Don’t Speak English…Parlez Globish !

GlobishIf you’ve ever traveled to a country in which English was NOT the Mother Tongue, you’ve undoubtedly run into people who spoke only a smattering of English. Moreover, when non-native English speakers address each other in front of a native English speaker, the results can be confusing, though vaguely English-like. In an effort to get non-native English speakers to be able to communicate more effectively among themselves — and with Americans — Frenchman Jean-Paul Nerriere developed Globish, which he calls “the worldwide dialect of the third millennium.”

Unlike Esperanto — which seeks to replace other languages — Globish is NOT a language: it is only a tool to communicate. With only 1500 words — you can see a Globish “dictionary” in this PDF file — Globish might not be elegant, but it serves a purpose. In fact, with only 182 hours required to learn Globish, people all over the world will be able to speak with the same limited vocabulary. It’s so simple, even Americans can speak it. In fact, I think Globish is what Charla and Mirna were speaking.

Confused? Compare the American version of The Gettysburg Address with the Globish version. Alternatively, have a look at this this explanation of Globish, drafted specifically for American speakers.

The Amazing Race All-Stars: Episode 12 Recap (The Finale!)

girlsLo, it is with mixed emotions that I report on the final episode of The Amazing Race All-Stars. On the one hand, I’m excited to see which team will win (Will it be a team I’ve been rooting for all along?). On the other hand, once the season is over, what’ll I do on Sunday nights?

Anyway, if you haven’t yet seen the season finale, stop reading now! We’re going to reveal the winner. But for those of you who saw it, or want the juicy details, continue reading. Let’s go!Last week, the teams left off in Guam’s Fort Soledad. When the racers began the final leg, they were told to fly Honolulu. Dustin and Kandice, who were the first team to leave, raced to the airport with Eric and Danielle right behind them. Charla and Mirna, bringing up the rear, also sped to the airport. With no direct flights to Honolulu from Guam, D&K managed to get the last two seats on a flight to Oahu, with a transfer in Tokyo. E&D and C&M both managed to get on a flight leaving Guam slightly later but which would meet the second flight in time to catch it. D&K, thinking they were solidly in the lead, were pretty pleased with themselves.

In Tokyo, D&K see E&D… but no one can spot C&M. Where are they? Razor-eyed C&M have seen that there’s another flight leaving for Honolulu 40 minutes earlier and went to ask if they could slip onto it. Amazingly, after a lot of bleating and wailing, the ticket agents gave them two seats on this earlier flight. While I can’t stand C&M’s near-constant whining for people to help them, I was impressed they managed to score this earlier flight. As a result, they managed to get to Hawaii first.

detourOnce in Honolulu, the teams had to get themselves to Kamaka Air Hangar. From there, three helicopters shuttled the teams one by one (first C&M; then E&D; finally D&K) to the island of Lanai. Once on the island, the teams had to drive themselves to Kaumalapau Harbor, and find a man in ceremonial dress. C&M found him first. They also found a Detour: “Over or Under.”

In Under, teams needed to take a boat to an underwater cave and swim under the rocks where their next clue would be waiting for them. In Over, teams had to take a boat to an inlet where both team members needed to stand and paddle themselves on a paddleboard to a buoy to retrieve their next clue.

jumpE&D, who were the second team to arrive, and D&K, who were third, chose Under, which looked easy until you saw the waves crashing against the rugged coastline. In fact, the teams were required to wear helmets to swim under the rocks to retrieve the clue. While it was pretty under there, the crushing waves would’ve made the experience fairly frightening. Meanwhile, C&M chose Over. Charla aced the paddleboard (no jokes about her low center of gravity, folks; show some respect!), while Charla’s wobbliness slowed down the team a little. Nevertheless, the cousins remained in first place.

Now, the teams had to get themselves to nearby Shipwreck Beach. Scurrying along the rocks, C&M couldn’t move very quickly and lost their lead to both E&D and D&K. Teams were now required to kayak to the beautiful but crumbling tanker offshore to retrieve their next clue. The waves were brutal — Fodor’s claims “The water is unsafe for swimming”! — but E&D made it with little effort. D&K capsized at least once and argued about whether it would be better to push the kayak through the shallows than paddle it. (Though they tried, they decided paddling was better. No offense, girls, but duh!) C&M plunged forward, characteristically shrieking at each other (Mirna to Charla: “Are you deaf?!”)

