Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Trials Of Raj Bhavsar

The final day of the Mens Olympic gymnastic trials in Philadelphia were shown on NBC on June 21. The coverage was focused on Raj Bhavsar and his pursuit of a guaranteed position on the team. As anyone who follows mens gymnastics knows, the prejudice of the USA Gymnastics organization against Indian-Americans and the favoritism shown to a favored few, has and would probably again keep Raj off of the team unless he clinched an automatic position under the rules. The commentators seemed to understand that and kept the story of the event being about Raj and how he could beat the selection committee from keeping him from going to Beijing.

The NBC team consisted of the usual Elfi Schlegel, Al Trautwig and Tim Daggett. There was also a short incomprehensible "comment" from Bela Karolyi, which sounded identical to a curse from a confused street person. Tim again provided the most color in the commentary by making everything sound like a review of a gay adult video. Tim speaking about Sasha Artemev: "H's so dynamic, so big..", "It's just a trill ride of a routine.", "He'll put his hand out backward and do a full spin.", "This is where it gets really nasty..."

Alexander ArtemevThe commentary from Elfi wasn't as informative. About Sasha, she said that he's so frustrated because he doesn't know what he is doing wrong on the pommel horse. Well, the answer is he keeps falling off of it. It didn't take any journalistic credentials to see that.

When Raj finished his rotations it was noted that he had barely missed meeting the threshold to get the automatic placement. He needed to be in the top two overall and in he top three in three individual events. Al asked Tim if there was any sentimentality about Raj being in the same place twice so that he could get the spot he had earned. Al should have asked, is there enough integrity in the selection process to allow Raj to be selected. Tim's answer would have fit either question: "There is not."

Jonathan HortonAt the end of the event it was announced that Jonathan Horton and Paul Hamm had been selected for the team. So far, that's understandable as Hamm and Horton would be in anyone's list of the top 6 Americans. Horton placed highest among U.S. men at the last world championship. Hamm had injured his hand so he had to petition for inclusion instead of earning it at the trials, but his mastery of the sport is unchallenged.

It was stated that within a day the remainder of the team would be selected after all the various factors were considered that would give the resulting team the best results. If past experience is a worthy guide, it is extremely likely that that principle would quickly be thrown out and any sense of objectivity would be ignored and the final selection made by a combination of favoritism and prejudice. That's the way USA Gymnastics likes it instead of just leaving it up to the athletes to earn the top six scores at the trials.

BTW, I was sad there was no air time given to Guillermo Alvarez. He's still one of my favorites.

The nuttiest comment from NBC's coverage: Al Trautwig said about Kevin Tan, "I think it's unbelievable that the United States could have a man of Chinese descent with them when they travel to Beijing."

Joe HagertyGratuitous image of Joe Hagerty in a suggestive pose.

June 22 Update: Not surprisingly, Raj Bhavsar was screwed once again out of his proper place on the U.S. Olympic team. The calculations used for selecting the team added in the value of each of the athlete's skills on the apparatuses and then gave a huge deduction to anyone that was a Desi. It disgusts me that a sports governing body in the United States would be so flagrantly prejudiced against ethnic groups that don't fit don't fit into their stereotypes that the best gymnasts are only of European and East Asian ethnicity. Raj was selected as an alternate and it will be interesting to see if injury causes a team member to drop and whether or not USA Gymnastics will be so bold as to try to block a great American like Raj Bhavsar one more time because he doesn't look like they do.

Raj BhavsarThe team will be the shirtless Paul Hamm, Morgan Hamm, Jonathan Horton, Justin Spring, Kevin Tan, and Joe Hagerty. Alternates are Raj, Alexander Artemev and David Durante.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Work Out: Briana Escapes

In season three, episode nine of Work Out, it was all about Jackie's fury over losing control over one of her minions, her girlfriend/serf Briana.

While Jackie was spying on Briana by searching through her phone, Jackie had found a message from Briana's ex-girlfriend saying "I love you." Since love, as in the ability to put someone else's needs above yours, is something that Jackie is incapable of, she was immediately jealous of someone else that could give it.

