Survivor returns for Season 39, plus some catching up

Its once again time for Survivor, as it returns tonight for its 39th Season.   I have been a fan since Season 1, and don’t believe  I have ever missed an episode, most live when they aired,  although I did watch some on VCR tape (way back) or DVR days later when things came up.   Survivor has been a major part of my live for the past 20 years and I am grateful to CBS, Mark Burnett, Jeff Probst, the producers and all the contestants who have given me a lifetime of great memories.   I am really looking forward to this season, hoping that it plays out better than last season, when for the 1st time, I think they got it wrong with Redemption Island and had somebody win who didn’t deserve to (and it was not his fault, it was a system that allowed somebody to make it to the end without playing more than 1/2 the game).

Over the years, as social media has become more mainstream a way of life, it has become harder and harder to simply wait for the next season of Survivor to premier without people posting stories and spoilers that can ruin the experience.   This time I have gone out of my way to not read anything about the contestants, or any behind the scenes posts so I can go into this season with no preconceived ideas.  I may be old school, but there is something about watching Survivor and not knowing what is (or may) happen that makes it so enjoyable.  I admit that after each episode, I do enjoy reading Jeff Probst’s take on on with Dalton Ross, and have always enjoyed watching the Ponderosa videos once we get to the jury, but for each episode, the less I know going it the better

So let Season 39 begin.

As far as some other thoughts, tonight is also the season finally of Big Brother.  This has been another great season of a show that just sucks me in each year.   For a show to air three night a week for 3 months, and keep me wanting to watch, they must be doing something right.  Not to spend a lot of time recapping the season but I am rooting for Nicole to win (and wish she had trusted herself and voted out Holly instead of trusting Cliff and voting out Tommy).  But we will just have to wait and see how things play out and see if it was the right move

September 30th marks the 30th anniversary of the release of “Seasons End” by Marillion.

Marillion – Seasons End

It was their 1st album with then new singer Steve Hogarth (“h”) and was a bit of a departure from original singer Fish.   I remember the firs time I heard it, and while it was a bit of a different style, the songs were great, and its hard to believe that thirty years, and fourteen albums later, the band is still around, making new music and is better than ever.    Even longer than Survivor, Marillion has been a huge part of my life, and I am thankful to all member of the band for being a constant soundtrack to my life.

Thinking of music, we lost both Eddie Money and Ric Ocasek this past week.   It does get a bit scary when artists who were part of my youth, and I remember hearing songs that are now considered classics when they were 1st released,  pass on.   Eddie Money had a lot of great songs, and the Cars as well, including what may be one of the single best albums of all time.

The Cars – The Cars

There is not one bad song, and every song on this album was a radio standard.   Also, when I was in college the Cars were still big and I had some friends who were in a band, and one day I got to sit in and play drums on “Good Times Roll” while they were practicing.    I have now musical talent, and had trouble keeping the beat, but it was a lot of fun and I never forgot it.

Want to also mention the passing of celebrity chef Carl Ruiz.

Carl Ruiz Dead at 44

He was a frequent contestant / guest on Guys Grocery Games on the Food Network, and I always enjoyed watching him cook / compete.   Its sad when anybody leaves us this early with lots more life to give.  He will be missed
More to come in the next week about the NY Mets  (Who actually hung in there and made this year memorable) and the NY Giants (Mixed emotions of the passing of the torch from Eli Manning to Danial Jones)

Also will let eveybody know what books I have read recently, as well as what Television shows I have been watching and am looking forward to this season  – Including really enjoying the return of BH90210 which was brilliantly done.


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Time marches on

Very sad to see 2 places that I went to way back when I was young have shut their doors

Bowcraft Family Amusement Park

When I was in High School, I was big into the old fashion arcade games, and loved going to arcades to play the latest games.   One of the places I would go was Bowcraft, a small family owned amusement park, that also had an large arcade.    When ever possible, my friends and I would get a ride and be dropped off for hours of enjoyment.  We would spend hours playing games such as Asteroids, Pac Man, Defender and Joust.

I haven’t been their or even thought of the place in years.   But last week I happen to be driving by and noticed it was closed and for sale.   I went on-line when I got home and saw that they closed last October and may be replaced by new homes.   I know that arcades are pretty much extinct (except for at boardwalks at the shore), but it made me sad to see it closed and take with me a part of my childhood.

