Growing up I remember watching professional wrestling with some of my cousins and uncles huddled around the television.  Guys like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Roddy Piper and Iron Shiek were basically super heroes to me.  I collected their figures.  Smashed them together in the WWF ring I received for Christmas when I was 8, you could say they were the male version of having Barbie Dolls.  I couldn’t get enough.  To this day, I vividly remember my uncle taking me to see The Ultimate Warrior wrestle at a local civic center.  However, just like anything else, as you get a little older, your interests change, and the same thing happened with me and professional wrestling.

As I entered my 20s, I was over at a friend’s house where they were watching WWE Raw on a Monday Night.  At that time they were trying to push the envelope so far from both a language and sexuality standpoint, that it was a bit much for me.  You would see children in the crowd and it just wasn’t right.  Someone then sent me a link to when The Rock finally came back to the WWE after being gone for ten years.  I noticed that the ratings for the WWE broadcasts when from TV-14 down to simply TV-PG in July of 2009.

Upon looking into it a little further, WWE made a concerted effort to once again market their product to families and children.  As I’m getting older, I noticed some of my nephews had WWE shirts on and I began to ask them about it, and they were obsessed with it just like I was as a kid.  Because of this, about six months ago, I started watching the program once more, so I could ‘talk the talk’ with my nephews.  I have to say, it has been a tremendous amount of fun.  So much so, that I decided to order the WWE Network around a month ago.  It was an incredibly aggressive and innovative move by Vince McMahon and the WWE.  For $10 a month, you get thousands of hours of old wrestling as well as all of the Pay Per Views.  As an example, Wrestlemania was $69.95 this year, but it comes with your $9.99 monthly subscription.


So I fired up my AppleTV, invited the boys and their Dads over Sunday, and we had a fun ‘guys’ night, eating wings and chips, and watching professional wrestling’s Super Bowl.  This year the event was at Levi’s Stadium where the San Francisco 49ers play.  There was a sold out crowd of 76,976 people there to watch almost five hours of wrestling.  Sure, its silly and obviously scripted, but probably not much more than some of the reality shows that are on television.  To see the look on the faces of my two nephews when they thought their favorite wrestler was going to lose before miraclously extending the match was priceless and brought memories back of my youth.  Sometimes its hard to find reasons to get together as a family, and rekindling my youth watching a fun show like the WWE isn’t the worst reason, and now I can’t wait for Wrestlemania 32 next year.


Last week there was a funny, yet stomach turning, photograph of Ashley Judd lip locked with ESPN’s Dick Vitale before a University of Kentucky basketball game.  The smooch happened to be caught by a photographer of University of Kentucky, and was tweeted out.  According to the pair, Vitale and Judd have been friends for over a decade, and were excited to see each other at an important basketball game.  It wasn’t long after the photo was tweeted out that Judd began to receive venomous tweets from the bowels of the internet.

“Well apparently, I’m a whore. I’ve been called the C-word,” Judd said. “The way things happen on social media is so abusive, and everyone needs to take personal responsibility for what they work and not allowing this misinterpretation and shaming culture on social media to persist.

“And by the way,” Judd added, “I’m pressing charges.”

Those are some rather serious words, that you would attempt to sue people for 140 characters on Twitter.  That said, those words didn’t come in the heat of the moment.  It was actually a couple of days later as Judd appeared on Morning Joe and had some interesting thoughts about social media, and the people who write vile items for their own amusement.

There is no question that anonymity of the internet creates a situation where people have less hesitation for saying hateful things.  Hiding behind the handle of say @crazyfratboy212 is much easier than saying something to someone’s face.  Some people refer to this as “internet muscles”.  It truly is a phenomenon that has become a detriment to our society.  We saw the same thing happen with former Major League Baseball player Curt Schilling who tweeted out that his daughter was going to be playing softball in college.  From there, the idiot trolls of Twitter took over and unleashed a multitude of profane tweets about this young girl.  Schilling went so far that he turned in a few of the offenders and they both lost their jobs.

There is no question that social media has changed the way that we ingest our news.  Its allowed us to keep in touch with friends and family.  It has become an amazing fundraising vehicle as we saw with the ALS Ice Bucket challenge last year.

