Dec 31, 2005

How Can He See Over The Bar?

ET / Coors Poster (1982)
Happy New Years Eve, everybody.  Remember, when your bartender starts to look like ET, it's time to hand over the car keys.

Dec 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Schweitzer boys.

Dec 24, 2005

Christmas In The Stars

Christmas In The Stars
RSO Records (1980)
This is right up there with the Star Wars Holiday Special as being one of the most bizarre parts of Christmas and of the history of Star Wars.  It features the voice of Anthony Daniels as C-3PO and the beeps of R2-D2, and the hit single "What Can You Get A Wookiee For Christmas (When He Already Owns A Comb)".  Seriously, it was a hit.  It charted on the Billboard Hot 100.

As if that isn't bizarre enough, producer Meco Monardo revealed in an interview with that this record is the first professional recording of Jon Bon Jovi.  The album was co-produced by Tony Bongiovi, who is Jon Bon Jovi's older cousin.  The future rock star was 17 years old at the time and he had a job sweeping the floors at The Power Station recording studio.  Meco and Tony had three different people at the studio to sing R2-D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas.  The producers weren't crazy about any of them, so they asked Jon to step in and give it a shot and they loved his performance so much that it was used for the album.

Dec 23, 2005

A Window To The Past

Once in a while, I look on eBay for things from my hometown of Hazleton, PA.  I recently came across this postcard from 1907.

I'm having a little trouble making out the handwriting on some of the words, but this looks to have been written by Tillie Gerhardt of Hazleton, PA to May Sinclair of Walkerton, Ontario to wish her a Merry Christmas after she returned home from her visit, and that she can't wait to see Miss Sinclair when she returns to school.

The return address written on the front of this postcard is North James Street in Hazleton, which is five blocks down from the Victorian homes in the photo.  They're on North Laurel Street, on the other side of Route 309, just before you get to the intersection of Laurel and Diamond Avenue.  Those houses are still standing today, and I can personally attest that they're still in excellent condition because this is my home.  Specifically, I live right here:

The arched window that the arrow is pointing to is in my living room.  We're renting the third floor of an old Victorian home that's been here for over 100 years.  The landlords are a lovely couple who live on the first floor, and they gave us a really great deal on the place with all utilities included.  They're both retired, but the husband still works part-time as a repairman, which is how we found out about this place.  My girlfriend's father has an old 50's jukebox in his kitchen that breaks down at least once or twice a year, and my landlord is the guy who comes over to fix it.

This is the other side of that window.  When you walk into the living room of our apartment, you'll see a door on the far wall.  It leads to a very small porch... a very, VERY small porch.  You can't even fit a chair in there.  If you go out there, you pretty much have to walk sideways with your arms at your sides, like you're a spy trying to sneak around a corner by flattening yourself against the wall behind you.  It would be a really great sitting area if it wasn't so narrow because the view is pretty nice.  This is what it looks like during the summer.

I wonder what it must have looked like to stare out of this window a hundred years ago.

Dec 18, 2005

ROH Final Battle 2005

ROH Final Battle
Inman Sports Club - December 17, 2005
Edison, NJ
The fourth Final Battle took place in Edison, NJ.  After the show, I volunteered to help with the ring crew to clear the arena and load the trucks, and I got to meet many of the wrestlers, including Samoa Joe, Low Ki, Nigel McGuinness and Prince Nana.

Final Battle is Ring Of Honor's biggest show of the year.  It's my second time attending an ROH show, and it didn't disappoint.


Dec 15, 2005

Mom Mom

Ethel Mae Tom
1936 - 2005
You were there for me in my worst moments, when no one else would be.  I'm going to miss you, Mom-Mom.  Thank you for being the most bad ass grandma this world has ever seen.

Dec 11, 2005

As Mischievous As He Looks

Here's my little buddy Terry on the deck waiting to come inside.

Dec 1, 2005

One Last Holiday Season To Overeat

There's a couple of things I need to say about this photo.

