Friday, July 25, 2014

On the Beat with Jori Parys of the Chicago Bliss-07/12/2014

Chicago Bliss rookie Jori Parys is a versatile talent and I am not just talking about football.  Jori has a budding musical career, having performed many times, including singing the National Anthem at a Bliss game.
The youngest member of the Bliss, Jori has shown her maturity in her patience as she learned the Bliss system.  Listed as a lineman, she has appeared in one game, rushing for five yards on her only carry.
When she is not donning the pads for the Bliss, she can be found honing her musical skills.  You can hear some of her songs (and download them) on  I have listened to all of her songs and right now, I think "Favorite Hello" would be my favorite, although I seem to flip-flop.  They are all excellent and I have them in my iPod.
Getting to know Jori and to learn about her music has been a real pleasure.  Big things are ahead for this young talent.  Jump on the Jori bandwagon now and enjoy the full experience.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Teens 2 Teens Update Featuring Mike Matheny

It has been a while since I wrote about Teens2Teens, a wonderful organization dedicated to helping struggling teens. Teens 2 Teens is all about forging friendships and guiding teenagers through the rough patches they face.  
I first heard of Teens 2 Teens through John Schenk, who was in his teens at the time, but had already started making a difference in the lives of other teens.  I have had the pleasure of watching it grow from an idea to a full-fledged reality and beyond.
John's journey to this point actually began in the fifth grade.  His sister had a kidney transplant and John, wanting to do his part to raise money, started an online business selling sports memorabilia.  John learned a lot about business and met a lot of great athletes and contacts.  Unfortunately, this did not help John when he was lost in despair upon entering high school.
John's story could have taken a tragic turn right there.  Through the grace of God, with intense therapy and the interaction in a youth group, John emerged a strong person with a mission.  In his words, he wants to give others in need the opportunity "to take part in a community of faith and encouragement."
This story impacted me greatly.  John had made a friend and supporter for life.  Like a lot of others, I struggled as a teen.  I wish T2T had been an option for me.  More important, I am glad it is an option for teens today.  I have been more than happy to help spread the word on this great organization.
Recently, John contacted me and gave me an update.  Things are going very well with Teens to Teens.  T2T is growing and that means more teens are being reached.
John told me about a new T2T project.  In his words, "We've recently started a video series, which will aim at offering hope and inspiration to teens who are suffering. Mike Matheny was kind enough to be the keynote speaker at our gala (Winter Gala at Ambruster Great Hall) this past January, so during the evening we sat down and put together a brief interview with him."
Currently the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, Matheny retired after 13 seasons as a major league catcher.  His playing career was cut short due to a concussion.  I always liked and respected Matheny and now even more so!
Matheny's interview can be found at, specifically at Mike Matheny's Testimonial.  While you are there, check out all of the other great work that Teens 2 Teens is doing.  I am no longer a teen in need, but there are plenty of interesting things, inspirational bits, lessons to be learned and more at Teens2Teens.  They are making a difference.
Mike Matheny and John Schenk in St. Louis, MO-January 2014.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On the Beat with Michael West at Days of the Dead Indy 2014

Author Michael West is a staple at conventions.  We continued that trend at the recent Days of the Dead convention.
West was promoting Hades Disciples, his newest book and the second in the Legacy of the Gods series (Poseidon's Children was the first).  West describes the series as multi-genre, consisting of dark fantasy, horror, sci-fi and more.  It sounds interesting to me.  I am not just a fan here.  I bought my copy and will be reporting back here in the near future.
Aside from the usual questions about his current and future projects, I had a little fun with West.  I asked him about his weapon of choice, as well as what scares him.  His answers surprised me just a bit.
I really like West.  He is friendly and forthcoming with info.  He is interested in promoting his work, without being obnoxious.  He is the perfect con guest and interview subject.  I will always go to him for an update interview (and no, that is not what scares him the most).
After you watch the interview, check out and the Michael West Facebook page and follow Michael West on twitter.  You can also look forward to more West interviews here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On the Beat with Resistance Pro Wrestling at "Deliverance"

