1) Hey there, fellow Survivor SuperFan – good to have you back at TDT checking out The Baker's Dozen!
Hope you've been making good use of the extended Survivor hiatus, binge-watching old seasons (some of which are now streaming for free on Amazon), proclaiming your undying devotion to former players over Twitter, and plaintively awaiting a call from casting that you know, deep in your heart, will never come. Or maybe that's just me.
As you no doubt know – since you're here seeking the half-baked ideas and nonsensical speculation that only I can provide – the cast of Survivor: Cagayan has been announced. Eighteen newbies, three tribes, and – wonder of wonders – the conspicuous absence of Redemption Island. There's also the alliterative theme of the season, Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty, which, I have a feeling, is going to be the inverse of Blood vs. Water.
To explain: If you read The Dozen last season, you know that I was highly dubious of BvW as a season-defining theme, but became a reluctant fan once I saw the dynamic playing out in interesting but thankfully not foundation-shattering ways. On the flipside, after last season's finale, I thought BvBvB had the potential to be intriguing, but then I saw the players and the tribes and realized that casting has just as liberal a definition of B-word human attributes as they do of words like Fan, Favorite, Hero, and Villain. Even if Rob C.'s intel is wrong – he suggested that the tribe designations were created after the casting process was complete – it sure feels that way, doesn't it?
Ah, but I get ahead of myself.
As I've said in preseason previews past, I realize that it is pure folly to evaluate players based on a solitary photo, a CBS-approved bio, and a sub-three-minute interview. And yet, I would argue that this is fair game, for three reasons:
** It's all we've got to go on until we start seeing camp footage (beginning with the TV Guide Network Preview next week).
** It's how we're wired as humans: to weave a narrative about the people we encounter based on limited information.
** Most importantly, this is how the newbies will begin the game; swift judgments are precisely what the players themselves must and will base their decisions on when they hit the island. Yes, they see each other throughout casting, and yes, they start getting reads on one another during the pre-game Ponderosa press frenzy, but once the game begins, they immediately interact with one another and create alliances forged in the fires of anxiety, opportunity, and necessity. For good or ill, that's the nature of modern Survivor. Heck, if Kim Spradlin doesn't become a part of a five-person majority alliance within the first hour of One World, odds are she doesn't end up on the short list of best first time players the game has ever seen.
I'll begin by exploring the forces that will be shaping the season (small tribes, the B/B/B theme, and being our first all-newbie season since One World) and then move on to the players themselves – needless to say, I've got a lot of opinions, and I'm happy to share 'em. What can I say? I'm a giver.
It's February and the premiere is less than a month away. We've got names, we've got faces, and we've got some heavily-edited interview footage. And you know what that means – it's time for me to start casting stones from my glass house!
Join me as I indulge in premature articulation, won't you? It's reasonable to assume that almost everything I'm about to say will be invalidated within the first ten minutes of the two-hour premiere. But that's not going to keep me from saying it…
So let's get judgmental!
2) Season-Shaping Dynamic: Three six-member tribes.
Hopefully, the Cagayan castaways have learned from seasons past, because, off the top of my head, here are three things we learned about six-member tribes during Survivor: Philippines:
** There's no place to hide: mediocre players who might skate through the early part of the game on a ten member tribe will be swiftly exposed as liabilities.
** You have to move quickly: If you aren't part of a tandem, or better yet a three-person alliance, by the end of day one – and you don't otherwise have an indispensable skill (more on this in a moment) – you might as well piss in the beans.
** You really, really, really don't want to lose that first immunity challenge. As we saw with Matsing, coming in third when all three tribes have their full complement of castaways dooms you to a slow, inexorable death. Every challenge after that, the other two tribes get to sit their worst player(s); as you get weaker, they get stronger. The edge is monumental, if not insurmountable.
3) Season-Shaping Dynamic: Due to the B/B/B set-up, all pre-merge – or at least all pre-tribe swap – challenges will follow a familiar format: they'll start physical and end with a puzzle.
The producers remember Philippines, too, and they're going to want to avoid the utter annihilation of a single tribe, especially since this is being crafted as a "which group is the best at this game" season. If that first challenge is TOO brutal, the Brains – who are by far the weakest tribe, physically – will be down a player, with almost no hope of reversing their fortunes before they're rescued by a swap. If Malcolm and Denise couldn't do it, what hope do the Brains have?
