Pitchers & Catchers Report to Ft. Myers

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Trivia Q&A: January 30

We had a record number of players last night for Trivia Night: 19 teams. It also made it the longest trivia game since I took it over last June, and I had to use two scoresheets instead of one. It took over 2 1/2 hours and ended just before midnight.

But it was so great to see so many familiar faces returning every week for Trivia Night. We are definitely gaining a devoted following.

We had a great game, and it ended with a team called J. Lowe winning by just one point. The teams who finished third and fourth were right behind them, making for one of the closest Trivia Night finishes in Professor Thom's history.

I had a few comments that the questions seemed a bit harder, and I must admit I did toughen it up a bit, as last week I heard a few "easy" comments. You always walk a fine line putting together a Trivia round.

Next week's special round will be Grammy Winners Trivia, as the Grammys will be held the Sunday after next week's round. Super Bowl Trivia wasn't received all that well, but the scores weren't bad at all.

Current Events
1. This musical act grossed over $150 million in 2006, the highest grossing act for the year.
2. The Mega Mac, a Big Mac with 4 patties and 750 calories, debuted in McDonald's in this foreign country and sold over 3.3 million sandwiches in 4 days.
3. This FBI agent, who had a movie made about his life in the Mafia, revealed in a new book he participated in crimes with them while working undercover.
4. This American politician was in Switzerland last week and took swipes at both President Bush and Condoleezza Rice.
5. This automotive giant reported losses of over $12.7 billion in 2006, the worst year in its history.
6. This NBA star assisted police in capturing a hit-and-run driver who hit his car over the weekend.
7. This poorly-reviewed film got the last laugh on critics by being the number one movie at the box office last week.
8. A Missouri man, a veteran of this war, claimed a $254 million Powerball prize on Monday.
9. This actress won the SAG Award on Sunday for Best Actress, and could win the Oscar in the same category in February.
10. Roger Federer won the Australian Open men's title on Sunday. How many total Grand Slam events has he now won?

Answers: 1. The Rolling Stones; 2. Japan; 3. Donnie Brasco (Joe Pistone); 4. John Kerry; 5. Ford Motors; 6. Shaquille O'Neal; 7. Epic Movie; 8. World War II; 9. Helen Mirren; 10. ten

Super Bowl Trivia
1. In which city was the first Super Bowl played in? a. New Orleans; b. Miami; c. Los Angeles; d. Phoenix.
2. Who is the Super Bowl trophy named after? a. Vince Lombardi; b. George Halas; c. Lamar Hunt; d. Pete Rozelle.
3. How many Super Bowls have the Chicago Bears previously won? a. none; b. 1; c. 2; d. 3.
4. Which one of the following teams has never won a Super Bowl? a. Tampa Bay Bucs; b. Kansas City Chiefs; c. Buffalo Bills; d. St. Louis Rams.
5. Which one of the following cities has never hosted a Super Bowl? a. Detroit; b. Houston; c. Minneapolis; d. Seattle.
6. Who is the only head coach to win the Super Bowl four times? a. Vince Lombardi; b. Bill Walsh; c. Chuck Noll; d. Tom Landry.
7. Which number Super Bowl is Sunday's game? a. 38; b. 41; c. 42; d. 39.
8. Which venue has hosted the most Super Bowls? a. Louisiana Superdome; b. Los Angeles Coliseum; c. Orange Bowl; d. Rose Bowl.
9. Which of the following teams has never appeared in a Super Bowl? a. Carolina Panthers; b. Cleveland Browns; c. Seattle Seahawks; d. Cincinnati Bengals.
10. Which team has appeared in the most Super Bowls? a. Pittsburgh Steelers; b. San Francisco 49ers; c. Dallas Cowboys; d. Denver Broncos.

Answers: 1. c; 2. a; 3. b; 4. c; 5. d; 6. c; 7. b; 8. a; 9. b; 10. c

General Knowledge
1. In the 1978 movie, "Superman," who played Superman's biological father?
2. Which literary character was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs?
3. The land that currently makes up the District of Columbia was donated by which state?
4. In "Hamlet," which character fatally stabs Hamlet with a poisonious sword?
5. What is the main color on a sticker on a Chiquita banana?
6. What is the literal translation from the Frnech of the term, "tete-a-tete?"
7. The Acela Express, Amtrak's express train started in 2000, runs from Boston and terminates in which other city?
8. "Patience" is another name for which card game?
9. The Snake River forms a border between Oregon and which other state?
10. Which team sport was nominated for the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize for promoting "understanding between nations?"

Answers: 1. Marlon Brando; 2. Tarzan; 3. Maryland; 4. Laertes; 5. blue; 6. head to head; 7. Washington DC; 8. solitaire; 9. Idaho; 10. soccer

TV Characters Trivia
1. Alison DuBois
2. Preston Burke
3. Sonny Crockett
4. Lincoln Burrows
5. Rebecca Howe
6. Earl J. Hickey
7. J. Peterman
8. Elaine Nardo
9. Denny Crane
10. Chrissy Snow

Answers: 1. Patricia Arquette, "Medium;" 2. Isaiah Washington, "Grey's Anatomy;" 3. Don Johnson, "Miami Vice;" 4. Dominic Purcell, "Prison Break;" 5. Kirstie Alley, "Cheers;" 6. Jason Lee, "My Name Is Earl;" 7. John O'Hurley, "Seinfeld;" 8. Marilu Henner, "Taxi;" 9. William Shatner, "Boston Legal;" 10. Suzanne Somers, "Three's Company"

Multiple Answers Trivia
1. Name 3 of the 6 actresses who were featured on the TV show, "Charlie's Angels."
2. Name 3 of the 5 largest cities in the US west of the Mississippi River.
3. Name 2 of the 4 tunnels that connect Manhattan Island to the outer NYC boroughs and New Jersey.
4. Name 3 of the last 6 monarchs that have reigned over the United Kingdom.
5. Name 4 of the 6 largest states in the US by population.

Answers: 1. Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Cheryl Ladd, Shelley Hack, Tanya Roberts; 2. Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, San Diego, Dallas; 3. Lincoln, Holland, Queens-Midtown, Brooklyn-Battery; 4. Queen Elizabeth II, King George VI, King Edward VIII, King George V, King Edward VII, Queen Victoria; 5. California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania

Super Bowl Trivia On Tuesday Night

Tuesday Night Trivia at Professor Thom's tonight will feature a round of Super Bowl Trivia, along with the four other usual categories of Current Events, General Knowledge, TV Characters and Mutiple Answers Trivia (5 questions worth 25 points).

However, the Super Bowl question I asked over the weekend will NOT be a part of Tuesday's quiz. Sorry guys.

So brush up on the Super Bowl history everybody.

Hope to see you Tuesday night!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Helton's Staying In Denver

Tonight, Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News is reporting that Todd Helton is NOT coming to Red Sox, and that the Sox and Rockies couldn't come together on a deal. Thanks to my friend Adam for forwarding the story to me. Here is what he said:

Todd Helton is staying.

Rockies managing general partner Charlie Monfort said Monday that the team has withdrawn from talks about trading Helton to the Boston Red Sox.

"It didn’t work out," said Monfort. "When you are taking about a player of Todd Helton’s abilities, you need to get someone back who will be an impact player, and it didn’t work out."

I'm glad to hear this. I really didn't want the Sox to swing a deal for Helton, who appears to be on the downside of his career.

Let's hope we file this under: "the best trades are the ones you don't make."

Schilling's Unretiring?

In what can only be called a surprising move, Curt Schilling spoke on WEEI Radio this morning that he has changed his mind about retiring after the 2007 season, when his contract is up. Schilling made it well known that he was going to call it quits once his Red Sox deal was over so he could spend more time with his family. But he said that his wife and kids convinced him to keep playing after this upcoming season.

There were rumors last week going around that Schilling was going to challenge Massachusetts senator John Kerry for his seat, which is up next year once he retires. Schilling's announcement that he will play in 2008 basically scotches those rumors.

Of course the next question is, "where will he play in 2008?" Schilling said that he's talked to the Red Sox about staying in Boston in 2008, but he also said something rather ominous in the WEEI interview, something I've heard some other ex-Red Sox player say before:

"Where I'm going to play beyond 2007, I hope it's Boston, but I will go out and find a home to pitch,” he said. “I hope it's here but there's also that possibility [of pitching for another team]."

Would he consider pitching for the Yankees in 2008?

"It wouldn't be in New York,” Schilling told host Gerry Callahan. “No. I could not make that move."

I don't think I need to mention the Judas, er, one-time Red Sox star, who made a similar statement in his final year of a contract...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Super Bowl Trivia Answer

I've given you all a couple of days to consider it, but now it's time to reveal the answers to the Super Bowl trivia question I asked on Saturday.

No one guessed on my site, but I did send the question to a number of my friends by email, and my friends Adam and Dan got the answer completely right. Congrats to them both.

I did notice through Site Meter that a few people came on my site through Internet searches regarding that question. So, to all of you, here it is:

What five Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks went to the same four universities as four U.S. presidents? (Two of them went to the same college as one of the presidents.)

Roger Staubach and Jimmy Carter went to the Naval Academy;
Tom Brady and Gerald Ford went to Michigan;
John Elway and Jim Plunkett and Herbert Hoover went to Stanford;

Ben Roethlisberger and Benjamin Harrison went to Miami of Ohio.

Brady and Ford was the easiest one, while the two Bens was the toughest.
Anyway, it was a great question.

The Todd Helton Rumors

A few days ago, the rumors started kicking up again about a possible Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies trade to the Red Sox. I wasn't terribly happy to hear about it.

Helton's a very good player, but at 33, appears to be on the downside of his career. He was one of the dominant players of the early 2000s, but his numbers, particularly last season, don't bode well.

He is still a terrific first baseman, but his power numbers have gone down the past two seasons. Helton hit 20 in 2005, and just 15 last season (and just 7 on the road). Back problems have slowed him, and the loss of power in a place like Colorado isn't a good omen, especially if he were to move to Fenway Park, which is murder on left-handed power hitters.

