All-Star Game at Minnesota

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blogger Troubles

It was like three days from hell for me since Tuesday. I ran into a big problem with Blogger and my AOL service, and I was unable to post from my home PC until about 5 minutes ago. I went on the Blogger Help Group but could find little success there.

I was about to go to bed tonight, when I decided to call AOL to see if they could help me out. A really friendly rep from the company guided me to an AOL problem with Blogger (there was a problem with some files and I had to install a new AOL adapter). I managed to clear up the problem, and now I am back online from home.

I had to post from Internet cafes and Professor Thom's computer the last few days, just like when my computer was out for nearly ten days. This problem was a real pain. Hopefully everything is now back to normal. (And I'm knocking wood right now!)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bring Back The Rivalry!

I got an interesting email from my friend John in Omaha, Nebraska, and he told me about an online petition going around to bring back the Nebraska-Oklahoma game every year. They are in different divisions now in their conference, and are meeting this weekend for The Big 12 championship.

But the fans in the Midwest want the game to be a yearly event again. I remember in my youth the NU-OU always being a big deal on TV, and I can only imagine what it was like in Nebraska and Oklahoma. I didn't realize at the time that they didn't meet every year, but it would be great if it was brought back. I always liked the Cornhuskers in my younger days. (Notre Dame has always been my favorite, but Nebraska always played entertaining football and I got to liking them.)

So John sent me along this online petition, so I've decided to put it up here. I signed it yesterday, and the good folks in Nebraska hope to get 85,000 signatures, enough to fill Nebraska's home stadium.

Here is the link to the petition: http://nu-ou-forever.org

Good luck to the Cornhuskers on Saturday. Kick some Oklahoma butt!!

We Miss You George

It was five years ago today that we lost George Harrison, at the young age of 58. He died in Los Angeles that day of cancer, and he fought bravely against it for nearly a year. On hearing of his death that day, I felt another part of my youth pass away.

He was truly a genius of a musician, songwriter, and was an even better man.

I know God has rewarded him.

We'll always miss you George.

Trivia Q&A: November 28

Here are the questions and answers to last night's round of trivia. My friends Michael, Steve and Alex were last night's champions, with 51 total points. I cannot write the name of their team, as God will probably strike me dead if I did, it is that vulgar. Next week they are promising something just as revolting for their name.

I can hardly wait to have to announce it all night long.

Anyway, here is the Q&A:

New York City Trivia
1. What the tallest building in New York City before the Empire State Building opened in 1931? Chrysler Building
2. What year did Brooklyn become a borough of New York City? 1898
3. Who was mayor of New York before Rudy Giuliani? David Dinkins
4. What year did the first subway open in New York City? 1904
5. What was the original name of JFK Airport? Idlewild Airport
6. In which NYC borough will you find the sections of Richmond Hill and Woodhaven? Queens
7. Which New York born actor founded the NYC-based Tribeca Film Festival? Robert DeNiro
8. Name 1 of 3 years that New York City suffered a significant citywide blackout? 1965, 1977, 2003
9. What was New York's original name when it was owned by the Dutch in the 17th century? New Amsterdam
10. Which New York mayor once read the comics over the radio to New Yorkers during a newspaper strike? Fiorello LaGuardia

Current Events
1. Which nation is Pope Benedict visiting this week, amid protests by the Islamic majority over statements he made earlier this year? Turkey
2. Which Asian city is planning to build a 2000-foot tower by the end of the decade, and it would become the tallest structure on earth? Tokyo
3. Which blonde bombshell announced she's divorcing her third husband after only four months of marriage? Pamela Anderson
4. In which LA comedy club did Michael Richards have his now infamous racial tirade in? The Laugh Factory
5. Which film was the number one film in America for the second consecutive week? Happy Feet
6. A concert is being planned for next year to remember the passing of this icon nearly ten years ago? Princess Diana
7. A fire in a home for the mentally ill killed ten people over the weekend. In which state did it happen in? Missouri
8. This Washington DC monument was shut down on Monday due to a suspicious note found with two mysterious bottles in a bathroom. Lincoln Memorial
9. This rock star had to stop a show in Australia on Sunday to throw up off stage, but returned 45 minutes later to finish the show. Elton John
10. A theme park and statue of the late Bruce Lee is planned to be built in this Asian country. China

Movie Quotes
1. "Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?" (1980) Airplane!
2. "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." (1942) Casablanca
3. "A hundred million terrorists in the world and I got to kill one with feet smaller than my sister." (1988) Die Hard
4. "Hey man, you're hit. You're bleedin' man.""I ain't got time to bleed." (1987) Predator
5. "Stupid is as stupid does." (1994) Forrest Gump
6. "Do you believe in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness Monster and the theory of Atlantis?""Hey, if there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe in anything you say." (1984) Ghostbusters
7. "Names is for tombstones, baby! Waste him!" (1973) Live And Let Die
8. "I'm Willie Mays Hayes. I hit like Mays, and I run like Hayes." (1988) Major League
9. "I must kill The Queen! I must kill The Queen!" (1988) The Naked Gun
10. "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works." (1987) Wall Street

TV Trivia
1. From which 1970s TV series did John Sebastian have a Top 10 single from? Welcome Back Kotter
2. Which legendary actor/comedian always opened his variety show with the catchphrase, "How sweet it is!!?" Jackie Gleason
3. Which classic TV game show was the center of the quiz show scandals of the late 1950s, immortalized in the movie, "Quiz Show?" 21
4. Which show's final episode is still the most watched single TV show in American history? M*A*S*H
5. Which legendary comedian was once voted to never appear again on Saturday Night Live by an audience phone poll? Andy Kaufman
6. In which year did "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" debut in the US on ABC? 1999
7. Which future president once said, "Sock It To Me" on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In? Richard Nixon
8. Which actor left NYPD Blue after its first season, seeking a movie career, but after very little success, ended up returning to TV? David Caruso
9. On who's TV show did presidential candidate Bill Clinton once famously play his saxophone on in 1992? The Arsenio Hall Show
10. As of 2006-07, how many seasons have The Simpsons been on the air on the Fox network? 18

General Knowledge
1. Who was brought into the Beatles when Pete Best was kicked out of the band? Ringo Starr
2. At which Los Angeles hotel was Robert Kennedy assassinated at in 1968? The Ambassador Hotel
3. In which European country did the tradition of exchanging gifts first start? Italy
4. What was the better known nickname of the Old West outlaw William Bonney? Billy The Kid
5. Which of the original 13 states was the first to ratify The Bill of Rights? New Jersey
6. What was the name of Elvis Presley's first film? Love Me Tender
7. On which boxer is the film "Raging Bull" based on? Jake LaMotta
8. It is believed that one-third of all the fresh water on earth is located in which country? Canada
9. Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago was the first athlete to win this prestigious award in 1934? Heisman Trophy
10. There have been five permanent hosts of "The Tonight Show" since it debuted on NBC in 1954. Name 3 of the 5. In order: Steve Allen, Ernie Kovacs, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

He Wouldn't Get My Vote

It was revealed yesterday that the ballots for the Hall of Fame were sent out to the baseball writers, who are the voters. Those elected to Cooperstown for next summer's induction will be announced on January 9.

There are two new players who are a guaranteed lock for election. Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken have incredible baseball resumes, and it's just a matter of how much of the percentage they will both ultimately get (75% is needed for election; they should both get at least 90%).

But the one new name that is to say the least controversial is that of Mark McGwire. When he retired in 2001, it seemed like he was a sure bet to be elected this time around.

But the events of March 17, 2005 seemed to change all of that.

That was the day that McGwire and a number of others in baseball went to Congress to testify before a special committee about the rampant use of steroids in the sport. McGwire basically dodged his past, as he is now known for the infamous line, "I don't want to talk about the past" when it came time for his testimony. McGwire came off like a man with something to hide, and incredibly guilty of some past wrong as far as drugs were concerned.

I can only imagine that his lawyers told him not to admit to anything. He couldn't even deny anything under oath, because of a fear that his testimony would one day come back to haunt him. (He probably feared a perjury charge if it was one day proven he had lied that day.)

McGwire has basically become a recluse since his retirement, as he doesn't give interviews for fear that the dreaded "S" word will be brought up. When Jose Canseco's book "Juiced" came out in early 2005, McGwire was fingered by him (as well as many others) as hardcore abusers. I also find it interesting that if McGwire is totally innocent of these charges by Canseco, why hasn't he sued him? Simple. Because in a lawsuit, everything would come out in open court about his possible steroid use, and he can't possibly do that. And NONE of the others named in "Juiced" has sued Canseco either.

I was a fan of both McGwire and Sammy Sosa when they were both going for Roger Maris' home run record in 1998. They both were very likable types, and handled all the pressure with a lot of character and grace. (I remember someone--but I can't recall who it was--saying, "Can you imagine having to root for a jerk like Barry Bonds going for a home run record?)

The Associated Press took an informal poll of voters recently, and it looks like McGwire will have a hard time even reaching 50% of the vote in January. And it may not get better for him as the years go on.

Both Sosa and McGwire have been disgraced by their possible steroid usage. It's a really sad state of affairs, but if I had the vote, I just could see myself voting for McGwire. His silence on the subject speaks absolute volumes.

Mark McGwire hit 583 homers in his career, and normally that would have been an automatic election to Cooperstown. But now it looks like he will be on the outside looking in for a long time to come. That is, unless one day he decides to come out and try to set the record straight.

But by that time, the damage may have done and been irreparable. And it maybe just too late.

That March day in 2005 in Washington will be a day Mark McGwire will long regret for the rest of his life.

