Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Way To Normal


I bought it last night and have listened to it a couple of times already. It's good. You should buy it too...


NFL Rankings - Week 4

  1. (2) New York Giants (3-0)
    Gain the top spot by not losing, by not even playing...

  2. (5)Tennessee Titans (4-0)
    Undefeated, and they haven't beaten chumps

  3. (7)Buffalo Bills (4-0)
    A year ago, would you have believed it?

  4. (1)Dallas Cowboys (3-1)
    The problem? The 'Boys need to throw to TO more than twenty times this week...

  5. (6)Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
    They're on the right track

  6. (4)Denver Broncos (3-1)
    Need to win games when the offense doesn't play well

  7. (8)Carolina Panthers (3-1)
    OK, beating the Falcons doesn't prove anything

  8. (-)Washington Redskins (3-1)
    How could they look so bad in week 1?

  9. (-)Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)
    All this time Griese was the answer? How stupid do Denver, Miami and Chicago feel right now?

  10. (3)Philadelphia Eagles (2-2)
    Good D, good passing game, a healthy Westbrook makes this a dangerous team

Out of Top 10: (9)Green Bay Packers (2-2)

Teams on the Rise: Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2), San Diego Chargers (2-2), Chicago Bears (2-2)

ESPN NFL Power Rankings.
Fox Sports NFL Power Rankings.
CBS Sports NFL Power Rankings.
NFL Standings


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Monday, September 29, 2008


5 Years

Five years ago today, an episode of Jeopardy! aired. It was your run of the mill episode except that I was on it. I've gotten a lot of mileage over the years for having lost on a game show. As I reach the five year anniversary of the event, I suppose it's time to put it to rest.

But before I do that, I thought one more post was in order, just some reflections and thoughts about being on the greatest game show in television history and five years of life as a Jeopardy! loser.

  • It's the only thing I ever wanted to do with my life - Well, not being a loser, but being on the show. It had been a dream for about twenty years. I wanted to be on the show. Honestly, the chance that I might win some money, any money, was secondary. I figured I might win if the categories were to my liking. They weren't.

  • It's a game, it's not necessarily about how smart you are - Chuck and Leslie weren't any smarter than me. I wasn't any smarter than them. I knew some things they didn't, they knew some things that I didn't. All three of us knew most of the correct responses. There was the buzzer. That's the game. Chuck had an advantage in that he had played one more game than Leslie and me. He had used the buzzer before.

    Ken Jennings, the biggest, regular game winner in Jeopardy! history was smart, but in his games he regularly rang in first on well over half of the clues. There were games when he rang in first on 45 of the 60 clues. When everyone knows the correct responses, it comes down to getting the chance to answer. Ken Jennings did in every game, simply amazing.

    So am I complaining? No. The buzzer is the main determining factor in success at the game. It is the game. We all knew it going in. I didn't do well at that aspect of the game, and it cost me the game.

  • Besides the buzzer, the other determining factor in game play are the categories - While Chuck, Leslie and I probably knew most of the material in our game, the categories in a game can have a huge impact. You'll see episodes of Jeopardy! where a cop will be in a game with a category on law enforcement,but that's just blind luck. The categories are chosen for a game, but the contestant coordinators have no idea who will be playing in any game.

    For the record, I didn't really like the categories in my game. Nothing I had chosen to study came up, none of the subjects that I typically do well in were in my game. There weren't any sports categories ( a few sports questions, though) and though I do pretty well in geography, I've never had a particular affinity for Russian geography.

    So here are the 13 categories that came up on the show and how I did in each of them:

    Nursery Rhymes
    - $800 (2 correct)
    Hickory, Dickory or Doc - $600 (2 correct)
    The Mouse - $200 (1 correct)
    Wren - $800 (1 correct)
    Up The - $400 (1 correct)
    Clocked - $1600 (2 correct)

    Russian Geography
    - $0 (0 correct)
    History on Film - $800 (1 correct)
    Let's Go Lobstering - $0 (o correct)
    That Year's Headline - -$800 (1 correct, 1 incorrect)
    Williams- $1200 (1 correct)
    Foreign Languages - $3200 (2 correct, including daily double)

    - $4801 (1 correct)

  • I'm amazed at the money you can win by doing stuff on TV - If you answer 15 questions correctly on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, you'll win $1,000,000. You have to get 15 out of 15, but you can change one question if you don't like it, you can get help 3 different times, if you don't like a question you don't have to answer it, the first five questions are absolute gimmes and you're not playing against anyone else.

    On my Jeopardy! game I got 14 out of 15 right before the final. I missed on my final response, but I wouldn't have answered that one if I didn't have to. On Millionaire that would translate to $500,000.

