rock scene. That didn’t matter to my co-host, Jeff and myself. Having grown up with the 80’s Sunset Strip scene (albeit 3000 miles away from the actual Sunset Strip) we were determined to make sure bands that continued to make that style of music had an outlet to be heard. 

In addition to just playing videos by these bands, I had taken the task of contacting record labels and management services to try and arrange interviews with bands when they came through the Midwest. One of those interviews was with my personal favorite bands. If you’ve put two and two together, you should know whom I’m talking about. 

On January 19, 1995, Boston rockers, Extreme released their fourth album, “Waiting for the Punchline.”  The tour to promote the album had two dates that fit into our location. The first was on April 1 at the Vic Theater in Chicago. In an attempt to secure an interview, I had my first real introduction into the world of record label inefficiency.  At the time, Extreme was signed to A&M Records. I called 411 (this was pre-internet. The Dark Ages as it’s now known) and got a number for A&M’s office in New York. From there, I got a hold of the promotions department who transferred me to another department who then suggested I talk to someone else. The fourth person I talked to suggested I talk to Winnie Wong, so I called her extension. When I told her I was trying to get an interview with Extreme, Winnie referred me back to the person who had told me to contact Winnie. After stating that person had referred me to Winnie, instead of then passing me on to someone else, Winnie said she would see what she could do to facilitate the interview. A few days later, I got the phone call our interview with Extreme was confirmed for the show in Chicago. 

In preparation for the interview, Jeff and I scoured every rock magazine or MTV interview we had on tape that featured Extreme. All the interviews had two things in common; they were all done with lead singer, Gary Cherone and guitarist, Nuno Bettencourt. Naturally, we tailored our pre-arranged questions towards Gary and Nuno.  “Gary, you recently performed in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar, do you have plans to do anymore theater work?” “Nuno, what made you dye your hair?” Obviously we were hard hitting musical journalists in training. During the two weeks leading up to the interview, Jeff and I often joked what we’d do if we had to interview bassist, Pat Badger or new drummer, Mike Mangini.  “Pat, um, do you think Gary will do more theater work?” “ Mike, what do you think about Nuno’s new hair color?” 

Pat Badger
April first arrived and Jeff and I along with our trusty cameraman Todd made the five-hour trek up to Chicago. We arrived at the Vic Theater during Extreme’s sound check and were placed in the catering area until they were ready for the interview.  Roughly 25 minutes late, tour manager Bob Dallas tells us it’s time and leads us down a hallway to the dressing room. In a thick New York accent he informs us, “Okay, I’m going to give you Pat and Mike. You’ve got 20 minutes.”  Jeff and I look at each other and try not to bust out laughing. While we were doing our interview, Nuno was doing an interview with Circus magazine and Gary was a bit under the weather, as Mike would shortly inform us the tour was unofficially called the Door-to-Door Bring the Plague tour due to the rotating sickness amongst the band members.

Getting the opportunity interview my favorite band had me a bit star struck. Thankfully I was able to hold it together and not fangirl too bad. Pat and Mike were total professionals taking every question and running with them instead of offering short, concise answers. Gary Cherone even stopped by a couple of times and interjected himself into the conversation. Overall, I could not have asked for a better experience. 

More than words
Flash forward six weeks and the last night of Extreme’s tour was being held at Mississippi Night’s in St. Louis.  Since the first interview had been with Pat and Mike, it made sense to Jeff and I to try for another interview, which would of course be with Gary or Nuno. Right? I contacted my good friend Winnie Wong again and requested another interview. This time the process went much more  smoothly. Everything was good to go. Instead of meeting at the venue like the last interview, we were told to meet at the band’s hotel. 

We arrive at the hotel around 2:30. I called up to Bob Dallas’ room. 

“Hi, Bob. This is Chad Smart with the show Planet Boom. We’re in the lobby.”

“Why?”

“We have an interview with Extreme at 2:30.”

“Oh. Hold on I’ll be down in a few minutes.”

As we waited, I passed the time by watching the NBA game on the lobby television. A short while later, Bob arrived, apologized for being late and took us up to the room for the interview. While walking, Bob said he had lost track of time while watching the basketball game. Not thinking about Bob being from New York and the Knicks being on the verge of choking, I made mention of the Pacers’ comeback being shocking. Bob stopped, turned, looked me in the eyes and asked where I was from. After I replied, Illinois, he paused before saying if I was from Indiana he would have cancelled the interview. I don’t think he was joking. 

