Monday, June 26, 2006

Jeopardy is in on it, too

It's still all happening! And this is why.
Watched last night's Jeopardy. It being Monday that means it was Friday's Jeopardy. We don't usually bother with Saturday Jeopardy as they are all repeats (please say you knew that) and if we do watch 'em I certainly don't post about 'em. Puh-lease. I am trying to run a halfway, semi-normal,kinda decent blog here!

The categories were speaking to me. Ok, only about two of them, but when they speak, they speak.
Speaking of speaking, I "spoke" to a fellow blogger this afternoon. The one in Berlin.
And then I started to miss her. (Well, not started but just felt like it would be much cooler if I were there or she were here. That's all) And then, this evening I turned on Jeopardy.
Categories included:
Adam Sandler
The "IZE" have it
The Funny Brit
Prominent 20th Century Women

Those were the 4 that spoke to me.
This category was just fun! (well, it spoke to me in that I was like - oh! will my fellow bloggers love this one!)
Jepotry In this category a line of poetry was read with a word subbed out for Jeopardy. Contestants had to state the real word in the poem. It was a little off - oh so Jeopardy like though!

And better yet, the Adam Sandler clues were given by no other than Adam Sandler himself! (Did you think I was going to say the clue crew?) To promote his new movie Click, Adam was video'd for all five clues. $400 was something to the effect of Answer: In Happy Gilmore, I beat up this game show host. You're next Alex!!

Whoa, is this Jeopardy or Comedy Central's One Night Stand?
Heh. THIS is why we watch Jeopardy so religiously (when we are in the right country). Because we can!

Friday, June 23, 2006

It's All Happening*

And when I say all, I mean all.

Let's see what else can be crammed into a ten day period.
Just a quick rundown of real life things:

-We're closing on an apt in a few hours.
-We move into said apartment next week.
-The day before move, the event I've been planning the past 4 months comes together. The event involves over 400 people renovating a school in Newark and over 8 different vendors, each wonderful and complicated in their own ways (I know ALL there is to know about 16 foot trailers with men and women's bathrooms - wonder if that will help my trivia game?). Did I mention the over $2000 worth of Subway sandwiches I need to insure will be at the site by noon?

Now to clarify the above:
"We're closing on an apt in a few hours" noted as if this is just something that happens to us every now and then.
Um, no - this is huge!! Exciting, wonderful, yippee!
"We move into said apartment next week" Um, it is called packing. We need to do it and I need to do it without the luxury of the day before or the day before the day before (due to last minute items that will inevitably come up.)
But that is all the complaining you will hear from me because - we are moving! Yay. And by July 1 - so soon, we will be moved!
Oh - the complaining is also tempered by more of "it's all happening" proof.
Ken Jennings, of this blog's (and countless other blogs as well) fame, has commented on the last post. There's much I want to say about this but as I said over Greg's photo from earlier this month. . words. . cannot. . express. . plus because it is all happening at once. . time. . does. . . not . . . allow. . . formation. . . of. . . thoughts.


*This is my all time favorite line from the 2000 movie Almost Famous. A close second is "Rock stars have kidnapped my son!"
[Today is Frances McDormand's birthday.]

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I am the smartest man alive!!

This post is all about last night's book (that I started reading). I know that last sentence may not be the best English, however, in an effort to remain consistent and for all postings to be about last night (but not about the movie About Last Night) then the sentence will just have to do.

The book is called The Know It All. A journalist (used loosely as he used to write for Entertainment Weekly) attempted to become the smartest person in the world by reading the encyclopedia cover to cover. In my attempt to write of all things having to do with Jeopardy, trivia contests and the like and in general, knowing it all, I thought it fitting that I start reading the book immediately. The urgency came to me earlier this week when I realized I had nothing to read for pleasure(aside from a Managerial Accounting book, that is). The book's been on my shelf for about 6 months since I took it off another shelf at Borders on Broadway and purchased it. The full surge of my first semester back in school made reading for fun rather prohibitive though I got some good ones in, this one never interested me due to its learning value.
Now that it's summer and I am only taking one class at a time (two sessions - five weeks each) I reached for it. And boy, am I glad. I love it! And readers of this blog will love it, too.

