October 1, 2005
Jason: Low fat Ice Cream please and no nuts
Gordon: I prefer sherbet, myself. We're back, and Mike has survived the first
segment. Leger, that is.
Mike K: and me too.
Gordon: and Klauss.
Mike L: Scary, isn't it?
Jason: I think he fits in well here.
Gordon: Can he survive...20 Questions??????
Mike L: I'll take my chances.
Gordon: You know how this works. We pepper you with questions until we hit 20.
Mike L: And I evade the ones I hate and answer the ones I don't. Gotcha
Jason: Ok. Here I go.
Gordon: Jason, I am sure you have many questions to ask your foe - you start.
Jason: 1) Not many people know that not only are the only person to beat me,
you are the only person to beat "Play It" Twice. Tell us about your experiences
Mike L: Not the ONLY person to beat it twice, but we're a small fraternity.
Jason: but go on.
Mike L: Play It! is such a fun time...Tough but beatable. The best thing is that
you have nothing to lose by guessing, so a good guesser can do very well there
Gordon: For the people at home, what is Play it?
Mike L: It's the themepark version of Millionaire, now only at Walt Disney World
in Orlando. When I lived in Vegas, and it was at California Adventure, I used to
go down about every 2 months.
Don: 2) What categories would you have liked to see when you were on
Mike L: Ooooh, good question. "The Environment", of course. (I'm an
environmental engineer). LOTS more movie categories (I'd have killed for one
just on The Godfather). Less Sports. More Science. Less Attorneys General.
DEFINITELY less Flowers. Math, science, movies, literature...those are my
Chico: No history, then. I can understand that.
Mike L: Civil war history would have been OK
Chico: Ah. Cool.
Mike L: Or recent history (since say 1970).
Chico: 3) You are pretty well known on the J! boards over at Jeopardy.com.
Would you consider yourself to be a "student" of the game?
Mike L: I don't know... I don't think so. I've loved it since I was a kid, and
always knew I'd have a shot at winning. But I'm not what you'd call rabid about
studying or what the J! board members have discussions incessantly on (like
betting strategy and so forth).
Chico: You're just there for the grub and the good times, then.
Mike L: I consider myself a trivia geek.
Jason: The grub is good.
Chico: Trivia geeks are always cook. Err, cool.
Mike L: The grub was NOT good. I cook, too!
Gordon: 4) - I have another secret that I've heard. I heard a rumor that you
have been a Phone-A-Friend on Millionaire. Any truth to this rumor? If so, when
were you a PAF?
Mike L: Rumor my ass. Yes, I've been a PAF...a couple of times in a group
situation, and once solo. The groups were for Cori Gorbett a couple of years
ago, and Phyllis Harris shortly after her. The solo run was for a guy named Greg
Leck....I got called on a question about "St. Elmo's Fire"....got it, but barely
Chico: So you've been around...
Mike L: So I've been trying to tell everyone, Chico!
Chico: Heh. Sorry.
Mike L: I consider my PAFfing and Play It! as rehearsals for the real hot
seat....in about a year! PAFfing is VERY tough, BTW.
Jason: 5) So what was it like to beat me?
Mike L: Both exhilarating and guilt-inducing at the same time. I hated to be the
one to finally break your string, but the game was fun, and I needed the cash!
Gordon: What was the prize?
Mike L: $800 and a trip to Barbados (an all-inclusive resort)
Jason: Did you get the trip to Barbados yet?
Mike L: I've got the certificate, I just need to tell them when I will go
Jason: Have a blast.
Mike L: I should take you with me!
Jason: You should, but then there would be all sorts of collusion...I will
Mike K: 6) You mentioned earlier that being a PAF is very tough. Having been
on two PAF lists but not having received the big call, can you tell me how it's
tough? Besides obviously possibly changing someone's life forever if you're
Mike L: When you can't SEE the question, but only hear it, having to process the
information is very difficult. Plus the fact that if you $*#( it up, YOU are the
one to blame. The pressure is very intense, but luckily for only a minute or so.
