Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Survivor: Philipines, Post-Mortem

It has been my observation that the more returning players there are in the game, the crankier the jury seems to be.  I think returning players carry higher expectations.  They are also more likely to feel betrayed by the actions of other returning players who they might have had a previous relationship with.

Last season was a cast of all newbies, and the jury had been lied to like no other. But, because the Deceiver (Kim) was so dosh-garn nice about it, the jury couldn't find the will to punish her by voting for a more honest player. 

Sunday's jury was not nearly as accommodating for arguably much less deceitful players.  What exactly had Lisa or Skupin done that was so horrific?  Lisa was reasonably loyal to her tribe.  Skupin - less so, but they didn't even pretend to be loyal to him.  One could argue the worst betrayal in the game was Kent's attempt to backstab Penner.  Either way, Lisa and Skupin were much more honorable than Kim was last season.  They burned Malcolm in advancing to the final 3, but Kim burned EVERYONE except the people who made it to the final 3.

The one other jury member who had a legitimate gripe this go-around was Abi.  I thought Denise had been way too tough on her a few weeks ago.  Nevertheless, Abi wound up voting for her tormentor, while Skupin was being mocked by the likes of Kent and Penner.  It was the first time in Survivor history where a player was mocked for NOT getting any votes.

 Any jury with Artis and Kent on it is going to be cranky, so maybe the returning players had nothing to do with it - but that jury seemed unduly agitated.  And, don't forget that the most unruly jury in Survivor history was the one for All-Stars (ALL returning players).  Returning players are generally more entertaining, but they often become rotten apples, spoiling the barrel.  Anyway, Denise got a lot more support than I thought she would.  I'm not saying I didn't think she could win.  I just didn't think she would win so handily (6-1-1).  She did hide behind Malcolm and his idol.  I get the feeling Kent, Penner and Malcolm lobbied hard for Denise on Ponderosa - and it worked.
Bottom Line: that final 3 was much more ethical than an average final 3, but the jury seemed a tad more disagreeable than usual.  

Other Thoughts:

1.  Denise's opening statement was a bit arrogant.  I though it noteworthy, though, that she said she would make no apologies, and then apologized to Abi in the Q&A.  It might have gotten her another vote.

2.  I thought Penner had a good season and a bad tribal council.  You can make your points without resorting to name-calling (he called Denise a b*tch) or ridicule (he mocked Skupin that he wouldn't get any votes).  None of this was on par with Susan's infamous Snakes and Rats Speech from Season One or the temper tantrums Lex and Big Tom threw in All-Stars (I thought they were going to burn the set down, they were so ticked), nevertheless, Penner's antics came across as classless.  He recovered a bit in the Reunion Show.

3.  In the Reunion Show, Kent was asked about his Penner obsession and played dumb (unlike Abi, who showed a lot of humility, and acknowledged she had room to improve).  Instead, Kent decided to weasel out of the question.  What a creep.

4.  I'm glad Probst addressed the fact that he might have picked on Katie a little too much.  That was one of my pet peeves this season.

5.  I'm also glad Dawson was able to get one last (cringe-inducing) kiss in.

6.  Next season is another Fans vs. Favorites.  For those of you who never saw the first Fans vs. Favorites five years ago, the returning players absolutely dominated.  At times it was humiliating (Globetrotters vs. Generals-type humiliation).  I think part of the problem is the returning players were particularly capable, and the fans included two of the dumbest people ever to appear on American television (Erik and Jason).

7.  I get the feeling that Malcolm will be returning to Fans vs. Favorites.  The producers really sold him this season, even though he lost.  My instincts tell me he is not nearly as nice of a guy, or as good of a player, as the cut he got.  They have really sold players twice in the past (Rupert as superhero and Russell as supervillain), and both had been invited to return the very next season.  The producers were making sure they stood out to the audience in their own ways.  Furthermore, Jeff asked Malcolm if he would play again.  Jeff does that when he knows something.  One other point: Fans vs. Favorites has already been filmed, which means no one would know who Malcolm is.  I bet he did poorly.  When he was on stage in the Reunion Show, he looked like a guy who had lost twice.

8.  I hope the Favorites they bring back are all players who have appeared only once before.  I don't need to see multiple retreads.  I also hope they pull people from early seasons.  For example, I've always wanted to see Ian or Greg (from Palau) play again.  Heck, if you want to go old school, Greg from season 1 is one of my all-time faves.  But, they will probably rely on recent seasons (they've played 5 seasons since Heroes vs. Villains) so they should have a decent supply of one-timers from that player pool.  From last season, alone, they could take: Colton, Kim, Kat, Sabrina, Tarzan or Troyzan.  From the season before, they could take Russell's nephew (Brandon) and Woody Allen (Cochran).  From Redemption Island: Philip and Matt.  From Nicaragua: Marty, Fabio and Holly.  It looks like in the coming season it will be 10 Fans vs. 10 Favorites.  I hope they think outside the box when bringing back former players.  I don't need to see the kooks again (Phillip and Tarzan).  I'd much rather see the competent ones get another chance.

Overall, I thought it was an above-average season that ran out of steam towards the end.  Six on a scale of 1-10.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Survivor: Philipines, Going into the Finale

I don't have too much to say about the last two episodes.  Yes, they tried to create some drama about whether Lisa would break her word and blindside Malcolm.  I don't know if she would have, but it was made moot by his two immunity wins.  The bottom line is this: the final four alliance held.  It formed at seven, and methodically voted off Penner, Carter and Abi.

As for tonight, they all seem to think it will be three at the final tribal.  If so, how are they going to fill a two hour show?  Previous seasons that have had a final three, also had five survivors entering into the final episode.  It sounds like they are going to fill the hole with a reward challenge.  If so, the first hour tonight could really drag.  I'm guessing this is happening because of Dana's untimely exit.  They still had tribal council that episode (after many evacuations they don't).  Anyway, they probably didn't stretch things out, they instead decided to just have four at the end and an extra reward challenge.

If all this is true, there is only one immunity left.  If Malcolm wins that, he probably wins the game.   If he loses that, he's probably gone, and then the voting becomes more intriguing.  In that scenario, Lisa might become the favorite.  Bear in mind, though, Penner has probably told everybody at Ponderosa about her child star status, and that could effect voting.  Also, as I said a few weeks ago, I think Lisa might struggle answering the jury's questions.

Denise has to explain that she did more than hide behind Malcolm's idol.  She is articulate, so she has a shot to do that.

As for Skupin - I just don't think enough jurors respect him.  When Pete was trying to save himself, he said maybe Skupin will go for his plan because he doesn't think things through.  Pete said it matter-of-factly and rather cooly.  I got the feeling he wasn't the only one who thought that.  Roberta will probably vote for Skupin, and Lisa might, if she were on the jury.  But, I don't see where he'll get other votes from.  Abi? Penner? Artis? Kent?  I don't see it.  When he made that
pre-merge deal with Penner, his tribe went off on him (and looked like they had fun doing it).  Then, again, Skupin might have ultimately been the most likeable person out there.  And, if he's sitting next to Denise and Lisa, he might get votes.

All in all, it's a respectable final four.  Any one of them would be a legitimate winner.  Malcolm and Lisa have probably played the best games so far.  But, for some reason, I find myself rooting for Lisa and Skupin over Malcolm and Denise.  When I look at Malcolm, I see his early passivity when his tribe crashed and burned.  There is something charming about Skupin's cheerful innocence.  I look at Denise, and I see someone doing a job.  I look at Skupin and see someone on an adventure.  As for Lisa, I'm happy for her that she did so well.  

