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!

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Crackers Were About Ready To Come Out

This week we are plopped into the center of the land of waffles, sprouts, and chocolate. Belgium isn't a large country per se, but it is a powerful one - powerful enough to smoosh your junk into teeny weeny briefs and make you pose for your supper. Bodies oiled, thighs tanned, and necks tree-trunked, body building is an ancient art form dating back to the 19th century. Of course, back then it was men posing in top hats and pantaloons, but it was a display of physical perfection nonetheless. Throw ten gangly Americans into the mix and you've got yourself a festival of physical bawdiness. Parts we shouldn't see peek out around lycra corners to wave hello and we find ourselves, unwittingly, smack dab in the thick of a flesh parade. Skin and skins, oh my! Let's recap, shall we?

(I had to whip this one up quick, folks. Not my best, but I didn't want to leave you hanging.)

We continue this interminable, never ending, eternal," for the love of god, make it end!" race in Copenhagen. Team Bert & Ernie (Cindy & Ernie) was the first team to arrive and is now the first to depart. Teams are now instructed to drive to the Hans Christian Andersen statue where they'll find their next clue. Bert glanced over at her Caucasion lover with pride and thought to herself, "Who cares if he's not Chinese?! He's a snazzy dresser and hair like that doesn't come along everyday." When you see jaunty spikes of blonde lusciousness, you grab that bitch up and hang on tight. At least that's what I've heard. So our young lovers drive off to the statue and discover that one of them is to memorize a Hans poem, bicycle ride to a theatre, and then recite said poem with dramatic flair for a curmudgeonly judge in period garb. I thought for sure Ernie would skip up and claim this challenge as his own, but it was Bert who took the plunge.

Cross-legged and focused, Bert sits in front of the statue and recites the poem over and over to herself. After pelting rocks at tourists trying to block the poem from her view, Bert hops onto her bicycle and pedals off to the theatre. With arms moving gaily and purpose-driven words (To move, to breathe, to fly, to float), Bert impresses the bespectacled drama critic and is now instructed to drive to Legoland and find the pirate carousel ride.

Back at the statue, Team Geritol (Bill & Cathi) and Team Snowbunny (Andy & Tommy) have memorized their poems, but unfortunately have no idea how the hell to get to the theatre. So while Cathi and Tommy are taking their impromptu tours of Denmark, Team Armani (Marcus & Amani) arrives and is given a chance to catch up. Amani sits with her head in her hands trying desperately to memorize the poem while that buffoon husband of hers leaps in the background shouting, "74! 22! Deedle deedle dee! Touchdown! Titanic!" His theory is that if Amani can withstand his asshole-ish tomfoolery, then she'll be able to withstand that evil ascot wearing drama critic in the theatre. Somehow, this cockamamie logic actually works and a breathless Amani passes which I think is a credit to Amani rather than to Marcus.

After touring Denmark and meeting some lovely people, Cathi and Tommy finally arrive at the theatre and both promptly fail. Cathi failed for missing a word and Tommy failed for being a lackluster person made of wood. Cathi even warned Tommy before she pedaled off to be dramatic, but Tommy somehow felt he knew better all on his own. Stiff and stone-faced, he ignored Cathi's wise words and offends the fashionable fop in the audience. At this point Team Grammer (Camille/Sandy & Kelsey/Jeremy) has joined the race and I'm not sure if Camille has had her morning mimosa yet or not because girlfriend stands on that stage like a cardboard box and fails the challenge. Eventually, everyone catches the acting bug and amidst grand sweeping gestures and strange stage right to stage left pacing, our Danish dandy gives the three remaining actors the thumbs up and off everyone goes to Legoland.

Once at Legoland, teams must sit in the spinning teacups and try to piece together a puzzle telling them to go to Hamburg, Germany. The catch being that they can only work on their puzzles while the ride is spinning. Bert & Ernie climb in and with Ernie's scarf blowing in the wind, they solve the puzzle on their second spin and are now instructed to drive across the border into Germany and head to the Hamburg train station. Ernie puts his earrings back on (he didn't want them catching in his scarf) and the two drive off into the distance just as Team Armani is pulling into Legoland.

