Ellsbury Returns To Fenway

Sunday, December 31, 2006

As 2006 Comes To An End

This is my 477th and final post of 2006, and I want to wish all of my faithful readers of The Mighty Quinn Media Machine a joyful, happy and healthy New Year. My blog began last March and it has been a real joy to write, and I want to thank all of you for all of the wonderful feedback you've given me.

I'm planning bigger and better things in the upcoming year. I'm going to start posting some of my favorite Top 10 lists, on just about every subject imaginable, and I will also be alphabetizing all of my links soon to make it easier for all of my readers. Something cool always seems to pop up for me to write, and I hope you all will keep coming back to my site in 2007.

I will be ringing the New Year quietly, with my family here in New York. I generally stay away from Manhattan, as it's "Amateur Night" as I always say, and I like to be home to see in the New Year. (Only three types of people go to Times Square on New Year's Eve: tourists, cops and pickpockets.) Wherever you are, I hope all of you had fun bringing in 2007.

See you next year!

A Crashing End In Minnesota

The Vikings rotten 2006 season ended with a loud thud in Metrodome today as the St. Louis Rams won handily, 41-21. It was a day when it looked like the Vikings as a team couldn't wait for the season to end and left their car motors on, waiting to make a quick getaway.

Steven Jackson rushed for three TDs and became the first back to rush for over 100 yards since the middle of the 2005 season. (Warrick Dunn of Atlanta was the last to do it.) This was a game the Vikings were never in, as they down, 24-7 at the half, and it just got worse when the second half started.

St. Louis was up 41-7 early in the 4th, and the Vikings scored two meaningless touchdowns to make the score closer than it was. The Vikings finish at 6-10, and have a lot of work to do this coming off-season. They need lots of help in their secondary, receiving corps and especially at quarterback.

I predicted before the season that the Vikings had a chance to finish 8-8. So much for that.

2006 was without a doubt a disappointing year in Minnesota.

The Giants and Jets both qualified for the playoffs. The Rams win put the Giants in, as they beat Washington the night before, 34-28. They finish with a mediocre 8-8 record, and will face the Eagles in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon. The Jets beat Oakland, 23-3, and will now face the New England Patriots next Saturday or Sunday. (I have not heard a day or time as I write this yet.)

Whenever it is, Professor Thom's should be rocking next weekend.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Gabe Kapler: An Appreciation

He'll never be elected to baseball's Hall of Fame. He'll probably never be elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame. But there is one Red Sox player I will always have a ton of respect for: an outfielder named Gabe Kapler.

Lost in all the hullabaloo over the signings of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Julio Lugo, and the signing (one of these days) of J.D. Drew, Gabe Kapler announced his retirement from major league baseball after nine seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Colorado Rockies and the Red Sox, at the young age of 31. He was originally selected in the 57th round by Detroit in the amateur draft in 1995. Kapler leaves the game with a career of 64 home runs, 302 RBI, .270 batting average and 68 stolen bases. His best season was as a regular for Texas in 2001 when he hit 17 HRs, 72 RBI, and hit .267.

Kapler had offers from other clubs to continue his playing career, but declined them all to take over as the manager of the Greenville Drive, an "A" ball club affiliated with the Red Sox.

Kapler said that his decision was an easy one, that early in 2006 as he was rehabbing his Achilles injury from September 2005 he felt he could be of better use teaching young players on the way up, as he spent time in the minors before rejoining the Sox in June.

Kapler made an immediate impact with the Red Sox fans in mid-2003, as he was picked up off waivers from Colorado. He had four hits in his first game and then hit two home runs in his second game in Boston. He immediately became something of a cult hero, and the fans immediately took to his dedication and hard-nose style of play. (Remember he was in the middle of the brawl with the Yankees in July 2004?)

After the 2003 season, Gabe was offered a two-year deal by the Milwaukee Brewers, and a chance to play regularly there. He turned them down, citing the fact that he was so taken by the Boston fans that he would rather be a fourth outfielder in Boston than a regular in other cities. He also pointed to the fact that he thought the Sox had a good shot a world championship and wanted to be a part of it should it happen in Boston.

Hearing that made me a Gabe Kapler fan for life.

I'll never forget that he put away the first out in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2004 World Series. Of course, many Sox fans will remember that unfortunate injury he suffered rounding the bases in Toronto in September 2005. It was feared that the Achilles injury he suffered could be a career-ending one. But Kapler fought his way back, and came back months ahead of schedule. He hit .254 in 130 at-bats, but the fact he made it back at all is a tribute to his love and dedication to the sport.

After winning the World Series in 2004, Gabe attempted to jump start his career in Japan with the Yomiuri Giants, but he had an injury-riddled half-season there, and made the decision to return to the States. Of course, with the Red Sox. Kapler seemed to have a deep appreciation of what it meant to wear the uniform of the Boston team, and his decision to remain in the Red Sox organization is a testament to that.

Gabe and his wife Lisa also founded "The Gabe Kapler Foundation," which attempts to end the cycle of domestic violence. Lisa was a victim of violence at the hands of a boyfriend many years earlier, so she and Gabe formed the foundation in 2004. (It can be found online at: www.kaplerfoundation.org.)

So, in retirement, I wish Gabe Kapler and his family all the best, especially as he starts his new career as a minor league manager. I hope to one day see him manage in the bigs. He'll always be one of my favorites, and not just because he's "One of the 25."

Gabe is just good people. And baseball can use all Gabe Kaplers it can get.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Saddam Hussein Executed

Ding dong, the dictator's dead.

Hussein danced at the end of a rope.

Justice has been done.

One less murdering bastard in the world.

(Thanks to my friend Dan for sending along the photo. It was simply too good not to share with all of you. I guess Hussein was more evil than any of us ever imagined.)

All Hail The Knights!

It was a great night to be a fan of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, as they rolled over Kansas State, 37-10, in the Texas Bowl at Reliant Stadium in Houston. I believe my cousin Michael, a dedicated Rutgers alum, was at the game, and Rutgers won their very first bowl game in their school's 137-year history.

The game was barely a contest, as Rutgers scored two quick TDs in the first quarter, both passes to Tim Brown. Kansas State scored 10 points in the second, but Rutgers opened the second half with a TD brought back by Quintero Frierson 27 yards on the first play from scrimmage.

It was a big night for sophomore running back Ray Rice, who scored the final TD and rushed for 170 yards on 24 carries. QB Mike Teel, also a spohomore, was 16-for-28 with 2 TDs. The Scarlet Knights had nearly 500 total yards in demolishing Kansas State.

Rutgers ends one of the best seasons in school history at 11-2, including the bowl win. My congratulations to all the Rutgers alumni who suffered through all those bad seasons, and now they have a winning team to be proud of, and one that only looks to get better next season.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Zito Staying In The Bay Area

It was announced today that Barry Zito has decided to stay in the Bay Area and will sign a staggering 7-year, $126 million dollar deal with the San Francisco Giants.

An amazing amount of cash for a pitcher so inconsistent as Zito.

He had a sensational year in 2002, his third in the majors with the A's. He was 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA and won the Cy Young Award. But in the four years since, he has reached 15 wins only once, and hasn't come anywhere close to that ERA. He is durable and eats innings, but certainly not for that kind of money.

Zito had a lot of things going for him. He was a free agent at just the right time, as the market is absolutely soaring for pitchers. Zito is also 28, left-handed and has Scott Boras as an agent.

I really didn't think Zito would sign before the new year. With the Randy Johnson trade rumors swirling around the Yankees, I thought Boras might try to lure them into a bidding war with the Mets, Rangers and Giants. But the fact that Zito made his choice now tells me the Yankees are running into problems dealing Johnson.

I also said at the end of the 2006 season that Zito would NOT land in New York. He's a West Coast guy, and I figured he would land in either Los Angeles or San Francisco.

God bless him for landing such a deal. I just don't think he's that good a pitcher to warrant that kind of contract.

We'll find out.

The Far Side Calendar Returns

I always do my calendar shopping for the new year between Christmas and New Year's Eve, as the prices in most stores just seem to plummet, as stores are anxious to move what they have left off their shelves. You can get some really good calendars for as much as 50% off the normal retail price.

For years I always been a fan of day-by-day calendars. They are the ones that you tear away a day every day to see something new the next. I always try to get two or three of them. For 2006 I had a Monty Python and a George Carlin calendar. I was always sad to see that the my all-time favorite one, The Far Side, was discontinued in 2002. It was always one of my favorite cartoons, and I bought many of the anthology books ("The Far Side Gallery") that came out over the years. But author Gary Larson decided to walk away from it, much to my chagrin.

But earlier this week, I was in a Barnes & Noble's store and I discovered that The Far Side day-by-day calendar was back! It was brought back for 2007 to benefit one of Gary Larson's favorite causes, the protection of wildlife. All of the royalties from this calendar will go to Conservation International.

I'm so glad to see it back, so I can wake up each day with a classic Far Side cartoon. This 2007 calendar will have many of the same ones featured in the 2001 calendar, and that one was a collection of the Far Side's all-time best comic panels.

Thanks for bringing it back, Gary, even if just for 2007. I missed it.

It goes great with my 2007 Monty Python day-by-day calendar.

Prayers For Bobby

Please say a prayer for Yankees announcer Bobby Murcer, who is having surgery today for a brain tumor in Houston. He was not feeling well last week and went and had an MRI on Christmas Eve and the diagnosis of a tumor was made.

I've honestly felt that over the years Murcer grew to be a better and better announcer, and I always preferred to watch games he did on the YES network over Michael Kay. I've always heard he's always been a genuinely nice man as well.

It was funny that on Christmas Day my niece Erin got a gift (which escapes me at the moment), but it had to do with the Yankees and number 2. It was obviously about Derek Jeter, but my brother-in-law Jack insisted it was about the "real" number 2 of the Yankees, Bobby Murcer. Jack's been about the biggest Bobby Murcer fan I've ever known.

