Tuesday, September 25, 2007

SWF Seeks SM With Webbed Foot Fetish (Bachelor 11 Episode 1)

Brad Womack courtesy of ABC

So what’s up with all the man-cleavage in the last three installments of the Bachelor? Yes, I realize that they don’t really aim this show at middle aged married males like myself, at least not the sort of middle-aged married males who don’t routinely bump shoes and reach under stall walls in airport bathrooms. Still, it’s weird to see more of Brad Womack’s chest than his personality in the first fifteen minutes of the show. Another reality check, it’s even weirder to hear Chris Harrison repeat “This may be the sexiest bachelor ever…” over and over again. I’m happy to know that Chris thinks that, but if he’s actually starting to think about the Bachelor in those terms I think he needs to move on to some second wave reality hosting gig like Dancing with American Idol Alumni, Reality Show Cast Swap, or Survivor-Mall of America Edition. I say this as a big fan of Chris Harrison. I still admire the way the guy can say "There's just one rose left" and still make it sound fresh.

Maybe they pay Ryan Seacrest more, but, Chris, please don’t emulate him at least not on this show. What next? “Brad, good to see you this morning and can I say you really smell nice. I also love the way that tie brings out the blue in your eyes there.”

Okay, this is awkward. I don’t know what would make someone the “sexiest bachelor ever.” My wife did think that this one is attractive. My daughter also reluctantly approved. He looks nice enough, he talks more than some of his predecessors, and he seems to have a way to support himself that doesn’t involve dog shampoo and the home shopping network. I just can’t speak personally to the sexy part. As an insecure middle-aged guy, I can't go there.

I would say that Brad is probably the whitest bachelor they’ve ever had. He’s blonde, has blue eyes, spent part of his childhood in a trailer, worked on an oil rig, calls himself an “entrepreneur”, and claims to be all about “family”. He also has a tendency to say “I can’t believe that I might be down on one knee proposing to someone in this room some time soon.”

Did this guy study what happens to the couples on this show? Did he see that photo of Andy Baldwin with Miss Iran? Come on, let’s be serious. You own four clubs/bars in the Austin area. You think maybe it might be good for business to go on the show? Btw. Yes I did argue that Andy and Tessa are just doing fine. My current theory is that Andy’s new assignment is with navy intelligence and he’s trying to determine how they manage to hold beauty pageants in a country that observes Islamic law. What next, Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad as Bachelor 12? “Yes, Chris Harrison, I am looking for a girl who’s a little crazy, happens to be a holocaust denier, and can score my country some enriched weapons grade uranium.”

Anyway, is it possible to be any whiter than Brad Womack? Did anyone for an instant think that Rigina, the brown sugar lady, had any kind of chance to score a rose? I know that this time the ladies knew nothing about the Bachelor pre-cocktail (now there’s a double entendre) party, but how long would it take to scope this guy out and figure, “Mmmmm, I’m thinking more Garth Brooks than Kanye West. This guy probably thinks that Blake Lewis is hip.”

Two of Brad’s bars are called the “Dizzy Rooster” and the “Chuggin’ Monkey”. Take a look at the websites. What are the odds that these places are fraternity/sorority havens? Well, if they feature your bar on the Real World, Austin, I’d say the chances of that are considerably better than say a Britney Spears-Justin Timberlake romantic reconciliation. Does anyone remember that Tom Cruise-Elizabeth Shue movie Cocktail? It does seem to me that Tom Cruise’s character did find his Katie Holmes at the end of that movie, so maybe this will work for Brad and in a few months we’ll see him jumping on Oprah’s couch telling us that she had him at “Can I steal a hug here? And I really look forward to getting to know you inside.”

Speaking of bars, I do have the feeling that when Melissa lost her non-surgical implants and then insisted on having her one on one time with the Bachelor on the rocks with a twist, Brad had seen that sort of thing before. I admired the way he put it, “She seemed more interested in what she was drinking than me.”

This does bring up one of the more interesting things about Brad. They’re clearly promoting him as the blue collar-regular guy made good Bachelor. After one Harvard guy and two doctors from Duke, they’ve slipped in a rose gifter who pointedly didn’t graduate college. It’s a nice change of pace. I just worry that the good ole boy savant thing is going to wear a little thin. If he starts making references to things his mama told him and how he’s a simple guy lookin’ for a “good” womin, I may have to stop watching.

Until that happens though, I’ll give this installment a chance.