Jackie hauled Briana in to see her counselor, Dr. Shirley. Jackie spoke of why she was totally right and Briana was totally wrong. Unfortunately for Jackie, the doctor didn't just agree with Jackie, so Jackie turned to two people that she knew she had the power over to make them agree to anything she wanted them to. So Jackie went out to eat with Rebecca Cardon and Jesse Brune to talk about the problem that she has created with Briana.

Jackie expressed her bewilderment about Briana having a connection with any other human being. Jackie pointed out that Briana had one of the most essential qualifications for being Jackie's girlfriend: "She adores me. She's all about me." This confusion felt by Jackie reminded me of plantation owners who were completely surprised that their slaves would rise up for their freedom because they didn't enjoy being owned by Massa.

Jesse BruneRebecca and Jesse tried to play along, but Jesse being a compassionate person didn't want Briana to be hurt anymore. He knew that for a good person, a life lived with Jackie would be a living hell, so he encouraged Jackie to think about breaking up in order to protect Briana.

Later on, Greg Plitt, Renessa Williams and Rebecca spent an evening at Greg's. The good time was interrupted when Briana finally left Jackie's house, and Jackie called Rebecca and commanded her to appear before Jackie immediately and pretend to have sympathy. Jackie said she appreciated that Rebecca would drop whatever she was doing to help Jackie. Jackie didn't mention that Rebecca knows what terrible retribution Rebecca would face if she didn't do what she was ordered to do. Rebecca went to Jackie's house and again played along with every vile thing that Jackie spewed from her mouth about Briana.

Near the end of the episode, Briana showed up at Sky Sport with flowers, which Jackie liked because it was similar to be given a tribute offering from a vassal state. Sadly for Briana, she seems to be missing a necessary sense of revulsion. Human evolution has provided us with this sense to protect us from bad things that could harm us. We instinctively are repelled by the scent of old rotting meat. Apparently this scent has no effect on Briana.

At the close, Jackie summed up the third season by saying, "I'm at a place that I will do the best thing for myself." You know the place where you have no thought, no feeling, no concern for any other living thing other than yourself? Oh yeah, she's there.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Work Out: Straight To Video

In season three, episode eight of Work Out, it was all about the making of the work out DVD.

At the start of the episode, Andrea Ambandos, the director/producer of the DVD, continued to have worries about Jackie being able to show that she could handle some actual responsibility. Jackie had been making excuses for not finishing the preparations for making the DVD and Andrea was understandably concerned. To try to move things along, Andrea brought video choreographer Keli Roberts to Sky Sport and Spa, hoping that meeting with Jackie would force Jackie to work on planning her routines.

To show her usual contempt for other people, Jackie showed up for the meeting an hour late. She imperiously remarked, "Hey, this is how it is. If I have to make you wait twenty minutes ... you have to wait twenty minutes." This scene gave the viewers another example of what an obnoxious, disrespectful hypocrite Jackie is on the show. She had previously talked about how terrible it was when the trainers showed up late or when the clients made excuses. Is it any surprise that Jackie believes these things only apply to others and not to a person as high and mighty as she erroneously believes that she is?

Jackie WarnerJackie expressed a lame thought she had about breaking the routine up into threes, saying "Good things come in threes." Unfortunately, this show in its 3rd season is definitely not a good thing. It has only served to erase any goodwill that Jackie had previously gained and showed everyone what a loathsome monster she is by the way she treats people.

To get ready for the taping, Jackie, realizing that she had let her body go to hell recently, spent a little time trying to get back in shape. She went training in the hills and slipped and fell on her coccyx. Truly this was the highlight of the season. It could only have been surpassed by a shot of her falling over the side of a cliff as well.

The other trainers for the DVD had to be selected, so Andrea and Jackie did an audition of the Sky Sport trainers. Everyone did some routines and they looked pretty good. Jesse Brune felt that Greg Plitt was definitely video-worthy, saying, "I would put Greg Plitt in my work out video before I'd put me in my workout video." I on the other hand would put Jesse in my video before anybody else. Of course my video would only be available in the adult section in the back of the video store instead of on, but it would still provide viewers some scenes of physically demanding action.

Jesse BruneIn the end Rebecca Cardon, Renessa Williams, Agostina Lanieri, and of course Jesse were cast. Jesse was a given for personality alone. Feeling pretty good about his selection, he said, "Jackie Warner has said to everyone, 'Hey, that Jesse, he's somebody.'" I agree with the affirmation, but I have to point out that the selections were clearly made on the basis of Jackie not allowing anyone to be in the video that she felt could upstage her.