Odds of Winning:

45% Malcolm 

25% Lisa
20% Denise
10% Skupin

One last question: who will be the most excited person at tonight's reunion show?  The winner or Dawson (tonight she gets to see Probst again)?

Survivor: Philipines, Ep. 11

Well, I guess Kent is finally happy?
Penner really blew it.  Skupin and Lisa offerred him an alliance to the end and Penner inexplicably turned it down.  It was too soon, he said?  This is a three-time veteran making a rookie mistake.  Hasn't he been watching Lisa's game?  Once the Church Lady gives her word, there is no going back: she's voting the way Malcolm and Denise tell her to vote - er, she's voting with her alliance.  Period.
If Lisa liked Penner so much, couldn't she have done more than tell him to "work his magic."  Couldn't she have tried to persuade her alliance to vote Carter instead?  Just asking because it seems to me Lisa has a better shot to win without Penner in the game.  She said this is not about the money.  Whenever someone says that, it usually is about the money.  I'm not criticizing her, mind you.  But, she ain't Seinfeld.  I'm sure the Facts of Life money dried up a long time ago.  But, even if she doesn't need the check, winning would still be fun.  She's got to be thinking about that just a little - no?  Leaving the decision of who to vote next to her alliance absolves her of the guilt of voting Penner while advancing her in the game.  That is what we call a win-win.   
I thought Skupin might flip, but it would be almost impossible for him to win if he had (he would have betrayed most of the jury).  By staying loyal he still has a decent path to a victory.  He needs to win the immunity when they get to 4 and vote Malcolm out (Malcolm can't play the idol once you get to 4).  It would be him, Denise and Lisa in the final 3.  Skupin might be able to win that vote.      
Other Stuff:
- Congrats to Abi on showing some backbone.  She could have pigged out at the reward and gone home.  At least she fought.  She went in there determined to get the immunity advantage, and she won.  Of course, she was unable to build any goodwill after her agonizing confrontation with Penner about what went on at the previous tribal council.  I wonder why Abi chose to confront Penner instead of Denise, when it was Denise who had more harsh things to say the night before?  Is it because Abi realized Denise would destroy her a second time, whereas Penner might actually show some compassion? 
- Carter is showing some athletic prowess.  He has been very competitive in the challenges.  So, has Skupin.  Malcolm, not so much so.  I wonder if Malcolm is holding back a little because the idol is protecting him and he doesn't want to be seen as a physical threat? 
-  Carter can win.  It's feasible for him to win 2 of the last 3 immunities and find himself in the final 3.  He won't be much of a talker at final tribal - he'll need Kent and Penner to be his advocates.  But, it might work. 
- Lisa's window might be closing.  Many jury members don't like people who are complete slaves to their alliance.  They don't like being told 'I only voted you out because I gave my word to the alliance.'  They usually wind up voting for the decision makers.  I think Lisa is losing votes.  
Odds of winning:

32% Malcolm    (I think you leap-frogged Denise this week and are now the favorite)
28% Denise    (You need to explain to the jury you did more than hide behind Malcolm's idol)
16% Skupin    (I had my doubts, but I'm starting to think you might be able to win)
14% Lisa    (I think you would struggle in the final tribal)
08% Carter    (Win challenges)
02% Abi    (Everytime I start to feel sorry for you, you say something atrocious)  

Survivor: Philipines, Ep. 10: Schadenfreude

It looks like I'm going to sneak this review in just in the nick of time.
Last week, Pete made the only argument he could make (you need me to flush Malcolm's idol).  Nobody bought it, and he went home.  Though, I have to admit, it took a lot of guts for Malcolm not to play his hidden idol.  He was told explicitly that his name was being discussed, and he knew it would take only one to flip.  I think I might have played it.
The immunity challenge was fun, and I think Carter got a huge advantage from winning the reward (and calories) the day before.  Otherwise, I think Skupin would have pulled it out.
As for Abi's tribal council tearfest, there are a couple of lessons to be learned.  First, never get into a debate with a therapist/psychiatrist about your personal shortcomings when they are ticked with you.  You will never win that exchange.  These people referee those type of arguments all day long.  They know every trick of the trade.  They will go for the jugular.  They know how.  And, they'll do it while seeming to be the only reasonable person in the room.  You can't win.
Denise really laid into Abi.  In some ways I thought it was gratuitous.  I'm no Abi fan, and I don't know what it would be like to be out there with her for weeks on end.  But, did she really need to methodically dissect her like Hannibal Lecter?
Probst threw Abi a couple of life preservers ("maybe it is because English is your second language," "maybe it's cultural"), but Denise swatted those away like Kent playing slow-pitch softball.  Denise is a therapist, she has heard every smear ever levied by one spouse on another.  She could knock down Probst's defenses after only two days on the job.  Meanwhile, the Director of Economic Development in Brasilia must have been pulling his hair out after Probst had so casually smeared the culture and reputation of his homeland.  Who would want to invest in a country full of 200 million Abis? 
I'm not saying Abi is a sympathetic figure.  But, once you get someone crying like that, you can call off the dogs.  Denise eventually did, but only after she had pushed it a little further than was necessary.  Denise wanted to do it - not because it would help her in the game.  It was revenge.
Other stuff:
-  Why did Penner tell Lisa it was too early to make a four-person alliance?  What is he waiting for?  He's still a major target, why would he turn down that offer?
-  Skupin is worried about Malcolm at the end.  He should be.  Frankly, Skupin has really limited options.  I don't think much of his former tribe will vote for him (except for Roberta, and maybe Lisa).  Artis, Abi, Pete - I think those votes are lost to Skupin.  He'd beat Abi, and maybe, Carter in a jury vote.  He's in the wrong final four alliance.
Odds of winning:

25% Denise 
22% Malcolm
16% Lisa
13% Skupin
12% Penner
09% Carter 
03% Abi  

Enjoy tonight's episode!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Survivor: Philipines, Ep. 7-9

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted anything.  There is lots to cover.

Jeff Kent
One of the worst positions you can be in on Survivor is to be one of the leaders of a tribe down 7-4 going into a merge.  But, luckily for Kent, there were two disenchanted people on the majority tribe (Skupin and Roberta).  This is a tremendous break for anyone.  You can now lead the new, dominant tribe and almost ensure yourself a trip to the final four without having stabbed anyone in the back.

Instead, Jeff chose to turn down this offer, betray his own alliance, and put himself at the BOTTOM of an alliance of seven people.  Why would Kent make such a ludicrous decision?  Why did Captain Ahab destroy himself going after Moby Dick?  Kent's obsession was making sure Penner didn't win.  I really can't figure out why.  Moby Dick took Ahab's leg, what is Kent's excuse?

I know Kent kept talking about former players not winning.  If I were out there, my goal would be to make sure I win.  I would only talk about former players if it advanced my chances.  Kent, instead, hurt his own chances by going after Penner.  Voting out Katie or Dawson is small potatoes for a guy like Kent.  Penner is bigger game.  Anyway, we know what happened.  Penner had a hidden idol and won immunity.  Kent, who placed himself at the bottom of his new alliance, got blind-sided.  I don't feel sorry for him.

