Survivor Now and Then

I’m really enjoying this season of Survivor (Survivor: Island of the Idols).  Its so much better than last seasons debacle (Survivor: Edge of Extinction).   Having players who are voted out actually be out of the game is the way the game should be played.   I love the concept of having Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine as mentors and hope they do it again with other Survivor legends.   Imaging going to the Island of the Idols with Benjamin “Coach” Wade and John Cochran   or Rupert Boneham  and Parvati Shallow.

As far as this seasons contestants, it took me a while to get familiar with some of them since they are not doing the introductions (with names) at the beginning of the episodes.   Hopefully they will bring this back next season.    I was surprised when I saw Tom Laidlaw as the 1st contestant from Canada.  I remember him as a member of the New York Rangers back in the 1980s, paired with Ron Greschner

Here is a list I found of professional athletes who have appeared on Survivor.  There may be more, I will need to do some more research

Jimmy Johnson (NFL Coach), Tyler Fredrickson (NFL), Brad Culpepper (NFL), Grant Mattos (NFL), Gary Hogeboom (NFL), Steve Wright (NFL), David Samson (MLB Owner), John Rocker (MLB), Jeff Kent (MLB), Cliff Robinson (NBA), Crystal Cox (Olympics)

Will be interesting to see how the rest of this season plays out.  There are a lot of good players playing good physical and social games.    After the merge next week we should have a better idea of where everybody stands.   Through in some more visits to Rob and Sandra and it should be fun to watch

In other Survivor news, was very sad to see that Original Player Rudy Boesch  passed away at the age of 91.   RIP Rudy Boesch.   He was a true character and realy embodied what Survivor was all about.    Here are the videos of him being voted out in Season One (Borneo) and Season 8 (All-Stars).   Rest in Peace Rudy Boesh – You will be missed


Here is a copy of custom Survivor Cards that I have created for Season 1

Rudy Boesch

And finally, here is a list of all Survivor Contestants who left us to soon:

B.B. Andersen (Season 1: Borneo)
Jenn Lyon (Season 10: Palau)
Ashley Massaro (Season 15: China)
Dan Kay (Season 17: Gabon)
Caleb Bankston (Season 27:  Blood vs. Water)

Much more to come including my take on the Series finale of “The Affair” on Showtime as well as thoughts on the NY Giants (awful) and NY Mets (Intriguing) coaches



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Time marches on

Very sad to hear that a co-worker of mine at NBC, D’Jamison Jensen passed away on August 10th at the age of 46.  We were on the same team and talked and ate lunch together for 5 plus years.  He was laid off from NBC the same time I was let go and we kept in touch throughout our search for a new jobs.  He was a nice guy and will be missed.  RIP Jamie

Don’t know how to feel about the NY Mets firing their Manager Mickey Callaway a few weeks back.  I will admit the he was not a very good manager during his 2 years and at times looked flustered and made many head scratching decisions.   But I did happen to hear him on WFAN with Mike Francesa after the season (before he was let go) , and he seem to have finally figured things out.  He sounded more confident than he had in his 2 years and seemed really excited about the team and it potential in 2020.   Not sure where the Mets are going for their next manager, but hopefully its somebody who can work with the pitchers and young talent to get this team to the play-offs.   I’m looking forward to 2020

On the other hand, I don’t want to be negative, but I would not be upset if the NY Football Giants fired there current head coach Pat Shurmur.  The team has been a mess the past couple of years, and I do not feel Pat Shurmur is the person to get things straightened out.  He failed as a coach at Cleveland, and so far has not done much better in NY.  He makes way to many excuses, and while I understand the team needed to move on from Eli Manning, and move forward with Danial Jones, coach Shurmur seems content to lose and then blame things on having a rookie QB.   I always root for the Giants to win, but am really torn as if they win, then coach Shurmur stays.   Lets see how things play out the next 4 weeks before their buy.

Yesterday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced their 2020 Nominees

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2020 Nominees

If I had to choose 5, here are Average Andys picks

Pat Benatar
Judas Priest
Dave Matthews Band
Todd Rundgren
The Doobie Brothers

Honestly, while I congratulate each of the 16 nominees,  I had a hard time even coming up with my five picks.   Other than Pat Benatar and Judas Priest, none of the others really jumped out and excited me.  I like some of their songs, but am just not feeling that they are among the best of the best.  I do wish the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voting committee would give a little more thought to so called Corporate Rock Bands  (Boston, Styx, Foreigner) or so labeled 80s Hair Bands (Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Dio), rather than continuing to force bands like Kraftwerk (6 times) or MC5 (5 times)  out there year after year.   And they need to go back and nominate people like John Denver and Dolly Parton, who had huge influences in the 70s.

I mentioned last time I really enjoyed the new BH90210 series on FOX.   I though it was genius on how they revived the show.   If you were a fan of the original 90210, you really should check this out.  Its a bit strange at the beginning, but once you buy into what they are doing, it really works and was really enjoyable

We are 4 episodes into Survivor, and I love the Boston Rob / Sandra take.  It really works and make for some great insight.  I can see them bringing other fan favorites back in the same way in future seasons.    Plus there is no Exile Island this time, and once you are voted off, you are actually out of the game.    No real favorites yet, but I would love to see Tom Laidlaw do well.  I do remember him as a member of the NY Rangers in the early 80s and it would be cool if he went far.

Tom Laidwaw – NY Rangers / Survivor

Just a reminder that the 71st Philly Non-Sport Card show is this weekend in Allentown, PA.   I will be attending on Sunday and hope to pick up some cool stuff.

Philly NonSports Card Show

More to come

Average Andy


Posted in 90210, Mike and the Mad Dog, Music, Non-Sports Cards, NY Giants, NY Mets, Philly Non Sports Card Show, Reality Shows, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Sports, Survivor, TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.


Posted in 90210, Baseball, Big Brother, Football, Jeff Probst, Lehigh University, Marillion, Music, NY Giants, NY Mets, Reality Shows, Sports, Survivor, Television, TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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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