On the flip side, we have also seen people who feel as if social media is their vehicle to spread hate.  Its truly an unfortunate thing, and while I sincerely doubt that Ashley Judd will be successful in any sort of lawsuit, my hope is that it can be some sort of a catalyst in changing how people act when conversing online.

I’ll be the first to admit that my love for college basketball has dwindled over the last ten years.  With so many of the good players leaving early for the NBA, its tough to really get to know the players and watch them grow as a part of the university.  At the same time you have the hypocrisy of the NCAA making over a BILLION dollars on the men’s NCAA basketball tournament, the coaches making multiple millions of dollars per year, but the athletes seeing nothing financially.  While those two items factor in to my watching the sport less, there still is nothing like the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.

Sure, the word “cinderella” is used time after time and becomes repetitive, but in no other athletic event do you see heavily overmatched teams from small schools go after the big boys in the major conferences and more than hold their own.

I’m partial to Valparaiso University back in 1998.  You had this small Lutheran school in the Indiana, which many people consider the home of basketball, as a #14 seed, taking on Ole Miss.  The Valpo Crusaders were 69-67 with just 2.5 seconds on the clock.  The coach, Homer Drew, called a timeout to set up a last second play for none other than his son Bryce to try to get off a shot to win the game.  We later found out the name of the play was “Pacer”, but it involved a player on the Valparaiso baseball team, Jamie Sykes throwing a three quarter court pass to their big man, Bill Jenkins who would quickly tip it over to Bryce Drew for an attempted three pointer.  The play could not have been run any more smoothly, and Drew got off a shot at the buzzer that found nothing but the bottom of the net.


More than 15 years later, its still fun to watch that replay over and over.  Bryce Drew went on to play for a few teams in the NBA, and now is following in his Father’s footsteps and has taken over as the head coach for Valparaiso.  Guess what, Valparaiso is back in the tournament this year, as a #13 seed, and will be taking on the Maryland Terrapins tomorrow afternoon in Columbus.  What a story it would be for Drew to go to the Sweet 16 as a player for Valparaiso, and then back there as a coach.

While I touched on the Valpo story, there are plenty of other schools out there looking to make their mark over the next four days.  While our staff and customers at ASAP Warranty are most important, I’d be lying if I said I won’t have the games going on my computer the next couple of days.  It will be fun to watch!

Snow Surprises

This has been a brutal winter for our staff here at ASAP Warranty, as well as our customers.  The record amounts of snowfall that covered most of the country have resulted in some horrific driving conditions.  Not only have the roads been slick causing endless amounts of accidents, but the sheer amount of snow and therefore salt put down on the roads does not bode well for the working parts of your vehicle.  The extreme cold weather also puts quite a strain on car batteries.  This doesn’t even account for the mental and physical toll that the weather and low amount of daylight hours take on your body.  While I love my job, I don’t love leaving the house when it is dark and coming home when it is dark.  Even in the dark, the temperatures have been so low that it has been hard to do just about anything outside.

All of that said, this past Sunday we entered daylight savings time.  While we lose an hour a sleep, that hour of daylight on the backend is something to be excited about.  After a foot of snow last week, the temperatures have risen, and while there has been copious amounts of rain, it has helped melt the snow.  I can actually see some of the grass now, and while there may be mounds of disgusting looking black snow covered in salt and dirt, they are slowly shrinking.

Its amazing as to what a little sunlight can do for a person’s spirits.  Just walking around yesterday and not wearing a hat or gloves gave me a little pep in my step.  Leaving work, while it was still light out just brings a smile to your face.  Its also that time of year, when the baseball teams are in spring training, and we are overflowing with optimism as I fully expect for the Yankees to bring home another World Series, at least before the season starts.  It will now only be three or four more weeks until the trees begin to get their leaves, the grass begins to grow and true Spring will be in the air.  I have a special place in my heart for all of those elementary school teachers around the majority of the country who had to keep their kids indoors for recess thus filling them with crazy energy.  Hopefully now they can get outside and start burning off some of that energy.

The spring is also a great time to get on the road.  If you have had your convertible or your Jeep locked up over this long winter, it shouldn’t be too much longer until the top can be put down and you can feel that wind running through you.  I’m not sure if was just this bad winter, or that I’m getting older, but this is the most happy I have been about the hopeful arrival of spring in a long time.  Please tell me the snow is gone for the season, and spring is here to stay!


