Thursday, August 20, 2009

Plastered in Paris

Okay, I have to add to last week's posting about idiots on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, because tonight they had on another moron contestant, opposite Big Brother's eviction episode, which I discussed over on the HuffPo in my column Hell Hath No Fury. Check it out

Liz Schuller, an elementary school music teacher (Parents, get your kids out of her classes!), was asked this question for $16,000:

Fittingly, "The Jules Verne" is the name of a restaurant located on the second floor of what world landmark?
A. The Leaning Tower of Pisa.
B. The Effiel Tower
C. The Taj Mahal.
D. The Kremlin.

...and she had to "Ask The Expert," in this case, luckily enough for her, Mo Rocca, the bright, funny, former Daily Show correspondent whom I adore, who, not being an idiot, knew the obvious answer.

As it happens, I've eaten at "The Jules Verne." Above is a picture of Little Dougie and I in Paris, with "The Jules Verne" in the background. Even if I hadn't eaten there, and even if the "Verne is French; only the Effiel Tower is in France" logic was too much for my tiny brain to work out on its own, as it apparently was for poor, hopelessly stupid Liz's, I think I could still take this walk through the choices.

Do you really think there are many tourists clamoring to eat in The Kremlin? "Hello. Welcome to our restaurant named for that French swine of a fantasist, Jules Verne. My name is Khrushchev Gorbachev Breshnev, you can call me KGB, and I'll be your waiter tonight. No need to give me your order, as I heard what you wanted for dinner when I bugged your hotel room. And in any event, all we have is boiled cabbage and vodka. Now get down on the floor, for you are under arrest, you American spies, for sneaking into The Kremlin!"

Then there's the Taj Mahal. It's a tomb! Yes, who doesn't enjoy dining among the dead? "Hello. My name is Mahatma. I'll be your waiter tonight. We serve only Indian food here, made from actual Indians. Please try to ignore the stench. However, it's Hunger Strike Night, so you're getting nothing." At least the place has - ah - ambiance.

And as for The Leaning Tower of Pisa, how could you serve meals on the second floor of The Leaning Tower of Pisa? The food would keep sliding off the plate.

They should call the Millionaire revival Five Weeks with a Buffoon.

Cheers darlings.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Who Wants to Be an Idiot?

Hello darlings.

That collection of hunks and freaks above is the cast, or "houseguests" as they call them, of the current edition of CBS's reality freak show Big Brother, which is the reason I haven't posted anything here in nearly a month. I've been recapping it for The Huffington Post, as I may have mentioned. It pretty much uses up my flogging energy. How much flogging can a woman my age be expected to take?

They are a prize group of freaks, but not all of them. Dr. Michele is an intelligent and reasonable person. Jordan is dumber than the vacuum of space, but she's fairly sweet, as opposed to the petty, vengeful Lydia, the vicious, useless Natalie, and the raving, insane megabitch Chima. More on that monster shortly.

On the male side there was pretty surfer, actor, & doofus Braden, who turned out to be a bigot with a nasty mouth, incredibly hot Russell, who is a major competitor, but who is also given to explosions of rage, but only on strong provocation, like being asked the time in the wrong tone of voice, or being looked at "funny." There was Casey the 5th grade teacher. No hunk (In fact he avoided appearing shirtless, which is usually a requirement for the men on this show.), but an intelligent man one could probably enjoy the company of. After he was evicted from the house, as detailed in my column No Joy in Mudville, he even left a comment in that column's comments list, in which he indicated enjoying the humor. I could read between the lines. He wants to party with this old movie star. Well who can blame him?

The major eye candy in the show consists of Russell and Jeff. Russell calls himself "The Love Muscle," It's an odd nickname for him, since he is best known for starting tremendous screaming matches, and when asked about his girlfriends, said he "ran out" of girls. Is the "Panama Canal" in his basement full?

Jeff is gorgeous, amiable, and excessively proud of not reading books. He's just not too bright. Jeff's grasp of the English language is not unlike Dr. No's grasp on the metal strut he slides down to boil to death in the atomic reactor at the end of the movie Dr. No.

Anyway, Russell & Jeff have formed the Bromance Alliance, and have been quite successful so far. I think it's true love, and that Jordan, with whom Jeff is faking a Showmance, is really just his beard. Jeff & Russell are the true showmance.

Not that they never flirted with returning muscled narcissistic Adonis and boob Jessie. (Yes, I know that men usually spell it "Jesse," but Jessie insists on spelling it the girly way. He's obsessed with "I".) Anyway, as you can see here, as we prepared to make a Russell, Me, and Jessie sandwich (talk about ham and cheese!), Russell is definitely a top.

Lydia is the Tattooed Nutjob, who liked to creep into Jessie's bedroom and stare at him while he slept, imagining his dreams. She said she hoped he was dreaming of baby unicorns. My theory is that he dreams of something else. Which do you think is right?

But in recapping the treacherous adventures of these clowns, I've taken to giving some of them them nicknames that express their true natures. The first was "Ronnie," a 30 year old "Professional Video Gamer" obsessed by Star Wars, who called himself "Emperor Palpatine" at one point, and who repeatedly stated that he was the Smartest Person in the House, never mind that Dr. Michele has a PhD. He was a loathsome little self-impressed dork and weasel, and so I renamed him, and enjoyed tremendously
chronicling his his downfall in my column
The Empire Strikes Out.

This last week the house was shook up by a mystery power granted secretly to one of them, whom they called "The Wizard." The Wizard turned out to be lovely, dopey Jeff, whom I dubbed Gandoofus, The Lord of Dimness, when I told the story this week in The Wizard of Wacko Place.

