Monthly Archives: November 2013

Mick Foley – Wrestling, Writing, and Stand-Up (Need my aliteration refresher)

Mick Foley talks about pro wrestling, Santa Claus, and his one-man show:

(BTW, the song at the beginning of the podcast, after the “Back Home Again In Indiana” theme, was the song played for Mankind after he won a match in his early WWF years. It may be the most brilliant piece of matchmaking between song and wrestler in the history of the company.)

The picture is from one of the greatest moments in the history of WWE television.  The (and Ric Flair, I love you, but I must write the following) undisputed king of wrestling promos delivered one of the dozens…….AND DOZENS of masterpieces in an interview segment with Jim Ross.  But my absolute favorite Mick Foley wrestling moment, and that’s not easy to choose, was this one.  Genius.

“I think I am thinking what you think I think you’re thinking.” Good lord, that was funny.

Triple H sold it masterfully, and the Garden erupted as perhaps it never had before, and most certainly hasn’t since.

I also miss the heel Jerry Lawler.  “Quit brow beatin’ us with useless information, and go check on Chyna.”

Mick Foley, as the title of his second book says, is good, and the real world is faker than wrestling.  His one-man show is this Sunday in Muncie and the following Sunday in Bloomington, with a stop to snack on some fruit cake in Santa Claus in between.

I won’t write a mushy essay about how much man love I have for the man.  Suffice it to say, I was a slobbering fan boy when I got to meet him the day after Survivor Series in Indy last year.   I will withhold the mushy details.

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Today’s Pro Wrestling Coffee Break: Castagnoli/Hero vs. Cabana/Generico

AKA: Two guys who are in WWE and two guys who should/will eventually be there. Includes one guy who was named dropped in four different ways by CM Punk on Raw last night.

Allen Salkin’s Delicious Food Network Journey

Allen Salkin talks about From Scratch: Inside The Food Network:

Perhaps some will see Allen Salkin’s story of the Food Network as containing “dirt” on some of it’s celebrities. But after not being able to put the book down, stoking a bit of jealousy in my Johnny Carson book, I have more respect and empathy for everyone on the network. Even those whose shows I never watched – no offense, Sandra Lee and Guy Fieri.

I didn’t see the 20th anniversary special Food Network aired two weeks ago – the actual 20th birthday is today, November 23. My guess is that the TV show did not contain footage of a test show that went out just before the official launch date in which Robin Leach stuffed a turkey. With his fist. In a manner that would have paired nicely with some Barry White music and would have gotten him fired in approximately three seconds had it occurred after the ultra mild-mannered Scripps Howard took over the Network. (By ultra mild-mannered, I mean what Ferris Bueller said about his friend Cameron; what would happen if a lump of coal were stuck where the sun don’t shine.)

Allen also helps us relive one of the best shows Food Network ever aired: the Japanese version of Iron Chef. In particular, he writes about the episode that caused the media world to say, “there’s a Food Network?”  The battle in New York between Iron Chef Morimoto and Bobby Flay.  (I wanted to post a link to a YouTube video showing the end of the battle, but the person posting decided to refer to Chef Flay as a bag, along with the French term for taking a shower.  It means something a smidge different in English.)

When I first saw Bobby Flay on one of his earliest shows, Grillin & Chillin, I agreed with the term used by the aforementioned YouTuber.  I wanted to punch him through the TV screen unless a snockered Jack McDavid did so first.  Then, at the Iron Chef battle, he pulled the perfect heel pro wrestler move at the end – the international “standing on the cutting board” incident.  There is nothing better in the world than an excellent heel pro wrestler, and just like the Grinch, my heart for Chef Flay grew three sizes that day.

Even if you don’t approve of everything written about some of your Food Network favorites, Allen’s book should not, and I think will not, change your opinion of them.  With the notable exception of Juan Carlos Cruz, their “humanness” makes them more likeable. Even Sandra Lee and Guy Fieri :). Okay, Sandra and Guy running gag is over.

Today’s Pro Wrestling Coffee Break: Meet The Thrillseekers!

Oh. My. Gawd. It was Smoky Mountain Wrestling, so ‘Gawd’ would be the correct pronunciation.

