DWTS 9

Apparently, there is a god. And he smiled on us last night. DWTS shook off Sean Spicer like a pesky case of crabs. I was woot wooting around the house so that my wife thought I’d gone crazy. The joy of it was almost enough to forgive them for two indiscretions. Almost, but not enough. JAZZ IS NOT A BALLROOM DANCE. While Ally may have perfectly done what Sasha taught her, and deserved her 10s, refer to the previous sentence. Actually, I liked JVDB’s better. It was more hip hop than jazz. HIP HOP IS NOT A BALLROOM DANCE, EITHER. However, it had swag and suited the song. They pulled out Magic Mike moves that Carlos Penavega used a couple years back. Then, they called it rumba. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqTKUUYAVVE  Especially at the one-minute mark. And why do they keep wasting him on jazz and contemporary when he can throw down some great ballroom if they’ll just let him. His jive was a real showstopper for me. High energy and the kicks I like to see. Could have used more pumping as Bruno said. But then I went down the rabbit hole thinking about Bruno talking about pumping.

Smilin’ Len seems to have been moodier this season than in the past. If any of the celebrities say anything to him, he pulls an attitude. And his mouthing off to Ally of “Don’t touch me” was inexcusable. He has pulled few punches in his dislike for Spicer, at least twice telling him that he didn’t belong where he had gotten. Truth. He should have been dumped first or second week. I especially liked Len’s comment about his Argentine tango “The best thing about it was that it wasn’t very long.” Len’s still got it.

THE dance of the night had to be Hannah and Alan’s tango. It was classic tango; sheer elegance and a thing of beauty. Perfection. I had chills several times. Quite possibly best dance of the season. Their salsa on the other hand, was lacking. It had energy and flash, but, yeah, the lifts were sloppy. If you’re gonna lift, make it perfect.

And when they weren’t jazzing, Ally and Sasha had a near great samba. I’m with Joey Fatone; where’s the rolls? I don’t pull out my 10 paddle for a samba unless it has rolls. No one but Derek ever did linked forward and backward rolls, but at least give us a notion of a roll. Here’s an homage to the king of rolls. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJdz4OMAQJg

Lauren and Gleb seemed MIA last night. Their QS was nice, but nothing to write home about and where did they dig up that ugly dress? It should be burned immediately before someone tries to copy it. As for the rumba, I was still recovering from AJ being completely covered with tattoos. What the hell was he thinking? There is no universe where that is remotely close to attractive. He looks like a sideshow at a carnival freak. As for the dance, Gleb did a lot more rumba than Lauren, but it was still nice.

Kel and Witney’s Paso briefly turned into Riverdance. Who were those guys and where did they go? Just a brief cameo. Way too angry. And wasn’t that the same song Mel B. used a few years ago, and then someone else after her? Have they run out of songs? Their VW had an airplane and a flekerl; what’s not to like? Not airy enough though. It felt grounded whereas it should float. A couple of wobbles on the landings. And as my partner tells me, he should take bigger steps.

Now that the true deadwood is gone it’s anybody’s game.

The Southern gals definitely got game, but both are inconsistent. So are Gleb and Alan. That looks like a recipe for disaster. JVDB seems to have faded into the woodwork. He needs more facetime if he wants to win it. I don’t think the fanbase is there. Same with Kel. Most of Kel’s success is due to Witney. She is almost like a female Derek in pulling dance out of anyone. My money’s on Ally. She has the most raw talent and Sasha knows what he’s doing. They’ve made him dance with old people and midgets. It’s great they finally gave him someone he can work with. They already have Emma’s mirror ball at home on the mantelpiece; it’s time for Sasha to have one to balance it out.

DWTS 8

OK, technical difficulties may be a thing of the past. I am typing this on my brand-new HP Pavilion 360 touch screen. Sweet. And the space key actually works.