There's always a token gay man, and never more than one. Usually they cast ones who are witty and fun, but this time out they cast a boring, bitchy, treacherous attitude queen named Kevin, who's a coward as well as a bore. I've found his true identity in my recent column as well.

But until about 24 hours before writing this the most horrible person in the house was a 32 year old journalist, self-involved diva, and hyperbitch named Chima. She's insane. She's spoiled. She's vengeful. She's vicious. She's repulsive. She thinks she's funny when she isn't, and she's a hypocrite. But apart from that, she may like kittens. But I'm not so certain of that that I would ever leave my kitty in her care.

But as of 24 hours ago, she is gone. Her plans last week were utterly foiled and she was nominated for eviction, and the spoiled, self-entitled diva staged a day long tantrum, ignoring the producers orders, inciting her Manson-cult-like followers, Lydia and Natalie, to commit acts of petty vandalism. Chima herself spent much of the day sitting on the washing machine, so no one else could wash their clothes, refusing to wear the microphone they are required to wear at all times, and finally, when ordered again by the producers to put it on, threw this $5000 piece of equipment into the hot tub. She was summoned into the Diary Room, and the houseguests never saw her again. She was fired, and not even allowed back into the house to pack up her things. That's entertainment!

Sweet little Jordan's stupidity is amazing. She's in her 20s, and she can't tell time from a clock, doesn't know where Iowa is, can't do simple math, and has a - let's say limited vocabulary. I had had more than enough of idiots. I needed to see intelligent people again.

So I tuned into this past week's revival of of Regis Philbin's quiz show Who Wants to be a Millionaire. You have to take a test to get on. It rewards knowing stuff. And you have to answer difficult questions to win the big money.

So imagine my shock at some of the monumental ignorance I saw on display. Listen to these:

For instance, Angela Watt, a "mother of twins," was asked this question for $1000:

The Earth’s equator passes through all but which of these oceans?
A. Pacific.
B. Indian.
C. Atlantic.
D. Arctic.

And she had to use a lifeline! I guess she just hates those cold arctic nights on the equator. Then she was asked for $2000:

Which of these U.S. coins is the thickest?
A. Penny
B. Nickel.
C. Dime.
D. Quarter.

She answered "A quarter." I guess she never bothers with change.

One of America’s best and brightest, highly decorated (and highly decorative) army Lieutenant-Colonel Jacob Shaha was on. Now you wanted to love this guy. He was gorgeous. He had a small, but growing family. He’s served honorably in Iraq, and will shortly be going to Afghanistan. But then he was asked this question for $8000:

Fittingly, which of these popular 20th Century authors is buried in Tarzana, California? [Non-italics mine.]:
A. Edgar Rice Burroughs.
B. Ray Bradbury.
C. Dashiell Hammett.
D. Arthur C. Clarke.

Honestly. The answer is right there in the question. You could boil it down to "Who wrote the Tarzan books?" What kind of ignoramus doesn’t know the answer to that question? (Hint: He's by far the worst writer of this quartet.)

Now first off, Ray Bradbury isn’t buried anywhere! At least I hope not, because darling Ray
is still alive! How rude to include him. I hope he wasn’t watching. I can just hear his famous, soft voice saying to his wife, "I hope it’s not me."

Lieutenant-Colonel Shaha needed not one, not two, but
three lifelines. "Expert" Candy Crowley (Who? I have no idea who she is, and Regis didn’t tell us more than her name) had "no idea," but her guess was Dashiell Hammet. Ah yes, before writing his excellent, highly literate, hardboiled detective novel classics like The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man, Hammett first knocked out the ridiculous Tarzan novels, which, if you’ve ever read one of them, are not exactly well-written, and feature horrifically bad dialogue, not to mention the inherent racism, and the ludicrous scientific ignorance. Burroughs never set foot in Africa in his whole life, and it shows in his books. I’m surprised Dashiell didn’t rise from his grave to slap her face. Dashiell's lover, the great Lillian Hellman, wouldn’t have spat on the author of the Tarzan books, even if Edgar had begged her too.

Jacob’s phone-a-friend, his dad "Steven," guessed it was Arthur C. Clarke, who is buried in Sri Lanka, on the opposite side of the earth from Tarzana, as far from it as you can get. The only way he could have been more wrong would be if he’d said "The Moon." Clark was also much too good a writer to have turned out the ludicrous Tarzan novels, let alone have sullied his brilliant science fiction legacy with with Burroughs's extremely silly, badly written books about Mars and his
At The Earth's Core. I've read Tarzan of the Apes. This is not a well-written book.

Jacob answered D. No wonder we haven’t found Osama Bin Laden yet.

But the most embarrassing contestant moment came when Anthony Sloan, a "Stay-at-home Dad," i.e. unemployed, was asked for $50,000:

In the 2009 blockbuster
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which of these characters is an evil Decepticon and not an heroic Autobot?
A. Mudflap.
B. Bumblebee.
C. Starscream.
D. Sidewipe.

And he not only got it right, but he had the answer right off the top of his head. The only people who should know the answer to that question are people whose ages are still in the single digits, and a lot of justifiably bored and hostile film critics.

You want to see intelligent people on TV? Switch over to BBC America, and watch
Torchwood and Doctor Who. Meanwhile, I’m stuck with several more weeks of Big Brother. At least I won’t have any more of Chima and Emperor Palpatwit to endure. You don’t need to watch it yourself. Just read my recaps.

Cheers darlings.