After Jim Pass died and his business closed where I used to work part-time, the Chinese restaurant in the other part of the building also closed. In their place a new Mexican restaurant opened, Las Fajitas, which will celebrate its one-year anniversary next week. A few months after opening, they started having a trivia game every Tuesday night, but I couldn't go because that's when I was auditing those college classes.
Some of us wanted to go and finally Paige, her daughter Virginia, and I made it. Teams have to have names, so we called ourselves The Bell Jars. Not exactly sure why but that's our morbid sense of humor. We're not suicidal ... at least not now. Tina and Hope joined us along with Paige's husband Carl. During the summer Brian and Brendan came down and played. We've added and subtracted various team mates and have a friendly competition with this other team who said they were going to name themselves The Hammers so they could beat us. Not so far!!
Anyway, we finally have a most excellent team by adding some guys Hope teaches with. So it's the four of them, Hope, Tina, Sue, and me. Paige and Carl will be rejoining us now that she's doing better after her knee replacement. We have been winning or placing second most weeks except when we talk ourselves out of a right answer or betting the wrong amount. Our new team name is Smart Aces. That team that keeps not beating us is Nobody Likes a Smart Ace.
This is how the game works - there are three rounds of three questions. We can put 2, 4, or 6 points on each question of each set. So we have to decide how sure we are of a question. Tim, the host, announces the categories. He asks the first question which we write on a little notepad provided us and turn a sheet in after each question. Tim announces the scores after the first round. Then we have a question with 5 parts that count two points each. After that are 3 questions we write on one sheet and assign 3, 5, and 10 points to. Tim announces the scores before the final question which we bet from 0 to 20 points on. This has been the downfall or victory part several times.
Our trivia game is Brain Blast Trivia and has a page on Facebook. Tim posted our photo on it last week. I asked him to take one of us on my phone and posted it on my FB page and down below. This is so much fun whether we win or lose. Twice we missed only one question and are going for a perfect score. We lost big time week before last because we outwitted ourselves on that last question. Nobody Likes a Smart Ace did, too, so they lost by more than we did. Someone way behind got the right answer but put 20 points on it. We got the right answer and put 0 points. See what I mean?
What helps is that we have team members from a range of ages, some with young children, and some with various interests. Our weakness is sports, but sometimes we luck up. We have four English teachers, one history teacher, a fifth-grade teacher, an art history major, a military person, a science teacher, and several science fiction and Monty Python geeks. We do well as long as we don't self-destruct. Prizes are gift certificates for first, second, and third place for meals there.
Tina, Paige, and Carl weren't in this photo, and Brian and Brendan don't drive down from Nashville while school is going on. They did week before last when Brendan had fall break. Here we are - the Smart Aces right after a win!
That's my t-shirt I bought at Old City Coffee in the Reading Street Market when Tina and I went to Philadelphia. It has a caffeine molecule on it. Such wonderful memories of spending time with my nephews, Maddie and David!!
It is COLD here already! It's been in the 40's during the day and 30's at night. It got into the 50's today but is supposed to be 29 tonight. Frost has been predicted. I realize it's snowing other places - also too early! This makes me wonder if we're going to have another blizzardy winter like last year.
For those of us who have watched DWTS ever since it began, we know how Bruno is over the top with his praise and criticism. He is enthusiastic to say the least! So ... when he said that Chaz was like "a cute little penguin trying to be a big menacing bird of prey," it was a commentary on his dancing and his performance. The tango is the ballroom version of the paso doble and both are dances of seduction and the passion of love and hate. Chaz didn't pull any of that off. He actually did look like a cute little penguin in his tux and like a cuddly Ewok in his furry vest but not a fat troll as Chaz interpreted it. Chaz is fat. Who can deny that? He can't dance well. Obviously. He's not an actor and couldn't manage to play a role required of some of the dances. He's the daughter of iconic celebrities who had a double mastectomy and takes testosterone. His girlfriend said that's made him more aggressive and angry. 'Roids, anyone? Legally he's a man, however that's done, who wanted to help others in the same situation who could be inspired by his appearance on the show. That's a separate issue. Bruno is gay, flaming even, and has probably been around transgendered people. Not the point. They were all very PC about Chaz. That's just how Bruno gives critiques. Cher admits that she never watched the show before Chaz was on and took offense at the criticism of the judges when they were actually kinder to Chaz than to many other celebrity competitors who are and have been on DWTS. There are probably others who had their feelings hurt, too, but it's part of being judged, isn't it?
