Ken Jennings

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Ken is the author of Because I Said So!, Maphead, Brainiac, and Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac.

Re: Nobel Prize and Oscar

Postby themanwho » Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:51 pm

TIE53 wrote:However, technically, Davis Guggenheim, won the Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth, as he was the director, but this statement is still misleading.


No it isn't. Al Gore hasn't won an Oscar. GBS has.

Also, Brainiac was written a year and a half ago. By Ken Jennings, not Miss Cleo or Doc Brown. Some of the questions are going to go out of date. That's trivia for you.

-M
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Postby Baylink » Thu Dec 27, 2007 4:53 pm

Ken Jennings wrote:Modern English has determined that theme park diversions can commonly called be "rides," end of story.


I hadn't realized we were deferring to 90s pop bands on these topics now.
An opinionated bastard of extraordinary magnitude
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Aaliyah

Postby ItsOnlyBob » Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:24 am

Hi Ken,

I'm midway through "Brainiac" and enjoying it greatly.

I browsed this section of threads and didn't see anyone else point out an error on p. 172: "Aaliyah to Jack Albertson: a slain R&B ingenue and the grandpa from Willy Wonka mix freely in Fred's century-spanning Hollywood history."

Aaliyah died in a plane crash in the Bahamas in 2001.

I guess dying in a plane crash loosely qualifies as being slain (M/W Collegiate 11th: "slay: to kill violently, wantonly, or in great numbers; broadly: to strike down") ... but I rather suspect you were saying she was murdered.

Anyway. I'm new to your blog too, but enjoying it as well.

Happy New Year,
Bob
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Postby grodney » Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:31 pm

The book mentions Rain Man needing his 5:30 fix of Jeopardy! In the movie, it was 5:00, not 5:30.

According to: http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scri ... ffman.html
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Postby Ken Jennings » Sun Jan 13, 2008 5:21 pm

Re: Aaliyah--good call. I knew it was a plane crash, so I'm sort of mystified as to why I would have chosen "slain." People don't really get "slain" in accidents. They get "killed" for some reason, but not slain. The wonders of English.

As for the Rain Man thing--aargh. Where were you six months ago when I could have fixed this for the paperback? :)
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Postby grodney » Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:24 am

Ken Jennings wrote:Where were you six months ago when I could have fixed this for the paperback? :)


Waiting for the paperback to come out.
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Postby WhoisMark » Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:08 pm

Do corrections for the Almanac go here?

Amazon/UPS had my copy waiting for me today. I randomly flipped open the book and landed on October 25th.

What company owns (or owned) these genericized trademarks?

Next.

Cheers, Not Jeers
What series produced these entries on TV Guide's list?

Now, we're talking.

I went right to the Yeah, Good Luck portion

3. The Great Vegetable Invasion

That sounded like Lost In Space, but I knew the title didn't seem right. Yup, Lost In Space according to the answers section. I then triple checked my VHS, DVD, and book sources. They all confirm the correct title as The Great Vegetable Rebellion.
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Postby Ken Jennings » Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:05 pm

I think using this same thread for the almanac should work fine. I'm already cringing at how many mistakes people are going to find in it. I mean, it's a big book. What's the over/under? 50? 100? 500?
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Postby Ken Jennings » Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:06 am

By the way, let me add a mistake of my own here. Somebody just pointed out to me that I confused Lust for Life with The Agony and the Ecstasy on the September 3 page. That's the worst forehead-slapper I've seen...so far.
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Postby econgator » Sun Jan 20, 2008 12:44 pm

Not a huge typo, but West Point motto (Jan 18th) is simply Duty-Honor-Country. There is no 'and' (they correctly have liberte, egalite, ____, on the same page so they weren't just sticking 'and' in for all of them).
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Postby PhygLeGuy » Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:49 pm

The big brown truck delivered my 365-day supply of salted peanuts on the 17th.

Once upon a time, I was the fourth-string proofreader on the depth chart. Coach must have smelled something in my DNA. What follows comes straight from the spinal cord.

***

April 25 - Gallic Symbols - Question 7 - “born in French Lick” - according to Wikipedia, nba.com, and [his name].com, he was born in West Baden [Springs] and raised in French Lick. Two miles apart. Share a high school.

***

April 11 - Jersey City - The answer transposes the correct jersey numbers worn by choices “A” and “B.” (The introduction warns that there may be too few NASCAR questions. Perhaps there are too many.)