Some quick thoughts:

1) Okay, when I was a teenager I did read the letters to the Penthouse Forum a few times and I remember that whole series of letters from the web-toed women fetishist. Have a nice waddle back to Arizona, Morgan Hoderman!

I’ve heard there’s an outtake of one of the ladies who saw the thing unfold who decided not to show Brad her feathers and atavistic tail. Wait till they do the obligatory hot tub scene and the guy finds out. Btw I did like having Chris ask Brad about some of the stranger behaviors at the party. There’s nothing like a good reaction shot on tv. Imagine if Desi Arnaz got royalties on that, his heirs would be richer than the Waltons.

2) Did he really give the first impression rose to Jenni Croft because she laughs at everything he says? You own four bars. You’re telling me you’ve never seen anyone do that?

I have to say that it’s not exactly a canny dating move to openly dare the Phoenix Suns dancer lady to do her routine in front of the guy. This is way different from Tauni showing him assets that maybe didn’t compare so well to the other ladies there. Basically, Michele, realtor from New Jersey, you don’t invite the other agent to show your client her hottest property listing.

3) When Mallory broke out the bikini was it her idea or did Mike Fleiss suggest it? Who knows and who cares? It made for good tv and to put it in perfectly crude guy terms, she happened to have what it takes to make the play work. No, Brad did not accept her invitation to take his pants off. Btw, that part had to be some producer's idea. I did notice, however, that the guy took off his shoes and socks, rolled up his pants, and got in the water. When I saw that, I didn’t doubt that she was getting at least one rose.

4) Was Juli the one who turned herself into a pretzel? I’m glad they’ve added some twists to the show. Hopefully this will at least get her a gig with Cirque de Soleil.

5) Deanna Pappas may have thought she was at an audition for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. She did come off as quite normal in her one on one time and slipped in the my mother had cancer and died story very smoothly. I started to root for her until she tells Brad post-rose “It’s De Ahhhhna.”

Why do that in front of the camera and let yourself look pretentious?

6) “You’re hotter than a fire extinguisher” seemed like an odd line for a seasoned tv anchor like Jessica Kiss from Florida. I was also surprised to see that she let someone grab her pretend mike before she got to ask Brad her question. No wonder she didn’t get a rose. Didn’t she ever see Michelle Pfeiffer in Up Close and Personal?

7) I liked the idea of giving nurse Hillary Reisinger from Philadelphia a rose. Seriously, having a character named Hillary during an election year is a gift to any half-conscious blogger. If only there had also been a Condoleeza in the group too. They could have had a war break out among the bachelorettes and Condy could have engaged in expert diplomacy that resulted in the first reality television use of biological and nuclear weapons.

8) Lindsey MacClaren, the model, pulled off a smart move by turning the tables and giving Brad a yellow rose. I did sort of wonder how a yellow rose happened to show up at the party, but I’m sure the show has wranglers for that kind of thing. The singing however seemed to turn Brad into Simon Cowell.

9) When you exchange tongues not long after meeting that’s usually a sign of physical chemistry. Still, when Kristy Katzmann the accupuncturist from Illinois managed the feat, I don’t think that’s what most people had in mind. I should mention though that our dog who was sleeping next to the couch did suddenly get interested in the show and began to lick the screen.

10) Did he keep Solisa Shoop, the aesthetician from Georgetown, Texas, just because she was local? Perhaps, he figured she’d be a regular at one of his bars if he lets her stick around for a couple roses. Mrs. Chancelucky did not comment favorably on the way this woman seemed to be her own most frequent customer. btw is this the same woman? If so, I guess we have a reality show crossover star here.

11) About those previews. I look forward to the Medivac thing. I noticed that he did keep one nurse They did appear to be going heavy on the “B” factor this year. Season 10 was a huge ratings success because they got back some sense of romance, something they promised from the beginning. This one mostly seems to promise Brad’s evil twin. It’ll be really interesting to see which way this one turns. Maybe this installment, they’ll have a murder or something. Perhaps OJ can make a guest appearance.

To think, it was just a couple years ago, that ABC’s Monday night schedule was all about a football game. Now it’s Dancing with the Stars and the Bachelor whipping his shirt off and flexing between telling the camera that he just wants to find that one woman to settle down with. Whatever happened to primetime shows for the male dimwit demographic like the A Team and Baywatch (could it be that those viewers are all playing video games now or doing internet porn)? Maybe ABC could get them back with a hybrid show with say Howard Cosell and John Madden narrating future installments of the Bachelor?

“You see her confess to the guy that she’s been married before and has a seven year old?.....Let’s watch the replay on the telestrator. There she goes and Boooom! No rose for you lady.”

