Tag Archives: Ken Jennings

A smaller Democratic debate entertains but lacks fireworks, and a few words from a Booker supporter as he bows out. An awesome “Family Feud” horrible answer. And Ken Jennings is a “Jeopardy” God

The Democratic presidential debate stages are getting smaller, which makes me happy. But they’re also getting whiter, which does not, and this week brought a second defeat to candidates I support (more on that in a minute).

First some thoughts from a lively, but relatively tame, CNN debate:

— Right from the first question Wolf Blitzer pissed me off. It’s not just him, lots of people ask a variation of it. It was a question directed to Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, asking how can Americans trust your judgement when you made a mistake voting for war back in 2003 with Iraq (Biden) and 2001 with Afghanistan (Sanders).

So basically the premise of the question is that, “Hey, you made a mistake once, so how can we ever trust you again?” I’m sorry but that’s freaking ridiculous. Every single person on Earth has made a bad decision or judgement in their life, so no one is to be trusted again?

“Steve, in 1998 you decided to go to that terrible office party instead of seeing Prince live in concert. How can we ever trust you again?”

Such a stupid premise. People make mistakes! Doesn’t mean they can’t learn from them and grow. I just so, so hate this line of questioning.

— Biden was sharp Tuesday night. He’s been getting better and better. It’s like the first few debates were spring training and now he’s rounding into form.

— I thought Elizabeth Warren, now my top choice (more on that in a minute), had another terrific debate, standing up for women candidates, showing savvy and intelligence on foreign policy, and again showing why she’d be an outstanding President. I don’t want to hear any of my wishy-washy fellow Democrats talk crap about “ooohh, she’s too liberal, she won’t get the moderates, yada yada yada.”

Screw the moderates, she’ll get the liberals and progressives to turn out in Obama-like numbers, and that will be enough to get to 270 electoral votes.

— I also loved it when Warren said she and Amy Klobuchar were the only candidates on the stage who’d never lost an election. Women!

— A few words about Cory Booker, my No. 1 choice for President and a man I truly think would have made an excellent nominee, and Commander-in-Chief. Booker suspended his campaign for the nomination this week, and I am not surprised but crestfallen. He is a strong, smart, incredibly-charismatic man who I believe has a terrific heart, and he failed in this nomination because not enougb people felt that way.

I don’t know, truly, why Booker never caught on. Maybe it’s that we’ve already had an African-American President. Maybe he never found a lane between progressive die-hards like Warren and Bernie, and moderates like Klobuchar and Biden. Maybe he should’ve done big-money fundraisers to keep him in the race, I don’t know.

But he was a longshot from Day 1, and it makes me sad that is candidacy is over. I was more stunned that Kamala Harris failed in this quest than Booker did, but it still makes me sad.

Sigh. Elizabeth Warren, you’re getting all my support now. Go get it done.

**Next up today, game-show screwups always bring the funny. Check out how confident and proud of herself this blonde woman is when she gives what she thinks is the best answer to host Gerry Dee’s question on the Canadian version of “Family Feud.”

What’s really scary? What did those other 46 people out of 100 say?

**And finally tonight, let us all bow down to the greatest mind of our generation, Mr. Ken Jennings.

OK, maybe he’s not the greatest mind. But who knows more than this guy? Tuesday night he finished his downright evisceration of two incredibly smart guys on the “Jeopardy” Greatest of All Time Tournament.

In winning three of the four matches against James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter, Jennings just again showed mastery of all subjects, winning the $1 million cash prize and a super cool trophy. It was incredible how good he was, against two “Jeopardy” masters.

The whole tournament was great, as three dudes who got super-wealthy for knowing stuff had fun in the competition.

Hey kids, it’s cool to be smart. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

A computer kicks Ken Jennings’ butt on “Jeopardy.” And the SI swimsuit issue brings yawns from me


 

 

 

 

 

I am not ashamed to say that I had been looking forward to seeing this week’s “Jeopardy” shows for weeks.
Ever since I heard that an IBM supercomputer named Watson was going to play against nerd-hero Ken Jennings on “Jeopardy,” I was as excited as a 9-year-old in Toys R’ Us.
I love “Jeopardy.” I loved Ken Jennings’ incredible 74-day run on Jeopardy a few years ago, when he just ate up his opponents and spit them out. But how would he and another grand “Jeopardy” champion, Brad Rutter, do against a computer that was the smartest ever produced, one that could understand the language of questions on “Jeopardy,” and knew how to work that damn signaling button?
Answer: The computer kicked the humans’ butts. After two days of the 3-day match, Watson was far, far ahead, with $35,734 in winnings (Watson seemed to love odd Daily Double wagers, which was endearing), to Jennings’ paltry sum of $4,800. Rutter wasn’t doing much better, as he finished with $10,400.

It was stunning to watch two human champions, among the smartest people in the country, sit there frustrated while Watson rang in and rattled off right answer after right answer. Rutter and Jennings looked mortal and old-fashioned, like your VCR looks now compared to the shiny DVD player (Admit it, you feel bad for your VCR. It deserves your sympathy).

This is upsetting, Watson’s dominance. (though I did get a good laugh when he answered “Toronto” to a Final Jeopardy question about U.S. cities). When Garry Kasparov beat that Deep Blue computer in 1996, we humans felt reassured. Then Deep Blue beat Kasparov the next year.
Now Watson is making Ken Jennings look like, well, you or me on “Jeopardy.”
There’s one more night of this event, tonight on “Jeopardy.” I implore you Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, save the human race! Kick that computer’s ass!

Always fun to hate an inanimate object, isn’t it?

**So the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue came out this week. An event as a boy that I used to so look forward to is now just an “eh, no biggie” moment in my life.
I used to worship Elle MacPherson, Kathy Ireland and the vastly-underrated Stacey Williams, and my friend Andrew used to have posters of the covers each year above his bed.

Now,  I barely care. Maybe it’s because I’ve been exposed to so much more since then. Maybe it’s because the Internet, with its incredibly easy access to sites that show, um, so much more of women than the Swimsuit Issue does, has made what SI does so much less titillating.
But either way, the SI Swimsuit Issue seems almost quaint now. I can’t imagine there are 13-year-old boys who are anxiously awaiting its appearance in their mailbox anymore. (I also used to love, a few weeks later, the letters to the editor from readers who were shocked to see this issue, and wanted to immediately cancel their subscriptions! Always got a kick out of that)
I guess SI still puts it out because it’s tradition and all. But really, it seems like a relic from a bygone age to me.