gambitch - now available in blue Our constant efforts to reinvent ourselves reveal how much we fear our own images.
Friday, June 20, 2003
Without wasting time, here's the lowdown on the fourth leg.
Steve and Josh were eliminated. I would almost add 'finally' to that, but to be fair, they tried very hard and were undone by a whole lot of bad luck and a couple of wrong calls. They lost the early lead they earned from the previous leg thanks to choosing to save money over time, and so got held up at the train station rather than choose to take the taxi straight to the airport. And then there's that wrong turn in Marseilles that got them on a highway where they could not make any U-turn for miles. It was sad to see them go, really, but the father-and-son team just could not see it out.
As for Steve and Dave, they get to breathe again thanks to Steve and Josh's mistake, but sure as hell did they overcome most of the damage they got from previous legs. You have to give them that much for their grit. Would they outdo the Gutsy Grannies two seasons ago? I wouldn't bet against that possibility the way these folks are playing. Their patience could see them go a long way.
The trailers suggest there will be even more of a bust-up between the two blonde chicks, so maybe they will finally capitulate in the fifth leg in Amsterdam. Curiously enough, though, five whole legs revolving around Europe? I was not expecting the war on Iraq to create such serious travel problems in both Africa and Latin America. And at the rate these people are going, how were they planning to fly through to Asia without entering the conflict zone?
In other incidents, Reichen and Chip were waylaid twice, first when they accidentally booked business class planes to Paris, and realized their mistakes in time to miss their flight altogether. Then, they made the mistake of not looking for a proper parking lot, and so ran two miles deep into a path that did not lead to any cluebox. They should have just kept on making mistakes like these. Couple that with their anti-social attitude, and it'll only be a matter of time before they become more hated than Team Guido.
Monica and Sheree are also holding on well. They are really proving to be quite a surprise package. Maybe they will last right through to the seventh leg, the way things are going.
In summary, then, here is the Race after four legs:
Eliminated: Debra and Steve, Amanda and Chris, Russell and Cindy, Steve and Josh.
Holding Fast Forward: Jon and Al, Millie and Chuck, Reichen and Chip, David and Jeff, Kelly and Jon.
Used Fast Forward and still alive: Tian and Jaree, Monica and Sheree, Steve and Dave.
gambitch's favourites for Final Three: David and Jeff, Jon and Al, Millie and Chuck.
If you disagree with me, comments are most welcome. gambitch [
Sharp-eyed readers out there would notice that I have not been commenting on the past two legs of The Amazing Race 4. This post would aim to make up for that.
The important news first: Amanda and Chris were eliminated in the second leg, while Russell and Cindy followed them in the third. The early elimination of Amanda and Chris was a slight surprise, but given the extremely difficult time Chris had at the masque party, you couldn't have too many complaints over it. Monica and Sheree really ran into a good bit of luck to stay alive in the race at their expense, but since then the NFL wives have been doing very well. They finished second or third in the third leg at Austria, if my memory serves me correctly.
As for Russell and Cindy, they have been a bit of an unknown quantity for much of the race so far. They seem to have problems with directions and luck, because these were the same people who got lost in the mountains back at Cortina when they refused to get a cab in the wee hours of the morning, and then they came close enough to getting tickets to the wrong Austrian town in the third leg. The delay they had cost them dearly enough to eliminate them from the race.
So who is the next favourite to go off? Steve and Dave survived only because of Russell and Cindy's mistake in the third leg, and they are suffering from the double whammy of fitness and injury woes. That would make them the obvious bets for elimination, but the next leg seems to feature a Roadblock at an F1 track, and that looks like something that isn't going to demand too much in terms of physical fitness. Maybe that would see them breathe again.
Steve and Josh are leading the pack at the moment, thanks to their Fast Forward in the previous leg, but the producers hinted at something of a quarrel between the two, so it would be curious to look at how much that would slow the two down. As it is, they are already faring better than Dennis and Andrew (TAR3).
Tian and Jaree are unravelling as a partnership, so they're probably going to hobble along for another two legs or so. The fourth leg may be too early for them, but this is not exactly turning into a bitch-fest that is worth watching. People are concentrating on how Reichen and Chip are being nasty to the rest of the contestants. It doesn't matter that they are a married gay couple anymore - these people are looking more Type A Male than the supposed Type A Males of this race! David and Jeff aren't exactly doing very well, but just holding out. And I was expecting it to be the other way round.
And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. The fourth leg is going to be very entertaining indeed. gambitch [
The financial problems facing league football in England clearly suggest that something needs to be done to sort out the clubs in the lower divisions. Are they going to wait until a Premiership club slips into administration and then is forced to fold? They probably don't have to wait very long - Leicester City is already in administration and still got promoted to the Premiership this season. This is not a tale about defying the odds - this is a tragedy that is waiting to happen, hasn't happened yet, and we don't really want to see it happen now, do we?
On the other hand, the big clubs splurging millions upon millions to get a horde of the best players in the world are only continuing to put pressure on the clubs below them to do the same if these clubs want to catch up. Some clubs will be able to stick to financial prudence and save their own day, but if every club tried to spend like Leeds United and got themselves 60 or 70 million pounds in debt we'd very soon see a much-reduced Premiership. Even Arsenal is facing difficulties over moving to a new ground and retaining their top talents at the same time. Henry may say he wants to stay at Highbury, but what about people like Pires?
In the midst of all this, of course, there is the news this morning about David Beckham signing for Real Madrid. Consider this - Manchester United is probably the wealthiest club in the world, and even the sale of Becks won't hurt that irreparably. Real Madrid, on the other hand, are the club who are so hopelessly in the red, that the only reason they're still financially viable has to do with the fact that (a) they are backed by the national bank, which is something no other major European club can say about themselves, and (b) they seem to have a whole lot of real estate (no pun intended) so when they're too badly in debt, they just sell off a training ground back to the Government to build a hundred-storey-tall lease building.
So even though Real Madrid don't really have a lot of hard money, they have mysteriously deep pockets. No wonder they can keep breaking the world transfer record for Zidane, Figo and Ronaldo, in roughly that order. What amazes me is that they didn't break the transfer record for Becks. Maybe they don't actually think he's worth so much after all as a player.
I have been discussing with friends what kind of formation Real might possibly play if they actually went about getting Becks. They're definitely going to stick with two strikers - Raul and Ronaldo. Zidane's roaming behind them in midfield, and you can be sure as hell they won't drop Makelele because they need a fighter in the middle of the park. His absence against Juventus in the Champions' League semi-final was severely missed. So unless they're switching from a back four to a back three, Becks is going to have to compete with Steve McManaman (ah yes, another fine Englishman, this time from Liverpool) and Flavio Conceicao on the right wing. If Real really thought Becks was so good, why didn't they offer more?
And why did United settle for less? Surely after the kind of money they spent on Rio and Ruud, Becks must be worth about as much? Or did they know something we don't?
If the transfer does go through, I will miss Becks for his footballing abilities; but in honesty I think he was letting the celebrity lifestyle get to him. Thank goodness Ryan Giggs turned out sane and whole.
And of course the search for a replacement goes on. It should be Ronaldinho, because it makes little sense for Real Madrid to make a double capture and steal Ronaldinho away from United's grasp as well. What use do they have for him, unless they drop Figo or switch to a three-man defence? Is Real Madrid about to become AC Milan? Why don't they just use all the money they can get in the national bank and buy up every single player in the world? Then they can win all the trophies they want.
In other news, Glasgow Rangers gets another old-ish continental player. They can carry on dominating the domestic front all they want, but they're going to be European flops. Go Celtic! gambitch [