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Violence and Hunger in Haiti, Irish Immigrant Discrimination, The Notebook, Christine Blasey Ford

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
The Truth Network Radio
March 17, 2024 1:00 pm

Violence and Hunger in Haiti, Irish Immigrant Discrimination, The Notebook, Christine Blasey Ford

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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March 17, 2024 1:00 pm

Hosted by Jane Pauley. In our cover story, Martha Teichner looks at the history of turmoil in Haiti. Also: Conor Knighton explores Irish emigration, and his own family history; Tracy Smith sits down with Christine Blasey Ford, whose new memoir, "One Way Back," recounts the fallout from her testimony in Brett Kavanaugh's 2018 Supreme Court confirmation hearings; Luke Burbank poses questions to "Jeopardy!" champion-turned-host Ken Jennings; David Pogue reports on how the bestselling romance "The Notebook" has been adapted to a Broadway musical; Mark Whitaker visits a sculpture park in Montgomery, Ala., that explores the history of slavery; and Lee Cowan profiles Danish artist Thomas Dambo, who uses reclaimed wood from landfills to create giant sculptures depicting trolls.

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I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday Morning. It's been well over two years since Haiti's president was assassinated, and more than seven years since its citizens last went to the polls. Result, utter chaos. Why Haiti?

And what now? That's where we'll start off this morning with Martha Teichner. Of course, today is St. Patrick's Day. Around the world, more than 70 million people have Irish roots. Pretty impressive when you consider today the entire population of Ireland is only about 5 million. Connor Knighton takes us back to the Emerald Isle. While it feels like everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, within 30 million Americans actually claim Irish ancestry. It's such a special experience to tell them something about ancestors that have directly affected them today.

Coming up on Sunday Morning, we pay a visit to EPIC, the Museum of Irish Immigration in Dublin. Millions tune in to watch him every night as he hosts Jeopardy, one of the longest running game shows on television. Luke Burbank has some questions for the man with all the answers, Ken Jennings. From the Alex Rebeck Stage at Sony Pictures Studios. He's the greatest Jeopardy player of all time.

And now he hosts the show. But he's hoping you won't hold that against him. You know, something about that kind of success seemed not just morally suspect, but also unseemly. You know, bad manners to be famous. How rude. Get over yourself.

Who is Ken Jennings? Later on Sunday Morning. It's the novel that made you cry, which became the movie that made you cry. David Pogue talks with Nicholas Sparks as The Notebook opens on Broadway. You didn't cry, did you? Yeah, I got a little, you get a little weepy. The actors were crying, the audience was crying, everyone was crying. It's a story of everlasting love. It is also a story of memory and how we became who we are at this moment. We'll go behind the curtain with Nicholas Sparks, ahead on Sunday Morning. Also this morning, Tracy Smith is in conversation with Christine Blasey Ford, who talks about the toll exacted for speaking out. A story from Steve Hartman, Sip of Bourbon with Jim Gaffigan and more.

This is Sunday Morning, March 17th, 2024, and we'll be back in a moment. THEME MUSIC Anything you buy with your titanium, apple card, or virtual card number. Visit apple.co slash card calculator to see how much you can earn.

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We've asked Martha Teichner to take the long view. How could Haiti even get to the point that its capital, Port-au-Prince, is paralyzed by armed gangs? For at least part of the answer, take a look at its history.

You may find it hard to believe. The island Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic? Columbus landed here in 1492 and called it Hispaniola, claiming it for Spain. But Haiti eventually became a fabulously rich French colony, its plantations producing much of the world's coffee and sugar. In 1791, the enslaved Africans who worked those plantations revolted. What followed was a 13-year bloodbath. Then, on January 1st, 1804, Haiti traded the French flag for its own.

It became the first black republic and abolished slavery. But in 1825, the French came back. With gunboats and an outrageous demand, reparations, Haiti had to borrow the money with interest.