1. My girlfriend wanted to take a photo of me standing next to the Christmas tree.  It's not a particularly large tree, but it's still a Christmas tree, so I expected it to be significantly larger than me.  It wasn't, and I felt very self-conscious standing next to an object that's supposed to be large when I am both taller and wider.

2. I now weigh 303 pounds.  For a 25 year old guy with a family history of diabetes that goes back at least three consecutive generations, this is not good.  I've never been over 300 pounds before, but I love food and I tend to eat more when I'm depressed.  This just kind of snuck up on me.

3. It's too difficult to start a diet during the holidays, but I tend to do well when I set a goal with a defined starting point.  With that being said, as of New Year's Day, I am starting a diet.  No more recreational eating - just breakfast, lunch, and dinner with an appropriate amount of food for each.  No liquor, no beer, no soda - just water and coffee without sugar.

4. I promise, I'm not as mean or angry as I look in this photo.  I just think I look dumb when I smile.  Yes, I know I look dumb anyway, but trust me, it's worse when I'm smiling.

Oct 31, 2005

Pumpkin Thieving Corgi

Terry ran off with one of the gourds.

Oct 5, 2005

The Fallen Angel

After the ROH show on Sunday, I went to the merchandise table to get a t-shirt.  Christopher Daniels was there meeting with fans, and he took this photo with me.  I'm glad I had the chance to meet him - super nice dude!

Oct 4, 2005

Wiz Wit

Geno's Steaks
We stopped for cheesesteaks after the ROH show.  See that dopey shadow in the center?  That's me.

Oct 3, 2005

Kobashi Comes To Philadelphia

Ring Of Honor
PA National Guard Armory - Philadelphia, PA
Before last night, I had never watched a full Ring Of Honor show, let alone attended one.  However, when I learned that Kenta Kobashi would be wrestling in the main event of an upcoming show in Philadelphia, that was it, I had to be there.  It's the third and final match that Mr. Kobashi is wrestling in his first ever appearances in North America (the first was for World League Wrestling on September 24th, and the second was for Ring Of Honor in New York on Saturday).

The main event was excellent, but the entire show absolutely blew me away.  It captured everything that made the very best of ECW so special - great matches, well-developed characters, and storylines that don't insult the intelligence of the audience.

Here are the results of the show:

Sep 26, 2005

Fuzzy Ankle Biter

This is my friend and roommate, Terry.  The little guy will nip at your ankles until you get on the floor and wrestle with him.

Sep 25, 2005

A Day At The Zoo

Philadelphia Zoo
The Philadelphia Zoo opened in 1859 and is the first zoo in the country.  I missed out on my chance to come here back in the fifth grade, but better late than never.

Sep 15, 2005

To Paraphrase Aristotle, Life Is A Gas

Sally Field
Gidget (1965)
The first episode of Gidget premiered on ABC forty years ago today.

Sep 9, 2005

(e):Nos Lives

Playstation Picks
Sony Playstation (1995)
Ten years ago today, the Sony Playstation was released in the United States.  I was 15 years old at the time, and I had lied about my age to get a part time job after school working at a Burger King that wasn't far from my grandparents house.  I didn't save up enough to buy it on launch day, but I bought it before Christmas, and it came with this purple Playstation Picks disc.

It took a little while before I could afford to buy some games (the first of which, if memory serves, was Mortal Kombat 3), so this disc spent a lot of time in my Playstation.  It included videos of a bunch of early Playstation titles and playable demos for ESPN Extreme Games, Jumping Flash, Battle Arena Toshinden and Wipeout, each of which absolutely blew my mind.

Sep 6, 2005

Over My Head

Think Film (2004)
Interesting concept of time travel.  I respect that writer/director Shane Carruth wanted the dialogue to be scientifically accurate,  In his review for Esquire magazine, Mike D'Angelo said that "anybody who claims to fully understand what's going on in Primer after seeing it just once is either a savant or a liar".  He's not wrong - the dialogue in this was way over my head.  I'm not usually a fan of remakes, but I wouldn't mind seeing a version of this that's a little easier to follow.

