MLB Trade Deadline

Friday, January 30, 2009

Varitek, Sox Agree on Deal

What a shock. Jason Varitek took the one-year, $5 million deal for 2009 with the Red Sox today. It also includes the club option for 2010 for $5 million. It also has a player option for $3 million should the Sox decline the second year, and that also includes incentives up to another $2 million. But the Boston Globe also says that the Red Sox aren't finished looking for another catcher just yet.

So I guess Tek isn't crazy after all.

Has Tek Lost His Mind?


Today is the deadline for Jason Varitek to either accept or reject the Red Sox contract offer of $5 million for the 2009 season. And according to the Boston Globe, Varitek is seriously considering rejecting it and sitting out the 2009 season.

Is he totally insane? (The above picture is courtesy of Surviving Grady. Sorry guys, it was just too good not to use.) Varitek is turning 37, coming off the worst year of his career, and has no other offers from any other team. So, he wants to pass on a $5 million deal, which in my opinion, is VERY generous on behalf of the Sox. Tek was dumb enough to reject arbitration which would have gotten him a guaranteed $10 million. So now he wants to destroy his Boston legacy by sitting out a year, when his career his clearly on the downside?

If this is some Scott Boras move, he should fire The Devil Incarnate immediately. (He should anyway, as he's cost Tek millions.) Varitek did something similar back in 1994, when he sat out a year when he wouldn't sign with the Seattle Mariners after they drafted him. But that was when he was 22. He would be crazy to try something like this now.

Varitek needs the Sox far more than they need him. I can't really believe he would sit out a year this late in his career. But by the end of today, we will know his decision. I would bet he'll be back in Boston in 2009, but with a reputation that's been damaged by a bad off-season, and an agent who badly judged this winter's free agent market.

A Last Concert, For All the World to Hear

It was 40 years ago today that the Beatles played their last "concert" ever. On January 30, 1969, they were concluding the filming of "Let It Be," their movie about the making of a Beatles album. (It was originally called "Get Back" because the album was supposed to be about getting back to their roots of music making. But it was strewn with problems and later changed to "Let It Be.")

The documentary film was originally supposed to conclude with the Beatles doing a live concert, but the tensions within the group were strong, and the film is basically showing the group coming apart. (I have seen "Let It Be" just once. A friend of mine had a VHS copy of it and lent it to me about 20 years ago. Parts of it are painful to watch, but also fascinating at the same time. "Let It Be" has not been available for nearly a generation and there are no plans for its release on DVD.)

Since the Beatles couldn't agree on a live venue to play at, they instead , along with keyboardist Billy Preston, went up to the roof of Apple Records on Savile Row and began playing. Word on the street spread like wildfire and it began drawing crowds of people on the street and on other rooftops.

The police showed up and eventually shut the concert down. But the Beatles played five songs that were recorded that would be the final ones they ever did for audience: "Get Back," "Don't Let Me Down," "One After 909," "Dig a Pony" and "I've Got a Feeling." When it concluded, John Lennon made a famous remark that made it on to the Let It Be album as "Get Back" concluded:

"I'd like to say 'thank you' on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition!"

I believe they did.

A Guy Named Quinn is Now Running Illinois


Governor Blago got thrown out on his ass yesterday, as no one in the Illinois Senate believed his sob story. Final score: Common Sense 59, Blago zilch. Next for Blagojevich is a cage match with the Feds over his trying to sell Obama's Senate seat. Take the Feds and the points here. And when that's done it'll be time to fit Blago with an orange jump suit.

Lt. Governor Pat Quinn (no relation and pictured above) now has the keys to Illinois' kingdom.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Lyric Little Bandbox of a Ballpark

The great author John Updike died of lung cancer on Tuesday at the age of 76. He's probably best known for his fiction, and his "Rabbit" series of novels. But he will be forever remembered by Red Sox, as well as all baseball fans, for his great remembrance of Ted Williams' last major league game, "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu," and the first line which attached itself to Fenway Park and will remain there for all eternity:

"A lyric little bandbox of a ballpark."

Thank you Mr. Updike. (And thanks to my friend Jere for posting Mr. Updike's immortal piece on his site today.)

(P.S. Unless you read Mr. Updike's piece, you probably didn't know that the Red Sox actually came from behind to win Ted's last game, with two runs in the bottom of the ninth, 5-4. Ted's final blast made it 4-3 in the 8th, setting the stage for the Sox comeback win.)

Trivia Q&A: January 27

On a cold night and a threat of snow coming, we still had a solid crowd in Professor Thom's last night for Trivia, and 17 teams took part. There was no controversy like last week, and that's always a good thing. We had a good night of Trivia, and there were many perfect scores scattered throughout the evening.

The best scores were in True or False Trivia and General Knowledge. It was very close through the contest, and going into IQ Trivia there were six teams separated by just four points. The scores were rather strong in that final round, but the team of Can I Please Have the Ass of Your Beer? tied for the overall best score of the round, getting four of the five question correct and jumping from a second-place tie to win the contest by three points. Nice job guys and congratulations on your win.

Current Events
1. Bob May, an actor who played a robot on this classic sci-fi series, died last week at the age of 69.
2. For the 18th straight year, this dog was the most popular purebread canine in America as listed by the American Kennel Club.
3. This group backed out of an agreement with Michael Vick and his lawyers about making an anti-dogfighting PSA after the group wouldn't give assurances it would support Vick's return to the NFL.
4. White powder was found in letters mailed to this newspaper last week, but it was later determined to be flour and posed no danger.
5. Scientists from Europe are looking to have the body of this famed astronomer exhumed to see if his severe vision problems may have affected his findings.
6. This singer/songwriter came to the aid of a California woman, who was forced to pay for a NYC taxi ride by handing over her iPod as payment, and sent her a new iPod with his songs on it.
7. Katie Stam, representing this Midwestern state, was crowned Miss America last Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Answers: 1. "Lost in Space;" 2. Labrador retriever; 3. PETA; 4. Wall Street Journal; 5. Galileo Galilei; 6. James Taylor; 7. Indiana.

Super Bowl/NFL trivia
1. Rex Ryan, the new head coach of the NY Jets, was an assistant coach with what team before taking the job? a. Baltimore Ravens; b. Washington Redskins; c. Philadelphia Eagles; d. New England Patriots.
2. How many Super Bowls have the Pittsburgh Steelers won in their history? a. 3; b. 4; c. 5; d. 6.
3. What city did the Arizona Cardinals previously play in? a. Los Angeles; b. St. Louis; c. Boston; d. Houston.
4. What city will host the next Super Bowl in 2010? a. Miami; b. New Orleans; c. Pasadena; d. Minneapolis.
5. Before the Detroit Lions went winless in 2008, which team went a whole season without a win? a. New York Jets; b. New Orleans Saints; c. Tampa Bay Bucs; d. Houston Texans.
6. Which NFL team plays its home games at Gillette Stadium? a. Buffalo Bills; b. Miami Dolphins; c. Tennessee Titans; d. New England Patriots.
7. Which of the following QBs never led his team to a Super Bowl win? a. John Elway; b. Dan Marino; c. Brett Favre; d. Steve Young.

