Survivor: Worlds Apart {Week One}

Survivor Cast 2015It’s Survivor Time! Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the latest season of Survivor, dubbed Survivor: Worlds Apart. Wow, I’ve never had to type out Survivor so many times before. Anyway, before you get bored, let’s get to recapping what is sure to be a season like any and every other.
Last season was the second installment of Blood vs Water which pitted loved ones against each other. Before that was Brains vs Beauty vs Brawn (or what I like to call, Brawny) in which tribes were initially separated by how a person classified themselves (aka prejudice). In Worlds Apart, no it is not Earthlings vs Martians (budgets have been cut). Instead, Tribes have been separated by the kind of work a contestant does, or did, in the case of the “ex” (READ: unemployed, probably) guy. White Collar vs Blue Collar vs No Collar. Can also be called , Has $ vs. Wants $,vs. What Is $. That’s the vibe we’re getting here.

The contestants get on the starting mat to get a load of Jeff and their fellow rivals/teammates. Immediately we see that the White Collar group is dressed to impress in suits and blazers. While it is commendable that you are going with the theme it doesn’t seem like the smartest choice.

Blue Collar is yelling about how they carry America, they’re not afraid to use their hands, and blood, sweat and tears, blah blah blah. Toss envious glances toward the $ group.
The No Collar peeps use the term “free spirit ” more times than I’ve ever heard in my life and basically say “Hakuna Matata” to which $ and No $ are like, “Good luck with that.”
Jeff instructs each group to choose a Tribe representative. People volunteer. Jeff says to choose a henchmen. The people choose. We’re left with Joaquin and So from WC, Dan and ??? from BC and Jenn and ??? from NC. Jeff tells them they’ll have to make decisions for the tribe later. Oooooh. Ominous.
When WC gets to their camp they proceed to have a circle time/AA meeting in which they introduce themselves and try to figure out who makes the most money. So and Joaquin head out to see what decision they’ll make for the tribe.
They find two sacks of beans, one tiny one labeled Deceive and one large one labeled Honest. If they took the Deceive option, they would get the small bag of beans and a clue to the, wait for it, HIDDEN IMMUNITY IDOL. If they chose the Honest option they got the bigger bag of beans and fuller tummies but no clue. Le sigh.
Joaquin is all up for deception and says they have to take the clue. So is hesitant. She prefers to be honest at this point in the game but is completely steamrolled by Joaquin. They return to the tribe with a lie flimsier than the shelter being built at the other camps and So completely gives away the fact that they are lying. So is so bad at lying that that is her new name. So Bad At Lying.
Max, the intellectual hipster, is not buying it. Neither is Shirin the Yahoo executive. She quickly teams up with Carolyn and they pick up Max. They are 3 strong. They proudly proclaim it is half the tribe. Their second grade teachers rejoice.
Back at the BC Tribe, Dan the Postman who is too fat and Harry for words and ??? make the decision to be honest. The tribe is grateful except for one lady who is very thin and prompts concern for when we are on Day 20. She suspects this big bag is actually the small bag. Questions arise.
The NC Tribe is full of huggers and players with “good vibes.” If you’re imagining a group of hippies, visually, you’re pretty much right. Exhibit A: Vince the coconut vendor and Cherokee Jake Gyllenhaal look-a-like with feathers in his hair. Big white feathers. He’s immediately drawn to Jenn, a “free spirit” who is so happy to be there. Vince tells her he feels a connection and that they should work together. Jenn is like, why not?
Here’s why not Jenn. When you get back from choosing the Honest bag of beans with the YouTube star (yes, that is his job description), Joe, a jewelry designer, will be able to start a fire in about two minutes flat. You will offer to help and as you offer blow on his wood (seriously, you say this), Vince is staring you down and hoping Joe fails. When Joe succeeds everyone is happy to have fire except for Vince who now sees Joe as a threat to his happiness with you.
Hold on, it gets better.
So (not from WC, I’m just pausing here) Vince corners Jenn and flat out asks if she has a deeper connection with Joe. What?! What is this, The Bachelor? She explains she has feelings for both of them (I checked to make sure I was still watching CBS and yep, the logo was still in the corner) and that she still felt a connection with Vince. He asks her if she finds Joe attractive.

“Like, as in do I like him?”

“Yes.”

