Saturday, February 18, 2012

Not Gonna Do It

After careful thought and consideration, I have decided not to blog the 20th season of The Amazing Race for the following reasons:

#1 Brendon
#2 Rachel
#3 Brendon and Rachel, the entity
#4 Brendon and Rachel's wretched fans
#5 The cackles. My god, the cackles!

It's no secret that I have been dreading the upcoming season of The Amazing Race since last September and that dread has only grown exponentially over time. I don't even want to watch TAR let alone devote upwards of 40 hours writing about it. I know how I am and I know that I'll hate every minute of covering this latest installment. So, for my own sanity and well being, I'm going to pretend the 20th season of The Amazing Race doesn't exist and perhaps I'll see you back here for season 21.

My deepest apologies if this upsets any of you, but wasting that many hours doing something I'll despise makes no sense to me. Instead, I'll burn cigarettes into my legs or scratch the corneas of my eyes with razor blades. The fun factor of either of those activities greatly exceeds any amount of joy I'll ever manage to squeeze out of The Amazing Race. In the meantime, I can be found over at the Bitchy Survivor Blog where the cast doesn't make me want to hurl myself onto a rusty spike.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I Give A Damn

We've been whisked around the world hither and thither, to and fro, and it all ends here bitches... in Atlanta. Home to housewives, Scarlett O'Hara, zombies , and The Pollards, Atlanta, Georgia is a bustling metropolis where southern traditions hold strong and hip hop records are made every minute. Thankfully, along the way, we've learned many lessons. We've learned about religion - there's only one true God! We've learned about linguistics - those Africans can't speak English! And we've learned about maritime happenings - if you plan on circumnavigating the globe, Laurence can sail you into outer space. Our final three is unlikely and unexpected. Whether bickering, tightly wound, or bumbling over Pit Stops, this trio is a trio we never would have imagined. They're the Larry, Curly, and Moe of The Amazing Race. It's a miracle we made it out of LAX oh so long ago. Let's recap, shall we?

We continue this mad dash across the globe where we last left off: Panama. As Team Grammer (Camille/Sandy & Kelsey/Jeremy) was the first team to arrive, they are now the first team to depart. Fly your way to Atlanta, bitches, so Colette Lala can get her Sunday nights back. Camille crinkles up her nose and declares, "That sucks!" At home I scratched my head and wondered what it is that sucks exactly. Is it that the race is ending? Is it that they've just now gotten into a winning groove and want a chance to collect more prizes? No and no. It turns out that Team Grammer has never been to Atlanta while Team Armani (Marcus & Amani) are actually from there. I agree Camille... that sucks! Those Armani's will know all the byways and highways, the ins and outs, where to get the best barbecue, and which supermarkets double coupons. No fair!

Team Bert & Ernie (Cindy & Ernie) depart second and Bert is similarly horrified. She didn't force Ernie into biweekly Portuguese sword swallowing French cooking class only to end up with those Armani's having an unfair advantage sitting in their laps! With tiny little fists clenched, Bert grabs Ernie by his fauxhawk and chucks him into the back of a cab. To the airport and step on it!

Last to depart and clutching a football is Team Armani. They read the sparkling word "Atlanta" and know that this race was meant for them. They deserve to be here. They've worked so hard for this. If by "deserve", you mean "lucked into a nonelimination leg" and by "worked so hard", you mean "talked about football incessantly", then, yes, this race was meant for you. Marcus grins broadly as we learn that everything up until now were just scrimmages. Flag football in the park on a Saturday if you will. This here is the Superbowl of legs. It's the 3rd down in the 4th quarter on the 10 yard line and this party is almost out of 7 layer bean dip. I don't know what that means, but I think Marcus wants to win. Good luck.

Our three finalists tumble into Atlanta and it's mayhem trying to get a cab to Flight Safety International. Bert is having as much luck getting a driver as Danny Glover in Manhattan while Kelsey refuses to hop into a cab unless it's tank is full. Meanwhile, the Armani's spot one of their cousins and speed off into the distance. Once at Flight Safety International, teams must learn the intricacies of a flight simulator and land the aircraft without killing all 186 passengers. Camille gingerly tiptoes into the flight simulator capsule and erupts into a fit of dry heaves. Unless she's spinning around a stripper pole on a Wednesday in her pole dancing class, Camille hates anything that moves. On the other hand, Maverick, I mean Kelsey, is stoked to fly. He's saluting the instructors, requesting fly-by's, and following Viper below the hard deck. The guy's a pro and he lands his aircraft on his first try.

Unfortunately, the other teams aren't having the same kind of luck. Bert refuses to give the plane any gas and they drop right out of the sky while Marcus gets himself into a flat spin and heads out to sea. He killed Goose! Meanwhile, the Grammer's have graduated Top Gun and are now headed to the next clue: find the former residence known as "The Dump". Teams must now figure out that "The Dump" refers to Margaret Mitchell's former home where she wrote Gone With The Wind. With the grand sweeping score from the iconic film playing in my head, I tore down my curtains and made a fetching velvet jumpsuit specifically for this challenge. I may not know nothing about birthing no babies, but I do know how to make a hat out of gold tassels.