As I’ve said on this blog numerous times, I am a big New York sports fan.  Growing up, I was also a fan of Mike Tyson.  As a little kid watching this man demolish people as if he was a super hero was something special to see, and one that I will never forget.  Whatever your opinion on the trial of Mike Tyson, and there are are many, he was found guilty and was sentenced to six years of prison in Indiana.  After serving three years, he was released, and looked to be in incredible shape and was itching to get back in the ring.  I remember vividly one of the first days of my freshman year of college, Tyson came back on August 19, 1995 to face Peter McNeeley.  I walked to a house where I knew not a single person, but had to see the fight.  Tyson destroyed McNeeley.  He went on to win four more fights, but then faced Evander Holyfield.  After losing to Holyfield, they had the rematch in which Tyson bit a piece of Evander’s ear off.  From that point forward, his career went straight downhill, and I turned into the biggest Tyson apologist/excuse maker on the planet.  I actually travelled to Louisville to see one of his last fights where he lost to Danny Williams in 2004, when he was a shell of himself.  I think it was at that point that my delusions of grandeur finally faded away.

Fast forward to 2015, I’m starting to have the same thoughts about my favorite golfer, Tiger Woods.  Since his insane Thanksgiving night over five years ago, I have been the first to say, ‘he will be back’.  The facts are that probably the greatest golfer in history hasn’t won a major since the US Open in 2008.  While he did win five tournaments in 2013, his last six starts on the PGA tour contain three withdrawls, two missed cuts, and last place in his own tournament.  He is now taking and ‘indefinite leave of absence’ from Golf while he sorts out his injuries, his head, and his game.  Tiger has always said that he wants to surpass the record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, now that he is quickly approaching the age of 40 with 14 majors under his belt.  Just about everyone doubts that he can even be competitive on the PGA Tour again, let alone win five majors to get past his idol.

This goes against everything said about possibly learning something about the way I felt about Tyson getting his career back in line, but I have full confidence that Tiger Woods is going to come back, and maybe not be ‘better than ever’, but get his body in good shape and win five more majors, including this year.  Yes, I may be drinking the Kook-Aid, but the man is one of the most competitive people on earth, and if there is anyone who wants to show his detractors that he still has it, it is him.  I know I will be watching next year at the Masters.


At the end of last year, I set some goals for 2015.  One of those goals was to travel to the Bahamas to visit the Atlantis resort.  I still plan on doing that this Fall, but years ago, I was able to visit St. John, and I’m itching to get back there.

St. John is part of the US Virgin Islands, and isn’t exactly the easiest place to get to, but I have some friends that make sure they set aside time to go each year.  There isn’t a commercial airport on the island, so you have fly into St. Thomas.  From the St. Thomas airport, you have to grab your bags and hop on a taxi across the island for roughly 30-45 minutes.  If you weren’t feeling so hot from the four hour flight, don’t worry, the taxi will make you feel much worse in a hurry.  Not only to cars travel on the other side of the road in St. Thomas & St. John, but the islands are so hilly, and so many sharp turns, that even the seasoned riders tend to get car sick from time to time.  After arriving at the Red Hook ferry, you have a roughly 30 minute boat ride over to St. John.  All of that said, once that ferry docks in St. John, you quickly put that eight hour travel day behind you.

To give you some kind of idea, over 75% of the island of St. John is Virgin Islands National Park.  There aren’t huge high rises, and frankly only one major hotel, the Westin.  As a matter of fact, many of the people I know that visit St. John tend to go with several couples and rent a house.  Because of the beautiful forests, it isn’t a big deal to see wild chickens, goats, as well as giant iguanas as you peruse the island.

While the wildlife is great, I don’t know another place on the earth that compares with the beaches of St. John.  The incredibly clear blue water is not only something special to your eyes, but the place is known for its outstanding snorkeling.  When I was there, we not only saw gorgeous fish, but plenty of sting rays as well as sea turtles.

While on the island it is highly recommended to take a tour on a boat of the British Virgin Islands as well.  While it is a steep as well as strange fee (cash only), presently $45 a person to take a boat into the BVI, what you encounter is great.  My personal favorite is a bar/restaurant that is in the middle of a cove that looks as if it is an old abandoned pirate ship, called the Willy T.  Yes, the place tends to get a little crazy, but not sure you will ever see better water anywhere.