10,000 Visitors

Today at The Mighty Quinn Media Machine, we got our 10,000th visitor to the site since I put the Site Meter up on April 20th, 5 1/2 weeks after I started the blog. Visitor number 10,000 was a reader from Holden, Massachusetts who came to my blog looking for my satrical Doug Mirabelli post about "Dougie going deep." (There has once again been an upswing in readers looking for that again. I think because Doug's a free agent once again.)

I am also posting a bit late today, as Blogger is once again having problems, and I've had to post from another computer.

We had over 1200 hits on the blog over four days last week because of the post I put up about the drug use I saw when I worked at Tower Records back in the 80s, and the site Gawker.com put up a link to it. (That is nearly ten times what I would expect over a normal time frame.) I really didn't think I would reach 10,000 until mid-December some time.

Once again, thanks to all of you who continue to make my blog a success, and a joy to write.

I'm now in the "five digits" as far as readership goes, and I couldn't be more proud.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Michael Richards Fiasco

As just about the whole world has seen by now, actor/comedian Michael Richards had one of the worst meltdowns in the history of show business about 10 days ago. He was doing his standup act, and after being heckled by two black fans about his act, he vented his rage at the two guys with a hateful racist rant against them, as it was being taped on a quick-thinking person's cellphone.

Richards, who everyone knows as the quirky neighbor Cosmo Kramer on the "Seinfeld" TV series, may have just killed any semblance of his career with the events at the Laugh Factory that night. He quickly went into spin mode about what happened, as his buddy Jerry Seinfeld gave him the chance to apologize on David Letterman's show a couple of nights later.

Richards insisted he wasn't a racist, but the evidence of what happened is pretty overwhelming to the contrary. A good comedian would take a heckler like the ones he encountered and turn it to his advantage, something Richards clearly couldn't do. He's always had a rep for being rather tightly strung, and doesn't handle criticism well. He is a completely different person from the character of Kramer he played on TV.

Then he made a really bad move. He ran to so-called black leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, pleading to them that he wasn't a racist and begging their forgiveness. (I guess you might say that the "Michael Richards Apology Tour" is in full swing.) Now, for the next few months or even years, we will see Richards at every turn apologizing to everyone who will listen, especially to the black community, about his racist rant. It has already taken a sad and pathetic turn, and will probably just get worse as time goes on.

And of course, the stupidity is in full bloom. I read a really inane letter to the editor in yesterday's New York Daily News (aren't most of them inane anyway?) that said that "if Richards and the Seinfeld crew are truly sorry for his racist tirade, they should donate a proceeds of their DVD sales to Hurricane Katrina victims." Where do I start on the stupidity of this statement? First, what do the producers of "Seinfeld" have anything to do with what Richards did? And if Richards does donate money to charity because of this, it will look like he's trying to buy his way out of trouble. Just throwing money around to some charity won't whitewash what Richards did, and it is truly one of the worst things he could do now.

I have no sympathy for Richards for what he did on stage that night. It was totally indefensible. There are lines in standup comedy you don't cross, and he crossed it. His rant wasn't part of his act, and this will be the price he pays. He says he wasn't drunk, on drugs or any other controlled substance while on stage that night.

But let's face the facts about Michael Richards: he really hasn't had much of a career since "Seinfeld" ended in 1997. He had his own sitcom shortly after that but it went nowhere. He's had a few bit parts in movies, but for all purposes, his career ended when "Seinfeld" did. People have talked about a so-called "Seinfeld Curse" (don't get me started on what I think of curses), but it appears that Richards will never get away from the character of Kramer, which clearly had become an albatross for him. (Did you notice the newspaper headlines always refer to him as "Kramer" and not "Richards?") He may have gained fame and fortune from the show, but now he's seeing the darker side of it.

Richards would have been better off going into seclusion for a time instead of making these pathetic attempts at spin control. He clearly needs some kind of help with his anger issues. His meltdown on stage was scary to watch, even if it didn't include the racial slurs he uttered. I hope he can straighten out his life and get his career back, but I wouldn't exactly bet on it right now.

What happened at The Laugh Factory on November 17 will probably dog him for the rest of his life.

They're Determined To Kill Me

I watched the complete Vikings-Cardinals game yesterday, and for three quarters the Vikings looked like they were determined to end their four game losing streak. Brad Johnson played one of his best game of the year, throwing 3 TDs, and Chester Taylor ran for 136 yards and also scored a TD.

It didn't get off to a good start, as J.J. Arrington returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a TD. "Here we go again," I thought to myself. But the Cardinals showed their true colors and turned the ball over five times. The Vikings built up a 31-13 lead early in the fourth, and intercepted a Matt Leinart pass and looked like they were ready to ice the win when Taylor fumbled on the one-yard line and Adrian Wilson returned it 99 yards for a TD to put Arizona back in the game. (It still looked like Taylor's knee was down before he fumbled, but the refs wouldn't overturn it.)

Arizona scored another TD with just 39 seconds to play, and it made it 31-26. They then recovered the onside kick and I couldn't believe what was happening. "Only the Vikings could let something like this happen," I said. (This was before yesterday's Giants debacle. More on that coming up.) With 2 seconds remaining, Leinart heaved a pass into the end zone that Darren Sharper intercepted to seal the win. Way too close for comfort, especially against a team that had just two wins all season.

The rush defense was again superb, holding Arizona to just 17 yards, but the pass defense was atrocious, as Leinart threw for 405 yards. The Vikings are now 5-6, with just faint hopes for a wild card berth, and a date with the Bears at Soldier Field next Sunday.

At least the Vikings won. I still can't believe what happened to the Giants yesterday. As my friends were watching the Patriots beat the Bears, an easy win against the 3-7 Tennessee Titans turned into one of the worst losses in Giants history, as a 21-0 lead evaporated as the Titans scored 24 points to win it.

This game should have at least been a 21-14 Giants win. With 2:44 left and a 4th and 10 for Tennessee, Giants rookie lineman Mathias Kiwanuka looked to have QB Vince Young sacked, but inexplicably let him go as Young scrambled for a first down that led to the tying TD. Kiwanuka later explained that he thought Young had thrown the ball, so he let up on him. It definitely cost the Giants the game.

Eli Manning poured more gasoline on the fire by throwing an ill-advised pass that was intercepted in the final 23 seconds that set up the winning field goal. Manning's been bashed really good the last few weeks, and this just gives his detractors more ammo against him.

The Giants need a win next Sunday against Dallas, or they will see their chances of a postseason berth slip away, as they have tough matchups with Carolina and New Orleans after that. And this whole debacle could very well end up costing Tom Coughlin his job as head coach.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Notre Dame Gets Whacked

Before last night's Notre Dame-USC contest, a guy at Professor Thom's bar asked me who I liked in the game, especially against the 8 1/2 point spread that favored USC. I told him to take the Fighting Irish, "because there's no way USC would cover that many points."

Oops.

Notre Dame got their heads handed to them, their asses kicked, whichever adjectives you'd like to use. It just wasn't pretty as USC rolled to a convincing 44-24 rout of Notre Dame at the LA Coliseum last night.

Any chance the Irish had of a national championship (it was a small one to begin with) was gone early as USC jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Notre Dame went for it on fourth down and two at the USC 30 and didn't make it, and that seemed to signal that trouble was ahead.

Brady Quinn threw three TDs, but clearly wasn't on his game, and appeared to be hurting through a good part of the second half. John David Booty threw 4 TDs and marched USC to three early TDs, and the Trojans led 21-10 at halftime.

USC added another TD to start the third quarter, and it was all downhill for the Irish. With the score 37-24 and just over three minutes left, USC took an Irish onsides kick and returned it for a touchdown, just to pour some more salt into their wounds.

Notre Dame was a Jekyll-and-Hyde team all night, looking pretty good on defense in the second quarter to try and get back into the game, but looked terribly pourous the other three quarters. USC ate them alive through the air, exposing the most glaring Irish weakness, and walked into a rather easy victory.

For USC, they need a win over UCLA in their finale next Saturday to get into the BCS national title game against Ohio State. If they lose, a Michigan-OSU rematch could be in the cards. For Notre Dame, their regular season is now complete, and they will wait until next Sunday to see who they will play in which bowl game, as that is when the BCS bowl announcements will be made.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

"Now I Can Die In Peace"

When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, an absolute plethora of books came out about their amazing championship run. I read a number of them during the 2005 season, like Mike Vaccaro's "Emperors and Idiots," and Tony Massarotti and John Harper's "A Tale of Two Cities." Both were enjoyable reads (especially the way both books end).

I also read Johnny Damon's book "Idiot," which turned out to be one of the worst sports bio books I have ever read. Peter Golenbock, the real author of the book, did an absolute slipshod job on it, as it was loaded with grammatical and factual mistakes. (And I originally wrote that during the 2005 season, while Damon still wore a Red Sox uniform.) And I have not read Dan Shaughnessy's "Reversing the Curse" book. I'm not sure I really want to put any more money into his pocket.

But I waited to read "Now I Can Die Peace," the book written by Bill Simmons, who writes the popular "Sports Guy" column at ESPN.com. (He originally published the book in July 2005.)When the 2006 baseball season ended, I sat down and read his book.

I should have picked up the book sooner.

"Now I Can Die In Peace" is the best of all the 2004 Red Sox books that I have read. Simmons is like every other Red Sox fan, and his writing reflects it. The book is actually a series of articles he's written going back to 1998, from both his old web site and his ESPN gig. And his writing is filled with references to things like "The Godfather," "The Shawshank Redemption", which are two of my all-time favorite films. (Although there are a few that lost me, like from a few reality shows that I've never watched. But that doesn't take away from the enjoyment of the book.) There are also references to the Patriots, Celtics, various supermodels, and lots of 1980s and 1990s cultural references, many long forgotten. (So whatever did happen to El Debarge?)