As we’re setting up for the interview, Bob says he’s going to have Pat do the interview. What? Pat? No! We already talked to Pat. What’s Gary doing? Or Nuno? Aren’t they available? Okay, we can do this. So, Pat, um, what do you think of Nuno’s hair? 

Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against Pat Badger. In fact, during both interviews Pat was a stand up guy. It’s just not much had really happened in the six weeks since last speaking with Pat to really warrant another interview. I will go as far as to say as awesome the first interview was; the second interview was as awesomely bad. I will now take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Pat Badger for taking twenty minutes out of his peaceful Sunday afternoon to ask asinine questions. No, I didn’t actually ask about Nuno’s hair.  
After the not so great interview, we said our thanks and left the hotel to head over to Mississippi Nights. Mississippi Nights no longer exists having shut down in 2007 to make way for Lumiere Place Casino. It wasn’t a huge loss as the venue was barely more than a hole in the wall.  If memory serves me right, I believe in the linear notes to Great White’s greatest hits album it mentions Mississippi 
Nights as a club where the backstage dressing room was the fire escape.

Extreme took to the stage ripping through the opener “War Heads” and continued on for 90 minutes to a packed, hungry crowd. At the start of the encore, Gary Cherone mentioned it being the last night of the show and how they wanted to keep playing so they were going to the show again.  Nuno played the opening notes of “War Heads” as the crowd cheered their agreement.  Instead of playing  the full song they actually busted out an impromptu version of Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher.” Ironically, Gary Cherone didn’t sing insisting instead for Pat Badger to sing. Guess Gary would get his chance to sing a few years later when he officially joined Van Halen. 

To the best of my knowledge, the show at Mississippi Nights was the last official Extreme tour show in the United States for twelve years.  The band disbanded a year later after finishing the Waiting For the Punchline world tour. Gary, as mentioned, went on to join Van Halen. Nuno Bettencourt had a couple of different projects a solo album, and bands, Mourning Widows and Population 1 /DramaGods. Pat joined the band Super Trans Atlantic for one album before opting raising alpacas. 

Extreme 2007
In 2007, the band reunited with new drummer Kevin Figueiredo and released the album Saudades of Rock. Other than a live album recorded during their tour in 2009, Extreme as a band hasn’t produced any other new material though they have been busy with side projects. Nuno is the guitarist in Rihanna’s band. Gary Cherone has released two albums with the band Hurtsmile that he formed with 
his brother, Mark on guitar. Pat Badger formed a band simply called Badger and released their debut album Time Will Tell in 2014.  


Since 2014, Extreme has been doing shows where they perform their second album Pornograffitti in its entirety to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the album. While I have contemplated going to shows in Russia, England and Boston to see the show, I will finally get to see them perform as part of the Metal Meltdown show in Las Vegas on May 30. Hmm… maybe I should have tried to contact my old friend Winnie Wong and tried to set up another interview. Twenty years later, I have several questions to ask. Even if it was Pat, I was interviewing again.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Destination America Picks Up Ring of Honor