We get the answer to a question that has been nagging me ever since I met my Canadian wife; wild Canucks don’t s— in the woods.  They only cut promos there.

In this video, if you want it, you got it.  What is it?

And that’s only in part one, which ends just past the six minute mark.  Part two contains exclusive footage of the first two men ever to successfully ice skate in Knoxville, Tennessee.

For the entire perspective on this remarkable portion of Chris and Lance’s careers, read Jericho’s first book A Lion’s Tale.  Then read his second book, Undisputed.

James Swanson: The Only New Book About JFK I Will Read

Listen to James Swanson, author of End Of Days; The Assassination of John F. Kennedy:

When I saw the title of this book online, I thought, “swell.  Just what the world needs; another John Kennedy book.”  Then I saw that James Swanson wrote it.  Money.  James Swanson could write about Survivor, and I would read it.

Swanson’s earlier best-seller, Manhunt: The 12 Day Chase For Lincoln’s Killer, was the best book about the 16th president’s assassination and what John Wilkes Booth must have been thinking, IMO.  In a nutshell, Swanson writes fiction, except it isn’t fiction.  He explains in our interview.

For your teenager who believes that the CIA, FBI, Barney The Dinosaur and the Masked Twitterer were in on Kennedy’s murder, Swanson wrote a companion book for younger readers; The President Has Been Shot.

Best part of the interview: the Quantum Leap reference at the end, and an obscure connection between that fantastic show and Kennedy.

Today’s Pro Wrestling Coffee Break: RIP Mad Dog Vachon

Yesterday, I took a ten minute break in the middle of my day by watching a wrestling match on YouTube.  It wasn’t just any old wrestling match.  It was Colt Cabana and Mike Quackenbush from National Pro Wrestling Day earlier this year.  It was well executed, funny, and exactly ten minutes long.  After Tweeting about my choice of coffee break activity, Mr. Quackenbush was nice enough to Tweet back “The best matches are coffee break length.”  So it shall be!

Today’s coffee break was easy to choose considering today’s sad news; the passing of Mad Dog Vachon at 84.  Living in the south, I knew of the Dog from wrestling magazines, but I never saw him perform much until the end of his career.  I wish there were video on YouTube of more matches from his prime – he was a five-time AWA World Champion in the 1960’s thanks to the confidence of his boss and rival, Verne Gagne.

Maurice could also legitimately hurt you – he wrestled for Canada in the 1948 London Olympics.  There is a story – apocryphal or not, it’s funny – that a Canadian promoter in the 1950’s wouldn’t give Vachon a match for the territory’s title, because he was afraid Vachon would use legitimate wrestling to beat the popular champ Yvon Robert.

This is the end of a death match between the babyface Vachon and Crusher Jerry Blackwell.  Every time I think of Blackwell, I think of his “interview” in The Wrestler many years ago in which he declared his fat to be “muscular fat.”  “I learned good balance by wading out in the mud to slop the hogs in Stone Mountain.”  “I have a way of exercisin’ when I eat.”

My personal favorite Mad Dog Vachon moment, however, has to be; In. Your. House.

Thanks, Mad Dog. Qu’il repose en paix.

Chris Botti, As Hoosier As Any Of The Rest Of Us

Listen to Ray talk to Chris Botti:

The first time I took notice of Chris Botti, it was not because of a song.  It was because of an album cover I came across one day…

Nah, no innuendo there at all.  Not one little bit.

Later in our interview, Chris told a story about that 2004 album shoot.  Suffice it to say that Chris is more than a handsome face with hair that makes someone else’s slowly dying follicles green with envy.  He can definitely blow with the best, and he does so across many different styles of music.  He is also a Hoosier, at least by the definition I was given – you step foot in the state, and you’re a Hoosier.

Chris has every reason to be a prima donna,  Like many musicians, he isn’t.  How can you not like a guy who wanted to play the trumpet because he used to watch Doc Severinsen blow with Johnny Carson every night?

Chris, I dare you to dress like Doc.  just one night.  C’mon, the peeps won’t be able to take their eyes off you!

Chris Botti plays with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra next week, though the show is almost sold out.