The deal that has been rumored has Helton coming to Boston in exchange for possibly a combination of Mike Lowell, Matt Clement, Julian Tavarez, and possibly a young arm such as Manny Delcarmen, Craig Hansen or Daniel Bard. The Rockies would eat about half of the $90 million owed to Helton over the next five years of his contract. Right now, the rumors are what's holding up this deal is that the Sox don't want to give up any one of those three young pitchers.

The Rockies desperately want to get out from under that contract, and have two good young infielders they want to bring up. The Red Sox would move Kevin Youkilis back to third and put Helton at first. Youk proved he could play the position last year, even if he did slow down late in the year at the plate.

Helton has a no-trade clause in his contract, and can veto the deal. He has said recently that he may be open to a possible trade to Boston.

The Red Sox would be adding a lot more payroll, and the offensive upgrade is minimal at best. Lowell gave them a solid year at the plate and especially in the field. I don't see Helton putting up significantly better numbers than Lowell did last season.

Dealing Tavarez and a young pitcher out of the pen would cut the Sox short out there, and you can never have enough quality pitching (see Bronson Arroyo). I really hope this deal doesn't happen. If they were making this trade four years ago, I'd be all for getting Todd Helton. But he isn't the same player he once was, and he won't be playing in Colorado any more. (Check the numbers on many players who've been traded away from Coors Field; they always go down significantly.)

The web site MLB Trade Rumors says that Colorado is the driving force behind any possible deal, and that the Sox have rejected all of their offers. I hope Theo Epstein and the front office continue to reject making this trade. I just don't think it would be worth it in the long run.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Tough Super Bowl Trivia Question

I got an email from cousin Ellen last night and it included a great Super Bowl trivia question she recently heard on the radio. I normally don't ask my readers trivia questions, but since the Super Bowl is next weekend, I'll throw this out to all of you.

There have been five Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks who went to the same college as four US presidents. Name the five quarterbacks, the four presidents and the four universities they attended. (Two of the QBs went to the same college as one of the presidents.)

I'm trusting that many of you won't use Google for this, but I can't stop you if you do.

I got four of the five. One pair of QB/presidents is easy, but another is really difficult.

Leave your guesses here in the comments section, and I'll give out the answers early next week.

Good luck, and thanks Ellen!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Drew's On Board Finally

After seven long weeks, J.D. Drew will officially become the Red Sox' right fielder and number 5 hitter when the Red Sox hold a conference call to announce the terms of his deal today.

The sticking points to the five-year, $70 million deal was the language of the contract should Drew's surgically repaired shoulder from 2005 force him on to the DL in the third year of the contract. Then the Sox can void the final two years and make Drew a free agent. If it happens in the fourth year, they can void the final year of the deal.

The first two years of the deal is a standard guaranteed contract.

I know that most Red Sox fans were wary of this deal, especially since no other team seemed to be bidding for Drew's services. His injury-plagued past, plus what appears to be his pacificity on the field put many people off going after him. But I liked the idea of bringing him in, especially if the Red Sox didn't trade Manny Ramirez (and they still haven't). Drew's a terrific outfielder and a good fit in a 3-4-5 lineup with Manny and David Ortiz.

I think for the benefit of everyone involved, Drew better get off to a good start to the 2007 season.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Save The 9/11 Memorial

Today I received a very important email that I want to share with all of you. It concerns the 9/11 memorial at the World Trade Center site. I really hope all of you will join me and support this really worthy and important cause. Mayor Bloomberg's plan for the names listing at the WTC creates two seperate memorials, and parts of it are simply asinine. So once again the families and friends of the WTC victims have to stand and fight against these politicians who don't seem to have a clue on how to put together a proper memorial.

It is so important that we properly remember our beloved family and friends who were lost that terrible day. They were all victims, but are also American heroes. They were human beings, not anonymous names. Future generations will judge us by how we put this memorial together.

Let's do it right.

There's a web site you can go to to support the 9/11 families and sign a petition to get the names of the victims remembered in a proper way. http://www.savethe911memorial.com/index.html


Why This Matters

The World Trade Center Memorial is being built to remember and honor the 2, 979 people who died in two terrorist attacks on our country. Unlike most memorials, it is being built on sacred ground, where the attacks actually occurred. Additionally, the memorial site is the final resting place of 1,151 human beings whose families received no bodily remains for a proper burial. Mayor Bloomberg’s memorial plan strips those who died of their essential human qualities and renders each individual nothing more than a place marker in a statistic.

We have launched this site because your voice is not being heard. For 500 million dollars--federal tax dollars, private donations and consumer-supported corporate donations--we deserve a memorial that is historically meaningful. We deserve a memorial that does not strip victims of all identity. A memorial in name only is no memorial at all.

Please sign our petition. Contact the politicians and the media in the Call to Action section. Send your friends and family to our site. We encourage you to look at the names listing mock-ups which graphically illustrate and compare our proposal with the mayor’s plan. Note the information added or lost in each plan. Decide for yourself whether properly including information that renders this a more poignant and historic memorial can be accomplished simply and elegantly. We think it can.

We believe that the World Trade Center Memorial should answer the questions that we, as family members, are always asked by members of the public: “What was his name?” “How old was she?” “Where did he work?” “Where was she located?”

The WTC Memorial must be able to answer for every victim, when we no longer can.

How We Got Here

In October of 2004, after 17 months of discussions, the leaders of 32 organizations representing hundreds of 9/11 family members signed a proposal on how to list the names of their loved ones at the World Trade Center Memorial. The proposal was entitled, "Remembering People’s Lives, Not Only Names." It was submitted to Governor George E. Pataki, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, WTC Memorial Foundation chairman John C. Whitehead and memorial designer Michael Arad. The families requested that the people who were killed in the September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 terrorist attacks be grouped and identified by their affiliations and floors (where applicable), location and age. In addition, civilians would be listed in alphabetical order within their affiliation and uniformed services personnel (including airline crews) would be listed in rank order within their affiliations with their ranks preceding their names.

Despite having the support of the vast majority of families--including 1,700 firefighter and civilian families and the leaders of the uniformed services unions--the politicians ignored our proposal.

When those same politicians realized that the building and operating costs of the WTC Memorial had skyrocketed, they commissioned architect Frank Sciame to revise the memorial design. In April 2006, family leaders met with the WTC Memorial Foundation’s Executive Committee and explained the family name proposal. Calling the names issue the “heart and soul” of the memorial, members of the committee agreed with our proposal. But the politicians would not allow Frank Sciame to resolve the names issue, claiming that it was not a budgetary item.

When the memorial design was revised and moved above ground, eliminating the connecting passageway between the two memorial voids, we modified our proposal in keeping with the new design. Uniformed services personnel agreed to be listed in the south tower and we all agreed that the affiliations and floors would be listed on the new face plates instead of within the ribbon of names.

Still, Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki refused to implement the family proposal despite its overwhelming support. The failure to resolve the controversy hindered fundraising, frustrating family members, who were eager to put the issue to rest and assist with the national campaign. Even though Mayor Bloomberg had no official role regarding the memorial, the WTC Memorial Foundation board found itself unable to resolve the issue without angering the mayor, who made it known that his preference was for the names to be listed randomly and without group affiliations.

Worried about the lagging fundraising, the Executive Committee convinced the mayor to take over chairmanship of the foundation and use his considerable resources as a philanthropist, and his status as chief executive of the City of New York, to recharge the moribund fundraising campaign. But, warned by City Hall insiders that accepting the families’ names proposal would essentially mean “going to war” with the mayor, they were forced to take the mayor on his terms. That meant caving in to his insistence that the "heart and soul" of the memorial, the names, be listed his way: random listings, no corporate names, no groupings of first responders, and no military or paramilitary ranks be identified.

News of the mayor’s chairmanship was deliberately timed with the announcement of a new corporate gift, but the fundraising failed to gain new momentum. The controversy lingered.

And so, just before the holidays, without meeting with family leaders, the mayor announced his “compromise” plan to the media as a fait accomplis . The full board had no opportunity to consider the families’ universally-accepted alternative, nor were they allowed to hear and vote for or against the mayor’s plan. In fact, board members learned about the plan the same way they learned that they were “voting in” the mayor as chair, when it was announced by the media the very same day.

The media was given a press release and statements that declared the names problem finally “solved.” According to press reports, almost everyone was happy.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Mayor's Plan

The mayor’s plan essentially creates two different memorials.

On the North Tower footprint:

Approximately 2,400 victims will be listed in "no discernable order," that is, visitors will see rows and rows of uninterrupted, evenly spaced names without ages. There will be nothing to indicate who they were, where they were and how they were connected to each other. Visitors looking at the North Tower names will not see that the attack wiped out 658 friends and co-workers from one company alone, Cantor Fitzgerald, that 295 were lost at Marsh & McLennan, that Aon lost 175. Visitors could assume that all 2,400 worked for the same company, or that they didn't work at all. Who they were, where they were and how they were connected is deemed a distraction from the designer‘s overarching concept of the “randomness of death.” None of the names will be in alphabetical order; they will appear random. People with identical names (yes, there are victims with exactly the same name), will simply appear to be listed twice with no explanation.

On the South Tower footprint:

In stark contrast to the list of 2,400 unaffiliated names of the North Tower, the South Tower will meticulously list the affiliations (more than 120) of the 406 first responders and uniformed services personnel. They will be listed and identified with their brother firefighters and fellow officers, but will be stripped of their ranks, as will the clergy. Father Mychal Judge, the first member of the FDNY to die that morning, will not be identified to future generations as a chaplain. Likewise, members of our U.S. armed forces who died in the Pentagon will not be identified by rank or branch of service. Army and Navy officers, soldiers and sailors, all of whom were posthumously awarded Purple Hearts in recognition that they died in the service of their country in an act of war will be stripped of their ranks. The mayor is insisting that they be listed as civilians.

Those who died on the planes will be grouped together, however, the airline crews--paramilitary professionals who were the “first responders” in the air, will not be identified, as if the planes were flown and staffed by, well, no one. The airplanes will not be named as we know them, as “American” and “United” flights, because according to the mayor, listing corporate identities is “a form of advertising.” The memorial will list flight numbers only: “11, 77, 93 and 175.”

