Saturday, December 9, 2023

Happy Birthday Chachi!

Today, I celebrate the birthday of a longtime friend Chuck. I will not give him any of my usual backhands.

It is said to surround yourself with good people. It is also said to judge a person by the friends he keeps. With Chuck as my friend, I am good on both of those. 

Short and simple. I love this guy. For almost 30 years, he has been a great friend, a brother.

I am sure Chachi will be surrounded by his loving family, but I send birthday greetings from afar. Happy birthday, Chuckles!

Chuck and his family in Illinois-November 2023.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Angelina Love at Blizzard Brawl 2019

Great Lakes Championship Wrestling's annual Blizzard Brawl returned last week at the Waukesha County Expo Center. It's a huge event, featuring many past and present wrestling stars.
Lauren Williams was born in Canada and rose to fame on the wrestling scene as Angelina Love. Gaining much of her success in Total Nonstop Wrestling/Impact Wrestling, Love is a seven-time women's world champion. She won the TNA Knockouts Championship six times, and the Women of Honor title once. She also was a one-time TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champion with Winter. Love has enjoyed a great partnership with Velvet Sky as the Beautiful People.
As for Love herself, I met her several times and she is extremely sweet. At one convention, she was accompanied by her little son, who is probably not so little anymore. It was cool to see her in that role, while she was interacting with fans.
I last saw her at Blizzard Brawl 2019, one of the last events before the pandemic shut down most everything. 
Love was at Blizzard Brawl 2023, but I missed getting a pic.. You can see Love at @ALove4Life222 on Instagram. Also, go to for info on all great GLCW events..
Angelina Love and me in Waukesha, WI-December 2019.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

On the Beat With Victoria Cheri Bennett

Earlier this week, I interviewed Victoria Cheri Bennett or Bevin. Bevin is the alias of Bennett, who is hosting Beverages with Bevin, the newest fandom talk show.
A veteran of the comic con scene (we determined she is in fact a comic con veteran), Bennett launched Beverages with Bevin, a show featuring her (Bevin) interviewing various folks from the comic con scene. The beverage is her way of creating a casual fun atmosphere, which makes it more entertaining for the guests, fans and Bennett.
After giving a brief bio, Bennett gave me all the info on her new show. With 50+ guests on its first season, its plan is quite ambitious, but so is Bennett. Before closing, I turned the tables on Bennett and asked her what beverage I would have. Despite just meeting me and me reversing the concept, Bennett indulged me with a solid guess. Although I just met her, that didn't surprise me. She is quirky, fun and fast on her feet, all of which make her a great interviewer and Beverages with Bevin a great show.
I wrote more about it on Also, check the interview at On the Beat With Victoria Cheri Bennett on the Johngy's Beat YouTube channel. Lastly, go to to learn more about her and the show.
I thank Victoria (or Bevin) for her time. Also, thanks to Annie Banks (another comic con veteran) for facilitating the interview.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

On the Beat With John St. Augustine

Last month, Ironman, the autobiography of legendary Chicago Cubs catcher Randy Hundley, was published. Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of interviewing John St. Augustine, longtime fan and friend of Hundley and the co-author of Ironman. That interview is at On the Beat With John St. Augustine.

When I was growing up watching the Cubs, I could always count on Hundley behind the plate. Although he started with the San Francisco Giants, Hundley joined the Cubs in 1966 and remained their starter through the 1973 season. During that time, he caught 947 games, but that includes 1972, when an injury limited him to nine games. Over a four year stretch, he averaged 153 games. He also caught 160 once, which still stands as an MLB record, one that will probably never be broken. Hundley was indeed an Ironman.

As a youngster, St. Augustine first met Hundley while seeking autographs. Little did either know how their lives would become intertwined years later.

Fast forward to a fantasy camp, an idea that Hundley actually started, the two met again. St. Augustine had a great camp, but more importantly he developed several friendships, most notably one with Hundley.

A few years ago, after a bit of prodding from St. Augustine, Hundley decided to finally write his book. His handpicked co-author was St. Augustine, a wise and natural choice. Together they worked diligently, but with a real passion, to bring the full story of Hundley's life and career.

I can proudly say I play a very small part in this process. St. Augustine contacted me after I interviewed Jody Davis, another former Cubs catcher. I put him in touch with Davis and also George Castle, my former colleague and longtime friend. St. Augustine and Hundley were even kind enough to include me in the book's acknowledgements, for which I am very grateful and somewhat shocked.

The book is destined to be a "must-read" for any Cubs fan, but also any baseball fan in general. In addition, even historians will love it for much of it's backdrop is during the turbulent 1960s.

For more information, go to You can also get an autographed copy directly from St, Augustine if you contact him on Facebook.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Talking Travel With Steve Wright

Since it is football season, I looked to the gridiron for my recent Talking Travel interview on Global Traveler. Former NFL player Steve Wright also had a book coming out, which made it even better timing.
Wright played offensive line and tight end during his collegiate career at Northern Iowa University. Although he ultimately was inducted into the Northern Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame, he went undrafted by the NFL. Undaunted, he made the Dallas Cowboys team, signing as a free agent.
After two seasons with the Cowboys, he played two seasons with the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts, followed by a season in the United States Football League. Wright returned to the NFL with the Los Angeles Raiders for his final six seasons.
Wright stayed busy with charity work and one season on tv's Survivor. All the while, he was compiling content for his book, Aggressively Human: Discovering Humanity in the NFL, Reality TV, and Life.
I talked to Wright about all of this, as well as travel, of course. Wright had some interesting stories, but he has plenty more in his book.
The full recap is on GT at Talking Travel with Steve Wright. All of the Talking Travel interviews are on the GT YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to the channel (it's free) for all of the travel content.