Bowcraft Family Amusement Park


The Rialto Movie Theater

Going to the movies on a Friday night was a big part of my life growing up.   Back in the day, there were very few large multiplex theaters (Most towns movie theaters had only one screen).    But a few towns over was the Rialto Theater that had 3 screens and usually had the big summer releases.  I remember seeing E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial their with my parents when it 1st came out.   Some of my favorite times were getting dropped off at the Rialto Theater with friends on a Friday night with friends to go to the movies by ourselves.

Just like Bowcraft, I haven’t been to the Rialto Theater in years but, I was very sad to see that the theater abruptly closed last week over arguments with the landlords.

Downtown Westfields Iconic Rialto Ttheater Closes

I did see that the Mayor of Westfield, NJ was going to look into things and see if there was a way to resolve the issues and get the theater open again.  Hopefully things can get resolved.

I know that time marches on and does not stop for anybody, but it is sad when places that meant so much to me while growing up, and bring back great memories of time spent with friends (Many who a still great friends today) close and are swept away as part of progress.

Thank you to Bowcraft and the Rialto Theater for the memories – They will last forever even after the places are gone



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Whats your Favorite?

I get asked this all the time.  Whats your favorite movie?  Whats your favorite musical group or song?  Whats your favorite food?   The more and more I get asked this, I have come to realize that for me, there is no true answer.   I may have movies or songs I remember more than others, or foods that I like more than others, but can I really narrow them down to my all time favorite.

I see people who become super obsessed with a favorite, and then feel that everything else is irrelevant.  Maybe I’m just wired differently, or have really never come across something that I felt so passionate about that the rest of the world simply fades away.

Below would be my answers if asked


My go to answer when asked my favorite movie is “Star Wars”.   It has been a huge part of my life ever since it was released in 1977.   I became a huge fan and have remained a fan ever since.   But I have seen thousands of movies over my life, and hundreds of them have been really good.   To just dismiss them and say “Star Wars” is my favorite, and all others are a step behind just seems strange to me.


Most people who know me know I am a huge fan of Marillion, and have been since 1st hearing them in the mid 80’s.   When asked my favorite band, Marillion would be my answer.  I have every one of their albums, and have taken part in all of their crowd funding efforts over the years.   But like with movies, I have heard hundreds of bands and thousands of songs, and seen hundreds of concerts across all different genres. I have been emotionally touched by countless artists who all deserve credit.   To pick just one just does not seem fair


This one is strange.   When asked my favorite food, I always go to a Burger King Whopper I had at a rest stop on the New York State Thruway while on a road trip while I was in college.   For what ever reason, it has always stuck with me as the best thing I have ever eaten.    I have had some incredible meals at home (my wife is an incredible chef) and at restaurants (both casual and fancy), but noting has made me forget about that Whopper.

Life is full of all sorts of wonderful things, and to try and narrow everything down to a “Favorite” or “Best Of” just seems unfair and unhealthy.   So go out and enjoy all the movies and music and food out there and if somebody does ask you whats your favorite, just say “I like a lot and there are just too many to list”


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Violet, Your turning Violet, Violet

Very sad to read of the passing of Denise Nickerson, the actress who played Violet Beauregarde in 1971’s classic, and one of my favorite all time movies “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”

Denise Nickerson – 1957 – 2019

It really stings when somebody of my youth passes away, and makes me realize I am getting older and older as the years go by.   I have fond memories of watching Willy Wonka at my cousins each Thanksgiving when I was growing up, and would like to thank Denise, Gene Wilder, and the everybody else involved in the movie for making us smile and laugh.  A piece of my childhood has been removed, but will never be forgotten.

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Mets – Let them Pitch

Its tough these days to be a NY Mets fan.   The team is no good and it looks like another season of meaningless baseball after this weeks All Star Game.   After losing to the Kansas City Royals in the 2015 World Series, and then losing to the San Francisco Giants in the one-game wild card play-off in 2016, it has been a steady decline to where they are now.    The starting pitching has never lived up to the hype.  deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz and Wheeler should be dominating, but instead they have been mediocre at best.   Other teams should be intimidated when looking at the Mets staff, feeling that they would be lucky if they could scratch out a win, but instead they are not worried at all, treating the Mets starters as just another average bunch of pitchers.  This to me is the biggest issue.  In order to be considered a great pitcher, you need the other team to fear you and believe they have no shot at beating you  For too long now, the Mets starters have been looked at as average pitchers that teams know they can beat.

