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Giving Thanks - December 5

Welcome to the Block Party, where the OJ mess is long gone, and we are into the homestretch of 2006. Last week, we celebrated the holiday of Thanksgiving where we as Americans give thanks for football, Black Friday sales and the ability to overeat turkey and pumpkin pie. But I don't really think that's the true meaning of the holiday.

This week, I do come to give thanks. And the usual stuff goes out of the way first. I do give thanks to my father, my sister and all the members of my immediate family. My girlfriend, Sharron, is my rock and the center of my life. I cannot do anything without her.

But the real thanks I give this week is to all of you in the game show community. For the most part you have welcomed me with open arms. Since my appearance on Millionaire in 2000, I have made more true real friends than in my previous 31 years in existence.

I am going to tell a couple of tales out of school here, but they mean more to me than anything I can think of.

Based on my appearance on Millionaire, I eventually became very good friends with Toby Moore, a winner of $250,000 in Series 2 in November of 1999. He made friends with my grandmother and my family. Flash forward to my grandmother's unfortunate passing at the age of 103 1/2. He flew up his entire family to pay respects to me and my family and to my grandmother. That is the sign of true friendship.

In 2006, a moment during the last day of my vacation with the GSNN gang at GSC5 just struck me to be so real. At a table in Todai Japanese Restaurant sat 6 people. Travis Schario, Ben Ziek, Gordon Pepper, Chico Alexander, Aaron Huertas and myself were there and you could feel the raw emotion of friendship and acceptance. That is the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

And my story isn't unusual. I know lots of people who have struck up lifelong friendship through game shows. People have gotten married and had kids through their relationships. So, during this holiday season, be thankful for your game show friends. They are friends for life.

I know mine are.

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