Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Birthday Jim

Jimmy Gekas and I were the bags champions of our 2014 Boys of Summer trip.  Not only were we champs, we were undefeated against three other opponents.  That is dominance.
I could not have asked for a better bags partner, just like I could not ask for a better friend.  I am lucky and proud to have Jim as one of my closest friends.
He is one of the nicest guys you would ever meet, but he is also capable of tossing out some biting sarcasm which will bring you to your knees.
Today, I dedicated Johngy's Beat to Jim, because it is his birthday!  Happy birthday, my friend.
Jim Gekas and me in Milwaukee, WI-September 2014.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Kurt Dinse Does Pungent Well

Who wouldn't like a little Pungent Basement Art?  I love that name.  It happens to be the name of artist Kurt Dinse's website.
I met Dinse a few years back at Days of the Dead and have caught p with him at many Days cons since then.  Dinse always has time for a quick update or even an interview with Johngy's Beat interns (which can be found at On the Beat with Kurt Dinse)
Dinse's creativity shows in his monster cards, posters and other twisted stuff.  His take on the Blackhawks logo is one of my favorites.  He also does custom work.  Hmm maybe a Pungent Basement Johngy?  I'm going to have to talk to him about that.
In the meantime, check out PungentBasementArt to learn more about him and to see his cool work.  Join me in supporting talented artists like Dinse.
Kurt Dinse and me in Schaumburg, IL-November 2014.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Reby Sky and Me (Oh and Matt Hardy, Too)

Did Matt Hardy have to ruin this great picture of Reby Sky and myself?  Couldn't he have just stayed behind?  He is married to her and shouldn't need to be with her every second.
Okay, I am only half-serious (maybe 60% at the most).  Hardy is a much-accomplished pro wrestler who married Reby, his long-time girlfriend.  Reby is a multi-talented performer (dancer, model, wrestler and more).
The couple was appearing together at Great Lakes Championship Wrestling's (GLCW) Blizzard Brawl.  Much like at an earlier Resistance Pro show, I wanted to get a picture with Reby, but it appeared to be a combo deal (at best).  By that I mean I think I could have gotten Hardy alone, but not sure about Reby.
Truthfully, this has more to do with respect for Hardy.  He is the main attraction.  If taking one picture, it would be hard to ask for Reby alone, without Hardy.  I am sure someone asked for Reby alone, but I did not witness anyone.
It isn't really a big deal.  Hardy was pretty cool and Reby was as sweet as she was cute.  At least I was able to get between them (for the photo).  Hmm...maybe I can crop out Hardy.  Then I would be alone with the divine Reby (at least in the picture)!
Matt Hardy, Reby Sky and me in Waukesha, WI-December 2013.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hanging With RAK and His Super Freeks


 I have written many times about talented graphic artist Robert A. Kraus (or RAK).  RAK's Super Freeks caught my eye several years ago and I keep checking out his new stuff at every convention.
His Super Freeks line consists of every genre imaginable.  He has put his unique spin on musicians, athletes, wrestlers, Superheros and more.  He even created a "Johngy" for me.  They are all super cool.  If I could, I would have a whole wall of Super Freeks.
I probably drive him crazy with my constant suggestions or requests at conventions.  Then again, at least I am showing great interest in his work.  His booth is always very busy, which means a lot of people are interested in his work.
His work isn't just limited to Super Freeks (although that would be enough for me).  He also has a ton of other great artwork.
If you ever see him at a convention, check out his stuff.  In the meantime, for more info on RAK and his creations, check out www.RAKGraphics.com.
RAK and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2014.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Celebrity Jersey Cards #201 Jimmy Buffett & Jimmy Buffett

This is a regular feature which attempts to combine my life long passion for baseball cards with my semi-professional interest in celebrities.  Today I am celebrating Jimmy Buffett, then and now.

Jimmy Buffett was born in Mississippi and raised in Alabama.  Both states are without a major pro sports team.  Buffett's laid back music works well in a city like New Orleans.  I'll say his #22 is for former defensive back Fred Thomas, although I am probably way off.  In a Celebrity Jersey Card time warp, this card was released before the Saints were even in existence.  My cards, my rules.
 A much younger Jimmy Buffett is scene wearing a Miami Dolphins jersey on this alternative Celebrity Jersey Card.  This early wearing of a #22 jersey indicated that the #22 might be a personal thing for Buffett.  Still, I will recall Mercury Morris, a great #22 from that era.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

C Red and Resistance Pro's Positive Outreach Program (POP)

I have written many times about Resistance Pro's Positive Outreach Program (POP), but a cause as good as this deserves every bit of exposure it gets.  I am honored to help spread the word.
POP is supported by RPro owners Jacques and Gabe Baron.  They also participate in all POP events, as do many members of the RPro organization, from wrestlers to staffers.  POP is definitely a company-wide passion, but the man behind it all is C Red.
He already was a director, manager, broadcaster and wrestler, when he added POP to his full plate.  Despite juggling all of these roles, C Red never complains and always smiles.  That's because he is doing what he loves and he is setting the example for the rest of us.
POP was given life through C Red's vision and hard work.  It has grown because of those same qualities.  Oh sure, we all pitch in, but C Red is the driving force.
I chose to feature POP in my second article for Tru School Sports, because aside from the wrestling, it is the most important part of RPro.  In many ways, it is even more important than the wrestling.
That article can be found at on TSS at Resistance Pro's Positive Outreach Program.  I hope you all read it and learn a bit more about C Red and POP.  I am lucky to know such fine people as C Red and to be involved in something so great as POP.
C Red and me in Merrionette Park, IL-July 2013.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bear Down Monday Game 14 New Orleans Saints

The Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints are playing this evening.  Both teams are 5-8 and the best thing I can say about tonight's game is that it did not ruin my Sunday.
One friend in Chicago is looking forward to this game, but he will be cheering for the visitng Saints.  Michael Bradley is the Crescent City Saint, afterall.  He is also Mr. Year Round Tan and Malcolm West.  With that many nicknames, he must be a pro wrestler.
I met Michael through Resistance Pro, where he is one of the fine members of the Security squad.  He is also a wrestler in training.  More importantly, he is a good dude.
Michael has lost a good amount of weight over the few years I have known him.  During his heavier days though, I saw him perform a kip up, a move where you pop up from a prone position using your legs and your momentum.  It is an impressive feat and even more impressive for a big man like MB.  The man has some talent!
He has passion for the business on all ends.  You will see him at many shows in many roles.  You wil also see him at various comic conventions, where he has met a ton of celebrities, including some of his wrestling heroes.
I am sure Michael will be enjoying the game tonight with his lovely wife.  As a Bears fan, I ordinarily would hope he isn't enjoying it too much, but this season, I am actively rooting for the Bears to implode.  Nothing short of disaster will get anything changed here.  So, Michael my friend, I am rooting with you tonight!
Michael Bradley and me in Merrionette Park, IL-May 2013.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Friendly Encounters: "PeeWee Herman" and Kyle Kolb

This is a regular feature about friends who have met celebrities.

It would be hard to find two people more physically different than PeeWee Herman and Kyle Kolb.  I am pretty sure Kyle can bench press two PeeWee Hermans.  It's an odd juxtaposition, but just the type of stuff you see in Las Vegas on the Strip.
Kyle was out there for a family wedding, when he ran into "Herman."  I am a bit jealous.  I am always jealous when someone else is in Las Vegas, but meeting PeeWee is also cool.  I am a bog fan of PeeWee.  I loved his "Big Adventure" and his "Playhouse."
I have been there many times and have never come across the Master of PeeWee's Playhouse.  I guess that just means I have to keep trying, which means I have to keep going back to Las Vegas until I accomplish this goal.
I am pretty sure I can persuade my brother-in-law Scott to join me on a Las Vegas excursion.  Maybe 2015 will be the year I meet PeeWee.
Kyle Kolb and "PeeWee Herman" in Las Vegas, NV-October 2014.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cards That Never Were: John Cappelletti

This is a recurring feature that I borrowed conceptually from other bloggers.  I am creating cards for players that did not have cards in various years for whatever reasons.

On this date in 1973, John Cappelletti won the Heisman trophy, along with the hearts of everyone.  I celebrate that memory by creating some "missing" cards for Cappy.
I grew up a big fan of Cappelletti.  The Heisman winner at Penn State made headlines when he dedicated the trophy to his younger brother Joey, who was dying.  This was later made into Something For Joey, a tear-jerker of a movie.
Cappy was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams and played with them from 1974 through 1979 (although he was injured the last season).  He moved on to the San Diego Chargers from 1980 through 1983.  He finished with 2951 rushing yards and 1233 receiving.  He was never a star, but he carved a solid NFL career.
Topps gave him a card in 1977, '78, '79 and '81.  Back in those days, cards in four sets was pretty good.  Looking back at his career, the only year I think Topps blundered was the 1982 issue.  Cappy had a solid '81 season.
Valid reasons or not, those missing years needed to be corrected.  As usual, the only liberty I took was not fuzzing out the logos as was the norm at the time.  My 1975 creation features quarterback John Hadl in the background and my 1981 card has quarterback Pat Haden.
i am reasonably happy with how they all look.  I am even happier to have filled in the missing links in Cappelletti's cards!

Friday, December 12, 2014

On the Beat with Mad Man Pondo and Crazy Mary Dobson at Days of the Dead 2014

Crazy Mary Dobson and Mad Man Pondo are two of my favorite wrestlers in Resistance Pro.  On the surface they are seemingly opposites, yet they are a great match.
Pondo is a ring veteran of many years.  When I heard he was coming to RPro, I expected to see hardcore wrestling from him.  I have seen plenty of that, but I have also seen a veteran who is willing to help the younger wrestlers any chance he gets.
If I say Pondo is caring, he might crash my skull with his trademark stop sign, but the truth is he does care.  He cares about the sport of wrestling, Resistance Pro as a company and the individual wrestlers.  He has shown himself to be a real company man, while still being a hardcore wrestler.
Crazy Mary came in a one of many women trying to earn respect in the women's division.  She has put on many great matches.  She went to Japan for several months to hone her skills.  Since her return, even the WWE has taken notice and put her on their program a few times.  I think it is only a short matter of time before she has televised matches with the WWE.
At the recent Days of the Dead convention, I caught up with the couple.  They talked to me about some of their horror favorites, as well as what they have been doing in wrestling.
These two are just great.  I love them both.  I encourage everyone to come out to the next RPro show on January 17 to see them in action.  They will not disappoint!  Until then, check out my interview below and then go to ResistancePro.com for more info on them and RPro.