***What is another May 2011 backlog post for $500 Alex?” ***
Blacklight and I are both readers. But there are very few books that can appeal to both of us. Maybe because I loathe Stephen Hawking and Stephen R. Donaldson with every atom in my body?
Cue Blacklight standing stock still in the middle of the living room with an extra large iced Dunkee Cup in his hand saying “That’s grounds (heeheehee) for DIVORCE!”
So having Blacklight peering through a stack of library books and saying “Can you write down that title? Once I’m through “Thomas Covenant is the total suck” (okay, The Final Chronicles of Thomas Covenant) and insert name of massive Tom Clancy brick here, I want to read it.” It being Stephen Baker (what IS IT with Blacklight and authors named Stephen????) ‘s Final Jeopardy: Man Vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything.
For people who didn’t spend the better part of the 80s and 90s watching Jeopardy with their Mater and Pater, yelling out answers, Final Jeopardy spins the tale of the February 14-16, 2011 IBM Challenge with our new computer overlord Watson in a two game match with returning champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.
(Side note: trivia geek I am, I DID NOT watch the IBM Challenge because a) I thought Watson would win like Deep Blue crushed that bleeping bleep of a whiny-ass chess champion (Blacklight: “Garry Kasparov!”) and b) I don’t like Ken Jennings, for reals, I just can’t stand the man, not even his mental_floss columns. And YES! Blacklight watched all three days. Blacklight isn’t a bitter and suspicious person like me. Blacklight is full of sunshine, kindness and puppies! And Dunkee Cup iced coffee. ALL THE DUNKEE CUP ICED COFFEE).
Final Jeopardy is a slight book, a hour or two to toss off. (Cue Blacklight almost dropping his Dunkee Cup…ewwww…not THAT kind of toss off…pervert!) Yet it packs lots of goodness in those few pages. You learn about Watson, original code name Blue J (Blue like Deep Blue the Kasparov Krusher! and J for duh…Jeopardy) from it’s beginnings. You’re sucked into the War Room at IBM and right there as Watson gains speed, power and it’s glitches.
Favorite glitch? Watson answering ‘The Pet Shop Boys” instead of “Oliver Twist”. Go Watson, Charles Dickens SUCKS! (cue English literature lovers the world over rising as one to curse me to the end of time.)
And there’s the battles with Jeopardy itself over the format, the finger issue (cue Blacklight laughing: “hey something else has finger issues besides you!” Whatever, Blacklight…wanna see a “puppet show?”), match location and all the rest.
If you need to know the answer of who won, there’s this thing called Wikipedia! But if you have an hour or two to spare and want an interesting read that doesn’t involving heaving bosoms or white gold rings or mopey vampires who need to hang out in the Gobi Desert at high noon until they are crispier than the chicken nuggets I keep scorching in the oven because I don’t believe in oven timers, give Stephen Baker’s Final Jeopardy a try.