“Yes I like him. As a human being. Just like I like you as a human being.”

Wrong answer.

I’m torn between calling him Feathers and Nightcrawler. This guy is so possessive he’s freaking me out. Even though he looks like Jake Gyllenhaal.
Jenn assures him she does not like Joe in that way and then Nightcrawler forces her to give home a long hug. Jenn tells us she’s open to anything and from this point I dub her Love Story Day One.
Dan the Postman is making trouble at BC criticizing the shelter. The ladies are getting mad. He goes off to the beach to strip to his undies/swimsuit which is the smallest brief (Speedo to those of you who call tissues “Kleenex”) I’ve ever seen outside of Europe. He has enough hair on him to make a blanket. He talks with the other ???  on this island and he calms him down. ??? is nameless for only a short while because he decides to eat a scorpion. Raw. He becomes the Scorpion King faster than his stomach can pump that scorpion right out.
He dude in the Boston shirt has an accent stronger than Boston so I will call him Bawston. He tells Sara the tattooed girl who came to the island in a midriff the sad story of his murdered sister. He tells us he uses that story to get the ladies and that also, his tattoo helps. Gag.
He first immunity challenge is a series of physical puzzles (shocker). BC (I’ll learn real names later) falls behind at first while WC’s So Bad At Lying is actually So Good At Untying Knots and her tribe jumps ahead. At the final puzzle the teams must choose between puzzles of 5,10, and 50 pieces with the difficulty decreasing with the increase in pieces. WC chooses the 50 ( Jeff is confused as to why the smartest group chooses this) and NC chooses the 10. Shirin from the WC Tribe gets so flustered she taps out and Max takes over. Love Story Day One taps out and Joe finishes the puzzle in 10 easy steps.
We can see Nightcrawler burning holes in Joe’s back. They win and get a fire making kit.
BC catches up and choose the 10 piece puzzle. They dominate and overpower the WC tribe and save themselves from Tribal Council. They get flint.
WC who still does not have fire btw get nothing but shame. Everyone returns to camp.
People begin talking about voting out So Bad At Lying and Carolyn whom they deem too old. Carolyn is smart and follows So Bad At Covering Her Tracks and finds the Immunity Idol without the clue. She confides in the very quiet redhead that reminds me of the kid from The Sandlot ( not Smalls, the one that says “Colossus of Clout” and “Sultan of Swat”). They Tyler becomes Sandlot.
Tribal Council time. Even though Carolyn is scared, she doesn’t play her idol. So Bad At Lying thinks she is So Safe and when she becomes So Voted Out she is So Surprised. I am So Going to Miss Her.

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“All About That Bass” Is Actually All About Them Boys

Meghan Trainor, All About That Bass

Body-positive? Not even close. Trainor’s tune not only bashes skinny girls but emphasizes the approval of men.

When I first heard All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor on the radio the catchy rhythm caught my attention long enough to hear, “Every inch of you is perfect from the body to the top.” Awwww! I thought. That was followed up with lyrics such as “Yeah, my momma she told me don’t worry about your size.” Could this be the happy body anthem for anyone to enjoy? After listening to the whole thing the answer was clear-a resounding “NO.”

At first glance, this song seems to be about how girls shouldn’t worry about their size and how being larger than a size two is no more a crime than using extra toilet paper in a public bathroom because you’re not paying for it. Yes, I agree. Some of us were born to be larger numbers and there is nothing we can do about it. Just like some of us were born with the potential to have thigh gaps and some of us weren’t (Gasp! You didn’t know it’s more about physiology than working out?! Watch this.). So right on, Miss Trainor. Or so I thought.

She boasts how she can “shake it, shake it, like she’s supposed to do,” and how she has “all the right junk in all the right places.” Wait a minute. I thought she was just talking about how she wasn’t supposed to be a certain size. Now she’s saying that there is a type of “right junk” and “right places” it should be? That doesn’t sound accepting at all. The criticism continues when she calls out “skinny b*tches.” I’m sorry, but adding “I’m just kidding” to your song does not erase that you insulted an entire demographic of women. Some women won’t ever dip below a certain size and some women won’t ever go above a certain size. It’s pretty hypocritical to start slamming magazines for using Photoshop and then you yourself slam women who can’t control that when you look at them refer to them as “skinny b*tches.”