The solution, then, is to have balanced challenges, with modest amounts of rowing, dragging, and swimming, coupled with a mildly perplexing puzzle. I suppose the alternative is to have both parts be overwhelmingly difficult, setting up the Brains for a dramatic rally – and the Survivor producers do take perverse pleasure in showcasing players ill-equipped for mental and spatial challenges attempt to assemble three-dimensional puzzles – but I'm guessing that we're headed down the path of, "Let's reinforce that it's the triple threats, the B-word boundary-crossers, who are Built to win this game." And that means challenges which won't favor a particular type of player.
4) Season-Shaping Dynamic: The Missing Piece
You've probably heard the saying, "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king"; the truth of that maxim will, I feel, be tested and proven this season: Players who possess the qualities otherwise missing from their tribe will be safe from torch-snuffing so long as the B/B/B theme remains intact. A Brawny Brain – Garrett – will likely outlast a player like Spencer because muscle power will be in such short supply on the Brains tribe; so, too, will a Brainy Beauty like LJ be a cossetted castaway, thanks to the prevalence of puzzles.
Obviously, triple threats – or at least double threats – have always been a commodity in Survivor, but the need for them is amplified by both the small-tribe format and the limitations of the Brawn/Brains/Beauty construct. The former all but guarantees that a stand-out skill likely won't be replicated by a tribemate, and the latter will diminish, if not outright eliminate, the importance of one thing each member of the tribe brings to the table. Who needs Tony – who, from all early signs is an intimidating jerk – when you have Uncle Cliffy around to provide challenge strength?
Conversely, if you're a single-use device – on a tribe which all but guarantees that this ability is redundant – your days are numbered (and that number is significantly lower than 39).
5) Season-Shaping Dynamic: This season is brought to you by the number 2 – and, by extension, 4.
The influence of having 6-person tribes really cannot be overstated: the early-game strategy is profoundly and fundamentally altered by the small-group dynamic. We saw it in Survivor: Philippines, and we're going to encounter it in Cagayan as well: strong tandems will have inestimable influence throughout the game. It was no accident that the Philippines final four was comprised of two Week One (Day One?) alliances, Skupin/Lisa and Denise/Malcolm.
Indeed, the potency of these pairings was so predictable that this is what I wrote in my Philippines preview:
If there's one thing that good Survivor strategists know, it's that you can't play alone. Whether you surround yourself with co-conspirators, acolytes, or sheep, to make it to the end, you need a lot of help getting there. More important than understanding this reality, though, is utilizing it well; you have to choose your partners wisely, or your game is doomed.
This is especially true, I feel, in this three-tribe dynamic; in recent seasons, five-person alliances have dominated the game, but in Survivor: Philippines, I think the magic number will be two. Tandems – which will most likely be strong and strategic sub-alliances – are, first and foremost, a formidable early-game voting force: two tandems team up, and you've got a four-person voting majority in a six-person tribe. They're also adaptable as the game changes: tandems are more likely to survive the first tribe swap, and as new alliances are formed, a tandem is far more attractive than single floaters as power blocks coalesce.
Given this dynamic, Brawny Sarah (B.S.?) may have arrived on the island with the best starting strategy: pair up with someone and then build from there. Where Sarah plans to have her partner go out and pick up another individual and for her to do the same, I would lobby to work with another tandem – that gets you to four faster, and has more potential to be a tighter unit for the mid- and endgame – but whatever gets you into the majority is the first order of business, particularly in a season shaped like this one.
6) Season-Shaping Dynamic: All newbies!
I have a confession to make: As I've scanned the Cagayan cast page over at CBS to prep for the season, I actually missed seeing familiar faces. Returning players, despite how much they distort and disrupt the purity of the game, bring history and predictability and, ever so occasionally, gravity to the seasons shaped around them; given that it's been two years since we've had a season sans Survivor superstars, I'm simply not used to writing about the show without some familiar friends along for the ride. I've long thought of returnees as Probst's personal binky, but is it possible – hello existential crisis triggered by possessing the same propensities as Probst – that it's become my own binky as well?
