Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halloween with Heidi Steiner

Tonight, Resistance Pro presents "Rust in Peace," their annual Halloween themed show.  When you have a night at RPro and you add the fun of Halloween, complete with costumes on everyone, you get a whole lot of fun and an even more entertaining night than usual.
In honor of Halloween and RPro, I am presenting a full week of Halloween fun at RPro.  I sm starting with Heidi Steiner, an unsung hero of RPro.
You will find Heidi at most RPro shows, although you probably won't find her in the same spot twice.  She wears many hats and performs many duties at RPro.  The folks at RPro know how valuable she is and what she brings to the company, but the fans do not necessarily know a lot about her.
She is the mom of Scottie Steiner, another unsung hero at RPro (and one you will see here later this week).  She connected with RPro through the Thompson family and she has been around from the beginning.  Whether she is selling raffle tickets, working a table, helping with security or anything else, Heidi is always doing it with her usual style.  She is one of a kind and an asset to RPro.  She is another I am proud to call friend.  
Heidi Steiner and me in Willowbrook, IL-October 2013.

Friday, October 24, 2014

On the Beat with Resistance Pro's "Practice What You Preach"

At last month's "Practice What You Preach," Resistance Pro put on another great night of wrestling.  We got a handful of interesting interviews, as well.
Eric St. Vaughn and Brady Pierce of Body Magic took home the tag team gold.  We have supported ESV from his debut and this interview was well worth the wait.  Cameos by various RPro people and assorted other fun, make this one of my favorite interviews of all time.
I have to give Special Correspondent Jonathan McMahon credit for nabbing D'Arcy Dixon, former RPro Women's champ.  D'Arcy has been rather elusive, but JMac got her or maybe she got him.  She really had himn squirming and that made this one of my favorite interviews, too.
The talent isn't the only thing of interest, however.  Some of the fans can be just as entertaining.  Such is the case with Dick Griffiths, aka Chain Male.
JMac was back on the beat with an update interview with Mike Bellcaster.  Since our last interview with Bellcaster, has has added "ring announcer" to his resume.  He has also added "dad," and we congratulate him and his lovely wife Nicole (aka the Merchandise Girl).
The next RPro show is "Rust in Peace," a Halloween themed night of fun.  Come out and join the gang on Saturday night.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Celebrity Jersey Cards #194 Jessie James & Adrienne Bailon

This is a regular series which attempts to combine my lifelong passion for trading cards with my semi-professional interest in celebrities.  It's starting to get cold, but at least football is heating up.

Making her second appearance on Celebrity Jersey Cards is singer Jessie James (aka Mrs. Eric Decker).  This time, she is repping Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jacksonville Jaguars.  She almost makes me like the Jags.
Adrienne Bailon was born in Manhattan, NY.  The former member of The Cheetah Girls has proven to be very versatile, with a resume that includes, singing, song-writing, dancing acting and more., She is sporting a Mark Sanchez jersey on her Celebrity Jersey Card, but we will not criticize her for that.  Actually, I won't criticize her for anything.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mike Carey Flashbacks to Fancypants

I first met Mike Carey at the Chicago debut of Fancypants.  I had the pleasure of interviewing him on the red carpet.
At Flashback Weekend, I almost literally ran into him.  He was there to meet some of his acting friends and others.  He is pretty recognizable, even though I am usually oblivious to random celebrity encounters.  I did see and recognize Carey, though.
Cuzz Gekas and I spent a few minutes talking to him.  Cuzz and Carey go back a bit, having known each other casually for a long while.  It was fun to talk to Carey as a fellow con fan, but one with an insider's view as well.
This is another example of how much fun Flashback Weekend is.  You never know who you might see there.  Some people even came over to me, happy to meet "the guy who is everywhere."  Clearly I am not a celeb, but it just shows you can meet all sorts of people there.
Mike Carey and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2014.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

We Pulled That Plane

Resistance Pro continues to prove that it is more than just a wrestling company.  They have a Positive Outreach Program (POP) where they touch the lives of today's youth.  They have fundraisers at schools.  They take part in many community events.
Last year, RPro joined a team of Special Olympians in the Plane Pull at O'Hare Airport.  I was out of town and had to miss it.  The team tried hard, but did not budge the plane.  More importantly though, they raised money and awareness!
When RPro announced their participation again this year, I jumped at the chance.  I promised to cover it, but hoped to be part of the actual pull.
I am proud to say that I was part of the 20 person team (half RPro and half Special Olympians).  I am even prouder to say we moved that plan a good 12 feet or so.
I love being a part of RPro.  I don't really care what my role is.  Just being a part of the special circle of friends is rewarding.  This is the most charitable, giving, caring group you could ever meet.  It isn't just the "workers" either.  Co-owners Jacques and Gabe Baron are right there with everyone, as are their respective families.  This is a group effort every single time.
I am proud to be a part of it and I am very happy to help spread the word on RPro!
RPro and the Special Olympians at O'Hare in Chicago, IL-September 2014.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Friendly Encounters: Matt Parker and Billy Corgan

This is a weekly series featuring my friends meeting celebrities.