This is a press release from Destination America.  Looks like TNA and ROH will both be shown on Wednesday nights.
DESTINATION AMERICA BRINGS MORE ACTION TO THE RING ACQUIRING THE RIGHTS TO RING OF HONOR'S WEEKLY TELEVISION PROGRAMMING
(Silver Spring, Md.) –Destination America announced today that it has signed a national broadcast deal with professional wrestling league RING OF HONOR, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., bringing one of the most respected wrestling organizations to the only network dedicated to all-American entertainment. Destination America is now the one-two-punch to professional wrestling, adding RING OF HONOR (ROH) to its line-up after launching IMPACT WRESTLING in early 2015. RING OF HONOR has been delivering top wrestling matches for ten years with captivating hard-hitting stars such as Jay & Mark Briscoe,  AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, The Young Bucks, Maria Kanellis, Adam Cole and Jay Lethal. Destination America will pack on the action beginning Wednesday June 3 with the series premiere of RING OF HONOR at 8/7c leading into brand new premieres of IMPACT WRESTLING at 9/8c.
"With the electric and intense matches that RING OF HONOR provides, Destination America is the network for fans to get an entire evening of jaw-dropping entertainment on Wednesday nights," said Marc Etkind, general manager of Destination America. "RING OF HONOR showcases tenacity, athleticism and passion and it serves as the place where America's favorite wrestling stars are born."
"We are very excited to be partnering with Destination America for the broader distribution of the ROH programming," commented Joe Koff, Chief Operating Officer - Ring of Honor Wrestling. "ROH will now reach an additional 57 million households including those in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and other large cities where Ring of Honor is not currently airing. ROH has a loyal fan base and is one of the fastest growing major wrestling franchises in the country. With this great partnership with Destination America, we can continue to expand our footprint and reach while producing entertaining, original content and continuing to provide wrestling fans some of the best wrestling content available.
RING OF HONOR will premiere on Wednesday, June 3 leading into IMPACT WRESTLING, making Destination America the home for wrestling every Wednesday evening. The first match will feature the Briscoe Brothers, Mark and Jay, as they face off with the House of Truth in the main event. Also catch athletes of New Japan Pro Wrestling battle it out with the RING OF HONOR stars and follow former NFL lineman Moose compete against BJ Whitmer.
Since launching in 2012, Destination America has become one of cable's top fastest-growing networks, and continues to earn telecast ratings records among key series. In 2015 to date, Destination America has acquired over 50 million unique viewers. With top series that explore unique American cultures and ways of life – including Paranormal Survivor, Hillbilly Blood, Buying the Bayou, and BBQ Pitmasters – Destination America's programming spans the nation from Alaska, Hawaii and Colorado to Louisiana, West Virginia and communities in between. To find Destination America, go to destinationamerica.com/watchda.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Single Bulgarian Male: ISO a Manager

Trouble in paradise
Courtesy: WWE

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Rusev and Lana have officially split or so it seems.  After all, she's been smooching with Dolph Ziggler.  Many online are already drawing comparisons to another famous wrestling couple that broke up years ago, Marc Mero and Sable.  In that instance, Sable excelled as Mero floundered for the most part, picking up the nickname "Marvelous" and pairing up with Jacqueline.  

I'm remaining optimistic that Rusev is not going to follow suit.  I do think that it's odd they've split the two up as they seemed tailor made for one another (yes, I know they're a real life couple).  I don't see Lana and Ziggler as a long term item either and have heard many reports that she actually wants to wrestle.  Fans love her right now, so I say strike while she's over.  I don't think Lana is going to have any trouble remaining popular during her time with WWE.  


Rusev crush

So that takes me back to Rusev.  What do you do with this Bulgarian brute?  I think he needs to stay a dominant heel.  I also think he needs a manager in his corner.  That's not a knock on him, but I think his character would benefit from it and I miss the days of the manager.  Zeb Colter and Paul Heyman are out of the picture for now, I think it would be nice to have the role of the traditional manager make a comeback.



A regal choice
Courtesy: WWE
William Regal comes to mind right away.  I think he is under utilized as general manager on NXT.  Plus, I don't think the brand needs an authority figure.  Make it different from Raw.  Regal has done the managerial thing to an extent before.  He's a great mouthpiece and could build a stable of foreign fighters to take on the WWE's most patriotic forces.  Sheamus and "King" Barrett would be excellent additions to this faction.  It's worked before and I think it would work now.


An awesome pick
Courtesy: WWE
The Miz is another name I've thought about for this role.  I've heard Jim Ross make the suggestion on his podcast that The Miz would be better in a managerial/advocate type role. I couldn't agree more.  I like The Miz, but I don't see him going anywhere with his current gimmick.  He's great on the mic and can take bumps.  I see chemistry with him and Rusev.


He's got people skills...
Courtesy: WWE
John Laurinaitis is one of those guys fans love to hate.  I think he would be a great heel manager whether it's for Rusev or someone else coming to the main roster.  His stable of course would be People Power with a group of brutally strong superstars.

Regardless of who Rusev ends up with (probably no one), it's my hope that this extremely talented star continues to shine and the WWE doesn't make him "marvelous" too.  

