A Dimm View of Life

Location: Illinois, United States

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Survivor: Cook Islands Wk 2

The series "Survivor" is on it's last legs. This week was a combination of "ho-hum" and "Whoa!".

The producers realized going into this season's "experiment" that they needed to spend more time with the tribes and less with the challenges. In past versions of Survivor, they seperated the reward and immunity challenges. This time, with so many people and four tribes, they needed to spend more camera time introducing these people and showing how they get along.

What we have found is that each tribe has started with one person on the outs. The obvious ones are the Manihiki tribe (African-American) who voted out Sekou last week. They didn't think he worked hard enough (quote: "I need a break!"). This week the Aitukaki tribe (Latino) voted out Billy. They didn't think he worked hard enough (quote: "I'm going to conserve my energy.").

The Rarotonga tribe (Caucasian) is unhappy with Adam. Adam (say it with me now) doesn't want to work hard. Jonathon returned from Exile island unhappy that the floor hadn't been built. Adam complained that he didn't think it was necessary. Even his girlfriend wouldn't back him up. Not a good sign.

However, the Pukapuka tribe (Asian) doesn't seem to have a problem with people working. They do have a problem with Cao Boi telling bad Asian people jokes.

So, after two weeks, I feel that the Pukapuke tribe has the best shot at working their way through the entire event without losing anyone, although Cao Boi will probably go first.

All of this is mildly interesting, but the shocker of the night was when Billy announced during tribal council that he and Candice were in love. Even after watching them say "I Love You" after Aitu threw the challenge, it didn't seem like romance on Candice's part. It sounded like a nice way of saying "Too bad".

So far, with a couple of mild surprises, this edition is more of the same. The ratings are slipping again. The question isn't so much "Who will survive?", but "Will 'Survivor' survive?" It will take more than they are offering now.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

All About Jazz

If you read this blog much at all, you already know that I enjoy jazz. I have written plenty about "Detroit JazzStage" (which has a new podcast available; take a listen when you get a chance) and other favorites. This summer I found a website that is in a truly elite class.

www.allaboutjazz.com is about jazz. Mostly it is about contemporary jazz. If you prefer Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller or even Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, you won't find a lot here. What you will find are the people and places that are making jazz alive today.

When you visit the webisite look over on the right hand side for the "Daily Download". Here you can sample cuts from cd's that are available from some of the brightest artists performing today. They aren't always hot, never-before-heard artists, but you will hear seasoned pros such as Dr. John and Randy Brecker.

What I especially like about the "Daily Download" is that it has such a variety of sounds. I don't choose to download more than one or two per week, but it really gives you a taste of who is performing and what to be watching for in the future.

There are notices of upcoming performances throughout the U.S. There are jazz videos (rock music doesn't hold a monopoly on music videos), music reviews and more.

Sure, it is pretty commercial, but if you give it a chance, and you really love jazz, you can find a lot here you won't find elsewhere.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Survivor: Cook Islands Wk 1

Last night was the first of a new, and much discussed, season of Survivor. Ever since Jeff Probst leaked that tribes were divided by race, people have been fussing, complaining and pulling sponsorships.

Now, lets see if it leads to the true rewards challenge: ratings success.

The first couple shows of the season are always the toughest because you don't know these people. It is interesting that three of the four biggest personalities had difficulties from the start.

The jazz musician, a huge, tough talking, tough thinking fellow was voted out. It figures (I love jazz). He sealed his own demise by stumbling around the island shouting "I need a break!" when the others wanted his help. It would be hard for me to want to keep him around.

The middle-aged white guy was sent to "Exile Island". It figures (I'm a middle-aged white guy). He wasn't very convincing when he told the member of Puka that he didn't know they rescued the chicken from they ocean.

My only disappointment is not seeing them kill and cook the chickens. That would have been interesting.

The roller girl let the chickens loose. That torked off the middle-aged white guy, and probably bothered the others, too. Odds are, if they go to tribal council, roller girl will be the first to go.

"Cowboy" is a vietnamese who appears to have an interesting back story. He was on the winning side, but is so different from his Puka counterparts that he is going to have a rough ride.

My theory at this point is that one tribe will stay together through mergers, etc. through the final four. That won't make for an interesting show, but it is what I am expecting at this point.

Except for practically no discussion of the Cook Islands and very little display of "Exile Island", the show is off to a good start. However, it isn't a great start. On a ten point scale, it started at a seven.

In the meantime, let me know what you think. And let's see what happens next week.