Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spectacular video of the morning

This is just another one of the many reasons to watch Jeopardy.


The only thing missing is a corresponding "booyahhh!"

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Teen Jeopardy FTW!

Whenever possible, I try to watch Jeopardy. It is my favorite game show. It features all the things I love:  trivia, lame personal stories and, most of all, Alex Trebek. I followed Ken Jennings through his historic winning streak.  Sometimes, the "answers" makes me feel smart. Other times, I enter 7:30 feeling very dumb. But I always enjoy myself.

Teen Tournament is my favorite of their speciality competitions because I always feel like a smartest teenager who is actually 20-something.

Last week, I met Leonard, a teen from Little Rock, AR with crazy hair. He seemed unamused by the competition as he stood at the podium with his arms crossed and answered question after question.  I knew that if he got to the finals, he would be an amusement to all of us Jeopardy lovers old and young. I couldn't wait.

And then I missed the finals.  But luckily, this video surfaced and I was thankful to know Leonard.  (Well, "know" in the sense that I watched him on TV)  The chuzpah of this guy....betting almost all of his money on a Daily Double IN Double Jeopardy.  That is fantastic.  And then there is this move in Final Jeopardy...

Here is an article from Grantland, with screenshots so you can relive the drama.

Update: Here is a link from Deadspin, about how he could've actually lost.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

List: Top 5 Postal Service songs

The Postal Service just announced a reunion tour. The original lineup of Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello will be joined by Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley) and Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds) for a variety of tour dates this summer, including Coachella, Primavera Soundwave, and Barclays Center.  

The Postal Service only released one full-length album, 2003's Give Up, but it is one of the seminal albums of the era.  With a mix of acoustic and electronic tracks, it was a very unique release. Many of the songs enjoyed mainstream success, including a "Such Great Heights" cover by Iron and Wine on the Garden State soundtrack and as part of shows like Grey's Anatomy and Scrubs.  

In honor of this reunion (which I hope to attend), I made a list of the best Postal Service songs.  

The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
This is the perfect opening track.  It is quiet and lures the listener into the world of Postal Service.  It builds slowly to a breakdown.  It expresses loneliness and ends with a single "And I finally see why I was the one worth leaving." It is a sentiment very typical to Gibbard's releases.  It is a great start to an album that perfectly blends Taamborello's electronica talents with Gibbard's acoustic and emotional prowess.

Be Still My Heart
Featured on the "We Will Become Silhouettes" single, this track is a story of a post-drunken evening.  It expresses the uncertainty of a one night stand and what it could mean in the morning.  In last night's clothes, our protagonist leaves the stranger's apartment. He slowly remembers the the previous evening's falls, laughs, and conversations.  He is hopeful yet uneasy.  He does not want to overthink last night but cannot help himself.  He asks heart to "be still." This song expresses another universal sentiment and does so with grace and pizazz. 

Clark Gable 
Everyone yearns for old-fashioned, movie-style love.  Even though that is increasingly difficult to attain, this song tells the story of someone who desires to see each moment in life like a scene from a movie.  He grabs his camera, frames a scene, and then fakes it when things the moment goes arwy. Like many of us who try to plan every moment, this song speaks directly to our soul.  

Nothing Better
One of the hardest part of breaking up is when it is not mutual.  This song is a call and answer type track that features both male and female verses. It goes back and forth between two people who do not agree on a breakup. The man just wants to make her his bride.  And the woman just wants to present charts and graphs on why it won't work out.  The man apologies and the woman does not accept. It is easy to imagine this song as an actual breakup moment. And as sad as it may be, the melody eases the pain. 

We Will Become Silhouettes:  The lyrics express a desire to venture out into the unknown but finding reasons to stay safe and inside. The synth is greeted by female "la la la"s. The melody creeps into Gibbard's voice and charms. This light and airy track was covered by The Shins on the Give Up bonus release.