Yes, from France. In the range of $20 billion at a minimum. Today's money. Jake Johnston is the author of Aid State, an analysis of the effects of foreign intervention in Haiti. They wanted to be paid to recognize Haiti, paid for their lost property, the enslaved population that had become an independent nation. It has a huge impact, knowing that you gain your freedom, but you had to pay the ones who were holding you as a slave.

Monique Kleiska is a Haitian journalist and activist. It is a collective scar that we carry, so it has a major impact because we could have been better. Instead of building roads and schools and hospitals, Haiti was paying off that debt until 1947. How important a factor has the United States' presence and involvement been?

Well, I think it's hard to overstate. The United States Marines land in Haiti to battle Haitian bandits. In 1915, the United States sent in the Marines, took control of Haiti's finances, and occupied the country for 19 years.

It has continued to play political puppeteer ever since. Just one example, the United States backed the Duvalier dictatorship. Francois Papadoc Duvalier seized power in 1956.

Declaring himself president for life, he eliminated opposition with the help of his murderous goon squad called the Tonto Makut. One reason why the United States ended up being a big early supporter of the Duvalier dictatorship was because they were a bulwark against communism in the hemisphere. When Papadoc died in 1971, his son Jean Claude, just 19, known as Baby Doc, declared himself president for life, but was forced into exile in 1986, taking with him, by some estimates, as much as $800 million stolen from the people of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti actually held free and peaceful elections in 1991. Jean Bertrand Aristide, a former priest, was elected president and was overthrown just a year later.

So much for stability. Then, in January 2010, Haiti's worst earthquake in 200 years destroyed much of Port-au-Prince and killed, according to Haitian officials, more than 200,000 people. In the chaotic aftermath, dozens of gangs emerged. They were working hand in hand with politicians. So you can't separate the gang situation from the political situation?

No, not at all. The gangs became empowered, the gangs were validated, armed, et cetera, by the economic and the political elites. Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021, Ariel Henry has served as the country's unpopular, unelected prime minister. His resignation hinges on the establishment of a transitional council.

Meanwhile, the gangs, united under Jimmy Charisier, a.k.a. Barbecue, are making political demands. So what now, with the United States and other regional players trying to broker the transition? It seems that Haiti has rarely been in the hands of Haitians. You are absolutely right, and it is a battle that we are waging to confirm, to affirm our sovereignty. Haiti's history has been described as a series of crises with brief periods of hope and peace. Will this be one of those periods, or the same old story, doomed to failure? My heart tells me that it is 50-50, but my head tells me it may be 80 percent might fail.

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To find organic valley dairy near you, visit ov.coop. That's O-V dot C-O-O-P. Millions of us will celebrate St. Patrick's Day today, but its meaning resonates most among those who trace their roots to the Emerald Isle. Connor Knighton has sent us a postcard from Dublin.

The ruins of Dunamays Castle tower over County Leesh in Ireland. While it's been centuries since anyone lived here, this American tour group has come to imagine what life might have been like when their ancestors called this land home. Does that change the experience for you at all?

Yes, it actually does. To know that we've had relatives that probably rode horses out here. I mean, that's exciting. Jump those hedgerows. Maybe you lived in the castle.

Who knows? More than 30 million Americans claim Irish ancestry. Worldwide, more than 70 million people have Irish roots.

And yet, the current population of Ireland is only around 5 million people. In the capital city of Dublin, the Epic Museum tells the story of Irish emigration. That's emigration with an E, the waves of citizens who moved abroad.

Most other countries don't have museums dedicated to everyone who left that country. Is that more of the story of Ireland? In many ways, the history of Ireland is a history of emigration.

We were the only country in Europe to have more people at the start of the 19th century than at the end. Catherine Healy is a historian in residence at Epic. Exhibits at the museum highlight the achievements of those with Irish ancestry, athletes and entertainers, inventors and authors. Everyone from Cedric Gibbons, designer of the Oscar statuette, to James Hoban, who designed the White House.