Congrats on three major successes in a row!  After the merge, you sniffed out that you needed to play the idol.  You won an individual immunity.  And, you survived last night by getting Skupin to flip.  Your psychological profile of Lisa was interesting.  But, she still hasn't voted with you.  In fact, last week no one voted with you.  Skupin might have voted with you last night and saved you, but, I think it's a long road ahead for you to get to the final three.  You've played a great game, but, no one wants to sit next to you even though you are a former player. 

I'm not surprised you voted with Penner & Co. last night.  You voted with them when you first merged.  Your tribe has repeatedly treated you like garbage and I don't blame you for showing no loyalty.  Furthermore, you might even have a better chance getting to the finals with this lot (I don't think Artis/Abi/Pete would have let you get to the Final 3).  Also, congrats on an excellent immunity victory.  I thought that was an impossible task and you showed extraordinary hand-eye coordination.  So, if that's the case, why did you keep hitting yourself with the machete in the early episodes?

I understand why you wanted to keep the dysfunctional family together and save Dad (Skupin) last week.  You're a Mom.  That's what Moms do.  But, how long are you going to let Abi play the obnoxious teenage brat?  The way she talks to you is so degrading it sounds like it came from an episode of Jerry Springer.  Roberta already ran away from home, Dad left (again) and the family has broken up for good.  You're going to have to scramble for a safe harbor.  The good news is that there are initially some bigger targets (Abi and Pete).  The bad news is that one has an idol and the other can win immunities.

A few weeks ago you said to Jonathan:  "Katie or Penner."  Two weeks ago you said to Kent:  "I thought we were voting you next."  Heck, I'd align with you just to know if I was in any danger.  I can't think of a better source of inadvertent, but crucial information.  Watching you play is more fun that a rerun of Gilligan's Island - and you ain't the Professor.

I thought you had a shot at the final three not because you were in the dominant alliance.  We all knew that union was iffy.  I thought you had a shot because you, Abi and Pete are so friggin' unlikeable.  If I were out there I would be scheming to figure out which combination of the three of you I can sit with at the end.   However, such a back door to the finals was only there for one or two of you and it just closed on you.    

I see that you are learning.  Last night, instead of falsely accusing someone of voting for you after tribal, you voiced your suspicions during tribal and before the vote.  Brilliant!  However, while you can't win,
you have a shot at the final three for the same reasons Artis did.  I would love to meet the jury that would ever give you a million dollars.  You are clearly one of the most obnoxious people ever to play this game.  I can't imagine what you would say to the jury if you made it.  Something like: "I beat you because you all suck"?

Why were you so complacent this week?  I don't get it.  Skupin voted against your tribe at the merge. Though it might not matter now, did you even try to curb Abi's mouth?  t feel like you have checked out ever since you found out Malcolm has an idol.  Where is the guy who would play tricks on Roberta regarding the idol clue?  You have the energy for that, but you don't have the energy to keep an alliance together?  Two idols need to be flushed, otherwise Malcolm and Abi are both in the final four.  Explain to someone out there that they need your vote to help flush those idols.  Maybe you can make a deal. 

You might be the favorite right now.  Did you enjoy the trip to the village?  I hear that after next week's reward challenge, the winning team will bring supplies to Staten Island.  They need it more. 

Lisa threw you under the bus, but you have rebounded nicely.  Don't get caught with the idol in your pocket. 

It seems like ancient history, but I haven't written a review since your ouster.  It must have been hell living on the same beach with Abi all those days.  Enjoy Ponderosa and watching her self-destruct from the jury box.

Odds of winning: 
23% Denise
20% Malcolm
15% Lisa
14% Skupin
12% Penner
08 % Carter 
06% Pete
02% Abi

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Saletan, Reread Your Own Blog Post

Admist the tumult of Hurricane Sandy, William Saletan is wondering why Chris Christie would order forced evacuations from coastal regions when the New Jersey Governor has previously expressed hostility to the notion that government should order people to buy health insurance.  Saletan asks:
Hurricanes and health care are different in many ways, of course. Buying health insurance is more expensive than evacuating for a natural disaster. But in both cases, the question is whether you should be allowed to make your own choices when the cost of bailing you out will fall on others. If the state has no business forcing you buy health insurance, even when the premiums are subsidized, why should it be empowered to order you out of your home in a storm, just to save your skin? Why do Republican governors think they can have it both ways?
However, Christie has already answered Saletan's question, and the quote is at the beginning of this same piece.  These are the words of the Governor as quoted by Saletan:
For those folks on the barriers: You’re putting other people in harm’s way as well. We already have rescues ongoing on the barrier islands. This is putting first responders in significant, significant danger, and it is not fair to their families for you to be putting them in that danger because you decided that you wanted to be hardheaded.
 Not having health insurance doesn't put anyone else in harm's way.

Sooner or later...

... someone will link Sandy to AGW.  I can't wait for it to happen!

UPDATE: Here it is!

What did Bill and Gore do about climate change while they were in the White House for eight years?

NYT: If You Survive Sandy, Vote Obama!

If you're keeping track - a politician mustn't make statements or ask questions about a terrorist attack after it has happened, but the Times can print this anti-Romney screed last night during the hurricane. Disgusting.

Monday, October 29, 2012


The person(s) who made this video live in a different universe than I do:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Survivor: Philippines, Ep. 6 - Stalemate

This episode was not the producers' finest hour.

First, they designed an unwinnable reward challenge.  What will the challenge be next week?  Tic-Tac-Toe?

Second, they earnestly tried to paint a picture where Katie might not be going home in order to create drama that simply did not exist.  That vote was a slam dunk.

Early in the program, they showed Katie arguing to Denise to vote off Penner.  Denise wasn't buying any of it.  I know they showed Kent and Carter waffling and debating on ousting Penner.  No sale for this viewer.  I think Kent debates about voting out Penner every day...  [Strike that - not strong enough] I think Kent debates voting out Penner every hour of every day.  He can't wait to blindside that guy.  But, at this point, the argument to get rid of Penner does not exist.  If there's no merge, you still need Penner in the challenges.  If there is a merge, you need him as the first target for the other tribe, and you still need his immunity idol if you want to pull something.  Voting Penner out now would have been a complete waste.  Sure, Kent debated it (with himself - Carter just watched), but Kent wasn't going to do it (this time).

As for the deal made at the challenge - all you saw was a lot of unhappy people.  How can you make a trade where most on both sides hated the swap?  My Econ 101 professor might answer that this is the inefficiencies of a barter system and why currencies developed.  But, I think the answer is this:  there are a lot of people who dislike Penner and Skupin, and this was an excuse to go off on them.

That challenge was a nightmare.  The deal made sense.  Stop your whining.  It couldn't have been bad for both tribes?  Frankly, I don't think it was bad for either one since they are so close to a merge.  Ending the challenge was the prize and the real winners were the ones on the sidelines who didn't have to exert any energy in the trench warfare.

One note of clarification: of couse it's possible to make a deal that both sides absolutely hate (see The Compromise of 1850, which destroyed the Whig Party and led to the Civil War).  But, this was a friggin' swap of food.  Get over it.  Abi used that deal as an excuse to bitch.

Other stuff:

-  Why can Malcolm almost single-handedly win challenges on his new tribe, but not for his old?  Is it because Russell's not around?

-  Having said that, Lisa really did contribute to the win with her shot placement.  She also (again) neutralized Denise in the reward challenge (it helps that she outweighs her by 40 lbs.).  Lisa is actually in a decent position right now.