Aug 30, 2005

Not As Bad As Everyone Says

Breaking Benjamin and Nickelback: All The Right Reasons
The Great Allentown Fair, Allentown PA - August 30, 2005
My friend's little sister won tickets to this show from a radio station contest.  It seems like it's gotten to be trendy to hate Nickelback.  I'm only vaguely familiar with their hits on the radio and they're not one of my favorite groups, but I don't get what all of the negativity is all about.  Seems like it's just people falling in line with social expectations.  They put on a good show.

Breaking Benjamin opened the show.  They're from Wilkes-Barre, so they always draw an enthusiastic crowd in NEPA.  Virtually everyone in attendance sang along with every word to Polyamorous

May 10, 2005

Ric Flair In Wilkes-Barre

WWE Monday Night Raw and Sunday Night Heat
Wachovia Arena - Wilkes-Barre, PA
I'm really glad that I went to this show.  I've been to a few wrestling events over the years, but I never got to see Ric Flair wrestle in person before last night.  It was originally scheduled to be a match between Christian and Flair, but "Captain Charisma" came out to say that Flair had to go through his "Problem Solver" Tyson Tomko first.  It was a fun match with lots of outside interference from Christian.  In true Nature Boy fashion, the "dirtiest player in the game" hit Tomko with a low blow and held onto his trunks to get the victory in what was a very fun match.

Before the live Raw show began, there were three matches that were filmed for Sunday Night Heat, which will air on Spike TV on May 15th, and each of them were pretty good.  The night began with Stevie Richards, the former leader of the Blue World Order in ECW, taking on the co-winner of WWE Tough Enough III, Matt Cappotelli.  It was a surprisingly good match with Stevie playing the heel and getting the victory with a roll up in which he held Cappotelli's tights.

Chris Masters came out next to make the Master Lock Challenge.  It was an open challenge to anyone in the locker room to allow themselves to be put into his full nelson, which he called the Master Lock.  If they managed to get free of the hold, they would win $5,000.  A man from the back took the challenge, and predictably, he did not succeed.

I managed to confuse everyone sitting around me for the second match.  Val Venis came out to wrestle against a guy who didn't get ring entrance or music.  This usually means the opponent is a jobber, but it was former ROH Tag Team Champion CM Punk, who has been regarded as one of the most talented wrestlers on the indy scene for years.  Punk had a lot of offense in the match, and even did a spot were Val Venis shook his hand in a show of respect, only to have Punk attack him immediately afterward when his back was turned.  I'm wondering if this was a tryout match for Punk, or if he might have already signed a contract with WWE.  If that's the case, I have a hunch that those same fans who looked at me like I was a weirdo who cheered who they saw as a random jobber will be telling the story about how they saw Punk before he became a WWE Superstar.

The final match on the Heat taping was one of my favorite wrestlers, William Regal taking on Antonio Thomas, who is one half of a new tag team called The Heart Throbs.  The newcomers made their television debut in a tag team match last month against Regal and Yoshihiro Tajiri, who were tag team champions at the time.  It makes sense to see the rookies working with an established veteran like Regal so that they can get some experience in front of big crowds and learn from one of the best performers in the business.  Regal won the match via disqualification when Antonio's tag team partner, Romeo Roselli, interfered in the match.

Monday Night Raw began with Triple H in the ring cutting a promo on Batista to challenge him for the World Heavyweight Title.  Batista mocked him by saying that he already defeated Triple H twice, and he doesn't deserve a title shot after being knocked out of the Gold Rush Tournament in the first round by Chris Benoit.

The first match of the night began with Muhammad Hassan coming to the ring with his henchman, Davari.  The two of them teamed up a few weeks ago at the WWE Backlash and lost to the team of Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels, and Hassan has been abusing Davari ever since.  Davari got on his knees to ask Hassan for forgiveness before standing up and challenging anyone in the locker room to a match as a way to prove himself to Hassan.  Chris Jericho accepted the challenge and defeated Davari with the Walls Of Jericho submission.  After the match, Hassan ran into the ring to attack Jericho and put him in the Camel Clutch before Shelton Benjamin, came into the ring to make the save.