Maks is another deal altogether. He blows up at the judges periodically. Bet there were all kinds of fireworks when he and Karina were engaged!
It's Broadway musical night and no Carson Kressley. He should be on and Chaz should not. He was graciously in the audience. I just love him!
Rob and Cheryl danced a cha-cha from the Jersey Boys song "Walk Like A Man" (which I'm glad wasn't the song Chaz got because that would have been ironic). Btw, some of you might remember that I'd just seen Jersey Boys when I missed the last step outside TPAC, fell, and got all kinds of attention. It was right after Natasha Richardson's sudden death from her head injury when she was skiing. Several theater-goers asked if I'd hit my head and gathered around me. I assured them that it was my knees and hands that hit the sidewalk and not my head. On to the dancing ... Well, I have to say that Rob showed more personality than he has been (which still isn't much - maybe he's just shy). He sort of fumbles around on the dance floor and doesn't have much rhythm, but it was OK. Len said he was stiff and starchy, and who knows what Bruno and Carrie Ann were trying to say. Score - 22
Nancy and Tristan danced the foxtrot to "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Spamalot, which is coming to TPAC in January. I missed it last time it was on and plan to go then since Monty Python and the Holy Grail is my favorite movie. Another memory with this is when I was talking with my residents when I had neck surgery after the chemo massacre and told them when I got there that I wasn't quite dead. They launched into lines from the movie and how we all laughed!! But I digress. Nancy is getting on Tristan's nerves. Surprise! She wants to make their routines more difficult but when he adds that to it, she doesn't learn it or complains that it wasn't what she had in mind. Since when is she a choreographer? The judges said this was a good job and entertaining. I didn't think she did that well and looked stiff and unmusical. Len said so, too. Score - 24.
Tom Bergeron is so good at moving the show along, smoothing ruffled feathers, and adding humor. He introduced Carson who was invited back since it was Broadway musical week. He said he was the creative director of the group dance and was there cheering them on. Very funny moment when Maks stumbled and Carson rushed to him and said, "Oh no! You could have died!" and hugged him. Any excuse! I get it.
David and Kym did a quickstep to "We Go Together" from Grease. I don't have any interesting memories from this play/movie except that I was a teenager in the late 50's and early 60's. David wears thin after a while. His voice is kind of smarmy and his giggle when he talks is annoying. I'm glad he shaved. He looks better and danced well, too. I like him better when he doesn't talk. Courtney and Coco were there as always. I think maybe Coco resembles her aunt Patricia, but it's hard to tell for sure that young. The judges said he was entertaining and energetic. Score - 23.
Ricki and Derek also did the quickstep. Their song was "Luck Be A Lady" from Guys and Dolls. It would have been wrong for them to have a song from Hairspray. Unfair advantage. Loved this performance! Entertaining, energetic, sophisticated, and wow!! Ricki looked smashing in a gold dress. Might just see some 10's on this! The audience and judges thought so, too! They raved! Score - 29! Don't know why Len didn't give them a 10, too, after he said he loved it.
