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What the Heck is the AOBS and When is its Next Reunion?

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  • Mike Corlett
    replied
    Originally posted by Dave Hartnett View Post
    Big John McGrath was there again this year, and like Steve said, very nice man.
    Mike, if it were the dinners only, I probably wouldn't go as much.
    For me its seeing friends, hanging out, having fun. I do like the dinners most of the time, but my 70 hour work weeks, plus insomnia issues, catches up once in a while.
    I happened to hit the wall around 9 PM. (After a 19 hour Saturday). Its all good, everyone enjoys different parts of the weekend.

    My highlight last year, was sitting on the couch at the bar, from 11 PM 'til 3 AM with Ken Patera and Wilhelm. Unforgettable time for me...
    See what happens when Julie leaves you alone?

    This will not be the last time I quote this quote. It might take me a few days to get to, but I will. It concerns Ken Patera...

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  • Dave Hartnett
    replied
    Big John McGrath was there again this year, and like Steve said, very nice man.
    Mike, if it were the dinners only, I probably wouldn't go as much.
    For me its seeing friends, hanging out, having fun. I do like the dinners most of the time, but my 70 hour work weeks, plus insomnia issues, catches up once in a while.
    I happened to hit the wall around 9 PM. (After a 19 hour Saturday). Its all good, everyone enjoys different parts of the weekend.

    My highlight last year, was sitting on the couch at the bar, from 11 PM 'til 3 AM with Ken Patera and Wilhelm. Unforgettable time for me...

    Leave a comment:


  • Mike Corlett
    replied
    Originally posted by Steve Weiner View Post

    Mike- The tall man you speak about is John McGrath who is as nice a man as you will ever meet and is strong as an ox. He is very good at long bar scrolling and performed at the AOBS dinner on the main stage in 2011. As a matter of fact, he also certified on the Ironmind Red Nail right on the main stage that night as well.
    Steve, thanks. I missed the 2011 and 2012 AOBS dinners. I think it was 2009, in one of the conference rooms, where Slim had one of his "rising stars" presentations, and he performed there. There had been a gap in time from the 2007 dinner, could have been 2010. He did some long bar bending, and it was something to see, as I had not laid eyes on him since seeing him at a breakfast table, and then a couple years later, wow, there he was performing. So the trip across the pond was not a one-shot deal for a middle-aged man either...
    I'll have to go back and look at an early 2012 MILO for his Red Nail writeup. Man, doing a certification on the main stage! Is that the only time that has ever been done? Red Nail or Number 3? I don't remember seeing any.

    Leave a comment:


  • Steve Weiner
    replied
    Originally posted by Mike Corlett View Post
    Another day, another year. The 2007 AOBS weekend...



    The next morning, my son told me that a nice man he met wanted to buy he and I breakfast. I am not sure how he makes friends so easily, but he does...The guy was about 6 foot 5, early 40s, and had some type of martial arts studio in Western Europe, and his wife, practically 6 feet herself, was with him. I asked him how did he end up attending a dinner in America? He explained that he had heard of The Mighty Atom, was fascinated by his story, and bought the book on Atom. I asked how much he paid for it, and he said about 75 bucks. His fascination was that with Atom, he had never seen anything that embodied "pure strength" as with the case of Joseph Greenstein. He wanted more, and his research eventually enabled him to stumble across AOBS, which appeared to him to be the closest thing to that "pure strength" element he was seeking. His quest for "pure strength", leading him to a foreign country, attending an event with hundreds of strangers made for a unique and enjoyable breakfast. It was shortly after that my son began taking up martial arts...
    Mike- The tall man you speak about is John McGrath who is as nice a man as you will ever meet and is strong as an ox. He is very good at long bar scrolling and performed at the AOBS dinner on the main stage in 2011. As a matter of fact, he also certified on the Ironmind Red Nail right on the main stage that night as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mike Corlett
    replied
    Another day, another year. The 2007 AOBS weekend...

    My kid and I ran around NYC experiencing "tourist-style" sites that year. Empire State building, Ellis Island, Liberty Island, etc. Got back to the Saddlebrook NJ Marriott before dark again.

    In 2007 bodybuilder Dave Draper was being honored. I saw him in the lobby seated on a sofa, early evening, with several guys intensely talking to him. AOBS fans. Because of his Weider-created persona, Dave had more of a Rock Star-style following than just about any I have seen at AOBS. Dave is a genuinely sincere, humble, quiet, introverted person. He was politely listening to the group he was speaking to. His wife Laree was sitting in a chair, not quite looking like the lady I had seen in 2005. I thought to myself, "wow, these people have no clue what they are in for", and felt sorry for them. I came over to her, sat down, and introduced myself.

