Sunday, May 19, 2019

Celebrity Jersey Cards #428 Allie Quigley & Megan Blank

This is a regular series in which I create virtual trading cards for celebrities wearing jerseys. Once again, we are working our way alphabetically through all of the Major League Baseball teams.

A native of Joliet, IL, Allie Quigley starred at Joliet Catholic and DePaul before being selected by the Seattle Storm in the WNBA 2008 draft. A few teams later, Quigley joined her hometown Chicago Sky in 2013. She is as popular as she is talented. It has been a lot of fun watching her up close during my coverage of the Sky. Quigley earned a Celebrity Jersey Card when she threw out the first pitch for the Chicago Cubs.
Megan Blank starred at the University of Iowa, before joining the Chicago Bandits in 2015.Megan was an outstanding and popular player for the Bandits during her four seasons, before retiring earlier this year. Megan was a real pleasure to watch and know. She was the consummate pro and she'll be missed. Megan's Celebrity Jersey Card comes from a childhood picture of hers. I am assuming the picture is from one of her childhood teams.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Kristy McNichol at Motor City Comic Con 2016

Motor City Comic Con is coming back to Novi, MI May 17-19. I always look forward to this con. I also look back on so many great memories there.
From 1976-1980, Kristy McNichol starred as Letitia "Buddy" Lawrence on tv's Family.  Eight years later, she had another successful tv run as Barbara Weston on Empty Nest from 1988-1995.  I was a regular watcher of both shows.
When I saw McNichol would be at the 2016 Motor City Comic Con, I put her on my priority list.  She hadn't done many celebrity appearances and I wasn't going to miss her there.  In fact, since her acting retirement in 2001, she spent most of her time teaching acting and doing charity work.
McNichol is an actress I never expected to meet.  Because of her low profile, it seemed I wouldn't get the chance.  Then when I did, it was a bit surreal.  I remember watching her as "Buddy" way back when.  It was almost like seeing a childhood friend.  Back then, there was never a thought that you would actually meet and talk to these tv stars.  You were happy just to pic up a magazine and read about them or maybe join their fan club.
McNichol was as sweet as could be.  We talked about her shows, her brother Jimmy and more.  She seemed genuinely grateful for her fans and I know the fans were happy to see her.
I haven't seen her doing any shows since.  I hope she does some shows though, because an entire generation grew up watching her grow up on tv and would love to see her.  I'd certainly like to see her again.
For this year's celebrity and artist lineup, head to MotorCityComicCon.com. I'll be "On the Beat" all weekend.
Kristy McNichol, Cuzz Gekas and me in Novi, MI-May 2016.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Taryn Terrell at Motor City Comic Con 2013

The Motor City Comic Con starts today. I'll be "On the Beat" all weekend creating new memories, but for here, I am recalling some of my favorite moments from my years at MCCC.
Taryn Terrell was part of the 2007 WWE Diva Search. Although she did not win, she was signed to a developmental deal. She has remained on the wrestling scene ever since, working for Impact and on the independent scene as well. She parlayed her wrestling presence into an acting career, appearing in several movies and tv shows.
At the MCCC 2013, Taryn had huge lines. The formula is easy. Beautiful woman + wrestling career = long lines of male fans. Taryn's appeal increases because she has had prominent roles in each company. Although her in-ring career has only produced one title (the Knockouts title), Taryn has kept a high profile wherever she has worked.
MCCC has a history of having quality wrestling stars on their celebrity guest list. It's a great place to meet some wrestlers without the usual super long lines at wrestling shows. They also usually give you a bit more time than at wrestling shows. It's one of the things I love about MCCC.
You can follow Taryn at @IAmTarynTerrell on twitter. Make sure you go to MotorCityComicCon.com for all of the info, including the celebrity guest list and scheduling. You can also find Motor City Comic Con on Facebook and other social media platforms.
Taryn Terrell and me in Novi, MI-May 2013.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Happy Birthday Laura!