No way Howard Cosell says anything as stupid as “Well, you have more than a million dollars though?” then lets the guy say "yes" and go on to say something as absurd as “But, I’m on this show for one reason. I’m looking for a woman who doesn’t care about my money.”

And you think you’re going to find that on Reality TV?

Sirlinksalot bachelor stories

Other Chancelucky Bachelor reviews

other Chancelucky reviews


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Friday, September 21, 2007


How weird! There's been very little in the news about that GAO report from July just before General Petreaus's report that told the story of the disappearing weapons in Iraq. I wrote two posts. The first was about the level of bungling involved. The second considered the possibility that it wasn't DOD bungling at all and suggested that they were getting weapons to terrorist groups who might be hostile to Iran. Now there's this Blackwater story.

If you remember Blackwater's been involved in some very odd stories in Iraq. Most recently their contractors were involved in a gun battle that killed several Iraqi civilians. seems that Blackwater is involved in the covert weapons and some of those weapons likely went to a Kurdish group operating in Turkey. I guess my question is whether or not this is just some employees trying to make a few extra bucks by moving weapons to terrorist groups or is there something even more devious and deeper going on here? I'll be interested to hear Blackwater's side of this story.


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Back and Thanks

Many thanks to the very kind people who read this blog on a regular basis. I very much appreciate your sympathy and support when this blog went involuntarily on vacation for eight days. Dale, Tanya, Pogblog, Pink Fluffy Slippers, Parklife, Benny, Charles, BellaRossa, you all went above and beyond not as fellow bloggers but as friends.
I also want to thank whoever it was at Blogger/Google who helped me to restore it. I have no idea who it was. My blog simply reappeared Thursday night after 3 e-mails and a fax to the legal department. They don't make it easy to contact anyone directly, but obviously someone did help me out.

In the meantime, the enforced vacation was good for me. Despite the fact that there were any number of events in the regular world that seeemed eminently bloggable, I couldn't and didn't. So for a week, there was no OJ, no troop respite vote, no Floyd Landis, etc. I doubt that my not blogging about these topics had any impact on the world at all. Of course, Bachelor 11 starts on Monday and that's a different matter entirely :}.

I did learn that I had come to think of my blog as an extension of my thoughts and thus my mind. It was a document as well both how I get my ideas for stories and how my writing changes over time. At the same time, it was clear to me that I was losing track of a more critical writing goal. I honestly need to have a book to be taken seriously, maybe even an unpublished one. For that reason, I opened a second blog to concentrate on that.

I'm very much here, but I need to slow down a bit with Chancelucky. I need to be less compulsive about news events, etc. I'm going to stop checking my hit counts religiously. I might miss an episode or two of my reality television writing. Even before this happened, I'd determined that I wasn't going to do the pre-final rounds of American Idol this year. Also if Bachelor 11 turns out to be a bore...
Like my former boss Karl Rove, I need the time for other priorities.

Many thanks to all of those you who expressed your concern when Chancelucky turned up on the back of milk cartons. I had backed up the posts that I considered important. One of the odd things was it struck me that the really important items here were actually more personal posts, interaction with many of you, and the flow of the posts themselves. There was something to looking at a month's worth of posts and recalling what I was doing back then.


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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My List of Iconic Events

We were having dinner last night when my daughter and her boyfriend started talking about 9/11. We wound up doing a moment of silence at the dinner table for the victims, but it struck me that 9/11 may be the iconic event for their generation. It’s the moment in time that most any teenager or adult for that matter not only remembers but can tell you what they were doing when the news broke.

I have a lot to say about Petreaus, Crocker, and the proposed troop reduction that isn’t a troop reduction at all, but other than mentioning that it’s like borrowing a hundred bucks, paying it back, and then claiming that you’re now a hundred dollars ahead of where you were nine months and three days ago as opposed to four days ago, I’d rather take the time to talk about it later in the week when I have more time.

So here’s my list of iconic news events in my lifetime.

1) 9/11 I was in Chicago at a grocery store. I thought the woman at the grocery store was talking about a rumor.

2) JFK assassination. I was in school. The teacher announced the news then sent us outside for 10 minutes to “digest” the event.

3) Moon Landing My parents went to play golf. I was home alone and watched it on a black and white television.

4) Fall of Berlin Wall Read about it the day after and saw clips of it on television

5) Tienanmien Square watched news accounts on television, but don’t remember where I was.