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

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Austria does not share a border with France.
2. Hazel is a light shade of blue.
3. In 2002, Discover released a small "2GO" card that attached to a key chain.
4. On Earth, the lunar year is shorter than the solar year by approximately 11 days.
5. Jupiter is the sixth closest planet to the Sun.
6. Madame Tussaud opened her famed wax museum in 1835 in London.
7. The "M" in CD-ROM stands for module.
8. James Monroe was the President of the United States during the War of 1812.
9. The Marianas Trench, the deepest depression on the Earth's surface, is located in the Pacific Ocean.
10. The theme song to the TV show "Jeopardy" was written by Henry Mancini.

Answers: 1. true; 2. false, brown; 3. true; 4. true; 5. false, Saturn; 6. true; 7. false, memory; 8. false, James Madison; 9. true; 10. false, Merv Griffin.

General Knowledge
1. In 1986, what company launched its successful Dockers line of clothing?
2. The femur, the largest bone in the human body, is located where?
3. In French, what vegetable is called "pomme de terre," meaning "apple of the earth?"
4. A necropolis is a type of what?
5. Moussaka is a dish popular from what country?
6. The San Juan Islands are part of what US state?
7. Agoraphobia is an abnormal fear of what?

Answers: 1. Levi Strauss; 2. leg; 3. potato; 4. cemetery; 5. Greece; 6. Washington; 7. open spaces.

IQ Trivia
1. "Citrus paradisi" is the scientific name for what common fruit? (4 points)
2. In the 1880s, what popular soft drink was invented in a drug store in Waco, Texas? ( 5 points)
3. After retiring as a player, Babe Ruth became a first base coach in 1938 for what team? ( 4 points)
4. Nephritis is an inflammation of what organ of the human body? ( 4 points)
5. Since its founding, the Eastman Kodak Company has been headquartered in what US city? ( 3 points)

Answers: 1. grapefruit; 2. Dr. Pepper; 3. Brooklyn Dodgers; 4. kidney; 5. Rochester, NY.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pigskin Trivia on Tuesday

As you all know, we are in that endless void known as Super Bowl Hype, er, Week, when we have to suffer through two weeks of tedium between the conference title games and the Super Bowl. So, to celebrate that tedium, er, buildup, we will have as our special category "Super Bowl and NFL Trivia." I will ask seven questions about either the Super Bowl or the NFL in general. And for you folks who are not huge pigskin fans, the questions will be multiple choice.

The Q Train lightning round will feature "True or False Trivia." This week's Sneak Peek question will be:

The femur, the largest bone in the human body, is located where?

Hopefully we won't have a recurrence of what happened last week, so I ask all of you to not use any kind of "cheating" devices during Trivia Night. Thanks so much. We're here to have fun. I really don't want to turn into a combination of a traffic cop and stern grammar school teacher in looking for cheaters.

We'll get going at 9 PM on Tuesday night. See you then.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Red Sox Spring Schedule on the Air

Here is the complete broadcast schedule of Red Sox games for this spring, courtesy of the Boston Globe's Extra Bases blog:

Wednesday, Feb. 25 -- vs. Twins at 7:05 p.m. NESN, WRKO AM-680
Saturday, Feb. 28 -- vs. Northeastern (SS) at 1:05 p.m. WRKO AM-680
Saturday, Feb. 28 -- vs. Reds (SS) at 7:05 p.m. WRKO AM-680
Sunday, March 1 -- vs. Twins at 1:05 p.m. NESN, WRKO AM-680
Saturday, March 7 -- vs. Rays at 1:05 p.m. WRKO AM-680
Sunday, March 8 -- vs. Rays at 1:05 p.m. NESN, WRKO AM-680
Friday, March 13 -- vs. Yankees at 7:05 p.m. WKRO AM-680
Saturday, March 14 -- vs. Orioles at 1:05 p.m. WRKO AM-680
Sunday, March 15 -- vs. Orioles at 1:05 p.m. WRKO AM-680
Tuesday, March 17 -- vs. Twins at 1:05 p.m. NESN
Thursday, March 19 -- vs. Reds at 7:05 p.m. WRKO AM-680
Saturday, March 21 -- vs. Marlins at 1:05 p.m. NESN, WRKO AM-680
Sunday, March 22 -- vs. Philadelphia at 1:05 p.m. WKRO AM-680
Tuesday, March 24 -- vs. Yankees at 7:05 p.m. NESN, WRKO AM-680
Saturday, March 28 -- vs. Twins at 1:05 p.m. NESN, WRKO AM-680
Sunday, March 29 -- vs. Phillies at 1:05 p.m. NESN, WRKO Radio
Friday, April 3 -- at Mets at 6:10 p.m. NESN

There will also be a set of games on ESPN, and possibly the MLB Network. I'll pass the Red Sox games when they become available.

The Mayor, Tek and Torre

Some quick stuff.

Sean Casey is retiring from MLB and the Red Sox and is taking a position at the MLB Network. I'm not surprised that The mayor is moving over to TV, as it is prefect for his outgoing personality. He's considered by many to be the nicest guy in baseball (he won a player poll on that subject a few years ago), and Curt Schilling called him "one of the nicest people on the planet." I wish The Mayor all the best on his new TV gig. He's all class, all the time.

Rumors are going around the Red Sox have made an offer to Jason Varitek, one that may involve a contract with an option for 2010, with some very "makeable" incentives that would be worth more to him. He made a gargantuan blunder by refusing arbitration, and no matter what he and the Sox agree on, it should be less than the $10 million per he would have gotten. Here's more from the Boston Globe. (UPDATE: The Red Sox offered a $5 million deal to Tek for 2009, with an option for 2010 with incentives and it is said that the Sox have imposed a deadline for him to accept it. Let's see if he's foolish enough to turn it down.)

And the news broke today that a book by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci is coming out February 3, and it appears the former Yankee manager doesn't have a lot of nice things to say about Slappy (referred to by many Yankees as "A-Fraud") and his old bosses. I may have to check this out when it is released. Here's more from the New York Post.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Let's Put Sherm Feller in the HOF

I recently came to know Gary Titus, who like myself, is a host of trivia contests, and is also a Red Sox fan. Gary and I met through a group I recently joined on Facebook called "Sherm Feller Belongs in the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame." Gary founded the group, and he's a man on a mission.

Gary is trying his best to get Mr. Feller (pictured) in the Hall. Many of you oldtime Red Sox fans may remember him as the gravelly-voiced public address announcer of Fenway Park for 26 years, with his signature line: "Attention please, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Fenway Park." (At Professor Thom's before Red Sox games, we hear the voice of Mr. Feller uttering just that line through the magic of technology, namely the bar's iPod.)

Mr. Feller was one of Fenway Park's enduring staples, like the organ music of John Kiley and the omnipresent Johnny Pesky. I remember so vivdly my first Red Sox game at Fenway in 1986, and hearing Mr. Feller's welcome and the lineups of that night.

Mr. Feller was not just a fine PA announcer but also a talented radio personality and songwriter. He was also a gentleman and a man who loved life. He passed away in 1994. Gary has made it his mission for the Red Sox to recognize his contribution to the club and the park that he founded a web site, ShermFeller.com.

On his Facebook page, Gary also has mission statement on getting Dick Bresciani, the Red Sox historian who founded the Red Sox Hall of Fame, to include Mr. Feller in the Hall. Here it is:

Hello Dick,
I hope you are well. Congratulations to you on your successful efforts to get Jim Rice inducted into the hall of fame. His recognition of you is well deserved. The many hours that you spent on Jim’s behalf finally paid off. As you may remember I have been on the same mission to get Sherm Feller inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame. I put as much time into this effort as I can, but it’s been a tough road. I am writing to ask for your support once again. In speaking with (or corresponding with) long time Red Sox friends, employees, and writers I often ask them to contact you in support of Sherm. I always remind them to be brief and respectful. I hope that they are.