Later, in the car, Kandice would tell Dustin that she was a “bad teammate.” Tearfully, the two girls discussed their strategies and quickly made up. I think this was their only breakdown the entire season.

But who has time for breakdowns when you’re in a race for a million dollars?! Now, the racers had to get to the airport and fly to San Francisco. At this point, about 40 minutes into the episode, it occurred to me that either (a) my TiVo hadn’t recorded the entire finale, or (b) the finale was only one hour long. Gulp. I hoped it was the latter.
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In San Francisco, the teams had to get to The Old Mint, where one team member had to answer 4 questions…

  • Which team is the least trustworthy?
  • Which team has the best sense of humor?
  • Which team is the most overrated?
  • Which team would you most want to stay in contact with after the race?

…and make a code from their responses. The other team member then had to guess the answers to the questions, piece together the code, and enter it into a safe containing their FINAL CLUE. Though D&K were the first team to begin this task, E&D were the first to complete it. With clue in hand, E&D scurried to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, the final pit stop in this race around the world.

Eric and DanieeleAll the teams were speeding their way to the finish line, but with E&D ahead of the pack, it was a clear victory. The winners of The Amazing Race All-Stars, Eric and Danielle, strolled into the Gardens, surrounded by the eliminated teams. A million bucks richer, the pair was excited but not ecstatic. I was kind of surprised. However, Eric had been relatively understated the entire race, so I guess I sort of expected it. D&K arrived shortly thereafter, and C&M came in third.

While I had been rooting for D&K since the season began, I was pretty much just happy that C&M had NOT won. Of course, while it would be unfair to say that E&D did not deserve to win — after all, they crossed the finish line first — I was surprised they won, since they had not placed first in any previous leg of the race. Am I alone in thinking this?

I can’t wait for Season 12. I wish I were going to be competing in it.

The Amazing Race All-Stars: Episode 11 Recap

We’re down to our second to last episode with the Amazing Race All-Stars. As always, if you didn’t get a chance to watch last night’s episode yet, stop reading now! I’d hate to spoil all of the fun. But for those of you who saw it, or want the juicy details right now, continue on. Let’s go!

Last week the “beauty queens,” Dustin & Kandice drove their mini-moke to the island of Taipa, and reached the put-stop first, so they’re the first team to depart. The clue reveals that the teams will now by flying to the island of Guam in the Western Pacific Ocean. Guam’s full name is US Territory of Guam, and it is home of Andersen Air Force Base, where much of the episode’s tasks take place.

The air force base played a key role in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, and it remains today a key a strategic points for US military efforts in the Southwest Pacific and Indian oceans.

After some trouble at the airport in China, each team finally makes it on a flight; Dustin & Kandice, Charla & Mirna, and Erik & Danielle on one flight, and Danny & Oswald on another. Both flights connect in Tokyo before heading off to Guam, but Danny & Oswald — who are marked for elimination unless they arrive first on this leg — are on a flight that arrives later, leaving them only 45 minutes to make the connection. It’s a mad rush to the gate when they land, but their hustle pays off and, much to the disappointment of the others, they make the flight which puts all four teams are on the same flight to Guam.

Danny & Oswald are first off the plane in Guam, only to find that they’ll need a military escort to drive them to the location of their next task — something they can’t get until 7:00 AM. After waiting it out, each team gets their escort and heads to the next detour: Care Package or Engine Detail. In Care Package, teams fill two large boxes with 500 pounds of supplies to be loaded onto a C-17 cargo plane and then go along for the ride as they drop the supplies on a neighboring island. In Engine Detail, teams have to hand wash a portion of a B-52 so that its shine is up to military standards.