    We had met at a "bash" at Dave's old gym in Santa Cruz California two years earlier. Santa Cruz is 35 miles from my home, and my brother and I went to a "seminar" that featured Dave and Bill Pearl (Ed Corney eventually showed up as well), listened to the guys talk for 90 minutes or so, and then everyone went to a nearby park for a picnic consuming mass quantities of charred mammal flesh (as the Coneheads would say!). Laree was running the whole show, barking orders, being part of the multiple person video crew (they made a DVD of the Draper-Pearl seminar that they sold for years), and she was awfully effective, organized, and just plain together. Impressive woman. She looked a bit out of her element sitting in the lobby. She didn't remember me (why would she) but she certainly remembered and knew my brother (the man who takes good photos and is generous about sharing them). After the initial pleasantries, I went into my spiel: Here is what is going to happen this weekend. You sit right here, and more and more people are going to be showing up, talking, catching up, and talking to Dave. This is going to go on all day, and the next day. The dinner is great, some speeches too long, some just right. She did not know much about AOBS, and pointed to Joe Rollino walking around and marveled at his shape at his age (it was somewhere between 90 and 102 at that time, depending on who you believed). Years later, I discovered it was Joe who suggested Dave be inducted. It was a few years after that when I shared that with Laree. She was pretty much in awe of the whole thing. We conspired as to what I was going to give my brother for a Christmas present that year, it had something to do with a 1966 MAD Magazine, Dave's signature, and MAD making fun of Dave in that particular issue. We talked a long time, so long in fact that Dave broke away from his fans to check in on who the stranger speaking with his wife in the hotel lobby was.

    The next night, around Midnight, Stanless Steel asked me to introduce me to Dave (I had known him a whole day), as he wanted to ask Dave a question (and, it was a doozy). Laree was up near the front table, a few feet from Dave, and there was still a line of fans waiting to talk to him. She looked at me, very seriously, and said "When do I get him back?"

    I had three other memories that stick out from that year. Dinner was sort of a repeat as the previous year, my son and I scrambling to get a decent table, and parking ourselves with a nice group. At the table was Steve Jeck, author of the book "Of Stones and Strength". The last two guys to show up at two of the last two seats in the banquet room, our table again, were Bruce and Steve Wilhelm. Wilhelm was and is a trip. Maybe I should just leave it at that. It was fun.

    The next morning, my son told me that a nice man he met wanted to buy he and I breakfast. I am not sure how he makes friends so easily, but he does...The guy was about 6 foot 5, early 40s, and had some type of martial arts studio in Western Europe, and his wife, practically 6 feet herself, was with him. I asked him how did he end up attending a dinner in America? He explained that he had heard of The Mighty Atom, was fascinated by his story, and bought the book on Atom. I asked how much he paid for it, and he said about 75 bucks. His fascination was that with Atom, he had never seen anything that embodied "pure strength" as with the case of Joseph Greenstein. He wanted more, and his research eventually enabled him to stumble across AOBS, which appeared to him to be the closest thing to that "pure strength" element he was seeking. His quest for "pure strength", leading him to a foreign country, attending an event with hundreds of strangers made for a unique and enjoyable breakfast. It was shortly after that my son began taking up martial arts...

    The 2007 AOBS was the first year that there was an informal show in the afternoon, in this case, outside the buildings. It was called "Slim Farman's Rising Stars". About 8-10 different performers. Tommy Heslep pulverized at least 5 pounds of potatoes, Greg Matonick, over 60 years old, bent a quarter using his teeth as a vice, Dan Cenidoza tore cards while balancing an Atlas Stone on his back, and other things. This was an example of "something new" being added during the early afternoon of the Saturday main event. I think that was the first time that Sonny Barry attended AOBS, another fellow that my son became friends with, and Sonny has got a few years on me. It wouldn't surprise me if Sonny Barry was/is one of the best barroom brawlers in the country. The whole "rising stars" format appeared to be the first time that a group of fellows who were hardcore followers of Slim attended. These are not gripboad-style benders. You will never see these guys making a video that contains 5 minutes of preparing the wraps. They are followers of Slim, who was a follower of Atom, for which "presentation" is a very big part of the picture. And wrapping bars in ritual-like fashion is not something that audiences are interested in watching. Not knocking the exact science of getting your wraps just right to set a personal measurable record with bending, but it is NOT something for which the general public has an even remote curiosity. This particular element of the AOBS attendees, as I call them, disciples of Slim, is a fairly new but growing piece of the big tent of the AOBS. And, in the lobby, one of the more interesting pieces to watch after hours. They never stop.

