Tag Archives: “Jeopardy

The U.S. is now a “problematic” place to be a journalist, says world safety organization, and it’s getting worse and worse. Trevor Noah makes laugh, on the Democratic Town Halls. And the “Jeopardy” legend of James Holzhauer grows ever bigger

At 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, while most of us were either sleeping, getting ready for work, or getting off a graveyard shift somewhere (dudes working the 7-11 at that hour, I feel you), the President of the United States was wide awake and Tweeting.

I try really, really hard to ignore the ravings of this madman, because he’s just so awful, so psychologically damaged, but he’s so dangerous to the world.

So sometimes, I can’t ignore it, despite my best instincts. Sometimes, he says something so awful that if offends me as a human, and also as a journalist, which I still consider myself, even though I’m not a full-time journalist anymore.

This is what the President of the United States wrote on Twitter:

I wonder if the New York Times will apologize to me a second time, as they did after the 2016 Election. But this one will have to be a far bigger & better apology. On this one they will have to get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness-they are truly the Enemy of the People!

Yes, the President of our free democratic nation is saying the largest, most reputable and most legendary newspaper in America should get down on their knees and apologize to him, and that they, the New York Times, are the Enemy of the People.

The Enemy of the People.

A newspaper full of journalists, exposing wrongdoing all over the world, reporting on war and famine, afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted, is the enemy of the people.

Disgusting and outrageous doesn’t begin to express how I feel. He’s said this before, I know, and it’s disgusted me then, too. We are barely a year past the massacre at the Capital-Gazette newspaper in Maryland (the names of the deceased are in the above photo), and it has never been more dangerous to be a reporter in the U.S.

Trump’s Tweet came just a few days after this story caught my attention, that the international group Reporters Without Borders has dropped the U.S. to No. 48 out of 180 on its World Press Freedom Index, downgrading America to “problematic” for reporters in its rankings.

“Never before have US journalists been subjected to so many death threats or turned so often to private security firms for protection,” the report stated.

Ten journalists have been physically attacked this year, and 46 since 2017. In January, one reporter was punched in the face and her phone stolen, while interviewing voters in California.”

As you know, I take this shit VERY seriously. People in my beloved profession having to live in fear, and being treated like this, is unconscionable. And our fearless leader stoking the embers of this fire makes me want to vomit.

“The phrase “enemy of the people” is not just false, it’s dangerous. It has an ugly history of being wielded by dictators and tyrants who sought to control public information,” New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger said in response to Trump’s attacks on the paper in February.

He’s a dictator and a tyrant, and it’s enough.

Be safe out there, reporters, and keep doing the people’s work. You are far from the enemy.

**Next up today, I don’t watch Trevor Noah and “The Daily Show” as much as I should, and I say that because every time I take the time to watch one of his clips on Twitter, I laugh pretty hard.

Here’s Noah from Tuesday talking about the five CNN Town Halls Monday with Democratic Presidential candidates (I didn’t watch them all, but quickly, I still love Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren is brilliant and amazing, and I’m just not quite buying the hype over Mayor Pete yet, I think he may prove to be a flash in the pan).

Anyway, Noah is fabulous here, especially with the “white guy advantage” stuff at the end.

**Finally tonight, not sure if any of you are as big “Jeopardy” fans as we are in our house, but have you seen the last few weeks of utter and complete domination by James Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler? Dude hasn’t just been winning, he’s been obliterating the competition, making cartoonishly large bets on Daily Doubles, and just garnering obscene amounts of money.

He’s been breaking the one-day money record like it’s nothing, and Tuesday night he continued his tremendous winning streak, getting his 14th straight win, winning $118,816 total and now up to a grand total of $1,061, 554.

The guy is a machine, and we absolutely need to get him in the Tournament of Champions against weird-dude Austin and Ken Jennings immediately.

I am in awe of this dude. And he doesn’t seem like a jerk, either!