Team Grammer hops into their cab trying to figure out what the hell "The Dump" is while back at flight school Marcus has just landed his plane on a shopping mall. Hundreds dead. Do over. Bert & Ernie take off again and this time, they stick the landing. Bert hollers, "That was so whack!" and then upon seeing that the Grammer's have already left, she beats up the pavement and her cab driver. Back at the flight simulator, passengers are leaping out of an open door figuring it's better to die in a free fall than crashing head first into an elementary school. Weirdly, while her husband kept crashing plane after plane after plane, Armani sat in stony silence with eyes glazed over. It's like with all the football talk, she knows her husband is a bit of a buffoon so she keeps quiet and tolerates it. It must be love because I would have been smacking him upside the head and plotting to pop all his footballs the second we got home. This type of thing must happen to the Pollards all the time. Marcus crashing their SUV into ice cream stands, taking up 3 spaces at the Safeway because he parks horizontally, flying through the window at Taco Bell while picking up a chalupa. Par for the course.

While the race might be over for Armani and her crash test dummy, it couldn't be going better for the Grammer's... or can it? On the streets of Hotlanta, they pull over to ask a local how to get to "The Dump". How could they have known they'd meet Stanley? That's what I've named this ne'er-do-well. Stanley the handy man. So, Stanley is sitting in his Ford Explorer making a list of 2X4's and wrenches and whatnot for that kitchen remodel he has on the books for next week when up approaches Camille. "Do you know where 'The Dump' is?", she asks. Stanley knows exactly where "The Dump" is! It's up the road apiece where the old Home Depot used to be. When Stanley's Fix-It was just a fledgling company building decks and gazebos and fixing the odd banister here and there, he used to live at that Home Depot. They tore it down though - back in '96. Now Stanley has to drive an extra 15 miles for all his nuts and bolts. Anyhoo, after they tore down the "Depot" (that's what insiders like Stanley call it), they put up "The Dump" in it's place. Camille thanks Stanley and calms her nervous hands with a gin martini and a handful of Prilosec. Her stomach acids are having a rave in her tummy right now and homegirl can't find the Rolaids she keeps in her bra.

Conversely, Bert & Ernie did not run into Stanley and that made all the difference. They get the correct directions to the Margaret Mitchell house and sit in the back of their cab musing over how much it would suck to lose to the C students they're racing with. *bites fist* It's a comment that pissed off a lot of people over on Facebook, but I just sort of laughed. I mean, look at who we're talking about here. Bert & Ernie took classes for this! They dumped their savings into Rosetta Stone's and practice trips. On those Thursday nights when Ernie wanted to watch Project Runway and bake red velvet cupcakes, Bert was dragging him around Chicago to trapeze class and that weird horrible smelling cheese making workshop. If I put in a third of the effort those two did, I'd be pissed off at losing too. How could you ever face your friends again if you lost to Team Armani?

Our dark horses in this race who've neither been stellar nor weak, but have remained steady throughout are just now arriving at "The Dump". There may not be a clue box anywhere, but there is a "Free ottoman with every sofa" sale going on. I mean, come on... what are the chances?!? The Dump and The Dump. Stanley, my man, you better run and hide because if the Grammer's don't put out a hit on you, I will. Watching Kelsey and Camille go up and down aisle after aisle mistaking red and yellow curtain samples for clues was just so sad. Stan-ley! Ughhh. After getting an estimate on a bedroom set, it finally dawns on Kelsey that maybe they're in the wrong place. I don't blame them at all for lurking and searching armoires for clues because, again, WHAT ARE THE ODDS?!?

Bert & Ernie pull up to the proper "Dump" and it's a Road Block: Who gives a damn? Working with an old fashioned typewriter, teams have to type out their next clue and figure out that the number "1" is missing. In place of the number "1", they must use a lower case "L". Since Ernie has also made clothes out of velvet curtains (jodphurs and chapeaus), he'll do the challenge. The second he opens up the clue and sees that it entails typing, Bert starts kicking him in the shins. She came out of the womb typing! She can type 8 trillion words a minute while Ernie types with his pointer fingers and stabs the keys one by one. Ernie shrugs his shoulders and enters the Mitchell apartment prepared to tackle the challenge while Bert waits outside and beats her head against the pillars repeatedly.

Ernie takes a piece of paper and searches the room for the Epson. "Uh, is there an instruction manual somewhere?" No Ernie, there is not. With carousel carnival music playing in the background, Ernie pokes at the keys and giggles while back at the flight simulator there's a plane full of passengers aflame. And while Ernie searches the desk drawers for White-Out, Team Grammer is finally leaving "The Dump" and commandeering a Smart Phone. They quickly figure out that The Dump they're in isn't the right Dump. Luckily, their cab driver knows exactly where the Margaret Mitchell house is - too bad he didn't know it was called "The Dump"!