A lot of people don't know is that that design is partly inspired by some of the Georgian architecture that you would have seen in Ireland. Twenty-three occupants of the White House can claim Irish ancestry, from President James Buchanan to Joe Biden. If you forgive the poor, tempted Irish, Tom I shall wall ya.

I'm at home. John F. Kennedy was the country's first Irish Catholic president. This is not the land of my birth, but it's the land for which I hold the greatest affection. In 2011, President Obama traveled to the Irish village of Moneygall, where his great-great-great-grandfather lived before setting sail for America. And he left during the great hunger that so many Irish did to seek a new life in the new world. The peak of Irish immigration occurred during the famine of the mid-1800s. Over a ten-year period, the failure of the potato crop prompted an estimated quarter of the Irish population to set sail for America.

It was a journey of desperation, people having no ability to have a livelihood in Ireland. While the museum tells that story, it also tells the story of cherished Irish cultural exports, from the Irish pub to Irish music. For an additional fee, it's possible to book a session with a professional genealogist at the affiliated Irish Family History Center. My great-grandparents came over from Ireland in the early 1900s. I worry a little bit that my great-great-great-uncle was the town streaker or something like that.

No, there's no skeletons in the closet you're about to uncover. Genealogist Kayleigh Beelan uncovered lots of fun stories, from a record of dog licenses... Your ancestors had so many pet dogs. ...to the origin of Crigan, my great-grandparents' last name. The Irish for the name is O'Creacon, which means descendant of Creacon, which is like a short person, which I thought was extremely funny. So I'm related to leprechauns? You're related to leprechauns, yeah, I know.

Done, cut. Although, it turns out there was at least one troublemaker in the family. Your second or third great-granddad was brought to court for the crime of herding two head of cattle on the public road. And I even think public road is a very strong use of the word there. I'll be free to leave the country though, there's no outstanding warrants for our... You'll be free, you'll be free.

You'll have to pay, what is it, six pence. Epic stands for every person is connected. You can find Irish links everywhere. The museum recently hosted an exhibition on Irish migration to the Caribbean. While St. Patrick's Day parades around the world are full of people proud of their Irish heritage, Catherine Healy says it's taken time for the Irish to view emigration as something to celebrate. For a long time our diaspora has been overlooked and there's been a lot of shame associated with emigration. And that tragedy is still there because we're not just talking about famine emigration here, we're also talking about single mothers who had to leave this country and because of the shame associated with having a child outside of marriage. Epic was created to highlight the positive impacts of Irish immigration.

The walls feature a quote from Ireland's former president Mary Robinson. After all, emigration isn't just a chronicle of sorrow and regret. It's also a powerful story of contribution and adaptation. Centuries of giant contributions, all coming from a small island.

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David Pogue talks about the story's enduring appeal with author Nicholas Sparks. Every Broadway show has a souvenir stand for things like t-shirts and mugs. But at a new musical that opened this past week, they're selling this. I guess this is one of the hottest little merch on Broadway, according to articles that I've been reading. It is a tissue box.

It's got the logo of the play. Nicholas Sparks has published 24 romance novels, all bestsellers. They've sold 130 million copies and have been made into 11 movies.

But the very first one he published is his biggest seller of all, The Notebook from 1996. I wrote you every day for a year. You wrote me? Yes! It wasn't over. It still isn't over. The 2004 movie version put young Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams on the map and became a romance classic. And now it's a Broadway musical. Of course I was here on opening night.

It was unbelievable. You didn't cry, did you? Yeah. I got a little, you get a little weepy.

And he's not alone. Did you cry at all? Um, from the jump. Did you cry? I did.

Only, I mean, one elegant eye. You took a curtain call with the cast on opening night. Was that your first time on a Broadway stage? Oh yeah. Shoot.