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  • Mike Corlett
    replied
    My Second Year of attending AOBS was 2006. This time, my son weighed about 20 pounds less than he weighed the year before, having shed maybe 35 pounds of blubber and added 15 pounds of muscle from his first year of lifting weights. He was pretty psyched up, excited, wanted to see people he met the previous year, show he was getting into lifting, and so on.

    We ran around Brooklyn on Friday, went down to Coney Island, and made it back to the hotel before dark this time. I was going to shower, he wanted to meet people. I told him to just go down to the lobby and hang out, and he would bump into familiar faces. He made a new friend, some real young man there for a family funeral. The guy was from rural South Carolina, and was going to go to junior college in Nevada to play defensive line, get picked up by a Division I college, and then move on to the Pros. Needless to say, I imagine it stopped at the junior college level. At any rate, my son was hanging out with him. The kid had no idea what all these tough guy geezers were doing at the hotel.
    As I was entering the lobby, I saw my son with his friend, and Slim Farman had just arrived. For whatever reason, I was pretty straightforward and said, "Slim, I gave my son here your DVD for Christmas, and it is his favorite thing to watch, he can't get enough of it". Slim shakes our hands, and I say to the dreadlocked young man who stood a couple inches shorter than Slim: "Careful with this old man when you shake his hand, he might break yours". Slim seriously is putting the squeeze on the kid's hand, to which the kid, absolutely stunned, says in a thick rural South accent "I wish you was my Grandpa" We ended up hanging out in the lobby with Slim for approximately FIVE HOURS. We heard his opinion on every subject you could imagine. At times, it was just us, at other times, there were as many as a dozen. Probably 40 people came and left during that period of time. Joe Rollino was there quite a bit. When we spoke about shrinking with age, Joe said "Yeah, Slim and I used to be the same height!". Joe was around 5 feet four, Slim 6 feet four or five (down from 6'6"). It was entertaining and fun. Every hour or so the aspiring defensive lineman would say, "C'mon, squeeze my hand!" To which Slim would say "if I gave it everything I had you would be begging to kiss my white ___", and the kid would laugh and say "That ain't going to happen!"

    At dinner the next night, not sitting at any type of "cool table", we staked out a table with some pretty regular folks. The last two people to arrive at the dinner were wandering around looking for two seats at a table, and they found them at ours. It was Stanley "Stanless Steel" Pleskun and his long time partner Barbara. That was a trip in itself, and was the beginning of a long friendship with Stan. There was an older couple there, retired, now running a health food store, and the husband was like a kid in a candy store. The wife was a very nice lady, and was very "tolerant" of her husband's obsession with the Iron Game. That night, Russ Knipp, a US Weightlifter was honored. He had passed away a few months earlier, and had actually written his acceptance speech prior to passing away. His widow read it ,and it was good. Somewhere in there was a reflective "why do we do it?" question, and she was reading "it is certainly not for the money, the fame, etc.", and touched on some insightful and powerful observations shortly before his passing. An extraordinary acceptance speech. The lady at our table, who now knew our bios, leaned over to my son, put her hand on his hand and said "See what you are part of now?" It was nice.

    Stanley had approximately 37 beers that night (I don't know how many he really had). After the dinner, he was trying feats, and multiple cameras were focused on him as he was attempting them. On the one hand, the guys filming him thought he was nuts. On the other hand, they wouldn't take their videos (this was 2006) off of him. I did not know at that time that he had been a good performing strong man. I thought he was just a strong eccentric.

    My son came into the room at 3 am. I think he spoke with Dr. Ken "Leo" DaRosa (did I spell his name correctly) from 1:30 am to 3. My kid had apparently listened to his opinion about women from four different continents, and like the time with Slim, opinions on just about everything else as well.

    The AOBS newsletter that would be issued immediately after the banquet always contained Dr. Ken's writeup of the event. It typically went 10-12 pages. Dr. Ken passed away some months back, and the most recent dinner would be the first one he missed since the 1980s...

    My kid met more new people, connected with others he met in 2005, and armed with five hours of serious Slim, was more serious than ever.