Now, on to more important matters. I’ve been seeing chatter online and on Facebook that people are starting to realize what I called some weeks ago. Sean Spicer is going to win DWTS unless someone does something. If the crazies can elect a nincompoop for president, they can easily elect at stumblebum as a dancer. When they get down to 4 celebrities and the bottom two are named is probably our last chance for him to be at the bottom. They will want 3 for the finale. Two will get perfect 10s and Sean will get 3 sevens. Just like Bobby Bones. Len has already said that he doesn’t belong in the competition and Carrie Ann seems to feel the same way. If only we could find a friendly producer to fudge the numbers just a bit. Or if the judges could get together and give Sean three 0s every time he’s up. I mean they say the judges’ scores count for fifty percent. Jefferson talked about this – letting the masses vote. People are stupid. You let them vote and there’s no telling what they might do. Witness Trump and Brexit. Witness Bobby Bones. If they go to the mat and let Sean take it, then that is my last day with DWTS. Someone else can write the reviews in the future. If they have a future. Allowing voting blocks with an agenda to hijack the show is making it a joke. A laughingstock. If that’s the case, why bother with the dancing? Just go right to the results. We all know what it will be. I feel they may be sealing their own doom. I have read that a lot of people are touting So You Think You Can Dance. I have a number of issues with that program starting with Nigel Lithgow. During the preliminaries a couple of years ago two men came on as what they called Male Pair Dancers. Two men, doing acrobatic and somewhat ballroom together. One said he was gay, the other said he was straight. Why a straight guy wanted to do that, I have no idea. They weren’t very good. Nigel went on a tirade and said some extremely homophobic things, being mean, and shaming them. Mary Murphy joined in. I used to respect her, seeing how she had been an abused wife and had found herself and ditched the abuser and become famous. But she showed she could be just as abusive. I was ashamed for the entire show. I think the next week Nigel came on and offered a somewhat tepid apology “if anyone was offended”. Not even owning up to what he had done. I cannot respect such a person and don’t want to watch him mouth platitudes week after week. And the try outs are annoying as hell. They bring out a couple hundred barbie dolls who come out in their Annette Funicello two piece and say “Hello, my name is Lauren and I’ve been doing tap and ballet since I was in the womb.” Apparently, she just jetéed out of Mom. Ballroom dancers rarely do well because of the screwed-up system. A ballroom dancer needs to work with a partner. SYTYCD is supposed to be all about partnering, yet all the tryouts are solos, except for the few ballroomers they let on. And then, if they have to do a dance for their life performance, it’s a solo. What the hell do they expect a ballroom dancer to do? In the past, there was a ballroom couple, husband and wife, who both made it on. When he had to do a dance for his position on one show, he got a cape and threw down a paso doble that wowed the crowd. When his wife was faced with a similar issue, she just did sets of cha cha and salsa shines. It’s kinda stacked against them. And they are always the best at partnering. And it’s reverse racist. A few years ago, a black girl who was a hip-hop dancer was on. When she flubbed the waltz, Nigel made excuses for her because she didn’t have the background. Later when a white kid had to do a krump, he was castigated because it looked “too polished”. He didn’t look “gangsta” enough. I call that reverse racism.  Or just plain old racism. It is what it is.

Maybe DTWS needs to take a page from the past. There was a dance show, Superstars of Dance. It was hosted by Lord of the Dance himself, Michael Flatley. You may remember him from Riverdance and Feet of Flame (or as I call it Feets on Fire). What most annoyed me about the program was that as it came on, they had a metal globe turning. It faded into the background as the name of the program came up. But the globe was turning the wrong way. With the thousand and one people involved in putting on the show, no one noticed that? It went on for about five weeks. They never fixed it. But on the positive side, they had a panel of judges, there were either six or eight. And they decided who the winner was. None of this letting the unlettered public decide. People who knew what it was supposed to look like did the deciding. Maybe DWTS needs to go back to that.

And speaking of TV gaffs, I remember another back in the late 70s, circa 1979. I was at the fraternity house preparing to go to a football game on a Saturday. The TV was on for ambience. And of course, Saturday morning cartoons were on. By the late 70s, animation had gone to the dogs. I grew up on the classic animation of Hanna Barberra, Wiley Coyote, Bugs Bunny, Huckleberry Hound. Not the wooden animation that was to come. I saw the writing on the wall with Johnny Quest. They went for realism with the characters, but the animation was atrocious. And looking back, the race baiting of Hadji was terrible, and what exactly was the relationship between Dr. Quest and Race Bannon? But by 1979 diversity was coming along and we had the first black superheroes. The cartoon I remember being on that morning was Superstretch, Microwoman and Baby Plaz. Yeah, it was as bad as it sounds. But every time there was a station break and they showed the title, they misspelled microwoman. They had MIRCOWOMAN. Once again, how had no one noticed that? But I have digressed far afield. Bottom line: DWTS is in trouble and I’m prepared to abandon ship.