I mean, it's my first time backstage. I'm looking around like a tourist. Every version of The Notebook has employed a framing device. As the end of his life approaches, husband Noah reads from a notebook to his wife Allie, who has Alzheimer's disease. It's the notebook containing the story of their own decades-long love.

That was a story inspired by my ex-wife's grandparents. When they were young, they were separated for years. She meets someone else. She comes back, finds her first true love, and they live long and happy.

And then in their final years, age begins to take its toll. Hey, I'm Noah. I'm Allie. Is there any shame in hearing this show described as a tearjerker? I don't mind it.

If we are the play that makes you feel things slash cry, then there are worse boxes to be in. Playwright Becca Brunstetter wrote the script, and songwriter Ingrid Michaelson wrote the music and lyrics. I spoke to them on opening night. Yes, we normally don't wear matching blazers and have this much makeup on. It's the first time either of them has worked on a Broadway show. I thought, I can do this.

I can figure out how to make people who are going to come with their arms folded unfold their arms, basically. And then let's all laugh, you know, and kind of combining those two things constantly because laughter and tears are just so right there next to each other all the time. In the musical, three pairs of actors play the couple at three different ages. Time, time, time, time.

Time, time, time, time. From the very beginning, we knew we wanted three Allie's and three Noah's. You can have an older version of a character watching their younger self, especially since we are dealing with memory so much, and losing memory and fragmented memory, that having these other versions of themselves on stage were really helpful. No Nicholas Sparks romance novel has ever included a black main character. But in the musical, Noah and Allie seem to change races fluidly at different ages. I love you, Allie. I asked co-directors Michael Greif and Shelley Williams about that.

Race is not the story. You're seeing the spirit of who they are. You're seeing not only their essence, but their experience. And for someone like me who grew up looking at theater through a window and never through a mirror, being able to see myself on stage is powerful.

It grew out of how do we do this in the best possible way, unique, and I think very wonderful casting idea. Many on the creative team relate deeply to the dementia depicted in the show. My mom has Alzheimer's, and so when I read the story, it really spoke to me. I also have a grandfather who had Alzheimer's, so I had witnessed it firsthand.

It seems like pretty much everyone has a grandparent or an aunt or an uncle or a sibling. Some form of dementia. Does it affect the writing? Yeah. I mean all of that is in there from us.

Yeah. Reviews of the musical have ranged from rave to reserved, but Nicholas Sparks suspects that a story this universal will be critic-proof. It is a love story. It is a story of young love. It is a story of reunited love. It's a story of everlasting love. It is also a story of memory. And speaking of eternal themes, remember that box of tissues? Turns out the musical's producers weren't the first to recognize the marketing potential of Kleenex. Thirty years ago, when the notebook novel first came out, this, of course, is what we sent to critics and bookstore owners. And look at this.

This was it. We gave them a hanky for their tears. Oh, come on. The notebook and genuine emotion have always gone hand in hand. You sent it around a handkerchief with the books and the critics. Oh my gosh. It's 30 years now. It's disposable paper, but it's the same idea.

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Talk to a licensed specialist to find out if it's right for you. In 2018, she stepped forward to tell her story of assault at the hands of a Supreme Court nominee. Now Christine Blasey Ford is speaking out again.

She's in conversation with our Tracey Smith. The waters around Lighthouse Field State Beach in Santa Cruz, California are beautiful to look at. But surfing here is something else. It takes a certain kind of fortitude to jump in. The waves are great, but the currents are strong, and the rocks are sharp and unforgiving. Is there a part of you that wants to get in there? When I see it, I feel a little bit of an urge to go in the water.

Like if I had my stuff on, I would at least want to take a dip and dive in. Christine Blasey Ford has surfed this break countless times, on good days and bad. And, as in this photo, she knows just what it takes to summon up your courage and hurl yourself off a cliff.

