Saturday, June 29, 2013

Reality TV Is Naked And Afraid

First contestants on Discovery Channel's Naked and Afraid.
Just when I think reality tv has covered every angle of every subset of the population, I get a shocking nudge that there is so much more to gawk at.

Discovery Channel's latest is called Naked and Afraid.  The premise of the show is that 2 people, one man and one woman, are dropped in the middle of ridiculously harsh conditions to survive on their own for 21 days. No food, no water and dear beejeebuz, no clothes. And the prize? The prize is nothing more than bragging rights.

The first episode featured Shane and Kim, both fit and full of wilderness knowledge. I know I mentioned it before, but these people are naked. Not even a pair of flip flops.  This makes watching it a bit of a challenge. You do see hiney shots and Kim made herself a snazzy little leafy number so there wasn't a lot of pixelation.

After a few days, these two strangers became a bitter divorced couple forced to spend time together. Shane became incredibly angry as the time went on, upset that he had to do everything. A burden he placed on himself. He can be seen muttering and planning the destruction of the Discovery Channel as the days went on.

Kim seemed to take more of a hippy stance on her situation. Well, until she broke down in a crazy sobbing fit, which proved Shane's point that girls are useless except for making sammiches and babies.  Near the end of their stay, Kim captures and kills a turtle for their dinner and makes the mistake of eating all the turtle organs. Yuck. This results in a horrible bout of turtle food poisoning, which again sends Shane into a rage that he is man roooarrr and man must do everything rooooaarrr.

Watching the show, the same thought went through my mind over and over and can they do this without shoes? How are they not stepping on spiders. The other thought was if the program was on a time delay like Sky Wire, because I was certain that the monkeys were going to swing down from the trees and eat their brains.

I'm not sure what this says or doesn't say about me, but I have never had the desire to test myself in such away. I have no desire to spend 21 days in the jungle to see if I could survive.

I'm intrigued enough in the concept of Naked and Afraid that I will watch again from the safety of my living room.

 On a side note, if you want to google info on the program, do not, I repeat, do not do a google search of Naked and Afraid.

Just. Don't.

Monday, June 17, 2013

So, You Wanna Be A Cleveland Fan?

Years ago, my google fu lead me to a great website called Anything you wanna do, there is a page. You wanna learn to tie a tie? Got it. You wanna cure a hangover or speak in an Irish accent? They have you covered.

My recent experiences in the Indians bleachers is leading me to the fact we need one for Cleveland fans.  Some information is not being passed down to the younger generation.

So friends, you wanna be a Cleveland fan? Here is how...

We all know that fan is short for fanatic. Clevelanders are crazy for their teams. One way to show your love or exasperation is with banners. Be smart, be funny, be witty.

If you don't have a spare sheet in the closet to make a banner, a sign will be fine. Show your favorite player and the world that Cleveland can do more than cry in a heaping, heaving pile of angry f bombs.

Don't be afraid to let your fan flag fly. One fine Sunday morning in Indianapolis, I came to Scotty's Brewhouse to find a Browns pennant above my favorite perch.  Be proud. I have yet to find a bandwagon Cleveland fan. People respect that. Or fear it. Whatever.

Share your love of the game with friends and family. If kids are raised right, they will never turn to the dark side, otherwise known as Pittsburgh. 

Cheer for your team. Be crazy and sing along to take me out to the ballgame or Hang On Sloopy. Yes, yes, I know, this is Peyton Manning singing Rocky Top, but I lived in Tennessee when this photo was taken. I'm not made of stone people. Anything to bring the fans together is a good thing.

Support all the teams. You may be a Browns/Cavs/Indians fan first and foremost in your heart, but represent the city.  We are one big dysfunctional family. Embrace it.

Let's be very clear. Chucking beer bottles, car batteries or popcorn tubs on to the field of play is not cool. Do you hear me? Not. Cool. Don't do it. Resist the urge.

Heckling players is fine. They get paid millions of dollars to play the game and take the lumps for their decisions on and off the court. Threatening and cursing however, is not fine. Don't call LeFoolio "Queen James." That is offensive to fabulous gay men everywhere. Don't attack his momma, his kids or his girlfriend. LeFloppio, LeFoolio, LeQuit, the options are endless. Use your imagination. Don't offend anyone else in your bid to irritate a player.

When wearing your jersey in an opposing house, be respectful if for no other reason than 30,000 to 1 is not great set of odds.

Support your favorite player and be cool with fans that support the underdog. As long as they play for Cleveland, nod approvingly and move on. It is only a matter of time before Matty LaPorta gets his mojo back.


When Cleveland players are up for any awards, support them with everything that you have. You might be rewarded for your efforts...

We are all in this together. Don't be a D to other fans. Don't put your feet on their seat. Also, if you are going to chew tobbacy, don't put your spit cup next to someone else. That's just gross. We aren't animals. Let's be civilized peeps.

Cleveland fans are a special lot. We are bound together by our love of our teams, the sports and the city. And let's face it, we are a pretty Bro-tastic group.

 And, pretty darn fun.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Package Tour Hits Cleveland

My pegged jeans for the show. I wish this would come back.
I was never a New Kids on the Block fanatic. I was in college when they were at their peak, and more a fan of Boyz II Men, so I never had the posters, lunchboxes, dolls or fanny packs...ahem.

But when a friend asked if I wanted to go, I agreed, hopeful for a fun night out and maybe to relive a little of my youth. That, dear readers, was what I got.

The crowd was predominantly female, with few, and by few I think 12, men in the audience. The fans either tried to replicated the 90s styles, like me and my pegged jeans (I would have killed for some Z. Cacariccis),  or they tried to show the bands how grown up they are. Lots of wobbly legs in high heels.