I was not sad to see Kate leave the show. She had shown some capabilities, but I never warmed up to her. Don’t know why. And there was no big opening dance number. First, they’re chintzy with the Halloween dances and now no opening number. Budge must be very tight. Another sign they may be on the ropes.

Two dancers were disqualified for failing to dance ballroom. Sean proved that not only can he not dance ballroom, he can’t dance other genres either. As if there was any doubt.  All I could think of was that if you put him in Navy whites, he’d look just like the Pillsbury doughboy. AND JAZZ IS NOT A BALLROOM DANCE.

Sad that they wasted JVDB on a pajama dance. After the judges waxed poetic about its beauty I rewound and watched again, but still didn’t see it. Carrie Ann talked about the difficult lifts that had never been executed before. WTF. We see that stuff every time they allow lifts. Yes, the lifts were nice. But we’ve seen that before. I think the judges just got 10 happy. CONTEMPORARY IS NOT A BALLROOM DANCE.

And another thing. The highest scoring couple was supposed to get immunity from the throw down and an extra two points. By my score card, Ally and Sasha scored 30 as well as JVDB and Emma. So why did JVDB get the pass? Also cool that the two pros who got perfect scores are married.

The other two disappointments were Kate and Lauren. Coincidentally, both were jives. My eyes may never recover from Kate and Pasha’s costumes. They had more and better kicks than Lauren and Gleb but were so messy. Way out of sync many times.

And Gleb, what happened? You have a possible winner on your hands, and you give us this? It was entertaining and toe tapping, but those were the wimpiest kicks I’ve seen this side of Kate Gosselin (remember she looked like she was trying to get something stuck to the bottom of her shoe to fall off?).

Kel is bringing it now they’re down the home stretch. There was a stumble at the end. Loved the Star Trek Next Generation uniform with the side apron.

Hannah and Alan. 3 jetés? Wow! Lotsa fancy footwork goin’ on. White shoes after Labor Day? Faux pas on Alan.

Ally and Sasha. She was on fire! Where’d she find all the anger she was channeling during that dance? That was the best skirt work since Julianne Hough and maybe even better than her. It was wicked. Damn, girl. Perfect score so deserved.

Throw Down

Ally and Kel. I give it to Ally by a nose. The judges disagree.

Sean and Kate. Best laugh I’ve had all day. Kate by a mile.

Hannah and Lauren. I called it a draw. Hannah looked a bit stiff, but Lauren looked ungainly with her butt rolls. Gleb and Alan had to know they were going to take off their shirts – they were waxed (boo!) So why did they skip the spray tan? The glare was killing me.

Second place is anybody’s game right now. All but one of the deadwood is gone. The five remaining dancers can duke it out and Sean can stomp to the trophy.

HALLOWEEN!

The Hell you say. What’s the big deal with Halloween? Halloween was a big deal to us kids when I was growing up. I mean, wow, an excuse to get candy from the neighbors and eat it until you threw up. Who could pass up on that? And back then you could eat the apples and oranges you got in your bag without examining them for needles and razors. And the dressing up was kinda neat. I loved trick or treating until I was about 12. After that, a Halloween dance at school was always nice. I liked school dances. I wasn’t afraid to get out on the floor and was considered a good partner by the girls. I always had dance partners. And sometimes we’d meet in the upper bleachers or behind the bleachers. But that’s a story for another day.

All the dorms and frats had big Halloween parties in college and that’s when I began seeing outlandish and frequently group costumes. It was off the hook crazy. And I loved it. I was less adventurous. Just give me a sheet and I could rig up a toga. Twine some ivy around my head and, hey, I’m an ancient Roman. Not to mention the toga parties. But again, a different issue for a different day.