Inside "The Dump", Ernie has now reached the number "1". He searches the keys and finds nothing. He looks under the table and on the windowsill, but there is no number "1" to be found. He starts pushing the letter "I" and hoping for the best. Again, nothin'. Finally, he decides to check the type face key things to see which one looks the most like a "1". He quickly spots the lower case "L" and passes the challenge. Teams must now figure out that the numbers on the clue have something to do with Hank Aaron and will direct them to the outfield wall at Turner Field.

Bert steals her cab driver's phone and I don't know who she's talking to, but she asking someone on the other end what the numbers mean. Did she call a relative? Phone a friend? I wonder... Ernie decides they should go the nearest hotel and ask someone to use their Google. I realize it's a technological world we live in, but let's imagine for one minute what this race would be like without phones or the internet... awesome, right? So much better! Maybe consider that for the next time Bertram Van Muenster Cheese. Just a thought.

So Team Grammer arrives at "The Dump" and Camille gets to typing. She too looks around the room for the missing "1". My favorite part was when she turned to Colonel Sanders, the guy standing there, and says, "There's no number one." We don't get to see Colonel Sanders reaction because we're whisked back to the fiery wreckage at the flight school. Amongst the burning embers, the flames shooting up into the sky, and the thick smoke filling the tiny capsule, Marcus finally lands his plane and blames his kerfluffle on dropping a pass in the end zone. *smacks self in head*

At the hotel, Bert & Ernie have googled their way to an answer and head to Turner Field. Camille figures out the lower case "L" thing, but I think we all kind of know that it's no contest at this point. Stanley screwed Team Grammer and now Bert & Ernie are at the final challenge all alone. One team member must get rigged to a giant map while the other team member shouts instructions to them mapping out their entire trip around the world. Bert knows the order (of course she does!) so she'll do the challenge while Ernie sits down and files his nails. He occasionally shouts, "You got it!" or "Good job!", but this challenge is all Bert. She scales the wall like SpiderMan or a girl who's been taking map climbing classes and in what I can only assume is record time, she passes with flying colors.

It's off to the Pit Stop at the historic Swan House where two rows of familiar faces are standing and clapping. You know in their heads they're all thinking, "That should have been me!", but it was nice to see them faking it I guess. Trick editing aside, this was no close finish. Stanley saw to that. So with no one on their heels and, let's face it, no one else even close to Turner Field, Bert & Ernie make the victory lap into one million dollars. Phruity Phil embraces the winners and asks them what they're going to do with the money. It was a weird moment when Bert delivered a prepared speech about global market conglomerates and the economies of developing countries. Honestly, she probably should have just said, "We're going to Disney World!' Everyone loves Disney World. On Live With Kelly! this morning she said they're going to help fat kids or something like that. Uh, ok, I guess. Seriously though, get a kick ass apartment, have a beautiful wedding, and get some new velvet curtains for Ernie to cut up.

And that's that. That concludes season 19 of The Amazing Race. A big congratulations to the winners and a super special thank you to Cindy Chiang, Ernie Halvorsen, Sandy Draghi, and Jeremy Cline for reading my cockamamie drivel every week. They're all good sports and didn't mind me picking on them for the past few months. Sandy says she'll even let me buy her a martini. Gee, thanks Sandy. ;-) Call me when you want to go Stanley-hunting. I'm so there.

So, what did you guys think? Are you happy with the outcome? Who did you want to win? How much do you hate Stanley right about now? Comment it out bitches and have a great day! If you've enjoyed what I've done this season, I ask that you please click on my PayPal button and show a girl some love. Thank you so much to everyone for reading and I'll see you back here for The Amazing Race 20. Yup, I'll be back. Brendon and Rachel... come on! How can I just ignore that? A bitch's work is never done.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holy Balls!

Nestled between Colombia and Costa Rica, lies the port-ly country of Panama. Connecting two oceans and controlling the largest portion of rain forest in the Western Hemisphere, Panama is home to the second most competitive economy in all of Latin America. And how could it not be? When you control transportation between the oceans, you control the international drug trade. Barges of cocaine head hither and thither. This one's going to Cape Town and this one's going to Sydney. As a matter of fact, just 3 days ago, 278 kilos of cocaine headed to Europe were seized at the Port of Balboa. It's going to be a lackluster Boxing Day this year, my friends. Furthermore, on November 9th 261 kilos were found in another shipping container at Port Balboa. It was headed for Belgium and no arrests have been made, but I've got a hunch. A goofy-smiled headband wearing hunch. "Hola policia de Panama. Yo los hombres que estaban tratando de enviar las drogas. Montan en la nieve. De nada." Let's recap, shall we?