I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. In September 2018, Ford, a Ph.D. in psychology, a professor at Palo Alto University, and a mother of two, jumped straight into the maelstrom of American politics. She alleged that Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was then a nominee for a seat on the Supreme Court, had sexually assaulted her in the summer of 1982, when she was 15 and he was 17. I was pushed onto the bed and Brett got on top of me.

He began running his hands over my body and grinding into me. The members of the Senate Judiciary Committee hung on her every word, as did nearly 10 million viewers on cable TV. This confirmation process has become a national disgrace. And a short time later, an emotional Brett Kavanaugh testified that Ford had it all wrong. If the party described by Dr. Ford happened in the summer of 1982 on a weekend night, my calendar shows all but definitively that I was not there. I categorically and unequivocally deny the allegation against me by Dr. Ford.

I never had any sexual or physical encounter of any kind with Dr. Ford. We reached out to Justice Kavanaugh for this story, but got no response to a request made through the court. Let's go over some of the things that supporters of Justice Kavanaugh have said. One of the big things that they said is, why is it that no one can recall that night in the way that you recall it, that there was that party? Well, there were so many parties in high school, and this was a pretty unremarkable one. And his friends not being able to recall that evening, I guess, just doesn't surprise me because everyone sort of got together almost every night to hang out together. Do you think that that lends weight to his side of the story, that no one can remember it? Well, it seems like they think that for sure, and that that was how they were portrayed that night. But to you, do you think that that bolsters his side of the story, that no one can remember it?

No. To me, it doesn't bolster his story because I think for survivors out there, you know it happened to you. So even if no one ever believed you, or no one thought it happened, or no one saw it. And there are people that are assaulted all the time where no one else was even there, and that doesn't mean it didn't happen. Kavanaugh has got to go!

Hey, hey! And her testimony drew strong reactions from both sides. Were you naive about how the process worked?

I like to use the word idealistic, but maybe I was naive for sure about how the consequences and how bad it would be after I testified. What's more, a memo released by committee chair Charles Grassley's office in November 2018 said that the Senate and subsequent FBI investigations found, quote, no evidence to substantiate any of the claims of sexual assault made against Justice Kavanaugh. What was it like for you to see that?

Here it goes out there and you know there were people on television saying, look, this exonerates Justice Kavanaugh. I was devastated when that report came out. I was really, really upset. That was a really difficult period that I think was the beginning of sort of the darkest times for me. And things got dark indeed. Not only was her moment in the national spotlight deeply traumatizing, it also brought death threats credible enough to force her and her family out of their home and into a hotel for months.

What kind of threats were you getting? Gosh, I want to see you six feet under, I want to see you 12 feet under, 10 feet under, any amount, you know, a lot of those. I hope you get cancer. I hope you die.

I give you a year. Glad you have two kids because we have two opportunities. And all of the letters like that, they would have such similarity to them that it felt like, do these people know each other? Because how could the wording be that similar? And they were threatening your family. Yes. Your kids. Yeah, especially the firstborn. That seemed to be a thing.

It's like, you know, we'll take your firstborn. That's more than scary. It's still scary.

It still scares me. In fact, it got so bad that the family needed round-the-clock security, and to this day, they still use guards for some public appearances. You know, to go out to an event though for a night or to accept an award or something like that, maybe it's only like $5,000 to $10,000.

$5,000 to $10,000 a night if you want to go out. Yeah. She writes about it all in a new book, One Way Back, including her months-long struggle to decide how or if to come forward at all. It seems like you've kind of gotten back to, if not normal, at least safety, feeling comfortable. Why write this book and put yourself out in the spotlight again? So this book is really for the letter writers, and it's dedicated to them. She says most of the mail she got was letters from supporters and survivors of sexual assault, so many that they've taken up the dining room in her home, and they just keep coming. We've made it through 30,000 so far, and all I know is there's more than that left to go. She says the letters prove to her that even though Justice Kavanaugh was ultimately confirmed, her testimony meant something.