The Daily Mail recently published an article about the response of “normal” sized women to a Victoria Secret ad that used the words “Perfect Body.”

Under this image, The Daily Mail used this caption: “The Victoria’s Secret ad, which used ten waif-like models under the slogan The Perfect ‘Body’.”

Waif-like? Skinny b*tches? If this is how women choose to treat each other then it’s no wonder why the rest of society feels it’s okay for them to weigh in too (no pun intended, but I’ll take it). This body war reminds me of the mommy war where mothers who choose to stay home are criticized by mothers who choose to continue their careers and vice versa. We are all on the same team! One is not better than the other, they are simply different.

If these women were trying to help women feel better about themselves, they were choosy in which they “helped.” Here are a few excerpts of what they said:

“I can’t see how women or men would find the super skinny look attractive.”

“This is what a real woman looks like.” (Referring to herself.)

“I don’t want to be super skinny — I think that looks unattractive and wouldn’t want to lose my curves.”

Using words like “normal” and “real” to refer to women bigger than these models is wrong. Every one of these women in the article, VS models and the others, are both “normal” and “real.” I’ve known women who look like this and are not models, some by choice and effort and some because they were born that way and nothing they try to do to their body can change it. If bigger (again, I mean bigger than these models) women feel insulted that their body types are not referred to as “perfect” then I don’t understand how they can expect smaller women to not take offense when their bodies are referred to as something not “normal” or “real.”

So this tune isn’t about body acceptance for all sizes. It’s about body pride for women with larger bodies and in a way is portraying a message along the lines of, “My larger body is better than your skinny body because I have the right body that men enjoy.”

You read that correctly. With all those harmonies it’s hard to catch the line that says, “Men like a little more booty to hold at night.” The “mama” that Trainor is quoting is one terrible lady! She’s saying there is no reason to worry about your size not because you don’t need to and bodies have the right to come in different sizes, but because MEN aren’t necessarily worried about your size. In fact, they’d like it if women were a little bigger! The mentioned article does the same thing when one woman ends her statement with this gem from her partner: “There’s nothing sexy about cuddling up to a bag of bones.”

What now. So now this song isn’t about liking your body because it’s your body, or liking your body because you find it superior to skinny bodies, or even liking your body because society tells us it’s not a body to like. This song is about liking your body because it happens to be the body that men like. It’s like this song is on an elevator ride to the earth’s core and the up button won’t work.

The moral of the story is this-if we want to stop society from judging our bodies so harshly we should set an example by stopping our harsh judgements first. This goes for all of us, all sizes. Your size is not about what society finds beautiful, what gives us confidence, or even what we find beautiful. It’s about being healthy enough to do the things and experience life the way we find it beautiful. I don’t advocate anorexia and I don’t advocate the “big is beautiful” mentality either. We shouldn’t be striving for aesthetics, we should be striving for functionality and longevity. What good is being confident in your size 18 body when you have high cholesterol and can’t play in the sand box with your kids? What good is being able to fit into a double zero dress when you can’t finish a 5K because your body can’t cope?

That’s what we need to focus on here. Forget what you want to look like. Forget what you think other people (MEN) want you to look like. Forget about your right to be whatever size you want. Don’t forget that while your body can be a work of art, at its core it’s really just your paintbrush to create your masterpiece.

 

The Real World of “Mind Games” on ABC

You’re putting away groceries, sorting through your purchases and placing them in the pantry, the fridge, or in your bread box. You get to the bottom and pull out the last three items-3 candy bars. “What?” you say to yourself as you look for a place to hide them from curious hands. How did you leave the store buying this garbage? And how did you ever end up leaving with three?

This type of psychological warfare is exactly the premise of ABC’s newest primetime show, Mind Games. It features two brothers who run an agency capitalizing on our patterns of behavior as observed in studies and experiments. The show should have been called, “The Studies Show”, but no one asked my opinion.

But how believable is this agency? Hate to break it to you, but you fall victim to this kind of manipulation every day and it’s not just from advertising. You are manipulated at every hour of the day by different verticals and most of us write it off as confidence. Coincidence it is not. We behave in truly predictably patterns that companies and people use to their advantage.