I hope Bobby gets through this difficult time, and that he gets back to the broadcast booth at YES next season. Our good wishes go with him and his family.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald Ford Dies At 93

Late last night it was announced that Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the United States, died at his home in California at the age of 93. The former president had battled many health problems in his later years, including pneumonia earlier this year.

I believe that history will judge Gerald Ford kindly. He was a congressman from Michigan, and well-liked by politicians on both sides of the political aisle. He was about to retire from the Congress when Richard Nixon nominated him to become vice-president in October 1973. When Nixon resigned in August 1974, Ford ascended to the highest office in the US without being elected either president or vice-president.

One of his first orders of business was to grant Nixon a pardon, and I remember the firestorm that created. Ford's thinking was to put Watergate behind us and move forward. It may have cost Ford the chance to be re-elected in 1976, but 20/20 hindsight proved it was the right thing to do.

I have to admit that my early memories of President Ford were not good ones. In mid-1975, New York City was in the middle of financial bankruptcy, mostly due to the mess left by Mayor John Lindsay in the 60s and 70s. Ford would not agree to a complete bailout of the city, and it angered most New Yorkers (including myself). It spawned the Daily News headline of October 30, 1975, featured above. But Ford was correct not to do it, as the city had to make major financial cuts before the Feds offered any assistance. They did, and New York took the first steps out of financial ruin. But his original snub of New York City would end up costing him votes in 1976.

Many people will also remember President Ford for all the stumbling he did in public, like getting off Air Force One, or shanking golf balls into crowds. Chevy Chase immortalized him in the first season on Saturday Night Live (even though he looked nothing like the President), with all the falling down he did on the show. It was very funny, and President Ford took it all in with good humor, even meeting the Saturday Night Live stars at the White House.

President Ford also was the longest-lived president, passing away at age 93. He was also a star center at Michigan, and they won two NCAA football titles in 1932 and 1933. He had offers to play in the NFL, but rejected them to go to Yale Law School. (And he made much more money as a lawyer than he would have in the NFL back then.)

I will also never forget the really classy compliment that Jimmy Carter gave to President Ford on the day of the Carter inauguration in 1977. He called Mr. Ford "a good and decent man" who helped heal America after "the long national nightmare" of Watergate. Just about everyone who knew Mr. Ford, no matter where they stood on the political spectrum, liked him as a politician, but more as a man.

President Ford had no hidden agendas, and was usually self-effacing about his legacy. He once said, "I'm a Ford, not a Lincoln." But he came along at a time when America needed a healer, and he'll always be remembered for that.

Godspeed Mr. President.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Trivia Q&A: December 26

It was another fine evening of Trivia, and we had a very good crowd turn out for it. I was a little worried, as it being the day after Christmas, that the crowds might stay away. But fortunately we ended up having 13 teams compete. And it was won by a team called Fresh Pair, who won by five points over Ram Rod. I spoke to one of the members of the winning team afterwards, and she explained to me that she discovered the Trivia Night by a Google search that led her to my blog. I was very pleased to hear that, and that she and her team enjoyed it and would return again.

The three new categories went down very well, especially the Movie Characters, as it was two points per question. It looks like that category will definitely return next week.

Current Events
1. James Brown, "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business,"died on Christmas morning at the age of 73. In which state did he pass away in? Georgia
2. This new Microsoft Windows operating system has proven to be an easy pushover for Internet hackers. Vista
3. Rumors have begun that this Yankees player may very well be traded, and possibly back to his old NL club. Randy Johnson
4. This Academy Award-nominated director was arrested last week in Portland, Oregon for DUI. Gus Van Sant
5. This governor suffered a broken right femur on the ski slopes in Idaho last week. Arnold Schwarzenegger
6. An oil pipeline burst and dumped more than 21,000 gallons of oil off the coast of this state on Tuesday. Texas
7. The Postal Service said today that the most popular US postage stamp continues to be an image of this late entertainer. Elvis Presley
8. An earthquake in this Asian country briefly started fears of a possible tsunami on Tuesday. Taiwan
9. This film grossed over $30 million this past weekend to become number one at the box office. "A Night At The Museum"
10. This African nation sent fighter jets into Somalia in order to stop the Islamist movement in that country. Ethiopia

State Nicknames
1. The First State: a. Delaware; b. Connecticut; c. Maine; d. Virginia. Answer: a
2. The Centennial State: a. Nevada; b. Colorado; c. Utah; d. Arizona. Answer: b
3. The Hawkeye State: a. North Dakota; b. Nebraska; c. Kansas; d. Iowa. Answer: d
4. The Pelican State: a. Louisiana; b. Arkansas; c. Indiana; d. Kentucky. Answer: a
5. The Sunflower State: a. Florida; b. Mississippi; c. Kansas; d. Oklahoma. Answer: c
6. The Granite State: a. New Hampshire; b. Vermont; c. Maine; d. Rhode Island. Answer: a
7. The Tar Heel State: a. South Carolina; b. Alabama; c. Georgia; d. North Carolina. Answer: d
8. The Buckeye State: a. Ohio; b. Illinois; c. Indiana; d. Missouri. Answer: a
9. The Equality State: a. Washington; b. Idaho; c. Wyoming; d. Montana. Answer: c
10. The Keystone State: a. Massachusetts; b. Pennsylvania; c. West Virginia; d. Maryland. Answer: b

General Knowledge
1. Which "Saturday Night Live" regular used the catch phrase, "Isn't That Special?" Dana Carvey
2. Which author penned the classic book, "The Autobiography of Malcolm X?" Alex Haley
3. Which early US president is credited with inventing both the dumb waiter and the lazy susan? Thomas Jefferson
4. In which US city did the infamous "Tailhook" Navy scandal take place? Las Vegas
5. Which TV soap opera had the long-running relationship between the characters Luke and Laura? General Hospital
6. When you combine the colors yellow and blue, what color do you get? Green
7. The Great Barrier Reef is located off the northeastern coast of which country? Australia
8. Who portrayed Jodie Dallas, the first openly gay character on TV? Billy Crystal
9. What year was the first US satellite, Explorer, launched into space in? 1957
10. Name 2 of the 3 NFL teams to win the Super Bowl 5 times. Dallas, San Francisco, Pittsburgh

New Year's Trivia
1. Which European country started using the symbol of a baby to signify the New Year nearly 2600 years ago? Greece
2. Which poet is credited with writing most of the lyrics to the song "Auld Lang Syne?" Robert Burns
3. What does the term "A.D." stand for? Anno Domini
4. Which European Senate made January 1 the first day of the New Year in 153 B.C.? Rome
5. In which California city is the New Year's Tournament of Roses Parade held in? Pasadena
6. Under which calendar is New Year's Day January 1? Gregorian
7. Which Canadian bandleader from the 1940s/50s was most closely associated with New Year's Eve? Guy Lombardo
8. Within 5 years, what was the first year that the ball was dropped above Times Square on New Year's Eve? 1907
9. In which city is the Orange Bowl football game played in, normally around New Year's Day? Miami
10. Which rock band had a hit song in the 1980s called "New Year's Day?" U2

Movie Characters
1. Popeye Doyle (1971)- Gene Hackman, "The French Connection"
2. Clark Griswold (1983)- Chevy Chase, "Vacation"
3. Kevin McCallister (1990)- Macauley Culkin, "Home Alone"
4. Tommy DeVito (1990)- Joe Pesci,"Goodfellas"
5. Capt. Jack Sparrow (2003)- Johnny Depp, "Pirates of the Caribbean"
6. Bill "The Butcher" Cutting (2002)- Daniel Day-Lewis,"Gangs of New York"
7. Judy Benjamin (1980)- Goldie Hawn, "Private Benjamin"
8. The Dude (1998)- Jeff Bridges, "The Big Lebowski"
9. Ellen Ripley (1979)- Sigourney Weaver, "Alien"
10. Oda Mae Brown (1990)- Whoopi Goldberg, "Ghost"

Boxing Day Trivia

A Happy Boxing Day to all of you reading my blog in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. (This day always makes me want to put on the gloves and go a few rounds. Where are my trunks?)

Yes, there will be Trivia tonight at Professor Thom's at 9 PM. For tonight's round, I will including three categories I haven't done before: "New Year's Trivia," "Movie Characters," and "State Nicknames." Movie Characters will be worth double points and State Nicknames will be multiple choice. And what better way to end this year but with Trivia about the last holiday of the year.

Hope to see you at PT's tonight!

Real Or Not Real

I hope all of you out their are enjoying the Christmas holiday. I had a very nice day on Monday, as I had a houseful of relatives over, namely my five sisters and my eight nieces and nephews.

Santa was good to me. I received a snazzy new leather jacket and lot of new shirts. I'm always grateful for all the gifts I receive.

My niece Caitlin brought over one of the gifts she just received: the interactive "Deal Or No Deal" game. I do like the TV show on NBC, but they go in for too much theatrics at times. But the DVD is really good, and I have a feeling I may go out and get it myself!

I played it yesterday with my 10-year-old nephew Danny. We played against each other, to see who could make the best deal at the end. Danny was beating me most of the way, as I picked out the $1 million and $750,000 cases almost immediately. Danny proved to be quite an adept young player.

With about four cases left, Danny was offered $315,000 by the banker, which he wisely took. So I had to keep going, as there was still a $400,000 case remaining. Eventually I was down to two cases: a $75,000 one and a $400,000 one. I had little choice but to go for it if I was going to win. It was between case #12 and the one I originally picked: #24. I stayed with number #24. (I kept thinking of Manny Ramirez...what would Manny do? Probably ask for a trade I would imagine...)

And lo and behold: it was the $400,000 case!! Danny was shocked, as he thought for sure he had me beat. I raised my arms in victory, but I really wished this could have been real. It was just for fun, but we all had a good time.

And I think they've got me hooked. It's a really fun interactive game.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Very Merry Christmas To You All

I want to wish all of you out there a very Merry Christmas. I hope Santa Claus is good to all of you, and that you spend the next few days with those you love.