And so, what we are left with is two sets of victims, those in the North Tower footprint who will not be identified in any way that conveys a sense of humanity or context, but instead serving to sustain the designer’s concept that they all died randomly and alone. This, to us, is not how anyone in America viewed them, except perhaps, the terrorists who killed them.

The second set of victims are the valiant first responders, who, appropriately, will be listed by precinct, squad, engine or ladder company, but whose essential identity as “firefighter” “lieutenant” “captain” “chief” will be omitted. Thus, visitors to the memorial will be deprived of seeing that officers didn’t order their men into those buildings, they led them in, and died with them. Future generation will not see that the city’s first responders were decimated, and yet, we recovered. We survived. We rebuilt. We cannot be inspired by a memorial that refuses to tell the public the narrative history through the people who died and overcame.

An Invasion By The Turks

I love checking out Site Meter daily, which lets me know who's been visiting my site. I check a couple of times a day, and it's always fascinating. (I'll be doing a post soon about how people from around the world find The Mighty Quinn Media Machine.)

Over the past few days, I've noticed a goodly number of folks from the nation of Turkey have been checking out my site. (It's not really an "invasion," as that just sounded like a cool thing to write as a headline.) I knew it couldn't be a bunch of Red Sox fans over there, but I discovered something very odd as the reason why they've been coming here.

Apparently there is a very popular show in Turkey called "Hatirla Sevgili," and from what I've been able to guess, it's a nighttime drama over there. And roughly translated, it means "Beloved Hatirla" in English. (I believe Hatirla is a woman's name, as the online translation service I used couldn't identify it as a common word.)

And for some really bizarre reason, the Turkish Google service there has a link to my site when people there look up the show. This one of the results from a Google search:

HATIRLA SEVGILI DIZISI -- BOLUMLERI - VIDEOLARI
hatırla sevgili dizisi,bölümleri,müziği,müzikleri,fragman,fragmanları,mp3,yeni bölümleri,atv,Beren Saat,michelle,Cansel Elçin,Okan Yalabık,Avni Yalçın,Engin ...quinnmedia.blogspot.com/2006/10/memories-of-tower-greenwich-village.html

Don't worry if you can't figure out most of that result, as it's in Turkish, and I really can't make heads or tails of it either.

It links to my first article about my time at Tower Records ("Memories of Tower Greenwich Village"). I'm sure those Turkish folks are rather disappointed when they check out my site and find nothing about their favorite show (unless many of them are trivia fans). I think most of the people who end up on my site are looking for a "YouTube" video of the show.

Well, at least it brings my Site Meter numbers up a bit.

Red Sox vs. Phillies on March 31

The Red Sox will be playing their final two exhibition games of their spring training schedule in Philadelphia in 2007, as they have the past two years. I went to one of the those games last year, and I had a great time there, even if it was just a tune-up match.

This season, a number of us are planning to go again, this time to the final game on Saturday, March 31. We are renting a bus to take us down, and we'll be taking it back to New York. If any of you in the New York area would like to join us, please go to Professor Thom's in Greenwich Village to sign up. It is just $45 for the bus trip back and forth to Philadelphia, and that also includes the price of the ticket to the game. Citizens Bank Park is an absolutely wonderful park to see a game, and I have been to four games there in the past. (The Red Sox won't be playing the Phillies in interleague action this year, so it's the only time they will be in Philly this year.)

My buddy Mike of Professor Thom's, a huge Phillies fan, is organizing the trip. If you'd like more information, please drop me a line at jbq1462@hotmail.com and I'll try to answer your questions or pass along your interest.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

And Bingo Is My Name-O

Tonight at Professor Thom's, I'll be pinch-hitting for the legendary Jim McGuire and running Wednesday Night Bingo, starting at 9 PM. There will be free drinks for the winners as well as a gift certificate to the bar for one lucky overall winner. I've been to Bingo on a number of occasions and it's usually a fun experience. And whenever I call out "O-69" everyone in the bar gets a free shot! So drop on by and watch me make my Bingo hosting debut.

I don't know if this will lead to a permanent gig, but we'll see what happens. Hopefully I will do Jim proud.

Trivia Q&A: January 23

When I walked into Professor Thom's last night at about 8 PM, I found about three people in the bar, and my buddy Jim the Bartender looked at me and was worried that we wouldn't have enough people to have Trivia Night. I went downstairs to prepare the sheets, and when I got back about 15 minutes later, the bar began filling up, and we eventually had 16 teams competing.

It was another close contest, but my friend Chris and some of his buddies came out victorious. Their team name, "Cory Lidle's Flying Circus," was one of the more tasteless team names, but trust me, I've heard plenty others in my time as Trivia Maven even worse, and in the immortal words of Douglas C. Niedermayer, "Decorum prohibits me listing them here."

Congrats, guys.

Current Events
1. This NFL coach, who guided 4 teams to the playoffs and won 2 Super Bowls, retired on Monday, possibly for good.
2. This film was nominated for the most Oscars with eight earlier today, but not for Best Picture.
3. This English actress is suing the Daily Mail of England over a story that ran earlier this month that she was suffering from anorexia.
4. Protests in this Middle Eastern country against the government led to three deaths and dozens of injuries on Tuesday.
5. The trial of this aide to Vice President Dick Cheney over leaks of a CIA operative's identity began in Washington this week.
6. Bill Richardson, governor of this western state, announced over the weekend that he was a Democratic candidate for president in 2008.
7. This dance competition film was number one at the box office for the second straight week last week.
8. The attorney general of this Middle Eastern country plans to indict the president of his country on charges including rape.
9. This actor, owner of the Nobu restaurant in downtown Manhattan, was accused by workers of stiffing them out of thousands of dollars in overtime pay and was forced by the state to pay them what they were owed.
10. Mike Tyson pleaded not guilty to drug and DUI charges in this western state on Monday.

Answers: 1. Bill Parcells; 2. Dreamgirls; 3. Keira Knightly; 4. Lebanon; 5. Lewis "Scooter" Libby; 6. New Mexico; 7. Stomp The Yard; 8. Israel; 9. Robert DeNiro; 10. Arizona

New York City Trivia
1. In which NYC borough will you find the Gowanus Expressway? a. Brooklyn; b. Queens; c. The Bronx; d. Manhattan.
2. Who was mayor of New York City during the transit strike of 1966? a. Ed Koch; b. Abe Beame; c. John Lindsay; d. Robert Wagner.
3. When was the Statue of Liberty first dedicated in New York Harbor? a. 1868; b. 1886; c. 1899; d. 1907.
4. What is the longest running play in Broadway history? a. A Chorus Line; b. Oklahoma; c. Cats; d. Les Miserables.
5. In which section of Manhattan would you find Mulberry Street? a. Little Italy; b. Harlem; c. Soho; d. Tribeca.
6. Which individual received the first ticker-tape parade in New York's history? a. Babe Ruth; b. Charles Lindbergh; c. Theodore Roosevelt; d. Douglas MacArthur.
7. Which is New York City's largest borough by population? a. Manhattan; b. Brooklyn; c. Staten Island; d. Queens.
8. On which NYC avenue would you find the Empire State Building? a. 5th Avenue; b. Broadway; c. 6th Avenue; d. 7th Avenue.
9. In which year did Yankee Stadium originally open? a. 1913; b. 1920; c. 1923; d. 1932.
10. In which NYC borough would you find Floyd Bennett Field? a. Staten Island; b. Queens; c. The Bronx; d. Brooklyn.

Answers: 1. a; 2. c; 3. b; 4. c; 5. a; 6. c; 7. b; 8. a; 9. c; 10. d

General Knowledge
1. Which midwestern state borders both Wyoming and Missouri?
2. Under which more famous name does the world know Joseph Ratzinger?
3. How many lines of poetry make up a couplet?
4. Which US president signed a Civil Rights Act which banned segregation in public places?
5. In the early 1940s, the US government program to build the first atomic bomb was called what?
6. Who was the voice of Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story films?
7. Which profession completes the phrase from Shakespeare: "First thing we do is kill all the" who?
8. Which Yankees Hall of Famer holds the record for playing in the most World Series games?
9. How many people are depicted in Leonardo DaVinci's immortal painting, "The Last Supper?"
10. What London street did super sleuth Sherlock Holmes live on?

Answers: 1. Nebraska; 2. Pope Benedict XVI; 3. two; 4. Lyndon Johnson; 5. The Manhattan Project; 6. Tim Allen; 7. lawyers; 8. Yogi Berra; 9. 13; 10. Baker Street

TV Characters (name the actor/actress and show they appeared on)
1. Carrie Bradshaw
2. Susan Mayer
3. Dr. Doug Ross
4. Dan Conner
5. Jack Bauer
6. Niles Crane
7. Jack Shephard
8. Cliff Huxtable
9. Tim Taylor
10. Jennifer Melfi

Answers: 1. Sarah Jessica Parker, "Sex and The City;" 2. Teri Hatcher, "Desperate Housewives;" 3. George Clooney, "ER;" 4. John Goodman, "Roseanne;" 5. Kiefer Sutherland, "24;" 6. David Hyde Pierce, "Frasier;" 7. Matthew Fox, "Lost;" 8. Bill Cosby, "The Cosby Show;" 9. Tim Allen, "Home Improvement;" 10. Lorraine Bracco, "The Sopranos."

Multiple Points Trivia
1. Name 2 of the last 5 popes.
2. Name 3 of the 6 members of The Three Stooges.
3. Name 3 of the 5 NBA teams to have won the NBA title since 1996.
4. Name 3 of the 5 largest cities in the UK by population.
5. Name 3 of the last 5 Best Actress Oscar winners.

Answers: 1. John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI; 2. Moe, Larry, Curly, Shemp, Joe, Curly Joe; 3. Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat; 4. London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Sheffield; 5. Halle Berry, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, Hilary Swank, Reese Witherspoon

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

On Tap For Tonight

Tonight's Tuesday Night Trivia will once again include TV Characters Trivia, which will be double points, but the Multiple Points category will be five questions worth a total of 25 points. I am also bringing back a round of New York City trivia, which will also be the multiple choice category tonight.

So forget President Bush's State of the Union Address. Tuesday Night Trivia should be much more interesting. Hope to see you at PT's tonight.