Dan Ariely is a leading researcher in all things behavior economics and has written books on various studies he has done based on prior research. His fascinating books give us a glimpse at our “irrational” behavior that allows our manipulation. He’s not saying we should live in a constant state of fear of inception but by reading these kinds of works we can arm ourselves with some defense mechanisms to ensure our decisions are our decisions and not the ideas of others.

They’re not Jedi mind tricks-it’s simple psychology and human behavior. To give you a taste of what you’ll find in Ariely’s writing (and probably on the show) here are a few patterns you can use to help things go your way, or detect when someone is making them go their way.

1) By setting up a “good apple” next to a “bad apple”, the “good apple” will look even better next to not only the “bad apple” but the “oranges”, “blueberries”, and “watermelons” too!

The Pros: Real estate agents will often show you two listings that look similar (2 traditional homes) and one that is completely different (a contemporary) with the goal of selling you the better traditional home. Since the “better” traditional home already looks better when placed side by side with the worse traditional home, to the buyer it looks better all around even when you don’t have an equivalent comparison to the contemporary home.

Tip: Take a “less hot” version of yourself out for drinks and watch the interest peak in your favor (just don’t tell your friend!).

2) Decoy pricing is made to lure people to the target price by making it look like a middle option when in reality it is the only “option” they are interested in.

The Pros: You’ll never order the priciest thing on the menu, but you will order the 2nd most expensive thing. Restaurants will create an arbitrary high price for a random item so there will always be something “else” that is the most expensive dish.  The plate they wanted you to buy the whole time sits just below (price wise) the most expensive dish.

Tip: Read options and think about what the offers actually are. Throwing in things for free is usually a red flag for manipulation.

3) Men will respond more to women when they are fertile and ovulating due to their primal instinct to reproduce.  They also respond to the color red more positively and will find the same woman more attractive if she wears the hue, even when it is a turtleneck.

The Pros: Valentine’s Day. It’s pretty obvious.

Tip: Men are willing to spend more money on you when you are NOT on birth control from your distinct pheromones. Their instincts of procreation make them more liable to spring for spending when their primal instincts think proving they can provide for you will attract you and cement you as a mate.

4) Decisions made in the heat of passion are markedly different from decisions made in a normal state.

The Pros: Advertisers play to your emotions because they understand you are in less control over your urges when you are acting on sentiments.

Tip: When sexually stimulated, people are more willing to make risky sexual choices even when they have proven before to understand the possible consequences. Always carry protection because in the heat of the moment you won’t be able to stop it.

5) When people are “primed” with races, they tend to make decisions and have thoughts based on the stereotypes of the primes later on.

The Pros: Movie theaters slip split-second frames of popcorn and soda into movies to get you subliminally thinking about food. Next thing you know you’re headed to the concession stand.

Tip: To make people afraid of a group, pair that group with a negative thing (like guns) and you will associate that group with the negative thing. On a diet? Keep showing yourself pictures of Gremlins before each time you eat ice cream.

6) People are drawn to free more than they are attracted to a better value. Free “sub-par” is more appealing than marked down “premium”.

Translation: We’d rather have free beer than 90% off a 1940 wine. Even when a deal is very, very good, it does not look as good as the free option.

If you haven’t caught your flaw with the candy bar by now I’ll let you in on the secret. You see a candy bar for $2. That’s too much for one candy bar, you think. But then you see the sign for the sale. “5 candy bars for $7!” You do the math. It’s a way better deal with each bar costing less than on their own but five candy bars? That’s too many. Then you see the other sign. “3 candy bars for $5!” Well that’s not as great as the 5 for 7 deal but it’s better than $2 each. Three bars, that’s reasonable. So you take them and reason that as long as you don’t eat them at the same time.

You buy the bars and don’t realize the goal was to get you to buy the 3 bars the whole time. The other options are just available to allow you to compare the deals and make buying more candy than you really needed or wanted reasonable, an actually wise choice. Crazy, huh?

**I highly recommend reading Ariely’s books Predictably Irrational and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty. They are written to entertain and inform, a perfect blending of both.  **

The Five Stages of Grieving the Sochi Winter Olympics

As the West Coast awaits the broadcast of the Sochi Closing Ceremony, so dawns the beginning of another day in Sochi and the reality that our two weeks of limited productivity have come to an end. Thus begin the 5 stages of grief over the end of the 22nd Winter Olympiad.