All in all, if you have a solid four or five days for vacation, and can take the long couple of travel days, St. John is a great destination for you.  Just writing about it now, during this long and freezing winter, makes me want to get on a plane and head down there.


I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t expect to write back to back Alex Rodriguez posts, but after a couple of developments over the last week, I simply couldn’t resist.  On Tuesday, Alex released a rather bizarre hand written note in which apologized to Major League Baseball, the Steinbrenner family, the Yankees, the Players Association as well as the fans.  The crazy thing about the note, is during the note he doesn’t actually ever say what he is actually apologizing for.  He doesn’t admit to anything, and really just a vague strange letter.  Of course, his handwriting has now been analyzed and it is said that he ‘writes like a girl, and has a large ego‘.  It has been rumored that Rodriguez asked the Yankees to allow him to conduct a press conference at the Yankees Spring Training in Tampa, and they flat out rejected him, and instead he went with this strange yet cryptic letter.


You would like to think that would be enough A-Rod news for the week, but no such luck.  ESPN put together a huge as well as mind blowing piece on what Alex Rodriguez has been up to since the suspension was handed down.  Here is a man that was so delusional that he thought he was not only going to get out of his suspension, but that Major League Baseball would issue an apology.  He was an 18 year old boy when drafted by the Seattle Mariners and never attended college.  According to the article, he now desperately seeks that education not only visiting 70 campuses on his own, but now taking classes at the University of Miami.  He constantly laments about how he could have had the perfect career and walked away just if he hadn’t made some ‘bad decisions’.  A-Rod constantly has intimate sessions with a therapist to attempt to turn over a new leaf in his life.  Its an amazing read, and highly recommended to anyone wanting to get at least a glimpse of what is going on in his head.

Coming out of the piece, I can’t help but feel that Alex Rodriguez is a complex man, who had too much, too soon.  While yes, he has made over a half a billion dollars playing a kids game, it has come at a price.  Its almost as if living in this world of fame and fortune has caused him to not develop as a person, as if he is a robot.  I can’t decide if this will help to get back into the good graces with Yankee fans, but I can tell you, at least from my standpoint, if be productive in the lineup, I’m all for Alex helping us try to get back to the World Series.



“Pitchers and Catchers Report”.  That is the phrase that baseball fans love to hear.  For my New York Yankees that will be February 20 in Tampa, FL.  Its that time of year when every baseball fan can  be an extreme optimist.  The team hasn’t lost a game yet, they had a great off season, and this is going to be the year…

It should be that time of year for us Yankee fans, but instead it is being riddled with stories of A-Rod.  As most people know, Alex Rodriguez was suspended by Major League Baseball for all of the 2014 season due to his involvement in a steroid ring.  This hasn’t been the first time Alex has been in trouble, so this second time has caused more and more people to be disgusted with his antics.

That said, the problem isn’t that simple.  Alex Rodriguez is still owed $60M on his contract by the Yankees.  While they are allowing him to come back to the team, from everything I have read, it seems as if they are going to try to make his life a living hell.  They have told him that he has no chance of playing third base this year, and the only option will be as a designated hitter.  Doesn’t that seem counter-intuitive to trying to win baseball games?  If he is your best third basement, why not let him play if you have to pay him anyway?  The second issue is with some performance bonuses that were built into his contract.  If Rodriguez passes the immortal Willie Mays on the all time home run list (660), he is set to receive $6M from the Yankees.  Alex sits at 554 right now, so if he gets any playing time at all this year, it seems as if it is a lock that he will pass up the Say Hey Kid.  The Yankees are filing a grievance with Major League Baseball protesting that they shouldn’t have to pay out that bonus because it was done in good faith that they could use that milestone in marketing materials.  They understandably feel that trying to market a convicted steroid passing one of the most beloved players in baseball won’t exactly be easy.

If you were a baseball franchise struggling to get by, I could understand the hesitation.  However, we are talking about the New York Yankees here, they are the most storied franchise not just in baseball, but in all American sports, $6M is pocket change to them.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out why they are electing to handle the situation in this manner.  As far as I’m concerned, they have two choices.

1.  Buy $60M of goodwill with their fan base by simply cutting Rodriguez.  Of course they will still have to pay his salary, but they won’t have to deal with the endless distractions that they are dealing with now simply going into spring training.

