Survivor Smacked Me In The Chops

Jeff Kent on “Survivor” recap: “By the time Obama takes it”

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I watched Jeff Kent on “Survivor” last night so you didn’t have to …

• Jonathan narrowly avoided being voted out in last week’s episode and is very upset, telling everyone how betrayed he feels by Kent and others who lied to him about their plan. Meanwhile, Kent remains completely focused on voting out Jonathan, admitting to the camera that he “gave up a lot of power and authority” in last week’s unsuccessful effort to do so.

• There are two stages to the immunity challenge. The first involves ripping through rope knots and then going through a mini-obstacle course, which Kent does well enough to advance to the final round with Jonathan and Pete. The second stage is solving a puzzle and Jonathan rallies late to win the challenge, securing immunity and saving himself from almost surely being voted out. In losing Kent remarks: “What a joke.”

• Talking to the camera a frustrated Kent opines that Jonathan “just bought himself another three days of a dead man walking.” He then openly tells Mike that he’s the new person on the chopping block. However, once Kent leaves the area multiple other players immediately bring up his name as someone to vote out.

• Kent catches wind that he might be in danger, telling the camera: “We were all set to let Mike go, but now I found out they’re gunning for me. Hopefully the bullet’s gonna go in the right direction.” Kent seemingly talks enough people to swing the vote into getting rid of Pete, telling the camera: “Pete’s going home and we all got all six votes.”

• Earlier in the episode Kent remarked to the camera that “Lisa is so naive and so soft and so nice.” In direct contrast to that Lisa (also known as “Blair” from “The Facts of Life”) outed Malcolm as holding one of the hidden immunity idols and during tribal council that causes Malcolm to admit he has it to everyone. And then in a very odd turn of events Abi confesses that she also has an immunity idol.

• With that information out in the open Jonathan basically pleads his case for everyone to keep him around and instead vote someone else out. When he asks if everyone is ready to do that, Kent tersely replies: “We’ve discussed those options and many more, I think you know about that.”

• “Survivor” host Jeff Probst is dumbfounded by what’s taking place, saying that this is the most complicated and interesting tribal council he’s seen in 25 seasons. And then to make it even crazier, neither Malcolm nor Abi actually play their immunity idol after convincing everyone not to vote for them because the vote would be wasted anyway once they played it.

• Probst begins to pull out the votes and after each one listing Kent’s name Kent has an absolutely hilarious reaction. Kent looks totally shocked with each vote, glancing to his right and left like the world’s worst actor had just been told by a director to “act shocked.” Then on the fourth vote with his name on it Kent literally mutters to himself, saying “wow.”

• It’s a 4-4 tie between Kent and Pete with one vote to go … and Kent is voted out. He is completely stunned.

• In his exit interview Kent goes off on one helluva rant:

You know what pisses me off? I think I’ve made about 60 million dollars playing baseball and I want this frickin’ million dollars in this game. And it’s not even a million bucks, it’s 600 grand by the time Obama takes it. I’m a Game 7 World Series loser. You know, I played in the biggest games in the world and the worst games in the world, and this just sucks.

Note: Kent actually made $86 million playing baseball and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Game 7 of the World Series in 2002, as his Giants lost to the Angels.

• In the span of one episode in television time and approximately 48 hours in real time Kent goes from seemingly being in complete control of the game to the point that he can determine who gets voted out to losing all control while being voted out himself in ninth place. And, most importantly, this means I no longer have to recap “Survivor” episodes in this space every Thursday morning and no longer have any excuse whatsoever to spend an hour each week watching this show.

The tribe has spoken!

Ichiro was happy to see Pete Rose get defensive about his hits record

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14:  Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Miami Marlins warms-up during batting practice before a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 14, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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You’ll recall the little controversy last month when Ichiro Suzuki passed Pete Rose’s hit total. Specifically, when Ichiro’s Japanese and American hit total reached Rose’s American total of 4,256 and a lot of people talked about Ichiro being the new “Hit King.” You’ll also recall that Rose himself got snippy about it, wondering if people would now think of him as “the Hit Queen,” which he took to be disrespect.

There’s a profile of Ichiro over at ESPN the Magazine and reporter Marly Rivera asked Ichiro about that. Ichiro’s comments were interesting and quite insightful about how ego and public perception work in the United States:

I was actually happy to see the Hit King get defensive. I kind of felt I was accepted. I heard that about five years ago Pete Rose did an interview, and he said that he wished that I could break that record. Obviously, this time around it was a different vibe. In the 16 years that I have been here, what I’ve noticed is that in America, when people feel like a person is below them, not just in numbers but in general, they will kind of talk you up. But then when you get up to the same level or maybe even higher, they get in attack mode; they are maybe not as supportive. I kind of felt that this time.

There’s a hell of a lot of truth to that. Whatever professional environment you’re in, you’ll see this play out. If you want to know how you’re doing, look at who your enemies and critics are. If they’re senior to you or better-established in your field, you’re probably doing something right. And they’re probably pretty insecure and maybe even a little afraid of you.

The rest of the article is well worth your time. Ichiro seems like a fascinating, insightful and intelligent dude.

There will be no criminal charges arising out of Curt Schilling’s video game debacle

Curt Schilling
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In 2012 Curt Schilling’s video game company, 38 Studios, delivered the fantasy role-playing game it had spent millions of dollars and countless man hours trying to deliver. And then the company folded, leaving both its employees and Rhode Island taxpayers, who underwrote much of the company’s operations via $75 million in loans, holding the bag.

The fallout to 38 Studios’ demise was more than what you see in your average business debacle. Rhode Island accused Schilling and his company of acts tantamount to fraud, claiming that it accepted tax dollars while withholding information about the true state of the company’s finances. Former employees, meanwhile, claimed — quite credibly, according to reports of the matter — that they too were lured to Rhode Island believing that their jobs were far more secure than they were. Many found themselves in extreme states of crisis when Schilling abruptly closed the company’s doors. For his part, Schilling has assailed Rhode Island politicians for using him as a scapegoat and a political punching bag in order to distract the public from their own misdeeds. There seems to be truth to everyone’s claims to some degree.

As a result of all of this, there have been several investigations and lawsuits into 38 Studios’ collapse. In 2012 the feds investigated the company and declined to bring charges. There is currently a civil lawsuit afoot and, alongside it, the State of Rhode Island has investigated for four years to see if anyone could be charged with a crime. Today there was an unexpected press conference in which it was revealed that, no, no one associated with 38 Studios will be charged with anything:

An eight-page explanation of the decision concluded by saying that “the quantity and qualify of the evidence of any criminal activity fell short of what would be necessary to prove any allegation beyond a reasonable doubt and as such the Rules of Professional Conduct precluded even offering a criminal charge for grand jury consideration.”

Schilling will likely crow about this on his various social media platforms, claiming it totally vindicates him. But, as he is a close watcher of any and all events related to Hillary Clinton, he no doubt knows that a long investigation resulting in a declination to file charges due to lack of evidence is not the same thing as a vindication. Bad judgment and poor management are still bad things, even if they’re not criminal matters.

Someone let me know if Schilling’s head explodes if and when someone points that out to him.