Chaz and Lacey are dancing a tango to Phantom of the Opera. OMG! OMG! OMG! I don't know if I can watch this. I have a commercial to prepare for it. The tango is an intense, passionate give and take of love and hate and is the ballroom version of the paso doble. The good dancers usually get really hot and heavy during it. I don't want to watch Chaz try to act passionate to Lacey. Sorry. Just don't. He cannot dance and stumbles around awkwardly. He wore a tuxedo and the mask and got through the routine. The mask helped. The judges said this role wasn't suited to his personality. In fact, Bruno said it was like a cute little penguin trying to be a big menacing bird of prey. So true! So far Bruno has called Chaz an Ewok and now this. Cher tweeted about it and was obviously pissed. Score - 19. I'd like to think that low score will eliminate Chaz, but it never stops the Cher fans from voting for him, especially now that they are in an uproar about Bruno. Check the Twitter outrage. It's past time for him to go.
Hope and Maks danced a rumba to a song from Rent. Hope dances like an athlete. Maks brought in three women dancers from the troupe to help her which did when they were there but not the next day. He kept telling her to hold her hand out like a girl. Tug thinks she's a lesbian, which might explain why she responded better to the women dancers and said she wished she could be half as sexy as they are. The judges said Hope is still holding back and then an argument broke out. Really! A big one! Maks talked back to Len and said how much the contestants put into their dances and how hard they worked. He was defending Hope. Len said it's not just about effort but dancing and that half of the criticism went to Maks. It went downhill from there! Then when Brooke talked with them before the score, Maks said this was his show and that he helped make it what it is. Whew! The judges got even with their scores! Wonder if Maks will quit the show after this season. He butts heads with Len especially and this got uncomfortable to watch. I hope not. He is easy to look at and has helped make the show what it is. Score - 20.
J. R. and Karina danced a quickstep to a lively song from All That Jazz. It was the most difficult choreography Karina said she's done on the show and added that she has faith in his ability to do it. And he did! It was lively, energetic, precise, and fun. Wow! Score - 29!
The group dance was to "Big Spender" and "Money Money" from Sweet Charity and Cabaret. Even I know that Sweet Charity was choreographed by Bob Fossey and have heard how difficult and precise his dances are from a special Shirley MacLaine did on TV. Probably the choreographer Kevin Maher is doing his own thing for this and not necessarily having them do it the way it was on the stage. What an enjoyable performance! Good job!
Ricki and J.R. are still at the top and will be the finalists. It's anybody's guess who will go tomorrow night. Chaz and Hope are on the bottom of the leader board, but the voters will speak. We know who I think should go, but it could be Hope, Rob, Nancy, or David. I can't predict. Next week they'll have two dances, I think. If not, it will be soon. That is hard on them and weeds more out.
Cleveland Stadium was built for what became a failed attempt by the city
to host the 1932 Olympic Games. Of the 192 countries on Earth, 3 of
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in ancient Greece no term existed for homosexuality, there were only
some expressions referring to specific homosexual roles. Experts find
this baffling, as the old Greek culture held love between males in the
highest regard. According to several linguists, the word homosexual was
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I expected it but am still pissed off. Chaz remains on the show and Carson was voted off. Neither is a good dancer, but Carson is entertaining. Chaz is not. It's time for the Cher followers to back off. Point made. Now time for Chaz to go.
This is the way I reacted when Master P, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Kate Gosselin stayed on way too long and people who could dance were gone. So there!
This week - the 80's. Not my favorite decade musically. Disco? Shoulder pads? Big hair?
The Bangles opened the show with a medley that included "Walk Like An Egyptian." This set the tone.
Hope and Maks did the tango. They don't have much chemistry together, and she still seems uncomfortable dancing. Still, they got all 8's with a score of 24. A tango is supposed to show the battle between love and hate. There was give and take but no passion. Technically she's doing well, but doesn't have the musicality. She's better than several others for sure, though. They are showing child pictures of everyone from the 80's. Maks looks like the Keebler elf, Tom said. Maks said he had been kicked out of a school play because he was bad. Hope said she had on a dress. They were cute.
