Sunday stealing: Do you like…?

on the telephone

Doing another Sunday Stealing, Do you like…

1. Do you like your handwriting? No, and if I’m not careful, it is illegible even to me. I think it was in third grade, and for at least one marking period, I received either a D or an F in Handwriting. So this is NOT a recent phenomenon.

2. Do you like roller coasters? I used to. My family would go to Coney Island, or to Eldridge Park in Elmira. I’d sit with my sister Leslie, while my dad would sit with my sister Marcia. Our mom would hold our glasses. But now, it makes me somewhat nauseous.

3. Do you like scary movies? Not really. I’ve not gone to any Nightmare On Elm Street or Friday the 13th films. The first film to freak me out was called Leech Woman.

4. Do you like shopping? I like going into a store, finding the thing I like, then leaving. Did that with a coat my wife bought for me at JC Penney. The first coat I tried on I liked and it fit. “Don’t you want to try on some more?” NO! It took us longer to pay for it than to select it. So I’ve learned to love mail order.

5. Do you like to talk on the phone? Yes, actually. When I was working, I was the one most likely to call a resource on the phone. And, I might add, I was good at it. In 2020, I called dozens of people, rather as an antidote to COVID despair.

Darkness

6. Do you sleep with the lights on or off? Off. My wife’s aversion to the light at night is primarily the reason.

7. Do you use headphones or earphones? If I’m on a public conveyance (bus, train), yes.

8. Do you have tattoos? Do you want any? No, and no.

9. Do you wear glasses? I have since I was nine or eleven.

10. What is your strangest talent? Making a kazoo sound without a kazoo.

11. Have you ever been in the hospital? Yes. When I was 5 (uncontrollable nosebleed), 19 (car accident), a couple of other times to rule out something more serious.

12. What color mostly dominates your wardrobe? Blue.

13. What’s your most expensive piece of clothing? Probably a suit.

14. Have you ever had braces? No.

15. Have you ever been on TV? Yes. I was on the local kiddie show a few times; I wrote about one experience here. I’ve been interviewed on the local news a handful of times. And, oh, yeah, JEOPARDY twice.

Changing up the morning ritual

Quordle

Daily Quordle #51
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I’ve been changing up the morning ritual in the past, lessee, two years. Formerly, I would get up, check the email, and perhaps work on the blog, But at 7 a.m., my wife and I would go downstairs and watch CBS This Morning, now CBS Mornings, to watch “your world in ninety seconds.”

When the headlines were unrelentingly about COVID – the spread of COVID, the death toll of COVID – I sometimes passed on the opportunity to start my day with misery. Presently, I’ve been feeling similarly about Ukraine. I guess I’m more equipped to deal with distress in the evening. Besides, I tend to get enough news from various news outlets during the day.

Instead, I do the daily Wordle. I should note that my wife is MUCH better at this than I am, just as she’s better at Boggle. My daughter is better, too. Wordle has become an odd family bonding experience.

I’ve repeatedly told my wife she’d rule on Wheel of Fortune. We actually have the home game, a consolation prize from when on JEOPARDY! and our comparative scores prove my point. But at least we all still have our Wordle streaks going, unlike some people.

FOUR words

Then I attempt Quordle. The first several times I never got the four words in the nine tries. My mistake was to work it like I played Wordle. I know now to try to expose as many letters by finding three or even four words that hit most of the consonants. I’ve been much more successful.

After wishing my wife goodbye, I go back into the office. The cats want to be fed. I HAD been giving them nourishment at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. But with the stupid time change, if I attend them at 7 and 7, when we “fall back”, they’d be caterwauling to get food at 6 and 6.

This is just one reason that I’m OK with the idea of changing to permanent Daylight Saving Time, even though it’ll be dark on December mornings. I’ve made my feelings about changing the clocks quite clear here. (I’m essentially agreeing with  Marco Rubio; this pains me.)

After finally feeding the felines, I take my blood pressure and my pulse to make sure I’m not dead. THEN I eat. The rest is the usual alternating of email/blogging to music, riding the stationary bike while watching TV (JEOPARDY, 60 Minutes, Finding Your Roots, Trevor Noah, et al), washing the dishes/reading the newspaper to music. This may be altered by a medical appointment, Bible study, grocery shopping, or the eternal “something else,” that unexpected task that sucks up hours in the day.

