Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Episode Five -- My Thoughts

Heck YEAH my Amazing Race is back! Too bad it only took five episodes to really find it again. Airports, hours of operation bunching, horribly mangled foreign languages...sigh. I have missed you.

I totally freaked out at the beginning of the episode when Phil came on to talk about New Orelans again, and then they showed stuff about Space Camp. I thought they were playing the wrong episode. So, Jan, sorry about that frantic call.

We are leaving the US? Are you serious? Just as much as Carissa, I'm excited you're leaving, too. However, wouldn't it have been funny if the Linzes did go to Panama City, Florida, as one of them thought they were? Apparently, they've got two bingo halls, so I'd be cool with going there myself.

We arrive at the airport where apparently they've been told to take either Continental or American, and the Bransens figure out quite quickly that, in a race situation, it makes sense to take the one that lands three hours earlier. Duh. But my favorite airport moment? One of the Godlewski sisters (I think Michelle?) hitting DJ Paolo over the head and telling him to be nice to his mom. It was probably Christine Godlewski's idea, though, since apparently she's the one on the team with all the good ideas (and asking for validation whilst sobbing is apparently one of the them).

And off to Panama, where they go to the Smithsonian Institute (or, in the words of the Bransens, "Institute de...whatever") where they will hop a boat to an island and find a scientist. Still not exactly "find Pablo in Mexico City", but it'll do! However, the boats don't go until 7 AM, and since it's really ass dark, we know they're in for the night and all the teams will catch up. BUNCH! I really would have loved to see them all get out their camping mats right on the ground in front of the gate, as has happened in years and episodes past, but obviously there's a big-ass empty building right near by that can convienently fit 24 racers and all their crew. Talk about an uncomfortable slumber party. I wonder if the Weavers say prayers in their sleep.

When the teams get up and jump for the boats, the editors spend the next few minutes messing with my pool scoring as they continually flash "currently in [enter number] place" over, and over and over with different teams. I haven't rewatched the epsiode to make sure I got everything, but if you're wondering how all the teams got / lost so many points this episode. This was the sequence that did them in. But what is up with the Gaghan's driver wanting to go back to pick up more people? Does he not understand the concept of raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace? Wasn't that obvious by the boom mike, camera, and people in matching clothing on his boat? Oh, the horrors as I watch Billy and Carissa fall further and further behind.

On the island, the teams make their way to the scientist chillin' in the hammock to get their clue, which tells them to find their bus that will take them to one of the detour options. Now, here was my favorite moment--the Godlewskis realizing that they've wasted time looking for their bus on the island, and Christina (whose ideas are the best, you know) finally saying, "This is an island, guys, we knew that!" as they cackle towards their boat. Hee hee.

The Paolos decide to go for the fast forward, and Phil tells us this is the only one on the entire race. Come on! I miss the fast forward every leg. Oh well. And it involves bungee jumping. I saw an image of Hell during this segment--being trapped in that tiny elevator with the Paolos going up to the jump. This is something I'd be a bit iffy about myself, but we get to see DJ for what he really is--a little wuss who screams like a little GIRL! It's too bad they didn't chicken out because I would have loved seeing the kids doing that (and Mama Gaghan totally smacked into a van trying to get there--see this week's CAPTION THIS!) but the one good thing is that doing the Fast Forward took the Paolos completely out of the second half of the episode. And they won...a trip to Panama! Huh. I liked the gnome with his feathers on, though. That was funny. And it did look like Tony was having the time of his life in that country, so maybe it's good they're going back. They can relive all those close family memories of thirty seconds of DJ and Momma not shouting at each other.

Detour options: Rhythm or Coos. It would have been a toss-up for me--birds? eh. Especially wooden ones (but the bird geek extra was AWESOME). Rhythm: Run around to different music halls, grab instruments, bring them back to the Take 5 jazz club (I'm assuming named after my favorite piece of all time--must have Real Player), and put them in their cases? I would have been way too tempted to stop and play a set (scroll down). The most nervous I got all episode was watching the Linzes and Billy Gaghan carrying the saxes around the streets of Panama City by their NECK. Dudes--these are precious babies (here are mine). Do NOT be carrying them around by their necks. Or I'll reach through my TV Screen and carry you by yours and see how you like it. Best you be warned. But you know what? Putting a sax, a trombone, a trumpet, and a drum in their respective cases is not a puzzle. They didn't even have to take them apart. to the baseball field. You know, it's kind of amazing that even though they went to another country, they managed to do three American things--baseball, the Smithsonian, and the Panama Canal (owned by the US). This challenge was totally a throw-back to the season one with the ping-pong challenge. Here were my favorite baseball moments:

  • "It's baseball--you can swear" -- Godlewskis
  • Rolly Weaver--actually doing a task? Crazy!
  • "Pretend it's the boss that wouldn't give you that raise!" -- Godlewskis
  • Ma Weaver's OUTRAGE that the Linzes would trash talk while her son was hitting. Dude. It's baseball. That's what you do. It's a good thing the Weavers weren't doing it, otherwise it would have been white trash talk.
  • That fabulous 14 inning win the Sox pulled out over the Astros last night (and Houston's problem? They made us keep our roof open!)