I leave you all with this comforting scene:



This is from "The Yule Log," a tradition that was started by WPIX-TV here in New York in 1966. It is a simple burning log, with classic Christmas music playing in the background. It was originally filmed at a fireplace at Gracie Mansion, the home of New York City's mayor. (There's a good web site to check out about the Yule Log's history: www.theyulelog.com.) It was a big hit from the first time it was broadcast. Some of my early memories of Christmas were of watching the burning log on Christmas Eve just before going to bed and waiting for Santa to arrive.

The Yule Log remained a New York staple until 1989, when the station made a truly dumb decision to yank it. There were many protests, but WPIX left it on the shelf for over a decade.

In 2001, it was brought back, in some ways in response to the terror attacks of September 11. It brought back wonderful memories for people, and even some comfort, and now it is a staple on Christmas morning. It will be broadcast on Channel 11 for three hours on Monday morning beginning at 9 AM. I'll be watching of course. I will also be watching Midnight Mass from both the Vatican and St. Patrick's Cathedral early on Christmas morning as well.

I'll always be a man who believes in traditions.

I probably won't be posting again until Tuesday, so I hope you all have a blessed and lovely Christmas.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Birthday Jerry Koosman

A very happy birthday to one of my all-time favorite Mets players, Jerry Koosman, who turns 64 today. For some reason, every year I always remembered that his birthday was on December 23 (as dates always stick in my head).

Jerome Martin Koosman was born in Appleton, Minnesota in 1942. "The Kooz" was one of the big reasons the 1969 Mets went all the way and won the World Series. He won two World Series games that year, and had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning of Game 2. He easily could have been MVP but Donn Clendenon's three HRs got him the award. (The picture of Jerry on the right is from the cover of Life Magazine on September 26, 1969 as the Mets were charging for the pennant.)

I'll never forget the immortal Mets announcer Lindsay Nelson describe him as "One of the ten best dressed men in Morris, Minnesota." The Kooz was also a great gentleman and very well liked by his teammates and the press. He finished second to Johnny Bench for the NL Rookie of the Year in 1968, winning 19 with a stellar 2.08 ERA. He won 17 on the 1969 Champions. He also won 14 games in 1973, and was the Game 5 winner in the 1973 World Series against Oakland. His best season was 1976, when he won 21 games and finished second that year in the Cy Young Award voting to Randy Jones. He pitched for the Mets from 1967-1978, before being traded to his home state Minnesota Twins for an unknown rookie named pitcher named Jesse Orosco. Kooz eventually was dealt to the White Sox in 1981, and then to the Phillies in 1984, and retired following the 1985 season.

He completed a 19-year career with 222 wins, 2556 strikeouts and a 3.36 ERA. He was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1989. I'll never forget, as a seven-year-old, watching the 1969 NL East division clinching win over St. Louis, and in the wild locker room celebration, Kooz got shot with champagne in the face by Tom Seaver. He walked over to Ralph Kiner and said, "This stuff burns!"

A few years ago, I heard that Kooz had bypass heart surgery, but I hope he's doing well. There are some ballplayers you never can forget, and Jerry Koosman, for me, is one of them.

Have a great birthday, Kooz!

Happy Festivus!

Well, it's that time of year again. The holidays are here and it's time to enjoy ourselves. Everyone knows about Christmas and Hanukkah and all of its traditions. But there's one holiday that always seems to be overlooked.

Why is it that Santa Claus gets all this pub, but the great holiday of Festivus seems to get relegated to the back burner?

(I would have loved to have seen "A Charlie Brown Festivus," but you can't have everything in life I guess.)

But fortunately, our "patron saint" of Festivus, Frank Costanza (pictured), brought the holiday to the forefront of the attention of the American public with one of the funniest "Seinfeld" episodes ever, "The Strike," in 1997. God bless him.

Forget the phony tinsel and goodwill. Break out the pole, show your feats of strength, get down on the floor and wrestle, and air out your grievances!

There are many good Festivus web sites for those of you heathens who lack the knowledge of the sacred traditions of December 23, but I recommend these:

A history of Festivus from Religioustolerance.org
: http://www.religioustolerance.org/festivus.htm, and
Festivus, a web site for the rest of us: http://www.festivusbook.com/

Christmas maybe for the masses, but Festivus is for the rest of us!!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Goodbye Tower, My Old Friend

Today was the final day that Tower Records was in business here in New York City. Both locations, Greenwich Village (pictured) and Lincoln Center, closed this evening. The Lincoln Center store was open for 22 years, and the Village one, which I worked at from 1984-1990, was a staple at the corner of East 4th Street and Broadway for 23 years, and the first Tower store east of the Mississippi.

I went in at about 3:30 PM for one final, nostalgic look around. It is still so surreal to see it come to this final conclusion. The store was crowded with customers looking to find one last bargain. There was very little of any quality left, as people grabbed all the good stuff when the liquidation was first announced. On the top floor, I saw something that made me stop and not the irony. The once great Classical music room, which was one of the very best outlets for all kinds of classical music anywhere in the world, was serving as a place for bargain rap CDs and the last remaining videos in the store. Terribly sad.

I saw my friend Ramsey Jones, who was interviewed in today's NY Daily News, and who was one of the last links to when I worked in the store 16 years ago. He was as sad as I was. We talked about the store's demise, as well as the changing face of the Village. Tower joins CBGB's, The Cactus Cafe and The Bottom Line as great places I used to go to that are now part of history. We also talked to some customers, and they also hated to see Tower go under.

I took some photos of the store on all different floors. Today, the basement, mezzanine and most of the Jazz and Classical sections were closed off. In total, I spent about 45 minutes in the store, and I took a long walk along the rock floor and the memories of my days as the rock floor CD buyer and floor manager came rushing back. I thought of those in-stores, the Saturdays when the floor was wall-to-wall customers, and especially, those good friends I knew all those years ago.

When I got to the Front Desk, I thought of my beloved late friend Joyce, and I knew that wherever she was now that she was probably as sad as I was. At that time, someone there was playing a boom box (as the DJ booth was shut down), and I heard some of the employees singing, "American Pie." I thought about how appropriate it was ("The Day The Music Died"), until I discovered they weren't playing the Don MacLean classic original but that putrid Madonna cover. Oh well...

As I got to the front doors, I bumped into a lady I was talking to a few minutes earlier with Ramsey. She said to me, "It looks like you don't want to leave." I told her that I worked there so many years ago, and these final moments in the store was really heartbreaking. "I never thought this could happen to Tower, and I didn't want to see it end like this," I told her.

And as I was leaving, I thought of an incident about 21 years ago I never forgot. I remember a really busy day around Christmas of 1985. Two friends of mine, Andrew and Charles, and I had just finished a grueling nearly all-afternoon register shift on the rock floor. The three of us went outside to get a breath of fresh air before returning to work. I'll never forget Charles saying to us, "Can you believe we work in a place like this? Tower is really something else."

It sure was.

So long Tower. Thanks for all the memories.

I'll treasure them for the rest of my life.

Wait Until Next Year

The Vikings were officially eliminated from any chance at the postseason last night on the wet field at Lambeau in Green Bay, 9-7. Tarvaris Jackson started his first NFL game last night, and he went just 10-for-20 for 50 yards and one interception. The Vikings managed just 3 first downs, their lowest total in a game in team history. They got only 104 total yards, and went three-and-out nine times in the game.

Fred Smoot's 47-yard interception return for a TD was all the Vikings scoring for the night. (I had to laugh when the replay showed that Smoot tried to do the "Lambeau Leap" in the stands after the TD and the Packers fans were pushing him away and he tried to get in.) Despite the paltry offense, the Vikings almost pulled off the win, but Dave Rayner's 44-yard field goal with 1:34 to play gave Green Bay the win.

The Vikings run defense was superb yet again, allowing Green Bay only 46 yards. But the offense was simply beyond pathetic, and the play-calling wasn't good at all. But I was glad to see Jackson out there getting his feet wet with some experience against the Vikings' biggest rivals. He should get the start again next week in the finale at home against St. Louis.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Call It What It Is

The picture on the right is The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, in all its beauty.

It is a Christmas tree.

It is not a holiday tree.

In the immortal words of Dennis Miller, "I don't want to get off on a rant here, but..."

Oh, what the heck. As the years have progressed, it seems like every Christmas season is getting more and more controversial. It seems as if the word "Christmas" is being more and more of a word we are not supposed to say this time of year. I've heard this nonsense about some individuals who want to call the Christmas tree "a holiday tree," to make it more "inclusive."

I don't get that at all. I am proud to call myself a Christian, and have always enjoyed this time of year the most. I love the festivities, the lights, the feeling of goodwill. But it seems like in the minds of the politically correct, we're supposed to make Christmas more "inclusive." It is a Christian holiday, and if non-Christians want to share in the joy of Christmas, that is perfectly fine.

But what leaves me shaking my head the most is when I hear someone complaining about Christmas or Hanukkah displays, even going as far as saying they are "offended" by it. Frankly, those people are bigots. I remember about 15 years ago, a Muslim complained about the Christmas and Hanukkah displays at Grand Central Station, and the authorities there simply caved into this person and removed most of those displays. You may have heard about the rabbi in Seattle who asked the airport there to add a menorah to the Christmas displays earlier this month, only to have them panic and pull all the trees and decorations from the airport. He just wanted the menorah added, and nothing more. The rabbi was worried he'd be made out to be some type a grinch and wanted the Christmas trees put back (and the trees were after the story went national and the airport authorities realized they made a mistake).

I don't agree with media pundits like Bill O'Reilly that there's some organized "war on Christmas." Most of the incidents of PC I hear and read about are isolated, and not part of some big "conspiracy." I have no problem with people who say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." After all, there are three major holidays this time of year (Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's), and the term takes all three into account. ( And I remember people saying "Season's Greetings" back to when I was a kid.) When I worked at Tower Records, we were never told not to say "Merry Christmas," but just to be a little more polite and helpful this time of year. And of course, you never knew when the person you were helping was Christian, Jewish, or whatever, so I always took the safe route and said, "Happy Holidays." Nothing wrong at all with that.