“I would eventually know everything”

Joni Mitchell and Joe Rogan

World Almanac 2016Once upon a time, as I’m sure I’ve told you, I thought that, if I kept learning, I would eventually know everything I wanted to know. I read the local newspaper and watched the local and national news, first Huntley/Brinkley on NBC, then Cronkite on CBS.

Mostly, I read reference books. A lot. The Encyclopedia Americana, which my parents bought and probably couldn’t afford, I devoured over maybe three years. There was also an annual, updating the information.

Also, from about when I was nine, and for more than a half-century, I would receive the World Almanac for Christmas, and I would read it. Early on, it was cover to cover, but even after I’d largely mastered the tallest mountains, longest rivers, and whatnot, I would read the Year In Review material of the most important stories. It was largely November to October, actually, for its publishing deadline, but it would always capture the Presidential and Congressional elections.

Of course, information exploded. Three TV networks became 373. They keep discovering more moons in the solar system, and more elements for the Periodic Table. Of course, the Internet. The World Almanac used to have a list of Celebrities and I knew who most of them were. If there’s such a list now, I have no idea how they would limit it.

Joe and Joni

All of this to say that, until a couple of months ago, I had no idea who Joe Rogan was. My daughter tells me that she has been listening to lots of podcasts to understand different points of view. This is like when I would read William F. Buckley or watch George Will on TV. So SHE knew who Joe Rogan was and, in fact, says she recommended him to me – this is possible. But she says I said, and this sounds accurate, that I didn’t have time for more podcasts.

NOW I know who he is. Recently, my daughter asked me if I knew who Joni Mitchell is. Oh dear, I have failed this child. I told her that I’d seen her twice in person and bought four of her CDs in 2021. Obviously, she brought her up over Neil Young (who she also doesn’t know) wanting to be removed from Spotify because of the info about vaccines on Rogan’s platform, and Joni following suit.

Amy

One of the interesting things I learned about Amy Schneider, 40-time JEOPARDY champion, is that she has a younger partner, which is how she knows more current popular culture references.

I’m fascinated how she missed her last Final. COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD: The only nation in the world whose name in English ends in an H, it’s also one of the 10 most populous. One of my friends deduced, “I thought about what might precede ‘h’ and could only think of ‘s’. From there, my brain ambled over to Asia and found Bangladesh.”

My process was more mundane. I mentally traveled around the globe for the most populous countries, besides the US (#3). Mexico (#10), Brazil (#6), Nigeria (#7), Indonesia (#4), Japan (actually #11 because of a declining population), China (#1), India (#2). Oh, what’s near India? Pakistan (#5). And Bangladesh (#8). (I forgot Russia, #9.)

I have to conclude that Amy did NOT read the World Almanac every year. But she learned a LOT of other info, mostly of recent vintage, that my brain just doesn’t absorb.

The Amy Schneider JEOPARDY run

The Tournament of Champions will be fascinating

Amy SchneiderI knew it would happen. Before I had a chance to watch the 41st Amy Schneider match, I got an email from The Hollywood Reporter indicating How ‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Amy Schneider Fared in Her 41st Match. This arrived at 7:34 pm EST. The show airs at 7:30 pm on WTEN in the Albany, NY market. And people on the West Coast were even more peeved.

The actual headline, which I didn’t read until after I actually watched the episode, was even more explicit. “Jeopardy! Champ Amy Schneider’s Win Streak Ends. Chicago librarian Rhone Talsma dethroned Schneider after 40 games on Wednesday’s show.”

I note in the article that audiences seem to like these long runs. “Schneider’s winning streak — along with [Matt] Amodio’s [38 wins] earlier in the season — has been a boon for ratings on Jeopardy!” I’ll admit that I have been watching these shows as soon as they record, in the obviously futile attempt to not find out beforehand. It’s funny. I managed to watch all four NFL playoff games and never knew the score before I started viewing, though I did avoid the email and phone.

Looking back at her run, I had forgotten that, in her initial appearance, Amy was in 2nd place going into Final Jeopardy, but she got it correct and Andrew He, in his 6th game, did not.

Same as it ever was

She played a bunch of lock games, i.e., she couldn’t lose after Double Jeopardy, no matter what she did in the Final. Starting in game 12, she began to make large bets in FJ, $25,000 of her $36,800. I wondered if host Ken Jennings hexed the champion by stating that she “never” missed in the Final. She didn’t get the Final in game 16 and some games thereafter.