I especially like the fact that Simmons writes little asides and footnotes on the left and right sides of the book, basically explaining what he was writing about at the time, or giving an update as to what happened since. (There are over 500 of them in the book.) Some of them in the book are just laugh-out-loud funny.

Simmons is that diehard Red Sox fan/Yankees hater. The kind of guy I know from hanging out at my favorite local saloon. I agree with about 95% of what he writes, especially when he talks about the so-called "curse" and what a bunch of media-driven crap it really was. I really enjoyed his take on the media itself, with all of its writers and reporters and their agendas. Simmons puts it best for all Red Sox fans when he says that winning a World Series would turn his beloved team, "into just another team, and that's just what we all want." Amen.

I had chills running down my spine and was near tears when Bill talks about the Red Sox winning the World Series and its aftermath. I guess that's a true test of any book, and it brought those incredibly vivid memories back to me in a strong way.

I guess the only advantage I had to reading this book two years after the championship was that the paperback version includes and afterword about the 2005 and 2006 seasons (mercifully up until June and doesn't include anything about the team's fall that season). "Now I Can Die In Peace" is simply a must for anyone that calls themselves a Red Sox fan. There's a lot of the heartbreak in it: the 1986 World Series, 2003 playoffs, etc., but comes from a perspective we can all relate to. And of course, it has that satisfying ending (even if the afterword gets a little depressing).

If you haven't read it, I would recommend picking it up, especially if you need something to get you through the long, cold winter months when you're counting down the days until spring training.

Thanks Bill, for writing such a splendid book.

Friday, November 24, 2006

My Neck Of The Woods

Last week my aunt sent me a link to a great web site called "Forgotten NY Neighborhoods." I was really surprised to see some recent photos from my neighborhood in Brooklyn.

My neighborhood has been called all different names. "Flatbush," "Flatlands," and "Sheepshead Bay" are among them. But according to this web site, it was once called "South Greenfield." I've never heard that name mentioned. These days, where I live is now known most popularly as Midwood.

The picture above is of the old NBC studio on Avenue M. I spent a good part of my life there, both inside and outside. For years it was owned by NBC (no longer), and the old soap opera "Another World" was fimed there for years before it went off the air. "The Cosby Show" was filmed there for the first 4 or 5 years of the show's existence, before it moved over to Astoria, Queens. I remember every Friday seeing crowds lined up to get in to the TV taping of the show. These days, another soap films there, but for the life of me, I can't remember which one.

Back in the 1970s, I remember being in there many, many times. They filmed "The Midnight Special", a Friday night music series, there a number of times. The one band I can remember seeing there was Kool and the Gang. I also remember a TV movie being filmed there called "Dames At Sea," and it starred Fred Gwynne, who will forever be remembered as Herman Munster. I can recall him coming out and signing autographs for many of the fans outside the studio. He was a nice guy, and a REALLY tall man as well.

My friends and I played stickball against the side of the building, up the block. We would draw a box in chalk, and play some intense games. One time it got so loud and intense that someone from the studio came out and asked us to be quiet, as he said they could hear us on the set as they were filming some TV show. (And for some reason, he didn't chase us away.)

Ah, such nice memories.

It's definitely worth checking out "Forgotten NY Neighborhoods." Here is the link: http://www.forgotten-ny.com/NEIGHBORHOODS/neighborhoodhomepage/neighborhoods.html

For those of you who grew up in New York, I bet it will bring back many memories indeed.

Back Up And Running

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. I certainly did, as I spent it at home with some friends and relatives. Watched lots of football (two rather lousy NFL games though) and ate lots of turkey. Lots of leftovers for me to enjoy for the forseeable future!!

Good news on the computer front. My brother-in-law fixed it, as I had some damaged files, and a broken DVD drive. That was replaced and I got the computer back today. I had to reinstall America Online, Microsoft Word and Norton AntiVirus. That last one took me almost all afternoon to do, as it kept stopping in the middle of downloading the necessary files. I finally realized that I had to turn my computer off and let AOL download some updates before my I could fully download my virus protection. And it still took me nearly 90 minutes to finish it from start to finish.

For the last 10 days I was living in Internet cafes and at Professor Thom's computer (my thanks to them for letting me use it). Now I am back to my old Dell computer and hopefully I'll get more continued use out of it.

It's good to be back with my old PC again!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

I want to wish all of my friends, family and readers a very Happy Thanksgiving. I won't be online on Thursday, so my next post won't be until Friday. (My computer is still out, so I'm still making the best of it.)

I hope you all enjoy the turkey and football that makes the day what it is.

BTW, the Christmas season REALLY begins tomorrow around noon. For me, it doesn't truly kickoff until I see Santa Claus marching down Broadway in Thanksgiving Day Parade. Then I put on the radio and listen to "Alice's Restaurant" by Arlo Guthrie on Q 104.3. Then I put the Detroit Lions game on TV.

Thanksgiving has been that way for me since I was a kid, and will remain that way until I die.

But please don't forget all of those people who put their lives on the line over the centuries to make this the great country that it is, especially all over our brave military overseas who'll be away from those they love this holiday season.

For all of them, I am very thankful.

God bless all of you.

Trivia Q&A: November 21

It was another enjoyable night of trivia last night at Professor Thom's, as we had Sopranos Trivia for the first round, and after that we had a special 5 question round for one special contestant who was vying for a Sopranos Season 6 DVD (and she won). The Sopranos questions were mutiple choice, to the relief of most of the contestants. The top teams in that round won prizes like Sopranos t-shirts, hats and playing cards. (the overall winners of the night also won similar prizes.)

Overall it was about the closest trivia contest we've ever had in the entire time I've been doing the trivia nights. 4 teams were tied for first place going into the fourth round. A team called "Guaranteed 4th" pulled it out in the final round.

Here is the questions and answers from last night's contest.

Sopranos Trivia

1. "A friend of mine" is mob shorthand for: a) a rival family member; b) just another guy on the street; c) a girlfriend. Answer: b
2. "Associate" is mob shorthand for: a) a boss' underboss; b) A friend of a rival family; c) one who works with mobsters but has not taken a vow of Omerta yet. Answer: c
3. What is the name of the restaurant owned by Tony's close friend Artie Bucco? a) La Trattoria; b) Bucco's Ristorante; c) Bucco's Vesuvio Answer: c
4. What was the cause of death of Tony's father, Johnny Soprano? a) cancer; b) emphysema; c) murder. Answer: a

5. "A box of ziti" is mob shorthand for: a) $1000; b) $10; c) a box of bullets. Answer: a
6. In what town was Tony raised in? a) Newark; b) Trenton; c) West Orange. Answer: c
7. What is Tony's legit profession: a) Hauling service executive; b) Waste management executive; c) Owner of the Bada Bing. Answer: b
8. In season three, who did the FBI code as "Baby Bing?" a) Tony; b) AJ; c) Meadow. Answer: b
9. At the end of season two, Tony is arrested for what crime? a) racketeering; b) murder; c) mail fraud. Answer: c

10. "Crank" is mob shorthand for: a) heroin; b) cocaine; c) speed (crystal meth). Answer: c

Current Events
1. A 14-acre mansion in Montecito, California was sold over the weekend for $29 million and it once served as a setting for which 1980s gangster film? Scarface
2. This film that just opened Friday, knocked "Borat" out of first place and became the number one film for the week. Happy Feet
3. Near riots broke out around the country when large crowds attempted to be the first to buy this product. Playstation Three
4. On Saturday, 3 Englishmen dressed like Robin Hood and His Merry Men and gave away $1000 in small bills to people in this New York City park. Washington Square Park

5. This publishing company had planned to publish a controversial book later this month by O.J. Simpson called "If I Did It." Harper Collins/Regan Books
6. A $15 million sale of this rock legend's song rights were held up this past weekend until the correct ownership was sorted out. Jimi Hendrix
7. The concrete foundation of this future New York City skyscraper was started this past weekend after many long delays. The Freedom Tower
8. This rap star was arrested last week in NYC after allegedly posing as an undecover cop and ordering a cabby to run a series of red lights. The Game
9. This NYC Congressman announced that he will bring in legislation next year to Congress to revive the draft. Charles Rangel
10. President Bush attended the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit last week in this nation. Vietnam

Movie Quotes

1. "You're some kind of woman. Wanna make $14, the hard way?" (1980) Caddyshack
2. "It's good to be The King." (1981) History of the World Part I
3. "Say hello to my little friend!" (1983) Scarface
4. "Open the pod bay doors, HAL." (1968) 2001: A Space Odyssey
5. "I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning instead of Christmas Eve, and I believe in slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days." (1988) Bull Durham
6. "Carpe diem. Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary." (1989) Dead Poets Society
7. "You stay classy, San Diego." (2004) Anchorman
8. "Time travelling is much too dangerous. Better I devote myself to the study of the other great mystery of the universe...women." (1989) Back to the Future Part II
9. "I always hoped that I'd meet some nice friendly girl, like the look of her, hope the look of me didn't make her physically sick, pop the question and settle down and be happy. It worked for my parents, well, apart from the divorce and all that." (1994) Four Weddings and a Funeral
10. "My teen angst bullshit now has a body count." (1989) Heathers