It's the political correctness that bothers me. There's a very large and significant part of the population that celebrates Christmas and Hanukkah, and I have no time for anyone who finds those displays "offensive." They are a very small part of the population and should really just lighten up. If you want to know what the true meaning of Christmas is, watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" when Linus gets on stage and explains what it really means. It's a beautiful scene and always gives me chills when I watch it.

For many people like myself, it's the best time of the year. So come on people, just enjoy this time of year, no matter which faith you belong to (and even if you don't have one). Cut the PC and just have fun. Stop worrying about everyone else's "feelings." Life is too short to get caught up in such nonsense every December.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year, everyone!

Oops, I forgot to mention that there's a fourth holiday this time of year and it's about to occur later this week.......Happy Festivus, too!! (More about that in an upcoming post.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Trivia Q&A: December 20

It definitely was a quieter night on Wednesday in terms of attendance at Professor Thom's, as there were just seven teams playing. But we did have one team of over one dozen players named Orpheus playing. And they made their presence known in many undeniable ways, as it seemed like every question they got right was cause for a loud celebration.

It was actually a great game that came down to the last round. They edged out Team Name by just one point. But I did hear a few complaints from other teams that they were too large, and that it wasn't fair that a team of that size competes against teams of two or three players. I don't necessarily think a large team has such a great advantage, but we did discuss after trivia was finished on imposing a limit to the size a team can be. We were thinking maybe it should be 5 or 6, but nothing has been decided yet.

We still had a terrific game, and hopefully we will have the next Trivia contest on Tuesday night, December 26. That has not been decided yet, so stay to my site for more info when it becomes available.

Current Events
1. Authorities say that one of three missing climbers on Mt. Hood was found dead on Sunday. In which state is Mt. Hood? Oregon
2. A suspect was arrested in the prostitute slayings in England on Monday. In which English city did the murders take place? Ipswich
3. Who did Time Magazine select as its "Person Of The Year" for 2006? "You"
4. Which film, which was newly released last Friday, was number one at the box office last weekend? The Pursuit Of Happyness
5. Which NBA team did the Knicks get into a huge brawl with last Saturday at MSG? Denver Nuggets
6. The New York Daily News selected this man as their "New Yorker of the Year" for 2006. Michael Bloomberg
7. Democratic senator Tim Johnson needed emergency brain surgery last week, possibly altering the Senate balance of power if he did not survive. Which state does he represent? South Dakota
8. Seven people were found dead in a duplex in a small town in which Midwestern state? Missouri
9. This TV talk show bigwig is planning on producing two prime time "feel good" reality shows next year. Oprah Winfrey
10. This blonde bombshell was chosen as "worst celebrity dog owner" for 2006 by The Hollywood Dog Magazine. Britney Spears

New York City Trivia
1. Which NYC thoroughfare is actually 150 miles long and one of the world's longest streets? Broadway
2. Which art museum located in NYC is the largest art museum in the Western hemisphere? Metropolitan Museum of Art
3. Which NYC bridge was designed by John Roebling? Brooklyn Bridge
4. At which place in NYC is there an ice skating rink erected every winter under a statue of Prometheus? Rockefeller Center
5. How many total floors does the Empire State Building have? 102
6. What avenue is the dividing line between East Side and West Side in Manhattan? 5th Avenue
7. What other name is Avenue of the Americas known as? 6th Avenue
8. Which spiral-shaped museum in NYC was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright? Guggenheim
9. Which NYC-based film was based on a 1958 novella written by Truman Capote? Breakfast at Tiffany's
10. Which is the only NYC borough that isn't located on an island? The Bronx

General Knowledge
1. What is the symbol of the astrological sign Aries? Ram
2. What is the official currency of the nation of Australia? Dollar
3. Which US city had the first full-time police department? New York
4. Which ocean covers more of the earth's surface than all of the earth's land area? Pacific
5. What bird did Benjamin Franklin want to be named the national symbol instead of the bald eagle? turkey
6. Which US president is credited with inventing a device to lift grounded boats off sandbars? Abe Lincoln
7. What material is usually associated with a first wedding anniversary? paper
8. What city held the 1980 Summer Olympics which was participated in by American athletes? Moscow
9. The US relinquished control over what area of the world on December 31, 1999? Panama Canal
10. Name the four US presidents whose faces appear on Mt. Rushmore, looking left to right. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln

TV Trivia
1. Which character on "The Simpsons" shot Mr. Burns? Maggie Simpson
2. Where is the Tv show "Lost" actually filmed? Hawaii (Oahu)
3. How many seasons was George Clooney a regular on "ER?" 5
4. On "All In The Family," what was Mike Stivic (The Meathead)'s national origin? Polish
5. "The Tortellis" was a short-lived spinoff of which classic TV series? "Cheers"
6. What branch of the government did Fox Mulder and Dana Scully work for in "The X-Files?" FBI
7. Which character did DeForest Kelley play on the original "Star Trek" series? Dr. Bones McCoy
8. On the classic series "Married With Children," who sang the opening theme song? Frank Sinatra
9. What was the name of the fictional coffee shop featured in the TV series, "Friends?" Central Perk
10. Name 3 of the 5 overall champions from "American Idol." Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks

Christmas Trivia
1. The web site Retrocrush named "Wonderful Christmas Time" by this artist as the worst Christmas tune of all-time. Paul McCartney
2. Which country began the tradition of serving mince pie at Christmas? England
3. On which other day do Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas? Epiphany (Little Christmas, January 6)
4. What was Scrooge's first name? Ebenezer
5. In "A Charlie Brown Christmas," how many cents does Lucy charge for her psychiatric services? 5 cents
6. Which classic movie does NBC show just once during the Christmas season? "It's A Wonderful Life"
7. Which classic Christmas poem was written by Clement Moore? "A Visit From St. Nicholas" ("Twas The Night Before Christmas")
8. Which 1990 movie told of a boy's experience when two men break into his house during Christmas? "Home Alone"
9. Which 1950s crooner was a co-author of the classic Yule tune, "The Christmas Song?" Mel Torme
10. Name 5 of the 9 reindeer who pulled Santa Claus' sleigh. Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Donder, Blitzen, Cupid and Comet

My Fans Are Out There

I was having dinner with a dear friend of mine on Monday night in a restaurant on Broadway when I noticed a gentleman looking at me from a nearby table. I looked at him and he reminded me of someone but I couldn't place him.

He then looked at me and said, "Were you at the Riviera?" He saw me wearing a Red Sox shirt I had on, and I said, "Oh yes, I used to hang there." I chatted with him briefly (and made mention of Professor Thom's, of course). He said he was also a Red Sox fan and was there during the Red Sox magical run in October 2004.

Then he said, "I was watching the 2004 World Series DVD the other night and I recognize you as part of the crowd in the Riv shown at the end." It really made me smile, and he explained to me that he had to watch the video, as winter was coming and he really missed baseball. Sounds familiar.

This gentleman is not the first person to recognize me from the 2004 World Series video. I've had it happen 3 or 4 times earlier, and I'm amazed that people remember me from it.

It made think of that sports bar in Japan run by a couple of Japanese Red Sox fans who continously show the 2004 World Series DVD in their place. (That place will be really hopping now that Daisuke Matsuzaka is with the Sox!) I wonder, what would happen if I walked into that bar? Would they recognize me? Would they treat me like a celebrity?

Heck, maybe they would give me a free drink. I still think it's so cool that a bar over 10,000 miles from here shows a film I am a part of.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Trivia Moved To Wednesday

Because of a huge crowd at Professor Thom's on Tuesday night, we have moved Trivia Night to Wednesday night, December 20, at 9 PM. The bar did a great business but unfortunately the crowd was just TOO large to have a Trivia Night. (Jim the Bartender and I worried about people yelling out answers, that sort of thing.)

So for the third straight week, it will be Wednesday Night Trivia!

Hope you can come out for it. (But not too many of you!!)

Memories Of Tower Greenwich Village Part 7

This is the seventh and final installment in a series of articles I have written about the time I spent at Tower Records in Greenwich Village. The chain was sold to a liquidator back in October, and the store is closing on Friday, December 22nd for good.

Last night I was in Greenwich Village and stopped by the Tower Records store to see if it was still open. It was, and as soon as I walked in I saw a sign on the right side behind the cash registers that said, "CLOSING DECEMBER 22." It was beyond surreal to see it. I felt so bad at that moment. I just didn't want to see Tower Records come to an end this way.

A part of my past is going away forever.

I decided a short time ago that Part 7 of this series would be the final installment of this series. It has been a pleasure to write this series, and of course, a bit painful. It brought back a lot of happy memories, and a few bittersweet. I've gotten some wonderful feedback from many people out there, some I hadn't heard from in many years. I put the entire series up on the TowerReunion.com message board, and it was nice to hear from many of the nice folks over there.

I had been debating to myself what to write in this final part, but after being in the Tower store last night, I decided to dedicate this final installment to the memories of the people I knew through Tower who have left this world. At TowerReunion, there is a thread dedicated to those Tower employees who have passed away, and I left a couple of messages there for nine special friends (from the Village and elsewhere) who have died. So I have decided to write about all nine of them, sharing my favorite memories of them.

Kevin Woosley was originally from Iowa, and was the head supervisor in Tower's cassette department. I'll never forget Woos' hearty laugh and crazy sense of humor. And I will truly never forget him for one night: October 25, 1986. We were the closing supervisors at the store that night, and for many of you baseball fans, that date should strike a chord. It was Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, and the Mets pulled off the miraculous comeback in the 10th inning against the Red Sox. I was simply in a daze after it happened, and I was around Woos for the next 30 minutes after it occurred. We talked about it, and Kevin was very sympathetic to me, as he was a Cubs fan. I'll never forget him telling me about going to Wrigley Field as a kid on class trips. Kevin left us in 2000, and I'm sorry he never got to see his Cubs win it all. But thanks for being with me that night, buddy.

George (Jet) Watley was another friend of mine with a very biting sense of humor. He was originally one of my clerks and my CD assistant for a time. I loved his little digs at people. They were funny but never vicious. Jet was part of our crew that hung out at The Cactus Cafe, where we'd go after work (and of course, many days during work) and knock a few back. It was always fun to be there to see what would happen, and many Tower legends were born there. But unfortunately, Jet had a terrible smoking habit, and he died of lung cancer in 1989.

