I remember watching it initially many years ago on some obscure cable channel; it was not clear then but is now that the idea is SO good it has become a mainstay of ABC's schedule.
This year's first episode was set in Taiwan and, unsurpringly, the obviously very smart Asian-American girl (and also 'controlling', according to her Caucasian boyfriend) won the episode, even getting to comment 'I feel so Asian' during a dragon boat phase.
We have the usual assembly, the hotbabe blonde twins, the blacks, the gays, the father-son, the Vegas showgirls, and the old high school teachers.
Emotional highlights for me from the first episode:
a) The Vegas showgirls losing a passport; I was terrified they would be eliminated right away;
b) the high school teachers ather overinterpreting their clue; I won;t mind if they get eliminated next week (nobody was eliminated in the first episode - I think that is a good idea).
c) the dumb blonde twin incapable for ages of hearing and repeating two simple sentences.
It should be a great ride this year; my money is on Cindy (the Asian-American).
After an intense morning of watching the oft-interrupted-by-Irish-weather Solheim Cup, which had wonderfull dramatic finish, the FedEx Championship followed.
Now the team format is very intense and gives you three days to get to know 24 golfers (which is manageable) and second-guess the coaches. I am pleased to know that we have another team event in just two months so I can start getting excited about that.
Highlights for me were the Laura Davies - Juli Inkster pairing in singles, which was so charming in their mutual support even in competition, and the Golf Channel interview with Sophie Gufstafson. The play of Catriona Matthew was also amazing after her first hole.
Typically, ordinary tournaments are less exciting but the FedEx championship final is a big event in terms of money, and the complexity of the scoring. In the end it went to an incredible playoff, which featured perhaps the best golf shot I have ever seen out of water, by Bill Haas, which led to his winning the tournament, to the utter delight of his father Jay, one of my favorite golfers from my youth.
Thanks to Scottish ingrenuity for inventing such a simple and at the same time complex sport. It's almost as compelling as curling! (And congrats to @TeamEdin and @TeamJJones at the Oslo Cup.)
Because of the satellite's orbit, any surviving components of UARS should have landed within a zone between 57 degrees north latitude and 57 degrees south latitude. It is impossible to pinpoint just where in that zone the debris landed, but NASA estimates the debris footprint to be about 500 miles long.
Hmmm. Very interesting - I tuned in to NASA's webcast audio interview about UARS, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite that was announced to have crashed in the early hours of the morning. And it was fascinating. I came away with this, not all of which is necessarily right.
a) The NASA press release talks (www.nasa.gov/uars) about re-entry to the atmosphere, which is clearly not a binary event. The spokesman in the call added the term 'nominal'. Later I heard a mention of 80 miles or 80 kms above sea level as the nominal event.
b) The spokesman went out of his way to observe that we can track ICBMs much better than we can track falling satellites. Well, that's a relief!
c) He said this was a once in thirty years event. OTOH space debris of notable size comes down once a week!
d) He said that any idea they had of where debris might be would be built on their simulation models of these events (and clearly they have a TON of data on which to base the models!).
e) I concluded they have hardly the foggiest of what happened.
I do not think this has always been our image of NASA.
However, the sound quality on the webcast (NO video) seemed to me about equal to the sound quality of the Appollo 1 landing in 1969; I am pretty sure I could not have distinguished so clearly as that night Neil Armstrong forgetting to say 'a'. This gave me little confidence.
Because too many of us have become desensitized to the vile attacks thrown at the Palin family on an almost daily basis, you have to sometimes imagine these things happening to someone else in order to fully to comprehend just how awful and ugly they are. Imagine it wasn’t 21 year-old Bristol Palin in that bar being heckled by a Hollywood bully, but instead it was one of Barack Obama’s beautiful young daughters being raged against by a tea partier.
“Your mother’s a whore!” “She’s evil!” “Your mother’s the fucking Devil!”
It's a revolting performance and no amount of Obamapontificating endlessly about being civil can hide the fact that the lefties seem to be the ones who feel the most freedom to behave in public like pigs.
Of course this is part of a deeper problem in our entertainment industry:
If you want to know why the Hollywood blacklist against conservatives is real and why Hollywood conservatives stay in the closet, look no further than The Stephen Hanks Management Company.
Hanks’ outrageously unacceptable behavior will not only be tolerated in Hollywood, many will celebrate it. And not based on principle. Again, this kind of attack waged on one of Barack Obama’s daughters would bring a withering amount of condemnation.
It’s partisanship, pure and simple.
This guy actually tweeted that Levi Johnston was his hero.
The most hilarious tweet Nolte presents is one pointed at him: "How's your boyfriend Andrew?"
Let me get this: a homosexual suggesting that Nolte is a homosexual in order to discredit him?