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Remembering Owen Hart

Owen Hart
Courtesy: WWE 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Sixteen years ago tonight, I was sitting in my bedroom watching (actually listening to) the WWF Over the Edge pay-per-view.  I didn't order the show, but back then you could watch on what I called "scramble vision."  The audio was perfectly clear, but the screen was distorted.  It worked for me because Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler painted the picture of what was happening in the ring.

Owen as the Blue Blazer
Courtesy: WWE 
During the show, JR announced there had been an accident involving Owen Hart, who was playing a character called The Blue Blazer.  He was supposed to be lowered from the rafters high above the ring at Kemper Arena in Kansas City.  But part of the costume got stuck in the rig and Owen plunged into the ring, dying a short time later.

I hopped on AOL Chat and discussed the tragedy with other fans.  This was long before social media so we had to rely on the updates from JR during the show.  It was a horribly sad time, including the next night on Raw when WWF Superstars, Divas and officials memorialized the man known as the King of Harts.  

I saw Owen wrestle a handful of times in person.  The most memorable was Father's Day 1996 at a house show in St. Louis.  My dad and I had floor seats and I'd get up and snap pictures with my point and click camera as the wrestlers made their way to the ring. (I can't find those pics now.) Owen climbed to the apron to a chorus of boos and looked right at me and the portly guy next to me and shouted "Shut up, fat boy."  I had actually been cheering for Owen, because I liked him much more than his opponent that night, Savio Vega.
Bulldog (with a pig mask) & Owen in 1996
Photo by My 1-2-3 Cents
That fall, the WWF came to Cape Girardeau.  I had pretty good seats that night too when Owen and Davey Boy Smith defended the tag team titles against the Godwins, the Smoking Gunns, and the New Rockers.  Owen and Bulldog won the match.  The two of them were one of my favorite tag teams.  They simply clicked.  I think Owen is in a small class of great tag team wrestlers like Bobby Eaton and Arn Anderson.  He was a great partner to no matter who he stepped in the ring with. Jeff Jarrett, Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Koko B. Ware, Yokozuna and The Rock all come to mind.

Owen vs. Faarooq
Courtesy: WWE (Drop Toehold website)
Speaking of the Rock, I watched Owen and Rocky Maivia do battle for the Intercontinental title at a house show in St. Louis in February 1997.  Rocky won by DQ. Months later, Owen won back the belt by beating Faarooq at the Badd Blood pay-per-view.  I was there for that one too.

I know Owen is in a better place now, but he left this world way too soon.  Continue to rest in peace. You are still missed today.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Somebunny is Not Who They Claim to Be

Theo & George or George & Theo


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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For several months my daughter has been asking for a bunny.  In September, she got a hamster for her birthday and embraced caring for it.  She researched on YouTube and watched video after video on the subject.  Because she was so dedicated to the Ralphie, over Easter break my wife and I discussed it and agreed she'd earned herself a bunny too.

It so happened about this same time, my wife had a coworker with TWO rabbits she was looking to give to a good home.  After some discussion and figuring out free is the right price, we decided to welcome Theo and George into our home in April.  The bunny brothers hopped in and out of their multilevel habitat built by their previous owner.  They roamed Brooke's bedroom, but with the freedom came the problem of spraying.


Still can't tell them apart
After one episode too many of this, we decided the best option was to have Theo and George neutered.  My wife made the arrangements with a local animal hospital and recently dropped them off for their "procedure" on her way to work.  Since I'd be home when it was over, I was the point of contact for picking them up.  

A couple hours after the drop off my phone rang.  It was a vet tech who explained that they would not be able to do George's neutering because as they prepped the bunny for surgery, they discovered he is a SHE.  That's right, we had a boy and girl bunny this whole time.  I opted to not have her spayed as the whole reason for the neutering was the issue of spraying. 



My oldest son made a good point as I explained to them that George (now Georgie-Ann) is a girl.  "What if she's pregnant?  You know rabbits do it like.... rabbits."  I don't know if they checked for babies, I can only hope that these two were on their best behavior and didn't partake in any furry fornicating.  But if they did, we may be having a sale on bunnies very soon.  

 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What's Old Is New

The new Col. Sanders and Hamburglar
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Over the last couple of weeks, fast food giants KFC and McDonald's have announced the return of vintage mascots.  Col. Sanders, the man who started Kentucky Fried Chicken 75 years ago, will be used again in advertising as will the mischievous Hamburglar for McDonald's.


