The Wife:

I learned some things during this episode of TAR:

1. Jaime is really mean to people who don’t speak English, and that actually makes me hate her. She’s symbolic of a problem that much of the English-speaking world has in which they think, for some reason, that everyone everywhere else in the world should also speak English. I am sure that this expectation is created not out of ignorance on the part of people like Jaime, but out of an expectation created in an age of globalization and the rise of English as the lingua franca of the business world. That said, a spice shop in Phuket, Thailand is not a regional headquarters of Microsoft in Jakarta. You have to have reasonable expectations when you travel.

2. Bandit is a super cool name, and it means “teacher” in Thai.

3. The Phuket Zoo looks like one of the craziest zoos ever.

Teams wound up at the Phuket Zoo after flying nearly 2,000 miles from Jaipur to the popular resort area and were told to find a statue of a gorilla with only a photograph as reference. Every team started this leg of the race on equal footing, as they all got on the same flight from Jaipur, but quickly, Mike and Mel got separated from the herd, who asked locals in the central square if they knew where the gorilla statute was and eventually got pointed in the correct direction, while Mike and Mel trusted their cab driver who took them way out to the beach (because that’s exactly where super white tourists want to go . . .). Once teams found the monkey statue, they then had the most fun day at the zoo ever as each team proceeded to take a picture with a tiger (whose handler only had one arm, incidentally) and participate in a traditional Thai performance in which an elephant pranced around them, massaged their backs and squatted over them.

After their fun zoo adventure, teams headed to the oldest herb shop in Old Phuket and had to ask the shop owner to open one drawer at a time in his 99-drawer cabinet of wonderments in order to find their next clue. Jaime got really, really frustrated with her inability to communicate with this man, as aforementioned. (I think yelling and waving frantically didn’t help her case much, frankly.) She and Cara were the first to arrive at the spice shop, but due to their complete failure to communicate and lack of a methodical approach to the drawers (writing down each number that had already been called, or methodically going down/across rows) they ended up leaving the shop only moments before a caught-up Mel and Mike made it there. The clues from the chest of wonderments presented teams with their Detour for this leg of the race:

  • 100 Barrels, in which teams would load a fishing ship with 47 barrels of water and 53 empty barrels for fish, enough for a week’s journey to sea
  • 2 Miles, in which teams would prepare a rickshaw and carry their teammate aboard it for 2 miles.


Mark and Michael, in the lead, chose the rickshaws, as did Tammy and Victor. Kisha and Jen, Jaime and Cara and Margie and Luke all chose the barrels, but wound up in the wrong place. Kisha and Jen decided to stay and look for the proper location, while the other two teams jumped ship and decided to go for the rickshaws. Mel and Mike eventually joined Kisha and Jen at the docks. Once their Detours were completed, teams raced to Wat Tep Nemet, their Pit Stop for the last leg of the race.

Stuntmen Mark and Michael were the first to make it to the mat, but somehow, they incurred two penalties that cost them an hour total in penalty time. I figured when I saw them ask their cab driver to lead them to the end of the rickshaw course that they would incur a penalty, but I had no idea what their second penalty would have been until Phil told us. Apparently, when they were setting up their rickshaw, they hid the bike pumps which Phil declared was “intentional tampering.” I think they likely just thought they were cleaning up after themselves and put the pumps all back in the box, but maybe I missed something and they really were being sneaky and evil. While they waited out their punishment, two teams arrived to oust them from their number one seat.

(Husband Note: Yes, you did miss something. They even told the cameras what they were doing as they tampered with the pumps.)

1st: Tammy and Victor, winning a trip for two to Ohau.
2nd: Jaime and Cara
3rd: Mark and Michael, able to check in after their penalty time had elapsed.
4th: Margie and Luke, continuing their streak of checking in either first or fourth. Dramatically, Margie fell victim to heat stroke and Phil was there to catch her, like any good sweaty Thailand-set romance novel would include (minus the ladyboys). I can’t think of many better places to have heat stroke than near the arms of Phil Koeghan. Margie’s a trooper, though. The production staff was set to take her to a Thai ER, but she wanted to press on, once she got some water in her system (and poured over her head).
5th: Kisha and Jen
6th: Mike and Mel, who were, sadly, Phileminated.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!