After a night of sleeping in the coziness of atoms (or customizing cars if you're an insufferable Bible quoting freak), our grueling race around the world is finally winding down. We've untied knots, we've made waffles, and we've ridden the teacups. How, oh how, can we turn this bitch up to eleven and go balls to the wall? Oh, I know! Let's all dress up as cartoon characters and have late night ne'er-do-wells shooting up in the alley tell us who we are. Sounds like a plan! As Team Snowbunny (Andy & Tommy) was the first team to arrive, they are now the first to depart. Using costumes in a package, teams must now dress up as comic book characters from Tintin (which I totally mentioned in the second sentence of my last blog by the way), figure out who they are, and reveal the answer to the riddle to a grown man in shorty short shorts. Dressed in their finery, the Snowbunnies approach a gang of Belgian street children and ask, "Who are we?" Lars or Hans or Gerte tells them that they look an awful lot like Charlie Chaplin. You know, the famous comic book hero Charlie Chaplin who could shoot lasers out of his cane and waddle away evil. Whatevs.

While the Snowbunnies trot off to google Charlie Chaplin (instead of Belgian comic books), Team Grammer (Camille/Sandy & Kelsey/Jeremy) depart and they're hot to trot! Hot to reenact one of steamiest scenes from 9 1/2 Weeks where Kim Basinger dresses up like a dude and then bangs Mickey Rourke in a leaky stairwell. Kelsey ties Camille's bow tie for her, readjusts her mustache, hands her a snifter of brandy, and whispers ever so gently into her ear how hot she looks. Camille then giggles while choking on a cigar. It's a miracle these two were able to table sexy time and actually complete the challenge. But, complete the challenge they did. A gaggle of street urchin knew the horny duo were from Tintin and they are now instructed to fly to Panama City via Amsterdam.

Team Bert & Ernie (Cindy & Ernie) and Team Armani (Amani & Marcus) quickly decipher the clue as well and we're left with the brainiac Snowbunnies trying to unravel the mystery. They approach Tintin and say, "We're Charlie Chaplin." Wrong! "We're Buster Keaton." Nein! "We're Johnny Depp in Benny & Joon." Non! Befuddled and perplexed, the dimwits skip back to their internet cafe and decide that perhaps they're not a famous silent era actor and director after all. Maybe, just maybe, they were actually in Tintin. Ya think? With a few click of the keys, they finally come up with the right answer and off we go to Panama.

Whoosh! Splat! Kerplunk! Here we are in Panama. Amidst cries of "rapido, rapido!", "andale, andale!", and "We're in the final conference championship now. It's touchdown time!", the teams speed towards the Chagres River for a late night canoe ride up the mosquito ridden inky black waters. Weaving in and out of fallen branches, hungry alligators, and nocturnal drug runs, the teams finally hear the pan pipes of a (head hunting) indigenous tribe. The Snowbunnies arrive and sign up for the first of three appointments the next day to get tattoos. It's special for them to see all of these new (born again) and interesting (as long as they're not Buddhist) cultures of the world (who are god fearing and accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior). To hear them tell it, you'd think they were of open minds and open hearts. Oh puh-lease. We know better. Remember Thailand? "We know who the one true God is." Well, just wait until you find out that this tribe's one true god is a curved blade made of soft iron to prevent breakage. That gristle gristle you hear in the night sky isn't the gentle hum of maracas. It's your fate being sharpened against a well worn rock. Sweet dreams!

After a night spent in sagging hammocks with malaria buzzing all around, our teams awaken and get in line for their tattoos. I was hoping for a traditional method with a crudely sharpened blade and the ink from the pancreas of a jaguar or something, but it was not to be. Instead the tribe bought a henna kit from Spencer Gifts and sloppily painted the next clue onto the arms of our racers. Teams must now head to the San Francisco Bay Towers where they'll walk a tightrope between two towers 35 stories high. Now we're talking!

The Snowbunnies arrive first and Andy is stoked to tackle the tightrope. Teams not only have to walk across the damn thing, but once they get the clue on the other side, they have to walk all the way back again. With Andy mid-walk, Team Grammer arrives and Camille has to perform this challenge. That challenge-hog Kelsey has been doing all the work up until now and Camille has some catching up to do. The only problem is: Camille is scared of heights! Somersaulting back from his second walk, Andy senses Camille's trepidation and decides that the most Christian to do is to mess with her. Instead of heading back down to the awaiting Tommy, Andy taunts Camille with, "That plane looks awfully low!" and "Don't look down!" Camille stoically tunes him out and focuses on the task at hand. Girlfriend has teetered on 8 inch stilettos on the narrowest of bars while swinging from stripper pole to stripper pole. Not even Andy jostling the tightrope up and down and side to side can deter her. With encouraging words from Kelsey, she even dodges the Bibles hurling past her head like a pro.

Eventually, out of boredom, Andy descends the tower and receives the next clue directing them to the Countess De Lesseps statue. Who knew those stories of the Count's family discovering or inventing or buying the Panama Canal were actually for real?! Money can't buy you class, but it can get you a statue in Panama.