-  Before tribal council, Carter said to Penner: "Katie or Penner?"  Sharp.

In the last review I said I would handicap the field soon.  It looks like a merge is coming, so before the next episode would be a good time.  I'm not sure if the Halloween Hurricane, Sandy, is going to be The Tempest or Much Ado About Nothing, but references to the Bard aside, I expect the storm to clear out some of my schedule early this week, allowing me to handicap the field before Wednesday.

Survivor: Philippines, Ep. 5 - Malcolm in the Middle

This was the best episode of the season thus far.  It had:

- an immunity idol discovered
- a tribe disbanded
- two challenges
- a player leave due to illness, and
- a compelling decision in the final tribal.
First things first: it is rare to see a player turn his fortunes around as quickly as Malcolm has.  He has an idol, he's on a tribe that can actually win challenges, and most importantly - the tribe is split, and two factions need him as a swing vote.  Pete was upfront to Malcolm that his alliance has the idol, but he also acknowledged that he was initially aligned with Skupin and RC, and is blowing them off (that should be a red flag for Malcolm).  That leaves RC - who doesn't really have any numbers.  I don't know what Malcolm should do except keep winning challenges.  If they do have to vote someone out, I would keep my promises to a minimum (if he can get away with it).  
Denise's fortunes also improved.  I like the way the producers handled the disbandonment of that tribe.  If you merge a six-person tribe with a three-person tribe, the three have big problems.  Maybe one can survive it.  But, the strongest two will be attacked right away.  However, a six-person tribe can absorb only one person with a lot less friction.  It gives that single person a decent shot.  One person coming in is less likely to be seen as a threat and more likely to be seen as an opportunity.   In any case, it's good to see Denise and Malcolm put out of the misery of their initial tribe.  They are both good players.
I was dead wrong about the strength of loyalty Katie had for Dana.  But, it turns out Dana didn't have the same loyalty coming back.  I know, I know, Dana was in severe pain.  My advice:  drink as much water as you can stomach, lay in the shelter, and it will eventually go away.  People fight through those attacks.  Instead, Dana left her allies up Dawson's Creek.  Am I being too tough on Dana?  Maybe.  But last week she was blustering that the male alliance shouldn't "underestimate her because she's a female."  Maybe her alliance shouldn't overestimate her because she's Dana?  I realize that about 1 out of 10 or 1 out of 15 Survivors' bodies shut down.  She still could have fought a little harder (I saw Tom Westman talk Janu into staying in Palau when she was about to shut down).  Dana's quit wasn't as bad as Osten's checkout from Panama, but it wasn't admirable.    
Once Dana was gone, Katie talked about roping in Denise, but did we even see it?  I know there are time constraints, but where was the attempt?  Kent did it without much fuss.  Did Dawson even consider approaching Denise as an option?  I realize life is busy on the island for Dawson.  She has to antagonize Kent and dream about Probst's next visit to camp, but could she have at least found a moment to ask Denise if she wants to vote with her?  She didn't even find time to use her best weapon - her info about Kent's former career.  But, she did get a 30-second cringe-inducing hug from Probst, so I guess it was all worth while.
You get the feeling Dawson wasn't there to win.  She was there to have fun and meet Probst.  So, I'm guessing they made the right decision to dump her instead of Katie.  At least Katie is trying (though she's close to checking out - I know this because the near-comatose Carter observed it, so it must be true).  At least Katie's upset when she doesn't do well.  Dawson only seems to get upset when Probst comes to see Dana, not her ("I'd normally jump on him, but it wasn't good timing").
Other stuff:

- Another week of Skupin not bleeding!  He's actually almost under the radar (though next week's preview suggests that's about to blow up). 

- In the immunity challenge on the axe portion - Penner pinch hit for Kent.  If only he knew!

- So, Kent needs to be bailed out of the chopping portion of the immunity challenge, but according to him, the loss was Katie and Dawson's fault?  Just asking....

-  Was it me, or did Probst mention one time too many that Abi has sat out a lot, and Katie struggled in the early portion of the immunity challenge?  Probst, we heard you the third time!   

- The reward this week included cookies, and the winner of that challenge won immunity!  Angie was right - that's all a tribe needs!

- Abi to Dawson during the reward challenge: "fight like a man, not a b*tch!"  It's just that type of observation that can help any player after the merge (though, Abi might have had a point).

-  I thought Penner said all the right things during Dana's illness.  He was helpful, consoling and understanding.  But, did you get the feeling he was happy she left because he would now have the numbers within the tribe?  I'm sure he wouldn't have been as satisfied if he knew he would lose the next immunity, but I got the feeling, in that moment, he wasn't upset to see Dana go.

Great episode.  Next week, I'll start breaking down people's chances of winning.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Survivor: Philippines Ep.4 - Paradise Lost

Genesis, 2:7 - 3:23:  "Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and Russell became a living being. ... Then the LORD God took the Russell and put him into the garden of Survivor to cultivate it and keep the tribe strong for the challenges.  But the Russell believed he to be perfect, not merely created by the LORD God, but like the LORD God, and thus would win all the challenges like the LORD God.  But, when Russell failed he cried to the LORD God why had he failed, and the Probst said to the Russell, "because you are just a man."  But, Russell wouldn't believe what he thought was the deceiver and could no longer see the Truth in all things.  And, the woman the LORD God had given to be with Russell to help cultivate the garden seeing Russell was just a man who could no longer see Truth was able to deceive him.  So the LORD God banished him from the garden of Survivor to return to the grounds from which he had been taken."   
I'm not sure why this episode reminded me of the Old Testament and the story of Adam's banishment from Eden.  I think it's because in Genesis, God created man, and man immediately messes up.  There's a lesson there - man is flawed, imperfect.  But, Russell never got that memo.  After the challenge, he suggested he should be flawless because God is perfect.  I'd love to know where he got that idea from.
At tribal council Russell walked back a lot of what he had said, but I think what came out at the challenge is what's really in his heart - unscripted.  The Ancient Greeks called this Hubris and their literature and myths made numerous warnings against it.
The worst rout in Survivor history occurred in Palau when Ulong lost all seven immunity challenges, whittling their original eight down to one.  Pathetic.  But, in many ways, this season's performance is even worse.  At least Ulong won a couple of rewards - Russell's tribe hasn't won anything.  Moreover, this tribe is competing against two others - giving them two chances to win.  The tribe is, in actuality, 0 for 8.  Atrocious.
The Greeks warned that Hubris's enemy was Nemesis, who would destroys all those whose ego exceeds that of a man's (Greek sculptors used to leave minor flaws in their works so as not to unleash Nemesis' wrath).  It's interesting to see such a self-centered egotist perform so poorly, leading his tribe to an historic (by Survivor standards) defeat.  That doesn't mean Russell wasn't likeable.  He was.  It's just that his ego wound up being completely out of control.  
Bottom Line:  I'm not arguing against self-improvement or trying to better oneself.  But, both the Ancient Hebrews and Greeks warned us: Don't go thinking your perfect.  No one is.  Thinking you are will ruin you.
Other Stuff:
-  Malcolm gave a good effort, but Kent's performance outclassed him in the challenge.  Being a professional baseball player helped tremendously.  He could obviously handle pressure (Malcolm panicked a little at the end); and, being a hitter, he showed tremendous hand eye coordination.  Well done (and a very exciting finish - I loved the slo-mo when Kent's last toss missed the jar only to crack it on the return).
-  I have both Pete and Roberta in the pool (it's never fun to see your kids fighting), and I think this squabble has the potential to be bad for both of them.  Roberta is losing control of her place in the tribe.  She seems anxious, even panicky.  As for Pete, if he pulls too many stunts like this, it could really blow up in his face.  It wouldn't take much for Abi and Roberta to have a conversation and figure out Pete planted the clue that caused the chaos.  However, to Pete's credit, Abi has shown absolutely no willingness to have such a conversation, so maybe Pete understands Abi better than I thought possible (and, thus, is really in control).  If that's the case, Pete has a much better read of things than Roberta ever did (who initially formed a primary alliance with the bombastic Brazilian, which is coming back to haunt her).  Pete's correct not to trust Roberta, and he seems to have isolated her, so maybe I shouldn't worry too much about what he's doing.  I just don't like him setting off an unpredictable personality like Abi's.  As for Roberta, it looks like her best chance is to get on a re-mixed tribe.
-  Penner's tribe has split based on gender, but did anyone else get the feeling Miss Delaware would rather be with the guys?  Dana sat there and talked about the girls sticking together, but I didn't hear much enthusiasm from the other two.  Dana could be the first to go if Malcolm/Denise actually manage to win something.
-  I don't recall seeing Skupin bleed once this episode!  Congrats to Mike!
-  Right now, Abi has an idol.  If she gets blindsided with it in her pocket, it could be the biggest fireworks explosion since the turn of the Millennium.  Abi doesn't do anything quiet.