 

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Censorship of books again, really? “To Kill A Mockingbird” in the crosshairs. “Jeopardy” star Austin Rogers does a turn on Fallon, and it’s great. And the Jets get screwed by the refs, but probably would’ve lost to Pats anyway

Every few years or so, it seems we have to go through this. And every few years, I feel like it’s so important.

Thousands of fantastic works of literature are found objectionable by school-board bureaucrats in small (or large) towns across the country, and students in these districts are denied the opportunity to be challenged, to learn, to question, and most of all, to expand their minds.

This weekend I heard about censorship happening to maybe my favorite novel of all time, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Yes, boys and girls, the people of Biloxi, Miss. decided to remove this amazing novel by Harper Lee from the 8th grade reading list at the local middle school.

Why, you might ask, is “TKAM” no longer suitable? According to the vice president of the Biloxi School Board, Kenny Holloway, “There were complaints about it. There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books.”

Language that makes people uncomfortable. Of course we all know what he’s talking about; racially charged words and deeds in the book have been discussed for years.

But removing books because of “language that makes people uncomfortable?” That’s the whole point of reading, especially when you’re young! I read all kinds of books that made me uncomfortable. Ellie Wiesel’s “Night” made me uncomfortable. Parts of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” made me uncomfortable. So, so many other fantastic works I’ve been exposed to have made me unsettled, or angry, or questioning.

That’s the whole point of books! Ugh. Biloxi, Miss. won’t be the last school district to make this kind of idiotic decision.

**Next, I don’t know about you, but in my house we’ve been kinda obsessed for the past few weeks over “Jeopardy!” champion and ultimate strange dude Austin Rogers. A bartender from New York City (OK so that was the first reason I liked him), Austin won more than $400,000 in 12 games and was unlike any other contestant I’d ever seen. He dressed loudly, made strange pantomine gestures every time he was introduced, and generally acted like the crazy uncle you see at Thanksgiving every year who knows everything.

Anyway, I loved this dude. I’m sure in real life he’d drive you nuts, but for a few minutes on “Jeopardy!” each night, he was fabulous. Anyway, Austin’s run ended last week and he went on Jimmy Fallon to talk about it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

**And finally today, I’d love to tell you that I didn’t get my hopes up for a Jets win over the Patriots Sunday, but after the boys in green and white took a shocking 14-0 lead in the first half, I kinda did.

And what was surprising was not that the Jets lost, because that’s what I usually expect when they play the Patriots. But the way they lost, and the absolutely egregious, horrendous, pathetic replay overrule that cost them a touchdown, well, that was new.

Go ahead and watch this clip of Austin Sefarian-Jenkins scoring a touchdown, have it be called a touchdown, then overruled inexplicably, and tell me this is the correct call. Absolutely ridiculous. Somehow, this was ruled as a fumble out of the end zone.

— So I guess Adrian Peterson has something left in the tank still, huh? Wow. What a game in his first one as an Arizona Cardinal.

— The Giants finally won, the Chiefs finally lost, and there are no really great teams in the NFL this year. So much mediocrity, that I think 10-12 teams could legitimately win the Super Bowl.

— On “Sunday Night Football” Al Michaels said the Giants “are coming off a worse week than Harvey Weinstein.” Oh, Al. What a horrible, stupid and cruel joke.

— Aaron Rodgers is probably out for the season with a broken collarbone, destroying Packers hopes (and the hopes of my fantasy team, for which he starred). If only there was a QB out there they could call, a free agent who had a terrific season last year but is being blackballed by the NFL for daring to speak out. Name is Colin, something or other.

Patti Smith does an incredible Dylan cover at the Nobel Prize ceremony. A woman dying of cancer kicks ass on “Jeopardy.” And a community that has embraced Muslims, not targeted them

As a rule, I’m generally against covers of classic songs. But there are glorious, wonderful, transcendent exceptions to every rule.

Bob Dylan was officially awarded the Nobel Prize for literature last weekend in Stockholm, Sweden. He did not attend, because he’s Bob Dylan and he doesn’t do normal things.
He asked the legendary Patti Smith to go in his place, and sing his beautiful “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall.”

