News of the Week: Alex Trebek, College Cheating, and the First Recipes of Spring

In the news for the week ending March 15, 2019, are a future in Jeopardy!, a loss of time, a gain for bookstores, apologetic monsters, and much more.

Booths from the game show, Jeopardy.

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Alex Trebek

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek was back taping episodes this week, just days after releasing a video announcing that he has stage IV pancreatic cancer. That’s a very serious type of cancer, and while Trebek says that he’s going to fight and continue to host the popular syndicated game show, I’m sure the producers are already thinking about who will take over for Trebek when he leaves the show (he has three years left on his contract and will probably leave at that time anyway, regardless of his health).

This is really sad. As Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings said in The New York Times this week, Trebek is sort of a national treasure. There aren’t many shows like Jeopardy! on the air, and there aren’t many people on the air like Trebek. He’s a throwback and a welcome presence in our living rooms every night. He has hosted the show for 35 years, and it’s hard to see it continuing without him.

It will continue, of course. I just dread that the producers will try to make Jeopardy! more “hip” by getting a younger host to replace Trebek. Yes, I know, you can say that Trebek was younger when he started the show, but 1984 young is different than 2019 young. I don’t want to see Ryan Seacrest or Billy Bush or Kelly Ripa hosting the greatest game show of all time.

If they want to have a smooth transition to a new host, that host has to have some years on them. They have to have some seriousness and gravitas, but also a silly side that makes jokes. That special combo of really smart but also rather out of touch. A lot of people may think that anyone can sit in a chair and read questions on a card, but it’s not that simple. It’s a lot harder than it looks, and it’s not going to be easy to replace Alex Trebek.

Previously on Fuller Jailhouse …

Rudyard Kipling once famously said, “If you want to go to college, don’t lie about wanting to be on their crew team.” Okay, he never actually said that, but still, you shouldn’t lie about wanting to be on a college crew team.

By now you’ve probably heard that the FBI busted a college entrance fraud racket this week. Among the 44 or so parents and coaches indicted were actresses Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) and Lori Loughlin (Fuller House and those Hallmark Channel movies where she solves murders that involve … garage sales?). Huffman allegedly paid the ringleader of the years-long scam $15,000 to ensure her daughter got a good grade on a college entrance exam, while Loughlin is said to have paid $500,000 to get her two daughters designated as crew team recruits, even though the only crew they had any experience with was shopping at J. Crew. Huffman was taken into custody at her Los Angeles home. Loughlin was in Canada filming a movie and appeared in court later. Yesterday, Hallmark said they will no longer work with her, and Netflix dropped her from Fuller House.

Some crimes are dumb, some are embarrassing. This happens to be both.

If they ever make a Lifetime movie about this — maybe they can call it Making the Grade: The College Cheating Story — I know two actresses that would be just perfect for the roles.

Do You Like Daylight Saving Time?

Everyone always gets excited this time of year because the days grow longer. We set our clocks ahead an hour last weekend, which means there’s more sun, more hours in the day, and more time to do things. Before you know it, it’s going to be light until well past 8 p.m.!

I hate it.

I was reading this Slate piece about why people hate Daylight Saving Time, and it seems that people hate it because they don’t like losing an hour’s sleep. I’ve never really understood that. It’s only an hour and it’s only one morning that you have to get used to the time change, isn’t it? What’s the big deal? There are so many other perfectly legitimate reasons to hate this time of year (as regular readers of this column know). I think most people like the months from March until November more than the fall and winter months. Or at least they say they do. They’ll complain about losing an hour’s sleep, but they’ll take the warmer temps, the longer days, and the ability to wear flip-flops again.

I mentioned last week that I’m ready for spring and warmer weather. I only wish it would last just a month or so and then we could go right into the fall again.

But what about you? Do you like it when it’s daylight until past 8, or do you like the colder months when it gets dark early? Let me know below.

Indie Bookstores Are Thriving

We’ve talked about the whole Amazon vs. bookstores thing several times here, but it’s worth talking about again. While we can lament the passing of big chains like Borders and Book World and B. Dalton — and Barnes & Noble isn’t looking the healthiest these days — independent bookstores are actually doing fairly well. We’re even seeing new ones pop up all the time. Why do they seem to be doing okay when the big chains failed? The Boston Globe has some of the answers.

RIP Jan-Michael Vincent, Dan Jenkins, Hal Blaine, Jerry Merryman, and Jed Allan

Jan-Michael Vincent was best known for his role on the ’80s action series Airwolf. He also had roles in movies like The MechanicWhite Line Fever, and The World’s Greatest Athlete, as well as TV shows like The SurvivorsThe Winds of WarGunsmoke, and The Banana Splits, where he costarred in the “Danger Island” segments. He died last month at the age of 73.

Dan Jenkins was a veteran sportswriter and author of several acclaimed books, including Semi-Tough, which was made into a 1977 movie starring Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson. He died last week at the age of 89.

Jenkins’ daughter Sally wrote a remembrance of her dad for the Washington Post.

Hal Blaine was a drummer for the Wrecking Crew, the band of talented studio musicians who played on hundreds of albums. That’s Blaine drumming on such classic songs as “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys, “Return to Sender” by Elvis Presley, “Strangers in the Night” by Frank Sinatra, “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes, and “The Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand, as well as on the theme songs to The Partridge Family and Batman. He died Monday at the age of 90.

