Ask The Guy Who Sits Behind Ken Jennings Cousin In Calculus

Jeopardy’s new season is just around the corner, and Ken Jennings fever is in the air.

I actually went to Jr. High and High School with two of his cousins, and know them quite well (that is actually how I found out about Ken in the first place). It turns out that one of them is in my Calc class sooooo…

Ask me any Ken related questions and I will do my level best to find the answer from my classmate. First come first served, and I reserve the right to refuse to ask any question (inappropriate, embarrassing, etc.).

Enough interest in this thread, and I will just have to pay the fee and become a real member :wink:

One small tidbit. I brought up K.J. to him last week, and he said that Ken was off filming the new season as we spoke. The excitement builds…

Um, who is Ken Jennings?

This long standing Jeopardy champion’s 38 game, $1,321,660 winning streak is thought to be the longest in game show history.

Wikipedia Entry

Jeopardy’s K.J. Page

[url=“”]Ken Jennings

What NoPretentiousCodename said.

Oops, the record for a syndicated game show is 46 days (43 wins) by Thom McKee on Tic Tac Dough, 1980, according to wikipedia. :smack:

Does Mr.Jennings have a photographic memory or is he just really* bright?

*(really really really really really)

Well, I can partially answer this one now, but I will try to find out more tomorrow.

According to his cousin “G.” (not the one in my class), Jeopardy has been his lifelong ambition. When he watched Jeopardy on TV as a boy, he “knew” that was what he would do someday. IIRC, his quest began in earnest when he began competing in, and winning, college quiz bowls at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. This is where he honed his impeccable skills with the buzzer. He also took up the habit of studying trivia of all sorts during this time (I like to think he studied to inspiring music like Eye of the Tiger ;)), and does, indeed, appear to have the ability to recall almost all of it. Nevertheless, with the help of his wife, he still hits the trivia books pretty hard.

(Some of this info, admittedly, is already available from other sources, but I am trying to complete the picture as best I can)

If I might offer an opinion, I think he has an above average memory, but not total recall. I have seen people who are able to improve their memory dramatically by practicing. One exercise told to me was to memorize one thing each day, like a short poem or something, and at the beginning of each day recall all the things from previous days. Do this for, like, six months. It takes serious commitment, I should think, and I haven’t personally tried it. Suffice to say I think that a person can improve memory with effort, and I believe this is what Ken has done.

But, back with a canonical answer (I hope) tomorrow.

Once again I feel the need to point out that I am a “Ken Jennings 2.” As in, I competed in college bowl against someone who competed against Ken Jennings.
Who wants to touch me?

poogas21, I get the feeling that if we were ever to join hands we would gain Wonder-Twin-like powers.

Tell me about the bowl, did that person beat Ken, and did you beat that person? What were your schools?

And here is a quite entertaining and informative SDMB thread about The Man.

Ask the cousin if he is as smart as Ken. :wink:

Actually, I’d like to know if Ken is actually weak in any category. We know he’s like Siskel, Ebert, Roeper and the IMDb rolled into one, but can he handle physics or botany?

I would like to know if he speaks any Korean? (I know he lived in Seoul for a while growing up.)

I’ve watched Ken’s streak on and off and he’s missed a few geography questions. And Alex mentioned at one point that “he’s weak on geography.”

I actually followed the original Ken thread on SDMB fairly closely. I was debating whether to start this thread here or add it to that one.

Okay, on with today’s Jennings answers.

Q: Does Ken have photographic memory.

A: He claims not to, but admits to being able to easily remember things he finds interesting. The secret to his success, I suppose, is being interested in one helluvalot of things.

Ken sometimes refers to himself as an absent-minded professor. One day, after kicking some serious Jeopardy butt, Ken couldn’t remember where he parked his car. :slight_smile:

Q: Cousin “D.”, are you as smart as Ken?

A: I wish. (“D.” is studying to become an aerospace engineer.)

Q: What is Ken’s weakness?

A: While he has missed some Geography questions, Ken says his big weakness is cars (witness the parking incident:)). When he copped to this during his appearance on Leno, he said “I hope the writers for Jeopardy aren’t watching”, to which Jay offered to help him bone up on his car knowledge (Jay being a notorious car buff).

Ken’s other weakness, his bane since Junior High, is Home Economics. He never scored higher than a C+.

Q: Does Ken speak Korean (or any other language)

A: According to cousin “D.”, although Ken did spend some time out of the country (Ken’s dad worked as a lawyer for software company Oracle) the only language “D.” is sure Ken speaks is spanish, as he spent 2 years in Spain as an adult. Ken might know a little korean or chinese (from singapore).
Misc: During the original streak, Ken had not anticipated such unprecedented success. Since each show airs on a different day Ken had to change clothes between each show. He neglected to pack enough changes of clothing, so his wife ended up running around town trying to find the appropriate attire in time for the beginning of the next episode.

Ken has an adopted little sister (from Korea? I may have mis-heard “D.” on this) who recently got married. “D.” says Jeopardy films one week of shows each day, and thus Ken’s 8 week run (approximately) took about 2 weeks to film. For us it was an amazing 2 month run, but for Ken it was 2 weeks of great Jeopardy followed by months of waiting for the shows to air, followed by weeks of insane publicity.

The following is speculation, based on incomplete information, on how long the “Ken 2: Electric Boogaloo” streak might last. If you want to have fun watching Ken this season, DON’T READ this:

“D.” is unsure, but thinks Ken may still be away filming Jeopardy. Based on this, I make the wild-assed guess that he will win for at least 5 more weeks, as it was last week when he first told me Ken had been back to film this season. 5 days of filming per week, one week of shows per day, makes 5 weeks. Straighter dope to follow.

Now, lets see if I can keep this up without “G.” or “D.” becoming suspicious.

“Wow, NPC, every time we see you, all you want to talk about is Ken. What’s up?”

When Jeopardy! is taped, five shows are done per day, two days in a row. This is followed by a two-week hiatus.