Never Mind Circumnavigation - Can They Make It Out Of Dodger Stadium?
High points of my post about TAR4's Leg 1 over at TWoP:
- Debra & Steve - In the last bus (knowing it was the last bus) against three teams that would all smoke them in a sprint to the Pit Stop, why didn't they try the FF? Did they know the Falconettes already had it? How? That they're fat is not the problem (to say otherwise would be pot-kettle-black on my part). They appear to be nice people and all, but there was just something about them that creeped me a little bit. The eyes. It was the eyes... flower_goddess was much less charitable: "I'm glad they're gone. They were an embarrassment to fat people." Classy exit, though.
- So far, Amanda & Chris are looking like FloZach 2.0, but I'm sticking to my original prediction that Kelly & Jon will fill that role as the race goes on, although Kelly more than Jon.
- Memo to self - pack duct tape. Tape the SUV hatch shut so there's no need to wait for another vehicle.
- Kelly & Jon go far BECAUSE we haven't seen much of them yet. Ditto David & Jeff.
Yeah, I took a beating on the prediction, which only goes to show that you shouldn't put any weight on the biographies. For instance, I knew that Steve & Debra weren't going to be greyhounds, but I didn't expect them to be Weebles. I'm also looking pretty silly for picking Russel & Cindy 10th and Steve & Dave 6th, although I submit that there's no way you could predict the knee injury.
Handicapping The Amazing Race
I'm a big fan of The Amazing Race, so I'm anxiously awaiting tonight's start. I've gone over the mini-bios on CBS' site, and here's my pre-race
jump to conclusions analysis:
- Amanda & Chris. Sioux Falls, SD. Amanda is a 25-year-old medical technician; Chris is a 28-year-old freelance graphic designer. Neither has travelled outside the US. Chris admits that "traveling takes him out of the comfort zone and causes some nervousness." He also says up front that he plans to "scheme, betray, plot and backstab more than any other contestant," which to me is a sure sign that he either A) won't really do any of that or B) will do it really really badly. Prediction: early exit.
- David & Jeff. Los Angeles. David is a 32-year-old owner of a marketing agency; Jeff is a commercial real estate broker and residential designer and developer. Both these guys like to work out. Great--this year's set of Body Nazis. Also, both have a fear of heights, which naturally leaves me hoping for a Swiss-scale bungee jump like AR3. Jeff also fears "moving away from the beach." What the hell does that mean? Is he in the FBI Random Witness Relocation Program, where he's just going to wake up one morning and find himself with a brand-new life in Chickasha, Oklahoma? There's also an ugly rumor over at TWoP that one of them originally listed 'fat people' as a fear in his bio. I hate these guys already. Yeah, it's jealousy. Embrace the rage. Prediction: Contenders, dammit.
- Debra & Steve. Louisville. Debra's a 49-year-old artist colony director; Steve is a 40-year-old radio news director. Token fat team #1. Debra admits to being a "controlling and dominating know-it-all" and gets jealous of her husband's devotion to his work; he admits to sometimes letting "opportunities slip through my hands." OK--so it's the Dominatrix and Mr. Indecisive. Big quote (Debra): "I raised money for opera in Oklahoma. I think I can do anything." Prediction: Their (i.e., her) tenacity will pay off in a mid-pack finish; a lot higher than their physical condition may indicate.
- John & Al. Long Island. Clowns. Literally. They work well together, have travelled a lot, and seem to have a pretty good sense of humor. All very useful traits, and how many people can claim over 5,000 successful Human Cannonball shots? I think these guys have what it takes. Prediction: Contenders.
- Kelly & Jon. Miami. Kelly's a 30-year-old model (I thought the mandatory retirement age for them was like 22 or something); Jon's a 28-year-old real estate agent (which, incidentally, would not endear him well to Carl Hiaasen protagonists Twilly Spree or Joe Winder). Kelly "admits to being high-strung and obsessive" so it's clear that she's being set up as TAR4's Flo. Jon is a well-travelled jock. The twist on this instantiation of the Flo/Zach model is that Kelly is the one who is "very sympathetic for others" while Jon is "extremely critical of other people." Prediction: Contenders if Jon can carry Kelly through (what we're led to believe will be) her inevitable breakdown.