Denial

Like Yulia’s chances after she fell in the short program, it’s over. What?! It’s over?! It can’t be, it just started like last week. Okay, maybe the week before that. There is no way they went through all those events that quickly. Every ad on my television is still focused on moms, credit cards, and long-term goals. And I still hear Morgan Freeman. Morgan Freeman is like the white light that calls you to The Other Side except the other side here is the Olympics. As long as I can still hear him I know I can still obnoxiously scream “U-S-A!” over and over and a handful of people don’t assume I’m crazy but just really crazy about my country.

Wait a minute. Why is Morgan Freeman a talking Lego?…

Anger

Ashley Wagner

Like Ashley Wagner getting her score we are in pissed off disbelief. The Morgan Freeman thing was messed up. What kind of human being puts an ad for a MOVIE at the same time as THE OLYMPICS and has MORGAN FREEMAN do a voiceover? I thought we had just started the Games. It’s Visa’s fault I assume as long as I hear Mr. Freeman we’re still dominating at cross-country skii-oh. We don’t dominate at cross-country skiing? Okay, nevermind. But still. If it weren’t for that I probably would have watched the last night instead of re-watching the latest Game of Thrones….Okay, maybe I wouldn’t have but I would have liked to at least have considered it.

Who am I kidding. I wasn’t watching Game of Thrones. I’m not cultured like that.

Wait a minute. What is this Paralympics thing you speak of?

Bargaining

So it’s not really over. Just intermission. Like Mikaela Shiffrin getting her skis back on track, it’s not over. In another week athletes will be back and we have another go at winning medals and yelling in fake Russian, right? We get to see more figure skating and hockey and figure skating and snowboarding and figure skating, right? All dominating primetime television and available for insomniacs in the wee hours of the morning?

Wait a minute. They WON”T be airing most of it? Well that’s no(w) fun.

Depression

Like Bode Miller harassed at the finish line, we’re depressed. How am I supposed to remember who all these athletes are when I am not constantly being reminded of their first and last names four times a minute by the folks providing color? I can’t deal with this. I’ve gone my whole life ignoring figure skating unless the Smuckers on Ice Show was the only thing on television Sunday afternoons and now I’m the biggest fan ever and even took out my white roller skates with the huge rubber stoppers on the tips and attempted to spin around the wood floors in the kitchen until my mom had a heart attack and prohibited me from chasing my Olympic dream and now you’re telling me I have to go back to a figure skating free existence? But I need to be Meryl and I need to find my Charlie. You can’t take that kind of inspiration away. I won’t ever get to see them again.

Look at them. I can’t even. (I’ve been told this is the correct usage of “I can’t even”, although no one will tell me what they can’t even…do?)

cross country sochi medal winners

Wait a minute. They have to do late night and morning show rounds?

Acceptance

Fullscreen capture 2232014 50435 PM.bmpWe’re Ted Ligety Happy, the kind he is after he wins a gold medal, not the kind he is when he gets home and discovers bears have ransacked his house. While it is not ideal, I guess it’s nice to see the guys in outfits other than space station puffer jackets and those skating onesies that compete with Spanx as the primary form of weight and eating control at weddings and all events that serve excellent food around people who haven’t eaten since the Nagano Games. I’d like to say that I recommended different speed skating uniforms before this Lockheed Martin Suit Gate and I am willing to offer my services at outfitting the skaters at the next games with something a bit more breathable. I’m thinking Egyptian Cotton.

Wait a minute. You’re telling me the suits weren’t tight enough?

Then let’s just get rid of them. I vote for this. Go Team USA.

NBC’s Sochi Olympics Coverage: Expectant of Greatness

As sure as people hearing the name of a country they have never heard of in the parade of nations during the opening ceremony, the American public lived down to expectations and spent the majority of the 17 days of competition complaining about the NBC broadcast and the commentators, the delayed telecast, spoilers, and Bob Costas’ poor eye(s).

I think it is pretty easy to criticize the broadcast when it is all you have ever known and the grass is always greener on the other side. In a lot of cases here, I think the critics haven’t even caught a glimpse of the grass.

