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10/18/05 The Ten Commandments - What They SHOULD Be

12/27 Do You REALLY Want World Peace?

10/15 Support Ribbon Overload Awareness

7/18 The Ultimate Guide to Kissing - Part 2: The First Kiss
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7/7 Part 1: The Bad Ways to Kiss
(A humorous exploration into all the different ways people kiss badly)

4/19 Do You Truly
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3/1 Which Drunk are You?

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Reality TV Crap

Big Brother 5

Let's Psycho-Analyze the BB5 Men

Let's Psycho-Analyze the BB5 Women

BB5 Introduction: Hotties and More Hotties Might be a Bad Thing

BB4 Stroll Down Memory Lane

Survivor All-Stars

Episode 2: It's Good to Know a Hero

All-Stars Preview

Survivor Pearl Islands

Episode 11: Why Not Just Wound Her?

Episode 10: The Problem with Survivor

Episode 4: Annoyance Man in Charge?

Episode 2: Where's Darrah?

Episode 1: The Rupert Show

Survivor Profiles
Burton | Christa | Jon | Michelle
Rupert | Sandra | Shawn | Trish
Andrew | Darrah | Lillian | Nicole
Osten | Ryan O. | Ryan S. | Tijuana

Big Brother 4: Mediocrity and Run-on Sentences

Survivor Amazon
My Survivor Finale Day in the City

Survivor Episode 12: Predictions Revisited -- Readers' Wisdom (and yes, I try again)

Survivor Episode 11: Curious Editing Shift and Complete Final Predictions

Episode 10 Update: The Rob Show - A Surprising Final Four?

Exclusive Interview:
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The Problem with Survivor

My guilt for not having the time to write my Survivor column has gotten to me. I've been thinking about the latest episode, coming up with little things to comment about since last Thursday, writing them down whenever I had a free moment. In fact, for every week I haven't written, I have several started articles that never came to fruition. The pressure is building inside of me, which is exasperated by emails that have changed from, "Where is this week's column?" to "Rob, are you OK? Did something happen to you?"

I Had a Dream...
I just woke up having had a dream about Rupert. (My dreams are often what I call non-dreams. Stuff happens in the dream, but these happenings are of no consequence whatsoever. You'll see what I mean.) Here's the dream:

I don't recall why or how, but Rupert and another woman - a friend or an acquaintance of his, not his wife, maybe even another former survivor, one of those that you recognize but are simply not compelled to give much thought-time to - were at my place for a little get-together. But it wasn't my place - it was a childhood friend's in Missouri, someone I haven't thought about or talked to for over ten years. But Rupert was there indirectly because of me and because of some unknown reason.

Someone else had made dinner, perhaps it was my friend, and as I finished my plate I noticed there was something just a little bland about it. I was hungry, though, so I chomped it down without a thought. I then saw that Rupert and the other lady hardly ate anything and reasoned to myself, they thought it tasted horrible, which was followed by me coming up with excuses in my mind to my friend as to why they thought his cooking sucked.

A short while later, I offered Rupert some of my black walnuts. (I have a black walnut tree that over-produced this year so I actually considered selling some black walnuts on ebay. Right now, I have a bag full of them that I've been munching on for several weeks.) He wasn't entirely enthusiastic about it, but I went to get some anyway. When I reached in the bag, I saw a frog (which I attribute to having read a Junie B. Jones book last night) and a lizard scampering around the walnuts.

I had a feeling that other things could also be in there - the bag was in a dark place and was more like a carry-on luggage bag - I took it outside and dumped it and was quite surprised to also see a black snake rush off through the grass followed by the scampering lizard and the frog hopping away. Reptiles must LOVE black walnuts, I thought.

After going through the motions of cracking the shells and fishing out a nut - it can take a while, he said he liked it but again, he was more polite than really liking the thing. The entire time, in fact, he seemed like he was being nice but really wanted to just be home - or maybe just not THERE.

Then he mentioned how he had a trip planned to Bennington, Vermont, which is just 30 miles away from me. I said, "Oh Rupert. Let's do lunch! There are a LOT of people I know that would love to meet you."

He was not at all enthusiastic about this and said, "I can't have lunch with you. I hardly know you."

To which I really had no response because he was absolutely right.

And that was all I can remember about that dream.

And so now YOU'RE thinking, "What the hell...? That was a waste of time of a dream. Why did Rob spend a whole page blabbing about this nothing dream?"

Ah, therein lies the beauty of my bad self...

If people were forced to say ONLY meaningful things, can you imagine how so few conversations would be had. Most of our day would consist of STARTING to say something before realizing, Oh, that's not meaningful. I was just going to comment how that dog over there looks like that dog on a TV show.