This is where I would really struggle in the race; If I were forced to pick between a really crappy task that was quick (Engine Detail), or one that would allow me to fly in a C-17 but takes twice as long, I’d have a hard time passing up the awesome opportunities in favor for the grunt work — even if it means losing the race. Saying that, however, I remember that I don’t have a million dollars dangling in front of me, so it’s hard to put things into prospective.

Danny & Oswald, Dustin & Kandice, and Erik & Danielle all chose Engine Detail, while Charla & Mirna (with her “This is what cool looks like” shirt. Seriously.) head for Care Package. The three teams on clean-up duty have their work cut out for them as they don plastic yellow suits and go to work., Meanwhile, Charla & Mirna have relatively no trouble filling the boxes and hop on the cargo plane in no time. The only downside is it takes a long time to get in the plane, take-off, drop the goods, and land, and by the time Charla & Mirna are finished, the other teams have already completed the grueling tasking of cleaning the bomber, and are on their way to the U.S. Naval Base, where they receive their next clue.

Upon arrival at the Naval Base, teams learn of the next task: a roadblock. In this roadblock, one member from each remaining team must use a hand-held Garmin GPS device to locate a pilot hiding in the jungle. When they’re discovered, the pilot will input new coordinates into the GPS which will send them looking for a drop zone, where they’ll radio for a nearby helicopter to “request extraction,” which is a fancy way of saying “get me the hell out of the jungle and back to my teammate.”

Dustin & Kandice are the first to arrive, and Dustin heads out with her GPS to find the hidden pilot. Anyone who has used a GPS device before can tell you this shouldn’t be too tough, and Dustin breezes through the task by quickly finding the pilot and then the drop zone, and before long she’s on the helicopter and heading back to Kandice.

At this point, the other teams have arrived, and are having a lot of problems. For some reason Charla keeps touching the GPS device’s screen — something frowned upon by her military escort, and no less than 5 times do I hear him say “Ma’m, please don’t touch the screen.” Why can’t you touch the screen? Why can’t Charla keep from touching the screen? Who knows!

As the teams wander aimlessly (with GPS!) through the jungle, Dustin & Kandice learn they’re now headed for the next pit-stop: Fort Soledad, where they are once again first to arrive. Phil awards them an ATV or something, they celebrate, Phil smiles, a local looks on… you know the drill.

Danielle had an especially rough time in the jungle. She cried, she wept, she cursed her GPS device. She finally pulled herself together enough to figure out how to actually use the device, and makes her way to the drop zone while Oswald and Charla lag behind. Completing the task, Erik & Danielle head to the pit-stop and are the second team to arrive, leaving just one spot open in the elite final three.

While Charla and Oswald battle it out in the jungle for the final spot, Mirna and Danny wait back at the landing strip, wondering who will complete the task first so they can head to the pit stop and secure the final spot. This is when Oswald says, in his thick gay-Cuban accent, what could be the funniest, and most cruel line in Amazing Race history to Charla — dressed in full military gear — as she waits for her helicopter extraction: “Oh my god, the Teletubbies go to war!” Finally the Amazing Race crew picks a good quote to title the episode with!

Bad comments mean bad karma, however, and Charla finishes the task first. Not even the skills of the Amazing Race editor can make the end of this one a nail-biter; It’s pretty obvious that Danny & Oswald are headed home. It’s too bad… I liked them.

Charla & Mirna arrive at the pit-stop, securing their place in the top 3. Who would have thought?

Charla & Mirna, Dustin & Kandice, and Erik & Danielle: who will it be? Find out next week for the two-hour season finale!

The Amazing Race All-Stars: Episode 10 Recap

We’re down to just three episodes left of the Amazing Race All-Stars, and it’s starting to get exciting! If you don’t like reading spoilers, please head somewhere else. This recap is as spoiled as year-old milk. Let’s go!

Last episode left off with Erik & Danielle arriving last and marked for elimination, while Danny & Oswald arrived first. They’re the first to leave the pit stop in Hong Kong and head for the city of Macau on mainland China by TurboJet turbo ferry. The clue tells them to head to Macau Tower, standing at 1,109 feet. Once they arrive, teams are faced with a roadblock which has them walking around the outer edge of an outside observation deck, then eventually jumping off the side in the highest “tethered skyjump” in the world.

