by John Walters
When news leaked Monday morning that James Holzhauer had finally lost on Jeopardy!, our first thought was, Those damn eight smarty pants from the National Spelling Bee have struck again! Wrong.
The person who unseated Holzhauer after 32 consecutive victories and $2,464,216 in winnings was Emma Boettcher, a 27 year-old librarian, also from Chicago. Boettcher has been a home viewer for years who would record her scores and even fashioned her own buzzer (nerd).
Holzhauer exits only about $56,000 shy of Ken Jennings’ record from 2004, an achievement that took Jennings more than twice as many games (74) to amass.
The Final Jeopardy! answer was “Who is Kit Marlowe?” (foremost Elizabethan playwright). Both got it correct, but Boettcher was ahead and wagered more.
How would you caption this photo? Does anyone look happy here? Is Queen Elizabeth II wondering why she had to live this long? Is Donald about to play a concerto? Is this what meeting the in-laws is like?
HBO aired the finale of Chernobyl, a show that massively succeeded on the premium cable channel despite having not one sex scene or anyone ever using the “F-word.” There was brief nudity, but only of male miners digging au naturale because of the heat.
We won’t spoil it for you (we’re no Dan Steinberg), other than to say that our hero, Andrey Legasov (Jared Harris) chooses a Sydney Carton-like fate straight out of A Tale Of Two Cities. He makes the hero’s choice.
Two lines from last night’s finale stuck out for us, and remember that the series was created and written by Craig Mazin, who roomed with Ted Cruz freshman year at Princeton and was hyper-aware that he was writing this series in the Age of Trump:
“Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid.”
“To be a scientist is to be naive. We are so focused on our search for truth we fail to consider how few actually want us to find it.”
This was an incredible, and just-the-proper-length, series. Based on actual events.
Window Seats For All
The good news is that Dutch airline KLM is funding the development of this futuristic V-shaped plane that will apparently be 20% more fuel-efficient. The bad news is that it really is “futuristic” as they don’t expect it to be operational and in service before 2040.
The “Flying V” was the brainchild of Justus Benad, a student at the Berlin Technical Institute at the time. It really is hype, as the kids say, and reminds us of one of those wing suits. We propose the back middle area of the module be made into a cocktail bar/lounge area. That’s our contribution to aeronautics.
This is our friend Rodley, one of our favorite servers and one of the best employees ever at the cookoutateria (he is now an IT specialist).
Take Me Home
There was no bigger solo artist in the early Eighties than Lionel Ritchie, but he yielded that crown in the mid-Eighties to the former drummer of Genesis. There were flashier music acts, there were more iconic figures (Prince, Madonna, etc.), but no one ruled radio quite like Phil Collins. The British former child-actor went on a Beatlesque run, recording SEVEN No. 1 hits. This was not one of them (it peaked at No. 7), but you gotta love the audacity of thinking, Oh, sure, I’ll use my world tour as a backdrop to shoot a video.
We don’t want to oversell this comedy starring Bill Hader and now in its second season, but it’s solid. The bumbling Chechens remind us of Colonel Klink and Sergeant Schultz and any series whose No. 2 character is played by the always-working Stephen Root is going to have a lot going for it. Look for the subtle dig at Ted Danson’s fake coif from Cheers in the second episode.