TV Trivia

1. Art Fleming once hosted this TV game show in the 1960s and '70s, which was revived in 1984 and is now one of the most popular game shows in syndication. Jeopardy!
2. "The Jeffersons" was a spinoff of which classic TV series? All In The Family
3. Which star of "The Breakfast Club" was part of the original cast of "The Facts of Life?" Molly Ringwald
4. What was the name of Richie Cunningham's rarely seen older brother on the TV series "Happy Days?" Chuck
5. Every episode of "Seinfeld" contains an image or reference to which superhero? Superman
6. What product was banned from TV advertising in 1971? Cigarettes
7. Which comedian was the very first host of "Saturday Night Live" in 1975? George Carlin
8. On which Fox variety series did "The Simpsons" make their debut on? The Tracey Ullman Show
9. On the game show "Deal Or No Deal," how many total briefcases are there? 26
10. Richard Hatch was the first champion on which reality show? Survivor

General Knowledge
1. Name 4 of the 6 official languages of the United Nations. English, French, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, Arabic
2. Which woman had "the face that launched a thousand ships?" Helen of Troy
3. Which jazz great was nicknamed "Satchmo?" Louis Armstrong
4. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. Which one is second largest? Saturn
5. Which is the world's smallest ocean? Arctic
6. Which European country still controls a country in South America? France (French Guyana)
7. Name one of the two NFL teams that traditionally hosts a game on Thanksgiving Day? Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys
8. Which American president signed into law making Thanksgiving Day a national holiday? Abraham Lincoln (1863)
9. Which legendary showman is credited with the statement, "There's a sucker born every minute?" P.T. Barnum
10. Who directed the classic films, "M*A*S*H", "Nashville" and "The Player?" Robert Altman

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Justin Morneau Wins AL MVP

Justin Morneau won the 2006 American League MVP award today, beating out the Yankees' Derek Jeter by 14 points. David Ortiz finished a distant third, with Frank Thomas and Jermaine Dye finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.

Morneau definitely deserved the award. He hit 34 homers and 130 RBI for the AL Central champion Twins. As the regular season went on, Morneau's numbers got stronger and stronger, and he was a big reason Minnesota came back from a mediocre start to win the division. I made a "tragic" mistake in one of my fantasy league teams by dropping him when he slumped in late April. Oh well...

Jeter nearly won a third award he didn't deserve to win. He won a third consecutive Gold Glove at SS, when Michael Young was clearly the best at the position this season. He also won the Hank Aaron Award as the AL's best overall hitter, when David Ortiz or Morneau clearly should have won it. Jeter of course had an excellent season, hitting 13 HRs and a .344 batting average, which was second in the league to the Twins' Joe Mauer.

Don't get me wrong. I have a lot of respect for Derek Jeter as a hitter and as a ballplayer. He plays the game the right way, gets a lot of clutch hits and is clearly a future first-ballot Hall of Famer someday. (I believe however, he is clearly overrated as a shortstop, but that is a discussion for another time.) But in mid-season, there seemed to be this "campaign" by the YES network and the New York sportswriters that Jeter should get the MVP award, and the attitude seemed to be that the deserved to get one because "he hadn't won one yet." In many ways, I don't believe that Jeter was even the MVP on his own team, and you can a good argument that it was in reality Johnny Damon. But they seemed to think that this was the Yankee captain's "time."

The writers got it right today. Morneau beat Jeter in first-place votes, 15-12. I was disappointed to see Big Papi finish so far out of it. (He was nearly 130 points behind Morneau.) I think a lot of writers felt that the Red Sox fall out of the AL East race effectively ended his chances to win. So be it.

I was VERY pleased to see Ryan Howard win the NL MVP yesterday over Albert Pujols. As you know I've lost a respect for Pujols over the petty little BS he pulled in the NLCS against the Mets. Howard had a monster September, hitting 57 homers in helping the Phillies put on a late charge and just miss the playoffs. My dad was happy for him, as he met Ryan in Spring Training when he worked for the Phillies a few years ago in Clearwater. He always calls Ryan "a nice kid."

Congratulations Ryan, you deserved the award.

As did Justin Morneau.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Special Trivia Tomorrow Night

At Professor Thom's on Tuesday night, there will be a special round of "Sopranos Trivia" as well as the usual four other rounds of trivia. The folks at HBO Video are making them up, and I will of course, be reading them off. There will be prizes given to the winners of the Sopranos Trivia as well. At this moment, I do not know what they will be, but it should be a fun night.

So brush up on The Sopranos, and I hope to see ya'll there!

Football Roundup

It was a fascinating weekend of football having just been completed. I watched the Michigan-Ohio State game on TV and it was one of the best played football games of the year. I was pulling for the Buckeyes a bit because Michigan routed Notre Dame earlier this season. So much for a defensive struggle as Ohio State won, 42-39. (And I later heard that the four numbers for the Ohio Lottery, drawn 15 minutes after the game, was 4-2-3-9. Start the Twilight Zone music.) It's hard to see anybody beating the Buckeyes in the BCS title game in January.

Notre Dame routed Army, 41-9. Not much of a surprise, but Brady Quinn ended his career at South Bend with 4 TDs. Next up is the final matchup of the regular season aginst USC at LA. USC is a 7 point favorite, and they beat Cal by 2 TDs on Saturday.

ND stayed at number 5 in the BCS, but Rutgers was upset at Cincinnati, 30-11, and fell to number 14 in the BCS. I guess the hangover of the big win over Louisville got Rutgers, and it ends any shot they have of winning a national championship. They need to bounce back this weekend, as Syracuse is next before their big finale with West Virginia.

On Sunday, I watched my Minnesota Vikings commit suicide in Miami against the Dolphins. While my Pats fan friends were enjoying their romp at Green Bay at Professor Thom's, I saw the Vikings blow another one. The run defense had another spectacular day, holding Miami to -3 yards rushing. Miami was able to exploit the pass defense, and scored one TD. But that was it for the Miami offense.

The Vikings offense gave the Dolphins this win. Chester Taylor fumbled twice, and both were costly. One was brought back for a TD, and in the fourth quarter, Brad Johnson was intercepted and it too was brought back for a TD. It just left me shaking my head, as the Vikings lost 24-20. The defense did its job to win, but the offense continues to self-destruct.

The Vikings are now 4-6, and any realistic hope at a wild card is now over. The Bears continued their march to the NFC North title, winning 10-0 over the Jets at the Meadowlands. It's time for the Vikings to make changes to their offense, and it has to start at QB. It's time to sit Brad Johnson and give rookie Tarvaris Jackson a look, and Sunday's game against Arizona might be a good time to see what he has.

Site Meter Numbers Go Wild

With my computer's hard drive down (and possibly out for the count), I've had to check my email and write my blog at Internet cafes and at Professor Thom's, so I'm not online as much as I was (or would like to be). On Saturday afternoon, I went to a place not far from my house in Brooklyn. I went to Site Meter like I always do to check out my numbers in terms of hits, and it said I had had 170 hits that day.

At first I thought this was a mistake, but then I realized that someone must have seen the post I wrote about Tower on Friday, and put it on a major web site. And sure enough, someone at Gawker.com, which is a Manhattan-based gossip and news site, saw my post about my experiences at Tower with the drug scene that was there and put up a link to my site on Friday evening. (I did enjoy the way they introduced it: "How about this for a shock?") And at 7 PM, an astounding 134 logged on to The Mighty Quinn Media Machine that hour! More kept coming on that night, and 338 people viewed the site that day, a new record for my site.

On Saturday, my site had 313 hits, and on Sunday, 231 people came by. Normally, on a good day, I'll get about 60 people on a Friday, and about 40 on Saturday and Sunday each (the numbers always tail off on the weekend.)

And today, it's still going strong. As I write this at just after 3 PM, an amazing 218 people have come on to my site. Since Friday, I have gotten just over 1100 hits. They have been from all over the world, most from the New York area. But I've seen a good number of people from Europe, Asia, Australia, and even someone from Kosovo. (First time I've had someone from there!)

I am beyond astounded. And my sincere thanks to the good folks at Gawker for linking to the article I wrote on Friday. If you'd like to see the link, just go to the section called "Blogorrhea NYC" and it is there at Gawker.com.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Bill Mueller Retires

Yesterday, Bill Mueller officially retired from baseball, due to all the knee injuries he suffered throughout his Major League career. He will become an assistant to the Dodgers' general manager, Ned Colletti. I'm saddened to see Bill's career come to this premature end. He was a throughly professional player. He played the game the right way. He's the third member of the champion 2004 Red Sox to call it a career, after Curtis Leskanic (who retired after the 2004 World Series) and Pokey Reese (before the start of the 2006 season).

Back on July 25, I wrote a column about his upcoming retirement. Here it is again.

Thanks for being One Of The 25, and all the best to you in the future, Bill.

Thanks For Everything Bill

It was just two years ago yesterday that one of the memorable hits in Red Sox history took place.

The Red Sox were down, 10-9 in the bottom of the ninth, with a man on and one out against Mariano Rivera and the Yankees. Bill Mueller hit a long drive to right that landed in the Red Sox bullpen and gave the Red Sox the win, 11-10. It is generally credited to being the turn-around of the Red Sox 2004 season (but in reality it came later in August). Whenever I hear Joe Castiglione's call of the Mueller blast it still sends shivers down my spine. When I saw that the date yesterday was July 24, I immediately thought of that blast that set off a frenzy at Fenway during that magical season.

And of course, who could forget the other huge hit he got off the so-called "Greatest Closer In History" in ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS? I'll never forget that line shot he hit back through the middle past a sprawling Rivera to score Dave Roberts to tie up Game 4. Memories I'll treasure the rest of my life.