I kind of knew that Mel and Mike were screwed when they chose not to follow the herd, but I had hoped that they’d pull through – a hope that was especially renewed when I found out that Mark and Michael would have to wait an hour in penalty time. But, sadly, my favorite people on the race had to go home last night. I’m now rooting for either Margie and Luke (because while I don’t like Luke that much, I really love his mom), or Tammy and Victor (who seem to have really worked through their issues and are having fun together). I’m really going to miss The Whites, though. I leave you with a parting lame joke of theirs, that was totally priceless:


Mike: Do you speak any Thai, Dad?
Mel: Uh, yeah. Mai tai.

Ba dum ching!

The Husband:

Noooooooooooooooooooooooes! One of our best and quirkiest modern screenwriters and his gay father have finally fallen by the wayside, and I in good faith cannot continue posting little bits and pieces of his movies on this blog!

Oh well, I can at least leave you with this – Mike White’s best scene in The Good Girl, an incredible and incredibly sad indie film from several years back taken from White’s most dramatic script to date. (While Chuck & Buck, his breakout film, was a drama, too, it was more of the sardonic stalker variety and more awkwardly terrifying than anything else.)

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The Wife:

If you wondered why we haven’t written about our usual weekend shows (i.e. Dollhouse, Animation Domination, ABC Sunday Night Chardonnay and Chocolate Fest, etc.) or even our usual Thursday night shows, it’s because we let our DVR collect morsels and goodies for us over the weekend as we headed to Arizona for Oakland A’s Spring Training. Let me tell you something, kids. Arizona is hot. My living room is much, much cooler. The first thing we watched when we got back was The Amazing Race, the safe way to travel to hot climates such as India without ever having to encounter abject poverty or leave your couch! Whee!

From the cold climes of Russia, racers flew to Jaipur, India, a place that I bet is as hot as Arizona, taking connecting flights through Moscow and New Dehli, therefore giving everyone a chance to catch up, which was especially helpful for Christine and Jodi, who faced a Speed Bump in this leg of the race after having avoiding Philemination last week. Once on the ground in India’s pink city, racers had to grab a taxi and head to a sacred tree outside the city, where they would receive their next clue by calling one of the red telephones guarded by an opium-smoking man who, for obvious reasons, made me think of the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland. Mel and Mike got off to a bit of a rough start when their taxi driver abandoned them, letting all of the other teams jet off ahead of them. Mel further endeared himself to me by not only being the most polite person to “yell” at a taxi driver in a civilized manner that still conveyed his frustration and urgency (that’s why “yell” isn’t exactly the right word), but that he also felt terrible about having to say something negative to the cabbie at all and admitted that he would feel badly about it for the rest of the day.

On their way to the sacred tree on the outskirts of Jaipur, everyone was very touched by the extreme poverty they witnessed, apparently for the first time in their lives. Even though parts of New Orleans were covered in garbage and people were living in shanties after Hurricane Katrina, I guess that’s just not as bad as seeing people who live that way when not as a result of a natural disaster. Luke cried. Cara shed some tears for all of Jaipur’s homeless animals, because she, like me, likes animals a lot more than she likes people. I remember Goth Girl Vyxen shed some tears when she visited India a few seasons back — does TAR only send racers to India so that they’ll weep about the poor? It’s starting to seem that way.

Victor and Tammy take a fast lead as the first team not only to reach the sacred tree, but also the first to quickly figure out the whole “using the phone” thing. From there, teams were told to drive to Amber Fort to get their next clue, a Road Block in which one person from each team had to care for a group of the Maharajah’s royal camels using the traditional techniques of carrying water to a trough and stacking hay. First of all, those camels sure looked purty wearing them headdresses and the like! Second of all, I sadly cannot say or hear the word maharajah without hearing this in my head. (I also think about the way Richard Roxburgh as The Duke sneers the word later in the film, with the appropriate hand gesture.)

Most people kind of sucked at following the directions on this challenge, using their water pail to carry hay when there were clearly larger hay baskets available, or, in Kisha’s case, stuffing hay down her shirt as a means of conveyance, which, though creative and functional, was definitely a strange choice. Some dude in the background got kicked by a camel, and Tammy straight up fell down, even though it was her brother who actually did this challenge. They finished first and continued their breakout lead, while Mike White worried that his dad, who chose to do this Road Block despite his age (and because Mike couldn’t do all of them) seemed to be struggling. Nonetheless, Mel White is hella gangster and finished the challenge second and, in Mike’s words, totally smoked the competition.

There is no such thing as a bad photo of Mike White.

There is no such thing as a bad photo of Mike White.

With the Road Block complete, teams taxied to a puppet stand in the local market where they were presented with their Detour for this leg of the race:

1. Movers, in which teams pedaled rickshaws 1.5 miles to a loading dock where they would unload the nine barrels on their cart and search through the hay contained within to find a tiny silver elephant.

2. Shakers, in which teams joined up with a local street band, put on horse costumes and danced for 100 rupees.

Mark and Michael chose to move the barrels of hay, although I have no fucking clue as to why. Why, when given the choice to merely dance like an idiot for coins on the street, a task involving no skill whatsoever, would you choose a task that involved you to ride a bike for 1.5 miles through Indian traffic, and then do some manual labor and then literally search through a haystack for a tiny thing? Why would you do that? That doesn’t even make sense, strategically. I knew when they chose this that they were going to come in last, or close to last, depending on how Christine and Jodi handled their Speed Bump, which, by the way, they had to do before they could do their Road Block. The Speed Bump? Painting an elephant so that it could be just as purty for an upcoming festival as the Maharajah’s camels. Honestly, that was the best Speed Bump ever. They looked like they were having fun, they didn’t even have to paint it that accurately and, most importantly, it seemed like the elephant really had a good time getting dolled up.

Once teams completed their Road Block, they taxied to Jaigar Fort, the Pit Stop for this leg of the race, which upped the cute animal quotient in this episode considerably as it was INFESTED WITH MONKEYS, which rival only koalas as the cutest infestation ever.

  1. Tammy and Victor, who won kayaks, which they promptly noted would be great for living in the Bay Area. (Fuck yeah, man. Kayaking in Drake’s Bay is AWESOME.)
  2. Mel and Mike, who I continue to adore. They’re just the nicest dudes, ever.
  3. Kisha and Jen.
  4. Margie and Luke. (Are they ever anything but first or fourth?)
  5. Cara and Jaime, which serves them right for yelling at their taxi driver and not in a Mel White kind of way.
  6. Mark and Michael, beating the flight attendants by just a hair.
  7. Phileminated: Christine and Jodi.

The Husband:

As aforementioned…

Me: Sick at home with what could be whooping cough.

Brain: Not working.

You: Watching this video from Disney’s The Jungle Book with Indian elephants.

Other You: Watching this even-better mash-up of that song from The Jungle Book, resulting in what it looks like when I have a coughing fit and start hallucinating.

The Wife:

From the last Pit Stop, teams had to fly to Krasnoyarsk, Siberia and travel by taxi to a Soviet-era hydroelectric dam to find their first clue. Unfortunately, every team was required to fly through Moscow to get there, which meant that the connecting flights they took didn’t matter as they were all to end up on an 8:55 p.m. flight to Moscow. Except…

Only the connecting flights did matter because only three teams went on to make that 8:55 p.m. flight to Moscow: the Flight Attendants, the Stuntmen and Kisha and Jen, which meant that Mike and Mel ultimately lost their heavy lead gained on the last leg of the race.

There was a really odd moment on the way to the airport when the Stuntmen asked their cabbie to call Lufthansa, and he ended up calling another cabbie, whose fare happened to be Cara and Jaime. Hoping to fuck with Mark and Michael, who had thought ahead to call the airline and reserve tickets, they pretended to be Lufthansa agents and told them that there were no flights through Moscow. They couldn’t have possibly known that that information would be true, so it’s really weird that they even came up with it in the first place. And I’m still trying to figure out what kind of miscommunication happened that led Mark and Michael’s cabbie to call his friend, who just happened to be carrying other racers, rather than calling the airline. Was Lubovich in his phone right under Lufthansa and he just hit the wrong button? Or was he actually trying to fuck with these guys, being, perhaps, the only cabbie in Romania who has somehow downloaded episodes of TAR?

Once on the ground in Krasnoyarsk, teams headed from the Dam to a local church where they were presented with their Detour:

  • Stack, in which they would stack a giant pile of firewood using a traditional stacking method
  • Construct, in which they would build traditional wooden shutters and install them

For some reason I will not ever comprehend, every single team chose to stack. Seeing how high they had to stack those piles and how unstable and oddly shaped the logs were, and just generally thinking about being outside in the cold as well as the amount of time it takes to stack logs, I would not have chosen that activity – even with the good people of Siberia eating pickles and drinking vodka and singing accordion diddies to cheer me on. It’s just so much easier and so much less time consuming to build shutters. Haven’t any of these racers ever shopped at IKEA?

You ladies are very premeire wood stackers. I would very much like for you to marry me and stay here in Siberia. Da?

You ladies are very premeire wood stackers. I would very much like for you to marry me and stay here in Siberia. Da?

Amazingly, Kisha and Jen and the Flight Attendants managed to stack their piles without knocking them over, whereas Stuntmen Mark and Michael knocked over the demonstration stack, as well as their own and had to head over to the other activity. In the second group of log stackers, Mike and Mel, Cara and Jaime, Kris and Amanda all lost their stacks and had to start over. The Whites ditched this activity to go build shutters instead and made a pact with Mark and Michael that they would help the stuntmen find the installation site (which they’d been aimlessly looking for for quite some time), if the stuntmen would help them construct the shutters. The other teams who lost their stacks were dedicated to finishing them, while Tammy and Victor and Margie and Luke completed their work without knocking it down and forged ahead.

Once the Detours were completed, teams had to go to the local museum for the novel The Last Bow, where they were given the option to Blind U-Turn another team. Usually, any team who U-Turns someone has to place their photo on the board so the unfortunate team can know who to later exact their revenge upon. Knowing how far ahead they were, the first two teams out decided not to U-Turn, and neither did Tammy and Victor, figuring that the log piles would keep their competitors far enough behind. But then there were Margie and Luke, who decided it was necessary to U-Turn the strongest team, Kris and Amanda, in order, I think, to give their friends Cara and Jaime a fighting chance.

After the U-Turn stop, teams headed to Bobrovy Log Park where they met their Roadblock. One team member would have to bobsled down a track in under four minutes while maintaining a speed of 35 MPH. While doing so, they would have to collect the letters in Chekhov’s name and rearrange them at the end of the run to spell out the name of the playwright.

A few teams missed letters on their run and had to restart, and more than a few had difficulty spelling out Chekhov’s name, largely because they didn’t know the names of any Russian playwrights. I’m hyperliterate, I suppose, so I found it a little hard to believe that so many people had not at least heard Chekhov’s name before. I’m not saying they had to be familiar with their works, but to have at least, at some point, encountered the name. Barring familiarity with Chekhov himself, I find it extremely hard to believe that this many people are this bad at recognizing simple letter patterns.

Mel White, knowing things about things.

Mel White, knowing things about things.

Am I taking something for granted here about the way most people’s brains work just because I work with language every day? Do people really not notice patterns? I would think that, considering the vast number of ethnic groups in America, these contestants would go, “Oh, I have a ‘kh’ and a ‘ov.’ I’ve seen a lot of Russian names that have that letter combination. Just like every Polish person I know has a last name that ends in ‘–sky’ or ‘–ski’ and nearly all of my Armenian friends’ names end in ‘–jian’ or ‘–yan.’ That seems like a pattern!” I find it extremely hard to believe that, with the exceptions of writers Mel and Mike White and Harvard-educated lawyers Tammy and Victor, none of the other teams could figure out Chekhov’s name. I was especially surprised to see that Luke had exceptional trouble with this, as I would assume he would be more prone to pattern recognition since reading and writing are his primary form of communication. But I guess he doesn’t really like reading, or something, because Margie mentioned that getting him through an English lit class was difficult enough.

I just don’t understand why that challenge was so hard. Even if I pretend that the contestants on this show have never encountered the name Chekhov in a lit class and even if I assume that they’re all bad at pattern recognition, I’m sure they’ve all purchased guide books at the airport informing them about their next destination, as teams are wont to do on this show, and a good guidebook clues you in to the cultural history of a place. Any guidebook for Russia and Siberia that doesn’t include the regions rich literary history is a shitty guidebook. And, hey, these teams should be thankful that TAR used up Bulgakhov last year. That one would have been hard. You know what else would have been hard? If the letters they had to collect were in Cyrillic.

With their lesson in Russian theatre and spelling complete, teams headed to the Pit Stop, the Krasnoyarsk Comedy Theatre. Though it looked like Kisha and Jen were way ahead of everyone else, they had trouble finding the entrance so Christine and Jodi beat them to the punch, coming in first place for this leg and winning themselves some sweet motorbikes.

1st: Christine and Jodi

2nd: Kisha and Jen

3rd: Tammy and Victor

4th: Margie and Luke

5th: Jaime and Cara

6th: Mel and Mike

7th: Mark and Michael

Last: Amanda and Kris, who didn’t even suspect Margie and Luke of U-Turning them, suspecting this week’s first and second place teams of the dastardly trick. They were Phileminated.

The Husband:

I suppose, to be fair, they should have said that Anton Chekhov was a famous Russian playwright and a novelist, just in case anybody was thinking about his non-theatre works or his short stories. But I think I’m just overestimating people again, using this episode as evidence of that. Really, guys? You’ve never even heard the word “Chekhov”? Even if you weren’t in the know that he wrote such words as The Seagull and Uncle Vanya, you’d probably know that Chekhov was also the name of a main character on Star Trek. Walter Koenig is ashamed of you.

I, too, thought it was insane that every single team decided to stack wood instead of building shutters, but then I was reminded of a Detour in Season 6 – the season with the abusive couple Jonathan and Victoria, as well as Rebecca who broke up with her boyfriend on the show and later became lesbians lovers with that chick from Work Out – in Sweden that revolved, coincidentally enough, around IKEA. The choice was either to count the correct number of toys in a large bin, or to build a desk. And lord, the desk-building brought out the worst in people. Now, I’ve constructed my share of IKEA furniture, and while it can be tough to go entirely off of drawings of steps (since there are no translated words for us non-Swedes), but each time it has gotten easier, so I can only chalk this up to the contestants being completely unaware of this very specific part of my life in my 20s. I especially recall the wrestlers Lori and Bolo (thanks, Wikipedia) having such a tough time building the desk that they began fighting.

So, perhaps these s14 contestants had this very grueling challenge in the back of their mind upon making their decision. Still, stacking wood sucks balls.

P.S. And thanks to Wikipedia, again, for telling me that this s6 episode was the same one where a blockheaded female had to do a Road Block which involved unrolling bales of hay to find a yellow envelope within, but she took so long (eight hours) without finding the clue that Phil actually came to them to Phileminate them. That’s always been my most vivid example of complete TAR failure.

P.P.S. Oh shit, that s6 episode was called “It’s Not Rocket Science To Count Bears.” That’s goddamn brilliant, and only surpassed that season in episode-naming by “Are There Instructions On Donkey Handling?” Man, this show has great producers.

The Wife:

I don’t have very many witticisms to toss out about this week’s edition of TAR, because the Oscars are long and hosting a party is tiring. Thankfully, Phil Koeghan and company were merciful and allowed me two things:

1. A miracle for Mike and Mel White, proving that Dustin Lance Black’s assurance that God does love gays is true. I would have been really sad to see Mike and Mel get the ouster because of some stupid thing like weather. More than anyone else on the race, they just seem so happy to be there, and completely awe-struck about nearly everything they do. I love them.

2. Last week I got killer cheese, this week I got the most awesome pie-throwing contest ever. Thank you, TAR. You. Are. Awesome.

From last week’s pit stop, teams flew to Munich, where they traveled to a little mountain village. I was surprised to see nearly every team hop in a cab and immediately borrow the driver’s cell phone to call the airlines and reserve tickets. That’s some pretty smart thinking and I haven’t really seen people do it on TAR before. The only teams that didn’t participate in this call-ahead madness were Margie and Luke, who were well ahead of everyone anyway, and stuntmen Mark and Michael, who left the pit stop third. This did not bite Margie and Luke in the ass, but it did toss a wrench in Mark and Michael’s plan, forcing them to get on an 8 a.m. flight instead of a 7 a.m. flight.

Once in the mountain village that I wrote down as RuPaulhing, which cannot be right, teams took a gondola up the mountain where they met with a Road Block: one member of each team must paraglide 6,000 feet down the mountain while their partner catches a gondola back down in order to meet them in the field below. Should the wind conditions be too high, the paraglider might be delayed indefinitely, in which case teams could choose to wait it out and see if the winds change or take an hour-long hike back down the mountain on a windy-ass gravel trail. Harvard grads Tammy and Victor were the first ones up the gondola, and were also the first ones down the hill when Tammy decided not to wait for the winds to change. Mel White, fearing that he would exacerbate his groin injury if he ran down the mountain, decided to wait. And wait. And wait. And hope that he could convince other teams to wait with him so that he would be sure not to lose. But, lo, after all the other teams had bailed and started running down the mountain, the winds died down enough for Mel White to take flight, effectively getting him to the bottom of the mountain before most of the teams who took the footpath route. Mel White is just that tight with God, I guess. Makin’ the winds change at all, much to the amazement of the flight attendants Christine and Jodi who marveled, “I just don’t understand why the winds would suddenly change like this.” Oh, I dunno, ladies. You’re flight attendants. Shouldn’t you know things about headwinds and tailwinds? Or, at the very least, that weather patterns change? Fuck, maybe they should be on Hell’s Kitchen.

Once at the bottom of the hill, teams had to drive to Schonan au Konnigse (which I guess is over the Austrian border?), where they got to choose their Detour:

1. Balancing Dolly, in which teams would ride a Segway on a 2-mile obstacle course or

2. Austrian Folly, in which teams had to throw pies in order to find one with a cherry filling . . . not knowing until they get there that the target is their partner’s face.

Tammy and Victor, Amanda and Kris, Margie and Luke, Christine and Jodi and Steve and Linda chose to toss pies, while Mike and Mel, Kisha and Jen, Jaime and Cara, Mark and Michael and Brad and Victoria chose the Segways. I was impressed with Mike and Mel and their Segway-riding proficiency, but I was reminded of strange Segway tours that have started cropping up in major cities throughout the world. Honestly, I’d rather walk. Walking on cobblestone is not that difficult, nor is walking itself a difficult activity. If you’re going to tour a city, you should be willing to fucking walk, yeah? Segway tours = creepy. Pie-throwing = amazing.

It took Steve and Linda a long time to even get to the Detour, because Linda made a wrong turn somewhere on her way down that giant hill and ended up by the side of the road, where she proceeded to cry about it and wail about how mad Steve would be with her. I understand being a little upset that you’d gotten lost, especially after jogging down a giant hill/mountain for about an hour, but I am more worried about the state of Steve and Linda’s relationship. She’s not upset that she got lost, but that Steve will be mad at her. I’m deeply concerned that he verbally abuses her, given the way she respond when she makes a mistake.

After their Detours were completed, teams had to find the Holtslagger, a traditional wood-cutting stall in the center of the town, and cut themselves thin slice of wood that would be stamped with their next clue. The flight attendants had a very difficult time finding this thing, although they were there at night, which would make it harder, and ended up in a barn, lifting up random pieces of wood and carrying them through the finish line for the Segway course. Eventually, they found the actual Holtslagger and got on their way. The stamped wood revealed that the teams’ next destination would be the Pit Stop for this leg of the race. They had to drive themselves to Salsburg’s Schloss Hellbrunn, where they would find Phil.

Tammy and Victor arrived first, winning themselves a pair of go-carts, which I hope they both decided to ride around their respective law offices in. Mike and Mel, after not being able to figure out how to open the door to Schloss Hellbrunn for some time, arrived second, followed by Amanda and Kris in third. Fourth place went to Margie and Luke, who for all his good spirits, really was not happy to be covered in pie. Brad and Victoria arrived fifth, followed by Jaime and Cara in sixth. (For Luke’s sake, I’m glad they didn’t get eliminated, because I like his little crush on them and he’s right — they actually are nice people.) Sisters Kisha and Jen came in seventh, even though Jen is wicked pissed at Kisha for treating her like a little kid, and stuntmen Mark and Michael came in eighth. Christine and Jodi followed in ninth place, which meant that hicks from the sticks Linda and Steve were to be Phileminated.

Phileminated!

Phileminated!

Steve and Linda, I’m very happy that you guys got to see 3, maybe 4, countries that you wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise, but poor Linda clearly wasn’t ready for an adventure this big. Maybe they should have started with a drive to Canada or Mexico, or maybe even a romantic trip to the Bahamas to test their travel mettle before sojourning on The Race, because they just weren’t savvy enough to handle this. And Steve, stop getting so angry at Linda. I’m really worried about her. Show her you love her and take her on a trip, will you?

The Husband:

Dude! I’ve totally been to the Pit Stop. They didn’t show much during the package on Schloss Hellbrunn, but I have a couple very vivid memories of being there during my family’s Switzerland-Italy-Austria trip when I was 13. First, the palace is deviously serene-looking from the outside — and it’s a bit of a walk to get from the parking lot to the palace itself — but behind the walls and in the garden is the work of silly Austrian madmen. Whoever vacationed at the palace had a kind of goofy humor, and liked messing with his guests, so the garden is like this mess of fountains and hiding places and slipperiness. Inside one of the grottos is this deliriously cool fountain with a lion’s head, and I remember this best because I slipped on the rocks and fucking back-planted in front of all the tourists.

But the coolest thing is this outdoor dining table and seats, and all the seats had holes in the middle of them, so whenever the lord/prince/archbishop wanted to, he could press a button or pull a lever and the water would shoot out of the seat and get his friends’ bottoms all wet. Silliness abounds.

Ah…now that I’ve looked at Wikipedia, it is, in fact, the vacation house of the Archbishop. And they have a picture of the table.

Blowing water up your ass: like a bidet, only unwelcome.

Blowing water up your ass: like a bidet, only unwelcome.

Here’s the palace’s webpage:

http://www.hellbrunn.at/hellbrunn/english/start/index.asp

I swear I wrote the first two paragraphs without researching anything. Honest! I don’t remember a great deal about Austria during that trip — I more vividly remember staying in Grindelwald when in Switzerland, that we all stayed at the worst hotel in Venice (but didn’t know that until after we left), and having Cinnamon Toast Crunch at a picnic table outside in Lichtenstein — but I definitely have thought about that mischievous stone table on occasion and always wondered where the eff it was.

Thank you, TAR. Another hole in my mind has been patched up.

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