Not sure why I belittled the author of the book. Truth is,
I read Entertainment Weekly, weekly. (Due to points on a credit card I was given free subscriptions to loads of magazines about 6 months ago. We get a magazine practically daily. Magazines like Blender, Stuff, Outside, Harvard Business Review and EW. EW is the only one I read cover to cover.) I think I am just a bit jealous of his occupation.
The other reason I am not sure why I had to say "used loosely" is that as I mentioned, I am enjoying the book very much! Why can't I just be nice?!

So, the writer, AJ Jacobs is about my age and lives in NYC with his wife. It's fun to hear his tales of reading the EB (Encyclopedia Britannica) from end to end and to learn how he brings it up in conversation as much as possible.

I'm about 1/2 finished and so far, by far, the best section is the entry on frigate birds. In this entry Mr. Jacobs reveals the tale of his interview with blog fave, Alex Trebek. It's on page 99 of the book and if reading from end to end the tale of a man who reads the encyclopedia from end to end is just slightly too meta for you, just pick up the book in a bookstore and read this tidbit. I definitely love his initial encounter with Alex and the randomness of the man himself. The tale will make you smile. And if that is not the purpose of a tale, then what is?

Monday, June 19, 2006

A moment of silliness

In that I thought we had found a new Ken Jennings. How silly!

As someone who was once called Mrs. Jennings (stay tuned for the story), I am always on the lookout for the next Ken Jennings. I guess that, in itself, is silly. Two in one lifetime?! I highly doubt it on the one hand and on the other, I can't help but watch a two-day (or even sometimes one-day) champ, admire his or her trivia and buzzer skills and think to myself, "Is this the next Ken?!"

This "next" Ken came out of nowhere. So much so that at the beginning of the game I even remarked out loud in an not-so-nice moment "What a loser!" The category was Cheteau "Dif" and Craig (our contestant on the far right) answered "What is Diffuse?" for the $400 clue which was correct and then for the Daily Double (which was his and only his to answer) he answered "What is Diffuse?". I was CONfused. How could this person had made it through the rigorous screening? Come on, now!

So, you can imagine my surprise when he came alive in Double Jeopardy and put the current champ (Roberta of "I learned to read through Jeopardy" fame) to shame. She ended up coming in last place (dead last). By Final Jeopardy, Craig had runaway with the game. His score was so high no one could even hope to win.

On another note about this game, there was a category called Sing Sing. Answers included blogger favorite Duran Duran and the Go-Gos. I quite enjoyed the creative category, if you must know.

So back to the original story of silliness which involved Craig, a collector of antique hair bottles, current paramedic, former paratrooper and all around great guy (I made that last part up myself). He never cracked a smile, he seemed very regimented and he had over $114,000 after five days. THIS is when the "next ken?" question crossed my mind. Well, let's just say it didn't happen. Josh took it away from him with a rather troublesome Final Jeopardy. One so troublesome that it left us to go quickly to the computer and find out the true story.
The category was Transportation News. Answer: This city's iconic routemaster vehicles were just shy of 50 year service when they were retired in 2005.
Out of the three contestants, only Josh (the new champ) answered correctly but we were certainly puzzled. The answer was London and having just returned from a trip there (one of the best weekends of the year - ok, best day of my life!) and having ridden on the double decker buses to and fro the Ealing tube station but a mere two weeks before, we were screaming "bullshit" at the TV. What a sham! Until we read this. Those were not the vehicles we rode during our trip.