People swing. People hit. The Panamanians really need to work on their defense. In the end, it's the Godlewskis left swinging while the Gaghans get stuck at a real roadblock--a truck with a Pepsi vending machine blocking their way. And this is where Bill Gaghan goes "these people...". I'm hoping that wasn't as totally bad and culturally insensitive as it sounded. I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt, and at least he didn't say "These Panamanians just keep breeding and breeding!" like KKKendra (I'm having a hard time finding which episode that happened in--anyone remember?). But the Gaghan's make it despite these people and the roadblock, which givees us the opportunity to watch all four Godlewskis (who obviously watched the show last year, and are fans as they said, "We have to see the 'Philiminator') put on every single article of clothing they brought with them and greet Phil at the map looking like...well...I'm not exactly sure. But the editors rocked. As the sisters say, "We've got wit, charm, and beauty, they cut to THAT -->

And then Phil says, "It's illegal to wear underpants on top of underpants on top of pants." Oh, the funny. Thanks, Phil.

Other random thoughts:

  • Wow, the Bransens got taken for a ride--to work! If a bus with paintings and flashing lights, four Americans and a 2 person camera crew come up to me and make me sign a waiver form, my first inclination would be that they're just going somewhere and offering me a ride to work. Evil Fern.
  • Rolly's one funny line "This is a pimp bus." Does his mama know he watches MTV? I'm sure that's the spawn of satan.
  • Did anyone else notice that while the Godlewski's were handing over their possessions, they handed over their cash in a PINK Wallet? Fitting, huh?
  • Weavers: Just because you're in a spanish speaking country, don't blurt out the only two spanish words you know: "Burrito" and "Conquistador". Besides, the position of Burrito Conquistador is already taken.
  • Oh, Rolly, thanks for adding "El Speedo" to the Mirnish dictionary. I need an entry right between "El Doctoro" and "Emergencia".
  • I was so upset that the Broken Ox didn't make the "Amazing Moment" from season five. But they still picked a good one.
  • For those of you in the Minneapolis area, what the HELL is up with Phil's little WCCO Morning News intro? So bad, it's downright awesome.
  • In other news, James Cameron is releasing the definitive DVD of Titanic with an alternate ending. Huh? So the boat doesn't sink?

That's it for today. Scrappy, signing off.

Caption THIS!

I could think of funny captions for all of these, so this week there are three!

Week Five - Team / Pools Standings

Team Standings
  1. Paolo 300 (450)
  2. Weaver 60 (390)
  3. Bransen 90 (460)
  4. Linz 100 (440)
  5. Gaghan -10 (280)
  6. Godlewski 80 (430)

Pool Standings

  1. Adam 1780 (3)
  2. Jan 1585 (3)
  3. Linda 1535 (3)
  4. Allegra 1500 (3)
  5. Jonathan 1495 (3)
  6. Stephanie 1430 (3)
  7. Dave 1425 (3)
  8. Karen 1415 (3)
  9. Mark F 1405 (3)
  10. Judy 1400 (3)
  11. Dave A 1390 (3)
  12. Jill 1360 (3)
  13. Kristin L 1170 (2)
  14. Les 1150 (3)
  15. Victor 1140 (3)
  16. Ashlee 1100 (2)
  17. Liz 1070 (3)
  18. Sarah 1045 (2)
  19. Mark 1040 (2)
  20. Scott 1030 (2)
  21. Mary P 1025 (2)
  22. Curt 995 (2)
  23. Eric, Mary 990 (2)
  24. Laura 980 (2)
  25. Jay 940 (2)
  26. Mike 910 (2)
  27. Chris 890 (2)
  28. Samuel 820 (2)
  29. Bari 780 (2)
  30. Caitlin 775 (2)
  31. Chris H 735 (1)
  32. Frank 710 (2)
  33. Anton 695 (1)
  34. Peter 600 (1)
  35. Ben 525 (1)
  36. Tracy 505 (1)
  37. Kristin 490 (1)
  38. Joanna 475 (1)


The following three murals were created to show the building of the Panama Canal.
  • Where do they hang?
  • Who painted them?

Good luck!

Week Five - Bonus ANSWER

I gotta have at least one controversial question a season, and the answer to this week's question was...

Buddy Bolden!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

WEEK FOUR - My Thoughts

All right, before y'all go and start saying how all the tasks they did in the episode were boring, shut it. And this is why:

It's just that it, you know, feels a lot more cool when they're somewhere other than at a Giant chair, a gas station where we filled up Karen's car last night (well, the same chain anyways), trailer homes, and lumberjack shirts. Moving on.

I noticed for the first time tonight that the Paolos have a garbage truck behind them whilst doing their headturns. Fitting somehow, isn't it?

We start off at Space Camp, and the teams get a clue to drive to a Giant Chair in Anniston (like Jennifer, says Char Schroder), Alabama (cue dueling banjo music from...wally? A little humor from him? My goodness!), and then they'll have to climb on top of the chair to reach the clue. When they showed the chair, was anyone else thing, "Hello Edith Ann!"? Okay, maybe just me, but I've got her on the brain since she's coming Saturday.

We get a shot of the Weavers in their car, apparently taking turns with the praying duty. But Ma Weaver? I've heard the power of prayer can be quite intoxicating, but I think down in the Bible Belt (do you know where that is?), it's totally acceptable to pray and drive.

And the Paolos drop their clue (at least the additional information part) again. But they must have found it, because I think that's what gave Paolo the Youngest the REALLY BIG PAPER CUT ON THE BACK OF HIS NECK. There are certain instances on the race that it's okay to complain that you're hurt (getting your car run over by a taxi in the jungles of Brazil come to mind), but I don't think a paper cut is one of them. Yeesh.