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  • Mike Corlett
    replied
    Originally posted by Dave Hartnett View Post

    You know, the dinners sort of drag out sometimes, so I left and went to bed during it. (I don't sleep well in hotels (or at all) and was up at 2 AM on SAT, so by 9 PM I was junk).

    DAVE! Blasphemy! Plus, you are acting like Geezer!

    Okay, you got me defending the Dinner, this causes for a report on another year...

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  • Dave Hartnett
    replied
    Originally posted by Mike Corlett View Post
    Dave, Julie going this year, or does she need to watch the "at risk" kids?
    Mike, Julie was able to make it again this year. We left the kids home (ages 20 and 17) but they ended up at Julies parents on SAT night anyways, which was good.
    The weekend was fun as always. You know, the dinners sort of drag out sometimes, so I left and went to bed during it. (I don't sleep well in hotels (or at all) and was up at 2 AM on SAT, so by 9 PM I was junk).

    The fun part for me is spending FRI thru SUN AM with friends Ive made on Iron History (Reuben Weaver, Dave Landau, Robert Francis, Richard, etc...). (Yes, that Richard). Dave Mastorakis (famous new england bodybuilder who was great friends w/ Mike Mentzer) came with us this year. I drive right by his place on the way so it was an easy pickup, and we had a great weekend. A class act that DMASS. Heard a lot of great Mentzer stories that many dont know. Also visited my friend Carl Linich (77 year old strongman who is battling some back issues) he cant make the dinners anymore, so we visit Carl and spend some time. For me its all about the friendships in iron. The dinners are OK, just not the highlight for me. Marvin Eder sat at our table, so it was good seeing Marvin again. spent the weekend with Robert Zuver (Zuvers Gym) and his great wife. Like I said, its about the friends and the people.

    Richard brought one of his circus dumbbells, everyone signed it and it was presented to Mighty Stefan, a generous act. (I know Richard gets some grief here, but Im good friends with him, and also think very highly of Joe, so I stay out of those conversations, none of my business really).

    My wifes B-day was SAT, all the friends and legends around signed her card and sang happy b-day, it was fun. even had a cake... Julie had a blast, as you can tell by her smile...

    Robert Zuver is on the left, and artist Jim Sanders is on the right.. Our friend Jesse is cutting the cake, she put the whole thing together...


    Click image for larger version

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  • Craig T. Covington
    replied
    Since I've never been to the reunion and I've never met any of the people involved, I figure I don't really have anything to say but I've still been enjoying reading about it. I'm looking forward to hearing what Dave Hartnett or anyone else has to say about this years reunion.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mike Corlett
    replied
    The Dinner itself...is long, very long. There is about an hour of mingling before the banquet doors get open. There are a limited number of VIP/reserved tables, so there is somewhat of a mad rush to stake out a table. The dinner goes at least 4 hours. Multiple courses, it is set up for socialization. The Mighty Stephan, a strong born in the 1950s New York native with a quick wit and booming voice, has been the emcee forever. The crowd has never been less than 200 nor more than 300 in the 7 times I have been there. Usually 25-35 dignitaries are introduced. There is a head table with the honorees for the year as well as AOBS mucky mucks, a long one, stretching across the room. There will be comments, then eating, presentations, speeches, slides, movies on occasion, and towards the end of the night, live strength performances. You meet people all during the dinner. And, when it is over, the younger fellows hang out for hours afterwards in the lobby, bending, telling stories, partying, bee essing, you name it, it is done. Even the geezers don't disburse until after Midnight.

    The next morning, some eat breakfast at a leisurely pace, others get out of town quick. The vibe for the most part is different in the morning.

    That first year, I encountered Slim the Hammer Man in the lobby preparing for his performance. I spent quite a bit of time carefully choosing my words to describe the scene and our exchange in a 2011 article on him in MILO. You will have to read it there. It is good. But something that I did not write about in MILO, because, quite frankly, it was too "far out" for a respected publication, so I will mention it now. Slim wears black. Usually a black sports coat. When he performs, a short sleeved black shirt. About 20 minutes after I spoke with him briefly in the lobby that June 2005 night, he came through the back door to go to the front of the room to perform. It was his time. I was standing near the door as he quickly came through the door. "Let's Go!" he said to his entourage as they made their way to the front of the room, and people got out of the way as they came through. It was sort of like the parting of the Red Sea, people moving to get out of the way, moving in advance as he led through the room. The thing is, after he was about 15 feet past me, and I was observing the people parting to get out of the way, I noticed, he was by himself. There was nobody with him. Yet, I swear I felt them with him. It was surreal. At that moment, the old boring grumpy serious man had my attention, and he has had it for the last nine and one-half years.

