While You Were Working SmartBrief

Jan. 15, 2020:
Ken Jennings proved the WYWW “Jeopardy!” expert wrong

Why it matters: My prediction last week that James Holzhauer would win the “Jeopardy!” Greatest of All Time tournament didn’t come true last night, as Ken Jennings took the title in dramatic fashion. The match was up for grabs going into Final Jeopardy, which was about Shakespearean tragedies, and Ken shocked me by betting zero (although he didn’t shock me by getting the right answer of “Who is Iago?” — his wide range of knowledge throughout the game was incredible). James bet everything, as he tends to do, but he guessed wrong — “Who is Horatio?” — so he and third competitor Brad Rutter went home with $250,000 each, while Ken got $1 million. All in all, I think the tournament was great television — and it wound up being a great tribute to host Alex Trebek as well. — Cathy 
Jan. 14, 2020:
Ken Jennings may be named the best “Jeopardy!” player ever tonight
Why it matters: The “Jeopardy!” Greatest of All Time tournament has been leading in the ratings and sparking conversation this past week — but it could come to an end tonight, if Ken Jennings wins his third match. I’ve loved having an extra hour of “Jeopardy!” almost every day, but I’m surprised that Brad Rutter hasn’t fared better so far. If he or James Holzhauer, who’s won one match, wins tonight (starting at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC), the tournament will continue tomorrow. And if you’ve been inspired to try out for the show, sign up for the online test later this month. — Cathy (the WYWW “Jeopardy!” expert)
Jan. 7, 2020:
“Jeopardy!” got ready to decide its best player ever
Why it matters: “Jeopardy!” has held many mega-tournaments during its 36 years on the air, but starting tonight, it’s aiming to find its greatest player of all time. The three contestants are Ken Jennings, who won 74 consecutive games; Brad Rutter, who’s won the most money of any contestant; and James Holzhauer, who dominated this past “Jeopardy!” season and won its Tournament of Champions. Personally, I think James will win, given that he’s the youngest and has played the most recently. However, Brad has beaten Ken in almost all their previous matchups (a notable exception is the 2011 tournament that was won by IBM’s Watson computer), so maybe he’ll come through again this time. Above all, I hope the competition is fun for host Alex Trebek as he thinks about the end of his tenure. — Cathy (the WYWW “Jeopardy!” expert)
June 4, 2019:
“Jeopardy!” James’ streak is over, thanks to a gutsy challenger
As WYWW’s resident “Jeopardy!” expert, I can attest to the impressiveness of James Holzhauer’s 32-game winning streak, which ended Monday night. Winning just one game, let alone two like I did in 2012, is hard enough, but to have the stamina to make it to 32 and break records along the way is astounding. What’s really noteworthy is that James won just about as much money as record-holder Ken Jennings — $2.46 million vs. $2.52 million — but did it in less than half as many games — 32 vs. 74 — by making supersize wagers and zeroing in on Daily Doubles and higher-value clues. (James’ small Final Jeopardy wager of $1,399 on Monday made perfect sense, however, as he was trying to lock out challenger Jay Sexton, who finished in third place.) For me, James’ games were less exciting to watch because I always figured he’d win, but I appreciate how he’s gotten people of all ages talking about “Jeopardy!” and helped boost its ratings. Hats off also to Emma Boettcher, who beat him in impressive fashion, finishing with $46,801. James’ challengers often adopted his unorthodox approach, and I’m interested to see whether future contestants will keep doing that — and what James will do for an encore. — Cathy
May 8, 2019:
Jean Vanier transformed life for people with intellectual disabilities

A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of having dinner with residents of a L’Arche home in Arlington, Va., where a friend of mine lived and worked. The homes, part of an organization founded by Jean Vanier, who died Tuesday at age 90, are communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities — known as core members and assistants, respectively — experience life together and form deep relationships. I enjoyed delicious taco salad prepared by one of the core members, spent some time listening to music with another and was impressed by how everyone saw each other as friends and peers. Changing people’s perspectives was Vanier’s goal all along, based on his deep Catholic faith, and L’Arche was just one way he helped improve how people with developmental and intellectual disabilities are seen and treated. To honor his legacy, I recommend seeing if you can visit or volunteer at a L’Arche community near you— Cathy
The Arlington (Va.) Connection
Aug. 29, 2018:
Backpacks with a blessing
By Catherine Guiles
When some children in Arlington go back to school next month, they’ll bring more than notebooks and pencils. Their backpacks will have special tags attached, courtesy of churches that gave the backpacks — and the students wearing them — a blessing for the new year.
“We thought it would be a fitting start to the school year for people to carry their faith into their daily life,” said the Rev. Ann Barker, rector at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Glencarlyn. Her congregation is holding its Blessing of the Backpacks on Sept. 9.
Besides giving children — and interested adults — pocket crosses and tags saying “This backpack has been blessed by a congregation that loves and supports this student,” St. John’s will have parishioners say a special prayer.
It’s “a request for God to bless their time in school and to bless the use of their resources and [for students] to behave in a faithful manner at school — be attentive,” Barker said.
Backpack blessings have been around for several years but are a new ritual for some Arlington churches. Cherrydale United Methodist Church and St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Westover are holding their first ones on Sept. 2 and Sept. 9, respectively.
“It’s something I’ve done at other churches in the past where I’ve served,” said the Rev. Beth Magill, rector at St. Michael’s. “It’s an opportunity to invite children to expand their imagination of their faith beyond the walls of the church.”
The church will give out tags reading “Blessed to be a Blessing.”
“We’ll talk about what it means to give blessings and receive blessings,” Magill said.
A backpack blessing can also reassure children, said the Rev. Elizabeth Foss, pastor of Cherrydale United Methodist.
“We have a number of children who are worried about going to school,” she said. The tags, which say “Blessed are you” and quote Matthew 5:12 (“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven”), along with congregational prayers, will let them know that “our church community supports them” and be “a reminder of God’s promises.”
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Cherrydale held one blessing at its service Aug. 26 for the 29 backpacks it collected for the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing and will hold another for the congregation Sept. 9.
Parishioner Anne Dailey, who helped coordinate the collection, said the message on the tags, “God’s Got Your Back,” complemented a Scripture reading at the service from Ephesians 6, which instructs Christians to “put on the whole armor of God.”
“The blessing of the backpacks and the tags, that’s kind of your ‘armor’ to get you through the school year,” she said.
Dailey hopes the children served by APAH like the tags, which will be in the backpack pockets. “It’s their choice as to whether they want to put it on,” she said.
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in the Old Dominion neighborhood also donated 25-
30 backpacks and tags to APAH, with a message from Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
It will give out roughly 170 tags at services Sept. 9, said the Rev. Amy Slater, senior associate to the rector.
“People like something tangible,” Slater said. It’s “particularly important for kids — they can look at it if they’re having a bad day.”
All the pastors said people who don’t normally attend their churches are welcome to come for the backpack blessings — and they hope children ultimately get a message of love.
“I’m hoping they can become more fully who God created them to be,” Magill said.
The Englewood Review of Books
Dec. 28, 2018:
Oct. 18, 2017:
Religion News Service
Feb. 24, 2017:
Close Menu