Jack Pires worked downstairs in the store, in the mail order department. Jack was a truly a nice guy and a big music fan. He was even a roadie for the Grateful Dead for a time, and I loved his stories of being on the road with them. Jack was another friend who died very suddenly, in the mid-1990s. I always think of him whenever the word "Deadhead" comes up.

B.J. Moore and I had a lot in common. We were both huge sports fans, but he was a Yankee fan, and I, of course, was a fan of their main rival. We used to take little digs at each other as far as our teams went, but it was always good natured. B.J. was a big, husky man, and he had an incredibly big heart and always had a smile on his face. We became even better friends when we both discovered that we were both alumni of Brooklyn Technical High School, about 6 years apart. Unfortunately, B.J. suffered a fatal heart attack in July 2002, at the young age of 35.

Matt Ryan worked for Bayside Distribution in Sacramento, and I got to know him first over the phone with ten million questions about the company after I took over as a sales rep in 1993. I'll never forget Matt's patience in answering all my queries, and I really got to like him a lot when he told me he was a Mets fan. I got to meet him on my first trip out to the company HQ in 1994, and I'll never forget him taking me and my buddy Greg on a tour of Sacramento in his pickup truck. I sat in the back of the truck and it was a blast. Matt died in 1999, in his early 40s. Bayside was never the same after his loss.

Dave Nives was a sales rep for Rounder Records during the days I was the CD buyer. He was another Yankee fan who used to give me crap about the Red Sox, but he was one of the team's more intelligent fans. I'll never forget Dave's really bad and sometimes dirty jokes, as they always seemed to make my day. Dave always had some really good promos from his company, and I'll never forget his stories about the days he was at Boston University at the same time that Howard Stern was a DJ there. Dave died very suddenly this past summer of a heart attack, in his early 50s. I just found out about it from the TowerReunion message board earlier this month, and I'm still in shock over his passing.

Jimmy Brannan was a sales rep for RCA in the 80s who I got on with very well. We were both Irish Catholics from Brooklyn, and Jimmy was a Mets fan/Yankee hater like Yours Truly. I remember going to a Red Sox/Yankees game with him and two other friends in 1986 at Yankee Stadium. Jimmy and my friends got really drunk, and demanded to go into Stan's Sports Bar after the game (which was a Sox win). Jimmy and my friends seem to make it a point to tell the whole bar I was a Red Sox fan, and those Yankee fans gave me hell. We laughed about it later, but I've never stepped foot in the joint since. Jimmy died many years ago, and like Dave, I'll never forget those great promos he'd get me from his company. But more importantly, I'll never forget his warm friendship.

Joe Miller was the record store manager at Tower Records in Massapequa, Long Island. It was one of my accounts as a sales rep for Bayside. I immediately bonded with Joe as friends, and he always had a smile for me and a "Hello my brother!" greeting for me. He trusted me as a sales rep and let me write my own orders for the store, which was a rare thing, and I never violated his trust. Joe was also a ballboy for the Knicks at MSG for many years, and I'd even see him on TV occasionally. But in the late 1990s, Joe had kidney problems, and eventually needed a transplant. He eventually developed lymphoma, and on the morning of September 10, 2001, he died at the very young age of 32. His friends later told me of the terrible struggles he had in his last years, but didn't let on because he didn't want anyone to worry about him. I'll never watch another Knicks game again and not think of him.

Joyce Carpeneto, as many of you know from many of my previous posts, was a dear friend of mine since she started at Tower in 1985. We worked together on the Tower rock floor, and later Joyce moved downstairs to the cassette department. By 1990, Joyce had become a rep at TRIP, and I followed her there in 1991 as her loyal inventory person. We worked together at both places for over 6 1/2 years, until the Bayside merger, when she was unceremoniously let go. She landed at the Village Art department, where she showed off her tremendous skill as a store artist. We'd always run into each other when I was a sales rep, usually on Fridays renting videos in the video store. In 1998, Joyce left Tower for a "real" job, and I'll never forget how sad she was on her last day when we took her out for drinks that night. On the morning of September 11, 2001, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and was lost in the World Trade Center disaster. No other person in my life who's passed away has had more of an impact on me than Joyce's tragic death. I will forever miss her warmth, kindness, bright smile, and how much she helped me in my move to TRIP in 1991. I'll never see a woman dressed in black, hear an Alice Cooper or Allman Brothers song, or see a Godiva chocolate bar and not think of her.

I'll miss them all forever.

And I'll miss Tower Records, of which I spent six years of my life at. It was one of the best experiences of my life, and I'll treasure the great memories I have of it. It probably won't sink in that it is indeed gone until I pass the corner of E. 4th Street and Broadway and see the store locked up, and then gone.

I'll be there on Friday to officially say goodbye to her.

Here are the previous six installments of the series:

Part 1: http://quinnmedia.blogspot.com/2006/10/memories-of-tower-greenwich-village.html Part 2: http://quinnmedia.blogspot.com/2006/10/memories-of-tower-greenwich-village_13.html
Part 3: http://quinnmedia.blogspot.com/2006/10/memories-of-tower-greenwich-village_17.html
Part 4: http://quinnmedia.blogspot.com/2006/10/memories-of-tower-greenwich-village_26.html
Part 5: http://quinnmedia.blogspot.com/2006/11/memories-of-tower-greenwich-village.html Part 6: http://quinnmedia.blogspot.com/2006/12/memories-of-tower-greenwich-village.html

Monday, December 18, 2006

Trivia Returns Tuesday

Trivia Night at Professor Thom's returns to its regular Tuesday night session tomorrow night at 9 PM. The last two weeks we had it on a Wednesday night, due to some other activities being held in the bar.

We will also be having a special round of Christmas Trivia, to go with four other regular categories. So, brush up on your knowledge of Santa and his traditions!!

See you on Tuesday night.

Time To Take a Look At The Future

It looks like any possibility for the Vikings making the playoffs was put to an end yesterday, as the Jets beat them handily, 26-13. It wasn't as close as the score may indicate. The best thing I can say about this is that I was at a Christmas party yesterday in Weehawken, New Jersey, and had a good time there. I did not witness the game, only following it on the radio with an occasional update.

It sounds like another day of the Vikings offense under Brad Johnson not showing up. With the game basically put away late, Tarvaris Jackson came in and gave them a spark, throwing for 177 yards, 1 TD and I INT. I think it's pretty clear that it's time to give the rookie the start in the final two games, against Green Bay Thursday and St. Louis on December 31, to see how he'll do in a complete game. He seems to be the Vikings future, so let's get a glimpse of what 2007 might look like.

Chad Pennington just tore apart the Vikings pass defense, throwing for 339 yards. The Jets are now 8-6 and in a good position for a playoff berth in the crowded AFC Wild Card race. The Patriots won against Houston, 40-7 and are poised to clinch the AFC East.

The Giants took a major hit yesterday, losing 36-22 to the Eagles in what was a close game until late in the fourth quarter. Mistakes just killed them, and they are now 7-7, with games against New Orleans and Washington left. If they win both, they are in. 8-8 is not a guarantee they'll make it, but they are actually in a better position than the Jets are, as the NFC is weaker than the AFC.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Drew Deal On Hold

Today it was revealed that the five-year, $70 million deal that J.D. Drew reached with the Red Sox nearly two weeks ago is currently on hold, due to some concerns the Red Sox brass have with an examination of Drew's shoulder last week.

There was concern beginning last week because Julio Lugo was introduced last Wednesday and Drew was not (they both agreed to deals on the same day). Originally it was reported that it was just a language problem in the deal, but now Drew will have a second opinion on his shoulder by another doctor.

It is not known yet whether this will be a deal-breaker. If the Sox elect to keep Drew, they may shorten the length of the deal or add more incentives rather than guaranteed money. Few other teams were bidding on Drew when he became a free agent, so it will be interesting to see what the Red Sox elect to do.

Hopefully by tomorrow we will have a clearer picture of what's going on. But knowing the way the Red Sox have been operating this winter, I wouldn't bet on it.

Another New Feature Added

Tonight I added another new feature to The Mighty Quinn Media Machine. My buddy Chris sent me a link to add some music to experience while reading my blog. As you can hear, "The Mighty Quinn," my theme song, is playing in the background. I put the link between the Google Ads and the Countdown Clock at the top of my blog. (You can stop the music by pressing the button on the third from the left. By why would you?)

On Chris' great blog, "Professor Thom's Blog," (http://professorthoms.blogspot.com), he has the music of "Turning Japanese" playing in honor of Daisuke Matsuzaka. How appropriate.

I hope you all enjoy the music. I wish I could get the Manfred Mann version on here, but this one will do for now.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

"Flags Of Our Fathers"

Yesterday I finished reading one of the best books I have ever read, "Flags Of Our Fathers," by James Bradley. The author's father John was one of the six American Marines that was shown planting the United States flag (pictured left) on Iwo Jima in February 1945. It would become of the most famous photographs in history.

John Bradley very rarely talked with his family about his time on Iwo Jima, or the fact he was in the picture or won the Navy Cross for heroism. (He just wanted to move on with his life, but he was also a corpsman, and saw some terribly unspeakable sights on the island in the midst of the battle.) So after his father dies in 1994, James Bradley did years of research into the Battle of Iwo Jima and story behind the famous photograph.

It is a very stirring book. The Marines suffered more casualties taking Iwo Jima than any other battle in American history. The book goes into brutal detail of the fight and savagery of the Japanese forces that were dug in on the small island. It took the US five weeks to win Iwo Jima, and they paid a heavy price for it: over 7000 men killed, and 26,000 wounded.

James Bradley follows the lives of all six of flagraisers in the photograph: his father John, Ira Hayes, Harlon Block, Mike Strank, Franklin Sousley, and Rene Gagnon. You come to know these young men from very diverse backgrounds and cultures. He goes into detail about the landing on Iwo Jima, and especially the first few days afterwards. He also goes into the story of how the flagraising in the photo was not the first one, but actually a second one (as one of the commanding officers wanted the original flag for himself).