Now comes word that the 2006 season appears to be over for our old friend Bill, now with the Dodgers. He had yet another surgery on his bad right knee, and he's been told by doctors that the cartilage in the knee is so bad, with so little of it left, that it cannot take another major surgery. Bill Mueller may have played his final game in big-league uniform, and that really is a shame. He's an absolute professional player. He's a terrific defensive player and well as a great clutch hitter. He plays the game the right way and always carried himself with class.

I was sorry to see him leave the Red Sox, and I was pulling for him to succeed in Los Angeles. If this is the end, I wish Bill Mueller and his family all the best. Thanks for being "One of the 25", Billy. We'll never forget what you did to bring a championship to Boston. For me, July 24th will forever be "The Day Bill Mueller Hit That Huge Home Run To Beat The Yankees."

Friday, November 17, 2006

Memories Of Tower Greenwich Village Part 5

This is the fifth in my series of remembrances from the days I worked at Tower Records in Greenwich Village. Tower is undergoing liquidation and will shortly go out of business.

I've always had a certain reputation throughout my life. I guess it's always been as a rather nice guy that most people seem to get along with. When I got to Tower in 1984, I came across a literal cross section of humanity working there.

There were aspiring rock musicians, jazz musicians, actors, skinheads (the non-racist ones), writers, punks, goths, rappers, metalheads, and hard rockers. I've generally made friends with people easily, but when I started working at Tower, I was one of the very few middle-class, baseball-obsessed Brooklynites there.

I made friends with just about everyone from the groups mentioned above. As time went on in the store, I seemed to be the guy in the middle, as there would be clashes between certain people who didn't get along for one reason or another. I always seemed to be putting out "brushfires" between those warring factions.

But one common thing among many of those folks who worked at Tower during the 1980s was the presence of a certain element: drugs. It was what I called "The Roaring Eighties"and that for many people was what they did for recreation. There were times I felt like I was the only guy in the whole store NOT on something. For all of my life I have steered clear of drugs, as they have taken the lives of many good friends of mine. It pains me at times when I think of those good friends of mine who got hooked on coke, heroin, or whatever, and their lives ended up consumed by them and many did not live to see the age of 40.

I always careful not to turn into a preacher when it came to drugs and my pals at Tower. I had all kinds of illegal substances offered to me gratis when I was there, and I always politely refused. I remember one time at a Tower Christmas party I walked into a bathroom and saw about four sets of legs in one stall. I knew it was something illegal was going on, one way or the other. I was able to climb up above and see above the wall of the stall, and I yelled out, "Freeze! It's a raid!" I saw it was four friends of mine drawing lines of coke in the stall. They looked up and smiled, and went about the business of getting high.

Booze and marijuana were moved the drugs of choice among people I knew, and I did enjoy a cold brew from time to time. I remember one time I went to a friend from Tower's bachelor party, and I got as drunk as I have ever gotten in my life. (I have a very low tolerance for alcohol, so about 4 or 5 Buds probably put me away.) I had to work the next morning which was a Sunday. If I were to call in sick, I might have risked getting fired, because everyone knew I was at the party (and my boss had that as a rule). I was on the train into Manhattan with the worst hangover I've ever had. I had to run the first register shift from 9AM to 1 PM, and I literally thought I was going to die. I remember keeping this huge garbage can next to the register in case I had to throw up (I didn't). After that little incident, I vowed I never wanted to feel that way again. (It RARELY has happened since...)

I never drank during work, but I can remember those days dealing with friends who had one too many during their lunch breaks. It always seemed to happen when I'd be covering their shifts. I was always the guy everyone could depend on I suppose...

It's hard for me to believe that it's been nearly 16 years since I worked at Tower Greenwich Village. Time marches on for all of us, and unfortunately, Tower itself will become just a memory soon. I'm sorry I haven't posted in this series in a while, but the next part will be early next week. And it will be one of the truly bizarre events in Tower history.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Red Sox Win Matsuzaka Derby

The Red Sox won the rights to sign Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka on Tuesday by poning up $51.1 million to the Seibu Lions. They will only get the money if the Sox can sign him.

At that chunk of change, he damn well better be worth it.

Another Reason To Detest ESPN

I was watching SportsCenter tonight on ESPN, and is it my imagination, or does it seem like most of that show is one long infomercial for Saturday's Michigan-Ohio State showdown on ABC (who owns ESPN)? Granted, this is a HUGE football game, and of course, all of the college football world is talking about it.

But I just hate the incessant hype over it. And ESPN is the absolute worst when it comes to overhyping things. Tonight, they have a "countdown clock" showing during the 6 PM SportsCenter, and the game is on Saturday! "45:00:00" was the count at 6:30 PM tonight.

(BTW, would ESPN have these "countdown clocks" if this game were on NBC or CBS? We all know the answer to that one.)

Then I noticed that ESPNews, also had a countdown clock, and this one was constantly in the right hand corner of the screen. But I noticed that their countdown was different from the one on SportsCenter, and it was an hour earlier. I figured out that the ESPNews one was for the pregame, which starts one hour before kickoff. (And when was the last time you saw a one-hour pregame before any individual college game?) Yes, deceive the fans about the kickoff time as well.

But later in the hour, SportsCenter adjusted their clock to be in sync with the ESPNews one. Unbelievable.

ESPN has done their best to destroy Monday Night Football (not that it was so great on ABC), with unlistenable announcers talking about everything but the game (and mostly about something upcoming on either ESPN or ABC).

And it figures that all this comes from a network that STILL employs Chris (You're With Me, Leather) Berman.

Trivia Q&A: November 14

Before I get into the Trivia questions and answers, I thought I'd give you an update on my computer. It looks like I MAY need a new hard drive. My brother-in-law is a computer whiz, and will be taking a look at it this weekend. In the meantime, I will be doing posts from either an Internet cafe (I found a good one right near the Empire State Building, where I am writing this right now), or from a computer courtesy of my pals at Professor Thom's. Hopefully by next week, everything will be back in order, one way or the other.

We had a good Trivia Night on Tuesday. I added a "TV Trivia" category, and that went over well. My friends Steve, Alex and Michael broke "The Curse" and won for the first time (and they were ably assisted by my other friend Chris). They had superb run in the "Music Lyrics" category and pulled it out. I'd like to mention the name of their team, but it is a little too offensive to write here.

So without further ado, here is the Trivia Q&A from Tuesday night:

Current Events
1. Which rock star was quoted the other day as having said, "All religion should be banned."?
Elton John
2. A memorial to this famous American was dedicated on the National Mall in Washington on Monday. Martin Luther King
3. This Asian country has been dubbed "The Kidney Bazaar" due to a large number of people selling their kidneys for money. Pakistan
4. This actor, who's father ran for Congress in 2004, admits that he wouldn't run for office because his dad "got the crap beat out of him then." George Clooney
5. John Murtha, who is bidding to become the House Majority Leader, is a representative from which state? Pennsylvania
6. For the second consecutive week, which movie was number one at the box office? Borat
7. This past Sunday, this former president became the oldest living ex-president of all time. Gerald Ford
8.The father of this rock legend died this past weekend, but this didn't stop him and his band from playing a gig in Las Vegas on Saturday. Mick Jagger
9. This rock band's music has been used in an Episcopal church service in Westchester, and it has also popped up in other churches around the world. U2
10. This former CIA chief was nominated last weekto be the new Secretary of Defense, succeeding Donald Rumsfeld. Robert Gates

Movie Quotes
1. "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." (1970) Patton
2. "I am the Pro from Dover and this my favorite caddy." (1970) M*A*S*H
3. "America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time." (1989) Field of Dreams
4. "What you guys doing?" "We're putting on the foil." (1977) Slap Shot
5. "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." (1986) Ferris Bueller's Day Off
6. "Sir, I have a plan. Mein Fuehrer! I can walk!!" (1964) Dr. Strangelove
7. : "Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer." (1972) The Godfather
8. "To me, being a gangster was better than being President of the United States." (1990) Goodfellas
9. "How could this happen? I picked the wrong play, the wrong director, the wrong cast. Where did I go right?" (1968) The Producers
10. "I'd like to think that the last thing that went through his head, other than that bullet, was to wonder how the hell Andy Dufresne got the best of him." (1994) The Shawshank Redemption

General Knowledge
1. Why is the zip code 10048 not in use any longer? It was the zip code for just one location: The World Trade Center.
2. The Treaty of Versailles officially ended this 20th Century conflict. World War I
3. This MLB team recently signed a $400 million, 20-year deal for the naming rights to their new stadium, which will open in 2009. The New York Mets
4. The Transcontinental Railroad, built in 1869, was built from two places, Omaha in the East and which California city in the West? Sacramento
5. In which US state is Charleston the state capital of? West Virginia
6. Kathmandu is the capital of which Asian nation? Nepal
7. Which US president once famously said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country?" John F. Kennedy
8. Which famous hippie wrote the 1970 classic, "Steal This Book?" Abbie Hoffman
9. In which war was the Battle of Antietam fought in?" The Civil War
10. The island of Madagascar is located off the coast of which continent?" Africa

TV Trivia
1. Which classic TV sitcom, when it's star was expecting a child, couldn't use the word "pregnant"on the show, had to say instead that she was "with child?" I Love Lucy
2. Where did the cast of "Seinfeld" end up in the last scene of the series finale? Jail
3. How many consecutive years did "Frasier" win the Emmy for Best Comedy Series? 5
4. In which city was the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" set in? Minneapolis
5. Which show is currently the longest running show on prime time network TV? 60 Minutes
6. On which 1980s TV series was Denzel Washington a regular? St. Elsewhere
7. In which year was the first presidential debate shown on national TV? 1960
8. Which is the longest running show currently airing on the Fox network? America's Most Wanted
9. Which TV series was Tom Hanks a regular on? Bosom Buddies
10. How many seasons was "Cheers" on NBC for? 11 (1982-93)