Matt "Big Money" Parker has been a vital cog in the wheel.  He is the Contributor Extraordinaire for all he has done.  There would still be a Johngy's Beat without him, but most advances I have made have been with the assistance of Matt.
Matt has been particularly helpful in my efforts at Resistance Pro wrestling.  Along with his help, he has also been a bunch of fun.  Whether sucking up to Eric St. Vaughn (or getting chastised by ESV of late), poking Jocephus Brody or any other bits of his silliness, he always makes it a good time for me.
Making it a good time for all is Billy Corgan, music legend and Creative Director at RPro.  Corgan isn't a big name figure head.  He is the real deal, a "hands-on" leader, whose vision is sometimes questioned, but whose results are visible.  Corgan knows what he is doing and it is evident in the success of RPro.
Matt and Billy.  Two men I am proud to know.  More importantly, I am proud to call both friend.
Matt Parker and Billy Corgan in Willowbrook, IL-June 2014.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bear Down Sunday #7-The Miami Dolphins

The Chicago Bears are 3-3 after a big win against Atlanta.  Today they face the Miami Dolphins who are 2-3 after a close loss to Green Bay.
My old high school track teammate Tony Furjanic represents the Dolphins today, although I think he will be cheering for the Bears.  Tony finished his three year NFL career with the Dolphins in 1988.
Tony was a star athlete at Mount Carmel and he went on to star in football at Notre Dame.  Drafted by the Buffalo Bills, he played two seasons there and finished with Miami.
Tony was a stud player, an intelligent guy and a genuinely nice guy at MC.  A little known fact is that he was wearing my singlet for one of the varsity team pictures in the yearbook.  Yes, I remember that sort of stuff.
Many years later, I interviewed Tony for a stry on Global Traveler's website.  I am happy to report that he is just as nice as ever.  It was great seeing him.
I hope the Bears play with Tony's intelligence and determination.  I hope they come out a winner, just like he is.
Tony Furjanic and me in Mokena, IL-Spring 2012.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I Was Not in This Alone

My Marathon plan worked.  Early in my training, I put my goal on Facebook and announced that I was not alone in my Marathon comeback.  My goal was that putting it out there like that would hold me accountable, almost force me to train hard to finish the Marathon.
Never was my FB catchphrase more accurate than on Marathon weekend.  The outpouring of well wishes via texts, FB messages, videos, pictures, calls etc. overwhelmed me.  I took all of that support with me as I plodded along the 26.2 mile course.
Speaking of that course, several members of my family and friends busted their butts and met me at many spots along the way.  Seeing these familiar faces and hearing them encourage me helped me block out the pain and move onward.
Having this sort of support is very powerful.  It is uplifting and moving.  It is the greatest feeling in the world.  Yes, it is even better than the feeling of crossing that Finish Line.  However, crossing that Finish Line with them there is just the best.
I can never express my gratitude and love enough.  At least I am publicly putting it out here and telling the world that I have the best friends and family.
I was not alone in this...and I am never alone!  Love you all.
Nancy, Kyle, me, Lou, Sam, Scott and Jean in Chicago, IL-October 2014.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sam (and I) Did a Marathon!

About a year ago, my niece Sam proposed the idea of running a Marathon together.  I had not run one since 2001 and planned to be done running them, but the thought of doing one with Sam was enough to get me to change that plan.
Last Sunday, we both finished the Marathon.  Sam's time was 5:15 and mine was 6:31.  All things considered, I was very happy with my time, but this wasn't really about that.
This one was a year long journey with Sam.  We exchanged texts, emails, FB messages along the way.  I really enjoyed the banter, encouragement and silliness.  I loved going through the whole process with her on Marathon weekend.
I am so proud of Sam.  She is one tough young lady.  She endured some leg cramps and the usual (mental and physical) Marathon fatigue, but she kept running.  Knowing that she was running certainly helped keep me running.  The experience was great, but both of us finishing would be the capper.
I will never forget hugging her as we met post-race.  It was one of those moments frozen in time.  I will always have that special moment with Sam.
Congratulations to Sam.  She earned it and deserves all of the applause!  I was just glad to be there for the ride (or run).
Sam Parker and me in Chicago, IL-October 2014.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Celebrity Jersey Cards #193 Robbie Gould & Garry Meier

This is a regular feature which attempts to combine my lifelong passion for baseball cards with my semi-professional interest in celebrities.  The Blackhawks are back!

Robbie Gould has been good as gold for the Bears for several years.  He is one of the best kickers of all time.  He even tried kicking the puck into the goal (as depicted here on his Celebrity Jersey Card).  I applaud him for sticking with his strengths!
Way back in the day, few people probably thought Garry Meier would have a longer radio career than his one time partner Steve Dahl.  Meier is entertaining listeners on WGN, a station he once mocked.  We are all entitled to change.  Meier's Celebrity Jersey Card features a license plate, a first for such cards!