People climb the chair. Including, surprisingly, Hunter! He actually did something!

And now...the Race Track. I feel for the Weavers, I really do. But it is an interesting coping technique on Ma Weavers part to instruct her kids to just run through really fast and get it over with quick. This is not like taking a band-aid off, you know? For their sake, I was glad they didn't have to, like, change a tire and take a lap around the track. But a party bike? Sometimes, you just gotta bring the transportation funny and in a season without Tuk-tuks, these will have to do. I'd never heard of these things, but for some reason it didn't surprise me that the Linzes had. And the race track provided us with a moment I'm not sure we'll see again--the Paolos all working together without too much fighting. Amazing. I did feel bad for little Carissa, who really just wants to help and her legs just weren't long enough to reach the pedals. Shucks.

Along the way we had some mooning. I was trying to remember the last time I mooned out of a car window while my father was sitting next to me. Nope, never happened. Actually, I'm trying to remember the last time I mooned someone anywhere. Nope, never happened. It's kinda fun to see the Bransen girls gone wild--they actually have a personality beyond their inexplainable wit! And was it just me, or did one of the Linz boys actually say, "No show us your tits!"? I think I heard that. Must rewatch the tape.

Ah, the Southern Colonel (every time I write or see that word I always think I spell it wrong. But I checked. It's right). They've done these types of tasks before, but again the memories of them are locked away in that Reality TV Vault I'm having a bit of trouble accessing at the moment. But I still can't believe it's a trailer park. That place is hoppin'!*

*Thought I'd take a moment to share the embarrassing Karen story about "this place is hoppin'." When we were back in college, we were really bored one night and I wasn't 21 yet so we couldn't go to the bar, so instead we ended up driving around the bustling metropolis of Kalamazoo. We rounded a corner and there was this big building with all these cars parked outside and lights in the parking lot and Karen says, "Hey, this place is hoppin', we should check it out!" So we drove closer, and it turned out it was a used car dealership.

Now back to your regularly scheduled recap.

Back at the ranch, I mean, the trailer park, Carissa thinks the trailers are EEEEEVIL (like fruits of the devil evil? She must be a fan), Daddy Architect Schroeder thinks "there's no way they'd have us go to a trailer park" (he must have missed that part where they went to a giant chair earlier in the day), Stassi falls prey to the Killer Fatigue of Mississippi (thought Alabama was the next India? Apparently, it's now Mississippi). Stassi, could you enlighten me on something? Does EVERY minute count? I thought you said that once. Or three hundred times. And the Paolos catch a really lucky break when other teams apparently forget that they're supposed to be searching for the best departure time and grab 8.00 AM because that sounds early (I'm looking at you, GAGHANS). However, I have to cut them a little slack. Ma Paolo said, while they were going to bed in the trailer, that they were leaving in less than five hours (for a 7.40 departure time), meaning that they rolled into the trailer park around 2.30 - 3.00 AM. Yikes.

As we move on to New Orleans, we learn an interesting fact that Lake Pontchartrain is one of the Five Great Lakes. Well, anyone could tell you that's not right. It would totally through the mnemonic HOMES out of the water, and then how would you remember them (besides the fact that they're those really big-ass ones all next to each other along the US / Canadian border)? I feel the need to point out right now that Ma Weaver is an elementary school teacher. I sincerely hope she doesn't teach geography.

I thought this was a fun roadblock, and I have a feeling the race designers started, with this leg, to design challenges with the assumption that the small children would be out of the race at this point. Seriously, look at the choices the Gaghans had--saw four pieces of a big ass log where the stand is taller than one of the racers, or take your 9 and 12 year old gambling on a river boat. At least Carissa looked cute in the boa. I was surprised, however, that the Weavers chose to gamble. Do you think they prayed before hand for luck at the cards? And was anyone else surprised to hear that Rolly's real name is Roy? Dude, who names their kid Roy nowadays?

And some random closing thoughts / favorite moments:

  • Christine Godlewski [while crying] "I need some validation here, guys." The rest of the Godlewskis, "ehhhhhh...".
  • Roadblock? Anyone? Bueller?
  • Sistah smackdown! That's one of the notes I wrote down, probably with the intent to formulate something witty later, but I got nothin'.
  • Phil to the Linzes: "It is my understanding there was a moon out today?" AWESOME.
  • Ma Weaver said they were scared when they got to the pitstop. Is it because they thought they'd be last, or that they were surrounded by all those heathens in New Orleans? (tm Karen)
  • Carissa's "Lucky Pen" song. She's still cute and young enough to pull that off.
  • Do you think the Weavers know that others are talking about them when they're referred to as "The Florida Team"? Somehow, I don't think so.
  • On tonight's episode, four of the remaining seven teams threw temper tantrums. And none of them were from the 9 and 12 year old.
  • As next week is Week Five, that means we get an "Amazing Moment" from episode five. Oh, how I'm hoping it will be the famous "My OX is BROKEN" sequence. That would kick ass.
  • Schroeder Family: Meet Frank. And Will. Two other vicitms of the TAR Hometown Curse.
  • This race went to New Orleans just a couple months before Katrina hit. They went to Sri Lanka a couple months before the tsunami. The leg in Dubai was quickly planned due to the bombings in Moscow and Istanbul (where they were supposed to go). TAR 1 debuted (with a starting line in New York) only a week before 9/11. I'm beginning to think there's a curse and Bert and Elise should start sending the teams to the countries they DON'T like. On second thought, maybe that's why they've stayed here this race...