            My parents never put up Halloween decorations. Come to think of it, I don’t know anybody that did. I mean some people, like us, put a Jack o’Lantern on their front porch, but that was about it. This was the 1960s and 70s South. Everyone I knew was Baptist and they had decreed that Halloween was of the devil. Maybe they were right.

            What are we celebrating, anyway? All Hallows Eve. The night before All Hallows Day, the day all the saints are worshipped and any saint that doesn’t have a special day, well, this is for him or her. If it’s a Catholic thing, then Baptists are sure it’s a thing of the devil. In Mexico it is El Dia de le Morte, the Day of the Dead. It’s a particularly ghoulishly named celebration of our ancestors. While the whole shebang seems wrapped up in Christianity, somehow Halloween has taken on the trappings of the other side. Who wants to be an angel for Halloween when he can be a first class Satan?

            These days Halloween has morphed into a major holiday. Maybe Hallmark and Hersheys  are to blame. It seems nearly every house in my neighborhood has their trees, bushes and porches wrapped in orange lights. There are larger than life blow up black cats, headless horseman on his steed, with a pumpkin as his head, ghoulish demons or is it demonic ghouls. What is a ghoul, anyway? Ghastly and ghostly heads and streamers hanging from trees. And one house has about twenty skeletons trying to get in. Or are they trying to get out?

            Hope your neighborhood is properly decorated and hope you don’t get TPed. Remember doing that? Of course you do. Happy Halloween to all. This week my story is actually a memoir. It’s about a fun time I had on a Halloween about 46 years ago. Enjoy!

The Ghost of Halloween Past

The summer after I turned sixteen I was allowed to buy a car. We lived way out in the country so becoming self-mobile was an important step. The sudden freedom to come and go as you please was wonderful. No more asking Mom or Dad to take you “to town” to buy things. No more borrowing the family sedan for dates. It was just incredible.

            It turned out one of Mom’s friends at work had a son who was entering college and couldn’t carry his car so he wanted to sell. It was a metallic blue 1966 3-speed Mustang. Probably one of the sexiest cars ever. It’s now a classic. But back in 1973 it was just a seven-year old car. I got it for $500. I was soon recognizable far and wide by my “blue ‘stang”. And it didn’t hurt that girls didn’t mind being seen riding around in such a cool car. I can’t say that I was ever cool, but my cool factor sure moved up a few notches with that purchase.

            But this story isn’t about the car, only what the car made possible.

My friend and I were casting about for something to do on a Thursday night. It happened to be Halloween night. Two sixteen-year-olds and Halloween are usually a recipe for trouble but we were (fairly) good kids. I came up with an idea.

            First you have to understand the situation out in the country where I lived. Our community was about a dozen houses stretched along a couple miles of country road on both sides of a country church. Then there were the outliers farther out or on even further back roads. Our church boasted a constant population of about 100. The local kids wanted to be part of “trick or treat” (free candy, duh) but they had to get their parents to take them to nearby villages where they really didn’t know the people. Also, the people in our community were always disappointed that we couldn’t participate in giving out goodies because no one trick-or-treats in the country. Our church came up with a nice idea. All the members of our church who wanted to give out Halloween goodies would leave their porch lights on. All interested children would meet at the church at sundown. An elder with a pickup truck would pile the kids in the back and drive to all the church member houses so the kids could do their thing. And along the way, they would pick up information about other neighbors, not members of our church, who might also have some treats. Of course, that wouldn’t work in 2019 because it’s illegal for kids to ride in the back of a pickup, but this was a simpler time.

            So, about sundown I picked up my friend and had an old white bedspread. While the kids were inside the church for a required prayer and mini-sermon before the main event, he and I pulled up behind the church. I took the spread and went out into the graveyard beside the church. I crouched down behind a tombstone and waited.

            The kids all came filing out of the church in their various costumes. There were about ten of them ranging from about 4 or five up to about 12. They climbed in the back of the truck all excited. As the driver turned on the engine, I rose up from behind a tombstone with the bedspread over my head. I raised my arms and started loudly moaning. At the squeal from the first kid who spotted me, I began moving toward the truck. Soon all the kids were screaming in fear and glee at the Halloween ghost. The driver, seeing what was happening sped off and the chorus of squeals died into the distance.