    The next morning, at the little restaurant, there was a small crowd of young people hanging on every word of Farman's. My son was among them. He thought he was the coolest guy in the world.

    And speaking of cool, during the dinner, my son whispered to me and said "Dad, this is so great we are at the cool table". For the record, we were never at the cool table at another dinner. It was a table that had three Woods at it, and many were coming over to say hi and tell stories.

    That first dinner, I saw many men I remember from the magazines of the 1960s and 1970s, now older but still recognizable. Artie gave a special award to Bob Hoffman. He made a reference or two to the criticisms from the John Fair book without naming Fair, and spoke at length of Hoffman's many accomplishments and pioneering ideas. When he was done, Hoffman got a standing ovation. Hoffman had been dead for 20 years, but he got a standing ovation! I guess whatever was following Slim around that night was moving all through the audience all night long.

    At some point during the weekend, I heard my son talking on the phone to a friend in California, going on and on "I saw a guy do this, and then a guy do that, and you know what, THEY ARE ALL DRUG FREE!!" And you hear the guy on the other end of the phone saying "No way!"

    My son started lifting weights a few days later, and has never stopped. He immediately adopted a more healthy lifestyle. He took up Martial Arts, Olympic Weightlifting, and Power Lifting, in that order (two out of three not bad). He is a different person. He is the most street savvy person with a middle class upbringing that I have ever seen. He is a tough confident guy. We are very close. On Facebook, be it my birthday, Father's Day, etc., he will mention that his life changed when I convinced him to go to New Jersey for a dinner. He has pointed to that moment in his life dozens of times.

    For me, AOBS is a big deal. It is different for me than for most. It was the beginning of good things happening for my son.

    Sure, I met Randy Strossen that weekend for the first time, and he knew me as the guy who kept breaking IronMind loading pins. Sure, at the end of the night Kim Wood shook my hand and said it was nice to meet me. Sure, I saw Tommy Kono, Bruce Wilhelm, Slim Farman, got my name in the AOBS Newsletter just because I met the late "Dr. Ken Leo DaRosa", met multiple gripboard guys and even saw Pat P do some EXTREME BENDING during the dinner as a last minute added performer, met Steve Weiner, Jedd Johnson, Stanless Steel and others. Sure, I made my first trip to NYC. But the fun I had with my son, and what it later led to, made it one of the best weekends of my life.

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  • Mike Corlett
    replied
    Well, Chris, Ben, Joe, and Randy, I appreciate someone saying something in this thread. I think I will just keep plugging along with it.

    My first AOBS experience...I think after hearing all about the 2004 one, I was going to seriously consider going in 2005. Perhaps just a month before the event, I asked my then 23-year-old son if he wanted to go to some geezer dinner in New Jersey. We would go a day in advance, and run around New York for a day, then do this strongman dinner thing. I had never been to NYC, he had. He said, "I love New York, sounds fun". I think I heard that the performer was going to be Slim the Hammer Man, as well as Bud Jeffries. I was slightly apologetic about that part of it, said an old guy fooling with sledge hammers might be boring for him, and then a heavy guy doing some heavy weights, well it might not be that interesting to him, and I didn't think there was going to be any EXTREME BENDING. My son did not lift weights, but he worked out with grippers, and was kind of a natural at bending. He was bending 60 penny nails with ease with 15 minutes of instruction from Clay Edgin, who had moved away from our community about two or three months earlier. He said, no, no, it would be fun to go somewhere with me. He worked full time as a car mechanic at that time. I emailed Artie at the AOBS and was able to get tickets even though it was cutting it close, bought the plane tickets, got the hotel room, etc.

    Not too much before the event, I saw on the Gripboard that a fellow named Dan Cenidoza needed a place to stay Friday night. He had a room for Saturday, but needed to crash on someone's floor on Friday. I looked up his posts, saw he was in the 2004 GGC (Diesel Crew's Global Grip Challenge, the predecessor to the Nationals), saw he was a Captain of Crush, looked up his bio in MILO, and PM'd him. Got his cell number, and we were going to hook up Friday night. He was going to be working on a table that was going to be used for a "Back Lift" for Jeffries on Saturday night, and we would meet him at the hotel when we got back from NYC. A day or so before we left, I mentioned this to my wife and she said "Some guy you met ON THE INTERNET is going to sleep on the floor in the room with my son???" Yeah, sure...