Just as Camille finishes the tightrope challenge, Team Bert & Ernie arrive with Bert preparing to do the challenge. I would have thought that with Ernie's ballet legs and travel tights he'd be a sure thing. Then again, Bert's tiny stump legs means she'd have a shorter distance to fall. Yeah, better let Bert and her low center of gravity tackle this one. With a grimace on her face and a cry of "Holy Balls!", an open-mouthed Bert shakes like a leaf while making the long back and forth trek across the sky. Meanwhile, down below, the Grammer's taxi driver is checking directions to the Countess' statue with the other taxi drivers. The good thing is they're all able to verify the location. The bad thing is that now everyone knows where to go. Initially, I was annoyed Team Grammer didn't stop their cabbie from blabbing. How could I have known that later I'd be sending him a fruit basket?

Team Snowbunny arrive at the Countess and discover a Detour: Filet or Sole. In Filet, teams must travel to the largest fish market in Panama and deliver seafood to various vendors. In Sole, teams must make a pair of sandals while working with a single piece of leather. Since carrying fish is stinky and who knows where the hell the vendors are, all teams (save Team Armani) choose Sole. Is it because the Armani's always choose the wiggedy whack challenges that they've managed to stay in the race? Looking back through their history, they sure make some dumb ass decisions (e.g. cargo ship in Africa). I still maintain they're in this race due to other people's mistakes rather than on their own merits. They don't shine. They don't sparkle. They're the accidental racers. The second chancers. Forrest Gump happening upon Watergate.

Okay so at the Sole place sit a bunch of barefoot men waiting for their custom sandals. Men in sandals... I don't know. I realize it's a tropical nation, but how about some fetching espadrilles instead? No one wants to see man toes. One person not bothered by man toes is Ernie. Furiously cobbling away, Ernie straddles the piece of leather and bends it this way and that. He's used to manipulating footwear to his will. Have you never seen a ballerina preparing her toe shoes? It's a ritual of resin, lambswool, lighters, needles, and thread and it's one our racing Baryshnikov is familiar with. Conversely, we find Camille and Bert sitting in a tangle of laces ripping them out of one another's hands. Get it together ladies!

Speaking of getting it together, Team Armani gets lost on the way to Filet and ends up smack dab in the middle of Sole. Instead of deciding, "Hey, since we're here..." They ignore the Detour they find themselves in the center of and instead race back to their taxi to head to Sole. At the time I thought them idiots. We all thought them idiots. We thought the same of dear Forrest and then he got that scholarship to college and met the President and got a medal. Well, a similar thing happened to Team Armani. They somehow managed to bump into the fish market where the market just happened to be empty that day and the vendors were only about 10 paces away from each other and the fish loads were small and manageable. Another series of lucky accidents. Wasn't it Robert Frost who said, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." Whether accidental or poetic, Team Armani cruises through the fish challenge and is now right behind the Snowbunnies.

Teams must now make their way to Cathedral Square where the clue to the next Pit Stop, Panama Viejo, is written on a dancers skirt as well as symbolized on their necklaces. So with Camille left to cut off the circulation of innocent Panamanian toes and Bert rejecting Ernie's pointe shoes, the Snowbunnies arrive at Cathedral Square where Andy promptly begins looking up the girls dresses. The problem is that in addition to the twirling skirts and necklaces, the dancers are also wearing a number of medallions in the local currency, the Balboa. The Snowbunnies see "Balboa" etched in gold and dash off to tell their driver to head to Balboa. As many things in Panama, including the money, are named Balboa (Balboa Market, Balboa VFW, Balboa Fairgrounds, Balboa Cleaners, Balboa Chinese Take-Out) , the taxi driver takes a wild stab in the dark and decides to head to the cocaine trading ground of Port Balboa.

With the Snowbunnies heading into the center of a DEA investigation, Team Armani arrives at Cathedral Square and wonders where they should change into their dancing clothes. Not finding dressing rooms or ruffled dresses to wear, Marcus takes it upon himself to rub his filthy hanky all over one of the dancers. Horrified, the dancer tries to run, but then remembers she's contractually obligated to stay. With tears streaming down her face she dances the dance she's known since childhood. Chin up, wrists flicked, toes pointed. Dance, little girl, dance! Dance through the pain.

Back at the DSW outlet, Bert and Camille have finally managed to untangle themselves from the yards of laces and are just now passing the challenge. Once in their cabs and headed to the dancing girls, Bert panics as she looks through the rearview mirror and sees Camille smirking and pantomiming a knife across Bert's throat. Bert cries, "We can't let them catch up! We have to be in first!" Settle down Bert. You'll feel much better when you discover that Marcus has completely forgotten there's a race going on and has decided to instead dance with the women as a way of killing time.

Meanwhile, Team Snowbunny pulls into the oddly abandoned Port Balboa and senses that something isn't right. It's eerily quiet and there are an awful lot of masked men with machine guns guarding slabs of parcels. They ask a local where Balboa is. Wouldn't you know it? Balboa is also the name of the infamous Panamanian drug lord...