One of my most memorable conversations was with Marc Sullivan. He mentioned the same person that you once mentioned to me who should also be at the top of the induction list. She is Helen Robinson. She must have been a remarkable woman. I am sure there are twenty people doing the same job at Fenway Park today that she did all by herself. She was definitely more than a switchboard operator. People like Mrs. Robinson are hard to find. From what I have learned, she was someone who went above and beyond her assigned responsibilities. Dick, You recognize the dedication that Mrs. Robinson gave to The Boston Red Sox for not only the length of her 35 years of employment, but years after. I promise to support your effort to get Mr. Robinson inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in any way that I can.

I am writing once again to ask you to please support my efforts (and the efforts of his fans) to get Sherm Feller into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame. Please visit
www.ShermFeller.com . Read the letters from young and old alike who vividly remember their first and many trips to Fenway Park to hear the immortal words “Attention please, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Fenway Park”. Sherm’s booming voice politely, and loudly demanded your attention at a ballgame. In and out of the booth Sherm was a dedicated ambassador to The Boston Red Sox until the day he died. Yes, Sherm had his faults. I know that there were many day’s that he raised the blood pressure of you and other RS employees with his antics. That’s the way he was. Whatever Sherm Feller did, he did it his way, full of life, full of fun, and full of love. Like the green monster, John Kiley’s music, and the memories of great Red Sox players like Jim Rice, Sherm Feller is an important part of the history of The Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park. I hope you agree.

Sincerely,
Gary Titus


I certainly second Gary's efforts, and hope that Mr. Bresciani will consider adding Sherm Feller, one of Fenway's enduring icons, to the Red Sox Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Truck Leaves February 6th

The annual Red Sox ritual of "Truck Day" for 2009 will be February 6th. For those unaware, that is the day the Red Sox pack up all the relevant baseball gear from Fenway Park and put it all in an 18-wheeler and ship it down to Ft. Myers, Florida. The trip, nearly 1500 miles, should take three days.

The Red Sox make a big deal out of it, and it is the first sign that winter is on its back nine and spring is on the way. Here's more about Truck Day from the Extra Bases blog.

Comings and Goings

This is my 1900th post here at The Mighty Quinn Media Machine, and the Red Sox have been doing some wheeling and dealing over the last few days. But it's been nothing earthshaking to be sure.

Yesterday they sent David Aardsma to Seattle for minor league lefty Fabian Williamson. With Aardsma you never knew what type of pitcher was going to show up. He showed some flashes of brillance, with a high 90s MPH fastball and blew some hitters away, while at other times he couldn't get the ball over the plate and walked the bases loaded. He's just so incredibly inconsistent, and now moves on to another team. (We met his parents and sister at Thom's last year just before a Red Sox-Yankees game. They were very nice.) He also appeared with the BLOHARDS during one of their meetings in 2007. I wish him well in Seattle.

They also sent pitcher David Pauley to Baltimore for reliever Randor Bierd. I'll never forget the game Pauley pitched in Yankee Stadium back in 2006, when he was called up as the starting staff was racked with injuries. Pauley pitched extremely well in game the Red Sox lost, 2-1. (That was the game Melky Cabrera stole a home run away from Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon acted like a five-year-old after he caught it.) Pauley had been designated for assignment after the Red Sox signed John Smoltz.

And the Jason Varitek Saga took another turn, as Tek admitted he wasn't aware of the fact that if another team signed him, they would forfeit a number one draft pick. (That's the reason there's no market at all for him.) It makes Tek's decision to reject arbitration one of the dumber moves in recent times, as he stood to make at least $10 million had he accepted it. Now, he will lose millions for sure no matter what deal he signs. He met alone with John Henry last Friday in Atlanta, but no deal was reached.

And Tek says he doesn't blame Scott (Evil) Boras for this goofup and takes full responsibility. Isn't that an agent's job, to know things like this? Once Tek gets a new deal, he may want to think about a new agent. Boras' track record has been spotty to say the least the last few years, and he basically screwed varitek into the ground, no matter how much blame Tek accepts for all of this.

Trivia Q&A: January 20

We had 14 teams in for Trivia Night, as the bar wasn't as crowded as the previous few weeks, probably due to the Obama inauguration. But it would prove to be one of the most controversial nights of Trivia we have ever had.

In the "Born in New York City Trivia," I had Eddie Murphy originally listed as having been born in New Jersey, as I found that info on his Wikipedia page. But more than a few trivia players pointed out to me that he was actually born in Brooklyn. So with that, I tossed the question and gave everyone a point. (I'll be more careful the next time I use a category like this for The Q Train.)

But even more controversy was just around the corner. We had our first tie in a few months, and had to break it. I pulled out a question I came up with back in October, and ironically enough, used it on the night of the inauguration: "Between 1 and 100, what was Barack Obama's number in terms of overall experience in the US Senate?" The answer was 86, and the team of My Dixie Wrecked was closest to the answer and was awarded the win.

But it was pointed out to me by another team that they had looked up an answer during the IQ Trivia round, and admitted to doing it after I found out about it. (I am very specific before Trivia Night begins that you cannot use any "cheating devices" like cell phones or BlackBerrys.) The team's captain said to give the team they tied the first place prize, which I did. So Obama's Toaster is Full of Rims was awarded the victory. Good work, guys, as before the night a couple of team members were confident of victory, as they came up just one point short last week.

Current Events
1. This Oscar-winning actress was recently selected to sing the national anthem at next month's Super Bowl.
2. This legendary Mexican-born actor, known for his elegant and suave style, died last week at the age of 88.
3. This company, the nation's second-largest consumer electronics retailer, announed last Friday it is closing all its US stores and going out of business.
4. A lawsuit brought by the former maid of this former model, whom she called a "violent super-bigot" was settled out of court last week.
5. The Star-Tribune, this large Midwestern city's largest newspaper, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last Thursday in an attempt to restructure its debt.
6. This onetime pop superstar was sentenced to 15 months in jail last week for false imprisonment of a man in a cocaine-fuelled outburst of paranoid fury.
7. Name 3 of the 5 artists who were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last week.

Answers: 1. Jennifer Hudson; 2. Ricardo Montalban; 3. Circuit City; 4. Naomi Campbell; 5. Minneapolis; 6. Boy George; 7. Metallica, Jeff Beck, Bobby Womack, Run-DMC, Little Anthony and the Imperials.

Presidential Trivia

1. What university has produced the most US presidents, with eight?
2. Who was the shortest president?
3. Who was the last president who also served as vice president?
4. Who was the only president who never married?
5. What Protestant denomination has the most presidents been a part of?
6. Who was the only president elected to two non-consecutive terms?
7. Who was the first President to fly in an airplane while in office?

Answers: 1. Harvard; 2. James Madison (5' 4"); 3. George H.W. Bush; 4. James Buchanan; 5. Episcopalian; 6. Grover Cleveland; 7. Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Born in New York City Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Alicia Keys
2. Michael Bloomberg
3. James Gandolfini
4. Billy Joel
5. Barbra Streisand
6. Eddie Murphy
7. Robert DeNiro
8. Bruce Springsteen
9. Carly Simon
10. John Travolta

Answers: 1. yes (Manhattan); 2. no (Brighton, MA); 3. no (Westwood, NJ); 4. yes (The Bronx); 5. yes (Brooklyn); 6. yes (Brooklyn); 7. yes (Manhattan); 8. no (Long Branch, NJ); 9. yes (The Bronx); 10. no (Englewood, NJ).