To get ready for the taping, there was a practice session with Keli at Ography dance studio. Keli led the trainers in a "dance" aerobic routine, which showed that Jackie couldn't do routines in a choreographed way. Jackie indicated that she needed to do things like army fitness instead (to hide her lack of finesse). The more exciting thing to watch was Jesse when he lifted his shirt. He was hot and sweaty. Yummy. Jackie had also had Jesse take his shirt off during the audition. Two views of that attractive man flesh. Be still my heart.

The taping for the DVD was uneventful except for Jackie flubbing her lines and laughing, probably at the thought that anyone would be dumb enough to buy a Jackie Warner fitness dvd when there are so many others out there by actual celebrities.

JD JordanIn the other event of the episode, Jesse set up JD on a blind date. Jesse's reasoning was expressed as "Sweet JD. You know, JD has been after me since he's met me. So to deter him from that, I decided to set him up on a date." Jesse has a lot of trepidation about setting up anyone on date but it is not clear why that is. I've set up plenty of blind dates and never worried about it. My methodology is easy. I copy the names and phone numbers written over the urinal at the bar and hand them out to people I feel need a little help in meeting somebody nice. I know they will have a good time, because that's what the message states and because they don't have to stress about the possibility of a second date.

JD met his date Derek at Dolce restaurant. It's hard to watch people try to carry on in such an awkward situation. Even harder to watch is the mouth slobbering the two of them did at the end of the date. Saliva is for digesting food, not expressing attraction.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Jackie Warner: The Bad Seed

In season three, episode seven of Work Out, it was all about familial relations, especially the ties that grind. Jackie Warner's mom Karen came to visit and this gave Jackie another opportunity to make her mother feel embarrassed and distraught about her daughter's life and behavior.

Jackie stated that her mother is a fundamentalist, who thinks that Jackie is going to burn in Hellfire for the rest of eternity. Jackie said that her mom thinks this because Jackie is a lesbian, but if you ask me, I believe it is more likely that Jackie will be in the lake of fire because of her abusive insensitivity to fellow human beings and her ego's all-consuming worship of her imagined business skills. Also, we can't discount the possibility of a direct contract with Beelzebub to trade her soul for a fitness center. That may the only logical answer to how she ever got this far.

The mom arrived and Jackie lamented that she finds herself regressing around her mother. Oh great, that means an even more immature acting version of the bitch.

About her girlfriend Briana, Jackie says to her mom, "Don't scare this one off." Mom replied, "I haven't ever scared anybody off. You have a way of doing that." I guess Mom is pretty astute about her daughter's social skills.

Jackie kept asking her mom if she had any questions about Briana. Mom said she didn't, but I'm guessing she really wanted to ask Jackie how she could find anyone that could stand to be around her.

The visit quickly disintegrated into inevitable unhappiness because in typical Jackie fashion, she didn't care enough to tell her mom ahead of time that Briana's mother and sisters were coming to stay at Jackie's at the same time. Mom's trip from Dayton to spend quality time alone with Jackie was ruined.

Later, Jackie visited her counselor. I don't what methodology is being used, but I think for Jackie to get better, she needs to get to the point where she can stand up in front of a group and say, "I'm Jackie, and I'm a horrible person."

Jesse BruneOn a lighter note, Jesse Brune's sister Bethany visited him. She came with him to Sky Lab, where he helped her work out. Jesse told an anecdote about Bethany stealing Jackie's number from his cell phone and making a prank call to her. It would have been better if Bethany had written it on every restroom stall from L.A. to Yakima, but the prank would have been on the people who found it who would have gotten the extreme opposite of a good time.

Jesse and Bethany finished exercising and they went shopping. Just an aside: I want to go shopping with Jesse also and maybe spend some extended time with him in the fitting room.

Jesse also went shopping with his client Natalie for a "goal dress" at his friends' store "Sugar". I call that type of wear aspirational clothing. I have a few shirts with the price tags still on them in my closet that fit that description. Jesse told Natalie that he wanted her to get something that she was terrified of. I would like to get some clothing advice from Jesse, but I'm terrified of pleather and I hope Jesse wouldn't try to convince me to wear that.