Amani takes one look at the spinning teacups and her insides instantly begin to burble. Spinning things, whether it's teacups or footballs, make Amani want to hurl so I put on a poncho, strapped a plastic lid onto my gin fizzy, and prepared for awesomeness. I don't know about you, but the idea of Amani throwing up all over her own teacup - not to mention her husband - filled me with a giddy sense of glee. I'm annoyed at how these two keep slithering through this race and the idea of them having to sit in a car covered in vomit all the way to Germany filled me with a sense of evil satisfaction.

While Marcus & Armani continue to spin in violent circles, Team Geritol and Team Snowbunny get hopelessly lost while the Team Grammer makes up some much needed time and arrives without incident at Legoland. However, Camille takes one look at the spinning teacups and instantly regrets those vodka rocks she had in the car on the way over. Her face turns a little green while Kelsey hurls her into the teacup and his puzzle pieces go a'flying. One lands outside of the teacup while Camille grips the edge of the spinning porcelain madness and leans over to spew cocktail-scented spittle into the wind. Children watching get hit in the face while Kelsey contemplates pushing her out of the teacup altogether. "It was an accident officer. One second she was in the teacup and then the next second she wasn't. I guess I'll have to keep the Aspen house now."

Blood mopped up and crying children appeased, the teams eventually finish their puzzles and head to the Hamburg train station where they're instructed to travel by train to Brussels and head to the Parliament building. Bert & Ernie have already been at the train station for hours... long enough for Ernie to purchase three sets of lederhosen AND long enough for Bert to lose half of their tickets and have them swept up by the janitorial crew. Germany is nothing if not spotless. It was the anger of discovering that all teams would be on the same train, and the sight of Ernie in his hot pants, that caused Bert to become so distracted. Once they discover their train tickets are gone, Team Bert & Ernie attempt to buy another set only to discover that they're out of cash. In my mind the solution was easy - make Ernie dance for cash. With legs like that, they'd have their money in no time!

Midnight approaches and the train makes its departure. Bert & Ernie are ok to Cologne, but after that they're going to have to rely on their wits and an unassuming passenger's luggage if they're going to make it all the way to Brussels. Tiny and compact, Bert crawls into an unattended Samsonite while Ernie hops into the overhead compartment and holds his breath between nervous giggles for the next several hours. Tommy kept winking at the conductor and pointing to the compartment above him where Ernie was hiding, but his winks came across as a nervous tick and Bert & Ernie's plan works! The stowaways arrive safe and sound, although a little crumpled, in Brussels and it's now a taxi race to the Parliament building.

The next clue instructs teams to strip down, spread oil all over themselves, make friends with a burly gentleman, and then flex with all their might for a panel of judges. In other words, just another Saturday night for Ernie. Teams must earn at least 12 points to pass the challenge. Upon seeing the tiny little bikini laid out before her, Cathi gasps and whispers, "Oh dear." Oh dear is right lady! You think we want to see you with your loose skin flapping in the wind? *gag* But hark, who goes there? It's Cathi strutting her stuff and she doesn't look half bad for an old broad. Standing next to her we see some pecs and hip muscles (like Pink has) winking at us. It takes us a second until we realize that it's Bill. Bill! He may have a farmer's tan, but the dude is kind of ripped for a guy of 95. Way to go Team Geritol.

Naturally, I expected the Snowbunnies to be cut with washboard stomachs, but instead we got two little stick figures with legs like string beans. On the flipside we have Ernie, who has clearly been bench pressing lady boys during his mandatory rest periods. He embraces the entire experience: from giggling at the Snowbunnies rubbing tanning oil all over each other to attacking each pose with precision and gusto. Meanwhile, we discover that Camille could probably float in the event of a maritime mishap (nice boobages Camille!) while Amani's breasteses were all excited to get some air time (hello ladies). With classical music in the background, our greased up teams bended and flexed, grunted and posed. Arms pointing awkwardly to the sky while knees bent painfully towards the ground. Andy moaned about past snowboarding injuries hindering his bending ability, but I think he was just nervous about his little snowboard peeking out and saying hello to the CBS audience.

Now, it's competition time. Bert & Ernie are up first and while the audience clapped for Ernie's leaps and pirouettes, the judges gave the duo a measly score of 9. One judge in particular said, "Try to verk moah on ze detail." Ernie gives the judge a wink and a thumb's up and promises to do better next time. The Snowbunnies go next and Tommy is so mortified and uncomfortable that it made everyone mortified and uncomfortable. The guys score a negative 23 and I smirked to myself hoping that this would be the challenge that would finally send them home.