Jerry Merryman was one of the inventors of the pocket calculator. He died last month at the age of 86.

Jed Allan appeared on several soap operas, including Days of Our Lives and Santa Barbara, as well as The Mary Tyler Moore ShowLassie, and Beverly Hills, 90210. He also hosted the game show Celebrity Bowling in the ’70s. He died last weekend at the age of 84.

Uploaded to YouTube by PROClassicTV


This Week in History

Coca-Cola Sold in Bottles for First Time (March 12, 1894)

The first glass bottles of the soft drink were sold in Joseph Biedenharn’s soda fountain in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

First Gold Record: Perry Como’s “Catch a Falling Star” (March 14, 1958)

Uploaded to YouTube by Perry Como

Here’s a 1960 interview with Como by the Post’s Pete Martin.

Spring Recipes

Spring starts next Wednesday (at 5:58 p.m. ET, if you keep track of things that closely), and when that happens, our eating habits change. Oh, they probably don’t for everyone, but if you’re like me, when the warmer months start, your thoughts turn to lighter fare.

Let’s get a head start on the season with this recipe from Curtis Stone for Bruschetta with Spring Pea Pesto and this Strawberry Spring Salad with Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette. You can wash those down with some Grilled Pineapple Lemonade or a Lavender Sapphire Collins. And if you’re throwing a “welcome spring” party, why not welcome it like it’s 1943?

Of course, it is still March and there are plenty of cool days and nights ahead. Maybe there’s still some time to squeeze in a few more mugs of hot chocolate before we have to start thinking about flowers and baseball.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)

This is the day everything turns green, from food to beer to rivers.

March Madness Begins (March 19)

Its popularity is something I’ve never understood, but if you’re filling out a bracket, here’s a complete schedule of all the games.

Featured image credit: Ryan J. Thompson /

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  1. A few weeks ago in my comments on the Post story ‘A Modicum of Equity’ by Julie Watson, I was imagining the female lead of the story portrayed by non other than my favorite ‘Desperate Housewives’ actress, Felicity Huffman. She as ‘Lynette Scavo’ impressed me permanently in the very first episode of the series back in 2004.

    I frankly loved her guts and nerve. She’s at a post-funeral gathering at the deceased woman’s home with 3 triplet boys around 5 years old who, unbeknownst to her, were frolicking in the swimming pool. Very embarrassed and upset, she asked them to get out of the pool that instant. They refused. She tried again, same thing. Finally she told them if they didn’t get out, she would go in and get them out. Underwater, you see her waist deep in a black dress, panty hose and high heels walking to literally getting them out of that pool. Once out, she nonchalantly offers her condolences to the husband advising she needs to leave the reception.

    Dark humor at its finest, she’s been a favorite actress of mine ever since. Whether she’ll ever recover from the unnecessary deep trouble she’s gotten herself in remains to be seen. As a gifted actress, I hope she can, in time. The whole college thing in this country has been out of control for years, with this rich privilege over ‘regular’ Americans being the latest light shined on the grotesquely ugly situation college is in this country, and the fetish/worship Americans have of it, and paralyzing fear of NOT having it.

    Basically the perception is, if you don’t have a college degree you’re “stupid”, and if you DO have one you’re automatically “smart” and life will be perfect, in every way. How’s that workin’ out?! Here’s the deal: a lot of people are “smart” enough to retain and regurgitate the material back to pass the tests to get the grades to get the degrees. Take them out of THAT scenario and a lot of these same people prove to be stupid outside of school. Just look at where this country’s at today, in every way, pretty much destroyed by people with LOTS of degrees running it to ruination.

    Since SOOO many people now with degrees are saddled with millions in student debt and are lucky, lucky to have minimum wage jobs the bitterness seen by these students on YouTube is more than understandable. The colleges don’t want you looking at those, or the biggest expose yet: “The College Conspiracy” (1 hour documentary) from several years ago that’s more relevant now than ever. PLEASE check it out for yourself. Yes, rich privilege is wrong and bad, but the fundamental lid needs to ripped off of college in every way, stripped to the core, with an ax finally being thrown at it’s never-questioned, bellowing Orwellian brain washing screen of fear, finally smashing its validity to bits.

    The spring-forward is more than losing an hour’s sleep in early March (still winter by the way), it throws a lot of people’s internal clocks off balance for weeks, usually until the end of April when it’s supposed to (and used to) happen. It’s NOT only one hour, one morning; far from it Bob. You don’t seem to mind, I do. so we disagree on it.

    I’m very glad independent bookstores are thriving. I was planning on visiting Bargain Books in Van Nuys this weekend in fact. I still miss the Bookie Joint in Reseda where I helped out a lot after the Northridge earthquake. I bought quite a few of my favorite magazines there including vintage issues of The Post of course, LIFE, Look, Collier’s, Liberty, Life and various others. Many books too, naturally.

    Thanks for the links on the very talented Perry Como. As for the Coke ad, not so much. Their print ads were generally really good through 1958, but the 1959 and ’60 were bad, sorry. They improved after the early ’60s and were probably at their best ever in the late ’60s and early ’70s (It’s the Real Thing era) except for the ‘pit crew’ ads with Paul Newman and similar ones. No offense meant to Paul at all.


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