The Mets should go the these pitchers and tell them to forget about pitch counts and all other meaningless stats, that they trust them, and then just let them pitch.  Let them go 8 or 9 innings and throw 125 – 150 pitches.   The great pitchers of the past threw lots of innings, and got hurt a lot less.   Maybe they need to look back and readjust their thinking.  I don’t understand why teams sign players to long term deals, and then baby them through the contract as to not ‘ruin their investment’ at the expense of losing year after year.  I would push my players while I have them and try and win now, and not worry about the fact the may develop arm issues in 4 or 5 years.

The Mets are a flawed team, and have always over estimated there players true talent. This is a team that stated they had no interest in Giancarlo Stanton because they had a better player already in Brandon Nimmo.   They are also bad at bringing in players that simply do not fit (The brought in Jay Bruce twice even though they didn’t need him either time).  But its the pitching that needs to carry them and until the front office and the overwhelmed Manager forget about the advanced statistics, the long term outlook, and their feelings and just let them pitch, the Mets will waist another generations of pitchers that could have been.


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Designated Survivor / My Bodyguard

Finished watching Season 3 of “Designated Survivor” on Neflix and really enjoyed it. I was a big fan of the show when in was on broadcast TV (ABC) and am grateful to Netflix, as well as the cast and crew, for bring taking a risk and bringing the show back for Season 3.  While I’m not big fan of streaming episodes of a show in a short window (I actually like some time between episodes), this show was so well done that It got me hooked and I watched all 10 episodes of Season 3 in a little over 1 week.   With a great cast, playing great characters, the show was able to tackle a lot of hot button topics in a very realistic setting.  I always liked TV shows that made me have to think after each episode, and this season of Designated Survivor was one of the best at it.   Another great role for Kiefer Sutherland who is one of my favorite actors.   Looking forward for him and the rest of cast to return for Season 4 sometime in 2020

Recently saw that Adam Baldwin was at the Philadelphia Wizardworld convention and it immediately made me think of one of my all time favorite movies “My Bodyguard”   He played Ricky Linderman, a troubled teen who becomes friends with Clifford Peach (played by Chris Makepeace) a shy high school student.  The movie also stars Matt Dillon as Melvin Moody as the school bully.

Its one of the best teenage movies ever made and anybody who has not seen it should take some time to find it and watch it.    Its well acted, and a very touching and emotional portrayal of growing up a teenager in a new high school

Here is the one of the best scenes from the move (Spoil Alerts – This is near the end)

One last thing. Cliffords friends in the movie (Carson) was played by actor Paul Quandt.  While he had a small role, he had some scenes that I still remember and can quote today just like it was 1980 (almost 40 years ago).  Looking at his IMDB Profile, My Bodyguard is the only movie he ever appeared in.  I did a little research and could not find any relevant information on where he might be these days (June 2019).

This is similar to Chris Barnes who played my all time favorite character Tanner Boyle in the first two Bad News Bears movies, and then after a few small roles, basically disappeared from show business

While I respect their decision and privacy, If anybody has any information on either one of these actors, or any suggestions on how to reach out to them, it would truly be appreciated.   I would love to just be able to tell them how their roles have remained with me all these years to thank them for making my life a bit more fulfilled

Average Andy


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Television, Movies, Music, and Sports

Just some random thoughts on various topics since I haven’t written much lately.


Was glad to see that “Designated Survivor” has been revived and Season 3 is now available on Netflix.   Was sad when ABC decided to cancel it after 2 seasons, as I really enjoyed it.  I have to admit, its a bit strange watching it on Netflix.   I am still a bit old school and actually enjoy waiting a week between episodes (The network and premium channel standard).  Give me some time to reflect and think about the episode.  It’s weird to me when once an episode ends, the next one is immediately ready to go.  Also was taken aback when some of the characters used words and language that would not be allowed in network TV.   Not that I was offended, it just took me out of character the first few times.  Would be like watching an R rated episode of “The Big Bang Theory”, and hearing Sheldon say something like “What the Fuck happened to my Star Trek DVD collection” to  Leonard.   Totally out of your perception of the character.

Also, we are getting to the end of “The Amazing Race” as there are only 5 teams left.   This season has been very entertaining, despite my early reservation of having all returning Reality TV contestants.    Of the remaining teams, I’m rooting for Team Fun to at least make it to the Final 3 and getting a chance to race to the end.

Not much else with TV as were basically dealing with re-runs and there are none of the summer mini-series like in the past (or if they do, have not caught my attention).