The flesh parade continues and understandably Marcus excels. He's a big dude with ginormous appendages - the crowd loved it! The Armani's score enough on their first attempt to pass and are now headed to the Pit Stop. Bert & Ernie pass their second try while both the Snowbunnies and Team Geritol continue to lurch into failure. The big surprise of the night, however, was Team Grammer. Kelsey wiped the sneer off his face while Camille proudly displayed her accoutrements. Bam! They knelt into position. Boom! Kelsey's abs rippled in the footlights. Kapow! Camille jutted her chesticles forward while the crowd hollered and whooped with approval. In the end, those Grammer's posed the pants off of the Armani's and scored higher than any other team.

With the Snowbunnies and Team Geritol still awkwardly tripping over themselves, the Armani's and Bert & Ernie engage in a foot race to the Pit Stop. You wouldn't have believed it if you hadn't seen it for yourselves, but Team Armani finishes first and wins a trip to Panama. We can only assume that Bert & Ernie finished second because the blasted episode ends with one of those annoying "To be continued" graphics hogging up my screen. Grrr. I hate nonelimination legs! When I see a nonelimination leg, I know it's one more week that I have to write about this nonsense. It hurts my soul, I tell you. Anyhow, so that's that for this week. What did you guys think? Should Bert & Ernie be in a German jail? How the hell do the Armani's keep slipping through? Wouldn't you like to have Camille on a sailing trip with you in case of an accident? Comment it out bitches and have a great day and a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Eat My Sweaty Ass Butter

Let us whisk away to Denmark where the streets are lined with pastries, the dogs are extra large, a college education comes with your first diaper change, and health care for everyone! Revolutionary in the "green" movement, the Danish streets are paved with recycled Viking hats and kroners. Children are born knowing the words to Emperor's New Clothes and Lars Ulrich lives in the next quaint village over the hill. Ever since I saw that Oprah episode about how women live all over the world, Denmark has always been this utopia taunting me from a distance. Tall blonde well-read descendents of Vikings living in cubes full of ergonomic furniture and happily bike riding to a well paid job with 6 weeks of vacation time a year... single Danes apply within. Let's recap, shall we?

Since Team Snowbunny (Andy & Tommy) stomped religiously over Team Bert & Ernie (Cindy & Ernie) at the end of the last leg, they are once again the first team to depart. Teams must now fly to Copenhagen and hop into a Ford Focus. Once in their Ford Focus (Ford Focus, Ford Focus, Ford Focus!), they'll Ford Focus their way to a bell tower and Ford Focus to the top where they'll find a Ford Focus... I mean, a clue. Hark! A Double U-Turn lies ahead. Bert & Ernie depart second and if there's one thing these two know, it's that Denmark has an average of 121 days a year with precipitation and a birth rate of 1.74 children per woman. They also know that they're using that damn U-Turn come hell or high water. Better late than never, I guess.

All of our scraggly teams head to the airport where it's a sneaky sneakfest of sneakers to book the earliest flight out of Africa. Being a British ex-pat and an arrogant know-it-all, Laurence is convinced that London will not only offer more connections to Copenhagen than Amsterdam will, but he'll finally be able to get a decent spot of tea on the flight. Bert spies Laurence talking with an airport employee and innocently inquires, 'What are you doing? Where are you going? Which flight did you book? Do you have your seats yet? Did you know that Danish people eat pickled herring for lunch?" Zac quickly hides behind his hair while Laurence, in all of his craggiliness, looks past Bert and replies, "Um uh, pickled herring you say?" And then he grabs Zac's hand and together they run to the Virgin Atlantic terminal. Bert watches with suspicion as they scurry away while Ernie is trying to remember the name of the lady boy he knows in Amsterdam. Was it Anneke or Gert?