Another Great Brooklyn Web Site

My sister sent me a link yesterday to a really great web site for all of you Brooklynites, or those of you who are just curious, who want to see what the Borough of Churches looked like many years ago. Brooklynpix.com has photos of Brooklyn dating back to the start of the 20th century, from all different parts of the borough.

The photo here was taken about a block north of where my house is today, and it was taken around 1930. It's truly amazing to see how much my area, as well as all of Brooklyn, has changed over the years.

Here's a link to the site: www.brooklynpix.com. It's quite an eye-opening look to what Brooklyn once looked like.

Monday, January 22, 2007

On The Radio Last Night

After I got home last night after the football was over, I went to my computer to check email. I put the radio on, and I realized it was close to midnight. I put on WPLJ radio here in New York and The Bill Ayres Show, which runs from midnight until 2 AM every Sunday night/Monday morning. Bill is an institution on New York radio, and he's been doing a radio show on WPLJ since 1973. His shows range on numerous topics, generally along the lines of helping people. Bill has also been the executive director of World Hunger Year, which was founded by the late Harry Chapin many years ago.

His topic last night really hit home. "Coping With The Loss of a Friend." Bill generally chats about about his weekly topic for a few minutes and opens up the phone lines for people to call in. Right after I heard the topic, I picked up the phone and called the station.

I was the third caller on, at about 12:25 AM. I was on for about five minutes, and I began by talking about the friends I lost many years ago, from things like suicide and drug abuse. But then I talked about the loss of my friend Joyce in the WTC. I talked about needing to find a way to express my grief, and how I turned to writing. Bill agreed with me that it was a great gift that was given to me, and how something positive could come out of something so horrible and tragic.

I also talked about those special friends who came into my life after her death, and how that was another incredible gift. Bill also shared a couple of his personal stories like mine, such as how he coped with the death of his good friend Harry Chapin, and how he got to know the sister of a friend of his who was murdered many years ago. At the end he thanked me for calling in and sharing my "wonderful story."

I spoke to Bill on his show some time ago, and it was a pleasure to be on his show again. He has a very calm voice and equally calm demeanor, which is rare on the radio these days. His show is always worth checking out, especially if you are up late on Sunday night.

The End For The Pats, Saints

It was a really tough way for the season to end for the New England Patriots yesterday. I was with a raucous crowd at Professor Thom's, roaring on every play. The Pats looked like worldbeaters in the first half, rolling up a 21-3 lead late in the second half. Peyton Manning and the Colts looked like a beaten team at that point. But they managed a FG to end the first half, and it got the momentum going their way.

They came out with a great drive and scored a TD to cut the lead to 8, and then scored yet again, including a two-point conversion, to tie it up. The Patriots defense was clearly tired and was getting torched big time. But Tom Brady led the Patriots to another TD to grab the lead back.

Funny sidebar. I gave up my seat at the bar a couple of times during the game to friends who were standing up and wanted to have something to eat. Seemed like the Colts always did something good when I did that. One of my friends ordered me to sit down back in my seat to get the "karma back." The moment I did, Ellie Hobbs ran back the kickoff 80 yards to set up the Patriots next TD. With that, I was told not to leave my seat for any reason, not even to go to the bathroom. Anything for the cause I guess...

It was a tremendous game, even if you didn't have a rooting interest. There were some really questionable calls, like a roughing the passer penalty called during the Colts last drive, and an interference penalty not called on the Colts during the Pats next-to-last drive. But the Colts managed to win it on their last drive of the game, 38-34. You have to take your hat off to Peyton Manning for a tremendous comeback in the second half, leading the Colts to the best comeback ever in a conference title game, breaking the old record of 13 points by Atlanta in 1999 over the Vikings. (I remember it so well, and yesterday's game brought back painful memories of it.)

Despite not making it to the Super Bowl, it was a tremendous run for the Patriots. With all the injuries and defections, this "rebuilding" year for them was a spectacular success. You have to be proud of this club, and they will be back stronger next season. I felt badly for my Patriots fan friends, as the bar went silent after Tom Brady tossed the final interception to end it. But they will be back.

The Colts will take on the Bears, who rolled over the Saints, 39-14 at Soldier Field. (Congratulations to both Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy, two friends who are the first black head coaches to make it to the Super Bowl.) The Saints give a good run to the NFC title game, but were clearly beaten by a better Bears team.

I knew the Saints were in real trouble when Reggie Bush taunted the Bears defense and did his theatrics while scoring on a great 88-yard TD pass to get the Saints close at 16-14. But the last thing you want to do is taunt a talented Bears defense that was reeling at the time. The Saints did absolutely nothing after that as Chicago scored 23 unanswered points to book their trip to Miami on February 4. To Bush's credit, he did apologize after the game for being unprofessional in scoring that TD.

Yesterday's loss did nothing to tarnish a wonderful year for the Saints and their fans. They have a tremendous nucleus and like the Patriots, maybe even better next year.

Near the conclusion of yesterday's AFC title game, Jim Nantz said that whichever AFC team wins would be an underdog to the Chicago Bears for the Super Bowl. Early line on the game: Colts are a seven-point favorite. Sounds like Nantz and the bookies in Vegas clearly aren't on the same page...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Guess Who's Running For President?

Well, it's Sunday morning, and I suppose it's time for me to write about something I rarely write about on this blog: politics. Yesterday Hillary Clinton pretty much made it official that she will seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2008. It was about the worst kept secret in Washington, and I guess I'll toss in my two cents on the subject, like everyone else seems to be doing.

But first, a disclaimer.

As many of you may know, I am Independent, and I don't identify totally either major party, and definitely not with the far-left or the far-right. I have voted for Democrats as well as for Republicans in my life, but I have never voted straight down a political ticket with either party. I don't pigeonhole myself into any major philosophy as far politics goes, and my attitude toward political candidates has always been, "show me what you got." I guess you could call me a "mugwump," an old 19th century term for someone who has their "mug" on one side of the political fence, and their "wump" on the other. (Basically it was someone who sits on that political fence.)

With that said, I don't think Clinton is any leadpipe synch to be the next president, let alone the Democratic nominee in 2008. (How big the Barack Obama Factor is will be apparent early next year.) She has legions of detractors, even within her own party. She has always been a lightning rod for controversy, and never shied away from it when she was the First Lady. Her candidacy for president will bring many more people out to vote, if just to vote against her if she gets the nod from the Democrats.

Clinton has never been my cup of tea, and I don't see myself voting for her in 2008 if she makes it to the general election. While I do admire what she has done to help the 9/11 victims and the stand she took to keep the 9/11 funding for New York here when the Feds tried to take it back, she comes with a lot of baggage.

In order for her to have ANY chance of being the 44th president of the United States, Hillary Clinton has to appeal to the most important voting bloc in presidential elections: conservative Democrats. They are the ones who decide those elections. Conservative Democrats can be anyone: white, black, Christians, Jews, Hispanics, Asians. They are basically anyone who goes to the polls and will vote for either a Democrat or a Republican, depending which one they feel speaks closer to how they feel about the country. She has to follow the blueprint that her husband followed in getting elected in 1992: appeal to the middle. If Hillary Clinton is seen as being too far to the left, she has little chance.

Of course, which Republican gets the nod from their party next year will also have a lot in saying if Clinton has much of a chance as well. John McCain had better hope the war in Iraq takes a favorable turn over the next year or he will be made out to be a continuation of George Bush and may have no chance. It will certainly be interesting if Rudy Giuliani gets it, as it will bring back memories of the Senate race from New York in 2000 that never happened because of Giuliani having to drop out because of his prostate cancer.

The presidential election of 2008 is less than 22 months away, and that is an eternity in terms of politics. So much can happen in that time, and at this point, it's anybody's guess as to who the two major party's nominees for president will be. God bless Hillary Clinton if she feels this is her time to run for the presidency.

But she better be extremely careful. Her political enemies are out there, and they are considerable. They will be out there sharpening their knives waiting for a chance to get at her. But she is a smart cookie and knows how to play the political game.

But can Hillary Clinton win? I won't make any predictions today. We'll find out down the road.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Extra Innings Gone From Cable

Last season, I got the Extra Innings baseball package on my cable system, for $149. I got most out-of-town games, and it was great. It was cool to see Red Sox games that I didn't see at Professor Thom's. It was also great to see games late night on a typical June or July night when there was nothing much else on.

But the word has come down that Extra Innings will NOT be offered on cable again, and it will be shown exclusively on DirecTV. And it was also announced that the Baseball Channel, a 24-hour all baseball network, will be offered on DirecTV only. A dream for all baseball nuts like myself will only happen if you've got a satellite dish.

Bah humbug. Another lousy trend. Anything to bleed the American consumer out of more money.

For more on all of this, check out this article in The New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/20/sports/baseball/20base.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

I still can't get the NFL Network here because Cablevision, which I have, can't negotiate a deal to bring it on their systems, and now I can't get Extra Innings in 2007 unless I go out and get a satellite dish.

I guess I'll be spending even more time in the bar watching the Red Sox in 2007.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Let's Say Thanks

I got a nice email from my aunt this evening about a really lovely web site called "Let's Say Thanks." You can send a card to a soldier overseas to let them know you're thinking about them.

At the site, you can pick a design made by a youngster (like the one on the left), and personalize a message that will be included on the card. There are about 30 designs you can choose from, and you can pick a premade message, or make one of your own. You can't send a card to a specific soldier with a specific message, but the people at Xerox will print out every postcard and make sure a member of military receives it.

They have sent out over five million cards, and they have been a tremendous hit overseas, and greatly appreciated by our troops.

The web site is at: www.LetsSayThanks.com. It's free and takes only a minute. It's a worthy cause, and well worth the time to let our troops know we are behind them, and always in our thoughts and prayers.

Indians Sign Trot Nixon

Another "One of the 25" has left the Red Sox, as Trot Nixon today agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal with the Cleveland Indians. It wasn't a shock that Trot was leaving, as his numbers had declined over the past few years due to the nagging injuries that seemed to plague his career.