After spending the last Olympics away from the NBC broadcast I was excited to get back to the commentary I had trusted for all the Olympics I could remember before then for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. For the Summer Olympics of 2012 I enjoyed the BBC broadcast in London as well as France Télévisions, the French broadcast in Paris. I missed NBC so much that when I returned to the States I watched my favorite events  via On Demand on covered by NBC. I was curious to see if I would approve or disapprove of the coverage and commentary after being freshly exposed to the coverage of other networks.

france-televisions

What I found then I found again in  these last two weeks of the Olympic Games. After comparing those broadcasts with this one, it is clear why the color and play-by-play commentary is so different than that of other nations. The primary reason,of course, is our standard of excellence and the expectation that when our athletes compete, they win.

A prime example is the vaulting event in the 2012 London Games. The number of times the commentators said “McKayla Maroney” and made a reference to how easy this would be for her was astounding and to me, arrogant. Every vault taken had the  color counting down as to how many vaults were left before she surely won gold. In the first few days of winter competition, Shaun White was put in the same position as the drama of his first botched run in the men’s snowboard halfpipe unfolded. If the commentary had any concern he would not medal they didn’t show it, instead emphasizing how he never needed a second run anyway. The commentary for these two and so many more athletes sends a simple message: Go big or-Wait. There’s another possible outcome?

Each Olympics the United States goes in with the expectation of winning the most medals and hearing the anthem more times than the time before. The media and the American public  put so much pressure on the athletes to not only do well but blow everyone out of the water and when this fails to happen we stare at the television in horror asking what went terribly wrong. “The commentary said this was a guarantee so why didn’t they win?” we ask, stunned. To support and believe is one thing. To expect is another.

I can’t help but feel when we send athletes we don’t say “Good Luck!” It feels more like we say, “Go out there and medal.”

Contrary to popular belief, other countries do broadcast more events they excel in than events in which they do not. They are more generous in allotting more time to countries that are not their own but just as the American public expects to see Americans, their citizens want to see their countrymen too. They want to see events where they can cheer participants on, even when their player is ranked 25 in the event. It is true they show more sports lacking a national representative but when you have fewer representatives the proportion of participants to events get skewed making it difficult to compare.

Another contributing factor is the simple (and prideful) truth that America is stacked in many fields. They have a large representation in many events (think swimming) and often find themselves in medal contention thereby “requiring” NBC to air it. The decision to air events is based on a formula requiring consideration of our athletes and their rankings, the event popularity with the public (undoubtedly people watch more swimming than kayaking), and must succumb to the master of ratings.

Which brings up the next point of people complaining the sports are not live and that it is all NBC’s fault. Last I heard, NBC doesn’t have sole control over the time zones of the world. Believe you me, I’m with the public-I run out of the room when I hear the medal count siren on the news. Nowadays, it’s not just the news to blame. With the saturation of social media, it is close to impossible to go on any website without a glance (even an unintended one) at the updates. I checked my email and my brain quickly processes in that split second what had occurred the past day of competition. I agree, it sucks. But let us be real here. Are you really going to take 2 weeks off from work to watch the Olympics live the whole day? Probably not.

We have to understand television is not a charity. They must do what keeps them afloat with advertisers, paying attention to their ratings. They can’t afford to air their best stuff while a few dedicated and fortunate people call in sick for 2 weeks. And what about all the poor 9 to 5-ers that only have the chance to catch the show in prime time? Would you be happy with no opportunity to watch? I’d say no.

We should give NBC a break. The last thing they want to do is anger the public and have no one watch their shows. Yes, the commentators can tick off a few people when they delve into politics and culture but we can’t expect another network to do better. Journalism is alive for the controversial, for the tempting, for the unusual. And no, I’m not referring to Bob Costas’ eye.

NBC has heard you, America, and your prayer has been answered. By the power vested in the network (and the coincidence that Rio has a one hour time difference with Eastern Time), the 2016 Summer Olympics Games will be LIVE and we can all stop complaining about tape delay. Except for the poor souls on the west coast. Us poor suckers will always have the East Coast Bias making our lives miserable.

So get ready to quit your jobs, America! Or start saving your sick days now. Tell Junior you’ll take him to Hawaii some other time.