All of the teams end up on the same flight to Amsterdam while Team Gilligan (Laurence & Zac) heads to London. Once in London, the two quickly board a flight to Copenhagen and wouldn't you know it? Laurence was actually right about something... probably because it didn't have to do with water, the ocean, lakes, rivers, streams, maritime happenings, or nautical directions... and he'll arrive in Copenhagen before everyone else. Good for you Laurence. Meanwhile, the other teams are in Amsterdam where Team Armani (Amani & Marcus) thinks it's the most perfect location to take a nap. Now, I've been to Amsterdam and it's a lovely place to walk along the canals, take in an art exhibit, smoke a little Northern Lights, flip through pornography magazines featuring horses, but it's kind of the last place on earth you'd ever want to take a nap in. So while Ernie is frantically texting Gert (Ik heb een worst in mijn zak voor u) before his flight leaves that night, Amani & Marcus are making a nap fort in Terminal B and spraying themselves with some of Camille's lavender spritzer. Marcus is confident that all of the other teams will find Amsterdam the perfect place to nap as well so he's not too worried about leaving the next morning. More time to dream about touchdowns!

While Team Armani is busy dancing with the sandman, the other teams meet up with Team Gilligan in Copenhagen and discover that the bell tower opens early the next morning. The night flits by and while Marcus is just now waking up, rubbing his eyes, and asking, "Where is everyone?", the other 5 teams are racing up the steps of the bell tower in search of their next clue. Once at the top of the bell tower, teams must look for both a flag and a banner that reads "Frederiks-Borg Slot". I envisioned a giant slot machine where photos of apple danish and Ford Focii would spin and spin, but it turns out that slot actually means "castle" in Danish. The challenging part of reading the clues is that the little bastards on the ground holding the banner clue keep rolling it up whenever the fancy strikes them so instead of waiting for the clue to unfurl again, Team Grammer (Camille/Sandy & Kelsey/Jeremy) decides to guess which slot the clue was referring to. Kelsey stares at a map of Copenhagen and goes, "Eenie meenie miney mo. Rosenborg Slot. That sounds good!" Yeah, it sounds good if you want to make a lunch reservation of pickled herring. It turns out Rosenborg Slot is actually a restaurant, not a castle. I wonder if a Danish horticulturist has ever visited the United States and accidentally went to an Olive Garden thinking it was, you know, a garden. It could happen!

Teams Gilligan and Bert & Ernie pull up to Frederiksborg Slot and it's a delicious olden timey playground for the monarchy. Red brick, stone grounds, baroque gardens, elaborate arches... one might imagine a fairy tale princess living inside surrounded by small white dogs and spending her days nibbling on pastel colored macaroons atop sterling silver dishes. Ladies-in-waiting hiding around corners sneaking bites out of footmen... I'd like to live in Frederiksborg Slot. Single royal Danes apply within. OK so we arrive at a Road Block and it's nothing we've never seen before. In fact, we see it every season: Learn a traditional dance. Teams must dress in period costumes and learn a complex 3-part Danish Renaissance dance routine designed to test their memory and coordination. Without even taking a breath, Ernie begins to disrobe and snatches a pair of tights out of the waiting handmaiden's hands. Buckles on shoes and a feather in his cap is so up Ernie's alley. And how fetching did he look in that billowy blouse? Zac, however, shakes his shaggy mane and bemoans his father making him put on tights. Don't think for one second that Laurence didn't do that on purpose.

While the two lads begin to learn their choreography, a bespectacled rake of a man puffs away on a recorder and accompanies them. Meanwhile, the Grammer's and the Armani's are making their way to the bell tower. The Grammer's have to head back because "Eenie meenie miney mo" turned out to not be scientifically viable. Maybe try "Inka dinka" or "One potato, two potato" next time, Kelsey. At home I sat watched in stunned disbelief - how the hell did the Armani's catch up?! I swear to god Team Armani and Team Geritol (Bill & Cathi) made deals with the devil before the race started. Their poor children... a lifetime of hellfire and damnation for a few lucky breaks on The Amazing Race. Anyhow, Camille runs smack dab into Amani and her martini glass goes crashing on the ground. Camille was thinking the exact same thing I was, "How the hell did they catch up?!" Amani breathed a sigh of relief while Camille frantically dug more olives out of her sports bra (that's where she keeps them when she travels).