She did. She messed up a lyric at first, admitted she was nervous, then performed one of the most fantastic, moving covers I’ve ever heard.

The lyrics to this are prescient, of course, but her voice, the message, the stillness of the crowd… just so beautiful. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

**Next up, this beautiful and tragic story that unfolded on “Jeopardy” Tuesday night snuck up on me. Months ago, a woman named Cindy Stowell was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and was given just six months to live. She desperately wanted to compete on “Jeopardy, though, and once she qualified, producers of the show moved up the normal taping schedule to make sure she got to realize her dream.

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Her episode was taped in August, and she won $22,801, which she promised to donate to cancer research. Her boyfriend Tweeted before the show aired that Cindy “was fighting a high-grade fever (which turned out to be a blood infection) and was on painkillers while taping.”

Eight days ago, Cindy passed away. Her first episode aired Tuesday night. Her fellow contestants did not know she was sick.

It’s a tragedy, of course, but I’m glad she at least got to live out one final dream.

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**And finally today, I don’t hype my freelance stuff on here that much, because, well, I don’t know why. But this story I wrote for FlaglerLive.com was a story I was proud of, because it showed that there’s still plenty of places in America, despite Donald Trump’s best efforts, where Muslims can be treated fairly and well.

In Flagler County, Fla., very near where I used to live, between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, there have been dozens of Muslim families moving into the community over the past 25 years. And despite tales of Muslims being absolutely terrified or feeling ostracized, Flagler County has completely welcomed and embraced them.

I interviewed some of the Muslim families who live there, and they were uniformly unable to come up with any negative feelings or actions they’ve felt. They are normal, productive members of the community, blending in with everyone else. Even after 9/11, even after the last two years of Muslim-bashing by Trump and so many others, Flagler County residents have treated these families like their own.

Just a reminder that there are plenty of tolerant, welcoming communities still out there, who don’t believe that hate trumps all.

 

Another insane weekend of NCAA Tournament hoops. Why kids need pets, in adorable photos. And “Jeopardy” turns 50

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Man, what an incredible weekend in the NCAA Tournament.
I love the Tournament every year, of course; it’s like sex and pizza: even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.
But sakes alive (nobody says that anymore, do they?), the last few days have been sensational, even for the Tournament.
The titanic Virginia-Michigan State battle on Friday night (going on simultaneously as the Kentucky-Louisville thriller, and man did America’s remote controls get a workout there). Wisconsin and Arizona going to the wire on Saturday. Kentucky and Michigan trading buckets and playing a wildly entertaining game on Sunday.

A wonderful weekend of hoops, which leaves us with a Final Four of Florida, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Kentucky.

Some scattered thoughts from my hoops-overloaded brain:

— I hate John Calipari. Loathe the man, everything he stands for, and just about everything he’s done in his long, sleazy career. I root against him at all times, even rooting for the hated Tar Heels a couple years ago when they played Kentucky.
But even though I think he’s scum, I have to give it up to him: He’s an outstanding, outstanding basketball coach. This Kentucky team lost 10 games this year, some to really bad teams (South Carolina?), but has played sensational ball the last two weeks. The Harrison twins, Julius Randle, Alex Poythress, all have gotten so much better. I hate to say it, but I think they might win the national title. Here’s the great Pat Forde of Yahoo! on Cal.

— Real happy for Wisconsin and their highly underrated coach, Bo Ryan (above). But man did those last five seconds of the Badgers’ win over Arizona take forever. I like instant replay, but to take 10 minutes on an out-of-bounds call is ridiculous. The refs screwed up twice in the final seconds, with a terrible offensive foul call on the Wildcats, then by reversing the out-of-bounds call.