Music Lyrics
1. "Loneliness was tough/The toughest role you ever played/Hollywood created a superstar/And pain was the price you paid." Elton John, "Candle In The Wind."
2. "You can tell a macho/He has a funky walk/His Western shirts and leather/Always look so boss." Village People, "Macho Man"
3. "When the world is on your shoulder/Gotta straighten up your act and boogie down." Michael Jackson, "Off The Wall"
4. "Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss." The Who, "Won't Get Fooled Again."
5. "Everyone's beneath the trees/Feeding pigeons on a limb/But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here/All the pigeons gonna run to him." Manfred Mann (or Bob Dylan), "The Mighty Quinn"
6. "Well our fathers fought the Second World War/Spent their weekends on the Jersey Shore/Met our mothers in the USO/Asked them to dance/Danced with them slow." Billy Joel, "Allentown"
7. "I feel like this is the beginning/Though I've loved you for a million years/And if I thought our love was ending/I'd find myself drowning in my own tears." Stevie Wonder, "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
8. "You may say I'm a dreamer/But I'm not the only one/I hope someday you'll join us/And the world will be as one." John Lennon, "Imagine"
9. "A man walks down the street/He says why am I soft in the middle now/Why am I soft in the middle/The rest of my life is so hard." Paul Simon, "You Can Call Me Al"
10. "You must understand/Throught the touch of your hand/Makes my pulse react." Tina Turner, "What's Love Got To Do With It"

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Computer Problems

To my many fans in cyberspace: I'll be posting sporadically for the forseeable future, as I've run into a problem with my home PC. I don't know how long it will be down, but hopefully it will be up and running again soon. I'll will try to post from the odd Internet cafe over the next few days.

I was writing the trivia questions yesterday when my computer went out. Trivia was another success last night, as a certain "curse" was finally broken!

I won't be able to post last night's questions and answers today, but I hope to in the next day or so.

Hopefully everything will be back to normal soon.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My Official Theme Song

I guess if I were a baseball player, this would be the song I would enter the game to.

"The Mighty Quinn" was written by Bob Dylan, after he watched a 1959 movie starring Anthony Quinn playing an Eskimo called, "The Savage Innocents." It was about the hard life of a Inuit Eskimos in Canada, and Dylan's song was a rather somber folk tune.

But Manfred Mann covered it in 1968, a year after it came out from Dylan. They turned it into a pop hit, much more catchier and bouncy than the original. It reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that year. And it gave a nickname to every person named Quinn (and especially me) who walks God's earth forever.

I was writing up my trivia questions today, and I thought it was time to write something about the name I've been called throughout my life, and what I decided to call my blog as well.

My thanks always to Bobby D and Manfred Mann:

Come all without, come all within
You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn
Come all without, come all within
You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn

Everybody's building ships and boats
Some are building monuments, others are jotting down notes
Everybody's in despair, every girl and boy
But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here
Everybody's gonna jump for joy

Come all without, come all within
You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn
I like to go just like the rest, I like my sugar sweet
But jumping queues and makin' haste, just ain't my cup of meat
Everyone's beneath the trees, feedin' pigeons on a limb
But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here
All the pigeons gonna run to him

Come all without, come all within
You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn
Come all without, come all within
You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn

Let me do what I wanna do, I can't decide 'em all
Just tell me where to put 'em and I'll tell you who to call
Nobody can get no sleep, there's someone on everyone's toes
But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here
Everybody's gonna wanna doze

Come all without, come all within
You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn
Come all without, come all within
You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn
Come all without, come all within
You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn
Come all without, come all within
You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn.

Coming In 2009: CitiField

The Mets yesterday unveiled the name of the new stadium they will be moving into in April 2009: CitiField. The Mets sold the naming rights to the park to Citigroup for a reported $20 million per year over twenty years.

In this day and age it has become commonplace for municipalities and clubs to sell off the naming rights of a brand new park (or even for an established stadium). I remember the outcry when Candlestick Park became 3Com Park back in the 1990s, which was one of the first parks to go that route. A poll taken said that 45% hated the name change, while the other 55% REALLY hated the change. Now when a park gets one of those names, most people don't think twice about it.

The New York papers today have two interesting takes on it. The New York Daily News is disappointed that the Mets didn't keep the name Shea Stadium for the new park. Many teams have done that, rename a new park after an old one. (The Cardinals comes to mind, having named their new place Busch Stadium, and this is the third one.) Other teams go the opposite route. The Phillies built their new ballpark next door to Veterans Stadium, but decided to go the route the Mets are going and sold the naming rights to Citizens Bank. But the White Sox did BOTH, building a new stadium called Comiskey Park in 1991, but later sold the naming rights to U.S. Cellular over a decade later.

But the New York Post is practically screaming bloody murder that the park wasn't named after Jackie Robinson. They've been going on about it for over a year, even writing editorials about it. (Note to Andrea Peyser: this is will NOT be the first ballpark named after a corporation in New York City. The Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees parks are both named for corporations.) It would have been nice to do that, but the Mets are honoring Robinson by naming a rotunda in the new park after him, and there will be a statue of him outside the stadium. And to think, Robinson had no connection to the Mets whatsoever. The breaking of the color line by a New York team was a momentous event in baseball, as well as American history. But there were also calls to name the park after Gil Hodges, the legendary Mets manager and former Brooklyn Dodgers hero. He was a true New Yorker, who made his home in Brooklyn (just 11 blocks from my house) after arriving with the Dodgers.

I looked at many of the Mets blogs this morning about this subject, and most of them seem OK with the Mets doing this. (You can check some of them out through my "Mets links" on the left side of this blog. BTW, my thanks to The Eddie Kranepool Society for the pic of CitiField I used in this post.) At one blog, there was poll of the Mets fans to see what they thought of the name "CitiField" and it was running about 52% in favor of it.

But let's face it folks. Money talks, and everything else walks. A $400 million payday was obviously too tempting to pass up. It would have been nice to name the park after Jackie Robinson or once again after Bill Shea. But in a city where the Mets are fighting with the Yankees for the hearts and minds of New York baseball fans (the casual ones mostly, let's face facts), this kind of money is too hard to resist.

I'm sure the Mets will honor not only their past legends like Hodges and Tom Seaver at the new place, but also many of the legends of New York National League baseball past from the Dodgers and New York Giants.

They want to call the park after a corporation like CitiGroup? So be it. So long as they have cleaner bathrooms than Shea, I won't mind it at all.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Papelbon Finishes Second In ROY Voting

Jonathan Papelbon finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year balloting, as Detroit Tigers starter Justin Verlander won the award. It wasn't even close really, as Verlander got 26 of the 28 first place votes. Francisco Liriano finished third. Early in the year it looked like Papelbon would win it easily, but the Sox' decline in August, plus his injury in September, hurt Pap's chances. Plus Verlander had a simply terrific season for the Tigers.

Here is the complete voting for the AL Rookie of the Year voting, courtesy of the Red Sox Times: http://www.redsoxtimes.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/al-roy.png

In the National League ROY voting, Hanley Ramirez of the Florida Marlins won the award, in a very narrow vote over Nationals' 3B Ryan Zimmerman, taking by just four points. Ramirez' Marlins teammate Dan Uggla finished third.

And the rumors about Seibu Lions pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka are getting stronger that the Red Sox have won the secret bidding for his services. An announcement should be coming on that some time tonight, as Seibu have to decide by Tuesday in Japan whether of not to take the bid. There are rumors running around that the Red Sox' bid was nearly $50 million. We'll find out soon what it indeed was, and if it was accepted.

Whatever it is, the Seibu Lions would be crazy not to take it.

8 Months and 400 Posts

It was eight months ago today that I started The Mighty Quinn Media Machine, and coincidentally, this is the 400th post I've put up. (50 posts a month, not bad, eh?) It continues to be a blast writing this blog, and hopefully I'll reach 600 posts on my first anniversary!

It was another lost weekend for the Vikings. They jumped out to a 14-10 lead over Green Bay yesterday, but an 82-yard TD pass from Brett Favre to Donald Driver with 48 seconds to play before halftime doomed them. The Vikings could only manage a field goal by the last minute of the game, and they wound up losing, 23-17. They just continue to struggle on offense big time. They are now 4-5, and any chance of winning a wild card berth continues to decline with each passing week.

I was at Professor Thom's yesterday, along with many Patriots fans, as the Jets pulled an upset, 17-14, in the rain and fog at Foxboro. It wasn't the best played game by either team, but the Jets led from start to finish. The crowd at the bar was rather unhappy, but there were a few Jets fans on hand. No matter how the rest of the year goes, it has been a step up for the Jets from 2005.

As for the Giants, it was a competitive game last night with the Bears until a 52-yard field goal attempt came up short, and it was returned by Devin Hester for a 108-yard TD, tying the record for the longest TD run in NFL history. The Giants were cooked after that, and Chicago went on to a 38-20 win. It now appears that the Bears are the class of the NFC, as they've bounced back nicely after last week's pounding they took at the hands of the lowly Miami Dolphins.

Good news for Notre Dame and Rutgers fans, as they both moved up in the BCS rankings. The Fighting Irish is now #5, and the Scarlet Knights are now #6 overall. The major upsets on Saturday helped both move up. It promises to be an exciting finish for both teams as the regular NCAA season comes to a close.