6) Nixon Resignation I was at a party at a sailing club in Westport, Connecticut in the midst of driving across America for the first time. The 19 year old hostess brought along a small black and white television so we could watch the speech between glasses of wine.

7) Bush v. Gore I was at home watching the returns well past midnight. I mostly remember being really confused about the Florida call suddenly being reversed and not making sense of all the explanations. One thing I didn’t do was check the tallies on the Internet even though I was already in the custom of checking the net constantly.

8) Beatles on Ed Sullivan I was in my cousins’ living room. I couldn’t figure out what the big deal was and their hair didn’t seem all that long to me. The guys were wearing dinner jackets or something like it or was that the Dave Clark 5?

9) Nelson Mandela released from prison read about it in Time Magazine.

10) Katrina followed photos and clips on the Internet from my office. I sent a hundred dollars to some charity organization and for whatever reason learned Michael Browne’s name.

10 t) Cuban Missile crisis, I remember looking at the air raid shelter provisions in my grandparents’ basement and wondering what it would be like to have to live off all that canned food for more than a month. I do remember seeing the Russian ships turn back on television.

There have probably been several important events that didn’t make my list for various reasons that were far more significant than the items on my list. There are things like the mapping of the human genome, the sale of the first personal computers, the Tsunami in the Pacific that killed hundreds of thousands of people, but they didn’t have the same “impact” of being a day where the world seemed to change. Some events that are critically important in our lives don’t necessarily have a single moment/event that sticks out.

As I look at my list a couple thing stick out. I experienced most of them through television in some form. Even the JFK assassination, I have more tv memories than non tv memories, particularly the Jack Ruby part because we were home from school for a couple days. The second trend seems to be that except for the moon landing, the Berlin Wall, and the Beatles, the rest are all catastrophic. That may just be part of “if it bleeds it leads”, but we do live in scary times. Finally, I’m very light on “international” events.

I’m sure if I thought about it some more, I’d have a different list. I wonder what new items will appear on the list in the next twenty five years or so, assuming that I last that long. So which events did I miss? I do notice that most of the 1980’s and 1990’s are missing. Events like the Iranian hostage crisis just seemed to recede for whatever reason. A lot of them come from my childhood and then the last seven or eight years. Is it me or are those two stretches genuinely different?


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Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Un-Natural (Where have you gone Ricky Ankiel, an online drugstore turns its lonely eyes to you?)

There were two baseball stories that caught the public’s attention this year. Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s major league career home run record and Ricky Ankiel, once a promising pitcher, returned to the majors as a home run hitting outfielder. Both events evoked Babe Ruth who remains the sport’s patron saint. Bonds now holds the two records that people associated with Ruth for more than a generation, the single season home run record (73) and the career home run record. Ankiel’s reinvention echoed Ruth’s own fabled transformation from Hall of Fame level Red Sox pitcher to New York Yankees slugger, a shift so iconic that Bernard Malamud made it the center of his novel The Natural.

For a couple weeks, it appeared that the Bonds and Ankiel stories were supposed to contrast with one another. Despite his numbers, Bonds had sullied the game through his likely use of both steroids and HGH from 1999 to 2004. As he approached Hank Aaron’s 755, the baseball gods were punishing him by having a cloud of flying accusations follow him from stadium to stadium. Even more painful, Bonds’s team was stuck in last place. They had been collectively dragged down by their flawed star’s pursuit of the record. Ankiel’s story was all about how hard work and belief in self had let Ricky Ankiel keep his dream alive. After their world series win last year, the Cardinals had appeared to be cursed. First, manager Tony La Russa had been arrested for drunk driving then pitcher Phil Hancock had died while driving drunk. The team had no performed on the field. Ankiel got called up from the minors, hit nine home runs, and suddenly the team had gotten back into the playoff race. Ankiel’s inspiring story had saved their season. He was the anti-Bonds.

Yesterday, it turns out that Ankiel was linked to eight shipments of HGH in 2004 not long after he had undergone Tommy John surgery. Ankiel and the Cardinals quickly explained that he had a Doctor’s prescription and that HGH was not a banned substance in 2004. As to the facts that he was getting the drug from a shady non-bricks and mortar pharmacy and that HGH doesn’t seem to be the norm for elbow reconstruction surgery, Ankiel and the Cardinals have a whole lot less to say. When asked what other drugs his doctor might have been prescribed, Ankiel’s response was that the information was protected by physician-patient privilege. Nonetheless, every article I saw on the story took pains to mention both the doctor and the fact that baseball had not banned HGH in 2004. The shipments to Ankiel apparently stopped just before MLB started testing for it.

