Hello, and welcome to the Phile. Last Monday, on October 23rd, it was Jen and my 9th anniversary. That's nine years she had to put up with me as a husband. Poor thing. She has never let me down, even though I let her down a ton of times. Last year Jen and her niece Spring went to see Keith Urban in concert on our anniversary. This year they checked into a drug and alcohol center in Nashville. Country-singer Keith Urban checked himself into a rehab center last week for drinking problems. While he's there he's going to record a cover of 'I Drink Alone'. There are now 300 million people in the United States. That either means we are a strong democracy or we have a poor border patrol. Kim Jung Il is reportedly ecstatic about North Korea’s successful nuclear test. He’s feeling five feet tall! He’s a strange guy. What’s up with the pompadour? He looks like Wayne Newton and William Hung had a kid. Florida Congressman Mark Foley has completed one week of his rehab. He has gone seven days without a page. The Army has changed their slogan from "Army of One” to "Army: Strong”. A number of other countries have done the same. India is now "We fix more computer by 9:00 AM than most do all day.” Switzerland is "See what a pocket knife, scissors, corkscrew and little nail file can do for you.” Morocco, "Less talk, more rocco!” And Cuba, "Invading America one raft at a time.” President Bush is working hard on the Iraq situation. Today he told the Iraqi people to "get governing”. Then he went on to introduce his new speech writer, Larry the Cable Guy. Major League Baseball has announced a formal investigation into Barry Bonds alleged steroid use. The investigation will involve looking at a photograph of Barry Bonds. Isn’t politics just horrible these days? People are now saying that Hillary Clinton has spent millions of dollars on plastic surgery. She’s so good looking now that her husband hit on her by accident last night. O.J. Simpson is writing a novel. Things are going good so far. He’s agreed to meet at a Barnes and Noble for a book stabbing. There is an initiative in the state of Nevada to legalize small amounts of marijuana. This is the first time marijuana and initiative has appeared in the same sentence. And finally, a recent study has found that teenagers use text messaging on average of 110 times per week. 80 of them from Mark Foley.
WHEN YOU'RE A CELEBRITY, ADIOS REALITY
With no football to delay the start of The Amazing Race 10 this week, the action began on time as the teams headed for Kuwait, site of one of the race sightings from last summer. Highlights from the actual episode: The route information was not a piece of paper, but a Nokia phone that had a videotaped message of Phil on it. Trying to get tickets to fly to Kuwait, Peter told a travel agent, “We need help very quickly — a medical emergency for her leg.” Sarah didn’t object, and I guess she can use her disability in any way she’d like; I just wish she’d use her artificial leg to kick Peter in the peter. Also at the travel agency, the blondes played the Miss America card, trying to get faster service by flaunting their titles. At a challenge in Kuwait City, Peter told Sarah, “I think you climb here.” I’m super-impressed by Sarah’s abilities, but don’t you think it’d be a better idea for the guy with two non-leaking, non-artificial legs to climb up the side of one of the Kuwait Towers? If that happened, though, Peter wouldn’t be able to sit on his ass and scream obnoxious things at Sarah such as, “the bionic spider woman!” In 10 seasons, there haven’t been an act of altruism such as there was in this episode. Of course, that’s because this is a race, not Boy Scouts. But I digress. “The Cho brothers,” Mary explained, put the whole race on the line for us.” They did so by stalling the other teams and thus allowing David and Mary to go for the Fast Forward, and thus arrive at the pit stop first, avoiding their Marked for Elimination penalty. Why the hell would the Cho brothers do such a thing? “We wanted to play a certain way, and they’ve been good friends, so, we want to keep them in as long as possible,” Erwin explained. “It’s a bit of a risk for us since we’re now last; hopefully we won’t be eliminated for it.” Fortunately, they weren’t; they didn’t even come in last place. At the Fast Forward, Mary prepared to approach a (mock) burning oil well to retrieve the Fast Forward, and all she had on her mind was fame. “I’m nervous. I’m scared to death. But maybe Steven Seagal will see me and want me to be on one of his movies,” she said. That movie will be called Under Seige 3: In a Car with Coalminer and Wife. Explaining the Detour task, Phil said, “Teams choose one of these robotic jockeys and attach it to a camel. Using a voice-activated remote control, which causes the jockey to lightly whip the camel, they must drive it to the end of a 140 yard track.” How many times do you think Phil had to deliver those lines before he did so without laughing? And by the way, the word “lightly” was clearly added to appease PETA and friends. Because, in all fairness, the robotic jockey’s whip was basically a weed whacker attached to the camel’s back. David and Mary, Marked for Elimination, checked in first, and even won a prize. Of course, they did so thanks to the Fast Forward and the help of their friends. Since one of the two Fast Forwards was on the leg following the non-elimination leg, it sort of seems like the producers have largely given up on the non-elimination leg, and that’s okay with me. Even a 30-minute penalty isn’t that severe, as we’ve seen many teams survive those over the years. Peter is a douchebag and a bad liar. Trying to hide the fact that they’d found the clue, he told another team, “We have to move our car; we’re illegally parked.” Last week’s episode had a series of those false cliffhangers. This week, the editors played with the expectation of those, and it totally worked. Before the break, Peter and Sarah were lost, but accidentally saw a race flag. “I’m so glad I saw that,” Peter said in his smug-ass way. After the break, though, they realized they’d stumbled on the already taken Fast Forward, not the task. Ha! One of the reasons why I’m liking this season is that the assumed underdogs are coming out ahead. Tyler and James checked in second-to-last, again, while David and Mary were first, followed by the other “weaker” teams. Peter and Sarah were finally put out of their misery, and each indicated their relationship is over. Sarah was harsh, saying Peter “isn’t a very nurturing or kind individual.” I kind of hoped for a Biggest Loser-style update: Where are they now? “He’s not the person for me,” Sarah said. But did they get back together? Has he begun shouting Successories at another legless person?