94 days until pitchers and catchers report. It's never to early to start counting, even if the winter weather still hasn't arrived yet.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Irish Win But Few See It

Notre Dame won easily on Saturday, 39-17 over Air Force at Falcon Stadium in Colorado. But It was a rare game when the many fans of the Fighting Irish could not see their team play, as for the first time in 14 years, a Notre Dame game was not broadcast by either NBC, CBS, ABC or ESPN. It was shown by somebody called CSTV. I guess being a fan of the Fighting Irish, I'm a little spoiled, and I expect to see them every week. So, I followed the game on radio here in New York.

Brady Quinn has another superb game, throwing for 207 yards and four touchdowns. Darius Walker rushed for 153 yards and scored one TD, and Jeff Samardzija caught six passes for 106 yards and one TD. Notre Dame was always in command, as they scored three TDs in the first quarter and led 27-3 at the half.

Notre Dame was ranked ninth going into yesterday, and four teams this weekend ahead of them lost: Louisville, Texas, Auburn and California. You have to figure that the Fighting Irish will move up in the rankings. Next up is Army this Saturday at South Bend, and then the big one: the season finale against USC at LA Coliseum on November 25.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remember Our Veterans

Please say a prayer today for all of our veterans, as this is the day we formally remember them. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I officially came to an end. Every November 11th since has been a day set aside to remember all those who fought (and especially died) to keep America a free nation.

The day was once called Remembrance Day (and also Armistice Day), and it still is in the UK and Canada. In the US it is now known as Veterans Day.

Every night I pray that those men and women who put their lives on the line in the world's hot spots, like Iraq and Afghanistan, will soon come home. May God bless all those who've made the supreme sacrifice, be it this year, or back in 1776, when America struggled to be free. Please also remember those men and women who've come home from America's wars and have struggled with life, and still do.

They will all forever be remembered as heroes of our nation.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Manny, Papi Win Silver Slugger Awards

Manny Ramirez won his ninth Silver Slugger Award, which goes to the player with the best offensive numbers at each position. David Ortiz won his third consecutive award at designated hitter. Only Barry Bonds and Mike Piazza have won more Silver Slugger Awards than Manny.

Now why in the world would the Red Sox EVER consider breaking up this incredible tandem, which has people comparing them to Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig?

Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes won awards in the NL, and both for the first time.

For the complete list of winners, please check out the following link to ESPN: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2656967

A Great Win For Rutgers

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights pulled off the biggest win in the school's history last night as they beat the number 3 ranked Louisville Cardinals, 28-25, before an overflow crowd in Piscataway, NJ.

My congratulations to all the Rutgers alums who are basking in the glow today in their team's victory, especially to three of my cousins, who are all devoted Scarlet Knights supporters.

I caught part of the game last night, especially the great second half comeback. Rutgers fell behind early, 25-7. There was a strange play I've never seen before in the game. Louisville had an extra point blocked, but one of their linemen picked up the ball and crossed the goal line, thus getting two points for Louisville. I don't think I've ever seen that before.

But Rutgers staged a great second half comeback. They completely shut Louisville down, and RB Ray Rice rushed for 131 yards. Even though I'm a big Notre Dame fan, I found myself pulling for the Scarlet Knights, as they've been the doormats of the Big East for a long time, and are bringing a lot of excitement to New York area college football, which hasn't seen it in a long time.

Jeremy Ito tried a 33-yard field goal to win it with 21 seconds to play, but he kicked it wide, but a Louisville player was offsides. He got a chance to redeem himself, and he connected from 28 yards. At the conclusion the jubilant fans rushed the field, and Rutgers had beaten a ranked team for the first time since 1988. They are now 9-0, and play Cincinnati next week, and are three wins away from their first perfect season since 1976.

This victory could well put Rutgers into the Top 10, and on the road to a possible BCS bowl berth.

Good for Rutgers, and good luck to the boys from New Jersey!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Dems Take Charge

I think it's pretty safe to say what happened at the polls on Tuesday was nothing short of a Democratic ass-kicking. Everybody knew that the House was going to fall into Democratic control, but NO ONE predicted that they would get a 33-seat swing over to their side. And now it looks like the Senate will be in Democratic control as well, as it looks like Jim Webb will win the Virginia Senate seat over Republican incumbent George Allen.

The pendulum has swung the other way, and the 1994 Congressional takeover by the Republicans has now officially be reversed to the Democrats.

To me, the American public has spoken about its dissatisfaction over the Iraq War. The economy is definitely in an upswing, as unemployment is at an incredible low (4.4%) and gas prices have been dropping. But the war that continues to drag on has cost the Republicans dearly. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fell on the sword yesterday, resigning (it felt more like a firing to me) after six years in the Bush cabinet.

This basically makes George W. Bush a lame-duck president for his remaining two years. But one thing that will NOT happen, and that is Bush being impeached. (My apologies to all of my friends and readers who are liberal.) I see those signs all over New York (this being a big liberal city), but that just won't happen. (I even saw runners at the NYC Marathon on Sunday wearing "IMPEACH BUSH" t-shirts.) The Senate may now be in Democratic hands by 2, but you have to have a two-thirds majority in order to remove a president from office (67 yea votes). Even if all 51 Democrats voted for Bush's removal (and that's not a guarantee), they would have to get 16 Republican senators to vote along with them. Bush has not lost control of the Republican party for something like that to happen. Bush has his supporters, and the numbers just aren't there. Barring some unforseen circumstance, Bush will serve out the last two years of his term.

And besides, those who are so desperate for Bush to be tossed out have to ask themselves a really serious question.

"Do we really want Dick Cheney to become president?"

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Trivia Q&A: November 7

We had another very successful Trivia Night at Professor Thom's last night. A group called Valley of the New York Dolls were last night's champs, winning by two points. The Presidential trivia category wasn't as successful as I thought it could have been, as the team that won the category got just 7 correct. Well, it was only a one-time thing.

So, without further ado, here are the questions and answers to last night's trivia:

Current Events
1. This midwestern city was recently called "The most dangerous city in America" for 2005. St. Louis
2. Former heavyweight champion Trevor Berbick was recently found murdered in a churchyard in this Caribbean country. Jamaica
3. This film, which debuted in less than 1000 theaters this past Friday, was number one at the box office for this past week. Borat
4. This web site has licensed new technology to stop users from posting unauthorized copyrighted music on its site. MySpace
5. This TV show recently had an episode that mocked the late "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin. South Park
6. One person died after this Western state was hit with torrential rains the past few days. Washington
7. If the Democrats win control of the House tonight, Nancy Pelosi will most likely become the new Speaker of the House. Which state does she represent? California
8. This nation's Senate voted to lift the country's ban on cloning embryos for stem cell research yesterday. Australia
9. This pop singer's libel suit against Us magazine concerning a possible sexually explicit video was dismissed by a judge yesterday. Britney Spears
10. This Central American country won a seat on the UN Security Council earlier today. Panama

Movie Quotes
1. "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." (1995) The Usual Suspects
2. "What ain't no country I ever heard of! Do they speak English in What?" (1994) Pulp Fiction
3. "Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government." (1975) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
4. "I must have killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille." (1974) Blazing Saddles
5. "I believe in America. America has made my fortune." (1972) The Godfather
6. "Sean, if the Professor calls about that job, just tell him, sorry, I have to see about a girl." (1997) Good Will Hunting
7. "I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!!" (1976) Network
8. "What will he find out there Doctor?" "His destiny." (1968) Planet of the Apes
9. "We've never lost an American in space and we're sure as hell not going to lose one on my watch. Failure is not an option!" (1995) Apollo 13
10. "That boy is alive. We are going to send somebody to find him. And we are going to get him the hell out of there." (1998) Saving Private Ryan

Presidential Trivia
1. Which MLB team was George W. Bush once the managing general partner of? Texas Rangers
2. Who was the first US president to visit Moscow? Richard Nixon
3. Who was president for the shortest period of time? William Henry Harrison (one month)
4. Who was the shortest US president? James Madison (5'4")
5. What state were the most US presidents born in? Virginia (8)
6. Who was the only president who has ever been divorced? Ronald Reagan
7. Which president was the only batchelor to serve in office? James Buchanan
8. Which former president eventually became the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? William H. Taft
9. Three US presidents, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, all died on the same day of the year. Which day was it? July 4
10. Who was the first Republican ever elected president? Abraham Lincoln

General Knowledge
1. What current US state was given over to the US by Spain in 1821? Florida
2. What was the name of the 1997 music festival that was devoted to female pop singers? Lilith Fair
3. What is the current name of the country formerly known as Persia? Iran
4. What language was successfully used as code by the US in WWII? Navajo
5. Which US coin is Susan B. Anthony's picture on? Silver dollar
6. In which country will you find the largest outdoor sports stadium? Brazil
7. Which American iconic figure was shot to death at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis? Martin Luther King
8. What is America's tallest manmade monument? Gateway Arch in St. Louis
9. According to legend, a unibrow, tattoos and a long middle finger are all signs of what Halloween creature? A werewolf
10. Which country celebrates "The Day of the Dead" instead of Halloween? Mexico

Music Lyrics
1. "Spend all your time watching/For that second chance/For a break that would make it okay." Sarah McLachlan, "Angel"
2. "Coast to coast, LA to Chicago, western male/Across the north and south, to Key Largo, love for sale." Sade, "Smooth Operator"
3. "Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars fill my dream/I am a traveler of both time and space." Led Zeppelin, "Kashmir"
4. "I made it through the wilderness/Somehow I made it through/Didn't know how lost I was/Until I found you." Madonna, "Like a Virgin"
5. "It's close to midnight/Something evil's lurkin' from the dark/Under the moonlight/You see a sight that almost stops your heart." Michael Jackson, "Thriller"
6. "Say your prayers little one/Don't forget my son/To include everyone/I tuck you in/Warm within." Metallica, "Enter Sandman"
7. "I can't stand to fly/I'm not that naive/I'm just out to find/The better part of me." Five For Fighting, "Superman"
8. "I wish I was like you/Easily amused/Find my nest of salt/Everything's my fault." Nirvana, "All Apologies"
9. "Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray/South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio." Billy Joel, "We Didn't Start The Fire"
10. At first I was afraid/I was petrified/Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side." Gloria Gaynor, "I Will Survive"

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Red Sox Comings And Goings

I haven't talked about the Red Sox in a little while, so I thought I would write something about them today. I heard that Alex Cora has agreed to a new deal with the club, probably with a similar role he had last year. And it sounds like he will sign a two-year deal as well. I think that is a good move (despite what those dingbats at Rotoworld.com say) to have a utility guy like Cora, who knows how to play the game and will always give you good defense, and won't cost you a lot of money, on your club. The Sox also re-signed Mike Timlin for another year, and you have to figure his role will be as a 6th or 7th inning reliever, and he will probably also become the unofficial bullpen coach as well. I thought Sarge might hang it up after his struggles last season, but I have no problem bringing him back in a different role for 2007.

