I'm often been asked to explain why I, a dedicated writer of fiction, love reality television -- as shallow and silly as it often is -- so much. Tonight, thanks to Hell's Kitchen and Gordon Ramsey, I have a perfect answer to that question.
Before I go into the full details, it should be understood that I am notoriously unlucky when it comes to gambling. Indeed, when I was a student at the University of North Texas, I had the well-deserved reputation of being absolutely the worst poker player in Denton, Texas. Over the course of many nights filled with booze, cigarettes, and cards, I can claim to have maybe one out of close to a thousands hands of poker.
It's not that I couldn't be a good poker player. I actually have quite a good poker face. Unfortunately, I also have an attention span that, on a good night, can be stretched to a good two minutes. Hence, if everyone folded in the first two minutes, I had a good chance of winning the hand. However, if they held out for two minutes and one second than I would inevitably end up getting distracted and let my guard down.
Never a good thing when you're trying to manipulate chance.
However, tonight, my luck changed. Minutes before the latest episode of Hell's Kitchen started tonight, I made a $100 bet with my good friend, the lovely and talented Lisa Bowman.
The bet was that 1) Eddie (the short guy with the bad kidney) would be eliminated on tonight's episode and that 2) after kicking him out of the kitchen, Ramsey would comment that Eddie "had a big heart." In order for me to win, both of these things had to happen. If Eddie had simply gotten kicked off without being described as "having a big heart," I would have lost the bet. If Ramsey had commented that Eddie had a "big heart" and then kicked someone else (Aaron, for instance) off the show, I would have lost the bet.
(Hi, Lisa here. I'd just like to clarify that this alleged "bet" boils down to Jeff, out of nowhere, going "Hundred bucks that the little guy goes tonight and Chef Ramsey says he has a big heart!" At no point did I agree to pay anything.)
For a while, I have to admit that things looked a bit iffy. Even though Eddie was having a bad night, Aaron was having an even worse night. Actually, all the male competitors had a pretty bad night on this latest episode and as the show came to a close, I was already making sure I had my ATM card with me so that I could pay up as soon as the credits started to roll.
And then -- a glimmer of hope. Ramsey announced that he was kicking Eddie off the show.
We were halfway there.
As Eddie walked off the set, we were treated to several talking head interviews with the other chefs. As the other chefs swore that they were going to make it to the end and talked about how everyone else was out to get them, my own big heart started to sink. Eddie was gone and Ramsey had yet to say--
Then, 30 seconds before the show ended, I heard it. Ramsey, with his permanently stressed English accented voice, said, "Eddie had a big heart...!"
I shouted, "THAT'S RIGHT, BABY!"
(Yes, Jeff actually did do this. *SIGH* -- Lisa)
Finally, I can claim to have won a bet.
How did I win both parts of this bet?
How did I know that Ramsey would refer to Eddie as having "a big heart?" One of the first things you discover after watching enough reality television is that any participant with a physical disability -- especially if the result of said disability is a small stature -- will be said to have "a big heart." It's what one says when one can't think of anything good to say about someone that, for whatever reason, they're not comfortable criticizing personally. It was true for Charla in the Amazing Race and it was true for Eddie tonight on Hell's Kitchen.
How did I know Eddie would be the one to be eliminated?
That was pure, dumb luck.
Sometimes, things just work out.
(Love ya but there's no way I'm giving you a hundred dollars.)