General Knowledge

1. What does "R" stand for in the acronym RICO?
2. How many articles are there in the US Constitution?
3. In what sport do players wear wicker gloves in order to hurl a ball nearly 150 MPH?
4. What condiment is made of soy sauce, garlic and molasses?
5. What hotel was the scene of Robert F. Kennedy's assassination in Los Angeles in 1968?
6. What Republican congressman resigned in 2006 over some explicit emails he sent out?
7. What is the unit of measurement for the amount of energy we receive from food?

Answers: 1. racketeering; 2. seven; 3. jai alai; 4. Worcestshire sauce; 5. Ambassador; 6. Mark Foley; 7. calorie.

IQ Trivia
1. What George Gershwin tune did United Airlines in 1987 pay $500,000 to use in their TV commercials? ( 4 points)
2. What island nation is the world's largest producer of cinnamon? ( 5 points)
3. What US state borders the most Canadian provinces? ( 4 points)
4. What foreign language school was launched in Providence, RI in 1878? ( 3 points)
5. What bird is the official state bird of seven different US states? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. "Rhapsody in Blue;" 2. Sri Lanka; 3. Montana; 4. Berlitz; 5. cardinal.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sox & Pap Avoid Arbitration

The Red Sox and Jonathan Papelbon came to an agreement on a one-year, $6.25 million deal today, so arbitration will not be necessary. The two sides could not come to an agreement on a long-term deal. Papelbon will not becaome eligible for free agency until after the 2011 season.

Theo Epstein still has a perfect record as far as never having any Red Sox player go to arbitration.

Here's more from ESPN.com.

44

To say that today is a monumental day in the history of the United States is the understatement of the century for sure. At noon, Barack Obama will take the oath of office and will become the 44th President of the United States, and the first black president. It is something most in this country thought they would never see in their lifetimes, Yours Truly included.

Obama walks into the White House under absolutely enormous pressure, unlike any president since Franklin D. Roosevelt. He's made out to be the country's savior, and a cross between George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. I think there are too many people in this nation who think the country will turn around in the other direction on January 21st because Mr. Obama has the reins of power.

He's got a lot on his plate, with the economy and the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts at the top of his list. Mr. Obama is a symbol of hope for many Americans for sure, and right now he deserves everyone's support, whether you voted for him or not. It will take a long while for the economy to rebound from the major slump of last year, and don't expect any miracles from Mr. Obama. Time is what he needs.

As George W. Bush's presidency comes to an end, I've been hearing a lot of this "worst president ever" stuff from a lot of circles. I will say that you can't judge a president while he's in office, or has just departed. This is no defense of Mr. Bush, and he surely won't go down with Abe Lincoln or FDR when history does judge. Iraq is his legacy and the final chapter of that story hasn't been written and won't be for a long time. Many presidents were vilified in office and many were glad to see them leave, with Harry S. Truman an example. But history was very kind to Truman, and he's now considered one of the 20th century's best presidents. But to put Mr. Bush in the same league with the presidential bottom-feeders such as James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, Warren G. Harding and Ulysses S. Grant is just a bit premature. We'll see.

America turns a new corner today, and Barack Obama goes to the head of the class and will be driving the bus for the next four years. It will be an interesting four years no doubt.

I wish Mr. Obama all the luck in the world. He'll need it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Commander-in-Chief Trivia on Tuesday

Tomorrow is a special day in the history of the United States, as we will be inaugurating Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. That is not lost on us here at Trivia Night, and so to honor the changing of the guard, we will have as the special category, "Presidential Trivia." Seven questions concerning those who've held the highest office of our land.

And we'll have a new "Q Train" round as well: "Born in New York City Trivia." I will give you the names of 10 well-known personalties and you have to tell me if they were born within the five boroughs of New York City or not.

This week's Sneak Peek question is:
What is the unit of measurement for the amount of energy we receive from food?

We'll get going at the usual time of 9 PM. I'm sure Professor Thom's will have a TV on with the coverage of the inauguration and its aftermath, so I hope we'll have another huge crowd for Trivia this week.

The Red Sox of the NFL

Shortly after the Arizona Cardinals won the NFC West, they played the Vikings in Phoenix and the Vikes walloped them. Then the next week, they travelled to Foxboro and got killed by the Patriots. It looked like the Cardinals had no business being around the playoffs, and they avoided going in with a .500 record by beating Seattle on the final weekend of the season.


As I write this, the Vikings and Patriots are home enjoying the off-season and the Cardinals are going to their first Super Bowl, against the Pittsburgh Steelers on February 1. Who'd a thunk it back in early December? The Cardinals have gone on one of those late-season surges, like the Giants did last year. Talk about getting hot at the right time.

I was in Professor Thom's yesterday and caught both games. Lots of Steelers fans in for the second game, along with some girls who brought their "Terrible Towels" with them. 95% of the fans in were with the Steelers, and I'm sure it will be overly pro-Steelers on Super Bowl Sunday. My congratulations to all those Steeler fans out there.

I guess I shouldn't like the Steelers since they beat the Vikings in the Super Bowl in 1975. But I have always admired the loyalty the fans have always shown their team, in good times and in bad. They've always reminded me a lot of the Red Sox and their fan base. Like Sox fans, they always show of their team colors and always have pride in their club. The Steelers were the laughingstock of the NFL for many years before they started becoming a consistent playoff team in the early 1970s.

And like the Red Sox fans, the faith the Steelers' fans had in their team was finally rewarded with a championship. All the suffering finally paid off.

Good luck to the Steelers and their fans on Super Bowl Sunday. And to the Cardinals and their followers, too. They haven't won an NFL championship since the club was in Chicago in 1947. (And thankfully, there have been no media-created "curses" surrounding the Cardinals, but should they lose to the Steelers, you know somebody somewhere will make one up.)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pleasant Memories For a Cold Night



It's been brutally cold here in New York City the last four solid days, and it seems like summer is years away. But I had a real treat tonight, as the MLB Network is showing both the 2007 ALCS Game 7 and the 2007 World Series Game 1. (They are showing more games from that World Series on Sunday.)

But I also stumbled across ESPN Classic, and they are showing Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. (It is part of something they are calling "Judgment Day Marathon" whatever that is.) I couldn't help but get pumped up watching the bottom of the ninth all over again, watching Dave Roberts steal second. It is still so amazingly close he was to being out, and I was thinking that that stolen base is THE dividing line in Red Sox history. (The above YouTube clip was taken by a fan in the rightfield bleachers. I put it up here a couple of years ago, but it's always great to check out.)

Paul Quantrill comes on in the 12th, Papi takes him deep, and the greatest comeback in American sports history was truly on. (And the line of the night in the 10th inning from Tim McCarver: "The longer this game goes, the more it favors the Yankees, because of the weaknesses of the Red Sox bullpen." Tee-hee.)

I never get tired of reliving those memories, especially on a night when it is 21 degrees outside.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Four More Years of Youk

Kevin Youkilis reached a contract extension with the Red Sox yesterday, agreeing to a four-year, $40 million deal with the Sox. They avoided arbitration with Youk, and it's a fabulous deal for the Red Sox, as well as Youk.

