Sadness fell on our earth-toned Nirvana at approximately 7:23 pm last evening, as after his earlier triumph, Reston's own Mark Lowenthal failed to advance beyond the semi-finals on Jeopardy's "Battle of the Decades." We were too busy watching the latest cutting-edge Lithuanian buddy comedy, Uter, No! That is My Unicycle From Which You Are Liberating, which had just arrived in our appropriately earth-toned mailbox from our favorite mail-order supplier of Eastern European cinema, Nyetflix. Fortunately, our favorite correspondent, The Peasant From Less Sought-After South Reston, filed a report:
"I'll take homeowners association CEOs who defected to Columbia for $800, Alex."So pour one out, as the kids somewhat recently used to say, for Mssr. Lowenthal. This one's for you:
Once again, regrettably, that shifty son of the north Alex Trebek refuses to acknowledge the existence of flagpole design guidelines, earth tone aesthetics, and homicidal nudist colonies as legitimate Jeopardy categories, instead presenting Reston native Mark Lowenthal questions from such BOR-ING categories as folklore, European rulers, and government medical abbreviations.
Lowenthal, playing in the quarterfinal round of Jeopardy's Battle of the Decades -- a battle royal equaled perhaps only by the Baron Cameron dog park hoopla -- faced off Wednesday against some serious competition: none other than Brad "The Bradinator" Rutter, the show's biggest all-time money winner, and Dan Pawson, the fifth-highest money winner. In this Brouhaha of Bearded Boffins, no one could halt the Bradinator; his advance to the semi-finals was as unstoppable as Sherman's march to the sea or Particleboard's advance into Loudoun.
By the end of the first round, Mark is in third place; although he knew some answers across the board, he couldn't get traction against the Bradinator. We do learn, however, during Alex's chat with the contestants that he is writing an "autobiography" of the Greek god pan. "A lusty fellow," Mark adds, to which the devilish Alex retorts, "Just like you."
As the second round progresses, it becomes a runaway for the Bradinator, especially after he bets $10,000 on a daily double and gives the right answer to an obscure English literature question. We know in our hearts that Mark's fate is sealed when he slightly flubs the correct answer of "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" -- obviously, more time with the cougars at Jackson's would have helped him there.
By the end of round two, the Bradinator is like a runaway Silver Line train pulling into Wiehle, with an uncatchable $32,400 to Dan's $10,200 and Mark's $1,800. All three, however, incorrectly answer the final Jeopardy question dealing with Supreme Court rulings, believing that a 1956 decision referred to a strike rather than the Montgomery bus boycott.
And so the Bradinator lives to fight another day while Mark returns home to the greener pastures of Reston. But kudos to Mark for what he has accomplished during his appearances on Jeopardy dating back to the 1980s. And better yet...we haven't seen any contestants from Columbia in the Battle of the Decades, so put that in your pipe and smoke it (although not on a nature trail with an expensive official no-smoking sign), Uncle Miltie!