Book 3 (of 52) – The Life (And Wife) Of Allen Ludden

The Life (and Wife) of Allen Ludden – Adam Nedeff

100 years ago today, in the town of Oak Park, Illinois, the only child of Horace and Tess White, named Betty, was born.  The next year, the family moved to California, where young Betty would grow up and find her way into show business, first on radio and then, in 1949, moving to television, first as a co-host with Al Jarvis on his daily show and, eventually, on her own once he left, before moving on to the syndicated sitcom Life with Elizabeth in 1953.

A little further north, in Wisconsin, a youngster named Allen Ludden moved from town to town with his family.  The Ludden’s eventually landed in Texas, where Allen majored in English and drama at the University of Texas.  During WWII, Allen served as an officer in charge of entertainment, moving east after the war.  He continued to entertain, hosting a radio show and writing advice columns for teen magazines.  He moved to television in 1959, when the G.E. College Bowl debuted on CBS.

In 1961, their path’s crossed for the first time, thanks to the game show Password.  Ludden, named the host of the new show, didn’t remember meeting White the first time she guested, as his concentration was torn from the show by his dying wife.  When White returned a second time after the death of Ludden’s wife, the impression stuck, and Ludden knew who would be the next Mrs. Allen Ludden.  Convincing Betty, however, took a while, but they eventually married in 1963.  They continued to work and live together, feeling the ups and downs of Hollywood life, until Ludden’s 1981 death at the age of 63.  Betty White never married again, though she ultimately became an even bigger star thanks to her 7-year run on The Golden Girls.

I don’t even know if I had heard of Allen Ludden before discovering the Buzzr channel a few years back.  Since then, I’ve watched my fair share of the original Password and the late 70s revival Password Plus, which Ludden was hosting until he fell ill.  It seemed like the world was prepping to celebrate Betty White’s 100th birthday today until her surprising death, or as surprising as a death can be when someone is 99 years old, on New Year’s Eve, less than three weeks before the big bash.  It was in honor of them both that I found this biography from Adam Nedeff, who seems to have made a cottage industry looking back at old time game show hosts.  I might just have to take a look at one of them down the line.

Fitbit VII – Week 49

And yet another disappointing week to wrap up 2021.  Things got off to a slow start on Sunday as I finished with only 1900 steps.  A nice bounce back on Monday left me just 9 steps shy of 4500.  Tuesday fell back down again, dropping to 3900 steps.  Wednesday started heading back in the right direction again, finishing with 4100 steps.  That momentum stopped on Thursday, coming 24 steps away from 3600.  Friday was the big day of the week, as a trip out for breakfast and to the grocery store, not to mention staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve, left me with 5600 steps.  A New Year’s Day snowstorm got 2022 off to a poor start, with only 3400 steps on Saturday.

Total steps: 27,133

Daily average: 3876.1

Fitbit 6: Week 49

The hell year that was 2020 comes to an end and 2021 gets off to a bad start.  The week started slowly on Sunday, where I came 5 steps away from reaching 1700 steps.  Monday was better, getting all the way up to 3100 steps.  Tuesday fell back off again, down to 2500 steps.  Wednesday bounced back up and managed to just surpass 3400 steps.  Thursday, New Year’s Eve, fell back down again to 2200 steps.  Friday rang in the new year, and a trip to my aunt’s house for a super spreader event pushed me to my highest total of the week, with over 3400 steps.  Saturday fell back down once again, falling 5 steps shy of 2500 steps.

Total steps: 18,898

Daily average: 2699.7

The Dog Days Of Summer

As we prepare to enter the dog days of summer, we have 4 shots of Angelina and Michael.  First, they pose in front of the Beverly Hills sign from New Year’s Eve 2018.  Next is a shot of them from the Capitol Building and then outside the White House from last June’s trip to DC.  Finally, from Warner Bros. Studio is a picture of them next to the Privet Drive street sign from Harry Potter.

Fitbit V: Week 49

The long holiday vacation came to an end, and while there was some signs of life, it was another disappointing week.  Unseasonably warm weather on Sunday led to a nice walk around the neighborhood, which put me over 9200 steps, my first day over goal in nearly 2 1/2 weeks.  Monday was back down to 2700, as I settled back in to vacation malaise.  Tuesday, New Year’s Eve, improved on Monday’s total by 38 steps.  Wednesday welcomed 2020 by nearly reaching 3000 steps.  Thursday, I headed back to work and managed to surpass my daily goal by 61 steps.  Friday, thanks to a lunch time trip to Costco and accidentally leaving my phone in the car when I got to work, I put together my first 10,000 step day since October.  With that head of steam, Saturday fizzled, falling back to just over 2000 steps.

Total steps: 37,366

Daily average: 5338

And Never Brought To Mind

A new year is upon us, and, with it, a new decade!  We kick off 2020 with the first group of photos from this year’s calendar, featuring Danny, Angelina, and Michael from last year’s trip to California.  Appropriate for New Year’s Day, Danny is shown from last year’s Rose Parade and at the marching band festival 2 days prior.  Angelina and Michael are posing in front of a Happy New Year sign we came across in Beverly Hills on New Year’s Eve.

2018: The Year In Travel

As I arrive home from California, I thought it would be nice to look back at the many trips I took last year.  Things got started in March, when I headed out to Las Vegas for the IBM Think conference.  Along the way, I took in a show, Absinthe, at Caesar’s Palace, a Barenaked Ladies concert at Mandalay Bay, and a show by The Chainsmokers at MGM Grand, where I was staying.

Following the conference, I took a detour to Phoenix for a long weekend, where I took in some Cactus League action at Camelback Ranch and Peoria Sports Complex, seeing the White Sox, Cubs, and Mariners (twice!).  I also enjoyed a trip to the slot canyons and Horseshoe Bend in Page, followed by a quick trip to the Grand Canyon.

About a month later, I took a short weekend trip to New York.  Danny, Michael, and I flew to New York on a Friday night, where we met up with Angelina and had dinner with the family she was nannying for.  Saturday was a glorious spring day, spent sight seeing at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, Central Park, the Guggenheim museum, and the Empire State Building.  Sunday was spent at the Lyric Theatre, watching both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, before heading home early Monday morning.

My next trip came at the end of July, as Val and I headed down to Roanoke, Virginia, to celebrate Jeff’s 50th birthday.  After a day of “work”, the highlight of the trip was Saturday’s hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob.  Sunday was spent recovering, before heading home.

I spent most of September in Europe, starting with a week in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  Aside from work, there was a trip to Castle Ward in to look at Game of Thrones filming locations, a hockey game featuring the Belfast Giants, a trip to the Ulster American Folk Park and a nip across the border to the wonderful town of Muff in Ireland, and a Black Cab tour of locations in Belfast related to the Troubles. Continue reading →

Book 4 (of 52) – The Devil’s Teardrop

The Devil's Teardrop - Jeffery Deaver

The Devil’s Teardrop – Jeffery Deaver

The Devil’s Teardrop, my 6th outing with the work of Jeffery Deaver and the 1st outside of the Lincoln Rhyme series, focuses of former FBI agent Parker Kincaid, a forensic document examiner, who is called back in to duty when a gunman is let loose on Washington DC on New Year’s Eve.  Kincaid teams with the enigmatic Agent Margaret Lukas to track down the gunman and figure out who is behind his attacks before the clock strikes midnight.

This is Deaver’s lone outing about Parker Kincaid, though he has shown up in bit parts in some of the Lincoln Rhyme books.  I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him and Agent Lukas in the future if Deaver ever wishes to revisit the characters.  In the meantime, this was a good adventure, a nice change of pace from wizards and the like.