Today, I celebrate the birthday of my first niece. Laura turns 32 today!
It's always cliche to mention how time flies, but it is also so true. How can little Pooky be 32?
It's been a fun 32 years being around her. She has grown into a talented, smart, funny, opinionated young woman.
I will always regret not being around my family for some years due to my own issues, but I will always cherish the extra cool moments we have shared since. I always bring up two east coast trips with Laura. While being squeezed by all of her belongings was not a comfy ride, as her mother and I brought her to and from New York, we had a lot of great laughs on those trips.
Last year, on a miserable rainy day, Laura not only dragged her best friend Karen out with her to cheer for me during the Chicago Marathon, she also made sure they both wore Johngy shirts. I can honestly say, knowing she was waiting for me around mile 20 really made a difference.
I had to make it to see her there, despite my aching body. Laura and Karen were the last of my supporters I would see an I wasn't going to stop until I saw them.
I saw their big smiles from a long way away. They immediately lifted my spirits and chased away the pain for a bit.
That was just one of so many thoughtful things Laura does for me and everyone around her. Cookies, texts, cards and more are just part of the love she shows all.
Happy birthday, Laura. I hope your day is as special as you are! I love you.
Karen, Laura and me in Chicago, IL-October 2018.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Vader At Motor City Comic Con 2017

The Motor City Comic Con returns May 17-19. While looking forward to this year's event, I look back on some my most memorable moments over the years at MCCC. Unfortunately, some memories are bittersweet.
Before he was Big Van Vader, Leon White was a star offensive lineman for the University of Colorado and was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1978 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, injuries derailed his NFL career.
Football's loss was wrestling's gain. As Vader, he went on to become one of the best and most athletic big men in the business. His Vadersault was one of his most impressive moves.
I have met Vader several times, including at Resistance Pro Wrestling and at Motor City Comic Con. While always pleasant, he was pretty quiet. Still, if you started talking to him, he would warm up into the conversation.
In shaking hands with him even then, you could feel his strength. I can only imagine how strong he was back in his football days. 
Vader had a rough stretch around the time I met him at MCCC. He had some health issues and there were a few scary moments. Unfortunately, Vader lost his battle in June 2018. He is greatly missed and fondly remembered by all.
Go to MotorCityComicCon.com for all of the info, including the celebrity guest list and scheduling. You can also find Motor City Comic Con on Facebook and other social media platforms.
Vader and me in Novi, MI-May 2017.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Mickie James at Motor City Comic Con 2010

Motor City Comic Con takes place May 17-19 in Novi, MI. I continue looking back on some of my favorite guests from previous years.
Mickie James was a fan of wrestling as she grew up.  She attended a wrestling school and made her debut in 1999.  Since then, she has wrestled for the WWE, Impact, ROH and many other companies, winning titles everywhere.
Several years ago, Mickie released Strangers and Angels, an 11 track cd.  Mickie wasn't the first wrestler to incorporate singing into her gimmick, but she was one of the most legit to do so.
Mickie co-wrote a couple songs on the cd.  She also opened shows for Montgomery Gentry, Randy Houser, Gretchen Wilson, and Rascal Flatts.
I bought this cd directly from her at the Motor City Comic Con.  I'm not usually a fan of country music, but I do like this cd (and not because I like her).  Years later, it is still in my cd rotation in my car.  Especially if you like country music, check out the cd on YouTube.
A few years later, she released Somebody's Gonna Pay.  I never got this cd, but I really need to do that.
You can get more news and updates by following Mickie James on twitter.  Also, all of Mickie's music is still available on Amazon.
For this year's celebrity and artist lineup, head to MotorCityComicCon.com. I'll be "On the Beat" all weekend (May 18-20). Mickie is not scheduled to be there, but plenty of other great celebrities and creators will be there..
Jason Fleigel, Mickie James and me in Novi, MI-May 2010.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Friend Encounters: Colin Ferguson and Matt Parker at Motor City Comic Con

Friend Encounters is a weekly series featuring friends who have met celebrities. With Motor City Comic Con coming May 17-19, I am presenting a special Motor City Comic Con edition.