Back at the castle, Team Geritol has arrived and Cathi quickly volunteers to learn the dance. Now, I don't pretend to know the sex lives of old people, but I'm going to take a wild guess and say that Bill & Cathi like to play naughty nurse once in a while. The look on Bill's face when Cathi stepped out as a Renaissance-era handmaiden was one of "Hot diggity dog!". Too bad Laurence was beat boxing and completely killed the mood. It was sort of sweet watching Bill with pools of drool in the corners of his mouth. Bert listens to Bill's story about how he met Cathi at the tender age of 12 and Bert snorts in response, "I picked up Ernie in a bar. He was one of the showgirls." I might have paraphrased that a little bit, but I'm pretty sure that that's what Bert meant to say.

As a fella with a dancer's past, Ernie passes the challenge with flying colors, asks the handmaiden if he can keep his tights, and tears into the next clue. It's a Detour: All Hopped Up or All Churned Out. In All Hopped Up, teams must lead a freakishly large rabbit through a steeplechase course without knocking anything over. In All Churned Out, teams must whip up 6 sticks of rich creamery butter. After the sheep debacle back in Thailand, Bert & Ernie have sworn off animals forever and choose to churn some butter. They watch a milkmaid prepare her bars of gold and Ernie dives into beating his cream with a zeal any young man would be proud of.

Back at the castle, Zac is profoundly sucking at the dancing. His curls are falling into his eyes and his two left feet move with the agility of two wooden blocks. Andy of Team Snowbunny is faring much better as we learn that the Snowbunnies are also Renaissance-y dancer reenactors. Is there anything these two can't do?! I was about to cry foul, but my attention was diverted by the dandy in the puffy waistcoat dancing with Cathi. A sliver of a man with platinum dyed hair, a ruffled collar, and a cape jauntily placed over his shoulder. He glided through the steps with ease and I made a bet with no one in particular that he's probably known around Copenhagen as 'Lightfooted Lars" or "Garrish Gerhardt". I wonder if Phil has his number. Oh wait! I'll just tweet Ernie.

So Cathi and Andy pass the dance challenge and after Bill stuffed Cathi's bonnet and petticoat into his pocket (for later!), both teams head to the Detour where tiny little butter churning beads of sweat are glistening on Ernie's brow. Phrases like "beat this cream" and "lick it up" fill the tiny little barn and here I thought The Amazing Race was a family show. Back at the castle, the Grammers have finally arrived while out on the road to Finland, a giant black man is scaring the locals. You see, according to Marcus, asking for directions is for suckers. So instead of stopping at a local village or asking a passerby, Marcus decides to wade out into traffic and accost the oncoming cars. Black, white, brown, yellow, I don't care who's waving at me in the middle of road, there's no way in hell I'm stopping my car for a stranger. I watch Investigation Discovery way too much to know that my cute ass would be kidnapped and chopped into hundreds of tiny little pieces and then dumped into a crudely dug hole and covered with cement. Only years later when a parking garage is built on top of my grave will by bones be finally discovered. No thank you!

By this time Team Geritol arrives at the Detour and Bill is just as turned on as Ernie is by the churning. He daydreams about eating stick after stick of rich creamery butter only to have Bert burst his dream bubbles with, "I don't know if you want to eat my sweaty ass butter." It's probably sweaty-ass butter, but I think sweaty ass butter reads funnier, don't you? Ass butter.

Finally, Zac finishes the dance portion of this episode just as Camille is gyrating on my dandy, Gunther. Ca-mille! That marble column is not a stripper pole! Out on route "den slot er that-a-way", Marcus is busy pummeling every football analogy known to large burly men to death. "We need a turn over here!", "I'm hoping for a Hail Mary pass!", "I didn't see no boys in that shower!". I know he's likable and all that, but Marcus drives me crazy. The constant talking, the Al Bundy stories from yesteryear, the napping in the middle of a race (!)... I can't take it. It's more infuriating than charming.

Okay so back at the butter, Ernie has churned all that he can churn (he's spent) and now Bert & Ernie are headed to a windmill for the dreaded U-Turn *thunderclap* Ernie spins his parasol and wonders if U-Turning is a good idea after all while Bert pushes him to the ground and smacks a U-Turn right over Bill & Cathi's heads. Girlfriend wants first place and no old timers are gonna be beat her to the punch! Nicely done, Bert. I knew you had it in you. Ernie, however, is immediately remorseful. He stands with a single tear glistening on his cheek while Bert yanks him out of his trance and stuffs him in the back of the car. She's got a Pit Stop to get to. No lollygagging Ernie!