What’s especially cool about this is you can actually go to Macau Tower and do this yourself. When I saw the teams walking along the outer rim of the observation deck, I figured this was a task unique to the Amazing Race, but it’s not. It’s called “Skywalk X,” and it costs a whopping $200. If you want to jump off the side, it’ll cost you another $888. The prices don’t say USD, but they don’t mention any other currency (and they do use the dollar sign), so I’ll assume this is correct. WOW! That is really, really, really expensive!

Danny & Oswald arrive first to find out the tower isn’t open yet, with Dustin & Kandice shortly behind. D&O have a bit of a problem though: they’re completely out of money, so they offer up the use of their upcoming yield to Dustin & Kandice for some cold, hard cash. I love this. This is how the race should be played… cut-throat, doing whatever it takes to win, as long as it’s within the rule boundaries. They are racing after all, and for a million bucks! I’m sure people got pretty mad at both Danny & Oswald and Dustin & Kandice for yielding Erik & Danielle for cash, but they did what had to be done — E&D were the biggest threat, and they wanted them out of there. Who could blame them? Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out the way they planned, but I’m jumping ahead of myself.

After the tower opens and the teams ride up, jump down, and get their next clue, Erik and Danielle realize they’ve once again been shafted with a yield. What bothers me about Erik is he’s acting like he wouldn’t have done the exact same thing had he been in the front position. He’s got the right to be frustrated, but dude — it’s a game. Get over it, you were behind the pack, and the other teams took advantage of their position. Deal with it! It’s not unethical, it’s a part of the game.

After waiting their 30 minutes, they too are allowed to jump and get their next clue. By this time, the other teams have moved on to the next task, a detour: Noodle or Dragon. In Noodle, teams have to bounce on a piece of bamboo to flatten some noodles, while Dragon takes the teams a mile or so through Macau carrying a dragon head and drum looking for a boat. Dustin & Kandice choose Noodle, and can barely contain themselves at the sight of the man showing them how to Noodle. It is quite phallic, I guess, but the girls giggle like they’re back on the playground. Meanwhile, Danny & Oswald choose Dragon, and head off in their own direction. Charla and Mirna Noodle it, while the freshly yielded Erik & Danielle finally jump the tower and head to the Noodle detour.

It’s here that I make a striking observation: Mirna is Michael Scott, regional manager of Dunder-Mifflin Scranton (played by Steve Carell). If you watch The Office, you’ll know that Michael thinks he’s a lot funnier than he really is. He thinks he knows a lot more than he really does. This is what makes the show so funny. Mirna is the same way: she thinks she’s funny, she thinks she’s worldly, she thinks she knows what she’s doing, but she doesn’t. This is funny. She even looks directly at the camera every time she thinks she’s making a funny joke, just like Michael Scott! It’s uncanny.

Anyway, the three teams who chose to Noodle it battle it out, with Dustin & Kandice finishing first, followed by Erik & Danielle, and finally Charla & Michael Scott Mirna. Meanwhile Danny & Oswald — pissed they made the wrong detour choice — are wandering around the streets of Macau, lost, dragging a giant drum and dragon head. The other teams learn they must now drive a Mini-Moke (it’s just like, it’s just like, a Mini-Moke, hey hey!) to the island of Taipa, the location of the next pit stop.

The blondes arrive first, while Mirna — fresh from chiding Charla for not being able to drive the Mini-Moke — runs the thing into a curb and causes a traffic jam. I have to admit it, I enjoy seeing Mirna have bad luck. Unfortunately, they get off the curb and to Taipa, and pass up Erik & Danielle who have already arrived, but have to wait 30 minutes since they were marked for elimination. It’s a race against the clock now, with only one team left — Danny & Oswald. Can they make it to the pit stop in 30 minutes? Short answer: no. Erik & Danielle are saved.

Danny & Oswald, you’re the last time to arrive…. … …. …. However, I’m pleased to tell you this is the last non-elimination round….

This was a shocker, especially so late in the race. So we’ve still got four teams left with three episodes remaining. Who’s going to make it to the top three? Check back next week to find out!