So, let's just acknowledge that this posting is more about last week's Jeopardy. It's most likely due to the fact that there was a surge of excitement here in AALJ land so only after I could settle down did it seem right to post again. The first was from the posted comment from June 14 when I found out there were readers of the blog NOT listed on the right hand side of the page. And truth be told, there are really only three readers listed as Jeremy isn't quite as excited about both watching and reading regularly about Jeopardy as some other people (yours truly) might be. The second was the post from Berlin. We are now officially multi-national as we've had postings from the US, England, AND Germany. But why keep track of these things, 'tis better to continue on to the one remaining anecdote of the day.
When and why was I called Mrs. Jennings?

The synopsis brings us to the Fall of 2004 when Ken has not started to make headlines but loyal (ahem) Jeopardy watchers know all about him. I mention him to my co-worker and give daily updates. We swap Jeopardy stories (perhaps the real beginnings of my fanaticism) where I learn of her Jeopardy watching grandmother. (scandalous!)
Next thing I know I am running the NYC Marathon in November 2004 and at the 12th or 13th mile come across friends in Queens cheering me on. There are a few signs made of oak tag (such a good word) with words of spirit - Run Jess Run! And there is one that makes me smile the widest.
"Go Mrs. Jennings!!!"

So there you have it. At the time, I had been engaged for 60 days but was taking the (nick)name of another. Now that is scandalous!

Sunday, June 18, 2006


not Jeopardy at all! Well, I wanted to add a post from abroad about some special television quiz shows here. As you guys remember from London there is a little show called Quiz Night Live that shows the viewer a numbers/math puzzle and sorry sacks call in with their answers. These 'contestants' pay for each call that they make to the studio...whether or not they get through. The hosts just tell (or yell) people to call as if it's their national duty to answer the puzzle. There is a cash prize ($1000s, no GBP symbol on this keyboard)for the winner who will never exist. It's a complete hoax but for some reason it seems legal and I personally have seen the same puzzle on the screen for weeks! I was happy that Jess and Jeremy were able to enjoy the fun.

I chalked it up to Crazy Brits and their TV..har har har. But nope...I arrive in Berlin and flip through the channels and there it is again, a form of Quiz Night Live in German. The prize was about 2000 € and even though I know about 10 words in German maybe, the host was the same....yelling at people to call in and guess.

There are other quiz shows on this continent and I plan to report to you about them in the near future. It's just difficult here with the language barrier and all.
Also, I miss Jeopardy and all. And that is about Last Night's...oh, no it's not.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Stop reading this and start procrastinating now!

So, this is really all about (or just kinda about) last night's movie.

I have been getting emails from Time Out NY for about 3 months regarding free movie tickets and other happenings in the city. For one reason or another, I have not had the opportunity to take much advantage of the offerings - I've had class, the movie hasn't interested me, etc. But last week was different. Wordplay tickets were offered for last night - game on!

I am not going to give a full review of the movie as there are just too many reviewers out there already. Let's just say that I highly recommend it to everyone who would ever come across this blog and actually stay to read it. And I will also say - I loved everything about the movie!

So, I have a midterm tomorrow and, of course, I am taking many breaks in my studying effort (trip to Whole Foods & the Greenmarket at Union Square, with anyone who is online, etc.) and one of those aforementioned breaks included going to the Wordplay Web Site.

Ellen Rothstein Ripstein is one of the crossword champs highlighted in the movie. She has won the Stamford, CT Crossword Tournament once and has been in the finals a record 14 times. She was very genuine and sweet and I just liked her & her attitude about being a crossword champion. . . so on the Wordplay site they have videos and write-ups on a few of the participants, including Ellen. I watched the interview with Ellen and in the last portion of the interview that I watched she mentioned a past crossword puzzle winner. No, it wasn't Ken Jennings but it was Stella! The Stella Daily of crossword tourney fame mentioned here in this very blog. It was cool. Ellen said Stella came in 6th last year and as mentioned here, in AALNJ, she came in 12th place this year (when Ellen said this I thought to myself, "Uh yeah tell me something I don't know). KJ, this blogs good 'ol mascot, came in 37th for those of you who don't remember the posting. Anyway, Ellen is a huge Stella supporter and thinks she will definitely win the crossword contest one of these days.