The word on Jonathan Papelbon and Jon Lester is good so far. Terry Francona said yesterday during the press conference to introduce new pitching coach John Farrell that Pap's right arm was feeling good, and that Lester was doing "fantastic," but declined to go into any specifics about him due to privacy issues regarding his illness (and I can certainly respect that). The rumors about the Red Sox going after free agent SS Julio Lugo are getting stronger, as Theo Epstein has always liked him. He's got a good bat, is a good leadoff hitter with speed. But he doesn't have a strong glove. They may let Alex Gonzalez, as well as Mark Loretta walk away, as they are both free agents as well. The Mets maybe Loretta's landing site.

I also saw in the paper that former Red Sox pitcher Jermaine Van Buren and infielder Alejandro Machado both signed minor-league contracts with the Washington Nationals yesterday. (My friend Jules will be disappointed to hear about Machado's departure.)

The Hot Stove League should start to get cooking very soon, as the Winter Meetings will be happening the first week in December. The Sox should be busy. It will be Theo Epstein's most important offseason of his general managing career.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Exercise Your Right Tomorrow

It's time to venture into a subject I've rarely talked about on my blog: politics. Tomorrow is a very important day in America, and that is Election Day. I have been an eligible voter since 1980, and I have never missed voting in a November election. I take voting very seriously, as I believe everyone should.

Since this is not a presidential year, the voter turnout will be lower, and it will be below 50%. Here in New York, we will be electing a senator, governor, attorney general and the entire Congress, among the more important positions up for grabs.

I will vote, but I won't say for who. I believe that is a private thing, and I will make my choices when I am alone in the voting booth. I always vote my conscience, and no one influences me. I will say that I am an Independent, but I am officially registered as a Democrat (that is so I can vote in the primaries here in New York). I don't listen to celebrity endorsements of any kind. Celebrities can come out and encourage people to vote for whoever they want to, and it is their right as an American to do that. But their political stand is no better or more important than mine is. The ones who bother me are the smug, arrogant ones who think they wield something special in terms of influence. (I've always thought those Hollywood types, "Limosine Liberals" as Ed Koch once called them, are totally out of touch with the average American. I don't relate to them at all.)

As an Independent, I've voted for Democrats and I've voted for Republicans. And I'm proud to write that. I don't pigeonhole myself into any political view or philosophy. My way of thinking has always been, "Show me what you got!" Then I make up my mind. I don't believe I have ever voted directly down a political slate in any election in my life.

I'm not here to tell you who to vote for, but just to tell you to get out and vote tomorrow. There maybe a drastic sea change as far as the House and Senate goes, and the Democrats may indeed gain control of both places.

I've always said that the biggest complainers in America are those people who don't vote. So it's important to get out there and make your voice heard. It's a right that shouldn't be taken lightly, as many have fought and died for us to have the right to vote.

Vote however you like, but just get out there and do it.

An Embarrassment In San Francisco

The day had gotten off to a good start on Sunday, with the Chicago Bears losing their first game of the season, to the lowly Miami Dolphins, 31-13, in which must be the upset of this football season. This result gave me some hope that a certain Vikings victory in San Francisco would put the Vikes not just in a good position to make the playoffs, but it just might put them back in a position to actually win the NFC North.

Silly me.

Today I witnessed an incredibly lifeless Minnesota team lose to one of the worst teams in the NFL, 9-3. A game in which neither team could score a touchdown, and Sunday's truly embarrassing offensive performance may just prove the Vikings simply aren't a playoff team, and they will go absolutely nowhere with Brad Johnson at the QB helm.

The San Francisco 49ers are last in the NFL in defense, and going into Sunday's game had allowed an NFL-high 34 points per game. This was the type of game the Vikings could get well in, especially after getting hammered by a very good New England Patriots team last Monday.

They drove for an opening field goal, and once again could not get the ball in the end zone. They are simply pathetic in the Red Zone, and are last in the NFL, converting just 24% of the Red Zone chances into touchdowns. Johnson simply doesn't have it any more, and he has thrown for just 4 TDs in eight games. He threw another interception and fumbled twice, and they led to 49er scores.

The only reason to watch the Vikings offense is RB Chester Taylor. He's an exciting back to watch, and he outgained the entire San Francisco offense, 141-133, in total yards. (That should tell you something about how bad the 49ers are as a team.) He caught a screen pass from Johnson and scampered 65 yards for a TD, but it was brought back by a stupid block in the back penalty by Travis Taylor.

And another reason the Vikings are struggling is the lousy play of Troy Williamson. He continues to be a flop, and he dropped two critical passes from Johnson in crucial situations. This is his second season and he continues to show he is not a number one receiver. The Vikings have no reliable deep threat, and it is hurting this club immensely.

I believe it is time to give rookie Tarvaris Jackson a start at QB. The Vikings have the easiest schedule the rest of the way this season, and it maybe time to see what this rookie has. Johnson clearly isn't the answer at QB. It was simply a pathetic display by the offense, as for the second time this year they have had an offensive TD scoreless streak that has reached at least 10 quarters.

The defense has looked marvelous at times, and after 8 games, had allowed 10 fewer points per game than they did in 2005. But the offense is so unbelievably weak, and it is dragging the Vikings down with it. Hard decisions have to be made by Brad Childress and the club, or else this team, which is now 4-4, will see any chance of a postseason berth go down the drain.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Date With The Hangman

Earlier today in Baghdad, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity and was sentenced to be hanged. The verdict was not totally unexpected and has been welcomed by most Iraqis, but there were a few protests in the country by some of his deluded former followers.

God only knows how many Iraqi citizens this despot had tortured and killed when he was the leader of the country. Now he has a date with the end of a rope.

So be it. The Iraqis have doled out their justice to Hussein.

And they'll be one less murdering bastard in this world.

Liverpool, ND Both Roll

On Saturday morning I watched the Liverpool-Reading match on the Fox Soccer Channel, and Liverpool won, 2-0, at Anfield. Dirk Kuyt scored both goals for the Mighty Reds, in the 14th and 73rd minutes. Liverpool continues to move up the Premiership table, and they are red-hot now, including the European Champions League win over Bordeaux, 3-0, during the week.

It maybe too late to catch Manchester United or Chelsea for the domestic title, but Liverpool are still very much alive for another European title. They have also not been defeated at Anfield since October 2005. (Now that's homefield dominance!)

And as expected, Notre Dame won at South Bend, 45-26, over North Carolina, although they did not cover the 28-point spread. No big deal, as the showdown later this month with USC still looms large on the horizon. It was another big day for Brady Quinn, as he threw 3 TDs in the win.

(For some odd reason, the post I originally wrote on Saturday afternoon simply disappeared from my web site, and I don't have the foggiest notion as to why. Blogger's been doing some truly bizarre things the past couple of weekends. If anyone has seen it please let me know.)

Friday, November 03, 2006

In Today's Daily News

On page 46 of today's New York Daily News, there is a story about yesterday's rally at the World Trade Center site, and there is a photo of some of the people who were in attendance who lost loved ones on 9/11. And wouldn't you know, there is me, on the far left side of the picture, and I'm identified in the caption beneath it. (Unfortunately, the photo is not on the Daily News' web site, otherwise I would have posted it here.)

The picture does not show me holding a photo of my late friend, as it was cut off just before you could see it. It's a pretty somber looking picture.

But at least you can clearly tell I'm wearing my 2004 World Champions hat.

On a much lighter note, I saw a very small story in the News about a Yankee fan (who I won't identify) who was arrested for trespassing at a Red Sox-Yankees game this past June. He was fined $250 for his thoughtless actions by a judge in the Bronx yesterday.

I have absolutely NO use for ANY fans at ANY ballpark who want their 15 minutes of fame by running onto fields during ballgames. Just about all of the other fans in the park don't want the game interrupted by these nitwits. Most times they are fueled by alcohol, and some times they are done by airheads who want to tell their buddies or families, "Hey, look what I did!!"

And sure enough, that's why this jackass did it. He was proud that he was able to yell over to Bernie Williams about how much he admired him as he was being arrested, and to get a reponse from Williams. "It's a story I can tell my grandkids," this clueless putz said yesterday.

It would have been nice if the judge in Bronx Criminal Court had tossed this jerk in the slammer for one year. Then he could tell his future generations about his experiences with his "cellmate named Jamal..."