Monday, December 17, 2007

Survivor: Thinking Ahead

Watched all three hours of the Survivor: China finale. I thought for sure that Amanda would walk away with the million, which made me pretty happy. Of the final four, she's the one I wanted to win.

But no.

Amanda completely whiffed on her arguments to the jury. I wanted to shake the TV and tell her to spit out something along the lines of, "It was really difficult to vote out Denise, because I like her so much and I felt like we formed a bond. And she fought like mad to stay in the game, which I respect. But I went with Todd at the end--despite the fact that he's probably my biggest threat--because I gave him my word on day one. It was a huge risk to do that, but I hope that honoring my promise from day one earns me your vote. I also fought hard on every single challenge, helping my tribe win a lot of the immunities--that's what gave us all a fighting chance at the million." Her half-answers cost her a number of votes...and the million.

On the other hand, Todd didn't apologize for anything, and emphasized all of his accomplishments. His great presentation to the jury earned him a million. And Courtney, who couldn't even cut through a rope with a machete, managed to earn herself a few votes by focusing on her underdog status and keeping everyone laughing with her blunt comments.

Amanda, you had a shot, but you blew it. You didn't think ahead and plan out what you wanted to say (at least, it didn't seem like you did.) Just like my fave player, James, blew it by not thinking ahead.

Denise blew it a few weeks ago by voting out James. If she'd have warned him about Amanda's plan, the two of them could've flipped on Todd and Amanda, and they'd have gone all the way to the end. (Pretty nice of Mark Burnett to give her $50,000, though!)

Can't wait for next season..."Fans vs. Favorites" starts in February. Anyone else planning to tune in? Who do you want to show up on the "faves" team? I'm crossing my fingers that James will be there.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Question of the day: Should every record, award, or other accomplishment of those players named in the Mitchell report on steriod use in baseball be asterisked in the books?

Steroid use is cheating, plain and simple. It's no different than writers who plagiarize and blame deadline pressure. Or students who steal a test and argue that they didn't need to cheat, they simply didn't have enough time to study with extracurriculars, etc., so what's the big deal? (Hearing this from friends always pissed me off when I was in high school. And don't get me started on writers who plagiarize. My word choices would garner me an R rating.)

As with all cases of cheating, steroid use is unfair to the players who don't cheat. (Rely on talent and hard work alone to make the cut? Whatta concept!!) Many players named in the report say there's no tangible evidence of steroid use, and that the report is pure conjecture. Maybe their claims would convince a judge and/or jury, and maybe not, but Mitchell's report is full of cashed checks and notes from the players he names. It's enough to hold up in the principal's office.

No matter what happens to the players named in the report--or to the home run records and Cy Young awards they've picked along the way--huge props are due to George Mitchell and those who worked with him on the report for their focus on the future. I hope MLB adopts Mitchell's recommendations for testing, education, and prevention. The game will be far, far better in ten years if it's cleaned up today. And any accomplishments won't need an asterisk.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Say It Isn't So!

The big rumor here in Boston--at least according to the Boston Globe--is that the Red Sox, who've been talking trade with the Twins in order to get pitcher Johan Santana, have thrown Jacoby Ellsbury into the mix.

What are they thinking? The guy scored free tacos for the entire country, fer cryin' out loud!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Yes, They ARE Out To Get You

Color me thrilled with last night's episode of The Amazing Race and the ouster of Shanna and Jennifer. The pair claimed that they were a lot like the "Beauty Queens" team of Dustin and Kandice. Um, nope. Dustin and Kandice weren't my faves when they started out on the show, but they grew on me. They rarely argued (a tough thing, given the circumstances of the race), they knew each other's strengths and weaknesses, and they cheered each other on through the toughest days. Not so Shana and Jennifer. Talk about a whine-o-rama. The only thing these two have in common with Dustin and Kandice is hair color. Note to Jennifer: you wouldn't have made it as far as you did without Shana using that U-Turn, so you should've been thanking her for doing it. Remember that it's a game . You're supposed to get the other teams by using the U-Turn! It's in the rules and everything!

So glad I don't have to listen to them fighting again next week.

On the other hand, color me not-so-thrilled about James being voted out on this week's episode of Survivor China. James had the right attitude about the game (loved that he was able to simply shrug and say he blew it at the end, instead of storming off like many other losing contestants), but the wrong attitude about his tribemates. They were out to get him. They knew that if he stayed even one more round, the game was likely to be his. James's trusting, optimistic nature is what makes everyone like him, but it was also his downfall.

What I've have LOVED to have seen: Denise flip and tell James that the rest of the tribe was about to vote him out. I kept waiting for it to happen, but no dice. (Arrgh!) James was Denise's tightest ally, and I think that going along with the group to get rid of him will leave her adrift. She still hasn't figured out that she's dead last in the alliance's pecking order. But if she'd saved James's tail by cluing him in to Amanda's plan, they could have ousted Todd instead. James would owe her...and I bet the two of them would have gone to the end. Even if she couldn't beat him with the jury, second is better than she's likely to do against the rest of the group.

James's ouster means I have to figure out which Survivor to cheer for now. Amanda is playing a smart game, so props to her. I think she's going to turn on Todd next...wonder if he's aware of that? If so, she's toast. Erik and Courtney are coasting. Peih-Gee is just annoying.

Guess I'll see who impresses me next week....