**If you’re interested in learning more, read the work of Andrew Billings, a sports communications professor at the University of Alabama.  His book is entitled Olympic Media: Inside the Biggest Show on Television. **

5 Things You Don’t Know About Bode Miller

Before Bode Miller‘s disappointing run in the Men’s Downhill, NBC ran a clip of his journey to get to the Olympics with a bit more about how he met his biggest supporter and fan, his wife Morgan. While the media did a great job showing us the rosy side of their relationship, they left off some interesting details about his life. While it may seem they left these details out for protection, the pressing interviewer determined to bring Miller to tears after his bronze medal in the Super G wins proved otherwise. Here are 5 things you may not know about the most famous American alpine skier.

1) He has two kids from two different mothers from two former relationships.

He gave an on-air birthday greeting to his six year old daughter but also has a one year old son. This makes for some interesting baby mama drama when it comes to custody battles, international travel, and Morgan being the primary caretaker of the kids while their father is racing. Battles for the children and how much time they spend with their famous dad are constant for the Miller brood.

2) Bode and Morgan didn’t meet so sweetly.

Bode spotted Morgan (then going by her maiden name Beck) in a beach volleyball tournament and demanded he be introduced to the 25 year-old Cal graduate and former NCAA athlete (Women’s Volleyball). It was all but organic, as Miller played it out to be on the NBC interview.

3) The Millers have experienced 2 losses in the past 2 years.

In addition to losing his brother, Bode also lost the child Morgan was carrying at the end of 2012. It was devastating to them both leaving the couple challenged personally while trying to remain professional in their respective sports.

4) Bode is romantic (or not, depending on how you look at it).

He proposed out of nowhere while he and Morgan were about to fall asleep one night. A series of marriage questions was followed by a ring pulled out of the covers and completely in the dark. They had only been seeing each other for five months but in that time decided they were meant for each other.

5) Bode is a fan of horse racing.

Not only is he a fan, he is an owner. Bode scoured the markets looking for a prize-winning horse to race in the circuits and both he and his wife travel to races to watch their beloved beauty participate in races. And yes, they do dress up and wear elaborate derby hats.

Thank You, Mr.Leno

Dear Mr. Leno,

I was a little over one year old when you came to The Tonight Show. I grew up hearing my mom talk about “Jay Leno” and how funny he was. I had no idea who that was but I knew he was important, at least to my mother. So well-placed in my brain this name was that when my third grade class was to take a field trip to tour NBC studios and visit the set of The Tonight Show, at the mention of Jay Leno I figured it was probably very important to tell my mom about the chaperone opportunity.

Went we did and my mom ran around the studio like a kid in a candy store. I still had no idea how significant this was for her, but I understood it was something big. I remember being taken outside to see your car for the day, and if my memory serves me correctly, it was a cylindrical, white, one seat racecar-type looking thing and I have a vision of a starred helmet, although that could have been a memory from a cartoon. I also took note of the musical guest that day, a band called Savage Garden? Are they still around?

A few years later my little brother had the opportunity to sing on your show with his 1st grade class for a Thanksgiving pageant. We were driving out to Texas the night it aired and we were breaking every speed limit in town to get to a television in time. We missed it, but thanks to VHS (remember that?), we saw a recording when we got home. I’ve never had the chance to tell you thanks for letting my brother perform despite his unsightly cold sore.

Over the years I watched your show with my mom, sparingly, because of this thing called school. Thanks to that sacrifice I got into college and there I had the freedom to watch as much of The Tonight Show as I wanted (enabled by DVR). In college a good friend passed away and at his memorial service his family played a clip of when he was a “guest” on your show as a kid inventor for a combo spoon and fork. Another fond memory filed away in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno folder.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m old now. I’m 22 years old and my whole life I have known who you were. Well, are. You’ve been sprinkled over my life, like a favorite recipe that has the power to bring me back to mom’s home cooking. I could tell you you have made me laugh, but that would be obvious and an understatement. You have made me cackle. More importantly, you’ve set an example for me in how when you love what you do, tough times don’t seem so tough. You’ve taught me to value education and to be nice to kids (something I’ve struggled with in the past). You’ve taught me how to be happy by finding what you love and doing it for the rest of your life. You’ve taught me how to handle situations with class, wit, and of course, laughs.

But this isn’t goodbye, not for a longshot. Like I said, I’m old. I’ll be seeing you in Vegas, or any other place so lucky to see you do your work of art.

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Thank you.

Crystal