I had fully intended to talk about my JEOPARDY! experience from 1998, starting today. Unfortunately, I’ve had limited computer time recently, and moreover, I have little time at home to do the research. (It was only seven years ago; you’d think I’d remember every detail as though it were yesterday. But, NO. Memory cells lie gasping on the side of the road.) SOON.

So, I thought I’d write about…JEOPARDY!
First off, I haven’t watched it since last Tuesday, May 10. So, PLEASE don’t ask me what I’ve thought about the end of the “Ultimate Championship”. In due course, I will watch these shows IN ORDER. I almost always watch the show IN ORDER. If I happen to catch that some person had won the game I’ve not seen, it diminishes the enjoyment somewhat. (I’ve also taped World Series games, and some “March Madness” basketball games”, and as long as I don’t know the outcome, it a great watching experience – better because I can zap through the commercials, and close basketball games tend to have coaches using all of their timeouts, which means a LOT of commercials, near the end.

On the other hand, during the first round of the JEOPARDY! tournament, I watched some games out of order, because it didn’t inform who won a previous match that I didn’t see. Likewise, in some of the other tournaments with 15 players, I’ll watch the first week Monday-Friday shows in any order so long as I avoid the end of Friday’s “who makes it to the next round” segment. The following week, M-W in any order, with the same caveat. The final two days IN ORDER.

The other rule is that you oughtn’t to call me between 7:30 and 8 pm, Eastern time, because I’m not likely to answer. Indeed, there were folks over at my house, and someone wanted to take a picture of Lydia, Carol and me DURING Double JEOPARDY! I was not accommodating. (In other words, I ignored him.) If he’d asked three minutes later, which was during that four minute gap between Double and Final JEOPARDY, I would have posed gladly.

Finally, I never mock players on the set for not knowing an answer. I AM surprised (and REALLY PLEASED) when I get Final when none of the constants do. I WILL, however, mock bad betting. If one’s in first place, one has to bet enough to win if the person in second place bets it all. Conversely, Second only really has to bet enough to be ahead if he/she gets it right and First gets it wrong (assuming that Third is in as distant third. If Third’s close, Second should bet similar to the way First bets in relation to Second. (Wha?)

OK, say, at the end of Double Jeopardy!, the totals are $14,000, $10,000 and $9,000. First should bet twice what Second has (2 X 10,000=20,000) less First’s score (-$14,000) + 1, or $6,001. Second will have to bet $8001 to protect against Third. BUT if Third has only $6000, Second can bet $4001, enough to win if First gets it wrong, quite possibly even if Second gets it wrong as well. Being in First is great because, if you get it right and bet enough, you can’t lose. Being in a close second is great, because you can win if it’s a really tough Final.

On the other hand, if you REALLY hate the topic, bet little and hope for the best.

Slippery affiliation

I was going to request a tape of the season finale of Gilmore Girls on this blog, but I’ve already been helped by a certain blogger.

It has been one of the very few shows that Carol and I watch religiously, ever since we caught it in summer reruns during its first season. It’s a soap opera, and I don’t mean that pejoratively at all. (N.Y.P.D. Blue, ER, Hill Street Blues are all soap operas.)

I had set the VCR to tape at home. But I neglected to tell Carol that she needed to put in a FRESH (just like the WB!) tape and the incumbent tape ran out of space about 20 minutes into the show! (I would have changed it myself except that I was still in Lake Placid.)

And since I was still in Lake Placid Tuesday, I went up to my room after the SBDC awards banquet at about 10 p.m., turned on the TV, flipped through the channels and came across an episode of Gilmore Girls. Initially, I assumed it was a rerun broadcast on ABC Family cable, but it soon became evident that it was THAT NIGHT’S episode, which I watched.

Most of the buzz about this series has about the rapier-quick dialogue between Lorelei and Rory, the relationship of Lorelei (and Rory) with Lorelei’s parents, and the Luke and Lorelei relationship- Will they? Won’t they? They did – now what? (An aside: I’ve long wondered if their names are nods to Luke and Laura from the daytime soap General Hospital.)

But the best thing about this show is about the parallel construction that the show tends to provide. I don’t always pick it up until the show is over. This season ender was about quitting. Will Rory quit Yale? Will her best friend Lane Kim quit her band? Where they each end up, and how they got there, was a real treat.

But why was it on at 10 p.m.? Was there some (amazingly rare) Presidential news conference or some major catastrophe that backed up the programming?


In the Plattsburgh, NY/Burlington, VT television market, there is no WB affiliate, so WFFF in Burlington (actually Colchester), FOX 44, broadcasts the 8-10 pm WB shows from 10 pm-midnight!

Those of you in large markets may not appreciate this fully. When I was a kid, there were 7 stations in New York City, 2 (CBS), 4 (NBC), 7 (ABC), 13 (PBS), and 5, 9, and 11 (all independents). Eventually, 5 became a Fox affiliate, 11 became the WB’s outlet, and 9 went with UPN (and moved to New Jersey).

