Okay, I’m back. Well, my computer is back, after a week at the Apple store in Pasadena. And, it still looks like all is not clear with the machine. Thought Macs were like Ronnie Coleman, pretty much invincible. They may be, for the most part, until they get into my hands, at least. Let’s all go back to typewriters. Well, that might not be a great choice, either.
What is a good choice, though, is picking Dexter Jackson as my early season Bodybuilder of the Year. The Blade, as we all know by now (read our Forum if you haven’t gotten the news yet), followed his third victory at the Arnold Classic with easy wins the following two weekends in Australia and New Zealand.
Now, the 5′ 6 1/2″, 215-pounder (Jackson claims to have been over 230 in Columbus; I will no longer argue the weight game with the Blade) out of Jacksonville, Florida can take dead aim the rest of the season on his Mr. Olympia contest prep. With Victor Martinez likely to sit out The Big Dance due to knee surgery, Dex and Dennis Wolf will be the dudes picked by the prognosticators as the biggest threats to prevent a three-peat by Jay Cutler in ‘Vegas at the end of September.
Of course, there’s a long way to go before the ‘0. Several pro shows remain on the IFBB schedule this year, starting with the New York Pro on May 10 and ending with the Atlantic City Pro in September. But I’ll stick with Jackson and Wolf as the main contenders to give “The Ultimate Beef” some grief on stage at the Orleans Arena. I’ve already gone on record (check out “The Experts” Arnold Classic videos) with my pick of Cutler to make it three for three. Hinds went with Phil Heath, Yogi with Wolf. Mark these calls, so you all will know who deserves the Swami Crown at the end of the year.
Last Saturday I emceed Jon Lindsay’s Max Muscle Naturals at Anaheim High School and, as always, had a fun time. It’s always an enjoyable show. Check out the results and Merv’s pics in the contests section of the site.
The biggest surprise of the event did not take place on stage, however. It was Shawn Ray picking up the tab for lunch, then popping for a movie between prejudging and the finals! Yup, Shawn took care of my bill at Benihana’s, then paid for the ticket when we went to view the newly released “21,” the Swami’s pre-weekend pick as the number one grossing flick in the country. In case you don’t follow such things, I was way right, as the Kevin Spacey film smacked the competition with a $23 million gross. Check out the film, it’s very good.
In case you think Shawn is no longer the Jack Benny of bodybuilding, however, slow down a bit. Ray’s buddy Anthony Naticchioni, who was a former neighbor of Ray’s in Yorba Linda (he moved to Corona last summer), joined us at the famed Japanese eatery, and was forced by Sugar to pay for Shawn’s meal “so I can break even.”
Anyway, I want to say thanks to Mr. Ray for his kindness to finally pay and make my day.
Speaking of Shawn, 619Rules asked me a question on our forum: Was it Greg Reid who bested Shawn in a one-punch fight at Gold’s Gym, Fullerton, many years back? Yes it was; Reid thus earned my moniker “The Hammer” with his crushing right cross.
However, they patched things up a long time ago and remained cordial to each other throughout the years. Most of us entrenched in the industry, either as competitors, promoters or members of the media, have all had our moments. I know that a lot of competitors would have liked to slap me upside the head during my 25 year trek in the sport. And, yes, one of them did, but I’ll leave it at that.
Anyway, I did have to bring out my billfold before the night was over; Ron (Yogi) Avidan came to the finals, and we hit Mimi’s in Anaheim after the event. My turn to pay the damages, especially since I want Yogi to remain part of “The Experts” trio (joining yours truly and Isaac Hinds) so I can continue to dominate the predictions. We both had turkey dinners, and fell asleep at the table before the waitress threw out out at closing time.
That’s all folks. Come back real soon, ya hear?