Big time adrenaline rush.
Mike K: As a follow-up of sorts, how clear can you hear Meredith/Regis and the
person you're helping?
Mike L: I had no problems with audio at all. I was lucky in that regard.
Don: Back to Jeopardy for this one... 7) If you could, which past champion(s)
would you like to face and why?
Mike L: Chuck Forrest was my hero for the longest time. I just thought he had
amazing recall back in the day. I'd really like to have a shot at Ken, just for
the experience. And I would have liked to have faced the Maddenator.
Jason: I beat Ken.
Mike L: Just before I beat you, in fact.
Jason: True True.
Mike L: :-) so by extension....
Chico: Anyway, 8) Where did you get the nickname "Killer Tomato"?
Mike L: LOL...OK, long story, so be patient:
Chico: Being patient.
Mike L: When I first got on the internet, I was living in Pittsburgh. At that
time, I chose the handle "PghAirHead"...for Pittsburgh Air Head (which is what I
do for a living, I'm an air quality engineer). I got hit on by every 15 year old
boy on the internet, who thought I was a blonde bimbo.
Jason: OK then...
Mike L: So I decided to change my handle...I wanted something a little
more....masculine. And being half Italian, I wanted something that had something
to do with that, too.
Mike K: Wow. ROFL.
Mike L: So walking through Blockbuster, I spotted "The Attack of the Killer
Tomatoes"...and the name just hit me.
Jason: Makes sense.
Mike L: Despite the fact that I HATED that movie...
Mike L: So, Killer Tomato was born.
Chico: So it was born out of movie fruit. Or a fruity movie... Or something,
Gordon, get me outta this.
Mike L: Despite what science says, I prefer vegetable.
Gordon: There you go. #9 - Have you ever attended a Game Show Congress? If
so, what did you think?
Mike L: I was living in Vegas when GSC2 went on. Had a great time. Loved the
Game Show Machine. Met a lot of really nice people. I couldn't afford to go to
either of the next two in LA, but I'm planning on making it to GCS5 next year.
Gordon: I believe, if memory serves my correctly, that you and J. Block were on
the same team for the Game Show Machine.
Jason: Could be.
Mike L: I think so, weren't we? With Snaxx?
Gordon: (Snaxx - John Corbet)
Mike L: Too long ago....I've tried to block out most of my life when I lived in
Jason: 10) Why do you think there are as few game shows out there for us to
Mike L: Demographics demographics demographics. Game shows just draw the wrong
ones, from TV's standpoint. And it's a shame, because those of us over 40 buy
Jason: We do. Trust me.
Chico: Some buy more than the 30somethings...
Mike L: Unfortunately, it's the teens and twentysomethings that TV wants to
draw. Just look at the makeup of the last BB.
Mike K: 11) Have you tried out for any other game shows besides Jeopardy! and
have you been on any other game shows?
Mike L: Tried out, yes. Been on...other than "Beat the Block"....no.
Mike K: What shows?
Mike L: I'm a HUGE Millionaire fan. That's my next quest. I'd love to do TPIR,
but am never there when they are taping.
Jason: Next year you will. But you won't be eligible.
Mike L: And even if I were, I'd want to save my Millionaire eligibility.
Mike K: Good logic, saving it for a show you want to be on.
Mike L: I think so! :-)
Mike L: There are a LOT of shows I'd have loved to be on that aren't around any
Chico: A question we asked last week, but want your answer now... 12) Buzzer
digit... Thumb or index finger?
Mike L: Thumb, definitely. I couldn't get the hang of using the index.
Chico: Everyone seems to go with that.
Mike L: Didn't help me get in more often on the movie or Shakespeare categories,
though. Deborah, Carol and Chris were all VERY quick on the buzzer.
Chico: That's half the game right there.
