My Favorite Years QUESTION

Note that we DIDN’T pick 2004, the year Lydia was born.

Possibly around the time I was writing about nostalgia, the Wife and I were talking about the favorite years in our lives.

I picked 1969, the year I turned 16, and my parents let me have a huge party. I had a girlfriend, I got elected president of the student government, which made me an irritant to the new principal, and I was figuring out who I was politically, especially compared to the transitional 1968. Music was great that year, too.

Then there was 1978, the year I worked at the Schenectady Arts Council, got a girlfriend, and finally stopped my nomadic existence.

1984 was the year after Mitch Cohn was fired from FantaCo and Raoul Vezina died. This made Tom Skulan more dependent on me to deal with the day-to-day stuff, while he worked on publications and the “big picture” stuff. Yes, affairs of the heart played here too.

Carol and I both picked 1998, the year before we got married, for different reasons. Her reasons are her own (she can start her own blog – unlikely). For me, it was going to Detroit (visit friend, Motown museum, Ford museums, Tigers game), Cleveland (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), Washington, DC (visit friend, take JEOPARDY! test), and Boston (appear on JEOPARDY!) Interesting that neither of us picked 1999, the year we actually GOT married because that first year in that half a house she owned was tricky; buying OUR house in 2000 was definitely a vast improvement.

And we both picked 2003, which was the year Lydia was finally conceived. Carol and I went to Poland Spring, Maine after that. Note that we DIDN’T pick 2004, the year Lydia was born; that took some getting used to.

So what are some of your favorite years, and why?
My Favorite Year with Peter O’Toole – Final scenes

30 Day Challenge: Day 26-A Picture From One Of The Greatest Days Of Your Life

I wrote about my JEOPARDY! experience extensively, starting my first month of blogging; in fact, writing about the daughter and writing about JEOPARDY! were the only purported reasons I even started the blog.

Hey, nothing in the instructions said it had to be a picture of me!

Above is a picture of Alex Trebek, host of a game show called High Rollers, which I would occasionally watch 30+ years ago. But more to the point, he has been the host of the game show JEOPARDY! since 1984.

To be honest, I’m not sure if that picture of him is from the day I was on JEOPARDY! But it WAS from one of the programs that was filmed in Boston, and the two weeks of programming in Boston was filmed over a two-day period, five shows per day, so I have a 50% chance of it being from the day I was taping, though not necessarily the episodes.

It’s not the suit he wore on the first episode I was on – I don’t remember what he wore the second show – and it’s not what he wore on this 1998 Teen Tournament reunion episode, either.

As I have noted, there was a big story in the local (Boston) paper the day after I taped my episodes, seven weeks before they aired.

Chance at fame for $100, Alex
Boston Globe – Boston, Mass.
Author: M. R. Montgomery, Globe Staff
Date: Sep 19, 1998
Start Page: C.1
Section: LIVING
Text Word Count: 827

Abstract (Document Summary)
“It’s the show, not the host,” he demurred. And it may not be false modesty: The 3,200 citizens roared for the new “Jeopardy!” set, for the assistant producer who warmed up the crowd with some practice contests, for the show announcer, and even for a camera shot of themselves. Alex Trebek got the same wild applause as “Boston, a great city,” and “Meet our contestants.”

Yesterday’s first taped show will air Nov. 9, and 15 million Americans will get to see Amy Roeder of Merrimack, N.H., match wits and unadulterated trivia with defending champion Tom Schellhammer of New York City, and Roger Green of Albany. The results are technically a secret (does anyone bet on “Jeopardy!” broadcasts?). With the whole 1950s game show scandal business hanging over their heads, the “Jeopardy!” staff takes serious measures. Contestants for a taping are selected at random from the pool of entrants just before each game. The winner, who will return, is, as they said, “sequestered.” Asked why, a representative of the show said they don’t want to let anyone aid, abet, help, or otherwise enhance the winner’s chances for the next game.

I’d LOVE to get copies of those two pages from the Boston Globe, each with a picture of Amy and me; the third person in the first shot is Tom, and in the second, a JEOPARDY! producer. Anyone in Boston with access to the Globe microfilm? Short of that, I could just buy a couple of pages – they run from $74.95 (unframed 11×17) to $169.95 (framed 18×24) each.

I wrote about my JEOPARDY! experience extensively, starting my first month of blogging; in fact, writing about the daughter and writing about JEOPARDY! were the only purported reasons I even started the blog.
Part 1
Part 2

Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Epilogue, when I write about discovering myself on J-ARCHIVE – hey, there’s a picture of me! -and realized I had misremembered certain events from less than seven years earlier.

Brian Wilson Raps!

Brian Wilson’s 68th birthday is today.

Back on the January 28, 2010 episode of JEOPARDY!, there was a whole category devoted to THE SONGS OF BRIAN WILSON:
$200: One of Wilson’s Beach Boys classics asks this girl to “help, help me” to get another girl “out of my heart”
$400: “I’m picking up” these, “she’s giving me excitations”
$600: Title that precedes “If we were older, then we wouldn’t have to wait so long”
$800: Wilson wrote, “I have watched you on the shore, standing by the ocean’s roar, do you love me, do you” this lass
$1000: “There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to”, it’s here

Answers below.

I’ve been playing my Beach Boys and Brian Wilson albums for the past couple of weeks in anticipation of Brian’s 68th birthday, which was this past Sunday. I get to Sweet Insanity, a 1991 album that Brian’s record label, Sire, rejected as uncommercial. A friend of mine provided me with an “unauthorized copy.” I dunno; I like quite a few of the songs, several of which show up on later albums.