The Red Sox will have to deal with two arbitration cases, that of Jonathan Papelbon and Javier Lopez. In his seven years running the ship with the Red Sox, Theo Epstein has still yet to have to deal with even one arbitration. My guess is that the club with try to reach a deal with both players. Pap made just under $800,000 last season.

The New Computer's Here! I'm Somebody Again!

At 2 PM this afternoon, a man from FedEx rang my doorbell and presented me with a brand new computer, which I had just purchased nine days ago online from Dell.

It had been 22 days since my old computer finally gave out, and on Christmas night. For about two weeks I had been searching for a good deal online and in stores, and finally I found a really good one from Dell. I purchased a Dell Inspiron 530, along with a beautiful 19" monitor, all for just over $500.

It took me about an hour to set everything up, but now we are up and rolling. It had been three weeks of getting email at Professor Thom's and an Internet cafe not far from my house. But now I can finally add songs to my iPod and check email more than once a day again.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

RIP Mr. Montalban

Strange thing happened this morning. I put on the TV and came across the film "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes." I'm a big fan of the first two films in the Apes series, but never cared much for the final three. (The plot never made much sense to me beginning with the third film. How in the world could three apes have found Col. Taylor's spaceship, which crashed and sank in a lake, gotten all the water out of it, and were able to launch it, sail through the solar system back in time and arrive back on Earth in 1972? If it was that easy, why didn't Taylor and his fellow astronauts do it and avoid all that terror from the apes? Of course, you wouldn't have a movie then. But like I said, it never made any sense to me.)

Anyway, I came across the scene when the paranoid governor and his henchmen have Ricardo Montalban's character in custody and suspect he has a talking ape. He eventually dies at their hands. I didn't watch long and then I got up and got the papers.

And what do I come across? The passing of Mr. Montalban, yesterday at the age of 88. A really weird coincidence.

Ricardo Montalban was one of those smooth, elegant actors who'll always be remembered for his character, Mr. Roarke, on "Fantasy Island." And of course, I'll never be able to hear the words "Corninthian leather" and not think of him.

Rest in peace, Mr. Montalban.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Filip Bondy is a Big Fat Idiot

I read this garbage in the New York Daily News from that jackass "writer" Filip Bondy. A perfectly good waste of newsprint about how Philadelphia is the town New Yorkers should hate now, not Boston. You know Bondy, he writes that piece of crap column during the baseball season about those mutants who inhabit the bleachers in Yankee Stadium called "The Bleacher Creature." He's always been one of my least favorite writers, and he never fails to write such dreck, like this:

Boston? Boston is so yesterday around here, and far too Yankee-centric. The Red Sox were a wild-card team last season, nothing more. They've lost Manny, the poster child for anti-pinstriped imagery. Besides, the Yanks killed them in the offseason. Brad Penny for one year? That's not even trying.

This asshole just doesn't get it. The Red Sox aren't desperate and have to throw a half-billion dollars at big-time free agents. Your beloved Yankees are, and did so. The Sox made economical moves, moves that made sense.

"The Red Sox were nothing more than a wild-card team last year." And your team, with the highest payroll in baseball history, watched the Red Sox, who went to Game 7 of the ALCS with a banged up lineup, from the golf course, dimwit.

"The Yankees killed them in the offseason." They don't award trophies to baseball teams that "win" December, moron.

Bondy just makes me shake my head. How this brainless idiot ever got a gig with the Daily News is simply beyond my comprehension. I guess being on George Steinbrenner's payroll might be one answer.

Former Sox on the Move

Derek Lowe now finally has a new team. He reached an agreement with the Atlanta Braves on a four-year deal, worth $60 million. It was apparent from the all the Red Sox moves last week that Lowe wasn't coming back to Boston. The Braves had just lost John Smoltz to the Sox, and had also lost outon A.J. Burnett, who they made a big push for beforte he sold his soul to the Yankees. So they did what the Mets wouldn't, and that was give him a four-year deal.

So now it appears the Mets will step up their pursuit to re-sign Oliver Perez. I would personally have matched the Braves deal for Lowe, as he's more battle tested in the postseason than Perez. The Mets are also close to signing former Red Sox infielder Alex Cora to a one year, $2 million deal. Cora basically became expendable after the emergence of Jed Lowrie last season, and the fact that Cora's range has declined considerably.

There are still rumors abound that Pedro Martinez is interested in joining the Florida Marlins. The Marlins have denied their has been any contact with Pedro's agent. It doesn't appear the Mets are hot to bring him back, and there hasn't been a lot of teams banging down Pedro's door offering a deal. After last season I was really hoping Pedro would call it a career, but he still feels he has something left in the tank. I hate to see great players like him hang on too long, but I wish him well.

And speaking on former Sox on the move, Roger Clemens' next address maybe a jail cell, as Congress will begin looking into whether Clemens perjured himself before them in those hearings he personally demanded last year after the Mitchell Report hit. He maybe indicted by a grand jury soon. Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee will be testifying, and Andy Pettitte may as well. Remember, Uncle Sam doesn't like being lied to. It's worse than the original offense. Just ask Martha Stewart.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Trivia Q&A: January 13

We had another huge crowd for Trivia Night on Tuesday night, and also a record number of teams taking part, 26, breaking the old record by one. Thank you all for setting this mark with your support.

The scores throughout the night were fairly strong. We had perfect scores in every round but IQ trivia, and more than one in all but General Knowledge.

It was so close throughout the night, but the team of Seven Days Until the Oval Office Gets Waxed emerged victorious and by just one point. The scores in IQ Trivia were exceptionally strong, and not one team got the Robinson Crusoe question correct. But many got at least 3 or 4 correct.

Congratulations to Matt and his crew on another close victory.

Current Events
1. This rock star is planning to hold a benefit for Hillary Clinton on January 15th to help her erase her campaign debt from her failed presidential bid.
2. This film won five awards at The People's Choice Awards last week, all five it was nominated for including cast and action movie.
3. This piece of real estate was named "The Most Expensive Home in America" as Zillow.com estimated it is worth about $308 million.
4. The producers of this TV show put a warning on their web site alerting the public that a sweepstakes involving the show by email is a fraud.
5. This controversial conservative author was bumped from the Today Show last week and it's been reported that the author was "banned for life" by NBC and its cable outlets.
6. An online betting service, Americasline.com, has this onetime presidential candidate as a 5-1 favorite to be the 2012 Republican presidential nominee.
7. A British study claims that playing this video game after traumatic events appears to reduce flashbacks that plague victims of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Answers: 1. Jon Bon Jovi; 2. "The Dark Knight;" 3. The White House; 4. "American Idol;" 5. Ann Coulter; 6. Mitt Romney; 7. Tetris.

January 13th Trivia
1. This country music legend, in 1968, performed on this date at Folsom Prison in California, leading to an amazing comeback to his career.
2. On this date in 1990, Douglas Wilder became the first black elected governor of this Southern state.
3. Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, became archbishop of this European city in 1964.
4. This country apologized to South Korea for forcing Korean women into slavery during WWII on this date in 1992.
5. This actor, best known for his dramatic roles in movies and TV shows like "The Untouchables" but also did a great comic turn in the film "Airplane", was born on this date in 1919.
6. This man, who was the 38th Vice President of the United States as well as a US senator from Minnesota, died on this date in 1978.
7. This Irish writer, best known for his novels "Ulysses" and "Finnegan's Wake," died on this date in 1941.

