Ken Jennings

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September 18, 2006

Lev Grossman reviews Brainiac in Time magazine this week. Short version: he hates the cover, likes the book. Much better than the alternative, I guess. Random House gave me the impression that the thing that tipped Grossman in favor of doing a review was my blog post from a couple weeks ago about the Mountain Goats show. Weird. Maybe if I’d gone to see the New Pornographers at Bumbershoot like I was tempted to, I could have gotten in the New Yorker too, dammit.

My favorite part of Grossman’s review: he calls me a “celebrinerd.” This is in line with the Time-honored tradition of inventing stupid mash-up words and hoping they catch on. When Time turned 75, the magazine actually ran an article about this annoying editorial tic. They claim to have coined “guesstimate” and “televangelist” and popularized “smog,” but their list of failed portmanteaus is much, much longer. My favorites include “cinemoppet,” “nudancer,” “sexational,” “twinsult,” and “politricks.”

So now I have my very own stillborn Time neologism! I’m a celebrinerd. Thanks, Lev Grossman–that’s sexational!


I’ve been asked to contribute to a new book, and part of my task is to compile a list of 32 familiar, trademark lines from the world of TV game shows. Now I’m regretting making the suggestion. It’s easy enough to come up with, say, a dozen, but to get up to 32, you might have to get a lot closer to the bottom of the barrel than I’m qualified to go. So have at it, game show fans: stop by the message boards and rattle ’em off. One hundred people surveyed, top 32 answers on the board: here’s the question. Name a well-known game show catchphrase. Is that your final answer?

Posted by Ken at 1:01 pm