A very-unpatriotic-today Scrappy, signing off.

Caption THIS!

In this first one, write a little synopsis of the scene.

And here, the ususal.

Week Four Team Scores / Pool Scores

Team Scores

  1. Bransen 145 (370)
  2. Paolo 75 (150)
  3. Linz 105 (340)
  4. Godlewski 75 (360)
  5. Weaver 65 (330)
  6. Gaghan 45 (290)
  7. Schroeder -135 (110)

Pool Scores

  1. Adam 1450 (3)
  2. Jan 1275 (3)
  3. Jonathan 1215 (3)
  4. Jill (3), Stephanie (3) 1140
  5. Karen 1095 (3)
  6. Les 1010 (3)
  7. Linda 1005 (3)
  8. Allegra 1000 (3)
  9. Dave 985 (3)
  10. Kristin L 970 (2)
  11. Victor 960 (3)
  12. Liz 910 (3)
  13. Ashlee (2), Dave A (3), Judy (3) 900
  14. Mark F 895 (3)
  15. Curt 865 (2)
  16. Mary P 860 (2)
  17. Laura 850 (2)
  18. Scott 840 (2)
  19. Sarah 815 (2)
  20. Mark 810 (2)
  21. Mike 740 (2)
  22. Jay 710 (2)
  23. Bari 690 (2)
  24. Chris 680 (2)
  25. Samuel 630 (2)
  26. Caitlin 615 (2)
  27. Chris H 595 (1)
  28. Anton 555 (1)
  29. Eric (2), Mary (2), Frank (2) 550
  30. Peter 465 (1)
  31. Ben 425 (1)
  32. Tracy 405 (1)
  33. Joanna 365 (1)
  34. Kristin 190 (1)


We find ourselves in New Orelans, so here's an obvious question to ask:

Who is the person credited with inventing Jazz?

Good luck!


It is, of course, Sebastian the Crab from Disney's The Little Mermaid!

However, Curt posed an interesting theory to me, which gave him double points. Enjoy.
According to cursory research and personal accounts, there appears to be only one clear choice of crustacean famous enough to consider for this bonus question. Jiminy Cricket, a fellow arthropod, is certainly close, but wrong subphylum. And god only knows what Fizzgig from The Dark Crystal was, but since he/she seemed to avoid the sea and had no antennae, a crustacean he/she probably was not. The obvious choice is Sebastian from The Little Mermaid. Aware of his personal struggle to avoid a certain death by boiling, I could certainly imagine his sympathy to his fellow crustaceans' cruel vivisection.

However, since Disney's 2004 purchase of Jim Henson's Muppet empire lock, stock and Fraggle (actually, the Fraggles were excluded from that purchase, but I needed something that sounded close to "barrel"), the spectrum of characters to consider is even more vast. For instance, many of our friends from the series Dinosaurs may have been evolutionary precursors to our modern crustaceans ("Trilobite On Board!"); however, that show having fallen into obscurity, I feel safe eliminating its characters from my scope of investigation.

Muppet Treasure Island may have featured numerous uncredited crustacean cameos, but the Muppet Crustacean Crown obviously goes to Pepe the King Prawn, with starring roles in Muppet productions from the early '90s "Muppets Tonight" series to the more recent "Muppets In Space" and "The Muppet Wizard of Oz". His appeal to "the youth of today" and his dedication to diversity in broadcasting have garnered Pepe numerous accolades, including a guest host spot on ESPN2's coverage of the X Games, co-hosting with pro-skateboarder Bucky Lasek, and Animal.

Pepe has claimed to be native to the southern coast of Spain; however, even to a lay observer, it is clear that his accent is more closely related to Creole French. According to the Public Library System of Beaufort, South Carolina, there is a Creole pidgin dialect indigenous to the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia (the area extending from Georgetown, SC to the Golden Isles of Georgia above Florida) whose aural inflections are essentially an identical match to sample voice recordings of Pepe.

For whatever reasons, possibly criminal, Pepe appears to be hiding his true origins. The Spanish cover story is quite flimsy, and no witnesses have stepped forward to actually place Pepe in the region; however, at the time of this publication, his green card status has not yet been confirmed nor denied by the United States Departments of Immigration or Homeland Security. If our hypothesis proves true, his geneological proximity to South Carolina would certainly foster a sense of familial relationship to the pictured delicious South Carolinan Atlantic shrimp. And even if the hypothesis proves false, Pepe's record of public servitude attests to his compassion and concern for civil rights, especially for those who cannot speak for themselves. Such as shrimp.

This is frankly too close to call. As my research indicates, either crustacean would have a great sympathy for the plight of the pictured shrimp.

But either way, I'm obviously stretching for mega bonus points for researching the entire Disney crustacean family tree.

Respectfully submitted,
Curt Lund
2005 Lund Fellow in Crustacean Research at the Lund Institute

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Miss Alli's Recap - Episode 3

It's up! Enjoy.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Media Wasteland

A Small Poetic entry of links

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Week Three - My Thoughts

Oh boy. This epsiode? Was, well, weird, and strange, and a little bit...odd. I'm just going to give a shout out to the editors and the music people who work on this show (and they won an emmy for it), because sometimes it's all about the little things. Don't think editing and music add that much? Do yourselves a favor and check this out.