And now for a new feature of the Phile I like to call...
UNFORTUNATE STAR WARS COSTUMES
Sure, Darth Maul. Sure, you're going to master the lightsaber. Just like you said you were going to master the guitar and now it just sits there in the living room gathering dust. The only thing you ever mastered was a box of Twinkies.
TODAY IN HISTORY
1440: Gilles de Rais, one of the wealthiest noblemen in France, is executed for heresy after he is found to have engaged in the kidnap, sodomization, and murder of 200 young boys from the lower classes. Rais enjoyed masturbating on the stomachs of the boys as they suffered excruciating deaths, sometimes also enjoying necrophilia with their corpses. 1944: Vice President Harry S Truman publicly denies ever having been a member of the Ku Klux Klan. 1970: Political comic strip Doonesbury appears in newspapers for the first time. Garry Trudeau's creation confused newspaper editors: Does it belong in the funny pages or the editorial section? 1979: Kim Jae Kyu, director of South Korea's central intelligence agency, "accidentally" shoots President Park Chung Hee to death, also killing Park's bodyguard. Park had been president (dictator, effectively) since 1961. Kim is executed the following May for his attempted coup d'etat. 1984: The newborn "Baby Fae" is given the heart of a baboon, in an operation performed by Dr. Leonard Bailey in Loma Linda, California. She lasts 21 days. 1984: 19-year-old John D. McCollum kills himself with a .22 caliber handgun after spending the day listening to Ozzy Osbourne records. One year later, McCollum's parents file suit against Ozzy and CBS Records, alleging that the song "Suicide Solution" from the album Blizzard of Ozz contributed to their son's death. Except that the song's subject was quite plainly alcohol addiction. The case is eventually thrown out of court. 1991: 33-year-old insurance agent Lori Keevil-Matthews visits an outdoor art project installed by Christo. 1,760 yellow umbrellas were scattered along the ridge line of the Tejon Pass, near Interstate 5 in Southern California. Then a freak 40 mph gust suddenly picks up a 485-pound umbrella, slamming the spectator against a boulder. She dies on the scene. 1997: During a 1,500-person tug-of-war contest in Taipei the rope snaps, suddenly amputating the left arms of Chen Ming-kuo and Yang Chung-ming. The two men had wrapped the rope around their left biceps [big mistake] Both arms are successfully reattached. 1997: Basketball great Charles Barkley is charged with aggravated battery and resisting arrest after throwing 20-year-old man Jorge Lugo through a plate glass window in an Orlando, Florida dance club. Barkley later tells reporters: "I regret we weren't on a higher floor." 2002: After pumping an aerosol form of the fast-acting anesthetic Fentanyl Citrate into the air, Russian special forces raid the Palace of Culture of the Podshipnikov Zavod. Three days prior, Chechen terrorists captured 750 audience members inside the Moscow theater. The gas kills 116 captives. About fifty terrorists are slain as well, primarily from summary execution (close-range pistol shots to the head).