- Millie & Chuck. They're billed as 'dating 12 years / Virgins,' so it looks like CBS will be pushing the sexual tension angle. That being said, they've traveled extensively together and appear to be pretty fit, so if they can make good decisions and minimize Chuck being too "anal and meticulous" and having a "unique pouty manner" (although that may go a long way towards explaing why they've dated 12 years and are still virgins), they may go a ways. Prediction: mid-pack.
- Monica & Sheree. Duluth, GA. Billed as "Mother/Homemakers", but how much homemaking do NFL wives really have to do? Monica doesn't like cold climates (wasn't TAR4 filmed in January? I'll have to check), Sheree doesn't like weird-looking men, and both apparently have a problem with snakes. I just don't see them going far--I think they're both too pampered to cope with the first time they have a difficult situation beyond their meager language skills (a little Spanish and very little French, respectively). Prediction: early exit.
- Reichen & Chip. Los Angeles. Great physical condition, lots of travel experience--together and apart, and foreign language skills. Their bio hints at some possible interpersonal touchiness, but I think that's just the mandatory downside stuff. On paper, they've got all the necessary skills, and if they have agreeable personalities, they'll join the Clowns among my favorite teams. Prediction: Contenders.
- Russell & Cindy. Los Angeles. No, not these guys. Russell is a 32-year-old model/actor/entrepreneur (i.e., he's unemployed); Cindy is 39 and describes herself as a former supermodel. If you listen closely, you can hear her head swell. Russell says people say he looks like Mel Gibson ("Objection, your honor--hearsay! And arrogant hearsay at that!" "Sustained. The court directs the defendant to not be such a self-important prick."). Cindy blows off steam by "telling the person off right to their face," so I wonder what'll happen the first time Russell screws something up. Russell is "always on the go and and cannot stand not to be doing anything," a trait that will be entertaining every time they have to wait for a plane, a train, or a rickshaw. Prediction: early exit.
- Steve & Dave. Chicago. Team Pushing Tin appears to be TAR4's Ken & Gerard, at least in body type and sense of humor, although they are somewhat older. Work together well in a very stressful day job; don't underestimate the usefulness of that trait. I like them for the moment, but I'm not sure they'll overcome their weak language skills and minimal travel experience. Remember, just because Ken & Gerard finished top 3 doesn't mean these guys will. Prediction: mid-pack.
- Steve & Josh. Santa Barbara / Los Angeles. TAR4's Dennis & Andrew (although Josh's sexual orientation is not stated), with the polar-opposite father-and-son vibe going. Dennis "prides himself on being a good negotiator and on being able to bullshit through anything," which is a useful skill in lots of places during TAR. Opposite warning as above: just because Dennis & Andrew tanked early doesn't mean these guys will. Prediction: mid-pack.
- Tian & Jaree. Models. I dub them "Team Jill & Grace" since Tian just came out of the closet and Jaree is straight. I'm sure CBS will handle this angle tastefully. Tian apparently has "one of the highest IQs of all contestants" and Jaree enjoys "precision driving," although this sure smells to me like pre-race spin so they won't be dismissed as eye candy. Doesn't work -- I'm dismissing them as eye candy. Prediction: early exit.
If forced to pick an exact order, I'd go:
- Reichen & Chip
- David & Jeff
- Kelly & Jon
- John & Al
- Steve & Josh
- Steve & Dave
- Millie & Chuck
- Debra & Steve
- Tian & Jaree
- Russell & Cindy
- Monica & Sheree
- Amanda & Chris
How do you say 'Redundant' in Latin, anyway?
Last week's Washington Post Style Invitational (deadline midnight tonight) is looking for mottoes for government agencies. I sent in a few:
- Bureau of Labor Statistics - "It takes 23,780 federal workers to count the total number of federal workers."
- National Endowment for the Arts - "If we don't fund 'Piss Christ,' who will?"
- Bureau of Intelligence and Research, U.S. State Department - "When we grow up, we want to be the CIA!"
But I didn't even bother submitting the only one I really liked, because it would never clear Standards and Practices:
State Department - "Will you at least give us a reach-around?"