Wait...was that a plane?! Am I Tatoo? I was glad to see the teams got to fly somewhere and leave all those gas guzzling cars and camping gear behind--except, when they got to Charleston and in turn to Alabama, they still had the camping gear. Now, there's no way they could have carried all that on, so does that mean that all the teams are forced to check luggage this year? Yikes.

Anyways, we find ourselves leaving the pitstop on the way to Dulls (tm Megan Linz) Airport. Has anyone seen anything as precious as Billy Gaghan trying to psych himself up for a 2.30 AM start time while on the mat? Some people probably found it annoying. Those are probably the people who aren't in my car when I'm driving to work at 8 am pretty much doing the same thing. Nothing too out of the ordinary on the drive to Dulls--the Linzes make poop jokes (I'm assuming that's what the wideload was), and the Weavers pull yet another fantastic driving move and end up going in reverse on the freeway.

But Dulls? Anything but Dull. So first we have Rolly and Hunter hanging out, being normal fourteen year old boys, and Hunter is quickly admonished by his stepmom to "shut his pie-hole" and come back with the rest of the Schroeders. I mean, honestly, what did Hunter think he was doing, fraternizing with the enemy? I suppose he did have a lot more to lose than he did to gain, seeing as how the Weavers don't really understand the airport. Here's the Weaver's current intellectual level:

  • Pennsylvania might be a state.
  • Washington DC is in Washingston (she thought)
  • When Dad gets killed on a speedway, the most obvious thing to do is pick the task involving moving wheels. Every single time.
  • Airports (especially that whole gate B13 part) are very confusing.

Now, speaking personally, I don't like the airports (this has already been well documented). I have to increase my betablockers each time I approach Lindberg terminal because even picking people up at the baggage claim makes me extremely nervous. But I understand airports. You give your confirmation and ID to a very grouchy woman who must be made that way because she spends her time printing out boarding passes for people going anywhere and everywhere while she stands behind a counter in a really ugly uniform and doesn't get to see anything except the green tint of the computer screen and zit-ridden morning-breathed early morning travelers who just want a window seat. Then you go through security where security guards the fitness level of Wally or Tony (it's a toss up) sit on a stool with their butts hanging over each side and glance at X-rayed things and tell you to take off your shoes and you kick yourself because you wore your converse high-tops again which are a pain to take off and you promised yourself you'd remember to wear something else but you didn't so it takes forever to take the shoes off. Once you're done, you find your way to a gate to a very uncomfortable seat (but still twice the size of the one you've paid around $300 to sit in for the next few hours suspended 30,000 feet in the air), and then you board and shove your possessions into either a poorly latched bin or shove it underneath the seat in front of you thereby negating all leg room you might have had and buckle yourself into the aforementioned $300 seat (because that strip of nylon will do so much when your plane turns into a cartwheeling ball of flame) and then wait for your fate to be put in your captain's hand who you have never seen or met because he's protected behind bullet proof solid doors.

So, Mrs. Weaver, what don't you understand about airports?

Oh, and Hunter thinks you're a bitch, Char. Which you kind of are.

So back at Dulls, the Aiellos get all up in arms because the Weavers are being so sneaky and deviant trying to find out more information that the Aiello boys totally psyche themselves out (see previous paragraphs on the Weaver intellect level and what's not to understand about airports)--and I found myself laughing really, really, hard during this sequence. The Weavers being sneaky is about as likely as the Paolos not fighting over buying a map (which also happened at the Dull airport. Dude! Just buy the map!).

And off we go to Charleston. I've heard Charleston is a nice city and all, but I really don't understand why the teams went there. They flew to a town to do a detour? Odd. Anyways, it looks like I was a week too early on the Forrest Gump comment in last week's recap. I think I would have done the mud bogging myself, because I was on the northern coast of France a few years ago and our table of people ordered a "Fruit d'Mer" platter and this huge plate came and the seafood was so fresh the shrimp still had eyes and legs on it. Oh, it was gross. There were also oysters on the halfshell, and the people at my table who liked that kind of thing said they were the best they'd ever had. When the waitress came back she stared in horror at the empty plate, save for a few lemon wedges we figured were garnish. In broken English, she was all, "You didn't put ze lemon on the oysters? But that's what kills them!"

I would have done mud bogging. And, back to complete preciousness, I love it that nine-year old Carissa understands the physics behind mud bogging--"Just go 120 mph and we'll just float over the top". And her dad listened! As I mentioned, I don't understand why the Weavers keep picking detours that involve wheels. They've switched out of both of them (buggy pulling and this one). And Mama Weaver said "dang it"--she must have been feckin' pist off. But the poor Aiellos--thirteen attempts before you switched drivers? Dude. As my mom said, that's exactly what a bunch of guys would do. They won't admit they can't do something. Yes, boys, you were going great guns.

And next--board a charter bus to a...mystery destination. They've pulled this mystery destination things a couple times before, if memory serves me correctly in Africa is season five and on the train in India last season. They've also done really long bus rides (the one from Cambridge to Edinburgh, Scotland comes to mind from season three). But this was a little whack. First bus? No problem. Second bus? Besides Papa Gaghan's exuberant "We're on the last bus!!" shout, pretty much trouble.