So yes, I've just wasted your time talking about meaningless things. And I must admit, there's more to come. The question is, which is worse: the fact that I blab meaningless crap or that you're somehow compelled to continue reading?

I think it's worse that I blab meaningless crap.

The World Mourns the Loss of Rupert
Anyway, I just read at the New York Post that Survivor fans flooded the CBS switchboard after Rupert was booted off the show. "CBS insiders say over 3,100 calls were logged to the network - with over 2,200 of those from viewers expressing their dismay at Rupert's banishment. The response to Rupert's expulsion from Survivor was the single-largest outpouring of immediate fan angst in the show's history."

I wonder if any of those calls suggested that Survivor needs to change its name. No longer is this a show centered around the difficulties of surviving in a remote location. Not since Survivor Africa have people had to deal with anything other than bugs.

Outwit Outplay Outlast

Bleckh. The problem with this game is that those very people who worked so hard and performed so well during the challenges are marked for eviction as soon as the tribes merge. In other words, those who carried the tribe to the merge are the first to be eliminated.

On the other hand, if you're a lazy-ass and/or if you are perceived to have no athletic skills (mental skills seem to be irrelevant), you are booted before the merge (note Skinny Ryan). So, in order to survive to the merge, you have to work, be athletic, and not be antagonistic. BUT, after the merge, you can't be TOO strong or TOO smart or else you'll be considered a threat to win immunity challenges.

Are there any other games in which the AVERAGE, not the best or worst, but the average, wins? Can you imagine the sportscaster...

"Hey, look at him go! He just scored his tenth goal, struck out the last 13 batters, threw four touchdowns, and scored 45 points in the second half and that's TOO BAD for him! It looks like Sally, fresh off the bench, will be recognized as Most Valuable Player. Great playing, Sally! Not too good, but not too bad, either."

The Problem with Survivor
This is the problem with Survivor. Except for maybe Brian (Survivor Thailand) and Richard (the first Survivor), the person who most deserves to win never wins. It's always dumb luck that the competent people lose and the winner lasts until the end. It's frustrating to watch a show with so much strategy and so much drama only to have the winner decided by dumb luck.

This was my and so many others' thought as they groaned during the last Survivor Finale. I had almost forgotten this until I saw a very frustrated Rupert watch his torch being snuffed.

All you Rupert fans will be glad to know that he's unofficially a part of the All-Star Survivor. Over at, they have the roster.

And it's no secret that I, also, have been a fan of Rupert. All you have to do is read my previous articles and my Rupert profile. What I'll miss more than anything are those moments that he takes to breathe in the beauty of his experience. He is the first person, other than maybe Frank from Survivor Africa, who marveled out loud about how amazing it was to be where he was and be a part of such a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

There are many other things about Rupert that are a breath of fresh air, but that was the first to come to mind. Anything good that comes to Rupert is well-deserved.

Now, since it is almost time for the next Survivor to air, I've decided to add to this column all that I've written last week and end this thing. Yes, I know, this wasn't my usual recap/commentary, but as you'll see, I've been mad-busy.

I do believe I'll have time over the Thanksgiving break to write a real article, so please check back.

Excuses, Excuses...
Yes, it's been a while since I've written my crap.

First of all, I'd like to say that I'm quite honored that there exists people in this world I've never met who take the time to email me if I haven't written. Just to clear a few things up:

Yes, I'm still alive. No, I am not already on location as a next Survivor. No, I have not become a famous writer. Yes, I feel guilty for "letting my fans down." Yes, aliens exist. No I am not one of them nor have I been abducted and anal probed.

I have basically 2 excuses for not writing: 1) I'm a dolt and 2) I've been playing a lot of music.

Excuse 1: Doltness
Twice, not once, but twice I screwed up and didn't record the show. I forgot about changing the clock on my VCR for daylight savings and when electricity went out after a storm. Yes, I know, I should get a TIVO or some other digital recorder, but I'm just too cheap for that.

Yes, I know, in the past I've written articles even though I didn't see the episode. Some of you may recall this one from Survivor Thailand where I made up crap for the first half-hour because I was a dolt. Others may recall my A Fantasy Episode article in which I made up an entire episode out of boredom because Survivor Thailand was a complete yawner. I am particularly proud of the Michelangelo plugging Visa picture I discovered.

Maybe in the future I'll make up crap if I screw up again, but don't count on it. It's kind of fun doing it, I must admit.

Excuse 2: Music
There are two things I believe I was born to do - things that I recall doing at a very young age. These are writing and playing drums. I remember in just 1st or 2nd grade trying to write funny stories that involved the dumb sidekick. And I clearly remember creating a drum set out of various items before kindergarten and actually playing mildly structured music.