    We arrived at the Saddlebrook New Jersey (dinner was there 2002-2007) Marriott around 8 am Friday. We dropped our stuff off, and were going to take the bus to NYC. First, we had breakfast at a nice little restaurant at the Marriott. As we were approaching our booth, there were three gentlemen at the booth next to us: a man in his 60s who I still don't know who he was, Artie Drechsler (head of AOBS, first time I saw him), and Tommy Kono. My son said in hushed awe and respect, "Look Dad, it's Tommy Kono!" My son had also picked up some Iron History by osmosis.

    We ran around NY, got back after dark, and found Dan. He was with Jeffries, and two gripsters from Ohio, Sean and Nick. The guys were all late 20s, Bud was, well not sure, 30s at that time? We had some beers and had a good time. Went outside in the parking lot, they played with Kettle Bells (which had not yet caught fire), pulled or didn't pull some hubs. My son easily makes friends in some situations, and this was one of those times.

    As we were getting ready to leave for breakfast the next morning, Dan got a call, and said "The Woods are going to join us for breakfast".

    I of course knew who Kim Wood was, and was always intrigued by his internship of sorts with Arthur Jones at Nautilus. Over breakfast, he was at his best, and had some great stories concerning a contract worker employed by Jones who was a hard core criminal. I had heard stories about the guy before, but what was shared that morning was really funny and over the top. And my son, completely clueless as to who Kim was, was gently corrected by KW when my son was talking about the real story behind steroids in the NFL. I say "gently", because it was. They both handled it well. Guys and long term attendees were coming over, talking to Kim, met some interesting people, it was fun.

    The way it works at AOBS, starting Friday around noon, people start arriving. They hang out in the lobby. It builds that way for 24 hours. It is informal up to around noon on Saturday. What started as a dinner, slowly, has some structure as noted in Post Number 6 of this thread. I can't tell you what time the structured portion started in 2005, but there was no "historical or collector" seminar in 2005. There was a small display of tables where people sold things. In mid-afternoon, there was a very serious, very scary looking Slim Farman standing tall dressed in black selling The Mighty Atom book, among other things. Lots and lots of guys in their 60s and 70s and older who had been lifting weights for 50 plus years. Most were guys I had never seen, some you could recognize, and some you knew at one time in their lives, had some type of good strength resume. Very few young people. By young, I mean under 50. The fellowship was strong and deep among the group.

    I think I will stop there and pick up on the dinner in a day or so.

    Leave a comment:


  • Robert artmont
    replied
    Great videos, Steve!

    Leave a comment:


  • Steve Weiner
    replied
    Mike Corlett- I appreciate the kind words and the stories you have shared about the AOBS.

    Leave a comment:


  • Steve Weiner
    replied
    Originally posted by Ben Edwards View Post
    I enjoy your comments about the AOBS too, Mike. And although I used to be a bender, I think the strength feats done there honestly sound more along the lines of a carnie show. But the crowd is probably more impressed by that (visually), so whatever works.

    I like the "look what I can do" stuff after contests. Not sure it would be as amusing in a different setting though - like when there hasn't just been a grip contest. I have it pictured in my head (the AOBS "performances") like a bunch of super aggressive honey badgers dragging their genitalia over everyone who is not also a honey badger. Course I could be totally mistaken in that visual. But it amuses me, so I'll hold onto it.

    Ben,

    I have had the honor of performing a few times at the AOBS dinner and have had the honor of watching many others perform as well and some performances are more entertaining than others. As for calling the strength feats a carnie show? Everybody has their own opinions, but I am certainly proud of what I did there along with Pat Povilaitis. Here are some examples that you are welcome to try yourself. If you have any questions about the weights of anything you see in the videos, you are certainly welcome to ask. As for the honey badger reference? Everybody that I have seen perform at the AOBS has been nothing but nice and respectful. I hope you enjoy the videos of a couple of middle aged guys having some fun.