Dear Lord, please give me the wisdom and strength to put up with the Weavers.

I'm not sure what happened to them, between Mama Weaver's "I'm imprisoned on a bus" and the entire family looking like they've converted to Islam and are practicing whirling dervishes in the parking lot of the Waffle House parking lot, but it was weird. Killer fatigue on leg three? Is Alabama the new INDIA? In the words of DJ Paolo, the Weavers cracked. And you know they must be really cracked if the Paolos are saying it. That's like Jonathan telling Freddy to calm down in Season six at the railway museum in Hungary. I think that's all I'm going to say about that besides Waffle House?! What?!

And onto Space Camp. Peter sent me this cool map and if you change it to satellite and drag the map over a bit, you can see the rockets.

Godlewskis: "A hangar is an airplane"? I thought y'all were smart! The pink must be getting to your head.

Onto the roadblock, where the clue actually read "Who wants to pull more than three G.I.s?" I thought this was a family show. But didn't Phil look hilarious trying out the centerfuge? I don't ever remember him actually demonstrating a roadblock before--he sure picked a fun one to start. I was hoping, however, that Mama Paolo and DF had taken the roadblock and been pushed to that point of near vomitousness, just so they could know how the viewers feel every time they're on the screen.

The "Search for the Saturn Five" rocket must have been really hard. Especially since it's the big one pointed at the sky with all the spotlights shining on it that's visible from the aforementioned satellite map if you zoom in a little bit.

Free gas? For life? The Bransen's totally hit the jackpot on this leg. Especially with gas prices the way they are now, I bet they're sitting pretty. I'm kind of wondering how it works, though. Are they just given a gas credit card, like in Reality Bites? If they play their cards right, they'll never have to work again! I love BP. About ten years ago their ads on TV were " keeps ya movin'." We didn't have BPs in Minnesota then, and my family was on a trip out to North Carolina the first time we saw that ad. My little sister spent the next few days singing that in the car. I hope the Bransens have BPs near their homes (otherwise I guess it kinda sucks for them).

Just a few more random thoughts.

  • This leg was very much like Season 3 episode 3 (also where they had a big bus ride) in that your success in the leg depended completley upon what you did very early on. I don't think it was planned this way, but no one who did the mud-bogging (or attempted it) made it onto the first bus, which isn't cool. Once you got on the second bus you were pegged as one of the teams to get Philiminated, and since the roadblock was a "first-come first serve" and the rest of the leg was on the grounds of Space Camp, if you were last, you were pretty much done. Which is exactly what happened to the Aiellos.
  • I'm not one for the "Hours of Operations", but I think Space Camp would have been a good time to have that. According to Peter, if they'd done tasks during the day, they could have done more exciting things than the centerfuge.
  • And finally, next week: The Weavers go to the racetrack. Seems a little mean, but you have to be ready for anything on this race. If Avi and Joe from season six had made it to the Hungary leg and tried the Fast Forward which was drinking pigs blood, they would have had to make a choice to stay with their Kosher diets and risk falling behind. But they'll be fine--God's already given them strength, wisdom, a GPS system, and (apparently) free waffles.

Scrappy, signing off.

Caption THIS!

All right, I've got two again for you this week. Have fun!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Week Three Team Scores / Pool Scores

Team Scores
  1. Bransen 125 (225)
  2. Linz 95 (235)
  3. Schroeder 105 (245)
  4. Godlewski 75 (285)
  5. Weaver 45 (265)
  6. Paolo 35 (75)
  7. Gaghan 45 (245)
  8. Aiello -105 (15)

Pool Scores

  1. Adam (3) 1100
  2. Jan (3) 895
  3. Kristin L (3) 880
  4. Jonathan (3) 875
  5. Jill (3) 800
  6. Karen (3) 790
  7. Mary P (3), Stephanie (3) 780
  8. Curt (3) 765
  9. Les (3) 750
  10. Scott (3) 720
  11. Allegra (3) 710
  12. Dave (3) 705
  13. Liz (3) 680
  14. Victor (3) 660
  15. Ashlee (2) 655
  16. Judy (3) 650
  17. Laura (2) 640
  18. Linda (3) 635
  19. Mark F (3) 595
  20. Chris H (2) 575
  21. Dave A (3) 570
  22. Anton (2), Mike (2) 530
  23. Sarah (2) 515
  24. Mark (2) 510
  25. Bari (2) 490
  26. Chris (2) 450
  27. Ben (2) 445
  28. Caitlin (2) 435
  29. Jay (2) 410
  30. Samuel (2), Frank (2) 370
  31. Mary (2) 360
  32. Eric (2) 320
  33. Peter (1) 315
  34. Tracy (1) 285
  35. Joanna (1) 245
  36. Kristin (1) -40


What crustacean Disney character would have probably had something other than a period at the end of that sentence when faced with the above scene?

Good luck!

Week Three Bonus - ANSWER

The answer is Dr. W.C. Minor! He made significant contributions to the Oxford English Dictionary, which you can read about in the book The Professor and the Madman, or in this article.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Check it out!

Okay, so Adam and Tracy go to New York for a long weekend for his birthday, and what do they spend their time doing? FINDING RACE PLACES!!

Tracy and Adam outside the EMS store (I wonder if they fixed the display yet?)

Two shots from about where the race started

Media, Media, Media

From Chris Holtz:
Brock goes to school in Michigan!