Carson and Anna dance a jive. Maybe he'll do better with this if he can keep under control. He's such an entertainer, and I hope he stays a while. Well, it was definitely fun and lively. They were cheerleaders! He did better. Bruno said it was a crowning achievement in madness and that he crammed so much nonsense into a minimal jive. Carrie Ann agreed. Len said if he were judging with his heart, Carson would be back next week but he has to judge with his head. Carson said let's let America decide and was not discouraged. Aww, their score was 19. No pictures of them as kids. :-( Carson said he was class of '87 which means he's Brian's age.
Nancy and Tristan did a rumba which is supposed to be intense and passionate. Nancy said she was a cheerleader in the 80's. Tristan told Nancy to let him finish his sentences and that he'd seen her to this on her show. They bickered a while and she finally listened to him. The judges said she seems to hold back but that she danced well. Score is 22.
J. R. and Karina danced a samba. He said being Latin should help him with the samba since he grew up dancing with his mother. Karina said his dancing was un-Latin, so they went to the Conga to experience the music and dancing. The drummer was Sheila E. He said this week the judges would see Jose Rene Martinez dance. He did it! Lively and exciting! The audience and judges loved it. Score is 28 with a 10 from Bruno!
Rob and Cheryl did a rumba. Cheryl said he had to learn to treat her in a sexy way instead of like one of his sisters. Romeo came in to help him with it. They're friends and went to USC together. He almost got it and did much better. It was a good dance. The judges praised him. Score - 25.
Chaz and Lacey did a samba. Lacey brought her dad, a world-famous dance coach and the King of Swing, in to show Chaz that big men can shake it. Well, Chaz did better but I'm so ready for him to be voted off. He's in the category of those it's painful to watch try to dance. Why can't they say to him what they do to Carson about technique? And Chaz isn't entertaining like Carson is! Score - 21. David and Kym did a tango. Woo Hoo! Good job! He danced and showed the emotions the need to go with a tango. The judges said he's improved and could be a contender. Score - 25.
Ricki and Derek danced a foxtrot. John Waters came by rehearsal because Hairspray was in the 80's which started her career. Graceful, fun dance! I think I had a dress a lot like the one she danced in back then. Wish I were still that size. The judges said their timing was off when they weren't in hold. Ricki is losing some weight. Score - 24.
It's between J. R. and Ricki to win.
Next week - Broadway tunes. That should be interesting.
I have my annual allergy/sinusitis/bronchitis bout and have been out of it all week. I slept all yesterday afternoon, evening, most of the night, and this morning with some awake breaks. I even missed our weekly trivia game at a local Mexican restaurant this week and won't make it to the Southern Festival of Books this weekend. Whine, whine!! I did go to my doctor for a z-pak which helps. Fall is my favorite season, but it doesn't love me in return with its ragweed. Enough complaining. I'll write about trivia when I'm awake again.
I haven't heard much about Elijah Blue Allman, Cher's son from her brief marriage to Gregg Allman. He's been in bands and played on tour with his dad is about all I know. I googled and didn't find much except that he doesn't smile much. There was an article about an art exhibit of his work but pictures only of Cher and Chaz. Maybe he's private like his dad and doesn't want all the publicity and fame but wants to create. Who knows?
Continuing the movie score theme, musical guests were Raphael Saadiq a young guy I don't know with glasses who sang "Soul Man" and Susan Boyle and "Unchained Melody" from her new album. Julianne Hough and her co-star Kenny Wormald in Footloose danced to songs from the movie including the title song sung by Blake Shelton. She and Derek danced to "Shake It." Jullianne got a huge reception from the audience, judges, and other dancers and got emotional. It's good to see her again.
The three in jeopardy were Rob, Chynna, and Nancy, so one of them will go home. It's Chynna.
This week's theme - movie scores. This week's big news - Cher in the audience. She tweeted to her minions that she would appear if Chaz made it another week. Don't get me wrong, I love Cher, and other dancetestants have stayed on too long past their dance ability should allow. Chaz cannot dance well and really should have gone last week. In the tradition of Master P, Billy Ray Cyrus, and others, he'll probably be on a while longer because of Cher's fan base. No, it's not all about the dancing even at the end. The best dancers are nearly always in the finale, but the best dancer doesn't always win. The judges' scores count half, but the voters count the other half and we know how voting can go. Well, to be honest, I vote for the ones I like most among the best dancers.