Monday, December 4, 2023

Friend Encounters: Maria Kanellis and Tony Feddeler

Friend Encounters is a weekly series featuring friends meeting celebrities.

My bud Tony is back. Tony is one of my most frequent friends appearing here.

This time he is with Maria Kanellis, a Chicago area native who rose to fame in the wrestling ring. While still active now in Ring of Honor, Kanellis had started Women's Wrestling Army, a fantastic women's wrestling company.

WWA had a great start, running a few shows in the Chicago area. Unfortunately for fans, ROH came calling and she put WWA on hold. Both Kanellis and her husband Mike Bennett insist WWA is not done. I hope they are right.

I had never seen so many great women's matches on one wrestling show. There wasn't a weak match throughout all of their events. Additionally, all of the wrestlers were great at meet-and-greets before or after the events. It really was a great experience every time at WWA.

I have written many times about WWA and I will keep doing so. I hope it raises more awareness. I hope Kanellis eventually brings back WWA. I'll be first in line for tickets. Okay, Tony and I will be first in line.

Maria Kanellis and Tony Feddeler in Highwood, IL-July 2022.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Celebrity Jersey Cards #664 Pam Tillis & Gerald Green

Celebrity Jersey Cards is a weekly series in which I create virtual trading cards for celebrities wearing sports jerseys. Today I feature the old (Houston Oilers) and the new (Tennessee Titans).

The daughter of Mel Tillis, Pam Tillis went on to carve her own successful music career. Initially releasing pop music albums, Tillis found more success when she switched to country music. Instead of repping any of her home state Florida teams, Tillis wore a Titans jersey for her first Celebrity Jersey Card. 

Born in Houston, Gerald Green went straight from high school to the NBA, after the Boston Celtics drafted him in the first round of the 2005 NBA draft. Green played for eight NBA teams and several others overseas and in other leagues. Although he had a long playing career, he fell a bit short as a first rounder. Green joined the Houston Rockets as a coach after his playing career ended. Green also shares a birthday with me, although he is much younger. For his Celebrity Jersey card, Green shows some hometown love with an old school Earl Campbell Oilers jersey.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Penny Riot and the Chicago Knockouts

Everyone who has attended any roller derby events with me has loved the action. Whether it's Chicago Style Roller Derby, the Windy City Rollers, the Chicago Knockouts or even the smaller leagues, it is always fun.
I started going to the CKO events a few years back. Then the pandemic hit and the world stopped. of course, when things re-opened and the Knockouts restarted, I was right back there. Since then, I have seen several events with different friends.
While it is stated it is legit competition, I have doubts it is completely such. There certainly are theatrics. There is also fantastic action. Is some of it planned (either during or before the event)? My best guess is there i a bit of scripting. How much is beyond me. 
Like wrestling before all the secrets were revealed, it is more fun this way. I like not quite knowing which way it is. It doesn't really matter anyway. I love the action. I appreciate the ladies. I will keep going back.
Back in my earlier days at CKO, Penny Riot was one of my favorites. As tough as could be on the track, she was all smiles after the action. 
Check out for more info. Also follow the Chicago Knockouts on Facebook for more frequent updates and other fun stuff.
Penny Riot and me in Summit, IL-February 2020.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Serena Deeb at Blizzard Brawl 2021

Tomorrow, Great Lakes Championship Wrestling presents Blizzard Brawl. GLCW's biggest annual event takes place in the Waukesha County Expo Center and I will be there "On the Beat" as usual.
Every year, I trek across the northern border to witness a great evening of meet-and-greets, followed by an action-packed wrestling card. I have been attending Blizzard Brawl for many years and have never been disappointed.
One of the guests I met a couple years ago was Serena Deeb. Currently signed to All Elite Wrestling, Deeb has seen action all over the world since debuting in 2005. Among her many achievements, she was the GLCW Women's champ.
Blizzard Brawl usually features about 20 wrestlers and legends in the meet-and-greet. There is plenty of time to meet all of them. Most also come out at intermission or after the event. 
Go to for the lates updates. I hope to see many friends there.
Serena Deeb and me in Waukesha, WI-December 2021.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Ken Anderson at Blizzard Brawl 2021

One of the great guests at Blizzard Brawl was Mrrrrrrrrrr. Anderson. It doesn't translate as well in writing as it does when he announced it as he enters the ring, but you get the point.
I always thought Anderson didn't get treated properly in any of the companies where he wrestled. He was solid on the mic and in the ring. The WWE put him in a daffy storyline with Mr. McMahon and Hornswoggle. No offense to either of them, but that slot should have gone to someone lower on the card to give them exposure. Anderson shouldn't have needed that and I don't think it did him any good.
Anderson was one of many wrestling guests at Blizzard Brawl 2021. While the complete guest list for Blizzard Brawl 2023 hasn't been announced yet, I am sure it will be filled with equally awesome guests. Blizzard Brawl always has about 20 wrestling legends and current stars for a meet-and-greet, followed by a full card of wrestling. It is always a stop on my calendar of events every year.
This year, Great Lakes Championship Wrestling presents Blizzard Brawl on Saturday, December 2 at the Waukesha County Expo Center. Ptromoter and #Superfriend David Herro will be there, along with "The Fannypack Kid" Kal Herro. Others will be announced soon.
For more info, go to and follow GLCW on Facebook. Also, check here for my recurring coverage. 
Ken Anderson and me in Waukesha, WI-December 2021.