After a couple years of attending MCCC by myself, friends started to join me on the trip. We peaked at four total (Jason Fleigel, Cuzz Gekas and Matt Parker), which might have been the most fun I've ever had on the trip. It is always cool to facilitate friends meeting their favorite stars.
I forget which of Colin Ferguson's roles my nephew Matt followed, but he wanted to meet him. Canadian born, Ferguson has had a lengthy and successful career on the big screen and on television. As a side note, he is also a huge fan of the Montreal Canadiens and has done guest-blogging on NHL.com.
Two of his more well-known roles were Eureka and The Vampire Diaries. Of course, I knew him best as the "Maytag Man" from the Maytag commercials. He did not have any 8x10's from that role, but he did have plenty of other pictures from his many other parts.
The MCCC is in May, right in the middle of the Stanley Cup playoffs. With Detroit being a big hockey town, there is plenty of puck talk. Ferguson's Canadiens aren't very popular in Red Wings territory though.
Go to MotorCityComicCon.com for more info and scheduling. Also follow Motor City Comic Con on Facebook for more frequent updates.
Colin Ferguson and Matt Parker in Novi, MI-May 2012.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Celebrity Jersey Cards #427 Ronald Reagan & Robert Young

This is a regular series in which I create virtual trading cards for celebrities wearing jerseys. Once again, we are working our way alphabetically through all of the Major League Baseball teams.

Ronald Reagan was born in northwest Illinois. Before entering politics and eventually being elected president, Reagan had a successful career as an actor. It was his role in The Winning Team, a fictionalized biography about Grover Cleveland Alexander, which allowed me to make his Celebrity Jersey Card.
Chicago native Robert Young is probably best known for his leading roles in Father Knows Best and Marcus Welby in Marcus Welby, M.D. Young earned his Celebrity Jersey Card from his role in Death on the Diamond, a mystery film from 1934.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

On the Beat with DePaul's Coach Tracie Adix-Zins and Natalie Halvorson

Yesterday, DePaul University beat the Providence Friars to advance to the championship game of the Big East tournament for the third straight year. DePaul improved their record to 33-14 overall with the 4-0 victory over Providence. Today, they face Villanova, who beat St. John's earlier yesterday.
DePaul jumped to a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning. Maranda Gutierrez singled, then advanced on a Jessica Cothern ground out. Morgan Greenwood walked and Kate Polucha cleared the bases with a three run home run.
The score remained 3-9 until the bottom of the 4th. Skylor Hilger singled and scored when Brianna Viles struck out, but reached on an error.
Natalie Halverson went the distance for her 20th win of the season. She allowed only 4 hits, while striking out 5 and walking none.
After the game, I talked to both Coach Adix-Zins and Halvorson about the big win and the upcoming championship game. Both were naturally excited and ready for today's game (at 11:30).
Thank you to DePaul's Bob Sakamoto and Alyssa Damato for their assistance as well as Communications Assistant Korey Schrock from the Big East. Also thanks to the Big East and DePaul University.
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Friday, May 10, 2019

Chanel Ryan at Motor City Comic Con 2013

Motor City Comic Con, May 17-19 is one week awy. I can't wait for the weekend of fun, but for now I recall some of my favorite moments over my many years of covering MCCC.
It's hard to believe, but model and actress Chanel Ryan has been entertaining audiences for almost 30 years. She is beautiful and talented. Her "Benchwarmer Trading Card" was one of the most popular cards in the series and she has been named "Sexiest ..." by many sources. Not just a pretty face, she has acted steadily since 1989.
Chanel was very pleasant when I approached her for an interview. Unfortunately, I was still a little inexperienced and my interview wasn't exactly fascinating. Still, I am happy to have landed Chanel on one. That interview can be found at On the Beat With Chanel Ryan.
Chanel was easily one of the most popular guests at that MCCC. A career as a model, coupled with some key roles in popular movies will create that type of interest. I really appreciated her taking time away from her fans for our interview.
A vegetarian since her teens, Chanel is very dedicated to world causes. A portion of the proceeds from her convention appearances goes to animal funds.
Go to MotorCityComicCon.com for all of the info, including the celebrity guest list and scheduling. You can also find Motor City Comic Con on Facebook and other social media platforms.
Chanel Ryan and me in Novi, MI-May 2013.