Now for the competition ... but first about parents in the audience, I always teared up when I saw Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne there for Kelly. She's adorable and it was all so sweet! Kelly's and Ozzy's smiles are just alike and they glowed.
Chynna and Tony began the evening with a tango to the theme from Mission Impossible. Chynna's footwork seemed awkward and stumbly in places. I was right. The judges said she lost the thread but not her composure. They said what she did, she did well and to relax and have fun. Score - 21
David and Kym did a paso doble to an Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark theme. Courtney and Coco are there again cheering him on along with two sisters this week, Patricia and Rosanna. Kym told him they should dance for themselves and enjoy it. He swung in on a rope and wielded a whip. He did pretty well with good moves and a paso doble attitude. Standing ovation from the audience and Bruno! Carrie Ann loved it, too, but not Len. Argument ensued between the judges. Tom Bergeron does such a good job on this show and can move things along and calm or energize as needed. Score - 23
Carson and Anna danced a Viennese waltz to The Curse of the Black Pearl - Pirates of the Caribbean. This should be interesting. He was concerned that pirates had to be all butch and then said he thought about how they wore tight pants, open shirts, and looked for jewelry and decided he could do it. They had sword fighting lessons from a really hot guy which pleased all of us. The waltz parts of the dance were good, but I'm not sure how the judges will like the extras thrown in that did fit with the pirate theme. We'll see. It was definitely entertaining! Carrie Ann said this was his most butch performance but that his technique was lacking. Len said it was entertaining but terrible. Bruno said it was Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Revenge of the Gay Blade! Score - 20
I usually fast forward the DVR but had to watch the Puss 'n Boots commercial because well Antonio Banderas. Enough said. Thank goodness I didn't have to watch that one again about the poor guy married to that bitch who criticized him in that horrible tone of voice for signing them up for free calling with unlimited texting. I'm glad I don't use AT&T. I hate that woman and feel sorry for her husband.
Nancy and Tristan paso doble to the theme from Flash Gordon. Tristan told Nancy to have the same attitude with this dance that she has on her show. She did have the attitude and most of the technique and did pretty well. After Mel B's paso with Maks, it's hard for any of them to measure up to that one. The judges said she had no expression and there was no excitement to her dance, except for Carrie Ann who said her technique was good. There really wasn't that fire, passion, and connection with the audience that makes the dance entertaining. Score - 21
Hope and Maksim are dancing a Western foxtrot to "You Have a Friend in Me" from Toy Story. Hope and Maks butted heads which is typical for him and his partners. They have to have that personality to work with him. It was a light, entertaining dance. Hope was awkward at times and isn't as smooth as she could be. Bruno and Carrie Ann praised her, but Len said she needed to work harder and could go all the way if she did. She's still playing soccer and has to rehearse for this, too! Score - 24.
It's a grouchy Len night. Last week he was downright cheerful.
Rob and Cheryl are dancing the paso doble to Superman. Rob's working hard and said he has no life outside of this competition and wants to do well. His technique was pretty good but there was no intensity and passion that this dance requires. He seems like a sweet guy. The judges said he did well and gave him a 24.
Ricki and Derek danced a tango to Psycho. Derek had a hard time choreographing their dance to this song and said the tempo made it difficult. He can do it though, I'm sure. Ricki got very frustrated and wasn't sure she could do it. However, it was wonderful - very dramatic and intense and so tango! Wow! Standing O from the audience! The judges agreed. Might be a first 10 of the season. Score 29!! Am I good or what? Yes!!
Chaz and Lacey danced a paso doble to the theme from Rocky. Not sure how this will go. Not good. Not a paso doble. This was better than his other dances, and I did get choked up watching Cher. She didn't get a lot of camera time but was there along with Cher's mother, her sister, and his girlfriend who is there every week. Score - 21.
