A Close Encounter With Verne And Larry

As many of you heard by now, wrestling legend Verne Gagne passed away Monday at the age of 89.

When I lived in Marietta, I visited CNN Center in downtown Atlanta a couple of times.  I was once on CNN’s “Talkback Live” asking a question or two about the Republican primaries of 1996, so maybe someone will dig that up on YouTube. Susan Rook was a good host to that show, and was just happy not having to talk about the O.J. Simpson trial anymore.

Also headquartered there at the time was World Championship Wrestling, better known as their acronym of WCW.  One day I’m on one of the escalators and I see the unmistakable image of Jimmy Hart, formerly of The Gentrys but perhaps better known as a megaphone wielding manager who always wore sunglasses, unless a wrestler was beating the snot out of him.

Another time I was there, I noticed the presence of Verne Gagne and his son-in-law, Larry Zbyszko.  Zbyszko, who I saw in person in Jacksonville about four years prior, was a legendary villain in the business, while Gagne (who had retired in the early 80’s) was a legendary hero.  Very few knew that Larry “The Legend” had married one of Verne’s daughters.

No, I wasn’t about to expose the kayfabe on that in Atlanta that day.  I was too far away from them.

Train Wreck?

Even though I’ve been a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers all my life, I’m hoping beyond hope that they do NOT draft Jameis Winston Thursday night with the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

I think he’s a bad seed, and I know the Bucs are saying they vetted him, meaning they checked out his background and such.  I have little doubt he’ll be at least an effective NFL quarterback.  However, he won’t be any good to the Bucs if the trouble he’s alleged to have gotten to at FSU follows him to Tampa Bay, or if he fails to show any maturity that he is alleged to have lacked in Tallahassee.  The people who may have protected him there won’t be able to here.

Hopefully, I’m wrong about all of this, but it just has a bad smell to it.  I hope all goes well for all involved, and if the Bucs made another choice, I’d be very pleased with it.

Flashback Friday: “The Best” by Tina Turner

The first time I heard this song was in 1988, and it wasn’t Tina Turner singing it, but Bonnie Tyler on her “Notes From America” album.  That album also had a version of “Hide Your Heart” on it before KISS made it their own, and a version of “Don’t Turn Around” that Ace Of Base made famous in the mid-90’s, which Tina Turner also covered.  Confused yet?

When I heard Tina’s version of “The Best” a year later, I thought it had hit potential, doing somewhat well on the charts, having a much longer shelf life on the TV promotion circuit.

More next week, as always.

Be Grateful For Your Enemies

I wrote the tweet above on Sunday, getting little excited about how I thought a neighbor was moving out, but may actually be vacationing.  Crumb!

Anyways, here’s how I deal with the people in my life that make my life more difficult.  Thought it might be worthy of passing along, as it may help your life too.

When I was younger, I used to worry about everything.  Friends feared I’d have a heart attack at a young age being such a worrywart.  At 43 and having been overweight most of my life, it hasn’t happened yet, though I realize I’m probably whistling through that particular graveyard.

Anyway, take the prodigal neighbor I deal with.  When he starts making his racket, I smile, I don’t get mad.  Hearing that noise for another day just reminds me that I’m getting one day closer to NOT hearing his racket, one way or another.  I don’t know how many days I have to deal with it, and finding out that kind of data might just meddle with the primal forces of nature, for which I may have some atoning to do.

You don’t have to be the force of nature to be an agent of change if you are patient long enough unless the system you’re in is completely one-sided.  The change will come your way, one way or another.

What’s In A Name

I often get asked (with my last name of Blom) whether or not I’m Jewish.  I don’t take offense to the question, but the answer to it is no.

I’m at least three-quarters Irish.  My mother’s family is entirely Irish, and I’m at least half-Irish and half-Dane on my father’s side. My mother’s grandfather owned a Bronx bar called McGinn’s Tavern in the Woodlawn section of the borough for many years, which has since been renamed.

There’s a legend in my family about an incident that took place there one night, though I’m not sure what year it occurred.  These two young women were having drinks at the Tavern one night, but one of my grandfather’s employees was suspicious about the ladies being of legal drinking age.  When he approached the women to ask for ID, the women didn’t grab their purses and flash the necessary documentation.

They instead hiked up their tops and flashed something else: their breasts.  How the story ends, I have no clue.

The Antisocial Computer

Earlier this week, the spare computer I’m now on and the printer I had weren’t on speaking terms.  I spent most of the past three days thinking of anything or everything that could be wrong, even getting a new wireless printer that doesn’t need a USB cord to talk to the computer.

In such instances, Google is my friend.  I type in the problems, and Google finds me the answers.

I try re-installing every driver I have Monday night.  When I powered up Tuesday and tried to load the printing software and drivers, nothing happens of consequence.  The printer and computer are NOT getting along.

It was now time for desperate measures, so I did a factory reset of the computer.  That did the job.  If it didn’t, I’d really be in trouble.  The bad news was, I didn’t have to get a new printer after all, as something corrupted the registry of the spare computer.  Only a factory reset could get it right, and that’s what I did.