Setting aside this identity crisis, the truth is that I'm a bit adrift when it comes to anticipating what will transpire over the course of Cagayan: who the heck knows how these newbies are going to play the game without veterans around to tell them what to do? The last time we had a cast like this was One World, but I don't get a Spradlin vibe off of any of these players, so there's a good chance that I'm going to have a permanent imprint of my hand on my forehand from all the strategy-reaction face-palming I'm going to be doing this spring. I hope I'm wrong, but isn't this what we're all expecting? Clumsy chaos that is equal parts insanity and inanity?
It's interesting to note that Probst and the producers are hedging their bets a bit in two potentially powerful ways:
** A number of these players claim to be fans of the show. Quite a few of them share in their videos that they've watched from the beginning, and their answers to various questions, in print and in person, suggest more than a passing familiarity with the game and those who have played it. While it remains to be seen if these castaways are students of the game, they at least aren't entirely informed by a set of DVDs handed to them by casting… so that's a step in the right direction, wouldn't you say?
** The cast feels old. My initial reaction to the demographic breakdown of this cast was typically reductionist: "Wow, they're ancient!" But then someone far more observant than I pointed out that, chronologically speaking, they're really not that old; in fact, the average age (32) is right in line with the last three all-newbie seasons (other than the age-based Nicaragua): One World (30), Samoa (33), and Tocantins (32). So then I asked myself why I had the reaction I did, and the answer that I arrived at was this: this cast feels old – in a good way. When I watched the interviews, I didn't see a lot of 20-something cannon fodder; even the people clearly cast as "characters" seemed more mature than their casting prototype ancestors. Refreshing, really.
So what does this have to do with anything, you ask? While it would be oversimplification to suggest that age brings wisdom and patience and empathy and that these qualities are at the heart of solid Survivor strategy – because we all know plenty of unwise, impatient, sociopathic adults – but it IS true, I feel, that over the course of 27 seasons, we've learned that older players are less likely to make rash, impulsive decisions or be motivated by anything other than getting to the endgame (most if not all middle-aged castaways have fully formed lives to return to, and aren't seeking fame or a new career as a reality star). More importantly, I think Probst and the producers have learned this, and, in the absence of returning players, are attempting to increase the odds that the game won't suffer from the newbie inertia created by 20-something players like Christina, Kat, Leif, Chelsea, and Alicia that made Probst hate One World and, for a brief time, Survivor entire.
Whatever my anticipatory anxiety about newbie strategy – and despite my horrific realization that part of me likes returning players – I welcome a season with nary a single returning player to be seen.
Here's hoping that the Cagayan cast acquits itself well… for future newbie seasons may depend on it.
7) Speaking of future newbie seasons, let me interrupt your regularly scheduled Baker's Dozen to say something that is equal parts advanced warning and narcissistic whining:
As long-time readers know, I started writing about Survivor for one reason: Because I want to play the game. My thinking – which admittedly is flawed for a number of reasons – was that I might ping on casting's radar if I could start building an audience. I've been incredibly fortunate over the past two years – not only are fans reading this column, but a lot of players as well – and many people, from both groups, have been public in their support of my theoretical appearance on Survivor.
Unfortunately, casting doesn't share this opinion.
Last spring, I stopped writing about Caramoan primarily because of the Brandon Hantz mess – and despite the pushback I got on the "Bedlam" piece I wrote at the time, it remains one of my favorite columns – but one other factor was my disappointment that despite my ongoing efforts to prove that I have a deep understanding of, and love for, the game, I hadn't gotten a call from casting.
And it's happening again right now.
I applied this past fall, as I always do. Hope in the form of a three-minute video. But now it's February, and the pool of semi-finalists for Seasons 29 and 30 are, in all likelihood, assembled. No call, unfortunately, even though at least one person with personal contacts in casting pitched me as a possibility.
Casting has it's reasons, of course. I'm aware that they're not clamoring for a middle-aged middle school teacher; my story, other than being an articulate and knowledgeable fan of the show, is an ordinary one. In any given season, there's one slot, maybe two, for someone like me – and if there's one demographic group from which casting receives endless applications, it's older white men with wives and kids. Call it the mid-life crisis crowd.
I also know I've pissed off Probst and the producers with some of my columns over the past few years, so this mess is, to one degree or another, one of my own making. Still, you would think they'd at least consider a guy who is willing to speak his truth, create controversy, and call it like it is. And frankly, if the players are willing to embrace what I write about them, why can't production and casting be equally as gracious? I can't be certain that The Dozen, despite being part of my concerted effort to get on the show, is the reason why I haven't gotten a call, but I have to believe that what I've said here is at least partly to blame. Which is a shame. All I've ever wanted to do was contribute to the conversation.
Anyway, I say all of this not to throw a tantrum because my phone didn't ring but to let you know that it will be, at times, hard to write this season. I don't do unreciprocated love all that well. I'm not bitter, but I am a little heart-broken. It doesn't help that we're about to watch a season with an older-skewing Brains tribe; I may not have conned the people of Miami out of hundreds of millions of dollars, but I feel – I know – that I can play this game better than David. And don't even get me started on Spencer.
Will I write about Cagayan every week this spring? Possibly. But I can't guarantee it.
Because it's starting to sink in that I'll never get to play Survivor.
With that navel-gazing ennui out of the way, it is time for us to move on to my early thoughts about the cast of Cagayan. Given that the information we have about this cast can fit on top of a pin awarm with dancing angels, I'll be even more inaccurate than I usually am; the best I can hope for is to be so horribly wrong that I end up being accidentally right a time or two. Anyway, get yourself a salt lick, because all of the opinions you're about to read should be taken with more than a grain of salt.
8) A glimpse behind the curtain: When I first contemplate each member of a cast – and the fate that awaits – I ponder them in isolation, removed from small group dynamics.
In essence, I try to imagine what they'd do in an "typical" Survivor season, absent tribes, twists, and themes, even though a "normal" Survivor season no longer exists, if it ever did. What I'm attempting to do, of course, is calculate a player's single-season equity (a term popularized in the reality world by Dom and Colin; I, too, am fond of the Survivor-as-poker extended metaphor, and I am an unabashed fan of their podcast).
Anyway, these are the players who stood out to me as solo acts (which is not to say that I necessarily have high hopes for them as members of their respective tribes):
Brawn: Sarah… as a cop, assuming she's a good one, Sarah possesses some skills that (protect and) serve you well on Survivor. She also plans to employ the onion strategy, partnering up with someone she can trust and then adding additional players to her alliance, which suggests she's at least marginally aware of her Survivor history. She's tough but not intimidating, friendly but not fake, trustworthy but not shy of treachery. Pretty solid package overall.
Brains: Tasha… seems REALLY likable. She pops on video; she has an authentic smile and open body language, she possesses a palpable sweetness, and her intelligence – which is obvious from how thoughtful and articulate she is – isn't of the "plotting and scheming" variety. Feels like the perfect person to welcome into an alliance.
Beauty: LJ… he seems like the sort of guy who will be calm amidst chaos. He's sharp – claims to be good at puzzles – and has a gravity to him that is conspicuously absent from many, if not most, castaways. He appears to be the sort of alpha who can lead without creating tension, and he's ruggedly handsome in an understated way that will make him a subject (not object) of attraction for women both young and old. (Am I REALLY heaping preemptive praise on a chiseled alpha male? Dear lord I AM turning into Probst.)
9) On the flip side, these are the players – once again, taken in isolation – that I feel are in dire early-game trouble:
Brawn: Cliff… while every Survivor player is forced to endure the elements and experience endless hunger pangs, large players (such as Caramoan's Shamar) and tall players (Australia's Mitchell Olson) are doomed to suffer more than the wiry and wily types. Cliff is both large AND tall; he's going to want to eat Woo by the end of week one. Add in a life of privilege – Uncle Cliffy was an NBA all-star, and even if he's squandered the $62 million he earned over the course of his career, he's not that far removed from an existence most of us can barely imagine – and I just can't see him gutting out 39 days of deprivation for the NBA league minimum.
Brains: Spencer… after watching Spencer's interview video, I had one burning question: what's the best word I could pair with "douche" to describe this guy? Nozzle? Canoe? Lord? Okay, I'm not being nice, but if you've watched the video, you know what I mean; as he prattles on about chess and, well, chess, he comes across as insufferable and immature. Precisely how a smart, egotistical, smug college student who just got plucked from anonymity to play Survivor is likely to behave, really. Now, I don't think he's as villainous as he would have us believe – there are stretches in the interview, particularly when he's blathering at length, when he sounds like a normal kid – but regardless, players whose strategy is to cultivate chaos rarely write the end of anyone's Survivor story other than their own.
Beauty: Brice… every Survivor season has at least one player whose first impression is First Boot, and this season, that player is Brice. We know that Survivor casts for conflict – Probst has admitted as much – and Brice, if you ask me, is the Cagayan catalyst for confrontation. There will be diva drama. There will be tremulous tears. There will be histrionic hugs. And when it's all over, there will be Brice standing in front of Probst holding a torch bleeding wood-smoke where a flame used to be.
Ah, but these players don't exist in a vacuum – they are subject to social forces and tribe dynamics, not to mention the vagaries of strategy and the alchemy of alliances. All of this is even more elusively unpredictable than the prospects of individual players, so what follows is, I would guess, little more than fan fiction… but let's give it a shot anyway.
10) Tribe dynamics: Aparri (Brawn)
I'm guessing that Aparri will be the most tumultuous of the three tribes in the early days of the game, and here's why:
The Brawniest of the bunch – Cliff and Tony – will discover quickly that their main asset, power, won't be all that useful to them or their tribe. Both of them will be suffering physically, and soon thereafter, emotionally. Cliff will go soft and want to quit; Tony will go hard and want to take to take it out on the other players. The truth is, though, we won't have to wait long for the Aparri antagonism to erupt; Tony will rub people the wrong way from the get-go. If you don't believe me, check out the opening hero shot in the Meet the Cast video; Tony's waaaaaay to the right, nowhere near the rest of the other players – he's already ostracized.
Meanwhile, an alliance of four will emerge: Woo is an Ozzy clone – as a surfer and martial arts instructor, he's got the sort of Brawn that's Survivor useful – so he'll be at the heart of the dominant alliance. I can see Trish, as a Pilates instructor, gravitating to Woo, and the two of them forming a formidable tandem; I can easily envision them being around for the endgame, but as pawns rather than power players. Meanwhile, Sarah is sharp enough to reach out to Woo – she'll see him as an asset – and, after an ill-advised early pairing with her fellow cop Tony, she'll bring Lindsey into the fold as a useful fourth.
11) Tribe dynamics: Luzon (Brains)
No doubt this is too simplistic an approach, but given the number of older players in Luzon, I'm seeing an Elder's Alliance forming around Kass, David, and Tasha. J'Tia could be swapped in for one of these pieces – she's certainly smart and social enough – but I'm going off of vibe here, and, without fully being able to articulate why, I can more readily imagine the other three coming together, with J'Tia on the outside looking in. A key skill in Survivor – one that I'm not entirely sure can be learned – is giving other players a sense of interdependence, that you need them, that your game and your fate is linked, inextricably, to theirs. Any player who insists, in word or deed or tone or feel, that they're doing this by themselves, for themselves (hello, Monica Culpepper), will never be fully embraced by the other castaways and will be seen as a potential target during every phase of the game. This is horribly unfair, given that all I've seen is a couple of minutes of video, but that's what I sense from J'Tia.
Garrett, the Luzon Missing Piece – with strength to spare – won't be leaving before a tribe swap, so he'll be eagerly embraced by the Elder Alliance as their fourth. Over time, I believe they'll tire of Garrett – he, like the other poker players I've met over the years, has an edge to him that feels entirely off-putting to me – but in the short term, he's their best bet at insulating their alliance, and Garrett will see them as a means to an end (he'll be the first to look for greener pastures after a swap).
And then there's Spencer: he's clearly being groomed to be the early-season antagonist, but if he were truly the Cagayan VILLAIN, we'd be hearing a lot more about him (CBS and the Survivor producers wouldn't be able to help themselves). I'm guessing we'll get a few episodes where he pompously pontificates about being the Brains of this operation (you just KNOW that someone is going to make that pun) and then he'll get taken out by players who neither trust nor like him.
12) Tribe dynamics: Solana (Beauty)
Once again, I'm going to take the easy path here – because that's what the players themselves are going to do! – and shape an alliance around readily apparent commonality: Jeremiah, Jefra, and LJ all have experience in the outdoors, and if that wasn't enough, Jeremiah and Jefra are southerners, and LJ, despite being from Boston, will be seen as a kindred spirit given that he's a horse trainer. This trio is going to form an alliance – let's call it The Country Club (courtesy of reader and fellow SuperFan Kathy Long Trantham) – with LJ calling the shots (J & J don't strike me as the strategic types). If Jeremiah and Jefra join forces as a tandem – which feels almost inevitable to me – LJ will need to go in search of a partner who will become the fourth member of their alliance. The choices: Morgan and Alexis. Whomever he chooses – my money is on Morgan – will be my pick for the player who goes "Sheep Deep" (there's always a castaway who makes it to the endgame, quite possibly the final three, as a follower). The one he doesn't pick – sorry Alexis! – won't last much longer than Brice.
13) Prediction Time!
With so many twists and turns ahead, it is utterly impossible to create a plausible boot list… but I'll try.
18: Brice… hard to imagine a tribe other than Luzon (Brains) losing the first immunity challenge, but I'm so irrationally convinced that Brice is the first boot that I just have to put him here.
17: J'Tia… Luzon is losing one of the first two challenges (the producers will put some sort of safeguard in place to make sure we don't get a Matsing-level single tribe implosion)… I'd put Spencer here, but I think his story will be a bit longer than one episode (assuming there are two boots in the 2-hour premiere).
16: Cliff… he won't make it much more than a week.
15: Spencer… I could be totally wrong about him, but I don't think I am.
** Tribe Swap **
14: Tony… sooner or later, he is going to outlive his usefulness… I'm going with sooner.
13: Alexis… if she isn't deeply ensconced in an alliance at this point, her challenge weakness and youth will cost her.
12: Lindsey… she'll be an ancillary member of an alliance, and they tend to get sacrificed at this point.
** Merge **
Note: I'm looking at the numbers right now and realizing that I have the initial tribes pretty evenly split heading into the merge: four each for Brains and Beauty, three for Brawn. It's unlikely that we'll have this sort of balance at this point in the game, but hey, this is a thought experiment! As such, this boot list isn't beholden to things like logic or realism. Moving on…
11: David… he could stick around a lot longer than this… but wherever he finishes, I don't see him calling the shots… I'll be stunned if he puts himself in a position to win the game.
10: Kass… I like her, and I'd love to see her go a lot farther… I think she, and the other Brains, will fall victim to Beauty and Brawn, however, as they work together post-merge to eliminate the strategic threats.
9: Garrett… I love that he trained so hard for the season (hopefully, he'll provide an answer to the question, "Can you truly train for Survivor?")… and his poker skills will serve him well… but he'll try to play too many angles, make a few enemies along the way, and in the end, fall victim to the numbers game.
8: Woo… your prototypical finish for an individual immunity challenge threat… you take him out as soon as you can after the merge.
7: Trish… she, too, could make a late-game run, given that so many endgame challenges favor her body type, so she's gotta go.
6: Jefra… at some point, the core alliance has to start turning on itself… Jefra has too much Natalie White DNA in her, so you can't let her get to the Final 3.
5: Jeremiah… he could go before Jefra, but either way, LJ – who will be savvy enough to make secondary alliances after the tribe swap – has got to get rid of the J.T. wannabe.
4: Sarah… I have a feeling she'll go a lot earlier than this, but what can I say, I like her, and this is my thought experiment, dammit.
3: Morgan… Sheep Deep.
2: LJ… if he had pulled out the win, Probst would be all over Twitter proclaiming that Cagayan is the best season since Redemption Island. But Probst's praise for Cagayan has been lukewarm at best, which means that an alpha male didn't emerge triumphant. Sorry, LJ.
1: Tasha… is she my pick to win Survivor: Cagayan? Yes. No. Maybe? I dunno. I think she COULD, and that's enough for now.
Let's end this column by shaking up the Magic 8-Ball and answering a few final questions: Am I already regretting my choices and resisting the urge to rewrite that entire prediction section? Without a doubt. Will I alter my opinions after watching the TV Guide Preview, seeing stills from all three camps, and dissecting a slew of new promos from CBS? Signs point to yes. Is it likely that I'll write another column as the premiere approaches, reshuffling my power rankings and offering a more accurate reading of the tea leaves? Outlook good.
See ya back in here soon.
That’s it for this edition of The Baker’s Dozen – if you’d like to keep the conversation going, leave a comment below!
Andy Baker is a Survivor blogger who wants nothing more than to get a back rub from Jeff Probst the next time he's thinking about quitting his column. Follow Andy on twitter: @SurvivorGenius