The former WWE Tag Team Champions La Résistance were present for a lot of the show.  They seem like they're doing a storyline that will lead to the team splitting up and feuding with each other.  At this point, General Manager Eric Bischoff is having Sylvain Grenier and Robért Conway wrestle in singles matches against other opponents to find out which of the two is the better man.  The first of these had Grenier being squashed by Viscera, literally and figuratively.  After the match, the former King Mabel stole nachos off of a fan and then used them to sexually assault ring announcer Lilian Garcia.  I wish I was making this up, but if you saw the show, you know I'm not.  The second of these matches saw Conway lose in a non-title match to Intercontinental ChampionShelton Benjamin.  It was a longer match, so I guess that means that Conway sucks less than Grenier.  After the match, Hassan and Davari came out to attack Benjamin on the entrance ramp, so we're sure to get an IC Title feud between Hassan and Benjamin soon.

The Gold Rush Tournament started off with a bang last week.  The first round match between Shawn Michaels and Shelton Benjamin was one of the best matches I've watched in a long time, and it ended with a phenomenal HBK superkick with Benjamin in mid-air from a springboard off of the ropes.  The semi-final matches that took place in Wilkes-Barre weren't as phenomenal as that, but they were pretty great in their own right.

The first of the two Semi-Final matches in the Gold Rush Tournament was between a former WWF Champion, Kane,  and a former WCW Champion and World Heavyweight ChampionChris Benoit.  Kane came to the ring with his "wife" Lita, who was walking on a crutch.  Toward the end of the match, Lita was knocked into the wall.  Benoit checked on her, and Kane attacked him from behind.  About a minute later, Kane blocked an attempted crippler crossface and chokeslammed Benoit for the win.

The second Semi-Final match was the main event of the show.  One of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, Shawn Michaels, took on the winner of the Money-In-The-Bank briefcase at Wrestlemania 21, Edge.  It was a fantastic match that went about 10 minutes and ended with Edge smacking HBK in the head with the briefcase to get the pinfall victory.  He will go on to wrestle Kane in the finals to determine the tournament winner and the #1 contender to face Batista for the title.

Speaking of Batista, there was a dark match after the live broadcast of Monday Night Raw went off the air.  The World Heavyweight Champion wrestled Muhammad Hassan and Daivari in a handicap match.  It ended when Hassan left the arena and abandoned his partner in the ring.  Batista hit Davari with a powerbomb and pinned him to win the match.  Afterward, the champ walked around the ring to shake hands, sign autographs, and pose with the championship belt with fans.

There were a few other segments during the night.  The longest of them was an interview in the ring with Stacy Keibler to promote her appearance on the cover of the upcoming issue of Stuff Magazine.  They showed some of the pictures from the magazine on the Titan Tron, and Stacy revealed that she was wearing the same underwear from the photo shoot tonight.  They teased having her unzip the front of her skirt to show the crowd, but she was interrupted by Simon Dean and Maven, who came to the ring to make fun of the audience and to promote the Simon System weight loss milkshakes.  This ended when the two heels tried to force Stacy to drink the milkshake, which prompted the World Tag Team Champions, The Hurricane and Rosey (formerly Matt E. Smalls of the Samoan Gangsters in WXW here in Hazleton), to run in and make the save.

Here are the full match results of the night:

Singles MatchStevie Richards defeated Matt Cappotelli

Singles MatchVal Venis defeated CM Punk

Singles MatchWilliam Regal defeated Antonio Thomas

Singles MatchChris Jericho defeated Khosrow Daivari

Singles MatchViscera defeated Sylvain Grenier

Gold Rush Tournament
Kane defeated Chris Benoit

Singles MatchRic Flair defeated Tyson Tomko

Singles MatchShelton Benjamin defeated Robért Conway

Gold Rush Tournament
Edge defeated Shawn Michaels

Post Raw
Handicap Match
Batista defeated Muhammad Hassan and Khosrow Daivari