Five Trillion Later

During the next economic crisis or deep recession, the President will call a meeting of his economic advisors and no one is going to say “let’s do what Obama did.”   

We borrowed and spent $5 trillion dollars and have nothing to show for it except the vague claim that we somehow prevented a second Great Depression.  The “stimulus” didn’t stimulate the economy, so we’re told things would have been worse without it.  We didn’t build any new infrastructure (where are the new roads, bridges and dams?).  What Obama did isn’t going to be a blueprint for anyone going forward.  Five trillion dollars down the toilet.       

Monday, October 15, 2012

Survivor: Philippines, Ep. 3: Lying to Oneself

I heard from a couple of you who strongly believed that the tribe should have kept Angie.  These arguments tended to focus on the shortcomings of Russell.  Russell's weaknesses are many.  He might be the weakest player to be on Survivor twice.  However, it's not enough to demonstrate Russell's failings.  You have to show that the tribe would be better off keeping the Provo Princess.  So, stop telling me how poor Russell is.  Explain to me why Angie is better.

Despite their tribe's shortcomings, I believe Denise and Malcolm are rationale players who are trying to win.  They are out there 24/7 with these people.  If they think Russell is more valuable to have around than Angie, I'm not going to quibble.  I didn't see anything glaring to the contrary, so I'm going to trust them on this.
As for the tribe in general - during Malcolm's pre-game interview, he said he was going to lay low and not be assertive.  He didn't want to be a target. 
We can all see the downside of that strategy.  There are scenarios where your tribe self-destructs if the leader-by-default is someone like Russell.  At least Malcolm's beginning to admit that he should have been more assertive (he said so after the last challenge).  But, it might be too little, too late.  Maybe Malcolm will be able to hide in a re-mixed tribe.  But, he'll probably need a hidden idol.  He better start looking for it.
Other Stuff:
1.  It ain't Survivor unless Skupin's bleeding. 
I am now convinced Skupin got an absolutely fantastic edit while on Australia.  I'm guessing he injured himself just as often in Australia as he is now.  He has simply injured himself way too often for it to be a fluke.  No one has a string of luck this bad.  This guy must always be hurting himself, and it must have been happening in Australia, too - they just didn't show it because it is hard to see it as anything but comical (what's happening this season is borderline hysterical, until you realize he could have destroyed one of his retinas when the facemask exploded).  However, tonally, how do you show a comical bumbling bruiser for five episodes and then on the sixth, show him severely burn himself?  It doesn't work.  So, I think they suppressed his initial injuries on Survivor: Australia [it also means he probably won't be having a serious injury this season - just lots and lots of minor ones].   
2.  A note to Angie: we got a ruling from Salt Lake City, and the LDS hierarchy has said your stint on Survivor: Philippines does not qualify as missionary service.  Sorry. 
3.  Penner was wise to show the idol to Jeff.  The idol is a lot more powerful if other people know about it.  Right now, Jeff could be in the center of the early decision-making - so letting him know you have the idol will give Jeff the opportunity to steer people away from you if he doesn't have the votes to flush it out.
4.  It's impossible to get through this game without misleading and misdirecting a little bit.  The question is when does it become too much?  Where's the line?
The beauty of Survivor is that the jury decides.  If you go too far with your lying - the jury can punish you for it.
Lately, the jury seems to be more and more forgiving of serial deception.  I though last year's winner, Kim, went too far in this regard and that the jury should have denied her the check.  But, they didn't.  They determined she had played a great game and forgave all.  I think it was the package.  Kim could get away with horrible deceptions in a way the troll-like Russell ultimately couldn't.  It's not fair, but it's the jury's decision.
But, there is one type of lying I find particularly weaselly.  It's when someone gives their word, and then they claim later they never really did.  Sandra did this in Panama to Burton and Johnny Fairplay to the point where I wanted to puke.  She made a promise to them, swore on her kids, and then gave herself an exemption.  In her mind, what she did was wrong, so she pretended she didn't really do it - it wasn't a "real" promise.  The jury didn't punish her because Burton and Fairplay were such disagreeable characters - but I haven't forgotten it.  She didn't want to believe she broke her word, so she lied to herself (a classic example of cognitive dissonance).
Anyway, we got a taste of that sort of nonsense from Jeff last episode.  Jeff is claiming it wasn't a real handshake with Penner, yada, yada, yada.  I already acknowledged you must use some deception in order to win.  I'll grant you a few broken promises.  But, please spare me the "I didn't really make the promise" weasel.  Jeff strikes me as the kind of guy who would go ballistic if someone broke a handshake agreement with him and wouldn't have much patience for a "I had my fingers crossed" defense.  We'll see where this plotline is headed.
Good episode.  I'm liking this season so far.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Survivor, Philippines, Ep. 2: God's Other Plan

I thought Roxy had a chance to go deep in this game.  She seemed so bright and cheerful in her pre-game interview.  Alas, all that positive energy was washed away in a Filipino downpour.  The Army reservist who has been through basic training and whose vocation is to counsel soldiers who have seen combat, got beaten down after a few days of rain.  Roxy, good luck with your career choice. 

I was sympathetic to Roxy when she complained about Russell's lack of listening in last week's challenge.  She told him she wasn't good at puzzles, yet he put her on puzzle-duty anyway.  This week, she told Russell she didn't want to run twice because she didn't drink enough water.  She also told Jeff at tribal council that she doesn't want to work hard around camp in order to save herself for the challenges.  
Are you keeping track of all this?  Roxy doesn't want to do puzzles, run, work at camp, or drink enough water for the challenges.  The question is what does she want to do?

A: gossip.

