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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 12, 2006 / 16 Sivan, 5766

A Treatise on Vowels

By Pat Sajak


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | For a long time now, I've been wanting to write extensively on a subject near and dear to my heart: vowels. Specifically, buying them on Wheel of Fortune. It is one of the most often misunderstood and underappreciated aspects of the show. Viewers who fail to see the wisdom of it are missing out on one of the key strategic maneuvers of the game, and players who forget to do it are, more often than not, sent home in second or third place while someone else goes to the Bonus Round.


Let's start with simple statistics. There are 21 consonants and 5 vowels. That means you have a one-in-five chance of finding a vowel, while only better than a one-in-twenty chance of finding a consonant. Add to that the fact that buying a vowel removes the risk of landing on a "Bankrupt" or "Lose a Turn" space that spinning entails. If anyone on the Wheel staff (including the host) were playing the game, he or she would begin buying vowels as soon as possible, especially when the puzzle is a lengthy one.


I think the fact that vowels cost a little money often makes people feel reluctant to buy them as early or as often as they should. And I think, too, they feel worse when they call a vowel that isn't there rather than a consonant because they've had to announce their intentions. In other words, it may feel less embarrassing to lose a turn to "chance" rather than buying the "wrong" vowel.


As I said earlier, buying vowels is especially critical when you're faced with a lengthy puzzle. As soon as you have enough money, you should start buying. There is nothing more frustrating than watching players lose their turns by blindly calling a consonant (or by hitting a "Bankrupt") when they could have bought a vowel. I can't tell you how many times I've seen players fill in the first two letters in the word "THE" and then spin instead of buying the "E", only to lose their turns and never get them back. Why buy the "E"? Because it is virtually risk free, and $250 is a small price to pay to get more information, since there could, after all, be several more "E's" is the puzzle.


The worst thing I see (and I see it more often than you would think) is when people pass up an opportunity to take advantage of the only time we actually tell them what letter is in the puzzle. Here's what I mean: when there are no more vowels in the puzzle, we announce it, and we remove all vowels from the used letter board. Consequently, it means that there are only vowels available to choose if there are vowels left in the puzzle. If there is only one vowel left to choose on the used letter board, it tells the players it has to be in the puzzle. (After all, if it weren't, we would have removed it from the used letter board once the last remaining vowel was purchased.) And yet, people frequently forget to buy it, and it is very often the key that would unlock the solution. It's fun to see the contestant coordinators tearing out their hair when that happens.

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Viewers often complain about players who buy a vowel when the puzzle is already obvious, and then immediately solve it, thereby "wasting" $250. Well, there are a few things to remember. First, just because it's obvious to you in the comfort of your home doesn't mean it's obvious to the player. Second, since the last thing someone wants to do is mis-solve a puzzle, the player might just be making sure that it's what he thinks it is. So, for a relatively small sum, he gets to "double-check" his work. Finally, the game moves so fast and the tension can be so high in the studio, a player might just want a few seconds to clear his head before answering; so, buying that last vowel also buys a little time.


There are exceptions, of course, and it doesn't always work out, but in the vast majority of cases, the player who buys vowels aggressively is the one who makes it to the Bonus Round. There is rarely a show that doesn't have at least one puzzle turn on someone's decision to buy (or not buy) a vowel.


All of these points are relentlessly beaten into our players' heads by our outstanding contestant coordinators, but, once taping begins, strange things happen, and people tend to forget these basic strategies.


Trust me on this. No matter what you may think while you're watching on TV, vowel-buying is the most important aspect of being a successful Wheel of Fortune contestant.


Class dismissed.

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JWR contributor Pat Sajak is the recipient of three Emmys, a Peoplesí Choice Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He's currently the host of Wheel of Fortune.



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