I have returned to playing drums. After a several-year lapse, I am once again playing out. I am also giving lessons on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, so when I forget to set the VCR I am forced to read other sites to see what happened.

I'm playing in two bands - a blues/funk band called MothersMilk consisting of some of most talented musicians I have ever played with and Ten Ton Goldfish, a modern rock group that attracts the crowds and the babes in the front who flirt with the lead singer. If you happen to live near Western Massachusetts, check out the website for a schedule of gigs - we're playing almost every weekend.

If you go, you must introduce yourself to me. We'll chat and have a good 'ole time.

You should also check out the Ten Ton Goldfish website for pictures, old arcade games, and whatever else the lead singer puts on the site. He's a website designer that actually knows what he's doing. And he came up with the logo that's pretty dang funny.

In addition to doltness and playing drums, I've been working, writing other crap, hypnotizing people, and socializing a bit more than my reclusive self usually does. But I do apologize for my lapse.

Ok, enough of that. You're not here to read about my personal life (I think). Let's discuss Survivor...

So, what did I miss?

Outcasts Return
I missed two major events. The first was the biggest twist, yet. They brought back the first six outcasts to compete in a challenge against the other two tribes. Whichever tribe they beat in the challenge, they got to replace one member. Since they beat both tribes, the Outcasts got to vote back in two members, who turned out to be Burton and Lill.

The Outcasts returned with revenge on their minds and one goal in sight: to have the winner be one of them. They chose wisely in Burton and Lill. Burton was a good choice because he's both smart and strong. Lill was a good choice because she'll be able to fly under the radar and come across like a crazy old lady who wears a boy scout uniform who, before they realize it, is somehow in the Final Three.

The First Quitter
The second major event was actually more of a major disappointment. Remember when those in Survivor Africa had nothing but boiled elephant toilet water to drink and had to live inside a little dusty protected-from-the-wild-animals circle with absolutely no shade in 110+ degree weather and nothing but a handful of mushy corn meal to eat per day? (This sounds like exaggeration, but it's not.)

Well, this time around, the Survivors enjoyed a vacation island lifestyle with plenty of water and food whose greatest difficulty is to endure chilly nights. (Why didn't they redesign their shelter for better warmth at night? And I wonder if he would've stuck it out had he not sold all his clothes except for a pair of boxers on that first day in the village...?)

Even before this now infamous action, a certain individual had earned the following name from me: Wimp-Ass-I-Am-SO-Going-To-Die-From-Pneumonia-Blows-All-The-Challenges-Even-With-All-His-Muscles boy.

(And I just realized for the first time that I added "boy" at the end. This was not meant as a racial/slavery thing. I've been adding either boy or man or girl or woman behind each nickname sort of in the super hero naming thing and since Osten comes across more of a youth than a man... well, I hope you get the point. I thought I'd put out that fire before getting a mess of racist-charging emails.

And doesn't it suck that I even have to worry about stupid crap like that?)

The reason why I mentioned Survivor Africa is because those people really subjected their bodies to potential harm. And can you imagine this guy dealing with the rats in the first Survivor or the starvation of Survivor 2? Wimp-Ass-I-Am-SO-Going-To-Die-From-Pneumonia-Perfect-Mind-Over-Matter-Example boy would've been asking to go before the first challenge.

Long before asking for his torch to be snuffed (did you see how completely annoyed Mr. Jeff Probst was?), Wimp-Ass-I-Am-SO-Going-To-Die-From-Pneumonia-Perfect-Mind-Over-Matter-Example boy had already proven himself a quitter many times over. There was the swimming challenge when he cried out for help as though he were drowning. Another challenge pitted him against Rupert in a test of will and strength. These are just two examples.

The bottom line is that any time something required a win-at-all-costs mental attitude, he lost.

There are some people who are driven, who have that fire in them to excel, to be the best, to succeed at all costs. Here was someone chosen out of tens of thousands of people to experience the thrill of Survivor and what does he say in a weak attempt to justify his actions, "My health is more important than a million dollars."

Yes, there were things that were edited out -- things that would've indicated he was in worse condition than we thought. But you know... so what.

How many single mothers (and fathers) carry on and care for their children despite being painfully sick? How many people go to work while experiencing debilitating pain because they need the money? People survive. People rise up to challenges. People deal and people do what it takes.

Recall my profile that I wrote before Survivor started. Quote:

"I have a few concerns about him, though. He's worked several jobs, none of which require a degree. It says he has an Associates Degree and "went on to study..." This means that he went to college and dropped out (or flunked out) before he was able to graduate. He likes boozing with the fellas and working out.

My concern is I wonder if he will have the drive to day-in-and-day-out work on the shelter and obtain food. My gut feeling is that he will work hard for a while, but be very willing to take a break if the option comes up."