Now, there is no denying that gossip is an important part of Survivor.  But, if that's the only thing you're going to do, you better be good at it, and charming while doing it.  And, I think Roxy failed on both counts.  She was very aggressive and mean-spirited while reporting on the nocturnal activities of the Provo Princess.  If I was on the beach listening to her, I would be wondering what she's going to be saying about me, once Angie's gone - because, I would have the feeling that once Angie had been torpedoed, Roxy wouldn't take long to turn her guns on a new target.  If all you're going to bring to a tribe is hostile gossip, tears during the rainstorms and the occasional speaking in tongues, you are not going to last long.

So, Roxy rightly got the boot, and that tribe is in serious trouble until they get some cookies.

Other Stuff:

-    Abi-Maria, take it easy.  You are sending off major red flags.  Tone it down.  Roberta is allowed to talk to Skupin, geeez.  Another outburst like that and Lisa will start looking a lot more stable than you do.  Your own alliance will dump you in a New York minute.  I know Coach kept a loose cannon like Brandon for all those episodes, but, Coach is a dragon-slaying 21st Century Don Quixote, and I don't think you'll get that type of loyalty from Roberta, et al.  Roberta thinks she told you about the clue.  You think you caught Roberta so she had to tell you.  That's your main alliance?  You're not exactly the buds Kim & Chelsea were in One World, are you?  Suspicion is OK, but this smells like paranoia: Portuguese-style.  Chill. 

-    I thought Lisa did a nice job in the challenge as caller during the puzzle.  Her emotional episode earlier in the show might be temporary.  She said she's an introvert and felt comfortable playing a character on a stage.  Lisa, why not play a character while on the island?  Remember Brian from Thailand?  He did it and won!  I know, I know, he was a sociopath.  But, it's worth a shot?  It's better than having daily breakdowns?

-    Jonathan's chances improved dramatically with the discovery of the idol.  If they re-mix the tribes soon (and Jeff made it sound like they might), he will be in a dominant position in the new tribe, and should make it to the merge.  We still don't know much about the rest of that group beyond Kent's knee.  Carter and Miss Delaware are phantoms.  That doesn't mean they can't win, it's just hard to evaluate that tribe when all you've really seem is Penner's Idol Hunt.  

-    Did Skupin cut himself again?  He tried to deny it, but I believe I heard Roberta say "that's a new one."  I don't recall seeing his foot this episode, I wonder if last week's deep gash needed stitches or not.  Question:  Does the medical team have enough thread if Skupin makes it the whole 39 days?

-    I love it when Jeff gets annoyed at a stupid tribal council answer.  Miss Utah's "cookies" really set him off (and I don't blame him).  I've heard from former players that tribal council takes hours and it's a constant tug of war between Jeff and the cast.  No one wants to say anything meaningful, and Jeff badgers and threatens them with a bad "cut", as he tries to drag answers out of people.  You get the feeling he's been fighting with Angie for answers the last two councils and he's starting to get ticked with her.  They didn't cut her well in this episode, did they? 

Good episode.  Nothing ground-breaking, but a close, fun challenge, and I like how Penner deduced the clue.
Until next week...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Survivor - Philippines, Ep. 1: The Red Knight Retires

When researching the cast for a new Survivor season, I usually walk away thinking that about a third of the players can't win.  This time, I thought half couldn't win.  However, Zane was not on the list - which goes to show what I know.

Zane's performance was arguably the worst opening episode showing in the history of the series (rivaling, if not exceeding, Johnny Fairplay's "quit" in Fans vs. Favorites).  Fairplay sort of had an excuse (his reputation from an earlier season doomed him from the start), what was Zane's "reasoning"?  It sounded like if things weren't going to go right for him early, he had no interest in toughing it out.  I'm surprised the screening process didn't catch this about him.  He had no business being in the cast, but he did earn himself a 36-day vacation until he and the rest of the troupe flies home.

I'm not sure any of the returning players can win.  Survivor is often a pendulum - one season, women might dominate, and the next cast reacts, and men do better.  One season, someone flies under the radar to victory, and then it becomes harder to do that for a season or two.  Recently, returning players have done well - shockingly well in some cases (Boston Rob & Coach).  I get the feeling the antibodies have kicked in, and this cast won't let the returning players get into a powerful position. 

I really enjoyed Michael Skupin in Australia.  He was very entertaining (Australia was a very good season and might have had the best cast ever).  Anyhow, some of Skupin's flaws, which you saw in Australia, really presented themselves in this episode.  I always thought his passing out in the fire was a freak accident - now I'm not so sure.  His multiple self-inflicted injuries are beyond parody.  That foot cut was deep, and the forehead gash looked to be about six inches.  The man is a menace.

Skupin also has a VERY different perspective on things.  I don't see how he could think Lisa announcing her childhood celebrity would help her, but in Skupin's universe it would.  In his pre-show interview on the CBS website, he stated that he won't lay low because only about two people ever flew under the radar and won.  That is simply not true - Skupin wants it to be true.  Skupin can't fly under the radar, won't fly under the radar.  He'll go 100 MPH until he hits a brick wall.

Either you can do a puzzle or you can't.  When someone tells you they can't do puzzles - believe them.  Russell's folly during the allocation of personnel for the challenge was terrible (and the girls had every right to be annoyed).  Though I don't think Skupin can win, I picked two people from his tribe, because I think Skupin's leadership in the challenges could help them early.  I am reasonably confident of that assessment.  Russell's tribe has some potentially good players (Malcolm & Roxy), but they still have to figure out how to handle Russell.  If they don't, they could be in a bad place.

As for Penner, his tribe is already on to him, and want nothing to do with him.  Good luck to him.

As for the celebrities, Kent thinks he tore up his knee, and in the preview Lisa was already crying for Mrs. Garrett.  I've seen some players have early meltdowns and recover (Holly threw a tribesmate's $600 crocodile shoes into the ocean but managed to make it deep into the jury).  I also think Kent might have misdiagnosed.  I won't write them off yet, but they have problems.

I've written enough.  I'll save my thoughts about the newbies for future re-caps (though I was surprised by Angie).  She might be an unexpectedly strong player (my Dad compared her to Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, and there might be something to it).

Overall, it was a good opening episode - good dynamics, a fun challenge and a real question going into tribal council (they made the right decision).  The season has potential.

Getting Ready for 2016

Hillary Clinton, yesterday: "There are rich people everywhere and yet they do not contribute to the growth of their own countries. They don’t invest in public schools, in public hospitals, in other kinds of development internally...” 

If rich people aren't building schools and hospitals, who is?  Poor people? 

When I read a quote like Ms. Clinton's, I begin to realize that the gulf between how I view the world, and the way people like HRC views the world, is probably unbridgeable.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Not Exactly a Blueprint for Success

At some point in the future, we will have another recession.  The President will call a meeting of his advisors.  They will gather in a White House conference room to discuss what should be done.  Will any of the advisors say “let’s do what Obama did”?

The answer is clearly no.  They might say ‘let’s do what Reagan did’ or ‘let’s do what FDR did.’  But, no one is ever going to say ‘let’s do what Obama did.’

Remember this as you listen to Obama’s sycophants defend his economic policies over the next eleven weeks.  They are trying to drag his campaign across the finish line.  Once the election is over, no one will ever cite his policies as a blueprint for how to handle an economic crisis.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hubris Unbound

Earlier this week, President Obama met with about 20 conservative Jewish community leaders.  According to Haaretz, "Obama also stressed he probably knows about Judaism more than any other president, because he read about it..."