Ellen also talked about her very own Jeopardy stint. She was on in 1991 and said it was the "year of Jeopardy" because she basically prepared for a year until she was on. She got a Daily Double, thought of the right answer but somehow answered incorrectly (I liked that little anecdote. Not flashy, just basically, "Um. . . here is what happened to me"). She ended up coming in 2nd place.

Not so sure why I had to give you the run down on Ellen's entire interview. (Am I procrastinating?)
You can check out the site and hear it yourself though I am not really sure why that would be so necessary now.

So this is why I am a fan of procrastinating, my friend. It is not so much that it is worth it - but it definitely makes you smile. I think my new slogan (what the old one is I am not sure. Perhaps, did the penguin make you do it? a la William Madison) is

Procrastination - Just Do It!

PS This just in. I went to IMDB to check out quotes from the movie and saw that in the cast is Stella Daily. Hmm. . . don't recall seeing her says the oddly fanatical procrastinator.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


This is so far, by far, the best word I have learned in my years, nay decades, watching Jeopardy. Or just the best one of recent memory. And like contestant (and new champion - sorry did I ruin the end for ya?) Roberta, I do get some of my basic knowledge from the show. Roberta in fact, during the interview noted that she learned how to read while watching Jeopardy hosted by Art Fleming in the 60s when she was 5/6 years old. Her mother would have her read the clues aloud as they popped up on the screen so she would have to learn to read - and fast!

Our contestants were Dan (the champ), Roberta (um, our soon-to-be new champ) and Quinn (some guy).
Last night's Jeopardy round included a category The Grateful Dead and Double Jeopardy included the category the Deadful Great. Oh you!
Also in Double - Bill Murray Quotes. Movies included: Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters (no - it was not "There's always room for Jello"), Stripes and Garfield. I was hoping a Lost in Translation quote would appear. Perhaps it is too alternative for our dear Jeopardy writers? Hmm.
I'll let you in on a little secret. As Alex reads out the categories prior to the round starting sometimes I will just scream out (it's not a very loud scream) something related to the category that could possibly be an answer. So, the contestants had just wrapped up one or two Double jeopardy categories and a contestant says, I'll take Fashion Designers for $200 Alex and I scream out - Donna Karan!
And what do you know, the clue was "This Designer started her DKNY line in 1989"
So, that was fun.

Also fun - Dan is from Canada. Final Jeopardy - Canadian Postal Abbreviations. Wow. What luck. Too bad Roberta was on the ball - she knows her Canadian Postal Abbreviations, too.

On another note, after a nice home cooked dinner by yours truly (peanut soba noodles with chicken) we sat down and flipped on Mr. and Mrs. Smith. In this flick, my favorite game show host, and yours, makes an appearance. The point is to show how smart Mrs. Smith is. Wow is she smart. She is walking through a room to get to another room to perform her duties (she is an assasin) and on the television, Alex (with a mustache)is on the Jeopardy set. She answers the question as she mazes through the first room. Who is Martha Stewart? is the line.
Love those Jeopardy movie appearances!

By the way, a testatrix is a woman who has made a legally valid will before death. I wonder if Mrs. Smith knows this.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Six Degrees of KJ

Sometimes a night is filled with a Jeopardy or two and sometimes, it's not. Sometimes there is a celebrity sighting and sometimes (most of the time) there is not.
Then there are the nights when a special treat is in store for you. Sometimes you know about it days in advance and sometimes you don't.

The special treat last night was an invitation to join a trivia team and the trivia contest itself. I don't care that the team is usually comprised of 4 men and I would be the first woman to participate. I don't care that the team takes part in a trivia night held at a watering hole I have never been to before (when isn't it fun to visit new places?).
I don't even care that the bar played a Broadway showtune during one of the breaks. What I care most about is that I got to meet someone who knows (and lunches with) Ken Jennings! Truth is, Greg (seen below) spent time with Ken only 48 hours prior to the photo. Wow. Words. . .cannot. . . express. . .