The book is centered around how the photograph changed the lives of three of the men (as the other three were killed before the Battle of Iwo Jima ended). The photograph literally became an albatross for those men involved. They were called "heroes" but it is quite clear they didn't think of themselves as that. Hayes, an American Indian from Arizona, has a terrible alcohol problem, and his demons get the best of him and he dies at the young age of 32. Gagnon was always uncomfortable with the hero-worship as well, and Bradley simply would not talk to the press for years about his experience on Iwo Jima.

The American public went nuts for the photograph after it was first published. Some myths came along with it, and Bradley goes into detail and sets the record straight.

I was really surprised when I read at the conclusion of the book that 27 different publishers rejected this book before it was finally published. I was captivated by it, and I have not yet seen the Clint Eastwood film that came out earlier this year that was well-received. I can't wait to see it, and I also look forward to seeing "Letters From Iwo Jima," about the war from the Japanese soldier's perspective, also directed by Eastwood.

"Flags Of Our Fathers" puts the hero-worship and the famous photograph in proper perspective when John Bradley once told his son, "The real heroes of Iwo Jima were the men who didn't come home." The photograph may have captured a moment in time on Iwo Jima, but those survivors were never comfortable being idolized because of it.

It's an incredible book, and I'm glad I had the chance to read it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The History of Number 18

My friend Chris sent me a fascinating email this morning. Now that our newest hero, Daisuke Matsuzaka will be wearing the number 18, he sent me the complete list of Red Sox players who've won that number in team history, starting with the first 18, the immortal Danny MacFayden in 1932 (when the Red Sox first started wearing numbers).

Here is the complete list:

NUMBER 18
Danny MacFayden 1932
Hank Johnson 1933
Johnny Welch 1934
George Pipgras 1935
Walt Ripley 1935
Jack Wilson 1936-41
Yank Terry 1942-45
Otie Clark 1945
Tom McBride 1946-47
Eddie Smith 1947
Jack Kramer 1948-49
Charley Schanz 1950
Ray Scarborough 1951
Bill Kennedy 1953
Frank Sullivan 1953-60
Gene Conley 1961-63
Jerry Stephenson 1965-66
Garry Roggenburk 1966
Elston Howard 1967-68
Don Lock 1969
Ken Brett 1970-71
Lew Krauss 1972
Mario Guerrero 1973-74
Ted Cox 1977
Fred Kendall 1978
Glenn Hoffman 1980-87
Carlos Quintana 1988-91, 1993
Rich Rowland 1994
Reggie Jefferson 1995-99
Andy Sheets 2000
Midre Cummings 2000
Tomokazu Ohka 2001
Willie Banks 2001
Johnny Damon 2002-05
Dustan Mohr 2006
Jason Johnson 2006

Well, at least Daisuke Matsuzaka won't be the first Japanese player in team history to wear the number, as Tomo Ohka wore it briefly in 2001. It's been worn by a number of pretty nondescript players in history (Garry Roggenburk?), but I do recognize Ted Cox, the rookie who had a sensational September of 1977 and was traded in 1978 to Cleveland in the Dennis Eckersley deal, and Fred Kendall, the father of Jason Kendall who was also a catcher. And of course, Ken Brett, brother of George, and Gene (I'm Going To Israel) Conley. Judas may have been the most famous player to wear it, but Glenn Hoffman (Trevor's older brother and former SS) wore it the longest, for eight years in the 1980s.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dice-K's No Idiot

So, who used to wear that number again?

Oh yes, the immortal Red Sox outfielder....Dustan Mohr.

Welcome to Boston, Dice Man!!

Trivia Q&A: December 13

We had another great edition of Trivia Night last night, on a Wednesday due to the Bill Lee party on Tuesday. There was a large group of University of Massachusetts alumni having a get together at Professor Thom's last night, and many decided to join in. We had 12 teams playing, and a group called Banco Popular were the winners, and by just one point over the second and third-place teams. I included two categories that I originally intended to do in honor of The Spaceman's appearance: "Baseball Movies Trivia" and "Space Trivia." They both went down pretty well.

We should have our regular Tuesday Night Edition of Trivia again next week.

So here are the questions and answers from last night:

Current Events
1. This reality TV star was arrested Monday for DUI, driving the wrong way and marijuana possession. Nicole Richie
2. This foreign language film was number one at the box office last week, its opening week. Apocalypto
3. Christmas trees in this city's airport were pulled when a rabbi asked for a menorah to be displayed there. Seattle
4. A report says that the Secret Service secretly bugged this late icon's phone the night she died. Princess Diana
5. Augusto Pinochet, onetime dictator of this nation, died this past Sunday at the age of 91. Chile
6. This pop star was recently named to be the halftime act at this February's Super Bowl. Prince
7. California is set to take over the title of the nation's leading cheese producer from which other state? Wisconsin
8. This fact-based September 11 drama won the New York Film Critics Circle Award on Monday. "United 93"
9. Nearly 3 dozen people fell ill with e.coli symptoms in a Taco John's restaurant in this state. Iowa
10. This talk show host was criticized for making a joke on TV last week that offended some Asian people. Rosie O'Donnell

Space Trivia
1. What is the name of the galaxy that Earth is a part of? Milky Way
2. Who was the first American to orbit the Earth? John Glenn (1962)
3. What was the name of the first satellite sent into space by the Russians in 1957? Sputnik
4. In what year did the last astronauts of Apollo 17 walk on the moon? 1972
5. Earlier this year, which celestial body was declassified as a planet? Pluto
6. Which Russian cosmonaut was the first man in space in 1961? Yuri Gagarin
7. What was the name of the flying space labratory, launced by the US in the early 1970s? Skylab
8. Within 5 million, how many miles away from the sun is Earth? 93 million
9. What the name of the first space shuttle, launched in April 1981? Columbia
10. What was the name of the space shuttle that exploded shortly after launch in January 1986? Challenger

TV Trivia
1. Which current TV talk show host almost single-handedly made the word "truthiness" a word in the dictionary? Stephen Colbert
2. This Emmy-winning actor and star of "Young Frankenstein" passed away on Tuesday at the age of 71. Peter Boyle
3. Name 1 of the 3 shows that were spinoffs from the classic TV series "Happy Days." "Laverne and Shirley," "Mork and Mindy," and "Joanie Loves Chachi"
4. Which TV family lived at 1313 Mockingbird Lane? The Munsters
5. Who was the first overall winner on "American Idol?" Kelly Clarkson
6. Who is the host of "Show Me The Money?" William Shatner
7. Jerry Stiller portrayed which character on "Seinfeld?" Frank Costanza
8. Which cable TV show is hosted by James Lipton? "Inside The Actors Studio"
9. In which NYC borough is "The Honeymooners" set in? Brooklyn
10. Which legendary comedy series ended its seven-year run with the entire cast singing, "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" in its final scene? "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"

Baseball Movies Trivia
1. A ragtag group of Cleveland Indians overachieve despite their skinflint owner and challenge the New York Yankees. (1988) Major League
2. The 1919 Chicago White Sox win the AL pennant and dump the World Series, creating the biggest scandal in the history of baseball. (1989) Eight Men Out
3. A touching story of a big-time ML pitcher and his roommate catcher, who is secretly dying of Hodgkin's Disease. (1974) Bang The Drum Slowly
4. A voice tells a farmer to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield, and the ghosts of baseball's past return. (1989) Field of Dreams
5. A Boston Red Sox player suffers a mental breakdown, but makes a successful return to the big leagues. (1957) Fear Strikes Out
6. An over-the-hill catcher tries to straighten out a raw young pitcher while sharing the affections of a "Baseball Annie." (1987) Bull Durham
7. The story of a future Hall of Famer and his memorable exit from the game right after being diagnosed with a fatal disease. (1942) Pride of the Yankees
8. An aging ballplayer makes a return to the game after his career was derailed when he was shot by a mysterious woman. (1984) The Natural
9. A former pitching prospect and high school coach tries out for a minor league team in his 30s and makes it all the way to the Major Leagues. (2002) The Rookie
10. A baseball legend tells his authorized biography to a writer, and the writer is torn between telling his version or the real truth. (1994) Cobb

General Knowledge
1. At which place in the United States has the most suicides in history occurred at? The Golden Gate Bridge
2. In which state was the first umpired basketball game played in? Massachusetts
3. Which actor made his screen debut in "The Big Chill" playing a corpse? Kevin Costner
4. In which city did the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929 occur? Chicago
5. In 1935, a cartoon character debuted named Happy Rabbit. Under what name is he better known today? Bugs Bunny
6. Which famous person did John Hinckley attempt to kill? President Ronald Reagan
7. Which soft drink did John Pemberton create in 1886? Coca-Cola
8. Which record company was founded by Berry Gordy? Motown Records
9. Which of the original 13 states was the last to ratify the Constitution? Rhode Island
10. Name 3 of the last 5 men to hold the office of Vice-President of the United States. Walter Mondale, George H.W. Bush, Dan Quayle, Al Gore, Dick Cheney

Remembered Together Forever

I was very pleased yesterday to get an email from the WTC Memorial Foundation that stated that the controversial plan to randomly list the WTC victims' names on the memorial had been dropped. The executive committee of the Foundation approved the plan to now group names by uniform service and by employer.

There will be 1518 names inscribed at the sunken pool where the North Tower once stood, and 1461 names where the South Tower stood. They will be grouped together by their employer, first responding group they were apart of, or flight they were on.

Designer Michael Arad's original plan had the names listed in no particular order to reflect the "haphazard brutality" suffered on that terrible day. I certainly respect his thinking, but it has always been my feeling that most of those people who died in the World Trade Center worked together, so they should be memorialized forever together. Just having them there in a random order will cause too much confusion for their loved ones and those people who will be there to remember them. And make no mistake about it, the crowds who will be there will be absolutely enormous.