            Totally pleased with myself, I got back in the car and drove about a half mile in the opposite direction the truck had gone and pulled off into a wooded road so my car was hidden. I stood beside the road in my white disguise. Soon I heard the roar of the old pickup coming my way. I raised my arms and waved them back and forth. The truck driver began blowing his horn to get the attention of the kids in the back. As they sped by me they were all shrieking once again in glee.

            After they had passed, I drove to an old farm house and parked behind the barn. I went out into the field beside the house and hid behind a bale of peanut vines. This was one of the last stops. As the last kid was climbing into the back of the truck, I stood up and began running toward the truck waving my arms and howling. The kids all began screaming, “Go! Go!” to the driver. He timed it and pulled away just as I was getting close. I ran after the truck a little ways still carrying on. The kids were loving it.

            That was it for the night. My friend had only gone along for the company. He stayed in the car and told me alternately I was “weird” or I was “crazy”. But he had a smile when he said it.

            On Sunday there was still a little chatter among the young kids about the ghost they saw Halloween night. My friend and I never told anyone. So, if you were a kid who saw a ghost while trick-or-treating on Halloween night in 1973 in eastern North Carolina, I’m the Ghost of Halloween Past.

DWTS 7 Halloween

Halloween. The night we all wait for. Next to Freestyle night it is the most anticipated. And this year was such a disappointment. For my money, this was one of the most iconic of Halloween pieces. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpDY5-rrck0

That had mood, it had madness. It was scary. Still gives me chills. That’s what I want. It was lacking. There was no mayhem, no joi de vivre, it lacked that je ne sais quoi. For one thing, it looked like they cut the budget. There were none of the Busby Berkley show stopping cast of thousands dances we’ve come to expect. And Sasha is still in. When he’s not tied up with a partner he usually creates a little mayhem. I miss that.  

Hell, everybody got 9s. Half of them got all 9s. Everybody got at least one nine except Sean with his three 6s. You would think with all those 9s that there was some good dancing going on. And there was. Some of it was very good, but, like I said, no show stoppers.

Kel and Witney. What a rocky horror. He was nowhere near as good as his zombie helpers. They made him look bad. And why zombies? There were no zombies in Rocky Horror. I want to see Transylvanian Transvestites. I know Witney has the IQ of a dance shoe and I guess Kel never saw Rocky Horror, but you’d think somebody involved would have noticed the disconnect. His dancing was way rocky and the horror was that they gave him 9s for that monster mash mess.

JVDB and Emma was the second best of the night for me. I usually like my VWs light and ethereal, but this dark waltz was evocative of the infernal and drew me in. It gave me chills. I loved it. And I don’t give a damn about lifts if they ain’t calling other faults such as not enough time in hold, developés, etc. I’d have given them a 10.

Ally and Sasha. Lots of roundness. I don’t usually think of tango as having a lot of roundness. Costumes annoyed me. I hate the Joker. Good tango content though.

Hannah and Alan were awarded a DNP. What do I know from jazz? It was entertaining.

Karamo and Jenna. He earned his boot off the show.

Lauren and Gleb and Argentine Tango. I absolutely adored every second of it. I have a special affinity for the song, Whatever Lola Wants. I loved the kiss of death and the reverse rise. It worked with the music and brought chills across my body. So so good. She almost fell which means they lost a point, yet they got straight 9s. I smell a 10 in the making. I think the judges were as captivated as me. There was a problem, though. While they were talking to Tom, you could see that Gleb only has one hole in his neck. Did he get bit by a snaggletoothed vampire?

Sean and Lindsay were spookily awful. Loved Len’s comment. The awfulness that is Sean continues. And what the heck was a Frankenstein’s monster doing in a coffin? Or the mummies? They were better dancers, by the way. It was a Monster Mess. They almost got him in the bottom two. I had all my fingers crossed. I’m sure they’d toss him if they could get him there. But I’m afraid the Trump crazies will keep him afloat.

Kate and Pasha. I loved the song and the singer sounded so much like Chris Isaaks. A beautiful rumba. The song at least. What happened on stage was cause for arrest. She was flashing those fat legs and hands all over the younger man. And why do they think putting him in a silver suit and soot on his face makes him a wolf. Looks more like Flash Gordon was working under the hood. She did have one very nice spiral.