Then there’s Smart Girls, a rap song that features bits from Beach Boys songs. Musically, it’s strange and goofy but not awful – at first; but eventually, the snippets override the beats and it becomes a real mess. The lyrics indicate that he was once a sexist pig seeking out, and singing about none-too-smart females, but now he values intelligence in women; seems overwrought.

Here’s a clip, and if that doesn’t work, try this one.

Interestingly, the 1970 album that came to known as Sunflower, the first Beach Boys album on the Reprise label after the group left Capitol, was also initially rejected by the new company, with some of the purged pieces showing up on later collections, but others never showing up on any compilation.

When Brian was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors a few years back, there was a group named Libera who performed in his honor – here’s the YouTube of Love and Mercy (from Brian’s 1988 solo album).

Answers to the JEOPARDY! queries:

Rhonda; “Good Vibrations”; “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”; “Surfer Girl”; “In My Room” (all answered correctly by the contestants)


I haven’t been watching LOST, but I have it on good authority that the island is really…

As usual, I was watching JEOPARDY! recently, and the show had a whole category devoted to spoilers! In an unJEOPARDYlike fashion, I’ll give you the questions, but NOT the answers, until the end. Planet of the Apes (2001), The Sixth Sense, Chinatown, The Usual Suspects, The Crying Game.

So when is the RIGHT amount of time to give away the “spoiler” ending of a TV show or movie? In early 2005, noted critic Roger Ebert wrote about this regarding Million Dollar Baby when critic Michael Medved and faux critic Rush Limbaugh revealed the crucial plot point because they didn’t LIKE the crucial plot point. (I STILL haven’t seen the movie but learned that plot point at the time. Now I’m feeling the need to rent it.)

With LOST coming to a close, how long can someone recording the program to watch later expect NOT to hear the details? Will it be in the newspaper the next morning? Will it have a spoiler warning, and will that matter? (I haven’t been watching LOST, but I have it on good authority that the island is really little Tommy from St. Elsewhere.)

On a NORMAL show – one that isn’t getting near Super Bowl money for its ads – I think a week is about all one can reasonably expect before its common knowledge. (How long did it take before the greatest ending in history, Newhart, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, become revealed?) Although I recall a critic being taken to task because the viewer was waiting to see the program when it was released on DVD. How does THAT work in the equation?

For movies it’s different. Films have two lives: in the theater, and then on DVD, et al. (There’s a third, on broadcast TV, but that may be years out.) It seems that 13 weeks after the release date of home release might be a standard. Of course, if home release becomes simultaneous with theatrical release, as may be coming to pass, that creates an awfully small window.

But what do YOU think about TV shows and movies? What should be the spoiler expectation, Rosebud?
Those JEOPARDY answers.

Show #5868, aired 2010-03-03 MOVIE SPOILERS $200: There’s a Washington, D.C. memorial to an ape general when Mark Wahlberg returns to Earth in this 2001 film
#5868, aired 2010-03-03 MOVIE SPOILERS $400: Bruce Willis is dead & doesn’t know it in this 1999 thriller
#5868, aired 2010-03-03 MOVIE SPOILERS $600: Faye Dunaway’s daughter is also her sister in this Jack Nicholson classic from 1974
#5868, aired 2010-03-03 MOVIE SPOILERS $800: The disabled Kevin Spacey seems to be the killer Keyser Soze in this 1995 film
#5868, aired 2010-03-03 MOVIE SPOILERS $1000: In this 1992 IRA thriller starring Stephen Rea, the “girl” is really a guy

P is for Periodic Table

sodium (Na) and fluorine (Cl) hook up to make sodium fluoride (NaCl)

Before I get started, a JEOPARDY! Daily Double from 4/14/2010:
ONLY ONE VOWEL $2,000: Though it has only one vowel in its name, this element’s periodic table symbol is 2 vowels.

It’s been a long time since I took high school chemistry. Check out, if you would, this nifty dynamic periodic table. If you put the cursor over a category, it will highlight those elements in that category. If you click on the category, it will give you an encyclopedic interpretation of the group. This is likewise true for the individual elements.

One finds a similar function for the elements only here, with YouTube videos about how the elements are used, when available, and a brief history of the periodic chart, starting with Mendeleev arrangement of the 65 elements that were then known back in 1869. Indeed, most of the periodic tables I found online has some interactivity.

If these were available when I was in high school, maybe I would remember more about chemistry than this: the alkali metals in group 1 liked to hang out with the halogens in group 17, because the former had an extra electron hanging out and the latter was lacking one; thus sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl) hook up to make sodium chloride (NaCl), or salt. Conversely, the noble gases (group 18) didn’t play well with others.

One fun representation of the table is the Wooden Periodic Table Table which ended up winning the 2002 Ig Nobel Prize in Chemistry, with among other features, pictorial representations of some of the greats of science for which some of the latter elements are named, such as Curie, Nobel and Einstein.

But I was confused by the recent news that a new element, element 117, ununseptium (yeah, easy for YOU to say), described in the New York Times this way: “The team produced six atoms of the element by smashing together isotopes of calcium and a radioactive element called berkelium in a particle accelerator.” Wow. I thought the finding of elements would be more – I don’t know – elemental. (Here’s the story in the Christian Science Monitor and the Daily Mail). And only six atoms? There are things I know a lot about; this is NOT one of them.

ABC Wednesday
Oh, The JEOPARDY! question: What is gold? The symbol for it is Au.


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