After posting my obituary of former U.S. Sen. Thomas Eagleton, I received an e-mail from Gary Sauter concerning an encounter that he and his wife, Pat, had with Eagleton the day that his "mental health issues" first became public knowledge. It's a really great story that says a lot about both the pressure Eagleton was under and the way he handled it. At the very least, it reminds us that before he became a national news story, Tom Eagleton -- like all politicians -- was a human being. I asked Gary if I could reprint his story on this blog and he was nice enough to agree. So, without further ado, I'll hand things over to Gary Sauter:
I was a young union organizer attending the Retail Clerks International Assoc convention in Hawaii when Eagleton got the news that his supposed health problems were going public. He walked out of the Hawaiian Hilton Village Hotel in his bathing suit, heading for the beach with a hundred reporters in suits close behind. My wife and I were standing at the water's edge in our bathing suits, when he walked past us, grabbing my wife by the hand and said "lets go swimming"! Off they went into the water with the press in tow, shouting at him and her, up to their waist in the ocean. He and Pat kept walking until the sharks gave up....what a sight. That photo was in either Life, Look or Time. I always admired him for that move. A clever way to avoid the press and get some sun at the same time....Gary Sauter
(A quick bio of Gary Sauter: retired Executive Vice President, United Food and Commercial Worker, International Union....wife: Pat Caple Sauter)
A person going by the name of TR made some pretty good comments regarding my earlier post on Jim Gilmore. For the most part, his comments pretty much repudiated all of my concerns but, seeing as I actually do think that Jim Gilmore could be an interesting dark horse in this race, I really can't complain.
I think his comments are worth repeating in their own separate post so here they are:
As stated earlier, my attempts to come across as any sort of expert on sports should always be approached with a certain amount of caution. For evidence of this, one need only witness my declaration that the Colts lost the AFC Championship that they actually managed to win. If that doesn't convince you, consider this. I thought Vinny Testaverde would be just what the Cowboysneeded. I begin every football season telling people that this is the year that the Houston Texans are finally going to get it together. Like I said, I am not a sports expert.
So, my opinions on the Bears/Colt Super Bowl would be pretty much worthless. (I like the Colts, by the way.) However, how can I let the month pass without providing some sort of analysis of the unofficial holiday that is Super Bowl weekend?
Well, luckily, someone else has stepped up to provide that analysis. I've known Matt Raymond since our senior year of high school and, as the editor of The Pages of Babel (the Richardson High School literary magazine), Matt was actually the first person to ever publish me. (He published three of my short stories to be exact -- Venus Rising, A Night in the Life of Warren Aackland, and Mowing The Lawn.) So, without further ado, I present this blog's first guest poster, Matthew Talmadge Raymond and his thoughts on the Super Bowl....
(And by the way, next year it's all going to be about the Houston Texans. Mark my words...)
Somewhat Stream-of-Conscious Game Analysis Provided By Matt Raymond Bears vs. Colts - Looks pretty good on paper. Not much to say about this game that hasn't already been said. And will be said again over the next week. Bears were the NFC #1 seed. Evidently, deservedly so. Bears have a really good defense, and the Colts have a really good offense. Colts defense has been playing much better in the playoffs, probably because they actually care now. And it ain't all Bob Sanders. He can't make *that* much of a difference, especially since he played in Week 1-4, and the Colts run defense was crap then too. Most things I've read have highlighted the Urlacher vs. Manning angle, which could actually be a fun match up to watch, despite the hype.
Grossman probably needs to play better than Dilfer did for the Ravens in 2000, because the Bears' defense isn't as good as the Ravens was. Were I the Bears, I'd give the Colts "a heapin' helping" of Benson/Jones. With a little extra Jones. I'd also man-handle Colts WR M. Harrison, as he seems to have lost a step, and isn't nearly as reliable as he used to be. Manning needs to play average Peyton Manning football, and, if so, that will probably be about three times better than Grossman.
Colts also have the best clutch kicker in the game, perhaps in the history of the sport. Bears kicker is solid, too. And, as I'm seeing this game being relatively low scoring and close, the kicking game could be the difference.
Position Analysis: QB - Colts RBs - Bears WRs - Colts TEs - Colts K - Colts DL - Bears (D. Freeney is so overrated) LB - Bears (Urlacher is not overrated, and L. Briggs is way underrated) CB - Even (Don't really know much about either team's CBs) Advantage: Colts Colts: 20 Bears: 17 And for what (very little) it's worth, I picked the Colts to win the Super Bowl before this season started. Of course, I picked them to beat the Panthers.