Team Trick was the Dream Team. They had the best celebrities, no duds. They should

have owned it, with 10s. I was less than blown away.

Team Mistep. It was quite cute. Best part was Kate’s kickline with the boys.

Unfortunately, I didn’t particularly care for either song. Whatever happened to the big budget think pieces like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP-J5fEbVrU

Sorry

Sorry guys, no new fiction this week due to technical difficulties. My “good” computer is now my dead computer. If anyone wants the carcass for parts send me $100 and shipping. My old backup computer is now my computer in the shop. I have an even older XP for special emergencies, but found out tonight that it wont even boot up. I just get the blue screen of death. I need to drop that off at the repair place tomorrow. I’m typing this with my thumbs on my tablet. I think I’ll go read some short stories. You should, too.

DWTS 6

Okay, first things first. CONTEMPORARY IS NOT A BALLROOM DANCE. I feel better now I needed to get that off my chest. I have to disqualify two celebrities for not doing ballroom dances. Too bad one of them was partnered with Gleb. He does really wonderful ballroom choreo.

They are talking about halfway through the season? It feels like it just started. They’ve only bumped, what, 4 celebrities. By the halfway point the chaff (Sean, Karamo) should be gone.

And looking at who is left, how could they dump Sailor. Sailor got three 9s and Ally got a couple of 8s and a 9.  I mean the choice between her and Ally was obvious, but they should not have been the bottom two. I’m sure the producers manipulate the numbers to get the result they want. Sailor must have really pissed someone off.

My thoughts in the order they came.

Ally and Sasha gave me true chills. No one else really did that. JVBD came close. I love the 80s. I love the song. I love the colors. I love Sasha’s choreo. They ate up the floor. It just did it for me.

Kate and Pasha. Sorry, I just don’t like her. But she was working those fat legs for all she was worth. The size of those opening steps were phenomenal. I’m with Len, I love to see a flekerl. Of course hers was messed up by the camera spinning also, so you couldn’t really tell how special it was. It looked like a double flekerl. But the dance was heavy. VW needs to be light. 9s are grade inflation.

Kel and Witney. Wow, they did a jete. You don’t see that much. Best ever was Apolo and Julianne. It was entertaining, but I could tell when Witney was back leading. Len got his panties in a wad over nothing. I ran it back and only saw a moment where her heel caught in her hem. It didn’t impede the dance. I saw nothing else.

Kel and Jenna just looked like a couple jumping around in their jammies.

Hannah and Alan. Looks like Mama kinda fell into the makeup. Yikes. But that samba was how I like it – hot. And one whole samba roll. Thank you. And kudos to Alan for not waxing. Men have hair. Deal with it.

Sailor and Val. I think Tony and Stacy did it better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VJDAkm2urU Stacy had legs for days and the opening kicks were tremendous. Possibly one of the best jives on DWTS. Sailor’s wasn’t in the same category. If you dance to an iconic song, you gotta expect comparisons. Mostly I was distracted for a while by how ridiculous Val’s manbun looks. Is it just me? Can we get a write in campaign going to get him to stop?

Sean and Lindsay. Please, please make it stop. Find a way to get rid of the Pillsbury doughboy before he wins the whole thing. You heard what he said – they’ve never been in the bottom two. The Trump crazies are going to carry him through. I liked Bruno’s tumbleweed comment.

JVDB and Emma. Yeehaw – three whole samba rolls. Lots of hips going on and I could see recognizable samba happening. Needed to be more bouncy.

Lauren and Gleb. Nice, but a bit overwrought. All the emoting gets in the way. She’s already shot her wad for My Most Miserable Memory episode.

Not a great dance night, way too many 9s flying around. I think Sean was the only one who got 7s. And capped off by an awful elimination. By dancing ability alone, the deadweight left are Sean, Karamo and Kel. I expect at least one of them will be in the bottom two. Probably Karamo. And I’m sure the judges will let him go. If you are of a religious bent, pray that the producers come to their senses and manipulate the numbers to put Sean in the bottom two. He is so awful the judges would have to let him go.

Next week ought to be fun. It’s the Halloween episode. Looking forward to it.