Answers: 1. Johnny Cash; 2. Virginia; 3. Krakow, Poland; 4. Japan; 5. Robert Stack; 6. Hubert Humphrey; 7. James Joyce.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. A broken chain lies at the feet of the Statue of Liberty.
2. Corn is the main ingredient in a pilaf dish.
3. "It's the economy stupid" was a slogan of Bill Clinton's presidential campaign.
4. The blue and yellow in IKEA's logo are meant to represent the nation of Sweden.
5. In the comic strip "Dilbert" Dilbert is an accountant.
6. On "Star Trek," Captain James Kirk's middle name is Tecumseh.
7. Brioche is a kind of bread.
8. Bunny suits are worn by workers in microchip production.
9. When Sir Edmund Hillary conquered Mt. Everest in 1953, he brought one drink with him: Ovaltine.
10. Sweden was the first country to recognize the United States' independence.

Answers: 1. true; 2. false, rice; 3. true; 4. true; 5. false, engineer; 6. false, Tiberius; 7. true; 8. true; 9. true; 10. false, Netherlands.

General Knowledge
1. What online retailer was founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994?
2. What was the name of explorer Jacques Cousteau's expedition boat?
3. What pink novelty toy are American soldiers in Iraq using to spot trip wires?
4. What type of presidential veto was deemed unconstitutional in 1998?
5. In the human body, adrenal glands are perched atop what organs?
6. Who did Sherlock Holmes refer to as "The Napoleon of crime?"
7. What was the name of the battle cry of the Confederate soldiers in the Civil War?

Answers: 1. Amazon.com; 2. Calypso; 3. Silly String; 4. line item veto; 5. kidneys; 6. Professor Moriarty; 7. rebel yell.

IQ Trivia
1. The fictional character Robinson Crusoe was shipwrecked for 28 years off the coast of what country? ( 4 points)
2. Who was the Greek god of wine? ( 4 points)
3. What Soviet premier authorized the building of the Berlin Wall? ( 3 points)
4. What Eastern European city hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics? ( 4 points)
5. What was the name of the huge protest on Washington, DC on Mother's Day 2000 over the lack of meaningful gun laws? ( 5 points)

Answers: 1. Venezuela; 2. Dionysis; 3. Nikita Khruschev; 4. Sarajevo; 5. The Million Mom March.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Welcome to the Hall, Jim Ed


The incredibly long, agonizing wait for Jim Rice has finally come to an end, as he was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame today, along with Rickey Henderson.

Rice just made it, as he was named on 412 of the 539 ballots cast. That was just over 76%. He made it by just seven votes. Here's more on the vote from MLB.com.

It was Rice's last shot to be elected by the writers, and in my opinion, it was way too long a wait. But at least he is finally in.

Henderson was a slam dunk, and was named on 511 ballots. (I'd like the 28 who didn't vote for him to explain why.) He was named on 94% of the ballots cast. Andre Dawson was a distant third, 44 votes short and Bert Blyleven was denied yet again, and received just 62% of the vote. (Keeping Blyleven out is a continuing travesty.)

Congratulations to both men, especially to Rice. It is a well-deserved honor.

Welcome to Cooperstown, Jim Ed.

Now let's retire number 14 this year, too.

January Stuff on Tuesday

On Tuesday night, we will have as our special category, "January 13th Trivia." It will be seven questions concerning stuff connected to January 13th in history: people, places and things. The Q Train lightning round will feature the return of the tried and true category, "True or False Trivia."

We will get going at the usual time of 9 PM. We had another huge turnout last Tuesday, and it has been great to see such wonderful support from the Trivia Night regulars, as well as some new folks who've joined our soiree.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What was the name of the famous battle cry of the Confederate soldiers in the Civil War?

I hope the cold weather won't keep you away tomorrow night (it rarely keeps the diehards away), so we'll see you then.

BrooklynSoxFan.com

You now have a second option to reach my site. This past weekend, my friend Frank from the BLOHARDS asked me if I would like to take the site BrooklynSoxFan.com off of his hands. Frank had owned the site but it was about to expire. So he graciously asked me if I'd like to have it.

What else could I say but yes. So now if you punch in http://www.brooklynsoxfan.com/, you will reach The Mighty Quinn Media Machine.

My Empire keeps expanding. My thanks to Frank for his generosity.

I owe him a beer. At least.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saito Signs With the Sox

The Red Sox added another veteran bullpen arm today as they signed former Dodgers closer Takashi Saito to a one year deal, worth between $1.5 and 2.5 million. With incentives it could be worth up to $7 million. Saito becomes the third former Japanese pitcher on the Red Sox staff.


Saito was the Dodgers closer the past three seasons, and missed some significant time last year due to a strained elbow tendon. He did return for six outings in September and was effective. The Dodgers elected not to re-sign the veteran, who turns 39 next month.

Saito will probably be used as a setup man for Jonathan Papelbon, but could be used as a closer on those days when Papelbon has been used in consecutive days.

It's been a winter of "low-risk, high-reward" signings for Theo Epstein, and Saito is another one of those. It now appears that the Red Sox have just one more roster move to make before Spring Training begins, and that is who will be behind the plate along with Josh Bard. 

I haven't heard of a single other offer that Jason Varitek has received. I guess his agent, Satan, is having a tough time drumming up any interest for him around baseball.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Now Give Someone Number 21

Rocco Baldelli was introduced to the media yesterday with his new Red Sox jersey, which just happens to be number 5, which he wore at Tampa Bay. (Remember the Joe DiMaggio comparisons when he first came up?) That number has not been worn by any Red Sox player since July 31, 2004, when a player many thought would have that numeral retired one day wore it: Nomar.

I'm not really bothered by Baldelli wearing 5. It was time to move on, and I'm sure Garciaparra isn't bothered by it either. And I hope Rocco gets his career back on track in Boston.

But what has mystified me for years is why no one has worn number 21 since 1996. I won't mention the jackass who wore it, as we all know who he is. The Yankees gave away his number right after he left them in 2003, and I actually applauded them for doing it.

Now that the Texas Con Man's legacy is deep in the toilet (a hospital in Texas just took his name off their building recently) and the Hall of Fame is almost out of the question, I think it's time the Sox gave someone on the club the number. TCM has disrespected the club and its fans for too long, and I can't think of a better way to give him the screws than to give number 21 to some young player, even the 25th guy on the bench. (Or how about giving it to some really young player in spring training, who probably wouldn't come up for a few years?)

It's really time the Sox turn the page on the Con Man and his evil legacy by starting a new one with a new player. Time to take 21 out of mothballs. It's been too long.

In other Red Sox news, they arebringing back Mark Kotsay, as a backup first baseman and outfielder, and at a bargain basemane price of one-year at $1.5 million. Kotsay wanted to start for another club, but found that the market had dried up and the Red Sox were a better alternative. Another nice, solid, veteran move by Theo Epstein.

Also, my friend Darren has a cool post about how the Hall of Fame rejected his offer of one of Claudia Williams' paintings for the Hall, which he acquired last year. (She is the daughter of Ted.) Check it out here.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Red Sox Add Baldelli, Smoltz

The Red Sox have come to terms with former Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Rocco Baldelli and former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz on one-year deals. Both are very good, low-risk deals for two solid veterans. Here's more about it from the Boston Globe.