    Steve

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yjin9EZdhE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdT5De5J_R4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ltko5rhyvEc

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  • Randall Strossen
    replied
    Originally posted by Joe Kinney View Post
    Mike Corlett wrote:

    … … “The only place I have seen any posting on the subject is on the Gripboard, and it is buried in a several year running thread by Richard Sorin about his physical comeback after an injury. Unfortunately, over the weekend, he mentioned in that thread he had brought one of the "secret letters" that were talked about more than they should have been on the GOPD thread. Was not much point to the comments, other than to mention a glaring grammatical error that Joe Kinney had made in the letter. If we were grading grammar on the Gripboard, there would be many failures. Not sure it would be much better over here come to think about it.” … …


    A quick search is all that was needed to find what Sorin had written on 'another forum' regarding the recent AOBS event. Sorin seems to take great pleasure in ridiculing my former inabilities in the areas of English grammar and composition. I'll admit my grammar skills were somewhat deficient in the 1990s. However, I've worked to improve both my grammar and writing skills since that time.

    Anyway; my search turned up some very amusing stuff. Bear in mind that Sorin was once a school teacher, and is now a successful businessman. He wrote:

    … … “A few noted grip experts were interested by reading a letter that the the first 4 ever shut , had been never seen by anyone of grip mastery was in fact "stole" and replaced for a later video with a borrowed gripper.” … …;

    and this little gem:

    … … “In many cases little known folk heros are perhaps created a fantastic claim in a "joke type situation gone bad "or as an embellishment to a budding, inspiring story line.” … …

    Now, folks reading this forum already know Sorin's agenda, so it's not too difficult for them to discern what he's attempting to convey. However; what would someone who is unfamiliar with this situation or the players think of these quotes? Would such a person consider these writings to be indecipherable? Try it – see what you get.

    These are from a guy who, owing to his former school teacher status, should be light-years ahead of me in the areas of English grammar and basic sentence structure, yet his writing can only be deciphered by those who already know what he wants to 'say' before they read it. Why is it that I have no trouble whatsoever comprehending posts written by the few Scandinavian members who post here? English is taught in their schools, but certainly is not their “native tongue”. Yet, they do a far better job than Sorin when communicating in English. This causes me to chuckle a bit.

    Then there's the matter of reading comprehension. Sorin gets “...and replaced for a later video with a borrowed gripper.” from “...I bought another one from a fellow grip guy...”. Dr. Strossen posted the (formerly) secret letters onto this forum more than four months ago (06/07/2014). These letters were written in (very) basic English, and nobody other than Sorin, the school teacher, seems to have had any trouble comprehending what was carried in them. Could Sorin's misinterpretation be intentional – just part of his agenda; or is it that the English language just too difficult for him?

    Either way; I'm game, Richard. Post some of your 'thoughts' onto this forum, and I'll try to respond.

    Richard taught high school? I thought he taught elementary school.

    Leave a comment:


  • Joe Kinney
    replied
    Mike Corlett wrote:

    … … “The only place I have seen any posting on the subject is on the Gripboard, and it is buried in a several year running thread by Richard Sorin about his physical comeback after an injury. Unfortunately, over the weekend, he mentioned in that thread he had brought one of the "secret letters" that were talked about more than they should have been on the GOPD thread. Was not much point to the comments, other than to mention a glaring grammatical error that Joe Kinney had made in the letter. If we were grading grammar on the Gripboard, there would be many failures. Not sure it would be much better over here come to think about it.” … …


    A quick search is all that was needed to find what Sorin had written on 'another forum' regarding the recent AOBS event. Sorin seems to take great pleasure in ridiculing my former inabilities in the areas of English grammar and composition. I'll admit my grammar skills were somewhat deficient in the 1990s. However, I've worked to improve both my grammar and writing skills since that time.

    Anyway; my search turned up some very amusing stuff. Bear in mind that Sorin was once a school teacher, and is now a successful businessman. He wrote:

    … … “A few noted grip experts were interested by reading a letter that the the first 4 ever shut , had been never seen by anyone of grip mastery was in fact "stole" and replaced for a later video with a borrowed gripper.” … …;

    and this little gem:

    … … “In many cases little known folk heros are perhaps created a fantastic claim in a "joke type situation gone bad "or as an embellishment to a budding, inspiring story line.” … …

    Now, folks reading this forum already know Sorin's agenda, so it's not too difficult for them to discern what he's attempting to convey. However; what would someone who is unfamiliar with this situation or the players think of these quotes? Would such a person consider these writings to be indecipherable? Try it – see what you get.

    These are from a guy who, owing to his former school teacher status, should be light-years ahead of me in the areas of English grammar and basic sentence structure, yet his writing can only be deciphered by those who already know what he wants to 'say' before they read it. Why is it that I have no trouble whatsoever comprehending posts written by the few Scandinavian members who post here? English is taught in their schools, but certainly is not their “native tongue”. Yet, they do a far better job than Sorin when communicating in English. This causes me to chuckle a bit.