Not a single Ankiel article mentioned the fact that Barry Bonds’s likely use of HGH occurred before 2005.

Will the public turn on Ricky Ankiel as this story unfolds? I don’t know. The game needs heroes and that heroism usually has to take the form of hitting lots of home runs in the middle of a pennant race. Ironically, the Cardinals have the game’s best young home run hitter in Albert Puljos. It’s just that Ankiel’s comeback has been a more riveting story than the fact that no player in history has done more in his first few years in baseball than Puljos

Is the disparate treatment of the Ankiel and Bonds story just a matter of black and white?
It’s possible. Roger Clemens is likely as surly as Barry Bonds yet when Clemens announced his comeback this year at Yankee Stadium it got a standing ovation. The fact that Ankiel is white has likely played some role in his getting sympathetic press both for his return to the majors and with the HGH revelation. Still, I have trouble thinking of Barry Bonds as a civil rights icon. He has Aaron’s record, but Aaron’s own chase had more honor. It’s not the drugs. Aaron was forced to deal with the racism that came with being a black player chasing Ruth’s record less than ten years after the shooting of Martin Luther King. That’s just not part of Bonds’s story arc.

Going way back, Ruth’s home runs rescued baseball from the taint of the Black Sox scandal. The Ricky Ankiel story had promised to help pull the game out of the steroids-HGH scandal. Instead, it was like pulling the game’s head out of the water then dunking it back in. It's that moment in an action movie when someone comes to the rescue forty minutes into the movie only to turn out to be yet another bad guy in disguise.

A couple days ago, I got in a conversation with a couple guys who were doing fantasy baseball leagues. Even though most of my friends would have predicted that I was exactly the sort of person who would have gone for fantasy baseball in a big way, I never have. Anyway, they began talking about a number of their roster coups and it struck me that I didn’t know many of the names anymore. It’s not a shock. Players move from team to team quickly now and there are a lot more teams than there were when I was a kid memorizing the stats pages in the Sporting News for every team in the majors. Knowing every twenty five man roster in baseball is just a much more difficult feat today. The shock about my not recognizing so many baseball names is that I didn’t feel any sadness about it.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Are We Already at War with Iran?

Abd el Malik Regi

At the end of July, the GAO published a relatively short report about the fact that 190,000 assault weapons supposedly intended for Iraqi security forces had simply disappeared back in 2004-2005. Most of the weapons were Kalashnikovs and the deal involved a Moldovan airline that had gotten in trouble in the past for participating in the illegal arms trade. At the time, I commented that the whole operation seemed remarkably inept. For instance, no one from the Department of Defense had even documented the serial numbers on the weapons. It also seemed bizarre. Why would the US have to arm the Iraqi army or police in secret?

Most of the speculation about what happened to the weapons centered on the likelihood that the weapons fell into the hands of Iraqi insurgents. That’s certainly possible and if true, it’s pretty disturbing, but how about an even more disturbing possibility? For the last couple weeks, I’ve been wondering if there’s more going on here. First, the person who should have been on top of this whole deal was David Petreaus who at that time had the responsibility of overseeing the reconstruction of the Iraqi military and police. I know this is the Bush administration, but not long after the Pentagon would have known about this embarrassing chain of events Petreaus got promoted. Second, the whole back channel thing never made sense in the first place.

A couple days ago, I came upon this story about a group called “Jundullah” that operates out of Pakistan. They’ve been operating a small insurgency in Iran already and have been assassinating various Iranian officers and intelligence types.
Perhaps, most significantly their leader claims to have been covertly supported by the United States. By law, the US can not provide direct support to such a group.

There’s also a Kurdish group operating in the South of Iran.

I had mentioned that some of the details of the case of the missing assault weapons sounded strikingly similar to parts of the Iran-Contra scandal. A few of the same people have been involved in both Iran-Contra and Iraq. The incident actually bears an even stronger resemblance to a US project from the eighties, arming the Taliban in Afghanistan along with a fellow known as Osama Bin Laden. I don’t know much about the Jundullah, other than the fact that they also happen to be Islamic militants who the Iranians and Pakistanis have classified as a terrorist group.

In the meantime, the President and Dick Cheney have gotten more and more bellicose with their anit-Iranian rhetoric. Is it possible that 190,000 assault weapons, purchased by the US, that are now supposedly untraceable just happened to find their way to an unofficial war in Iran?

The irrepressible Dick Cheney and the Jundullah Connection

Paul Krugman column on Iran
Joan Ryan Salon column on arming factions in a civil war


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