Back at the dancing girls, Team Bert & Ernie and Team Grammer have arrived. Both are shocked to discover Team Armani are still there whistling into the wind. Camille and Bert take one look at each other and begin to tackle random dancing girls while Ernie asks them where they get their dresses made. Only Kelsey took it upon himself to notice the building emblazoned on the dancers belts. He whips a T-Square out of his back pocket and mocks up a crude drawing of the building to show his cab driver. The Grammers speed off just as the Snowbunnies are about to swallow 200 pellets of tightly packed cocaina. It dawns on them that this probably isn't an official race challenge so back they go to the dancing girls to figure out what they did wrong.

Team Bert & Ernie and Team Armani, not wanting to be left behind, decide that Balboa is probably their best bet. However, once in their cabs, the drivers (clearly on a family plan) begin calling each other wondering where to go. Since Team Grammer's driver has a drawing to go on, he tells the other cabbies to head to the Panama Viejo and not some random Balboa place. Camille screams, "Cállate!" from the backseat while the other cabs pull U-eys and fall into line right behind the Grammers cab. At home, I too was screaming Spanish profanities at the screen and then it dawned on me... the Snowbunnies! Those creepy Snowbunnies are still out there trying to figure out where the Pit Stop is. Yesss, cabbies! Muy bien! Family plans for everyone!

Whether unlikely or super lucky, Team Grammer whips into the Pit Stop in first place and find themselves the winners of a round trip for two to Turks & Caicos. Woohoo! Right behind them we find Bert struggling to smile and be happy for the Grammers. Between clenched teeth she expresses her joy for them when, all of a sudden, a REAL smile spreads across her face. It dawns on her just as it dawned on me. That flash of recognition in her eyes, I recognized it. Bert looks at Camille and together, in silence, they nod to one another before screaming, "Marcus! Amani! We're over here! Hurry, hurry!" And just like that, through the conjoined hatred for those wretched Snowbunnies, Bert and Camille worked together to bring Team Armani into 3rd place which means... *throws glitter in the air* The Snowbunnies have been eliminated from the race!!! Gin fizzies for everyone!

Sometimes, when you work together towards a common goal, happiness is born. Happiness is indeed born today my friends. So, what did you think of last night's episode? Are you happy the Snowbunnies are gone? Who do you want to win The Amazing Race?

If you've enjoyed what I've done this season, please click on my PayPal button and show a girl some love. Thanks bitches.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm A Pancake Man

Where the pillows are plush fluffy waffles and where the rivers run thick with chocolate is where we'll continue this terminal race around the world. Home to Tintin and more official languages than is necessary, Belgium is also an avian wonderland for the pigeon folk. Why live on the streets of New York City eating left over pizza crusts or spend your days getting violently trampled by Japanese tourists in Piazza San Marco when you can make a decent living delivering teeny tiny elfin messages to teeny tiny Belgians living in prefab houses nestled on the side of a hill? Those pigeons have got it good in Belgium - condos with a doorman. People kill for condos with a doorman! I'll bet those little Flemish mules deliver much more than silly messages though. Red-footed strutting drug lords is what those flying rodents really are... coo roo-c'too-coo check my rectum ooh-oor. I've always wondered why Snow White and St. Francis of Assisi were so blissful all day long - always smiling, always singing, hanging out with their bird friends. Now I know. Those bitches were high as a kite. Let's recap, shall we?

We continue this endless adventure where we last left off - in Belgium with our racers greased up and flashing us their mammaries. Somehow Team Armani (Amani & Marcus) finished first and now they're the first team to depart. Teams must now drive themselves to the Ford Proving Grounds (Prahving Grounds if you ask Camille) for their next clue. Team Bert & Ernie (Cindy & Ernie) leave behind them in second, with Team Grammer (Camille/Sandy & Kelsey/Jeremy) in third, and Team Snowbunny (Andy & Tommy) and Team Geritol (Bill & Cathi) rounding out the top five. I guess that bodybuilding leg was purely for our amusement because no one got eliminated and all I have to show for it is another week added on to my very annoying TAR blogging schedule.

Note to anyone affiliated with The Amazing Race in any way whatsoever: GET YOUR ACTS TOGETHER!!! I'm sick of your stupid little show starting late every week. You were almost an hour late last night and my DVR neglected to record the 9 o'clock hour. And since is an ad ridden nightmare that won't pause long enough to let me write a bloody paragraph, I am now forced to rely on my wits and memory (ha!) in order to recap the show from last night. I say that from now on you should pay me for every minute you're late. According to my calculations, you now owe me eleventeenth million dollars. I'll be waiting for my check.

Alright so Bert & Ernie arrive at the Ford Proving Grounds and it's a Road Block: Who wants to play with the ponies? As Ernie has an extensive My Little Pony collection at home, it is he who braves the challenge. To pass this Road Block, racers must "Master Their Mustang". As dirty as that sounds, it's just a couple of fancy car tricks. #1 - reach a speed of 100 miles an hour and then brake hard through a turn of orange cones. #2 - navigate through a slalom course without knocking over any cones or crashing into a giant inflated blue dummy car. #3 - do a double victory donut.