The Amazing Race All-Stars: Episode 9 Recap

Fortunately — unlike the previous week — last night my DVR chose to work properly and I got to see the 9th episode of the Amazing Race All-Stars. As always, if spoilers aren’t your thing, head somewhere else, because this recap is filled with them. REAL spoilers, unlike that April Fools joke I played that people still read and comment on thinking I was serious. Anyway, let’s go!

Last week the “beauty queens,” Dustin & Kandice, arrived first in Kuala Lumpur, while Uchenna & Joyce got the boot, Malaysian-style. Only four teams remained as we learned our next destination would be a Hong Kong, the Sun Wah Kiu Laundry house to be specific, where the teams would find their next clue.

The race becomes much easier to follow now that we’re down to only 4 teams, and they’ve all congregated at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where they’re looking for the quickest flight to Hong Kong. Unfortunately it’s late, and none of the airline offices are open. However, most of the teams learn that a China Air flight leaving at 8:00 am is the quickest, followed by a Malaysian Air departing at 9:15. Both flights are full, however, so the teams are forced to wait for the offices to open so that they can be placed on a waiting list. Here’s where the drama begins.

Oswald & Danny and Charla & Mirna break off to find a hidden China Air office where they wait for an employee to arrive to place them on the waiting list. Meanwhile, Dustin & Kandice are standing in line with Eric & Danielle at the proper ticket counter, and they both get their names on the 8:00 am list after Oswald & Danny.

After Oswald & Danny learn they’re the only teams to secure the 8:00 am flight, the others rush off to Malaysian Air to figure out where they stand in the wait list. Mirna — god I can’t stand this woman — and Dustin & Kandice fight to figure out whose at the top of the wait list, but we find out it doesn’t really matter when both teams are awarded a spot on the flight, leaving Eric & Danielle (who were off trying to exchange Polish złoty) on a flight that puts them an hour behind.

Landing in Hong Kong first, Oswald & Danny make their way to Sun Wah Kiu Laundry with their bankroll running on fumes. They negotiate a cheaper fair with the taxi driver, and receive their next clue which contains the second of two fast forwards in the race. They choose to take the fast forward, which allows them to skip all regular tasks and instead perform just one and then head to the pit stop. The fast forward takes place at a Hong Kong movie set, where they both don protective gear and get driven around in a stunt car. The tasked seemed weak at first, but it quickly got much more serious when they actually drove the car up a ramp and flipped it (on purpose). It’s a good thing they were wearing all that protective gear. The Travelocity gnome makes an appearance this episode as Oswald & Danny get the next clue and head to the pit stop, gnome in tow.

Meanwhile, Charla & Mirna arrive at the laundry house and get their next clue, skipping the fast forward under the correct assumption that “the boys” would take it. Instead, they’re faced with a detour: “Lost in Translation” or “Kung -Fu Fighting.” Charla & Mirna chose the former, and hail a cab. As they’re en route to “Lost in Translation” they change their minds and have the cabby turn around and head towards “Kung Fu Fighting,” where Dustin & Kandice have already arrived. The task involves climbing up an 11-story building on bamboo scaffolding while ninja-looking people swing around and fight each other. Nobody has a problem with this task — Charla included — and we learn from the next clue that the teams have a roadblock ahead: one team member must kick down doors in an abandoned police headquarters to find a clue hidden inside of a room. This task looked fun; nothing seems more satisfying than kicking through a door, especially when they’ve been pre-configured to go down easy. Kandice flies through this task and receives the next clue, taking them to the pit stop, where they arrive in second place. Charla isn’t as quick, but still has minimal problems before finding the clue and heading to the pit stop in third place.

Eric & Danielle, however, continue to have problems — both with the race and with each other. They lag behind, and despite the clever editing tricks from the AR people, the differences in sky color show that the team is pretty far behind the others. Eric & Danielle arrive at the pit stop last, but Phil is happy to tell them this is a — gasp! — non-elimination round.

Can Eric & Danielle dart ahead to thwart elimination? Can Oswald & Danny hold their lead? Will Mirna ever shut up? Stay tuned next week to find out!