Boy did I underestimate things! Be very willing to take a break? How about, "... be very willing to quit when things get a little uncomfortable."

For Prince Andrew and his other teammates to not see this and NOT vote him out given the several chances they had, they deserve to lose this game. (Lil' wanted him out, though.) In Joan of Arcadia (my new favorite show), "God" said something on these lines, "It's not what you DID, but what you do NEXT that's truly important."

Tribe Idiot (aka Morgan) chose poorly after Wimp-Ass blew challenge after challenge. None of them deserve to win and so it's kind of neat to see them voted out one-by-one. (Lill doesn't count and I happen to like Tijuana for some reason I can't put my finger on. I expect to see Darrah gone pretty soon due to trust issues. Also, does she ever speak more than a half-sentence at a time? So far, we've seen so little of her in every way. Here's a picture of a major Darrah highlight.)

I was half-expecting this show to be a wake-up call for Wimp-Ass -- to maybe refocus him on what HE will do next. I HALF-expected him to proclaim during the post-quitting interviews that he now kicks himself for doing what he did, but I hear that he STILL believes his reasons for quitting were justified.

Show me a person who quits during the difficult times and I'll show you a person destined for mediocrity at best.

Ok, enough of that. What else happened while I was away?

Tribes Merged/Alliance-Forming Flourishes
So now the tribes are merged and the alliance-forming and alliance-breaking is just going nuts. What sets this group of people apart is that their scheming and their planning seems to be done rather intelligently. Each little group has excellent reasons for their actions.

The last Survivor consisted of a bunch of non-memorable people who ended up creating what could be called the most interesting Survivor ever (except for the lame end). Alliances switched every few days it seemed (thanks to Rob, someone even Jeff Probst said played the game possibly better than anyone) and so each week we weren't really sure what was going to happen and each week usually consisted of something interesting or intriguing.

THIS Survivor has that same unpredictability BUT with a cast of interesting people. Of course, it can be argued that this is mostly due to Rupert, but hey, if one person happens to make everyone a little more interesting, then so be it.

Burton and Lill
Here are two people that have turned out to be rather interesting, as well. On paper (that is, before the show started), these two were extremely qualified and skilled for this game. But then, Lillian turned out to be a little naïve and mildly nutty with that boy scout thing. And Burton, thanks to his super-bland though far-less-talented-in-every-regard tribe-mate (recall my name for them: One-of-Two-Dark-Haired-Immature-But-Good-Looking-Zero-Unique-Qualities man) came across as mostly empty.

But these two have returned with vengeance in their eyes. Lill, although with admitted difficulty, has finally jumped into the ring to really play this game to win. She was heard during this last episode saying something quite wise to Burton, "You can make me out to be the crazy lady..."

How many times has the older, crazy lady made it to the final three on Survivor? Enough times for it to be an excellent strategy.

And Burton seems to be demonstrating some of his prestigious-school MBA people-skills. (At first he totally came across so very fraternity immature.) Unfortunately for him, he is still seen as smarter than everyone else (he probably is now that Prince Andrew is gone) and the biggest physical threat. If he makes the right alliances, he may make it as far as his secret partner not-so-crazy-woman Lillian.

The Big Secret
Sorry, folks. I have no idea what the big secret is going to be. Supposedly it's happening on this special Wednesday night before Thanksgiving episode.

I also heard that Jeff Probst screws up during the immunity challenge and awards it to the wrong person.

Should be interesting!

I found the following in John Powell's article over at Jam! Showbiz. (This article discussed "The Big Lie" in detail.)

I've heard only wonderful things about Jenna's mother. It is very unfortunate when someone like this is taken away from our world.

Carla Morasco
In more serious 'Survivor' news, Carla Morasca, the mother of 'Survivor: The Amazon' winner Jenna Morasca died on November 19th at the age of 48. In the series, Jenna had mentioned her mother's battle with cancer several times. Morasca has been listed by several sites as a participant on the 'Survivor All-Stars' edition which began filming during the week of November 3rd in the Pearl Islands of Panama. The Morasca family is suggesting that memorial donations be made to The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, P. O. Box 650309, Dallas, TX 75265.

I have nothing else to add. My sympathies go out to anyone touched by this person.

Want Survivor profiles?
Click on the Survivor's picture to go to their Info and Discussion Page.

Burton Profile Christa Profile Jon Profile Michelle Profile Rupert Profile Sandra Profile Shawn Profile Trish Profile Andrew Profile Darrah Profile Lillian Profile Nicole Profile Osten Profile Ryan O Profile Ryan S Profile Tijuana Profile

Check out my Survivor Index Page for Survivor links and all the articles I've written in the past.

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