My old printer, which I have had since 2008, now sits in my closet, in case something goes wrong with the newfangled one.  When it comes to computers I am very much a pack rat, because you know whether or not you need that spare lying around.

Butt Boils And Boots Gone Bad

It hasn’t been one of my best weeks.

It began with a battle I seem to have once every couple of years: with a boil I get near by derriere.  In 1988 when I was a junior at Largo High School, I missed a week and a half of school because of a pilonidal cyst.  Went to Sun Coast Hospital to have the cyst removed, kept me there a day to keep the wound well dressed, and then I had to stay home an additional week before I could go to school again.  Plus I had to take sitz baths with my butt deep in this hot medicated water that’s placed on top of an empty toilet seat.

Now, for the third time in five years, I have a boil in this area.  It began the size of a pebble, now it’s about a fourth the size of a cherry, comfortable enough to sit on without too much pain.  I’ve always been someone who slept on my back, now I can’t stop sleeping on my side due to the boil.  It is almost gone, though I’m still waiting for the moment it pops like a weasel or reduces in swelling down to nothing.

Friday night, I thought there was a hole in the universe that I alone had discovered.  The Tampa Bay Rays were scoring runs left and right against the Miami Marlins, which was odd enough.  Then I turn my computer on, and the thing WON’T BOOT to save it’s life.  I wait, I wait, I wait some more, then I turn the computer off.  Turning it back on again, it still won’t boot.

Now, yours truly was prepared for this emergency, as I had a spare computer on hand that’s almost an exact duplicate of the fallen soldier.  I turn it on, make a boot disk, and make recovery discs, but the fallen CPU isn’t responding.  Stick a fork in it, it’s done.

I’m on the spare computer, but now it won’t talk to the printer I have had since 2008, so now I have to get a new printer which I’ll do next week.  But such is life, sometime you are the fly, and sometimes you are the windshield.

Flashback Friday: “Love’s Theme” by the Love Unlimited Orchestra

I always think of golf when I hear this song.  ABC used this tune for many years back in the 70’s and 80’s (if I remember right) whenever they had a golf tournament to present, like the US Open.

With the eyes of the sports world on Augusta, I thought it was a good time to trot Barry White out.  This collaboration with the Love Unlimited Orchestra topped the charts on February 9, 1974.

More next week, as always.

The Tea Party Two Step

I can’t help but notice Ted Cruz and now Rand Paul already jumping into the presidential candidacy ring.

The Tea Party has never been a perfect fit for the Republicans, but the Grand Old Party decided to jump into this hunt too in keep up their dominance. Why own just Coke or just Pepsi when you can own both?

I’m just surprised as of now that the Tea Party hasn’t formed their a political party of their own. Surely they must realize the futility of having neo-conservatives do their bidding on their behalf?

Personally, I think we should do with political parties what they did in Iraq: ban all of them.  Maybe after that, we will get leaders of higher quality and not the “Mafia families” and their offshoots that we get now.

Watching Myself Watch Wrestling

The late Matt "Big Josh" Osborne is wrestling Ricky Morton at Wrestlewar '92 in Jacksonville, Florida.  I'm on the left in the stands walking by.
The late Matt “Big Josh” Osborne is wrestling Ricky Morton at Wrestlewar ’92 in Jacksonville, Florida. I’m on the left in the stands walking by.

I read last week how the WWE Network had another promotion where you could get a month of their programming for free, provided you cancel the subscription by the 1st of May. While I don’t watch a lot of wrestling in its present era, I once went to a wrestling pay-per-view way back in 1992 in Jacksonville, and I was curious if I could see myself in the crowd from 23 years ago.

World Championship Wrestling was holding “Wrestlewar ’92” at the old Coliseum there, not too far from the Gator Bowl. I had the day off from my radio job at the Sun Radio Network, and my next shift wasn’t until midnight Monday night. I scored a good seat about six rows from the action from the Turtles record store in my neighborhood a few days beforehand and drove up Sunday afternoon for the 7pm bell time.  They had two rings set up for the card, with most of the matches take place in the ring nearest to a runway the wrestlers use to make their way to the rings.  If a match took place in that ring, I was in the sixth row or so in a gray and black striped shirt, so all of you can watch me watch professional wrestling on the WWE Network.


The main event, as often is the case, was the selling point. Two teams of five squared off in the two-ring caged “Wargames” match, with the objective of making one of the ten combatants surrender which would make the opposing team victorious. It was not for the faint of heart, as four of the ten men were bleeding from their foreheads as the much progressed. One of the men, Dustin Rhodes, had his cut spread in his hair, making him look like a crazed rooster as the match wore on. Of course, the blood is part of the choreography.

After about a half hour, the “good guy” team emerged victoriously, so it was back to Largo for me and four and a half hours of driving on Interstates 10, 75, and 275. I was up to the task, but the alternator in my Pontiac wasn’t, so I called AAA on a pay phone in downtown Jacksonville, making myself a target for panhandlers. Didn’t make it home until 4am that morning or so, and the towing bill was nearly $300.

Interestingly, I feel asleep quickly in the car, which makes me wonder if my car trouble was a blessing in disguise. I probably would have stayed in a motel somewhere along the way if I needed to, although I didn’t pack any clothing for such an excursion.