Hamburglar in the 1970's
I have mixed reactions to these iconic characters from my childhood returning.  Yes, I am a fool for old school.  But I think the new Hamburglar is a bit too creepy, even for a bad guy.  I haven't heard any positive comments on this updated version of the fictional thief.  He's a far cry from his cartoonish former self.  He really does look like a criminal.  If Mickey D's wants my attention with a classic character, I'd make the argument to bring back Grimace.  He was always my favorite, even more so than Ronald McDonald himself.  


Vintage Colonel
The new Col. Sanders is being played Saturday Night Live alum Darrell Hammond.  I think the company hit the nail on the head with this selection.  The real Col. Sanders died more than 35 years ago, but the company hopes change its image and bring in new customers with the iconic figure.  The ad campaign rolls out Memorial Day weekend.







I'm no marketing expert, but as a consumer I think it's great that they're reviving characters from my childhood.  I don't eat a lot of fast food, so no matter what gimmick is used, it's not going to persuade or prevent me from eating at their establishments.  I do hope this continues to motivate other companies to revive other blasts from the pasts.  Maybe Herb will be back pitching for Burger King.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Reunited and It Feels So...

The Shield "returns"
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Some surprises came out of the WWE Payback show, at least to me.  I'll get into the undercard in a minute, but since I titled this as such, I figured I'd touch on the brief, but awesome reunion of The Shield during the main event.  Obviously going into the the fatal four way I knew that Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns had once been a part of the most dominant trio in recent years.  But it never occurred to me that they would all work TOGETHER during the course of the match.

Crash landing
Courtesy: WWE
Because of my work schedule, I was fast asleep (actually I was still tossing and turning) by the time the WWE World Heavyweight Title match started.  When I logged into Twitter hours later, I saw pics and gifs of the "one-time only reunion" between Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns.  It made me look forward to coming home and watching the former Shield members take out Randy Orton with the triple power bomb.  

Nope
Courtesy: WWE
I loved it.  I know the way the current storyline is going it doesn't make sense to reunite the trio for good.  But for those few moments, I thought it was awesome.  I liked how Rollins seemed to think the band was back together and when Ambrose and Reigns tore into him and Kane it was a nice break from what I'd expected during the match.

Did he quit?
Courtesy: WWE
Another minor surprise, although I had written in my previous blog my predictions and they mostly matched up, there were no title changes.  I feel like that's a rarity these days, but I don't have any proof that it is.  I'm curious to see where the Rusev angle will go next, as I do believe they botched up over emphasizing that the Superstar must say "I quit."  Clearly Rusev did not.  I imagine the story will unfold on Raw with Rusev "firing" Lana, which will be odd to see these two without each other.

New Day... rocks
Courtesy: WWE
I thought New Day did a great job getting heat during the tag team title match.  I still love the combo of Cesaro and Kidd and those uppercuts that the Swiss Supermen threw were incredible.  This story could continue, but I do think the tag team ranks need some fresh faces in the hunt for gold.  Speaking of which, I was surprised to see Axelmania and Macho Mandow lose in their first outing as a team.  I really am impressed with both men's impressions of the legends, but Axel's "Hogan" routine is spot on as far as I'm concerned.  I guess this means The Ascension is here to stay.  

Busted open
Courtesy: WWE
Dolph Ziggler getting busted open was ugly.  It took ten stitches to sew him up.  There's plenty of speculation online as to whether he did that himself or if it happened the hardway.  It seemed a bit too bloody too fast for a blade job, but I'm just a fan.

I hope Bray Wyatt's win over Ryback helps him continue to climb the ladder (perhaps right into Money in the Bank).  And despite some online criticism, I think Naomi is a great athlete.  I'm still not sure she's next for a run as Divas champ.  Time will tell for all these things and the future of the Intercontinental title will be told in a couple of weeks at Elimination Chamber.  We'll break it all down soon here and on the podcast.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

I Moustache Him a Question...

Tanning the 'staches 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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If you live in southern Illinois, there's a pretty good chance you've seen pictures of my buddy Tom Harness floating around on social media.  He's the guy in the moustache suit.  He recently picked it up from a site called Shinesty.  In addition to the moustache one, Tom has an ugly Christmas suit that he wore in December to spread holiday cheer.