In 982 career games, Nixon has a .278 batting average with 133 home runs and 523 RBIs. He hit .357 in the Red Sox' four-game sweep of St. Louis in the 2004 World Series and delivered a key bases-clearing triple in Game 4.

When I think of Trot, I'll always think of those big time home runs he hit.

I will especially never forget two two-run homers he hit off Roger Clemens at Yankee Stadium. One was in 1999, in that immortal 2-0 Red Sox win on a Sunday night that Pedro Martinez went all the way in getting the win. He also hit one off Clemens in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS that put the Red Sox ahead early in the game. (I'll never forget the raucous crowd in the Riviera chanting, "Jesus Loves You" right after he hit it.) He also hit the immortal home run to win Game 3 of the ALDS against Oakland at Fenway in extra innings in 2003 to put the Sox back into that series.

The first night I was ever in the Riviera Cafe was Game 6 of the ALCS in 2003, and I'll never forget the bar going absolutely bananas when Trot hit a two-run homer in the ninth to ice the victory, 9-6 (pictured above).

But I hope most Red Sox fans won't forget the great play he made in Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS. With the Yankees up 4-2 with the bases loaded in the seventh, Hideki Matsui hit a liner to right off Pedro Martinez that Trot made a great sliding catch on, to keep the game close (and we all know what happened after that). Had that ball gone past him, the Yankees win that series in 5 games. (Ironically, that was also the last play that Pedro Martinez was involved in a Red Sox uniform at Fenway.)

It was sad that Trot's career stalled the way it did, because I always appreciated his hard nose style. I wish him good luck in Cleveland.

You'll always be One of the 25, Trottah.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Me And My Drinking Buddy

Today I got a file made of three of the pictures from the Bill Lee appearance at Professor Thom's back on December 12. There was one in particular that came out really well, as it's one of me and The Spaceman himself.

We look like old drinking buddies! All of us who hung out with Bill that night enjoyed it, as he held court all night and talked about every subject under the sun. We helped him celebrate his 60th birthday a couple of weeks early that night, and he seemed to really enjoy the evening as we did.


Every stereotype you've ever heard about Bill Lee is true. I can testify to that.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

WTC Tribute Center: 100,000 Visitors

Yesterday, the WTC Tribute Center recorded its 100,000th person to enter and visit, and it was a young lady from England.

The Tribute Center was opened this past September 18th on Liberty Street, across from the World Trade Center site. It is a beautiful place to remember the World Trade Center, and more importantly, those brave souls who lost their lives there in 1993 and 2001.

The Visitor Center is attracting more than a thousand people a day. I had the honor of being asked to visit the Center before it opened, on September 11th, right after the 5th anniversary ceremonies concluded. There is one particularly poignant spot inside the Center, namely a photo gallery of literally thousands of photographs of the 9/11 victims, and I am proud that my friend Joyce is a part of it.

There was a nice article written about the 100,000th visitor, and about the Tribute Center, at Firefightingnews.com:
http://www.firefightingnews.com/article-US.cfm?articleID=24377

If you ever get the chance to go to the WTC Tribute Center, I would definitely recommend you see it. For more information about it: www.tributenyc.org.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Trivia Q&A: January 16

It was a relatively quiet night at Professor Thom's on Tuesday night, as the cold kept some folks away. But we did have nine teams competing in Tuesday Night Trivia, and we had a good contest going. In the end it was won by a team called Professor Uncle Thom's Cabin, who had a tremendous final round, getting 21 of a possible 30 points in the Multiple Points round to take the title by two points over The Delinquents. PUTC answered the first three of the final six questions perfectly to gain 15 points, and gained six points in the final three to secure the win.

Today I also debut a new feature with my Tuesday Night Trivia wrapup. I had a few requests to put the answers in a separate section after the questions, as a few of my friends out there wanted to play along on my site to see how they would do. I hope you like this new format, and feedback is always appreciated.

Current Events
1. Two kidnapped boys, one missing four days and the other four years, were found alive last Friday by Authorities in which Midwestern state?
2. This supermodel pleaded guilty today in New York to assaulting her maid with a cell phone.
3. This film won 3 Golden Globes last night, including one for Best Comedy/Musical.
4. A Miss USA Pageant contestant from this state stepped down yesterday when she revealed she was pregnant.
5. The ex-wife of this NFL star won a $15.3 million divorce settlement from her ex-husband last week.
6. A newspaper in Spain reported that this onetime world leader's health had deteriorated to the point where he faces "a very grave prognosis."
7. The UN reported that the number of Iraqi civilians killed in 2006 topped this figure.
8. Power was knocked out by an ice storm to thousands of people in this New England state on Monday.
9. The first of the four major tennis tournaments opened in this country on Monday.
10. This onetime baseball superstar is in talks with the Texas Rangers about making a comeback.

Answers: 1. Missouri; 2. Naomi Campbell; 3. Dreamgirls; 4. New Jersey; 5. Michael Strahan; 6. Fidel Castro; 7. 34,000; 8. New Hampshire; 9. Australia; 10. Sammy Sosa

Martin Luther King Trivia

1. In which southern city was Martin Luther King born in? a. Charlotte; b. Atlanta; c. Memphis; Birmingham.
2. Which university did Dr. King attend? a. Howard University; b. University of Florida; c. Morehouse College; d. Alabama A&M.
3. Which US president signed into law making MLK Day a national holiday? a. Jimmy Carter; b. Ronald Reagan; c. George H.W. Bush; d. Bill Clinton.
4. In front of which Washington DC building did MLK make his famous "I Have A Dream" speech in 1963? a. Lincoln Memorial; b. The Capitol; c. Jefferson Memorial; d. Washington Monument.
5. In which year did Dr. King win the Nobel Peace Prize? a. 1962; b. 1963; c. 1964; d. 1965.
6. In which southern city was MLK assassinated in? a. Memphis; b. Atlanta; c. Nashville; d. Birmingham.
7. Who was sentenced to 99 years for Dr. King's murder and eventually died in prison? a. Sirhan Sirhan; b. James Earl Ray; c. Jack Ruby; d. John Hinckley.
8. How old was MLK at the time of his death? a. 36; b. 39; c. 42; d. 45.
9. To which city did Dr. King lead a civil rights march to in 1965? a. Birmingham; b. Tuscaloosa; c. Dothan; d. Montgomery.
10. Which US president awarded MLK the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously? a. Lyndon Johnson; b. Richard Nixon; c. Gerald Ford; d. Jimmy Carter.

Answers: 1. b; 2. c; 3. b; 4. a; 5. c; 6. a; 7. b; 8. b; 9. d; 10. d

General Knowledge
1. Which amendment to the US Constitution abolished slavery?
2. If you just had rhinoplasty, what part of your body would be bandaged?
3. What religion was founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon?
4. What are the proper names for an adult male deer?
5. Which American politician wrote the classic book, "Profiles In Courage?"
6. In the film, "Boogie Nights," what name does Mark Wahlberg's character take for his film career?
7. Name 2 of the 3 European countries located on the Iberian peninsula.
8. How many members does the US House of Representatives currently have?
9. Which rock band reported Ticketmaster to the Justice Department in 1994 for monopolizing the ticketing industry?
10. In which Western state is the nation's highest zip code, 99950, located in?

Answers: 1. 13; 2. nose; 3. The Unification Church; 4. buck or stag; 5. John F. Kennedy; 6. Dirk Diggler; 7. Andorra, Portugal and Spain; 8. 435; 9. Pearl Jam; 10. Alaska

TV Characters (name the actor/actress and show)
1. Elaine Benes
2. Ted Baxter
3. Norm Peterson
4. Chandler Bing
5. Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III
6. Ray Barone
7. Kelly Garrett
8. Lenny Briscoe
9. Peggy Bundy
10. Alex P. Keaton

Answers: 1. Julia Louis Dreyfus, "Seinfeld;" 2. Ted Knight, "Mary Tyler Moore Show;" 3. George Wendt, "Cheers;" 4. Matthew Perry, "Friends;" 5. David Ogden Stiers, "M*A*S*H;" 6. Ray Romano, "Everybody Loves Raymond;" 7. Jaclyn Smith, "Charlie's Angels;" 8. Jerry Orbach, "Law And Order;" 9. Katey Sagal, "Married With Children;" 10. Michael J. Fox, "Family Ties"

Multiple Points Trivia

1. Name 3 of the last 5 teams to win the Super Bowl.
2. Name 3 of the 5 Great Lakes.
3. Name 4 of the first 6 US presidents.
4. Name 3 of the last 5 Best Actor Oscar Winners.
5. Name 3 of the 5 largest cities in Canada by population.
6. Name 3 of the 5 largest countries in Europe in land area.

Answers: 1. St. Louis Rams, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Bucs, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2. Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, Ontario; 3. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams; 4. Denzel Washington, Adrien Brody, Sean Penn, Jamie Foxx, Philip Seymour Hoffman; 5. Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary; 6. Ukraine, France, Spain, Sweden, Germany

Brush Up On MLK

Tonight's trivia at 9 will feature a category on the Rev. Martin Luther King, since yesterday would have been his birthday and it was a national holiday. It will also be the multiple choice category as well.

The double points round will be on TV characters, and not movie characters, this week. (I just thought I'd give movie characters a rest this week.) And since I got such great feedback from everyone on the multiple points trivia round, it will be back again tonight, and it may very well be a permanent feature of Tuesday Night Trivia. It will again be six questions, and be worth as much as 30 points for the round.

We're still working the bugs out of a lot of the new things we're doing, but so far so good. We hope to make Trivia Night better and better. See you tonight!

Monday, January 15, 2007

They Know Me In India Now

This evening I made a very interesting discovery as I was checking my Site Meter numbers. I noticed over the weekend that someone in Calcutta, India discovered my site through a blogsearch about David Beckham and his signing last week with the MLS.

Tonight I discovered that I was quoted in an article about Beckham in The Calcutta Telegraph. The article was about what the bloggers are saying about Beckham's departure to the States later this year.

Here is the complete article about Beckham that I am in, as it appeared in the newspaper this past Sunday: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070114/asp/calcutta/story_7258287.asp

Bye bye Becks
News that British soccer star David Beckham and wife Victoria will be crossing the Atlantic has attracted attention aplenty in bloggers’ park.