Baldelli is a Rhode Island native and Red Sox fan, and the Red Sox checked into his medical history before signing off on the deal. He is still just 27, but figures to see plenty of action as a fourth outfielder. He will spell both Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew in the outfield. Baldelli's deal is not yet known, but sources say only $500,000 is guaranteed. He could reach as much as $7.5 million if he hits certain incentives.

Smoltz is coming off shoulder surgery and is not expected to be ready until late May. The future Hall of Famer ends a 20-year career in Atlanta, and his deal is expected to be a $5 million one, but incentives could raise it to as high as $10 million.

A Day With Jon Stewart

Yesterday was a pretty interesting day. I finally bought a computer (a Dell Inspiron, more about that in a future post), and later in the day, a friend of mine asked me if I'd be interested in seeing a taping of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." I thought, "Why not?"

I've seen the show a few times, but I was never really a regular viewer. My friend and I went over to the West Side of Manhattan for the taping and met two friends of his, and we also had seats in the VIP section, which was a nice thing indeed. We sat just about 15 feet to the left of Jon's desk, in the second row. I've been to a few other TV tapings in my life, and like the others, the studio always looks much smaller in person. No exception here.


We were seated about an hour before the taping began, along with about 250 other folks. A writer on the show named Paul Mecurio did a 15-minute warmup, and he was very funny. (My friend told me he did a gig at Professor Thom's during one of their "Boston Comedians"night over a year ago and was terrific.) Turns out he is from Rhode Island, and my friend told me to put on my Red Sox hat to see if he would notice, as he's a big Red Sox fan. My friend said he saw it but didn't say anything to me.

The show was a lot of fun to be a part of. Jon Stewart took questions from the audience before the taping began, and was great with his sharp, witty responses. The audience was in high spirits, and the show was funny. Jon did a wrapup of the press' insane coverage of the Obama girls' first day of school, along with three of his cast members doing a skit about it, and then Assif Manvi came out and did a funny bit on Sanjay Gupta being tapped as Surgeon General.

The show moved rather quickly, and the breaks between tapings was faster than I thought they would be. MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow was the in-house guest, and she came off rather personable and funny. The show then concluded as Jon thanked his audience for coming.

I enjoyed the experience very much, especially since it didn't cost me anything! I'll be watching "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" more often now.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Trivia Q&A: January 6

We had another huge crowd in Professor Thom's on Tuesday night for the first Trivia Night of 2009. We had 23 teams taking part, one of the largest number of teams ever. (25 is still the record.) And it was one of the closest Trivia Nights we have ever had.

After the second round we had a logjam of teams at the top, with 10 teams within one point of the lead. It remained close throughout the night. The new Q Train, the Which Came First Trivia round, went down pretty well and will be back. General Knowledge was a bit difficult but most teams still had respectable scores.

In IQ Trivia, we had one team that ran the table in that round, and got all 20 points. That was the team that was just two points behind, Blue Thunder, and they wound up winning a tight round by just two points. Congratulations to them on their victory, their first ever.

Current Events
1. The New York Times is actively shopping its 17% stake in this MLB team, of which the Times is the second-largest shareholder.
2. This basketball legend was arrested by police in Arizona last week for DWI and he admitted he was going to pick up a woman for oral sex.
3. 59 people were killed in a nightclub fire on New Year's Eve in this Asian city.
4. This singer was voted "The Least Desirable Celebrity Neighbor" in a recent poll at Zillow.com, a real estate site.
5. This legendary ballpark hosted the NHL's Winter Classic game on New Year's Day, the second outdoor hockey game in league history.
6. John Atta Mills was elected last week as president of this West African nation.
7. New Mexico governor Bill Richardson announced on Sunday he was withdrawing his nomination for this cabinet post due to a federal probe in his home state over a contract given to a firm that contributed to Richardson's presidential bid.

Answers: 1. Boston Red Sox; 2. Charles Barkley; 3. Bangkok; 4. Britney Spears; 5. Wrigley Field; 6. Ghana; 7. Secretary of Commerce.

The Year in Music History Trivia
1. Live Aid concerts were held in London and Philadelphia to benefit African hunger relief: a. 1985; b. 1984; c. 1988; d. 1986.
2. American Idol debuts on the Fox network: a. 2000; b. 2001; c. 2002; d. 2003.
3. The Beatles release "Let It Be" and split up: a. 1969; b. 1970; c. 1971; d. 1968.
4. Elvis Presley dies at age 42: a. 1977; b. 1978; c. 1981; d. 1976.
5. Kurt Cobain commits suicide: a. 1992; b. 1995; c. 1997; d. 1994.
6. 500,000 attend the Woodstock music festival in New York State: a. 1968; b. 1969; c. 1972; d. 1970.
7. Janet Jackson has an infamous "wardrobe malfunction" at halftime of the Super Bowl: a. 2003; b. 2004; c. 2005; d. 2006.

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

Which Came First Trivia ("The Q Trivia")

1. a. John F. Kennedy is inaugurated president; b. Barack Obama is born.
2. a. Mets win their first World Series; b. Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the moon.
3. a. Richard Nixon resigns as president; b. South Vietnam is overrun by the North, ending the Vietnam conflict for good.
4. a. Marlon Brando declines his Best Actor Oscar; b. George C. Scott declines his Best Actor Oscar.
5. a. Ronald Reagan is inaugurated for his second term as president; b. Madonna has her first Top 10 single.
6. a. Watergate scandal erupts after the DNC offices are broken into; b. 11 Israeli athletes are killed at the Munich Summer Olympics.
7. a. New England Patriots win their first Super Bowl; b. Arizona Diamondbacks win their first World Series.

Answers: 1. a; 2. b; 3. a; 4. b; 5. b; 6. a; 7. b.

General Knowledge
1. In the novel "The Count of Monte Cristo," Edmond Dantes is imprisoned after he's accused of being an agent for whom?
2. "Salix Babylonica" is the scientific name for what type of tree?
3. What does the "S" stand for in the auto racing acronym NASCAR?
4. The US invasion of the Port of Inchon was a turning point of what war?
5. What is the medical term for the procedure known as a "nose job?"
6. Sold in 2001 for $5.6 million, a sculpture by Jeff Koons depicts what celebrity holding a chimpanzee?
7. "Klick" is a military term that refers to what distance of measurement?

Answers: 1. Napoleon Bonaparte; 2. Weeping Willow; 3. stock; 4. Korean War; 5. rhinoplasty; 6. Michael Jackson; 7. kilometer.

IQ Trivia
1. How many months of the year in 2008 did not have a federal holiday in it? ( 3 points)
2. What female writer had a poem with the line "Men seldom make passes/At girls who wear glasses?" ( 4 points)
3. In Scrabble, what is it called when a player uses all seven of his tiles during one turn? ( 4 points)
4. What 19th century US president regularly consulted with a group of advisors known as "The Kitchen Cabinet?" (5 points)
5. In 1961, Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev sought political asylum while on tour in what European country? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. four (March, April, June and August); 2. Dorothy Parker; 3. bingo; 4. Andrew Jackson; 5. France.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Two Excellent Baseball Clips For a Cold Day



Well, it's January 6th, and it's cold outside, and it's going to be cold for a few more months here in New York. For me, the football season is over as the Vikings season ended on Sunday. (But I will keep a close watch on the NFL playoffs and especially how the Giants do.) So now my attention turns more towards baseball. There's a lot of free agents out there as the Hot Stove continues to burn. And pitchers and catchers will begin reporting in a little more than 5 weeks. (Please check my countdown clock for instant updates.)

