TARCon 6.


Last night was TARCon, the traditional end of season party for The Amazing Race here in NYC. It certainly wasn’t as exciting as in years past, but I don’t think it was the organizers’ fault (they do a kickass job organizing this thing). I think the fans of the show were so disappointed in it this year, what with the spousal abuse and the whining and the idiot who wore horns in his hair, and the ridiculous amount of bunching in each episode that only served to negate any work that any team did except in the final 10 minutes of the leg, that we basically showed up to catch up with each other, rather than be excited for the show. It was certainly a much smaller gathering than it had been in years past. Anyway, I think Sars sums it up nicely in a recaplet that’s going to disappear in a few days:

…but the unfortunate broad stroke is that Freddy and Kendra won. Which kind of fits, because this season was just…like that, really, wasn’t it? It was a race, all right, but I’m withholding the "amazing" until next season. Bad Race! No biscuit!

Everyone, and I do mean everyone, was rooting for Kris and Jon until they got waylaid by that railroad crossing at the very end and we all knew that there was no way they could catch up.

As for me, I was just glad to catch up with a few friends that I haven’t seen in a while, and I’m strangely looking forward to TAR7, which features Rob and Amber from Survivor. For some reason I’m not nearly as offended by this particular stuntcasting as I should be.

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Project Runway.


I’m on my way to a party, but I pause to ask this question – How on earth did I not know about this show before?! Saw my first episode today, and it was awesome. You can’t get more ridiculous bitchiness than a bunch of aspiring reality TV famewhore wannabe fashion designers and models. The most surprising part though? The remaining six (or five, now) actually have some talent.

And given how Trump’s raging egomania has pretty much destroyed what was so great about the first season of the Apprentice I need a new vulture culture show to become addicted to.

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I guess the NY Times is still training those new fact checkers…


I know it’s just a puff piece about Celebrity Big Brother, but if the Times can’t get this easily checkable piece of information correct, it’s no wonder Judith Miller still thinks there are WMDs…

Ms. Greer, still best known for her 1970’s feminist manifesto, "The Feminine Mystique," compared the show, in which celebrities are confined together as viewers decide who goes and who stays, to "a fascist prison camp" where bullying was encouraged and sensory deprivation used as a weapon of torture.

It’s like the author just guessed, "hmm, Germaine Greer wrote some feminist tract back in the 1970s, and since the only one I’ve ever heard of is the Feminine Mystique, that must be it…and I’m too damn lazy to take all of 5 seconds do a google search or to look something up on Amazon or BN"

Yeah. Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique. Greer wrote The Female Eunuch.

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Jon Stewart definitely wins this round…


Jonathan Klein, the new Chief Executive at CNN, has not only opted not to renew Tucker Carlson’s contract, but is considering ending Crossfire completely. The Carlson contract could just be seen as a negotiations breakdown, particularly since he appears to be in talks with another network, but as for Crossfire itself, here are a few choice quotes from Klein himself:

I guess I come down more firmly in the Jon Stewart camp, Klein told The Associated Press.

Wow. I can’t wait to see Stewart’s take on this on TDS tomorrow night. Will it be more feigned surprise at the idea that people take TDS seriously, or perhaps a lamentation that Crossfire is ending, because even though he clearly despised the show, it gave him plenty of material?

Klein said all of the cable networks, including CNN, have overdosed on programming devoted to arguing over issues. Klein said he wants more substantive programming that is still compelling.

Feel free to put your best guess in the comments as to how quickly this guy will be forcibly removed from CNN headquarters.

I doubt that when the president sits down with his advisers they scream at him to bring him up to date on all of the issues, he said. I don’t know why we don’t treat the audience with the same respect.

It’s a good point, but I can’t be the only one who read that and immediately flashed to Condi Rice wearing a lot of black leather and threatening Bush with a bullwhip, can I?

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I know it may seem petty….


…given the recent news out of Asia, but I was incredibly saddened today to learn that Jerry Orbach had died. To most people, he was the ultimate New York cop, Lennie Briscoe, on Law and Order, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that he first made his name as one of the most prolific song and dance men on broadway, including originating the role of Billy Flynn in Chicago. Last month I actually tivo’d (and am only halfway through) the PBS documentary about Broadway, and Orbach is all over the thing – it was really amazing to see how young (and suave) he looked in the clips…

Between Orbach and Susan Sontag, we’ve lost two quintessential New Yorkers in the past few days, both to cancer. I’m wondering who the third is going to be, because these things do always come in three’s, don’t they?

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Watch It!


It’s the best show on TV, hands down. and now, the New York Times kind of agrees. Premiering tonight, the new season of The Amazing Race finally gets the sweeps treatment it’s deserved for years.

Here are Chip and Kim, last season’s winners at TARCon.

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I wonder if they all sit in a room and figure out new stupid questions to ask.


For more on the absolute inanity that is the NBC Olympic coverage, this Slate article has a great analysis of the infantilization of gymnasts (in this case including several in their mid-20s). Because when you spend 15-20 years punishing your body into becoming an Olympic powerhouse, what you want to do is answer stupid questions about who takes the longest to wake up in the morning. A snippet:

Then NBC Sports reporter Andrea Joyce turned to Bhardwaj and Hatch, the two twentysomethings:

JOYCE: You guys, the two of you, are about 10 years older, almost, than the rest of your teammates. Who’s going to be the mother hen? Are you?who’s going to be the mom of the group?

BHARDWAJ: I don’t think there needs to be a mom.

HATCH: No, no.

JOYCE: There’s not going to need to be a mom?

KUPETS: Yeah, we’re just teammates.

