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Tuesday, October 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Couch Slouch sorry to see James Holzhauer go

UPDATED: Mon., June 3, 2019, 10:23 p.m.

“Jeopardy!” sensation James Holzhauer speaks after being presented with a key to the Las Vegas Strip in front of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign in Las Vegas. (Caroline Brehman / AP)
“Jeopardy!” sensation James Holzhauer speaks after being presented with a key to the Las Vegas Strip in front of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign in Las Vegas. (Caroline Brehman / AP)

I could not stop watching James Holzhauer. I could not stop thinking about James Holzhauer. I could not stop dreaming of James Holzhauer.

Originally, I planned on writing about the NBA Finals today. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This will be my only mention of Warriors-Raptors this week:

Holzhauer has changed the game of “Jeopardy!” like Stephen Curry has changed the game of basketball.

His numbers were staggering. Before losing Monday, he had won 32 straight games, almost all runaways. The previous one-day earnings record was Roger Craig’s $77,000 in 2010; Holzhauer averaged $76,944 per outing, with a high of $130,137 in the 10th game of his streak.

He finished with $2,462,416 in winnings. The all-time “Jeopardy!” record holder, Ken Jennings, accumulated $2,520,700 over his 74-game win streak in 2004.

Holzhauer’s response accuracy was 97 percent. He threw 11 perfect games – in which he never gave a wrong answer – including three in a row in Games 22 to 24; he also had back-to-back games of 44 for 44 and 43 for 43. He was 71 for 75 on Daily Doubles and 32 for 33 on Final Jeopardy.

As he pursued game-show immortality on “Jeopardy!”, I could not turn him off.

What, you expected me to watch Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz instead?

Sure, I know it’s not sports, it’s better than sports, and every game is over in 30 minutes.

It’s amazing how Holzhauer always brought his ‘A’ game. He’s like a pitcher throwing all heat, no change-ups – 105 mph on the black, again and again.

Holzhauer, a 34-year-old sports bettor from Las Vegas, apparently has no weaknesses. He was unstoppable on sports, pop culture, world geography, singers, planetary stuff, U.S. history, potpourri and art from any century. And he was virtually unstoppable on everything else.

Remember when they decided to “Tiger-proof” the Masters by lengthening Augusta National to make it harder on Tiger Woods? I’m not sure how you could “James-proof” “Jeopardy!” – maybe, just maybe, if the clues were all in pig Latin, it would’ve slowed him down.

They threw two lawyers up against him one day – I thought one of them was going to serve a court order barring him from the “Jeopardy!” lot – but it turns out they were just a couple of middling ambulance chasers run over by Holzhauer’s brilliance.

Another day, one of his opponents was Jim Bob Williams, a therapeutic humorist from Saint Albans, West Virginia. I’m sorry – and he seemed like a smart fella – some guy named Jim Bob is going to beat the Jonas Salk of “Jeopardy!”? I think not. He actually took the early lead, but then it was over in a blink of Alex Trebek’s eye.

Indeed, once in a while, I would think, “Oh, my, he’s met his match today.” And then 10 minutes later, Holzhauer’s would-be slayer was game-show roadkill.

Some people, particularly longtime “Jeopardy!” viewers, ended up rooting against Holzhauer. This is preposterous. We were supposed to begrudge him because he plays the game at the highest level ever? You wanted to see his genius disappear?

Would you root against Einstein en route to him figuring out e = mc²?

Would you root against Ponce de León when he was sailing toward the Fountain of Youth?

Would you root against Ben or Jerry when they were endeavoring to concoct New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream?

“Jeopardy!” is taped in Los Angeles, so I considered going by the studio to get a glimpse of greatness. But I decided that’s a bad idea – better to gaze at our big-screen stars from afar than know too much about them.

Yeah, I’m talking about you, Charlie Sheen.

Holzhauer lost a little luster last week when he missed a question about Babe Ruth, and it was an easy one.

Clue: “Babe had this player leadership position for only 6 days before being stripped of it for going after a fan in the stands.”

Holzhauer: “What is manager?” No!!!!! What is captain? Geez.

And then, finally, he had an off-day. He lost, just short of Jennings’ earnings record. The correct Jeopardy answer is: “Who is Emily Boettcher?”

I got a feeling Holzhauer went Hollywood and started hanging out with Charlie Sheen.

Ask The Slouch

Q. Re: The Astros’ Carlos Correa. How does one fracture a rib from a massage? (Lawrence Russell; Salt Lake City)

A. Reminds me that I once got fired from my job as a massage therapist – they said I rubbed people the wrong way.

Q. If the NFL allows marijuana use, will the stadium food vendors be allowed on the sidelines during games? (Roger Strauss; Silver Spring, Md.)

A. I just feel bad for Adam “Pacman” Jones – I don’t think he retires if he anticipated this.

Q. Your writing has been dramatically stronger recently. Are you taking performance-enhancing drugs? (Jack Leininger; Spokane)

A. No – just Fresca.

Q. If President Trump isn’t worried about Kim Jong Un firing missiles off in all directions, should I not be worried about the Washington Nationals’ bullpen? (Jeff Covel; Arlington, Va.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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