The free-kick king will quit Real Madrid at the end of the season and sign up with Los Angeles Galaxy.

For Leone (http://qek. blogspot. com), the move signals “semi retirement and footballing obscurity” for Beckham.

A blogger at http://yellowhand. vox. com has written a public letter to Beckham wishing him good luck. “I’m not sure what exactly the Galaxy’s publicity people are expecting you to do when you get there, but unless you play every game the way you did in the match against Greece before World Cup 2002, the fans are going to be disappointed.”

The Omnipotent Q (http://quinnmedia.blogspot.com) writes: “The Major League Soccer (MLS) needed a megastar to put the league on the map, and Beckham, the former England captain, fits the bill. There have been comparisons made to Pele signing for New York Cosmos in 1975 giving the struggling NASL instant credibility. Beckham should do that easily for MLS… He isn’t the best player in the world, but probably the best known.”


My thanks to the author of the article, whose name was not given on the online version. Thanks also for including my web address in the article as well.

The Internet: it never ceases to amaze me.

Post #500: Karaoke!

ka·ra·o·ke /kar-ee-oh-kee] –noun- an act of singing along to a music video, esp. one from which the original vocals have been electronically eliminated.

I have now reached 500 posts, in just over 10 months of writing The Mighty Quinn Media Machine. My 500th post will be about a fun night I had after watching the Patriots win: karaoke.

My friends suggested I join them for a trip to a karaoke bar on 17th Street called "Karaoke One 7." After some initial reluctance, I decided to do it. I've been there before, and it's usually a fun night.

The bar wasn't crowded, and we got there just before 10 PM. Whenever I'm there, I am amazed at how good my friends are at it. (My pal Gareth was really good, and I told him should try to revive his musical career. And my friend Rhonda's also really good, even doing a version of an Eminem song with great passion.)

The first time I did it, I sang, "Dirty Water" by The Standells and got into it so much that I nearly destroyed my voice, and my throat hurt for two days afterwards. So I have to take it easy when I do it.

This time, there was one song I really wanted to take a shot at. I did "We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel. It has so many lyrics, and it quick-fire style, that by the end of it, was physically exhausted. I'm no singer by any stretch of the imagination, but it was really fun to do.

My friend Alan dedicated a version of "Creep" by Radiohead to a missing friend, our buddy Adam, who moved back to his home state of Maine last year. He was usually with us on karaoke nights, and he was always such a great karaoke singer. I once dubbed him, "Mr. Karaoke". It was strange him not being there, but Adam was definitely there in spirit.

I concluded the night there with doing another version of "Dirty Water" in honor of the Patriots win and the upcoming Red Sox season. I took it easy and my throat's fine today!

Years ago, I never thought I could ever get into something like karaoke, but it's really fun, even if you can't sing and are afraid you'll make a fool of yourself. But I had a blast...

And Then There Were Four

It was an exciting weekend of football in the NFL Divisional playoffs, and the best game of the weekend was undoubtably the Patriots win over the Chargers in San Diego. The Pats pulled out a stunning 24-21 win on Stephen Gostkowski's field goal with 1:10 left. The huge crowd at Professor Thom's just went bananas as the Patriots clinched an appearance in the AFC title game for the fourth time in six years.

As much as I felt good for all my pals who are Patriots fans, I really felt badly for my dear friends Peggy and Ken, who live in San Diego and are devoted Chargers fans. A part of me really wanted to see the Chargers win for them. But the Chargers have a very good team and will be back in 2007.

And with this loss, you have to wonder about the job security of San Diego head coach Marty Schottenheimer. Once again, Marty's team doesn't reach the Super Bowl and they were the best team in the NFL over 16 games.

Nate Kaeding missed a 54-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds that fell well short, and the Partiots went into celebration mode, some of which rubbed many of the Chargers, including LaDainian Tomlinson, the wrong way. A few of the Pats mocked Shawne Merriman's "Lights Out" dance at midfield. Tomlinson, who's known as one of the classier players in the NFL and is not a showboat or a "check-me-out" hot dog, took a shot at head coach Bill Belichick, saying the display "maybe comes from the head coach." Belichick is not known for encouraging that type of behavior, and it was unfortunate that the game ended like that.

But it takes nothing away from the Patriots great win. Tom Brady found yet another way to win, to add to his continuing legacy. He is now 12-1 as the Patriots QB in the playoffs, and the Pats now have a date with the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night in Indy.

The Colts upset Baltimore, 15-6 on Saturday, as their revitalized defense once again picked up the team, as Peyton Manning had another below par day.

The Bears beat Seattle in overtime on Sunday, 27-24, on Robbie Gould's 49-yard field goal four minutes into the fifth period to give Chicago the home field in the NFC title game. They will be hosting one of the more incredible stories in sports in the New Orleans Saints, who earned their first NFC title game appearance ever by beating the Eagles, 27-24, before a raucous crowd at the Superdome.

It's hard to root against the Saints, so I'm picking them to go to the Super Bowl against the Patriots on February 4.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Check Out This Pizza

For many years, my sister and my brother-in-law have been claiming that the world's best pizza was made by a pizzeria in Brooklyn called DiFara's. I had never had it before, but this afternoon they were over with my nieces, and brought along some pizza from the place, so I could judge for myself.

It was pretty damn good. The best in the world? Could very well be.

There'a a pizza place by the Brooklyn Bridge called Patsy's that a few people have told me is the best they've ever had, but I can understand why people rave about DiFara's. My brother-in-law had to wait about an hour after ordering two pies, as there was a big crowd waiting, as there always is. He was also telling me that DiFara's has a worldwide reputation, as tourists will travel deep into the heart of Brooklyn to get this pizza.

I can understand why. The crust was a bit thin, but the taste is terrific. We had both the plain and sausage pizza. It is also a bit pricy (a regular pie goes for about $15), but it is really worth it. DiFara's is at 1424 Avenue J, near E. 14th Street. I found more about DiFara's on this website:
http://gonyc.about.com/cs/restaurants/gr/rr_difara.htm

I have always said that the best pizza in the world is made in Brooklyn (and not Manhattan) by Italian guys. DiFara's just reinforced my feelings. And fortunately for me, DiFara's is just one stop on the subway, or a good stretch of the legs, away from my house. I'll be back there again soon.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Beckham's On His Way

Yesterday, Major League Soccer made a stunning announcement that David Beckham, one of the world's biggest soccer stars and athletes, had agreed to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy beginning after his contract with Real Madrid of Spain expires this June 30. Beckham agreed to a five-year deal that could net him as much as $250 million in salary and endorsements.

The MLS needed a megastar to put the league on the map, and Beckham, the former England captain, fits that bill. There have been comparisons made to when the New York Cosmos signed Pele in 1975, and it gave the struggling NASL instant credibility. Beckham should do that easily. The Galaxy sold over 1,000 season tickets in one day alone yesterday right after the news broke.

Beckham isn't best player in the world, but probably the best known. Most Americans know him as the guy who had a movie named after him, "Bend It Like Beckham." He is widely known for his bending free kicks, and that's where that name came from.

It had been widely speculated that Beckham would eventually come to the US when his European career came to an end. He's played 15 years for Manchester United and Real Madrid, and he's still young at 31. (When Pele came to the Cosmos, he was the best player in the world at 34.) And of course, he'd play for L.A. because of his wife, Victoria Adams, the former "Posh Spice."

No matter what Beckham gets paid, he'll be worth it for L.A. and the MLS. He'll bring interest in soccer in America back to the Pele-levels, and that will benefit everyone, especially the sport, which needed a major boost if it wants to move up another level on the American sports scene.

Another One Of Those Letters

As many of you know, I love reading those "letter to the editor" columns in the newspapers, especially "The Voice of the People," the one in the New York Daily News. I know the News likes to print letters from a diverse group of people, but I read one today that actually made me burst into laughter over the sheer stupidity of it.

Off-base
Woodhaven: I don't understand how Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr., with subpar stats, get inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame while Don Mattingly, with far better stats and fewer at-bats than those players, gets snubbed yet again. Erol Bal

Holy mackerel, where do I start with this one? Now, I've always thought Yankee fans were a bit thick, but this letter is simply beyond belief. Does this guy Erol Bal even watch baseball? Did he ever watch Gwynn or Ripken play? They both got more than 98% of all the votes, and the sanity of those writers who didn't vote for them is being questioned.

And how does Don Mattingly have "far better stats?" I'm not going to rattle off the tremendous accomplishments of both Ripken or Gwynn here, as just about anyone who's a baseball fan is aware of them. (And how in the world anyone could call their accomplishments "subpar" is simply beyond me.) Almost every Yankee fan I know believes that the injuries cut down any chance Mattingly had for the Hall. I didn't hear any hue and cry from the majority of Yankee fans over Mattingly not being elected, and nothing from George Steinbrenner or his flunkies either. (You know The Boss would say something if he thought Mattingly was being "snubbed.")

Mattingly was a terrific ballplayer who put up excellent numbers for a short period of time in the mid-1980s, but his numbers largely dropped in the early 1990s. Mattingly got just 54 votes in this past election, just 9.9% of all votes cast. He probably won't come any closer.

Yes, people are entitled to their opinion, but this one was mind boggling.

Mr. Bal, Don Mattingly's NOT a Hall of Famer. Get over it. Most Yankee fans already have.

Thursday Night Stuff

It was a busy Thursday night, as early in the evening, I converted my blog over to the "New Blogger." I was reluctant to do so for a while, but my friends convinced me to do so. So far so good with it.

The Mighty Quinn Media Machine also had its 13,000th visitor since I put the Site Meter up last April 20. Laura, of Laura and The Red Sox blog, was here early Thursday evening and now has that proud distinction. Congratulations, Laura. (Sorry, there's no prize...)

We had the first of the BarGames, at Finnerty's bar. Unfortunately, it was an inauspicious start for Professor Thom's. The guys from Finnerty's won easily at darts, sweeping the best two-of-three series to go up, 1-0. The next bar activity, video golf, will take place next Thursday night, but this time at the friendly confines of Professor Thom's. Finnerty's took home the Challenge Cup, a 52 ounce cooler which was graciously donated by Michael Leggett. Gotta get that cup back to Thom's...