Frankly, all of those big wins became boring to me. Jennings reiterated some of Amy’s biographical points. The interview segment wasn’t designed to see the same person 20 or 32 or 38 times. And keeping the secret of the streak must have been tough.

But there were some things that I suppose helped me to find her appealing even after such a long run, some external. For game 20, she wore a sweater in honor of her favorite player, Julia Collins, who had won 20 games. I remember some of the right-wing press mocked Amy’s gender identification, writing that “she” broke Collins’ record.

And Amy was robbed at gunpoint over New Year’s weekend in Oakland, CA. She was shaken though otherwise fine, but she had to replace her ID, credit cards, and phone.

I got these right!

Still, the only sport for me watching the games was when Amy would get FJ wrong and I got it right. You can find the answers here.
Game 18: INTERNATIONAL LANDMARKS – In December 2020 an international agreement added nearly 3 feet to this; one surveyor lost half a toe in the effort
#23: MUSIC LEGENDS – Of their July 1957 first meeting at a church fair, one of this pair recalled: “I was a fat schoolboy and… he was drunk”
#29: 19th CENTURY NOTABLES – On his deathbed in France in 1890, he told his brother, “The sadness will last forever”
#33: CEMETERIES AND MEMORIALS – 60,000 are at rest in a National Memorial Cemetery opened in 1949 in the crater of an extinct volcano in this state
#36: FILMS OF THE 2000s – One of the screenwriters of this 2001 film described it as “‘Clueless’ meets ‘The Paper Chase”‘

The last game (so far)

The key to Game 41 was that Rhone Talsma, a LIBRARIAN, thank you, from Chicago, IL had to hit the second Daily Double in the DJ round. He had to bet a lot, and in fact, bet all $7800 and got it right. This was gutsy, especially since he wagered it all in the first round’s DD and lost $1400. This latter wager got his score well above half of Amy’s, where he was at the end of the round. $27,600 for Amy, $17,600 for Rhone, and $3,200 for Janice Hawthorne Timm.

As noted, he had to get FJ correct and Amy had to miss it. COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD: The only nation in the world whose name in English ends in an H, it’s also one of the 10 most populous. I figured it out myself at the last second.

But Amy will be OK. She’ll be in the next Tournament of Champions against Matt Amodio, Jonathan Fisher (11 wins, including dethroning Amodio), Tyler Rhode (5 wins), Andrew He (5 wins, beaten by Amy), Sam Buttrey (the inaugural Professors Tournament winner), and others. And she’s signed with  CAA.

Ellen Green and my JEOPARDY quest

archive.org

Ellen GreenMy sister Leslie is friends with Ellen Green out in SoCal. Best I can tell, she’s no relation to us. But she has been on JEOPARDY. In her appearance on Show #4074 – Thursday, April 25, 2002, she started strong but ended up in third place. But it’s cool to even get to the stage.

This fall, I got to meet Ellen during my weekly Zoom meeting with my sisters. She seems very nice. Subsequently, Leslie sent me a link to Ellen’s appearance, which is housed on archive.org.

In fact, there are several dozen Jeopardy episodes there, some going back to 1984 when Alex Trebek first started hosting the show. They tend to be items likely originally recorded on VHS tape from the local affiliate as opposed to a pristine copy put out by the Jeopardy folks. Some include the ads, which are entertaining on their own. There is even something labeled as Islamic Jeopardy.

Can I find either of my episodes? Well, not so far. I found specific references to my one win, on services such as Yideo.com and Trakt.TV. Oddly, I did find a sparse reference to Roger O. Green on IMDB, which made me laugh.

Looking through YouTube, I had little expectation of finding anything. Their copyright police are quite vigilant. But I did come across the credit roll for 11/10/1998, my second and final appearance.

DIY

So it gets me wondering. Can I upload the episodes to Archive.org? I have a VHS tape of the shows. It also contains some behind-the-curtain footage. Don’t ask how I got it. Now, this tape has been kindly transferred to a DVD. But can that be uploaded? I have no idea since I own no computer that has a drive where the shiny disc used to go. Any insights would be appreciated.

Incidentally, my sister also has ANOTHER friend who was on Jeopardy, Jim,  who was a four-day champion in 1989 and got to the Tournament of Champions. Ellen and Jim recently met, and as Leslie reported, they were “like 2 peas in a pod…could not get a word in edgewise, but it was ok.” Jeopardy folks are like that.

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