J. R. and Karina danced a foxtrot to the Pink Panther theme. Good job! Smooth, graceful, entertaining, and connected to the audience. Carrie Ann didn't like it that well and thought the humor didn't work for her. Len said he was the best male dancer of the night. Bruno said he was great. Odd judging tonight. Score - 26.
Carson and Anna are at the bottom, but as we know it depends on the voters now. Based on dancing, the best ones are Ricki and J. R. Who do you think will go home next?
The dancetestants chose songs that reflected a memorable year in their lives. As you might expect, these songs were highly emotional and brought back all kinds of memories (as songs do for us). It was touching.
Rob Kardashian chose "Fly Me to the Moon" since it was his father's favorite song, and he danced it as a tribute for the year his father died when he was 15. He and Cheryl danced the foxtrot. He's improving. Len even praised him and said he put the "dash" in Kardashian. Score was 24!
Chynna Phillips chose "Hold On" to dance the rumba. Wilson Phillips recorded this song which she wrote during depression and drug/alcohol abuse, and it reminds her of how far she's come. This was not a sexy rumba, but the judges thought she did really well. Technically it was very good but is supposed to be smoldering, and she got the first nines (two of them) of the season. The Wilson sisters were in the audience showing their support. Score - 26.
Chaz Bono's song was one his dad wrote "Laugh at Me" since this year is his happiest year. He attempted a rumba but is in that group who have sort of walked through their dances. Len must be taking happy pills tonight. Even so, all the judges gave him 6's which equals 18. Time to go.
Kristin Cavallari chose "Crazy in Love" for 2005 when she graduated from high school and moved to LA. She and Mark danced the samba which is supposed to be energetic and sexy. The judges thought she did a good job and gave her a 24.
Carson Kressley danced a tango to "It's My Life" for the year Queer Eye aired. He said when the judges said he danced so badly brought back all those years he was pointed out in gym class for not being athletic. This was good! Technically he had the footwork and moves! Bruno, Carrie Ann, and even Len loved it!! Score - 23.
J. R. Martinez told about when he was injured in the war and chose "If You're Reading This" for all the men and women who didn't make it home. Their rumba was emotional and did everyone in. The audience applauded for a very long time, and I cried because of that damned war and the song that says it all. Whew! He dances very well, and Karina's choreography was excellent. Two nines and an eight for 26 points.
Nancy Grace danced to "Moon River" because it was the first lullaby she sang to her twins after their touch-and-go birth. They danced a lovely but technically erratic waltz. The twins were very squirmy in their dad's lap which is normal for having to sit that long and watch dancing for any little ones. Score was 21.
Ricki Lake danced to "Gravity" about her husband and how she felt when she fell in love with him. This was a sensuous rumba filled with personal meaning and technicality. The judges were wowed by her dancing and Derek's choreography. Wow!! Three 9's!! 27!
Hope Solo danced the cha-cha to "Tonight" which she said gives her energy before games. Her teammates were there. Hope's cha-cha was much better than her other dances, but she's not very graceful. The judges commented on her walk which will work well for the Paso Doble but not so much for the dances so far. Still, a good job with a score of 24.
David Arquette chose to dance his rumba to "Oo Oo Child" for his daughter. It does sound as if his marriage might be over which I was hoping they could salvage since they seem to care about each other. I know from experience that isn't enough sometimes. Courtney and his sister Patricia cheered him along with Coco and nieces. He's still awkward but improving. Best dance he's done. David seems so sweet and tries so hard. Score is 24!
Based on dancing, Chaz should go home tomorrow night. He has that sweet smile and a great attitude, but I don't want to watch him on there any more. It's painful to watch him try to dance, and that outfit was horribly unattractive.
I'm not sure in which order they'll be eliminated but think J.R. or Ricki could possibly win this. What do you think?