My friends and I played video golf after we returned from the darts, and let's just say I am not one of Thom's representatives in golf next week. In an 18-hole match, I finished fourth out of four, shooting 8 over par and 26 shots behind the winner.

And to wrap up the night, a great magician named Polaris was in the bar, showing off some of his tricks. I met him a few weeks ago in the bar, and he is just an incredible magician. Most of what he does involves cards, but he did a trick involving beer and a dollar bill that I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I have always loved magic, and Polaris' tricks had all of us watching either in stitches or in disbelief. I said to Polaris at the end of the night, "I don't try to figure out how you're doing it, I just sit back and enjoy it."

He smiled at me, and couldn't help but agree.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Let The BarGames Begin

Tonight at 8 PM, "The BarGame Games" will begin at a bar called Finnerty's. You see, Finnerty's is a bar on the same block as Professor Thom's on Second Avenue between E. 13th and 14th Streets in the Village. They opened around the same time as Thom's did, and there's been a friendly rivalry between the two saloons. Finnerty's is run by a couple of Yankee fans, while Thom's is the haven for and run by Red Sox fans in New York.

So, in the spirit of the rivalry between Cheers and Gary's Olde Towne Tavern from the classic TV series, "Cheers," there will be a series of five "bargame" competitions between the two establishments to determine Second Avenue Between Thirteenth and Fourteenth superiority.

Tonight's first competition will be darts, over at Finnerty's. It will be a best two out of three, with Greg and Mike of Professor Thom's representing the Good Guys. (God, I sound like Ken Harrelson!) Over the next few weeks, the competition will include video golf, poker, billiards, and MegaTouch.

It should be a lot of fun. Professor Thom's will be defending the honor of Red Sox Nation in New York. Let the BarGames begin!

Guess Who Failed A Drug Test?

Well, he can never claim he's never failed a drug test again. None other than "Big Head" (in more ways than one), Barry Bonds. Today's New York Daily News has an article by T.J. Quinn (no relation to The Mighty), a writer who has followed Bonds and the steroid controversy closely. He says that sources have told him that Bonds failed the new MLB test for amphetamines last season.

Bonds will not tbe suspended for failing it, as under MLB rules he will be given treatment and counseling. But if he fails a second test, he will face a 25-game suspension.

Of course, it wouldn't be Barry Bonds if he weren't blaming somebody else for his troubles, and apparently he originally pointed fingers at Giants teammate Mark Sweeney. Bonds got the stimulant from Sweeney's locker (although the article doesn't make it clear if Sweeney gave it to Bonds or if Bonds just helped himself to it).

Here is the complete Quinn article:
http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/487795p-410640c.html

Just another reason to despise Barry Bonds. He is, of course, closing in on the home run record, and could reach before this year is out. It makes me really hope that the home run record will still belong to Hank Aaron once the 2007 season is concluded.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Trivia Q&A: January 9

We had another big crowd at Professor Thom's last night for trivia, with 13 teams in competition. I experimented with having the double-point round (Movie Characters) in Round 4, and the final round a six question round I called "Multiple Point Trivia." In it, I asked six questions where the teams had to come up with at least 3 of 5 or 4 of 6 answers, with different points awarded, depending on how many they answered correctly. The teams could get anywhere up to five points per question in that round.

It went very well, and I am planning on bringing that round back again next week. I did hear some grumbling that the Movie Characters questions were a little too tough. (I didn't think so myself.) In that round, my friend Michael pointed out an incorrect year that I found in Wikipedia about the film, "Misery." They said it came out in 1987, but it was actually in 1990. I didn't throw the question out, as I didn't think it really adversely affected the round.

And Michael's team (along with my friends Steve and Alex) went on to repeat as champions for the second straight week. They were called "Donkey, check..."(Once again I won't finish the team name as it was another of those colorful names.) They had a great last two rounds and went on to win by 10 points. Congrats, guys.

Current Events
1. This Delaware senator announced over the weekend he's seeking the Democratic nomination for president, 20 years after his first attempt. Joe Biden
2. Fortune Magazine picked this Internet company as the best job in the world to work at. Google
3. A US gunship attacked against possible Al Qaeda targets in this African nation on Monday. Somalia
4. This college football team ran wild in the BCS championship game last night, winning their second NCAA title in school history. Florida Gators
5. This actor is rumored to be up for the lead in a possible film about talk show host Bill O'Reilly, a man he's butted heads with in the past. George Clooney
6. A US nuclear powered submarine collided Monday night in the Strait of Hormuz with an oil tanker from which Asian nation? Japan
7. 10 blocks of businesses in this Texas city were shut down on Monday after dozens of dead birds were discovered in its streets. Austin
8. This home insurance company, the largest in the US, is in the final stages of settling hundreds of lawsuits over its payments for homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. State Farm
9. The Online Film Critics Society selected this 9/11 themed film as its Best Picture of 2006. United 93
10. A man accused of trying to extort $1.5 million from this celebrity will soon have his case go to a grand jury. Oprah Winfrey

Celebrity Real Names

1. Bernard Schwartz: a. Tony Curtis, b. Kirk Douglas, c. Tony Randall, d. Nicolas Cage. answer: a
2. Robert Zimmerman: a. Gene Wilder, b. Bob Dylan, c. Ozzy Osbourne, d. Bob Hoskins. answer: b
3. Reginald Dwight: a. Prince, b. Elton John, c. David Bowie, d. Freddie Mercury. answer: b
4. Norma Jean Baker: a. Elizabeth Taylor, b. Ava Gardner, c. Lana Turner, d. Marilyn Monroe. answer: d
5. Marion Morrison: a. Humphrey Bogart, b. James Cagney, c. John Wayne, d. Michael Caine. answer: c
6. Paul Hewson: a. Bono, b. Meat Loaf, c. Alice Cooper, d. Enimem. answer: a
7. Enrique Morales: a. Martin Sheen, b. Ricky Martin, c. Ralph Lauren, d. Jimmy Smits. answer: b
8. Gordon Sumner: a. Sting, b. Vanilla Ice, c. Snoop Dogg, d. 50 Cent. answer: a
9. Caryn Johnson: a. Tina Turner, b. Beyonce Knowles, c. Angela Bassett, d. Whoopi Goldberg. answer: d
10. Richard Starkey: a. Ringo Starr, b. Hulk Hogan, c. George Michael, d. Elvis Costello. answer: a

General Knowledge
1. Which was the first state to join the Union after the Original 13? Vermont
2. Piccadilly Circus is a famous area in which British city? London
3. In which language do written questions begin with an upside down question mark at the start of the sentence? Spanish
4. Which scary film popularized the line, "They're here?" Poltergeist
5. Henry Kissinger served as secretary of state under which two presidents? Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford
6. What is the most frequently transplanted human organ in the US? (16,000 in 2005) Kidney
7. On the TV series, "Dallas," what was the name of the ranch that the Ewing family lived on? Southfork
8. Who was the first explorer to circumnavigate the globe? Ferdinand Magellan
9. What color does litmus paper turn when it comes in contact with a strong acid? Red
10. What major golf tournament awards a green jacket to its champion every year? The Masters

Movie Characters
1. Sam (Ace) Rothstein (1995)--Robert DeNiro, "Casino"
2. Sarah Connor (1984)-- Linda Hamilton, "The Terminator"
3. Rose DeWitt Bukater (1997)-- Kate Winslet, "Titanic"
4. Jonathan (The Duke) Mardukas (1988)-- Charles Grodin, "Midnight Run"
5. Ratso Rizzo (1969)-- Dustin Hoffman, "Midnight Cowboy"
6. John Blutarsky (1978)-- John Belushi, "Animal House"
7. Snake Plissken (1981)-- Kurt Russell, "Escape From New York"
8. Lester Burnham (1999)-- Kevin Spacey, "American Beauty"
9. Annie Wilkes (1990)-- Kathy Bates, "Misery"
10. Clarice Starling (1991)-- Jodie Foster, "Silence of the Lambs"

Multiple Points Trivia
1. Name 3 of the 5 members of the Marx Brothers. Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo, Gummo
2. Name 4 of the 6 members of Monty Python. Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
3. Name 4 of the 6 teams that have won the World Series in the 21st Century. Arizona Diamondbacks, Anaheim Angels, Florida Marlins, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals
4. Name 3 of the last 5 films to win the Best Picture Oscar. A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Million Dollar Baby, Crash
5. Name 3 of the last 5 mayors of New York City. Abraham Beame, Ed Koch, David Dinkins, Rudy Giuliani, Michael Bloomberg
6. Name 3 of the last 5 states to enter the Union. Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii

Ripken, Gwynn Elected To The Hall Of Fame

Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn were overwhelmingly elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame this afternoon, with both getting named on over 98% of all the ballots cast by the BBWAA. (I'm amazed that ANYONE would leave either player off the ballot. One brain surgeon sent in an empty ballot to protest the current state of baseball. Whatever.) Congratulations to both, as they are both first-class guys and well-deserving of baseball immortality.

But the big news of the day was that Mark McGwire was named on just 23% of all ballots. He is clearly paying the price for his ill-advised "testimony" before Congress in 2005. While a low vote count doesn't mean he'll never get in, I wouldn't bet on McGwire ever get enshrined. There is too much doubt out there over his possible guilt in using steroids, and he's done absolutely nothing to dissuade the voters or even the fans. Right now, it seems as though he doesn't care, and just wants to be left alone. So be it.

His fellow "Bash Brother," Jose Canseco, got 6 votes in his first (and only) year of eligibility. Anyone getting less than 5% of the vote will no longer be considered by the BBWAA.

Rich Gossage finished third, just 21 votes short of election. Jim Rice finished fourth, with 64% of the vote. They are both disappointed for sure, but since there is no compelling new candidate in 2008, their chances for election then should be much better.