    I won $2,000 on Jeopardy! Millionaire, what a joke...

    Don't get me started on Deal or No Deal. It's a game I'm just no cut out for. The first time the banker offered me over $10,000, the game would be over for me, I'd take it!

  • I can't recreate the outfit I wore on Jeopardy! - Of the many things you have to start thinking about when you're going on a game show, way down the list is "What am I going to wear?" There were some guidelines from the contestant coordinators. I didn't really have anything that fit those guidelines.

    I figured a solid colored jacket would look nice. I didn't have one, but I found a blue one at Goodwill for $10. The problem was that I didn't have anything to go with that jacket.

    My sister had given me a Wal-Mart gift card for something or other and I bought a sort of lavender shirt with that. I borrowed a tie from my roommate. The pants I wore didn't really match, but I was going to be behind a podium anyway.

    I finally threw those pants out a few months ago. A hole had been worn in the left front pocket from a harmonica constantly being there. I still have everything else, the jacket, shirt, belt, socks and underwear (yes, I remember what underwear I was wearing). I don't have the tie because it wasn't mine.

  • "You'll be so nervous you won't remember anything about being on the show" - I never believed that. I had been looking forward to this moment for twenty years, how was I not going to remember every little detail?

    Believe it. I remember everything about being backstage and in the green room, being on the show is a different matter entirely. I just have little moments that come in clearly, the rest is a blur. My recollections from the actual game are as much from watching the show than from anything else.

    On the other hand, I wasn't really nervous. I knew I belonged there, I knew I wouldn't embarrass myself. I was more nervous than I though I'd be, but that just wasn't very much.

  • Everyone was so happy to be on Jeopardy! - I didn't know what to expect with the other contestants. We were competing against each other, you'd expect people to be really competitive, but that wasn't the case. Like me, I think, everyone was just so happy to be achieving something they'd dreamed of. My memories of the green room are good ones, very fun and relaxed. I sure didn't expect that.

  • Jeopardy contestants are the "Cream of the Crop" - That's what the contestant coordinators told us anyway. One coordinator who had worked for another show told the story of how he would wait outside of contestant testing and pick up contestants for his show. Someone not good enough to be on Jeopardy! is good enough to be on any other game show.

    Having been on a game show doesn't disqualify from other shows. I can never be on Jeopardy! again (unless they have some Tournament of Really Attractive Losers) but the contestant coordinators urged us to go out and win money on other shows.

    I had tried out for another game show before Jeopardy!, The Weakest Link. First of all, it was before the show had ever aired in the US. If I'd have known what a piece of crap that show was, I never would have tried out.

    Second, the class of prospective contestant on Jeopardy! was so much higher. The wannabes on The Weakest Link just didn't seem that bright and one asshole was actually pissed off when he didn't pass the written test. Nothing like that happened at the Jeopardy! test, not even close.

    I passed the test and got to play a mock game. We had to vote people off and everyone apologized for their vote. The producers told us not to do that and to be meaner. Great show...

    I talked to a couple of folks at The Weakest Link test who had tried out for a number of game shows. They both had tried out for Jeopardy and said the test was too hard. Right then I knew I'd have to give Jeopardy! a shot.

  • My physical appearance is so much different now than when I was on the show - For about 22 minutes I was on a show and seen by millions of people, most of whom I don't know. The weird thing is that I don't really look like that anymore. A few months before the show, I shaved off my goatee. I had been
    coloring my hair, and the gray in my beard sort of defeated the illusion so I shaved, leaving just a 'soul patch.'

    After the show, I moved back to the RC, had stopped coloring my hair and began to tire of cutting off a mole on my chin a couple of times a week. I grew the goatee back, gray spots and all.

    I have a photo taken with Alex Trebek in my living room. People who don't know me have seen it and had to ask if it was me.

    Unemployment and Multiple Sclerosis caused me to lose quite a bit of weight, further changing my appearance. It's a weight loss plan that I don't recommend, but it works...

  • There actually are Lovely Parting Gifts - Funny, but when I watched game shows as a kid and someone lost, I thought they were given "Lovely Party Gifts." I could never figure out why losing on a game show would cause someone to want to throw a party...

    Anyway, the parting gifts aren't like they used to be. Second and third place on Jeopardy used to get you a prize. You were liable for California State Income Tax (7%) on the cash value of the prize. Now it's cash, which makes it a whole lot easier on the contestant, you're still liable for the taxes, but they take it right out.