Resistance Pro's "Deliverance" was another great night of entertainment.  As usual, was there to enjoy the evening, but also to record some fun interviews with the stars at R Pro.
I started the night by interviewing C Red.  Despite being the successful manager of da Soul Touchaz and one of the fascinating R Pro broadcasters, this interview focused mostly on R Pro's Positive Outreach Program" (POP).  C Red discussed the origin, growth and future of POP.
We finally got Lucy Mendez back for an interview.  Recently voted "The sexiest Female Wrestler in the Midwest," Mendez discussed that award, her love of the St. Louis Cardinals and more in this fun exchange.'s Special Correspondent Jonathan McMahon took the interview spot by landing Jake O'Neill.  This, too, focused mainly on the POP program.  O'Neill also talked about his future in R Pro.
The Slobberknockers have been part of R Pro in various roles since the beginning.  They finally got a shot in the ring (against the tag team champs, no less) and we talked to them immediately after their match.  This is emotional, inspirational and fun.
Andy Derer of The Andy Derer Show is a fan of R Pro and a frequent visitor.  We talked to Derer about his work, his interest in R Pro and more.
Justin King was not scheduled for an interview, but that did not stop him from making his presence felt here.  King interrupted a conversation between Dere and me and also an interview with returning ESV superfan Matt Parker.  King is angry and he let us know about it.
Speaking of ESV superfan, ESV himself (Eric St. Vaughn) took Matt to task over his lack of support over the last several months.  ESV demands a lot of himself and those around him.
This is just a slice of the fun I had at R Pro at "Deliverance."  Next Friday, I am heading out to "Mob Rules" to get more interviews and have more fun.  Sat tuned to the Resistance Facebook page and the Resistance playlist on YouTube for all future R Pro interviews.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Friendly Encounters: Eugene Cresto and Burt Young

This is a weekly series featuring my friends meeting celebrities.

This one just kills me.  Eugene Cresto and I have similar goals and mindsets about meeting celebrities.  We have crossed paths many times at various events.  It's always good to see Eugene.
About the only time I was not happy to see him was when I kept seeing pictures of him on Facebook at this year's Motor City Comic Con.  I was supposed to be there, but work obligations kept from attending.
One after the other, new cool pictures of Eugene and various celebrities kept appearing in my newsfeed.  I was happy for him being there and slightly envious, of course.
Then I saw the picture that really hurt.  Eugene and Burt Young.  Burt Young is one of a few actors to appear in all of the Rocky movies.  His "Paulie" character is legendary.  Of all of the stars at the MCCC, Young was the one who I really wanted to meet and there was Eugene posing with him.
Ouch that hurt.
Don't get me wrong.  I am glad he got to meet everyone there.  As I wrote, he is a good guy.  If it was a faraway con, I wouldn't have cared.  It wasn't though.  This was MCCC, a con about 4 hours from my home.  I have gone 6 straight years.
So why am I even putting this on my site?  Why am I preserving it to be seen any time on my site?  I guess since I could not meet Young, I have to just live vicariously through Eugene.
Thanks bud!
Eugene Cresto and Burt Young in Novi, MI-May 2014.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

On the Beat with Jessica Peyton of the Green Bay Chill

Green Bay has had some great quarterbacks over the years.  Players like Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers have been leading the Packers to victories throughout my life.  Besides Rodgers, Green Bay has another great active quarterback.
Jessica Peyton is one of the star quarterbacks in the Legends Football League.  Despite the Chills record, Peyton has earned the respect of everyone watching, including me.
I had the chance to speak with Peyton prior to last week's game against the Chicago Bliss.  Everyone knew the matchup was a mismatch, as the Bliss was clearly the better team, but Peyton showed class and poise as we discussed the game and her career.  You can't ask for more from any player.
As I previously wrote about Chill Coach Gilbert Brown, the team cannot be blamed for the situation.  The LFL has had some bumps this season and the Chill have not been able to get on track.  In a better system, with Coach Brown and players like Peyton, things would be different.  Green Bay/Milwaukee could definitely embrace this team, if given a fair shot.
I really appreciate Peyton taking time to talk to this Chicago reporter.  On a night when the Chill just wanted to play and give their fans a good showing, Peyton was kind enough to give us an excellent interview.  Thank you, Ms. Peyton and I hope 2015 is better for you and the Chill.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Celebrity Jersey Cards #183 Vida Guerra & Velvet Sky

This is a regular series which tries to combine my lifelong passion for baseball cards with my semi-professional interest in celebrities.  Since it is easy to hate the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees, I am giving two reasons to like both teams.

