Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Record-setting game show champ finally loses after 74 victories

The famous Jeopardy! winning streak came to a quiet conclusion as Ken Jennings was defeated by Nancy Zerg. Ken started winning on Monday June 2, 2004 and lasted for 75 contests.

Wiki: On Tuesday, November 30, 2004, Jennings' long reign as Jeopardy! champion finally came to an end when he lost his 75th game to fellow challenger Nancy Zerg, after missing two Double Jeopardy! Daily Double questions and the Final Jeopardy! question. The Final Jeopardy! clue was: Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year. The correct response was: "What is H&R Block?". Jennings incorrectly responded with "What is FedEx?" His final total was US$ 2,522,700. He was on for 182 calendar days including his first and last days.

Kottke.org had audio of Ken Jennings loss but had to removed it from his website. The New York Post said that the website "broke the story of Jennings' defeat last September".

Kottke.org: Update: I deleted the description of the audio clip after Sony "requested" that I do so. You may be interested in reading this article in the Washington Post instead. This is really a irritating situation, but I don't have the time, energy, or the access to legal counsel that a large newspaper does and am therefore just basically just rolling over. Sorry.]

The original tips I got from Phillip (1, 2) ended up being pretty accurate. Some of the details were a little off and/or paraphrased (he got the number in the answer as well as the woman's name wrong), but it was mostly correct.

Ken Jennings always had a tough time with Final Jeopardy. There were only 2 occasions where I saw the outcome still in doubt during Final Jeopardy during his streak. Unfortunately for him, tonight was the 2nd time and Nancy knew the answer (question?) immediately. He bet lots of money for both of the Daily Doubles he got in Double Jeopardy only to lose them both. All of the categories in the opening round were named after Seinfeld references (part of a cross-promotion for the DVD) and Jennings didn't pull away from the pack. His Achilles Heel was sports question and he couldn't name one answer for the category, "Pro Sports Venues." Nancy was a great competitor but she caught Ken Jennings on a strange night.

Ken Jennings' 'Jeopardy!' streak ends
"I felt a strange set of emotions. Surprisingly, a lot of it was relief. The suspense was over," he said. "So many lucky things had to fall just right. There were many, many squeakers."

Jennings, who became a media phenom during his run, commemorates the end of his reign Tuesday with an appearance on David Letterman's Late Show and as the focus of Nightline. He guests on Good Morning America and Live with Regis and Kelly Wednesday, with A&E featuring him in a Jeopardy! Biography Wednesday night.

ABC News: A 'Jeopardy!'-style Look at Ken Jennings' Winning Streak




Kojo Annan continued on payroll of oil-for-food inspection firm

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Monday he was "disappointed and surprised" to learn that his son, Kojo, had remained on the payroll of a company involved in the Iraq oil-for-food program, the subject of several corruption probes.

Kojo Annan received money for consulting work done in Africa for Geneva, Switzerland-based Cotecna Inspection, which was hired to verify whether food, medicine and other goods entering Iraq were on the approved list under the $64 billion oil-for-food program.

The United Nations previously said the payments stopped after Kojo Annan left the firm in 1997.

Earlier this year, it revised that statement, saying the younger Annan received money through the end of 1998 under an agreement not to compete with Cotecna in West Africa.

Cotecna had said the payments to Annan were halted when the firm won the contract to inspect oil-for-food humanitarian shipments starting in December 1998.

But late last week the United Nations said Kojo Annan had received payments as recently as February 2004 under the non-compete agreement.

The company said Swiss law required that it continue the payments for the length of time the younger Annan was prohibited from working for a competitor under the agreement.

At least six investigations are under way into the defunct oil-for-food program -- several in the U.S. Congress and one by an independent U.N. panel headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. (Full story)

Kofi Annan told reporters Monday he understands that with this latest oil-for-food news the United Nations faces the perception "of conflict of interests and wrongdoing."

"Naturally I was very disappointed and surprised," Annan said, when he learned his son had not fully disclosed his continued involvement with Cotecna.

He said he has spoken with his son, but he declined to reveal what was said.

Annan said he has "warm family relations with his son, but he is in a different field. He is an independent businessman. He is a grown man, and I don't get involved with his activities and he doesn't get involved in mine."

Annan said he had no personal involvement in the granting of contracts to businesses that participated in the oil-for-food program.

He walked away without a response to questions about calls for his resignation in opinion articles published in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard was quoted by Reuters as saying that those who signed the inspection deal with Cotecna in 1998 contended they did not know

CNN.com - Annan 'disappointed' son didn't tell all - Nov 29, 2004



CNN.COM: Book about broken relationships a huge hit

So you've been dating this guy, and it seemed to be going so well. Long dinners. Cuddly walks in the park. Flirty text messages. And then, suddenly, he just stopped calling.

Your mind races for an explanation. Is he lying in a hospital bed? With amnesia? Did his house burn down with his address book inside it? Or maybe he's wounded from a previous relationship and just needs a little time?

Oh, for heaven's sake, say the authors of a hugely popular new book. Enough with the excuses! Face the truth, girlfriend, and the truth will set you free:

He's just not that into you.

With that simple message, emblazoned on the cover of a slim, pink volume, Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo have shot up best-seller lists. Launched in September with a printing of 30,000, "He's Just Not That Into You" is now in its 14th printing, at 1.2 million copies and counting. It's been featured (twice) on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," with Winfrey shouting over and over to dating-challenged women in the audience: "He's Just Not That Into You!!"

So what, you might ask, is so revolutionary about advice that's so common sense it could be coming from your mother?

"It's just a wake-up call," says Tuccillo, a former writer for "Sex and the City" who also happens to be single and dating in New York. "It's just a clear-as-a-bell, funny, simple wake-up call."

CNN.com - Why 'He's Just Not That Into You' - Nov 29, 2004


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