Onion Audition, Take 1Anna Kournikova To Miss Rest of Season With Hyperextended Beauty
The injury-plagued career of sexpot and sometime pro tennis player Anna Kournikova took another downturn today, as her physician announced that she is out for the year with hyperextended beauty. "Anna cannot continue playing tennis for the forseeable future with the shape she is in," said Dr. Raoul Gentry of the Human Aesthetics Institute in Los Angeles. "She has struggled with this condition for many years. It is a handicap that other top players, such as Lindsey Davenport and Jennifer Capriati, do not have." Among the specific symptoms cited by Gentry are an inability of male judges and linesmen to follow the ball when she is on the court; being blinded by flashbulbs every time she bends over; constant exhaustion from the abnormally high-class off-court lifestyle she is forced to lead; and her silky, golden-blond hair getting tangled in her tennis racket, interfering with her ability to strike a pose.
Although the condition is generally self-curing with age, there are drastic steps Kournikova could take to treat it now. Before she does, there are quality-of-life issues to consider. Said Gentry, "Her tennis career won't last forever, and then what would she have? You read all the time about pro football players who are basically crippled by age 40 due to sacrifices they made for the game they played. This would be no different. Anna would spend the rest of her life hideously scarred from such a treatment." When asked what kind of treatment would leave that kind of scarring, Gentry said "Basically we just carve a bunch of scars into her. That pretty much takes away the beauty."
Kournikova was in conference with her cosmetologist and could not be reached for comment.
Joe Brancatelli reports that
BWIA and LIAT, two struggling carriers based in the Caribbean, will merge next month . . ..
If they name the new airline LIATBWIA, do you think people will confuse it with a Polish word for a female body part?
Hey! A Dick Cheney sighting! I was beginning to wonder whether dude would spend the rest of his term in an undisclosed location.
Attention To Detail, Part XI
This is what I mean when I say that I've been living in Indiana for thirteen years but am by no means a Hoosier:
A portion of the state constitution displayed in a government building in Indiana isn't Indiana's after all.
The preamble in the Elkhart County Administration Building is from Tennessee's state constitution, not Indiana's. It refers to Tennesseans' ``indefeasible right to worship almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience.''
Which part of that story bothers me more is left as an exercise for the reader.
Sometimes, we laugh because if we don't, we'll cry.
The Oklahoma City tornadoes hit four years ago today. What's not as well remembered is that the Lawton/Fort Sill area was the first hit. One of our field engineers had just finished a several-month nights-and-weekends garage project--literally the night before. Well, Mother Nature visited him with malice aforethought. He took out this ad in the Lawton Constitution a few weeks later.
Where, Oh Where, Have The WMDs Gone?
One of the recurring punching bags the dupes (if you want to be charitable) / commies (if you don't) over at lefdymedia.org keeps banging on is this: "How come we haven't found any WMD in Iraq yet? Huh? How come? Huh? Wasn't that our [sneeringly, accompanying eye-roll optional] 'justification?' Well, then it must have been about oil/imperialism/racism/Zionism/insert-pet-rock-of-choice-here after all! Hail Marx!" OK, I overdramatized it, but it's at least a semi-valid point (never mind that Iraq is a nation of non-trivial size, unlike, say, the People's Republic of Berkeley). They say we should have let Hans and his Keystone Kops stumble around for as long as it took to find them, if that was our real intent, which (according to them) it wasn't.
Fair enough, but consider this: we essentially own Iraq. We can go anywhere we want to (granted, in some cases it would be unwise to do this in less than company strength) and look in any basement, behind any dumpster, underneath any pile of weapons of regular destruction, inside any U-Stor-It we want to anywhere in the country without anyone really being able to call ahead and say "The Americans are coming! For the love of Allah, move the Anthrax! And the copies of the TotalFinaElf contracts!" With all that freedom of movement, we haven't found anything yet. Given that, what are the odds that UN weapons inspectors, with all the BS they had to put up with, would ever have found anything?
Recently arrived from GeoCities
- Nothing of note. I really need to bring over my U-M football pages, what with football season being over and all.