Amazing Race 14 starts tonight

What already? Wasn’t it last week when my least favorite team Starr and Nick dashed across the finish line to win the million dollars? Nope. The end of Amazing Race 13 was in December. Tonight, Amazing Race 14 begins on CBS at 8:00 EST.

From a quick glance, I have two reasons to tune in:

One couple, married duo Brad and Victoria are from Columbus, Ohio. According to their bio, their motto is, “life is not a spectator sport and therefore you should always enjoy each moment that life gives you.” Each of them have overcome personal challenges. I’ll have to see how much I like them based on tonight’s episode. Regardless of them being from the city I live in, I’ve never met them. I’ve never seen them before in my life.

The other pair, Cara and Jaime caught my attention because of one of their names. The spelling is different. From reading Jaime’s bio, I’d say the spelling isn’t all that’s different. For one, the other Jaime used to be a cheerleader and I’ve never been able to touch my toes. These two are from Florida, and seem like lovely people, both inside and out. I give them a thumbs up so far.

The other nine teams are made up of an assortment of married, friends, siblings, parent/son and dating pairs.

  • Amanda and Kris are a young dating couple. I’m interested in Kris’s reactions to the world since he has not had the chance to travel much.
  • Christie and Jodi are flight attendant friends who met on the job. I wonder if they tune into Galley Gossip? If not, they should. With their combined travel savvy, I’d say these two are formidable contenders.
  • Preston and Jennifer, another dating couple, are from Columbia, S.C., a city where I lived for two years as a kid. What will make them a fun pair to watch (or possibly highly annoying) is their quest to see if they should break-up or stay together. They haven’t made up their minds yet. Who is ready for some bickering footage?
  • LaKisha and Jennifer, from their descriptions these two sisters from Brooklyn should provide some interesting TV. They haven’t traveled much outside the U.S. and have very different personalities.
  • Linda and Steve might be my favorite so far. From Martinsville, Virginia, they’ve traveled extensively and seem to be a non-traditional married couple who have found out how to live a good life.
  • Margie and Luke are a mother/son pair from Denver, Colorado who could also be my favorites to win. Luke is deaf and communicates with American Sign Language. I have a deaf brother-in-law and sister-in-law. What a great addition these two are to the line-up.
  • Mark and Michael are two brothers who are from Hawaii and California. Their backgrounds make them interesting contenders as well. Both of them are stunt men and one works as a jockey and the other has acting gigs. Because they are using the Amazing Race to work on their relationship, I expect some footage analyzing what makes brothers click or not click.
  • Mel and Mike are father and son with an atypical family history. Mel is gay. That’s not the atypical part. This should be an interesting team to watch.
  • Tammy and Victor are another sibling pair who are a cross between TK and Rachel and Starr and Nick. She’s the laid back one. He sounds like Nick. Both are lawyers with great smiles. He looks nicer than he sounds.

Let’s see how these teams do and how accurate their bios are. Personally, I like the mix of ages and that none of the teams sound particularly full of themselves. Hopefully, this season will do a great job of highlighting the countries where the teams headed. That’s my favorite part.

Here’s a link the preview video of Episode 1. My favorite line so far is “No use standing here looking like dumb asses.” (Or something like that). The first destination country is Switzerland. Cheese and bungee jumping are involved.

Amazing Race 13 cast revealed: Yeah!

Joy! Rapture! A bit of excitement is heading to Sunday night TV on September 28 at 8 PM on CBS. Yes, folks. The Amazing Race returns. This round is season 13.

The cast has been revealed and is now up at the Amazing Race website. Thanks to Jaunted for giving me the heads up when I received my daily Jaunted missive yesterday.

There’s a link in the Jaunted post to the L.A. Times travel blog, “Daily Travel and Deal.” Here, editor Maret Orliss, senior programming manager for Los Angeles Times Events presents her impressions of each couple after chatting with them in person.

As usual, there are the team combos that we’ve come to know and count on for good TV:

  • The blondes
  • The parent/child where someone wants to bond more with the other
  • The incredibly competent couple who gets along so well that you’re left wondering what the hell is wrong with your own life
  • The couple whose non-stop squabbling is something you recognize, or if you’re lucky, leaves you feeling like the couple in the above example.
  • The older couple who is too sweet for words and have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever winning
  • The sibling pair who think that each of them are the best thing since sliced bread
  • The pair who is sure they will win because of they are so much better qualified than any others. Duh.