2.  Embrace his talent.  Simply say that they don’t agree with the decisions that Alex has made, but they want to win another World Series, and if A-Rod gives them the best chance to do that, he is under contract with the team and they will do what is best for the team to win games.

There is no need for the petty fighting over the $6M bonus for passing Mays.  Its almost as if the Yankees want this distraction to continue.  I can tell you one thing, this Yankee fan wants to simply think about the new season and not the endless drama over A-Rod.

Mid-town Manhattan is pictured from the top of the United Nations building in New York

I now reside in Delaware, where our offices for ASAP Warranty are located, but I’m a New Yorker at heart.  Growing up and spending the vast majority of my life in Brooklyn, and most of my family still out there, I was closely following the ‘huge’ storm that was approaching this week.  It was being broadcasted that New York would receive up to three feet of snow.  It was so bad that a travel ban was set after 9:00 pm Monday night across many cities on the East Coast.  NBA games were canceled, heck even WWE’s Monday Night Raw was canceled in Connecticut, for the first time in over 1,100 episodes.

When it was all said and done, yes, Boston received plenty of snow, but New York City received six inches tops.  There are now estimates that this error by tons of meteorologists costs the North East over one billion dollars!!  Think about that, the fact that everyone buckled down for this ‘storm of the century’, and all cars and public transportation were closed down, Manhattan was at a standstill.  While that had to be quite eerie, to completely shut down the commerce of the biggest city in the United States is a big deal.  How these weather people miscalculated so badly is beyond me.  Of course the sophisticated models for predicting weather improve constantly with technology, but to be that far off on the forecast is hard to believe!

Its unfortunate that the weather men missed this one, because it makes you wonder if when the next “storm of the century” is forecasted for Manhattan if Mayor de Blasio and other authority figures won’t be as aggressive with transportation bans, thus putting lives in jeopardy.  I sure hope all of the meteorologists learn from their mistakes this time around, so that next time this happens people can be prepared properly, and not have what ended up being a false alarm and shutting down the greatest city in the world when it wasn’t necessary.


My New York Knicks are on a tear of a two game winning streak after losing 16, yes I said 16, games in a row.  When Carmello Anthony came to town, I think I can speak for all Knick fans in thinking that the franchise was about to move in the right direction.  We even lured in Phil Jackson for an astounding $10M a year to help out, but we seem to be going nowhere but down!

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the way that the NBA is structured.  If you aren’t going to be in the hunt for the NBA Championship, it makes sense to be very bad (just ask Philly) in order to attain a top draft pick.  Unlike football where you have 22 guys on the field for offense and defense, basketball has a grand total of 5.  If you pick up one exceptional player from the draft, it can change your franchise for years and years.  The problem I have is that New York is the biggest city and therefore biggest market in the United States.  To have a team that loses 16 games in row and is barely competitive is an embarrassment.

I long for the days where we had guys like Charles Oakley & Patrick Ewing taking up the paint.  I vividly remember where I was at when John Starks threw down what I believe still should be considered the greatest in game dunk in history.

Watching that clip again and seeing how bonkers Madison Square Garden went actually made me sad.  The Garden hasn’t gone crazy like that probably since ‘Linsanity’ a few years ago, and we still didn’t make the playoffs that year.

I really do have trust in Phil Jackson and know that he has his heart in the right place, and wants to put the pieces in place to turn the organization around.  Those things can’t happen overnight, but as a fan, its just so difficult to watch a proud team look the way they look right now.

There was a story earlier this month that spoke about Carmello Anthony speaking with Knicks brass as to potentially shutting it down for the rest of the season because of a sore knee.  My eyeballs about fell out of my head as I read that.  In what other profession can you make over one hundred million dollars and then be encouraged to not do your job, while you still get paid?  I understand the Knicks are looking for that draft pick, but what about all of those season ticket holders who pay their hard earned money to see the team play at home 41 times a year, and now their best players is just going to sit out the last half of the season because his knee is sore?

It seems as if the NBA needs to think long and hard about revamping their lottery rules.  Right now, it is undoubtedly encourages teams to lose.  What good could that possibly do, other than alienate your fan base?  I know it angers this long time once proud Knicks fan.