    Then there's the matter of reading comprehension. Sorin gets “...and replaced for a later video with a borrowed gripper.” from “...I bought another one from a fellow grip guy...”. Dr. Strossen posted the (formerly) secret letters onto this forum more than four months ago (06/07/2014). These letters were written in (very) basic English, and nobody other than Sorin, the school teacher, seems to have had any trouble comprehending what was carried in them. Could Sorin's misinterpretation be intentional – just part of his agenda; or is it that the English language is just too difficult for him?

    Either way; I'm game, Richard. Post some of your 'thoughts' onto this forum, and I'll try to respond.
    Last edited by Joe Kinney; 10-14-2014, 06:29 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ben Edwards
    replied
    I enjoy your comments about the AOBS too, Mike. And although I used to be a bender, I think the strength feats done there honestly sound more along the lines of a carnie show. But the crowd is probably more impressed by that (visually), so whatever works.

    I like the "look what I can do" stuff after contests. Not sure it would be as amusing in a different setting though - like when there hasn't just been a grip contest. I have it pictured in my head (the AOBS "performances") like a bunch of super aggressive honey badgers dragging their genitalia over everyone who is not also a honey badger. Course I could be totally mistaken in that visual. But it amuses me, so I'll hold onto it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris McCarthy
    replied
    I enjoy reading your comments Mike, although I may have little to say on the matter. If it wasn't so far away I think the AOBS would be an enjoyable event to attend, although in truth bending and the like do not hold my interest particularly.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mike Corlett
    replied
    Well, I didn't go this year, and another AOBS Banquet has come and left. I think I will continue this thread, even though I appear to be having a conversation with myself.

    The only place I have seen any posting on the subject is on the Gripboard, and it is buried in a several year running thread by Richard Sorin about his physical comeback after an injury. Unfortunately, over the weekend, he mentioned in that thread he had brought one of the "secret letters" that were talked about more than they should have been on the GOPD thread. Was not much point to the comments, other than to mention a glaring grammatical error that Joe Kinney had made in the letter. If we were grading grammar on the Gripboard, there would be many failures. Not sure it would be much better over here come to think about it.

    There are so many wonderful things to talk about that go on at AOBS, and that was not necessary. End of my whining.

    Back to my original track I was on concerning AOBS...I talked about my "discovery" of the event in 2002. In 2004, right after I joined the "Gripboard", I read about it. There were about a dozen guys talking about it when they got back. Guys were RAVING about Pat P and Steve Weiner's performance during the dinner show. They were both very active members of the Gripboard at that time, and they had some strong cheerleaders. The kinds of things that Pat was doing at that time in public were new and unusual, it struck me as INTENSE AND EXTREME bending. It was the personal testimonials and raving about Pat, as well as the fellowship that seemed to be present at the event, shared by a dozen guys on a forum that I had been part of all of a week, that was probably the seed that caused me to think about attending the following year.

    Looking back at it now, things are very different. No one is talking about the event, no posts other than Richard's pieces in his quasi-blog anywhere that I see. Could be something on the Iron History forum, but I am not a member there. Spoke to Stanley Pleskun aka Stan aka Stanless Steel about it. He had a good time. He thought the crowd size "was about average". I was trying to put words in his mouth and tell him that there probably were fewer this time, but he was not buying it. He said he spoke to Richard at length. He likes Richard. Everybody loves Stan. There was a young lanky man who bent a penny (sort of, small bend according to Stan), which is Stanley's domain. He was not complaining and did not offer any signs of jealousy. That's Stan. Stan said Dennis Rodgers was not there this year, which is fairly unusual. He said Slim Farman seemed the best he had been in years (his wife died in 2011), looked good and happy. Dave, I don't think he remembers your name. I said "Stanley I know you know him, I have seen pictures of you with him". Some details elude Stan, which is part of his charm and allure!

    So it was guys yakking on the Internet that caused me to take notice of the AOBS the second time, the first time being the Mark Henry Inch lift. Even though I was not a bender, knew nothing about bending, I was psyched up to see EXTREME BENDING. I read about it on the Internet. It was going to be fun.

    Okay, next time, I will talk about my first AOBS experience, as I said I would back on September 7.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mike Corlett
    replied
    Dave, Julie going this year, or does she need to watch the "at risk" kids?

    Leave a comment:

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