— Sean Miller of Arizona, by the way, is now the “best coach to never reach a Final Four.” He’s tremendous.
— I know a lot of people bash him because he knows nothing about college hoops, but Charles Barkley cracks me up. Here’s him talking about Shaq:

— Michigan State. What a miserable performance offensively on Sunday. I can’t believe that Keith Appling and Branden Dawson played so poorly in such a big game, and even Adreian Payne didn’t play well down the stretch. Really have to give credit to UConn, tremendous defense they played Sunday.

— Rough day for the state of Michigan. Both big-time schools lost nail-biters. But Nik Stauskas can play for me anytime; what a scorer.

–Finally, not sure who’s going to win on Saturday. My first instinct is that Florida beats UConn, and Kentucky ekes past Wisconsin, giving us an all-SEC championship game in a year that that league was as bad as its ever been.

Whatever happens, it’s sure been a hell of a tournament.

**Sunday was a historic day in game-show history milestones: “Jeopardy,” maybe the best game-show ever invented, turned 50. (My personal favorite game shows?: Gotta go with tree from my childhood: “Sale of the Century,” (loved me some Summer Bartholomew) “Card Sharks,” and of course, “25,000 Pyramid.” Loved me some Nipsey Russell, too).

“Jeopardy”‘s brilliance? Watching it makes you smarter. I have no doubt that much of the useless knowledge I have in my head came from Alex Trebek’s 30 minutes of brain stimulation.

One story and one video to share to commemorate. First, the great Chris Jones of Esquire wrote a little piece about why “Jeopardy” is so great, and then “Saturday Night Live” did a funny parody called “Black Jeopardy” last weekend.

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**And finally, because it’s Monday and nobody wants to be at work but so many of us have to be, here’s a little mood-brightener. Unless you hate babies, or pets, or babies playing with pets. And if you hate all of those things, well, get off my blog.

A site called hoperaised.com has put together 22 adorable pictures of kids playing with their furry friends. The photo above is my favorite, but really, they’re all pretty awesome. I love the one below, too.

Go ahead and click, I guarantee you’ll smile.

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Mrs. Carol Brady is here to help your mom use the Internet, and Kareem messes up on “Jeopardy”

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Just when you thought Florence Henderson had done it all, she’s here to surprise you again.

She was already Carol Brady, who, with apologies to Elise Keaton, June Cleaver, and Clair Huxtable, was the coolest television mom of all time.

She had an affair with Barry Williams (Greg Brady), which gave us years of creepy, troubling thoughts to think about.

She made America care about Wesson, using her patented “Wesson-ality” to make Americans really, really want to use cooking oil.

You’d think that would be enough for a career. Hell, it’s enough for 10 people’s careers. But no. My friends, Florence Henderson is back! With what I think is a pretty good idea.

I got an email from a woman who somehow found my blog, and friends, it is golden. It seems Mrs. Henderson has decided to launch “The FloH Club,” a telephone-based technical support service aimed to empower older adults who are scared of technology. (By the way, how fabulous is that name!)

Man, this would be PERFECT for my mother.  The press release goes on to say that “for young people, computers are fun and entertaining, a central and important part of their everyday lives. But for older adults who didn’t grow up with computers, they can be intimidating and frustrating.”

Seriously, this is fantastic. Now, when your Grandpa can’t figure out Skype, or your Aunt Betty is totally perplexed by uploading and viewing photos, she can call Flo! An annual subscription, which includes telephone operators guiding you through computer software issues,  costs $250. But a monthly subscription is just $25, or the amount Greg Brady spent when he took that girl to the drive-in on one episode of “The Brady Bunch.”

IF you want more info about this (and I’m legitimately considering buying this for two people I know), go to www.flohclub.com.

And here’s Florence talking about her idea: http://www.hulu.com/watch/101840/nbc-today-show-henderson-helps-seniors-stay-connected

**Continuing on our basketball theme from yesterday, here are two fun clips: The first is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar incorrectly answering a question wrong about UCLA on “Jeopardy.”

***The second is a very cool dunk from Lee University’s Larrques Cunningham, as part of some Midnight Madness festivity: