How Ken Jennings Does it On Jeopardy

The family tuned in to Jeopardy! this Labor Day, ready and willing to watch Ken-Jen (Ken Jennings, 30, of Salt Lake City, UT) be bested by another contestant this evening...but once again (for the 39th time), he has prevailed.

We've now discovered his secret ...HIS MOTHER IS A LIBRARIAN.

Friend and former Brigham Young University roommate Earl Cahill said "He's just smarter, and there is not some magic pill you can take that will make you like him".

Jennings says he doesn't know his IQ, and his mother won't reveal it. But she says that when he was tested as a pre-kindergartner, it was off the charts. Jennings also won't share his precise SAT score — he says only that it was between 1500 and a perfect 1600.

More on Ken and how he has become a millionaire plus on ABC's TV show Jeopardy! from USA Today.

UPDATE: Rumors of the end of a swell run at


Wartime Presidents

From PBS, the Jim Lehrer NewsHour focuses on our current president and President Lincoln, who both served during wartime.

Gwen Ifill speaks with presidential historian Michael Beschloss; Richard Norton Smith, director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library; and Meena Bose, a professor of American politics at West Point, to explore the risks and rewards for a wartime president.

Pick streaming video or real audio.


Booknotes is going off air

Steffers writes "USA Today reports that Booknotes will be going off air as of Dec. 5th. The last broadcast will be December 5th. The show's host, Brian Lamb, is moving on to other projects."

After talking with 800 authors, Brian Lamb will close the book on Booknotes, his weekly C-SPAN interview series. The final broadcast will be Dec. 5, the network announced Tuesday.


Books 'N TV -- TV 'N Books?

Here's an opinion piece from the Morning Call (PA) about how reading is affected (positively and negatively) by TV and other sources of information and entertainment. The author, Renée A. James, points out the findings in recent polls (including the NEA poll) regarding the decrease in the number of people who read independently, and concludes that perhaps there are ways to make TV a better ally of the written word. Included in her suggestions are a (at least one) reading channel on TV (and not just a show or two).

What thinkst you all?


You Can't Do That on Television

Appearing to lack basic common sense and good judgement, TV writers and producers have gotten themselves into a pickle. They've been pushing the envelope so long that they don't know where to stop. It seems that ever since the infamous Janet Jackson Superbowl incident, and the ensuing fallout, the entertainment industry can no longer tell the difference between what's acceptable and what's not acceptable programming, in terms of nudity, foul language, and violence. It's also making them nervous knowing that Congress is considering raising the fines from a few-thousand dollars to $3 million
per-day, when they don't get it right. Read more. [requires registration]


Study Finds Film Ratings Are Growing More Lenient

There should be a standard code of ethics when it comes to content ratings in the film industry, but it appears that when no one's watching [no pun intended] things start slipping through the cracks that haven't always been acceptable. According to this article, "a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health has found that a decade of "ratings creep" has allowed more violent and sexually explicit content into films, suggesting that movie raters have grown more lenient in their standards." What it boils down to is that a PG-rated movie today was likely considered an R-rated movie ten years ago. A spokesman for the Motion Picture Association of America has this to say: "the standards for judging acceptable depictions of sex and violence in American society are constantly changing, and it would not be surprising if it changed for movie ratings as well." Read More. [requires registration]


Celebrate the Nation's Birthday with Marian, The Librarian

Hope all of our American friends have a very happy Fourth of July, and in addition to beer, hamburgers, sunstroke & fireworks, you may want to include some tube time: ABC's rebroadcast of "The Music Man", starring Matthew Broderick as Harold Hill and Kristin Chenowith as Marian, taking a bit of time off from the library in River City. Here's the info from Playbill .


Producer Dean Devlin's "The Librarian" is...

Who's the new "Librarian" in town? It's ER Doc. John Carter...(actor Noah Wyle).

He's been cast as the lead in TNT's new tele-pic "The Librarian" according to Daily Variety . Preliminary information on the production was first announced on these pages last May .


The Broadcast Flag Treaty - Draft Available

This Slashdot Thread looks at WIPO's proposed 'broadcast flag' treaty (PDF link).

Corante Has More and check out the latest Cites And Insights on why you should care.


1965: A Turning Point for our Language

In his treatise on the changes in our language over the last half of the last century, author and linguistics professor John McWhorter marks the year of his birth as a turning point towards a more relaxed and less elegant use of language.

His book, "Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music and Why We Should, Like, Care" (Gotham Books, 279 pages, $26) claims that the introduction of color TV and a lack of trust in government (Vietnam) began to "elevate the visual over the written in American culture" article here from the Chicago Tribune .


"Switched Up" show on ABC Family

heidi writes "A tv show called "Switched Up" wherein people change careers for 4 days with someone else with (no doubt) hilarious results. The commercial I saw made me do a double take. "I want to be a librarian," a rather bemused woman stated. "Because my life is so noisy...and I just want some quiet." The next scene shows her overwhelmed with an armload of books. Sounds like someone is in for a surprise!
Premieres Sunday, March 7th at 7 PM.

Here's The Site"


Why reading is more fun than TV

A Very Defiant Duckling Named Ender was kind enough to share This Article on the troubles with TV. It says the average mood while watching sitcoms on television is mild depression. Reading a book, however, gets a tick. It's a lot less passive than being slumped in front of the box.


Television Captioning Censorship

Bob Cox points us to an interesting site about the National Association of the Deaf, NAD, and NCD, the National Council on Disabilities, who are protesting the decision-making process regarding which programs receive captioning and which ones do not.

Also, see a list of recently approved and disapproved shows for U.S. Department of Education captioning support here.


Superbowl Alternatives

If you're not a football fan (let's see how those PATRIOTS ACT...) you could always do something else besides watch the Super Bowl tonite. Folks in the Palm Beach (FL) area are offered a variety of options in this article tcpalm.comsuch as reading, going to the theater, or watching something ELSE on TV. Jean Coberly at the Blake Library in Stuart suggests curling up with a good book.

"They just did the Oscar nominations, and four of five of the films nominated for best picture are books," Coberly said. Those are "Sea Biscuit," "Lord of the Rings," "Master and Commander" and "Mystic River."

And there's even a way to tie reading into the Super Bowl, Coberly said.

"If you're desperate and you want to know why men are watching the game, you can read 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,' by John Gray."
Whatever you do, though, you might want to include nachos in your plans.



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