I’ll miss seeing two of the couples from last season when I tune in. They are:

Kynt and Vyxsin, the Goth pair who I consistently rooted for, and Donald and Nick, the grandfather/grandson team who came in second. Don was the oldest contestant to do so well and watching the two of them was TV worth watching.

Here are the countries the teams hoped to see by being Season 13 contestants, according to Orliss’s reporting. As we watch this season, let’s see if any of them get to go to the country of their dreams.

  • Latvia
  • Argentina
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • New Zealand
  • Egypt or another African country
  • Tibet
  • Nepal
  • Mongolia
  • Fiji
  • Israel

Click here for the video clip of “Meet the Cast.” As Phil Keoghan, the host of the show says, one reason to tune in week after week is that this is a chance to see “Ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

No Fly List Exposed

CBSAnother CBS News piece I missed for who knows what reason, but they’ve got a pretty good summary of what went down in the program. In a very interesting episode of 60 Minutes, correspondent Steve Kroft goes over the very sloppy and inaccurate No Fly government list that can detain fliers for hours and create a ton of unnecessary hassle for the innocent or unlikely terrorist. For starters the “No Fly” list is part of a secret government database compiled after 9/11 to keep all the bad frequent fliers from flying so frequently or at all. In all seriousness, it is supposed to prevent suspected terrorists from boarding planes, but after managing to obtain a copy of the extra, extra secret list – 60 Minutes uncovers and exposes some major flaws. For instance 14 of the 19 9/11 hijackers who have been dead for five years are still on the list. Shocking? Not to some… When Kroft questioned Donna Bucella, who has run the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center since 2003, her response was:

“Well, just because a person has died doesn’t necessarily mean their identity has died. People sometimes carry the identity of those who have died.”

Okay, Bucella has a point with that one, but a good one? I don’t think so – what moron would assume the identity of a known terrorist? Moving along, also found on the list is Saddam Hussein, convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, Francois Genoud (Nazi sympathizer and financier of Arab terrorism, deceased for ten years now), Evo Morales (president of Bolivia) and to make a long list of flaws short last, but not least comes Robert Johnson. Poor, poor Robert Johnson – when 60 Minutes brought in 12 men, all named Robert Johnson to discuss the topic, all had some trouble boarding planes at one point or another. With a name as common like that, I think Jaunted finds the only possible solution to beating the hassle in their No Fly rant. Their solution – change your name to Bobby Johnny. Sounds a lot like Ricky Bobby to me.

As far as I know I’m not on the list, but I’d love to hear some first hand accounts. Any Gadling readers out there wrongly on the rotten No Fly List? Please, share.

CBS Pilot Alert – Drama at the CDC

Will Smith & Jada PinkettMmm… Where do I begin with this one – the facts or my own personal opinion? I’ll start with the facts as I stumbled upon over at EURweb. The celeb powerhouse couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, have had a few things up their sleeve since last July when Jada hinted at a new project she had been pitching to networks with her hubby Will Smith at the Television Critics Association Press Conference in Pasadena. In order to keep the project from being jinxed she declined to elaborate, but now the word is out and spreading like Mad Cow, Avian Flu and a bad batch of spinach. According to EUR: “It’s been confirmed that CBS has given a put pilot commitment to the project, which hails from CBS Paramount Network TV and Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment.” The untitled drama (Jada’s creation) will follow doctors at the Center for Disease Control, who fight viruses that threaten people globally.

Time for my two cents! Personally, I think it sounds fascinating and I can’t wait to see who they’ll cast for our virus fighting Docs, but it frightens me at the same time. I can just imagine episode #18 where a young couple comes back from a backpacking vacation in China and one falls ill with the world’s deadliest case of Avian Flu. Or episode #43 where a group of missionaries at an orphanage in Namibia contract Malaria after being given the wrong prescription back in the states… The scenarios are endless and while the CDC isn’t just about travel and disease, I tend only to scope it out when I’m heading somewhere far, foreign, and possibly flooded by disease. I’d hope none of the episodes sway anyone from traveling abroad, but let’s face it – people suck that stuff in. Someone out there isn’t going to want to go travel and explore ‘X’ destination because of ‘X’ disease related drama seen on primetime television. It happens. Television warps the mind, but I am very interested in seeing this when it debuts.

So with all that being said has something you ever seen on the tube (news or movies) ever kept you or changed your mind about traveling someplace? If so, give me the full details and just so it’s fair I’ll share a secret of my own. When I saw Boys Don’t Cry with Hilary Swank it made me never wish to go to Nebraska. Not that I’m a woman posing as a man, but it sort of gave me this negative idea that people aren’t nice there.

That’s my story what’s yours?