I find it unimaginable that Obama could give either Harper's speech, and even more stunningly, Cameron's, without a few historical howlers or really bad idiocies. But this is the work of staff, and it is clearer and clearer how bad Obama is at running an organization, and selecting staff.
This is not just a competent speech, it is so flattering to its audience, but without saying anything stupid, that it bespeaks Cameron's staff's ability to edit. No 12th Century Inquisition here!
And I find his occasional consultation of his notes rather less distracting than the almost neurotic-looking twitching from side to side of the The Great Windbag as he switches between teleprompter screens.
I suspect he is too hopeful about Libya and the various -stans, but I would not call this speech delusional, as Obama's Cairo speech was.
He sure relies on the Reinhart-Rogoff stories and the Niall Ferguson diagnosis.
The NDP must have HATED this speech, but they could hardly be pissed off because of the Layton flattery at the start.
Watching Toronto's Executive Council ilstening to the bleaters whining for their dough can be amusing.
It is the most amusing when they vote with their feet. My recent sampling suggests that at most half of the bleaters wait around to get their two minutes in hte sun. (Of course nobody is listening to them anyway.)
So even rent-seekers realize their efforts are better applied elsewhere than in front of Executive Council. There is surely somewhere better to bleat if Executive Council wants to make me wait a longtime!
The latest speaker at Executive Council, holding a baby to her breast, suggests the city will be 'decimated' by balancing its budget. Well,, I'm a thinking that if the decimation were enabled by having the 10% of the population who are among these rent-seekers go find some other place to live, then that would be a welcome development!
Mayor Ford - please decimate!
Ohhh the poor babies - balancing the budget would be so harsh.
I might add this witness is entirely happy to pay more property taxes. Nothing, I think, stands in her way. The hypocrisy here is that, like Warren Buffett, she is not talking about HER taxes; she is pleading to raise mine, for some goal I do not remotely understand.
The Executive Committee is having a final meeting on the Core Service Review of the City of Toronto.
After a pretty good start Rob Ford as mayor has had the grievous problem of attacking Miller's ludicrous budget, and he is trying to do it with a lot of due process, including all the rent-seekers sucking at the municipal budget teat coming before various forums and whining about possibly being told they might have to find another teat to suck on.
It is a bit entertaining to discover what a ludicrous set of services the city has allowed to grow in its budget.
The problem, of course, is the political one. Rent-seekers can organize a lot of effort to keep their rents. Those of us paying the rents just don't the battle all that worthwhile.
City Council is VERY divided and this is part of what makes it so hard for Ford.
We will see what happens.
DISCLOSURE OF NO SURPRISE: Jack Layton's son is particularly annoying to me.
COMMENT: Ford really runs a good meeting and he is utterly professional with a bunch of emotional assholes all fighting to keep their unjustified funding.
UPDATE: Tiffany Joh - "If I was a speed-bump on the way to history, the that is how it will be" and "She was taking lines on the course that nobody else can take."
UPDATE (Sept. 19) CNN gives her some time. "Trophy was right next to my bed last night." Her Dad was her caddy. She says they had many arguments. She started playing at teh age of five. She seems sweet.
Just as a follow-on, I noted in the course of my Terry Fox amble this morning, TWO SWANS! What is going on?
I hope the answer is not a simple 'migratory stopover'. It was a bit heartbreaking this summer not to track the upbringing of cygnets (though it has also been heartbreaking to watch their numbers dropping in past years). I prefer the latter heartbreak.
Today I participated for only the second time (I think) in The Terry Fox Run, an international(!) fund-raiser based on Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope. This was my first time being involved in Toronto run/walk, and it was a lovely experience. There are many in Toronto; mine was at The Beach. This was perfect as it more or less matched my normal morning walk.
On registration I even agreed to be tattoed (well, having a decal temporarily pasted on me).
As I was registering I came to learn that this was one of the few running events I know that allows multiple species. My competitor here is Pepe. I did not see any cats signed up nor any turtles or rabbits.
And at the starting line I noted several other wonderful canine participants.
It would be pointless posting pictures of all the dogs involved of all sizes and shapes. Just a passing question - how do all these dogs of very various sizes and shapes and looks, with far more variance than humans show, so immediately recognize another dog, even at a great distance?
Now the real fun - we were all warmed up before the 'run' (for me, an amble) by the Malvern Collegiate cheer-leading squad (which I had no idea even existed). They were wonderfully into the spirit of the day (see later).
And you can see from the contrast what a sunny morning it was. The organizer said this was his seventh repetition as organizer and it has always been sunny. Terry Fox is blessing us.
Now back to the cheerleaders, who did such a lovely job greeting this couple at the finish; I heard them say they were 85. Just delightful.