The show started off with Boyz II Men.
Boyz II Men thrilling the ladies.
These guys can still kill it. Great songs, lots of confetti and fog machines, but it was cool. This was when the screaming started. The stage went from one end of the Q, down a walkway through the crowd to a stage in the round. It was pretty cool, but oh my goodness the ladies were losing their minds.

I suspected this might be a pattern.

98 Degrees. I was only looking for Nick Lachey.
The show ran pretty tight. Once Boyz II Men was off it was only a short time later that 98 degrees popped up. I give the acts and their crews credit. I remember the old days of an hour between an opening act and the main group. They must have kept their core demographic in mind, realizing we all had families, kids and work to get back to.

I'm not going to front here. I was never a 98 Degrees fan, and I only realized the wonder of Nick Lachey when he was married to Jessica Simpson. The man was gorgeous and watching him sing, I had no urge to mock or argue that he is a Bengals fan. No sir.

The Main Deal
I admit it. The New Kids on the Block had the right stuff (see what I did there? I know...). The band is grown up, and I like them better this way. When I heard they were playing for 2 hours, I was worried it was going to be full of b sides sending me to the bar to wait it out. Thankfully, they did medleys and covers of songs that they enjoyed.

Highlights of the show included Marky Mark's big brother Donnie full on making out with a super fan and then, I swear to all that is good and true in the world, he took off his tank top and threw it into the crowd. This resulted in a full on Black Friday type of beat down between two women - slapping each other silly to get that sweaty shirt.

There was a tribute to Boston that I wish I could have shared with you. It was about this time that my camera battery completely croaked and I only blame Verizon and HTC. It was fully loaded when I entered the building.

If there was one thing that I noticed, it was that the guys on stage and the ladies in the audience were there to have fun. No worrying about the mortgage or babysitter, it was just fun. I think Donnie over all the guys had the best time. Every time the camera panned over to him, he had a grin on his face that showed you he was having the time of his life.

It was a great night of just plain ol' fun. No pained political messages or socioeconomic tirades. Just a fantastic night of music and dance and smoke machines and a little bit of lasery.

Did you go to the show? Leave me a comment about it!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Winter Soldier of My Discontent

I love Cleveland.

I love superhero movies.

I love superhero movies in Cleveland.

I do not love super-sized traffic snarls caused by superhero movie shooting.

I understand the positive economic impact on the city and the general positive publicity the movie provides.  I get it. I promise I do. But with my commute stretched to 2 hours each way, I have to tell you, at this very moment, I do not give a star spangled fuzzy rat butt about Captain America. And I know that some guy in Cleveland Heights plopped down on his barcalounger in his underpants, one fist shaking at the Heat/Spurs game and the other one at me, but I don't care.

This commute is going to be the death of me, or at the very least cause my eye to pop out in a rage. No matter which way I go around town, there is something blocking me. There have been so many accidents and disabled semis, I envision abandoning my car and just walking back to Brunstucky.


Yes, I am grateful that a movie is being filmed in Cleveland. Yes, some businesses are doing awesome things for commuters. Yes, I should just roll with it. But I swear to all that is warm and fuzzy in this world that I can't take this commute much longer.

yoinked from

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Book Club - Heads In Beds

Boy reading Captain America, 1942 Life Magazine. Photo: Hugh Morton.
The best thing about my own book club is I get to pick the books. If I start reading a book and it is awful, I can stop and move on to another. I can not emphasis enough how much I enjoy being able to drop a book instead of muddle through it, only to have everyone complain how dreadful it is over some two buck chuck.

If there is one thing I can promise you, it is I will not recommend a clunker of a book. Ain't nobody got time for that. I have started a few books, digging a few chapters in only to drop it like a hammer and click on to the next.

As a past server/bartender/restaurant manager, I'm always looking for stories similar to my own. If you have worked in the hospitality industry in any form for at least a year, you have earned membership into an elite fraternity. And, yes, it is a fraternity, because sorority girls don't swear that much. The hours are ridiculous, the co-workers are something out of a 1995 Jerry Springer special and the customers are at times unbearable.

But for some reason, we all get sucked in.

After reading Jacob Tomsky's book, "Heads in Beds - A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality,"  I feel like I know him.  A ten year veteran of the hotel business, Tomsky walks you through his experience, how he went from valet to the front desk, while dropping nuggets of insidery goodness along the way. Between dealing with anxious sales folks screaming to "get heads in beds" or they will all end up in Godforsaken Cleveland (ha), and guests of every questionable ilk, there is a delicate balance of service and shenanigans.

Tomsky offers advice on how to score off the mini bar and how to get a free in room movie in a way that Anthony Bourdain would approve of. This guy is quick-witted, honest, hilarious and a bit of a hustler.  After reading "Kitchen Confidential",  I would never dream of ordering seafood on a Monday and now, after "Heads in Beds" I will never drink out of another hotel room glass again. Ever.

The book is full of hints and tips on how to behave as a guest (always have a breath mint), and how not to behave (don't bring up the beautiful weather to people stuck inside all day - preach on brother) while taking you on a journey of the hardening of his soul; an inevitable event that happens over time reigned over by bad bosses and 14 hour days. 

Tomsky drops some dirty words, so the book isn't for the kiddies unless you want to explain what on earth one guest would do to himself with the special contents of his shopping bag.  


"Heads in Beds" is an entertaining read that will change the way you think about hotels and the people that occupy them.

After you read it, leave me a comment and tell me what you think. Have you ever wanted to rain paperwork over your boss' head?