***

The next three involve incorrect, possibly unfairly distracting, information in the questions.

***

May 23 - Iron Horses - Question 3 - “since 1962” - the first person listed in the answer established a new record in 1968, not 1962, breaking a mark previously held by Walter Johnson, who hurled for a different franchise altogether.

***

May 17 - Street Smarts - The titular thoroughfare borders “Macomb” rather than “Maycomb” county. Nearly harmless here, pronunciation-changing spelling variations can lead to unpleasant surprises in Final Jeopardy!

***

February 9 - One-Hit Wonders - Question 5 - “one-inning” - both Retrosheet and Wikipedia show the doctor’s career as lasting two innings. (Innings played by non-pitchers have never been officially tabulated, so citing any such number in the question is likely “too specific.”)

***

Just curious on this one.

January 20 [Oh, hello!] - Do the Batusi - Question 5 - Of the teams given as multiple choices for an event from the 1975 Stanley Cup finals, only one was actually in the NHL in 1975. (After excusing the 99% of readers who have absolutely no interest in hockey, pretty much everyone who’s left may think this one belongs in “Stoopid Answers.”) In the interest of mentoring aspiring writers of trivia questions, shouldn’t a “good” multiple-choice question include more than one possible correct answer?

***

Thanks for making my first edition even more valuable.
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Postby Ken Jennings » Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:22 pm

PhygLeGuy wrote:The big brown truck delivered my 365-day supply of salted peanuts on the 17th.


These are all good catches.

(After excusing the 99% of readers who have absolutely no interest in hockey, pretty much everyone who’s left may think this one belongs in “Stoopid Answers.”) In the interest of mentoring aspiring writers of trivia questions, shouldn’t a “good” multiple-choice question include more than one possible correct answer?


Possibly, but I think that "after excusing the 99% of readers" clause pretty much answers your question.
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Postby econgator » Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:26 pm

PhygLeGuy wrote:Just curious on this one.

January 20 [Oh, hello!] - Do the Batusi - Question 5 - Of the teams given as multiple choices for an event from the 1975 Stanley Cup finals, only one was actually in the NHL in 1975. (After excusing the 99% of readers who have absolutely no interest in hockey, pretty much everyone who’s left may think this one belongs in “Stoopid Answers.”) In the interest of mentoring aspiring writers of trivia questions, shouldn’t a “good” multiple-choice question include more than one possible correct answer?


Thank you! I knew something was bothering me about that question, but I just couldn't place it. All three teams did exist at that time but two of them were in the WHA. Granted, the question doesn't require them to be in the NHL.
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Postby Kiptok » Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:34 pm

January 6
Mispellings #4: Beck's first album wasn't Odelay, but Mellow Gold, if you're only counting the major label albums.

Also, there was something somewhere, I don't remember what date, but it claimed that Everquest started in 1977? I don't think that's correct.
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Postby Ken Jennings » Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:41 pm

Yep, "first album" is wrong. Sigh. It's depressing to get something wrong you knew but didn't catch.

But that 1977 date on the Everquest thing is weird, since it's right in the manuscript. I have no idea when the error could have been introduced. Everquest would have been a very prescient business venture in 1977, that's for sure. :)
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Postby geniusonwheels » Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:41 pm

First of all, great book.

On your February 21 entry, Baby's in Black, I'm pretty sure one of them is wrong.

#3 asks what is the only Star Wars movie that Darth uses the Force to choke someone to death?

Your answer says The Empire Strikes Back, where we see some Admiral bite the dust...
...but what about A New Hope?

On the Imperial Runner, the ship that is seen in the first part of the movie, we see Darth choke some Rebel?
I think the Rebel's costume was red with the awesome looking hats.

Thank goodness you didn't put this question on the back of the book.

But anyway, it is a great book.
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Postby Ken Jennings » Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:35 pm

geniusonwheels wrote:On the Imperial Runner, the ship that is seen in the first part of the movie, we see Darth choke some Rebel?


With his hand, not with the Force, right?
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Postby econgator » Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:45 pm

geniusonwheels wrote:#3 asks what is the only Star Wars movie that Darth uses the Force to choke someone to death?

Your answer says The Empire Strikes Back, where we see some Admiral bite the dust...
...but what about A New Hope?