From Ashlee:
AR Trivia--I kicked ass
The Amazing Race Rap
One of my favorites: TARFlies

From Peter:
Toys for the Weaver kids

From Mark Franko:
Amish Reality TV

From Adam:
Okay so I know all of you are thinking is winning this pool because of all the media articles he sends me. SO not true. In fact, before you factor in his bonus points he's sitting at a healthy 680 points, put him in 2nd place right Kristin Lang with 690 points. So. There. Next week I think I'll type out James Joyce's Ulysses.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Week Two - My Thoughts

All right, I'm beginning to think this Race is beginning to turn into "The Amazing Abuse of Local Reenactors Race" (TAAOLRR), anyone else with me on this one?! Seriously, with the "don't hurt your general" last week and "oops, sorry dude" as they roll the injured off the stretchers, I would live in fear if I was a Paul Bunyan reenactor and they were coming this way.

Another solid episode. I laughed, I didn't cry when the Rogers were eliminated (probably mainly because they aren't one of my teams), and Billy Gaghan continues to make me smile.

And without any more prattle, my thoughts.

Did anyone else notice that right after they left the pitstop, the Godlewskis stopped for gas and one sister said, "You've got ten bucks in there, that's enough for now!" Dude, that wouldn't even get me down the block today. I miss July.

It's a shoe! A giant...shoe? Well, they've seen a hand and a duck before, so a shoe isn't out of the question. But, apparently, this shoe servers locals really good Ice Cream. That's my kind of shoe. So much more useful than Prada.

And it's off to DC! Which is not, as Ma Weaver put it, "in the state of Washington?" (she must be really into those states since she figured out that Pennsylvania is one). You know, instead of praying for help everytime you open a map, maybe you should pray for a geography lesson. Or that your daughters will stop dressing like circa 1970s Rollergirls.

A clue! An actual clue with something they actually have to find (the clue box)! Oh, refreshing. I probably would have screwed up on this, too, since the only reflecting pool I know of in DC is the one Jenny ran through to get to Forrest faster. This was totally a shout-out task to episode two, season one, with the whole Focault's Pendulum debacle. But I still can't believe the Gaghan's wandered around the wrong pool for two hours, and wouldn't even stop when Billy wanted to ask someone for directions. That's a move worthy of Don and MJ. But maybe they'll pull it together if they remember they're in "race mode" not "stupid mode", as was the admonishment when the kids were making faces at the camera in the car. Honestly? If I was nine years old and there was a camera pointed at me all the time, I'd totally spend time making faces at it. Oh, who am I kidding--I'd do it now! Maybe that's why they haven't cast me.

And now it's time for the coolest roadblock of the season so far (well, it's the first one, but whatever). These are my favorite kind of roadblocks, along the line of the Venitian Carnival and the Argentinian Tango. And it's here where my teeny, tiny bit of enduring okayness with the Paolo family occurred, because they are obviously fans of the show--not only was yonger Paolo boy the only one to recognize Kevin and Drew last week, this week DJ paid attention to the fact that "only ten briefcases are an exact match to the one you have in your hand" part, which is why he was running so funny trying to look at the briefcases. And seriously, who doens't want to play spy for the day? I personally harbor fantasies of being a spy, especially since Jennifer Garner because the spokesperson for covert operations recruitment for the CIA. I'm hoping that they okay'd it with Homeland security because if they didn't? Little Carissa might have been spotted getting a briefcase out of an unmarked limo [by the way, was anyone else hoping the Paolos would bang on the wrong limo and get hauled off by the Secret Service?] and then trading it with a stranger in the park, and her picture could have been on the front of the Washington Post the next day, with the caption "The Little Terrorist Who Could". Some of these spies (like the ones the Gaghans got) were playing their role a little too much--seriously, that spy was SEVERE. But I did like the one that, when told "The sky is blue" replied, "Yes, it is," and walked away. Awesome. And then the Paolos pull another move which wants me to wish them nothing but off my screen when DJ goes, "Thank you, my brother" to his spy. Papa Black? Totally could have gotten away with it. And seeing as how one of the Race's former contestants was a CIA Agent, wouldn't it have been a perfect opportunity for a cameo from SpyDaddy Gus?

And onto Virginia we go. Mad props to the Linz and Bransen families (maybe another one, too?) for getting off the dreaded 66 through Manassas and taking the side roads. I've been on that road in a tour bus before, and it's quite scary when the cars make a lane out of the shoulder, another lane after that, and your tour bus tries to pass again while on a declined plane. Take the backroads, dudes.

I really liked this detour. I'm not much of an American History buff, nor a loud noise fan (balloons scare me because they might, you know, POP), but I did admire this from the distance of both time and space watching it on TV. You had to wonder, though, what was crazier for those fallen soldiers--being a "wounded" soldier in a Civil War battle, or being surround by a gaggle of shrieking harpies (Godlewskis, you know I love you!) wondering if this guy was light enough for them to carry? Oy. I also think the Weavers would have learned their lesson by now and done the battle option, as opposed to something which includes rolling objects.

And the Rogers family. All episode. You know, if you're a southern baptist and you live by the literal interpretation of the Bible (as I'm sure Pa Rogers does), you'd think that he'd learn to, you know, read things carefully. Like a map. Hope the Hurricane threw some stones your way so that Brock no longer has to cast the first one, but now is free to turn you into a pile of fundamentalist pulp.