We're having a provincial election campaign right now and I was really impressed at how many of the participants were in 'Team Helen Burstyn' T-shirts; she's the Liberal candidate in my riding, and I had already been very impressed with her team's work; they chatted with me Thursday, I said I was not likely a supporter, but they effiiciently fulfilled my request for a schedule of all-candidate debates. Parliamentary elections present you with an interesting problem of local candidate versus overall outcome; the efficiency of a candidate's team might well be a signal of his/her usefulness as you member of provincial parliament. The woman in the picture below was VERY willing to argue strongly that I should vote for Helen Burstyn. And I am thinking about it.
They ask Yani Tseng whether she'd like to be on a Solheim Cup team. And it turns out she really would!
But that competition is USA vs. Europe, and thus substantially irrelevant to most golf fans, since Asians are pretty much dominant in women's golf now. Yani is currently the #1 ranked woman golfer in the world.
We need a new team cup competition. There is a men's one with the US vs. rest of the world. But on the women's side to make it fair it would need to be Asia vs. the rest of the world.
I had really forgotten how great they were, and I, a non-Australian, but from a similar country in some ways, find it really moving. Some things from the sixties were OK. And Judith's voice is unmistakable and beautiful.
Lately it has been shockingly quiet at Ashbridge's Bay in the morning. Once the redwings and cardinals leave, the bird chatter decreases a lot.
This morning was funny. There was a fair bit of bird noise, more than just the background hooting of the geese as they flock.
For some reason the kingfishers I have seen are still there but they were incredibly active this morning. Almost at any point of my walk I saw one active over the water. This was pretty unusual. I am not sure whether it was just one kingfisher or several, but whatever number, I was hearing a LOT of kingfisher chatter.
At another point in the walk, a bird I hear all summer, in small numbers, was clearly represented by a lot of the same birds. I never saw one of them but I sure heard them calling back and forth. Flocking? Will they be there tomorrow? I'll see.
Today I also saw and heard the croak of a Black-Crowned Night Heron that I inadvertently flushed out of the waterside. But just one.
I do know what WILL be there tomorrow. I have not since my childhood, when I was out in the empty wild fields near where I grew up, seen so much goldenrod. I have no idea what happened this year; something must have favored this unloved plant. But it is quite beautiful
That shot is a bit misleading. It grows along the edges of all the non-paved paths I walk, and the flowerheads reach out into those paths, so I am pretty sure that as I walk about, I am spreading it. In fact, some sprouted spontaneously amongst the milkweed I do cultivate in the backyard.
But WHY is there SO much of it this year.
Anyway, as my summer birds prepare to leave, I await the oldsquaws. Hey, if you want morning chatter, they are really hard to beat!
UPDATE: I saw two Monarch butterflies as well. I hope they have time to make it to Mexico.
Just switching TV stations, I was delighted to find Michael Buble on my target station at the end of a show singing 'Save the Last Dance For Me'.
I thought I had posted on this before, as I find the source of the song so moving, as documented at least a couple of times on the PowerLine blog, where they refer to this review in the NY Times, of a biography of Doc Pomus, who had suffered polio as a child:
The crowning achievement was the Drifters’ sublime “Save the Last Dance for Me.” In a story straight out of Hollywood, Pomus actually wrote the lyrics on the back of an invitation to his own wedding, remembering how it felt to watch his bride dance with his brother, knowing that he himself was unable to navigate a dance floor. “Under his pen,” Halberstadt writes, “the simple declaration of love he set out to write wavered, giving way to vulnerability and fear.”
Sublime it always has been but even more sublime when that simple story of its creation is known.
I used to love it for the wonderful felicitousness of the match of the music and lyrics in the phrase "But don't forget who's takin' you home and in whose arms you're goin' to be", especially that last half, which almost perfectly mates the rhythm of the music to the English language and how she is spoke.
But now I love it for what it meant to its author, and that makes me tear up.
I'm guessing this version, not video, is the original recording:
Don't bother with the Michael Buble rendition of the song; he seems to me to be deaf to what is wonderful about it.
There is a good comment on youtube about it: "dear young black artists of today, please take note--you can make music without calling your women bitches and hoes". And white singers do not need to sing about just wanting to fuck women.
If the latter is the original, it was apparently produced by the brilliant Lieber and Stoller. Lieber died recently and I had thought about posting on that. Perhaps the last generation of pop songs that make me much care.
Samantha Stosur has won the US Open over Serena Williams, proving the great potential she showed as a finalist at the French Open.
She showed up in the Rogers tent at the Rogers Cup in August and was so modest and unprepossessing, just a delightful person, just what you would expect of a nice Australian. She clearly defeated Serena Williams, a far less pleasant person, who managed along the way to prove that in many ways.
Congratulations, Sam. I am SO pleased. We could use more of you and fewer Williams sisters.