It's a shame Blogger doesn't have an LJ-cut equivalent.
At last journalists from the quizbowl circuit -- Cooch and JQ -- are weighing in on the Ken Jennings phenomenon. It's refreshing to read people who not only understand what NAQT does, but get the damn name right in their stories.
It may come as a surprise, but I didn't see any of Ken's episodes. It's on at an inconvenient time here and I know that if I tape it I won't make the time to watch it regularly. The last time I taped it was a year or so ago, to see a guy I sorta know from movie lists. He briefly held the single-day record, at $50K. Before that, the last ep I taped was to see how the woman who beat me fared.
I don't know Ken Jennings. We've met--else the paragraphs below wouldn't exist -- but I don't remember a thing about him. I don't remember many incidents in matches, and I forget who people are unless I see them regularly at tourneys, and he wasn't a regular fixture. The thing I admire most about him is that he likes Hayao Miyazaki enough to bring a Totoro onto the Jeopardy set.
But like JQ, I did beat him at a trivia competition; the same one in fact: Ann B. Davis
This was the last game in our round-robin bracket, they were 8-0, we were 7-1. A loss probably would have kept us in the playoffs, but without a first-round bye. Things started out bad for us. First question, they score 15 points on "4 Little Girls". I should point out right away that movie tossups -- what I consider my strong suit -- went entirely to Ken. At least I assume they went to Ken, as he's clearly a movie buff. Then we give up Montreal. Then Greta Van Susteren. Fortunately they're struggling with bonus conversion, getting 30 of a possible 90 points. We finally get on the board with question 4, "Bette Davis Eyes." We get 25 pts on the bonus to trail 35-60. One question later (amazon.com) and we're down five, 55-60.
This doesn't last long, as they get the next two (including another movie question, "The Gold Rush") and the full bonuses to go up 145-55. Then four of the next six to go up 280-120 -- including another movie tossup, this on the director Josef Von Sternberg. Our saving grace in this stretch is getting a tossup on Zits, the comic strip, and picking up garbage points on a TU they negged on. The answer? Ironically, it was Rock 'n' Roll Jeopardy.
So we're doubled up on points with eight questions to go. Dwight powers a tossup on Canadian-born country singer Hank Snow, who had died a month earlier. Ken's team negs on a question that I pick up (Coleco -- I owned the ADAM computer that eventually became TRASH's first grand prize). We trail 190-275 with six questions to go. Mark gets "Shaken Martini". Chris gets a question on NHL ref Andy Van Hellemond. Dwight's in with Futurama's Zap Branigan. Suddenly we're back in it, 265-275. Three questions remain.
Question 19 is on the talent-free rapper/Puffy hanger-on Ma$e. It falls silent. It's times like this that gives me the utmost pride in the men and women of the quizbowl community. Except for the jackasses that write questions about Ma$e.
Question 20 is a self-help book question and they neg. I forget the answer they gave (it'd be ironic if it was the Mormon-written 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) but the eventual answer was Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. A full 30 on the bonus and we take our first lead of the game, 305-270. They can still win with a tossup and full bonus conversion.
Question 21 is a sports question. uh-oh. I suck at sports questions. But it's one on an obscure sport. Co-ed teams...played 2x2...no running with the ball...baskets in the middle of the court...I buzz in...
"Korfball?" 10 points, and an exhale. After a bonus, it's our game, 335-270. But as JQ noted, clearly he's had the last laugh.