Unfortunately, the fun ends there. Not that I didn't have a delightful time. (see note about Broadway showtune above). We messed up. Maybe "mussed up" is a better way to put it. Or perhaps, stunk is the way to go. Ok - it was one big clusterfuck. (actually it wasn't that bad - but I appreciate the word - more than I appreciate ursprache so it fit).

It is not that we didn't collectively know the answers to a majority of the questions. It's that we weren't hot. We weren't on and we (we, in this last case being 3 out of the 4) talked our 4th out of about 5 correct answers. Bad form. No high fives. Just some sulking and some notions that first instincts are the only ones to support with this particular mix of 4 people. Sometimes more than half of the battle with testing trivial knowledge is just that - going with your first instinct. Knowing when to do that and when not to do that - when to think about it some more, when to talk it out. Well, our talking it out didn't work that night. Now enough negativity. . . we did know that MTV showed it first video in 1981, we did know that Rafael Nadel won last year's French Open and we knew that Group E is the one to which the American soccer/football team belongs. Go USA!

And that is all about last night's Jeopardy (incident).

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Just Jolly about Jeopardy

Earlier this weekend, at the Shanoffs to meet Gabe Shanoff for the first time, the talk turned to Jeopardy. It was then that I learned of the couple's daily ritual of - - watching Jeopardy! Of course, I told them about the blog. It was 7:20 pm so we switched on the TV to Jeopardy, caught Final and told tales about everybody's favorite show. We watched a classic Ken Jennings moment on You Tube and had a good laugh.

There really is nothing like a newborn and Jeopardy. It really goes with everything!

Later that next day (& night). . . we watched old Tivo'd episodes of Jeopardy, a Jeopardy marathon, if you will and when I say old I mean from a few days before as I learned that our Tivo is only set to keep 5 episodes at a time (the horror) so there would be no Tournament of Champions for me (or for our loyal readers either, I am sad to say). Luckily, we were able to catch some of last week's good action and some of the categories that are the ones that keep you watchin'.
Eric, Steve and Nathan were the players. Eric was the champ and Steve was in the middle. Nathan told us during the chit-chat time that he had recently taken up figure skating, an interesting fact, in that the man is at least 45 years old (as of the show's taping date). Steve's fun fact was that he lost 50 pounds on a diet he created himself. The just don't eat so much diet. Steve, when's the book coming out?
And then there was Eric, who's interview consisted of him telling us how he once overheard Alex being interviewed. Interviews about interviews are always just so . . . Jeopardy!
And on to the game. Categories included Embrace the "orb" and answers included the likes of "What is absorb?" and "What is Roy Orbison?"
I also learned just all you could about Sea Otters.
Their skin is made of Pelt, they normally dine on Sea Urchins and one of the layers of fat on their bodies is called Blubber. I hope anyone reading this can now answer most questions they might ever face in life about sea otters.

Cartoon Mice was another fun one. Answers were (and I bet you could name 'em all)
Mickey Mouse (this was a cringe worthy moment - when Alex mimicked Mickey's voice and then in his own voice said Why did I just do that? And to that I retorted to the TV - Yeah, Alex! Why?!)
Mighty Mouse, Speedy Gonazalex (cousin Slowpoke Rodriquez), Tom & Jerry, and Fivel from An American Tale.

In memorable Movie Roles the $200 clue was 1967: Benjamin Braddock. Who is Dustin Hoffman? That movie has been everywhere lately for me (The Graduate) as on the plane ride from London back to NYC earlier in the week, Rumor Has It was playing on the British Airways flight. I will just leave it at this - though I had a great time visiting the mother country - I want my money back from that flight due to that film!! Shirley McClaine - how could you!?! (and you, too -- dad from Six Feet Under! ANNHELICAAA!)

Nathan was a great player and he won the game. Alex' last lines were -
What a game, What a finish! And this is how I know I watched too much Jeopardy last night (and during the day) I uttered those same words 15 seconds before he did.