With wide eyes and hard nipples, Ernie is strapped into the passenger seat and shown exactly what these Mustangs can do. Clad in a fetching royal blue driving uniform and with the wind blowing in his hair, Ernie is ridden hard by the nice Belgian man. "Squeeee!!!", he cries. "Yippee!!!", he squeals. Tumbling around the front seat like that plastic bag in American Beauty, Ernie is tossed hither and thither before Godellef (the Belgian driving guy) finally gives Ernie the reins and let's him drive this bitch himself. Driven by focus and a tingling in his loins, our little blue speed racer plows through all the flimsy wimpy girl speeds and reaches 100 miles an hour with no problems at all. It's when he reaches the slalom course that we discover all the anger Ernie has pent up inside. I don't know what cones and dummy cars did to Ernie in a past life, but in this life, he's going to run those bitches down! Ploof, scroop, floot go the cones hurling through the air while poor Godellef could do nothing but clutch his neck and glare at the CBS producers getting their lawyers on the horn.

The Grammers pull in second and Kelsey snatches up the keys before Camille can even stumble over to the clue. Unshaven and determined, Kelsey passes the speed portion with flying colors, but he gets impatient when pulling into the slalom course. You see, that Ernie is still crashing into the dummy car and Kelsey is antsy to get this show on the road before Camille wakes up and wanders onto the track. Half hungover and half in an Ambien daze, the track could be a very dangerous place for Camille. She's liable to think the dummy car is a real car and, knowing Camille, she'd pop it with one of her Stuart Wietzmans while reenacting that White Snake video. Eventually, Ernie passes which lets Kelsey catch up and complete the slalom course swiftly enough. Camille slept through the whole thing, the blue dummy balloon survives, and now the teams are instructed to drive to Gent.

Team Armani and Team Snowbunny finally arrive at the Ford place and it is decided that, much to Andy's chagrin, Marcus and Tommy will drive. You see, Andy is the "car guy". Andy is the one who drives on roads and talks into CB's and whatnot - not Tommy. The only reason Tommy wants to do the car challenge is because he gloriously failed the Hans Christian Andersen recitation challenge and now he wants to save face. With that goofy smile of his and tussled hair, Tommy skips off to do some driving while Andy stays behind and kicks the pavement with a very unchristian-like fervor. Through the engines revving and Marcus screaming something or other about touchdowns, we can still hear Andy exclaiming, "But I'm the car guy!" I don't know, if cars are really Andy's thing then wouldn't he be the better choice to compete instead of letting spindly embarrassed Tommy save some face? Their reasoning had something to do with head challenges and physical ones. I don't remember the intricacies of their new race plan but it had something to do with Tommy be a bonehead and Andy being a brain. *shrugs shoulders* Whatever.

With Bill & Cathi in last place, everyone passes the Ford challenge injury free and is now on their way to Gent. Andy sits in the backseat with his arms crossed and a grimace on his face. This is what it looks like when you have sin in your heart. No pitchforks, no flames. Just a jealous stoner in a headband fighting the jealousy within. With the sin eating away at his innards, Andy finally gets in a little face time with Christ and promises to stop being envious. That's all there is to it. Hate whoever you want, wish your enemies dead, wallow in the pea soup of jealousy... as long as you say you're sorry in the end, it's all as good as forgotten. Rrrrright. How about not doing devil things in the first place? I don't know. Just a thought.

Bert & Ernie arrive in Gent first and it's a Detour: Water or Waffles? In Water, teams have to build a raft and search the waterway for two pieces of something (My notes here are vague. I'm thinking this is when I got a refill.). In Waffles, teams have to build a waffle stand and make perfect Belgian waffles. No stranger to the kitchen, Ernie chooses Waffles before Bert can micromanage a single thing. The Grammers choose Waffles as well because a nice fluffy waffle might soak up some of the liquid that's pickling Camille from the inside out. With tiny little legs and stumpy little arms, Bert & Ernie crawl on stools and each other in an effort to assemble their waffle house. Conversely, those statuesque Grammers simply flung a rooftop off of their pinkies and had it land perfectly onto their awaiting poles. Voila! The Grammer Waffle House is open for business. Bert looks on sideways with some of that Andy sin in her heart and wonders why her house is still in pieces above Ernie's head. Ernie shouts, "Because they're tall!" Bert makes a note in her notebook to look into leg lengthening when she gets back home. And now it's time to bake!