JOYCE: All right, now we’re getting?just the what?

KUPETS: Just teammates.

JOYCE: All right. But now we’re getting to the really important stuff, because you guys are going to be spending a lot of time together. ? Who’s the one who has to be shaken a couple more times to wake them up?

KUPETS: I don’t know.

HATCH: I think everybody’s really disciplined and …

In the end, Joyce was forced to ask in despair: "Who’s the clown? No clowns? Oh, this is all going to have to come out eventually. ?"

My favorite part is the absolute befuddlement about the fact that a pair of 25-year olds don’t actually need to mother a group of 17-year olds who actually have real mothers who are probably in Athens! I could almost understand these questions if they came from Couric, since she’s just generally a moron, but this was the "sports reporter"!

At least the gymnasts understand the definition of professionalism.

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The Idiot Box.


So I’m watching NBC’s coverage of the Olympics opening ceremonies, and I’m already embarassed by the words coming out of Katie Couric’s mouth. The idea that someone either so stupid or so willing to underestimate the intelligence of the viewing public is considered one of the "most beloved" television personalities just bugs me to no end.

My favorite statement so far (and I’m paraphrasing) comes from when their introducing the Swiss team – that it’s a surprise to learn that Switzerland, a land-locked country, has a beach volleyball team.

Dude, I’ve been to the beach in Geneva. More than once. Just because they’re in the middle of Europe doesn’t mean that they don’t sit on one of the largest bodies of water in western Europe. They don’t call it the "Alpine Lake Region" because it just sounds pretty. Heck, I’ve even been sunbathing on the French side of the big lake, in Evian (you know, the town the water comes from?)

And Bob Costas isn’t much better – Did you know that the Central African Republic was located in…central Africa?!


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Not so Amazing.


It’s still the best show on TV, but last night, Bob & Joyce, my favorite duo from The Amazing Race, got eliminated. I actually cried. I know – I’ll go shoot myself now.

The biggest problem is that now I don’t know who to root for – I’ve pretty much got my hate on for most of the other teams. Maybe I should root for the team I hate the most, because it appears to be the kiss of death?

And because it can’t be said enough, Shut up Mirna. I know it sounds like it should be impossible, but you make lawyers everywhere look bad.

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The old lion still has some fight left.


Like the networks, I’m only sporadically paying attention to the Convention tonight, but I did just tune in to see Teddy Kennedy – He’s doing pretty well, but it just doesn’t have the energy of Clinton’s speech last night.

He’s getting warmed up now – good line: "They believe they can’t win unless the rest of us lose…We reject that shameful view".

Of course, my favorite part was the fact that he was introduced by Robert Caro, author of the best book I have ever read. I even saw him speak last year, and he signed my copy. Yes, it’s a book about municipal government, and yes, I’m just a really big dork (but so were the 300 other people packed into the Union Square Barnes & Noble, including Conan O’Brien, who was sitting directly behind me).

Back to Teddy…quoting a prayer by John Adams that hangs in the White House:

"’I pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it.’ May none but the honest and wise ever rule under this roof." In November we will make those words ring true again!"

He’s on a roll now, listing out all of the things this administration makes us fear…including "fear of four more years of dreams denied and promises unfilled and progress rolled back!"

It seems like he’s hitting the crescendo now – this is getting good, so I’m just going to quote:

"The roots of that America are planted deep in New England soil… Across this region, are burial grounds. Many, so humble, you find them without intending to. You’re in a town like Concord, Massachusetts, or Hancock, New Hampshire. You’re visiting the old church there. and behind the chapel you find a small plot. Simple stones bearing simple markers. The markers say ‘War of 1776’. They do not ask for attention, but they command it, all the same. These are the patriots who won our freedom. These are the first Americans who enlisted in a fight for something larger than themselves. For a shared faith in the future. For a nation that was alive in their hearts, but not yet part of their world. They and their fellow patriots won their battle. But the larger battle for freedom and justice and equality and opportunity is our battle too. And it’s never fully won. Each new generation has to take up the cause. Sometimes with weapons in hand. Sometimes armed only with faith and hope, like the marches in Birmingham and Selma, four decades ago. Sometimes the fight is waged in Congress or the Courts. Sometimes on foreign shores like the battle that called one of my brothers to war in the Pacific and another to die in Europe. Now it is our turn to take up the cause. Our struggle is not with some monarch named George who inherited the crown, although it often seems that way [Heh], Our struggle is with the politics of fear and favoritism in our own time, in our own country. Our struggle, like so many others before, is with those who put their own narrow interest ahead of the public interest. We hear echoes of past battles in the quiet whisper of the sweetheart deal, in the hushed promise of a better break for the better connected. We hear them in the cries of the false patriots who bully dissenters into silence and submission. These are familiar fights. We fought and we won them before, and with John Kerry and John Edwards leading us, we will win them again and again and again and make America stronger at home and respected once more in the world.

For centuries kings ruled by what they claimed was divine right. They could not be questioned. They could not be challenged. The people’s fate was not there own. But today because of the surpassing wisdom of our founders, the constant courage of the patriots of the past and the shared sacrifice of generations of Americans who kept the faith, the power of America still rests securely in citizens’ hands. In OUR hands. True to our highest and noblest ideals, we intend to use that power. We will use it wisely and well. We will use it, in the poets’ words ‘My brothers love, to strive to seek to find, and not to yield.’ We will use it to heal, to build, to hope, and to dream again, and in doing so we will truly make our country, once more, America the Beautiful!"

Say what you will about the man, but he can still turn a phrase better than most.

I’m skipping Gephardt, but I might be back for Obama.

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