While this claim is clearly not true (we have had presidents who studied Hebrew), let's assume it were.  If you were the foremost expert on a subject, would you brag about it in such a manner?  The lack of humility is cringe-inducing.

But, Obama's religious scholarship is not limited to the Old Testament, it includes Catholic just-war theorists.  As the New York Times reported over the weekend, when it comes to the use of predator drones and how targets are determined, "nominations go to the White House, where by his own insistence and guided by Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama must approve any name," because as a "student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, he believes that he should take moral responsibility for such actions. And he knows that bad strikes can tarnish America’s image and derail diplomacy."

LBJ picked bombing targets in Vietnam to protect America's image (how did that work?), while FDR let Ike choose where the Normandy invasion would be.  Some tactical decisions should be left to military experts, but I'm guessing there is no one on the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the scholarship of Mr. Obama's to be trusted with such a task.  By the way, what was Augustine's views regarding killing rather than capturing and questioning terrorists?  What does Aquinas say about the criteria for choosing military targets?  

The Time quotes former C.I.A. director, Michael Hayden, as saying: “This program rests on the personal legitimacy of the president, and that’s not sustainable...” 

I'm not sure if the program is unsustainable, but it is bizarre.  For Obama, the New York Times and the rest of the American left, detaining terrorists in Guantanamo is a moral abomination, but Obama acting as judge, jury and executioner is fine because of his party affiliation (and he read Aquinas).  In short, because Obama believes one should take moral responsibility for such actions, the left finds Obama's actions moral.  We'll see if they hold this opinion when Romney is ordering drone strikes.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Survivor: One World, Final

There are times in Survivor where you have to mislead.  It's impossible to win the game otherwise.  Sometimes, you might have to flat-out lie.  Some winners have lied a lot. 
Some players have betrayed alliances - they almost never win. Ocassionally, a player makes an alliance with everyone, and the amount of betrayal bites him in the end.
Where's the line?  You can't win without misleading a little, but, how much lying is too much?
The brilliance of the format is that it's left for the jury to decide.  As Jeff says, you will be held accountable in the end. 
I mention all this becuase Kim might be the most deceitful player ever to win the game.  She's up there with Russell.  Russell never won, but Kim dominated her jury.  Why?  Is it the package?  Is it that she was, nevertheless, likeable?
Comparing her to Russell might be unfair.  The best analogy might be Boston Rob in All-Stars.  Rob made an alliance with everyone, stayed true to only a few, dominated physically and strategically, but lost in the end to a highly disgruntled jury.  Why didn't Kim share a similar fate?  She had an ALLIANCE with Kat, Mike, Jay and Troy.  I'd have a difficult time voting for someone who broke an alliance with me.  Sabrina and Chelsea were in that alliance, but both of them were less guilty than Kim (Mike nailed this point at the final tribal council).
In one of the last tribals, Chelsea made a plea to Kim's loyalty, but it included a threat.  She warned that a betrayal of that magnitude would doom her with the jury. Chelsea implied that that was where the line was (which is convenient for Chelsea).
Kim played a great game, but she might have crossed my line earlier than that.  The episode beforehand she admitted to the camera that she has lied so much, she can't remember the truth.  That's when she lost me. 
I know Kim's extremely likeable.  I know it's just a game.  But, I'm not sure I would have voted for her.
At the final tribal, Christina was asked about the abuse she received at the hands of Colton and Alicia.  She shrugged it off - 'it's just a game, I love all these guys.'  I don't know if I would be that casual about it.  Alicia breaks down over comparing Christina to her students because of what it meant about the students (not Christina).  Colton is on trial for saying to Bill 'get a real job', but NOT for telling Christina to 'jump in the fire.'  Kim's lying, the abuse of Christina - that's all fine.  But, if you mention thw Wizard of Oz when discussing Leif, you're in hot water.  I find it weird what people choose to get indignant about.  We live in strange times.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Turning Lemonade Into Lemons

It seems to me that the President is turning his biggest campaign asset (the killing of Osama Bin Laden) into a liability.  A subtle reminder to the voters once in a while is fine, but they will tolerate only a certain amount of self-congratulations.  The public knows most presidents would have given the order.  Twisting Romney's words and claiming he wouldn't have is a hard sell.

The word is that the military doesn't like what the President is doing, and some retired Seals might start publicly complaining if Obama doesn't stop it. Who is going to win that argument with the voters? I'd put my money on the Seals. But, don't worry Democrats, when the Seals start complaining, you can be there to tell them to shut up, the GOP did the same thing after 9/11. That should work.   

Monday, April 30, 2012

Survivor: One World, Ep. 11 - Mission: Impossible?

Some neuroscientists have begun to postulate that people don't use reason when making a decision.  Instead, they use reason & logic after the fact to justify a decision that has already been made. I don't know how true this is, but you saw hints of this phenomenon from Kat.
Kat was hurt that Kim didn't take her on the reward.  Kat wants to hurt Kim in return.  She faces two immediate logical obstacles in justifying/rationalizing her anger:
1.  Chelsea might have been more deserving to go on the reward than Kat was.
2.  Most of the tribe didn't go on the reward.  Kat wasn't singled out.  Sabrina is a core alliance member, and she didn't get picked either.
Kat used sophistry to dismiss point 1 ("we're all hungry").  Kim didn't say Kat wasn't hungry, she said Chelsea had eaten less than Kat.  Kat is willfully ignoring that there might be a distinction between Chelsea and herself and creating a false equivalency.  Yes, they are both hungry, but that's not the issue - the issue is who is more deserving to go based on past rewards.
As for point 2, Kat can't openly complain too much about being denied a reward that was also denied others.  This is where her wheels really started turning -  I'm not really upset about the reward ... I don't want to be seen as a weak player...  I didn't come out here to be a follower.... A move against Kim would show I'm a bold player ...
Kat wants to hurt Kim.  It's all because of her petty anger and jealousy of being denied the reward.  She can't say it.  She can't even think it.  So, she's rationalizing another reason why she might vote against Kim - and Troy is giving her all the justifications she needs to do so. Kim has to get rid of Kat next - Kat is too dangerous in her state.
The reason this is dangerous for all the girls, not just Kim, is that Troy now thinks Kat is his project.  If Kat moves against Kim and is successful - Troy will think it was his doing.  If Kat makes the finals - Troy will DEFINITELY vote for Kat (after all, in Troy's mind, she'll be there because she listened to Troy's wisdom).  This argument might also gain traction with the rest of the men on the jury (i.e., Kim was the mastermind who took the men out, but Kat saw the light and took out Kim - let's vote for Kat). 

So, the rest of the girls have to take both Kim and Kat out before the final three - either one is shaping up to be the favorite to win a jury vote.  However, people are really running out of time to make a move against Kim seeing as she still has the idol.
Other thoughts:
- That reward challenge is the ultimate pickle.  They've run it at least 10 times, and I think it's usually not worth winning.  So, why did Kim win it and then complain about it for the rest of the day?  Has she ever watched the show?  Does she know you are allowed to throw a challenge if you want?
-  Christina was voted least deserving to be there when Tarzan is still around?!?!?!  OUCH!!!!
-  Sabrina was voted as doing the least around camp?  I didn't see that one coming.
-  Troy said the pig was 170 lbs. and they never were going to catch it.  He was wrong on both counts.  The swine was half that weight and Michael Skupin killed a pig of similar size on Survivor: Australia.  Troy made the comment that the girls were crazy to think we could catch it AFTER Troy had made a considerable effort, and failed to do so.  How convenient for Troy to fail at a task, and then declare it impossible.  The impossible mission for Troy was saving himself after he lost immunity.  Catching a pig has been done:


P.S. Yes, that is Elisabeth Hasselbeck from The View showing off her abs in the clip.