Got to see “Rocket Man” and really enjoyed it.   I went in thinking it would be similar to the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and was pleasantly surprised that it was not at all.  To me it reminded me of “La La Land” as it was more of a musical fantasy than a documentary.   Go see it if you get the chance.

Been watching a bunch of 80s movies lately as my daughter is discovering them and wanting to watch and experience them.   I actually just completed the book “You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Could” by Susana Gore which the story of John Hughes and how his movies of the 80’s shaped a generation.   Was interesting to read the behind the scenes storied of movies like “Sixteen Candles”, “The Breakfast Club” and “St Elmo’s Fire”.    A must read for anybody to grew up during the 80’s and was influenced by these classics

Had a good discussion the other day regarding how a lot of movies in the 80’s have scenes that were acceptable at the time, but would be considered unacceptable now.  Think of the beginning of “Fast Times at Ridgemount High” where a 24 year old is in a pizza parlor picking up a 15 year old Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh), or in “Heathers”, when J.D. (Christian Slater) pulls out a gun in his high school cafeteria to scare of some students.   These scenes would never be allowed today as they would be considered way to offensive and insensitive to a number of groups


On the Flip side, think about how music has changed since the 1980’s regarding lyrics and vulgarity.    Most of the early 1980s music simply fun pop-songs, but then groups started to push the envelope with their lyrics to the point where groups fought to have labels placed on records and CDs as lyrics were determined to be too explicit for younger listeners.   But fast forward to today, and it seems every other song has some sort of obscene or cure word in it.   Some music companies have gotten away from the labels saying they no longer are needed or serve a purpose.

Does the Parental Advisory Label still matter?

So while we are more and more concerned about movies these days, making sure everything is politically correct, we are less and less concerned about music, where anything seems to go as far as lyrics.

Few other music notes:

Want to wish a happy belated birthday to Boy George, lead singer of Culture Club.   If you get a chance, take a listen to his solo albums, as well as the latest Culture Club Album (Yes – They had a new album in 2018) – Culture Club Discography

I have heard rumblings that the next big musical biopic (after Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocket Man) is going to be about Boy George.   Good for him.

I have been listening to the new Bruce Springsteen Album Western Stars and am really enjoying it.   I have never been a crazy Bruce Springsteen Fan (even as a true New Jersey’n) but have  always enjoyed his music and think he deserves all the accolades he has received over the years as one of the greatest songwriters and performers of our generation.  And just like boy George – Good for him.


First, I want to take the time to remember one of the greats, Bill Buckner, who passes away few weeks back.    While he will always be remembers as a key player in the 10th inning of the 1986 Mets / Red Sox World Series, it should not be his only legacy.  He was a great MLB player and should be remembered for that as well.   RIP Bill Buckner, you will be missed.

As far as the current New York Mets, it is starting to look like another lost season and the bullpen has been unable to get anybody out the past few weeks.  This includes closer Edwin Diaz, who the Mets picket up during the off-season from the Seattle Mariners of a fantastic last year.   His struggles got me thinking about the life span of a closer.   Most closers seem to only have 1 or 2 great years during their career.  The all-time greats (Mariano Rivera, Dennis Eckersly, Bruce Sutter) seem more like exceptions than the norm.

Here are the closers with the most team saves from the last 10 years from the World Series Winners

2009  Yankees      Mariano Rivera
2010  Giants         Brian Wilson
2011  Cardinals   Fernando Salas
2012  Giants         Santiago Casilla
2013  Red Sox      Koji Uehara
2014  Giants         Sergio Romo
2015  Royals         Greg Holland
2016 Cubs             Héctor Rondón
2017 Astos             Ken Giles
2018 Red Sox        Craig Kimbrel

While some of these have some name recognition, and some are still playing (bouncing around from club to club), it seems that closers are basically a crap shoot year after year,  If I were a General Manager of a club, I would not rely on any closer to replicated his statistics year after year.   I would start the season with a bunch of low payed closers and just keep swapping out the guys who are not good and hope to find somebody who clicks and has a career year.  Any other way is simply wishful thinking and proven to not work

That’s all for now.

Will try to write more soon

Average Andy

Posted in Amazing Race, Baseball, Big Bang Theory, Bohemian Rhapsody, Boston Red Sox, Bruce Springsteen, Culture Club, Designated Survivor, Music, NY Mets, Phil Keoghan, Reality Shows, Rocket Man, Sports, Television, TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment