Big Brother, Big Fan


Confession time.  Every year, when summertime rolls around, I look forward to watching Big Brother on CBS.

This year, I’m liking Frank Eudy because he’s a great mix of brains and brawn.  I also like him because he bears an uncanny resemblance, in many respects, including his unruly hair, to Dwayne, my best buddy in high school.


I certainly was not surprised to see Frank return this season.  Four years ago, on Big Brother 14, Frank made his BB debut and was eventually evicted about halfway through the game.  Before being kicked out of the house, however, he saved himself a million times by winning competitions, at critical moments, and then taking himself off the block.  This summer, like that summer, Frank is proving to be extremely formidable.

I also like James Huling who is nothing like Frank.  In fact, I would call them polar opposites.  James doesn’t seem to take himself or the game seriously; whereas, Frank is all about strategizing.  James just sort of goes with the flow and is a practical joker extraordinaire.  Frank, on the other hand, appears to want to control things—how others perceive him and the order that people exit the house.  When James eventually gets evicted, it will be because he was too careless and made a mistake.  When Frank departs, it will be because others realize that he’s playing the game perfectly and therefore has become the sort of threat that must immediately be removed.


Corey Brooks is turning out to be my least favorite player.  My poor opinion of him began when I observed him defending one of Donald Trump’s political talking points on a live feed.  He went on and on about how a wall has to be built on America’s southern border to keep “those people” out of the country.  When Jozea Flores—a self-described “celebrity makeup artist” and the second houseguest evicted—asked him who should pay for such a barrier, Corey very quickly said, “Mexico, of course.”


I’m not terribly excited by any of the female players so far.  I sort of like Da’Vonne Rogers’ sense of humor and Natalie Negrotti’s feistiness.  But it’s still early.  A dominant woman might yet emerge.

By the way, photos and bios for the full cast can be found here, and if you want to keep up with how the game is going between televised episodes but don’t want to spend money to get the live feeds, I recommend that you regularly visit this site.

And Now a Break from Our Regularly Scheduled Programing

So I was dining in this Indian restaurant a few days ago. We’d pushed a couple of small tables together as we were a party of seven. Six of us were Americans and the seventh, my wife, was Egyptian. We weren’t drinking alcohol or anything, but the conversation was still silly and random as hell. Many of us giggled and guffawed as the talking occurred. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe there were even a few instances of people chortling. That tells you what kind of evening it was.

At one point, just before the food was brought to the table, Ruthann, a fellow Texan from Dallas, turned to me and said, in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, “Let’s talk about obscure celebrities from yesteryear.” That prompted me to respond, “Hey, does anyone know whatever happened to Tiny Tim?”

Of course, Azza, my better half, had no idea who this miniscule person was. One other individual, a child of twelve, was equally in the dark. Everyone else immediately fell silent. You could literally hear cogs turning in heads as people thought about my question.

I was the first person to break the silence. I said, “Tiny Tim is actually an interesting study. He’s a study in how far an untalented person can go in show business.”

“It wasn’t necessarily that he lacked talent,” Lori retorted, “It was just that he had the right sort of talent for the 1960s.”

“Right,” said Ruthann. “Weirdness was really in in the 60s, so he had what people wanted.”

I’ve embedded a video so you see an example of what Mr. Tim provided to the public during his heyday.

Now, days later, I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about Tiny Tim. In addition to the clip I included, I’ve looked at a zillion videos of him performing and being interviewed. I even called several teaching colleagues into my office, showed them a few of the things I watched, and asked them to respond, taking careful notes as they spoke. Like I said, I’ve been a bit obsessed recently.

Perhaps that was his ultimate goal (and genius?) as a performer? To create a persona and a sound we couldn’t turn away from and couldn’t get enough of?