    Additionally I got a water bottle (leaks), a tote bag and the afore mentioned photo. The photo came in a really nice frame that has the Jeopardy! logo laser inscribed on it. I don't own many irreplaceable items, but this would be one of them.

  • Though September 29 is the anniversary of this event, in some areas this show aired on September 30 - Why, you ask? ABC's Monday Night Football, which, in the Pacific Time Zone is more like Monday Afternoon Football. If an ABC station ran Jeopardy!, it was typically at or around 6pm which is also the usual start time of MNF.

    The answer? Run Jeopardy! on a Tuesday through Saturday schedule during the football season. When telling people to watch, I had fun advising them to "Check your local listings for time and availability in your area."

    Though my game was delayed by one day for football, I was really hoping that it would be pre-empted entirely by a high speed car chase. Not because I didn't want anybody to see my appearance, but because I really enjoyed high speed car chases.

  • Though 2003 was the year Ken Jennings was on Jeopardy!, I didn't play against him - I was on Jeopardy! the same season as the show's most memorable contestant. Would I have wanted to play against him? Why not? I mean, I got beat by a guy from Rhode Island who nobody will ever remember was even on the show. If I was going to lose anyway, why not lose to Ken Jennings? It would make for a much cooler story...

  • No matter how you slice it, the bottom line is that

    I Lost on Jeopardy!

    Here's a post taken from some things I was writing as the events transpired, not foggy recollections from 5 years down the road.

    And here's a post about the actual episode, every answer and response, who responded and such.


    Friday, September 26, 2008



    Tuesday, September 23, 2008


    NFL Rankings - Week 3

    1. (1) Dallas Cowboys (3-0)
      Impressive in Lambeau

    2. (6)New York Giants (3-0)
      Time to start giving the champs their due

    3. (-)Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)
      Beat the Steelers, could've beat the Cowboys

    4. (8)Denver Broncos (3-0)
      The best team that doesn't play in the NFC East?

    5. (-)Tennessee Titans (3-0)
      As good defensively as anyone, with their QB out, they may be on the right track

    6. (3)Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1)
      A loss to a good team on the road, could happen to anybody

    7. (9)Buffalo Bills (3-0)
      The class of the AFC East

    8. (4)Carolina Panthers (2-1)
      Lost to a desperate team

    9. (7)Green Bay Pacers (2-1)
      Lost to #1 Dallas, this is still a quality football team

    10. (2)New England Patriots (2-1)
      The smoke and mirrors were exposed this week, everyone knows how to beat them now

    Out of Top 10: (5)Indianapolis Colts (1-2), (10)Chicago Bears (1-2)

    Teams on the Rise: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1), Washington Redskins (2-1), Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2), San Diego Chargers (1-2)

    ESPN NFL Power Rankings.
    Fox Sports NFL Power Rankings.
    CBS Sports NFL Power Rankings.
    NFL Standings


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    Friday, September 19, 2008


    Reinhold Messner

    Ben Folds Five

    Reinhold Messner (born September 17, 1944) is a mountaineer and explorer from the province of Bolzano-Bozen in Italy, often cited as the greatest mountain climber of all time. He is renowned for making the first solo ascents of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen and for being the first climber to ascend all fourteen "eight-thousanders" (peaks over 8,000 metres above sea level). That has little to do with the rest of this post.

    Reinhold Messner is also the name a Darren Jesse used on his fake ID in the 1980's. Darren Jesse is the leader of Hotel Lights, a pretty cool band, but Hotel Lights has little to do with this post.

    Darren Jesse was the drummer for Ben Folds Five. That band broke up after their third studio album (fourth if you count "Naked Baby Photos"- a collection of unreleased singles, concert tracks and other oddities) "The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner."

    Last night, the band reunited for the first time in 10 years, playing "The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner" in front of a sold-out house.

    I really liked "Messner" when it came out. It was completely different than the band's other releases (which I absolutely loved) and was generally panned by fans and critics alike. In the future, I plan a post about bands who after having success with a simple first couple of albums, expand musically doing different things which causes fans and critics to lose interest.

    I've listened to "Messner" a number of times since hearing of the band's plans to play it live. I'm listening to it right now, in fact. While I liked it when it came out, I'll admit that I was clouded by the fact that I liked the completely different previous releases better.

    "Ben Folds Five" and "Whatever and Ever, Amen" were really collections of singles. They featured, almost exclusively, just the three member of the band (one track "Emmaline" was left off of the first album because, GASP!, it had an acoustic guitar on it). They were simple albums, fueled by the band's energy and charisma.

    "Messner" was not nearly as radio friendly, not really single-based. It hangs together from beginning to end with recurring themes, sort of like a Pink Floyd album (but I may say that because "Regrets" is playing right now with that kickass "Dark Side of the Moon" outro).