I think it would be impossible to read the letters and not, even if you just read 10 of them, and think that it didn't matter. Do you feel like you're back to normal? Um, no, I think I gave up on the idea of normal quite a while ago, but I'm in a new normal, in a new chapter, probably a new book. Christine Blasey Ford says that when she first came forward, she didn't know how rough the waters would be, but for her, it was the only way. Do you regret coming forward? Not at all. Why not?

I grew up in D.C., I revered all of those institutions, and to me the Supreme Court was sort of the ultimate, that's where our very best people are. And I felt like the choice of saying nothing was more uncomfortable, that I would have to live with not saying anything about it. Music Dress for success is advice not normally tailored to third graders, until our Steve Hartman enters the picture. Most eight year old boys don't get dressed to the nines.

To them, suits are for bathing, and formal is a four letter word. But James Ramage of Chelsea, Maine loves to dress for third grade success. He started a couple years ago, and at first, the other kids didn't know what to think. Every time I saw him, I was just like, okay. And I'm like, why is he dressing up?

James knew he stood out. Did you just decide one day I don't care what other people are wearing? Yeah, I don't need to look like them anymore. I can be who I want to be.

In any school, a decision like that can go a few different ways. You can be accepted for who you are, ostracized for who you aren't, or in very rare circumstances, you can become a trendsetter. It just kind of started. Then more people started to do it. Because it looked fun, and now people absolutely love it. Today, once a week, Chelsea Elementary kids put on their finest for Dapper Wednesday. It's not a dress code. It's not because some adult said so. It's because the children chose so.

Teacher Dean Paquette was an early adopter, and now an avid advocate. Stop! Look at this!

You look awesome! Being dressed up, kids are different. I think it's a self-esteem thing, and then it carries with them all the way through the day. The kids agree, told me they love how it feels. I'm a little itchy, but it's fine. Figuratively speaking. It feels like I'm not a kid anymore. It made me feel like I was ready for the day. It feels like I'm like a president.

When James started all this, he had no idea the impact. What's it like to be a trendsetter? It just feels so nice. But he doesn't think every kid should wear suits, just whatever suits them. Just wear what they want to wear.

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Brilliantly safe. And now, here is the host of Jeopardy!, Ken Jennings. It's Sunday morning on CBS, and here again is Jane Pauley. Who is Ken Jennings is a question with several answers, among them, winningest game show contestant ever, and more recently, newly named permanent host of the beloved quiz show Jeopardy!. Luke Burbank catches up with Ken Jennings. The category is famous Jennings.

After being expelled from Jamaica in 1716, this privateer became the unofficial governor of the Pirate Republic of Nassau. Oh, I don't know this. It's one of my pirate forefathers named Jennings. Ken Jennings might not know his trivia quite like he used to. This is the ravages of time we're witnessing.

This is like watching me turn to dust and blow away in a chill wind. Ken Jennings, you are the champion, the greatest of all time. But that's okay if he's a little rusty, because these days Jennings gets to see all the answers long before he heads out on stage as the now host of his favorite TV show ever. It's kind of the plot of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I guess. A retiring leader of a franchise takes, you know, five little boys and girls to see which one of them really loves his chocolate the most.

And I was the one that didn't get sucked up the pipe or whatever. Alex Trebek! His Wonka, longtime and legendary host Alex Trebek, who guided the show for decades. Jeopardy! A show that turns 60 this year. As a young Mormon kid living in Korea, Jennings says watching Armed Forces television was his favorite way to pass the time.

And his favorite thing to watch? Game shows, of course. I think it was actually the gameplay itself. It was a version of the world with well-defined rules, where you could watch a few of them and understand the format. And as a kid, dealing with a confusing world, on game shows, game shows are different. Questions get answered almost immediately. For a right answer, there's a nice little ping.