Mike L: More than half, IMO.
Gordon: #13 - So you won a bundle on Jeopardy, you Beat the Block and you
were a PAF. Of those three things, which one was the most special and why?
Mike L: With all due respect to Mr. Block, I'll have to say J! was the most
special. Simply because I got to go out to LA, meet a really fantastic group of
people, and I walked away with a very nice chunk of change.
Jason: I have no problem with that.
Mike L: Beating the Block comes in second.
Jason: Thank you.
Jason: 14) Tell me about the social aspects of game shows. You are a good
friend of mine, as well as so many others.
Mike L: Thank you! I guess that's one reason J! and Millionaire appeal to
me...the people I've met as a result of those two shows have just been amazing,
almost across the board. I think that I've made a lot of very good friends as a
result of my game show obsession, and really enjoy helping those who are trying
to get on. For whatever my advice is worth, I guess.
Mike K: 15) How was Trebek off-camera? Does he come across as a snob?
Mike L: He's a complete goofball.
Mike K: Can you give an example?
Mike L: And no, I didn't get the sense of snobbishness. He's required to be a
little distant, but during the breaks when answering questions, he's very
Chico: He is, you know.
Mike L: He talks a lot about his dogs....one of them is named Scumbucket. How
can you not like a guy who names his dog Scumbucket? He also had to edit himself
a couple of times when he started to get a little bluer than he should...
Chico: Better than you thought, from what I hear.
Mike L: Better than I expected him to play, that's for sure.
Chico: Okay, it's time again for... the questions we ask everyone!
Mike L: WOOHOO!!
Chico: 16) What's your favorite game show, past or present?
Mike L: "What's My Line"
Chico: Good choice... 17) Favorite host, past or present?
Mike L: Regis Philbin, believe it or not. I just liked Rege's personality.
Chico: Interesting answer there... 18) If you could bring back one show from
the past, what would it be?
Mike L: "Joker's Wild"....loved that show.
Chico: Yes :-)
Mike L: "Password" would be a close second.
Chico: 19) What game would you like to challenge next, not that you haven't
answered that already, but...
Mike L: Millionaire, without a doubt. I'm very upset that J! called just when I
was going to audition for the Movie week. :-)
Chico: Ick. Bad break. Last question!
Mike L: Can't complain too much...I've got 32,801 reasons to love my J!
Jason: Not yet though. :-)
Chico: Before taxes.
Mike L: You people are such party poopers!
Chico: LOL 20) The Create-a-Question: Basically, if you have something to get
off your chest, now would be the time to do it.
Mike L: #20: What are your thoughts on reality game operas?
Chico: That works. So what ARE your thoughts on reality competitions (we frown
on that "game opera" phrase around here)
Mike L: With one exception (The Amazing Race), I hate 'em all. Too nasty for me.
I like to think that playing the game well should pay off, not work against you.
Unlike, say, "Survivor" where being strong means you're a target.
Chico: Makes sense.
Mike L: Sorry, "reality competitions" despite the fact that there's very little
reality in any of 'em
Chico: Yeah... We're "game first" here =p
Gordon: And that ends 20 Questions. Thank you very much Mike.
Chico: Alright, Mike, you survived 20 Questions!
Mike L: WOOHOO!
Chico: Continued success, Mike.
Mike L: Thank you very much, that was fun!
Gordon: But will he survive the next segment?
Jason: Uh oh...
Chico: Jeopardy! season 22 continues, check local listings, Beat the Block every
Tuesday morning on PLJ.com.
Jason: Except this Tuesday...
Chico: Except this Tuesday.
Jason: I will be on Thursday.
Mike L: I'll make sure to mark my calendar with the change!
Jason: Thank you.
Mike L: I'm still trying to talk my NTN teammates into calling in for you,
Jason: Bring it on.
Mike L: Oh, dear...
Chico: Get your Windows Media Players out for !, coming up next! This is your
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