On the Imperial Runner, the ship that is seen in the first part of the movie, we see Darth choke some Rebel?
I think the Rebel's costume was red with the awesome looking hats.


If you're referring to the "We're on a diplomatic mission" guy, that isn't the Force. You can actually hear Vader crushing his windpipe. He may be using the Force to augment his strength, but he isn't using the Force to actually kill the guy.
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Postby geniusonwheels » Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:49 pm

Ken Jennings wrote:
geniusonwheels wrote:On the Imperial Runner, the ship that is seen in the first part of the movie, we see Darth choke some Rebel?


With his hand, not with the Force, right?


Right.

After reviewing the scene by DVD, it was his hand.

I had a perfect record on all of the Star Wars trivia in the book.

And the dude's costume was khaki, but there is someone with the red I'm thinking about.

I have only gotten a complete set correctly, March 7.

Great book though, sorry for the false accusation.

Chris

The 15-year old trivia buff.
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Postby PhygLeGuy » Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:43 pm

econgator wrote: I knew something was bothering me about that question,
Glad I’m not the only one.

econgator wrote: Granted, the question doesn't require them to be in the NHL.
Perhaps we’re not talking about the same question? The one which refers to the “1975 Stanley Cup Finals?” Even before the 1947 legal agreement in which the Cup’s Board of Trustees granted the NHL the right to refuse challenges from anyone else, no non-NHL club had competed for the Cup since 1925. (My kitchen cabinets hold about a dozen objects which reasonably answer to the description of a cup, but none of them are administered by a board of trustees. Amazing!)

I just felt that this one question contained a soupcon more “Get a Life!” than generally accepted gustatorial standards would suggest. If one of the faces emerging from an endlessly overstuffed clown car has smudged features, that hardly dampens the fun.

Okay, I’m letting go now.
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Postby PhygLeGuy » Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:47 pm

January 25 [l’chaim!] - Cold Shoulders - Question 4- Alas! Your pre-publication lobbying efforts to enshrine Dale Murphy fell short by 333 votes, leaving him and Listed Answer as the two and only.
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February 4

Postby Susannah » Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:20 am

Hi Ken! Fellow Jeopardy champ here; I just finished a (short) stint with the Great Midwest Trivia Contest on Sunday and am doing another local one on Saturday. Great site, great books!

On the Feb. 4 page of the Almanac, question 9 of "I'm with the Banned" refers to the Nicole Kidman movie banned in Zimbabwe because the fictional republic of Matobo resembles it too much. On page 80, you list the answer as "The Insider." The correct answer is "The Interpreter" -- "The Insider" is the Russell Crowe/Michael Mann movie about cigarette companies.
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Postby Norm » Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:56 pm

29 Jan - 1802 account of John Beckley having a cushy job may be incorrect. There were 740 books from England in 1801 according to A HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL 1914.
http://books.google.com/books?id=EkoOAA ... +librarian
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Postby grodney » Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:04 pm

Back to Brainiac:

In the pub trivia section, you write "... that we in the States reserve for the VH1 Music Awards.". I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think there were ever any "VH1 Music Awards". I find references to the "My VH1 Music Awards" in 00 and 01, but no others. But that wouldn't read very well at all, so maybe it was intentional. Or maybe it is so insignificant that it doesn't matter. And I might be wrong altogether.

In the gender discussion, you write "...whether you have two X chromosomes or two X boxes.". I'm not sure I understand this. But if it is a reference to the video game console, I think the console is the Xbox, with no space. And I see the plural most commonly as Xboxes. Again, maybe intentional on your part.

Finally, not a correction at all, just a question. If Trivial Pursuit sold 22 million copies and that was a record by an order of magnitude, why was 5.5 million the next year so disastrous? Wouldn't 5.5 still be over double the previous record? Did they over-produce and have millions of games sitting around? Or did they over-staff? I don't doubt it, I just don't understand the economic/business factors.
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Postby Ken Jennings » Fri Feb 01, 2008 9:28 am

Grr, that Xboxes space was a last-minute change by a well-meaning proofreader. It was the first thing I asked them to fix for the paperback. Looks like it didn't happen.

Yes, 5.5 million would be a dream come true for any board game company. I think you're right--Selchow & Righter made massive investments in expansion to cover the boom, not expecting (who ever does?) the bubble to collapse so soon.
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