Unfortunately for Kelsey, waffles are not his forte. He's a pancake man. The smooth golden discs he flips so effortlessly on a Sunday morning while Camille snores from the other room... that he can do. These boxy, dimpled, textured, square things are not in his repertoire. Besides, I don't think Hungry Jack makes a Belgian waffle mix. Ernie, however, is very confident in his waffle-making prowess. He watches the demonstration closely and skips back to his waffle house to get to work in the kitchen. Bert watches him from across the tiny shack and asks, "Why aren't you using a ladle? " Ernie replies, "Julia Child never uses a ladle!" Bert asks, "Well, why aren't you whisking it?" Ernie replies, "Because Ina Garten doesn't whisk!" When he's not in Swahili class or learning how to sword fight a monkey, Ernie is watching The Food Network (and doing needlepoint). If Bert wasn't so busy planning their next trip to the outskirts of some war torn country, she'd know of what Ernie was capable - throwing a dinner party with only $50 and a nectarine, knitting a shawl out of a tattered soccer net, or creating a handmade soap gift basket from some slivers of hotel hand soap and a sprig of lavender. Trust him Bert. He's got this.

Meanwhile, the slackers are just now arriving. Teams Armani and Snowbunny both choose to do the Water challenge which I'll admit I thought was nuts at the time. Marcus takes one look at the branches, ropes, and barrels with which he has to create his craft and directs Amani to hut hut hut to the 50 yard line where he'll tie everything together and they'll float away. Of course when the Snowbunnies arrive, he completely scraps his cockamamie plan to create a ship that looks like a floating field goal and instead copies the Snowbunnies design from start to finish. Since those goofballs are so good at the dumbest things, the Snowbunnies cruise through the water challenge and are now in the lead as they head to a pigeon outpost for their next clue.

Back at the waffles, Bert & Ernie are stunned to hear they've failed the challenge. Bert flings her arms to and fro wondering what the hell they did wrong while Ernie silently adjusts an askew strawberry and looks to the judge for confirmation. The judge nods as Ernie smiles softly to himself. He knew he had this. Those waffles were his bitches! Over in the Grammer house, things aren't going quite as swimmingly. Camille has taken over and while beer is very popular in Belgium, it's not really a component of the waffle batter. Kelsey stayed in his corner flipping pancakes for the locals and shouting "Tada!" while Camille sprinkled a mysterious white powder all over her waffles and presented them to the judge. The judge gives her a thumbs down and Camille cries, "Do you have any idea how much these waffles are worth?!?" Gandolf shrugs his shoulders and tells her to try it again. She sprinkles more powder and presents her plate again. Again, she is rejected. After begging Kelsey to quit and smooshing each and every one of his pancakes in between her fingers, Camille finally figures out that her waffles were merely presented in the wrong order. Gandolf gives them the thumbs up and they're off to the next clue.

Marcus eventually manages to make a touchdown and Team Armani, followed by the slow moving Team Geritol, are finally on their way to the pigeon place. Bert & Ernie arrive first and discover that they have to release the pigeons and then drive to catch up with the pigeons. Bert dumps a vat of Purell all over herself and Ernie before gingerly tiptoeing up to the pigeon doorman. Bert declares, "I don't want to touch the pigeons." The doorman rolls his eyes and opens the little pigeon condo where birdy after birdy flew off all by themselves - without Bert's help. Flushed with relief, Bert grabs Ernie's hand and throws him into the front seat of the car. They have no idea where they're going so they stop at a 7-11 for some hostess snoballs (for Ernie) and directions.

Meanwhile, the Snowbunnies arrive at the pigeons and somehow make it to their destination while Marcus is scaling a small Belgian mountain in search of a clue. He saw a flag waving in the distance and naturally assumed it was an Amazing Race flag. I guess I should cut Marcus some slack because the Belgian flag actually does have red and yellow in it, but forget it. I'm rooting against him on principle - the principle that life is not a football game, cars are not pep rallies, and momentous occasions are not freaking touchdowns. To make matters worse, Camille also decides to follow Marcus up the mountain. Luckily, she quickly realizes that it's just a random flagpole and not a clue and she scurries away from Marcus as quickly as her little legs will take her.

The Snowbunnies arrive at their pigeon destination incident free and are directed to the Atomium which is the Pit Stop for this leg of the race. They see some ne'er-do-wells on skateboards loitering on the side of road and decide to ask these kindred spirits for directions. Kelsey, however, doesn't need directions. He recognizes the Atomium from when they were in Brussels and now it's a car race to the finish. I hoped beyond hope that those bumbling Grammers would stumble their way into a first place finish finally, but it wasn't to be. Can you believe those numbskull Snowbunnies won the leg? And they won cars they can customize?! Gross. Tommy stared into the distance with his dumb ass smile while Andy, yet again, with sin in his heart, had to bring up the car challenge just one more time. I hate you both. Lose.

Team Grammer finishes in second with Bert & Ernie in third and Team Armani in fourth. This week we say goodbye to Bill & Cathi. I wasn't necessarily a fan and thought they definitely got lucky on that nonelimination leg early on, but I'm bummed they didn't beat the Snowbunnies. That was all I wanted out of the old timers - shame for the Snowbunnies. So, what did you guys think? How much longer can Team Armani last? Do the Snowbunnies have this thing wrapped up? Do you think the Grammers will treat me to a pancake breakfast? Comment it out bitches and have a great day!