    I'm excited about the prospect of hearing the band play the entire album live (you can see it too, see video for details), more so now that I've given it a couple of listens in the last couple of weeks. I'm excited that it will probably be released as a DVD in the future as well. Unless the performance is a total trainwreck, I'll probably buy it, I may buy it if it is a trainwreck.


    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    From The Onion:

    New Nervous-Energy Drink Recreates Feeling Of Waiting For Girl To Call

    LOS ANGELES—According to makers of the nervous-energy drink Pace!, the new beverage provides consumers with the same anxiety, restlessness, and self-doubt associated with waiting for a phone call from a much-desired female acquaintance. "Pace! gives you that unique, up-all-night feeling of dissecting every little thing she said last time you saw her," company spokesperson Geraldine Ponzari said at a press conference Monday. "With just the right blend of guarana, ginseng, and caffeine, Pace! will have your heart racing and your hands grabbing for your pockets every time you hear something that even remotely sounds like a ringing cell phone." Ponzari announced that Pace! is also developing a manic-energy drink, which will give consumers the feeling of maxing out their credit cards purchasing 400 snow shovels at Home Depot.


    Tuesday, September 16, 2008



    Monday, September 15, 2008


    NFL Rankings - Week 2

    1. (1) Dallas Cowboys (2-0)
      Is their secondary that bad or is Donovan McNabb that good?

    2. (2)New England Patriots (2-0)
      Cassel with a win in his first start since finishing his senior year (in high school) 4-8

    3. (3)Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)
      A tough win under horrible conditions

    4. (4)Carolina Panthers (2-0)
      This good team just gets better with the reinstatement of Steve Smith

    5. (5)Indianapolis Colts (1-1)
      Nice come back against a pretty good defensive team

    6. (6)New York Giants (2-0)
      Another win against a less than stellar opponent

    7. (7)Green Bay Packers (2-0)
      They let Detroit come back on them?

    8. (-)Denver Broncos (2-0)
      Should have lost, but didn't give the Chargers a chance to win it in overtime

    9. (-)Buffalo Bills (2-0)
      They run, throw deep and play pretty good defense, a fun team to watch

    10. (8)Chicago (1-1)
      A loss to #4 didn't do enough to drop this team out of the top 10

    Out of Top 10: (9)San Diego Chargers (0-2), (10)New Orleans Saints (1-1)

    ESPN NFL Power Rankings.
    Fox Sports NFL Power Rankings.
    CBS Sports NFL Power Rankings.
    NFL Standings


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    There’s a famous saying someone famous said
    As General Motors goes so go we all
    Johnny Cougar’s singing it’s their country now
    He’ll be singing for Toyota by the fall

    Randy Newman
    "A Piece of the Pie"
    Harps and Angels


    Sunday, September 14, 2008



    The media came up with some cutesy name for last night's Ohio St. at USC game. I don't even remember what it was anymore. The game was supposed to be some sort of "Game of the Century" thing, but predictably, it was a stinker.

    Hype doesn't care about results. Hype simply is. That's the point.

    So I've decided that every Broncos game needs it's own hype; a catchy name, a flashy logo. It won't matter if the game stinks or not. If hype has taught me anything it's that no game can stand on it's own merits. Apparently, no one will watch a game if it's not hyped mercilessly for a week.

    So I'm doing my part. Hype the game. I know it's sort of a late start this week, and I'll try to do better in coming weeks. Frankly, my cutesy name isn't all that cute, but I only thought of it a few minutes ago. I'm under the gun here...

    Let the hype begin for this weeks Game!


    Saturday, September 13, 2008

    From the Associated Press via The Rapid City Journal:

    Tina Fey 'likely' to play Sarah Palin on 'SNL'

    By JAKE COYLE Saturday, September 13, 2008

    NEW YORK - Tina Fey was "likely" to play Gov. Sarah Palin on "Saturday Night Live," said a person close to NBC's sketch comedy show.

    Fey is "likely" to return to her former show Saturday to play the Alaskan governor and Sen. John McCain's running mate, a person close to the show told The Associated Press on Friday night. The person requested anonymity because the decision has not been announced officially. No further details were available.

    Since Palin's entry onto the national political stage, speculation had been rampant over who might play Palin on the program. Many have commented that Fey resembles her.

    In an interview earlier this week with The AP, "SNL" executive producer and creator Lorne Michaels said, "The whole world cast her in that role."

    The final decision went down to the last minute, apparently. "SNL" premieres Saturday evening with Michael Phelps as host. An appearance had been planned by Sen. Barack Obama, but his campaign said early Saturday that the Democratic nominee for president was canceling.