(Incidentally, this numbering is the reason most fictional TV stations in those days were 3, 6, 8, or 12, the remaining numbers on the VHF dial, or some upper number on the UHF dial, Channels 14-83. Most notable is WJM, Channel 12, Minneapolis, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. And if you don’t know what the heck I mean by VHF and UHF, look here.)

But in a smaller market, such as Binghamton, NY, where I grew up (and at a time when there were only the three “major” networks), there were only two stations, WNBF, Channel 12 (CBS) and WINR, Channel 40 (NBC).

Then one Saturday morning in the fall of 1962, I turned on the TV just before 7 a.m. to Channel 34. Where there had nothing, suddenly we had a third station! It was WBJA, an ABC affiliate. My TV viewing choices had just increased by 50%!

What I didn’t realize until later is that Channel 12 (and perhaps Channel 40) were broadcasting some ABC programming before
Channel 34
came on the scene. I specifically remember Lawrence Welk, an ABC show, showing on Channel 12 Saturday nights at 6 or 6:30 pm. I recall that other ABC shows such as Bachelor Father, The Flintstones, Hawaiian Eye, Leave It to Beaver, Ozzie & Harriet, The Real McCoys, and Top Cat would show up on the schedule, often on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, outside of prime time (which was usually 7:30-11 pm in those days.) I remember these shows quite clearly, and most of them were off the schedule by the fall of 1962. I must have seen them SOMEWHERE. Cable didn’t exist and I didn’t go to New York City that often.

Apparently, shows broadcast by one network appearing on the affiliate of another network was common in most small markets, going back to the days when there was a fourth network, Dumont, in the mid 1940s to the mid-1950s.

You big-market folks just don’t understand the confusion!¦

We forsake you

Pete Townsend turns 60 today.

My father and I used to listen to my early Beatles records together, trying to discern lyrics and meaning. By the time the Who’s Tommy came out, we were no longer doing that. I remember him coming into the living room when the lyrics, “We forsake you, gonna rape you” came on. He said nothing. But his look said, “What IS that kid listening to?”

Gerber, baby

Steve Gerber, the writer of fine comic books such as Man-Thing and Howard the Duck (but don’t blame the movie on him!), wrote in his inaugural blog on April 4, 2005:

“I make my living as a writer. There is only one characteristic that distinguishes writers from non-writers: writers write. (That’s why there’s no such thing as an “aspiring writer.” A writer can aspire to sell or publish, but only non-writers aspire to write.) Anyway, writing for a living requires writing every day. Writing every day requires discipline. Discipline requires enforcement.
“I’ve lost the habit of writing every day. I need discipline. I need enforcement. You’re looking at it.
“I intend to post something on this blog every day. If I fail to do so, that failure will be very public, and I’ll be embarrassed by it. I don’t enjoy being embarrassed. So maybe, just maybe, making this obligation will help transform me into a habitual writer again.”

But I’m not so disciplined.

Besides, Thursdays are LONG day during the church year:
Get up and keep Lydia company (read: distracted) until Carol showers and dresses
Get dressed and go play racquetball
Go to work
Go to Bible study
Go home and take out the garbage

It’s pretty much a 16-hour slog. But when the choir’s off for the summer, I’m eager to get back into it.

Like I’ll do with this blog…tomorrow.

Little sister

Travel day. Trekking from Lake Placid to Albany.

I need to wish my baby sister Marcia a happy birthday. How long do I get to call her my “baby sister”? FOREVER! She could be 90, but she’ll still be my “baby sister”.
I’m the eldest of three children. I have two sisters younger than I. If I had two siblings of different genders, I’d have a “younger brother” and “younger sister”. But with two sisters, describing the middle child, Leslie, is more difficult. “The elder of my two younger sisters” is about as terse as I can get. But “baby sister” is deliciously precise.

Speaking of relations, Marcia, Leslie, and I have NO first cousins. That’s because both of my parents are only children. We’d hold our grandparents responsible except that none of them are still alive.


Which got me thinking, what’s this “removed” thing when it comes to cousins? This chart may help.
I know my sisters’ daughters, and Carol’s brothers’ daughters are my daughter’s first cousins.
But most genealogical types suggest using the grandparent as the marker. So, all of the people who are the grandchildren of my mother and Carol’s parents are Lydia’s first cousins. (The same people, but a different way of looking at this.)

“Removed” means that two people are from different generations. “Once removed” signifies that there is a difference of one generation. So, my mother’s first cousins are my first cousins, once removed. “Twice removed” means that there is a two-generation difference. Thus, my grandmother’s first cousins are first cousins, twice removed.
And my mother’s first cousins’ kids are my second cousins, because we share a common GREAT-grandparent, and are of the SAME generation. Got that? NO? Then go here and then explain it to ME!

This “same generation” concept is particularly tricky in my family’s case. Leslie’s daughter Becky is 26 (and recently married – congrats to you and Rico), Marcia’s daughter Alex is 14, and my daughter Lydia is 1. But Becky, Alex, and Lydia are of the “same generation”.

Yet another curve in having a child at 50.

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