I COME FROM A NATION OF SHOPKEEPERS
Daddy's Little Poledancer: Tesco has been forced to remove a pole-dancing kit from the toys and games section of its website after it was accused of "destroying children's innocence". The Tesco Direct site advertises the kit with the words, "Unleash the sex kitten inside...simply extend the Peekaboo pole inside the tube, slip on the sexy tunes and away you go! "Soon you'll be flaunting it to the world and earning a fortune in Peekaboo Dance Dollars". The £49.97 kit comprises a chrome pole extendible to 8ft 6ins, a 'sexy dance garter' and a DVD demonstrating suggestive dance moves. The kit, condemned as 'extremely dangerous' by family campaigners yesterday, was discovered by mother of two Karen Gallimore who was searching for Christmas gifts for her two daughters, Laura 10, and Sarah, 11. Mrs Gallimore, 33, of Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, said yesterday: "I'm no prude, but any children can go on there and see it. It's just not on." Dr Adrian Rogers, of family campaigning group Family Focus said yesterday that the kit would "destroy children's lives". He said: "Tesco is Britain's number one chain, this is extremely dangerous. It is an open invitation to turn the youngest children on to sexual behaviour. "This will be sold to four, five and six-year olds. This is a most dangerous toy that will contribute towards destroying children's innocence." He added: "Children are being encouraged to dance round a pole which is interpreted in the adult world as a phallic symbol. "It ought to be stopped, it really requires the intervention of members of Parliament. This should only be available to the most depraved people who want to corrupt their children." Tesco today agreed to remove the product from the Toy section of the site, but said it will remain on sale as a Fitness Accessory, despite the fact that the product description invites users to "unleash the sex kitten inside". Also on sale on the Tesco website is a strip poker game, "Peekaboo Poker" which is illustrated by a picture of a reclining woman in underwear. The card game is is described as a game that "risks the risque and brings a whole lot of naughtiness to the table. "Played with a unique pack of Peekaboo Boy and Girl playing cards, the aim of the game is to win as many Peekaboo chips as possible and turn them into outrageously naughty fun." The pole dance kit is the latest item to fuel allegations that major retailers increasingly sell products which "sexualise" young children such as T-shirts with suggestive messages. In recent years Asda was forced to remove from sale pink and black lace lingerie, including a push-up bra to girls as young as nine. Next had to remove t-shirts on sale for girls as young as six with the slogan "so many boys, so little time." And BHS and others came under fire for selling padded bras embellished with a "Little Miss Naughty" logo and t-shirts with a Playboy-style bunny that said "I love boys...They are stupid." Tesco last night denied the pole dancing kit was sexually oriented and said it was clearly marked for "adult use". A spokesman added: "Pole dancing is an increasing exercise craze. This item is for people who want to improve their fitness and have fun at the same time."
Two cows were standing in a field when one goes, "Mooo." The other replies, "Damn, I was just about say that."
An 80-year-old woman was arrested for shoplifting. When she went before the judge, he asked her, "What did you steal?" She replied, "A can of peaches." The judge asked her why she had stolen them and she replied that she was hungry. The judge then asked her how many peaches were in the can. She replied six. The judge then said, "I will give you six days in jail." Just as the judge was about to use his gavel, the woman's husbandspoke up and asked the judge if he could say something. The judge said, "What is it?" The husband said, "She also stole a can of peas."
Lost: ABC's hit series Lost will return for the second half of its third season on Feb. 7, after a 13-week hiatus; it will then run without repeats until the end of the season. Lost is currently airing six original episodes and will then take a break after the Nov. 8 episode, to be replaced by the SF series Day Break in the Wednesday 9 p.m. timeslot, starting Nov. 15. The two-part season is designed to avoid last season's midseason reruns. When Lost returns in February, it will have 16 weeks of uninterrupted episodes. Heroes: Tim Kring, creator and executive producer of NBC's hit series Heroes, said that audiences can expect the show's superpowered characters to start joining forces and working as a team in upcoming episodes. "As their destiny starts to sort of become intermingled with one another, yes, they have to form this sort of alliance with one another," Kring said in a conference call with journalists on Oct. 11. "And then, in a sense, join with each other in order to figure out what's going on. Every character has sort of a tiny piece of the puzzle. So the puzzle gets put together by the characters coming together." Rather than continuing to focus on the individual storylines of the large cast of characters, Kring said that Heroes will gradually integrate the threads into a single overarching story. "If you sort of look at it as kind of a funnel, it starts wide and starts to narrow," he said. "As these characters start to cross paths, you no longer have to tell eight stories. You can tell four stories or three stories. So there is a natural progression that's allowing us to tell less and less scattered stories." Kring confirmed that the heroes will find a common enemy in the mysterious serial killer known as Sylar, who Kring called the "major villain" of the first season. Though the identity of Sylar hasn't been revealed, he may be someone that viewers have already met. "We're going to leave some of the answers to that vague, because I really want the audience to be surprised when we do introduce the character." Kring said. "I know there is speculation that the character is somebody that is among the characters already, and I'm comfortable with that speculation. And I kind of don't want to give it away." Heroes airs Mondays at 9 p.m. PT/ET.
X-rays from Central Prison in Raleigh, N.C., show items such as bed springs and batteries that prisoners swallowed to gain trips to outside hospitals.