    Fey was a cast member and writer _ including a stint as head writer _ for "SNL" for nine years before leaving in 2006 to star in "30 Rock," which is also produced by Michaels. On Tuesday, Michaels said that should Fey play Palin, she was unlikely to remain in the part in the long-term, which depending on the election results, could be for four years or longer.

    Fey's publicist did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

    When Sarah Palin was selected, and after the press went all ga-ga over her (and I'm guilty of this, too), I consider who would play her on sketch comedy shows like SNL. I even uttered a name.

    It wasn't Tina Fey.


    The lovely Ms. Fey is the perfect choice to play the not quite as lovely Mrs. Palin.

    As I happen to be working tonight, I won't get to see it unless I set my VCR.

    Yes, I'm still rocking the 1970's technology like videotape...


    From The Onion:

    Woman Always Really Excited To Be In Whatever Relationship Status She's Currently In

    KINGSPORT, TN—Just six months after claiming she was ecstatic about moving in with her boyfriend, and a mere eight weeks after announcing that she "couldn't be happier" with their decision to take a brief time apart, administrative assistant Ann Castlen, 26, told friends Monday that she was absolutely thrilled to be single...

    ..."I'm glad Ann's finally doing what makes her happy," ex-boyfriend Sam Lorz said. "She's a great girl, and she deserves to be single, or dating, or taking time off from dating, or getting married—if that's what she wants."...




    Beer is the Answer

    I'm a smart guy. A while back, though, I realized that no matter how much I read, no matter how many classes I took or how many people I talked to, that I'd never know everything.

    Which got me to thinking that I don't really know much, and what I do know could be wrong.

    When you get right down to it, all any of us really know is what we like.

    I really like beer.

    What was the question?


    Monday, September 08, 2008


    NFL Rankings - Week 1

    1. (3) Dallas Cowboys (1-0)
      Beat a team they were supposed to but looked impressive doing it

    2. (2) New England Patriots (1-0)
      Brady out? Let's see what Cassel can do before dropping this team down

    3. (5) Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
      Can reach the top of the AFC

    4. (9) Carolina Panthers (1-0)
      Stunned the Chargers at home

    5. (1)Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
      All the pieces seem to be working, they'll bounce back in week 2

    6. (7) New York Giants (1-0)
      Beat a team that looked just plain dreadful

    7. (-)Green Bay Packers (1-0)
      The Aaron Rodgers era begins with a big win

    8. (-)Chicago Bears (1-0)
      They still play great D, have they answered their questions at QB

    9. (4)San Diego Chargers (0-1)
      A tough loss to a quality team

    10. (-)New Orleans Saints (1-0)
      A quality win against a tough opponent

    Out of Top 10: (6)Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1), (8)Minnesota Vikings (0-1), (10)Cleveland Browns (0-1)

    ESPN NFL Power Rankings.
    Fox Sports NFL Power Rankings.
    CBS Sports NFL Power Rankings.
    NFL Standings


    Labels: ,

    Saturday, September 06, 2008


    Wyle E. Coyote Blues

    Of my many cartoon heroes, a big one would have to be Wyle E. Coyote, Supergenius. The kooky canine and I have a lot in common besides our above average intelligence.

    We both know we're intelligent, which probably goes a long way toward our constant undoings. We both plan things out, only to have them blow-up (not literally, in my case... yet...) in our faces. We both can't seem to get away with the shit that other people get away with. We both expect gravity to work the exact same way for us as it does for everybody else.

    We've both been hit by numerous anvils (not literally in my case) yet seem surprised every single time it happens.

    Neither of us will ever give up.

    I don't know if that's a good ting or a bad thing, but I'm sure it's entertaining for others to watch.


    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    From The Onion:

    Gay War Hero Awarded Posthumous Dishonorable Discharge At White House Ceremony

    WASHINGTON—In a solemn ceremony held in the White House Rose Garden Monday, recently outed Iraq War casualty Sgt. Maj. Michael Delacroix—a highly decorated career serviceman with an impeccable 22-year record—was posthumously stripped of his military honors and dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army. "For giving his life in the line of duty and selflessly serving his nation while being gay, Mr. Delacroix will be exhumed from Arlington National Cemetery and relieved of his rank and all attendant benefits," U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said during the ceremony. "We also ask that his mother return the American flag that was given to her at his funeral." A Pentagon spokesman said that Delacroix's cause of death—sniper fire while attempting to save an injured Iraqi boy—will be changed to AIDS in the official record.


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    The Bert Convey
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