I'm really pleased to hear this, as are most members of the WTC Family groups as well. I'm proud that my friend Joyce will be remembered together with her General Telecom colleagues on the memorial. But I must admit, I'm just a little disappointed that the company names won't be acknowledged on the memorial. It's appropriate to remember the first responders by badge number and department, but it would also be proper to list the company that each civilian who perished worked at as well.

They worked together. They died together. And they should be remembered together.

Forever, and for all time.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Dice Man Heads To Boston

Oh!!!

The Red Sox brass boarded a plane today from California to Boston with Daisuke Matsuzaka and his hardass agent Scott Boras, so an agreement appears to be within sight. (Boras had said that he wouldn't allow Matsuzaka to board a plane to Boston without a tentative agreement.) The Boston Herald reported today that Boras was asking for a deal of six years and $66 million, while the Sox were offering six years and $48 million. You have to figure that they met somewhere in the middle, and I bet there are some incentives for the Dice Man to hit as well.

I bet the boys at Seibu are breathing a hefty sight of relief right about now. And now Theo Epstein can turn his attention to getting the Red Sox a closer.....

UPDATE: Sports Illustrated has a story about the agreement the Sox brass came to with Boras and Dice. They say it's a six-year, $52 million deal, and it could bring him up to $60 million with the incentives. It sounds like a great deal, and let's hope it's true.

Bill Lee: Earth, 2006

Last night was quite the special night at Professor Thom's, as we were graced by the presence of Bill Lee, the former Red Sox pitcher better known as "The Spaceman."

After meeting him, I can state without reservation that every stereotype I've ever heard about Bill Lee is absolutely true.

Bill was "fashionably late" for the 7 PM start of the DVD showing of "Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey," as he walked in at just before 8 PM with his wife. There was a good crowd at the bar, made up of many of my Red Sox friends I watch the games with, a few of the BLOHARDS members I know, and some people who had heard that the Spaceman would be here for the viewing.

The crowd really enjoyed the film, and afterwards, the filmmakers, Brett Rapkin and Josh Dixon, took questions from them. But just before that, we surprised Bill by giving him a 60th birthday cake, which he really seemed to enjoy. After the crowd sang "Happy Birthday" to him, he told the famous story of former Red Sox and Yankees pitcher Sparky Lyle and what he once did to a birthday cake (it involved his bare butt). The crowd got a good laugh out of it.

Bill seemed to enjoy the whole night, as he was signing autographs on the DVD, baseballs and anything else the fans brought up to him. There were also raffles of Spaceman-autographed items, and that money raised went to charity. (He signed my DVD: "Bill Lee, Earth, 2006.") He gleefully posed for pictures, including one with me (which I REALLY hope comes out). He was enjoying his adult beverages and was holding court all night, telling war stories about anything and everything. Towards the end of the night, the took the mic and chatted with the fans and thanked them for having the evening for him. He talked about what baseball meant to him, former owner Haywood Sullivan, the film, among many other things. (He talked about the Red Sox and used the term "we" in discussing them, so he clearly follows them as closely as all of us fans do.)

The capper of the night for me was when myself and a number of my good friends from our Riviera days got together and posed for some photos with Bill. It was so much fun, especially when we all posed for one special picture of all of us showing the world what we think of Yankee fans (you can just guess what we did).

My buddy Chris organized the whole thing and did a fabulous job in making the night a great success. Everyone enjoyed meeting the Spaceman, and I'm glad to have seen so many Red Sox fans in the area come out for it.

We couldn't have the Bill Lee Trivia last night due to the crowd size, so we decided to have another special Wednesday edition of Trivia Night tonight. I hope you can turn out for it.

We'll Have Trivia Tonight

We will once again have a special Wednesday night session of Trivia Night at Professor Thom's bar tonight, Wednesday night, December 13, at 9 PM. We were not able to have any trivia on Tuesday night at the bar due to the Bill Lee DVD showing and the live appearance by the Spaceman himself.

It was a great night with Mr. Lee, and I'll have more about it in my next post later in the day on Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Playoff Dream Not Over Yet

This past Sunday, I got to enjoy a rare event. I saw a Minnesota Vikings team lead a game from start to finish. While I had to remind myself they were playing the Detroit Lions, a win is still a win, and the Vikings took it, 30-20. The Vikings actually scored TDs on their first three trips into the red zone on Sunday, which caused me to exclaim, "I'm not dreaming, am I?"

As my Patriots fan friends were suffering through a shutout in Miami, I had something to cheer about. Artose Pinner, an ex-Lions RB subbing for the injured Chester Taylor, scored three TDs and rushed for 129 yards. Brad Johnson was even passable, scoring a TD but also threw an interception that was returned 89 yards for a TD to put Detroit back in the game at the time, 20-7.

The Vikings run defense just continues to shine, allowing the Lions negative rushing yards. The Vikes continue to have the number 1 rush defense in the NFL. It allowed the Vikings to control the clock and put the game away.

Next week the Vikings host the Jets at the Metrodome. The Vikings are still alive for a wild card berth, at 6-7. An 8-8 record might get them in, considering how weak the NFC is right now. After the Jets, the Vikings play at Green Bay, and then close the season on New Year's Eve against St. Louis.

A tough loss for the Jets against Buffalo this past weekend, a 31-13 hammering at the Meadowlands. This definitely puts a monkey-wrench into the Jets postseason chances, as the AFC is much better and competitive than the NFC. Their loss was a break for the Patriots, who looked lost and lethargic in the defeat at Miami, 21-0. And the Giants got some dignity back with a solid win at Carolina, 27-13, to break a four-game losing streak.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Deal Will Get Done

I read an article in the Boston Herald today, and it was picked up by Fox Sports and ESPN.com about how the negotiations over the contract for Daisuke Matsuzaka have "stalled," and ESPN even went as far as to say the deal is "nearly dead."

Complete hogwash, folks. This deal WILL get done. Count on it.

There's too much at stake for everyone involved, especially on the side of the highly-touted Japanese pitcher.

Matsuzaka can ONLY sign with the Sox this winter, as they won his bidding rights in a secret auction for an astounding price of $51.1 million. If he does not sign with the Red Sox, he must return to Japan and pitch for the Seibu Lions for the 2007 and 2008 seasons, and then he will once again become a free agent eligible to play in the United States again.

I am not at all surprised that Matsuzaka has not signed yet, as he has until midnight Thursday to reach an agreement or he returns home to Japan. His American agent is the notorious Scott Boras, who enjoys playing games and dragging out negotiations on behalf of his clients.

The onus to get Matsuzaka in a Red Sox uniform right now is completely on Boras. He has very little leverage right now, as NO ONE else is bidding for his client's services. Boras probably figured that he would stretch out the negotiations as far as possible in an effort to get the Red Sox to blink first and overpay for Matsuzaka. The Japanese pitcher has come out said said he definitely wants to pitch in Boston this upcoming season.

Matsuzaka clearly cannot return to Seibu, as he's made his final goodbyes in Japan and everyone there expects him to pitch in America this year. If he were forced to return, it would be a point of shame for Matsuzaka, and the Japanese fans would look at him as being greedy if he could not strike a deal with the Sox. It may not sound like much in America, but in Japan it would be a huge, big deal.

And for the Seibu Lions, this deal HAS to get done, as the club is in dire financial straits, and need this windfall for their financial health. How do you think the club will treat Matsuzaka if he has to return to them in 2007? It won't be fun for him, you have to think.

If no deal were consumated, the Red Sox would take their $51.1 million dollars back and go out and find another starter for next season. They will not have lost a single penny, and Matsuzaka will lose two prime years pitching in America (and the big money that goes with it).

I also heard that Matsuzaka was in America in the last few days, filming a commercial in California. You have to figure he wouldn't do that if he weren't going to sign, right? It would make the commercial worthless in America if he has to haul his butt back to Japan until 2009.

Also remember, Boras is Matsuzaka's agent in America, not Japan. If his client returns to Japan, Boras gets absolutely nothing out of this (and Matsuzaka should fire Boras' ass immediately if he doesn't sign).

I believe that the pessimism out of Boston over the weekend is just a smokescreen, and that the Red Sox are being very tight-lipped about the negotiations. I'm still convinced that this is all just a lot of BS posturing by Boras, and in the next 48 hours the really serious negotiations will occur, and a deal with be announced either on Wednesday, Thursday or even Friday. I'm sure that Matsuzaka himself will force the issue if he has to (if he feels that Boras doesn't have his best interests at heart). I can't see him playing in Japan next season.

A deal will get done. Count on it.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

TowerReunion.com

This past Wednesday night, I found myself in my old haunt, the Tower Records store in Greenwich Village. As you all know, the chain is being liquidated and all the stores are being closed. It was terribly depressing being in there, seeing the once-great store being stipped down to the bare walls.

I ran into an old friend of mine who told me about a web site that was set up by some Tower employees in Sacramento called, "TowerReunion.com." It is a message board to keep current and past Tower employees up to date on what's going on as the end approaches, as well as sharing fond memories of our experiences working for the chain. Click this link to see the site: http://www.towerreunion.com.

I went on the board and immediately saw people on it I hadn't seen or heard from in years. And some of the stories shared brought a big smile to my face. There was a really sad thread there for a remembrance of Tower employees who've passed away. (I left a couple of posts for my dear friends who are no longer with us.)

This was certainly a great idea for all of us who shared a great experience of working for Tower Records to keep in touch. It was one of the best times of my life, as I made a lot of great friends and have about 10 million memories of my time at Tower Greenwich Village.

It's very sad that the chain is coming to an end, but for all of us, we'll always be bonded together in the Tower Family.

I was proud to have been part of Tower Records, and I'll never, ever forget it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I Was a Teenage Media Whore

So when did The Mighty Quinn Media Machine really first begin?

Yesterday, its genesis came back to my attention, via the wonders of YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgsqEpd0vQU

My buddy Alex sent me an email yesterday that positively blew my mind. He was web surfing on YouTube and found an old Howard Stern clip from 1985. It was a "Special Report" on Howard when he was at WNBC radio from Channel 9 News here in New York.