Time for a brushing
Childers Orthodontics 
So the big question, why is this guy donning the suit and posting pictures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook?  It's simple.  Despite what some may think, Tom isn't crazy.  He's just a dedicated guy helping promote the upcoming HerrinFesta Italiana.  It's an annual event here that celebrates the Italian heritage of the southern Illinois town of Herrin.  There's plenty of games, rides, food and music during the celebration over Memorial Day weekend.


Here's your sign...
Tom and his company, Harness TechED have been tasked with promoting the event.  While posting pictures of the games, rides and performers (like REO Speedwagon, Third Eye Blind and Cole Swindell) would be the route most folks would go in promoting the event, Tom takes it to a whole new level.  He visits businesses, restaurants and ribbon cuttings in the weeks leading up to the big weekend to help spread the word.


Yes, this is in the bathroom...
It works too.  We met for lunch recently at S&B's Burger Joint in Carbondale.  Tom was in his suit and no less than a half dozen (maybe more) customers and employees stopped at our table and asked what was with the suit.  When Tom explained, people smiled.  Some chuckled. But it always ended on a positive note.  That's not been the reception everywhere, as I know Tom has had to do some defending of the suit.




I think it's great and if more people showed the kind of passion and enthusiasm for things they believed in, the world would be a much better place.  I do not have a suit like Tom's, but spoiler alert, I have contacted Shinesty about doing a Lucha mask variety.  The person who received the message liked the idea and said he's sharing it with the boss.  Who knows, maybe Tom will have another "weirdo" in a suit joining him to get the word out about events in southern Illinois.

*This just in, Tom has agreed to sell the suit for a donation to his daughter's school which is holding a big fundraiser.  I know how much he loves that suit and the fact that he's giving it up shows you what his daughter's school means to him too.  Bravo, Tom.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Payback 2015 Picks


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the podcast
Follow my blog with Bloglovin 

We're days away from another WWE pay-per-view/Network event.  I'm not exactly sure the proper phrase anymore, but as we know Payback returns this weekend.  The show has had some good build up, and even with several rematches, I'm looking forward to some great performances.



 The kickoff features the newly formed duo of Macho Mandow and Axelmania against The Ascension.  I have no idea where WWE is going with Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel, but I'm enjoying the homage to Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan.  Plus it's another tag team to get behind in a somewhat weakened division.  The Mega Powers 2.0 will win this one and eventually implode like they did more than 25 years ago.



Bray Wyatt will step into the ring with Ryback.  I'm looking forward to this match.  I feel like both men are still growing and headed to superstardom.  Ryback has been hot and cold since being repackaged a few years ago.  I've always liked Wyatt, even as Husky Harris.  He's got something special and I think it's important for him to shine Sunday night against Ryback.  



Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus will have a rematch.  I really have enjoyed Sheamus much more as the heelish bully since returning from his injury earlier this year.  I was surprised Sheamus lost the Kiss Me Arse match at Extreme Rules.  I can't see him going down in defeat two events in a row, so I pick him to win this time, setting up for a rubber match at the next show.  I don't mind repeat matches when they involve guys giving it their all.



Neville takes on King Barrett in a rematch from the King of the Ring finals and the kickoff from Extreme Rules.  Each man has a victory.  The company seems to be fast tracking Neville to big things (perhaps an Intercontental title run) so for that reason and because I'm a huge Neville mark, I hope he wins.  I won't be disappointed though if the King reigns.



The New Day will defend the tag team titles against former champs Tyson Kidd and Cesaro.  I like both teams.  I think Kidd and Cesaro's reign came to an end way too soon.  They're my favorite current team and I feel like WWE needs to stay behind them.  Again, I'm not going to be disappointed with whoever wins, but I believe the champs will retain.



Rusev will try to win the U.S. title back in an "I Quit" match against John Cena.  Both men have their submission finishers.  I think Cena will win, Rusev and Lana will split and hopefully he won't end up in no man's land as a result.  I like the concept of the U.S. Title Open Challenge Cena has been doing.  There's still some mileage to get out of that angle.  I can't wait to see who is eventually put into that role of winning the challenge.  

For my thoughts on the 4 Way, check out this week's 3 Count over on YouTube.