For a wrong answer, there's an immediate buzz. It's not like life, which is messy. Game shows are neat and fun and easy. In college, instead of following his dreams of writing, he opted to become what he calls a bad computer programmer, figuring it was the safe choice. He married his sweetheart, Mindy, started a family, and thought that's how his life would go. Hi everyone, I'm Alex Trebek, and welcome to the Jeopardy! Contestant Exam. When on a whim, he took the Jeopardy!

Contestant Exam. When I got the call a year later saying, hey, we'd like to have you on in three weeks, I freaked out. I started watching the show very intensely, standing up behind my La-Z-Boy at home pretending it was a podium, mashing my thumb up and down on a Fisher-Price plastic toy I'd stolen from our 18-month-old, just pretending it was a buzzer. My wife would keep score and tell me how I was doing. It was kind of a rocky training montage.

A software engineer from Salt Lake City, Utah, Ken Jennings. To this day, Jennings says nothing compares to the nerves he felt under the lights and on camera, that first time he stepped on stage as a contestant. But then, something amazing happened. In that first game, I found that years of listening to the clipped rhythms of Alex Trebek really did help. Like, watching this show, standing up with my fake buzzer helped. I kind of had the timing right away.

What is New Zealand? In that first game, the score was close, and it all came down to final Jeopardy! And I remember Alex accepting my response. It was about the Sydney Olympics, who is Marion Jones. And I had just written down who is Jones, and Alex pauses for a second like, Ooh, is that enough?

Is he just guessing a last name? And so Alex looks to the judges, and he gets the high sign, and he says, That's correct! And I realize I'm going to be a Jeopardy! champion for the rest of my life. And it was just an immediate rush of euphoria that's hard to explain. As good as the birth of my kids.

I can say that now that they're teens and out of the house. It was just an amazing moment. Alex would just wait, and if they didn't know it, he would be like, Nope, boop, boop, boop, boop, boop. That microsecond decision led to 74 straight victories, two and a half million dollars, game show immortality, and eventually, and improbably, the job of Jeopardy! host. So, I am standing at, you might even say, an altar of sorts that many of us trivia nerds have thought about a lot. This is the light pen, the telestrator where you can write down your name and your final Jeopardy!

response. Why does it seem that so many highly intelligent people have such questionable handwriting on this show? Is it something to do with the device? The pen got better.

This is much nicer than the version I was trying to write with, which I think had a cord back in 2004. It's funny, I'm getting flashbacks just by being here. It's almost like there are two Jeopardy!

sets for me. There was this one back here, and there's just a chasm between you and Alex. Jennings will admit to one possible advantage he might have in the job, his empathy for players, because he's been there himself. Still, Alex Trebek looms large. If I was ever at sea, I would just think, What would Alex do here? And often, it was to do less.

He had this amazing, minimalist, light touch where he never wanted the focus to be on himself, which is such an unusual, beautiful thing in show business. I feel like even now, I want to be Alex Trebek when I grow up, because nobody's ever going to do that job as well as he did it. Which brings us back to our game, and a mistake I made earlier, which the judges caught. At the top of our story, I said they give Jennings the answers before the game, but of course, that's incorrect. They give him the questions.

So where exactly did that come from? Well, from Jeopardy! creator Merv Griffin's then-wife, Julianne, the story goes... Yes, Merv and Julianne are on a plane coming back from vacation, and he's trying to come up with game show ideas, and she says, Well, just do one of those quiz shows like they used to have. And he said, Honey, we can't do those anymore.

Those were all crooked. They were giving the players the answers. And she thinks about it, and she says, Well, that's what you should do.

You should just give them the answer, and they'll come up with the question. And he says, What do you mean? And she says, 5,280 feet. And he says, What is a mile? And that's the birth of Jeopardy!

right there. The birth of a TV quiz show, but more importantly, says Jennings, the birth of something that in a small way has helped hold us Americans together, at least for 30 minutes a night. And there's nothing trivial about that. The great and the odd thing about Jeopardy! is it's kind of universally popular. Old people like Jeopardy! Young people like Jeopardy! Red states, blue states, it's bizarrely universal.