Here is the complete Hall of Fame voting results:

2007 BBWAA Hall of Fame Voting Results
Candidate-- Votes-- % of Votes
Cal Ripken Jr. --537-- 98.5
Tony Gwynn 532-- 97.6
Rich Gossage-- 388-- 71.2
Jim Rice-- 346-- 63.5
Andre Dawson-- 309-- 56.7
Bert Blyleven-- 260-- 47.7
Lee Smith-- 217-- 39.8
Jack Morris-- 202-- 37.1
Mark McGwire-- 128-- 23.5
Tommy John-- 125-- 22.9
Steve Garvey-- 115-- 21.1
Dave Concepcion-- 74-- 13.6
Alan Trammell-- 73-- 13.4
Dave Parker-- 62-- 11.4
Don Mattingly-- 54-- 9.9
Dale Murphy-- 50-- 9.2
Harold Baines-- 29-- 5.3
Orel Hershiser-- 24-- 4.4
Albert Belle-- 19-- 3.5
Paul O'Neill-- 12-- 2.2
Bret Saberhagen-- 7 --1.3
Jose Canseco-- 6-- 1.1
Tony Fernandez-- 4-- 0.7
Dante Bichette-- 3-- 0.6
Eric Davis-- 3-- 0.6
Bobby Bonilla-- 2-- 0.4
Ken Caminiti-- 2-- 0.4
Jay Buhner-- 1-- 0.2
Scott Brosius-- 0-- 0.0
Wally Joyner-- 0-- 0.0
Devon White-- 0-- 0.0
Bobby Witt-- 0-- 0.0

With all the controversy over McGwire, what I really want to know is this: who are the three guys who actually think Dante Bichette is a Hall of Famer?

I guess they must be his drinking buddies from his Colorado days.

Trivia Tonight

Sorry this was late getting posted, but Blogger was down for the last few hours due to maintenance. Tuesday Night Trivia returns again tonight at 9 PM, with a couple of new categories. In addition to Current Events, General Knowledge and Movie Characters (double points), there will be "Celebrity Real Names," and "Multiple Points Trivia." In Multiple Points, there will be just six questions, but you can get up to five points with each one. Each question will be a "name 3 of 5" or "name 4 of 6." "Celebrity Real Names" will also be the multiple choice round.

Hope to see you there.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Happy Birthday Graham Chapman

Today would have been the 66th birthday of the legendary Monty Python member Graham Chapman. He died October 5, 1989, at the young age of 48, from complications due to cancer (and on the day of Monty Python Flying Circus' 20th anniversary). Pictured on the right is one of his classic characters and one of my favorites, "The Colonel."

"I've noticed a tendency for this program to get rather silly...."

I've heard that there is a movie in the works about Graham's life, which includes his life as a gay man and his terrible battles with alcohol, that nearly ended his life even earlier than cancer did.

To me, he is one of the comic geniuses of all-time, and his writing partnership with John Cleese produced some of the funniest sketches in Monty Python. I hope that wherever he is, he's enjoying this birthday. We miss you, Graham. You left us way too early.

And, oh yes, it's also the birthday of a legendary musician who's no longer with us as well. Elvis Presley would have been 72 today, and I'm sure his fans are at Graceland in Memphis marking the day, as always.

Long Live The King...

Jets, Giants Both Go Out Early

It wasn't a good day to be a fan of either New York football team yesterday, as both the Jets and Giants went out in the first round. However, both teams were underdogs and did their fans proud.

I was at Professor Thom's yesterday, and there was a huge crowd, which was about 95% Patriots fans. The Jets gave the Pats a good game, even leading 10-7 in the second quarter at one point. It remained close until the Patriots scored two fourth quarter TDs to put it away, 37-16. Still I thought the Jets played well for a team that hasn't been in the playoffs for a while, and was 3-13 last season. They have a good future ahead of them.

We were all watching when Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini met at midfield after the game. The talk has been they have a rather frosty relationship, as the previous two meetings this season didn't exactly show a lot of love between the two men. (Mangini was, of course, an assistant under Belichick until this season.) There were a swarm of photographers around Mangini, and the bar let out a good laugh when Belichick pushed some guys out of the way to embrace Mangini. Rarely have I ever seen a more covered midfield meeting of head coaches than this one.

The Pats now play the Chargers in San Diego next Sunday afternoon.

I really didn't give the Giants much of a chance in Philadelphia yesterday. The Eagles were a hot team, winning their last 5 straight to the end the year. I thought they would win by 2 TDs. But the Giants jumped out ahead first, as they drove down the field on their opening drive and scored on a TD pass to Plaxico Burress. But the Eagles came right back and tied the game, and led 17-10 at halftime.

With the game 20-13 in the fourth, Eli Manning led another drive, ending with another Plaxico Burress TD with about 5 minutes to play to tie it up. But the Eagles would not be denied, and with 3 seconds to play, David Akers kicked a 37-yard FG to win it, and send the Eagles to a date with the New Orleans Saints next Saturday. The Giants had a number of opportunities to put the ball in the end zone, but had to settle for field goals, and it cost them. Tiki Barber ended his career in style, rushing for 137 yards.

The Jets and Giants fans can hold their heads up, as both teams gave it all they had on Sunday, but both came up short. They were both beaten by better teams, and that's nothing to be ashamed of.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

January 6: 71 Degrees!!

The amazing stretch of weather we've been having here in New York continues, as it is currently 71 degrees outside, by far a new record for this date. It's an incredible 30 degrees above normal right now. It reached 58 degrees on my birthday, and I can't remember the last time it was that warm on January 4. Most of my birthday memories include either bone-chilling cold or snow. Outside right now, it feels more like June 6 than January 6.

We still haven't seen the snowflake in New York this season, and this is now the latest ever into the winter that has ever happened. The old record was January 4, in 1878. The temperatures are supposed to come down about 20 degrees tomorrow (but it will still be above normal), and into later next week it feel more like a "normal" January.

But I'll take every "abnormal" January day like this I can get. You know the lousy weather is coming, as it's just a matter of time.

And the hell with Al Gore. "Global warming" doesn't seem so bad to me.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Former Sox On The Move

On Thursday, three former Red Sox players, including two from the 2004 World Series champions (pictured left), found new homes. Keith Foulke signed a one-year deal with the Cleveland Indians, Mark Loretta signed with the Houston Astros, and Doug Mientkiewicz agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the New York Yankees.

Foulke's deal is for $5 million and one year with an option. He may very well become a closer again, and the Indians will give him that opportunity. He has to prove to the Indians he's completely healthy from the injury woes that ruined his last two seasons.

Loretta's deal is also for one year, at $2.5 million, and some incentives could bring it to $3.5 million.

Mientkiewicz signed for $1.5 million, and figures to split time in New York at 1B with Andy Phillips. He's a fabulous first baseman, but he doesn't have a particularly good stick, and he's coming off back surgery from last summer. He's a no-brainer pick up for the Yankees, but he has to prove he's healthy as well.

I saw a terrific line at the Royal Rooters Message Board that I thought I'd share with you about yet another Red Sox player signing on with New York.

"At least he won't be stealing any more World Series balls."

The Red Sox meanwhile signed former Seattle pitcher Joel Pineiro to a one-year, $4 million deal. Pineiro hasn't put up good numbers the past three seasons as a starter, but I think he's worth taking a shot at. He can spot start, but he will be used mainly out of the bullpen. There are rumors the Red Sox may give him a shot to win the closer job in spring training if the Sox don't swing a deal for an established closer this winter. He could also win a job as a set-up man. It will be interesting to see if the change of scenery does him any good.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

National Trivia Day

How about this for a coincidence? I was channel surfing and I came across "Stump The Schwab," the sports trivia show on ESPN Classic. I noticed in the corner of the screen a logo that said they were running a marathon of the show all day, as today is "National Trivia Day."

I did some research and discovered today is indeed National Trivia Day. Apparently, January 4th has been a day set aside for trivia for a few years, but this was honestly the first I had heard of it. As Professor Thom's Trivia Maven, I am honored to share my birthday with such an important day!

If I had known sooner, I would have demanded we move this week's Trivia Night to tonight. I'll have to remember that next year.

45

As of 2:41 AM this morning, I have now officially been wandering this Planet Earth for exactly 45 years. Yes, another birthday has fallen upon me.

I'm not doing anything particularly special today. My last "special" birthday was five years ago, my 40th. It was a milestone day, and as it turned out, a really special one. I almost didn't celebrate it, but a truly dear friend convinced me otherwise, and I'm certainly glad I did.

I turn 45 today, but I really don't feel that age. I can't believe I'm that age, but I do my best to remind myself: "it's just a number."

I remember my 25th birthday very well, as I had to work at Tower Records that day. My friends knew it was my birthday, and the moment I walked into the store, I heard the opening chords of the Beatles classic, "Birthday." I stopped, looked up toward the mezzanine, and saw a couple of my friends with huge grins on their faces as I realized it was no coincidence. I can't believe that was 20 years ago.

January 4th isn't a very popular birthday in terms of famous people. I share the birthday with Sir Isaac Newton, Louis Braille, Floyd Patterson, Jane Wyman, Dyan Cannon, Michael Stipe, Matt Frewer, Don Shula, and Jakob Grimm (of Grimm's Fairy Tales).

It's not a big day in history. Nothing incredibly earthshaking has ever occurred on January 4th. But among the notable events:

1885: Dr. William Grant performs the first successful appendectomy in Davenport, Iowa.

1896: Utah officially becomes the 45th state.

1954: Elvis Presley recorded his first demos at Sun Records and it included the song, "My Happiness."

1962: I was born. But you already knew that. New York City also debuted a subway train that ran without a crew operating it. (Did they ever bring them back?)

1970: The Beatles recorded their final song together, "I Me Mine," at Abbey Road Studios in London. It would appear on the "Let It Be" album four months later. And in Minnesota, the Vikings beat the Cleveland Browns, 27-7, to win their only NFL championship at Metropolitan Stadium (they lost the Super Bowl to Kansas City the following week).

1986: Thin Lizzy lead singer Phil Lynott dies in London at the age of 36 of heart failure and pneumonia.

1999: Jesse Ventura is officially sworn in as governor of Minnesota.

2006: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffers a second debilitating stroke, and turns power over to Acting PM Ehud Olmert.

If any of you out there reading my blog are celebrating a birthday today, I wish you a happy one today.

And no matter what age you are, just remember: it's just a number.