So to get you readers in more of a baseball mood, above you will find a YouTube clip of one of the funniest moments ever involving baseball, namely the Abbott and Costello classic clip of "Who's On First" from their 1945 film "The Naughty Nineties." It's a routine that never fails to make me laugh out loud, as Bud the manager tries to convince Lou of the "names" of his St. Louis baseball team.

It's just over six minutes long, and it's worth every second to watch. I just wish it was longer.

And speaking of funny baseball clips, you can never go wrong with the famous George Carlin routine of "Baseball vs. Football" as George does a comparison of my two favorite sports. I've had it here before, but it's certainly worth putting up again. It is from one of his standup shows from 1990. Enjoy.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The First Trivia Night in 2009

On Tuesday night we will have our first Trivia Night of 2009. And to kick off the new year, we will have a new category for the Q Train lightning round: "Which Came First Trivia." I will give you two events, and you will have to tell me which happened first. Sounds simple enough, and we'll see how it goes.

The special category will be "The Year in Music History Trivia." I will give you a famous event that happened in music history and you will tell me what year it occurred in.

We should get going around the usual time of 9 PM. The Sneak Peek question for this week is:

What is the medical term for the procedure known as a "nose job?"

We had some tremendous crowds for Trivia over the holidays, and I hope many of you can make it to Professor Thom's on Tuesday night.

Figures.

For the 37th straight season, the Minnesota Vikings have come up short and disappointed me, this time with an opening round 26-14 playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. (I've been a Vikings fan since 1972.)

So unlike the Vikings to let me down.

Actually, the Vikes have made some good progress this season. Brad Childress took over in 2006 and led the team to a 6-10 record. Last season they were at .500, and this season theywon their first division title in eight years, with a 10-6 record. So they are heading in the right direction.

But one place that definitely needs an improvement is at QB. Tarvaris Jackson just isn't the QB of the future. He played decently in the final three regular season games, but he looked like a deer lost in the headlights in yesterday's second half. He threw an interception that was returned for a TD, led the Vikes to four three-and-outs in the second half while it was still a game, and looked totally defeated after Philly kicked the last field goal. He was 15-for-35 for 164 yards and no TDs. Not good enough. They need a veteran QB to take the next step in 2009, and you know the heat will be on Childress to keep the team going forward. There will be more expectations of better things next season.

They didn't come through for me on my birthday. Not the biggest shock in the world.

For years I always thought I'd see the Vikings win a Super Bowl before I'd see the Red Sox win a World Series. I was proven wrong on that. Now it's the Vikings I hope to see win "just one" before I die. It makes the NFC title loss in 1998 hurt all the more every year they miss the Super Bowl. It's amazing to me that the last time the Vikings were in a Super Bowl game was in 1977, 32 years ago.

On a warmer note: just 38 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

47

Well, it's THAT day again.

As of today, I have been walking God's Earth for 47 years now. Last night I went out for a nice dinner with my dear friend Deborah, to an Italian restaurant in Manhattan called La Pizzeria Fresca. It was really terrific, with a very good atmosphere and good pizza. As we about to have dessert, I saw a waiter coming to our table with a chocolate dessert with a single candle as I heard a recording of "Happy Birthday" played in the restaurant. I looked at her and she smiled at me. The patrons applauded when it concluded.

Oh, that Deborah is such a sneak! And I thank God she's a part of my life. She's a gift from a dear friend who we both miss very much.

Today I am not planning anything special. I'll be home watching the NFL playoffs, and hoping the Minnesota Vikings can give me a nice birthday present. They actually won their only NFL title (just before the merger with the AFL) on January 4th, 1970, against the Cleveland Browns, 27-7. I think the Giants will be rooting for the Vikings today too, as if the Vikes win, the Giants play the Arizona Cardinals, who beat Atlanta. If the Eagles beat the Vikings today, they will play Philly next weekend.

It's hard to believe I'm 47 today. I'm the same age as the uniform number of the guy whose pictured in this post. (You mean you didn't know that Tito wears 47? I think most of the world doesn't.) It's like I keep saying to myself every birthday, "It's just a number. It's just a number."

One of these years I'll finally believe it.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

So Far So Good

I've been checking out the newest arrival on my TV, namely the MLB Network, and so far, I've been pleased by what I've seen.


It's a pleasure to see Hazel Mae back on the screen, as she's on one of their shows (can't actually recall which one at the moment). Those of you who may not know she was a staple on Red Sox games for a few years, doing "Sports Desk" following the Sox. She's always had a cult following among Red Sox fans, and in my opinion, she was always pleasant on the eyes. I believe she's on one of their update programs.

I checked out their debut showing of Don Larsen's perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1956. It had never been seen since the game was played and it was hosted by Bob Costas. It was simply fascinating to see games from that era and how similar, as well as different, baseball is. And they also left in the actual commercials that were broadcast that day. They really did a nice job with that program, and having Larsen and Yogi Berra live in the studio was also a nice touch.

The network also showed a lot of love to the Red Sox last night, as they showed the 2004 World Series Film, along with a short program called "Red Sox Memories" that featured the 2007 championship season. I can never get tired of seeing the 2004 World Series Film, especially the parts when me and my friends pop up. It still gives me chills when the Red Sox win it all.

The network will also be showing the terrific Ken Burns "Baseball" documentary every Tuesday night for the next nine weeks. It was originally shown in 1994 but I don't think PBS has shown it in its entirety since. I'll be sorry to miss it, as I'll be doing Trivia every Tuesday night.

I love the fact baseball now has a place on TV you can go for news and info 24/7. So far I like what I see. Let's hope the MLB Network keeps it going.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Hello Ball!



I spent a relatively quiet New Year's Eve at home with family and friends, and I watched "The Twilight Zone" marathon on the Sci-Fi Channel. I caught some classic episodes such as "To Serve Man," "Will the Real Martian Stand Up" and "The Masks." I've seen them all at least a hundred times but I never get tired of them, especially the ones with the great twist at the end.

God bless Rod Serling. The marathon continues until 6 AM tomorrow morning.

After midnight, WLIW Channel 21 here in New York ran all of the Monty Python "Personal Best" episodes, the hour-long best of from each Monty Python member. I caught Eric Idle and Graham Chapman's episodes, and they are such a treat for a Monty Python fanatic like me. And it's really hard to believe that this October will mark the 20th anniversary of Graham's death.

Of course another real treat on New Year's (in addition to lots of college football bowl games) is "The Honeymooners" marathon. Channel 11 here in NYC runs one every year on New Year's Day starting at midnight. But since I recently got Fios on my TV, I now get WGN, the Chicago superstation. And I discovered last night that they also have a New Year's "Honeymooners" marathon, it goes on longer than the one on WPIX. So, I've been bouncing between the stations checking out the episodes.

So in honor of the late, great team of Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, I've posted here probably my favorite Honeymooners scene, when Ed Norton has to teach Ralph how to play golf. "Hello Ball!" never ceases to crack me up.

The clip is just over four minutes. Thanks for all the great quality TV, Mr. Gleason.

The MLB Network also makes its long-awaited debut tonight at 6. Baseball 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Can't wait to check it out.

Happy New Year everyone.