America still agrees that there's like a half hour every day where facts do matter, and we are allowed to adjudicate things as right or wrong, actually based on science and history. And I do think that's an important bulwark. Eat crispy pieces of butterfly shrimp, a regular side, hot buttery biscuit, and your choice of sauce. Does it make sense for a chicken place to have seafood this good?

Not really. But it's so delicious, Popeyes might just have to take another look at that famous jingle. Love that flounder...never mind. Popeyes, we don't make sense, we make chicken. And also seafood.

But only for a limited time, so sail over to your Popeyes and try the Flounderfish sandwich or shrimp tackle box for just $5.99. Crashes can happen to even the safest of drivers. Sometimes, this is because of situations out of the driver's control. That's where driver assistance technologies can help reduce the human factors involved in crashes. Features like blind spot intervention, lane keeping assistance, rear automatic braking, and automatic high beams all have the potential to save lives. And one of those lives could be yours. Learn more about driver assistance technologies at www.nhtsa.gov slash driver tech.

Paid for by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It's not Irish whiskey, but our Jim Gaffigan knows just how to imbibe on St. Patrick's Day. Or any other day for that matter. Part of me can't believe I'm about to say this, but I like bourbon. I don't know if that means I'm an old man or just an alcoholic. Enjoying hard liquor is new for me. I've always been a beer guy. In the past, when a friend would say, let's get a scotch or a whiskey, I'd think, well, I guess we could pretend like we're in a Tennessee Williams play. But now, I like bourbon. Like is how far you can go with your enthusiasm for any alcohol. If you're too passionate, you sound like you have a problem. If I said, I love bourbon, I might as well be announcing, I need help.

I guess that's why some people use the term aficionado. When someone says, I'm a bourbon aficionado, it probably means they drink too much bourbon. My wife and I will occasionally have a bourbon every night. Sharing a small glass of bourbon together gives us an opportunity to reconnect as a couple and try to forget we have children. When I recently did some shows in Louisville, I stayed in a hotel that had a store in the lobby that primarily sold bourbon. The store also sold glassware and bourbon-related paraphernalia. But the reason there were groups of smiling 60-year-old men walking around was probably the bourbon. I decided to surprise my wife by buying a couple of bottles of bourbon.

Don't tell me I'm not romantic. After the cashier wrapped up the last bottle in bubble wrap like it was some precious historical artifact, she casually mentioned, I don't know if this is a big deal, but this bottle of bourbon costs $1100. Does that matter? I thought, well, not if it includes the factory.

Does it matter? Only if my children expect to go to college. It should have been an easy answer. Nobody needs an $1100 bottle of bourbon. I didn't buy that bottle of bourbon, but part of me felt like I deserved it. Parenting is that hard. I guess I wanted that bottle of bourbon for my wife, and me, and for our children.

I mean, because of our children. I'm a bourbon aficionado. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. You can catch yourself by completing a short survey at Wondery.com slash survey. If you're listening to this podcast, then chances are good you are a fan of the Strange, Dark and Mysterious.

And if that's true, then you're in luck. Because, once again, Mr. Ballin' Podcast, Strange, Dark and Mysterious Stories is available everywhere you get your podcasts. Each week on the Mr. Ballin' Podcast, you'll hear new stories about inexplicable encounters, shocking disappearances, true crime cases, and everything in between. Like our recent episode titled White Dust. After a middle-aged couple fail to answer their daughter's messages and calls, the daughter drives the few hours to her parents' house to check on them. But after arriving and seeing both her parents' cars in the driveway, the daughter gets an uneasy feeling and just can't stomach going inside. To hear the rest of that story, and hear hundreds more stories like it, follow Mr. Ballin' Podcast on Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts. Prime members can listen early and ad-free on Amazon Music. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-17 18:13:41 / 2024-03-17 18:33:54 / 20

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