Wow. I had no idea my reaction to them was so strong. I really don't think it is, except that was a really fun paragraph to write.

And Phil, what's up? Have you lost your mojo? You gave away a trip to Bermuda and it wasn't "beautiful" or "exotic", but you extolled the virtures of the nine hole golf course? Oh well. I think the Weavers will enjoy it. But I doubt they'll have any idea where Bermuda are.

Some random closing thoughts...

I love the Gaghans. I've said it before, I've said it again. They're normal. The kids are kids. Billy notices Carissa isn't doing much, parents say, "Well, she's doing what she can," and Billy fires back, "Can I have her job, then?" The parents aren't toting they in front of the cameras like little Gary Coleman and Rudy Huxtible, it's more like the Taylor kids--functioning members of the family unit. And with two tots they choose the heavy lifting / strength detour. And do it better than many of the other teams. Now, I know the parents are both marathoners, but I'm beginning to think they're the Incredibles. I think that Ma and Pa Gaghan were actually cast for an earlier season but couldn't find a babysitter, so they made this season for them.

I go back and forth on the Schroeders (remember, I had huge intial dislike), but they're growing on me. Pa Schroeder is kind of like that rude kid in the back of the classroom that makes fun of the substitute teacher, but really they're good kids (and I know the type well).

Enough with the Free Winona and Free Martha (and Free Ron, for that matter). I think it's time to FREE BROCK!

I envision two different ends for the Paolos. In one, their car breaks down no where near a gas station, Tony's sitting on the edge of the road crying with his face in his hands, and Marion has both her boys by the neck, shaking them like a pair of chickens. Wouldn't that be fantastic? In my other vision, they do this.

Next looks like they're off to Alabama. Will the Weavers know where to go, or will they think they are becoming...GROUPIES?!

Scrappy, signing off.

Caption THIS!

I am thoroughly enjoying these photo challenges. Come up with some thing witty for either of these (or both, if you're like that)!


Team Scores
  1. Weaver 125 (Total for all episodes: 220)
  2. Linz 85 (130)
  3. Godlewski 105 (210)
  4. Schroeder 75 (140)
  5. Aiello 65 (120)
  6. Bransen 55 (100)
  7. Gaghan 65 (200)
  8. Paolo 35 (40)
  9. Rogers -135 (-50)

Pool Scores

  1. Adam 880
  2. Kristin L 690
  3. Jan 645
  4. Les 640
  5. Stephanie 610
  6. Jonathan (3) 600
  7. Allegra, Jill 590
  8. Laura (3) 580
  9. Dave 575
  10. Ashlee (3) 540
  11. Karen (3) 520
  12. Curt (3) 500
  13. Scott 490
  14. Mary P 480
  15. Linda 475
  16. Liz (3), Mike (3) 450
  17. Chris H (3), Judy (3) 420
  18. Bari (3) 400
  19. Caitlin (3) 385
  20. Anton (3), Victor (3) 380
  21. Chris (3), Mark F (3) 370
  22. Sarah (3) 345
  23. Mark (3) 340
  24. Mary (3) 320
  25. Dave A (3) 300
  26. Eric (3), Peter (2), Tracy (2) 280
  27. Frank (2) 210
  28. Joanna (2) 195
  29. Ben (2) 175
  30. Jay (2), Samuel (2) 130
  31. Kristin (2) 20

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


As we find ourselves in Virginia at the site of a Civil War battle (or maybe just the reenactment thereof), here's a related question!

The following describes what man, and what is his greatest contribution to the world (two hints: he's a hero of mine, and Webster probably saw him as competition)?

This Yale-trained doctor volunteered his medical services as a captain during the Civil War, and subsequently went bat-shit crazy. He finally got so paranoid that he killed a man who he thought was after him, and got sent to insane asylums. He started collecting rare books, which proved invaluable to his future "profession".

Good luck!

And one more clue just to confuse you more: gangsta d'oh!

Week Two Bonus - ANSWER

The answer is...William Penn!

I learned a lot of amazing things about Willy while I was looking for this question.

"For you are now fixed at the mercy of no governor that comes to make his fortune great; you shall be governed by laws of your own making and live a free, and if you will, a sober and industrious life. I shall not usurp the right of any, or oppress his person. God has furnished me with a better resolution and has given me his grace to keep it."--Penn, 1681

In 1693, William Penn wrote a plan for the "Present and Future Peace of Europe", which basically put forth the idea of arbitration instead of war for settling disputes between nations. The plan is considered a prototype of the United Nations charter, and UN Day is celebrated on October 24th, Penn's birthday.

For more information (including the two things above), click here!

The Amish and Papa Black's Paddle

Ashlee just sent me this very informative article about the Amish. I learned things I didn't know before!

Sidenote: do not open this article while on a conference call, or have your finger ready to push the mute button.

Peter, on the other hand, just sent another incredibly informative article about a paddle (and other things the Weaverses may find interesting).

Sidenote: do not open while on conference call. I think they could hear me through the mute.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Miss Alli's Recap is Up!

And here it is. All 25 pages of funny.

Point of clarification: I'm not Miss Alli. Even though that, I supposed, could technically be a nickname for me, and she talks about Minnesota (because she lives here in town). But as much as I would love to be a writer for Television Without Pity, I'm afraid it's a pipe dream.