It was about the Stern gang when they held a mock "vigil" for Bernhard Goetz, the subway vigilante who shot four teenagers who were about to rob him on a subway train in December 1984. Channel 9 went into Tower Records in the Village to interview people on what they thought of Howard Stern and his antics, and yes, loyal readers, guess who was the first person they interviewed? Yes, me.

Simply unbelievable. I totally forgot about this to be honest. I have a distant memory of a friend telling me he saw me on the news back then, but I honestly don't remember the interview at all.

(Actually I wasn't a teenager, as the title implies. I was 23 at the time, so it was close enough.)

The above link will take you to the YouTube clip, which is about 3 1/2 minutes long. (Unfortunately, I could not put the clip directly on to my blog for some reason.) I appear about eight seconds into the clip (and note the big tinted glasses I'm wearing), and I also pop up at the very end, shortly after the 3 minute mark.

The report was done by a weatherman/reporter from the station named Lloyd Lindsay Young. He was a cult favorite in New York back then. And in the middle of his report, Howard's archenemy Don Imus walks in. It's a fascinating clip to watch.

I haven't been able to determine when exactly it occurred. The Goetz incident happened in late 1984, and Stern was fired by WNBC in September 1985. People are shown wearing heavy coats, so I'd guess it was filmed in the winter of 1985.

Amazing. A clip I'd long forgotten about comes back to the light of day, courtesy of YouTube.

The beginning of a long media career had just gotten under way.

Friday, December 08, 2006

December 8, 1980

This is always a painful anniversary for me.

As many of you know, I am one of the bigger Beatles fan on this planet. I always have been and until my dying day, I always will be. Since my early youth, John Lennon had always been one of my personal idols. 26 years ago today, John Lennon was senselessly murdered in front of The Dakota apartment building.

On the night of December 8, 1980, I had one of those "Kennedy assassination" moments (you know, where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news) like most other people did. I was 18 at the time, and was watching the New England Patriots-Miami Dolphins Monday night football game. It got kind of dull early in the third quarter, so I turned it off and put the radio on. The first thing I heard on WNEW-FM 102.7, a NYC rock station at the time, was "More on the John Lennon shooting as details become available." What???

Then I heard the details of what happened, and about 15 minutes later, I will never forget hearing the words of DJ Vin Scelsa, his voice cracking with emotion, on WNEW: "John Lennon is dead."

I was shaken to my foundations. How in the world could this happen? I ran outside to my friend Richard's house, who lived up the block and was a big Beatles fan. I rang his doorbell and he had just heard the news too. We both wanted to go to the Dakota right away, but my dad talked me out of it and told me to wait until the next day. I stayed up all night that night, just listening to Beatles and John Lennon solo music on the radio. I was literally in a daze the entire night, not believing what had happened earlier that night.

I was a sophomore at Baruch College, but I skipped classes the next day and headed straight for the Dakota on West 72nd Street. There was a huge mob of people in front of the building, and a very large police presence as well. There were news crews everywhere, as well as sobbing fans in a state of shock. I stayed for a couple of hours, just talking to people and trying to come to grips with what had happened to John, as well as Yoko and Sean.

The next few days were simply a blur. How could one of the Beatles have been murdered? They had his killer in custody, and it was said that Mark Chapman was a deranged fan. (A sidebar on Chapman. He's in the safest place on earth for him right now: Attica State Prison in upstate New York. The day he gets out of prison, he's a dead man for sure. I heard that there's a Beatles fan in Michigan who writes to Chapman every month that on the day he walks out of jail, if he ever does, he'll be waiting for him with a gun outside the prison. Whether that will ever happen, who knows. But you just know that if Chapman ever does get out, some Beatles fan looking for revenge will try to make a name for themselves by taking him out. Chapman should really forget about applying for parole.)

On Sunday, December 14, there was a mass remembrance for John in Central Park. Radio stations at 2 PM that day played "Imagine" and thousands of fans braved the cold to be there. (I wasn't there, as it was just too cold and I had a terrible head cold and couldn't go.)

For many years, I would stop by Central Park West and West 72nd Street on every October 9 and December 8 to remember John. I'd look around the building, go into the park, and I'd see fans wearing Beatles shirts and playing Lennon songs on the guitar. Last year on the 25th anniversary, I was at the remembrance for John at Strawberry Fields. There were crowds there all day. When I was there, fans were gathered around the "Imagine" circle in the park, singing Beatles and Lennon songs. It was an eclectic group of people, of all races, nationalities and ages. (And of course, the usual nuts who think the CIA killed John were there as well.)

Now it's been 26 years since John was taken from us. I always prayed I would never have a more painful experience over someone's death than what happened to John (it was until a bright sunny September Tuesday morning in 2001). But today, we remember the man, his legacy and the music he made. His music live on long after all of us have left this world.

We miss you John.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Trivia Q&A: December 6

It was another great night of Trivia last night, a special Wednesday edition. There was probably the biggest crowd ever there last night, and 16 teams participated. There was some controversy in the "TV Trivia" round, as I was not specific enough in question 1 about Saturday Night Live, and I miswrote question 10 about "The Queen of Nice," so I tossed out both questions and gave everyone a point for both.

A team called Firebirds were the overall champions with 42 points, and they had the only perfect score in the final round to win it. My friends Steve, Alex and Michael came up with their usual "team name I cannot mention in mixed company" and finished second.

We will be doing Trivia again next Tuesday night again, and it will happen after the Bill Lee appearance and DVD showing, which begins at 7 PM. (Hopefully, we'll get Trivia Night going sometime after 9 PM as usual.)

So here were last night's questions and answers:

Current Events
1. This actor, who was arrested for DWI three years ago, was arrested again on the same charge after a traffic accident in upstate NY on Monday. Rip Torn
2. For the third consecutive week, this was the number one film in America last week. Happy Feet
3. An outbreak of E. coli in New Jersey over the weekend was traced to which fast food restaurant? Taco Bell
4. Due to the film, "Borat," tourism to this Eastern European country has actually increased. Kazakhstan
5. 1,000 people are feared dead from typhoon Durian in this Asian country. The Phillippines
6. The military staged a coup earlier this week in this South Pacific island nation and announced they were taking over the government. Fiji
7. A gown worn by Audrey Hepburn in this film was sold in London on Tuesday at auction for $807,000. Breakfast At Tiffany's
8. This R&B artist won nine Billboard Music Awards this past Monday night. Mary J. Blige
9. This American city has become the first to ban artificial trans fats in food at restaurants. New York City
10. This team was selected to play Ohio State in the BCS National Championship game in January in Arizona. Florida Gators

Movie Quotes
1. "With the exception of my kid being born, this is the greatest night in the history of my life." (1979) Rocky II
2. "You tell me what you want to know, and I'll confirm. I'll keep you in the right direction if I can, but that's all. Just follow the money." (1976) All The President's Men
3. "Take me to Pleasure Town!!" (2004) Anchorman
4. "Seven years of college down the drain. Might as well join the Peace Corps." (1978) Animal House
5. "The future is not set. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves." (1991) Terminator 2: Judgment Day
6. "Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'." (1994) The Shawshank Redemption
7. "The new phone book's here! I'm somebody!" (1979) The Jerk
8. "Sticking feathers up your butt doesn't make you a chicken." (1999) Fight Club
9. "In Kazakhstan, Barbara means to eat, and Bush means Bush." (2006) Borat
10. "I guess what I'm trying to say is: you make me want to be a better man." (1997) As Good As It Gets

TV Trivia
1. How many seasons were the original Not Ready For Prime Time Players a part of Saturday Night Live? 5
2. Which cable TV show host was David Letterman referring to when he said to him, "About 60% of all you say is crap." Bill O'Reilly
3. Which 1980s TV series was Howie Mandel a regular on? St. Elsewhere
4. In which East Coast city was the show "Homicide" set in? Baltimore
5. Which media mogul was the driving force behind the creation of CNN in 1980? Ted Turner
6. Which TV network is broadcasting this February's Super Bowl? CBS
7. Who succeeded Walter Cronkite as the anchor of the CBS Evening News in 1981? Dan Rather
8. Within 5 years, how many years has Sesame Street been on the air on PBS? 37
9. How many times has Helen Hunt won the Emmy for Best Actress in a Comedy Series? 4
10. Which former TV talk show host was once called "The Queen of Nice?" Rosie O'Donnell

New York City Trivia
1. Which New York City borough contains the sections of Tottenville and Stapleton? Staten Island
2. Name 1 of the 3 years when New York had a significant transit strike. 1966, 1980, 2005
3. Which former US Congressman became the mayor of New York in 1978? Ed Koch
4. Which section of Manhattan was immortalized in the 2003 film, "Gangs Of New York?" The Five Points
5. Which Brooklyn-born singer and actress attended Erasmus High School along with Neil Diamond? Barbra Streisand
6. On which New York City avenue would you find "The Museum Mile?" 5th Avenue
7. A section of Central Park on the West Side was named for which Beatles song? Strawberry Fields Forever
8. What's the name of the Revolutionary War fort that was built to protect Brooklyn and is still in use today? Fort Hamilton
9. Which Lower Manhattan church is the oldest building in continuous use in New York? St. Paul's Chapel (1752)
10. The section of Harlem was named after a city in which European country? Netherlands

General Knowledge
1. Which Midwestern city is nicknamed, "The Queen City?" Cincinnati
2. How were presidents Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt related to each other? They were distant cousins
3. In which year did North Vietnam overrun South Vietnam and unite the country as one? 1975
4. In which European city do the soccer clubs Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur play their home games? London
5. Which British leader was the first Englishman to be made an honorary citizen of the United States? Winston Churchill
6. If you were born on January 31, what horoscope sign were you born under? Aquarius
7. Within 5 years, what year was the original Lincoln head penny introduced in? 1909
8. What state did Robert Kennedy represent when he was a US Senator? New York
9. What US city has the sports stadiums Petco Park and Qualcomm Stadium? San Diego
10. What instrument did the great jazz musicians Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, and Thelonious Monk make famous? Piano