Born in Cuba, raised in New Jersey, model-actress Vida Guerra recently cracked the top ten list of celebrity female searches on the internet.  I have no problem jumping on her bandwagon.  Ideally, we would ride together on that bandwagon (hey, I can dream).  Guerra gets extra points (although she doesn't need them) for also sporting the Dodgers cap on her Celebrity Jersey Card.  The shades tucked into her jersey also are a nice touch.
Jamie Lynn Szantyr is better known by her in-ring name of Velvet Sky.  She was born in Connecticut and stays true to her roots by wearing a Yankees jersey for this appearance on a Celebrity Jersey Card.  Velvet has appeared here before (and hopefully she will appear here again)  Hideki Matsui's jersey never looked better.

Friday, July 18, 2014

On the Beat with Hardcore Heather Owens at Days of the Dead Indy 2014

As I meandered my way through Days of the Dead, I ran into Hardcore Heather Owens.  Technically, it wasn't merely an accident, since I knew she would be there, but we did actually cross paths without planning it.
The last time I saw Hardcore Heather, she was in a three-way wrestling match with Thunderkitty and Crazy Mary Dobson at Resistance Pro.  The match was for the #1 contender to the R Pro Women's title currently held by Mickie Knuckles.  Unfortunately for Heather, she came out on the losing end.  She discusses that match and her future in R Pro in the interview below.
Heather talked about who she wanted to meet at Days and I rubbed it in a bit, because I already met that person.  That is just part of the fun at Days.
I also learned a bit about Ribbin' on the Square, the podcast she does with Eddie Gonzalez.  They talk wrestling and horror and other fun stuff, too.  With Heather as the co-pilot, you never know where it will go, but it will always be fun.
You can check out Ribbin' on the Square at every Tuesday at 10 pm EST.  You can also get updates from the Heather Owens page on Facebook and by following Heather Owens on twitter.  Of course, you can also come to Resistance Pro and watch her work her magic inside the ring!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

On the Beat with Green Bay Chill Head Coach Gilbert Brown

The Chicago Bliss beat the Green Bay Chill 32-7 to finish their regular season undefeated at 3-0-1.  Unfortunately for the Chill, they finished 0-3.  At this time, I am not sure if there will be another game for the Chill this season.
The Chill is coached by Gilbert Brown, an excellent player for the Green Bay Packers a few years back.  Brown played defensive tackle for the Pack from 1993 to 2003.  He was quite popular in Green Bay and was a good choice as the Chill coach.
Chicago fans were not all that enamored with Brown.  Oh sure, we respected him begrudgingly.  The man played in 125 games for the Packers, but he was always a thorn in the sides of the Bears.  In 1996, he was a starter for all 16 games, as the Packers went on to win the Super Bowl.  A few hours south, the Bears struggled through the 90's.
Thanks to Chicago Bliss Head Coach Keith Hac, I had the chance to talk to Coach Brown prior to the Chill's game versus the Bliss.  Brown was very agreeable and it was a fun exchange.
I respected (and liked) Brown as a player.  I also respect him as a coach.  The Chill have endured a tough season, including a quick move to Milwaukee just prior to the season.  Brown has kept the team together and has done an excellent job, all things considered, despite the Chill's 0-3 record.
The LFL is a league unlike all others.  There are a lot of factors that played into the Chill's 0-3 season.  The main thing to remember is that Borwn supported his team, acted with class and kept his sense of humor.  In the end, these are the things that count and these are the things I respect.
Even opposing coach Hac said nice things about Brown.  They have a competitive friendship and clearly respect each other.  It is very cool to see.
I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.  Just meeting Brown was cool, but talking to him and goofing a bit with him, really will make this one memorable for me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On the Beat with Chicago Bliss Head Coach at Game #4

Last Saturday, the Chicago Bliss crossed the northern border of Illinois to face the Green Bay Chill in Milwaukee, WI.  The Green Bay-Chicago rivalry is legendary in football and this LFL matchup certainly did its part to continue that, with the Bliss winning 32-7.
Prior to and right after the game, we spoke to Chicago Bliss Head Coach Keith Hac.  Hac was his usual candid self in both parts of the double-interview.
During the first part, Hac predicted the score.  Between that and the second interview, the Coach Ryan Andrews, Coach John Witte,'s Jack Keenan and I all made our score predictions.  I guessed 28-7.  Not too bad, but not good enough to win the prediction battle.
It looks like Jack might be getting ribbed for a long time about his score prediction.  Coach Hac starts it right during the interview.
I hope you enjoy this interview two-fer as much as I did (and more than Jack probably does).  Stay tuned to for more coverage tomorrow.
The Bliss finished their season undefeated at 3-0-1.  Their next stop is a playoff game in Los Angeles against an opponent to be determined.  Stay tuned as Bliss coverage continues all the way to the championship.