Survivor: One World, Ep. 10: Pyrrhic Victory

Chelsea told Troy to 'take it like a man the way Jonas did.'  Here's my question for Chesea - which doesn't belong and why?
A.  Jonas
B.  Troy
C.  Jay
Answer:  A - because, unlike the other two, Jonas never had an alliance with Chelsea.  
Later, Chelsea accused Troy of putting the cross-hairs on his own back.  I think Chelsea is trying to rationalize her guilt.
When voting for Leif - she accused him of being wishy-washy.  I'm no fan of Leif, but is Chelsea the best person to be making this accusation?
Finally, she said of Christina's decision to bail on the bidding for the immunity clue: "When she backed out, I think everyone was like - how can you do that?"  Do you guys follow that?  It's OK for Chelsea to spend her money on ice coffee and donuts, but Christina's money is to be used to block Troy. 
Chelsea said a lot of questionable things, but she wasn't alone.  Kat had the nerve to tell Christina to bid her whole $500.  I have to deal with this issue in my fantasy baseball auction all the time.  It amazes me when someone spends their money and then tells me what I should be doing with mine.  In the Survivor auction, all four members of the main alliance (Kat, Kim, Chelsea and Sabrina) had each gotten a luxury item for themselves.  But, Chrisitna was supposed to take one for the team?  Nonsense. 
Speaking of Kat, every week she seems to be learning something new.  First, she found out what an appendicitis is, and now she knows there is bacon in a BLT.  They grow up so fast!
I found the following exchange between Kim and Chelsea interesting:
Kim: "Thoughts, Kimosabe?"
Chelsea: "Huh?"
Kim:  "Thoughts?"
Should I be surprised that (a) Chelsea didn't know what Kimosabe means?; or, (b) that Kim did know what it means?  I'm leaning towards b.
Not too long ago, Alicia (as Colton's sidekick) was mocking & humiliating Christina.  Now, she's defending her.  Times change.
Stage 2 of the immunity challenge involved mostly upper body strength.  That is why the only two men over five feet tall advanced to round three - where Troy then defeated the 62-year-old, Tarzan.  Yet, Troy acted like he had defeated Boston Rob and Ozzy.  Tone it down, dude.  I know you went to the "this is who I am" defense.  But, I've always seen that as an excuse for bad behavior.  Show some class.  Even Tarzan thought you went to far, and he knows nothing about etiquette.
Showboating aside, congrats to Troy on shutting Sabrina up at tribal council ('you're Mrs. Truth - did you lie to Jay').  All she could say after that was 'stop yelling' (a sign she didn't have a better comeback).  I think Troy should be focusing more on the fact that they broke the alliance and less on the fact that they are all targeting him.  It's a better argument when he gets into these tiffs.
However, when it's all said and done, Troy's immunity win was a pyrrhic victory.  There are too many immunities left, and he can't win every one.  He needs people to flip, and no one is going to align with Troy when he's winning immunities and acting like an ass.  Alicia and Christina might eventually betray Kim, but they're not going to do it with Troy.  Even if Troy wins the next two immunities and the girls have to start cannibalizing themselves - there's a chance they might vote with Troy once, but as soon as he loses immunity, he's gone.  In some ways Troy brought this on himself by targeting Matt and Mike prematurely.  If you eliminate the physical players early, don't be surpeised if you seem like a threat in the middle rounds.  
Can Troy win another FIVE immunites in a row and get to the finals?  I'd say the odds are 50-1.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Survivor: One World, Ep. 9: Belshazzar Redux

Why couldn't Jay see the writing on the wall, when Troy could?  Why did Jay tell Kim of Troy's plan to play the idol - becoming an instrument in his own demise?  More puzzingly, why did he make these errors when he had been so suspicious of the women in the previous episode, an episode where a member of his own alliance got picked off (Mike)?
I think the answer is mental fatigue.
Jay has been on defense for most of the game.  His ally (Matt) was the first to go in his tribe.  Next went Bill - at an improbable tribal council Jay felt pressured to attend.  He had good reasons to be suspicious of the girls in the post-merge tribe.  But, last week, he won immunity, and he finally had a chance to relax.  And, I get the feeling, he didn't want to go back to the pre-immunity chaos and paranoia.  He made a decision, for his own internal well-being, to believe the girls.  I can undertand it.  But, in some ways, he sort of gave up.
The second factor in Jay's demise was his fear of Troy.  There was something surreal about watching Jay worry about going against Troy in the final tribal while his alliance was conspiring against him.  You get the feeling that Jay is wired to see only men as threats.  You get the feeling he really never was with Troy.
That might not be all Jay's fault, because it appears Troy has no allies.  He'll fight like a tiger to stay alive, but if Troy couldn't pick up votes when he had the immunity idol, who is he going to convince without it?  Troy can't afford to lose another immunity challenge.  Tom (in Palau) and Terry (in Panama) went on massive immunity runs, but they still lost once in a while.  So, I don't see how Troy can do it.  Regardless, I'm happy he played the idol.  I would have hated to see him go home with it still in his pocket - and, Jay really did deserve to go before him.
Leif has nothing going on.  He voted with Jay, who was in the process of driving himself off a cliff.  Leif thought it looked fun, and decided to ride shotgun.  Furthermore, Leif stepped down from the immunity challenge because Chelsea said it would make him look better (Leif: "Is that true?").  Leif - Chelsea is in the dominant alliance, why isn't she stepping down?  Why isn't she worried about looking strong?  Even Tarzan is making better decisions than Leif.
I don't begrudge Chelsea for waffling on the issue of voting out Jay.  It's one thing to vote someone out, it's another to lie to a loyal ally's face.  I'd have a hard time doing it.  It's good to see someone out there has a conscience.  However, she should have kept her misgivings quiet and sorted it out privately.  I think she hurt herself with the others.  They might see her as trying to kiss-up to the jury.  She can truthfully tell Jay at the final tribal that she spoke up for him.  Which means - it's now harder for Chelsea to make the final tribal.  [Of course, the jury doesn't always buy this line of argument].
Christina is a phoenix.  That appendicitis couldn't have come at a better time.  What a turnaround!  She's alive and well (and not on any radars).
It took some guts for Kim not to play her idol.  If only a couple of people switched their votes, she would have been in big trouble.  She must have a real feel for what's going on.
I know Probst deserves a day off once in awhile but Survivor only films 78 days a year.  Does Jeff really have to miss a reward challenge?  That challenge was (a) terrible, and (b) worse without Probst there.  I'd rather watch my neighbors pitch horseshoes.  Frankly, the first half of the episode was terrible.  All the action was in the second half.
At the beginning of the episode Troy said he'll play the idol if he sees something fishy from Kim and Chelsea.  How about when they voted off Mike - is that fishy enough for you?  I'm glad you caught on by the end.
The big question right now is whether Kim is so clearly in control that the other women turn against her.  Unless they haven't shown it, only one of them knows she has the idol (Chelsea), so a move against Kim could backfire.
I am so sick of listening to Tarzan.