Team Geritol pass the butter and I twirled my moustache while waiting for them to get to the U-Turn. This is gonna be great! *rubs hands together* The two creak on up to the U-Turn and snap their fingers in annoyance. It wasn't exactly the reaction I was hoping for (I wanted kicking and screaming), but they exacted their anger in an even better way - they U-Turn Team Gilligan! Oh snap! Laurence is going to shit himself... awesome!

The two rickety grandparents hop their way over to the rabbit Detour and choose a bulldog to run their course for them. Did you see that thing? That was no rabbit. That thing ate the real rabbit. That thing should be pulling a sled or taking bourbon to stranded hikers. Anyhow, after constructing their steeplechase course, Bill takes his horserabbit, Hopper, down the course and it fails miserably. The rabbit is immediately sent to the slaughterhouse while Bill chooses another furry life to ruin. This time it's Speckles the dalmation. Speckles is black & white and has trained his entire life for this moment. He's evaded the blade for this long and he's not about to come into contact with it now. Speckles likes his life of green meadows, vast pastures, universal health care, frolicking, and mating. Who wouldn't?! Naturally, Speckles is a rock star. He finishes the course in a blaze of glory and has since retired to a life of Easter basket modeling. Way to go Speckles.

Back out on the road through tears and sniffles, Ernie is asking Bert why why whyyyy did she use that evil U-Turn. Bert quickly tapes his mouth shut and drags his pouting ass onto the mat and into first place. Yay! They finally did it! Too bad they've already been to Fiji and would have preferred a trip to Sierra Leone instead. An extremely witty and bright little blogger has never been there though. Hey Bert, let's take a girls trip to Fiji and leave Ernie back at home where he can watch Hallmark movies and embroider pillows with puppy dogs on them. It's just a thought.

So while Ernie is reluctantly accepting his first place win, the Armani's have finished the dancing, the Grammer's are half way to Sweden, and Team Gilligan has begun to churn their butter. Did you know that Laurence is a butter churning expert from way back? Yup. He's churned butter with the best butter churners in the churning industry. He has also circumnavigated Atlantis and was a passenger on the Titanic. His memoir The Perfect Storm should be released sometime in 2012. I'd rethink that title. How about Tall Tales From The High Seas: Fantastic Swashbuckling Yarns?

In downtown Stockholm is where we find Team Grammer. A passed out Camille lies in the backseat with one foot out the window and her dress above her waist. Had she been lucid she would have been able to tell Kelsey that he was driving away from Copenhagen and right off the map. Muttering under his breath, Kelsey wishes for a new wife, a younger wife - one who doesn't make out with the tennis instructor and thinks vodka is a food group.

Back at the butter, Team Gilligan is finishing up and Laurence is stoked to U-Turn someone. So many names to choose from! So many possibilities! This is his moment, his chance to make up for U-Turning a team that was already ahead of him last week. Over Marcus whooping on the sidelines to his stupid rabbit, we see Laurence approach the windmill. He sees an older gentleman and a young man on the touch screen, but it doesn't immediately register that he's looking at his own face and his dimwitted son. But once the recognition registers... jump back! Smoke blows out of his nostrils, his tail gets caught in his belt loops, and the green green grass around him turns to dust. Laurence is mad, very mad. *clinks gin glasses together* How could someone U-Turn him?!? Oh sure, he was planning on U-Turning another team all along, but still... no fair! *makes a 'W' with fingers*

Kicking rabbits like soccer balls, Laurence reluctantly heads to the bunny challenge just as the Armani's are finishing up and I'm sad to report that Speckles is no longer with us. He was so young, so accomplished. Laurence, how could you?! Unbelievable, the Armani's are now headed to the Pit Stop where Team Geritol and Team Snowbunny have just come in 2nd and 3rd respectively. How do Bill & Cathi do it? The devil is at work here. I'm sure of it!

In the end, no matter how many bunnies paid with their lives, Team Gilligan just wasn't able to overcome their U-Turn and happily Team Armani and Team Grammer slide into 4th and 5th. Laurence and Zac have been eliminated from the race. So, what did you guys think? Are you happy to see Laurence gone? Why was Ernie so bunged up over using the U-Turn? Is Cathi a witch? Comment it out bitches and have a great day!